DISCLAIMER: I don't own The Facts of Life. If I did, it would still be on the air with Jo and Blair still trying to figure out ways to live above Edna's kitchen. No profit made. You know the rest.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is a Facts of Life U/A story. It has been years since I've watched the show, so most of what I remember about Jo and Blair is from memory. Needless to say there may be a few inaccuracies. Here comes the WARNING, If you're a Rick/Jo fan run. I've always felt Jo's heart belonged to Blair. This story may seem out of character at first, but I've always felt Jo had a lot of issues underneath the tough exterior and Blair was really the stronger of the two. The women are in their late 20's and if I stayed true with the timeline it would be the early 90's. The good thing about writing a U/A is the free range allowed with the story. So this story takes place now. Just call it time travel. So laptops, cell phones and internet are part of their everyday lives.
THANKS: I would also like to thank my beta reader Rysler. If not for her help, (lots of help) trust me this story would have been painful to read in many ways.
CHALLENGE: Submitted as part of the Epic Proportions challenge.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
The New Facts of Life
JO'S ROOM LATER THAT MORNING
Jo had bought a pair of jeans, a thermal shirt, and a button down cotton shirt to use as her work clothes.
'Megastore shopping, I bet Blair has never experienced that.' Thought Jo.
Jo wished Blair understood a little more about her feelings about money. Jo didn't have the hang-ups like she did when they were younger about Blair's money. She understood what other people considered months worth of salary was play money to Blair. Jo still wished Blair could see her side.
As it was, Jo was using Blair's car and money. Blair had even set it up so Jo could use her credit card, having had one sent in Jo's name only a few days after they had arrived.
Jo had felt she was somewhat holding up her end of living here by working on Blair's father's car. If they hired a mechanic to fix the car it would cost a fortune. Jo didn't care about her work clothes. They just got ruined. There was no reason to waste money on new clothes, her old clothes would work just fine. Why couldn't Blair see that?
But the stunt with her work clothes made her feel like a Barbie doll. Blair had finally fulfilled her wish of dressing her. Which Jo knew shouldn't bother her, but it did.
She had just spent six years in a relationship where someone controlled every aspect of her life. She knew Blair would never hurt her in any way. Still she was feeling a little insecure at the moment.
When Jo heard a knocking on her door, she knew it was time to face Blair.
Blair walked cautiously into Jo's room, eyeing the clothes laying across the bed. "Ah, that is so much better."
Jo just looked at her like she had grown a second head. "Blair, you wouldn't be seen dead in those. I'm surprised you would want your Barbie to wear them."
"Jo, what the hell are you talking about?" Blair asked.
"These clothes," Jo stated as she walked over, picking up one of the shirts. "I know you really don't like them. I knew when I bought them you wouldn't like them. But they're work clothes and even Barbies have to get dirty when they work on cars."
Blair wasn't getting this. She had no idea what Jo was talking about. "You think you're a Barbie?"
Jo just stared and sighed. "No Blair, I think you think I'm your Barbie. You know, dress me up, make me look like you want me to look. Blair, I really do appreciate everything you are doing for me. Taking care of me and all. The clothes you bought me are beautiful and even something I would buy. But you can't control everything I wear and do. I can't let myself get into that cycle again. God, I don't even know if I'm saying this right."
Blair suddenly realized what Jo was trying to say. "Sweetie, I'm not trying to control you. Is that what you think?"
Jo now was embarrassed How could she be so ungrateful? "Yes. No. I don't know."
Blair would have laughed at the silliness of the whole situation if it wasn't so serious. "No, Jo, I'm not. I don't care what you wear." Then she had to chuckle a little at her own statement. "Well, no more then I care what anyone wears. Jo, I burned that outfit because of what it represented. I hated it. Every time you put that outfit on to work all I could think about was Rick. I hated that for years you had to wear outfits that hid the bruises. I hated you had wear outfits that he approved of because he didn't want anyone else to look at you. I just wanted anything attached to Rick gone. Jo, it's not that I want to control you."
Blair knew at that moment she had to take a chance. She had to tell Jo how she really felt. If Jo didn't return her feelings they would just have to work through it.
Blair moved closer to Jo, taking her face gently in both hands. "I burned those clothes because I couldn't stand the thought of you ever hurting. I burned those clothes because I love you, Jo Polniaczek."
