It was, Brianna Wilde reflected, an absolutely beautiful day. The brilliant blue sky was marred by only a few faint wisps of clouds while a gentle breeze mitigated the rising heat of the afternoon. More pleasantly the world had bloomed brilliantly with the turn of spring and, with summer just around the corner, the scent of dozens of neighborhood gardens filled the air like living potpourri. And yet, even as she felt that breeze tickle the bare skin of her arms while the alluring scent of flowers teased her nose, Brianna wasn’t really thinking about any of that. Instead, as she stood, feet practically rooted in place on the dull concrete of the sidewalk, all of her attention was focused on the sprawling house before her.
136 North Hickory Lane, the house she had grown up in, stood in sharp contrast to the much more anachronistic home of her mistresses right next to it. Simple white trimmed windows and dull gray vinyl siding marked its much more modern construction, as did its basic boxy shape though dormers built into the roof to create a second story and a small covered porch helped to break up those lines. Like the house itself the yard was well maintained but sparse with a few bushes along the foundation to add some color and personality but little more than that. Neither her mother nor her father had much time, or inclination, to grow a garden and while she certainly understood the sentiment, very much aware of just how much work such a project demanded, part of her could not help but think it a pity.
Almost unconsciously her hazel eyes slid to the right, to the colorful bulk of 137 North Hickory Lane, taking in the familiar sight of well-trimmed hedges and meticulously tended flowers highlighting the carefully painted woodwork and ornate shutters while a large veranda yawned invitingly. It was probably nothing more than memory, perspective, but some part of Brianna thought it was an apt metaphor. The mundane, if comfortable, life of the past and the far more… colorful future she was chasing. And there was no doubt that Brianna certainly had a lot of good memories associated with her childhood home but looking at it now with a new set of eyes she was almost taken aback by a sudden sense of how dull, how ordinary it all was at the end of the day. One more in a set of cookie-cutter homes all too common in housing developments. A refuge, a shelter to be sure but one that did little to reflect the personality of those who called it home. Indeed, in a way that she could not truly explain the place felt almost confining.
As she continued to stand there, cursing herself for procrastinating and yet unable to make herself stop, Brianna once again could not help but think that perspective was a strange thing. As much as it was her decision, the right decision she knew, to finally stop lying (if only by omission) and finally tell her family who she was and who she wanted to be, it was still terrifying. On the surface that seemed almost absurd. The challenge she was about to face should not be that daunting. Indeed, compared to some of the things she had already seen and done in her admittedly short life this shouldn’t even rate among the top ten. And yet, not for the first time, Brianna came face to face with the realization that feelings were not rational.
It felt in some way strange to be here again and it was hard to say why. She was returning home after all, something she had probably done thousands upon thousands of times in her life, but for some reason the idea tied her stomach into knots and that too was hard to explain. It wasn’t as if she had been away for a long time, hell it had been less than a month since her last visit, and it wasn’t as if she no longer considered this place to be her home either. A good chunk of her things were still stored in the upstairs bedroom after all, but perhaps it was more than that. Some part of Brianna could not help but think that for all the warm memories that surrounded it, for all that this house would always be her childhood home, it was no longer her only home. Once she had never really understood the sentiment that a person could be your home but, thinking now on Roxanna’s tender kiss or Sofia’s strong arms around her to say nothing of Claudia’s playful grin she thought she finally understood at least a little. It was a strange realization, exciting and yet sad at the same time, but somewhere deep inside of herself Brianna knew that for all that she would always love this place she had, on some level, begun to outgrow it. Perhaps that was a natural, inevitable part of growing up but, as much as part of her could not help but thrill at the thought of exploring the new and uncertain future before her, part of her equally could not help but mourn. Which only made what she was about to do that much harder even if it was necessary.
Absently adjusting the tight tank top she was wearing before wiping her hands on the jeans sheathing her long legs, Brianna took a breath and tried to harness her courage. The courage that had prompted her to walk into her neighbor’s backyard and confess her attraction to them, the courage that allowed her to stride into a nightclub with her bound and gagged body on display, and the courage that had inspired her to tattoo symbols of love and devotion to the women she had given her heart to on her skin. Courage that had, she thought with a wry smile, compelled her to walk into a vampire’s den. Or maybe that was just foolish curiosity? Whatever the case may be, Brianna shook her head and clenched her fists, a determined glint in her eye. More than once her lovers had told her that she did not lack for courage and, even if a nervous sort of nausea had settled into her stomach, she had no intention of letting them or herself down. It was time to put her money where her mouth was. Steeling herself with that thought, Brianna forced herself to take a step and then another, moving ever closer to the looming gray bulk of 136 North Hickory Lane. Despite her determination sweat still prickled her skin in a way that had nothing to do with the rising temperature and part of her, a larger part than she cared to admit, wanted nothing more than to turn away, to retreat back to the quiet and comfortable embrace of her lovers or, if nothing else, to fetch one of them to be by her side, almost longing for someone to hold her hand. But she refused to yield to that impulse. She could, if she let herself, find a thousand excuses not to have the conversation she needed to have, to put it off again and again but despite her fears (rational or irrational she could not say) Brianna knew in her heart of hearts that she could not turn away. Claudia had once told her that one of the greatest fears of all was the fear of not being accepted for who you were, especially by the people you loved, and as she inched ever closer to her goal Brianna could not help but agree. That fear certainly loomed large now but she refused to yield to it. If she was to pursue the future she dreamed of, to be the person she wanted to be, then she had to be brave and she had to be honest, especially with the people she cared about.
