Choices by patricia51©
(Note: Written by an internet friend of ours who has, darn it, retired from writing original erotica but has given us permission to post her stories as long as they are listed under her penname, which of course we would never dream of doing any other way.)
Barbara Clausen woke with the first light of dawn as it crept through the curtains. Moving slowly and carefully, she slipped from under the sheet and swung her feet to the floor. She stood and tip-toed to the chair where her clothing lay. She donned her dress, picked up her underwear, pantyhose, shoes and purse and left.
She stood in the bedroom doorway and looked back at the bed. Lee's dark hair was s**ttered over her pillow, hiding her face. The sheet had slipped down, exposing one bare shoulder. A shapely leg was uncovered, all the way from the toes to near the top of her thigh. Barb drank in the view, knowing that last night she had tried to possess and be possessed by every inch of the woman asl**p before her.
The urge to return to the bed, to wake Lee and take her in her arms was so strong that Barb took two steps towards the bed. Then common sense took over. If she was going to preserve her secret she needed to be gone before the neighboring apartments woke up. She needed to get her Mercedes convertible out of the parking lot. It stood out among the many older vehicles driven by the college students and secretarial workers who mostly lived in this complex.
Carefully she locked the door behind her and walked barefoot down to her car. She slipped behind the wheel and drove off slowly, the remainder of her clothing piled neatly on the passenger's seat. But then she always did everything neatly, precisely, calmly. Everything except Lee.
What was she going to do? She was 54 years old, a partner in one of the most prestigious law firms in the city. "Johnstone, Bridger, Seterin, Hitchcock and Associates" was notoriously straight-laced. Corporate law-firms were like that. Junior partner or not, an affair with someone half her age AND from the pool of secretaries and paralegals AND another female could conceivably see her tossed out on her ear if it came to light. Her lips tightened. And that wasn't fair. Nathaniel, one of the founding partners, could sl**p with several of the females in the office, even though he was married, and get away with it. Men still had a lot more leeway. They had "commendable vigor". Women were "sluts".
Barb was divorced, had been for years, ever since their younger c***d had entered college. Shortly after returning from seeing her settled, her husband, a highly successful vice-president of an investment firm, had announced that it was time to start enjoying life. It was time to start traveling and seeing the exotic locations of the world. And it was time for him to be doing that with a young, sexy woman for a wife.
Barb had been surprised, but not shocked. The marriage had long ago been reduced to two people living under the same roof. She was surprised that he already had his trophy wife picked out. With the proposed division of assets leaving her in good shape, and realizing that it really was time for the two of them to go their separate ways, she had acquiesced.
Her ex-husband was still at his job. In fact, he was back to working 12 hour days 6 days a week as his trophy wife, and then her replacement, had both managed to eat up a great deal of his capital on jewelry, cars and boyfriends before he had woke up and jettisoned them. Barb had briefly considered his half-joking suggestion that they get back together. She certainly didn't hate him, in fact she not only felt sorry for him and wished he hadn't been taken, but retained good memories of their early years together. But there was no point in trying to find a spark in ashes that had been cold even before they separated.
Barb had dated occasionally and occasionally taken one of those dates to bed. None of those times had been serious. She had just wanted someone warm to wake up with every now and then, and every now and then some sexual relief that she didn't have to produce on her own.
Then she had met Lee. She had debated a long time before deciding to attend the Christmas Party. She knew from long experience that someone would get d***k, someone would make a scene, and someone she would want to avoid would try to maneuver her under the mistletoe or into an unoccupied office. She thought of just skipping the whole thing. She thought of asking her ex to go with her. She ended up donning her little black dress and going solo.
The whole evening was pretty much as she expected it. She said hello to the right people and shook the right hands. She managed to escape from the party on the top floor with the senior partners after only a single attempt to work her into a dark corner. Not in the mood to go home to her empty house, she went down three floors to where the regular staff was relaxing on the company's largess.
She had a much better time there. She circulated, chatting with the different people there. Barb genuinely liked people and found no difficulties in being pleasant and interested in the ones who did the yeoman's work of keeping the company running. She told stories and jokes and drew people from the walls and worked them into the groups.
Her eye was caught by a young woman sitting quietly in a corner. Dark-haired and attractive, she looked to be in her early twenties. She was simply dressed in a skirt and a blouse, not expensive but nice. Barb, between groups at the moment, walked over and smiled at her.
