DISCLAIMER: Yes, I'm borrowing characters from the old TV show, "The Facts of Life". In my version, Blair marries an old family friend, Scott McNair, prompting her to keep her maiden name or be evermore known as Blair McNair. Jo still majors in business, but marries and later divorces John Eagle, a fellow accountant. Dorothy (Tootie) marries fellow actor Thornton Stiles while Natalie Green has followed her journalistic dream while living with a series of boyfriends.
Copyright © 2004-2005 by JS Stephens. All Rights Reserved, blah, blah.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
The Impossible Dream
By JS Stephens
Blair dropped her bombshell about selling the house and moving to her best friends; Natalie, Dorothy, and Jo, over the next few days between long meetings at work. She was trying to decide what to do about the business part of her life, whether to stay on as an active partner, or to find someone to promote up to her level. Natalie and Dorothy were both very surprised by both the decision to sell and to move, and Jo just seemed relieved and anxious all at the same time. Then Blair came up with one of her "brilliant ideas", a last slumber party before the house was officially on the market. She quietly organized everything, including Jo's plane tickets, then asked Natalie to pick Jo up from the airport.
Natalie waited by the baggage claim area, looking for Jo's familiar figure to appear through the security gates, wondering what Jo knew about Blair's plans. All Blair had said to her or to Dorothy was that she was selling and moving, but not mentioning where she was moving. After what seemed like an eternity, she saw Jo heading in her direction. "Jo! Over here!" she called, waving her arms. Jo smiled and changed direction, pulling Natalie into a brief hug when she drew close. "How was your flight?" Natalie asked.
"Uneventful, the best kind," Jo answered, "how's the newspaper business, Nat?"
"Fine, fine, Jo. You could have knocked me over with a feather when Blair announced that she was pulling up stakes and moving, but she still hasn't said where. Do you know?"
Jo suddenly busied herself with looking for her luggage as bags started lumbering down the conveyor belt. "Um, nothing concrete, but I think she's thinking of Texas, closer to Scott Jr. Don't say you heard from me, you know how she is, likes her little surprises and such. How's Greg doing? Y'all still together?"
Natalie stared at her friend in amazement. "'Y'all'? My God, living in Texas has finally rubbed off on you, girlfriend! Next thing we know, you'll have a big poufy hairdo!"
Jo relaxed and grinned as she snagged her luggage. "No chance of big hair, Natalie, besides, that's more Dallas than Ft. Worth. If I started saying 'faction' to', then I'd really be going native. But I refuse to say it, so I'm still the girl from the Bronx." She slung the strap over her shoulder. "Lead on, Green."
"Okay." Natalie led Jo to the car, asking lots of questions about the custom motorcycle business, then answering questions about her own life. No, she and Greg were not married and didn't have any plans immediately, yes, Dorothy and Thornton were making a success of their theatre, and yes, Dorothy still ragged her about marrying Greg. She ate with Blair about once a month to six weeks and had noticed lately that Blair was calmer, but didn't expect the decision to move. "She said that Scott Sr. was pretty upset about her selling the house, but he really didn't have a say in it since it's been a Warner property for generations. Blair's parents didn't want it, and Scott Jr. is years away from making a decision about where to live. The divorce becomes final next week, which is amazingly fast, considering how long they dragged out negotiations, mostly from Scott's side. He hasn't set the date yet to marry his girlfriend, but Blair has the feeling that Phoebe wants a wedding quickly and is hoping that Scott didn't get her pregnant."
"Huh," was Jo's sole comment during the ride as she listened to Natalie's monologue. As they approached the grounds, Jo looked around and asked quietly, "Remember the first time the four of us came here? Christmas during Blair's and my senior year, my parents were working, and Blair invited me home for the holidays. We all had that slumber party between Christmas and New Year's and didn't sleep at all until seven the next morning."
"Yeah, I remember it," Natalie responded as she stopped the car. "Need help?"
"Naw, I got it, just pop the trunk for me," Jo answered. Natalie watched as Jo deftly lifted out the bags, thinking about the party so many years ago. It had been a wild party, or so they thought at the time, with a bottle of champagne, multiple videos, many sugary snacks, and card games. She guessed the wild part was the alcohol, but she didn't recall any of them getting really drunk, just buzzed. "You think Blair will have something better than sleeping bags for us this time?" Jo asked as Natalie rang the doorbell.
"I sure hope so, I'm too old to sleep on the floor," Natalie laughed as the door opened. "Hey, Blair, you're answering the door yourself!"
"I gave the staff the night off, Natalie. Come on in, ladies," Blair said with a gracious smile. "Follow me, I have guest rooms all ready." Jo and Natalie picked up their bags and followed Blair into the house, stopping briefly to drop their bags in the guest rooms. A short time later, the four friends were gathered in the den, laughing, talking, and fixing plates of food. Natalie found herself watching Jo and Blair surreptitiously, noticing Blair's relaxed warmth toward Jo and Jo's unexpected gentleness toward Blair. Sure, they still needled and jabbed as always, but there was something else, some sort of expectancy. She turned it over in her head, wishing she could get Dorothy away for a few minutes to discuss it, to see if she was right or not. Come to think of it, Dorothy was different tonight as well, not touching the wine, yet glowing. Could it be, after all these years of trying?
Natalie got her chance while the four women were taking supper dishes and food back into the kitchen. She pulled Dorothy into the pantry as Blair and Jo left for another load, asking, "What's up? No wine, you are positively glowing, more beautiful than ever."
Dorothy's face split into a wide smile as she took her friend's hands in hers, whispering, "I'm finally pregnant, Natalie, I was planning to announce it tonight. I'm nearly two months along, and before you chastise me, Thornton and I wanted to make sure this time before we told anyone."
"Oh, Tootie," Natalie gushed, "that's wonderful! But you didn't even tell me?"
"Like I said, we wanted to make sure. I was just about to burst to tell you, though, until the doctor said things looked good, and that was just this morning. Hey, you haven't called me Tootie in years."
"Sorry, Dorothy, it's being with everyone, having a slumber party, it takes me back to our school days." She grinned, squeezing Dorothy's hands. "I'm so happy for you and Thornton, just think, I'll be an aunt!" She leaned over, pecking her friend on the cheek, then took her in her arms, hugging her carefully.
"I'm not going to break," Dorothy laughed, squeezing Natalie, "but we should probably rejoin the others before they start wondering about us. Hey, did you bring any movies?"
"Sure," she said as they walked back into the kitchen, "despite your crown as the theatre queen, I'm still the movie queen, Greg and I probably have close to a thousand DVD's and videos' between us." She grinned wickedly. "I thought we'd start out by harking back to our youth with 'Footloose' and go from there."
"You are so bad, girlfriend," Dorothy said, batting her on the shoulder. "Go get the movies and I'll help finish cleaning up."
"Telling secrets again?" Jo asked as she looked up from loading the dishwasher.
"Just wait, Jo, just wait until we have all the dishes loaded and the movies stacked. I have an announcement to make," Dorothy said.
"Yeah," Natalie chortled, "we're secretly lovers."
"Oh, darling, you spilled the beans!" Dorothy swept an arm across her brow dramatically, then chuckled. "Go on, Nat, get the movies." She kept smiling, but wondered why Jo looked so startled for a second before grinning and rolling her eyes, mumbling something about actors and dramatic scenes.
"What's going on?" Blair asked as Jo reentered the den a few moments later, "I heard a lot of giggling in the kitchen while I slaved away cleaning up in here. Did Natalie remember to bring the movies?"
"Yeah, she's gone to get them now. I don't know, Blair, they were in the pantry, telling some sort of secrets and Dorothy said that she had an announcement to make. Then Nat, ever the joker, claimed they were lovers. After all these years, I don't understand those two."
"Lovers? What a joker," Blair giggled, trying to imagine Natalie and Dorothy as lovers. Best friends, yes, lovers? That was ridiculous, she thought, as she touched the silver bracelet on her wrist. She surveyed the room, then asked Jo to round up the other girls.
After Natalie loaded the DVD player, she sat on the smaller sofa next to Dorothy, asking, "Is it time?" She noticed that Blair and Jo took the larger sofa, leaving a whole section between them.
Dorothy turned to her friends and said quietly, "In seven months, Thornton and I will have a child. I just told Natalie a few minutes ago, and now I'm telling you. We haven't even told our families yet, I wanted you all to be the first to know." A few seconds of silence greeted the announcement, followed by whoops of joy from Blair and a shy grin from Jo. Blair bounced off the couch, pulling Dorothy up to give her a long hug. "Congratulations," Blair murmured as she finally let go of her friend, "I'm so happy for you and Thornton."
Jo was standing silently, waiting her turn to offer congratulations, hugging Dorothy lightly after Blair released her. "Hey, that's good news, you'll have to keep us posted," she said, stepping back. "I'm happy for you."
"Thanks, guys," Dorothy gushed as they all returned to their seats, "I'll fill you in on every detail."
"That's what I was afraid of," Jo snickered.
"On that note, I should start the movie," Natalie said quickly, reaching for the remote again.
By the end of the last movie, Natalie and Dorothy were leaning against each other, fast asleep. Blair watched them, thinking how cute they looked, wondering if Jo would ever unbend enough to let her curl up by her. She turned her gaze to Jo, who had gotten up to turn off the entertainment system and was trying to gently wrestle the remote out of Natalie's hands. Jo's face was barely visible in the darkness, brows drawn together in concentration as she managed to get the remote without waking the women. She wondered if Jo knew how beautiful she was with the bare trickle of moonlight throwing her figure into a study of shadows and sharp angles, almost like a black and white photo.
