MY SISTER’S KEEPER
By Mavis Applewater
For disclaimers, see Part One.
Thanks to my beta reader Joanne.
As always, this is for Heather.
Jenny was tired and cranky as she stood at the entrance to the police station. She hadn’t felt well since the day she’d gone sailing with Katie and Lizzie. True to her word, she’d moved out that night and into a cheap motel. Katie was furious while Lizzie remained strangely quiet. It was for the best and both Lizzie and Jenny knew it. Since she’d left almost two weeks ago, she hadn’t slept well. She’d finally found a new apartment that she could move into in another two weeks. “Jacobs,” Katie called out to her.
“Hey Sarge,” Jenny returned the greeting wearily.
“You all right?” Katie asked in concern.
“I think I’m coming down with something,” Jenny explained. Her persistent headache was returning in full force as they walked into the station and towards the ladies locker room.
“Forgive me for saying it, but you look like crap,” Katie added as they dressed and prepared for the evening shift.
“Gee thanks,” Jenny grumbled as she rubbed her throbbing temple. “I don’t what it is except that I had to see Wendy today.”
“Well, that would do it,” Katie snorted in disgust.
“Tell me about it,” Jenny agreed. “Against my better judgment, I’ve waited for her to switch the utilities over to her name. She didn’t and I had to have them shut off. Now I’m stuck with her bills, and for some reason she thinks I’m a bitch and still wants rent money out of me.”
“Don’t give it to her,” Katie cautioned her.
“I’m not,” Jenny responded.
“I mean it. Don’t give that witch a dime,” Katie reasserted.
“I won’t,” Jenny spat back, feeling that Katie was scolding her like a child.
“I know you, Jacobs,” Katie continued, ignoring Jenny’s outburst. “You’ll end up paying her off just to get rid of her.”
Jenny released a heavy sigh, knowing that Katie’s concern wasn’t unwarranted. “Not one red cent, I promise,” Jenny vowed. “Let her new girlfriend pick up the tab from now on.”
“Good,” Katie said firmly. “Since we both have tomorrow night off, why don’t you come over for dinner?”
“I don’t think so,” Jenny declined as she put on her vest. She hated the bulky shield but she dealt with it because it could save her life.
“Why not? I know Lizzie would love to see you,” Katie persisted.
“I’m just going to kick back and relax,” Jenny lied.
“What about next Tuesday?” Katie inquired hopefully.
“What’s up?” Jenny asked as a sudden gnawing feeling overcame her.
“Nothing,” Katie responded with a casual shrug.
“Katie, what are you trying to do? Fix me up with your sister?” Jenny finally asked since this wasn’t the first time Katie had tried to make plans for the three of them.
“Of course not,” Katie answered her innocently. “But if I did, what would be so bad about the two of you getting reacquainted?”
“Well, let’s think about why that would be a bad idea,” Jenny said sarcastically. “Oh right, she’s a nun!”
“She doesn’t have to stay that way,” Katie encouraged.
“Don’t drag me into this,” Jenny argued. “I’m not up for it. Lizzie and I both have a lot of stuff to deal with right now. Just let her make the decision on her own. That’s all she’s asking for - to be able to make a choice that affects her life without someone else pushing her into it. She’s never had the chance to do that. Let her.”
“I know,” Katie grumbled. “Okay, I’ll back off.”
“Still helping me move on the 1st?” Jenny added brightly.
“Yes,” Katie agreed. “So why did you take off that night?”
“I needed space,” Jenny tried to explain, not wanting to give Katie false hope. “A lot has happened in the past few weeks and I needed time by myself.”
“Still going on the camping trip?” Katie asked, referring to the trip a bunch of them had planned.
“Wouldn’t miss it,” Jenny said with a smile as she locked her locker.
Later that day Jenny was once again waiting for Nuru to bring them coffee. “You don’t look good,” her partner commented.
“Everyone keeps saying that,” Jenny grumbled. “I’m beginning to get a complex.”
