Love and Other Surprises

Love and Other Surprises
Part II (Conclusion)

Jean discreetly looked at the couple out of the corner of her eye. They didn't seem to be able to stop touching. It was down right distracting. A squeeze of a shoulder, a brush of the arm and a myriad of other tiny touches that screamed familiarity. They had retaken the loveseat. She guessed to give her space and time to think. Pretending to do just that, Jean closed her eyes. 'How did it happen? How did I miss it? We're their signs that screamed from both of them, and I missed it?' The older woman's heart clenched.

'What kind of mother am I not to know my own children?' Eyes opened as a thoughts bombarded her with each beat of her heart. She rubbed the glass, coating her hands with the condensation in hopes of slowing her racing heart and thoughts. 'Is this serious?' Jean glanced toward the couple, catching gray eyes that looked at her questioningly. She looked away quickly. They made a striking couple, all darkness and light. A perfect contrast, but she got the distinct feeling that the blonde was the one that had inhabited the dark, remembering the cold eyes that starred at her when the door opened. Still, there was something else in them that she couldn't miss.

A fierce confidence glowed in the stormy eyes of the blonde. 'Yes, it's serious. I at least know my daughter that well, and I know that look too. It shines in Tara's eyes. There is no awkwardness between them. They touch and glance at each other as though they had been doing it for a lifetime.' Jean had to admit to herself that something in her heart was touched. Hadn't she always wanted her children to be happy? She shook her head mentally. There was more involved here.

'My grandchild.'

'I want her to grow up normal. There will be so much that she would have to deal with. Pain, anger, and hate from people who don't understand. Will she even accept this situation when she's older? Her mother in love with another woman. Oh sweetheart, what have you gotten yourself into?'

Lil felt the fleeting touches of her lover, knowing that they were a form of reassurance because the silence was deafening. 'I didn't expect her to scream in delight and accept Catt into the family, but I expected more than glares our the corner of her eye. Mother what are you thinking? Look at us. Look at her. Can't you see it? What exists between us covers us like a blanket. It's that palpable, a connection so strong that it exists by itself. I don't even see that with you and daddy. This scares me. I remember how you treated Gab when you first found out about her. Should I expect the same? Do you think of this as just another disappointment like when I got pregnant?'

The dark head hung. The day went from a sensual haze to possible devastation. She felt long fingers lift her chin. Gray studied violet blue in silent communication. Catt read the sadness that drooped in her lover's eyes. She didn't need to be told. With a finger, she traced a path from Lil's nose to her chin, carefully outlining trembling lips on the way. She leaned in and whispered behind the long blonde hair that covered both of their features.

"Talk to her, so you both can find out what the other is thinking. I'm right here beside you, and I promise that I'm not going anywhere. Just promise me that you won't either."

Before pulling back, she kissed her lover's ear and fought the smile that wanted to surface at the fine shiver that resulted.

Startled blue gazed back at her. 'How could she think that I would leave. . .

"I wouldn't---"

Lil was silenced by a well placed finger and urged on with a jerk of the blonde head.

"Later," the blonde whispered.

Catt took the smaller hand in her own and squeezed it in support.

Lil glanced at the form of her mother and watched her play at sipping the juice. Imperceptibly, the brunette cleared her throat.

"Mom?" She waited until the other woman looked up. "Talk to me?"

Jean looked up, glancing from one woman to the other then swallowed. "I honestly don't know what to say about this. I was in know way prepared, and I would have never suspected as what was going on with you."

"I know, but I wanted to tell you when I thought I was ready. Things are so new with us. . ."

"When did this happen?"

"Um, we met in Terre Haute when I was staying with Gab for the holidays."

She sat the glass on the nearby table. Seeing that her hands were shaking, she jerked them back and began to wring them to stop the involuntary motion. A small sliver of pain wedged in her heart. "So, again, everybody knew except me?"

Lil sighed in exasperation. "Mom, it's not like that. We just didn't know how you were going to take it," she added softly. The steady squeeze of Catt's hand kept her at an even kilt.

Jean laughed but without humor. How did you think I was going to take it. I find out not one daughter but both of them are gay? What am I supposed to think? How do you think this makes me feel? I raised children that I don't know. I was blinded all this time," she said her voice raspy. She ran a shaky hand through graying hair.

Again, the dark head hung, knowing what she was about to say was going to sting. "Can't you see mom? This isn't about you or how I was raised. It has nothing to do with you. This didn't happen because you mistreated me, ignored me, or smothered me. it happened because it was supposed to.

Jean grabbed the glass again, needing something to do with her hands. They were shaking just a bit harder. "Despite---" Her voice came out in a hoarse croak. She sipped some of the juice. "Despite why or how it happened, I can't say I condone this. There is more at stake than just the two of you."

