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
The flight had been tense. Blair and Jo sat on opposite sides of the plane, each lost in her thoughts after Jo had briefly explained why they were rushing back home. Blair unhappily recalled her last words to Jo, wondering, for the thousandth time that month, why she had been so harsh with Jo. It was obvious that Jo had problems with her sexuality, but not with her feelings for Blair. Jo had admitted that she should not have run, so why had she felt compelled to hold it over Jo's head?
The last time Jo had seen Blair this shaken was when her own child had died, just nearly two years to the day now. Could it have been that long? Jo sneaked a peek at Blair, then looked back out the window. Blair looked awful right now, like her whole world had just crashed in on her. Could she be feeling regret for her presumption of calling all the shots in their relationship? No matter what Blair did, or didn't do, Jo knew she still loved the blonde woman she had so derisively called "princess" for years. No matter how much it hurt, she knew that her heart and soul belonged to the other woman, but despite her actions just hours ago, she was still at a loss as to how to cross the distance. Could Blair really be hurting so much that is showed in her eyes?
"Ms. Warner, Ms. Eagle, please prepare for landing," the captain's voice came over the intercom. Both women sat up, making sure everything was properly stowed and belts were properly fastened as the plane started its descent. After the plane taxied to its final position, the steward came to help them gather their belongings, then escorted them to the waiting limo, giving the driver directions to the hospital.
"Blair, Jo, you made it!" Natalie called softly as the women walked into the waiting room, still carrying their luggage. "Thornton is with Dorothy at the moment, and Greg should be here soon. The last I heard, the doctors are going to go ahead with surgery and take the babies."
"Babies, as in plural?" Jo asked. "No one said anything about plurals."
"They were sneaky, I guess, we didn't find out until last month. And it's twins, not plurals, Jo." Natalie swatted Jo on the shoulder, then hugged her before turning to Blair and hugging her as well. "Oh, I forgot to tell you guys, there's a big festival going on in town, so Greg and I will put you up in our guest room. It's either that, or go all the way into the city for a hotel."
"No, your guest room is fine," Blair quickly answered, not daring to look at Jo. "What's the prognosis?"
"They're not sure yet. Oh, wait, there's Thornton. Thornton, over here, Blair and Jo arrived!"
The tall, dignified theatre director strode over, hugging each woman in turn before sitting down with them. "The doctors said it's touch and go right now, but we'll know more in another hour or so after they've taken the babies. Dorothy's blood pressure suddenly spiked, then plummeted, and she passed out. I called 911, and we've been here since then. When she came to, she insisted that I call Natalie, which I already had," he smiled at Nat for a second, "then Natalie insisted on calling you two. I didn't expect you to drop everything and rush up here, but I do appreciate it very much. I know it will mean so much to my wife to have her best friends here."
"It's the least we could do," Jo answered for them both. "She and Nat drove us crazy sometimes, but they're like little sisters to us."
"As I said, I appreciate it. The doctors kicked me out, saying I shouldn't be there for the surgery, but as soon as it's over and she's awake, I'll tell her that you all came."
The hours dragged slowly. Greg arrived shortly after Jo and Blair and asked how they were doing. He noticed the tension, but declined to comment on it, but wondering how their relationship was holding up. After a bit, Blair took Greg aside to ask about her ex-husband, how he was faring. Greg could honestly answer that Scott was doing better, that he had completed his therapy and they were now back to being golf buddies. "I don't know how long we'll get to play golf, his new wife wants him to be a very hands on daddy. Oh, by the way, Scott is now working with Thornton full time at the theatre, and has given up his many board positions."
"Really. I don't know how much is the new trend toward directors who are not cozy buddies of CEO's and the new Sarbanes-Oxley laws and regulations, or how much is that he's gotten tired of not really contributing, but he's raising more money for the community arts groups and is actively working as general manager for the physical plant. I think his new wife has something to do with it."
"Good for her."
Before Blair had a chance to answer, the surgeon came out, looking exhausted but upbeat. "Mr. Stiles? Your wife and twins came through the surgery just fine. It was touch and go for a while, but we have all three stabilized. If you'd like to go home for a while, I'll have my nurse call you when Mrs. Stiles wakes up."
"No, thanks, I'll stay here."
Greg piped up, "I'll stay with him. Natalie, why don't you take Blair and Jo back to the house? I'll call when Dorothy is ready for visitors."
