Between here and Nowhere. (Romance)

Between Here and Nowhere.

By. Drusilla.

My husband and I moved from Kansas to Las Vegas, and it was like coming from nowhere to a big new world. I worked as a cocktail waitress, in a casino in Kansas. My husband Carl, said cocktail waitresses could make twenty times more money in Las Vegas. That weekend, we packed everything we owned and drove out to Las Vegas.  
It should sound like a dream come true, big city, neon lights and big money. That was a long way from the truth. My husband Carl liked to drink and he was abusive. Most of the time it was verbal because he knew if I had black eyes or swollen lips, I couldn’t work as a cocktail waitress. He didn’t work, so my check and my tips were all we had to lived on.  
He would leave bruises on my arms and legs because he knew they could be covered with makeup. Slapping me open hand, didn’t leave any marks either. There was lots of liquor and women in Vegas, and Carl could never get enough of either. 
I started a new job at this casino on the strip. I was lonely in a big city without any friends. I met Gina in the employee locker room, she had the locker next to mine. She was older than me, I was only 22 then. She had a beautiful smile and she was very kind. Her job was Keno shift supervisor. 
We became close friends, and she would often times ask about my bruises. I kept telling her I was clumsy and fell into things. I didn’t realize her years of experience told her I was lying. I met her in the restaurant one day for lunch. 

“Emilia, you don’t have to live in an abusive marriage. You’re too young and beautiful. Get out.”

I smiled at her politely. “Easily said, Gina. I can’t. I don’t have any money. I don’t have anyplace to live. I don’t know anyone. Don’t you understand? I can’t.” 

Gina took my hand. “You do have somebody and you do have a place to go.”

“I can’t go to one of those abusive shelters. He would wait for me and probably kill me. I don’t want to die.”

Gina held my hand tightly. “You can stay with me. I have plenty of room. You can file for a divorce. Get a restraining order. Get out of this relationship, before he does kill you!” 

I knew Gina was right, I always thought of her fondly, like a big sister. I went home and told Carl we were through. I had enough of him beating on me.

I woke up in the hospital the next day.

Gina and another lady, who I had seen in the casino, were standing beside my bed. Gina was holding my hand. “I’m so sorry, Emilia. I almost got you killed. Please forgive me for being so stupid. I should have gone with you.” 

It hurt, but I tried to smile. “Then he would have beaten both of us.”

Gina pulled up a chair and sat next to me. “Listen to me. The police and the hospital have enough pictures of your injuries. You need to sign a complaint so Carl can be put in jail where he can’t hurt you.” 

I shook my head. “He’d kill me for sure if I did that.”

Gina squeezed my hand tighter. “Listen to me! When they release you, you’re coming home with me. You can file for divorce. With these pictures as evidence, you won’t have a problem getting one. I know a lot of important people in the town.” 
I shook my head again. “If he comes to your house to get me. You’ll be in danger too. I can’t ask you to do that.” 

Gina smiled at me again. “I have three big brothers. And, they take good care of me. I’m not taking no for an answer. We’ll get your things from the apartment once he’s in jail. I won’t let you go back to him.”

I moved in with Gina and soon learned her and her friends were lesbian. Her friend Holly told me. Gina sat down next to me. “Yes, I have friends that are straight and I have friends that are lesbian. I have men friends that are straight and some that are gay. Does that change your opinion of me?” 
I quickly shook my head. “Oh God No, Gina. I think you’re the kindest person I’ve ever met, and it doesn’t matter one bit.” 

She smiled. “I want you to know that nobody is going to make any sexual advances toward you. You’re my good friend and you’re off limits.”

I nodded. “They said my husband is getting out of jail this week. I just know he’s going to come after me.” 

She smiled. “I can help with that. I know a lot of people in this town.”

