Surprise! 🙂 A big THANK YOU (💜 🙏) to all the recurring supporters of The Lesbian Romantic.
I was able to write this extra scene with Hannah & Milly because of your monthly support!
Wait! Don’t read this one until you’ve listened to Part 24 of The Taste of A Smile, okay?
Back? Ready? Let’s go! 🙂
Milly closed the door with her hip. The sound with which it closed was much louder than expected. It was really quiet in the apartment.
Milly pulled off her hat. Her fingers brushed over the grease in her hair and she grimaced. She hadn’t showered after the rehearsal. She had figured she might as well do it at home.
Taking off her shoes, Milly wondered where Hannah and Lucile were. Most nights, they watched television together in the living room. Milly didn’t hear it play, though.
She strolled past the open kitchen on her socks and saw no sign of Hannah or Lucile. No cups of tea or a bowl of popcorn on the coffee table.
The evening sun gave the room a cozy glow through the blinds. Milly glanced at her wrist. It was only 8PM. Lucile might have gone to bed early, but surely Hannah was still awake?
She looked around the room with her hands in her sides. Something else was off. Milly smiled as it came to her: Charles was nowhere to be seen either.
He always raced to the front door, only to mutter when he saw that it was Milly. There was only reason for him not to meet her at the door. He had to be fast asleep in his favorite spot.
Milly knew precisely where to find him *and* his owner. The old leather chair in Hannah’s home office. She had caught Hannah and Charles snoozing in it quite a few times.
Milly touched the kitchen counter as she crossed the room. The surface was squeaky clean. Milly could still smell the soap that had been used.
Milly shook her head in disbelief. Lucile had probably been cleaning again. Hannah’s mother was a horrible patient. Instead of resting, she kept looking for things to do.
Milly saw light coming from under Hannah’s door. Something fluttered in the pit of her stomach. She hadn’t seen Hannah much in the last few days.
She couldn’t wait to wrap her arms around her girlfriend. She wanted a lot more than a cuddle, but as long as Lucile was around, that didn’t seem to be in the cards.
Nevertheless, Milly’s pulse picked up as she slowly opened the door. Just as she had expected, Hannah was lounging in the leather chair with Charles sprawled in her lap.
She’s wasn’t asleep, though. Hannah was still in the suit she had been wearing to work, but without the blazer. The collar of her blouse hung open loosely. Her face lit up when she saw Milly.
“You’re home early,” Hannah smiled.
Milly nodded and closed the door behind her. Charles’ ears perked up. His eyes stayed shut.
“I still have to shower,” Milly said.
“I can see that. Your hair looks like it spent the day in a frying pan,” Hannah said. Her eyes sparkled with amusement.
Milly ran her hand through the mess on her head. “You don’t like my new hairdo?”
Hannah laughed. Charles reluctantly opened one eye and shot Milly a look that made clear he was not impressed.
“Did your mom go to bed early?” Milly asked, propping her hip against Hannah’s desk.
“Yeah,” Hannah replied. She rubbed Charles’ head with the tips of her fingers. “Sasha said she was on her feet all day.”
Sasha was the surprisingly patient nurse Hannah had hired. She stayed with Lucile while Hannah and Milly were out to work.
“How’s her speech?” Milly asked, sitting down on the desk.
Hannah fiddled with the button of her sleeve. “She’s making progress. Almost no more slurring.”
“That’s fantastic,” Milly said. She picked up a picture that stood next to Hannah’s laptop. “I wish she’d be more careful, though,“ she said, rubbing her thumb over Lucile’s image.
Sighing, Hannah got up. Charles was clinging onto her arm, clearly not willing to wake up fully. Hannah carefully placed him back onto the chair.
“She doesn’t want to rely on anyone,” she said and smiled at Charles. He had plopped down and was stretching his back paws lazily.
“Not even her own daughter?” Milly asked, replacing the picture.
Hannah joined her by the desk, rolling her shoulders. “Especially not her daughter.”
Milly smiled up at her. The dark circles under Hannah’s eyes were getting almost purple and the lines around her mouth had sharpened.
“Hey,” Milly said, patting Hannah’s leg, “Are you sure you’re not working too much?”
Hannah smiled unconvincingly. She didn’t have to say anything in response. Milly wrapped her arms around Hannah’s waist loosely.
With her chin resting on Hannah’s stomach, she asked, “When are you going to hire someone to help you?”
Hannah stiffened. “I did. I hired Lex.”
Milly frowned. “But she’s not joining you at headquarters for another two years!”
“I know,” Hannah sighed. “But I had to do it that way. She’s not ready yet.”
“Aren’t you being a bit harsh?” Milly asked, rubbing Hannah’s lower back.
Hannah huffed. “No, I’m not. She still has that top dog, corporate attitude.”
Milly probed the tense muscles she felt through Hannah’s blouse. “I don’t know. She didn’t seem that way tonight.”
“Shoot!” Hannah said, her eyes widening. “I totally forgot about that!”
“How could you?” Milly giggled. “You were super curious to find out who she’d bring along!”
Hannah squeezed Milly’s shoulders softly. “Soooo??!”
Milly grinned. “I think your cousin is in love.”
Hannah’s jaw dropped. “What?!”
“Yup,” Milly nodded pensively, the corners of her mouth curving up. “Head over heels. She was looking at that girl like you used to look at me.”
“Oh my God,” Hannah whispered. Her brow furrowed then. “Wait, used to look at you? I still look at you like that!”
Milly laughed and pressed her cheek against Hannah’s belly. “I don’t know,” she teased.
Hannah laced her fingers through Milly’s slick hair. “Hey, even your greasy locks are irresistible to me.”
“Oh, that settles it,” Milly chuckled and turned her head. She slid her hands to Hannah’s sides.
Hannah cupped the back of Milly’s head. “I miss you,” she said quietly.
Milly’s thumb traced the curve of Hannah’s breast. “I miss you too.”
Hannah smiled down at her. “I’m sorry it’s been so long since…” She shrugged.
“Since you *ravished* me?” Milly asked, here tone intense and dramatic.
“Yes,” Hannah said, playing along. “It’s hard to show you every corner of the room when my mom is around.”
Milly threw her head back, laughing. “Yes, it is.”
“I’ll make up for it,” Hannah said and tugged at the collar of Milly’s sweater.
“I expect you to,” Milly said, wiggling her eyebrows.
Hannah bent down and kissed Milly’s forehead. “I really can’t wait.”
Milly wrapped her arms around Hannah again and squeezed. “I love you so much.” She buried her face in Hannah’s blouse.
Hannah nuzzled her hair. “I love you more.”
They both let out a happy sigh as they held each other. After a moment, Hannah asked, “So my cousin found herself a girlfriend, huh?”
“I think so,” Milly replied, still holding on tightly to Hannah. She closed her eyes and breathed in Hannah’s familiar scent.
“Anyone we know?” Hannah asked, stroking Milly’s back.
“Nope,” Milly said. “I think I forgot to ask her name, actually.”
Hannah straightened in surprise. “What? You didn’t even get her name?”
Milly sat back, still sitting on the desk. “No, we talked about opera and I got distracted. She was beautiful and very nice. I think she has Lex wrapped around her finger.”
“Well, well,” Hannah said, pursing her lips, “I guess I’ll have to grill Lex about her the moment I get the chance.”