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A Day in the Life
Blair Warner liked to sleep late. It was one of the frustrations of her life that she rarely got to. The breakfast shift at Eastland; early morning law school classes; six a.m conference calls with Asia; from the time she was a girl, the world had conspired to deprive her of one of her greatest joys. Now on a weekend; finally home from a business trip to London; a day free from obligation; was it too much to ask? Apparently so.
"C'mon, come with me and Bella to the park. It's a beautiful day."
Blair opened one eyelid to her spouse. "You must be out of your mind."
Jo perched on the edge of the bed. "It'll be fun. You should see Bella at the dog run; this pit bull tried to dis her last week. One growl and he fled like a wimp."
"Terrifying growls, huh? Well, she learned from the best," Blair murmured. "You two alpha females go on without me."
"Are you sure?" Jo implored.
Blair opened the other eye. "All last week, through the dreary meetings, the endless teleconferences; the dreadful dinners, all I could think was, once this is over, I can go home and spend the day in bed. I was kind of hoping that you'd join me."
Jo gave her a look of sincere regret. "I'm sorry; I didn't expect you back until tomorrow. It's just that I have to coach Frank's soccer match at eleven. We have a little team picnic afterwards. And then I have the Department softball game at four. We're playing the Sanitation guys. I suppose I could cancel, but it's a grudge match and "
Blair sleepily lifted her hand and patted Jo's arm. "It's all right. I'm glad you have plans. I don't expect you to just sit around and pine away for me when I'm gone. You have a life; I know that."
"OK," Jo replied. "I'll see you later then." She went to the bedroom door. She paused, turned around and jumped onto the bed, pinning Blair to the mattress. She pressed her lips to the blonde's in a breath-robbing kiss. Finally pulling away, Jo whispered, "I pine; don't ever doubt that I pine. Sleep well, gorgeous," she instructed, as she arose and left the room, followed by the dog.
Tingling, Blair turned over, hugged the pillow, and tried to get comfortable for another doze. After about five seconds, she cursed, "Goddamn her." She sat up and called out down the stairs. "Hold on, I'm coming."
Jo, in the foyer, smiled as she attached Bella's leash. "See girl, it works every time."
"Is it safe? She looks like a cough drop next to that thing."
"Cody's a sweetheart," Jo assured her partner. "He adores Bella; don't you boy?" she offered, as the Great Dane bounded up to her in greeting.
"Then I'm glad we got her spayed," Blair declared.
"They do make an odd couple, but it works somehow," an attractive red-headed woman interjected as she approached the duo. "Good morning, Jo. How are you, this beautiful day?"
"Just great, Annie, just great."
"Oh sorry, this is .um Blair."
"Blair! Really! It's nice to meet you finally. I've heard so much about you."
Blair's eyebrows rose. "Have you indeed? I wish I could say the same," she stated, giving Jo a look.
"Hello Bella, Bella, Bella. There's my girl," Annie cooed, bending down to the tiny canine.
Bella gave a few excited vertical leaps to lick Annie's face and then tore off with Cody to join the rest of their dog run pack.
"Bella seems to like you," Blair commented. "She's usually not that friendly to strangers."
"Annie's no stranger. She's Cody's mom," Jo declared.
"It's my sparking personality," Annie laughed. "And the home-made dog treats."
"They are a draw," Jo agreed. "Do you have a new batch?"
"Of course, here you go," the woman replied, handing Jo a bag.
"Thanks a lot hey! Stop it you two!" Jo jumped up and ran over to break up a little tiff between a poodle and a yorkie. Blair and Annie watched as Jo separated the dogs and handed them over to their agitated owners, a rotund middle aged woman in shapeless house dress and a slim earringed young man in bike shorts and a tank top. As Jo appeared to lecture them, they fell silent and then grudgingly shook hands.