It was with that thought, back straight and eyes resolutely forward, that Brianna mounted the front steps, slowly climbing them one at a time, her footsteps echoing like thunder in her ears until she at last stood under the canopy of the house’s front porch. Sparing a moment she ran her eyes over the plain steel front door, its paint faded by years of exposure to the sun and the passage of hundreds of hands, many of them her own, and the intricate windows of colored glass set into it as the only real concession to aesthetics. Eyes sliding down to the simple brass doorknob she bit her lip. This was it, her last chance to turn back. Heart pounding in her chest all of a sudden Brianna shook her head and forced herself to reach down, carefully testing the door and not surprised to find it unlocked. Whetting her lips with the tip of her tongue Brianna carefully opened it and slipped inside into the room beyond. The great room, as architects tended to call the connected sprawl of a living room and dining room that all flowed together into one massive space, was seemingly devoid of life though it bore all the signs of having been occupied recently. A large television that dominated the entertainment center set against the wall, crowded in amid a dizzying collection of photographs and other keepsakes, had been left on, some local news program running in the background even though the sound had been muted. A long standing habit of her mother while doing housework, at least for as long as Brianna could remember, and one that she had never bothered to explain. As well, a few lamps perched on small tables scattered about had been left on to augment the muted light streaming in through the curtains. Eyes scanning the room, Brianna walked deeper into the house, the thick carpet muffling her footsteps as she idly trailed her fingers along the back of an overstuffed leather couch. Glancing down at the coffee table sitting right in front of it and taking in the folded up newspaper and half finished book of crossword puzzles, Brianna felt a tiny smile touch her lips again. Her mother was definitely home.
Still, best to be sure. Pausing in the center of the room and straining her ears Brianna called out, almost tentatively, “Mom? Dad? Is anybody home?”
Her voice seemed to echo through the hallways and for perhaps thirty seconds there was no answer. Finally though, after that short eternity, a familiar voice called back from upstairs, “Brianna? Is that you?”
Nodding unconsciously even though no one could see her Brianna quickly answered, “Yeah mom, it’s me. I’m in the living room.”
With that confirmation given, the sound of footsteps soon followed as Sharon Wilde seemed to race down the stairs, the dull thud of her house slippers growing louder and louder as she approached. Rounding the corner from the kitchen, a smile on her face making the faint crow’s feet at the edges of her eyes crinkle, the woman opened her arms and reached out to embrace her daughter, pulling the blue-haired girl close. Feeling her nerves calm instinctively at her mother’s warm and familiar presence Brianna returned the gesture, the pair standing there silently for a few moments as they simply hugged. Side by side it was easy to see where Brianna had gotten her looks from. Both were of a similar height and shared the same warm hazel eyes, though even the baggy and often washed sweatshirt Sharon usually donned when cleaning could not hide that she was much curvier than her daughter. It was also obvious that the older woman had aged quite gracefully with nary a strand of gray in her dirty blonde hair, currently pulled back into a rough ponytail, and no more than a few faint laugh lines on her face. In fact, more than once Brianna had received some teasing about the good genes she had clearly inherited and that she was obviously destined to be a knockout. Teasing that, Brianna could admit, she had mixed feelings about.
Further reflection was cut short though when Sharon released her grip, still smiling happily, “I wish I had known you were coming, sweetie. I didn’t expect you back until the end of the school year.”
Brianna offered an apologetic smile, “It was kind of spur of the moment.”
“Well never mind that. It’s a wonderful surprise.” her mother answered, dismissing the apology, “Are you staying for long?”
“I don’t know.” Brianna answered honestly before changing the subject, “Is dad home?”
Sharon just shook her head, “He got called in to the office for something, I wasn’t really paying attention. Not sure when he’ll be back.”
Brianna nodded, almost absently, at that before finally taking the next step, “Mom? Can we talk?”
Sharon Wilde’s smile faded, only to be replaced by a look of concern both at that statement and her daughter’s much more serious mood, “Is something wrong?”
“No, nothing like that.” Brianna answered, perhaps a bit too quickly, “It’s just… I have a few things I need to tell you.”
Although still clearly concerned her mother did seem to relax just a bit as she nodded and began to slowly guide Brianna into the kitchen, “Of course, sweetie. You can always talk to me. Have a seat. Would you like something to drink?”
A tiny smile curved Brianna’s lips as she took the offered seat and just shook her head, “No thanks, mom. That’s alright.”
Taking a seat across from her Sharon offered another kind smile and waited a moment for Brianna to start talking. However, when the blue-haired girl remained silent, her earlier discomfort clearly returning, the woman asked, gently, “Are you in some kind of trouble?”
“No mom, I’m not in trouble.” Brianna assured, voice soft and far away as she struggled to think of how best to even start the conversation they needed to have.
“Are you pregnant?”
Brianna practically jerked upright in her chair, “What?! No!”
Although she adopted a teasing tone in response the relief was clear in Sharon’s expression as she continued, “Well then, if you’re not in trouble and you’re not pregnant then whatever it is can’t be that bad.”
Almost involuntarily Brianna laughed, part of her glad that the tension had just been broken and part of her wondering if her mother might not reconsider that sentiment when she understood, “It’s just… I guess you could say I’m seeing someone.”
Sharon’s frame visibly relaxed at that confession, eyes twinkling with a certain wry amusement, “Oh I see. Must be serious then, you weren’t even this nervous when you brought your first girlfriend home. So who’s the lucky boy?” a tiny smile touched her lips, “Or lucky girl?”
“Girl.” Brianna said, quickly, a hint of a blush on her cheeks both at the memory of her lovers and at her mother’s faint teasing. Even so she also knew that she had barely scratched the surface with that very limited explanation and needed to stop beating around the bush, “It’s a little more complicated than that though.” She shook her head and decided to just say it, “The truth is I’m seeing several someones.”
Sharon’s brow furrowed ever so slightly, a hint of confusion in her voice, “What do you mean?”
Brianna paused for a heartbeat to try and think of the easiest way to explain it, “There’s four of us. Me and three others and I guess you could say that we’re all dating each other at the same time?”
There was a much longer pause as her mother took in that information and tried to process it, “I see.”
Nervousness suddenly returning at that non-reaction and the somewhat blank look on the other woman’s face Brianna tentatively asked, “Mom?”
That seemed to shake Sharon loose from her thoughts, “Brianna, sweetie...” she trailed off and took a breath, “I’m not ignorant about the way the world is, and I think I get what you’re trying to say, but that’s not the sort of thing I ever expected you to tell me.”
“I’m sorry.” Brianna practically whispered, fighting the urge to look down.
“No, no, don't apologize.” Sharon insisted, “I’m not… I’m not mad I just…” she paused again to collect her thoughts, “We’ve always tried to let you make your own decisions about your life, find your own way, and I’ve always been proud of how responsible you are.” The woman’s tone suddenly lightened ever so slightly, once again adopting an ever so faintly teasing note, “Even if I think it was a mistake to color that pretty hair of yours, and don’t think I didn’t notice that tattoo.”
