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In part five I’ve jumped forward three weeks, bearing in mind that this needs be a shorter version than the planned novel/novella. To summarise though, Stella and Evie are settling down a little now that Stella has come to terms with her past, somewhat. Mei Lin has started her course at uni and is working part time for Stella as an office temp and still hasn’t gone on a date with Stevie yet. Linda and Caroline are drawing closer together however, which gives Mei Lin a ringside seat to their growing mutual attraction.
Author’s note. For those outside Australia, the TAB is a national betting agency where punters bet on horses and football for the most part. Because of the large amounts of cash on the premises they have been seen as a soft target by armed robbers.
Three weeks later, Friday morning.
Stella finished tying the tie and examined her reflection in the mirror. The blouse was made of satin and came with the red satin tie, the garment had charcoal-coloured whirls spread over it, she also wore a black trouser suit with charcoal-coloured pinstripes. The suit was definitely court attire, the blouse however was more office attire and this morning she had to be in court, she fiddled with the tie and went through her arguments and counter arguments again. It was a routine she did every time she went to court, she’d done it for years and yet the curved ball she’d just been thrown three days ago had seen her scrambling to pick up the pieces. She picked up a brush and ran it through her hair one last time as she heard footfalls at the door and a light tap.
“Come in if you’re decent.”
“Sorry,” Mei Lin opened the door and stepped inside.
Stella smiled as she stared at Mei Lin’s white blouse and red tie, they were paired with a smart grey trouser suit she’d bought with her first pay. The previous night had seen Nicki taking more pictures of Mei Lin with the theme being menswear, specifically ties. They’d borrowed a couple of Stella’s ties last night as well, one of them being a red one.
“You’re wearing my tie, again.”
“Um, yeah, is that okay?”
“Of course it’s okay,” she adjusted her own tie, “you look very smart today.”
“I thought I’d try it out today.”
“Why the hell not,” Stella reached for her jacket, “is that all?”
“Um, do you want coffee and toast?”
“Sooner or later you’ll learn to stop starting every question to me with um, it makes me feel like I’m some dominatrix. Be firm, be polite, but don’t be nervous and yes, I would love coffee and toast,” she smiled.
Mei Lin nodded as she looked at Stella.
“That looks nice,” Mei Lin stared at her, “I haven’t seen you wear that one before, I thought you were going to court today?”
“I am,” Stella stared at herself in the mirror, “I only wear this when I’m on warpath and today I’m as mad as hell after that bastard dropped a bucket of shit in my lap.”
“Oh, right,” Mei Lin nudged at her glasses, “thanks for the warning but you shouldn’t just wear it when you’re mad, it is pretty.”
“That’s much better,” Stella grinned, “you didn’t use the word um once.”
Mei Lin backed out of the room and closed the door again.
Stella contemplated her outfit again. Normally she wore white, black or a more neutral colour blouse but today she was on the warpath after one of her old clients had changed his plea from guilty to not guilty. She’d gone over the consequences of such a plea several times. He’d been found with a sawn off shotgun across his lap outside a 7-Eleven store in Coburg. The bag of money he’d just taken from a TAB a few suburbs across was at his feet, he’d been caught on the betting shop’s CCTV demanding money at the point of a gun, the stocking mask might have covered his features if not for the fact that they were sheer stockings.
What he hadn’t realised was that a police informant had told police that Danny was the man responsible for a string of TAB robberies. They’d already tapped his phone and installed a GPS tracking device on the car he’d stolen the night before the robbery. It had been a simple matter to let him carry out the robbery. A Special Operations unit trailed him at a discreet pace whilst his mate, Paul ‘Brocky’ Matheson weaved in and out of traffic all the way to Coburg where he’d veered into the 7-Eleven to get some cigarettes. With the car parked out of view of the counter the police swooped, collaring Danny, but an innate sixth sense had prompted Matheson to turn left instead of right when he came out of the store and he’d jumped a front yard fence and then carried on jumping fences until he was out of reach.
A search of the area turned out to be fruitless and when Matheson was caught at his local pub, Danny refused to give him up and Matheson had a ‘watertight’ alibi in the form of his wife who swore ‘on her mother’s grave’ that she had been making sweet passionate love to Matheson at the time of the robbery.
Stella adjusted the knot and glanced over at the door as Evie entered. She still had a towel wrapped around her naked body and another wrapped around her head.