Lil almost crushed the fingers intertwined with her own. 'Oh God, please don't do this. Can't you see mom that I need her?' She swallowed and looked over at Catt with fear shining in her eyes. They gray twinkled back at her, smiling and loving. It was the strength she need to push on. Quietly but with supreme confidence, she added, "This isn't going to end because you don't condone it mother. I'm not going to let her go because you or dad don't like it. She's in my life now. She is my life."

Jean looked at her daughter astonished by the reply. "What about Jamie? How can you subject your daughter to something so new that could be over with the drop of a hat?" The older woman tightened her grip on the glass.

"Mother look at us. I mean really look. Can't you see it, feel it? I know you felt it around Gab and Tara. You told me as much."

Jean lowered her eyes, refusing to answer. 'Yes, I see it and feel it.'

"Catt loves Jamie, and you should see Jamie around her. You know that she doesn't respond to just anybody."

Jean shook her head. Lil just wasn't getting it. "Do you know what she will have to face growing up? The pain you are going to put her through?"

Lil blinked and sucked in an audible breath before answering. "Don't you think I know that mom? She's my daughter. Despite what goes on in the world, I'm—we're going to teach her to be strong and accepting. She'll deal with it because we're going to help her deal with it when the time comes. Look, mom, I know this isn't easy to accept, and I'm not asking you to immediately welcome this with open arms, but it isn't going to change just because you don't like it. You'd rather I do what you say just to make you happy and leave myself miserable for the rest of my life?"

Jean looked into her daughter's eyes, surprised by the question. "No, I want you to be happy," she whispered. Her grip became even tighter on the glass.

"I am, mom. I am." Lil turned to face her lover. The smile she got in return for her words made her breath catch. Catt glowed.

Jean wanted to loosen her grip on the glass, but she couldn't. Her insides churned. She realized the anger, guilt, and the host of other emotions that she was feeling weren't aimed at her daughter. They were focused within. Anger and guilt for not seeing her children for who they really are; for not being there; for not being able to support them in times of crisis. Her conscious whispered, 'But isn't this a time of crisis? Support her now. She was right when she said that it wasn't about you.

'But, I don't know how,' she answered herself. "You heard her. She doesn't need my support now. She's a woman that is more than capable of making her own choices.'

'Then just be there when she needs you."

'I don't know if I can."

Jean proceeded to study the silent couple.

Lil continued to gaze into stormy gray. They said so much with just a twinkle or a change of shade. They spoke for her, making her forget that they were not alone.

"I love you," they whispered.

With a soft caress of her lover's cheek and a small smile, Lil answered back. "I know you do, and I'll do anything to keep it that way."

Gray eyes darkened belaying sadness. "I'm sorry that this isn't working out. I feel that it's my fault."

Deep blue read the message perfectly. With a squeeze of her hand and an almost indiscernible shake of her head, Lil added. "No there's nothing to be sorry for. We're in this together. No matter what."

Sad eyes lightened with a smile.

Jean swallowed. She felt as though she was intruding upon a private conversation. Deep down, she knew that they had said a lot with the few exchanges, but she just didn't know what.

Just then, the quiet apartment was filled with a small cry followed by an insistent 'ma!' The couple grinned at each other, and Lil added by way of explanation to her mother, "That's Jamie. I think that she's ready to get up." The brunette rose but was stopped by an elegant hand.

"No, I'll get her."

Without another word, Catt made her way toward the back. The bedroom door was already cracked. She peaked in and was immediately spotted by astute blue eyes. Jamie squealed in response. "Caty, Caty!"

The blonde smiled. She couldn't help herself. "Good morning little one. Ready to get up?"

The child cooed. Reaching her hands up in the air, she made a constant open and closed fist motion that was an attempt to beg the blonde to pick her up. Catt did so without hesitation. Balancing the toddler on her hip, she reached back down to get a toy and a couple hours old, unfinished bottle. Small chubby hands grabbed at the bottle. Giving it to her, Catt looked down at the small form in her arms. Deep blue glanced right back at her. Her heart skipped a beat, and she did nothing to stop the sob that wrenched from her throat.

"I love you little one. I love you both. Don't let anyone tell you any different."

Placing a tiny kiss on the small forehead, she headed out the room back to the living area.

In the meantime, Lil glanced at her mother. Their eyes met and held.

"I know this is hard mom. Just try, please? She's not going anywhere. She's in my life to stay. I know this. I feel this."

"I just don't know, Lil. There's so much more at stake here. . ." Her voice trailed off as the blond woman made her way into the living room with a cooing Jamie. The older woman's thoughts scattered. The little girl clung to the blonde with tiny fingers wound in the woman's hair. They looked so natural together like they belonged. She watched on as the woman sat beside her daughter.

Jamie reached out her hand to her mother. Lil leaned in, grinning, and gave the appendage a sloppy kiss. With the same hand, the child made a waving motion toward her grandmother, and got one in return. Jamie gurgled in delight then found a place back in the crook of the other woman's arm. Catt leaned down and kissed the dark head once more. The blonde cleared her throat.

"Mrs. Howard? I have something to say."

