Chapter 6: Interludes

For Rebecca, my first and most devoted fan. Thank you for your support Sweetie... Love, Tori
Everything under the sun is tune
But the sun is eclipsed by the moon.
Pink Floyd
The lamp is burning low upon my table top
The snow is softly falling
The air is still in the silence of my room
I hear your voice softly calling
If I could only have you near
To breathe a sigh or two
I would be happy just to hold the hands I love
On this winter night with you
Sarah McLachlan

Karen woke with the dawn. Laci was tucked close to her. Karen smiled at the sight of her child-lover’s beautiful, angelic face. She decided to let Laci sleep a bit longer. She tenderly kissed Laci’s forehead, and whispered, “I love you precious kitten.” She got up and quickly pulled on her robe.

After a pause in the bathroom, she plodded downstairs to start a pot of coffee. She poured a cup – cream, no sugar – and went to the breakfast nook. It was brilliantly sunny, yet still bone-chillingly cold. 

Karen sipped her coffee and looked up when she heard a soft noise. Laci padded sleepy-eyed into the kitchen, her hair mussed and her lip curled in a pout. Her slippered feet scuffled across the floor, and she wordlessly climbed on Karen’s lap and wrapped her arms around the woman’s neck.

“Good morning, kitten,” Karen smiled, embracing the girl. “Did you sleep good?”

Laci simply nodded, still pouting.

“Cat got your tongue? Or did you forget it between my legs?”

Laci giggled in spite of herself. “You’re bad,” she whispered. Then, “Why didn’t you wake me before you got up?”

“Because I wanted you rested sweetie. I wore you out last night.”

Laci giggled again and snuggled closer. “You almost did, but I wore you out just as much.”

Karen picked up the fresh smell of toothpaste on Laci’s breath. She lifted Laci’s chin and looked at her. “Kiss?” Karen said. Their mouths touched, and Laci naughtily pushed her tongue out to tickle Karen’s lips. A nice, warm shudder rippled over Karen. “Mmmmm,” she purred. “You give the best kisses.” 

Laci smiled. “That’s ‘cause I love you,” she said.

“You hungry baby?”

“A little I guess.”

“Let me make us a little breakfast. English muffin and jam?”

Laci yawned and reluctantly slid off Karen’s lap. “OK with me.”

Karen started breakfast, dropping English muffin slices in the toaster. “What do you want to drink?”


She poured a tall glass for Laci. “You want chocolate in it?”

Laci shook her head. “No, just milk.” She remembered suckling Karen’s breast last night, and a warm flush crawled over her. Karen didn’t seem to think it was weird that she liked pretending to drink milk from her like a baby. “Karen? Are your mother and father still alive?”

Karen raised an eyebrow. It was an unusual question but innocent enough. “Yes, they’re both alive, but they live on the west coast, so I don’t see them often.”

“Do they know you’re…gay?”

“Yes they do.”

“Were they, like, mad at you when they found out?”

Karen chuckled. “No baby, they weren’t ‘mad’ at me. Surprised? Yeah, maybe.” The muffins popped up. “Why?”

Laci shrugged. “I dunno. Just wondering. I’ll bet they didn’t drink or anything like being mean or nasty to you. Do you have a sister? Or brothers?”

“No honey, I’m an only child. You’re a curious little kitten this morning.”

Laci shrugged. “I dunno. I just wonder sometimes what it’s like to have parents who don’t, like, hate you.” She smiled shyly when Karen set the hot muffin down for her. She hoped Karen didn’t mind her asking dumb questions. Maybe it was better to change the subject. She spread strawberry jam on her toasted muffin. “Are we still going to the mall?” she asked with a touch of uncertainty.

“I plan on it. You need clothes. Desperately.”

“I know. I hardly ever get new clothes.”

Laci took a bite of English muffin, smearing sticky jam around her lips. “Laci love,” Karen said with a touch of awe, “You are probably the only girl I know who makes eating an English muffin sexy.”

Laci, in the middle of a second bite, looked up at Karen with genuine puzzlement. “I do?”

Karen laughed softly. Laci was going to be dangerous someday. “Sweetheart, you make breathing sexy. And you are all mine.”

Laci swallowed and beamed. “Yes I am. Forever and always.”

Karen finished her English muffin, brushed her hands together, and swept loose crumbs from her robe. “How about we shower together,” she announced. “I’d like us to take a bath together, but it’d take too long.”

Laci’s eyes glistened happily. “I love when we take showers and baths together. You said I make eating a muffin sexy. Well you make taking a shower or bath even more than sexy! Can I do your make-up afterward?” There was a childish excitement in her voice.

Karen shrugged. “Sure, I’d like that. But remember, if you make me look too good, someone might try to flirt with me,” she ribbed playfully.

“Let them try! I’ll be jealous real fast! You’re all mine and I won’t share!”

Karen laughed. Her child-lover was a treasure on so many levels. She studied Laci’s sweet face and noticed a thin film of strawberry jam around Laci’s mouth. Karen stood and lifted the girl’s chin. “C’mere,” she murmured. She slid her tongue out and drew it slowly around Laci’s lips, cleaning the smears of jam. Laci shuddered and gloried in the feel of her lover’s tongue snaking around her parted lips. “Mmmm,” Karen hummed. “Let’s go take our shower and get ready to go out.”

It was past noon by the time Karen and Laci headed for the mall. The sky had gone from a milky white to the color of asphalt on an old country road. It spoke of the possibility of more snow. It also ended the deep freeze of the last week. It was a balmy 27 degrees. 

Laci bounced and fidgeted with restless excitement. Karen glanced at her with a small smile of amusement. “Excited, are we?”