“Sorry,” Nuru apologized. “You just look really tired these days.”
“I am,” Jenny confessed. “I’ll feel better once I move into the new place. The neighborhood is a little iffy but it’ll feel great to finally have a place where I can put my feet up and put my books on a shelf.”
“I know what you mean,” Nuru agreed. “I’m thinking of finding a place by myself. I’m too old to have roommates. It must have been cramped staying with Katie.”
“It was,” Jenny grumbled as she sipped her coffee. “Being trapped in such close quarters with my ex-girlfriend was the last thing I needed.”
“You know what you need?” Nuru began in a knowing voice.
“To win the lottery and run of to someplace warm and tropical with Peta Wilson,” Jenny quipped as her mind pictured a fun-filled afternoon on a beach with a mostly nude tall blonde actress.
“Besides that,” Nuru scoffed. “You need a date.”
Jenny was just about to argue with her partner about it being to soon for her to go out on a date when she realized that it wasn’t such a bad idea. “You might be right,” she agreed, thinking that going out with another woman might just be the ticket to help her get over the disastrous ending of her relationship with Wendy. It might also help distract her from thinking about Lizzie constantly.
“Really?” Nuru responded in surprise.
“Yeah,” Jenny confirmed. “I need to start living again.”
“Good, because . . . ,” Nuru began gleefully.
“Wait! You have someone in mind?” Jenny growled. “No, I will not go on a blind date. My life isn’t that pathetic.”
“Yes, it is,” Nuru taunted her. “And it’s not pathetic to allow one of your friends to set you up. She’s a really nice girl.”
“If she’s so nice, why don’t you go out with her?” Jenny inquired suspiciously.
Nuru performed a perfect imitation of a dying guppy as she tried to respond to Jenny’s question. The ebony woman beamed brightly when their unit number was squeaked out over the radio. “That’s for us,” Nuru blurted out as she hit the lights and pulled out into traffic. Jenny gritted her teeth, knowing that she was going to be suckered into going out with Nuru’s friend.
The tall brunette hissed slightly as she responded to the call. Her heart began to pound against her chest as she listened to the information. There had been some kind of assault at Xavier Academy. Normally this information wouldn’t send the brunette into a tailspin; people slapped one another around on a daily basis. Having it happen at the school where Lizzie was teaching filled Jenny with an unexpected fear. As they sped over to the school, Jenny racked her brain in an effort to remember what days Lizzie taught there.
“What’s wrong, partner?” Nuru inquired as they exited the patrol car after carefully securing it. Xavier was located in the heart of the city, and despite the school’s stellar reputation, the neighborhood had changed over the decades. Leaving any vehicle unlocked, even a police cruiser, was unwise.
“Carrington’s sister teaches here,” Jenny explained as they ascended the stone steps and approached a very large and very angry-looking nun who appeared to be waiting for their arrival.
“Oh,” Nuru responded with a shrug before she understood what Jenny had said. “Oh?” Nuru repeated this time with a hint of worry clouding her tone. “Don’t worry. What are the chances that she’ll be involved with this?” Nuru tried to reassure her.
“With my luck?” Jenny sputtered as they reached the top of the stairs.
The nun who greeted them made her displeasure at their arrival well known as she escorted them inside the cold sterile building that had housed the school for over a century. A smaller aging nun approached them in a flurry. She smiled as she greeted them. “Thank you for coming, officers. I’m Sister Agnes, the Mother Superior here,” she informed them in a polite and friendly manner.
“We don’t need them,” the larger nun grumbled.
“Thank you, Sister Prudence,” the Mother Superior said, dismissing the other nun politely.
“She doesn’t seem happy to see us,” Nuru commented wryly. Although Nuru towered over her, Sister Agnes gave her a stern look. Jenny watched in amazement as her partner actually shrunk back, her shoulders slumping as she stared at the floor. ‘Now there is something I’ve never seen before,’ Jenny noted thoughtfully.
“Normally we’re quite capable of dealing with the students without outside interference,” Sister Agnes explained dryly.