Natalie kissed Greg, then went over and hugged Thornton. "Okay, guys, you'd better call when Dorothy is awake or you'll be facing our collective wrath. Come on girls, I'll take you home, I'm sure you're tired and would like a chance to unpack and rest. Sorry the room isn't huge, but it does have a bed, a dresser, a closet, and is connected to a bathroom." Natalie held out her hands to help the other women up, then picked up their bags. "I do have to go into the City tomorrow for a conference with an editor. Did I tell you that I'm free lancing now?" Blair and Jo followed their friend silent as Natalie kept up enough chatter for all three of them.
When they arrived at the house, Natalie showed them to their room, then left to give them time to rest. After her footsteps faded away, Blair and Jo started silently unpacking their few clothes and toiletries, then circled the room warily, not looking at each other. Blair finally broke the silence. "Jo, I'm sorry I was so harsh on you a few weeks back, but I was worried about you. You took off without a word, and you looked so angry and hurt when you left. I should have asked earlier, but how are you doing?"
Jo finally sat in one of the two chairs in the room, taking a couple of breaths to figure out what she wanted to say. Finally, she started out with, "Blair, I've been going to counseling. One of the things my counselor asked was could I really accept that I am emotionally and sexually attracted to women, not just to you. We ran out of time before we could pursue that any further, but I gotta tell you, being without you is harder than I thought."
"I'm sorry, honey," Blair said gently, "I didn't mean to hurt you. What else has your counselor said?"
Jo admitted, "I told her I used to go to lesbian bars to drink after John and I split. I had this misguided notion that I would be safer there, since men wouldn't be hitting on me, but women did. Gee, you'd think I get a clue," she concluded, voice tinged with irony.
"You, in lesbian bars?"
"Yes, Blondie, me. How about you? You ever do anything wild?"
Blair thought back over the years, and shook her head. "No, but since I'd always been in private girls' schools, having little crushes on older girls or on classmates wasn't too odd. We all practiced dancing together, things like that. But does it matter that I prove that I've always been a lesbian, or does it matter what I feel for you, Joanna?"
Jo started to answer, but Natalie tapped on the door and called out, "Hope you're dressed, we need to go back to the hospital. Tootie is slipping."
The drive back to the hospital was filled with silent tension. The three women filed silently into the intensive care waiting room, where Greg, and Diane Ramsey, Dorothy's mother, were all waiting. Natalie went up and hugged Mrs. Ramsey tightly, the pulled back and asked, "When did you get here?"
"About ten minutes ago, Natalie." She looked over Nat's head and saw Blair and Jo, and motioned for them to come over, including them in the hug before she pulled away and they all sat down. "I'm so glad you girls could all be here, it's been too long since I've seen you all." She took a deep breath, then said, "Thornton is with my baby right now. The doctors said the twins would be fine, but Dorothy was bleeding pretty badly, and is in serious condition. As soon as Thornton comes back, you girls should go see her." She looked directly at Blair and Jo, saying, "Greg tells me that you two flew in from Texas to see my baby. Thank you."
Blair answered for them, "You're welcome, Mrs. Ramsey, we've always loved Dorothy and Natalie like little sisters. Is there anything we can do?"
"Not at the moment, Blair, but I appreciate your asking. How is your son?"
Blair started telling her friend's mother about Scott and what he had been doing lately. Jo finally started chiming in with what Scott was doing at work, winding up with, "He's got those killer sales instincts, just like his mother. He's also got her soft brown eyes, and you can just see our potential customers melt when he turns on that charm. I've been letting him actually work on building a bike lately, and he's got quite a bit of natural mechanical and artistic talent as well. Just like Blair." Jo couldn't resist sneaking a glance at Blair, who smiled at her, almost reaching for Jo's hand before remembering where they were.
Just then, Thornton came out and announced wearily, "They've given Dorothy another transfusion, but Natalie, you, Blair, and Jo can go in for a few minutes now. Diane, glad you could make it," he said.
Natalie jumped up, reaching out to Jo and Blair to help them up. As the trio walked down the hall, Natalie nervously walked between them, grabbing their hands for support. "I know this sounds selfish," she said as they slowly covered the distance, "but I don't know what I'd do if Dorothy didn't make it. I love her so much it hurts sometimes, she's been my best friend nearly as long as I can remember. Okay, we're here." She let go of their hands and walked into the cramped ICU room, calling out softly, "Hey, Tootie, it's me, and I have Blair and Jo with me."
Dorothy barely opened her eyes, then closed them again. "I hurt," she whimpered. Natalie leaned over the bed, tenderly kissing her forehead, then taking her hand, cradling it between hers. Dorothy opened her eyes again, looking into Nat's eyes. "Hey, Nat, I finally have my babies."
