A Dark And Stormy Night  
                by Ann Douglas

        A sudden flash of lightning filled the small  cabin, causing
the transistor radio to momentarily  crackle with static. A few
seconds later, the June  night was filled with a resounding crash as
the sound  of thunder caught up with the light. The storm had 
been raging for a little over two hours, alternating  between violent
clashes in the sky and the steady  patter of rain against the
windows. 

        "That was a good one!"  Exclaimed the dark  haired girl 
as she clapped in appreciation of the  sudden illumination. 

        "You wouldn't think so if we were out there."  Replied her
companion as she pointed out  the large bay windows to the lake
beyond.

        "But we're not, are we?"  The first girl  retorted in a 
exaggerated pout. "Sometimes you can  be such a worrier."

        "You're right."  The first girl answered. "But  one of us
has to have some sense. Otherwise you'd  have us out on the lake
because you'd get a better  view."

        "Hey that's an idea."  Robyn said in mock  seriousness.
"We could take one of the boats down  by the dock and..."

        "Don't even think it...."  Valerie cut her off in  a dead stop
tone. 

        Both girls then broke in laughter.

        
        All in all, watching the storm and snacking  on popcorn and
the wine they had snuck out of the  liquor cabinet wasn't the worst
way the two 17 year  olds could spend the night. Of course it
wasn't what  they had thought it would be when they come up to 
the lake two days before.

        Robyn Grayson and Valerie Carter had been  friends for
12 of their 17 years, ever since they had  met on the first day of 
kindergarten. Back then, they  had both been pudgy little girls 
more interested in  games and dolls than anything else.  With 
slight  variations, that had continued right up until they began to
hit puberty. 

         In Robyn's case, womanhood sprung upon  her with a 
vengeance. She lost all her baby fat and in  a single summer
went through a growth spurt that  cause her to fill up and out at
the same time. Instead  of the semi-plump tomboy, she found 
herself a very  attractive young lady with a figure that drew boys
like moths to a candle. It was during that summer  that she finally
appreciated her mother's insistence  that she let her hair 
grow. Robyn had wanted to cut  it short because it kept getting 
in the way.  It now  stretched down to a few inches below her 
waist.

        Valerie also began to fill out that summer but  unlike 
Robyn, she lost none of her childhood fat.  She added more than a
few inches to her height over  the last few years but with them
came more pounds  than she liked to think about. Today she hit the 
scales at 160.  Thankfully it was spread throughout  her body
giving her a mature full figured look. 

        Both girls sometimes wished that they could  exchange
bodies, at least long enough to see what it  would be like. 
Valerie wished she could be as  slender as Robyn . In turn, 
Robyn wondered what it  would be like to have a 38D bust like 
Valerie's  instead of her own small 34C. 

        Yet despite the physical changes, both girls  had
remained steadfast friends. They had seen other  friendships fall
apart when one friend became one of  the popular crowd and then
no longer wanted to  associate with former friends. Robyn had
become  part of the in crowd, a head cheerleader and the  
girlfriend of the star quarterback. But she made it  clear to 
anyone who even suggested that it would  look better if she 
"dropped" Val, that the crowd, the  cheerleaders and even the 
quarterback would go  before her friendship with Valerie did.

        In fact, the hardest adjustment to their  friendship over
the last few years hadn't been  Robyn's rise in stature but 
Valerie's.  Between both  of them, Valerie had always been the 
smarter of the  two.  At least as far as the books were 
concerned. A  constant presence on the honor roll, the short 
haired  girl had finished the requirements for graduation six  
months early.  And since she had also aced her  SAT's, she'd 
been allowed to take courses at State  this last semester.   

        Valerie had been home only a few days when  her mother had
announced that they were going up  to the cabin for a few days and
wouldn't it be nice if  she invited her friend Robyn to come along.
It would  give them a chance to catch up on the last six  months.

