MY SISTER’S KEEPER
By Mavis Applewater
For disclaimers, see Part One.
A big thank you and happy dance goes out to my beta reader Joanne.
As always, this is for Heather.
“I swear you’re cheating,” Jenny grumbled as she stared at the cards she held. She’d lost three games of gin rummy to her pesky new roommate.
“I’m a nun. We don’t cheat at cards,” Lizzie gloated.
“So you say,” Jenny muttered as she finally discarded. She groaned as Lizzie snatched up the card she’d just put down.
“Gin,” Lizzie exclaimed before sticking her tongue out at Jenny.
“You suck,” Jenny grunted as she began to count up all the points she still held.
“You’re such a poor loser,” Lizzie shushed her.
“This coming from someone who tried to give me a wedgie every time I beat her at hoops.” Jenny laughed as she totaled the score. “You win again.” She looked across the bed and found Lizzie blushing. “What?”
“That wasn’t why I tried to give you a wedgie,” the blonde shyly confessed.
Jenny folded her arms across her chest and glared over at the smaller woman. “You little pervert,” she chastised the blushing blonde. “So when did you get to be such a card shark?” she inquired as she started to clean up the cards that were strewn across her bed. They’d been sitting on the bed for a few hours since it was the only space big enough in Jenny’s tiny apartment where they could play cards comfortably.
“The entertainment was limited to say the least in most of the places I’ve been living. I always took a deck of cards with me whenever I traveled,” Lizzie explained as she stretched out on the bed. “I learned some really fun drinking games too.”
“I bet you did.” Jenny laughed as she placed the cards on the nightstand. “How’s the studying going?”
“Good,” Lizzie responded brightly. “The computer course I’m taking is the only one giving me trouble. I don’t get it. I’ve seen first graders who can work on those things and I’m completely lost most of the time. Thanks for letting me use yours.”
“No problem.” Jenny yawned. “Don’t worry; you’ll get the hang of it. We need to set up an email account for you.”
“Email - another thing I don’t understand,” Lizzie groaned. “Sister Agnes is almost eighty and she can email. I tried it the other day and I think I nuked Iowa.”
“You’ll get the hang of it.” Jenny chuckled. “And once you do, no matter where you travel to you’ll be able to keep in touch with everyone you know.” Jenny’s smile faded as she realized that Lizzie might be leaving the country at some time in the near future. She’d been staying with her for just shy of two weeks and Jenny found that she was growing fond of living with her. This despite the cramped living quarters, the nightly battle for the blankets, and the cold showers she was forced to endure. In fact, she was becoming increasingly aware that she was a little too fond of Lizzie living with her.
Lizzie rolled over onto her side and rested her face against her hand. “I should think about moving back in with my sister,” the blonde offered seeming to pick up on what Jenny was thinking.
“I know,” Jenny grumbled as she began to pick at imaginary lint on the blanket. “You don’t have to. You could stay here.” Jenny continued to pick at the blanket. She could feel Lizzie watching her.
The silence was choking Jenny and she suddenly felt foolish. “I want to,” Lizzie finally confessed in a voice just above a whisper. “And that’s the problem,” the blonde muttered. “It’s getting harder and harder being so close to you.”
“And you need space to think about things,” Jenny responded with a heavy sigh. “I know,” she added as she finally lifted her gaze. She tried to smile as Lizzie met her gaze.
“I don’t understand why just being around you is such a temptation,” Lizzie tried to explain. “I know that I wasn’t very good at following my vocation, yet being with you is incredibly difficult. I’ve broken my vows six times and each time I hoped that I would get caught. Now if I do it again, I won’t have accomplished what I set out to do.”
“I really do understand,” Jenny reassured her. “Wait! Six times? You mean you’ve only had sex six times since you’ve become a nun?”
“Yes,” Lizzie confirmed dryly.
“I can’t believe it,” Jenny choked out.
“What?” Lizzie asked in a bewildered tone. “Once is too many times.”