"I know. Thornton says they're fine," Natalie answered, "and I think you'll be fine, too."
"You'll be a great aunt," Dorothy said, a little dreamily, "I know you will."
Blair walked up to the other side, leaning down to kiss Dorothy's cheek. "Hey, honey, we're here," she said quietly, "is there anything we can do for you?"
Dorothy shifted her focus to Blair's face. "Look after Thornton and Natalie, huh? My best friends, my husband and Natalie." She closed her eyes for a moment, then opened them again and asked, "When I get out of the hospital, I want you all to plan a double wedding."
"What?" the other chorused.
"Yeah, Nat and Greg, Blair and Jo. Should be a dozy. Nat and Greg have lived together long enough, and it would be so romantic. Promise me." The trio looked at each other uneasily, all nervous for different reasons. "Come on, promise me."
Jo suddenly spoke for the first time since arriving at the hospital. "You pull through this, and we'll do it. Just don't make me wear a dress."
"No, you'd look fine in a tuxedo, Jo. I'm pretty tired." She yawned, then started drifting off as the trio took turns hugging her gently, then left the room.
It was touch and go for a while, but a week later, Dorothy was released from the hospital. Blair sent Jo back to Texas after a few days to run her business, then spent most of her time at the hospital so that Thornton could go back to work. Diane Ramsey and Blair took turns staying with Dorothy, who seemed to have forgotten her matrimonial wishes for her friends, to Blair's relief and disappointment. She and Jo didn't talk about the request before Jo left, but Blair turned it over in her mind repeatedly. She knew she loved Jo completely, and missed the brunette's presence intensely.
The day Dorothy and the twins were released from the hospital, Blair and Diane decided to go to a nearby coffee shop until Thornton called to say that the paperwork was completed and they were on the way home. After taking their drinks and sandwiches to a table, Diane said, "I'd like to thank you for staying. Dorothy has always loved you girls." She took a sip of coffee, then asked, "why was my daughter babbling about upcoming weddings?"
Blair felt trapped for a moment, then decided just to brazen it out. She answered, "Dorothy asked if Greg and Natalie and Jo and I could have a double wedding when she got well."
"Oh. I know she's been a little put out that Natalie refused to marry Greg, even though he's proposed several times. She did mention that you and Jo were a couple, but I just assumed that you had already had some sort of commitment ceremony."
"Yes, any reason I shouldn't have assumed it? I'm sorry, did I get it wrong? You and Jo are a couple, right?"
Blair tamped down the urge to fidget as she took a bite of sandwich to buy a few seconds to think. She swallowed, then answered slowly, "You're right, we've just been through a rough patch right now." Blair thought some more, then added, "But if Jo will have me, I'd gladly marry her in a second. I was wrong, we had a fight and I sent her away until she could come to my terms. I forget sometimes that you really have to compromise in a relationship, something that my ex-husband and I never really faced. We were too busy being the perfect couple, with the perfect family. When our daughter died, Scott fell apart, but Jo was there to help me pick up the pieces."
"Well, honey, I think you should tell her. Love is a precious gift, and needs to be nurtured daily. My Dorothy is very blessed with a loving husband and a loving best friend." Before she could say any more, her phone rang. "Excuse me." She listened, then replied, then told Blair, "That was Thornton. Dorothy and the twins are ready to go home."
"You think Mom will really like this bike?" Scott asked Jo nervously as she inspected the bike he and Sam had been working on so diligently the past few days. "You mentioned that she liked your bike because it is so fast and leans forward. See? We built a seat for two, so you can snuggle up behind her."
Jo finally smiled after giving the bike a thorough inspection. "Looks good, Scott." She reached up to pat his shoulder. "I love the paint job."
Scott relaxed as he watched Jo trace the Eastland and Langley school crests lightly. "I thought you might. So, when are you going to give this to her?"
"She called last night, said Dorothy and the twins were home, and she was coming back in a few days. Hey, if she comes in two days from now, it will be her birthday, that would be perfect. Do me a favor, Scott, and help me surprise her. Here's what I want you to do." Jo started sketching out the plans as Scott started grinning from ear to ear.
"You really love Mom, don't you?"
"Yeah, with all my heart. It's been hell this past week without her."
Scott took a deep breath, then said, "Hey, I was really wrong to jump all over you guys like I did. I know I've apologized already, but I really want you two to work things out. I can see that you have more love for Mom than Dad ever thought about. I shouldn't say this, but I want you as my stepmother."
Jo stared at him, stunned. "You mean, you really want me to propose to her or something?"