Glancing down at the compass rose tattooed on wrist Brianna could not help but smile a little. Probably best not to let her mother know about the others, to say nothing of her piercings, just yet.
Unaware of those thoughts Sharon continued, “Besides that I suppose you are an adult now so I guess what I’m trying to say is, are you happy?”
Smile widening, Brianna nodded, “Yeah mom, I am.”
“And this, whatever it is?” Sharon asked, “It’s serious?”
Brianna nodded again, “It is.”
Her mother simply nodded and adopted a tiny smile in turn, “So then, even if I don’t necessarily understand all of this, if you’re happy I guess that’s all that matters.”
With those words Brianna could feel the knot of tension in her chest loosen just a little, “Thanks mom.”
“You’re welcome sweetheart.” the woman assured with another soft smile, “So who are the lucky girls? Anyone I know?”
At that question Brianna could not help but wince ever so slightly. As well as the first part of their conversation had gone, and as happy as that made her, the knowledge that a much more… delicate conversation was about to happen, dragged her right back down to earth again. Still, in for a penny, in for a pound. Gesturing vaguely at the back door, to the fenced in yard across from their own, Brianna answered, “Our neighbors, actually.”
There was a moment, a brief moment, where incomprehension flashed across Sharon’s face, as if the older woman could not understand what she had just heard. But comprehension dawned just as quickly, the metaphorical light bulb going off and her expression hardened, just a little, “Sofia Petrovna and Roxanna Kormou? Those neighbors?”
The flat tone didn’t convey anger exactly, but it still made Brianna nervous all over again though she managed to nod despite that, “Yes.”
The tone didn’t change, but Sharon’s expression shifted ever so slightly, a tiny frown curling her lips, “And how long has this been going on?”
“About a year.” Brianna managed, not sure exactly where this was going and clamping down hard on her nerves, determined to maintain her composure.
Almost instantly Sharon was on her feet, standing so quickly that her chair nearly toppled over, as she stormed towards the back door, a scowl marring her pretty features. Taken by surprise by that reaction, Brianna scrambled to follow, practically tripping over her own two feet as she raced to catch up to her mother, just barely managing to catch the other woman’s sleeve and halt her progress.
“Mom!” she called out, “Where are you going?”
Still clearly upset, the woman spun quickly to face her, though she made no effort to escape from her daughter’s grasp, “I’m going to give those neighbors of ours a piece of my mind for taking advantage of you!”
“They’re not taking advantage of me!” Brianna insisted, almost taken aback by that answer even if she could understand it.
Sharon’s expression seemed to soften a little at that, but even so she held firm, “Oh sweetie, I know you might not think that but they’re what? Twice your age? And that job they offered you last year?” a hint of the scowl returned, “Was that just some excuse so they could seduce you? I don’t know what they told you but what else do you call it?”
“They didn’t… They didn’t seduce me, mom!” Brianna retorted, face heating up just a little in embarrassment before she forced herself to calm, “They didn’t do anything. I’m the one that approached them.”
That, more than anything, took the wind out of the other woman’s sails. A look of pure bewilderment on her face, “What are you saying?”
Maybe it was because she was defending her lovers’ honor, as strange as that idea was, or maybe it was because the ice had been broken, but Brianna found her voice steadying and the nervous energy draining from her as she explained, “I admit I had a crush on them, like half the kids in the neighborhood, and I never said anything because it was silly and embarrassing and, well, that was that. But, I don’t know, maybe it was because I was growing up or maybe it was because I knew I’d be going away for school, but I decided to tell them everything last year. To get it off my chest. I didn’t expect anything to come from it,” which was not to say that she hadn’t hoped but she figured that was close enough to the truth for now, “but instead of laughing it off or letting me down gently, they gave me a chance.”
Well and truly adrift now, righteous anger fading in the face of honest confusion, Sharon stepped back, gently pulling her sleeve from Brianna’s grip, who let her go without protest. Looking back and forth between her daughter and the back door, she finally said, “Brianna, I don’t understand.”
Brianna answered slowly, “I’m saying that it was my choice mom. I know how this looks and sounds but please believe me. No one forced me to do anything. It’s what I want. What we all want.”
Sharon looked torn, “Sweetheart I know I said that I trusted you, and I do, and that you should make your own decision, but this? You’re asking me to accept a lot.”
“I know mom, and I’m sorry.” Brianna acknowledged, “But I love them, and they love me. I know I’m young and that might sound way too dramatic, but my heart tells me it’s the truth.” she pressed a hand to her chest, “This is real mom.”
Honestly at a loss for words Sharon bit her lip, “I don’t know what to say.”
“That’s okay, like I said I know this sounds crazy.” Brianna assured with a small smile, a part of her appreciating the irony that she had left the craziest parts out, “And I’m not expecting you to be suddenly okay with everything, but I don’t want to hide who I am either.”
“I… I don’t want you to think you need to hide yourself from us.” Sharon said softly before pausing a long moment, her whole body slouching a little as if exhausted, “But I… I need time to think. And… and to talk to your father.”
Letting her hands drop to her sides, feeling a bit emotionally wrung out herself, Brianna nodded and turned slightly to begin walking towards the front door, “I understand and I think maybe we both need some time.”
Sharon’s hands twitched, as if she wanted to reach out and stop the blue-haired girl from walking away before thinking better of it. Instead she just nodded and spoke softly, “You’re probably right.”
Brianna paused long enough to look over her shoulder and offered her mother a watery smile, trying to convey as best she could that it was alright even if part of her wasn’t really sure that was the case. Still, her mother seemed to appreciate the gesture, returning a strained smile of her own. With that no more words were spoken as the blue-haired girl turned away and slowly padded her way across the living room, paying no real attention to her surroundings as she reached out to open the front door. Part of her very much wanted to stop and look back one more time, taken by the seeming finality of the gesture of walking away without another word but no, this was for the best.
