DISCLAIMER: The Facts of Life and its characters are the property of Columbia Pictures Television and Sony Pictures Television, no infringement intended.
SERIES: Part of the Post Peekskill Series; sequel to That Weekend in Vegas
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
"C'est parfait!" Blair exclaimed. "See you Saturday. By the fountain of course. Bien sur. A bientôt."
"Who you talkin to, Pepe?" Jo joked, as Blair hung up the phone. Jo secretly liked it when Blair spoke French. It was kinda sexy.
"Nancy Butler, nee Olson, from Eastland. She and Roger are in town."
Buttering the last piece of her bagel, Jo warily asked, "And this is 'parfait', how?"
"We are getting together on Saturday. I haven't seen them for ages. Nancy and I are meeting at the Met for the Cezanne exhibit and then we'll join Roger for dinner at Racini's," Blair explained.
"Blair, I'm on duty Saturday, I don't think...."
"Jo, Jo, Jo. I wouldn't impose on you like that. You and Nance never really bonded, I know," Blair said, patting Jo's hand sympathetically.
"That might be because we were classmates for three years and she never bothered to learn my last name. She visited us for your reunion in Peekskill and you had to introduce me for christsake. Nancy was probably the only girl at Eastland more oblivious than you," Jo replied waspishly.
"Then you don't mind skipping our little outing, do you Pol-ni, Ply-no, Czek mate? How does it go again?" Blair queried, batting her eyes.
"Are you kidding? Knock yourself out." Still, Jo thought, it would have been nice to have been asked.
"So, Blair, have you kept up to date with ole Nance and Rog?" Jo inquired, leaning back in her chair.
Blair smiled. "They send me Christmas letters from London. They have a seal. No," Blair said, cutting off Jo's smirk, "not the circus animal, the wax thingie. They live in a townhouse in Kensington. Their son Jeremy is six, the girl Megan is four. The kids attend nursery school with Prince Andrew's children. Roger is doing very well at Morgan. The family spent the Easter break in Spain and Christmas in Verbier. Nancy is busy with the garden club and the Anglo/American society but tries to work out daily. Everyone is devoted to Bunter, their labradoodle. Their nanny had to return to Romania, some immigration issue, which was very devastating to the kids but ....."
"Thanks for the update," Jo jumped in, "but I have to get to work sometime this century. What I meant was, have you told them about us?"
Blair sipped her coffee, a tad uneasily. "In a way. When I called Nancy on her birthday and she asked me if I had a special man in my life, I said no. Does that count?"
"So you didn't bother to mention that we live together. That we are shacking up. That her precious Blairie Pie is a big old lezzie?"
"She never asked," Blair said primly.
Jo had to laugh. "Well that's OK. Nancy didn't notice the first eight years we lived together, so why should she bother about it now. After all, it isn't as earth shattering as the labradoodle." Jo rose from the table and put on her holster and jacket.
Blair came to Jo at the door, wrapped her arms around her, and pressed her mouth to Jo's ear. "I'll tell them on Saturday," she murmured. She nuzzled Jo's neck. "You have it all over the labradoodle."
"How about the Romanian nanny?"
"Depends on what she looks like." Blair giggled, swatting Jo's shoulder. "Have a good day, sweetheart, and please be careful out there."
"Back at ya," said Jo, kissing Blair before stepping into the hall.
"Oh Blair, it's so wonderful to see you. You look positively radiant," Nancy gushed as they walked up the grand staircase of the museum.
"Thanks, Nancy, so do you. For a mother of two, you've certainly kept your figure."
"Well the workouts are a must. And our cook has finally learned to cut down on the gravy and chips. It's a struggle sometimes, but Roger likes me slim."
Does he, Blair thought, bothered a little by the idea.
"So," Nancy said. "I hope you don't mind, but Roger and I thought it might be nice if we invited a friend to join us at dinner?"
"A friend?" Blair asked.
"A business colleague of Roger's actually. Peter Hurley. He is very charming. Rich, good looking, divine accent, and, here's the best part Blairie Pie, unattached."
