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Lesbian Fantasy Mystery

After carefully selecting her items, the woman paid for her thrift store purchases. The clerk judiciously wrapped the working coffee pot with an uncracked carafe, a beat-up coffee grinder, and a white embossed coffee mug. The woman cautiously pulled the scarf over her head and settled sunglasses over her eyes as she exited. She stopped at the corner store mart for some filters and made her way to the sparsely furnished apartment she’d recently rented.

As she entered her place, the woman carefully turned each door lock, leaving a random one unturned to thwart a lock picker trying to break into the flat. She sat her purchases on the counter. As she pulled the scarf off her head, her long blonde hair tumbled down her shoulders. She tossed the shades next to the bag. Placing both hands on either side of the sink, she breathed out as she tried to relax from her trip outside the protective walls of the building.

The slim, long-legged woman diligently cleaned the carafe and set up the coffee pot. She carefully ground the beans from her special collection that was left over from another time, another life. She filled the tank with bottled water and flipped the switch. And waited.

The rich, deep aroma of brewing coffee wafted from the newly-assembled yet well-used machine. Placing her elbows on the counter, the long-legged blonde pushed her nose as close to the top of the carafe as possible. It had been a long time since she had smelled the brew of freshly ground Costa Rican coffee.

Coffee. They say the smells can trigger so much in the human soul– memories, good feelings, feelings of wakefulness. The aroma alone of coffee can trigger a caffeine addict's brain into stimulation by the simple thought that the brewed drink is close at hand. Most coffee drinkers would never give up the dark drink, not just for the jolt it provides but because the smell and taste are so deeply tied to the brain's pleasure center. But that's what they say, whomever they are.

Breathing in deeply, she began to feel a strange feeling in her stomach. She felt as if someone had tied a rope to something within her stomach. Without warning, the woman was yanked into the coffee pot and deposited somewhere in what seemed to be a parallel universe.

~~~~

The blonde woman finally began to stir. The raven-haired woman was immediately by her side, offering her a fresh cup of coffee in the white embossed mug the woman had previously purchased at the thrift store. The younger woman took it from her warily, unable to resist the smell, and sipped daintily.

"Who are you? Where am I?" The blonde looked around at her surroundings. She was seemingly in her apartment. But this stranger, as kind as she seemed, did not belong.

"I'm Alex. What's your name?"

"Piper.” She paused, warily watching Alex. “You didn't tell me - where am I?"

"Look around. Where do you think you are?"

Piper gave a hummppft. "From the looks of it, the same crappy apartment I've been hiding in for the last week. But if this is where I'm at, it doesn't explain how you got in here." Piper raised a finger pointedly at the stranger in the apartment.

Alex took a long sip of her coffee. "Doka Plantation, Costa Rica, right?" Piper's eyes grew wide at Alex's correct identification of where the coffee had come from. "This is sort of that apartment but not really." Alex stood. "Check this out." She walked over to the wall which separated the kitchen and bedroom. She punched the wall with all her might. Piper winced, waiting for the sound of cracking knuckles. Alex waved at her to watch. "No look."

Piper looked as she saw the wall begin to sway and waver. It was shimmering. Looking extremely closely, Piper saw herself sitting at a similar table, drinking coffee from an identical embossed white mug. "What the fuck?" Startled, Piper stood up, nearly knocking both her and Alex's coffee mugs over. She backed away from the dark-haired woman. "Start talking. Fast."

"Yeah, it kind of freaked me out, too. It's some kind of alternative reality. I think it's tied to that damned coffee pot. Did you get it at the thrift store on the corner?" Piper nodded. "I'm not exactly sure, but I think I've been over here almost two months now. I can't figure out how the fuck to get back. Nothing I try in this apartment yields; it just shimmers. I could only see myself in the other universe until a few days ago. Then you showed up. Now all I can see – is you. I don't know where I went."

~~~~

Piper struggled to awaken from the dream she had. She laid still for quite some time, trying to cement the dream into her long-term memory so that she could tell Alex about the crazy story her brain had just told. As Piper became fully awake, she realized that the smell of freshly brewed coffee had awakened her from her slumber.

Piper loved that Alex had bought her a new coffee pot with a timer so they could have coffee as soon as they rolled out of bed. Plus, the smell of coffee beat the hell out of any coffee pot. Piper turned over to face a still-sleeping Alex and stared at her girlfriend with a silly grin. How could she not be in love with this woman? She couldn't even bear being separated from her when they had to go to work.

