SEE PARTS 1 AND 5 FOR ALL PERTINENT DISCLAIMERS.
The ringing of the telephone slowly drew Josie up from warm fuzzy dreams of her lover. She tried to clear the huskiness of sleep from her voice before answering. "Uh...hum, Hello?"
"Jo? Did I wake you?"
"Oh, hey, Beth. Morning, glory."
"What are you doing in bed, girl? It's after nine."
"I was a little busy last night. Actually, I was a little busy this morning too." Josie purred.
"Well, my goodness. Let me guess, you wouldn't be enamored of a certain tall dark and beautiful nursing student." Beth smiled knowingly to herself.
"How do you do that? I didn't even realize how deeply I felt about Sandy til a week ago."
"I've been your best friend for twenty-five years. I just know when to let you discover things on your own. Let's have lunch and you can tell me all about it."
"Oh, God, girl, I'd love to, but I can't today. Sandy will be home in less than an hour and we have a lot to talk about. How about tomorrow? I could meet you at The Magnolia Café about noon. I hope you have a long lunch hour."
"I'll see to it. Tomorrow at The Magnolia. I'll be there. Love you."
"Love you too, Boo." Josie set down the phone and dived out of bed and into the shower.
"Hello, AA Central Office, may I help you?"
"Yes, I would like to know about the AA program. Can you recommend some literature for me? And I need to know where your meetings are held in this area, non-smoking if possible."
"Is this for yourself?"
"No. It's for my friend. She's been sober for about three years, but her life has become increasingly stressful. She needs help and support. Her mother, actually, told me to call you. Do you have any non-smoking, open meetings?"
"Yes, mam, we do. Do you have a fax machine. I can send you all the information you need. You will be able to purchase the AA Big Book and other literature at the meetings."
"What's the AA Big Book?"
"It's like the AA bible. It explains the 12 step program in detail and includes stories by recovering alcoholics who share their experiences. It is an invaluable tool."
"Then I'll be sure to get one. I don't have a fax machine, but I do have a computer. Could you email me the information?"
"No one has ever asked me that before, but I don't see why not. Just give me your email address and I'll send you a list of open, non-smoking meetings and I can send you the phone number of one of our counselors in your area who also goes to those meetings."
"Oh, that's great. Thank you, so much. My email address is email@example.com. Thank you, again. Bye, now."
When Sandra returned home from school, Josie was waiting on the sofa, a notebook and pen in her lap.
Sandra new she had been in class the last two hours, but, for the life of her, couldn't remember a damned thing her instructor said. All she could think about was the touch and scent of the passionate lover waiting for her at home.
'God, I'm so nervous. It feels like a family of butterflies have nested in my belly.' Sandra stood outside the kitchen door, taking deep breaths to calm her racing heart. She opened the door and quietly entered her lover's domain.
"Josie, I'm home. Where y'at dawlin?"
"I'm on the sofa, slim. Come give me a hug and a big, sloppy kiss." Josie giggled and stood to welcome the taller woman into her arms.
Sandra stroked back blonde curls and gazed lovingly into sea green orbs. "I missed you. All I did at school today was daydream about you."
Josie reached up her small, warm hand to cup her lover's beautiful face. "I missed you too, my eyes."
"My eyes? You've never called me that before."
"My grandmother used to call me that. It was her way of expressing, in English, how very precious I was to her." Her small hand tenderly stroked above the dark eyebrows, across, dramatically high cheek bones, down a long, elegant neck. "You are precious to me, Sandra Abbott."
Sandra's eyes closed as she allowed herself to just feel the pleasure of her lover's touch.
Josie put her plans to broach the subject of AA on hold, as her passion for the dark troubled woman soared.
The little blond pulled the dark haired beauty down for a gentle kiss. She lightly licked soft lips, begging entrance. A tiny, high pitched rasp escaped Sandra's throat as she parted her lips for her lover's tongue. The kiss was a tender exploration that turned into a demand for fulfillment as Sandra forced her thigh between the shorter woman's legs, enticing a groan of need from deep within her. Josie slid against her lover as her ardor rose. A small warm hand lifted to lovingly stroke a hardening nipple through cool fabric, causing the taller woman to release sweet lips and latch on to a succulent neck. The little blond placed her weight upon Sandra's thigh to keep from sliding to the floor as she thrilled at the sensations running through her being.