Uh oh. "Nance, I don't know. I was hoping the three of us could just catch up."
"Oh Blair, please. Roger really would like him to come. And I think that the two of you would hit it off. I mean you are both so gorgeous."
Blair couldn't resist tossing her hair just a little. "Well, if it means that much to Roger, I suppose it would be all right."
Nancy looked relieved. "I'll call Roger. The reservation is for eight at Racini's, right? Oh Blair, wouldn't it be great if this turned into something. You could move to London. Harrods is wonderful but the best news is that they just opened a high speed train line to Paris. Imagine, haute couture less than three hours away."
Blair smiled. "Let's not get ahead of ourselves, Nancy. It's just dinner. Oh look, one of my favorites!" she exclaimed, as they entered the gallery. "It's called 'Rocks in the Forest'. Can't you just feel the wind in the trees? And look at the light. Incredible. That Cezanne. Something else, isn't he?"
Nancy looked at her friend as she chatted excitedly about the painting. Yes, something else.
The phone rang at the station house
"Twenty Fifth, Detective Polniaczek speaking."
"Well, hello Blondie, how are the ladies who lunch?" Jo said with a grin.
"The exhibit was wonderful. I'm at home now, getting ready for my date," Blair announced.
The grin vanished. "Your date?" Jo repeated stonily.
"Yes, with Roger's client Peter Hurley. He is joining us for dinner. He may be Sir Peter Hurley. Or even Lord Hurley, I'm not sure."
"Should I even bother asking?" Jo sighed.
"Oh Jo, I don't know what happened. I met Nancy at the museum and I was going to tell her about us right away. But she seemed so happy to see me and I couldn't find the right moment. And then she started in about how this guy was perfect for me and she didn't want me to be alone and wasn't it time that I settled down and started a family. And that, with his connections, our kids could get into the best schools and that his country home in the Cotwolds was next to theirs. Honestly, she had planned out this whole life for me and..."
"Hello, earth to Blair: you aren't alone you have settled down. You live with someone who, against her better judgment, can't exist without you." Jo pulled the phone closer and lowered her voice. "And who, according to assurances given just last night, is someone who gets you so wet and so hot and makes you co..."
"Jo! Really!" Blair exclaimed, mortified.
"I know. But I didn't know what to do. I mean Nancy is one of my oldest friends. I just couldn't disappoint her. Please don't be mad. Just let me get through this dinner and I promise that will be the end of it."
"Blair, I'm not mad and, as always, you're gonna do what you wanna do," Jo said calmly.
"That's it?" replied Blair suspiciously. "No outbursts, no rages, no rants?"
"Well," said Jo. "I do think it is a little tacky of Roger to pimp you to his client. On the other hand, maybe you deserve some flirtation time with the male sex."
"What is that supposed to mean?"
"It means, Blair, that ever since we got together you haven't dated men. Obviously. And you are really good at dating men. Among the best ever. You've been deprived of exercising your natural talent. It is sorta like a race horse harnessed to a milk cart," Jo explained.
"Jo, I have no idea what you are babbling about."
"Sure you do. What I'm saying is that I'm good with you showing off your coquette chops and having some innocent fun with old friends."
"Thanks, I guess," Blair said uncertainly.
"Just don't leave me for some foppish Brit, OK?"
"Not likely, sweetheart," Blair growled.
"Your Bogart is terrible."
"It was supposed to be Jimmy Cagney."
"Hey Nat, it's me."
"Hi Jo, how's it hanging?"
"Good. Look, I know it's short notice but I was wondering if you wanted to grab a bite tonight."
Natalie took the phone to her couch and sat down. "Jo, Jo, Jo. You assume that Natalie Greene, high powered CNN journalist, confidant to the rich and powerful-- best friend to Broadway sensation Dorothy Ramsey, currently wowing them as Cosette in Les Miz-- would have nothing better to do on a Saturday night than to 'grab a bite' with a surly New York City police detective and her conceited Park Avenue girlfriend?"