Lil grabbed her lover's arm. "Catt, you----"

Eyes met. "Shh, it's okay. I need to do this."

Lil nodded in acquiescence, and Jean waited.

"Mrs. Howard, I don't know what kind of daughter you think you raised, but she has turned into a wonderful woman. She's kind, honest, and her capacity for love and forgiveness changed my life. She's taught me so much, and I'm still learning." She paused at the feel of a soft hand patting her thigh. "I love her so much. I would give up anything and everything just to stay in her life. I didn't know what love was before I met her. You see, I was kind of stumbling through life taking what I wanted and hurting people in the process."

"I know that this may sound cliché, but I mean every word. When I met her, everything changed. I tried to push her away and forget her, but I just couldn't. She forgave me for all the things I did and she loved me despite it all. As for Jamie, she is a part of Lil, and I can't help but love her. I'm not good with babies, relationships, or speaking, but somehow it all works. If Lil raises Jamie to be half the woman that you raised her to be, I don't think you will have much to worry about."

The hand on her thigh squeezed again., and she gave a small smile of appreciation. Jean glanced at the woman expectantly. Realizing this, Catt added, Oh, um, I think that's all that I have to say."

Jean sucked in a deep breath. 'Could she be right, and I just don't see it? Oh God, I can't be that blind. Can I? I suppose I can. I didn't really see the love Tara has for my daughter until I took the time to get to know her. Maybe that what I need to do here.' Confusion and emotion weighed heavily on her shoulders. 'I just need to think.' Her hand loosened around the glass.

Catt took the hand from her thigh and kissed the palm. Blue smiled into gray. Lil turned from her lover to look at her silent mother.

"Mom, I----"

Her speech was interrupted by a surprised shriek from her lover and a squeal from her daughter.

"Uh-oh, Caty! Pee-pee!"

Three sets of blue eyes riveted on the blonde, who fidgeted as warm fluid penetrated her clothing. Under the continuous stares, Catt could feel herself do something that hardly ever happened. Blood slowly crept its way up her neck to her face and ears, giving her face a nice red hue. Lil bit her lip, but the smallest Howard was the first to giggle. She was followed by her mother who chuckled more at the look on her lover's face than the situation. Jean added light, reluctant laughter of her own.

The littlest Howard had put a crack in some very thick ice.

Catt turned to the younger woman giving her a mock scowl that quickly turned into a crooked grin.

"Um, I'm going to go mop up." She nodded at Jean and got up taking the still giggling Jamie with her.

Lil watched them go and covered her mouth as Jamie continued to shout, "Uh-oh pee-pee,' as they made their way down the hall. Mother and daughter glanced at each other continuing to smile at the child's antics. Jean was the first to look away.

Finally, she sat the glass of juice on the table. "Uh, Lil, I can see what I think isn't going to change anything, but I've seen enough to know that she cares about both you and Jamie. Beyond that, I don't know. I'm going to need some time to sort through this. What she said really made me think. There is a lot I need to come to terms with concerning my own beliefs and feelings." Jean rose from the chair. "I-I'm going to go now, but I want to get to know her and you."

Lil followed her mother to the door, placing a hand on the nearest shoulder as they walked. Once there, Jean turned engulfing her daughter in a quick, tight hug.

"Mom, I think I understand, and thank you."

The older woman gave her daughter a ghost of a smile and disappeared into the brightness of day. Lil watched her mother get in, start the car, and followed it down the street. She closed the door softly. In just a few hours, so much had changed. She didn't know if it was for the bad or good, but the one good thing was that they were out in the open. No more secrets. The brunette rolled her shoulders, enjoying the new lightness. Deep blue looked down the empty hall when she heard a squeal then throaty laughter. The sounds beckoned her, so she followed them.

Pushing the half opened door wider, she walked quietly into the room. Half way in, she stopped and smirked at the sight. Jamie lay on the bed naked as the day she was born with the blonde leaning over her. She tugged and played with the silky strands that were within her reach. Catt cooed at the toddler before lowering her head to the tiny stomach and blowing. The rude noise that resulted made the child squeal in delight and her mother giggle in amusement.

Catt looked up at her lover with shining eyes. Lil shook her head and made her way toward the bed. "You two together are something else."

The blonde reached out a hand, and the younger woman took it. "No, Sparky, the three of us are together are something else."

Lil laughed out loud as a big happy bubble burst in her heart. She sat on the bed beside the blonde.

"Yeah, I guess we are." She paused. "Quite the interesting day. Full of surprises. Makes you wonder what tomorrow will be like."

"Mmm, don't know, but I think we'll be able to deal with whatever comes. Don't you?"

Their gazes locked. Lil leaned in, brushing tempting lips gently. "Oh, yeah."

Welll, I hope you all liked this little installment in the lives of Lil and Catt. It was just a little something to keep you busy while I work on the 6th installment of Perspectives. Enjoy, and let me know what ya think. Drop me a line at Minerva.

Copyright © Minerva 2000


Return to The Bard's Corner