Jo was breathless. She didn't know what say. She noticed Blair was moving closer and closer. God help her, she couldn't help herself as she felt her own body move into Blair's.
Jo felt every nerve ending tingle through her whole body when Blair's lips finally touched her. Then when Jo felt Blair encouraging her to open her mouth a little more with the bottom of her hand. Jo decided then to hand over total control of everything to Blair, knowing she was no longer in control of anything.
Jo couldn't believe how wonderful kissing Blair could be. Thinking how if being kissed by Blair felt like this, god help her if they made love.
It was like all five of Jo senses were on super high alert.
The sight Jo saw before closing her eyes was one of love, intense desire, and raw emotions. She knew she would never forget the sight of this breathtakingly beautiful woman with so much love in her eyes directed at her.
She could hear every sigh, every moan, at times wondering which of them was making the sounds as their mouths and tongues mended together.
Jo could smell everything from Blair's shampoo to the arousal coming off of both their bodies. She wondered briefly if Blair could smell it too.
She loved the way Blair's mouth tasted. She could taste everything from the coffee Blair had just had, to the flavors that were Blair's and Blair's alone. Jo felt at that moment she could live off the flavors Blair had to offer and wondered what flavors had yet to be discovered.
But the most intense feeling she was experiencing was touch. She felt at that moment that she understood what the blind felt. Everywhere she touched felt glorious. The skin on Blair's face was flawless, smooth and soft. She wondered when her hands felt Blair's hair how something so thick and luminous could feel so soft and baby fine. As Jo hands roamed Blair's clothed body, she marveled at the curves she felt. Blair was so unlike herself. She was soft and curvy and very much every inch feminine. She was perfect.
Not only was Jo's sense of touch more perceptive, but everywhere Blair touched was more receptive. Between Blair's kisses and her touch, Jo's body was on fire. Blair's hands roamed freely all over Jo's body. She felt Blair graze the side of her breast. She could feel her nipple hardening and electricity shooting straight to her groin. 'God it had never felt like this.' Jo felt herself pushing the apex of her groin more firmly into Blair's leg. She was hoping the pressure would help relieve some of the intensity she was feeling. Jo felt like she was going to explode, yet they hadn't done anything.
Jo pulled back, wanting to say something. She felt she had to warn Blair before they went any further. "I've never felt like this. Blair, I've never been with "
Before Jo could finish her sentence, Blair stopped her. "It's OK, Jo. It's just you and me."
Blair reached in, kissing Jo deeply before pulling back. "Jo, I know you said I wanted to dress you, but sweetheart, all I want to do now is have you naked."
After a frenzy of clothes being removed and Jo's new purchases being thrown on the floor, both women found themselves naked in Jo's bed.
Blair knew how to make love to Jo's body. It was like Blair was born knowing the right places to touch and caress. She sent Jo places Jo had read about but never experienced. Never could Jo have imagined someone's hands or mouth sending her to such extreme heights of pleasure that she would have sworn she touched heaven.
Jo wanted to do the same for Blair. She wanted Blair to experience the pure pleasures she had just experienced. Yet, she found herself fearful. Remembering Rick's comments about her inadequacies in the bedroom, Jo didn't know if she could be the lover Blair deserved.
When Blair looked into Jo's eyes, she could see the beginning of an emotion she wasn't sure how to read. "What is it baby?" She continued to stroke Jo's face and hair, waiting for Jo to gather her thoughts and tell her what was on her mind.
Jo reached up, taking Blair's hand in hers, then bringing Blair hand to her lips for a soft kiss before speaking. "Blair, you make me happier then I ever thought possible. What just happened. It's never happened for me. I've never had that experience."
Blair just smiled, feeling proud of the climax she was able to help Jo experience. Jo continued to talk, realizing this was an obstacle they would have to work on together. "I don't know if I can do the same for you. I want to. I just don't know if I can."
Blair understood, but she also knew she was wound so tight it wouldn't take much to send her over the edge. Having Jo here with her was enough to make her happy, but she was determined to show Jo just how turned on she was. "Jo, if it feels good to you, it will feel good to me. You can't do anything wrong. Just having you touch me makes me happier than I've ever been with anyone else."
Blair took Jo's hands and placed it on her breast, gently massaging herself on top of Jo's hands. She then removed her hand and closed her eyes, wanting to enjoy the pleasure of Jo touching her.