          The first days of the trip had been pretty  uneventful, just
swimming in the lake, a little boating  and barbecuing with the
neighbors.  Then this  afternoon, Val's 14 year old brother, 
Bobby took a  fall and twisted his ankle while climbing a tree. 
It  had swollen up pretty good and her mother though it  a good 
idea to take him into town and have it x-  rayed, just to be 
sure.

        Since Val's father couldn't make the trip,  heading into
town would leave the girl's alone, but  Mae Carter said she would
be back in a few hours. If they had any problems in that short
time, well the  closest neighbors were only a quarter mile away.  

        The wait in the small hospital turned out to  be a lot 
longer than Mae had expected. By the time  they were finished
the storm was just beginning to  hit. Since the old country roads 
had a tendency to  wash out rather easily, especially the small 
bridge  over Dobson's Creek, the safe bet was to stay in  town 
until morning.  So she had called the girls and  told them that 
Bobby was fine and that they'd be  back in the morning and not 
to worry. They'd  assured her that they'd be fine.   
        

        "I bet you wished you'd stayed home this  weekend." 
Valerie said as she took drained the last  of the wine from her 
glass.  

        "I don't know, this is kind of fun."  Robyn  replied as she 
quickly refilled Val's glass. 

        "More fun than Sally Kellerman's Graduation  Bash?" 
Valerie countered as she looked at the now  empty wine bottle. 
It seemed like they'd just opened  it. "That was tonight wasn't 
it."

        "Yeh, I think so."  Robyn said in a somewhat unconvincing
tone as she stepped over to the bar  and pulled out another bottle.
"But I really wasn't  planning to go to that anyway."

        "Oh sure, the biggest party of the year filled  with the most
popular people in school and you  were just going to stay home and
do your nails." Val said as Robyn refilled her own glass. "If my  mom
hadn't waited until we were up here before  mentioning it, I never
would've asked you. It wasn't  fair to put you on the spot,  not
wanting to say no to  this trip. Its not like I'd be angry if you
wanted to go  to the party instead."

        "I mean it, I really wasn't planning to go."  Robyn insisted as
Valerie looked on unconvinced. "I  guess I'm finally beginning to
realize what really  stupid assholes some of those people are."

        "Well, what do you know?"  Valerie called  out. "There is a
brain in that pretty head after all.  Sometimes you can open your
mouth and speak up."

        "Go to hell!"  Robyn shot back in mock  anger. "There are a
lot of times I open my mouth."  

        "Yeh, but then it's usually to attach it to  some dumb jock!"
Val returned.

        "Oh how sharp the tongue of a friend."  Robyn laughed.

        "Speaking of heads and sharp tongues, maybe we should go a
little easy on this stuff." Valerie suggested as she indicated the
glasses they  both held. "Wouldn't do to have mom come back  and
find us sloshed."

        "You worry too much." Robyn said. "By the  time she gets
back tomorrow we'll have had a good  nights sleep and be fine."   

        "Today you mean."  Valerie corrected as she  looked at the
large clock on the fireplace mantle and  noted that it was one in
the morning.

        "Whatever..."  Robyn said, grabbing another  handful of 
popcorn.


        "Does this new asshole category include  Brian?"  Valerie
asked, drawing up a mental image  of Robyn's on again off again
quarterback boyfriend.

        "Brian's both a prick and an asshole!" The  long haired girl
replied. "Turns out he was screwing  both Jenny Davis and Helen
Williams."

        "That would be on the nights you were seeing someone else?" 
Valerie asked.

        "Yes, I mean, that was different..."  Robyn  replied.

        "Of course."  Val smiled.

        
        "What about you?" Robyn quickly asked,  changing the
subject.  "You haven't said one word  about the guys at State. You
can't tell me you've  been celibate all this time."

        While Valerie hadn't Robyn's experience with  boys, she 
was far from a virgin. There had always  been guys who realized
that she was cute in her own  way and would rather date a girl
who's idea of an  intelligent conversation wasn't what new store
was  opening in the mall.  That and the desire to get a really good
look at those big boobs that filled out  whatever she wore. Jocks,
Nerds or somewhere in  between, guys were still guys. 