Scott nodded firmly. "Y"all belong together. I know it can't be official, unless you marry in Massachusetts or Canada or something, but I think you two need to make a commitment. Hey, you have to be a good example for me and Frieda, after all."
"I'll think about it," Jo promised, thinking about Dorothy's request. Geez, it seemed like from pushing them apart, everyone was suddenly pushing them together. "In the meanwhile, you need to get back to that stack of paperwork on your desk."
"Yes, sir!" He shouted, scuttling off. Jo just rolled her eyes.
Jo nervously fiddled with the placement of the food around her small dining table, then lit the candles. Perfect. She stood back to admire her handiwork, smiling at the soft glow that the candles lent to the room. Very romantic. She smoothed her silk blouse one more time, then went to the door just as the doorbell was ringing. "Happy Birthday, Blair," she said as she ushered the woman into her small house, kissing her lightly on the cheek. "Perfect timing, I'd just taken the bread out."
"This is beautiful," Blair breathed, taking in the dinner, the candles, and Jo herself. "Thank you."
"Have a seat, please," Jo said, holding out a chair for her. She helped Blair scoot in, then sat across from her, smiling mysteriously, reaching for her hands. "Blessing?"
Jo bowed her head and said simply, "Mother Mary, thank you for our many blessings, for Dorothy and Thornton's new babies, for Dorothy's continued recovery, and most of all, for Blair. Amen. Let's eat."
Blair was almost speechless for the first few minutes. Jo had managed to cook up a delicious meal, many of Blair's favorites, including lemon pepper grilled chicken. They talked about the new twins, about Scott's progress at the shop, about the upcoming season for Shakespeare in the Park. Blair found herself relaxing, just enjoying Jo's company, laughing at her funny stories of customer requests. "And this guy wanted his bike to be A&M maroon, with gold trim and the A&M mascot on the gas tank and logo on the tail fender. He just about died when Scott told him how much it would cost to pay the licensing fees for the use of the university mascot and logo, but he just sucked it up and asked, 'When will it be ready?'"
"People are nuts about their schools sometimes. After all, look at Scott wearing all those TCU shirts."
"So, would you turn down something with your school crests or something on them?"
"No, Jo, because I think of you when I think of Eastfield and Langley," Blair answered, taking Jo's hand in hers and squeezing. "Why do you ask?"
"Follow me," Jo said simply, tugging on Blair's hand. She led the other woman into the garage, flipping on the overhead light. "Happy Birthday, Blair."
Blair just stood for a moment, staring at the beautiful motorcycle, blinking rapidly as tears suddenly sprang up. She turned to Jo and gave her a heartfelt kiss, then pulled away and approached the bike, just circling it for a couple of circuits before carefully sitting on it. "It's perfect, Joanna," she said reverently, then smiling as she saw the twin crests of their high school and college.
Jo chuckled as she slid in behind Blair, wrapping her arms around the other woman. "Scott designed it so we could ride it together or you could ride it solo."
"Oh, baby, this is perfect. Let's go for a ride, right now."
"Okay, go in the bedroom, I have some proper cycling clothes for you. I'll change as soon as I put the dishes in the dishwasher."
Soon, the women straddled the powerful, sleek, bike in their new jeans, low cut t-shirts, leathers, and helmets. Blair turned the bike carefully out of the drive, feeling the power between her legs, feeling Jo snuggled behind her. It was a perfect fit, she decided as she drove around aimlessly, just enjoying the sensations. She smiled to herself, thinking of the surprise she had waiting for Jo.
An hour later, they pulled back into Jo's garage, both grinning uncontrollably. "That is the smoothest ride I've ever felt," Blair enthused as she opened the kitchen door back into the house. "You, Scott, and Sam are geniuses."
"Glad you like it," Jo replied happily.
"Now for your surprise," Blair announced as they sat back on the couch in the living room. She slowly pulled on a gold chain that was nestled between her breasts, making sure she had Jo's complete attention before revealing the two rings on the end of the chain. She carefully undid the clasp, sliding the chain out and laying it on the end table before getting on her knees before Jo, holding out the rings. "Jo, I've been thinking, and even though we're not perfect, we're perfect for each other. I was wrong to doubt you, wrong to hope you would show the world that you love me, because just having you love me is enough. I had these rings made in hopes that you would consent to marry me."
"Oh, God, Blair," Jo answered thickly, voice threatening to crack with the sudden onslaught of emotion as she examined the rings. They were simple bands, with yellow and white gold stripes alternating. "They're beautiful." She wiped her eyes, then asked, "Can I think about it?"
"As long as you need."