"I'd ask if you were having a good time but I'm pretty sure you're not."
The young woman shot to her feet. "Oh Hello, Miss Clausen. I didn't see you coming."
"Please, its the Christmas Party. Tomorrow we'll have to go back to being stuffy but tonight would you please call me 'Barb'? And you are Lee, you're a paralegal and I'm embarrassed to admit I've forgotten your last name."
"Its Waters, Miss Clausen. Lee Waters."
"Nice to meet you Lee, again," Barb laughed as she held out her hand. "And its 'Barb' please Lee, especially on a night like this. 'Miss Clausen' reminds me I'm old and single."
"Well nonsense, Barb," Lee responded rather vigorously as the two women shook hands. For a moment it seemed that Lee's hand was clinging to Barb's, and that it felt good to have it do that. "You're not even old, and as for single, well, that just shows that there are a lot of silly people in the world."
"Thank you." Barb studied the young woman. She was very attractive, with long dark hair and dark eyes. She seemed shy, but with a wistful look in her eyes that Barb couldn't identify.
Wistful, Barb wasn't sure how to handle, but shy was something she understood. One of the hurdles she had in becoming a lawyer was an almost paralyzing fear of public speaking. She had overcome it, but it always lurked in the back of her mind. So she hiked herself up on a corner of the nearest desk and began a conversation with the young woman.
In short order she found that Lee was from California, was single and not dating anyone, and had dreams of going on to become a lawyer herself. That really interested Barb and she engaged Lee in a very animated discussion about law school and getting the younger woman admitted one day.
By now Lee had relaxed and the two of them were chatting like old friends. Barb was slightly puzzled by the glances that Lee kept darting at her. Those glances seemed to take in her whole body, almost lingering on her at times. Barb dismissed the thought as the discussion turned to the other lawyers in the firm and to Barb herself. Lee confided a few gripes that the hourly workers had with those lawyers.
"I've never seen any sign of disgruntlement among the employees," Barb said in puzzlement in reply to a comment by Lee about the Partners.
"But you're one of the nice ones," Lee responded. "We don't go around posting comments, of course, but if you cornered most anyone down here, we all agree. We enjoy working with you. You treat the secretaries and paralegals and even the messengers like people, not like tools."
Barb was flattered "Nice is always good. I never have seen any reason to be a prima-donna. Its not my style."
Lee started to say something and then stopped. Curious, Barb asked "What is it Lee?"
"Come on," Barb teased a bit. "The party has moved on. We're sitting here all by ourselves now. I promise I won't tell on you."
"Okay then." Lee took Barb's hand again and took a deep breath. "I just wanted to tell you, God, you are so beautiful." The younger woman's fingers stroked Barb's palm, making her shiver.
Barb opened her mouth to answer, and found she couldn't. The light in the dark eyes before her was sincere, Lee's whole attitude that of interest, respect and something else that made little chills chase themselves up and down her back.
Still holding Barb's hand, Lee pulled the older woman down a hallway and into a vacant room. The only illumination was from the city lights coming through the windows, but it was enough to see Lee stop and turn to face her. The younger woman opened her mouth, and then closed it as though she couldn't get out the words she wanted to say.
Barb found that she was holding her breath, waiting for, for whatever might come next. She licked her lips in strange anticipation.
Lee leaned forward and kissed Barb. It was a quick kiss, no more than a brushing of the lips. Then the young woman pulled back. There was uncertainty and even fear in her eyes as though she was scared of the line she had just crossed. That fear faded as she seemed to find something in Barb's eyes, for the young paralegal took one quick step forward and her arms went around Barb as she once again kissed the lady lawyer.
This time the kiss was no mere touching of lips. Mouths opened and Lee's tongue slipped between Barb's lips and began to explore. Barb's arms went around Lee and the two women embraced fiercely. Barb moaned at the urgency of the young woman plastered against her.
Footsteps and voices echoed from the hallway. The two women sprang apart, both holding their breath until the sounds faded away. Without looking at each other, first Barb and then Lee slipped out the door. When they reached the main room, nearly empty now, one went left and the other right. Barb went immediately to the elevators and down to the garage.