“It’s just that we used to do it six times a week,” Jenny blurted out.
The blush covered the brunette’s body once she realized what she had said. “True,” Lizzie stammered uncomfortably. “But I’m not supposed to be intimate with anyone, including myself, ever.”
“When are you thinking of calling Katie?” Jenny inquired, trying to sound positive. She had mulled over what Lizzie had said and it made sense. The nun’s words weren’t a revelation, but knowing that Lizzie wasn’t a nun at the moment gave her inner self a sense of false hope.
“In a hurry to get rid of me?” Lizzie teased her with a slight shove.
“Yeah, you little card shark,” Jenny quipped as she pulled Lizzie down and began to tickle the smaller woman. “Admit it! You were cheating!”
“You’re just a sore loser,” Lizzie squealed as she squirmed beneath the brunette. “What’s the matter? Can’t the big tough cop admit she got her butt kicked by a little nun?”
“I’ll show you a butt kicking,” Jenny asserted with a mock growl as her tickling increased. The brunette’s heart began to race as her fingers glided up along the blonde’s sensitive body. Jenny bit down on her bottom lip in an effort to stifle the moan that wanted out as Lizzie wrapped her legs around the brunette’s waist. Jenny knew that Lizzie was simply trying to free herself but the feel of the blonde’s body wiggling against her felt far too good. Jenny could feel her long neglected desires ignite as their bodies became entangled. The familiar pain of the past emerged as they began to roll around on the bed, each fighting for control.
It had been the same when she was a young woman and the two of them would become lost in a moment of physical closeness. Jenny’s body was craving something she couldn’t have, and if she didn’t pull away soon she would do something both of them would regret. The difference between the innocent actions they shared before they became lovers and now was that Jenny fully understood what it was she wanted and needed. Distracted by her thoughts, Jenny lost control and Lizzie pinned her to the bed. “Uh huh!” Lizzie barked out triumphantly as she pinned Jenny’s hands above her head and straddled her body.
Lizzie opened her mouth to speak but the words never came and her emerald eyes darkened. Jenny was lying helplessly beneath the blonde, captured by her fiery gaze. The brunette’s breathing became ragged as she returned her former lover’s gaze. The only sounds Jenny could hear were the pounding of her heart and Lizzie’s labored breathing. The air in the tiny apartment sizzled with the intensity that was flowing between them.
The knock on the door did nothing to curb the force pulling them closer; Lizzie lowered her body until Jenny could feel the smaller woman’s breath on her face. The brunette parted her lips in an effort to protest but the words failed to form as the persistent knocking continued. Jenny could feel her body trembling as Lizzie’s body melted against her own. “Open up! It’s the police,” Katie shouted from the other side of the door.
Jenny and Lizzie erupted in a fit of laughter as they pulled away from one another. “If she only knew,” Lizzie offered halfheartedly as she climbed off of Jenny.
“She’d be thrilled,” Jenny tossed out as she climbed off the bed and stumbled towards the front door.
“Figures,” Lizzie muttered as she shuffled over to the kitchen.
“Yes?” Jenny droned once she opened the door.
“I thought I was going to have to call the fire department,” Katie exclaimed as she pushed her way into Jenny’s apartment. “Yup, I was just about to call them and have them bring the Jaws of Life up here.”
“You’re sick; you know that, don’t you?” Jenny said with scowl as she closed the door behind the blonde. “Come in and make yourself at home,” she offered to the woman who had already removed her coat and took a seat in Jenny’s rocking chair.
“Thanks,” Katie beamed. “Squirt, bring me something to drink,” she called to Lizzie who was sucking down a bottle of water.
“What am I running here? A hotel?” Jenny complained as she folded her arms across her chest. “Don’t give her anything, Lizzie; she’ll only keep coming back.”
Lizzie snorted in amusement as she brought Katie a glass of apple juice. “When did I lose control?” Jenny said in exasperation. “So what brings you here other than my generosity?”