Closing her eyes and shaking her head to clear her mind Brianna stepped outside before gently closing the door behind her, letting out a breath she had not realized she’d been holding as soon as she was alone again, the tension draining from her body with the force of a physical blow. That... hadn’t gone as badly as she’d feared it might actually. In fact, to be perfectly honest when she’d first resolved upon this course of action she’d envisioned dozens of different scenarios to her little bombshell and quite a few of them had ended in anger and accusation and worse things. Oh she had known, even then, that most of that was just her own fear talking but that fear had still weighed heavily. It was with an almost palpable sense of relief that she walked down the steps and back toward the sidewalk. Certainly things could have gone better, and the whole thing was far from done, but it still felt, for the moment at least, as if a weight had been lifted from her shoulders.
Even so the uncertainty remained and as she reflected Brianna could not help but feel restless. While part of her wanted nothing more than to return to her mistress’ home, to sink into the comfort of their presence and share all that had happened, the rest of her was too agitated for that. Her mind was still racing, thoughts swirling as she wondered what the next step would be given that the ball was now firmly into her mother’s court. Idly shoving her hands into her pockets Brianna turned away from both 136 and 137 North Hickory Lane and set off deeper into the little subdivision, the soles of her shoes striking the concrete of the walk heavily as she pondered.
With the benefit of hindsight her mother’s reaction made a great deal of sense. The woman had honestly always been like that. Quick to anger when she thought something was threatening her only daughter, and quicker still to make her displeasure known, but also able to step back and consider once that anger had run its course. As frightening as that could be, Brianna had nonetheless always appreciated her mother’s protectiveness. The problem was this situation was quite unlike anything else that the woman had ever been forced to face. In light of that the conversation had honestly gone fairly well but Brianna could not help but feeling just a little guilty, especially when she remembered how worn and almost lost her mother had seemed at the end. Not that Brianna was sure she would have managed any better had their positions have been reversed. As to which way the other woman would jump now? She honestly couldn’t even begin to say, but it was far too late for second thoughts.
Kicking a pebble absently, mildly frustrated and unable to shake that lingering sense of guilt, Brianna looked up, almost surprised to find the sun, which had already begun to set even before she and her mother had talked, was starting to disappear behind the trees. Had their talk actually taken that long or had she just been walking all that time? It certainly didn’t feel like it but she also hadn’t stopped to check a clock and, she supposed, time had a tendency to fly when you were deep in thought. Scanning her surroundings she was surprised again to see where she had ended up. Without really paying attention it seemed she had managed to walk several blocks to a small curve in the road marked by a clump of decorative trees that stood as the unofficial halfway point of the entire subdivision. For a moment she contemplated turning back before shrugging and continuing on, rounding the treeline to come face to face with a small park carved into the set of empty lots beyond. It was a familiar sight and one that brought a smile to her face as she took in the cluster of brightly painted picnic tables beneath towering shade trees amid scattered playground equipment. Everything from a jungle gym to swing sets to a twisting mass of slides, bridges and walkways in the center of it all. The park was mostly the preserve of younger children of course, for all that it stood empty at the moment, and Brianna’s smile widened as she was momentarily lost in pleasant memories. On days when her father would bring her here on the weekends to play for what felt like hours until, too exhausted to walk, he’d been forced to carry her home. But, as pleasant as those memories of simpler times were, her smile began to fade when she thought of her father. She would have to talk to him at some point as well, hell there was a good chance that he and her mother were talking right now, but while she was a little too wrung out herself to be worried exactly she could not help but wonder what his reaction would be.
Pulling her hands out of her pockets Brianna stepped off the sidewalk and onto the grass, walking into the park and toward the abandoned playground equipment. Making a beeline for the swing set she grasped one of the rusty chains holding up one of the larger swings before sitting down on the worn plastic seat, the chains creaking noisily as her full weight pulled them taut. Setting her feet down on the worn patch of dirt where countless hundreds of pairs of shoes had skidded to a halt over the years, and gripping the chains to either side of her body firmly, she leaned back to watch the horizon and let out a soft sigh as her thoughts began to swirl once again.
The more she thought about it the more she realized that she honestly wasn’t sure what her father’s reaction would be to the… interesting directions her life had taken over the last year. And that, she realized, was because she could not ever really remember having a serious confrontation with the man. It wasn’t that they hadn’t spent plenty of time together but, for the most part, her mother had handled discipline in the house and, honestly, Brianna had been a fairly quiet child. She had never been one to cause much trouble or break many rules and even then it usually amounted to little. She’d never sneaked out of the house at night or smuggled her girlfriend into her room without telling anyone or stumbled home drunk from a party she definitely wasn't supposed to go to. Or at least she’d never been caught doing any of those things but the point was that while she had certainly been in trouble before she had never really done anything truly crazy either. Until now that is. And now that she had let slip even a fraction of the truth? Well, there was no telling just what her father might do with it. Oh, she had no doubt that he cared for her but while he was far from the stereotypical overprotective father Justin Wilde still shared his wife’s protective instincts and this was just the sort of thing that could easily set them off.
The sound of rattling chains as someone sat down on the swing next to her drew Brianna out of those thoughts all of a sudden. Looking to the side she was slightly surprised, and greatly relieved, to see Sofia there, a gentle expression on the older woman’s face. The blonde looked completely relaxed, her hair braided and tossed over her left shoulder casually while her clothing was equally casual, nothing but a pair of shorts that flattered her toned legs beautifully, simple leather sandals drawing attention to freshly painted toenails, and a spaghetti strap shirt that left strong shoulders and a marvelous amount of cleavage on display. More importantly, as she watched Brianna the blonde said nothing and instead just offered a tiny, comforting smile that carried with it the silent promise that she was there, ready to listen, if needed.
Tearing her gaze away from that wonderfully bronzed skin Brianna turned her eyes back to the sky before asking, “How did you find me?”
Sofia just shrugged slightly, her accented voice caressing Brianna’s ear like a balm, “Your mother stopped by a short while ago with a few, ah, choice words.”
“Oh.” was all Brianna managed in response, “Sorry.”
“No need for apologies, devushka.” Sofia assured.
Biting her lip and worrying about it for a moment Brianna finally asked, voice soft, “What did she want?”
“She was looking for you mostly.” Sofia offered, voice equally soft but far more steady, “And was somewhat surprised when I informed her you were not in. It surprised me as well, in truth, since I had assumed that you were still, well...”
Brianna nodded, a tiny, sheepish smile on her face, “Sorry for worrying you. I just… I don’t know, I needed to clear my head.”