        
        "Well I've been really busy these past few  months."  
Valerie said, looking more than just a little  uncomfortable. 
"College course are a lot more  difficult than high school."

        "Bullshit!"  Robyn yelled back.  "I can tell  when you're 
lying. You're seeing someone."

        "Well......actually...."  Valerie hesitated, she  was finding 
it hard to say the words that floated  unbidden in her mind. 

        "Come on, we're never had secrets from each  other."  
Robyn insisted.  "Didn't I even tell you when  I screwed Mr. 
Peterson after he took me home from  baby-sitting that night."

        Valerie remembered all to well how excited  Robyn had 
been when she called her up on Val's  private phone one night after
midnight to tell her  she'd just been fucked by Robert Peterson.  A 
successful businessman in his late 30's, Valerie still  wondered
what drew a man like that to take such a chance with an 16 year
old. She'd seen his wife many  times and she was a very attractive
woman.  Some  things she just would never understand.

        "Yeh, I remember."  She answered quietly,  staring into the
glow that blazed in the fireplace.

        "So you know you can trust me. Come on." Robyn insisted. 
        Valerie turned her gaze from the fire to her  oldest friend.
She could see in her hungry eyes that  Robyn was possessed by a
need to know.  Still, the  words wouldn't come.

        "Is it a teacher, or a professor isn't that what  you call 
them?"  Robyn asked.  "Are you sleeping  with one of them?"

        "No."  Val simply replied.

        "Is it someone that's married?"  Robyn quickly continued.

        "No."  Val repeated.

         "Then why can't you tell me?"  Robyn asked  once more.

        Valerie stood up and walked over to the  fireplace, again 
loosing herself in the warm glow.  She ran her hand through her 
short black hair and  sighed.  It'd been a real long day, and 
the need for  sleep and the wine was beginning to be felt.

        "Why don't we just drop this and get some  sleep?" She
said.   "Cause I want to know, that's why!"  Robyn  said.  "I want to
know what it is that you can't share  with someone you've been
friends with since we  were five."

        "Because you wouldn't understand, that's  why?"  Valerie
replied.

        "What wouldn't I understand?" came Robyn's  reply. "A 
guys a guy. God knows I've slept with a  few jerks. So what's 
the..........."

        Robyn suddenly paused in mid-sentence. She  brought her
hand up to her still opened mouth in  surprise.  The reason Val
didn't want to talk about it  suddenly seemed crystal clear.

        "Oh shit,"  She exclaimed.  "He's black isn't  he.  You're 
sleeping with a nigger!  What's your  mother going to do if she 
finds out?"

        Valerie just shook her head.  It was bad  enough that Robyn
couldn't let the matter drop  without her letting her narrow
minded prejudices  create all kinds of wild fantasies.
        
        "No, he's not black, or brown or yellow or  for that matter
white." Val finally answered, no  longer caring how her friend would
finally react. "If  you really, really have to know - he is a she!"  


        A pregnant silence filled the cabin as Valerie  caused
Robyn to be  speechless for the first time in  her life. She was 
certain she had just flushed a dozen  year friendship down the 
proverbial toilet. Staring  once more into the comforting flames of
the fire,  Valerie found that she really didn't care. She was  tired
of hiding it. If her friend couldn't handle the  truth, well then
maybe their friendship was a mistake  in the first place.

        "What's her name?"  Robyn asked.

        "What?"  Val asked, not actually hearing Robyn.

        "I said, what's her name?"  Robyn repeated.  "Your 
girlfriend, or am I supposed to call her your  lover?"

        "Whatever you're the most comfortable with."  Valerie
finally responded, surprised at her  friend's calm reaction. "Her
name is Beth  Moskowitz."        

        The name brought a sudden image of a tall  dark eyed girl in
Valerie's dorm. She had been  introduced to her when she had gone
up to State  during spring break to take a look at the school.

        "I remember her."  Robyn said. "She's very  pretty."

