Lizzy was getting increasingly nervous as things were not going as predicted. Ever since she, hand trembling, showed the expulsion letter from the university to her girlfriend and Top Lucy, expecting a stern and furious oral lashing as well as a sound bottom walloping, none of those things had happened. In fact Lucy went uncharacteristically quiet after reading the letter, and then gave her younger girlfriend a fierce glare before heading to her study.
Maybe she’s so mad that she needs a time-out herself? Lizzy figured that must be the reason that she was still comfortably sitting down the next day. She was walking on eggshells all day waiting for her girlfriend to explode anytime now, but three whole days had passed and still nothing from Lucy, and the nothingness made Liz utterly confused. On the fourth night when they were lying in bed she snuggled up to Lucy and asked sheepishly, “Umm, Lu?”
“Yes Liz?” Lu turned away from TV and looked at her girlfriend, a little absent mindedly.
“Are we, ya know, gonna talk about …?” Lizzy asked nervously.
“What? Oh.” Lucy patted Liz on the head and kissed the tip of her nose, putting her arm around her shoulder. “Maybe later, okay babe?” She turned her attention back to TV.
What the f*ck? Lizzy frowned, really confused. This was so unlike Lu, her formidable Top.
The next day, Liz got on the phone to her best buddy Cat.
“Hey Cat! Lu’s behaving really weird.” She said.
“Whatcha mean, weird? Didn’t she spank you already?” Cat was pretty sure Lizzy had gotten a severe punishment for the whole stats final cheating mess.
“That’s just it!” Lizzy almost shouted, tears welling up. “Nope, nothing, nada!”
“Wha?” Cat raised both eyebrows. “Did she say anything?”
“Not much, just gave me a ‘look.’ And when I asked about it, she said maybe later.” Lizzy sobbed. “Do you think she’s so disappointed that she’s given up on me?”
“I’m sure that’s not it.” Cat tried to be reassuring but it sounded unconvincing because she wasn’t sure herself. After all, they did mess up pretty big this time.
“But I’m a little scared, Cat. Lu’s never behaved like this before! May-maybe she’s had enough and is gonna dump me now.”
“Liz! Don’t be silly.” Cat spent a few more minutes trying to calm down her friend.
After the call, Cat went straight to her girlfriend and Top Stella. Stella and Lucy had been best friends since college and they told each other everything.
Stella listened and frowned furiously, her eyes narrowing. She told Cat she’d try to talk to Lucy asap and find out what’s going on.
The next day the two old friends met at a downtown Mexican joint for a plate of nachos and a pitcher of Budweiser after work.
“So Lu, what’s going on with you and Lizzy? I heard you haven’t done anything about her cheating yet.” Stella went straight to the point. They had been friends for a long time. There’s simply no need to beat around the bushes.
Lucy picked up her beer and avoided Stella’s blue eyes. She took a swig and played with a piece of nacho on her plate.
“Lu? Lucy Renee DeVito!” Stella’s voice was low but left no doubt that she was expecting an answer, quickly.
Lucy looked up and locked eyes with Stella. She sighed, “Stel, please stay out of it okay?” She added, “By the way, I’m glad everything worked out for Cat with the university.”
“Thanks. We are glad too.” Stella replied. “But please do not change the subject, Lu.” She pleaded.
Lucy sounded defensive when she replied, “I’m handling it, okay?”
“Handling it?” Stella leaned over the table and touched Lu’s hand. “By doing nothing? Do you know that Liz thinks you are going to break up with her?”
“What?” Lucy sat up straight, alarmed. “She told Cat that?”
“Yes!” Stella said sternly, “So you better tell me what the heck is going on with you two, right now!”
Lucy took a deep breath before opening her mouth. “Alright. You remember that IS course in our senior year? The one I got an A+ in?”
“You mean the Information System course with Dr. ehh, Osaki, the Sensei?” Stella remembered it very well, “Yes of course. You almost got a perfect score on the final and beat me by nearly a whole letter grade!”
“Yeah, well …” Lucy smiled wearily and her voice trailed off as she shifted her gaze away from Stella.