“So I’ve been reading in the papers,” Jenny muttered bitterly. She was surprised when the Mother Superior actually gave her a soft knowing smile in response.
“One of our male students attacked one of our female students,” Sister Agnes explained in a worried voice as she led them down the long corridor. “She wasn’t hurt as far as we know. What upsets me is that he’s still acting out.”
“Acting out?” Jenny responded in disbelief at her casual description.
“Ryan’s behavior is so unlike him,” the plucky nun continued, unfazed by Jenny’s comments. “The girl is in my office. Ryan has locked himself in one of the classrooms with one of the sisters.”
“Wait!” Jenny barked. “He’s holding someone hostage?”
“Trust me. Sister Rachel can handle herself.” Sister Agnes chuckled.
“Sister Rachel?” Jenny grumbled in a defeated tone as she rubbed her throbbing temple. “That’s just great.”
Sister Agnes turned towards the flustered policewoman. “I see you’re familiar with my favorite problem child,” the older woman noted dryly.
“She hasn’t been here that long,’ Jenny muttered as she wondered how Lizzie had become a problem child so quickly.
“I’ve had previous encounters with Sister Rachel,” Sister Agnes confirmed in a tired voice. “They’re in there,” she explained as she pointed to a classroom door.
Jenny’s palms were sweating as she peered into the tiny square glass window. She groaned as a full-fledged migraine threatened to consume her. “Nuru, why don’t you go talk to the girl and I’ll handle this.”
“You’re going in without backup?” Nuru questioned her.
“Look,” Jenny instructed her partner.
She watched Nuru’s dark eyes widen in shock as she spied the small nun holding the young man in a headlock; he must have been at least six three and built like a Mack truck. “That has got to be Carrington’s sister,” Nuru commented as she stepped away from the window.
“None other,” Jenny confirmed. “Go talk to the girl and find out what happened. I’m going to rescue Ryan.”
Nuru agreed and followed Sister Agnes down the hallway as Jenny braced herself to enter the classroom. She immediately discovered the door was blocked by some of the students’ desks. She weighed her options as she peered through the glass. Despite the fact that Lizzie appeared to have the upper hand, Ryan was a very large young man and more than likely he would end up overpowering the small nun. “Here goes nothing,” she reassured herself as she shoved her way into the classroom.
“Let go of me, you bitch,” the young man hissed as he struggled against Lizzie’s chokehold. Jenny climbed over the displaced desks and made her way over to the comical scene.
“Not until you calm down,” Lizzie cautioned the angry teenager.
“Let him go,” Jenny grumbled as she approached the struggling duo.
Lizzie looked up in surprise, tightening her hold on Ryan. “Hi,” she greeted Jenny casually. “How’ve you been?”
“Sister Rachel, would you kindly let go of him,” Jenny groaned.
“You don’t want me to that,” Lizzie cautioned her.
“Sister, please release Ryan so I can do my job,” Jenny implored her.
“He’s very agitated at the moment,” Lizzie explained firmly.
‘Perhaps he’s agitated because you’re crushing his wind pipe?” Jenny tried to reason with the small blonde. “Let him go and step aside.”
“Alright,” Lizzie agreed. She nodded to Jenny, informing her that she was about to release Ryan from her grasp.
Jenny tensed her body in anticipation; Lizzie released the angry boy and quickly stepped aside. Ryan’s face was crimson as he reached out to grab Lizzie. Jenny moved quickly and grabbed the young man’s flailing arms, pinning them behind his bulky frame. She pressed against the back of his knees with her own, forcing him down onto the floor. In a fluid motion, she handcuffed Ryan and held his squirming body on the floor. “What the hell were you thinking?” Jenny fumed at Lizzie who was looking on with interest.
Lizzie crossed the room and knelt beside the still-struggling teenager. She reached out and started to lift his school blazer and oxford shirt. “What do you think you’re doing?” Jenny asked the obvious insane nun as she fought to hold Ryan down on the floor.