While I was waiting for my divorce to become final, Gina called on her friends to hide me within the lesbian community. I was passed around, staying with different women so it would be difficult for anyone to know where I was, except Gina. She told me not to fear Carl, because nobody was going to speak to him. I stayed with Joyce, then Caroline, then Helen and her husband, Anna. 
These were some of the finest people I had ever met. Even though I was not a lesbian, I went from having no friends to having a group of beautiful, caring friends. They felt like family to me. My life would change when I met Peyton. She was a friend of Gina. 
Peyton worked as a personal trainer at a local gym. She was 30 years old, a military veteran, tall, slender and athletic. She wore her hair in a tapered bob with shades of purple. Peyton was not beautiful like a movie star or model, but she was striking in her own natural way.  
Peyton lived alone in a beautiful four room apartment. A kitchen, family room, one bath and two bedrooms.  

She pointed with her hand. “You can stow your gear in this bedroom. The latrine is right over there.”

I followed her into the kitchen. “Gina tells me you’re running from your ex.”

Peyton opened the refrigerator. “You wanna beer?”   

“No, thanks. I’m hiding from him, yes. I think he would kill me if he got the chance.”

She popped the can tab and took a swallow. I mustered up the nerve to look her straight in the eyes. “I’m not a lesbian, you know. Gina and I worked in the same casino. She’s my best friend.”

Peyton took another swallow of beer. “Yeah, Gina helped me a lot after I was discharged. She asked me to hide you, I will.” 

I was a little embarrassed. “I didn’t mean any disrespect. I just didn’t want you to believe I was a lesbian.”

Peyton took another swallow of beer. “Why? You think that’s something dirty?”

“Oh, God no! Please don’t think that. I just don’t want to mislead anyone.”

Peyton tossed her empty beer can in the trash. “It’s ok Emmie. If Gina didn’t like you; You wouldn’t be here. She can read people like a book. You mind if I call you Emmie?” 

I smiled at her. “No, I like it.” I took a deep breath. “When you have girlfriends over, I can leave and give you privacy.”

Peyton chuckled. “That’s nice Emmie, but I don’t bring girlfriends here.”

Gina got me a job in a local gay lesbian club and for a while it looked like I had disappeared from the face of the earth. Until I looked in the parking lot one evening and saw Carl getting out of his car. I ran over to Sean, the bartender and owner. 

“It’s him, Sean! It’s my ex husband. He found me! He’s going to kill me!”

Sean pulled me into his office, behind the bar. “You stay in here. That’s a two way mirror. You’ll be able to see him, but he can’t see you. Don’t turn on any lights and don’t make a sound. I’ll handle it.”   

I could still hear everything behind the mirror.

Carl walked up to the bar. “I’m looking for Emilia Hunter.” 

Sean stood up straight. “Show me your badge.”

Carl paused. “She’s my wife. I’m Carl Hunter.”

Sean stared at him. “No Emilia Hunter here.”

Carl leaned on the bar. “That’s a lie. I had a private detective trace her to this place.” 

Sean smiled at him. “Bring him in. He can show me his badge.”

I could see Carl was becoming angry. I knew all his ugly facial expressions. “You faggots stick together, huh? I got news! Emilia is not a queer. She don’t belong with faggots.”

I saw Nick, the bouncer step up behind Carl. Nick was well over six-foot tall, and he was built like one of those professional wrestlers. He had almost no neck, just a head and shoulders. Carl stood, looking up at him. Sean moved the bowls of pretzels off the bar. “This is Nick Bonetti. Emilia’s boyfriend. Six-foot seven. Two-hundred fifty-nine pounds. You wanna call him a faggot? You’re gonna hate his reaction.” 
I had to hold my hands over my mouth so nobody could hear me laugh. Nick literally towered over Carl like a giant. I had never seen Carl so scared of anyone. He couldn’t get out of there fast enough. Sean was laughing when he came in the office. “I don’t think he likes the looks of your new boyfriend.”          

I kissed Sean on the cheek. “I thank you and Nick enough for what you did.”

I turned to leave. “If he found me here, he can find me with Peyton. I have to warn her. I can’t put her in any danger.” 

Sean laughed out loud. “Peyton in danger from a man? She’s more than capable of taking care of herself. She’s combat trained, and she has a black belt Taekwondo. I’ve seen her at the local martial arts tournaments. She’s not someone you mess with.”