“I wanted to see Lizzie,” Katie casually responded.
“Did you know she cheats at cards?” Jenny inquired seriously.
“I knew it!” Katie squawked. “You know, she conned me out of my paycheck a few weeks ago.”
“No, I won your paycheck,” Lizzie boasted with a cocky grin. “Not my fault you can’t bluff.”
“Wait! You cleaned your sister out?” Jenny gasped. “What happened to all of that vow of poverty horse puckey?”
“I am poor,” Lizzie argued. “They don’t pay you cops enough. So, Kate, I was just going to call you.”
“Of course you were. That would explain all of the laughing I heard out in the hallway,” Katie responded coyly. “We need to talk about Mom.”
“I know,” Lizzie concurred. “When was the last time she came looking for me at your place?”
“Two nights after she was arrested,” Katie hesitantly answered.
“Long enough,” Lizzie continued. “I’m coming back to your place or moving in with Dad.” Kate opened her mouth to protest but Lizzie silenced her with a wave of her hand. “I can’t hide from her forever. And I know why you want me to stay here and that’s out of the question.”
“She’s right, Katie,” Jenny agreed.
“You’re kicking her out?” Katie blurted out accusingly.
“No,” Lizzie interjected. “She’s not kicking me out, but this is Jenny’s home and I need to go.”
“Aren’t the two of you getting along?” Katie pushed.
“Yes,” Jenny answered as the tension grew inside of her. “That’s the problem and you know it. Lizzie can’t do what she needs to do while the two of us are living in such close quarters.”
Katie sat there sipping her juice while Jenny and Lizzie stared at her. “I’m going for a walk,” Jenny tossed out, no longer able to endure the eerie silence. She squeezed Lizzie’s shoulder gently before heading out her front door. “When did my life get so complicated?” she sighed as she walked the streets and tried to enjoy the unexpected sunshine. “Maybe it always was,” she continued, chatting to herself as she made her way towards the Charles River. The brunette weaved her way through the joggers and roller bladers until she found a comfortable place near the edge of the water to stretch out.
She listened to the sounds of the waves lapping against the shore as memories of tickling fests and wrestling matches filled her mind. “I’m obsessed,” she reasoned as she absently tossed tiny pebbles she found into the water. “Even if she leaves the church there’s no guarantee that I’ll be what she wants. Is she what I want? Ugh! I hate being an adult,” she announced as she cast another small stone into the water.
Frustrated and suddenly angry at her lot in life, Jenny buried her face in her hands as the memories and confusion once again consumed her. Lizzie had always been there with her sparkling green eyes. The small blonde had captivated her from the very beginning and Jenny was always helpless to resist. The years apart had done nothing to cool the flame that was Lizzie. Jenny knew that she needed to put some distance between them and she was shaking with fear at the thought of being separated from Lizzie. “What is wrong with me?” she sobbed into her hands.
“If Sally went to the market to buy five apples and three oranges, how much money did she have left?” Jenny muttered as she stared at the inane question in her textbook. “If Sally keeps eating like this, she’s going to end up with rickets. And let’s not forget all of those train and bus rides she takes. What kind of parents does this kid have?” Jenny peered over the top of her textbook to find Lizzie smiling back at her. “What?”
“You’re insane; you know that, don’t you?” Lizzie teased her in a light tone that did not match the darkness in the small blonde’s emerald eyes. A shiver passed through Jenny’s body as she fell into the smoldering gaze.
“Oh no you don’t,” Jenny cautioned her lover.
“What?” Lizzie innocently retorted. “I’m just sitting way over here on the bed, like you told me to do.”
“I know that look,” Jenny warned her. “That’s why I’m sitting at my desk and you’re way over there. We have to study.”
“I’d rather study you,” Lizzie responded in a breathy tone that left no doubt as to what her true intentions were.
“Study,” Jenny barked. “Besides you’re already very well acquainted with every inch of my body.”