Jo felt like she should be doing something else, but she couldn't help but look at Blair's breasts while she touched them. It amazed her seeing and feeling Blair's nipples harden under her touch. It was as if they were reaching out to her, wanting all her attention. She knew then she had to do more than just touch them.
When Blair felt Jo's mouth on her breast it was all she could do not to come off the bed. The sensation was overwhelming. She was thrilled at Jo's newfound boldness. Jo was doing everything right. Alternating between licking and sucking, yet still using her hands to massage and take care of both breasts.
Blair then felt Jo playing with the tip of her nipple with her tongue, then gently biting down around her areola. The jolt she felt in her groin when Jo did this made her realize she had to move things along.
With strength she did not think she had, she pulled Jo's face back up to hers. She felt herself kissing Jo with all the emotions she had in her. She loved this woman. She hoped Jo realized just how much at that moment.
When the kiss ended Jo pulled back, looking into Blair's eyes. "Was I not doing it right?"
Blair reached in kissing Jo one more time before speaking. "Sweetheart, you were doing everything right. Very, very right."
Blair once again found herself taking Jo's hand in her own as she guided her to the part of her anatomy that needed the most attention.
Jo swallowed as their hands moved in unison over Blair's mound. Feeling her own wetness, knowing Jo was feeling it too, Blair said, "See Jo, that's because of you."
Jo couldn't believe what she was feeling, both physically and emotionally. She could feel how turned on Blair was. Blair's excitement was evident on Jo's fingers. She couldn't believe how turned on she had become herself just from touching Blair intimately.
She never figured she could relax enough to enjoy this type of intimacy. Then it hit her there wasn't anything wrong with her. She just wasn't with the right partner before.
Jo continued to let Blair guide her, instinctively knowing where Blair was taking her. Jo knew anatomy. She had taken it in college. But once her fingertip felt the small hard bundles of nerves it still amazed her. Blair continued to guide Jo's hand down, pushing their fingers lightly into her opening.
Then, in a voice that was raw and intense, Blair stated. "Touch me there."
Jo needed no more instructions as Blair pulled her hand away. Jo felt in control, a feeling she hadn't felt in years. Her inhibitions and insecurities were gone. She felt animalistic and excited as she started pushing her fingers in and out of Blair. Her thumb rubbing Blair's clit at the same time. When she felt Blair moving in rhythm with her fingers, Jo heard herself growl.
Taking one of Blair's nipple's in her mouth once again, Jo licked to a similar rhythm set by her hand. She felt her self pushing even harder into Blair, briefly wondering if she was hurting her. But judging by Blair's responses, she soon put that thought out of her head. She felt the need to be in as deep as possible. Her two fingers loving the warm, wet and soft incasing they had found themselves in. Jo noticed the farther and harder she pushed her fingers in, the more the walls around the fingers would tighten.
Jo could tell the second Blair climaxed. Not only because of the four letter word Blair never said, being said quite frequently between Jo's name. But she could feel it. She felt the walls around her fingers tighten and flutter. She felt Blair's whole body tighten under her, just before Blair started calling out her name along with a few choice words. Though Blair had just climaxed, Jo, too, was feeling very satisfied at what had just taken place.
Jo moved back up Blair's body, just wanting to hold her. When Blair finally looked at Jo, they both couldn't help but smile goofily at each other. Blair was the first one to speak, breaking the spell they both found themselves in. "That was unbelievable."
Jo just continued to smile like a big goof. "I know."
Jo's face suddenly turned serious. "Blair, you know I love you?" She felt her face turn pink at the admission. 'God' thought Jo. 'We just had sex and I'm embarrassed over words.'
Blair noticed the shyness in her lovers face. "I know you do, but then again, who wouldn't?"
'There's my princess.' Jo thought, as she sucked Blair's earlobe into her mouth before asking in a very low voice. "Can we do it again?"
TWO DAYS LATER
Blair couldn't believe the amount of emails and voicemails she had waiting for her. She had deleted almost half the voicemails without even listening to the whole message. She figured they would call back if it was really important. Now she was doing the same thing with her email. If the subject line didn't grab her attention, the correspondence was added to the growing numbers in the trash can.
Jo walked up behind Blair, looking over her shoulder while she worked. With a slight sneer in her voice, Jo said, "Blair, that's what happens forget your responsibilities to have sex for two days."