“I hardly ever get to go shopping, maybe Wally World once in a while, or the times you took Amy and me to the big mall.” Laci leaned over to fiddle with the radio. “Can I ask you something? Those times you took us to the mall, I was kinda afraid to go ‘cause I didn’t have any money. But I figured I could at least look and help Amy. But the funny thing was, I’d open my purse and there’d be like fifty dollars tucked in there, and if I said anything, you’d pretend you didn’t hear me and walk away. And Amy, she’d like grab me and pull me up close to her and stuff fifty more dollars in my hand and go like, ‘I have some extra money from babysitting and stuff. Take it and shut up, you’re my best friend and I want you to have it so we can have fun.’ And she wouldn’t let me give it back. I kinda wondered how that money got in my purse.” Laci looked at Karen with a mischievous little twinkle in her eyes.

Karen turned her head slightly so Laci wouldn’t see her own smile. “Imagine that,” she said.

“Was it you who did that?”

“Must’ve been the Mall Fairy.”

“Mall Fairy?” Laci snorted. “There’s no such thing as the Mall Fairy….unless her name’s Karen.”

“Well, whoever did it must’ve cared for you very very much.”

Laci slumped back, looking at Karen with a loving smile. She took Karen’s hand in her own. “Whoever it was, I always wanted to thank her with a kiss.” Watching Karen closely, she brought the woman’s hand to her face, nuzzled the palm and kissed it softly.

Laci’s hand kisses were like holding a butterfly in her cupped palms. Karen let out a contented sigh. “You know, I think we ought to stick to basic stuff today, things you really need. Amy used to bitch that this mall was lame, none of the cool shops. But they have the basics, and it’s better than Wally World. You good with that?”

Laci laughed, the sound sweet and delicious. “Of course! Oh Karen, I love you so much!She’s not my mother, but she’s like my new mother who loves me and is proud of me, and if she was my real mother we couldn’t be lovers too, so maybe it really is better this way, and maybe we’re even best friends, and I can’t help it, I have to make sure she knows how much I love her.” Laci felt ready to burst inside from the feelings Karen gave her, and it was an exquisite sensation indeed. She beamed as she looked intently at her savior, marveling that a woman as beautiful and strong as Karen was her lover! It struck Laci that even her lover’s name reflected how she was: Karen, caring, they sounded so much alike!

Karen surged with her own exhilaration. Nothing – no one— had ever made her feel the way this desperately beautiful, suffering teenage girl did. This is what it’s like to be in love, really, truly in love! She stopped for a traffic light, and she used the moment to squeeze Laci’s thigh and murmur, “I love you, my baby.”

This is all I’ve ever wanted from life, Laci thought.

Karen drove into the mall parking lot, pleased to see it wasn’t at all crowded. She found a parking spot near one of the main entrances, and just as she parked, a light snow sashayed down. She eased the car into the space, and they both unbuckled. Karen glanced around quickly before grabbing Laci’s hand and pulling closer. “Quick! I need a kiss before we go in.”

Laci tittered with delight. Their smiling lips touched, and then came together. Karen risked a quick sweep of her tongue, and Laci made a surprised but happy purring sound in her throat. Karen pulled her lips away with a soft smack, but she kept them close to Laci’s. She kissed the girl again. And again, until she could feel herself losing control. She let out a sigh. “God Laci baby, I could just eat you up.”

Laci laughed softly. “I’d love that.”

“Come, let’s go before someone see’s us.”

Laci skittered around to Karen’s side of the car. She grabbed Karen’s arm and hugged it. “Know what? Being in love with someone is the most awesome feeling in the world! Especially when that someone is you.”

No, Karen decided, she would never tire of hearing Laci proclaim her love. “Well now, I was just thinking the same thing about you.”

They stepped into the mall arm in arm, a mother and daughter for all anyone knew. Laci’s genuine excitement when they went through the doors thrilled Karen. That increasingly familiar flush and tingle of arousal skittered over her. 

For the last year, trips to the mall with Amy became more and more tedious and contentious. Shopping trips to the mall were something Amy saw as a given, almost a birthright. This local mall was no longer good enough; it didn’t have the right shops and it was so lame, they had to go to the big, cool mall in South Georgetown with all of its trendy boutiques. Then there was the whining about needing more money, and the demands that they go their separate ways once inside so she could be with her friends and not be seen with her Mom. She was, she proclaimed to Karen, not a little kid anymore.

Laci on the other hand, delighted in going to any mall. Any shop was an exciting and thrilling cornucopia of delights, and she was more worried about spending too much money than in not having enough. 

Everything about the girl today was making Karen’s insides tremble and grow tight. Laci’s somewhat heavy-handed, adolescent make-up job, gaudy and silly on an adult, fit her persona perfectly. Her thick mane of silky hair cascaded in waves around her angelically beautiful face and spilled passed her shoulders. The soft long-sleeved sweater and tight jeans she wore, wrapped her taut, lithe, exquisite body in lovely embrace. Watching that body move was almost enough to make Karen moan.

They went from shop to shop, rapidly filling the girl’s need list. Within two hours, Laci’s winter wardrobe went from three pairs of jeans, half a dozen tops, an old pair of sneakers, and a pair of decent dress boots, to enough clothes and footwear to fill a small closet and a bureau. It was amazing what she needed just to stay warm when outside.