Jo finished shutting everything down, then turned to find Blair watching her intently, twisting that bracelet that she'd given Blair all those years ago. She knew that she should be trying to wake the girls up long enough to get them to their rooms, but she stood, feeling caught in the intensity of Blair's gaze, wondering for the thousandth time what the other woman saw in her. She felt her heart contract painfully in her chest as Blair's face lit in a soft smile, wishing it were acceptable to simply take Blair in her arms for no other reason than to feel her warm, soft body against hers. She laid the remote down, then shoved her hands in her sweatpants pockets before going over to the couch and sitting near Blair, whispering, "Should we wake them?"
Blair leaned forward, whispering, "I guess so." She straightened up and called out, "Natalie? Dorothy? Time for bed." The younger women stirred, then sat up sleepily, yawning and stretching as the stood up. Goodnights were exchanged as all filed toward their own rooms, Blair trailing behind to make sure that everyone had what they needed for the night.
Jo shucked her sweats quickly as Blair puttered around, reluctant to go to her own empty room. Jo slid under the covers, watching Blair moving around restlessly, then finally asked, "Blair, what's bothering you?"
Blair came over to the bed, sitting on the edge, wiping a tear from her face. "I was just thinking about Madison and her friends, having slumber parties here. God, I miss my daughter so much!" She sagged, wiping another tear away. "It's so quiet here, so many ghosts, Jo." She took a deep breath, reaching for calm.
Jo watched her friend try to remain calm, but could see the raw pain on her face. Disregarding her usual reserve, she flipped the covers back, inviting Blair to lay down. Blair gave her a timid smile, then took off her robe and slid between the covers, awkwardly snuggling up to Jo. Jo pulled Blair closer, tentatively stroking her back with one hand as Blair sobbed, feeling the silky sleepshirt under her rough hand, praying she would not snag the material. She was sure that she would not fall asleep, at least not for a while.
Blair woke up reluctantly, not wanting to leave the warmth of the bed or of the body beside her. It was wonderful to lay curled up like spoons, her arm smugly around the waist, hand splayed possessively on the warm skin under the sleep shirt, soft with a hint of strong muscle underneath. If it weren't for the rather urgent call of nature, she could easily drift back to sleep. She carefully pulled away, trying not to disturb Jo. Blair froze for a moment, then remembered going around, tucking everyone in bed, Jo's silent offer. Blair decided to sort everything out in a moment, after her screaming bladder was emptied.
Jo stretched luxuriously, reveling in the feeling of the soft, warm bed. She flipped back the covers, reaching for her sweats as she made her way to the hall bathroom. Time enough for a shower after breakfast, but she needed to attend to certain things first. After flushing and washing her hands, she decided to at least brush her teeth, wondering if Blair had stayed all night or had gone back to her own bed once she calmed down. She was surprised at how quickly she had fallen asleep, considering that she rarely slept well with anyone in her bed, even John. John had a bad habit of hogging the covers, which usually wasn't a big deal in Houston, but it was the principal of the thing. She glanced at the clock, deciding that maybe she did have time for a quick shower first. She left her toiletry bag on the counter and went back to the room to grab fresh clothes.
Blair stood in front of the mirror in the master bathroom as she brushed her wet hair, wondering if anyone would mind if she simply pulled it back into a ponytail and dispensed with makeup. A small smile quirked her lips as she pondered the unthinkable idea of showing a bare face to the world, even if the world simply consisted of her friends. Her friends. Blair laid her brush down on the vanity, pondering the night before. She remembered checking on Jo, then feeling like her world was about to crash, when Jo simply invited her into the bed and held her as she sobbed with fresh grief over the loss of her child. She remembered drifting off to sleep, feeling loved and protected for the first time in ages, waking up to feel her hand on Jo's warm stomach. God, what if she had moved her hand up or down any? Despite the horror of the notion, she pondered it a moment longer. Even though Jo had always had boyfriends, there had always been rumors around Eastland that she was a dyke. Sure, she was quite the tomboy and was more outspoken than the rest of the girls, but did that make her a dyke? Before she could follow that line of thought further, she heard impatient banging at her door, with the voices of Natalie and Dorothy pleading with her to get a move on, that breakfast was ready. Blair chuckled. Some things, it seemed, never changed.
The four women sat around the kitchen table, picking at the leftovers from breakfast. Dorothy finally asked, "Blair, what's the big announcement you said you would make?"
Blair felt three pair of eyes swivel to her face, waiting expectantly. She folded her napkin and laid it on the table, smoothing it as she nervously began, "I'm selling the house and moving to Texas. I've been handing over more responsibility of the business to my current vice-president, and will either sell my interest or become a less active partner. This house holds too many memories of Maddy, and I'm tired of playing social games." She found herself focusing on Jo, drawn in by the intense blue eyes, seeing a flutter of hope in Jo's face. "I'll miss everyone here, and I promise to be back in time for the baby, but I need to break away. I need to be near my son." And Jo, a little voice piped up.
Natalie nudged Dorothy under the table, her quick glance saying, "See? Told you so." She glanced over at Jo, seeing happiness, hope, and fear mingling on Jo's face. "I'll miss our lunches, Blair," Natalie said, "but I suppose I could see about flying to Texas to visit every once in a while. Have you told Scotty yet?"
"Yes, I discussed it with him the other night, promising that I wasn't moving down to be an interfering mother," Blair said, smiling broadly now. "Jo, I'll try not to interfere with your business either," she promised, reaching over to take Jo's hand.
Jo cleared her throat, squeezing Blair's hand, then pulling away. "No problem," she mumbled, crossing her arms defensively. Blair looked hurt, but quickly stood up and started picking up plates, clearing off the table. The rest of the women followed suit, with Dorothy leading them back into the past with memories of working the kitchen at Eastfield, under the sharp eyes of Mrs. Garrett. By the end of the morning, all four were laughing and crying as they remembered their beloved house mother and friend, whose presence was sorely missed. Finally, Dorothy and Natalie said they needed to go, leaving Jo and Blair alone with each other.
Jo reacted by silently returning to her room and starting to pack, even though she was supposed to stay for another few days. Blair watched from the doorway, finally stalking over and asking, "Are you leaving me?"
"Leaving you?" Jo echoed, "Naw, just straightening up a bit, I can't stand my clothes strewn around like this."
"You could put them in the closet or the dresser," Blair offered nervously, "they'd be less wrinkled that way."
Jo stared at Blair, then started taking her clothes to the dresser, neatly stacking them in the drawers until everything was put away. "Now what?" she asked.
Blair glanced out the window, seeing the bright winter sunshine and the bare trees, wondering what the weather was like in Texas. Suddenly, she turned back to Jo, asking, "Do you want to take a walk? It's a beautiful day outside, and I rarely get a chance to take advantage of it. You used to love to walk in the woods around here, remember?"
"Yeah, I remember," Jo said reluctantly, "I guess a walk would be a good thing."
Several minutes later, the two women were out walking among the trees in the back of the house, wandering down one of the paths, kicking at leaves. Blair searched for something to say, but kept failing, wanting only to be close to Jo. Jo had been such a tremendous friend over the past year and a half, offering her quiet support after the death of Maddy, after the rapid disintegration of her marriage, helping Scott Jr. learn about business from the bottom up. She felt closer to Jo than any other friend, yet felt awkward with her, as if she couldn't figure out what to do with her hands. Blair frowned, thinking of the easy way that her mother had always hugged and kissed her friends, the way that she had always exchanged social greetings and light kisses with friends, but how it was so different even thinking about touching Jo.
"Hey, why are you frowning?" Jo asked, breaking into Blair's musings.
Blair stopped, turning to face Jo. "Do you really want to know?"
"Yeah, I asked, didn't I?" Jo answered defensively, shoving her hands in her jacket pocket.
"Why do I feel so close to you, yet so shut out? You've been my dearest friend lately, yet...never mind," Blair finished harshly, flushing as she remembered how she had been holding Jo in bed.
"Yes, we're good friends, sorry if I'm a little jumpy," Jo snarled, "but you confuse me, you always have, I feel like you've been flirting with me and I don't know how you want me to respond!" As the words left her mouth, Jo went pale, not having intended to say what had been on her mind for months.
"Flirting?" Blair started to reach out, then realized what she was doing. "Oh, God, Jo, I'm so sorry, I never intended to flirt with you. That's why you were so bothered at Billy Bob's." Blair stared at her friend, the truth starting to sink in. Hell, yes, she was flirting. So why did she have this strong urge to grab Jo and kiss her soundly? Had she ever felt that way toward anyone else? Any other woman?
"Yeah, flirting," Jo repeated, "all the times you touched me, all the times you told me you loved me, I don't know what you want. Hell, I don't even know what I want!" she exploded.
"I've been fascinated by you for years," Blair said, her voice turning softer, dreamier. "You're not like any other woman I've ever known. You blow past all the carefully constructed barriers, you say and do what you damn well please, and you're as sexy as hell. My God, Jo, you bring out the real me, you've always pierced my soul with your unwavering stare, made me reevaluate everything. I found myself snuggled up to you this morning, wishing I could just stay there. No man ever made me feel safe, not like you do, never made me feel like he was really listening like you do. I had my hand on your bare skin, and I'm amazed to find that I liked it, that I really wanted more. I've always loved you, Jo, but the real question is, how do I love you?"