Barb sat in her car, her eyes unfocused. What the hell was she doing? What if someone had walked into that office and seen her kissing that young woman? It could mean the end of her career. And yet, something stirred deeply inside her when she thought of the warmth of that firm body against her own. u*********sly she reached up and touched her lips.
The sound of the passenger door opening nearly made her jump out of her skin. She turned her startled gaze to that side just in time to see Lee climb into the seat and close the door. The young woman glared at her, a mixture of defiance and desire in her eyes.
"Where are we going?" Barb replied, torn between amusement and a rising realization that she wanted to be going someplace, any place with this young woman.
"To your place," said Lee. "I'm going to make love to you tonight, in your bed and you're going to wake up in my arms in the morning. After that. we'll see."
Astonished, Barb never offered a word in opposition. She drove carefully, but with increasing speed to her apartment building. She ushered Lee into the elevator, where they stood close enough that Barb fancied Lee could hear her heart beat. Then she was unlocking the door, leading Lee through it into the foyer and almost slamming it behind them.
"Where is it?" Demanded Lee.
"Where is what?" said Barb, bemused.
"Your bedroom of course."
"Are you always this forward?" Barb asked in curiosity, even as she led the way to her bedroom.
"No, I'm not." Amazingly Lee blushed. "But I can't help it tonight. I've been attracted to you ever since I came to work there. I finally screwed my courage to the sticking point when you came up to say hello tonight. And I'm NOT letting go now."
Barb hesitated after she entered the bedroom. Did she REALLY want to do this? Just as she decided "Yes", she felt a gentle touch at her neck. Then her dress was falling to her feet and a firm body pressed up against her. Arms encircled her and a voice whispered in her ear.
"Aren't you naughty? Black lace everywhere. Black bra and black panties. I saw you when you arrived at the office tonight and wondered what you had on under that dress." Barb twisted her head in surprise to look at Lee's wickedly smiling face.
"Oh yes, I was lurking and saw you when you got there. How do you think I knew where you had parked? I've been hoping for an opportunity like this for months." Lee pulled Barb back against her and began to rub herself on the older woman. Barb felt the warmth of Lee's body touching her all over; the back of her thighs, a dampness that pressed against the satin panties covering her ass. When she realized that Lee's bare breasts were molded against her back she twisted her head again.
"You're naked. When in the world?" Barb's astonished question was stopped by Lee's lips finding her own. Turning open-mouthed at once, the kiss deepened, becoming passionate. Barb gasped as a quick flick of Lee's fingers unhooked her bra and then pushed it down her arms. Lee slipped her lips from Barb's to drop down to the older woman's neck and lick rapidly up to her ear. At the same time she ran her hands over Barb's stomach and then down between her legs.
"I undressed coming down the hall," whispered Lee as she pressed her tongue into Barb's ear. "I didn't want to waste anytime undressing you and getting you to that bed."
Making good on her promise, Lee all but dragged Barb to the Queen-size four poster bed and toppled the older woman into it. Pausing only to set her pocketbook down on the nightstand, an action that Barb found interesting and almost humorous as the young woman was completely nude except for that item, Lee sprang on top of Barb and rained kisses all over her face.
"God, I want you so badly. I want to taste you. Lee sat back on her legs. Her hands darted to Barb's panties. Lifting her hips, Barb helped Lee pull them down and cast them aside the instant they were free. Lee seized Barb's leg and rained quick kisses on it all the way from the painted toenails up the inside until she reached the already flowing junction of those legs. Falling forward, Lee buried her face in Barb, licking and sucking the juices that were already flowing from the squirming older woman.
Barb muffled a scream. Her ex hadn't gone down on her in years and years before their divorce and neither had any of the occasional one-nighters she had since then. And it had been literally decades since she had been with another woman. She had forgotten how good it was. She twisted and turned, reaching above her head to grasp the heavy wood bedposts.
Lee's tongue was a wild a****l in her, darting here and pressing there, first plunging deeply inside her and then riding along her open slit to tease and lash her swollen clit. Just as Barb felt herself building, Lee lifted her head and stretched out an arm for the pocketbook on the nightstand.
"Roll on your side," the young woman commanded. When Barb complied, Lee spooned against her back. One arm slid under her and the fingers crept over her breast. A long slender leg hooked over her upper one and pulled it back, exposing her flowing pussy.
