Disclaimers: See chapter one
To see the world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower;
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.
Chapter 33: (You better knock, knock, on wood Baby!)
Safely back in their car, the friends, rattled by the intrusion of Mr. Shimada and his henchmen, decided that take out pizza, behind the safety of their own locked doors was good enough for the rest of the evening. Jessie called on her cell phone, and the pizza kid arrived at the house about the same time they did.
Michael was very agitated. Steven did his best to calm his lovers fears, but his efforts seemed wasted on the pacing figure in front of him. He finally stood in front of Michael until he finally ran into him, so deep in his thoughts he failed to notice the "obstacle" in front of him.
"What?" he asked flustered.
"Youre wearing a track in the carpet, and I think that Kate and Jessie want to eat so they can crash early.
"Fine, sorry, lets eat and get some sleep ourselves." Michael ground out between his clenched teeth.
The digital clock glowed constantly, the only movement the change in numbers as time wore inexorably on. Kate tossed and turned, afraid to close her eyes. So many strange things kept happening, the stress was starting to weigh heavily on everyone. Even their lovemaking earlier seemed forced, Kate finally calling a stop to it, preferring instead to snuggle, and be close. She was sure she hurt Jessies feelings, but there was just no way to stop the information from rolling through her head and interfering with her concentration.
At a few minutes past four a.m., Kate slipped out of bed, pulling on a sweatshirt and sweat pants. Quietly she slipped out the sliding door onto the deck, deciding that a little cool air might help her clear her head and get some sleep. Stepping to the railing, she folded her hands under her arms and leaned out, squinting into the shadows made by the pale glow of the moon and the scattered trees of Jessies property.
"What on earth is going on here?" she thought, "Ghosts, crazy people, the Yakuza its almost like a bad novel, or a summer B movie. Poor Jessie, her mom channeling her brother, and me being a psychic connection. The next thing you know, Dionne Warwick is going to call and ask me to be a psychic friend. Either Im crazy, or there is something seriously scary going on. I just hope that Mr. Shimadas goons catch Gregory tomorrow. Then maybe we can get some kind of normalcy in our lives for a change."
The longer she stood there, the better she felt. Convinced that Gregorys capture was imminent, Kate decided to return to bed, and see if she could sleep. Opening the door, she pulled the blinds back, and froze. A bright shiny form hovered just above Jessies sleeping form. Frightened, but not wanting to scare it away, Kate slipped in and approached the bed.
Suddenly it started to shimmer, and then resolved itself into the form of a young man in his middle twenties. He seemed to glide to the floor, and then tentatively reach out to Jessie, a look of love and devotion on his face. Kate stepped forward towards the bed, at once terrified yet intrigued by what she was witnessing. The specter took notice of her, and fixed her with a gaze of curiosity.
"No closer, Kate McKenna." His soft voice coming to her as if on a summer breeze.
"Who who are you?" Kate stuttered.
"I think you know. My name is Kevin, Im Jessies dead brother." He smiled at the sound of his sisters name on his lips.
"Kevin? Why are you here?" Kate realized after she said it, that it might sound rude. But whats rude to a ghost?
"Im here, because my family is in danger. I truly thought that after I killed the bastard, that his evil spirit would go with him. But apparently I was wrong." Kevin turned his gaze back to Jessie.
"Kevin, weve been in danger for a couple of months. What made you appear now?" Kate settled in for some serious questioning.
"You sound as though you speak to spirits everyday." He chuckled, a soft glow emanating from him.
"Well, I realize that this is all new, and kind of crazy, but Ill take any help I can get. I keep getting the feeling that something bad is coming, and we may be powerless to stop it." Kate frowned at that thought.
"Youre very right Katie McKenna. Something really bad is coming. It was one thing to have the true evil that personifies my father loose in the world, but combine that with that psychotic bastard Gregory, and youve got a whole new ballgame." Kevins frown matched Kates.
"So, what can I do to stop it before it happens?" Kate inquired.
Kevin shook his head, trails of vapor whispering around him. "Its not that simple. I wish there was more to tell you, but I, unfortunately, cant predict the future. I can try to provide some guidance. The real reason Im here is to ask you to take care of my family. I can see how much you love Jessie, and I know she loves you. You have a very important role in her life. Lets make sure its a long one."