“Ooh, hot poker oyna to trot,” she grinned, “the lady in red has nothing on you today.”
“Thanks,” she rose and picking up the black jacket, slipped her hands through the sleeves and pulled it over her shoulders.
“I’m on the warpath today,” she turned to face her, “one of my old clients is up before the beak today and he’s gone and changed his fucking plea, which leaves me with my arse hanging in the wind.”
“Is there anything I can do to help?”
“Sadly no,” she sighed, “it’s his decision but by shitting in his own nest he’s hung himself out to dry because I can’t do shit with that plea. If I could convince his second wife to let their daughter come into the holding cell it might swing him back the other way but the ex won’t go near him unless he’s truly reformed.
“How old’s the daughter?” Evie pulled the towel away and tossed it on the bed.
“A few years younger than Mei Lin,” she sat on the bed.
“So, why don’t you take Mei Lin in with you?” Evie opened the wardrobe door and flicked through the few clothes she’d brought from her place over the last few weeks.
“He’s in the holding cell, with other prisoners.”
“And?” Evie glanced over her shoulder as she plucked down a gold satin blouse, “they’re chained up aren’t they?”
“Yeah, they are.”
“So, what’s the problem, it’s not like you’re throwing her in at the deep end. Maybe seeing a chick close to his daughter’s age might give you the edge.”
“I couldn’t do it to her.”
“Will you stop that?” Evie slipped her hands into the sleeves, “stop treating her like a child, she’s nineteen years old, she’s trying to make a go of things but if you keep on holding her hand metaphorically speaking she’ll never grow,” she started buttoning the blouse as she continued, “but hey, I’m just giving you my opinion, you just have to ask her.”
Stella opened her mouth to say something and then thought better of it.
“Shit,” she rose and walked towards her, “I’m sorry, you’re right.”
“I’m right?” Evie looked up as she finished buttoning her blouse, “maybe I’m wrong but if you’re struggling for a way out of your problem then try something new. What is my uncle Peter says?” Evie looked past her.
“The definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result,” Stella replied, “he’s said that a few times.”
“So, try something new,” Evie leaned over and kissed her on the lips, “I love you.”
She pulled back and adjusted Stella’s tie slightly.
“Make sure you wear this when you come to my place tonight.”
“Because,” their eyes met, “I’m going to undress you, slowly,” she drew her fingers down Stella’s front, “and then I’m going to suck your nipples and lick your clit. I bought a new dildo the other day and it hasn’t been used yet, it’s got a clitoral vibrator.”
She reached around and squeezed Stella’s buttocks firmly.
“Now go get ’em, lover girl.”
Mei Lin greeted her with a smile as she entered the kitchen. Stella eyed the coffee and toast, Mei Lin made breakfast for them every time she went to work.
Don’t treat her like a child.
Stella returned the smile and picked up the coffee.
Could it work?
Danny’s daughter from his second marriage was a few years younger than Mei Lin and whilst his current partner had a fine criminal pedigree, his second wife was the polar opposite. She had been his lawyer until they got involved in a whirlwind relationship that ended when police arrested him and questioned her. Whilst she was still at the bar, she’d been sidelined to the magistrate’s circuit out in the outer east. She’d only recently agreed to let Danny have visiting rights if he made a conscious effort to reform.
Danny was a tough client, one of the last of the old school armed robbers, he’d been in jail for thirty years in total, but despite his tough exterior Danny had a touch of the gentleman about him. He opened doors for women and always appeared quiet and unruffled, he’d even flirted with Stella when she represented him some four years ago. When she’d firmly rebuffed him he took it on the chin with a wink and a smile.
“Can’t blame a man for trying.”
It was only when they were driving to work that Stella finally came to a decision.
“How’d you like to skip your morning duties and come help me with an old client?” Stella turned down the music.
“Sure, of course,” Mei Lin nudged her glasses further up her nose.
“Well before you volunteer anything let me run you through the scenario.”
It took the better part of fifteen minutes to give her the background information and then Stella explained Mei Lin’s part.
“What I’m hoping for is that your presence might jog his memory, his daughter is a few years younger than you but if he does his time then he’ll be out on good behaviour in time for her eighteenth birthday.”
“Besides,” she continued, “it’ll give you the inside track on what we do in court. So far you’ve done a lot of paperwork and while that’s a necessary canlı poker oyna part of the job, seeing what we do up close and personal is kind of important too.”