Josie pulled back from her lover and took her hand, leading her to a soft bed. They quickly disrobed and fell into each others arms, stroking, kissing and licking each other's flesh. Josie rolled on top of Sandra, "Open your legs wide for me, love, and bend your knees. Mmmm, that's right. Just like that." The smaller woman positioned her body so she could stimulate her lover's sex with her mons, suckle at her breast and squeeze her buttocks at the same time.
"Oh God, Josie..... That feels so..... I don't know a word for it..... Yeah! ..... Oh, Jesus!..... Don't stop..... Don't stop....." Sandra's dark head whipped from side to side.
"I have no intention of stopping, my love." Josie arose from a dark nipple, allowing herself to tilt further into Sandra's clit. She ground and pumped, never allowing the contact to sever. Thighs and arms trembled as the little woman thrilled at the contact. "Look at me, my love. See what loving you does to me."
Sandra forced herself to open her eyes and gazed at the body of her lover, the glistening of sweat, the breasts swaying as she pumped, the taut nipples that made her mouth water. She reached up to caress them, causing a sharp intake of breath from her partner. Fascinated with the pleasure this gave her lover, she kneaded the pliant flesh, then rubbed the erect nipples against her palms, causing her own arousal to reach titanic proportions. She suddenly deserted the painfully engorged globes to grab the linens at her side in tight fists. Josie knew they were both at the edge. She ground her lover's sex as hard as she could as she watched blue eyes turn black with oncoming orgasm. "Oh.., Sandy.., I'm gonna come! I... love... you..., Sandy.....OH....., FUCK.....,ME!!!!!
"OOOOOH! OOOOOH! JOOOOOSSSSSIEEEEE!!!!!" Sandra bucked into her lover as Josie pounded her sex with all she had.
The golden head fell onto Sandra's bosom, her arms no longer strong enough to hold her, as she sucked in deep breaths. Sandra wrapped her long arms protectively around heaving shoulders.
"Thank you, Josie." Sandra kissed her lover's head.
The sated little woman looked up into eyes filled with love and awe. "For what?" She asked resting her chin on a full breast.
"For everything. For opening a whole new world of love and passion, pleasure beyond anything I've ever imagined. And for believing in me and loving me, thorns and all." Sandra whispered as a tear escaped down her sweaty cheek.
"All roses have thorns, my love. And, you are welcome. It is my privilege to love your beauhunkiss." Josie kissed the breast her head lay upon.
"Sweetheart, I did something for us today. I hope you won't get upset. But, I contacted the Central Office of AA here and found out when and where the open, smoke free, meetings are. I thought we could attend some together so I can learn more about it and be able to help you more with all the stress you've been under. I intend to buy the Big Book and memorize it from cover to cover, too." Josie searched her lover's eyes, looking for any signs that she'd upset her. "There is a meeting tonight at Pine Grove Psych Hospital in Hattiesburg. It's about a forty minute drive from here. I thought that we could, maybe, have dinner in the big city before the meeting. How does that sound?" Josie looked hopefully at her friend.
"You are the most incredible human being I've ever had the great pleasure to have in my life. I can't believe you did that for us. I think it's a terrific idea. I am so..... I just don't know what else to say." Sandra's eyes filled with tears.
"Nope, no more of that. Let's go get showered. I have a young man from the college coming by in a little while to give me the pieces and parts he wants me to organize into a term paper. Sounds really interesting. It's on the chemistry of the brain, you know, neurotransmitters and neurons. I'm looking forward to working on it."
"That does sound interesting. You're really enjoying helping the students out, aren't you."
"I really am. And the fact that they pay me makes me like it all the more." Josie giggled and pulled her lover toward the shower, where they took turns soaping and exploring each other's bodies, even though they didn't have time to pursue more fulfilling activities.
Jason Lee woke up with a slight sore throat and a distinct tickle. 'Must be allergies. Everything is in full spring bloom right now. It's a honey bee's paradise out there.' He tried to clear his throat and went to the medicine cabinet to take some sudafed. "That should take care of that. Geesh, now I have to collect all my notes and put them in some semblance of order for Mrs. Ladner. Thank God I found someone to organize this shit. I can't afford to screw up my grades. It's almost 3 p.m. I've gotta get moving.'