The two shared a rather long, intimate kiss before Blair had to finally pull away. "If we keep this up, it's going to be three days." Then in a very whiny, very unlike Blair voice she told Jo, while pushing her away, "Jo, go, I have to work. If you keep kissing me like that, I never will."
Jo just reached in for another quick kiss before backing away. "Face it, Princess, you can't keep your hands off me."
Blair had to smirk at Jo's sudden cockiness. "Well, you know what happens when good girls meet delinquents? Not to mention the fact that overnight you've become more randy than all the boys I dated in high school and college put together."
Jo knew what Blair was saying, but she still had to needle her a little more. "Randy. And here I thought I was just horny?"
As Blair faked being shocked she called out. "Jo, be civilized."
Jo just laughed at Blair as she walked toward the kitchen to get herself a cup of coffee. "Blair, I think I'll be able to finish your dad's car today. I need to have someone tow it back to the city since it's not registered and doesn't have tags. It still needs tires and a little body and upholstery work. But all in all, it's almost finished. I still can't believe your dad let this car set up here all this time without having somebody work on it."
Blair, still sorting through her emails, barely looked up. "I'm sure it's just one of many toys my dad has but doesn't have time for."
Blair continued to work, amazed at the volume waiting her. She had, at one point during the first day she and Jo intensified their relationship, called into her office and told her assistant to forward all decisions and important matters to Helen for the next couple of days. But it was becoming more and more obvious she needed to get back to New York and start handling problems at her company. That, or make it more official the authority she was handing over to Helen. As much as she loved staying here with Jo, she knew it was time for the two of them to go home and face the real world. She just hated the thought. The last two and a half weeks had been wonderful.
GARAGE LATER THAT DAY
Jo turned the ignition over again, loving the sound the muscle car was making. It had been years since she had worked on an engine, so she was feeling very proud of her accomplishment. She had worked all day, wanting to finish up. After looking over Blair's shoulder this morning and seeing the work Blair was putting off, she knew their days here were numbered. Blair had a company to run. And like it or not, she needed to face her life. She had to face Rick and make some serious amends if she and Blair were going to be able to go on with their lives.
Being here with Blair these last two and a half weeks had been like a fairytale. Her princess in shining armor. Well, if they were going to ride off into the sunset together, Jo knew she had a few dragons to slay. It was time she started facing them.
Jo walked in to the house, wanting Blair to come to the garage to see what she had done. Jo knew Blair could care less about cars, but Jo was feeling proud at the moment and wanted to share it with her. "Blair, come see your dad's car. It's purring like a cat."
Blair, at first, was going to tell Jo she would look at it later. But seeing the excitement in Jo's face, she knew she couldn't let her down by saying no.
Blair sat in the passenger's seat while Jo cranked the car. Hearing Jo rev the engine, she couldn't help but notice the look of pride all over Jo's face. "So what do you think? It sounds great, doesn't it?"
Blair had no idea what she was listening to. It sounded like a car. A car with a very loud muffler. But she couldn't help but be swept up in Jo's excitement. "Jo, it sounds wonderful."
Jo just grinned from ear to ear with pride. "You have no idea what you're listening to, do you?"
Blair just shrugged and grinned back. "No."
Jo turned the car off teasing Blair. "You are such a girly girl sometimes."
As the two walked back toward the house, all Blair could think about was Jo joking about what a girly girl she was. She was, she knew it. She loved clothes, makeup, jewelry anything girly. She loved the fact she was a woman and everything that meant. But she also knew she had a tough side many didn't see. A side that liked to be in control and take control. And for some reason she felt the need to show Jo right there just how much control she could have.
Jo didn't know what hit her when she felt Blair pull her to the side then up against a tree. Blair was hungrily kissing Jo when Jo felt Blair's hands unbuttoning the front of her shirt. Blair grabbed Jo's hands and placed above her head before returning to finishing the task with Jo's shirt. All Jo could think to do was grab a low hanging branch and hold on for dear life.
This time the love making was hot and frenzied, with no time being taken with the removal of clothes. Blair just moved what she needed moved as she made her assault on Jo's body. Jo came fast and hard before feeling herself collapse back into the tree. Jo felt Blair remove her hand out of her pants before zipping and buttoning them back up. When Blair moved Jo's bra back over her breast, Blair asked her, "Still think I'm a girly girl?"
