I'm back again with my latest installment of Teaser Tuesday for Daughters of Earth, this time with chapter 7. Here are the previous teasers: chapter 1, chapter 2, chapter 3, chapter 4, chapter 5, and chapter 6. In this chapter we're in 2012. Dassah and Leah, both 18, are now combat soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Their unit is at a bar celebrating Dassah's promotion to sergeant. Leah asks to talk to Dassah outside. Note, Ephraim is Leah's boyfriend.
The salty sea air pleasantly contrasted the stuffiness of the bar. The promenade overlooked the beach and was a quick stroll away. Cobblestone paved the promenade flanked by metal railing, with benches throughout, and decorative stone archways.
“Sorry about Beitar Jerusalem,” Dassah offered.
“No, you’re not,” Leah retorted. “They’ll get Maccabi next time.”
“No they won’t.”
Leah pinched Dassah in the arm.
Dassah grimaced. “Why’d you do that for?”
“For being mean.”
“Are you upset at me for any reason?”
“Besides your act of violence?”
“No, why would I be?”
“No reason.” She paused. “Well, there is a reason. You’ve seemed distant since you came back from the course. That’s the same time you found out I was with Ephraim.”
Dassah shrugged. “And?”
“And, is there something I should know about you and Ephraim.”
Dassah huffed. “There never was a me and Ephraim.”
“I don’t mean that. I mean, do you like him?”
“He’s a cute guy and he’s fun to hang out with.”
Leah stopped walking. She rested against a pillar of a stone archway with hands behind her back and ankles crossed. The light breeze wafted through Leah’s curls and tickled the base of Dassah’s neck. They were alone on the moonlit promenade.
“I didn’t mean it that way,” Leah said, her voice soothing. “I meant do you want to be with him?”
Dassah watched the waves hit the surf. “No.”
“Then why do you look at us at times like you’re angry?”
“Yes, you do.”
“I’m not upset at you.”
Leah clasped Dassah’s left hand. She rubbed her fingers over the scars. The hair raised on her forearm. Dassah didn’t like when someone touched her scars, but she didn’t mind Leah doing it now.
“Look at me,” Leah said softly. “Tell me what it is.”
Dassah turned to her. The purity of Leah’s beauty disarmed her. The faintest of moonlight glinted in her large brown eyes framed by long, ashen lashes. Her sumptuous full lips, slightly parted as if ready to speak, beckoned Dassah. She had kissed her fair share of lips before, but none had enthralled her like Leah’s.
She slipped her right hand under Leah’s thick hair and caressed the back of her neck. Leah’s eyelids became heavy. Dassah leaned down and tenderly kissed Leah’s lips as if she was made of fine porcelain and might break if touched. Leah didn’t move. Dassah kissed her again, this time opening her mouth.
Dassah gripped the pillar with her left hand and pressed her chest against Leah’s bosom. They continued to kiss and Leah ran her fingers through Dassah’s hair with both hands till she held the crown of her head. Her shawl fell back from her shoulders. Dassah’s heart quickened and her stomach roiled.
Leah dropped her hands to Dassah’s shoulders and pushed her back. “No, we can’t do this.” She clutched her shawl closed.
“Why not?” asked Dassah incredulously. “I love you, Leah, I always have.”
Leah shook her head. “Not like that.”
“You told me you dated boys in high school.”
“I did, but I also dated girls.” She sighed. “Mainly girls.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I didn’t know how. In Tel Aviv, it’s easy. No one cares. It’s very open there. My parents got over it when I told them. They let me go to clubs until three in the morning and I met girls there. My parents are more worried about terrorists after what happened to you and me rather than me getting into trouble.”
“But why couldn’t you trust me to tell me?”
“I didn’t know what you’d say or think of me. We know how your parents are. To them, being gay is like eating pork on Yom Kippur.”
“They’re my parents, but you’re my best friend. We’ve been through life and death together and will face it again in the army.”
“I want more than friendship.”
“How many girls have you been with?”
“Why do you want to know?”
“Because I want to know if you plan for me to be one of the countless girls you’ve been with.”
“Absolutely not. The others would be gone from my memory. You’d be the only one I’ve ever been with. There’s only you. I love you, Leah. There’s no one else I’ve ever loved more.”
“I love you too, Dassah.” Leah ran the back of her fingers down Dassah’s cheek. “But not in that way.”