“It is alright, devushka.” Sofia offered, “It would be a lie to say that I was not worried, but I am equally confident that you can take care of yourself.”
As much as she appreciated the gesture, nodding slightly in response, Brianna could not help but sigh, “I wonder sometimes.”
“Did your conversation not go well?” Sofia asked, her concern clear.
“It went fine, I guess.” Brianna said, pausing for a moment to collect her thoughts, “It’s just… scary I suppose. Things were, I don’t know, easier maybe, simpler at least, when everything was still a secret, but now? Now it’s like I’m standing on the edge of a cliff and I can’t help but wonder if I’m about to fall or fly.”
Sofia shifted slightly in her seat, a tinge of something, fear of a different sort perhaps, buried beneath her steady tone, “Do you regret it?”
Well aware of the deeper question that was being asked, if she regretted them and all that they had shared, Brianna turned her head slightly to take in Sofia’s face again. For all that the blonde seemed implacable, a rock upon which both she and Roxanna had learned to depend, the blue-haired girl could not help but notice a deeper truth hidden beneath that surface. Brianna had long ago learned her lovers’ various tells and she could see the tension in the other woman’s jaw, the subtle differences in how she held herself that spoke volumes. That uncertainty broke her heart, just a little, but one of the greatest gifts that her mistresses had given her was the knowledge that she could be brave too and if ever there was a time to be brave it was now. With a tiny, comforting smile of her own Brianna leaned over and gently pressed her lips to Sofia’s in a soft, almost chaste, kiss. Without hesitation the blonde reciprocated, a toned arm wrapping around the younger woman’s back and pulling her close as if savoring the touch of her body.
Eyes fluttering open as their lips separated Brianna smiled a little wider, “I will never, ever regret you, any of you.”
Sofia said nothing, just smiled as she darted in for another quick kiss and tightened her embrace momentarily before letting the blue-haired girl go.
Grinning broadly now Brianna glanced back toward the horizon one last time, “Did you know I used to be afraid of swings?”
If she was caught off guard by the question Sofia did not show it, “I was not.”
“Yeah, when I was a kid I had this crazy idea that if you started to swing you’d just go faster and faster until you wrapped around the bars and got thrown into the sky.” Brianna said before chuckling under her breath, “And, I mean, I saw other kids on the swings so I can’t tell you why I ever thought that.”
Sofia smiled a little at that story, curious, “What changed, devushka?”
“I’m not sure.” Brianna answered, “But one day I decided to climb on and asked my father to push me. It might have been the most terrifying thing I’d ever done up to that point, but do you know what happened?”
Sofia just shook her head.
“Nothing.” Brianna admitted with a tiny smile, “And I think it was the most fun I’d ever had at the park. After that I ran to the swings every time, almost as soon as we got here.” she could not help but chuckle again, “I suppose there’s a metaphor in that.”
Understanding well enough Sofia reached out and gently began to rub Brianna’s back between her shoulders, the blue-haired girl closing her eyes and practically purring beneath her touch, “You are very brave, devushka.”
Biting her lip at the sensation of those calloused hands Brianna wondered, “Do you really think so?”
“I know so.” Sofia affirmed, her tone brooking no complaint.
“Now you’re just flattering me.” Brianna joked, even if it warmed her heart to hear.
Leaning over somewhat awkwardly to set her head on Brianna’s shoulder Sofia practically whispered, “Come home, devushka.”
As always that tender, softly accented voice seemed to caress her very skin, sending a shiver down her spine and making her knees weak, but more than that Brianna felt a bloom of warmth in her chest at that simple plea. Home. Sofia and Roxanna and even Claudia, they really were her home now, the home she had chosen, the home she wanted. Blinking away the beginning of tears Brianna managed a nod, “Okay.”
It was a bit awkward, as Sofia was only willing to let her go reluctantly (whether that was out of concern or just a result of her somewhat touchy feely nature Brianna could not say), but eventually the pair managed to stand up and disentangle themselves from the swing set. Of course, almost as soon as they were up Brianna felt Sofia’s strong arm wrap around her waist again as she was once again pulled to the woman’s side. Molding her body against the blonde with a soft sigh of contentment, Brianna said nothing, simply returned the gesture as the two of them began to walk back down the street arm in arm. Perhaps it was the newfound peace of mind, perhaps it was the pleasant company, or perhaps it was something else all together but Brianna found that the trek back did not seem to take nearly as long. But, as the bulk of 137 North Hickory Lane came into view sometime later, just as the setting sun began to paint the world red, something else occurred to her. Walking side by side with Sofia, cuddled up to the athletic blonde like a schoolgirl with a crush, this was the first time that she and any of her lovers had been so openly affectionate in public. Or at least so openly affectionate in their neighborhood. It was an idea that was almost shocking to be honest but, as she cast her eyes about the rows of familiar houses each one belonging to a family that she knew, many of whom she knew well, she also found that she honestly did not care if any of them were watching. For all of her still lingering fears and doubts, for all that things were still very much in the air with her own family, she realized that she truly was not ashamed of who she was or who she loved. That sudden understanding brought a wide, honest smile to her face and, in response, Brianna tightened her grip and leaned her head against Sofia’s shoulder.
Caressing her hip gently the blonde glanced down at her with a smile of her own, “Happy thoughts, devushka?”
“Yes, mistress.” Brianna answered as she tilted her head to lock eyes with the older woman, warm hazel meeting brilliant blue, “I love you.”
Sofia did not probe for a deeper answer, her eyes simply crinkling in amusement as if she understood, and placed a soft kiss on the blue-haired girl’s temple, “A happy thought indeed, devushka.”