Jo, who was just starting to come back to her senses, replied back. "Hell yes!" Then she noticed a little sadness in Blair's eyes. "Blair, what was this about?"
Blair continued to re-dress Jo, buttoning up the last button on Jo's shirt. "I've missed you today. I hate all of this is about to end." Jo pulled Blair into a hug, answering back. "I do too, Sweetheart. I do too."
Blair looked up at Jo. "You called me sweetheart."
Jo just shrugged. "I know."
That night, the two relaxed in the large sunken tub off the master bathroom, Blair noticed a few scars on Jo's back and wondered how they got there. The night was sad, knowing it was the last night they would be staying here for a while. So Blair opted not to ask about them.
They discussed the fact that they needed to go home. That Jo would move in to Blair's home, of course. They would go into work together the first morning back. Blair, so she could start tying up loss ends at work, and Jo could met with the Warner lawyers and see what she needed to do to start the divorce.
They had also decided they would have dinner with Dorothy and Natalie as soon as the two friends could meet them.
Jo wanted to find a job even though Blair said it wasn't necessary. Blair knew it was Jo's decision.
Mostly, Jo really wanted to see her mother. She wanted to make things right with her family. She told Blair honestly that she didn't know if her family would accept her in a gay relationship, but she still wanted to see them. Blair reassured Jo they would take on that issue one day at a time. Maybe starting with their friends, and then moving to family later. Both thought they needed to wait till the divorce was final before completely coming out to everyone. They didn't want to hide their relationship, just needed to wait for the right time.
As they lay there, they both realized they had a lot of work ahead. Yet, both felt as long as they had each other, they could tackle anything.
BLAIR'S PENTHOUSE, NEW YORK
It was late when the women arrived at Blair's penthouse. Between waiting for the tow truck to pick up the Mustang and their general slowness, it was midday before they headed out.
They had taken their time driving home. They'd stopped to eat at leisurely rates and even had coffee at a few truck-stop diners when stopping for gas. They knew they were dragging the day out. They just couldn't help themselves. It was like the end of their honeymoon.
Now, Jo took in Blair's home and the view money could afford her. "Blair, do you guys own anything that doesn't have a spectacular view?" Blair just smiled. She was raised with money. Sometimes she forgot just how good she had it.
Jo continued to walk around, taking in everything. Jo could see Blair's taste in everything classy, yet warm and inviting. "This place is you Blair. I guess I never knew Warner Towers had penthouses."
'Three.' Thought Blair. 'Daddy's, Grandfather's, and now mine.' Blair hated to talk about money with Jo. Blair knew Jo understood she was rich, but she had a feeling Jo really didn't quite comprehend just how rich. The last time Blair saw a list of the world's riches families, she knew her family was in the top twenty-five. But unlike some of America's other rich families, the Warners prided themselves for staying out of the press and avoiding controversy. Divorce was common, but unless the press wanted to write about the many marriages of the Warner clan, there really wasn't much to write about.
Blair showed Jo the master bedroom and let her get settled before showing her the rest of the penthouse. After a quick tour, a thought popped into Jo's head. "Blair, please don't tell me you're living above where you work again?"
Blair had never thought about it. They had only finished her penthouse less than a year ago. "I guess I am. I never really thought about it. I guess two things are always meant to be. First is I'm fated to spend my life living above where I work. Secondly and more importantly, I'm always meant to share my bedroom with you. I'm tired Jo, and we have a big day tomorrow. Let's go to bed."
Morning came quickly. Blair was waiting for Jo to finish dressing so they could head down and start their respective days. Blair's office was on the twentieth floor. The lawyer's offices were on the second. Blair had already called her lawyers to let them know Jo would be coming by in the morning. Blair had wanted to go with Jo, but Jo told her she was being silly and she could handle going to a lawyer's office by herself. Blair had decided even if she didn't go to the lawyer with Jo they still could leave together. Even with all Jo's bravado, Blair could tell Jo was still a little hesitant. In all the years the two of them were roommates she could only think of a few times that she had finished getting dressed before Jo. The more Blair thought about Jo and Rick, the more she hated Rick and the pain he had caused. Blair couldn't wait until he was out of Jo's life.