Jo felt like she was reeling from the blast of emotion, like she was slipping on what was supposed to be a firm path. All those times that she had put physical distance between them, yet allowed Blair close emotionally, all the times that other women had flirted and made passes, she had turned them down indignantly, yet melted when Blair hugged her. "Do you feel it, Blair?" she asked quietly, "do you feel electricity when our hands meet? Do you get a jolt in your belly when you think about me?"
"Yes," Blair whispered, stepping closer, "I confess that I do. God, is this really happening?"
"Why are you moving to Texas?"
"To be near you. I can't bear to lose you again," Blair answered simply, all pretense stripped away. "I want you." She stepped closer yet, close enough for Jo to see how dilated her pupils were, close enough to kiss if they moved just a little bit. Blair was shaking, shivering, reaching, pulling Jo to her, just wanting to feel Jo's body against her. Oh, God, the butterflies in her stomach, the electricity flowing through her body, the feeling of Jo's soft lips under hers, pulling Jo tighter against her, the swirling in her brain, unable to form coherent thoughts. God, she couldn't get close enough, her mouth hungrily devouring Jo's, hands slipping under Jo's jacket, seeking skin, but thwarted by her clothing. She was unexpectedly dizzy with desire, kissing and seeking, tempted to shove Jo to the ground now, to feed the increasing fever, to satisfy the urge to be skin to skin. She forced herself to pull back, to look deep into Jo's eyes, to see if Jo was feeling the same thing she was feeling right now.
Jo was on overload, senses overwhelmed by the transition from friendly hug to molten kisses, scorching a path of pure heat and raw desire through her, emptying her of rational thought. She responded to Blair's sudden, insistent kisses with equal fervor, giving in to years of frustration, destroying the years of careful distance. Her skin felt super sensitive, feeling Blair's hands against her back through the layers of clothing, the heat pouring off Blair's body, her body responding without permission. God, how she wanted this woman, not just sexually, but in all ways. They had fought for years, but always drawn to each other, never able to leave each other alone. Even their worst arguments had been better than John's most romantic overtures, the most fleeting touch always burning, making her want more. Even after her divorce, she had turned down countless invitations, claiming to be not interested, but in reality, waiting for the unobtainable. She held Blair tighter, wanting to melt into her arms, suddenly cold and bereft when Blair pulled back. She could see the mixture of love and desire in Blair's dark eyes, the unrestrained passion in her face. "God, I love you," she admitted hoarsely.
Blair kissed Jo lightly, then pulled back further, but kept Jo's hand in hers. "I love you too," she acknowledged, "but it's warmer inside."
"Oh." Jo followed Blair down the path, back into the house, brain fogged by passion. Now she took the lead, pulling Blair up the stairs, into the master bedroom, shedding clothes as fast as she could while Blair mirrored her actions. They dove under the covers, mutual passion singing through their veins, burning hotter and higher as they let the moment take them away to the explosion, the mighty shattering of tension, the shudder of the aftereffects. They laid together, panting, content to drift into a deep, exhausted sleep, just living the moment, not thinking about tomorrow.
Jo woke first, the afternoon of passion flooding her brain, the twin emotions of burning desire and tender love nearly overwhelming her. She tentatively kissed Blair's forehead, not wanting to disturb her, but wanting to connect with her friend. Friend? Lover? Both? This would take some getting used to, she thought wryly. So would being naked with Blair, an impish voice piped up. God, if the other girls knew what had just happened, would they care? Would they laugh? Would they run screaming? No, she would be like Scarlett O'Hara today, and not think about the consequences of their actions until tomorrow, or, hell, for that matter, a few days from now, when she was supposed to get on the plane back to D/FW. Still, it was a strange situation, one she had fought for years, always being repelled by but secretly attracted to Blair. Would Blair treat her like she had so many boys? For that matter, like her ex-husband? Use her until she was tired of her, then move on to someone else? Jo sat up, pulling the covers with her, covering her breasts. Blair looked so peaceful now, the sorrows and pains of the past few years evaporated from her face.
Okay, Eagle, Jo scolded herself, admit it, you've never given in to your desires for other women because you were waiting for the impossible dream, waiting for Blair. Waiting to see if the high and mighty princess would deign to look your way with the same fierce emotion you felt. Waiting to see if this was true, waiting to see if the underlying tension between them for more than twenty years really was sexual. She smiled, thinking back to some of their legendary battles in high school and college, how they constantly butted heads, how their pride prevented them from acknowledging that something was between them, whether deep friendship or this. But what did Blair think? Did she really think that Jo saw what was behind the carefully constructed walls? Her visage grew somber as she recalled the awful stillness on Blair's face when she got that phone call about Madison.
"Jo?" Blair croaked, sitting up. She cleared her throat and blinked, forcing her brain to work. "Honey?" Jo melted, letting her covers slide down as she leaned over, kissing Blair possessively.
"Oh, baby," Blair crooned after they broke for air, "God, you are real. I mean, it really did happen." Her face lit up in a genuine smile, eyes bright, radiating happiness. She stared into Jo's blue eyes for a few seconds, then blushed as her stomach chose that moment to growl loudly. "I guess I'm hungry," she laughed, snagging another quick kiss. "Are you hungry? For food, I mean?"
"Sure," Jo said, watching as Blair bounded out of bed, reaching for her robe. She walked over to her closet, then came out a moment later, tossing a robe to Jo, who caught it as she slid out of bed. "I could use some grub about now."
The next few days were joyous, taking on a timeless quality. The women explored each other's bodies and feelings, avoiding discussions about the future, just content to take on the present. All too soon, though, it was time for Jo to return to Texas and for Blair to start the painful process of packing up the memories of her lifetime. She forced herself to go through everything quickly, calling her parents and her son from time to time, offering furnishings, almost relieved when she was told to just sell most of it and put it into a trust fund for Scott. Jr. She also had an agent looking for a small townhouse in Fort Worth, something large enough for her to live and work in, but not large enough to be "rich." Something that would force her to buy all new furniture, something cozy and compact. Somewhere that Jo and Scotty would feel comfortable.
Natalie dropped by while Blair was giving instructions to the auction house representative. She waited patiently for Blair to finish, noticing that Blair looked different. It took several minutes for her to figure out that Blair was not wearing any jewelry except a watch and the silver bracelet, no makeup, and jeans and sweats, yet looked more beautiful than she had seen her in years. "Thank you for waiting, Natalie," Blair said after enveloping Natalie in a warm hug, "I'm so glad you dropped by. Now all I have to do is finish shipping my clothes to Fort Worth and sign papers for my new place there. So, what brings you here?"
"You, my friend, just wanted to make sure you're doing okay. Greg is so tight-lipped about his patients that I wouldn't have know that Scott, Sr. was going to see him if I hadn't seen him leaving Greg's office yesterday."
"Really? Let's go into the den, would you like anything to eat or drink?"
"No, I'm fine, just finished lunch." Natalie followed Blair into the den, smiling as she remembered Dorothy's revelation of her pregnancy. "I saw Dorothy this morning, she's doing quite well, starting to take on that maternal glow. How's your son? Have you heard from Jo?"
Blair sat down, tucking a foot under her. "Scott is fine, still dating Frieda, even spent Christmas with her family. I think the challenge will be for him to refrain from proposing until they both get out of school and are employed. Jo is Jo, still working hard, trying to keep from expanding her business too rapidly so she won't fail."
"You know, that was the perfect thing for Jo, to get involved in building custom motorcycles. So when is she going to build you one?" Nat teased.
Blair replied seriously, "When I have the time to pick out a good design. My son is now the sales manager for the shop, not that he has anyone under him, but he's doing quite well. He and Jo said they have several designs for me to consider when I move out there."
"Whoa, wait a minute, you, Blair Warner, riding a motorcycle? Of your own free will?"
"Yes, what's so strange about that?"
Natalie shook her head, declaring, "It's like one of those laws of the universe, Blair does not get herself dirty or ride motorcycles. What's gotten into you? Who took our Blair and replaced her with a pod person?"
"You'll never believe it, but I asked Jo to build me a bike."
"No!" Natalie exclaimed, shocked. "You? A Warner? On a bike?"
"Yes," she laughed, "me, a Warner, on a bike. It's really Jo's fault, she conjoled me into riding with her a few times and I was hooked."
"You've got to be joking. Are you running a fever?" Natalie reached over, playfully touching Blair's cheeks and forehead. "No, you don't seem to be feverish. Really, why a bike? Aren't they dangerous?"
"Like Jo?" Blair mused. "They can be, if you're not careful, but Jo will be right behind me while I learn to ride, holding me and the bike steady."
Natalie laughed, but wheels started turning in her head. Little things were starting to add up in a way she didn't expect, leading her to an unexpected conclusion. "Blair," she asked tentatively, "are you in love with Jo Polniaczek?"
Natalie felt her world reel for a moment, causing her to clutch the arm of the couch as if gravity would fail and she would go sailing into the cosmos. She blinked, swallowed hard, then asked, "How?"
"How did it happen? I don't know, Jo burst back into my life when she applied for the venture capital funds and I realized that she was a beautiful woman, not just a rival for attention. When she stood so helplessly when I got the call about Madison, wanting to do something, but not knowing quite what to do. When she took me to Billy Bob's for a fun evening, even indulging my innocent request for a dance, despite her own fears of how it would be perceived. I'm not sure, I think she just snuck into my heart and I'm not about to kick her out."
"But when did it happen?"
"Remember our last slumber party?"
"Yes - wait, then?"
Blair nodded. "I had made sure that you and Dorothy were tucked in, then I went to check on Jo. I just stood in the bedroom, thinking about Madison's slumber parties and how she would never have the opportunity to grow up with her friends, like I had. I didn't realize that I was crying until Jo motioned for me to slide in bed with her and held me until I fell asleep. I think I realized that I was in love with her then, no one has ever been that tender or thoughtful with me."
