The blackout was widespread, an 8 block radius. Everyone’s night rudely interrupted for a reason they were not yet given. Pools of people gathered on the side of the road, trying to decide where to go. What to do. At this hour the main road was quiet, allowing those that wanted to move on to meander without fighting their way through the crowds. Instead of a raucous crowd, there was only a gentle hum of voices. Everyone seemed to be enveloped into the quiet of the night. A quick cab ride away would get them to another venue, their night merely on pause. Others would take their cue and call it a night.
Bianca was sore. She knew she’d pay heavily for letting go and having a bit of a dance. But tomorrow. She thought she’d pay tomorrow. And the rest of the week. Not now. Pain was shooting through her ankles, shins. Knives exploding every time her feet met pavement. The exquisite burning she had felt dancing with Jodie, replaced by burning pain making her way to her hips. Her steps were short. Jodie had called a cab, and they were making their way up to a quieter corner to wait. She was holding her breathe she was in that much pain.
She was leaning against the traffic light pole, arms crossed, when their eyes met for the first time since leaving the pub. Embarrassed smiles, a shake of Jodie’s head. Bianca gritted her teeth through the pain, running her fingers through her hair. Seconds. They’d given in to that explosive sexual chemistry for seconds. And now, in the wake of giving in to temptation, reality.
Bianca screamed as a shot of pain caught her off guard as she got into the cab. Jodie winced involuntarily on her behalf. It was a quiet ride back to the apartment. Bianca trying to breath through the pain. Survive it. For the brunette next to her, she was analyzing every single moment over the past couple of months. Was there a specific moment she suddenly found Bianca irresistible? Again? Something she’d said? Done? They had merely been co-existing as friends. They had touched, ever so gently, on why she had walked out those years ago. It had come up twice, neither a long or particularly in depth conversation. But as far as she knew, they were both cruising along, happily getting through what had mostly been, Bianca’s recovery.
She had explained that she was doing most of her work over the internet. The brilliance of graphic design in the 21st century. There was no immediate pressure - or even need, to return to the office. Skype calls made late at night to attend conferences had become pretty normal,as did throwing on a face of make up, and jacket over her pjs at 2am to look the part of consummate professional. For that she was.
She’d been contacted by a large firm in London after she’d landed her second high profile client for a small firm in Sydney. It was her second nation-wide client, and her forward, abstract way of thinking was what had impressed the firm from afar. At the same time, Bianca was losing herself. The year before, she’d lost her younger brother. They were mischievous best friends who left people wishing they could join the exclusive club. Be it a family bbq or a night on the town, they were the life of the party. Never their intention, just the way it was. People were drawn to them. Like magnets, attracting anyone who came across their path.
His death destroyed her. Bianca stopped working, stopped eating...stopped living. She could sleep for days. That sarcastic, infectious woman, was being consumed by the entire aftermath of grief. It wouldn’t let her go. She drank excessively, whiskey her drug of choice when she wanted more sleep. Only then, she found peace. Her world became nothing.
Nothing but Jodie. Cleaning up after her. Washing up after her. Showering her. She made her eat, watered down her whiskey. Poured the whiskey down the sink. Made appointments with therapists, doctors. Sent her to parents. Picked her up when they couldn’t cope anymore. And then she left. She’d taken that job, and hadn’t looked back. It had taken Bianca a week to notice.
Jodie pulled Bianca’s arm over her shoulder, taking most of her weight as the cab drove off, and they shuffled up the couple of stairs leading to the first floor apartment. Gritting her teeth as she practically collapsed into bed, she caught Jodie’s hand as she turned to walk away. “I want to say something really cool” - clenched teeth, breathing through the shuffle of trying to get comfortable - “and awesome.” She grimaced as she finally got comfortable and relaxed, just a bit. Holding Jodie’s gaze, firm. “We’re good.” It was all she could muster. She wasn’t drunk, not even tipsy. But she was exhausted. Her body as fatigued as it could be. Jodie squeezed their entwined fingers, gave a gentle smile, and Bianca let herself be swallowed whole by the pain.
Jodie braced her arms against the wall. The hot water caressing her, calming her. She always enjoyed a shower. Strangely, it was one of the few places she could turn her brain off. Allowed the sensation of running water to wash away whatever tensions had built up over the day. The emotions of the evening had caught up with her. It was reminisce of their very first meeting. Bianca had seen Jodie first, across the club. She felt that all too familiar jolt of sexual attraction. She’d sauntered over to her, all flirty banter, innuendos and sophisticated graces. And Jodie had gone par to par with her. Hours later, after keeping to their respective friends, they found each other on the dance floor.
Just like earlier at the pub. For a moment she tried. Tried to be logical, think it through. This wasn’t a stranger whom she had no preconceived ideas. This woman had broken her heart. Could they come back - from giving in to temptation? Even for a moment? Their sexual chemistry had always been something extraordinary. When her hands had raked over Bianca’s body, they’d fallen down a rabbit hole. They’d let go of the outside world, focused only on satisfying their bodies’ cravings. Their subconscious had tried. Broken hearts, shattered dreams. But the sensations rocking through their bodies were too strong. Temptation gave way to desire...and then the world had gone black. As if the universe had conspired with their own inner demons, to make them take a step back and think it all through.
Sliding into bed, she propped herself on an elbow facing Bianca. Lightly drew a few strands of hair away from her face. She was fighting. Stubborn, even in her sleep. She was not in the grips of a peaceful slumber. Her forehead was creased, lips terse, her body unable to relax after her first night of ‘freedom’ - she wouldn’t give in. The pain wouldn’t wake her. So stubborn.
Jodie exhaled and fell onto her back, welcoming the dark depths of a heavy sleep