Feeling in a rather frisky mood, she decided to rouse Alex in Alex's favorite way. Piper reached out to caress Alex's face. Yet Piper's hand met resistance. She moved her hand more feverishly, panicking each time her skin did not make contact with Alex's. Then Piper saw it. The air between herself and Alex began to shimmer.

~~~~

Piper heard a slight shuffle from the doorway. She turned to see Alex standing there with two cups of coffee. "I heard movement and figured you were awake. I didn't mean to intrude on your personal moment." This Alex ducked her head, not looking at Piper as she realized the blonde had tears in her eyes.

Piper brushed her hand across her face, drying the tears. A few deep breaths steeled her nerves as she glanced back to her side. The shimmer had settled, and the image of the sleeping woman beside her had faded into the air. "Can I have a bit of privacy? I'll be in the kitchen in a moment." Alex turned and returned to the other room.

Soon Piper came in, taking a seat at the table. She took the coffee Alex offered and sipped it gratefully. "Thanks."

"I should be thanking you. This coffee is amazing." Alex's voice was tender, soft. "I've been stuck in here with regular Folger's roast. I suppose it could be worse, and I could have had Nescafe."

Piper looked at her new housemate and, for the first time, realized the similarity between this woman and her former girlfriend. This was certainly not something Piper would mention, as her heart was still aching from her earlier dream. She thought she had finally gotten over the loss of the love of her life, which was proven wrong. Now she was in emotional overload and needed to concentrate on pushing that to the back of her mind so that she could figure out how to get out of this odd predicament in which she now found herself.

Alex tilted her head sideways and was carefully watching Piper. "This reality can be cruel. Time shifts happen, and I often don't know when I was seeing the past, the future or even the present. Like when you dropped in yesterday, it wasn't until I could physically touch you that I believed you were in the present."

The women sat in comfortable silence for a while until Alex spoke again. "I feel the need to be honest that you remind me of someone I was in a pretty serious relationship with."

Piper's heart fluttered as she recalled last night's dream. "What happened?"

Alex got a faraway look in her eyes. "That's another story for another day." Chills ran down Piper’s arms as her own memories crept into her mind.

~~~~

After the morning's pot of coffee had been consumed, Piper walked the perimeter of the small apartment. She tested the boundaries periodically to determine the edges of their confines. Alex sat comfortably on the couch, watching. Piper stopped in front of the door leading to the outside area.

 "What happens if we try to go outside?"

 Alex nodded to the door. "Try it."

Piper reached for the knob and was surprised when it easily turned. She slowly pulled the door towards her. About a quarter of the way open, the door offered resistance. Piper yanked against the force that repelled her efforts. The face of the door and wall began to shimmer. Piper couldn't see anything beyond the shimmer, but the fact that she couldn't get the door all the way open was frustrating. She could hold her foot against the door to hold it open. She then leaned against the shimmer of the opening and tried to stretch her arm beyond the door jamb.

Finally, Piper slammed the door shut in frustration. "Damn it, Alex, how are we supposed to get out of here?"

"I don't know, Piper. I've been trying to figure out the same thing for two months. I'm just glad I now have someone to talk to and to bounce ideas off of."

Piper laughed. "Bounce? Not funny, Al, not funny." Alex shrugged her shoulders as she chuckled at her own joke.

"Alex, can I ask you a question?"

"Sure. What else do we have to do?"

"Could you see me in the other reality? On the other side before I came here?"

Alex shook her head. "No. I lost most of my connection to the other world within a few weeks of arriving. Every so often, I would get an odd feeling. When I would test the borders, I would catch glimpses. But much of what I saw would not make sense. But no, I couldn't see you on the other side, at least not clearly."

Piper seemed to accept that answer and went silent again. Alex spoke again. "Now it's my turn. What exactly were you doing in that apartment?"

Piper sighed. "Not much of anything, really. Hiding. You told me earlier that I reminded you of someone from your past. To be honest, I must say the same about you. You remind me of my one true love, the only person to have ever gained my trust and my heart. You said this reality was cruel. Yes, yes, it is. I dreamed of her last night. I dreamed I woke up next to her, yet I couldn't touch her. I haven't seen her in years. So yes, that was indeed the epitome of cruelty."

Alex moved from the chair to the couch to be next to Piper. She pulled the blonde into her, somehow sensing the woman needed the comfort of human touch. "May I ask why you were hiding?"

"Some very powerful, very evil men were looking for me. They knew that if they got to me, they could use me as leverage against my girlfriend. I could never do that to her. So, I ran. I'm usually in a different location every month and a new city every few months. It's been my life for so long, I don't know what else to do but to hide."

"Does your girlfriend know where you are?"

"No. She probably doesn't even know why I left. I decided a clean break would be best. This way, I could never be used against her. She's strong. She'll find someone else to love. I have to think that so I can stay strong."