"Oh my God-"
Blair smiled impishly. "No, we didn't do that until you had left. I'll be honest, I've always been attracted to Jo in some way for nearly twenty-five years, I just didn't recognize how I was attracted. I just figured it was an fascination for a tomboy who could care less about society. Now she's wanting to be careful and I want to shout that I love her from the proverbial rooftops. It's just weird, but it feels right. I never felt this way about my husband or any other man, never felt like I could share my very self and be vulnerable. With men, I just shared my body, but with Jo, it's different, it's like a bad cliché, like we're really connecting. I don't have to hide behind being Blair Warner, Society Woman. Instead, I can be Blair, who loves Jo."
"Wow." Natalie was nearly speechless, overwhelmed at Blair's quiet admission of love for Jo. It was so different from her gushing over various men, more like what she felt for Greg, like he was the other part of her. "So Jo feels the same way?"
"Yes." Blair's smiled deepened, obviously thinking about something Jo had done or said. "Yes, she does. She finally forced me to face my true longings, in an argument, of course, but Natalie, I think we always had this simmering beneath the surface."
"I'd say," Natalie blurted without thinking, then clapped her hand over her mouth. "Sorry," she mumbled, then dropped her hand. "No, I'm not sorry. Dorothy and I always felt this strong current of emotion between you two, and we always said that you two would either love or hate each other with passion, but I don't think we dreamed that it would be that type of passion."
"Me neither." Blair smiled, then turned pensive. "You won't think differently of me, will you?"
"What? No, Blair, I'm delighted that you and Jo finally found love. It will take a bit of getting used to, I admit, but don't worry, I'll still love you the same."
"Thank you," Blair said simply, standing up. Natalie stood and moved to Blair, opening her arms to her old friend. As Blair let herself be gathered in Natalie's arms, she repeated, "Thank you, Natalie. I suspect I'll need all the friends I can get from now on." Natalie didn't say anything, just tightened her grip.
Life went by in a whirlwind during the next few months. Blair moved into a simple three bedroom townhouse a few miles from Jo's two bedroom cottage. Jo tried to divide her time between her business and her girlfriend, worrying that she was paying too much attention to one or the other. Blair simply enjoyed being away from New York and whatever time she could snatch with Jo, or with her son and his girlfriend. They had an unvoiced pact to not say anything to Blair's son or former husband, even though now both Natalie and Dorothy knew the truth about their budding love. Natalie had been warmly supportive, but Dorothy had been initially cool, despite years of being surrounded by queers in her theatre work, but was warming back up now.
Blair was also enjoying exploring the rich diversity of the whole Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex area, taking entire days to do nothing more than walk through gardens, zoos, museums, parks, all without the pressure of being recognized or expected to look and act a certain way. The simple joys of shopping for groceries and cooking for her son and his girlfriend, or for Jo, or just for herself. The quiet confidence that she gained from learning to ride a motorcycle under Jo's watchful eyes. The pride she felt when she managed to unclog her sink without calling anyone for help. The beauty of sharing lazy Sunday mornings in bed with Jo, delighting in the feeling of Jo's body melding with hers, pleasantly surprised by the tenderness and passion between them. The sheer freedom of not being tied to a schedule for the first time in her life, of giving control of her business to her various partners, of being able to sleep as late as she wanted. Even the responsibility of housework was not a bad thing, making her send thanks to Mrs. Garrett in heaven for forcing her to learn to cook and clean.
Jo also blossomed in the glow of their love. Although she worried about her work/life balance, she treasured her time with Blair, always surprised by Blair's observations. No more vapid society matron, but an intelligent woman with a gift to see what others missed. Jo was proud of how quickly Blair learned how to ride a motorcycle, how much Blair shared in her passion for the throb of raw power in the metal beneath her seat, her brilliant smile of joy as they explored county roads outside the city limits. Jo learned to appreciate art during trips with Blair to area museums, and, in turn, taught Blair the beauty of a well-tuned engine, of building a work of art with your hands. She felt like she had a constant, silly smile on her face now. She still worried about being outed, but figured the risk was worth the time she spent with Blair. God, how she loved watching Blair wake up in the mornings, the sensual stretching, the slow opening of those lovely brown eyes, the curl of her lip as she reached out for Jo. It wasn't just the sex, which was fantastic, it was the whole package, the feeling that she could actually lay her heart bare to this woman without fear. It felt like an impossible dream, to find love in the most unexpected person, to be filled with love and delight, to be really happy for the first time in her life.
One issue dogged them as the women adjusted to their new relationship: what to tell Scott, Jr. "It's just too risky, Blair, you know how homophobic people are here," Jo grumbled when Blair brought the issue up again one Sunday morning. "I mean, let's think about it rationally."
"Honey, I am thinking rationally, Scott is not stupid, you know that, you work with him on a daily basis. Would you have put him in charge of sales if he were stupid?" Blare fumed.
Jo sighed, turning to face Blair. "I guess I'm just scared, that's all."
Blair lightly ran a hand down Jo's arm, watching the goosebumps that followed, frowning as she tried to pull her thoughts together. "This is new for me, too," she finally said, "and I'm a bit scared too, but I know my son, and he's not going to stop loving me, or you, for that matter, just because we're in love. You talk of homophobia, Jo, do you think that maybe, just maybe, you have a touch of homophobia as well?"
Jo closed her eyes, torn between continuing the discussion or giving in to the delicious sensation of Blair's skin against hers. God, who would have known just how passionate or how tender Blair could be as a lover? "Maybe I do internalize homophobia," she answered cautiously, "but I was always taught that God didn't like gays, that we were not supposed to be sexual with anyone other than our spouse. Gays were unnatural, an affront to God and the sanctity of marriage."
"But here we are, most definitely in a gay relationship, Jo. I've played social games all of my life, but I never saw you as a game player."
"I'm not trying to play games, Blair, I'm just trying to work through it. I do love you, very deeply, and I love sharing that with you. I'm just having trouble figuring out how to love you and not get the shit beat out of me. I do get a few pretty rough characters in my shop, you know."
Before Blair could respond, they both heard the door open downstairs and Scott yell, "Hey, Mom, are you home?"
They stared at each other, frozen in shock as they heard Scott's footsteps on the stairs. The bedroom door was wide open and they were both very naked, with clothes thrown haphazardly around the room. Blair recovered quickly enough to grab their robes and toss Jo hers before Scott poked his head around the door frame."Mom, wasn't I supposed to come to...lunch?" Scott stared at the women for a moment, then mumbled, "I'll just go to the kitchen now," before he sprinted down the stairs.
"Well, I guess that resolves that question," Blair noted dryly. "Let's grab a quick shower before we go downstairs to confront poor, innocent Scotty." Jo just nodded dumbly, grabbing her duffle bag and shuffling into the master bath as Blair called down the stairs, "We're going to shower and will be down in just a few minutes."
A short time later, Blair and Jo descended the stairs, greeted by the smell of lunch being heated. Scott gestured to the table, saying, "Why don't you have a seat, I'm almost finished heating up the barbecue and toasting the bread. The tea pitcher is on the table and I've already put the ice in the glasses." He turned back to the stove as his mother and employer quietly sat down at the kitchen table, pouring their tea in the awkward silence.
The silence extended painfully as Scott put the food on the table, gesturing for them to fill their plates. Jo nervously stirred the sweetener in her tea as Blair started serving the food. Scott sat back, pushing the food around on his plate before finally dropping his fork and asking, "Are you lovers?"
"Yes," Blair answered with a touch of defiance, "we are."
"I see." He continued to push his food around, then asked, "How long?"
Jo piped up. "Not as long as you might think, Scott, not until the divorce was final."
"I see," he repeated, then asked, "But you both were married before, why decide to be gay now?"
Blair and Jo looked at each other, then Blair looked steadily at Scott, waiting until he met her eyes before answering, "Scott, I can't speak for Jo, but I can speak for myself. In my upbringing, my friends were always affectionate, so I never thought twice about hugging them, taking their arm as we walked through the mall, or wanting to help them pick out just the perfect outfit for a date. I did what I was supposed to do, dated a lot of boys, then married your father and had children. Since I was a virgin when we married, I had no idea that sex with a man just didn't feel quite right, didn't fulfill me. It wasn't until Jo that I felt all of the passion, the spiritual connection, the love that I assumed I would find with your father."
Jo cleared her throat before speaking, trying to marshall her thoughts. Blair was so self-assured, how could she follow that? She gazed at Scott, who looked confused, but like he was trying to understand. Finally, she spoke. "Scott, I've had the tomboy label hung around my neck all of my life. I've always been aggressive and have been called a dyke and a lesbian more times than I care to admit simply because I was aggressive and stood up for myself and for my friends. I was always uneasy when other women were affectionate with me, afraid that they were hitting on me. Scott, I do love Blair with my whole heart and soul and body, but no matter how right it feels, no matter how much I feel like I'm home with her, I'm still conflicted. I'm still scared that we'll get the shit beat out of us for loving each other."
Scott frowned, then picked up his tea, sipping while his thoughts spun around in crazy patterns. "So, you just ignored your feelings and married men anyway?" he asked.
"Son, let me put it this way. Your father is pretty unhappy with you dating Frieda, right? Why is that?"
"Because she's not from a really rich old blueblood family," he answered promptly.