LAW OFFICES OF DUPNIK, JETTER AND CARTER
Jo didn't have to wait long in the waiting room before one of the associates came to get her. She realized she wasn't going to be dealing with an associate of this large law firm when she was ushered into the office of Thomas Dupnik Jr.
Jo felt intimidated waiting in the massive office, feeling very much out of her league. The office was large and had a massive desk in the center of the room, with two chairs facing the desk. Shelves of books with diplomas and awards lined the walls. This was the office of a lawyer who's hourly fees were more than she had ever made in a week at all her jobs.
She didn't know what she expecting, but when a man in his early 30s walked in she was a little surprised. He held out his hand "Thomas Dupnik. Have a seat, Mrs. Bonner."
Jo took a seat facing the desk. "Please call me Jo, Mr. Dupnik."
To which the lawyer replied, "Then I insist you call me Tom."
Jo had to ask. "Tom, how does someone as young as you become a partner so young?"
Tom smirked. He like this woman. She got right to the point. "I'm a junior partner. My dad is the Dupnik on the firm's name. But rest assured I know what I'm doing. Blair asked me personally to handle your case. I've been friends with Blair for years, we even played together as children. In a lot of ways she was the bratty little sister I never had. Jo one thing you can count on is if it affects Blair it will have 110 percent of my attention."
Jo felt a little confused. This was her divorce and as far as she knew nobody knew about her and Blair. Tom's concern over was Blair surprising. "I understand. I've known Blair since I was sixteen. We were roommates in high school and college. I appreciate everything she is doing for me. She's a good friend."
Tom pulled two folders out of his desk. Jo didn't know why, but suddenly she felt her stomach knot up. Tom looked sympathetically at Jo. "Jo, your husband has already filed for divorce. He had copies of the papers sent here. Somehow his lawyers found out we were the Warner lawyers and they figured if they sent copies of these depositions to us, you and Blair would eventually get them. I'm sure you two will be served in the near future. I want you to know I haven't told Blair any of this."
Jo dreaded what the answer to her next question was going to be. She knew Rick wouldn't let her go without trying to get his last punch in. "What does Blair have to do with my divorce?"
Tom hated lawyers sometimes. Though he was one himself he knew the ruthlessness of some lawyers. And the firm Rick was using was well known for just that. "Jo, he filed for divorce on the grounds of infidelity. He also filed a lawsuit against Blair and her company. He states that Blair has caused him pain and suffering by breaking up his marriage. He states she has influenced you into a perverted lifestyle and the embarrassment of this has affected his career. Jo, his lawyers have told me they have proof of your and Blair's affair. Rick hired a private investigator and somehow they have pictures."
Jo sat there shocked. She didn't understand how Rick could have pictures. They hadn't been home. As far as she knew nobody knew where they were. "I don't believe that. How can he have pictures? And why is he going after Blair? Tom, we have to stop him, I'll do whatever it takes."
Tom explained. "Jo, I don't think the lawsuit has any merits. I think he is doing this to hurt you and Blair. But I'm going to be honest with you. He may be doing this for the press. I'm sure nothing would make him happier than humiliating Blair, knowing in turn this will also hurt you. I'm going to call Blair and ask her to come down. Then the three of us are going to figure out what steps we are going to take. Blair may want to try settle out of court or she may want to fight. I don't know. But whatever you and Blair decide I'll do whatever it takes."
Blair sat beside Jo, not believing what she was hearing. 'That bastard'. She had underestimated him. She almost wished she could talk to Tom without Jo in the room. She wanted to tell Tom to destroy Rick. She was going to tell him money was no object, just do what needed to be done. Yet she knew if she sent Jo out, chances were Jo would misread her intentions, so that was not an option. Plus she knew Jo. Throwing around her money to destroy Rick would only make Jo feel cheap. That she couldn't win her own battles on merits. She wouldn't do that to Jo. But she would not let that bastard win. "Tom, can you call his lawyers and either have them fax or email a scan of those so-called photos?"
Tom had a feeling the photos were not a bluff. He knew this law office they didn't make threats unless they had what they needed for court. "Blair I have a feeling you're not going to like what you see. I have to ask and I hope you know nothing leaves this office. Not even to my partners. Are you two involved?"