"Hello, you must be Jason. I'm Josie Ladner. Won't you come in. You can place your papers on the table there and we'll go over them together. Would you like a cup of coffee?" Josie was always a gracious host.
"That would be great. Thank you." Jason thought the hot liquid would sooth his throat, which felt worse now than it had this morning. 'Man, just what I need a damned cold just in time for Spring break.'
The two sat at the table and hashed out the work needed and the cost. Jason left confident of saving his grades but despondent that he might be spending Spring break in bed, alone, while all his friends went down to the Gulf Coast to party. 'Sometimes, life's just not fair.'
The AA meeting wasn't too crowded to the friends' relief. They each poured a cup of coffee and Sandra pointed out which books and pamphlets for Josie to buy.
A middle aged woman and older man introduced themselves as the moderator for the night's meeting and the chairman for the month, respectively. They welcomed the newcomers and asked them to take a seat at the large round table as the meeting was about to begin.
"Good evening everyone. This is the regular Tuesday night open meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. I am Roger and I am a grateful alcoholic. I will be your chairman for the month of March. I have asked Jim to read How It Works. It is our custom at this meeting to ask if one of the newcomers would like to read the twelve traditions of AA."
Josie and Sandra looked at each other and, seeing the fear in her friends blue eyes, Josie volunteered for the task.
The meeting proceeded with the readings and then the moderator was introduced.
"I'd like to introduce our moderator for tonight. She has twelve years of sobriety and some of the best serenity of anyone I know. I hope some of it rubs off on us this evening. Please welcome Tammy C."
The whole table at one time said "Hello, Tammy".
"Hi, everyone. We have two new members here tonight, so why don't we all introduce ourselves."
One by one each attendee gave their first name and whether they were alcoholic or the friend or family member of an alcoholic, as they went around the table.
They called upon the newcomers last. "My name is Josie. I am here for us." Her tiny hand covered Sandra's much larger one.
"My name is Sandra. I am an alcoholic. I'm here cause I'm not all there. But I hope that, with the help of the program and Josie, I'll get weller." Sandra blushed and looked into her coffee cup.
"Well, welcome ladies. The topic I'd like to throw out there for discussion tonight is "Attitude of Gratitude". We've all lost a lot during our drinking careers, from family members, to jobs, to our health. Sometimes you feel so sorry for yourself, you can't get your butt off that "pity pot". But if you don't get off the "pity pot", you wind up with a ring around your ass. So with that, let's start with Roger and go around the table to his right."
"Please don't comment on what anyone is sharing. Here there are no judgement calls, no reading other people's mail. And remember: "Who you see here and what they say here, when you leave here, let it stay here"."
The friends enjoyed the meeting very much and felt right at home with the eclectic group, a mixture of long term and short term sobriety, men and women of all ages. Sandra felt particularly comfortable with Tammy and asked her to be her local sponsor, someone she could talk to and ask guidance from. They exchanged phone numbers and email addresses, while Josie purchased her literature. All in all it was a very constructive meeting. They promised to return the following week.
The girls arrived home about ten o'clock and dragged themselves over to the sofa and cuddled in each other's arms.
"You tired, sweetheart?"
"Yeah, just a little. Oh, I forgot to tell you, Beth and I are going to do lunch tomorrow over at The Magnolia Café. I'll give you her beeper number in case you need me for anything."
"I suppose my ears will be burning." Sandra grimaced.
"You can count on it.
"Don't you ever eat anything here other than the Reuben sandwich?"
"Nope. I like em. It's one of the few decadent treats allowed on my diet, even if I can only eat half. I'll eat the other half for dinner tonight. How's your quiche?"
"Jo, you don't give a rat's ass about my quiche. Now, quit stalling and tell me about you and your companion. I want all the details."
"I don't know about all the details, but I am totally, head over heals, heart and clit throbbing, in love."
"You do know how to turn a phrase." Beth rolled her eyes.