“What is it Lu? Why are you bringing this up?” Stella stared at her friend who was shifting in her seat looking a tad uncomfortable. A sudden realization hit her and she narrowed her eyes, “NO, you didn’t! Did you?”
Lucy was silent for a while staring at her hands before she finally lifted her head and looked at her best friend in the eye and nodded, “Yes, I did Stel. I cheated on that final exam. I hid my notes inside my shirt sleeve.”
“O.M.G.” Stella exclaimed. Recalling how strict Sensei had been and her stern demeanor, she shivered, “Boy, you were brave. Lucky you didn’t get caught!”
“Brave? I was stupid! That’s what I was.”
“Bu-but I don’t understand, Lu, you were doing so well in that class already. Why?”
Lucy shook her head wearily, “Because I wanted to see if I could pull it off.”
“And all these years you never thought to tell me?” Stella was incredulous.
“Well,” Lucy’s voice carried an apologetic tone. “I … I chose to lose my memory over it ya know. I didn’t want to think about it. Sorry.”
Stella nodded and they both fell silent.
Lucy’s quandary was crystal clear to her best friend now.
“So when you said ‘I’m handling it,’ you meant exactly the opposite huh?” Stella said it slowly, pronouncing each word clearly.
“Yeah well, sorry about that too. I know I can’t possibly discipline Liz for this, I just can’t.” Lucy shook her head.
“Have you thought about talking to her and telling her the truth?” Stella asked.
“Telling her? You kiddin’ me? I’m way too embarrassed to do that.” Lucy’s voice showed strains of shame, guilt and frustration.
“But remaining silent and not doing anything …, it’s not fair for Lizzy, and you’re miserable too,” Stella pointed out the obvious.
“You think I don’t know that, Stel?” Lucy’s reply was pained.
“Well, let’s figure this out together then, Lu.” Stella reassured her best friend, patting her hand.
Lucy nodded. They ordered more beer and another plate of nachos. It was going to take a while to figure out a solution.
Sunday afternoon, Genevieve and Maddy’s house was quiet. Maddy was out of town at a plant pathology conference and Genevieve was on her way to meet a couple of her former students for coffee. Sensei was tall and slender, and her attire was understated as usual: a white Indian cotton blouse, black jeans, and a pair of Chaco sandals. Gliding into the café, Sensei right away spotted the two young women sitting by the window, who immediately stood up recognizing their elegant former professor too.
“Hey, Stella Anderson, and hello, Lucy DeVito, two of my favorite former students!” Genevieve opened her arms and hugged each of them warmly.
“Hi, Sensei!” Stella greeted her former professor. “It’s been a while.”
Lucy followed by saying, “Thank you for meeting us on such a short notice, Dr. O.”
“Sure, glad to see you both. Please sit down.” Sensei took the seat across from her former students.
“You two have been good, I hope?” Gen winked and said affectionately.
Stella and Lucy looked at each other and started giggling, feeling like young college students again.
Coffee was ordered and chit-chat ensued.
Why, they look a bit nervous. Observed Sensei.
“Now in your email you said you two wanted to discuss something with me?” Gen inquired after a few minutes.
Stella and Lucy exchanged a look before Stella nudged her friend on her elbow.
“Well Sensei,” She gave Lucy an encouraging look, “there’s something Lu wants to tell you.”
Lucy coughed and shifted in her seat. She cleared her throat a few times before looking Dr. Osaki in the eye and confessed the misdeed she had committed over five years before. By the time she finished, her head was down in her hands. Stella wrapped her arm over her friend’s shoulder, gently whispering, “It’s okay, Lu, you did great.”
Genevieve put her coffee down, leaned back on the leather booth, and crossed her arms. I see. Her narrowed eyes said, lips firmly pressed.
“I’m really sorry, Dr. O.” Lucy apologized sincerely. “I was young and stupid, and very impulsive.”
Dr. Osaki waited a full minute watching her former student squirm in her seat before her expression softened as she reached over and held Lucy’s hand.