“What I was trying to find out earlier,” Lizzie explained, unfazed by the events as she pulled the young man’s clothing up to reveal his acne-covered back.
“Stay still,” Jenny commanded the struggling boy as she stared down at the mass of acne on his skin.
“Ryan, you wouldn’t be an athlete, now would you?” Jenny questioned him. She tightened her hold on him as she realized that the boy probably was not in control of his anger.
“Everyone told me that he’s normally quiet and shy,” Lizzie explained. “They also said he bulked up over the last term break.”
“No one put it together before now?” Jenny fumed, having seen this scenario one too many times. “Sudden building of body mass and violent behavior are the first signs.”
“I know,” Lizzie agreed.
“Get off me, bitch,” Ryan cursed as he continued to struggle.
“Ryan, you’re in a lot of trouble,” Jenny informed him. “I suggest you calm down and listen to me. First, I’m going to tell you what your rights are and then I’m going to search your pockets. We’re going to search your locker and your backpack.
Jenny informed the violent youngster of his rights as she pulled him up to his feet. She dragged him into the hallway and out to her patrol car. She found the bottle of pills when she searched the pockets of his blazer. Then she forced him into the back of the squad car and locked him in. Ryan was like a wild animal as he kicked at the door while Jenny bagged the drugs in an evidence bag. Then she took Lizzie’s statement.
“Is it what I thought?” Lizzie inquired after she signed her statement.
“Steroids,” Jenny confirmed as she watched her partner, Sister Agnes, and a priest approach them.
“How’s the girl?” Jenny asked her partner.
“She’s pretty shaken up, but it seems that Sister Rachel intervened before she was seriously hurt,” Nuru explained. “She’s going over to the ER to be checked out. She said that he just exploded over nothing.”
“Is it necessary to incarcerate him?” the priest questioned.
“This is Father Donavan,” Nuru explained. “He’s the Dean.”
Jenny held up the evidence bag as Nuru looked at it. “That explains it,” Nuru said in understanding.
“His back is covered in acne,” Jenny added.
“Do I want to know what that is?” Father Donavan asked fearfully.
“Steroids,” Jenny explained. “Do you test your athletes?”
“Yes, we do random drug tests, but we haven’t run one for the new term yet,” the priest explained wearily. “We’ll run one today. I assume we’ll be hearing from some detectives.”
“Sister Rachel.” Sister Agnes motioned to her.
Jenny watched in amazement as Lizzie allowed herself to be dismissed from the conversation and walked dutifully back inside the school. “Officer Jacobs, thank you for your assistance,” Sister Agnes offered and Jenny realized that she was being dismissed as well.
Later Jenny and Nuru were taking a breather back at the station house. “Hey Carrington, I met your sister today,” Nuru called out to the Sergeant.
“So I hear,” Katie commented wryly. “What did she do now?” Katie directed the comment towards Jenny.
“Nothing,” Jenny offered in an effort to placate the brooding policewoman. “She subdued that jock from Xavier.”
“The no-neck tree that slapped the girl around?” Katie asked in a slightly worried tone.
“That would be the one.” Jenny yawned as she looked at her watch, happily noting that her shift was almost over. “Did the kid roll over?”
“Just as soon as his parents showed up with a lawyer,” Katie explained. “He gave up everyone. He’ll get treatment and no record if he behaves and the suits get the dealer. The guy is some stockbroker from Chestnut Hill trying to cover his losses in the market.”
“He’ll get a slap on the wrist too,” Nuru grunted in disgust. “Time to clock out.”
Jenny decided to work out at the station’s gym then shower and change there before heading back to her dingy motel room. As she stepped outside the station house, she spied a familiar little blonde leaning against a tree just out front. Thankfully Lizzie had opted for her street clothes as well. Somehow Jenny didn’t think it would boost her image to be seen with a nun.
“Lizzie,” Jenny greeted the small blonde.
“Hey Jenny,” Lizzie responded with a shy smile.
