She was a presence across four lanes of traffic. A blonde haired look of fierce determination. A vision who captured my complete attention and never once knew I existed. There were other people there, of course, but I couldn't see them. Not really. Not just then.
"Hey, Mary Kay, see the guy across the street. He's Josh Evans my ex- business partner. I heard on the street he was moving back to Wilshire Boulevard so I guess the rumors are true."
How did he miss seeing her?
We were walking back from lunch on one of those 100 degree days that only happen in California . The kind of day where I would want to vanish into a some quiet little place like the one my dog always finds when he takes his mid day nap.
But not today.
I'd signed up a new client who'd probably keep the agency going for another couple of years and my boss just finished telling me I was the most wonderful person in the world. I knew he didn't really mean it, but it was real nice to hear anyway.
"Whose the babe, Al? Is she in the business?" I was waiting for Al to fill me in, but he didn't seem to notice her at first. He does know just about everyone in the LA Advertising scene and has a reputation for being a real nice guy even though A. Jardin et Cie is one of the most aggressive agencies in the city.
"Oh, her, I think she's Mallory Kane. I heard Josh met her up in San Francisco and sweet talked the babe into taking a sales job with his agency. She's a real nice looking girl, but I hear she's a killer when she goes after an account." He knew a few war stories, and what he thought was a killer sounded just like a lot of other effective women who always seem to surprise the guys when they can work a little bit harder and do just that much more until one day they end up winning.
Funny, how guys always think of business as a battle instead of work. Just something fun to do until something different comes along.
When I saw all the advertising people gathered there in one place, I couldn't help wondering what the bull shit level in Los Angeles would fall to if a bomb went off in the middle of the room.
"Thanks for letting me tag along with you, Al."
I've never been to an agency open house before and I really wanted to see how Josh decorated his new shop. I think Al only came to see if he and Josh could be friends again. Well, you know, anything's possible.
I was cool, calm and collected. Not.
I'd been planning my outfit for a week and changed my mind a thousand times. I finally settled on business sexy which works well in advertising if you pretend you don't notice the guys checking you out. A whole half day at the beauty shop and not just to have them fix up my ponytail either.
I didn't think anyone could tell how excited I was to be around all my heroes and I was kind of surprised that a few of them thought of me that way, too.
I met a million people that afternoon but I remember talking to only one.
"Hi, I'm Mallory Kane and I know you're Mary Kay Nichols cause your reputation proceeds you, my dear. Josh talks about you and Al all the time." Her voice was a smile that covered me all over with warmth and tenderness. A sense of mystery and intrigue wrapped up in fun and beauty. No smoke and mirrors here, just a real person, a person just like me.
We got to talking like we knew each other for the last hundred years. A lot of business of course, but a lot of other stuff as well. She could buy designer knock-offs for next to nothing and I new this place where you could get a massage that would get rid of tensions you didn't even know you had. We had a few names in common. Some of them we liked and some of them well, you know how that goes.
"Come on, Mary Kay. Let's get out of here and get a glass of white wine. I've had enough of these folks for one day."
We were off to the lounge on the first floor of her building. Kind of a cute place with just enough light to see who you're talking with, but not enough to give you a tan.
We became friends for hours and hours.
"Let's do lunch" really happened for once and we started meeting on and off whenever we had a chance.
I don't know how it works with men, but women need to have a special person to confide in and trust. A repository of secrets that only the two of them know.
We saw each other once or twice a week for almost two years. The two of us became best friends and every time we met, it seemed like only a minute or two had passed since the last time we were together.
November 17th was the day everything changed.
We went from friends to best friends to something we weren't sure of but we knew we liked it. It wasn't a lateral move either, but a step up to someplace I'd like to think was just one notch below heaven.
It was my turn to show off and I invited her for some real New Orleans style cooking.
When I was a kid living in Texas, my mom decided to hire a maid from New Orleans because the help you'd find in West Texas was "just too rustic." I didn't know what that meant but I did know I loved Lucille who taught me how to cook, introduced me to Zydeco music and looked at life a little differently than most people.
A cowgirl in the big city is a sight to behold.
It takes me all day to cook a meal. First thing in the morning I'm off to the store to get nothing but the best. I have to use those great big ole shrimp, hot links made by someone named Zatarain, and a mess of clams, oysters and lobster tails right off the boat. And, I need other stuff when I'm making a meal that says a little bit more than "Are you hungry?" We just had to have some Ribs, Gumbo, Jambalaya, Black Beans and Dirty Rice. Of course I'd have a little bit of Jack Daniels sipping whiskey on hand and maybe a couple of six packs of long neck Hecates. Yes, I still know how to make the best damn pecan pie anyone ever tasted, too. I didn't figure we'd be having a bonfire and roasting marshmallows later, but I was ready just in case.