“Thank you for coming clean, Lucy.” Sensei was careful in choosing her words. “I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t disappointed to hear that. But still, I appreciate you telling me the truth as I believe it’s better late than never.” She let go of Lucy’s hand and leaned back again.
“Can you please forgive me, Dr. O.?” Lucy bit her lips, blinking back tears.
“Ah, you are looking for forgiveness. But why now? I mean it doesn’t matter anymore really.” The professor replied with raised eyebrow. “Something tells me there’s more to it, isn’t there?” Sensei gazed at both women intensely, her tone both firm and caring.
Lucy nudged Stella, who nodded and sat up straight in her seat. She took a deep breath and her blue eyes locked with Sensei’s dark brown ones. “Yes, Sensei, there’s something else.”
Genevieve waited with an encouraging expression, warmth around her eyes.
“Well you see Sensei, Lu and I are both in a committed relationship.” Stella pulled out a photo of four of them on her phone and showed it to the older woman.
“How nice,” Sensei broke into a wide smile. “Your partners look like they are still in college?”
“Yes, they are. This is my Cat and that’s Lizzy. These girls are the loves of our lives.” Stella gently traced her fingers over the photo. “Bu-but, sometimes they can be rather um … naughty.” Stella blushed slightly at her choice of the word and lowered her voice, “Dr. O., Lu and I are in a … a-”
“DD relationship.” Lucy put in helpfully.
Sensei raised her eyebrow, a small smile around her mouth.
“DD stands for-” Stella made to explain.
The professor put up her hand, “Please, no explanation needed. I know exactly what it stands for.” A full mirth slowly spread across her face as comprehension set in. “And I assume you are both Tops?”
The two young women’s eyes grew wide as their jaws dropped. “You … you too?”
The older woman nodded emphatically. She pulled out her phone and showed them a picture. “This is Maddy, my beloved life partner.” She added affectionately, “And my naughty bottom and brat.”
Lucy and Stella stared at each other and then at their former professor in total amazement. What are the odds? A deep sigh of relief escaped them both as they visibly relaxed.
“So ladies,” The older woman picked up her coffee and took a sip, curious about what was to come. “Now that we got THAT out of the way, let’s hear the rest of the story.”
Between them, the two former students managed to spill out the whole mess about the stats final exam and their girls’ troubles, and the predicament Lucy now found herself in.
“Ah, I see.” Genevieve responded sympathetically, shaking her head. “A very naughty brat waiting to be dealt with, and a Top .…” she glanced at Lucy. “Quite a sticky situation there for you, Lucy dear.”
The two younger women nodded. Lucy turned to look at outside the window, eyes stung by tears welling up again.
Gen waited till Lucy turned her head around back to the table before asking, “So please tell me, what was your intention of meeting me here today?” She inquired, her voice soft and her face warm.
Lucy wiped her eyes and looked at her best friend.
“Well, we thought if Lu confessed and had your forgiveness, she might be able to handle Lizzy with a clear conscience.” Stella replied a bit tentatively.
Lucy nodded, “Yes, that was the plan, to hear you say that you forgive me. But I don’t know … I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to … to forgive myself, let alone dealing with Liz.”
Sensei nodded. She was thoughtful for a while gazing through the window at the outside. Then she turned her head back and took out a pen from her purse and wrote something down on the paper napkin. “Why don’t you all come to our next SSA meeting? Bring the girls.” She handed them the napkin, “Here’s the time and address.”
“SSA?” Both women raised their eyebrows.
“Sapphic Spankos Anonymous,” Sensei said in an even tone as she stood up getting ready to leave. “See you all next weekend then?” It was clear to Stella and Lucy that this wasn’t really a question.
“Ye-yes, we’ll be there, Dr. O.” Stella and Lucy promptly replied as one.
“Good. We’ll put our heads together and take care of things.” With that Dr. Osaki gave each a hug and was gone.
Stella and Lucy stood there, bewildered.
“Wow.” That’s all Stella could say.
“No kiddin’.” Echoed Lucy.
After all these years, Sensei was still kinda … scary. The two former students contemplated with a shiver.