"Yeah," Jo replied, wondering idly why everyone liked to chant her name three times.
"Well you would be right," Natalie said. "Where are we going?"
"Racini's. And it's just the two of us. Sorta. I'd better explain."
"So let me make sure I have this straight," said Natalie, as the two women walked up Madison. "We are going there to check up on Roger, Nancy, your lover Blair and her date. But we can't let them see us. What are we going to do, disguise ourselves as busboys?"
"We'll sit in the booths by the bar," Jo explained. "They'll be at the tables in the back."
"So how are we going to get the dirt?"
"There is no dirt, Nat. I don't know. I just want to be there in case something happens."
"With Blair and this Englishman? Are you nuts?" Natalie scoffed.
"No. Of course not. I mean I told Blair it was fine and it is, but it's with Nancy and Roger, who I never liked and don't really trust. I just want to be around. I can't explain it really."
"It's simple," Natalie said confidently. "You're feeling left out. I mean there's Blair, your best friend and the love of your life, off with her former best friend and her husband, who, by the way, Blair also dated. I can see why you are a little jealous. But I gotta tell you Jo, based on the years I've known them both, I can pretty much guarantee that Nancy and Blair have never had any sexual feelings towards each other."
"Ick," said Jo.
"I know," said Natalie. "Get that image out of my head."
"Anyway," Natalie continued. "It's just like Eastland or that reunion at Beverly Ann's. You're afraid of missing something."
"Am I really still sixteen?" queried Jo, somewhat sadly.
"We all are," assured Natalie. "The fear of exclusion is the most powerful force on earth. Ask Tootie."
The women arrived at the corner and walked down the stairs into the softly lighted restaurant.
"Good evening, Detective, how nice to see you." The dark haired host greeted them smoothly.
"Hi Charles. Do you have a booth by the bar?" Jo asked.
"Of course, but won't you be joining Ms. Warner? Her party is in the back."
"Oh. Uh, no thanks. Um. She has a business thing. Natalie and I just came in for a quick supper. No need to bother her. Uh, OK?"
"Naturally," Charles said with a quirk of his eyebrow. "Let me take your coats and I will send your waiter right over."
"I don't think this is going to work, Jo. I can't see their table."
Jo and Natalie were at a booth, sipping glasses of red wine and sharing a plate of bread and olives.
"If you crane your head this way, you can catch the reflection in that mirror." Jo demonstrated, twisting her neck and shoulders sharply and leaning over the side of the booth.
"Oh, that's not conspicuous." Natalie snickered.
"Do you need anything, Detective Polniaczek?" Charles hurried over to their table.
"Oh. Heh. No thanks. Just getting the blood moving. Long day in the squad car."
Natalie giggled. "Here, let me try, Sherlock. I have a better angle."
"Fine. What do you see?" Jo asked irritably.
"There they are. Nancy has her back to us. Hey, Roger looks pretty good. Still has his hair. Blair is sitting between him and another guy. He is cute in a wispy 'Brideshead Revisited' kind of way. Not really my type, but Blair always did have a thing for Jeremy Irons. She saw 'Reversal of Fortune' three times. Rich blonde woman in a coma, you wouldn't have thought it appealed."
"Focus, Natalie," Jo muttered.
"Right. Blair is talking. Quelle surprise. She is smiling, waving her hands. Nothing new there. Wait...wait ...is it?... yes, it is!... The hair flip! Oh Jo, you are in trouble."
"Funny, Greene, funny."
Natalie slumped back into her seat as the waiter brought their entrees. "All right, Copper, how long is the stake out?"
Suddenly feeling ridiculous, Jo snarled. "Let's just eat."
Natalie looked fondly at her brooding friend. "It's all right Jo. I understand."
Jo shrugged and toyed with her broccoli rabe.
After a moment Natalie asked gently. "So, other than the fact you've taken to stalking her, is everything good between you two?"
At that Jo looked up and gave Natalie one of her rare, but radiant, smiles.
"Great, actually. Really great. I sometimes have to pinch myself. I didn't tell you, Nat. We are looking at buying a brownstone."