"Jo's so great," Annie declared admiringly. "We call her the Enforcer. Everyone loves to bring their dogs here. They know Jo will keep the peace among the pets and the owners," she added, with a chuckle. "She sure is something. This amazing police hero, but still so down to earth. She must be really fun to live with."
"A laugh a minute," Blair uttered dryly.
The brunette returned, shaking her head. "I told Mrs. Berkowitz and Jeffrey that if Rusty and Cosette can't get along, I'm putting them on probation."
"Probation?" Blair inquired.
"One more fight and they lose dog run privileges for a week," Annie supplied. "Its very fair; but then the Enforcer always is," she gushed. "Well, unfortunately Cody and I can't stay. The in-laws await. See you Monday, Jo. Good luck with the soccer game. Nice to meet you, Blair."
Jo waved goodbye and then turned to her partner who gave a patented sigh.
"So, who is that?"
"Annie. Cody's owner. Didn't I just tell you that? Are you going senile?"
"It's just that you've never mentioned her before. She seems quite taken with you."
"She's straight and married, Blair."
"For now," Blair declaimed. "I had no idea that your morning walks with Bella were quite such social occasions."
"Geez. Well, in the three hours it takes you to put on your face in the morning, I do have time to go out and meet people. Hell, I have time to build the pyramids."
"Hmph. Well it doesn't surprise me; after all, she is a redhead."
"What is that supposed to mean?"
"You've always had a thing for redheads. That bartender in Tarrytown, Dr. Rachel Levine, Chuck, your ballroom dance partner. It's a pattern. Maybe it's a weird Oedipal thing with Mrs. Garrett."
Jo stared at her in horror. "That is the just about the sickest thing I've ever heard! What is wrong with you? Yuck! Anyway, I don't like redheads."
"No. Bleach bottle blondes are what do it for me."
"Really," Blair smiled, bumping her shoulder against Jo's.
"Yup. OK, Bella." Jo offered one of Annie's treat to their pet who had approached the bench. "Sit."
Bella lifted a corner of a lip in a snarl.
"Lose the 'tude. Sit."
Bella reluctantly obeyed.
Jo tossed the dog the treat. "See, they're pretty powerful." She popped one into her own mouth.
Blair gasped. "You're eating dog food now?"
"Hey, they aren't bad. A lot moister than Mrs. G's fruitcake."
"Warnsie! What a surprise. I never took you for a youth soccer fan."
"Hello, Boots. Well I realized I had never seen one of Frank's games, so I thought I should rectify the situation."
"Tres sweet of you," Boots opined. "All right, Marta, you can set the camera up over there. The light should be excellent, don't you think?"
"Wery gut, Madame Boots," Marta replied, moving away to arrange the equipment.
Blair laughed. "Madame Boots?"
Boots sighed. "I know. It makes me sound like a dominatrix, which isn't necessarily bad, but still. Although Marta's English is improving, 'Mrs. St Clair-Perlmutter' is a stretch. Ah well, she's a treasure. By far the best au pair we've had. Did you know that she used to be a documentary film maker?"
"No I didn't. Where's she from again?"
"One of the Stans, I forget which. Anyway, her skills will be very useful for Frank's video profile."
"Frank has a video profile?"
"Nursery school applications, Warnsie," Boots explained. "The multimedia edge. It's a critical time. Even the St Clair connections are no guarantee these days. This is why Frank's affiliation with Coach P is so important."
"Jo Polniaczek, your purported spouse. Surely you know about Coach P?"
"Not really, no," Blair admitted.
"By far the most sought after coach in the league. The boys love her. And her somewhat disreputable past gives them enormous street cred."
"Street cred, Boots? When did you start referring to street cred?"
"I adjust to the times," Boots sniffed. "Foul! Red Card! Red Card!" she suddenly shrieked, causing Blair to flinch and her ears to ring. "That Brodsky spawn clearly tripped Frank! Coach P! Coach P!"
Jo made a calming gesture and then helped Frank up, dusted him off, and sent him back into the fray.
