Dana Perkins lost her longtime partner in a tragic accident. Although she still struggles with the loss, her profound loneliness is evidence that it is time to move on. She knows her deceased lover, Casey, wouldn't want her living this way. Dana begins her slow process of letting go, removing reminders of Casey from her house, and dating again.
The women she meets leave Dana uninspired and missing her deceased partner even more. Just as she is about to resign herself to the belief that she will never love again, Dana meets Emily Daniels, a married woman who is deeply conflicted over her attraction to women. Soon, the two women form a friendship that leads to deeper emotions. They discover that one moment in their past had brought them together in a way neither woman could have ever imagined. Is that one moment in time enough to let both women follow their hearts, or will they let their past continue to rule their future?
Dana Perkins leaned against the side of the trolley and watched the landmarks of the city pass by. Her brown eyes traced the contours of the well-appointed, fancy, high-rise condos overlooking Lake Michigan, and the sophisticated architecture lining the city’s downtown streets. Tall, crystalline, and convex—the view was stunning.
She closed her eyes as the cool breeze brushed against her face. She inched closer to her lover and kissed her bare shoulder, tasting the salty sweat on Casey’s skin. Dana drew in the raw scent of her partner’s body, the smell of an entire day spent taking in the sights of a big city.
“You’re not ready to call it a day, are you?” Casey Dawson asked.
“I guess you are.”
“Baby, what else do you want to do?” Dana stifled a yawn. “We have all day tomorrow. Oh, and we also live an hour from the city. We’re not tourists, honey.”
“But we only see everything when we act like tourists. That’s why I got us a hotel for the weekend. No more saying ‘next time’. We’re seeing it all now. ”
“But, baby, I’m sooo tired.”
“Okay,” Casey said. “You win.” She slung an arm loosely around Dana’s neck and kissed her gently on the lips. “We’ll go back to the hotel.”
As the trolley slowed to a stop, the women walked through the open aisle. The thin fabric of Dana’s khakis stuck to the back of her sweaty leg. Dana realized—too late, as she normally did—that she should have listened to her girlfriend and worn shorts.
Casey skipped down the small steps, onto the sidewalk. Her light blue sundress swayed as she moved. She took Dana’s hand and pulled her lightly down the stairs.
“Come on, you tired old lady. Are your legs gonna make it back to the hotel? Or do you need a motorized scooter?”
Dana smoothed a hand over Casey’s long, blonde ponytail. “I can make going to the room early very agreeable.”
Casey eyed her. “And how would you do that?”
“Trust me. You’ll like where this is going…so stop complaining.” Dana reached for Casey, just as she heard a child’s voice yelling behind her.
“Hot dog! Hot dog!” a little boy’s voice cried out.
But Dana kept her thoughts on Casey. She fantasized being back at the hotel, sliding the thin straps of Casey’s dress down her shoulders, and running her hands over the inside of her bare thighs. Suddenly, Casey whirled from Dana’s fingers.
Dana turned around. Her eyes fought with the sun as she struggled to follow her partner’s sudden actions. Dana heard the boy yell again, and watched as the child chased after a hotdog vendor that was crossing a busy intersection.
Casey was running full-speed after the boy, heading straight into oncoming traffic.
Dana didn’t know which came first—the smell of burning rubber, the sound of screeching tires, or the man in the cab yelling for Casey to get out of the way. Everything seemed to happen in the same moment, but somehow Dana’s unsteady legs made it to the edge of the street where Casey’s body lay.
Dana yelled for help and dropped to her knees. She pulled Casey into her lap, while faintly registering voices—some offering help, and some shouting out to call 911. She cradled the woman she loved in her shaking arms.
Trapped by the crowd of people huddled over her, stealing the air, Dana struggled to breathe. Then the sudden blare of sirens shattered through the chaos, yet her eyes never left Casey’s face, her beautiful face.
“Wake up, baby. Please, wake up,” she cried softly.
The young bride held her dress in one hand, while the other pressed tightly through the arm of the man she’d just married. A few short hours ago she was Emily Bradford, but now she made her way down the steep church steps as Emily Daniels. Emily smiled readily as a cascade of lights flashed before her eyes. Guests lingered at the edge of the steps with cameras in hand and she took it all in. The gorgeous sky hung in the background like a perfect portrait of a nearly cloudless day.
Michael Daniels took Emily by the hand and kissed her while cameras snapped eagerly to capture the tender moment. From a distance, the faint sound of sirens rang out. Emily squinted against the glare of the sun as she searched the street. The blaring noise was headed in their direction. The bride watched as two ambulances, a fire truck, and multiple police cars sped by.
The beauty of their day was temporarily interrupted by someone else’s tragedy.
Emily closed her eyes and made the sign of the cross, something her mother had taught her to do as a small child whenever an emergency vehicle drove by. When it all passed and the streets were once again serene, her new husband gave her hand a squeeze.
“Are you ready?” he asked.
Leaning her body against his strong shoulder, she kissed her groom the way brides did in movies, creating their very own happily-ever-after moment.
“I’m going to love you for the rest of my life,” she said, her voice trembling.
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Loving Again is her second published novella. Alicia is currently working on a new novel called A Penny on the Tracks, a coming of age story about love and friendship. Alicia has many works-in-progress that she hopes to finish soon.
When she is not writing, the author enjoys volunteering with animals, rooting for her favorite sports teams, and playing “awesome aunt” to her nine nieces and nephews.
Learn more about Alicia Joseph on her blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.