"You're kidding!" Natalie exclaimed.
"No. It's a fixer-upper on the West Side near the Park. It needs a lot of work but it's beautiful. You should see the molding. A good deal, according to Blair's dad. Three stories. There's a garden in the back with a place to store my bike and room for a guest apartment upstairs where you and Tootie could live out your declining years."
"Blair is willing to leave Park Avenue? Hard to believe."
"I know," Jo agreed. "I guess I do have some influence. But it would be a real house we could fix up together."
"Is there room for a nursery?" Natalie asked slyly.
Jo actually blushed. "We've talked about it," she admitted. "But I want to wait a year or two until I make Lieutenant."
"Why? You and Warner can't swing it on your detective's salary and her $89 million?"
"It's not that, smartass. A promotion means that I would be directing investigations. Not so much on the front lines, if you know what I mean. Less chance that something could happen."
"Jo, that's so morbid." Natalie shuddered.
"Hey. If we're gonna do this, we're gonna to do it right. Two parents in the same house raising the kid together. That's what neither of us had and that's what both of us want," Jo declared firmly.
"You girls." Natalie chortled. "Did I tell you lately how adorable you are?"
"Yeah, yeah. Lemme have a bite of the piccata." Jo poked her fork at Natalie's plate.
"Hey!" Natalie swatted Jo away playfully as she refilled their wine glasses.
This isn't as much fun as it used to be, Blair mused. Peter and Roger were debating investment strategies in Eastern Europe and Nancy was sipping her tea.
Still, it was nice having Peter pull out the chair so elegantly, without the fear of a paint pan on the seat, Blair conceded. And the other diners were shooting them a lot of admiring glances. Peter's accent is charming....
I hope Jo isn't getting pizza on the new couch. Blair suddenly thought with a jolt. There's that Barbara Stanwyck movie on Channel 13. I just see her scarfing pepperoni and beer in front of the TV and dripping all over. Maybe I should call. I can ask her to tape the movie. I wouldn't mind watching it some night this week. What do we have going on this week? Dinner? We can have Chinese tomorrow night. But we should drive to Connecticut early to check out that landscape architect. A fountain in the garden would be fabulous. Maybe with big goldfish. Could they live through the winter? We'll have to ask. Jo can fix the boiler but can I trust her with heating a fountain? A trellis would be nice. She could probably build a trellis. Making out by a trellis could be fun, as long as the neighbors couldn't see. It would be quite a show, particularly if Jo pulled the move she did last night. Where did she learn that, I wonder? Blair shifted a little in her chair.
"Does that sound like a good plan, Blair?"
Blair started from her reverie. "Oh I beg your pardon, Peter, what did you say?"
"Roger was telling me about this club, Doubles, is it? He thought you might be give be able to give us an entree."
"I think I'm still a member. I haven't been in a while."
"Perhaps an after- dinner drink?" Peter inquired in a hopeful tone.
"Come on Blair." Roger nudged her. "The night's young. We don't get to do the Big Apple with Princess Warner as a guide very often."
"Nancy, what would you like to do?" asked Blair. "You look a little tired."
"She's fine," said Roger.
Nancy adjusted the Hermes scarf around her neck. "I'll do whatever the group wants. Let me just go to the powder room."
Blair started to rise from her chair. "Do you want me to come with you?"
"No, you stay and entertain the men. I'll be right back."
"So Nat, what happened to that hunk of a cameraman you were seeing? James, was it?" Jo asked.
"His wife in Ireland, whom he forgot to mention, happened." Natalie said dryly.
"I'm sorry," said Jo.
"Don't be. I'm dating his brother-in-law Sean, the guy who spilled the beans."
"Wow. No flies on you."
"I hope not." Natalie laughed. She suddenly froze. "Jo, incoming, incoming, dormmate at eleven o-clock!"
Jo's eyes widened as she quickly opened the wine list to an inch of her face. "Is it Blair?" she whispered.
"No, you dolt, dormmate, not roommate. There is a difference."