I never do follow a recipe for any of this. I just know by looking how much Tabasco to use on the links, how much of this spice to sprinkle in the crock pot and how many of those vegetables to add in to whatever's cooking on the stove. I just somehow know a few of the secrets handed down by all those good cooks from days gone by.
Sometimes you're in trouble when you have to explain the meal before you start eating. Mallory was hesitant at first, but she got into it and made this little girl feel real good when she asked for seconds and how do you make this and what do you call that?
We found ourselves in the living room drinking Jack and Coke while we listened to Professor Longhair bang out some down home music. Somehow that became white wine and Air Supply encouraging us to do something new and different.
The first real kiss is special. Something you might just remember for the rest of you life.
"Mary Kay, I don't know what came over me. I just felt like kissing you and suddenly, well, you know."
Of course I knew, I was there enjoying everything she was giving away and trying to give back as much as I could.
"Tell you what, Mal. If it bothers you that much I'll just give it right back to you."
The second kiss lead to the third and the fourth and the many more. The living room somehow became the bedroom and friends somehow became lovers.
There's a secret only women know for the most part. It could be that she plays a tiny bit hard to get at first and maybe she acts like she didn't
really know what she was getting into. But, the real clue is the underwear. You find a woman wearing a cotton bra and drawers, you got to figure all of it was a surprise to her. But, if she has on that sexy little something special, well you know it just might be that somewhere in the back of her mind she wanted to get laid and more than likely got real happy when she was.
"Mary Kay, what cute lingerie. You look sooo sexy I can hardly stop touching you."
Well, I did have my dress underwear on, but not for long. Mallory's cute little things seemed to have drifted away, too, and now both of us were able to enjoy each other like a buffet of gourmet surprises.
I touched her breasts and felt the sensation flow to my mind and then to another place where I keep those special feelings only I can understand. Her hand was on my neck at first, and then slowly trailed down my back until I felt a her tiny little hand sneak its way between the crack in my ass. My tongue searched her mouth and found a welcome there in that dark place and friendly place. She pressed her pussy against mine and used both her hands to crush my sex against her body so hard I thought we would end up as one person.
I found out that my tongue fit perfectly into her most private places and she had a special way of trapping it there until all its work was done. Somehow we could love each other without all the confusion that sometimes happens when two people make love for the first time. Somehow we could bring each other to a place where we'd never been before. Somehow we could do it again and again and again.
When two women start out as lovers, they have to learn things. We learned a lot that night and a lot more on all the other nights that followed.
It worked out perfectly.
I had a lot of stuff in my apartment and she had only a few important pieces in the place she owned. The moving guys didn't break a thing and it seemed like no time at all until we felt like we lived in that cute little house on Hillcrest Street forever.
Have you ever been loved? Have you ever been loved unconditionally by someone who could have anyone and the only person she wanted was you?
Everyday was a treasure and everyday we loved each other more and more.
When I had to travel on business, I called home everyday and told her how much I missed her and how I was longing for the day I would be back in her arms again. When she was gone the house seemed empty and barren. Not a home anymore, but a place where I had to stay until my world was right once more. And when we got together we would celebrate and forget the hours we wasted apart. We had everything and so very much more.
A year became two. Three slipped up on us before we even saw it coming. We were just as much in love when four stopped by that we welcomed it with open arms.
Well, I guess a person is only allowed so much joy in life and then something else has to happen.
When you get the flu you know it'll be gone in just a few days. When you're real sick you know it might be the end and you try to do your best to use your life wisely. But when you don't know what's wrong, it's hard to understand just exactly what you should do.
Mal was sick, but the doctors didn't know what was wrong. She was in the hospital for the third time in a year. Each time it took longer for her to come out of the coma and each time she was a little worse for wear. The shine was gone from her hair. She was frail and thin. Just thinking about things was a bit harder for her than it used to be. We were together, though, and our love didn't look a bit different to me.
The doctors finally found out what was wrong, but by then it didn't really matter any more. When the day came that she died in her sleep, the cold woke me up to say goodbye. The cold that takes over a body when the soul has moved on to some other place.
Somehow time can erase so many of the bad things. And, time can put a high gloss on something that was kind of ordinary when it happened a long time ago. It's been like that for me over the years. I'm convinced we never had any bad times and I can still see my Mallory standing right there talking once again with a smile that still covers me all over with warmth and tenderness while she waits for me to join her.
When I was a young girl my mother told me marriage was two people living as one. I didn't know what she meant then, but now I think I do.
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