Scott pondered a few minutes, then suddenly spluttered angrily, "Is it because she's not a rich WASP? Is that it? Her family has done fairly well, and I don't care that she's Catholic and from a Polish family. My God, Jo is Polish, and you love her!"
"Yes, I do."
Scott started to say something else, then shook his head. He stood up abruptly, taking his dishes over to the sink and dumping his uneaten food. "I thought I was open minded, but this just is too much. I'm sorry, I have to get away and think." He grabbed his jacket and slammed the door behind him.
"That went well," Blair said sarcastically. "My son has to get away and think, and my lover is still conflicted. Jo, what do we do now? No, that was a rhetorical question." Blair ran a hand through her hair distractedly, staring into the distance, then turned back to look at Jo. "Jo, are you happy with me?"
"What? Blair, you know I'm happy with you, why are you asking this?"
"Then why are you still conflicted?"
Jo got up, taking their plates to the sink to formulate her answer, wary that a trap was being laid. She turned around, staring at Blair, taking in her heart-stopping beauty. God, she has lost her heart to this woman, but had she told her so? Why was she still so tentative? Breathing deeply, she simply answered, "Honey, I'm forty years old, and for most of those forty years, I was convinced it was a sin to love another woman. I don't think my love for you is sinful, instead, it's the opposite, it's everything good and beautiful. But you saw how Scott reacted, you remember how Dorothy initially reacted, how do you think my employees and our investors would react if they knew we were lesbians?"
"I don't fucking care," Blair said simply. "I love you. I think I've always loved you, but if you can't be comfortable with loving me, and acknowledging me as someone important in your life, then maybe we should reconsider our relationship."
"What?" Jo slammed her open hand on the counter, the sound vibrating through the room in an ugly wave. "Do you want me to leave?"
"Can you be open about me?"
"Well, somewhat, under the right circumstances."
Blair stood up, smoothing her hair.. "I need to know if you love me enough to acknowledge me. No, I'm not saying kiss me in the middle of the Stockyards, but I'd at least like to be able to introduce you as my girlfriend to friends and family."
Jo stood at the counter, gripping it behind her, heart racing with fear that no matter what she said or did right now, it would be the wrong thing. She swallowed hard, finally asking quietly, "And if I can't?"
Blair looked at her bleakly. "I don't know. Maybe we should spend a little time apart, figure out where we're going in this relationship."
"Oh, you want to get rid of me now?" Jo snarled. Without waiting for an answer, she tore up the stairs, tossing her clothes and toiletries into her duffle bag, shoved her wallet and keys in her pocket, then raced back down the stairs. "I'm out of here!" she bellowed, slamming the door behind her, then savagely tied her duffle on her bike before shoving her helmet on her head and spinning the bike in a circle before charging out into the street.
Anger, despair, fear, and sorrow warred in Jo's heart as she deftly steered the cycle through the city streets, barely keeping to legal speeds as she wound up on I-35W, headed north. She wanted nothing more than to open the throttle as wide as it would go, to race through the traffic as if the other vehicles were merely standing still, but she figured that the highway patrol would be out. After being passed multiple times, she threw caution to the winds and raced, trusting her finely tuned sense of balance to let her weave through the sedans and pickups, hurtling faster through the day, not caring if she were caught or killed. Damn Scott, damn Blair! She took his side, taking a chance that he would be an asset to her business, did her damnedest to take care of Blair through those first awful months after Madison died, tried so hard not to fall in love with Blair, not to admit that she had been denying her heart for so many years. "Mother of God, make me stop loving her," Jo prayed, "please, take these feelings away." Maybe they shouldn't be in love after all, maybe they should just ignore the subtle, constant tug, but, oh, God, how Blair made her feel! Damn, she couldn't wipe the tears with the visor in the way!
Jo turned off at the next exit, pulling into a truck stop. She rolled to a stop, the pulled off her helmet, wiping savagely at her eyes. She pulled her sunglasses out of her jacket pocket and settled them on her face before tucking the helmet under her arm and entering the store. Jo took several deep, measured breaths, willing her emotions to settle down while she plucked a bottle of water and a pecan log from the shelves to justify her presence in the store. She stuffed the candy in her pocket and unscrewed the top of the water bottle, greedily sucking it down her parched throat. She stretched, then slipped her sunglasses back in the jacket and pulled her helmet back on, flipping down the mirrored visor before straddling the saddle and bringing her bike back to life. Running away wasn't the answer, she thought as she sedately putted back across the overpass to head back south. It was just tempting, that's all.
Scott paced back and forth in his living room as he recounted what he saw to Frieda. "My mother and Jo, asleep together, naked! I thought Mom would remember inviting me to lunch, but she was obviously too busy to remember. Oh, God, Frieda, my mother and my boss are lesbians, what am I going to do? I mean, isn't it against nature for two women to do that? Couldn't they just ignore those feelings, just continue being friends?" He plopped down on the couch beside her, saying, "Mom had the audacity to claim that what she felt for Jo was a spiritual connection? She admitted that she never felt that for Dad. Oh, God, what am I going to do?"
Frieda took Scott's hands in hers and asked, "What do you want to do, Scott?"
"Pretend I never saw them together. It was hard enough with Dad rejecting us after Madison died, but why did Mom have to go and fall in love with Jo?"
"Honey, I can't tell you what to do, but I think you have to accept their relationship, or at least tolerate it nicely. You do have to work with Jo, after all."
Scott stared at her, the blood draining from his face. "God, I didn't think about that. But isn't it unnatural?"
Instead of answering, Frieda asked, "Does your father approve of our love?"
"No, but that doesn't matter, he's a snob when it comes to class differences."
"But you love me regardless. Does your mother approve?"
Scott pulled his hands away, scowling. "I see where you're going with this, just like Mom pointing out that you and Jo are both Polish Catholics, and that people look down on you and me because you're not a WASP. But that's different, you see, at least I'm not dating a man. You can't tell me that you weren't taught that homosexuality is a sin."
"I cannot deny that it is what I was taught, sweetheart, and I was also taught that sexual love is the greatest gift that God gave us. Maybe God gave them the gift of expressing their love sexually."
"But can't they just not do it? I mean, look at us, we've taken a vow to be celibate until we get married."
Frieda bit her lip as she tried to sort out what to say, and what she felt. Blair had been so open-hearted, so accepting of her, she didn't want to get on her potential mother-in-law's bad side, even though she wasn't personally sure what she thought of homosexuality. Maybe it was wrong, but it wasn't her place to judge, that was God's decision. Something nagged at her, this trying to deny these women their right to love. She tried again, "Honey, the difference is that we can get married. Suppose we fell in love but were never allowed to get married? Wouldn't it be tempting to give in and make love anyway? Are you as tempted to break that vow as I am? I love you with my whole heart, and it's a struggle to not give in to the temptation to love you with my whole body. Imagine being told that you would have to be celibate for a lifetime."
"Your priests do."
"But that's different, your mother has not given herself solely to God, and neither has Jo."
Scott sat, hands loosely clasped between his legs, head down as thoughts went furiously through his brain. He loved his mother, he had always adored Jo, but could he get past their relationship? Had his mother and father had that bad of a marriage? He glanced at his watch and said reluctantly, "I need to go, Frieda, I have to study for my history test. I love you, you know that, don't you?"
"Yes, I love you too, Scott," Frieda answered, leaning over to kiss him. He kissed back, deeply, hungrily, before tearing himself away and letting himself out of the apartment. Frieda continued to sit, turning over the conversation in her head, trying to decide what she really thought. "Mary, Mother of God," she whispered, "tell me what to think."
Scott went through his classes like a zombie, worrying what Jo would say to him that afternoon at work. Would she demand his resignation? Would she ignore him? Worst of all, would she be excruciatingly polite like his mother when she was really furious? He worried through his classes, twice having to ask professors what they had just asked him. It was embarrassing, to say the least. You just can't say, "I'm worried about how my mother's girlfriend will treat me."
"Honey, you're just picking at your lunch," Frieda commented as she tucked into her taco salad, "are you still worried about how Jo will treat you when you get to work? Or are you worried about how your mother will treat you?"
"A little of both, I guess, but I'll be seeing Jo first. Babe, suppose she wants me to start calling her Ms. Eagle, start being formal?"
Frieda patted his arm and said confidently, "Scott, I'm sure she's just as worried about how you will react as you are about how she will react. Just take it one step at a time. Things will probably be awkward at first, but I'm sure you will work things out. Wasn't Jo the one who backed your plan to work for her in the first place? She had to convince Blair it was a good idea, and unless I read her wrong, Jo doesn't back down once she's made a promise. She promised you an internship, and promised to make sure that you learned every aspect of the business."
"I guess you're right, Frieda, but I'm still worried. Next thing you'll tell me is to stop borrowing trouble."
"You guessed, sweetheart! Just what my dear grandmother would say, stop borrowing trouble, for it will find you soon enough."
"Oh, that makes me feel real good."
Frieda smiled, then glanced at her watch. "I'd better scoot, I have one more class. Call me tonight, let me know how things went." She stood up, kissed his cheek, then left. Scott sat for several more minute before taking his tray and dumping his uneaten meal. Time to face Jo.
Scott heaved a quick sigh of relief when he did not see Jo as he went to his cubicle and logged into his computer. The only emails were from customers with questions about the status of their bikes or potential customers asking questions about the types of custom packages they offered. He soon found himself buried in his work, troubleshooting little problems, making notes for the shop supervisor or Jo about larger problems, and creating potential bike plans for the possible customers. He had just completed his backlog when Sam, the shop supervisor, walked up and asked, "Hey, McNair, can I ask you a few questions?"