The little blond sat back in her chair. "Beth, she's special. She makes me feel things I never thought I'd feel again and some I never have felt before. She's so good and has been through so much. The woman's literally been through hell on earth. Now, she's starting over. I'm so proud of her. She's gentle and a little unsure of herself. There are some things about Sandy's past that I really need to get her permission before discussing with you. You understand, don't you?"
"Sure. I understand. I wouldn't ever want you to break a confidence of mine and wouldn't expect anything less of you with Sandra. But, get that permission pronto, Ok?"
"He...he, he. You slay me. Yeah, I'll talk to her about it soon. She needs to know that you and I have no secrets. It might take a little while for her to get used to us. I don't think she's ever had a real best friend."
"That's so sad. I hope she'll let me in so we can be friends too." Beth's eyes filled with compassion.
"I really want that too, Beth." Josie reached over to pat her best friend's hand. "So, let's go shopping. There is a sale across the street at Hand Made Designs in Jewelry." Josie wiggled her eyebrows.
"You're on. Lead the way."
The friends proceeded to share a lovely, if expensive, afternoon.
Josie was working diligently at her computer when she heard her companion enter the kitchen door. Sandra gingerly walked into the house holding her low back.
"What happened to you?" Josie jumped up to help the ailing woman to a seat.
"I wrenched my back transferring a patient, a really big patient, from her bed to the wheelchair. Good gravy, that smarts." Sandra exclaimed as she sat at the kitchen table.
"My poor, love. I'll get you a motrin. You'd better put something on your stomach before you take it. I have a tuna fish sandwich for you and chips."
Josie threw her left over Reuben sandwich into the microwave to warm as she poured them each a Barq's.
"So, did you have fun today with Beth?" Sandy asked as she munched on a chip.
"Were your ears burning? You were definitely the main topic of discussion. And I am proud to say you have received the official Beth Bergeron seal of approval."
"Really? That's great. I know her opinion is very important to you."
"Yes, it is. And you are very important to me. Now take that motrin. I want to finish the page I was working on. It'll just take a few minutes, then I want you to crawl into bed and let me examine your back ."
"Ooooh, that sounds like a plan." Sandy reached her long arms around her lover's waist and buried her nose in plump cleavage, breathing deeply of her spicy sent.
"Now, cut that out." Josie tried to extricate herself from the larger woman's hold as a warm wet tongue, lathing between her breasts, sent shivers throughout her entire being.
"Oh, God, you don't play fair." She looked down and fell into passion filled pools of blue. "You should know how serious a back injury can be. You might need an MRI or a Cat Scan. You don't want to be laid up and unable to complete the semester's clinicals, do you?"
Sandra groaned at the thought. "Anything but that."
Josie finished her work and shut down the laptop. "You ready to have me examine you?"
"If you'll help me up, I'm there."
"Sorry! You'll live. It's just a strain. I prescribe a long soak in the hot tub with a certain blond nurse and a large dose of tender loving care."
Josie bent down to kiss the boo boo.
"What are you grinning at, Beth? You've had the silliest look on your face all through supper. Did something amusing happen at lunch today?"
"You could say that. I didn't want to mention anything in front of the children. I don't want to spend the rest of the evening explaining why their Aunt Josie is asking her companion to "go steady"."
Tommy choked on his expresso.
"Babe, you ok?" Beth patted her husband's back as he tried to clear his throat.
"Un...hum. You're pulling my leg, right? She's not really going to ask that woman to "go steady" with her."
"Don't call Sandra "that woman". She's a good soul and Josie loves her deeply."
"I haven't even MET the woman." Tommy exclaimed, non-plussed.
"They've been very busy with nursing school and getting to know each other. I'm sure Josie and Sandy will spend some time with us when their lives calm down. You remember what it was like when Josie was a student nurse. We were afraid she'd have a breakdown from the stress. She's just trying to make it easier on her friend. Any way, she loves medicine. She's having a ball."
Beth sat down at the dinner table next to her husband. "Tommy, honey, it's been so long since she's been truly happy. Let's support her, huh?" Beth rubbed her husbands arm.
"She's happy with this woman?" Tommy asked, doubtfully.
Beth sighed in frustration. "Yes, my over-protective hubby, she is truly happy with SANDRA."
