The Gateways is not as loud as Patsy feared, nor as crowded, but as promised it is populated entirely by women like them. She’d have trouble not staring if she could keep her eyes off the woman beside her. Delia glitters, her dress sparkling in the low light and her eyes gleaming.
Patsy can’t get enough of her: not here, not at Nonnatus, not every stolen night they have together, not ever. She was so close to losing this, and now she is jealous of every moment of Delia’s presence. Patsy loses track of time. She could dance forever here, carried along by the music and drowning in Delia’s eyes.
“D’you want a drink, Pats?” Delia asks, her voice a murmur.
Patsy is parched, she realises. “Yes, actually.”
Delia finds them gaps in the crowd, and keeps ahold of Patsy’s hand the whole way over to the bar. They’re surrounded by people and Delia is holding her hand.
She was right, Patsy decides. It’s worth giving up a little private time for this. To be seen with her sweetheart. To have a woman make eye contact with her over Delia’s shoulders, give her a warm little smile, and look away again. For it not to matter!
Delia presses a sweating glass into Patsy’s free hand and says, “C’mon, then.”
The drink tastes like something Trixie used to make: fruity and a little spicy and very alcoholic. One will be plenty. She does have to be clear-headed for her duties in the morning. Delia guides her to an empty booth and wiggles in beside her, tucked up close.
Delia is smug. “I told you, didn’t I?” she says, smiling. “We’re invisible.”
“We certainly aren’t drawing any attention,” Patsy agrees. She sips her drink. She slides an arm across Delia’s shoulders, and Delia presses in closer. Patsy can smell her: hair spray, perfume, the warmth of her body. Heat pulses through her. She squeezes Delia’s upper arm.
Delia’s fingers find the tie on her shirt, walk their way across her belly. “Thank you,” Delia says, “for agreeing to come with me.”
“I wanted you to be right,” Patsy admits. The slope of Delia’s neck is bare, and Patsy could probably kiss it if she felt like it. She does feel like it. But Delia’s mouth is more easily reachable, and just as delightful to kiss. Delia smiles into the press of Patsy’s lips. Her hair brushes teasingly across Patsy’s arm. Desire is a slow pulse between her thighs.
“Do you want to find out how invisible we are?” Delia whispers.
Patsy frowns, confused.
Delia kisses her again, deeper, coaxing Patsy’s lips open with the gentle tip of her tongue. She tastes sweet and sharp like her drink. Hesitant, Patsy lowers her other hand to Delia’s knee. Delia plucks that hand up, squeezes it, and then places it on her breast.
“Hush, Pats,” Delia chides. “We’re in a corner. No one’s looking.”
“Delia, I’m really not sure--”
“I am,” Delia replies, and slips her hand between Patsy’s legs, her fingers warm through the fabric of Patsy’s trousers.
Patsy cups Delia’s breast thoughtfully, trying to decide if this is a good idea. It’s a terrible idea, as a matter of fact, but Delia is right: they are shielded by the low light, the booth, and the fact that no one gives two girls necking in the corner a second glance. Patsy rubs her thumb across the satin of Delia’s dress and watches Delia’s eyelashes flutter. Her nipple is hardening in the cup of Patsy’s palm.
Patsy eases her legs apart. Delia smiles, wriggling her fingers against the centre seam, and kisses Patsy’s cheek. Patsy can feel the heat of her own face against Delia’s lips. She closes her eyes, pretending they aren’t practically in public. But now she’s more aware of the music, the smell of smoke and liquor, the voices. The voices. Women walk by their table, talking, laughing, and Patsy shivers with the desire that ripples up her spine.
“All right?” Delia asks in a whisper against her ear. Delia’s breathing is steady and rapid, and she squeezes Patsy between the legs, testing her. In reply, Patsy thumbs her nipple through her dress to hear her gasp. “Well, Nurse Mount!” Delia chides, delighted.
Patsy needs to kiss her. She shifts her hand to cup Delia’s cheek instead and presses their lips together. At the same time, she slides a little lower in her seat, and Delia scrapes a fingernail up the seam of her trousers. It’s a tease of sensation, barely enough pressure to even notice, but blood throbs between Patsy’s legs.
“Can I go inside?” Delia asks.
God help her; Patsy nods.
Patsy’s trousers are cut high, but Delia has nimble fingers and small hands, and she gets inside without too much trouble. Patsy helps by parting her legs. She turns her body towards Delia, kissing her again. Her heart is racing, thumping against her ribs in a way she knows isn’t physiologically accurate but feels very real. Delia’s fingers creep underneath the waist of her knickers, rub teasingly in her curly ginger hair, and slip between her labia.