At one point, Karen brought Laci into an arts and crafts store and got her a professional sketch pad, a complete set of drawing pencils, and a book entitled, “Sketching the Human Body”. This seemed to delight Laci more than any of the other treasures she’d gotten. Her eyes grew wide, and she turned the leather and brass-trimmed two-sided pencil case repeatedly in her hands. “Oh Karen!” she breathed. She impulsively grabbed Karen and hugged her tight. Cheek pressed against Karen’s chest, she said softly but forcefully, “Thank you! I love so much!”

Later, they passed a nail and piercing boutique and Laci slowed down. She looked at the display of body jewelry and said, “Would you let me get a tongue stud?”

Taken aback, Karen cried, “What?”

Laci looked up at her. “You know, a tongue stud.”

“No, no way,” Karen said, horrified. “I won’t let you mutilate your body at your age just for decoration. Earrings? Sure. Maybe even a belly button stud. But nothing in your love spots, uh uh, no way.”

Laci knew very well how Karen’s would answer. She didn’t really want a tongue piercing; she just wanted to see Karen’s reaction. She tried to pout, but she couldn’t hide the smile. “You’re an old fuddy-dud.”

“Old fuddy-dud, huh? I’ll show you old fuddy-dud in just a little while, young lady.”

Everywhere they went, Laci drew looks, sometimes furtive glances, and other times brazen leers. Her deep sensual beauty and her delighted happiness surrounded her like a shimmering display of the northern lights. 

At one point, they slowed to window shop at a chain jewelry store. Laci gazed in awe at the gold and silver baubles, at the sparkling diamonds and emeralds and rubies. She paused and looked with particular longing at a set of gold bangle bracelets, and a delicate girl’s watch, but she said nothing. Karen took note. She touched Laci’s back. “Come on, kitten, there’s more to see.”

Laci sighed, but then she smiled. This was all so awesome.

Karen took it all in with a sense of amazement. With Laci’s every gleeful, tinkling laugh, with every bounce and every clap of her hands, the hot knot in Karen’s mound grew. She struggled against the nearly irresistible urge to grab Laci and kiss her madly wherever they stood.

Laci held on to Karen’s arm and giggled. If people only knew, she marveled. And her little muffin surged delightfully, a warm little bubble rolling around her insides.

As they neared the anchor department store that marked the end of their shopping day, Karen snapped her fingers as if she’d just thought of something. “Honey,” Karen said. “Why don’t you go on in there and look around, OK? I’ll catch up to you. I have to run to the pharmacy for something I forgot.”

Laci wrinkled her nose. “What did you forget?”

“Old lady stuff, prune juice and pee pads,” Karen teased. “Now go, I’ll be right back.”

Laci disappeared inside the store, and Karen hurried off. She had no intention of going to the pharmacy. As soon as she knew Laci was inside the department store, Karen stepped into the jewelry store.

The saleswoman was about Karen’s age. She was extremely attractive, as attractive as Karen, very tall and slim. She was impeccably dressed in a navy skirt and blazer over a white blouse. Her nametag said simply, “Gina”. She gave Karen a bright smile that, in other circumstances, would have fired Karen’s imagination. “Back?” she said with a distinct and alluring Scandinavian accent.

“I’m back. I don’t have much time. My daughter’s in the department store, and I snuck back to get something for her birthday while she’s occupied.”

“Oh absolutely, I understand. Did you have anything in particular in mind?”

“Yes,” Karen said, looking down at the glass case. “That gold bangle bracelet set, and that watch,” she said, pointing.

“Excellent choices for such a beautiful young lady. And she is beautiful, exceptionally so. She certainly appears to have gotten her beauty from her mother. How old is she?”

Karen laughed inside. She’s flirting with meToo bad sweetie, I’m spoken for or I’d bite.. “She’ll be fourteen. And I certainly think she’s beautiful.”

The sales lady removed the items from the display case. “I know you’re in a hurry, so I won’t try to sell you anything else, but would you like these in pink gift boxes?”

“Thank you, yes,” Karen said. She headed for the department store, and thought, Christ, divorced almost a year, last woman I had before Laci was Gail last spring, and now they’re springing up everywhere. 

After Karen left, Laci wandered into the department store. She felt small and intimidated without Karen at her side. She knew security people were watching her like a hawk the second she stepped through the doors. As part of the need to establish her place in the pecking order in her old life, she’d been pressured to come to stores like this to steal things. She’d resisted as best she could, enduring taunts that she was a pussy (pussy in this case having nothing to do with a girl’s muffin) and a loser. That feeling of being secretly watched was only intensified by the realization that the store was almost deserted, the only sound the pop music on the store’s sound system. 

Laci drifted over to the accessories racks, not far off the main aisle, though nothing there really interested her. It seemed to take forever, but finally she heard Karen. “I’m back, honey. I hope you survived without me.”

“I was kinda expecting a security guard to come and tell me to leave.”

“What? What are talking about?”

“Karen,” Laci said in her best “Duh” tone. “Girls like me coming into stores like this all alone makes them really nervous. Trust me, I know.”

Karen paused. The girl was right. Laci’s workaday World was a hostile one from every angle. “Oh well, I’m here now, and unless they want me to take my credit cards and leave, we won’t be bothered.”

Now that Karen was back, it didn’t take Laci long to regain her excitement. Laci was as gleeful as ever pawing through the racks of clothes. After several minutes of fussing, Laci had four pairs of supposedly stretchy skinny jeans in pink, lime green, fuchsia, and teal. “I just have to try them on, and I’ll be done,” she declared. “I’ll only try on one pair.”

“Good,” Karen said. “I’m ready to get home and be naughty with you.” Her low-grade heat was rapidly rising to a fever.

Laci, eyes sparkling, cocked her hips flirtatiously, whether on purpose or not, Karen couldn’t tell. “I won’t be long.”