“Looking for Katie?” Jenny asked as she shifted her gear bag on her shoulder. “I think she has another hour or so left to her shift.”
“Actually I was waiting for you,” Lizzie explained. Jenny’s heart unexplainably began to beat just a little faster. “I wanted to know how it went with Ryan Summers and I’m trying to avoid Katie since I know she’s already heard I was involved.” Her voice grew sheepish as she explained the last part.
“She’s heard,” Jenny confirmed. “What are you worried about? What’s she going to do? Ground you?”
“She might.” Lizzie chuckled. “It’s just that she’s so overprotective at times. I’m just not up for another lecture today.”
“Sister Agnes gave you a stern talking to, did she?” Jenny quipped as she shuffled nervously from one foot to the other.
“You could say that,” Lizzie groaned. “So, can I buy you drink or something?”
“Are you allowed to do that?” Jenny inquired, truly curious about the rules.
“Allowed to do what?” Lizzie responded in confusion.
“Drink?” Jenny explained.
“Yes,” Lizzie answered with a laugh. “I’m just not allowed to have sex or money.”
“Well, this should be a fun date,” Jenny teased Lizzie as she nodded for the small blonde to follow her. “Oddly enough, it’s the best offer I’ve had in long time. I just need to dump my gear off at the motel.”
“This is nice,” Lizzie said as she took a seat on the bed in Jenny’s motel room. Jenny looked around the simple room. It had a bed, a television, a bathroom, and it was clean; other than that the motel room was not much to talk about.
“I keep forgetting how you’ve been living,” Jenny commented as she hung up her uniform and secured her gun. Lizzie had already turned on the television and began to channel surf.
“You really are fascinated by television,” Jenny commented as she continued to putter around and get ready to go out.
“Not really,” Lizzie explained. “I still can’t find anything I like. When we were kids, there were a lot fewer channels and some really good shows.”
“Maybe the shows weren’t really that good,” Jenny commented as she stepped into the bathroom and began to brush out her hair. “Maybe we just watched them because you actually had to get up to change the channel.”
“You have a point,” Lizzie agreed. “Princess Di is dead?” Lizzie exclaimed in shock. “When did that happen?”
“Late summer in 1997,” Jenny explained. “You didn’t get a lot of news down in those villages you were living in, did you?”
“I wasn’t exactly on the local paper route and we didn’t have electricity,” Lizzie called out as she continued to change the channels.
Jenny smiled as she emerged from the bathroom and found Lizzie with her brow creased in deep concentration as she watched an infomercial. “Why would anyone need that?” Lizzie asked before she continued to channel surf.
Jenny climbed up on the bed and folded her legs beneath her as she drank in Lizzie’s profile. She couldn’t help recalling how many times she’d sat on a bed next to Lizzie before they became lovers. Her palms would sweat, her heart would race, and she’d be terrified that Lizzie would learn the truth. A sudden wave of panic hit her as Jenny realized that at this very moment she was feeling exactly the same way she had all those years ago. Only now they were adults sitting in her motel room.
“We should go,” Jenny suddenly blurted out as she jumped off the bed. Lizzie jerked her head up in surprise as she shut off the television.
“Am I making you uncomfortable?” Lizzie asked in concern.
“Constantly,” Jenny admitted as she grabbed her black leather car coat. She handed the coat to Lizzie who was wearing a light charcoal-colored sweater and faded blue jeans.
Lizzie nodded as she accepted the jacket and climbed off the bed. They left the motel in silence and Jenny led the way towards the club. As they stepped inside the bar, Jenny prayed that it would be Claire’s night off. As she spotted her friend behind the bar, the tall brunette decided that it wasn’t the week for her to be playing the lottery.
It was still early in the evening as they took seats at one of the back corner tables. There was a small group of people hanging around. Since it was a weekday the crowd was still very thin. There was a rugby team in the opposite corner. Jenny assumed by their sour expressions that they hadn’t won their match. Jenny spotted a few men and women in suits that had obviously ducked out of work early.