Blair watched as Jo cajoled, encouraged and rallied her troops to a two goal victory. The whistle blew and the boys cheered, shook hands with their opponents, and then gathered around as Jo handed out the juice boxes.
"OK team," she announced. "I have a little treat for our picnic. Delivery from McDonald's." She pointed to the white capped teen standing with a large carton of food near by. The boys cheered some more. "And get this," Jo added, "Pokémon cards in the Happy Meals this week!"
A collective gasp of ecstasy and the team descended on the unfortunate delivery boy like a band of furies.
Jo walked over to Blair and Boots, toting bags embossed with the familiar arches. "Some Chicken McNuggets, ladies? They come with fries."
"Excellent match, Coach P," Boots purred. "Would you like to say a few words for the camera?" she suggested, pointing to Marta filming behind the tripod. "Perhaps a discussion of Frank's leadership skills?"
Jo stared blankly at the whirring machine. "Oh, hi Marta. Um, Frank uh, played great. Uh, really great. OK Boots?"
"That will suffice for now," Boots declaimed. "We can do some cross cutting. Some background music. 'Eye of the Tiger' comes to mind. Come Marta; let's get some shots of the boys and their Pokémon cards. Frank's trading acumen is on full display."
Blair watched in amazement as the two walked away. "What was that?"
"Manhattan Motherhood in full force," Jo laughed. "Give Boots props. She's an involved parent."
"I don't know, Coach P. Should that be me?"
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, I took this position with the company, but with the travel and the hours, we haven't talked about a baby for a while. Watching you today, you're so great with children. You should have your own. Maybe we should rethink things. Maybe this job was a mistake."
"Blair," Jo interrupted, "you like being head of the International Division, right?"
"In fact, I do."
"And you're good at it?"
"I think so. I will be."
"Ok then, so go for it. I know your secret."
"That you pretend to be a spoiled ditz-- well, you are a spoiled ditz-- but you're also really smart and really ambitious and you want to run Warner Industries, if not the world, someday. So, as I say, go for it. Don't worry; the kid thing will work itself out."
"You think so?"
"I know so. Now have a McNugget. It cures all ills."
"Processed poultry by-products coated with trans fat. Do you plan to give our offspring these monstrosities?"
"Naturally. It's an American birthright."
Yet another park bench, Blair thought ruefully, looking out over the softball field. Hardly my most flattering milieu.
"Hello Blair," a stocky African American man in an NYPD tee said, plopping down beside her.
"Benny!" Blair replied with pleasure, greeting Jo's former partner from her detective days. "How nice to see you. It's been ages."
"True, ever since Jo moved up in the world, you aren't around the precinct much. It's too bad. You sure improved the scenery."
"Why, thank you. What have you been up to?" Blair was very fond of Benny, ever since he confided to her that his main goal at work was to keep Jo out of trouble.
"Same old, same old. Well, actually that's not true. I'm taking the Sergeant's exam. Jo convinced me to try it."
"That's great," Blair replied.
"Yeah. I freeze up at tests, but Jo's been sorta tutoring me. I really think I have a shot."
"Of course you do."
"Y'know, you gotta hand it to her," Benny declared. "Fancy job as department liaison to the FBI, Mayor's Medal winner, Jo doesn't forget her old buddies. And even with her bum leg, she's playing some pretty good ball," he added, watching as the brunette approached the batters box.
"Pig--eon, pig--eon, pig-eon." The chants started from the Sanitation Department bench.
"Pigeon? What on earth does that mean?" Blair asked. "Honestly, I'm finding out today that Jo has more aliases than a bank robber. Comparing her to an unsanitary urban pest-- well, I see the connection--but a bird insult is sort of odd, don't you think?"
Benny stumbled. "Um, you know, well, um..."
"Uh, Blair, at the trial a few months ago, the tapes that Jo got of those guys that threw her off the roof, did you hear them?"