Laci slipped into the dressing stall, and Karen paced restlessly, looking around, unconsciously noticing how empty the store was. After a time, she a

Laci was struggling to free her legs from the pants, all bunched up and snagged on her upper thigh. Karen squatted down to work the pants off, and she was maddeningly close to Laci’s sex. She could see the outline of Laci’s beautiful vaginal cleft and her puffy labia under the fabric of her pale blue panties. The workaday fragrance of her pussy was faint but distinct and clean. Karen shuddered and a wave of dizziness overtook her. She managed to pull Laci’s pants free.

Before Laci could do or say anything, Karen stood up and pulled her into an embrace. Laci, a bit startled, turned her face up to Karen with a puzzled look. Karen’s eyes were glowing like burning coals. “Sssshhh, don’t make a sound,” Karen whispered. Before Laci could respond, Karen pounced on her delectable mouth and thrust her tongue in search of Laci’s. Laci made a startled noise, but immediately responded by sucking on Karen’s tongue.

Karen moved her hand between their bodies and firmly gripped Laci’s now awakened sex. The girl made another startled noise. Karen pulled her lips back, and they were both panting. “Sssshhh, not a sound,” she whispered. 

“Mummy Karen,” Laci whispered. Her face was pressed against the side of Karen’s face, and she wrapped her arms around her lover’s neck.

Karen found Laci’s mouth with hers again and ran her tongue over the girl’s teeth. She rode her fingers over the fabric of Laci’s panties, pressing into the trench between her labia. She pushed the crotch of Laci’s panties into her vagina and released a flush of nectar, wetting the fabric. Laci squirmed and held her breath, then jammed her tongue into Karen’s mouth to keep herself from crying out.

At last, Karen drew her finger up the trough of Laci’s slit, and then plunged her hand under the waistband of the panties. Laci jumped as if shocked when Karen firmly slid her middle finger deep into her sex. She had to bury her face in Karen’s blouse to stay silent. Karen went in deep, diving into her girl-lover’s honey-pot, wriggling it, stroking Laci’s hot spots. She fucked Laci slowly, stirring her into an overflowing cauldron. Juice squished out and Karen smeared it over the girl’s mound.

Laci was quivering, trying desperately not to cry out. Her breath hitched, and she looked up at Karen with pleading eyes. Karen pulled her finger up the cleft of Laci’s sex and nudged the child’s clit into the open. She pressed it, fondled it, and savored the feel of the jewel on the pads of her fingers.

Laci struggled to stay composed, but it was almost impossible with Karen rubbing her there. She dug her fingernails into Karen’s back and held on. Bolts of lightening shot out and over her body. She let out her breath in one gasping gust after another. She arched her back and thrust her pelvis forward. “Don’t hold it baby,” Karen whispered in her ear.

Karen rolled her finger over Laci’s clit, rubbed it side to side, and pressed on it like a doorbell. Laci was flowing now, her slit dripping and her honey pot releasing its delectable nectar. Karen stroked Laci firmly and fast, and Laci went up, up, up and with a gasp, her orgasm surged out like a splash of hot water. She squirmed, bit her lip, and buried her face between Karen’s breasts. She struggled mightily to stay silent as the next orgasm bubbled up and over her.

When it was over, Karen eased her down to the bench so Laci could sit. Karen dropped to her knees to face the panting Laci. The girl’s face was flushed and sweaty, her eyes wide with wonder. She brushed a strand of Laci’s hair off her cheek, and then caressed the girl’s cheek with her thumb. Laci stared at Karen, shocked at what just happened, wondering if it was real or some bizarre dream. Karen smiled and leaned to kiss Laci gently, lovingly. Laci couldn’t suppress a soft whimper.

“You okay baby?” Karen murmured very softly.

Laci smiled wanly, and nodded her head.

“Can you get dressed okay?”

“I think so,” Laci whispered. “But I’m all wet.”

Karen smiled. “I know.”

Before Karen could stand, Laci wrapped her arm around the woman’s neck. “I love you!” she whispered with tight urgency.

“I love you too, kitten.” 

All of the new clothes and outfits were neatly folded or hung and tucked away in their new closet and bureau homes. All except the one Laci was modeling for Karen.

Laci was a remarkable sight, one to make Karen’s – anyone’s – breath catch. It was a simple enough outfit, a tiered, floral lace, black mini skirt, a long sleeved white blouse open at the front over a pastel blue cami top which fit her like a new layer of skin. Her heavy-handed make-up fit her aura perfectly tonight. 

Laci always radiated an unfocused but natural sensuality. Tonight, modeling her new clothes, it was different somehow. Watching her pose and cock her hips coquettishly, beckoning, it was as if she was finally becoming aware of the force she possessed, and trying it on for size as much as she was trying on the clothes for size. 

Yes, Laci was beginning to understand she was blessed with gifts other girls only dreamed about, blessed with a certain sensual superiority. Karen knew in a year or so, Laci’s sprouting self-confidence might easily turn into an unpleasant, smug arrogance. Karen also knew it was up to her to harness and control all that so the girl didn’t become an overweening, pretentious princess. Right now though, Laci’s adoration and devotion to Karen was utter and absolute.

And Karen’s hunger for her girl-lover was glowing. 

Karen sat on the edge of the bed, smoking a cigarette as she watched Laci tease her. Her insides quivered and squirmed as if squirrels were fighting in her pelvis. All she wore was a blue satin slip she’d gotten from Victoria’s Secret a year ago, but never had much need to wear until tonight. 

“What do you think?” Laci said. She held her hair back from her face and looked down to judge how the skirt looked.