Blair looked him straight in the eyes she wasn't ashamed. Nobody was going to make her feel that way. "Yes." Blair answered without hesitation. "Tom, this divorce isn't about mine and Jo's relationship. It's about the years of abuse she endured while married to Rick. Not that it matters, but Jo and I didn't become involved until after she had decided to leave Rick. The marriage was over, I did not break up their marriage."
Tom looked over to Jo. "Jo, do you have any proof of this abuse?"
Jo thought back and realized she had hid well. Hid the bruises. Hid from her friends. She hated the fact that as far as the proof they needed she didn't have any. "No."
Blair looked over to Jo. "Jo, you probably have more proof than you realize. Old co-workers, surely someone noticed. Dorothy, Natalie, and I have all seen the bruises. I have one set of photos that will help."
Jo looked over at Tom. "Tom, I don't want anything, why can't we just let him have his divorce?"
Tom could see her point, if it was only about a divorce he would have told her just to sign the papers. But signing the divorce papers as is, only gave Rick more fuel for his lawsuit against Blair. "Jo, I wish it was that easy. Ladies I'm going to go into the next room and call Rick's lawyers. Why don't you two take a few minutes to talk about what you want me to do."
Jo looked over at her friend, now her girlfriend. "I can't let him do this. I'll go back and do whatever I have to. Blair, he will drag you and your family through the mud."
Blair couldn't believe the thought of going back had even entered Jo's head. "No, Jo, we will fight him. We were going to tell our families and friends anyway. It's just going to be sooner than we thought. My family can live through some press. Jo, I can't lose you again. Promise me going back to him is an option you will never consider?"
Jo hoped Blair really understood what she was getting into. "I promise."
When Tom entered into the office he handed the fax to Blair. Blair closed her eyes after seeing the picture. She was glad it was a faxed copy of an obvious copy. The picture was grainy, and luckily hard to really make out. She thought of Tom like brother. Though she wasn't ashamed of her and Jo, she still didn't want him seeing them in the act of making love.
All Blair could figure was the private investigator Rick hired must have been in the woods somewhere. God, she had been stupid. She should have hired security. All anyone needed to do was surf the internet to find out just about anything about her family, including properties. She never imagined Rick would have gone to all this trouble. Sometimes she was naïve about the lengths some people would go to destroy another person. She handed the picture over to Jo. "I'm sorry."
Jo couldn't believe it as she looked at the picture of Blair and herself against the tree making love. It sent chills down her spine to realize someone had been watching them. It also scared her to think how close they were to being in danger. Thank god they had left. What if Rick had come up after finding out where she was?
BLAIR'S PENTHOUSE, LATER THAT DAY
When Blair walked into the penthouse Jo had already been home for several hours. It surprised Blair that Jo was just sitting in the living room looking out the windows. "Jo, Dorothy and Natalie are going to be here in a couple of hours. You remembered I called them this morning before I went to work?" Blair continued to walk over. "Jo, talk to me."
When Jo looked up, Blair could tell she had been crying. "I can't believe what you're willing to do for me. I go back and forth wondering if you're crazy or if I'm just very lucky. Rick isn't going to be happy just ruining my life, now he wants to ruin yours. I just can't understand why you don't kick me to the curb, or at least back to the Bronx. Blair, why would you let him destroy your reputation for me. You owe me nothing and I owe you everything. I'm not worth it."
Blair sat down beside Jo. "Well Jo, you know me, I never was one for physical activity. All that kicking sounds dreadful. So I guess you're lucky. Not to mention the fact I kind of love you. Jo, you make me happier than I've been in years. You owe me nothing other than your love and that, my love, is priceless. Come on, let's not dwell on all this tonight. We have company coming over. I can't wait to see the girls. It's been forever since the four musketeers have been together."
LATER THAT EVENING
When Dorothy and Natalie walked into Blair's penthouse, first thing they did was run up to Jo and pull her into a group bear hug.
Jo had to laugh at their enthusiasm. She really felt like her old friends had missed her. "Listen guys, I want to really thank you for staying the little busy bodies you've always been."
Natalie and Dorothy just smiled before Dorothy replied. "Girl, you know nothing makes us happier then meddling in yours and Blair's business."
"We have to make sure your decisions are in agreement with the plans Dorothy and I set for you while we were in high school. Any variation of those plans will always result in mine and Dorothy's immediate interference." Natalie joked back.
Jo reached down and held hands with both ladies before answering back. "Seriously guys, thanks. I guess I own you two big time."
