As she and Davis sat in the living room with the intention of watching something on PBS, Suzan tried to contain her excitement over her intimate encounter with Ellen Lambert. The memory of their kiss continued to warm and thrill her. In her exuberance, she described to Davis the incredible artwork Ellen possessed. She assumed that he would be impressed and perhaps want to see the collection as well. Instead, he donned a frown and practically scoffed at her recitation of artist names.
“A Cellini? That can’t be! All of Cellini’s artwork, his sculptures and such, have been accounted for, and almost all are housed in museums.”
“But not all,” Suzan countered. “There are private collectors who don’t go around advertising their acquisitions.”
“Yes, that’s true, but I rather doubt that Ellen Lambert had the means and wherewithal to acquire a Cellini.” He slipped his arm across the top of the couch and began to massage the back of Suzan’s neck with gentle fingers. “Granted she is well-traveled, cultured and intelligent, but still...”
With a huff, Suzan scooted out of his reach. She doubted whether his caresses would ever live up to the tender and enchanting touch that Ellen gave her. The woman seemed to have stroked Suzan’s very soul.
“Well, she does own a Cellini,” she repeated in almost a challenge. “Do you want Ellen to produce her provenance, a bill of sale, just to appease your assumption...or vanity?”
“No, of course not!” Davis retracted his arm. “But I’m still not convinced, and it has nothing to do with my vanity.”
“Well, it really doesn’t matter if she has a genuine Cellini or not. It’s her money to buy whatever she wants and if she thinks she has the real deal, then let her believe it. End of discussion.” Leaning forward, Suzan grabbed the remote control off the coffee table and began to flip through chMarionls.
“It’s not the credibility of the woman’s claim,” Davis hedged, “that concerns me. You seem to be spending an inordinate amount of time with Ellen Lambert. After our dinner with her, for instance, you had to go to her house to return her wrap that same evening instead of waiting until the next day. And twice when I called your office, Vanda told me you had left on personal business. I assumed that business included Ellen Lambert.”
Suzan sat up straight and threw him a warning gaze. “So, I’ve made a new friend and she’s been kind enough to invite me over! We have pleasant time together talking about a variety of subjects and just enjoying the chance to relax and unwind. She has a lovely home conducive to those pursuits. What’s the matter, Davis, are you jealous of my new friendship?”
He offered Suzan an apologetic look with his warm blue eyes. “I’m sorry, darling. I have no business telling you who you can associate with and where and for how long. I suppose I am jealous in a way. You never had time before to cultivate any real friendships, and I always thought of myself as your best friend. So this newfound bond you have with Ellen Lambert surprised me, that’s all.”
“There’s no competition,” Suzan stated firmly as she continued to click through channels. She finally paused and allowed whatever program to stay on the TV. Yet as she stared at the plasma screen without really seeing, she knew his silly jealousy had produced jagged edges of anger and irritation in her. “I like Ellen Lambert,” she added, “and enjoy her company.”
Davis sighed, willing to concede. “I like her, too. She’s bright, friendly, charming, and easy on the eyes. So, let’s change the subject.”
“Good. I’ll make some tortilla wraps with the leftover deli chicken and we can watch a movie as we eat. How about a comedy or maybe even a romance? I don’t mind watching a chic flick if you can suggest one that’s halfway decent.”
As Davis went to the kitchen, Suzan tried to ease away the tension that had built up inside of her until she felt as if she walked a rope so taut that it could snap at any minute. This new situation, this budding of desire for someone else—a woman no less—took her in a totally new direction and put her on an emotional roller coaster ride. It would take time to sort it all out and even understand it so she could feel comfortable again. Right now she just wanted to relax and not think of anything more substantial than watching a movie on Showtime or HBO.
Yet later, as Suzan tried to focus on the movie they had agreed upon, her mind kept wandering back to Ellen, the way she smiled and looked, so sophisticated and yet so down-to-earth and inviting, the way she smelled like delicate flowers, and the way she felt, like the soft petals of those same flowers. Suzan shivered with the enticing memory of their lips meeting in a passionate kiss. At one time Davis had produced that same excitement when they made love, but sooner than expected familiarity began to breed indifference.
Then again, Suzan wondered if she was truly gay, something she had never thought about or faced before. She always liked men, desired them actually. Now her feelings for another woman contained the same sexual potency that she experienced with men, even though she could count her former male lovers on one hand. Perhaps she was bisexual, not an uncommon occurrence with both men and women. But did she have the courage and tenacity to find out for sure and then pursue such powerful feelings? It also meant her relationship with Davis would suffer. Despite his intelligence and tolerance, he still had reservations when it came to overt and non-traditional sexuality. For Davis, sex seemed black and white, with no gray areas. It was okay for other people, but he preferred his sex straight up with no surprises.
What if Suzan experimented and then decided she wanted Davis after all? Would he accept her decision after her “switch-hit”? And if she gravitated to bi-sexual relationships, would she be prepared to lose him? Only time would tell...and tomorrow when she returned to see Ellen it would probably be the time to find out.