Grinning a little at that response, and not seeing a need for further words, Brianna just snuggled a little closer and allowed the taller woman to guide her as the pair finished their walk in a familiar and comfortable silence. In that state it felt like no more than a few heartbeats passed until they were finally home, climbing the stairs slowly onto the sprawling and inviting porch that had always dominated her mistress’ home, pausing there only long enough to unlock the front door before stepping inside. It took Brianna’s eyes a few moments to adjust to the gentle light of the living room as the door closed behind her, but as the familiar sights came into focus the first thing she noticed was Claudia sprawled out on the couch. The wiry woman’s slender frame and messy brown hair were certainly unmistakable, dressed in a simple t-shirt with the sides cut out, which both showed off her tattooed arms and drew attention to the fact that she was not wearing a bra, while a pair of tight jean shorts showed off her legs and the curve of her hips. Laying back on a pillow, bare feet propped up on one of the arm rests and nose buried in a book, the slightly smaller girl looked as if she was completely lost in her own world. Contrary to that impression, however, she immediately looked up at the sound of the door closing before practically tossing the book aside in her rush to stand up. A wide grin on her thin lips, Claudia almost scrambled across the room and nearly glued herself to Brianna’s side, pressing a hard kiss to the blue-haired girl’s lips before she could even think to respond. A little dazed from that reaction, though hardly displeased, Brianna could not even begin to form a reply as Claudia pulled away with a grin.
Turning her attention to Sofia, the tattooed girl smiled mischievously, “I see you found our lost lamb, mistress.”
Sofia chuckled at that before reaching out with her free arm to pull the wiry young woman close and silenced her with a kiss, “So it would seem, kotenok.”
Brianna mock pouted just a little at the teasing but even so she could not help but grin just a bit as Sofia deepened the kiss, amused at the way Claudia seemed to melt into the blonde’s embrace, moaning in blissful surrender as their mistress claimed her. Not that she could blame her fellow submissive of course, Sofia was one hell of a kisser.
“Were you waiting for us, my dear?” Sofia asked when she pulled away, a triumphant grin on her face.
Eyes closed and a bit breathy Claudia managed a brief nod before she found her voice, “Mistress Roxanna asked me to watch the door.” the smaller woman licked her lips “She’s… she’s in the kitchen.”
Nodding at that, Sofia proceeded to maneuver both girls into the kitchen with practiced ease to find that Roxanna was indeed waiting for them there. Standing at the stove in a short-sleeved blouse, the stark white color a sharp and pleasant contrast to her olive skin, and a pair of almost skin-tight capris she did not seem to notice their presence immediately. Instead, far too focused on her current task, she continued to fish something out of a cook pot with a pair of tongs and onto a serving tray as they walked in. The pleasant smell of whatever it was the other woman was cooking certainly drew Brianna’s curiosity, but that was quickly put aside when Sofia suddenly disentangled herself from their group hug and, offering a wink and a grin, slipped next to Roxanna’s graceful form with nary a sound before embracing her lover from behind and making the olive-skinned woman gasped in shock at the sudden contact.
Grinning at that reaction, Sofia leaned in and pressed a kiss to her cheek. “We have returned, dorogoy.”
Surprise morphing into a pleasant smile almost instantly, Roxanna twisted in her lover’s arms to return the kiss, “Welcome home.” Glancing over Sofia’s shoulder the woman’s smile only widened at the sight of the other two girls, “You as well, my dears.”
“Thank you mistress.” Brianna answered, both finding her voice and feeling a bit sheepish, “Sorry to worry you. I went for a walk and I guess I just lost track of time.”
Roxanna just shook her head, gentle smile still in place, “No need to apologize, korítsi. But please, sit, both of you.” Without waiting for a reply the olive-skinned woman gently broke out of Sofia’s grasp and motioned toward the stove, “I need to use the telephone, would you be so kind?”
Curiosity written on her face Brianna nonetheless nodded and slowly took a seat at the table while Claudia quickly followed to take the seat next to her. Leaning back in the chair she simply watched as Sofia grinned and nodded at the request of her lover and took her place at the stove as Roxanna limped along the edge of the counter until she reached the nondescript telephone hanging from the wall. Of course, Brianna was well aware of the fact that her mistresses both had cell phones, they had certainly shared enough late night texts and impromptu photos over the last year, though the house was old enough to still have a landline as well but, as she watched the olive-skinned woman pick up the receiver and begin to dial, she wondered just who her mistress was calling?
She did not have to wait long. Almost as soon as she lifted the phone to her ear Roxanna began to speak, “Mrs. Wilde? Yes, it’s me.”
Brianna instantly shot upright in the chair at that. Her mother? It made a certain sort of sense, she supposed, but it was still a bit shocking, honestly the last thing she had suspected and it made her uneasy somehow. Sensing the shift in mood Claudia reached out and placed her hand on Brianna’s own, a comforting smile on her face. Gripping the other girl’s hand firmly, Brianna shot her a grateful look, appreciating the simple gesture more than she could say. Claudia said nothing but seemed to understand, gently squeezing back.
Idly twirling the cord around her finger Roxanna seemed not to notice any of this and kept speaking, “She is here, yes. No, nothing serious, just a walk to clear her head I believe.” There was a short pause and the olive-skinned woman nodded slightly, “Of course, I understand.” another pause, “Tomorrow? Hmm, a moment if you please.”
Sofia glanced in her direction as Roxanna lowered the receiver and placed her hand over it to block out their conversation, “Trouble, dorogoy?”
“Nothing like that.” Roxanna assured with a shake of the head before turning her attention to the table, “Brianna, dear?”
Still deep in thought and holding Claudia’s hand Brianna’s gaze instantly snapped to the older woman, a bit startled at being suddenly addressed, “Yes, mistress?”
Roxanna graced her with a mildly amused smile, a gesture which made Brianna blush just a bit, but her voice remained gentle, “Your mother and father would like to speak with us tomorrow. Is that alright?”
The pieces beginning to click together in her head Brianna bit her lip, both touched at her mistress’s consideration as well as honestly wondering what her response should be. It was actually a bit surprising that her mother wanted to speak again so quickly. Their earlier conversation had only been a few hours ago and she couldn’t have had much time to talk things over with her father. Was that a good sign, or a bad one? She honestly wasn’t sure. Still, as she had told herself earlier, there was little to be gained by putting things off, especially when she had already set the avalanche in motion, and it would probably be counterproductive to refuse. So, squeezing Claudia’s hand again for support, she nodded, “That’s fine.”
Roxanna held her gaze for a moment, as if silently asking if she was absolutely sure, before nodding and bringing the phone back to her ear, “Tomorrow will be no trouble. What time shall we expect your visit?” The response apparently did not take long as Roxanna pursed her lips in thought for a moment, “10 o’clock? That should be fine, I will make a late breakfast.” the olive-skinned woman chuckled, “Of course, it is no trouble. But please, have a pleasant evening and we shall see you both in the morning.”