Nancy walked by their booth and looked briefly at Natalie who sat stock still, holding a fork suspended in air halfway to her mouth. Nancy kept going.
"Phew," sighed Natalie in relief. "I don't think she recognized me." She frowned. "Wait a minute, she didn't recognize me? Who does she think she is, Princess Di?"
"Easy there, Nat." Jo said.
Nancy came back to the table with a quizzical look on her face. "You know, Blair, I think I just saw Natalie Greene."
Blair looked up quickly. "Really, where?"
"Up by the bar. I didn't stop, it took me a moment to place her. But I am pretty sure," Nancy replied.
"Who is Natalie Green?" Peter asked politely.
"A schoolmate of ours from Eastland." Nancy said.
"The fat one right?" Roger queried.
"Roger, please." Nancy sighed.
Blair felt the blood rushing to her face. She turned to Roger. "Excuse me?"
"Come on, Blair, she was a real porker."
"I will have you know, Roger, that Natalie is one of the most intelligent, charming, funny, loyal, attractive..."
Nancy cut in. "And she was with Jo."
"What?!?" blurted Blair.
"Yes, there was another woman in the booth. I think it was Jo, Jo P...
"Jo Pole-no-fuck," Roger chimed in with a laugh.
The blood that had rushed to Blair's face turned to ice. "What did you say?" she managed.
"Jo Pole-no-fuck, her nickname at Bates," Roger said. Catching Blair's death glare, he added, "Hey, no offense, it was just a joke."
Charming. "You know," Blair gritted out. "It is getting late, and I have a lot to do tomorrow. Perhaps we should call it a night."
"That is a shame," said Peter. "I so enjoyed meeting you, Blair."
"Thank you Peter. Likewise. I'm sorry to cut the evening short."
"Oh be a sport, Blair. I've ordered a stretch limo. Come look at it. Maybe you will change your mind when you see the back seat," Roger said, waggling his eyebrows and signaling for the bill.
"It is highly unlikely," Blair replied icily.
"I'll retrieve the coats and meet you outside," offered Peter who rose and left the table.
After Roger paid the check, over Blair's objection, Nancy, Roger and Blair walked to the front of the restaurant. Nancy stopped. "I was right, there they are!" she cried.
Jo and Natalie looked up at the threesome who appeared by their booth and simultaneously gulped.
"Natalie, it's me, Nancy Olson, from Eastland. How are you? I can't believe it! And Jo, isn't it? Jo...?
"Polniaczek," Natalie interjected helpfully.
"Of course," said Nancy. "How are you both?"
"Fine," they replied flatly and in unison.
"You remember my husband, Roger. And here is Blair Warner, of all people. What a coincidence. Your fellow dishwasher, right? I just remembered that you were all part of Mrs. Garrett's kitchen staff."
"Is she kidding with this?" Natalie muttered under her breath.
Blair said nothing, but the corner of her mouth twitched slightly.
"Nice to see the three of you again," Jo deadpanned, glancing briefly at her girlfriend. I guess you haven't given them the news flash, have you honey, she thought.
Peeved, Jo turned and asked, "And how are you, Roger? It's been a while. Last time I saw you was behind Mr. Knighton's science lab, with your buddies, Mason and Stewart. Do you remember?"
Roger's face flushed deep red and he cleared his throat. "I'm afraid I have no idea what you are talking about. It's Jo, right?
"Right. Too bad. A good time was had by all. You look well though."
"Thanks. Well, we really should be going. Our limo is waiting. Come on Nancy," he said, grabbing her by the wrist and pulling her away.
"Oh. All right. Lovely to see you both. Are you coming Blair?" Nancy asked as she trotted to keep up with her husband.
Blair stood still. "I'll be right there," she called out. She glared at her friends and ordered in a sotto voice. "You two will not move on pain of death, I'll be back shortly."
As Blair strode off, Natalie piped up. "That went well, I think."
Jo slouched. "Yeah, sure."
"Can you believe that Nancy described us as what...'fellow dishwashers, Mrs. Garrett's kitchen staff'? Reducing our years of friendship to such mundane terms. It's insulting," Natalie complained. "Accurate, but insulting."