"I have something for you," whispered Lee. As though she was performing a magic trick, she flicked her hand and brought a slender golden colored dildo before Barb's eyes. "Why don't you kiss it lover," the soft voice suggested. "Kiss it, lick it, suck on it. Get it as wet as you are before I take you with it."
Barb's only reply was to slide her lips over the shinning toy. Once, twice, three times her head sank down over it before her lover pulled it away. There was a momentary protest from Barb before Lee dropped her hand and in one motion slid the rigid shaft up inside the mature pussy. Once there, Lee wiggled it back and forth before beginning to pump it in and out, pushing it deeply into Barb. As she did so she began to whisper.
"Is this the bed your ex-husband used to fuck you in?" When Barb moaned in agreement, Lee laughed deep in her throat. "I bet he wouldn't believe this if he saw it. What would he think if he saw a young woman fucking his ex-wife in this bed?" Lee slid further over on top of Barb, her hand pumping the dildo in and out of Barb's soaking wet pussy. "Would he just stare? Would he run away? Would he realize what a fool he was leaving you, leaving you to give yourself to a 23 year old lesbian in this very bed?"
Barb could make no reply. Her body was going wild. Lee suddenly plucked the dildo from her pussy and tossed it aside as she rolled on top of the older woman and completely covered her.
"Now I'm going to fuck you with me," Lee moaned into Barb's ear. She pushed Barb's legs wide open with her knees and pressed her young pussy against the lady lawyer's older one. As excited as both women were, it was only a matter of minutes before the girl-fuck brought both of them to the brink and sent them sailing over it.
Barb woke up the next morning, in Lee's arms as promised. They made love again, this time the older woman going down on the twenty three year old. Lee moaned and begged and praised her mature lover before filling her eager mouth with a stream of female nectar.
Thus it began. Lee was always excited at making love in Barb's apartment, in Barb's bed. At the same time, she also loved having the lawyer sneak into her two bedroom apartment near the college, right past the platonic male friend she shared it with.
Barb was lost in this new relationship. Lee was not her first experience with another female. She had experimented in college, kissing and making out with first her roommate and later a couple of different girls she knew. Her first real lesbian encounter was with the older s****r of a friend. They met at a party and she woke up the next morning in bed with her seductress. The experience was enjoyable enough that she ended up the next morning still in bed with that same woman. However she had never really considered being in a serious relationship with another female.
Part of the attraction certainly was Lee's unbridled spontaneity. When passion took her, she acted on it and carried Barb right along with her. She had learned not to be surprised when the mood might take Lee and where she would carry the two of them. For someone who had always lived her life making lists and methodically checking the items off in order, Lee was a fresh breath of air. At first it was a bit frightening, but in a delicious way, and Barb learned to revel in the freedom.
One afternoon Barb had been in the main Ladies Room, repairing her make-up after a trek to and from court in the stifling summer heat. She had heard the door close and the light footsteps, but had thought nothing of it until she was spun around. A pair of arms went around her neck and a tongue darted between her lips, even as she recognized Lee's perfume.
"God, I've missed you," whispered the young woman.
"My God," Barb had whispered back, even as Lee moved one hand from around her neck to cup and gently squeeze her breast. "What if somebody comes in?" It never occurred to her to tell Lee "No".
Lee pushed Barb back to the other wall and resumed kissing her. Her right hand slid inside Barb's blouse and then dipped inside the lace bra. Her left hand fumbled at the knob of the storage closet. Twisting and pulling the door open, Lee all but shoved her older lover inside and closed the door after them.
"Did you lock the door for heaven's sake?"
"Oh no," replied Lee as she abandoned Barb's lips and kissed down to where her fingers had undone the white blouse. She ran her tongue over the white flesh exposed above the black lace. Her hands reached down and hoisted Barb's skirt. Because of the heat, Barb had elected to go bare-legged, although she usually wore pantyhose. Lee's fingers ran up the inside of Barb's thigh and hooked in the hem of her panties, pulling them aside.
Barb swallowed a deep moan when Lee's finger began to stoke her open, and already quite wet, slit. That finger curled and then dipped inside her. A second one followed, the pair of them spreading inside her pussy. They plunged in and out as Barb sagged against the back wall, half falling against it, half pinned there by the athletic body of her lover.
The older woman stiffened as the outer door opened and closed again to the accompaniment of voices. Lee never slowed down. Indeed, she fingered Barb faster and added her thumb on an already hard clit. All during the noises in the outer room, the sound of the plumbing, the rush of water in the sinks, the conversation of the women, Lee continued to finger fuck her.