And with that Roxanna hung the phone back up while Sofia, who had finished whatever it was she was doing, carried the platter over to the table and set it down in the center, “Preparing the way with a feast, dorogoy?”
Roxanna smirked ever so slightly as she moved to take a seat, “Hardly a feast stríngla, but food does have a way of paving over disagreements, no?”
Laughing as she pulled out a chair of her own, Sofia could not help but agree, “That it does, dorogoy. That it does.”
Glancing between the two women, and withdrawing her hand, Brianna could not help but smile, not for the first time wondering at the way their antics had a way of calming her and easing the tension in the room. Shaking her head, and turning her eyes toward the platter of food, she frowned slightly at the small pile of what looked like egg rolls save for their bright green color, “Mistress? What are those?”
“Stuffed grape leaves.” Roxanna answered without pause as she began to fill their plates, “Something of a comfort food of mine. It felt appropriate.”
As touching as the gesture felt her shoulders slump a little as she looked down, “I’m sorry.”
“Korítsi?” Roxanna asked, voice soft and full of concern, “I do not understand. You have nothing to be sorry for.”
“It’s just...” Brianna began, trying to explain, “This was supposed to be a nice weekend getaway and I...” a tiny, self-deprecating smile curved her lips, “I made it a little more emotional than planned.”
It was Sofia that reached out this time, taking her free hand in a firm, but gentle grasp, “We do not mind, devushka. This is important to you and is that not what love is all about?”
Brianna smiled and gave a small nod but before she could say anything Claudia shifted in her seat to wrap her arms around the blue-haired girl, “I know this is mostly between the three of you, but do you want me to be there too?”
Leaning into the other girl with a soft sigh Brianna bit her lip, “I mean, you don’t have to if you don’t want.”
Tightening her embrace a little the slender, tattooed girl shook her head, “That’s not what I asked.”
Glancing out of the corner of her eye Brianna nodded faintly, “I would like you to be there, please.”
“Then I will.” Claudia said, simply, giving one last squeeze before disentangling herself.
Smiling her thanks Brianna slid her plate a little closer before picking up a fork to skewer one of the stuffed grape leaves. Hesitating for just the briefest moment before taking a bite she found rice and some kind of meat, lamb she thought, inside as well as what tasted like mint. It was an odd flavor, not at all what she would have expected, but she found that it grew on her the more she ate.
“I trust you approve?” Roxanna asked, all of a sudden.
Looking up to find the olive-skinned woman watching her with a gentle, if perhaps slightly bemused, expression, Brianna felt a touch of embarrassment but managed to nod, “Yes, mistress. It’s very good.” a tiny, teasing smile of her own touched her lips, “Another old family recipe?”
Roxanna chuckled, “You see through me so easily, korítsi.”
Even as she felt her smile widen a bit at that, as Brianna looked around the table at the rest of her lovers, the combination of good food and pleasant company could not fully distract her from her thoughts, “I have no idea what I’m going to say tomorrow.”
Sofia paused, tilting her head ever so slightly as she pondered that before asking, “And what was it you said to your mother earlier, devushka?”
Brianna shrugged a little helplessly, “Just the truth, I suppose.”
“Then we shall stick to that.” Roxanna said, as if that were the simplest thing in the world, before a wry smile twisted her lips, “After all, recent events seem to have shown that is the best policy, no?”
“Perhaps not the whole truth.” Sofia cautioned with a playful smile, “Some things are best kept private after all.”
Brianna felt her face heat up just a little even as her own lips twitched into a grin, Claudia smirking next to her. Teasing or not Sofia still had a point in that there were certain details that her parents very much did not need to know. Still, as the conversation descended into playful teasing and idly chatter Roxanna’s point stuck in her head. The truth. Maybe… maybe it really was that simple and, if nothing else, the quiet confidence of her mistresses certainly gave her hope. Today really had been a day of wild ups and downs but some part of her knew that as long as the four of them were together then things would be okay, no matter what the outcome. Buoyed by those thoughts the rest of the meal passed quietly after that, small talk fading into the background as they ate. After the fact, if anyone had asked, Brianna could not really remember anything that was said in any great detail but the warmth of it clung to her and, before she knew it, her plate was empty. Feeling both pleasantly full and inexplicably tired she glanced out the patio door, a bit surprised at how dark it was getting. Brianna frowned slightly, it wasn’t that late, was it? Then again, she thought with a weary smile, it had been an emotionally exhausting day.
Sofia’s voice suddenly cut through her thoughts, “Tired, devushka?”
A little startled by the question, Brianna quickly glanced at the blonde before nodding a little sheepishly, “Ah, yes mistress. Just a bit.”
Sliding her chair back and standing the older woman smiled at her, “Well then, I suppose I shall have to do something about that.”
Before she even had time to ask what that meant Sofia had circled the table and Brianna let out a little squeal of surprise as the athletic blonde scooped her up in a bridal carry. Of course it was not the first time she had been held like that and while part of her wanted to object that she was hardly that tired, as the blue-haired girl snuggled against her mistress’s ample bosom, a tiny blush painting her cheeks, she found that she really didn’t mind as Sofia began to carry her from the room.
As she made her way to the stairs Sofia glanced back over her shoulder, where her lover was still sitting at the table, “I will be back to help you clean shortly, dorogoy.”
“Take your time.” Roxanna answered with a wave of her hand, an amused expression on her face and clear in her voice, “I will be here.”
Nodding in acknowledgment, Sofia suddenly grinned, as if a marvelous idea had occurred to her as her gaze shifted to Claudia, “Do be a dear and join us, kotenok?”
“Of course, mistress.” Claudia answered as the tattooed girl quickly slid her own chair back and left the table to trail along behind them with a wide grin on her own face.
Although she did not know exactly what her mistress had in mind, by the time Brianna was carried up to their bedroom and gently placed upon the bed, Sofia spending a moment to gently stroke her hair with a comforting smile, she felt her entire body relax, as if every muscle suddenly went slack and the tension she had not realized she’d been carrying faded away into the ether. Almost moaning as she felt those strong fingers comb through her hair and massage her scalp, Brianna bit her lip before tentatively looking up at the taller woman, warm hazel gazing deep into the taller woman’s arctic blue eyes.