"Sure, Sam, have a seat," Scott replied, reaching for his notepad and a pen. "What may I help you with?"
Sam settled in one of the chairs on the other side of the desk, casually crossed his legs, and asked, "You interested in starting to actually build bikes?"
"Yes, what are you, deaf?" Sam chuckled. "Now, I haven't cleared this with the boss yet, but since the original plan was for you to have your hands dirty by now, I reckon we should start that fairly soon. You are a natural salesman, and the best organized one I've ever seen, but actually building the bikes would give you a whole new level of appreciation for the custom job we do here. Didn't you tell me that you've been fascinated by engines since you were a kid?"
"Yes, I do remember that conversation."
"Then, young sir, you should indulge that fascination. Hell, I broke into this business when the oil market busted in 1985, I was a petroleum engineer before that, but I lost my job and decided what the hell, I'd take that severance package and go to school to learn to repair bikes. Never regretted it either."
"Oh." Scott leaned back in his chair, asking, "You really left engineering to build bikes?"
"Yes. Look, Scott, you should always be prepared for the unusual, or for opportunities disguised as setbacks. Hey, when Jo came to pick up her bike a few years back and told me she was thinking of opening a custom shop and asked if I'd be interested in joining her, I jumped at the chance. Didn't you take a chance when you signed up for this gig, battling your parents or something?"
"Just my father, my mother was pretty supportive," Scott admitted slowly. "Dad thought it was beneath me, but Mom said that Jo would work my butt off." He leaned forward, looking at Sam intently. "You think I can really learn to build bikes?"
"Yep. I'll talk to Jo when she gets in." Sam paused, a frown furrowing his brow. "I don't suppose you've heard from the boss, have you? She didn't call in this morning, and I have some papers she needs to sign, dollar amounts over my limit. This is the first time she's ever been AWOL."
"Um, no, I haven't heard from her," Scott answered, a feeling of guilt trickling through the back of his mind. "Want me to call her?"
"Naw, it can wait until morning. Maybe she just didn't feel good this morning. Hell, it's her business, I reckon she can skip a day if she'd like to. Oh, you can call your mother and ask her if she'd like to come over and approve the final design that I made for her bike. By the way, you had some nice input on the colors, I'm guessing you know your mom pretty well."
"Thanks. I'll call her, just let me log in a few more things."
Sam stood up, then mused, "Maybe I can get you to help build your mom's bike. Now, wouldn't that be a great start?" Sam nodded, watching Sam walk down the hallway toward the shop and wondering now where Jo was. It was unlike her to be gone so long without telling anyone. He hoped that his outburst the day before didn't have anything to do with it.
Jo stared at the rippling sea of bluebonnets surrounding the rest stop, noticing how beautiful they were with the slanting rays of the late evening sun bathing them with its radiance. She had a fifth of Jack in her saddlebag, but could not bring herself to open it. During that last year of her disintegrating marriage, she had taken to drinking heavily every night, lashing out at John with just and unjust accusations, but had managed to stay sober on the nights that she called Blair to discuss business. The death of Madison had hit Jo just as hard as it had hit Blair, and forced her to reevaluate her life and her drinking. Blair had needed her, so she stopped drinking, it was that simple, or so it had seemed at the time. She thought about the funeral, how Blair's husband and son had treated her so differently, how Scott Sr. had ignored Blair and Scotty's pain, concentrating on his own pain, how angry she had been over the way he had treated her. She remembered how protective she felt, how she ached to be next to Blair, displacing her husband. Had she been reacting as a friend of long standing, or was she in love with Blair even then?
God, Scott Jr. had looked so hurt, confused, and angry yesterday when he burst into their bedroom. Okay, Blair's bedroom, really, but damn it, she spent so much time at Blair's townhouse that she thought of it as home, rather than the little two bedroom house she rented. Her place was just somewhere to park her stuff, not a home. Home was Blair, but now she felt like she could not go home again. She wiped the tears from her face again, angry with herself for continuing to cry over the argument. What had gone wrong? She heard Blair's voice in her head again, when she had told Scott, "It wasn't until Jo that I felt all of the passion, the spiritual connection, the love that I assumed I would find with your father." Blair had just laid it out, bared her heart, damn the consequences. Far different than the Blair she had first known so many years ago at Eastfield, the shallow, vapid, society girl, who showed few glimpses of the beautiful, intelligent, thoughtful woman who was to emerge from that cocoon. Blair had already turned her back on her upbringing, had thrown her lot with Jo, had shown a tremendous amount of courage in coming to terms with her sexuality, so why couldn't Jo do the same? Ironic, Jo thought, that she had always been the one who was the rebel, the one who blazed her own path no matter what, who was scared shitless over being outed. She lowered her head in her hands, praying, "Mother of God, tell me what to do. I want this woman, love her with my whole heart, feel more of a connection with her than anyone else in the world. Is it so wrong to feel this way?"
Blair was still furious at Jo for walking out on her and at Scott for not instantly understanding how deep their love for each other ran, but now that time had passed, she had to admit that she was a little unrealistic in her expectations. She sighed at looked at the documents in front of her for what seemed like the thousandth time today, dithering about signing them. The firm would still be known as Warner Capital, but she would no longer be the executive director and would sell half of her shares to the other partners. A more radical option also sat in front of her, an option to sell all of her shares to the other partners and let them choose a new name for the firm. She would come out of either deal considerably richer than when she had started the firm so many years ago, but she would still be able to draw on the pool of talent for any deals she might wish to strike on her own. Trouble was, the only deal she cared about was the health and wealth of Eagle Custom Bikes.
Was it fair to expect Jo to be so comfortable coming out of the closet? Was it fair to expect her son to understand? Scott had been such a tower of strength when his sister died, so unexpectedly mature and thoughtful. No matter what she did with her business, despite the fact that she was now divorced, she had to admit to herself that she still had a huge cushion of assets and status to fall back on, no matter what the fallout might be from being openly gay. Jo didn't have that, she had sunk almost every cent she had into her business, and, even though it was turning a profit, was still vulnerable financially and socially. Scott had acted almost relieved when his parents divorced, but it was still far different for her to date a woman than a man in his eyes, she guessed.
Should she call Jo and apologize, or wait for Jo to make the first move?
"Frieda, I'm starting to worry, Jo didn't show up at work again yesterday," Scott said as he passed Frieda the salad bowl. They were eating a late supper in her apartment on Wednesday night after classes. "She still hasn't called in, or left any sort of message. Even Sam is starting to worry and I just don't know what to do. Should I call her, or call Mom, see if she knows where Jo is?"
Frieda drizzled her salad with lemon juice as she patiently listened to Scott's worries. "Honey, maybe she just wanted to spend some time by herself. Give it another day, then worry about her. She is an adult, after all, and you are not her keeper." She took a bite, then asked, "Have you talked to your mother since Sunday?"
Bashfully, he mumbled, "No, I haven't, I've been avoiding it. Think I should call her? It's getting awfully late."
"Scott, it's only 9:30, I'm sure she's still up."
He brightened. "Maybe you should call her." He ate a few bites, then frowned. "I guess that would be cowardly, for me to have you call her. I'd be pretty torn up if something happened to Jo. She was so supportive of Mom when Maddy died. Do you realize that my sister has been dead for two years now?"
"Yes, love. I also realize that you haven't eaten a complete meal since you and your mother argued on Sunday, you're starting to look thinner, Scott, and that isn't good. Sweetheart, why don't you finish your supper before deciding whether or not to call anyone?"
"Okay, Frieda. God, I love you so much." Scott squeezed her hand before reapplying himself to his meal. He fell silent, thinking as he ate, trying to figure out the best approach. Should he call? Should he just stop worrying so much? What if his actions caused his mother and Jo to break up? He had to admit that both women had seemed happier in the past few months than he'd seen them since Madison's death, but was it really okay for them to be gay? What did he feel about gays in general? He had heard fag jokes in the locker room all his life, even turned a blind eye once as a younger boy was beaten after soccer practice because he acted queer. What was his name? Conrad? He couldn't remember what had happened later, if Conrad had dropped out or if he had continued. Had he been as guilty as the rest by refusing to act? "Maybe I'll just wait until morning, see if Jo comes in to work. I'm supposed to be there from 7:00 until 10:30, then leave for class. If she's not back by then, I'll call Mom when I get in from classes."
"Good thinking. Dear, I'm not trying to rush you, but let's get the dishes cleaned up so you can go home and I can go to bed." Scott nodded, starting to stack the dirty dishes as Frieda watched him for a moment before following with additional dishes. She loved him so much, it was getting increasingly hard to throw caution to the winds and make that deeper connection. In some ways, she envied Blair and Jo, they could make love without having to worry about pregnancy or if the guy was saying "I love you" just to get in their pants. Sometimes she couldn't believe Scott was for real, he was such a straight arrow. How did he manage to keep his hormones in check? He was so confused, though, and as smart and sensitive as he was, it surprised her when he'd told her the other night about Blair and Jo. She had figured it out some time ago, just remembering her favorite aunt and her girlfriend. Despite the strict Catholic upbringing, Aunt Kay and Beverly were known simply as The Aunties, and everyone treated them as a couple. Frieda tore her thoughts away from the past long enough to kiss Scott good night, praying he would do and say the right thing.
John Eagle was very surprised to see his ex-wife at the door. Jo rarely contacted him, he usually initiated all of the post-divorce contact. Nonetheless, he opened the door wider and invited her in, calling to his current wife that they had company. Jo followed him into the townhouse, looking around at the sparse, yet elegantly decorated walls. She wondered if it was Julie's taste or his. She couldn't remember what John liked for art work, probably because they just had some pictures of their wedding, various friends and relatives, and a few early vacation pictures on their walls.