Jo stared into Blair's deep brown eyes, seeing them shining in the lamp light, glowing with emotion. She found herself smiling and saying, "I've thought about it. Let's live up to our promise to Tootie. All we have to do now is to get Natalie and Greg to agree." She carefully set the rings on the table next to the chain, and pulled Blair up onto the couch. "I will marry you, Blair, God, I love you."
"And I love you," Blair replied before burying her face in Jo's neck, hugging her tightly. She took a moment, then pulled back, seeing green eyes shining at her, then kissed Jo with all the passion she had. "Let me show you how much," she whispered huskily, between kisses, busily working on untying the vest laces. She shifted them until Jo was underneath her, dazed at the sudden passion, but desire creeping across her own face as Blair busily divested them both of their clothing.
"Wanna move to the bedroom?" Jo choked out as Blair started kissing her way down Jo's body.
"Can't wait that long," Blair moaned, taking a nipple in her mouth, tonguing it lavishly. Jo groaned with pleasure as Blair continued her oral assault, feeling flushed as her desire continued to climb.
Blair shoved a leg between Jo's legs, making sure she had contact with one of Jo's thighs. She couldn't slow down, not this time, as she started grinding into Jo, feeling their wetness coating each other's legs as she switched to the other breast. Jo was moaning softly as she started jerking against Blair, squeezing hard with her legs, then pulling Blair up and kissing her deeply, trying hard to contain the rapidly approaching orgasm, trying to make it last longer. She managed to wrap her legs around Blair's waist, seeking more contact as they furiously ground against each other, rushing toward the inevitable explosion.
"Jo!" Blair suddenly cried out, picking up the pace as she started shuddering with her climax. Jo picked up her own pace as she sought more friction, then felt the orgasm starting to bloom through her lower body, squeezing her legs harder around Blair, furiously slamming their bodies together as the sensation just rolled on and on until they collapsed into a sweaty heap. They laid there, panting, slowly relaxing as their climaxes ebbed away. Jo wearily kissed Blair's forehead, then dropped her head back, unable to move, drifting into a light doze with Blair's weight happily anchoring her in a sea of love. "Happy birthday, honey," she whispered as she drifted off.
"But can I really go through with this?" Natalie asked Dorothy anxiously as Dorothy helped her with the wedding gown. "I mean, I've been single for so long, never have wanted to tie myself down completely."
"Listen, do you love Greg with your heart and soul?" Dorothy countered as she finished with the zipper.
"Yes. I've never known anyone like him, but I'm scared."
Dorothy patted her friend on the shoulder, then kissed her cheek lightly. "Nat, I was scared senseless when I married Thornton, but we've managed. Besides, with Jo and Blair here, most of the spotlight will be on them."
"True," Natalie replied. She hugged Dorothy tightly, then pulled back, keeping her best friend's hands in hers for a moment. "And don't think I'm replacing you as best friend, just because I'm getting married."
"I never doubted it for a moment. Let's go, girlfriend."
Natalie sighed as she picked up her small bouquet and followed Dorothy out of the dressing room. Since no church would marry them, Thornton decided to let them use the theatre, and to get a priest, a rabbi, and a minister to do the actual ceremony. Natalie stood at the back of the auditorium, watching as the attendants made their way down the aisle. Dorothy stood for Natalie, Scott Sr. for Greg, John for Jo, and Scott Jr. for Blair. Unusual mix of attendants, she mused as she smiled at Blair, but it felt right. As the wedding march started, she reached out and gripped Blair's hand, who squeezed back. Impulsively, Natalie kissed Blair's cheek before they started down the aisle, not caring that everyone was looking. If Blair and Jo hadn't decided to make the plunge, she doubted that she'd have the courage to do so with Greg, no matter how many times he proposed.
Greg smiled as he watched his wife to be coming down the aisle. It was a dream come true; he just wished he could squeeze Scott's hand. His friend had come so far in the past few months, finally starting to accept his daughter's death, the breakup of his marriage, and his new role as father for the third time. He had been nervous about Blair breaking the news to Scott of her marriage to Jo, but to everyone's surprise, Scott had not only congratulated the pair, but had sent them the quilt that his grandmother had made for his and Blair's wedding.
Jo was so excited that she could hardly contain herself. She thought her face would break she was grinning so hard. Frieda caught her eye from a few rows back, winking, and she impulsively winked back. She felt Sam's steady presence beside her. God, Blair was so beautiful today. Well, Nat was too, but Blair was about to be hers always.
The brides finally made their way up the stairs as the priest started off, "Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to celebrate the joining of these two couples..."
The impossible dream was finally being realized.
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