Rose swore under her breath as she realized her keys were still laying on the hall table where she had dropped them the night before. She caught the door before it closed and retrieved her keys. Steve would make an issue of it if I did that again, Rose thought to herself as she let herself out of the house again, making sure she had her purse with her. She’d left that behind a time or two lately.
She walked down to the corner, grateful the weather was decent and not rainy, because she wasn’t sure how long a wait she had until the next bus came. Thankfully, there was no one else waiting yet, so she sat down on the bench.
As she settled herself on the seat she reached into her handbag and pulled out the crumpled piece of newspaper she had read and reread for the last two days.
Katherine Anne Peters, nee Weston, born . . . She followed the words down until almost the end. There it was. Survived by . . . Again she read the name.
Thirty years it had been. Amazing how the days and the years just flew by. Rose stood as she saw the bus she needed turn the corner and wheeze to a stop in front of her. Hiking up her dress just a bit to reach the first step, she pulled herself aboard the bus and deposited her token into the machine as the driver nodded at her and closed the door. She found a seat very near to the front and sat down next to the window.
Rose had been a newlywed then. She didn’t even know how to cut a whole chicken into pieces for frying. That’s where it began, then. With the chicken and rice. Funny how she had just remembered that.
She’d been married to Mike. The love of her life, she told everyone. The man of her dreams and her best friend. She chuckled to herself as the bus came to another stop and some teens got on and went to sit in the back of the bus.
But it was the chicken. Mike had told her he’d love it if she made chicken and rice in the oven and have it ready when he got home after working the second shift at General Motors.
She had told him she’d have it ready for him, and there she stood, with a whole chicken she didn’t know how to cut up and no cookbooks in the entire apartment. It was nine o’clock at night and she didn’t know who she could call for help. When the phone rang she was so startled she dropped the knife she was threatening the chicken with.
“Rose? It’s me, Melody. Did I wake you up?”
Rose laughed. “No, you didn’t. I’m wide awake and trying to guess how to cut a chicken into pieces for Mike’s dinner.”
Melody chuckled then, too. “Just start with the leg, Rose. Pull it out from the body and cut real close. It’s not that hard.”
“Right,” she had replied. “My hands are shaking as it is. I’m going to butcher this thing so badly that Mike won’t know what kind of animal he’s eating!” The laughter took some of the tension Rose had been feeling from her body.
“Look, if you want, I’ll come over and show you how to do it. It’s not like I’m doing anything right now.”
“I can’t ask you to do that! It’s nine o’clock. After, now,” she said while turning and looking at the clock.
But she had come. And she had brought her own knife in a sheath. She had done the first leg, and made Rose do the second one. She had done the first wing and made Rose do the other. She split the breast and also showed Rose the special parts to clean out where leftover innards still clung. She helped her put together her chicken and rice for Mike, then they sat down cross-legged on the couch with glasses of white wine and began to talk.
Melody was Rose’s brother-in-law’s current girlfriend. She didn’t much care for her brother-in-law, but Melody seemed to be crazy about him.
“Rose, I think Dan is going to break up with me,” Melody told her.
“What? Don’t be silly,” Rose had replied. “If he was, I surely would have heard something and I haven’t.” She took a long drink of her wine then went to fetch the bottle from the kitchen counter where she’d left it.
As she made herself comfortable on the couch again she saw that Melody really was upset. Tears spilled out of her green eyes and down her cheeks.
Rose remembered that moment now. All of a sudden she had seen Melody with new eyes. She was beautiful, with her long, chestnut-colored-hair, and her perfect body. She made Rose feel fat and awkward.
Rose put her glass of wine on the coffee table and sat next to Melody and wrapped her arms around her. She remembered thinking that Melody was like a hurt doe and just needed to know that someone cared. As Melody sobbed into her shoulder, she stroked her hair and patted her back. The smell of her hair and her perfume wafted up and Rose unconsciously buried her nose deeper in Melody’s hair. She took a deep breath and felt the softness of Melody’s breasts brushing up against hers. She squeezed her tighter and let her right hand fall to Melody’s side and she gently cupped a breast to see if it really was as soft as it felt against her chest. Melody made no movement to stop her. She dropped her hand down and under the blouse Melody was wearing and in a move she could never understand, unclasped her bra and took an unencumbered female breast that wasn’t her own into her hand for the first time in her life.
That’s when Melody raised her head and looked at Rose. Rose put her other hand underneath the shirt and took the other breast in her hand. She felt Melody’s nipples harden underneath her palms and wasn’t aware that her breathing was coming in short gasps. She leaned toward Melody and gave her a gentle kiss on the lips, and liking it, gave her another. They touched tongues and Rose felt as if her body was on fire. She pinched Melody’s nipples just a bit and heard an answering gasp.
She stood up then and held out a hand to Melody. Without a word she took it, and Rose led her back to the bedroom. Melody stood there as Rose slowly undressed her, taking in every bit of her loveliness. In the half light from the kitchen, Rose laid her on the bed and ran her hands over every inch of Melody’s body before leaning over and taking a nipple into her mouth and gently sucking on it.
Melody moaned. Rose’s hand dropped down to caress her stomach, her belly button, and going further, she ran a hand up the inside of Melody’s thighs just to feel the softness of her skin. She found the furry mound, and knowing her own, she quickly found the nub of pleasure and gently stroked that with a finger.
Melody grabbed Rose’s head with her hands and brought their faces together for another kiss, an urgent kiss, and Melody was fumbling with the buttons on Rose’s shirt and the bra and then they were naked together on the bed and their hands seemed to be everywhere at once.
Rose straddled her then, kissing her face, then her neck, moving to her breasts and down her stomach. She backed off the bed and, stroking Melody’s inner thighs, got her to open her legs. She slid a finger inside, then two, then gently stroked her clitoris while Melody writhed and moaned. Pulling her fingers out, Rose then bent to take a taste, and then another and then another. Reaching up with her hands, she played with Melody’s nipples while Melody’s hands lay on top of hers. It was over too quickly. Melody came with a rushing force and Rose had to hold her hands to keep her from crushing her face into her crotch and drowning her.