Blair and Nancy stood outside the door of the stretch limo as the men had brandy and cigars inside the car.
"Blair, I had a brilliant day. It was just fabulous to see you. You and Peter....."
"Nancy, he's very nice but I can't pursue it. The chemistry... you know."
"I'm sorry if Roger..."
"Are you sure that you don't want us to drive you home?" Nancy asked.
"No, it is just a couple blocks away. I can walk," Blair replied.
"Well, we are heading back to London tomorrow."
"You must be looking forward to seeing your children."
"I am," Nancy said. "They are my refuge. They keep me sane. I mean...." She petered off.
"Everything is all right with you, isn't it Nance?" Blair asked with concern.
"Yes. Don't worry."
"And don't worry about me either," Blair said. "I'm very happy."
"Yes." Blair swallowed. "Nancy, there is something I need to tell you."
Unexpectedly, Nancy teared up. "Blair, you don't have to. In fact, I'd rather you wouldn't."
"Why not? It's nothing bad. It's wonderful, in fact."
"Because I still want to believe I can fix you up with a respectable man and that we can go to each others' dinner parties and charitable events. That we can summer together in Italy and winter in Switzerland and that our children can attend boarding school together. Give me that, won't you?" Nancy breathed, choking back a sob.
"Oh Nancy." Blair pulled her into a hug.
Nancy whispered into Blair's ear. "She has such beautiful eyes and she seems kind. Don't listen to me. I am glad for you, really."
Blair drew back with a gasp. "You knew?"
"I figured it out tonight." Nancy replied. "The way you reacted to running into her. The way she looked at you. The connection was fairly electric."
"It always has been," Blair said with a smile.
They hugged again. "Have a safe trip." Blair said. "Write me."
"You too," Nancy replied.
As she was leaving, Blair turned around and said, "Tell Roger or don't, it's your choice."
Nancy nodded and then opened the door of the limo.
Blair returned to the restaurant and walked up to her friends who, avoiding her gaze, were assiduously focused on sharing a tiramisu.
Blair rolled her eyes. "Move over, Polniaczek," she growled, bumping Jo's hip as she slid into the booth beside her.
"Oh hi. Don't tell me. It'll come. Gimme a minute. It's Blair, Blair Warner right?" Jo asked innocently.
"So, Blair," Natalie intoned in a sing song voice. "How was your date? Are you going to see him again? Did you let him kiss you good night? Do you think he will ask you to the Harvest Dance?"
"Again, Ha Ha." Blair muttered.
Feeling much cheerier, Jo threw her arm around Blair's shoulders and squeezed affectionately. "No really, how was the evening?"
Blair shook her head. "You know, I was going to give you both heck..."
"Heck ?" Natalie interrupted. "Who are you, Gomer Pyle?"
"As I was saying, I was going give you a piece of my mind for spying on me but the truth is, I am glad to see you." It was more than that, Blair admitted to herself wryly. The stab of pure joy she had felt at the unexpected sight of her lover was a little disconcerting. I have it bad, she thought.
"In fact," Blair announced, "I will agree to forget the whole thing if you get me a spoon so I can have a bite of this tiramisu."
"Here," said Jo, holding a forkful of the dessert to Blair's mouth.
"Mmm." Blair hummed as she took the bite, closing her eyes and running her tongue over her lips.
Watching her, Jo blinked and swallowed hard.
"I felt too guilty to order a sweet while Nancy was subsisting on tea and salad," Blair said.
"Sure," said Jo, shaking her head to clear the haze. "How is the royal couple?"
She would tell Jo about Nancy's insight later, Blair decided. "Nancy was fine. She seemed a little subdued. And Roger, well, Roger is a pig."
"Blair!" objected Natalie. "He took you to see Baryshnikov!"
"I couldn't agree with you more, babe." Jo said quietly.
"By the way, Jo, what was that remark about the science lab?" Natalie asked. "Roger looked like he was going to have a stroke."