As she caught Claire peering over at her, she was thankful for one thing. Her friend wouldn’t ask too many prying questions with Lizzie sitting right there. Jenny was just about to go get a round of drinks when she saw Claire approaching. “Oh crap, that’s not a good sign,” Jenny mumbled as she slid back down in her seat.
“Hey there, ladies,” Claire greeted them brightly. She looked directly at Lizzie and worked her southern drawl for all that it was worth. “I don’t normally do table service, but anything for our gals in uniform,” she jested as she placed a comforting hand on Jenny’s shoulder. “I’m Claire,” she continued as she extended her hand to Lizzie who gladly accepted the kind offer. ‘Please say your name is Lizzie,’ Jenny silently pleaded, fearing that if word got out that her first date since the breakup was with a nun, she wouldn’t get another date on the east coast even if she had Xena Warrior Princess strapped to her ass.
“Sister Rachel,” Lizzie responded politely. “It is nice to meet you, Claire.”
“Sister?” Claire said in confusion as Jenny watched the wheels in the woman’s head spin. “Oh,” she exclaimed in sudden understanding and Jenny braced herself for the fallout. “Well, if you don’t mind me saying, Sister, what a waste.”
“Thank you, I think.” Lizzie laughed in response. Jenny considered climbing under the table and dying of embarrassment.
“How’s the day job?” Jenny pried, hoping to change the subject.
“Good. The kids are a handful as usual,” Claire explained. “Just wish it paid more so I wouldn’t have to work nights.”
“You’re a teacher?” Lizzie inquired eagerly. “What subject?”
“Math,” Claire explained proudly.
“I teach history and English,” Lizzie explained. “Well, history is my specialty, but it all depends on where I’m assigned.”
Jenny listened as they swapped classroom war stories. She was impressed as she realized just how impassioned both of these women were about their students. The brunette was also more than a little irked that Claire was flirting with Lizzie. Granted, Claire was a natural flirt who just couldn’t help herself; it was all part of her southern charm. It still annoyed her that she was flirting with Lizzie.
“So how’s the job market out here?” Lizzie asked. Jenny’s ears perked up and she felt a small glimmer of joy that Lizzie was actually thinking of life outside the convent.
“Not so great,” Claire confessed. “Do you have your Masters?”
“Yes,” Lizzie confirmed.
“So you’re a nun?” Claire blurted out suddenly. Jenny once again contemplated crawling under the table.
“Yes, I’m a nun,” Lizzie confirmed with a sigh and a slight shake of her head. Jenny didn’t miss the other patrons turning around at Lizzie’s comment.
“My life is over,” Jenny grumbled as she buried her face in her hands.
“I have to tell you, Sister, if more nuns looked like you, I’d convert,” Claire teased.
“I’ll see what I can do,” Lizzie teased in response.
“Ah hem,” Jenny cleared her throat loudly, rapidly growing tired of her friends flirting with one another.
“Right,” Claire said with a slight cringe. “I guess I’ve wasted enough time over here. I suppose that I should take your drink orders so I can get back to waiting on the tipple wonders over there. What’ll it be?”
“Club soda,” Jenny grunted.
“Good call seeing as what happened the last time you were here,” Claire teased her with a slight nudge. “Wouldn’t want you playing in the traffic on Columbus Street again singing ‘Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina’.”
“I never liked you,” Jenny hissed as Lizzie laughed.
“Sister?” Claire addressed the still giggling blonde.
“Do you have Patron?” Lizzie inquired.
“That I do,” Claire confirmed.
“Great,” Lizzie beamed. “I’ll have a Grand Gold Margarita on the rocks, no salt.”
“A woman who knows what she wants,” Claire purred. “I’ll be right back with your drinks, ladies.”
“This is a nice place,” Lizzie offered in a relaxed tone once they were alone again.
“Yes, it is,” Jenny agreed. She tried to relax despite the curious glances they were still receiving.