        "Thanks."  Val answered, unsure what else  to say. "But 
it's already over between us. She wants  someone who can be out in 
the open about our  relationship. I'm not sure I'm ready for that."

        "I'm sorry."  Robyn offered. The emotion in  her voice
showing the sympathy was genuine. "You  want to talk about it?"
        
        It had been a good long time since the two  women had really
sat down and had such an intimate  conversation. It felt good to
the both of them. Surprisingly neither of them felt tired anymore.

        "I should apologize for that nigger remark." Robyn said.
"I should know better than that, but  sometimes the prejudices 
you're surrounded with are  hard to ignore."

        "Actually I'm pretty surprised the way you've  taken this 
whole thing."  Valerie said. "I almost  expected you to call me a
dyke."

        "I'm not that bad, am I?"  asked Robyn.

        "I guess not."  Val smiled.

        "True, lesbianism isn't really a subject that  comes up a lot
in my circle of friends, but I'm not  totally ignorant." she went on.
"I know there's a lot  more to a woman's interest in other women
than the  idea that she simply can't get herself a man."

        Actually, that little tidbit was the core of  most of her
friends thinking on the subject. Dykes,  as they preferred to call
them, were ugly girls who  couldn't get a man and so turned to each
other. 

        Inevitably, some of their late night chat  sessions would 
turn to sex. Robyn had always found  it laughable as to what was
considered acceptable  and not. It was always ok to talk about how
you  fucked your boyfriend or a new position you tried.  In fact,
she could recall a night that Betty Lieberman demonstrated on a
banana the perfect blow-job. Yet  there was another night that
Sally Keller asked one  of the other girls how best to masturbate
and found  herself shut out of the group. Evidently, that was  too
close to sexual contact between one girl and  another. 

        "Was Beth a one time thing or are you defiantly into women
now? asked Robyn.

        "I don't know." came Valerie's reply. "I still  find guys 
attractive, but I'm also attracted to girls  too. To be honest, 
I've been attracted to girls for a  couple of years. This was just
the first time I had the  opportunity to do anything about it. If
Beth hadn't  been so open in her sexuality, I'd still be thinking 
about it."

        Robyn studied the face of her friend. The  revelation that
she had been attracted to girls for  years sent her mind racing
along a new track. It was  almost a minute before she asked the
question that  repeated over and over in her head.

        "Were you ever attracted to me?" 

        
        Valerie waited almost twice as long before  answering. 
Just saying the words seemed to take a  great load off of her.
        
        "I've been in love with you since I was 14." Valerie said  

        "Why didn't you ever say anything?" Robyn  gushed.

        "What was I going to say?" Valerie asked  "Do you think you
could've handled it?"

        "Probably not."  the long haired girl said  after a moment’s
reflection. "I'm not really sure how  I'm handling it right now."       
        
        "Do you want to let this drop and turn in?" Valerie asked as
she looked at the clock. "It's almost  one - thirty."

        "No, I'm not tired." was Robyn's quick  response.
        
        Robyn took a long hard look at her long time  friend. Most of
their life, they had been closer than  sisters. Had one of them
been born a man, they  would've undoubtedly been lovers. Now that
little  hinge of fate seemed to have been removed. If that  was
what they both wanted.
        
        "What's it like?"  Robyn asked. "Making love  to another
woman?"

        "I could say it was softer, gentler than being  with a guy." 
Valerie began. "But I don't think that  would really describe it.  I
really can't put it into  words."

        "I didn't think so."  Robyn smiled. "Then I  guess you'll just
have to show me."
        
        "What...?"  Valerie responded in disbelief.  "Do you know
what your saying?"

        "Maybe, maybe not...."  Robyn grinned. "But  I do know I love
you too. This is about the only  thing we haven't done together. 
I've always had a  certain curiosity about it. That much I'm sure
of."

        Valerie was taken a little aback, unsure what  to make of
what she was saying or what to do next.