I got home before Peyton, and I was going to shower but my curiosity got the better of me. I looked in Peyton’s bedroom and I saw the trophies on a shelf. They all were engraved the same. Taekwondo Champion First Place. I also saw a picture of her on top a huge military tank. Suddenly I heard Peyton behind me. “You lose something?” 

I screamed, almost jumping out of my skin. “Peyton! My God. You scared the life out of me.”

She took me by the arm, pulled me in the hall and closed the door. “Sorry. But, I’d like to keep my room private.” 

“I know. I had no right. I’m so sorry Peyton. I’ll would never disrespect your kindness or your wishes.”

She hugged me for the first time. “It’s ok, Emmie. I’m not mad, and thank you for doing the wash. I hate laundry day.”

We laughed about that, I took my shower, and Peyton suggested we to go out to dinner. I explained that I had to be to work at eight. 

Peyton smiled. “I’ll make it right with Sean. I talked to him today.”

I paused. “Then he told you about my ex coming there?”

She nodded. “Yeah. I’m sorry I wasn’t there. Me and him would’ve had a short talk.”

I shook my head. “I don’t want to ever see him again. I want to forget him and everything about him. He’s the reason I hate men. Don’t misunderstand, I don’t hate Sean, or Nick, or the other men that have treated me kindly. Carl took away my trust. I could never trust a man again.” 
Peyton hugged me for the second time. “I understand, Emmie. You can’t love a man because, you don’t trust them. You can’t love a woman, because it’s not your preferred choice. You’re caught, Emmie. Standing between here and nowhere.” 

I nodded in agreement. “Yes, that’s how it feels. Now, I’d like to have that dinner with you.”

Peyton put her fork down. “You keep staring at me. Do I have something out of place?” 

“No. No not at all. I saw all those trophies. Just admire how strong and together you are.”

She took a sip of wine from the glass. “Emmie. Your ex has taken your self respect. I’ll help you work on that.”

Peyton picked up her fork and smiled. “I’ve never been around anyone like you, Emmie. Women I know are hard, rough and crude. You’re like a breath of fresh air.” 

I gave her a big smile. “We’re even, because I’ve never been around anyone like you. I like it. I mean, being around you.”

We finished our dinned and went back to the apartment.

I happened to open my bedroom door when Peyton was coming out of the bathroom. She was completely naked. What a perfect body she had, and such a gorgeous tan. She smiled. “I’m clear. It’s all yours.” 

I continued to stare at her naked body as she walked into her bedroom. I looked in the mirror as I dried myself off. I became so depressed with my life, all I wanted to do was sit and cry.

Peyton was standing in her bedroom doorway, with just her thong panties. I still had tears running down my face. She held her hand out. “Emmie, come lay with me. I promise I won’t touch you. I’ll just hold you and you can cry for as long as you like.” 

That sounded so good to me. I took her hand, and we slid under the covers.

I hadn’t been held is such a long time. I forgot how wonderful that feeling was. Peyton’s body was so firm and warm. It made me feel like a little girl again, and I didn’t feel alone anymore. I leaned in and kissed her on the lips; They were so soft. She just laid there, not moving and staring at me. I leaned and kissed her again, this time a little longer.  
Peyton stroked my face with the back of her hand. “Please don’t excite me Emmie. Not if you don’t mean it. It would hurt me.” 

I kissed her again, this time I felt her tongue slide into my mouth. “I would never hurt you. I’ve never been with a woman, but I want to be with you.”

I felt her gentle touch, first on my breasts, around my belly button, then up and down my legs and finally on my pussy.