Karen chuckled. “The word breathtaking comes to mind.”

Laci looked up, smiling. She plucked the cigarette from Karen and took a deep hit. There was something so brazen about that act, like something out of a cheesy, 50’s noir B-movie, that it was oddly arousing in its own way. Karen fleetingly thought of the movie “Loving Annabelle”. “No, seriously,” Laci said, delighted at Karen’s answer.

“I am serious,” Karen said. She took the cigarette back and finished it.

Laci pirouetted, her hair swirling out. She was so happy, she couldn’t contain her feelings of joy. And why shouldn’t she be happy? She was in love with the beautiful woman of her dreams, the woman who loved her back just as much. And they expressed their love in the most powerful and wonderful way possible, through making love, where they took each other to the most magical and fantastic places imaginable. Yes, why shouldn’t she be so happy she wanted to explode?

Laci’s sudden and spontaneous pirouette surprised and delighted Karen. It was so deliciously child-like and cherubic, so…Laci. Karen laughed aloud, and cried, “Oh, is it any wonder that I love you so much?” Karen held her arms open, and that simple act lifted her breasts invitingly. Her erect nipples pressed against the silk of her cami and stood out. “Come baby, come to Mummy Karen.”

Laci surged inside. Desperate for her mother-lover’s touch, the feel of her body, her kisses, her love, she skittered to Karen. She slipped between Karen’s parted knees and pressed her own knees against the edge of the mattress. She draped her arms over Karen’s shoulders and looked at her with an impish little smile.

Laci dropped her head down and found Karen’s lips with her sweet, eager mouth. It was nice, Karen thought, to let the girl be the kisser sometimes. Laci explored Karen’s lips with hers, leaving behind the sweetness of her lip-gloss. She swiped her tongue into Karen’s mouth, traced it around the perimeter of her lover lips, then found and fenced with Karen’s own wet tongue.

Karen had never made love with a woman who kissed as deliciously as Laci did. Laci’s kisses were always passionate acts of lovemaking unto themselves, not merely a bridge to other passions. Laci drew her hands over Karen’s neck and held the woman’s face in her delicate hands, while she made love to Karen’s lips and mouth with her own lips and tongue. Karen cooed and sighed at the sweetness of Laci’s loving. She simply accepted Laci’s offerings and gave back her own when the time was right. Their tongues met in the space between their lips and wrestled merrily, both woman and girl chuckling in their throats.

“You are amazing,” Karen murmured into Laci’s mouth before slashing her tongue over the girl’s lips.

Laci released Karen’s face from her gentle grasp. “No, uh uh, I just love you. My kisses tell you how much I love you,” Laci said with the certitude of one speaking a universal truth.

Why would anyone even want to argue with such a delightful line of reasoning? Karen laughed softly against Laci parted lips. “Then you must love me an awful lot, kissing me like that.” She traced the tips of her fingers up the backs of Laci’s thighs then down. Laci shuddered and squirmed happily.

“That feels sooo good, Mummy Karen,” Laci groaned softly. Wasn’t it so naughty and so sexy to call her Mummy when they loved each other? Laci bent her head forward to resume making love to Karen’s lips, neck and face with her own eager mouth.

Karen let herself be embraced by the sensual pleasure of kissing and being kissed by her precious lover. She savored the silky feel of Laci’s skin under the pads of her fingers, the subtly restless way the girl-teen moved in response to Karen’s caresses, her soft sighs and coos, a music as beautiful as a dove’s. Karen carefully moved her fingers up under Laci’s skirt, and drew the tips of her fingernails over the swell of Laci’s buns. Laci wriggled her body restlessly like a kitten nestling into a blanket. She covered Karen’s face with tender kisses: her cheeks, her chin, her temples, her neck, her forehead. 

Karen toyed with the edges of Laci’s thong panties. Almost, she thought. She sighed and arched to Laci’s butterfly kisses. Karen drew her lips over Laci’s creamy cheeks and over her lover’s ear. “Let me help you get undressed,” Karen whispered.

Laci straightened and rolled her hips gently while Karen slowly worked the girl’s skirt and panties down. Skirt kicked aside, Laci shrugged free of the blouse when Karen drew it off her shoulders. Her dark and dreamy green eyes and her flushed cheeks bespoke a deep arousal. She lifted her arms so Karen could remove her cami.

Naked now, Laci stood on her tippy-toes while she shook her hair out and raked her fingers through it. Hardly aware she was doing it, she brushed her fingertips over her erect nipples and delighted in the tickling sensation it gave her. She wanted to kiss Karen again, but she also wanted her lover naked so their bodies could touch and meld.

Watching Laci become naked was a breathtaking experience. In Karen’s eyes, she was almost flawless, her nubile body only just ripening. Karen drank her in, watched her shake her hair out then caress her nipples – sublime. Karen’s entire body tingled and flushed.

“Karen,” Laci murmured her eyes heavy. “You should be undressed too.”

Karen smiled. “Help me, kitten.”

Laci glided into her lover-mother’s orbit. Laci pulled Karen’s slip up over her head, exposing those full, firm breasts she so loved. Laci carelessly tossed Karen’s slip aside and immediately pressed her body against Karen’s. There was something elemental about the sensation of their flesh coming together. Laci ground herself against Karen, as if trying to join their bodies into one. Laci once again held Karen’s faced cupped in her hands, and she dipped in to make love to her beloved’s mouth and face again.

Laci’s assertiveness delighted Karen. She basked in Laci’s soft lips exploring and brushing, her wet tongue gently probing and tracing, her lithe, smooth body dancing with restless hunger. Karen let her fingers wander over Laci, finding tender spots and giving them attention. She cupped Laci’s bottom and squeezed her cheeks. 