        "Besides, I've gone to bed with guys for a lot  less reasons." 
She laughed.

        Valerie knew that much was certainly true.  

        
        Robyn leaned over and kissed Valerie. It  wasn't the first
kiss they had ever shared. There had  always been the hello and
good-bye as well as the holiday kisses. In addition, they had once
practiced  kissing one night back when they were 15 and they  were
just beginning to date guys. Robyn's first  french kiss had been
with Valerie. But all of those  had been mechanical.  Technically
correct but  lacking the feeling that you put into kissing a lover. 
This kiss had that feeling.

        A second kiss followed and this time Valerie  opened her
mouth as she felt the soft pressure of her  friend's tongue against
it. Many nights over the years she had dreamed of this moment.
More than a few  times she had been in bed with Beth and she had 
imagined it had been Robyn instead. Now the  unexpected reality
of it all as their tongues met was  enough for a sudden moisture to
appear between her  legs, and any sense of caution to be tossed to
the  wind.      

        The night sky suddenly erupted with the  most violent
thunder flash yet, one so close that the  boom of its fury followed
before the light faded. The  windows shook as the sky opened up
once more.

        "Wow, that was some kiss!"  Robyn exclaimed.  "I can't wait
to see what the rest is like."

        Valerie merely grinned back, feeling a  pleasing warmth
filling her soul.       

        
        Now it was Valerie's turn to initiate a kiss.  As she pressed
against the softness of her friend's  lips, she reached up and
caressed her breasts through  the blue nightshirt. Her hand closed
and cupped one  breast, sending a soft sigh from Robyn's lips.

        "Let me take this off." Robyn said as she  grabbed the
bottoms of her shirt and pulled it over  her head. 

        Gazing with admiration as Robyn's pert  breasts bounced
free, Valerie found it funny that  even though she was the one with
all the experience  in this sort of thing, it was her neophyte lover
who  seemed the more aggressive. It was like the old  saying that
there was no one more passionate than a  virgin who had decided to
give up her virginity.  

        "Now your turn."  Robyn said as she tossed  her nightshirt
aside and gave a little tug on Valerie's.

        Robyn's eyes widened as the red shirt lifted  and she looked
down at Val's much more ample  bust. She couldn't even begin to
imagine how many  times she had seen her girlfriend naked over
the  years, between sleepovers, school showers and such.  This
time it was different. It was the first time she  looked at her body
with a sexual lust.  The girl  wondered if the warm flush she felt
was the same  thing a guy felt when he first saw those melon sized 
mounds.

        Unable to restrain herself any longer, Robyn immediately
reached out and ran her hands across  Val's breasts, rubbing her
fingers against her wide  dark aureoles. It sent an even more
powerful rush  through her body.  She couldn't believe how warm 
her skin felt to the touch. It was as if she were running a fever. 

        Valerie was indeed consumed with a fever, a  heat that
had simmered over the years. She reached  over and cupped 
Robyn's breasts, lowering her head  at the same time. Passionately,
she began to cover  them with kisses before taking one of the
nipples  into her mouth.  Her tongue played with the hard little tip,
sending little shivers of delight through the smaller girl.  

        "Oh that feels nice."  Robyn gushed as Val  moved to her
other breast, at the same time still  caressing the first breast
with her hand.

        Valerie's touch was so unlike that of Brian,  her most recent
lover. In fact she couldn't compare it  to any of the men she'd be
with. She only knew that  it felt great.

        Valerie continued to suckle at Robyn's  breasts as she 
reached down and rubbed her fingers  against the long haired 
girl's wet panties. Robyn  responded by pushing down her panties,
giving her  friend greater access to her pussy.

        Her response to the invitation was first one  finger, then 
a second, deep inside Robyn's love  canal.  It wasn't long before 
her ministrations  brought forth a wet, sweet response that 
covered her  fingers.