Kevins presence started to fade. "Wait, dont go. Kevin, what happened to you? How did you die?"
Distantly he replied, "It another story, for another time. You will hear it, but not now. I have to leave "
Kate stood to approach, but before she could take a step, he was gone. She slipped back between the covers, and snuggled closer to Jessie. The last thing she saw before she drifted off again was an almost angelic smile on Jessies face.
Early that morning, Jessie and Kate set out to visit their friends Laura and April. Despite all of the crazy things that had been happening, Jessie was actually looking forward to this adventure. She had never been to a womens bar before, and the thought of being able to anonymously, or as close to anonymously as she could get, interact with other women in a common setting was thrilling to her.
Kate was relieved to be moving again as well. She had decided not to tell Jessie about the visit from her brother just yet. For some reason she couldnt quite define, she just didnt want anything to interfere with their plans for the evening. She found a certain degree of relaxation and solace in her friends home that had seemed to be eluding them both for quite a while. Dancing with Jessie in public, without all of the studio protocol associated with one of TVs top stars was an attractive prospect for her too.
The two women cruised along in Jessies big caddie in companionable silence. Scooting over as close as she could get, and still stay fastened in the seat belt, Kate placed her hand on Jessies thigh. A small shiver of delight from Jessie met her light touch.
"Whats up there darlin?" Jessie breathed with a smile.
Kate pondered her response for a moment. "Im just pretending this is a normal day for us, that we dont have important jobs, that all of this other stuff doesnt exist."
Jessie stretched her arm out, and reaching for the seatbelt, pressed the release button and pulled Kate closer.
"Jessie, I shouldnt be out of my seatbelt, its not safe ..!" Kate giggled.
"Ahh, and why do you think I had them install a center belt. Buckle up, and get over here." Jessie pretended to scowl, her eyebrow arching slightly.
Kate blushed, and did as she was told. The heat from the closeness of Jessies body gave her a sweet tingle deep inside. She laid her head on Jessies shoulder, and listened contentedly, while her lover idly hummed with the radio, negotiating traffic with the ease of a captain piloting a boat in calm waters.
Without realizing it, Kate drifted off to sleep. Her mind was still, her heart calm. In the back reaches of her mind a beautiful voice lulled her into the most wonderful sense of love and security. She snuggled in closer, wrapping her free hand lightly in Jessies soft denim shirt.
Jessie smiled down at her companion. For the first time since their odyssey began her mind wandered to the changes she had experienced since she had first run into Katie in the studio restroom. It was making her re-evaluate some of the choices she had made with her life. It made her shudder to think how close she had come to the stereotypical life of a Hollywood star. Actually one of her major demons, was accepting the fact that even though it wasnt in her nature to buy into all of the scandals and scams that were part of the Hollyweird way of life, it would have been inevitable as long as she had stayed with Gregory. And of course, she couldnt kid herself now, that there would still be a certain degree of scandal attached to her since she had been publicly outed. Gazing at her sleeping lover, made it all worth it.
The trick now was to find a way to find a way to fight for their privacy, her rights with the studio provided she still had a job, and her right to have Katie at her side forever. Jessie realized that it was only a matter of time, before Justin Graves and the Board of Directors were going to need to be dealt with. A part of her wanted to hang up the whole career and move to her Northern California home permanently, and spend the rest of her life reacquainting herself with her mother, as well as with who the real Jessica Ryan is. And more importantly, learning more about what its like to be truly loved by someone, and returning that love in kind.
Concentrating on the heavier traffic as she got closer to Silicon Valley, Jessie turned her attention back to the coming evening. Jessie truly liked Laura and April. Laura had an incredible way of getting inside a persons head, and seeing all sorts of things that person might be trying to hide from themselves, and not be willing to face it. She had the strength, and yet warm fuzziness of a Universal Mother.
Jessie also spent some time considering whether or not she wanted to disguise her identity for the trip to the club. The process of trying to hide from her fans, and avoid contact was almost as bad as the contact itself. And not all encounters with her fans had been bad by any stretch just look at Katie she thought. She made a mental note to talk to Laura about how much hassle it would be in this particular club for her and Kate to go in as themselves.