Blair paled. "I didn't listen to them. I...couldn't."
"I understand. Well, they called her a stool pigeon and told her to fly right before, um, you know."
"And they're joking about that!?" Blair choked out, standing up to confront the taunters. There was a sudden crack of a bat and cheers erupted as Jo jogged around the bases with a grin on her face.
"Take that, trash boys!" Benny yelled. "Walk off homer! Way to go, Jo."
After high fiving her teammates and making a rude gesture at her opponents, Jo came up to Benny and Blair. "Hah! Showed them, didn't we, Benny. Don't thank me; just buy me a beer. Hey, what's wrong," she asked, noticing Blair's stormy expression.
"Those... those... barbarians," Blair huffed. "I'm going over there and give them piece of my mind."
"What about?" Jo inquired.
"I told her what pigeon meant," Benny admitted.
"Oh. Hold on Blair." Jo restrained the blonde. "You can't go over to some three hundred and fifty pound sanitation guy and tell him to turn blue. Anyway it was meant in fun."
"Fun? You think it's fun?"
"You know, dark humor. It relieves the tension. We all do it. And those guys aren't so bad. They came to the hospital. Sent me cards. They're OK."
"I still think it's sick, Jo," Blair declared bitterly.
"Maybe, but if you don't want to see every trash bag in the city in front of our stoop one steamy day in August, you'll let it go. Now let's go celebrate. Cannon's is having two for ones on Budweisers and fried mozzarella sticks. And they're showing the Yankee game on the big screen. Life is good; isn't it Benny boy?"
Lord, Blair thought, take me now.
"Whew, I'm beat." Jo was lying in bed regarding Blair at the vanity table engaged in her nightly ritual of eye cream, moisturizer and a hundred brush strokes through her golden locks. Bella was deep asleep on the dog mattress.
"Yes, being an object of worship all day must be so exhausting," Blair offered. "Annie, Boots, Benny, you have them all snowed."
Jo snorted. "So now you know what I feel like, trailing behind you most of the time. I barely get noticed when the Sun Queen is around."
"And that's just how it should be," Blair averred. In response Jo emitted a loud belch.
"Sorry. I'm a little stuffed."
"Quelle surprise. Let's just review the bidding, shall we? Canine treats in the morning, Chicken McNuggets and fries for lunch, hot dogs and potato chips at the softball game, and for dinner, beer, pizza, fried mozzarella sticks and-- what was that horror? Oh yes, the blooming onion loaf. Thank goodness, I don't have any trips scheduled for at least a month. We're getting you back on some semblance of a normal diet. An occasional vegetable. A hint of fruit. And, you better warn your fans that I plan on dropping in on your morning flirt fests at the dog run. The Enforcer, indeed. What?" Blair stopped, catching Jo's reflection smiling at her in the mirror. "Are you laughing at me?"
Jo shook her head.
"It's just that you're very beautiful and I love you very much. Thanks for spending the day with me."
Blair blinked rapidly. "Well, you're welcome," she got out, as she arose from the vanity, walked over to the bed, lifted the covers, and pressed herself against the brunette with a sigh. "But flattery and the fact that I love you too won't get you out of payback. Turnabout is fair play. Tomorrow we spend the day the way I want."
Jo groaned. "What? I have to sit around Antoines, watching you getting highlights, a facial and a leg wax?"
"I though you enjoyed the leg wax." Jo swallowed guiltily. She kinda did.
"No, what I meant was," Blair continued, "is that we're going to sleep really late, then you're bringing me breakfast in bed, and then we're going to have sex. I want to check out this 'Enforcer' thing. And then we're going to read the paper, sleep some more and have some more sex. Got it?"
"Got it," Jo agreed, giving her a kiss and switching off the light. After a moment, she added, "The Enforcer, Blair, really?"
"Woof," Blair replied, as she turned over and prepared to let slumber carry her away.
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