“I’m beginning to feel like an opening to a joke,” Lizzie said thoughtfully.
“What do you mean?” Jenny asked.
“You know, a cop and a nun walk into a bar,” Lizzie explained with bright smile.
“So what’s the punch line?” Jenny asked with a light laugh.
“Don’t know yet,” Lizzie responded seriously. “I missed your smile,” she added so softly that Jenny wondered if Lizzie had meant to say the words out loud. Jenny tensed slightly as all too familiar stirrings began once again. “Sorry,” Lizzie quickly apologized. “All of these mixed signals must be driving you insane.”
“They are,” Jenny responded honestly. “I’ve been doing the same thing. I just feel like the past is taking over when I’m with you.”
“I know,” Lizzie agreed as she began to fiddle with her napkin.
Jenny watched as the napkin was quickly reduced to shreds. “Sometimes I look into your eyes and it all comes back to me,” Lizzie explained. “Before I can catch my bearings, one of us is stepping over the line.”
“We can get through this,” Jenny tried to reassure Lizzie, understanding what she was trying to say since she’d been dealing with the same whirlwind of emotions.
“The problem is that after all this time and everything we’ve been through, you still take my breath away,” Lizzie choked out as her eyes began to fill with tears. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said anything.” Lizzie stood suddenly. “Excuse me; I’m just need to use the washroom.”
After Lizzie made her departure, Jenny found that she was clutching the edge of the table. She stared down at her hands to discover that she’d been gripping the table with such intensity that her knuckles had turned white. Jenny released her hold as she debated on whether or not she should follow Lizzie to the ladies room.
“So you want to tell me what’s going on?” Claire questioned her bluntly as she placed the drinks down.
“Long story,” Jenny muttered absently as she watched the doorway for Lizzie.
“Usually is,” Claire agreed as she nudged a cocktail closer to Jenny.
The brunette finally tore her gaze away from the doorway. “That’s not club soda,” she said as she stared at the margarita.
“Very good, Officer,” Claire retorted. “You’re having what she’s having. I’d thought I’d level the playing field. Now out with it.”
“She was . . . ,” Jenny began. Her voice trailed off as she tried to form the words. She didn’t understand why all of this was so hard. “She was my high school sweetheart,” she finally said as she realized it was the first time in her life she’d been allowed to call Lizzie that.
“I had a feeling,” Claire concurred. “You said something about her the night you and Wendy split up. She’s Kate’s sister?”
“Yes,” Jenny responded.
“You never forget your first girl,” Claire said with a heavy sigh. “Poor baby, it still hurts, doesn’t it?” Jenny could only nod in response. “My first was in high school too. Mary Sue Parker. We were on the basketball team together.”
“What happened?” Jenny inquired sadly.
“Field hockey season,” Claire explained with a snarl. “Bitch dumped me for the goalie. Last I heard she had shaved her head and was living with a group of separatists somewhere in the Ozarks. Love sucks.”
“Amen,” Jenny responded heartily as she raised her glass in agreement.
“But then again, if she hadn’t broken my poor old heart, I wouldn’t have come up here to go to college,” Claire reasoned. “And I wouldn’t have met Beth, the most wonderful woman on the face of the planet.”
“I’ve always said Beth deserves a medal for putting up with your tired old carcass all these years,” Jenny agreed.
“It’s just that being around Lizzie has been so intense,” Jenny tried to explain. “She hurt me more than I thought possible. I don’t understand why it still hurts so much and why when I look at her . . .” Jenny allowed the words to die on her lips. “Forget it. None of it matters anymore.”
“That’s what you need to remember,” Claire cautioned her. “Because if it does, you have a major problem on your hands that will make your troubles with Wendy seem like a walk in the park.”
“She’s thinking of leaving the church,” Jenny argued.
“Thinking of leaving and leaving are two different things,” Claire stressed. “Just ask any woman who’s been involved with someone that’s spoken for. And this gal is spoken for. She’s also heading this way.”