Christ, she’s wet. Delia parts her lips and her fingers slide smoothly, down to gather the wetness and then up to rub across her clitoris. Patsy muffles her gasp against Delia’s neck, hiding her face. They shouldn’t be doing this here! The danger of it makes Patsy’s cunny clench in excitement. Delia works her clit in little gentle circles, warming her up. As if she needs warming; she’s already soaking her knickers. She’s half terrified, half mad with arousal, and it won’t take much.
Delia knows it, and she’s not messing around. This isn’t the place for a long, drawn out seduction, for gentle touches and teasing rubs. Delia captures her mouth again and works her hand hard and fast in the tight confines of Patsy’s trousers. It must cramp her wrist, but Delia doesn’t show any sign of fatigue or discomfort. She hooks her leg over Patsy’s knee, dragging her legs wider, and dips her fingers between Patsy’s lips again, rewetting them. If Patsy were in a skirt, Delia could have two fingers in her right now, deep, to the knuckle. Patsy’s body offers no resistance. Her clit throbs, aching for Delia’s touch to return.
And when it does, the pressure is perfect. Delia’s slippery middle finger works Patsy’s swollen clit with ease and precision. Delia knows Patsy so well, Patsy could faint. She clings to Delia’s shoulder, breathing hard against Delia’s parted lips.
“Come on, cariad,” Delia murmurs. “Let me feel you.”
“Oh,” Patsy manages, the pleasure cresting. Her back arches and she kicks the booth seat across from them; it’s a good place to brace her foot as she comes, shaking, hips lifting almost off the seat. Delia doesn’t stop for a second, rubs her until she’s quivering and the waves of her orgasm die down, and then gentles her touch. She doesn’t stop, though; just gives Patsy a moment to catch her breath, and then she kisses Patsy hard and picks up the pace again. Almost at once Patsy’s body spasms in a second orgasm, and she has to bite back a desperate whimper. It seeps out anyway as a little whine on every exhale. Delia’s eyes are black as night. When Patsy relaxes again, gasping, Delia takes pity on her. She eases her hand out of Patsy’s trousers and sucks her fingers clean.
“Lord,” Patsy says, limp and astonished.
“Can you walk?” Delia asks urgently. “Do up your trousers and come on.”
Patsy manages to get her trousers buttoned, and slides out of the booth after her. Delia grabs her hand as soon as she’s upright and marches them to the toilet.
There’s a door that locks, and Delia hustles Patsy inside. She’s hiking up her dress, flushed and out of breath, and Patsy goes to her knees without thinking. Delia has a girdle on, and the suspenders that hold her stockings up are like railroad tracks up her gloriously pale, widely spread thighs. It doesn’t take any effort to hook the crotch of her knickers aside with two fingers. Patsy parts Delia’s labia with her thumbs and sucks her clit into her mouth.
Delia falls back against the locked door, gasping audibly as Patsy licks her. She’s soaking wet, slick and sour and delicious. She’d have her hands in Patsy’s hair by now if Patsy hadn’t dedicated the early evening to the hairspray can. Instead, she’s holding up her dress with one hand and grasping her thigh with the other. Patsy twines their fingers together, working her tongue hard against Delia’s clit. Her other hand fits neatly between Delia’s thighs and she sinks two fingers into Delia’s cunt. Delia squeezes down, sobbing. Patsy can feel it as she starts to come, and she crooks her fingers to press against that spot inside her that makes her go mad.
True to form, Delia writhes, lifting up on her toes, and a gush of warmth floods Patsy’s chin and neck, down into the V of her shirt.
“Oh, Christ,” Delia gasps, “sorry, I’m sorry--”
Patsy ignores her, relishing the taste and feel of her lover’s climax. She rocks her fingers, enjoying Delia’s squeak, and lets her down easily. When she sinks back on her heels, lips and tongue numb, soaked from chin to sternum, Delia staggers and her hands flutter about Patsy’s face.
“Oh, Pats, your shirt!”
“I don’t care,” Patsy says, rising to her feet and kissing Delia primly on the lips. “I’ll wash in the sink.”
Delia cups her face and kisses back, moaning with exhausted delight. Patsy feels the laughter bubble up between them, and then they’re pressed together in a loo stall, giggling and trading kisses. Patsy is careful to keep her shirt and Delia’s gorgeous dress from touching.
“Do you want to dance more?” Patsy asks, when Delia’s breathing has evened out and their laughter has subsided.
Delia sighs. “No,” she says. “Let’s go home.”
Home, Patsy thinks wistfully. She still fantasises about that little flat they were going to share. She’ll always be grateful to the nuns for offering Delia a place to stay, but sneaking into her bedroom at night and out again in the morning will never measure up. Someday. They’ll have it again someday.
And for now, they have places like the Gateways. No one takes any notice as they slip out, Delia’s stockings askew and Patsy’s shirt freshly rinsed. It’s not privacy, exactly, but it’s not the wider public either: for a little while they can be together, invisible but unhidden.