Teeth closed on her earlobe and bit gently. A tongue dipped into her ear. Warm breath made her shiver even as she desperately stifled a moan. Her hips moved in time to the motion of Lee's fingers in and out of her. Lee's whispered words poured into her.
"You like that don't you? You know that you're mine, that I can, do this and you love it. You can't tell me 'Stop', you can't push me away." Barb arched as the first spasm ran through her body, bit her lip, and then sagged and buried her face against Lee's neck.
"You," Barb whispered when she had regained control over herself. "What you do to me."
"I know," giggled Lee. She lifted her dripping fingers and sucked first one, then the other. "I love doing things to you." She opened the door a tiny crack and peeked out. Certain that the coast was clear, she slipped through. She hesitated, then, without looking back she murmured "And I love you."
Barb was so surprised she simply stepped out into the main room and stood still, barely managing to keep her mouth from falling open. She managed to mechanically reply to the greetings from a pair of secretaries but she could not remember two minutes later who they were nor what she might have said to them.
Love? LOVE? Why, that was absurd. Wasn't it?
All those memories passed through Barb's mind as she drove home that morning. She thought about them as she showered and dressed for another day at the office. Looking around the carefully furnished rooms, she was struck by a thought. The only hints of color in the otherwise boringly perfect furnishings had been supplied by Lee. The bold painting she had hung in the living room, alive with yellow and red. The riotous flower arrangement that decorated the dining room table, the bright curtains hung over the French doors leading to the balcony, all had been at Lee's urging. She brought color and excitement into Barb's life.
She parked at the office, took the elevator from the garage to the main floor. She made for an opening door with the "Going Up" arrow already lit as the people riding down came out. She stopped in shock as one of those people was Lee. Lee holding a big cardboard box full of her possessions.
"What in the world?" Barb demanded.
Lee's eyes opened and she turned pale. She started to speak and then suddenly turned and bolted, first towards the elevator bank that led to the parking garage before she swerved and ducked through the stairway door.
Barb never hesitated. She immediately took off after Lee. Going through the door, she stopped just long enough to pull her heels off. Then she ran down two flights of stairs, through the metal door into the garage and down a line of cars until she came to Lee's six year old Chevy. The younger woman was trying to push the cardboard box into the back seat. Finally succeeding, she turned just as Barb arrived. Her eyes opened.
"Yes, I know where you park too," Barb informed her. Her tone softened. "Now, Lee Ann Waters, WHAT is going on?"
Lee's eyes dropped. "I'm sorry. I wanted to be out of here before you arrived."
"I guessed that, but why? Why are you leaving and where are you going?"
"I don't know where I'm going. As for why, when I got here this morning I had a message to go see Mr. Bridger, first thing. He talked to me, about us, about you."
"Did he fire you?" Barb demanded angrily.
"Nooooooo," Lee sobbed, her eyes filling with tears. "He made me see though what harm I was causing to you, to your career. I could ruin you. You'd never make senior partner, you might not even keep your junior partnership if it became public that you were involved with a younger employee, and another woman at that."
Barb's anger swelled up in her. She managed to fight it down. "He said that did he?" When Lee nodded, Barb leaned forward. She put her arms around her lover and kissed her, softly but urgently and with passion. Lee's eyes widened and in spite of herself she returned the kiss.
"Now then," Barb said crisply when she took her lips away. "You go to your apartment and wait for me. I'll be there shortly."
"Barbara! Don't do anything foolish."
Barb smiled. "No sweetheart, I won't. Now go. And by the way," Lee looked inquiringly as she stopped her entry into the car, "I love you too."
The fire in Barb's eyes kept anyone from stopping her as she marched down the hallway on the 17th floor. As she passed through Nathaniel's outer office, his executive assistant and girl-on-the-side Pamela sprang to her feet but only managed to stammer "Miss Clausen, Mister Bridger is expecting..." before Barb flung open the inner door and disappeared inside. Pamela scampered to close it quickly behind the angry female lawyer.
Nathaniel Bridger turned from the window. "You made it faster than I thought you would Barbara. Now, before you explode, sit down, calm down and listen to what I have to say."