Laci shifted and pressed herself against Karen with greater urgency. Her insides clenched up tight and she wanted to burst, but it wasn’t exactly a cummy feeling. It was almost a frustration at being unable to express the enormity of the way she felt about Karen. Her body seemed to tremble at the force of the sensation.

Karen was intuitively tuned in to the inner forces driving Laci. Without being consciously aware of it, Karen knew it was time to love. Karen lay back on the bed and brought Laci with her. Laci cupped her small breasts and fondled her nipples and smiled. Karen traced her fingernail up and down the middle of Laci’s front, breasts to pubis. “Have I ever told you how beautiful you are?” Karen murmured with a smile.

Laci shrugged. “Have I ever told you how much I love you?”

“No fair, answering a question with a question.” Karen dropped her finger further down with each stroke. “I guess I’ll forgive you, since you are so beautiful.” She tickled Laci’s lips with her tongue. Now she brushed her fingers over Laci’s sex.

“I love you,” Laci sighed. “I don’t care if I say it a hundred times a day.” She dipped down and kissed her lover deeply yet again. Laci rocked side to side as she kissed Karen, and as the woman lightly brushed her fingers up and down Laci’s mound.

“That feels so good, Karen. It makes me warm all over.”

“I thought you’d like it.”

Their mouths came back together. Karen’s caresses and kisses held Laci in a blissful state. She let her mind drift. There were no bad thoughts, just vague, warm images of her being with Karen, loving her, and being loved by her. Laci had no idea how long it went on; five minutes, five hours, who knew? What did it matter? 

Yet Karen’s caresses slowly stoked Laci’s furnace. It was subtle, a slight quickening of her breath, a growing urgency to the undulations of her hips, an occasional sigh or coo. As if by some silent signal, Karen kissed her way to Laci’s breasts. Laci arched and moaned softly in anticipation. Karen gradually increased the pressure of her caresses.

Karen let a strand of saliva dribble from her lip to plop on Laci’s nipple. She drew the stiff bud between her lips, and gently held it in her teeth. She shook her head lightly before lifting her head and drawing out Laci’s nipple. Laci moaned at the sensation. When Karen let her bud snap free, Laci let out a loud gasp. She buried her hands in Karen’s hair, while Karen tended to her little breast mounds. Every brush of her lips, every stroke of her tongue, and every nip of her teeth sent warm pulses over Laci. 

When Karen lifted her head, a strand of saliva connected her lips to Laci’s nipples. She gazed down at her young lover, the girl’s eyes closed and a rapturous smile on her lips, and oh God, she was so achingly beautiful. “My precious kitten,” Karen murmured, “love of my life.”

Laci, her hands still buried loosely in Karen’s hair, let her eyes flutter open, and they were at peace. She pulled Karen’s face down to kiss her anew. Laci gasped lightly into Karen’s mouth, and then gently pushed her tongue up in search of Karen’s.

Karen slid her hand over Laci’s smooth mound, gliding over the soft, puffy flesh of her labia, then back up. Laci tensed, then relaxed. “Oooooohhhh Karen,” she purred. “That feels sooo nice.”

“You like it like this, hmmm?”

“Oh yesss, I do, it feels so nice. But you Karen. I want to make you feel nice, too.”

“Don’t worry about me, kitten.”

“I do, Karen,” Laci protested in a thick but insistent voice.

Karen smiled. “Okay,” she murmured. She removed her hand from Laci’s vulva long enough to guide the girl’s hand to her own sex. “Can you rub me while I rub you?”

Laci nodded. “Uh huh.” And she began to gently explore Karen’s treasure. 

Karen took a sharp breath at the feel of Laci’s fingers opening her labia. “Nice,” she whispered with a smile. She touched her lips to Laci’s, and lazily sought the girl’s tongue with her own. It was a pleasant surprise when Karen realized that Laci found and mirrored the tempo and explorations of her own fingers. Karen skated her finger up and down Laci’s wet slit, and Laci mimicked her at nearly the same instant. Karen nudged and massaged the girl’s clit bud making her moan into Karen’s mouth, and Laci did the same to Karen. What a wonderful way to make love.

They kissed tenderly, tongues coming together like two children playing pat-a-cake, lips never more than a fraction of an inch apart. They smiled at each other with their eyes, rolled their hips in rhythm with their caresses, and cooed with delight at the growing swells of pleasure spreading through them.

Karen massaged and stroked Laci’s wet girl-sex with ever greater pressure and urgency. Laci’s coos became gasps and soft, breathy moans, and her body began to tense and hitch. Karen’s body was like a bowstring, pulled back and back, ever tighter and tighter. They rubbed each other frantically, hips rocking and bouncing. With simultaneous cries, they scrunched together, whimpering, and gloried in the wonder of their climaxes.

Karen had no idea how long they lay there cuddling, basking in the glow of their orgasms.  Karen caressed Laci’s lips and cheeks with the ball of her thumb. Laci looked so angelic now, like a princess out of a fairy tale, her lips drawn in a small smile of contentment. Karen kissed the tip of her nose, and Laci’s dreamy eyes opened. At last, Karen disentangled herself and sat up. She smiled at the thought that it would be another fluffy towel night. Laci propped herself on her elbow, looking a bit discombobulated.

Karen got a cigarette. “Want one?” she offered.

Laci shook her head. “I’ll maybe have some of yours.”

Karen took a deep hit. “You’re doing a better job than I am of quitting.”

