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Born of the observation
By Angie


Blair was finding it difficult to concentrate on her English essay. It wasn't that she found the subject difficult. On the contrary, she was positive that when she eventually managed to get something down on paper, it would be as fabulous as always and would earn her another A. But right at that moment, she was highly distracted by the girl sitting across the table from her.

Jo was also working on an essay and, by the looks of it, she was not having Blair's trouble with concentration. She was alternating between bouts of writing furiously and checking through textbooks, her tongue protruding just slightly from between her lips.

It wasn't Jo in general that was causing Blair problems. It was Jo's hands. It seemed lately, all Blair could think about was Jo's hands. They fascinated her. For someone who had apparently grown up in a garage, working on cars and motorbikes, Jo's fingers were surprisingly elegant. Even if her nails were usually dirty and stubby, her hands were graceful and strong.

Now, gripping her pen, the bones and tendons were taut and supple, causing the muscles in her forearm to dance underneath the skin in a most alluring fashion.

Blair swallowed as she flashed back to a rather disturbing dream she'd had in which she appeared to be outside her own body, watching herself and Jo…she blushed at the memory but couldn't help but remember that seeing Jo's hands gripping her hips as she knelt in front of her was the most erotic thing she had ever imagined.

"You OK there? You look kinda weird."

Blair glanced up to see Jo staring at her with a confused expression. Blair fanned her face with a hand.

"I'm fine, it's just so hot in here."

"No it ain't," Jo stated, still scrutinising Blair.

"I'd like to paint you!"

It was out before she'd had a chance to think about it. She held her breath as she awaited Jo's response. Jo had actually started to go quite red herself, she shifted in her seat uncomfortably.

"Paint me? You wanna paint me?" she asked, her face clearly demonstrating her disbelief.

"I…well…I have this assignment that I have to do for art class and I just thought that you'd probably be the most convenient subject as we live together anyway. It's not all that easy to arrange time to meet other people for a sitting around the enforced hard labour we're subjected to here," Blair hoped that sounded casual, and plausible.

Jo considered this.

"How would you wanna paint me?"

Blair knew exactly how she wanted to paint Jo. She'd pictured it many times.

"I'd like to paint you working on your motorcycle, if that would be agreeable."

Jo's eyebrows shot up.

"You're kiddin' me, right?"

"No, actually, I don't need to paint all of you, just your hand, arm and shoulder. So if you could wear one of those awful sleeveless things that you insist on including in your wardrobe, that would let me get the best view."

Jo shrugged.

"So what's in it for me?"

"Other than the opportunity to be immortalised in a Blair Warner original?" Blair demanded.

"Yeah, apart from that."

Blair's mouth dropped open at Jo's infernal insistence on being obnoxious. She shook her head.

"Alright, alright. You pose for me tomorrow morning, for as long as it takes, and I'll wash the dishes for a week and you can dry."

Blair knew that Jo much preferred drying dishes, they all did, it was the far lesser of two evils as it didn't involve dipping your hands in water that contained soggy cornflakes and errant pieces of macaroni. Blair felt ill at the thought but clamped down on it.


Blair smiled in satisfaction.

"I'm glad that's settled. We'll get started around ten so if you cou-"

"What's the assignment?" Jo asked.

Darn it! Blair had really hoped that the subject of the assignment wouldn't come up. She looked at Jo with what she hoped was a suitably blank expression.

"What's the what?"

"The assignment. What's the title of the assignment?" Jo pressed.

"Oh…I can't remember," Blair said, starting to gather up her papers.

"Then how come you know that my arm's gonna fit it? Come on, Warner, quit playin' blonde, I've seen the dye bottles."

Blair sighed deeply. She was never going to be allowed to live this one down.

"It's 'Strength', alright?"

A huge grin spread across Jo's face, she lifted her arm and flexed the bicep. Blair rolled her eyes and stood up.

"So, you think I'm built, huh?"

Blair tutted.


"All those big, beefy Bates boys you coulda picked and you picked me."

Blair eyed her seriously.

"Those boys would have been the obvious choice; everyone will do something like that. I'm a bit more discerning with my subjects."

"Pity you're not the same way about your boyfriends," Jo remarked.

Blair shook her head and walked away wordlessly, tears springing unexpectedly to her eyes at the joke.

She had just finished setting up her easel in the garage and was taking out various pencils for the initial sketch when Jo walked in. Blair kept her eyes on her materials and didn't speak. She could see Jo's boots out of the corner of her eye and noticed the other girl shifting from foot to foot, uncomfortably.

"Are you ready to get started?" Blair asked, curtly.

"Ready when you are," Jo replied, then continued in a softer voice, "Hey, listen, I'm sorry about that crack last night. It's just that it's…it's what we do, ain't it? And sometimes I don't really think about what I'm sayin'. And I'm sorry, OK?"

A smile was tugging at the corners of Blair's mouth as she looked up, a little startled by the unexpected apology. She nodded at Jo.


Jo smiled at her. And that was it. They were OK again. Jo broke the eye contact and held out her arms, offering herself up.

"So, whaddaya want me to do?"

Blair walked up to her and reached out to take her right hand. She held Jo's hand in both of her own, turning it this way and that, looking at the palm and the back of the hand. Then she ran her fingers over the smooth skin on the underside of Jo's arm. She knew she was taking liberties but she could play it off as familiarising herself with her subject. No need to mention that she could draw Jo's entire arm from memory, every freckle, every scar.

She heard Jo chuckle slightly and looked up.


"Nothin'. I was just wonderin' what you'd be doin' to me if you were paintin' me in the nude."

Blair's breath caught in her throat, but she held onto Jo's arm as she stared into the other girl's eyes. Jo seemed to be searching for something in Blair's eyes, some sign or assurance. And she appeared to find it.

"Where would you touch me, Blair?" Jo whispered, moving closer to Blair.

Blair was suddenly unable to formulate words, let alone sentences. Either by a sixth sense, or a complete coincidence, Jo solved this problem. She lifted Blair's hand to her face, pressing it against her cheek.

"Show me, Blair," she urged, letting their joined hands drift down her neck and onto her collarbone.

There she left Blair's hand as her arms moved to encircle Blair lightly, her hands coming to rest at the base of her spine. Blair was amazed, and quite impressed, that her hand was steady as she moved it to rest over Jo's heart, feeling the accelerated fluttering underneath the cotton of Jo's shirt. Continuing her journey, she barely grazed Jo's breast with the back of her hand before turning it around to cradle Jo's ribcage, rubbing her thumb over the softness of Jo's belly.

Feeling bolder, she reached behind Jo and slipped her hand up, underneath the shirt to spread her hand across the expanse of Jo's back, revelling in the intoxicating feeling of skin on skin. She sucked in a breath and looked back up into Jo's eyes.

Stretching her neck slightly, she leaned in to touch her lips to Jo's. Jo allowed Blair to lead the kiss, taking it from a chaste meeting of lips to a deeper exploration. Jo's hands moved to Blair's hips and gently pulled her closer. Blair gripped Jo's forearm, feeling the muscles play there as the embrace became more heated.

Eventually they parted, breathing heavily and flushed. Blair wrapped her arms around Jo's neck, leaning her whole body against her. She turned her head to whisper into Jo's ear.

"Not here, I'm not getting oil stains on this outfit."

She felt Jo grin into her shoulder.

Much later, when Blair eventually got around to sketching Jo's arm, it was stretched out above her head, on a pink, lacy pillow.

And Blair had an altogether new appreciation for Jo's strength.

The End

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