“Are you sure? I may have missed one or two places,” Lizzie threw out eagerly as she began to climb off the bed.
A knock on the bedroom door halted Lizzie’s movements. The blonde scowled as she threw herself back down on the bed. “Hey, Mom,” Jenny greeted her mother as she stepped into the room with a tray of snacks.
“I thought you girls might be hungry,” Mrs. Jacobs said as she placed the tray down on the desk.
“Thank you, Mrs. Jacobs,” Lizzie said.
“Yeah, thanks, Mom,” Jenny beamed since she was thankful that her mother had for the moment curbed her lover’s insatiable desires.
Once her mother had left the tiny bedroom, Lizzie flew off the bed. “No you don’t,” Jenny cautioned her. “Time to get back to Sally and her poor shopping habits.”
“I was just looking for something to nibble on,” Lizzie responded with a wide-eyed innocence as she pointed to the snack tray.
“Sorry,” Jenny apologized as she turned her attention back to her math book.
Jenny gasped and her book fell from her hands as Lizzie’s lips grazed the tender flesh of her neck. “I thought you wanted something to nibble on?” Jenny stammered as Lizzie’s mouth feasted on her neck.
“I do,” Lizzie offered hotly in her ear before she began to nibble on the brunette’s sensitive earlobe. Jenny was struggling to breathe as she felt her lover’s arms wrap around her. The brunette’s resolve slipped away as she captured Lizzie in her arms and they fell to the floor.
Jenny’s heart soared as she looked up at the one person who had always held it in the palm of her hands. “I love you, Jenny,” Lizzie softly said before they found themselves kissing one another passionately. With wild abandonment they rolled around the floor, tugging at the other’s clothing in a desperate need to free themselves of any barriers.
The look in Lizzie’s eyes that day was filled with such love that it ensured that the blonde would always hold a piece of Jenny’s heart. A shadow crept over her and Jenny turned to see Lizzie’s emerald eyes staring back at her. For a brief moment she was certain that she could still see the same intense devotion she’d seen so many years ago reflected in those green pools. It faded quickly and was replaced by the overwhelming confusion that was strangling both of them. “I thought I’d find you here,” Lizzie shyly offered before looking away.
Jenny exhaled deeply, wondering how long she’d been sitting there or why she hadn’t noticed Lizzie. “Why is it so much harder this time?” Lizzie asked, echoing the thoughts that had plagued the brunette since her former lover reentered her life.
“Are you leaving with Kate?” Jenny asked in a slow careful tone as she looked out over the water.
“I’ll wait until you’re gone,” Jenny continued in the same controlled tone. “Keep the key just in case.”
“Jenny . . . ,” Lizzie began in a strained voice.
“It’s better this way,” Jenny reasoned, still unable to look at the blonde. “You need to start living your life. And I need to start living mine. I’ll always be here for you, but right now we need to be apart.”
Silently Lizzie stood and complied with Jenny’s wishes as she walked away. ‘It’s for the best,’ Jenny reassured herself repeatedly as she wondered why it felt like they had just broken up. And why did it hurt more than when she ended her relationship with Wendy?
Two weeks later Jenny was miserable; she found herself missing Lizzie more and more with each passing day. What troubled her most was that she was no longer missing the girl she had once loved but the woman she had grown into. So she did the only thing she could think of. The first Sunday she had off she took the train up to her parents. Running back to Mommy and Daddy wasn’t the most mature course of action but it was the only thing that made the tall brunette feel a sense of comfort and safety.
“You’re not getting tired, are you?” Jenny teased her father who was panting and sweating heavily after she made another basket. She had already beaten him in two straight games of hoops and was well on her way to her third victory.
“I’m just fine,” he protested as he wiped the sweat from his brow.
“You sure?” Jenny quipped with a lighthearted laugh.
“Stop teasing your poor old father,” her mother called out from the living room window.
“Who are you calling old?” Jerome Jacobs grumbled in response as he made a basket. It wasn’t hard since his daughter was too busy laughing to block his advance. “So are you going to tell me why you decided to visit after this game?” he asked as he passed her the ball.