"Have a seat, Jo, can I get you anything?" John asked, indicating the dining room table.
It was on the tip of her tongue to say "Jack and Coke", but she decided that alcohol would not help. Besides, she had done enough drinking in the past few days to hold her for a lifetime. "Just water, or tea, if you have it. Please."
John nodded and left, coming back with a couple of glasses filled with iced tea and a small plate of cookies "Julie decided we needed to sample her oatmeal cookies," he explained, reaching for one.
"Thanks." Jo sipped her tea, then took a cookie but did not bite into it immediately. Julie wandered in, looking at Jo as if wanting to ask whether she should go or stay. "Julie, it's okay, you can sit with us if you like. By the way, where's Seth?"
"He's at the neighbor's for a while," Julie explained, "we take turns giving each other a break from the children. Jo, we're delighted to see you, but may I be so bold as to ask why you showed up in Houston during the week?"
"Oh, yeah. Hey, John, it's the middle of the afternoon..." She trailed off, aware that she was about to be very rude.
"I'm working from home a few days a week now. Working for a small accounting firm here, and you're not disturbing me, I was about to take a break anyway. I am a bit concerned about you, what brings you all the way to Houston?"
"Um." She looked around, taking in the beautiful watercolors, all depicting scenes of Native American women. "Nice watercolors, good feeling and light," she commented.
"Thank you, Jo," Julie said, "they are mine. Despite my blonde hair, I do have the blood, and John encouraged me to pick up my painting again, so I quit work and have been selling prints at various arts fairs and over the web."
"Oh." Jo took a long drink, then stared at the cookie in her hand, still not eating. "I should really be back in Fort Worth, at work, but I've run into a snag and need some advice. John, I know we screwed up our marriage, but how much was due to my stubbornness, and how much was due to our incompatibility?"
John sat back, unprepared for this question. He glanced over at Julie, who merely shrugged. "Well," he said finally, "I think we both had too much stubbornness and too much pride. And to be perfectly honest, I never really felt like I was the center of your world, I felt like you cared more about work than you did me. Julie and Seth are the center of my universe now, and work is simply a means toward supporting them. So, is this about work, or about a relationship?"
"Both," Jo said, finally biting into the cookie. She swallowed and commented, "Good cookie." She frowned, concentrating on her next question, then finally asked, "Was I emotionally absent in our marriage?"
John and Julie looked at each other, then John answered, "It's hard to say since I was as well. I guess so, but we were both so tied up in work that I think our marriage died of neglect, which is a mistake I'm trying to avoid this time. What's wrong, Jo? You're beating around the bush, and that's not like you at all."
"I guess I'm worried about two things: work and life. Work because I find I'm spending more time running the business rather than actually working with the bikes, and life, well, because I've finally fallen in love and didn't expect to, especially not with the one I fell for." She sat back, turning her glass around on the coaster, scared to take the next step, but needing to take it, needing to get it in the open. "You remember Blair Warner?"
"Sure," John answered promptly, "you went to school with her and she came to our wedding. Isn't she one of your investors?"
"Yeah, she is."
"Is she pushing you to expand or to pay back money too quickly?" John asked.
"No, she's not," Jo answered slowly. She leaned forward and looked at John, then Julie and said flatly, "I've fallen in love with Blair, and she with me. Her son is working for me in my shop." She sat back, arms crossed defensively, waiting for the fallout.
Julie glanced at her watch and announced that she needed to get Seth from the neighbors, leaving John and Jo alone. John looked a little stunned at first, then understanding dawned on his face. "You're gay? Okay, I can believe that, but it's a bit hard to see Blair as gay, but my God, you of all people have fallen in love? So what do you need from me, my blessing, or something else?"
"I don't know, John, I guess I thought I'd talk to someone who knew me, who had been in a relationship with me. I'm confused, I've prayed for these feelings to go away, but I'm more in love with her all the time. We had a fight a few days ago, though, and to be honest, it had been brewing for a while, but I was ignoring it."
"I can believe that," John chuckled. "Sorry, go ahead."
Jo ran her hand through her dark hair distractedly, looking around the place, then turning back to John and saying miserably, "We fought about my not wanting to be out, and about her wanting to tell Scott, her son, the one who works for me. Well, I had spend Saturday night with her, and we were still in bed when Scott appeared. We managed to get robes on before he got to the top of the stairs, I think Blair had forgotten that he was coming for lunch that day or something. Anyway, he found out we were gay and was freaking. I freaked, argued with Blair, then ran out and haven't been back since. I just took off on my bike and started driving around. I've spend the past few nights in different hotels, bought some clothes at the outlet mall near Austin, bummed around, and decided to come see you."
"You mean you haven't told anyone where you are or what you are doing? Good Lord, Joanna, you must really be hurting to run away like that. Okay, you've obviously come for advice, so let me give you some. You need to decide what you really feel for Blair. I confess that suspecting and being confronted with your true sexual orientation is very different, and makes me wonder why you married me in the first place. Anyway, if you really love Blair with your whole heart, then you need to pursue her. You need to do whatever it takes to build a strong relationship, one that will last. There has to be give and take on both sides, and there has to be common ground. I learned this the hard way, Julie nearly left me before we got married before I figured this out."
"So you're not down on me for being gay?"
"Well, I'm not sure what I think about the issue, but I will say that if two people truly love each other, who am I to stand in the way of their happiness?"
Jo finished her tea. "You think I need to get over myself and go back to Blair."
John reached over and took her hand, a gentle, loving gesture. "Jo, I still care about you, but we were never meant to be marriage partners. You are so brilliant, but you are also so hard on yourself. Consider telling Blair where you are, but taking time to figure out what it means to you to be gay. It's a shock to realize that you have been ignoring a part of yourself for years, and you have to examine that. I never told you that I wanted children, I figured it would never come to pass. But I was able to fulfill that part of me with Julie and Seth. I guess what I'm trying to say so clumsily is that you finally followed your dream of owning a custom bike shop. Now you owe it to yourself to follow your heart as well, no matter how dangerous it seems at first."
She thought it over for several minutes, then finally stood up and said, "Thanks for the snacks and the talk, John. Good-bye."
He stood as well, following her to the door, saying, "Don't be a stranger, okay? If you and Blair are in Houston, give us a ring, please."
"Yeah, I'll do that John," Jo promised as she let herself out. John moved to the window, watching her adjusting her helmet before roaring out of the parking lot. He could never figure out Jo and he suspected that he never would. His heart ached for her, hoping that she wasn't throwing away happiness and that she wouldn't decide to break up with Blair just because it was easier than actually working through the issues. "Good luck," he whispered to the rapidly departing figure.
Blair flipped open her cell phone as it rang "Eye of the Tiger". "Jo? Where are you, baby, I've been worried sick about you!" She listened for a moment, then promised to meet Jo at the botanical gardens, one of their favorite warm weather hangouts.
"Jo?" Blair questioned as she walked down the rose garden ramp.
"Yeah, it's me," Jo said dully, mirrored shades in place, "sorry I ran off. I called in to work and talked with Sam for a bit, he said that Scott was doing well, starting to work on an actual bike now. Sam also chewed my hide a bit, said I needed to come sign some paperwork, and that I needed to apologize to you and to Scott. I guess you're pretty pissed at me now."
Blair stood, arms folded, worry and anger flitting across her face as she listened, finally answering, "I am angry with you, but I'm also angry with Scott, and I'm angry with myself. But I'm disappointed that you ran without talking to me. Honey, you never ran when we were friends, so why run now?"
Jo looked around, then started walking toward the gazebo, gesturing for Blair to follow her. Once they sat down, she took off her sunglasses and stared miserably at her hands, not trusting herself to look at Blair without breaking into tears. "I'm sorry, Blair," she said quietly, "I got scared, so I ran. I pride myself on being able to handle anything that comes my way, but this just took me off guard. I wasted a couple of days in Austin, drinking, before going to Houston to ask John what happened to our marriage. He said that neither of us made each other the center of our worlds, and that if I really love you, I need to follow my heart, to build a strong relationship with you, no matter how scared I am." She looked up, eyes haunted with fear. "He also suggested that I figure out what it means to me to be gay, that I've ignored and repressed that part for years. I love you so much it terrifies me, Blair, but it seems that you just slid into this without any problems. It's turned my world upside down, made me face up to my true nature, something I'd suspected for years but denied. It's hard to go from denying my sexuality to embracing it."
"So where does that leave us?"
Jo took Blair's hand in hers, lacing their fingers loosely. "I'm not sure, but I am sure that I love you with every fiber of my being. Maybe it would be a good idea to spend a little time apart, maybe I should even, um, seek counseling or something."
"Not see each other at all?" Blair asked, cold fingers of fear twisting her gut.
"No, not that, just for a little bit. A week or two. Or see each other a few times a week, you know, like real dates."
Blair sighed. "No, I want all or nothing, Jo, but I'll give you a month to figure out what you want. I love you, but maybe we shouldn't see each other at all until you figure out where you stand. My stance is that I want you in my life, my heart, my arms, but if you can't give me all of you, then I guess I'd be better off without you." She withdrew her hand, kissed Jo lightly on the cheek, then turned to leave before Jo could see the pain in her eyes.
Jo stared at Blair's retreating figure until she was out of sight, then started swearing under her breath. How had she blown it so badly? She got up, walking around the rose gardens, restraining the impulse to go find a bar, to pick a fight, to hop back on her bike and drive until she reached the end of the world. Instead, she pulled out her phone and called her foreman. "Sam, do me a favor, could you find me a good counselor?"