I believe it was the most wonderful evening I spent in my whole life. Peyton took over an hour, touching and kissing me on every part of my body. She brought me up so high, I was ready to scream. When she gave me that first orgasm, I did scream. Her tongue was the most wonderful thing I ever felt. I never realized how perfect one woman could be with another.  
We lay exhausted on the bed. I smelled her womanly scent on my fingers, and it was like perfume to me. I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. Right there in that bed. I hugged her as tight as I could and I felt her take a deep breath. “Loosen up, Emmie. I need to breathe.” 
I stayed working at the gay and lesbian club. I really loved it there, because it was better than any job I ever had in my life. Carl never came there again, in fact I never saw Carl again. Someone at the club told me once, that Carl had been shot and killed over a woman. I was never contacted, so I never knew if it was true or not. 
I didn’t care about any man or any other woman, I only cared for Peyton. She took her time with me and taught me everything about making a woman happy. We spend endless days and nights in each others arms, exploring everything that made crazy and happy. On our first vacation together, we rented a house boat on Lake Mead. We sang songs; We kissed, and we swam naked every day. 
We made love on the top of the house boat, under the night sky. Peyton would work me into a sexual frenzy. I loved to feel Peyton, she was the most beautiful woman I had ever known. Naked and carefree, we gave each other so much pleasure. Later, we would stumble down stairs to the bedroom and sleep until noon the next day. That vacation will remain with me the rest of my life. 
I always made sure Peyton had everything she needed. I fixed her hair, I got her clean clothes. We took showers together, however that was to save money on the water bill. She got home from the gym around three. I never had to be to work until around six or seven in the evening. I fixed our dinner, I washed the dishes and cleaned. 
Then, Peyton and I had one of those arguments that all couples have, married or not. It’s always about some stupid little thing. Then both parties blow it all out of proportion. I felt she didn’t appreciate what I was doing. She felt like I was trying to cling to her. She raised her hands. “Emmie! You cling to me like a servant.” 

I snapped back. “I’m beginning to feel like one.”

She shook her head. “Emmie! I don’t want a servant! I don’t know what I am in your eyes. Your sister? Your mother? Your lover? WHAT?” 

That hit a nerve deep inside me. I snatched my purse from the counter. “I have to go to work now! If that’s ok with you, MOTHER!”

I moved out of Peyton’s apartment and into a small place not far from where I worked. I spent my days and nights, eating, sleeping, working. And again, eating, sleeping and working. I hated to go to bed because there was nobody there but me. A day didn’t go by I didn’t think about Peyton, and then cry myself to sleep. I wanted to go by the gym where she worked and apologize. I was too afraid I would see her with another woman, and that would kill me. 
One night, before I got off shift, I asked Sean if he had seen or heard from Peyton in the last few months. 

“No, and you’re miserable without her. You mope around here like the walking dead. Go find Peyton!”

Nick walked up. “A friend says she goes to the Katz’s House. Over on Wellington street.”

The cab turned the corner, I saw the neon sign flashing: “Katz’s House” I paid the driver, then slowly stepped inside. It was dimly lit, filled with smoke, laughter and the smell of beer. A band was playing on a small stage and the loud music was an assault to my ears. There was one small table to the right of the door. Nobody was sitting there because it was too drafty, so I sat down.  
It took several minutes before my eyes adjusted to the light in the club. I sat quietly, observing all the women drinking and laughing. I saw four women, in a booth in the back. Two of them were hugging and kissing. I saw Peyton, playfully punch another woman on arm, and they both laughed out loud. I was reminded of how many times we laughed like that.  
I immediately felt like I didn’t belong there. I stood up to leave, but it was too late, Peyton had already seen me. She was making her way through the crowd to my table. We just stared at each other for the longest time. I had forgotten how beautiful Peyton was, and I saw a small tear trickle down her cheeks.  
I hadn't noticed the music stopped and the whole place became quiet. I heard someone shout from the bar. “Oh, for God’s sake Peyton! Take her home already!” 

Peyton quickly grabbed me in a tight hug and whispered in my ear. “Emmie. I love you more than you’ll ever know. Marry me.”

Through tears, I kissed her lips. “I will, Peyton. I will.” 

I remember everyone in the club began shouting and clapping. “EMMIE! PEYTON!” “EMMIE! PEYTON!” The music began playing again as we walked outside. The early morning Vegas air was still warm. We held each other as we walked to the car.

END.

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