“Maybe I just missed you,” Jenny teased in a thinly veiled attempt to hide her true feelings.
“Right,” her father snorted in disbelief as he blocked her shot.
“Hey there, Jenny,” an annoyingly familiar voice called out from behind them.
“Damn,” Jenny sneered as she turned to see Robby strolling up the driveway.
“What’s wrong?” her father asked quietly in concern.
“Nothing,” Jenny lied as her lips curled up in disgust. “He said something to me the last time I was here that really got to me,” she explained once she realized that her father had seen through her lie.
“Mind if I join you?” Robby inquired brightly.
“Actually I’m trying to spend some time with my parents,” Jenny offered in an effort to get rid of Robby as quickly as possible. With everything else she’d been dealing with over the past few weeks, his narrow-minded ideas were the last thing she needed.
“Just a quick game?” Robby pressed.
“He was never a bright guy, was he?” Jerome muttered softly so only his daughter could hear his words.
Jenny realized something as he flashed his puppy dog eyes at her. He had been doing that to her for as long as they’d known one another. He had used her polite nature against her so he could spend time with her and drive a wedge between her and Lizzie. “Not this time,” Jenny curtly said.
“What?” Robby responded in surprise.
“I said no.”
“But it’s just a game of hoops,” Robby pleaded, oozing his boyish charm from every pore.
“No,” Jenny repeated.
“Oh, I see,” Robby pouted. Jenny was floored that a man of his age would actually resort to pouting in an effort to get his way.
Jenny twirled the basketball in her hands as her father sighed heavily beside her. Robby simply stood there looking at her with a forlorn expression. His jaw dropped slightly as he became aware that he wasn’t going to win her over this time. “See ya around, Robby,” Jenny casually tossed out as she turned her attention back to her father. “What was the score again?”
“Oh, I get it,” Robby grunted from behind her, cutting off her father’s words. “She’s here.”
“You arrogant little piss ant,” Jenny growled as she spun around and shot the ball out onto the pavement. Her aim was dead on as the orange ball hit at just the right angle to come back up and strike Robby where it would hurt the most. His eyes bugged out as he clutched his manhood and dropped helplessly to his knees. His eyes were watering as he looked up at Mr. Jacobs for help.
“Don’t look at me, kid. Who do you think taught her that move?” Jerome explained, his voice cracking at the sight of the younger man clutching himself.
Jenny could hear the front door slamming open and her mother’s worried tone as she frantically asked about what was happening. Jenny was lost in a zone as all of the rage, anger, and pain caught up with her. She stormed over to the still-kneeling man, dropped down beside him, and locked his neck in her arm.
“Taught her that, too,” her father boasted. Robby choked helplessly as she held him in a headlock.
“Jenny, the boy is turning blue. Let him go,” her mother pleaded as the brunette tightened her hold.
“Tell me,” she demanded. “When did you know?”
“What?” Robby choked out as he struggled to breathe.
“You knew that Lizzie was my lover. When did you find out?” Jenny hissed bitterly. “Come on, stud, you knew then. I just want to know how.”
Robby was flailing helplessly in her grasp as her crystal blue eyes wandered over to his house. Her eyes bulged out as they drifted back to her own home. “You were watching us!” she screamed as she realized for the first time that his childhood bedroom overlooked her own. “You freaking pervert! You were peeking into my bedroom!”
“Choke him harder,” her father shouted out in disgust.
“Is that all you did?” Jenny demanded as she complied with her father’s wish despite her mother’s shouting. “Your mother and her mother were friends. Did you follow us around? You were the one, weren’t you?”
“Yes,” he barely managed to gasp out, his body trembling from the pain.
“Bastard,” she spat out as the last piece fell into place. She was blinded by anger as she tightened her grip around his neck.