        Robyn now tried to duplicate Valerie's skill  with her
tongue as she lifted one large breast to her  lips.  Of course she 
didn't have Val's skill, but she  had tried this on a boy or two.  At
least those who  didn't freak at the idea.  For some reason, guys 
seemed to associate having their nipples licked or  someone playing
with their ass with homosexual  acts, even if a girl did it.

        Still, she put everything she had into it as  Valerie gave 
her a reassuring moan.  Valerie's  fingers continued to slide in 
and out of her as she  moved to Val's left breast.  

        After giving Robyn the time she needed to  satisfy her
mammary urges, Valerie guided her to the  floor in front of the
fire and spread her legs.  Robyn  knew what was coming next 
and smiled at her new  lover in anticipation.   

        The skillful tongue that had so caressed her  breasts now
began it's work on her sexuality.  Robyn  let out a loud cry of
pleasure as she felt the slick  appendage slide in and out of her.
She reached down  and put her hands on the back of Valerie's
head,  guiding her to her most sensitive spots.  

        The clock on the wall ticked away as wave  upon wave
of delight spread out across her body. She closed her eyes and let
herself become lost in  the ecstasy. The soft cries that escaped
her lips every  now and then brought an increased desire to Valerie.
Tonight was a hundred nights dreams become reality.  The honey
dew that covered her tongue was  like nectar of the gods. She
scooped it into her  mouth eagerly.

        "I've got to try this!"  Robyn exclaimed as  she shifted her
body until Valerie and her were in a  sixty-nine position. 


        The scent of Valerie's womanhood filled  Robyn nostrils,
making her slightly lightheaded.  She  parted her friend's lips with
her fingers and reached  out for her first taste of another woman.  

        It was, she decided, tantalizingly tangy. Closing her eyes,
she relished the sensation, even as  she reached out for more.
More that Valerie was all  too willing to give.

        The larger girl pressed her now pulsating  mound deeper
into her lover's face, even as she  mashed  her own mouth into
Robyn's virgin pussy. She was driven by the idea  that this would
be her  friend's first orgasm by another woman. A woman  who had
loved her for so long and had dreamed of  this night.

        It soon became a game of dueling tongues as  each tried to
outdo the other.  Valerie obviously had  the experience, but Robyn
was driven by an  enthusiasm that just wouldn't quit.

        They rolled back and forth, their heads  buried between
each other’s legs.  Nothing else  mattered except the climax that 
each was driving the  other to.   

        A thin film of sweat covered both girls as  their hearts
began to race.  Never had either of them  had ever felt so excited. 
Valerie felt that she should  be crying out how much she loved
Robyn, but she  couldn't bear to tear herself away from the
luscious  banquet she was feasting on, even for a moment.

        Robyn, on the other hand, couldn't help but  let out moan
after moan as her lover's skillful tongue  reached up and into the
core of her sexuality.  No  guy had ever brought her to such an
ecstatic state. Fast as the waves of passion were now ripping 
through her supple form, she knew she was on the verge of a
memorable climax.

        So powerful were the ripples causing her  flesh to quiver
and quake, she was having a hard  time trying to keep up with
Valerie.  She just  couldn't concentrate on what she was doing. 
Finally, she just gave up and surrendered to the fire  of Val's 
desire. 

        Valerie felt the absence of her lover's tongue  but she
didn't mind it a bit. She was overjoyed to  have had her try as
hard as she did, it was more than  she could've imagined.  She 
slid a free hand down  between her own legs and began
massaging her saturated mound, taking up where Robyn left off.
She was determined that they climax together, even  if she had
to bring the both of them off herself.    

        It didn't take long at all.  It was almost  impossible to tell
which of them exploded first. Valerie felt Robyn's body stiffen in
her arms, then a  loud gasp filled her lips.  A second later, she felt
her  own body erupt as well.  

        At that moment, as if a sign from the heavens  that they
 had fulfilled their destiny, the night sky  erupted in a final flash
of luminance, followed  seconds later by a roaring thunderclap. A
detonation  so powerful it caused the walls of the cabin to shake 
as well. It was the last burst of a tempest which had  finally blown
itself out.

