All the stories in So Many Ways are about women loving women, whether that’s a woman discovering her physical love of women for the first time (“Les Triumphante”) or a long time couple finally deciding to take the plunge and get married (“Traditional Values”), or even a pair of bisexual women enjoying time together in a swing club with their significant others (“Premises”).
Author note: This story has probably my favorite setting: Boston, Massachusetts. If there’s any place my soul would like to call home, it’s this beautiful, historical city. I love walking around, even in the rain there’s beautiful resonance in everything from Cambridge (where I attended an impromptu concert on a front lawn), to the ruggedness of South Side. From the Boston Commons (where I saw my first “rock” concert) and the Esplanade (where I enjoyed the Boston Pops on Fourth of July) on the Charles River, to the rocky beauty of Menotomy Rocks Parks (which I played in as a child) near Arlington.
Story setup: Connie Rook has boarded a party boat in Boston’s harbor seeking a night of self-discovery in a woman’s arms.
Les Triumphante page 1
Connie Rook leaned with outward nonchalance on the railing of an 80-foot 2-deck party boat, a plastic champagne flute cupped in her hands. Alternately she looked at the sky blazing with reddish-purple streaks of light, and the sunset’s reflection in the rippling and dark waters of the river.
An hour ago she had met Val at a small port building, relieved she had finished her work in time and been able to make the trip. Val had told her she would have a “fantastic” time, then led her through a short maze of the other buildings on the docks and up onto the gangway for the boat, Les Triumphante.
Connie made her way into the throng of women already aboard. Tossed a few greetings, she had been pleased after looking around at the other women, to realize she had chosen the proper level of attire, business informal. She wore a peach v-neck sweater, her throat accentuated with a single silver chain, and long white slacks with closed toe white sandals.
There was a buffet set up on the lower deck. One half of the large area was a dance floor. On the other half guests circled around a drink bar. She found herself awkwardly moving from conversation to conversation, frequently listening in, but finding little of interest to chime in, or feeling her own thoughts might be unwelcome.
Maybe I should’ve stuck with Val, Connie thought. But the other woman, though at first introducing Connie around, had quickly hooked up for the weekend. Connie could see her enjoying attention from a curvy Latina. The looks Connie had received were clearly of the ‘you should move on’ variety. Val had only offered a distracted “have a good time” when Connie moved to the small bar, and requested the special she had heard the woman in front of her order, a drink full of swirling color the bartender had called a “Rainbow Sunrise.” She nodded her thanks, paid her money, and escaped to the top deck.
The top deck was open and breezy, and populated mostly by couples. The pairs of women walked leisurely around the deck engrossed in quiet, intimate conversations. She had made eye contact with a few, but no one moved to talk to her.
Maybe I’m just not cut out for this, Connie thought sullenly. Dating wasn’t a problem usually. It was the unattached searching between that she could do without. She tended, she realized, to stumble over her prospects. Brad, Michael, Harry, Josh and, she admitted, definitely Kate. She inhaled, the mind-blowing first-time experience with the woman seldom far from her thoughts. The whole reason she had come to this all-woman cruise, to figure out what happened next.
Did she even know the games? Solemnly she downed the remains of her drink and studied the refracting moonlight through the curved surface.
Connie turned her head to see a woman with brown curly hair in a ponytail. She wore a half-smile under light brown eyes. Her outfit was a braided blue wool turtleneck and dark blue, perhaps even black, slim-fit jeans and cross-trainer athletic shoes. Connie had seen almost no jeans among the attendees and wondered at the woman’s choice. Then she noticed the woman looked a bit younger than most of the other cruisers, probably not yet thirty years old.
So Many Ways is free to Kindle Unlimited users and a 99-cent introduction to my storytelling style. I hope you enjoy! (reviews are love)