Alex had her arm wrapped around Piper, who had drawn her legs up, feet on the couch. It had been a long time since she had felt the warmth of another human being. Trust was hard to come by for Piper. Yet, for some reason, she trusted this woman. Hell, they were trapped in this place together for no telling how long. She really had no choice but to trust her.

"Alex?"

"Mmm?"

"Why were you in that apartment?" Piper snuggled closer.

Alex breathed deeply and sighed. "Shame, I suppose. I, too, had a woman I cared very dearly for, the one I told you about earlier – that you remind me of. My job, while it brought in quite a bit of dough, was dangerous. She traveled the world with me as I worked. We were so young and so in love."

"One time, I foolishly asked her to help me with a job, something I had promised I would never do. Yet she helped me because she loved me. That request put a great deal of stress on our relationship despite our love for each other. Soon she left me to return to the states. She broke up with me the day I found that my mother had passed away." Alex stopped to gather her composure before continuing.

"I was broken for losing the only two people that ever mattered in my life in one day. My work performance began to slide. Soon my boss threatened to have me terminated. And he wasn't meaning firing me. So, I disappeared. I had enough money stashed in different places worldwide, but I had to be careful because his reach was extensive and temper was fierce."

"Did you try to find the woman who left you?"

Alex sadly shook her head. "No. I didn't want my former boss to think I still cared for her because that would put her in danger. Besides, she left me. I doubt she wants me back in her life. I broke her trust the day I asked her to help me out with that job. There is no recovery from that."

The two women sat in silence for a while longer.

Piper broke the silence. "Do you believe in inevitability?"

"I believe in soulmates. Is that the same thing?"

"What if this reality is trying to tell us something? What if we are here to think about our pasts and what we really want out of our future?" Piper scooted back from Alex slightly and peered into Alex's emerald eyes.

"But how the hell do we get out, Piper? I don't want to sit here the rest of my life and think about what could have been with my soulmate."

Piper squinted her eyes in concentration. "I don't think we have to sit here the rest of our lives. I think you and I were brought here for a reason, together. Like that finding that damned coffee pot."

Abruptly the room and everything around them began to shimmer. Piper grasped Alex tightly as they both looked around them in awe. "Nothing like this has ever happened, Piper." This wasn't like the flickering of the challenging of the borders. The entire room shook then – as soon as it started – it was over. Everything snapped back into place.

"Accepting the mistakes of our past and deciding what we want for our future." Alex stood and pulled Piper to her feet. "You may have something there, Piper. I think what we just saw was our sign. Let's try this again. Go through the steps exactly."

Both women returned to the kitchen. Alex washed out the carafe despite having just washed it this morning and set up the coffee pot. Piper carefully ground the last of the Costa Rican beans. As Alex filled the carafe, Piper slid the coffee and filter into place. And waited.

The rich, deep aroma of brewing coffee wafted from the pot. Each woman placed her elbows on the counter, pushing their noses as close to the top of the carafe as possible. The scent was intoxicating. Breathing in deeply, each began to feel that same strange feeling in their stomachs. Grasping each other's hands, the pair were pulled into the coffee pot and deposited back on the other side.

Afraid to open their eyes, they lay quietly for a moment, taking inventory of their own bodies to ensure nothing had been injured. When they landed, Piper and Alex had rolled away from each other. Now they stood and turned to face each other. As they did, shock and recognition grew across each of their faces.

"Piper? Is that really you?! Where have you been for all these years?"

"Alex? Oh my god. Alex! It's you."

The women ran towards each other. Alex tenderly touched Piper's face, running her fingers over the blonde's skin. "I never thought I'd see you again."

"I'm sorry, so sorry, Alex. I should have never left you in Paris." Piper buried her face in the black hair of the taller woman standing in front of her. "I thought you would find someone else, Alex. You were always so strong. And confident. I'm just me, easily replaced."

"No, Pipes. I've always loved you. And only you. I can't believe I've found you again."

February 07, 2023 04:24

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2 comments

Wendy Kaminski
18:15 Feb 12, 2023

Oh wow, really interesting ending, JT! I did not see that coming. I applaud your reverence for single-estate coffee and your hatred of Nescafe - the horror! I have some stashed in my survival pantry. It's how I plan to kill myself if it ever comes to an apocalyptic scenario and there's no other way out. :D I enjoyed your story, and welcome to Reedsy!

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J T
21:04 Feb 12, 2023

Fun fact - I don't drink coffee unless I'm travelling abroad to a coffee producing country and can get it fairly close to the source. U.S. coffee isn't quite the same.

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