Laci sat up and shrugged. She did take a drag but that was it. “That’s part of my old life,” she explained. “You’ll quit when it’s the right time. Anyway, I bet it’s harder for grown-ups to break habits than it is for kids my age.”

“A very astute observation,” Karen said, snuffing out the cigarette. Then, a thought flashed into her head. “Oh shit,” she cried. “I almost forgot something.” She jumped up.

“What? What’s the matter?” Laci said, suddenly alarmed.

“I almost forgot something, baby! I have to go downstairs, I’ll be right back, don’t you move.” 

“Aren’t you going to put a robe on?” Laci said, frowning.

“Why bother?” Karen said, and she ran naked down the hallway to the stairs. She laughed softly as she hurried down the stairs. In all the years she’d lived here, she’d never once run through the house naked. She felt an odd exhilaration, as though someone might barge through the door and catch her red handed at any moment. Her boobs were bouncing as she pulled up and stopped. She grabbed her pocketbook and looked inside. Still there. She scurried back upstairs.

Laci had no idea what Karen was up to. It couldn’t be bad – she was smiling when she ran off – but even though Karen didn’t seem particularly modest about such things, running off naked was more than a little unusual for her. Laci shrugged; she’d find out soon enough. In the meantime, she was getting cold, so she went to the newly filled bureau and took out the brand new “Hello Kitty” nightshirt they’d bought earlier in the day. She’d no sooner pulled it on then she heard Karen skittering up the stairs.

“Phew!” Karen gasped. She set her satchel bag down and plopped herself on the bed.

 Laci came and sat next to her. “Why’d you run off like that?” Laci asked, cocking her head.

“Because I forgot something. Something important.”

“Like what? What’s so important you’d run downstairs naked to get it?”

“You don’t like seeing me run around naked?” Karen teased with a twinkle in her eye.

Laci rolled her eyes and let out an exasperated sigh. “Karen, you know what I mean.”

“I’m only teasing. Well, remember when we were at the mall and I had to go to the pharmacy to get my old lady stuff?”

“Yeah, pee pads and prune juice, which I know was a joke.”

“Anyway, you’ll never guess who I ran into on my way! The Mall Fairy!”

“Tch,” Laci clucked her tongue and rolled her eyes again. “Karen, there is no such thing as the Mall Fairy. You made that up. Unless her name’s Karen, then there might be a Mall Fairy.”

“Well, I beg to differ, sweet, skeptical child. I don’t know what her name is, but I know she’s real because she gave me this to give to you.” Karen pulled the pink cube gift box out of her bag, and gave it to Laci.

Laci’s eyebrows went up, her eyes widened, and she took in a sharp breath. “What is it, Karen?” she said in a voice just above a whisper.

“I don’t know. The Mall Fairy wouldn’t tell me, said it was a surprise.”

Laci’s hands trembled slightly as she reached for the box. Getting a gift just for the sake of getting a gift was something unfamiliar to her. She felt lucky if she got something for Christmas or her birthday. She pushed her hair back behind her ear and just stared at the box.

“Go ahead honey, open it so we can see,” Karen said, patting Laci’s thigh.

Laci undid the ribbon, freeing the lid, and she pulled it off. She drew in another sharp breath and brought her hand to her mouth. “Oh Karen!” she said in a low, soft voice. Her hand shook even more when she lifted the bracelets from the box. “Oh Karen!” and this time her voice was tremulous. Laci looked at her lover with wide eyes, as if waiting for instructions on what to do.

“Go ahead,” Karen murmured with a smile. “Put them on.”

Laci hesitated, then slipped the bracelets over her hand, and let them rattle down her arm. “Oh Karen! They’re perfect! How did you know? I mean I didn’t say anything.”

“The Mall Fairy knows everything. And we aren’t done, there’s something else in here for you.” Karen took out the rectangular box and gave it to Laci.

“Oh Karen, you shouldn’t have done this,” Laci said, shaking her head. “I didn’t get you anything…”

Karen cut her short. “Laci, honey. Look at me.” Karen took Laci’s free hand in both of her hands. “These are gifts, honey. Gifts don’t come with strings attached, they aren’t given because I want a return gift from you. They’re given because I want you to have them, and because I love you.” Karen let Laci’s hand go, and she gently cupped her lover’s face in her hands. She leaned in and gave Laci a long and very tender, loving kiss. When she pulled back with a smack, she murmured, “Let’s see what’s in the other box.”

Hands still trembling, Laci removed the lid. Once again, she gasped at the gold plated watch with the bangle bracelet wristband. She held it up and looked at it, her mouth open, as if it were some gemstone found lying at her feet. 

“Here,” Karen said, taking the watch. “Let me help you put it on.” She took Laci’s old watch off, tossed it on the nightstand, and loosened the clasp on the new watch. It fit perfectly on the girl’s small wrist, and it matched the bangles on her other wrist exactly.

A single tear trickled down Laci’s cheek. Karen lifted the girl’s chin and kissed it away. “Why the tear?” she asked gently.

Laci shrugged. “I dunno. I’m just not used to stuff like this. I don’t even get Christmas or birthday presents any more. She says I’m too old for that shit. The only presents I got for Christmas this year were the stuffed ornament from you, and the make-up set Amy got me.”

Karen hugged her and kissed her forehead. “Well, you don’t have to worry about that anymore. Things are different now. She can’t hurt you anymore. I promise.”

Laci sniffled and turned to bury her face between Karen’s breasts. Karen held her and rocked her. You love her, you accept her, baggage and all. Her hurts aren’t going away just because I wandered on stage Laci’s hurts were close to the surface tonight. Best not to go picking around. It had been such a wonderful day, full of the kind of magic love was supposed to bring. Maybe that magic would keep the pains hidden away for another day.