Tommy sighed in resignation. "So tell me all about it. Is she giving her her "class ring"?" He asked, sarcastically.
"Well, sorta. After lunch, we walked over to that hand made jewelry store. There was this garnet ring. It was beautiful, very unique. It was a bar of garnet wrapped in a delicately carved band of sterling silver. She said it represented Sandy's hold on her heart. It was so sweet. Jo actually had tears in her eyes, Tommy. Our Josie's really in love. I haven't seen her like this since Bonnie and that was ten years ago."
"Yeah, and I remember what she went through when Bonnie went back to Dani. I just don't want to see her suffer through that again."
"I know, honey, but she's forty four years old. We have to trust her judgement on this. Anyway, as far as I know, there is no one waiting in the wings."
"Well, I want to meet her. Why don't we invite them over Sunday for lunch."
"Great idea. Just don't give the poor woman the third degree. She's shy. I don't want you scaring her off."
"You make me sound like an ogre." Tommy rolled his eyes at his wife. "I promise. I'll make her feel welcome."
"Just see that you do. I don't want Josie hurt."
"Geesh, I promise to make nice. Scout's honor." Tommy raised his right hand and grinned.
"Sometimes you are so adorable." Beth crawled onto her husband's lap and heaved a sigh of contentment.
"Oooooh, Josie. This was a great idea." Sandra felt her muscles ease as the jets beat against them.
"I'm glad you like it, but we need to get out of here before it lulls us to sleep. I have something much more invigorating planned."
"You do, do you?" Sandra wiggled her eyebrows and grinned lasciviously.
"Yesss, I do." Josie purred seductively as she kissed her lover's lips and tongues dueled for dominance.
"Woe, let's get outta here." Sandy exclaimed as she tried to catch her breath.
Josie helped her lover exit the hot tub, cognizant of her still sore back. The women dried off, then slipped on their bath robes and went back indoors.
"Why don't you get your sweet beauhunkiss into the shower and I'll join you in a moment. I have a little surprise for you." Josie kissed her lover sweetly and pushed her toward the bedroom.
Josie retrieved the ring from her fanny pack. 'God, I'm so nervous. What if I scare her away. Maybe it's too soon or she'll think I'm just acting foolish. Shit!" Josie battled her insecurities as she placed the ring on her own finger. 'Well, I have only this moment promised me. I'm going for the gusto.' Josie took a deep breath and went to join her beloved.
When Josie entered the shower, Sandra was enjoying the feel of the shower massage pounding her low back, causing her to moan in pleasure and relief.
"Sounds like you started without me." Josie chuckled.
Sandra turned toward the nude blond and let her eyes wander over every luscious inch of her. "You are beautiful, boss. I still can't quite believe my luck."
Josie reached up to stroke her lover's cheek. "I'm the lucky one. Loving you makes me so very happy, Sandy. Please believe me."
"I want to. I want to so bad, but I've never felt happiness like this. It's hard for me to trust it." Sandy looked away.
"Sandy, today I got you something. Something very special. It's a symbol of my love and commitment to you. I want you to wear it always." Josie reached down and took off the ring and then slipped it onto the ring finger of Sandra's left hand. She kissed it, tenderly.
Sandra searched her lover's sea green eyes in disbelief. "I don't understand."
"I'm kinda asking you to "go steady" with me." The little woman smiled, shyly, her face turning a lovely shade of pink. Josie brought the stunned woman's hands to her lips and kissed first one trembling palm, then the other. "I love you, Sandy. Please say yes."
Sandra burst into tears, feeling totally exposed in her physical and emotional nakedness, she slipped passed her lover and grabbed her bath robe as she ran away.
"That went well. Shit!" Josie stepped out of the shower and grabbed her bathrobe on the way to find her frightened lover.
A thorough search of the house and porch, proved to Josie that her beloved had gone back to her own apartment. She headed to the kitchen door and stopped cold when she noticed the symbol of her love and commitment for Sandra, lying, discarded on the table. The stricken woman slowly sank into a kitchen chair as she reached for the ring. She looked at it as if she'd never seen it before, perusing every nuance. Then, looking inside the band, she read the inscription "Forever and Always". And, she cried.
To be continued in Part 7 of The Apartment
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