“Mistress?” she asked, tentatively, “I’m not really in the mood for anything... physical tonight.” heat suddenly rushed to her face and not for the first time Brianna cursed her pale complexion for making even the slightest of blushes stand out so sharply, “But I would like to be held. Could you… could you tie me up please?”
Sofia smiled at her before leaning in to kiss her on the forehead, “It would be my pleasure, devushka.” straightening up her smile grew suddenly wicked as she locked eyes with Claudia, “Would you be a dear and help Brianna undress?”
Matching that grin the tattooed girl nodded, “Of course, mistress.”
Feeling a familiar mix of excitement and nervousness, unconsciously licking her lips in anticipation, Brianna kept a wary eye on Claudia’s form as the slender young woman practically stalked over to the bed and slowly bent down on all fours, crawling across the mattress toward her target like a tigress sizing up her prey. Frozen in place, Brianna could do nothing as the other girl suddenly struck like a viper, darting forth and shoving her hands under her target’s shirt, tickling the blue-haired girl’s stomach unexpectedly. Unable to stop herself from laughing out loud at the unexpected contact, Brianna could offer no defense as the tank top she was wearing was stripped away and tossed aside followed by her plain white bra a moment later.
Perhaps it was the somewhat competitive bent their relationship had developed over the months, or maybe she was just feeling playful, but as soon as Claudia stopped tickling her in order to work on unfastening her jeans, Brianna decided to strike back. Sitting upright she threw her arms around the other girl’s back and grabbed the hem of her t-shirt in order to pull it over her head, leaving Claudia clad in only her shorts. Things only devolved from there into a playful, giggling struggle as Brianna felt her shoes and socks being discarded and her jeans pulled down just as she managed to slip Claudia’s shorts over her hips while the pair of them wrestled across the bed. By the time they managed to settle down a few moments later, Brianna flat on her back and panting slightly while Claudia sat on her legs, both were grinning widely.
Sofia chose that moment to return, chuckling under her breath at their antics, clearly amused, as she reached down to ruffle Claudia’s messy brown hair and kiss the tattooed girl on the cheek before inclining her head just slightly as a signal to climb off the bed. Acknowledging the silent instruction, Claudia nodded and shot Brianna one last smile before uncoiling her lithe frame and hopping to her feet. Sofia then reached down and took the blue-haired girl by the shoulders, lifting her into a sitting position and planting a soft kiss on her brow.
“Arms out, devushka.” the blonde instructed.
Brianna nodded and obediently lifted her arms, biting her lip at the pleasant sensation of cool leather sliding over her bare skin as her mistress proceeded to strap her into a familiar bolero style straitjacket. Moaning as the garment tightened and her arms were secured in a helpless self-embrace beneath her bare breasts, Brianna’s eyes fluttered shut as her mistress kissed her. Opening her mouth in silent invitation, her moan deepened as the statuesque blonde explored her, that talented and achingly familiar tongue twining with her own and running along the edges of her teeth before pressing deep. Dazed, and lips slightly swollen from the sheer intensity of their kiss, Brianna only opened her eyes again when Sofia pulled away and gently forced her to lay back down on the bed.
Stroking her long blue hair once again, Sofia smiled, “Close your eyes. I have a little surprise for you.”
Still a bit breathless Brianna managed to nod, “Yes, mistress.”
She closed her eyes then as Sofia lightly brushed a few stray strands of hair from her face before straightening up and walking away, the soft sound of her steps slowly fading. Straining her ears in the darkness, Brianna struggled to hear anything but could only make out the faint clinking of metal and the quiet creak of leather before the footsteps again resumed. Then, all of a sudden, a weight fell upon the mattress, making the entire bed rock and Brianna had to fight very hard to keep her eyes closed even as she gasped in surprise.
A familiar, calloused hand on her shoulder calmed her before Sofia’s soft voice let her know, “You may open your eyes now, devushka.”
Again doing as she was told Brianna was both surprised and not to find Claudia’s naked form sprawled out on the bed next to her. Laying on her side, the slender girl’s arms had been pulled sharply behind her back and securely bound in a monoglove while a sizable ball gag of shiny black rubber had been pressed into her mouth, tight straps dimpling her cheeks holding it firmly in place. And yet, even with her lips pulled wide in an ‘o’ of surprise the other girl still managed to grin, ever so slightly, around the intrusion.
Patting her on the shoulder again Sofia laughed softly, “Get comfortable, both of you. Roxanna and I will join you shortly.”
“Yes, mistress.” Brianna whispered as Claudia mumbled out a reply of her own through the gag, “Thank you, mistress.”
The blonde offered one last smile before retreating back out into the hallway and Brianna laid still for a heartbeat or two, giving the older woman enough time to leave the room before she made her move, twisting slightly to shift partially onto her side and taking another opportunity to run her eyes up and down the glorious sight of Claudia’s slender body securely bound and completely helpless. Unfortunately, since both of them had their arms restrained neither could truly embrace the other, which was a shame, but as Brianna began to shift Claudia easily picked up what she was doing and began to wriggle her way closer. Pressing their nude bodies up against one another, tangling their legs together in a sprawl, Brianna practically gasped at the wondrous sensation of so much bare skin running against her own like the finest of silks before leaning in to place a kiss on the ball filling Claudia’s mouth.
“I’m really glad you’re here.” the blue-haired girl confessed.
Claudia did not answer with words, but instead leaned forward to nuzzle the other girl’s cheek with her gag before snuggling closer and pillowing her head against her companion’s breasts. Grinning at that and resting her chin on top of Claudia’s head, Brianna felt the tiredness of earlier return with a vengeance and her eyes slowly drifted closed, lulled into a pleasant half sleep by the warm familiarity of Claudia’s form and the feeling of the other girl’s heartbeat. At some point, she could not say when, their mistresses joined them but, caught as she was between wakefulness and dreams, Brianna was only really aware of a sudden weight on the bed and the feeling of a gloriously curved body pressed against her back. As strong arms enveloped her from both sides, and a soft hand settled onto her hip, Brianna felt only a familiar sense of contentment and relaxing warmth encompass her entire being. And thus, surrounded by the kinky family she had been fortunate enough to find, the last of her worries seemed to drift away and Brianna Wilde finally slept with a smile on her face.