Here's an unedited preview of "The Right Touch" which will be a website exclusive, and part of a quartet of stories ( + 1 separate, dark chapter ) going into detail of Celes' explanation to Danica of how she came to understand and accept her sexuality.
The evening was warm, though the sun was sinking toward the horizon. Two dark-haired young women sat on a bench, joining many others their age in the ritual dance of courtship.
Celes offered a shy smile to the young man looking at her from across the darkening square. She had a hard time not breaking out into laughter, but practice makes perfect, and she maintained the illusion. She saw him smile back just as she turned to her friend Anna.
“You’ll have that one coming to talk to you soon,” Anna whispered using her uncanny ability to talk with only the slightest movement of her lips. She was busy fluttering her eyelashes at another boy.
Celes was of two minds about that possibility. The game of flirting with boys was fun, and she had to admit that when one of them showed interest in her, it made her feel tingly all over. She was hardly ignorant of what that feeling was or what the boys wanted, but the prospect of exploring further was still quite frightening to her.
Fortunately – or perhaps unfortunately – the young man couldn’t summon up the courage to come talk to her just yet. The object of Anna’s flirtations seemed likewise skittish. The setting sun slowly surrendered to fluttering torchlight, prompting a few couples to seek the shadows created. Still others abandoned the square entirely.
“It’s as if they never learn,” Anna said, and then giggled. “Yesterday, I...”
Celes followed her friend’s gaze as Anna trailed off, and her breath caught in her chest.
Tamaris was the son of a wealthy trader from a faraway land. Unlike the boys of her village who were desperately trying to grow the beards that decorated the faces of their elders, he was clean-shaven. It made him appear exotic and younger than his years. Celes was entranced by and frightened of him at the same time.
Anna’s feelings about him were far clearer. One night when Celes had been at home sick, Tamaris had sought her friend out and aggressively pressed himself on her. Feeling threatened, she had run home.
When he glanced at them and offered a roguish smile, Anna’s features hardened.
“Why don’t we go back to your house?” Celes offered.
Anna nodded, keeping her hard gaze fixed on Tamaris as she stood. He chuckled and made his way toward an older blonde girl.
Celes took her friend’s hand as they walked and said, “Just forget him.”
Anna smiled. “I already have.”