Jenny looked up and saw that Lizzie was indeed approaching the table. Claire made her departure before Lizzie reached the table. “Feeling better?” Jenny asked as Lizzie sat back down.
“Yes, thank you,” Lizzie responded quietly. “Again, I’m sorry about everything.”
“We need to stop apologizing to each other and move on,” Jenny said with conviction. “Let’s have a drink and I can tell you all about what happened with Ryan.”
“Sounds good,” Lizzie agreed.
As the night went on Jenny explained everything she knew about Ryan. They soon moved to other subjects. They talked about their lives and day-to-day stuff, carefully avoiding talk about their past relationship. Unfortunately as the night progressed, they also continued to drink. The tequila seemed to be impairing Jenny’s judgment. They moved closer to one another over the evening, each finding an excuse to touch the other while they spoke. Claire’s words of warning and Jenny’s common sense were long forgotten as she found that she was sitting dangerously close to her ex-lover.
Once they decided that it was time to leave, they each wrapped an arm around the other’s waist under the pretense of helping the other remain steady. Jenny could feel the heat emanating off of Lizzie’s body as she guided her down the quiet streets. Jenny’s hand began to caress Lizzie’s stomach as they approached the motel. Her body pulsated with desire as Lizzie leaned closer. Somewhere in the back of her mind, a little voice was telling her that she should hail one of the many passing taxis and send Lizzie home.
The words of caution were drowned out by the rapid beating of her heart and the overwhelming desire burning in every fiber of her being. They stumbled to the door of Jenny’s room. Lizzie turned into her embrace and leaned back against the door. Instinctively Jenny clasped the blonde’s hips and leaned her body against the smaller woman’s. Lizzie looked up at her through half open eyes that were burning with desire. Jenny’s gaze drifted to Lizzie’s lips; they were parted slightly as the blonde’s breathing grew heavier.
Jenny swallowed hard and licked her lips. Her eyes remained focused on Lizzie’s soft inviting lips. She was afraid to speak, knowing that if either of them said a word the spell would be broken. Jenny dug the key to her room out of the pocket of her jeans and unlocked the door. She never removed her hand from Lizzie’s hip as they stumbled into the dark motel room.
She didn’t realize that Lizzie’s hands had been resting on her shoulders until she kicked the door shut and wrapped both of her hands around the small blonde’s waist. The air in the room seemed filled with electricity as their bodies brushed against one another. Jenny lowered her head so she could feel Lizzie’s ragged breath tickle her skin. ‘I just need to kiss her,’ her mind screamed as their bodies melted together. Jenny cupped Lizzie’s face in her hand and the two of them closed the gap between them. Their lips were about to touch when her cell phone chimed.
Stunned by the interruption, they stumbled away from each other as if they’d been burned. Jenny stumbled over to the bed and snatched up the phone. “Hello,” she choked out in a breathy tone.
“Jacobs, it’s Kate,” the caller identified herself as Jenny’s quivering body sat down on the bed.
“Hey Sarge.” Jenny’s voice creaked as she stared at the floor.
“Look, I know it’s late, but Lizzie hasn’t come home yet and I was wondering if you knew where she was,” Kate asked in a panic.
“She’s here,” Jenny reassured her, still fighting to regain her voice. “Why don’t you come get her?”
“Thank God,” Kate said in relief.
“We’ve been drinking so why don’t you just come on over and drive her home?” Jenny suggested once again. She continued to stare at the floor as she fought to control her breathing.
“It’s late. Why don’t I just pick her up in the morning?” Kate suggested.
“No,” Jenny argued, knowing that there was no way she and Lizzie could stay in the room together without touching each other. “Come get her,” Jenny hissed out in frustration.
“Uhm . . . okay,” Kate finally conceded. “Do I want to know what’s going on?”
“No,” Jenny whimpered. “Thank you,” she said before disconnecting the call. Jenny looked up to find Lizzie hiding in a distant corner with her arms folded tightly across her chest. “Your sister is on her way,” she informed the frightened looking blonde.
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