Barb managed to keep her mouth shut but refused to sit in the offered chair. Instead she folded her arms over her chest and lifted one eyebrow.
"You are thinking that your girlfriend and you are being treated unfairly. You are perfectly aware that I have a trophy wife who's 25 years younger than me and I also see Pamela out there on a regular basis. You feel like you're being discriminated against, and you are.
"Its NOT right and its not fair. And this is how the world works. My wife and my, you might as well say it, mistress, out there each know what's going on and they accept it. There's no love lost, but they, particularly Rosemary my wife, know that things are better off if they don't rock the boat. Its accepted behavior, even at this stodgy old law firm.
"But YOU are breaking the rules, unwritten though they are. You're emotionally involved and in a lesbian relationship. 'What's the difference?', you might ask. There shouldn't be any but there is. My arrangement is common enough and winked at. Yours is not. If we were a criminal defense outfit or some hot-shot legal firm, having a Lesbian Senior Partner might be a plus. But not here, not in high society corporate law.
"You might be thinking about bringing suit for unfair dismissal. After all, it IS unfair. But she wasn't fired, she quit. And she did it for you. It was quite high minded of her, but you expect that of youth. You on the other hand, are old enough you need to stop and think. You might win, but your career would be ended. There are enough subtle, non-confrontational ways to keep you from ever advancing, getting the good cases, or hell, even a raise. Barbara, you know how the system works."
"Think of it, Barbara," urged Nathaniel in his most persuasive voice, the one that had swayed juries and judges for decades. "The corner office you've worked for all your life can be yours. Senior partnership in a year, two at the most. Real power, money. We NEED you. Maybe in some ways you are a symbolic female lawyer, yes, but a you are a damn good attorney who makes us a lot of money. Don't toss it all aside over some young thing." He smiled. "Believe me, I know it makes you feel good to have a young lover on the side, but is worth throwing all this away for?"
Barb scooped the signed papers together and tucked them into the manila folder. She shook hands with the trio of visitors and e****ted them from her office to the front door.
"I'll have everything filed at the courthouse today. You're in business."
"Thank you again," said the oldest member of three. "Its wonderful to find an attorney like you who can handle all of our legal issues." He smiled. "And doesn't charge an arm and a leg."
Barb laughed. "Well, arms and legs aren't my business. I'm not into ambulance chasing. I prefer handling everyday issues for small businesses and individuals."
"Regardless," said the one woman client. "Thank you."
Barb started to close the door. She stopped and studied the words engraved on the sign hanging beside the three steps leading up to the door.
"Barbara Clausen". Underneath her name was "Attorney At Law". She smiled and looked over the busy street in front of her office. It was nice not riding the elevator 15 stories in the air, nice to be able walk down the street for lunch at a local restaurant and chat about local issues with people she saw everyday. Nice to help those people with wills and contracts and the things that ordinary people needed a lawyer for.
She stepped out and looked up. The old Victorian house was split with three other professionals. Each self-contained office had its own stairway to the two upper floors and an entrance to the attic. Sited in the heart of the old Colonial District, trees hung with Spanish Moss shaded the building. Tourists and students from the nearby art college strolled or relaxed in the grassy square.
Coming back in, she closed the door and turned to the desk of her assistant, secretary, paralegal, confidant and partner. That individual had perched herself on the front edge of that desk, her legs swinging freely. She held Barb's day-planner.
"Nice work," smiled Lee.
"Pays the bills. What do we have the rest of the day?"
"We have a real-estate closing at three. I have the Detricks' guardianship papers drawn up for filing. Of course that doesn't pay the bills, we're doing that pro-bono. Not that I would have it any other way," Lee added with a warm smile. "They are nice c***dren and getting them placed permanently with the Uncle they really love after their mother's death is wonderful."
"Any thing else? Its only eleven AM."
"In fact, yes." Lee hopped down from the table. She locked the door and turned around. "I think its time for lunch. Upstairs in our apartment, in the room we converted into a solarium. We can spread a tablecloth on the floor along with some pillows, open the windows and enjoy the breeze." Lee started for the stairs and looked over her shoulder. "And if you hurry, you can have desert too." Her fingers opened, letting a scrap of black lace fall as she started up the staircase.
Barb picked up the black thong and smiled. There was no doubt her choice had been the right one in every way. Eagerly she started after her partner. A partner she would have for the rest of her life.