Not much gets by you, does it Nat, Jo thought. You really are a hell of a reporter.
"It was nothing."
Blair looked up. Something in Jo's tone bothered her. "What is it, Jo?"
Jo stared at her hands for a second. What the hell. Get it out. It couldn't matter less, now.
"It was near the end of my first term at Eastland. I was taking a science class at Bates. One day I was heading back after a late afternoon lab and I ran into Roger and two of his buddies in the hall." Jo kept looking at her hands. Blair and Natalie fell silent.
"They grabbed me and pushed me out the fire exit. I tried to yell and run but there were three of them and they were pretty strong."
"Oh, god," Blair murmured, closing her eyes.
"They dragged me behind the dumpster and...conducted their little experiment," Jo said with a thin smile.
Natalie coughed. "What experiment?" she asked unsteadily.
"What they said was ...they wanted to see if I was really a girl."
"Jo, did they... were you...?" asked Blair softly.
"Nah, they didn't have the cojones. They basically felt me up and pulled off my skirt to check out the equipment. Then they heard Knighton coming and took off."
"What did you do?" asked Natalie.
"I gathered my uniform together and tried to tell Mr. Knighton what happened. The bastard took me into his office and told me that it would be better if I kept quiet about the whole thing. He said that Bates Academy would deal with it as Bates Academy saw fit. Boys will be boys and all."
Blair grabbed Jo's arm. She had tears in her eyes. "Why didn't you tell us? Or if not us, why didn't you go to Mrs. Garrett? She never would have let them get away with it."
"Oh, Blair. I was finally starting to settle in. Things were beginning to work out with the four of us. And what with the van and the shoplifting and Eddie and everything, I had already given Mrs. G. more than enough drama for one semester. So I decided to let it go. It wasn't that big a deal. A lot worse happened in my old neighborhood all the time."
Looking at Blair and Natalie's stricken faces, Jo chuckled. "Lighten up, you guys. It was a long time ago. I survived. But seeing that jerk tonight, I just thought I should remind him of his youthful indiscretions."
"Was what happened with Roger the reason you decided to spy on me tonight?" Blair asked, wiping her eyes.
Jo shrugged. "Maybe a little bit. I don't know. I'm sorry, Blair, I really did want you to have a good time."
"That's OK. Hey, wait a minute!" Blair snapped. "After what he did, I can't believe you let me date Roger back in school."
"Are you delusional?" Jo retorted. "How was I supposed to know you were planning on sneaking around behind Nancy's back with her boyfriend. 'Let' you date him, Jeez."
"Well, you could have at least warned me," Blair complained.
"Yeah, like you were really in the habit of taking dating advice from me. Anyway, he wouldn't have dared sully the sacred Harvest Queen," Jo said sarcastically.
"Ladies, ladies," Natalie interrupted. "That toad isn't worth arguing over. Eew, I can't believe I used to have a crush on him. Fortunately he's heading across the pond and out of our lives."
"I'll drink to that," said Blair. Calling their waiter over, she declared, "A bottle of chilled Veuve Cliquot Reserve, and three glasses please."
"Right away," the server replied.
"He's not out of Nancy's life," Jo stated matter of factly. "Blair, try and keep in touch with her."
"Why?" Blair asked. "I didn't think you liked her."
Jo sighed. "I just got the sense that maybe Roger hasn't changed so much from that boy behind the science lab. I also wonder what that scarf around Nancy's neck is hiding. Just let her know that she has someone she can talk to. Someone who has connections in law enforcement, even in England."
Blair lifted her hand to softly stroke Jo's cheek. "She was right, you are kind."
Jo gave her a puzzled look.
As the waiter poured the champagne, Natalie proposed, "Hey guys, do you want to get the house seats for next Sunday's Les Miz matinee and see if we can get Tootie to crack up?"
"It hasn't worked the four times we've tried before." Blair pointed out.
"Fifth time's a charm," Natalie declared, as she lifted her drink in a toast.
"Sounds like a plan," Jo said, clinking her glass with the others.
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