        Like the storm, both girls had expended the  last of their 
energy in that final explosive moment. Robyn collapsed against 
Valerie, resting against her  rapidly cooling flesh.  Exhausted 
as well, Valerie  gently stroked Robyn's hair. In a soft, weak, 
voice  she spoke.

        "I love you, Robyn."

        Still catching her breath, Robyn couldn't  summon up the
strength to answer. Instead she  leaned over and kissed Valerie's
breast. The meaning  of the non-verbal message was all too clear.

        It was impossible for either girl to tell how  long they just
laid there.  Neither was aware of  anything but the beating of 
their own hearts and the  cloud of euphoria they found themselves
floating in.  Occasionally, one would stroke or gently kiss the  
other.  

        Gently, the excitement of the night, coupled  with the cool
breeze that had come up in the wake  of the storm, lured both of
them into a dream filled  slumber. There, the image of their love
was replayed  again and again.


        
        Sunlight had long filled the cabin as the two  girls slept on.
Still naked, they had become entwined  during the night. It was
only when the sound of a car  coming up the driveway filled the
room that Robyn's  eyes slowly opened.  

        She smiled as she felt the warmth of Valerie's  skin against
her cheek.  Her lover's breasts had  served as her pillow.  The new
sound of a car door  slamming and voices outside caused her eyes
to now  rapidly open and she jerked her head upward.

        
        "Easy, Bobby,"  said the woman's voice from  outside the
window.  "The doctor said you have to  take it easy on that 
ankle."

        "Oh shit!"  Robyn reacted to Mrs. Carter's  voice as she
began to shake her friend awake.

        "Just five more minutes."  Valerie said in  response to her
girlfriend's shaking.

        "Val, your mothers back."  Robyn said softly. "And we're
naked."

        "Oh shit!"  Valerie said as she repeated  Robyn's reaction.

        Both girls scrambled for their nightshirts and  quickly
pulled them on. There was no time for  anything else as they heard
the front door opening.

        
        "Honey, we're home."  Mae Carter called out  as she stepped
inside.

        The tall woman paused as she saw the two  nightshirt clad
girls.  She was surprised to find them  still not dressed at ten
thirty. 

        "Hi mom."  Valerie said.

        "Hi indeed."  Mae said. "I would've expected  the two of you
would've been up hours ago."

        "Well we kind of stood up pretty late last  night."  Valerie
explained. "The storm and all...."

        "And we got to talking,"  Robyn cut in.  "Catching up a little."

        "I see."  Mae commented.

        
        "Hey mom,"  Bobby called out from behind  her. 

        Mae turned around and saw what Bobby had  found. There,
spread out on the floor, were three  empty bottles of wine. As well
as two glasses still  half full. 

        "The storm huh."  Mae said as she gave the  girls a hard
stare.

        "Well...."  Valerie replied, the ambiguity in  her voice telling
Mae that she knew they had been  busted.

        "It's my fault, Mrs. Carter."  Robyn interjected. "I opened
the wine. I was a little scared  of the storm." 

        Mae though about it for a minute. Her expression remained
stern.  Then, it slowly began to  soften.

        "Well it was a bad storm."  She began. "And  as long as
you both understand that alcohol should  never be used as a
crutch."

        "Yes, mother."  Valerie quickly said.

        "You don't have to worry about that, Mrs.  Carter." added
Robyn. "I'm positive that we'll never  need alcohol again to get us
through the night.  Not  as long as we have each other to depend
on."

        "Good, now get some clothes on."  Mae smiled. "I've got a car
full of groceries out there.  I'll  start breakfast while you unload
them."

        
        Her attention already on the kitchen and the  mess she
would probably find there as well, Mae  missed the smiles and 
meaningful looks the two girls  silently exchanged.  Yet even had
she noticed them,  there wasn't a chance in the world she would
ever  guess the meaning behind them. Or ever understand how
their relationship had changed - on a dark and  stormy night.           

END

 (c) Ann Douglas 1996
 
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