But it was not to be, just as Karen knew it wasn’t.

Nights were when Laci most needed to be held tightly. Laying in Karen’s arms in the darkened room, for whatever reason the pains were always close to the surface. Karen held her, ever so gently stroking her silky hair, silent. Karen hoped – prayed – that Laci would fall asleep before the hurts rose up in full force.

“Karen?” That same, soft, nebulous voice as last night drifting up.

“Yes baby,” Karen said, her insides involuntarily tensing.

“I can’t leave you.”

“Honey love, who said anything about leaving me?”

Laci shrugged. “I just can’t, that’s all. If I have to leave you, I’ll die. I can’t go back there. Ever.”

“Laci! My precious kitten. What’s gotten into you? What’s this talk about leaving me?” Karen gently nudged Laci onto her back and just as gently slid her own body atop the girl, as though protecting her from the rain. “Now what’s the matter Kitten? Tell me what’s bothering you. Tell Mommy Karen what’s hurting you.”

Laci was silent and still. At last, she shifted and tried to get closer. Her chest hitched, a soft sob. “’Member the day there was no power? You were asking me questions about… if anyone had ever done bad things to me? An’ I told you one tried, but….”

“Yes baby, I remember.” Karen mentally kicked herself for raising the subject that day, all because of her own goddamned guilt. Why did she have to poke around wounds? Why not just let things come out naturally?

“I had that fight with my mother this week.” 

Karen could hear the child’s voice grow thinner, as though it was about to shatter. What was coming next?

“She said something I hardly even noticed when she said it. But I remembered it later.” Laci paused again, as if gathering herself. “She said…” and Laci sobbed harder. “She said…that time, it was my fault, I was trying to steal her boyfriend…Oh God!” she sobbed harshly. “Karen! I was only seven years old! How could she think that? Is that why she hates me?” And the girl melted into deeps sobs of raw anguish, tears that boiled up from the deepest reaches of her heart.

Karen nuzzled her lips up to Laci’s ear. “It’s OK baby girl,” she murmured. “It’s OK, you’re with me now, you’re with Mommy Karen, and I won’t let bad things happen to you.” Inside, a fire burned in Karen’s belly. How in Christ’s name can anyone be so totally fucked up that they’d accuse a 7-year-old girl of trying to steal a boyfriend? How can anyone be so sick that they’d blame a Godforsaken child for nearly being molested? What kind of mad hellhole is that world this child comes from. 

“I didn’t do anything wrong!” Laci cried.

Karen’s own heart was threatening to rend. She reminded herself she needed to be strong right now. “No baby, you didn’t, you didn’t. It’s okay, you’re with me now. Your mother is a very disturbed woman.” Karen gulped. Oh Christ. What a fucked up world. “But you’re with me now, and I’m not going to let you go.”

All Karen could do was hold Laci’s trembling, sobbing body close, and rock her back and forth, murmuring soft, soothing sounds that were meaningless, yet meant everything. Maybe, Karen thought, the festering abscess inside Laci was lanced now, and the poison could start to flow out. Karen gritted her teeth, the anger at a woman she’d never even met knotting up inside her. I hope you’re happy, you no good, worthless piece of shit. Not enough to fuck your own life up, have to take it out on this child and fuck her life up, too. Joke’s on you, bitch, you didn’t count on me showing up, and your days of fucking this girl up are over. 

Laci’s sobs of anguish went on and on. Karen didn’t try to stop the tears. She simply reached over for a handful of tissues every so often to clean Laci’s nose. Finally, after who knew how long, the well ran dry, and Laci lay there, spent. Trembling and hitching, Laci quavered, “Do you love me, Karen?”

It wasn’t a rhetorical question. “Yes Laci baby, I love you. I love you right to the depths of my soul. I would give everything for you.”

 In the middle of the long night, Karen stood at the window, cigarette in one hand, smoke curling up in a ghostly stream, ashtray in the other. She stared at the nearly full moon hovering just above the black, pointed tops of the pine trees across the road. It cast a ghostly light, intensified by the reflection off the solid snowpack. 

The song she’d thought of last night came back, wafting up from some hidden vault in her brain. Sarah McLachlan. Yes, that’s who sang it. She had a haunting voice, like some angel of melancholy beauty. 

“Why am I hopelessly, achingly in love with a thirteen year old girl?” Karen whispered to the moon. “I’m not bad.”

The moon, as cold as the snow, stared back without answering. Its silent, impassive face seemed to mock her question with its indifference. It started to dip below the tops of the pines, no more likely to answer her question then when she asked it.

A solitary car came down the road, its headlights momentarily cutting the darkness. Karen watched it go by. No answers there, either.

Karen hadn’t been able shake the feeling that some sort of denouement was just over the horizon. Maybe the moon, now mostly obscured behind the pines, could see what was waiting for them over there on the other side of the darkness, but it wasn’t talking.

“Fuck it,” Karen muttered. She took a final drag from her cigarette and snuffed it out. She set the ashtray down, and went back to the bed. She was cold. That’s what happened when you stood around the house in the middle of a January night in nothing more than a pajama top and panties. She climbed under the blankets and slid close to Laci.

Laci stirred, and her eyes fluttered open. “Where’d you go?” she whispered.

“The bathroom, kitten.”

“Oh.” She closed her eyes and instinctively pressed close to Karen, nuzzling her face against Karen’s breast. Karen protectively slipped her arm over Laci’s sleeping body.

Hardly audible, Karen murmured, “If I go down, I’m going down fighting, you can goddamn well count on that.”