Mei Lin merely nodded as she stared out the window, trying to process this sudden change in her daily routine. There had been a lot of changes to go through these last few weeks and arguably, moving house had been the easiest thing to do.
One of the most obvious differences was the fact that the women she spent the most time with were progressive and worldly wise. It showed in their language, which could be quite colourful and the subjects they discussed, anything from sex to politics and fashion. They could start with fashion or makeup regimes and wind up discussing tonguing v.s dildo penetration. It was a far cry from the more sedate conversations around the family table and that openness also unearthed another issue, her reaction when exposed to nudity.
Stella was pretty much like her, she got changed with the door more or less closed and she had her own bathroom but Nicki seemed to think nothing of walking from the bedroom to the kitchen wearing little more than a bra or panties, and a couple of times she was just wearing her panties. The first time it happened, Nicki apologised for doing her Lady Godiva impersonation but since then she’d just wander about the house wearing as little as possible. So far, Mei Lin had managed to maintain her façade, but it was still a struggle because now she was in a place where the rules had changed. Being gay just wasn’t an issue, neither was being straight.
And when it came to lesbian love, Mei Lin had walked in on Stella and Evie kissing on the couch several times. The first time it happened she apologised, much to their amusement and she’d felt a mixture of excitement and fear when she took a seat. Granted they stopped that time but since then she’d not only walked in on them but also Nicki and Roberta. The relationship with Amanda had come to an end when Nicki laid down the law one last time, and when Amanda threatened to leave her Nicki just said, “fine, but don’t slam the door when you leave.”
Mei Lin glanced over at Stella as they drove along St Kilda Road. The older woman still cast a spell on her that Mei Lin found difficult to quantify, she was both big sister and mother all at once, could she also become something else and how would that complicate things?
But there were no answers to her questions merely more questions. She reverted to her daily routine whenever she was working with Stella and went back to checking her social media pages. Last nights shoot had already gone live and judging by the comments, likes and new followers it had been a successful one. She’d worn three suits, two of them were trouser suits and the third was a black skirt suit with a few different blouses and several ties. The theme Nicki had chosen was breaking the glass ceiling and whilst she had taken dozens of pictures for her school assignment, only a select few were on Mei Lin’s Instagram.
She nudged her glasses as a new comment from Stevie appeared.
Stevie: Love the red tie! Can I PM you now?
Mei Lin brought up Stevie’s number on her phone and tapped out a message.
Mei Lin: On my way to work with Stella. Glad you liked the picture. What’s on your mind?
Stevie: On my way to Torquay to pick up the pup I told you about the other week. Um, I was wondering if we could drop in on the way back tonight?
Mei Lin glanced at Stella as she tapped out a reply.
Mei Lin: Don’t use the word um in front of a sentence I’ve just been told and yeah sure, what time would you be coming around?
Stevie: About 6:00 be okay? Mia has something to ask Nicki and I need to see you about something. We won’t be there long, I’ve got something on my mind and I need to bounce it off you.
Mei Lin frowned as she read the message again.
Mei Lin: Sure, it sounds a bit mysterious but I’ll be home from 5:30 onwards providing we aren’t held up at work but Nicki will be home from 3:00.
Stevie: Great! Have a great day at work.
Mei Lin: Drive safely x
“That’s weird,” Mei Lin murmured.
“What’s weird?” Stella glanced at her, “the guy standing at the traffic lights in a polka dot dress or is it something else?”
“Huh?” Mei Lin looked up at an overweight man dressed in a polka dot dress, “ew, that is nasty.”
“Yeah, the red cocktail dress would have looked much nicer,” she chuckled.
“It’s Stevie,” she spoke again, “she’s coming around to our place with Mia to see Nicki about something but she also wants to bounce an idea off me. They’re off to Torquay to pick up a pup that Mia’s mum offered to Stevie a few weeks ago.”
“Stevie?” Stella frowned, “who is she again? The name is familiar.”
“The lead guitarist for Lesbomania? She helped me and Nicki move in a few weeks ago?”
“Oh, yeah, slim girl, blonde hair?”
“She’s the lead guitarist,” Mei Lin held her phone up a few moments later to show a picture of the band, “she’s the one with her arm around Mia, the woman with the red internet casino hair.”
Stella glanced at the picture and nodded.
“Is that her girlfriend?”
“She’s the lead singer, she’s the straight one.”