“Jenny?” a familiar voice called out to her. “Jenny,” the voice repeated, somehow reaching the blind rage that was coursing through her body. “Let him go,” the voice whispered softly as she felt her body being captured in a warm embrace. Jenny started to sob as she released Robby from her grasp. His face was red and he continued to gasp for air as she turned into Lizzie’s arms. “Ssh,” the blonde whispered as she made comforting strokes along the sobbing brunette’s back.
“It was him,” Jenny cried as she held Lizzie tighter. “He was the one who told her.”
“It’s over,” Lizzie reassured her. “Let it go.”
Jenny looked up at the blonde, the tears still flooding her chiseled features. “He did this,” she sobbed. “He conspired with her to keep us apart.”
“It’s over,” Lizzie repeated as she brushed the tears from Jenny’s face.
One look in Lizzie’s eyes and Jenny could feel her tears drying. She swallowed hard as she tried to calm herself. “Time to let it go,” Lizzie said with tenderness as she cupped Jenny’s face in her hands. “Don’t hate the man because of the rash choices a frightened boy made.”
Jenny turned to see Robby still kneeling on the ground, the color slowly returning to his face. The guilt in his eyes spoke volumes. Out of the corner of her eye she could see her parents and Katie watching the scene; each of them was sporting a very frightened look. “Why?” Jenny sniffed as Robby looked away from her. “I want to know why you ruined my best friend’s life?” she demanded as Lizzie’s hands continued to rub her body in a vain attempt to soothe her.
“I loved you,” Robby offered feebly.
“So you took her away from me?” Jenny spat out.
“No,” Lizzie cautioned her as she pulled her back into a tender embrace. Jenny’s head instinctively came to rest on the blonde’s chest. “Forgive him and move on,” Lizzie encouraged her as she ran her fingers through Jenny’s hair and massaged her scalp. Lizzie’s words swirled around her mind, mixing with the intense anger that was still threatening to consume her. She felt Lizzie’s fingers caressing her face until they lifted her chin. Jenny stared deep into the blonde’s electrifying eyes. “Please? For me?” Lizzie pleaded. “Forgive him.”
Jenny’s lips quivered, knowing that she could never refuse Lizzie. Her body ached as she turned her head slightly and looked over at Robby. He looked pitiful. “It’s over,” Jenny choked out. “I forgive you. Now just go,” she offered in a heavy tone before she nestled her head against Lizzie’s chest. She was only dimly aware of Robby and the others’ departure as Lizzie held her tightly and rocked her in her arms.
Jenny was lost in the feel of Lizzie’s tender embrace as her demons finally slipped away. She had no concept of how long they knelt on her parents’ front lawn. She only pulled away from Lizzie’s embrace when she felt the chill of the night air against her skin. “Feeling better?” Lizzie asked as she brushed errant strands of hair from Jenny’s brow.
“I have a headache,” Jenny confessed.
“No small wonder,” Lizzie said with a gentle smile as she once again cupped Jenny’s face in her hand.
“What are you doing here?” Jenny asked as she tried to understand just what had happened. She leaned into the blonde’s touch and felt her body and soul finally calming.
“Katie and I drove up this morning,” Lizzie began to explain. “We needed to try to convince our mother that she needs help.”
“Did it work?” Jenny inquired before she released a contented sigh.
“No,” Lizzie answered in a defeated tone.
“I guess we should go inside,” Jenny reluctantly suggested, knowing that she would rather just stay on the lawn wrapped up in Lizzie’s arms. The blonde nodded in agreement as they stood, brushing the dirt from their clothes. “Are the two of you heading back to town now?”
“Sort of,” Lizzie responded hesitantly.
“What is it?” Jenny asked, a sudden sense of panic filling her.
“Kate is going back to town after she drops me off in Brighton,” Lizzie carefully explained as her eyes drifted from Jenny’s intense gaze.
“You’re going back,” Jenny stammered as her body reeled from the shock.
“Yes,” Lizzie quietly confessed.
To Be Conclude in Part 16
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