Scott groaned as he lowered himself on the couch, stretching out so he could lay in Frieda's lap. "God, honey, I thought that last accounting final was going to kill me today! Between school and using muscles I didn't know existed to build bikes, I'm wiped. Exhausted. Can't move."
"Poor baby," Frieda smirked as she stroked his dark blonde hair, "I feel so sorry for you."
"I bet you do," Scott grumbled, closing his eyes for a moment. "Hey, what's for supper?"
"It's your turn to cook, remember?" Another groan. She smiled wider, then turned serious. "Scott, how's your mother and Jo doing?"
He sat up slowly, rubbing his neck. "I don't know, Frieda. Jo alternates between deep depression to barely restraining her temper. I'm wondering if she'd going to counseling, though, she seems to be gone every other day for a couple of hours, then comes back quiet and thoughtful. She refuses to talk about our big blowup, however. I want to apologize in the worst way, and I feel pretty guilty about driving them apart. Honey, suppose they don't reconcile?"
"First you're angry at them daring to fall in love, then you're worried that they'll fall out of love. Make up your mind, McNair."
"No, I'm serious. I did some thinking the other day, Frieda, and decided that even if it seems weird for Mom and Jo to be gay, I guess it's actually natural for them. It still creeps me out to think of them in bed, but God, I love them both. Jo stood by Mom when Madison died and when Dad totally lost it. By the way, he did remarry recently, and his new wife is expecting already. You'd think he could have kept his pants zipped until they got married."
Frieda looked at him and asked, "Are you for real? I mean, come on, don't you get so tempted that you want to give in? I know I'm tempted by you constantly."
"Really?" Scott looked at his girlfriend, still shocked at how nonchalantly she admitted to lustful urges. In the back of his mind, he had to admit sometimes that waiting was difficult, but damn it, he was a good Christian, still went to church, truly believed that true love waited for marriage. "But you're Catholic, don't you believe in waiting?"
"Yes, but that doesn't make it any easier, so don't judge your father like that. Do you like your stepmother?"
"I don't know, I haven't met her. You know I didn't go to the wedding."
"You should have."
Scott pushed himself off the couch and headed toward his tiny kitchen, asking, "Lemon grilled chicken, salad, and corn okay? I don't have much else on hand."
Frieda accepted the change of subject as she got up to help him with supper. "Sure, sounds great." Poor Scott, she thought, just doesn't know what he wants from his parents. Had he really come to terms with their divorce, or just their choice of second partners?
Jo prowled around the room as usual, finding it difficult to sit down and face her counselor as she talked. "Let's face it, I grew up Catholic, poor, and Polish/Italian. None of these factors were exactly conducive to my accepting being different, although I've always been different. How many girls swoon over cars and motorcycles and would rather hang out with the guys, tuning engines, than to play dolls? Blair used to irritate me so much by being so very shallow, vapid, but so damned smart under that veneer. We were always at each other's throats, it seemed, always fighting about something, yet it was exciting to constantly challenge her world." Jo finally dropped in one of the armchairs, head still down. "But I couldn't leave her alone, I had to always pick on her, and she on me. If anyone had dared to threaten her in any way, I'd have smashed their face in, I swear. It was like this push/pull thing, constantly, pushing each other away, yet also pulling together when we needed to be. God, it nearly broke my heart when she got that call saying her daughter was dying, how she was so calm, yet I knew she was so frightened. I just wanted to hold her until the pain subsided, but I felt so awkward. Then, after the funeral, Blair held up so well until she saw me, then she totally lost it, sobbing in my arms."
"You felt protective."
"You're damn right I felt protective!"
The woman appeared to let the anger wash over her without a trace. "Let's look at something else, Jo. Did you suspect that you were attracted to women? How did that make you feel?"
Jo visibly forced herself to calm down, taking a deep breath before answering, "I guess I was always fascinated by women, but felt like I couldn't really relate to them. I mean, I'd watch my mother putting on her makeup before she went to work, and at school, I'd find myself watching the other girls primping, wondering why they did it. I dated some boys, but none of them really made me feel that special. I can remember Blair talking me into shopping with her when were were in college, finally getting me to dress up. It still felt alien, but the look in her eyes the first time I came out in that suit with pumps and hose was absolutely priceless." A ghost of a smile flitted across her face.
"But did you ever acknowledge that you were attracted to women before you started dating Blair?"
Jo sat back, crossing one leg over the other. "I'd say no, but I was aware that other women were attracted to me. Even when I was married to John, if I met him for dinner, I'd get these looks sometimes until he showed up, then they'd turn into confusion. I tried to tell myself that it was the bike, or it was my hard-charging nature, but after the divorce, I found myself going to lesbian bars, then turning women down. I tried to convince myself that I wanted a safe place to drink, where no men would be hitting on me. I'd go back to New York about once or twice a year, usually around Madison's or Scotty's birthdays, celebrate with the family, see our other friends from school."
"So you never did date any other women?"
"Nope, not a one."
"How did it make you feel when you and Blair acknowledged your attraction for each other?"
Jo leaned back further in the chair, steepling her fingers together, staring at the ceiling. "Scared. Relieved. Filled with desire and tenderness. Terrified of what everyone else would say, terrified that Blair would decide that I wasn't good enough for her, or that it was just a phase. But relieved that I could finally touch her without censoring myself, could express tender emotions, could let myself love her and know that she loved me too."
The other woman glanced up at the clock. "I'm sorry, Jo, but our time is about up now. For next time, I want you to think about this: even if you and Blair do not survive as a couple, will you be able to continue to accept yourself as a lesbian, as a woman who is sexually and emotionally attracted to other women?"
"Okay, doc." Jo stood up. "See ya Thursday."
A little while later, Jo walked into the shop, and stopped to watch Scott and Sam working on a bike. Scott was running electrical wires, concentrating hard on listening to Sam's directions. She watched the two men for several minutes, then turned to her office with a big smile. As she suspected, the boy was a natural, and Sam had said he was learning faster than almost anyone he'd seen. Too bad that Scott's being on the floor kept him out of the office, she was having to do more paperwork now. She'd have to remember to tell Sam not to let Scott spend all of his time on the floor, she needed his touch in sales as well.
She was so immersed in the minutia of the business that she didn't hear the knock on her door frame at first. It finally penetrated her concentration and she looked up to see Scott standing there. "May I come in for a moment?" he asked quietly.
"Yeah, sure, what's up?"
Scott closed the door behind him, then sat in one of the visitors' chairs. "Jo, I owe you and Mom a big apology," he said, "I shouldn't have freaked out so badly. I feel really bad, like I wedged myself between you two, and let my prejudices overcome my feelings for you both. No, wait, I'm not finished. You were there for her when Maddy died, helped her when Dad decided that he didn't want to be married to her any more, and supported my dream of following Frieda out here and of working in your shop. I guess I just don't have enough experience to understand what you two feel for each other, but I'll try."
"I appreciate it, Scott. But we have a trial separation until I can get my head together, and I'm not going to talk to her until then."
He stared at Jo, unbelieving. "Now, wait, do you really love Mom?"
"More than you'll ever understand."
"Then be yourself, Jo, and go tell her. Better yet, show her, don't take no for an answer. I think one of the things she likes best about you is that you refuse to let anyone dictate anything to you, even Mom. If you really love her, just tell her. Don't think, just act."
Jo's eyebrows climbed in amazement. "Scott, she specifically told me--hang on, let me get this. Eagle Custom Bikes, may I help you?" Long silence. "God, Natalie, which hospital?" Jo grabbed a pen and started scribbling on the tablet next to the phone. "Yeah, I'll tell her. We'll be there as soon as possible. Sure. Love you too." Jo scrubbed her face, then turned to Scott. "Okay, boy, listen up. Dorothy's in premature labor and is having a really hard time. Docs aren't sure if she or the baby will make it. I'm going to find Blair, you and Sam will be running the shop until we get home. Are you up to it?"
"Good. Thanks." Jo started shutting down her computer and packing her briefcase. "I'll have my phone with me if you need anything, but they may not let me turn it on at the hospital. Make sure you spend part of your time with sales, you are the sales manager, after all. Sam can handle the floor. I'm counting on you, Scott, don't let me down."
"I won't," he said softly. "Hey."
"What?" She turned, hand on the doorknob.
Scott cleared his throat, then said, "Thanks, Jo."
She reached over, patted his shoulder, and was gone.
Blair ignored her cell phone when she saw it was Jo, but was curious. She hadn't heard from Jo in nearly three weeks, since she gave the ultimatum. She tried to concentrate on the report that her replacement had sent, but found that her curiosity over why Jo had tried to call her cell phone and her home phone ten times in the past few minutes won out. She grabbed the cell phone as it blared "Eye of the Tiger" again and asked, "To what do I owe this call, Jo?"
"Natalie called, Tootie is in the hospital. Are you home?"
"No time to explain, Blair, start packing a suitcase. I've already called your hanger and they'll have the plane ready for departure by the time we get to the airport. I've already packed and am on my way to your house." Click. Blair stared at the phone for a moment, the words swirling in her head. This must be serious, Jo never called Dorothy Tootie unless she was teasing or upset, so something had to be wrong. Blair closed her phone, then went into her bedroom and opened the closet, trying to decide what to wear. It didn't really matter, if she didn't like what she packed, she could always go shopping. Somehow, though, this thought failed to excite her.
Return to The Facts of Life Fiction
Return to Main Page