“Cute,” Stella grinned, “a straight girl fronting a band called Lesbomania, you gotta hand it to the gays, we’ll take you every which way but loose. Is Stevie with anyone?”
“No, she was with Donna but they broke up, which is why Mia’s mum offered her the pup as company. She’s been putting it off but it looks like Mia has finally talked her into going to Torquay, Mia’s mum moved there with her girlfriend after she broke up with Mia’s dad.”
“My mum got into a lesbian relationship after she broke up with my dad, not that it turned me gay,” she changed gear.
“I was just more attracted to girls than boys,” she replied, “it wasn’t some bolt of lightning thing, I liked boys, don’t get me wrong but I didn’t like them the same way my girlfriends liked them. The only difference for me was that when I told mum she understood because she’d gone through it when she was a little older than me,” Stella glanced in the rear view mirror, “so, have you got your eye on anyone or are you just kicking back?”
“Kind of,” she stared out the window, “Nicki but if we break up it gets complicated, Stevie has asked me out but we keep on missing each other,” she fiddled with her tie, “she’s either playing, rehearsing or working and I’m not much better.”
“So, would you go out with Stevie if you could make time?”
“Um, yeah, maybe.”
“So it’s a yes or a maybe but not a no,” Stella smirked, “sooner or later you’ll narrow it down to one answer. I agree with you about Nicki though, I never laid down any rules about not fucking your housemate but it does have consequences if you break up. You’ve also got to have private time as well, which is harder when you’re living under the same roof.”
“Stevie’s out in Yarra Glen,” she replied, “that’s another thing that bothers me.”
“Why?” Stella asked her, “it’s not like you’ll fuck each other’s brains out and get married in three months time. People bow to peer group pressure far too much and that goes for straight couples as well as gay ones. Take time to get to know each other before you start thinking about moving in together. I’m enjoying having time alone for me to adjust to being with someone and I know Evie feels the same way.”
She slowed for a tram as it came to a halt.
“I call it the happy ever after syndrome. People watch these romantic movies and think it’s all about real life but it’s a fucking movie with actors, a director and a script,” she glanced at Mei Lin as people alighted from the tram.
“Your logic with Nicki is spot on, but the rest is just garden variety fear. We all get it, me more than most. It’s not up to me who you date or don’t date but you’re never going to know who you like until you start dating, someone. It’s not like you have to go out for dinner and then fuck each other’s brains out even though that’s what Nicki and I did, and even then we both broke our own rules that night.”
Mei Lin nodded as a blonde woman in a grey trouser suit stepped down from the tram.
“She sure is,” Stella studied her, “I’d certainly take her home,” she chuckled, “just don’t tell Evie I said that, okay?”
“Okay,” Mei Lin kept her eyes on the woman. As if sensing she was being observed the woman glanced to her left and looked at them and Mei Lin felt a slight quickening of her pulse.
She is hot.
She is hot, Nicki stared at the gallery on her laptop. All of the shots she’d taken last night had a professional look to them, Mei Lin had played the part of a young executive perfectly, following Nicki’s instructions to the letter and yet looking at them now Nicki couldn’t help but feel weak at the knees. Mei Lin was blissfully unaware that she oozed sex appeal simply by being herself. Why was it that when she wore a white shirt she looked plain but when Mei Lin wore the same shirt she looked sultry? Nicki let her mind wander as she flicked through the pictures, mentally assigning a score to them so she could narrow it down to the twelve shots needed for the assignment.
It could happen between them, she sensed it all too keenly. Mei Lin trusted her implicitly and she had begun to fall for her favourite subject. Nicki blinked as her phone beeped, it was a message from one of her classmates, Helen.
Helen: Can you bring that SD card today? I meant to remind you the other day.
Nicki glanced at her bedside drawers before replying.
Nicki: Sure thing, just getting ready to leave.
She went back to the gallery and one picture stood out immediately. It showed Mei Lin in a black skirt suit and white blouse, the top three buttons were undone along with the red tie, which hung loosely about her. She replayed the memory as she’d set up the shot. Mei Lin just stood there while she undid the tie and the two buttons. She came to slowly as the memory faded and uploaded it to her Instagram. It was a memory that quickened her heartbeat and made her feel all gooey inside, Mei Lin had not flinched when Nicki undid the tie and two buttons and when she’d flipped the back of her collar up she’d obediently lowered her head.
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