Moments later she left the freeway for the short trip to Laura and Aprils mobile home park. Pulling into the parking area, she gave Kate a little squeeze. It surprised Jessie that Katie was so tired, not stirring once since she had drifted off. Of course, she had no idea that Kate had spent half the night awake, and part of it talking to her own dead brother.
"Hey there sleepyhead, were at Lauras. Time to wake up." Jessie tickled her knee.
"Nooo! Not time to wake yet seeping." Kate snuggled deeper into Jessies shoulder.
"Come on now honey. Lauras waiting for us .got to get inside. I promise you can take a nap later." Jessie reached across to undo her seatbelt.
Out of the corner of her eye, she caught Laura standing a few feet away, her arms crossed over her chest, a look that said "what are you gonna do now?". Jessie smiled, and then shrugging her shoulders, opened the door and backed out of the drivers seat. Leaning in she slid Kate closer to the door, and then picked her up. Pulling her closer, she kicked the door closed with her foot, and sidled up next to Laura.
"You never cease to amaze me Ms. Ryan. Youre such a hero." Laura giggled at Jessie.
As Laura held the door open, Jessie sidled in with her precious cargo and laid Kate on the guest bed. Covering her with a quilt, Jessie smoothed her hair back and kissed Kates temple. Kate shifted slightly already missing the warmth of Jessies presence. Moments later she was joined by two warm fuzzy cats, and that settled her for the moment.
Closing the door part way, Jessie stepped out into the family room and right into Lauras bear hugging embrace. Hanging on for all she was worth, Jessie sighed deeply.
"Got some time for a patient meeting Doc?" Jessie eyed Laura seriously.
Leading her into the living room to the comfort of the "Big Chair", Laura had Jessie sit, and raise the footrest. When Laura was satisfied she was comfortable, she made a soft kissing sound with her lips. Barely 30 seconds went by, when Corky, Lauras rather large fat cat joined Jessie in the chair, her head firmly planted under Jessies chin.
"Okay, I think were ready. Tell me whats on your mind Jess." Laura sat on and adjoining sofa her eyes shining with curiosity.
"I dont know Laura. Im beginning to wonder if I shouldnt have dragged Kate into all of this." Jessie pursed her lips, her eyes staring into the eyes of the cat.
"All what Jess?" Laura asked.
"This, my life. All weve had is hassles and heartaches. Psychic intruders, and death threats. Is this all she has to look forward to?" The sadness in her voice brought a noticeable pall on the room.
April took that moment to interrupt and pass out mugs of tea. With both womens approval she settled in on the couch with Laura. They usually worked well as a team, and this moment was no acception.
Laura considered Jessies question. "Nope. Shes also had rather large doses of love, respect, caring, and hot monkey sex. Kate is not stupid Jessie. If she were scared or unhappy, she would not have gone this far with you. She loves you, and for Kate, thats all that matters. Nothing more, nothing less."
"I just dont understand how. By this time next week, I may be unemployed. My mother came back from near death and brought a truckload of voodoo with her, and lets not forget the real threat of Gregory." A small tear began to slide down her cheek.
"Whoo Jess, calm down sweetie. Katie would rather be by your side, protecting you from these things, not running from them. Shes one tough cookie." Laura placed a hand on Jessies knee.
"Shes right you know." Kate stepped in having heard the last part of the conversation.
"Oh, Im sorry Kate." Jessie blurted suddenly.
"For what Jess?" Katie sounded surprised.
"By not talking to you first. I feel like Im sneaking around behind your back." Jessie grimaced at the thought.
"Jess," Kate slipped over and sat in her lovers lap, dislodging the cat, "Its okay. I trust Laura and April with my life. I want you to be able to confide in them, and share your thoughts and concerns with them. Especially if youre worried about anything concerning me. Laura will set you straight."
"Well, not straight " April chuckled, lightening the mood.
Everyone laughed with her, grateful for the mood breaker. After getting another round of tea, the attention turned to plans for the coming trip to the bar. Kate had considered telling everyone about the visitation from the middle of the night, but decided later was better.
Continued in Chapter 34 .
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