"Jo you don't owe us anything. We're family and family takes care of each other." Dorothy replied, before once again pulling Jo into another hug, with Natalie joining in.
Dorothy and Natalie caught Jo up with everything. Hardly taking a breath between telling Jo every that had taken place in the last six years. Mrs. Garrett, Beverly Ann and Andy, Jo found out much to her relief and amusement were all doing great.
Natalie also relayed how she had been married for a year but was divorced now. How both of their schedules required constant travel, and they discovered they were better friends than being married. She even found herself laughing while telling Jo the story how her last blind date was one her ex had set up for her. And her pleas with him to never try that again.
Jo listened to Natalie's stories before letting her know how lucky she was to be able to stay friends with her ex-husband.
Dorothy proceeded to tell Jo everything that was going on with her life. She told Jo how she and Jeff were about to celebrate their fifth anniversary. How they were seriously considering starting a family, but kept putting it off because of her career. Dorothy acting jobs until recently had been mostly off Broadway plays. But last month she had acted in a pilot for NBC, so she and Jeff were waiting to see if the show was picked up before having children.
Jo was happy for Dorothy. Glad to see that one of them had been lucky enough to have a solid relationship. One that was obviously full of love and respect. She couldn't help but think back to her own marriage, comparing the differences.
Jo smile gently toward Blair. Both hoping as they listened, that one day it would be them, telling their friends, stories of their relationship.
Jo apologized to both of them for not making it to their weddings, promising she would make up for it in the future. Jo made a commitment, to herself and her friends to never let anything or anyone get in the way of their friendship again.
Dorothy and Natalie both knew what was going on with Jo's marriage so they didn't bring it up. Instead, they looked at Blair, figuring she would fill them in on whoever she was dating at the time.
Blair, noticing the two sets of eyes on her, asked, "What?"
Natalie, being the reporter in the group, tended to ask the most questions. "Come on Blair, tell us about the great loves in you life. I remember back in school you had men lining the streets for you. It's been years since you've kept us entertained with your stories of great loves and broken hearts."
Blair, being Blair, only answered cryptically. "Well, I guess a lot has changed since our days in school. You won't find lines of young suitors lining the streets for me anymore. I will tell you I have finally found someone I want to spend my life with. And I'm happier now finally knowing who this person is, than I ever was dating all those boys back when we were in school. I just don't want to say anything yet, it's still new and exciting. Wouldn't want to jinx it."
Natalie couldn't help but catch the "person" comment. She wondered if Dorothy had also. "Come on, Blair, is this someone we know? You can't leave it like that." Natalie also couldn't help but notice that her question not only got a reaction out of Blair, but Jo seemed to be a little unsettled between Blair's comment and her questions.
Blair laughed at her nosey friend. "In due time, Nat."
Natalie continued to watch Jo, noticing how the label on Jo's beer bottle had Jo's full attention. "So, Blair, why don't you show me and Dorothy around? This place is beautiful. I would love a full tour."
Natalie was in full reporter mode. She had a feeling about these two. It wasn't just the comment, it was everything. She remembered how Jo and Blair always had a closeness with each other. They fought twenty-four seven, yet everyone knew they were best friends. They fought, yet they were always together. You didn't sit by either of them if you knew the other one was coming. It was an unspoken rule. Jo and Blair were always together.
Natalie and Dorothy use to comment about the intense friendship Jo and Blair had. Jo and Blair fought, yet you couldn't help but notice the electricity that always seem to run between the two. That was why it shocked everyone when Blair and Jo had their fight. And even more shocking was the fact they never made up.
But tonight it was more than the usual chemistry. It was Jo's quietness and her subconscious leanings toward Blair. It was the subtle touching. Blair squeezing Jo's hands and thigh in reassurance throughout the night. The looks Natalie would catch Blair giving Jo. Blair would look at Jo every now and then, checking to make sure Jo was still OK almost protective and still somehow linked with each other. There was no banter between the two but still a closeness that was different from their days in school.
Another thing Natalie noticed was even though she and Dorothy knew Jo was living with Blair at the present time, when Blair showed them around she never said anything about Jo's room. Plus none of the other bedrooms in Blair's penthouse had that lived-in look. They were beautiful but still had the appearance of being unoccupied. When they were finally shown the master bedroom, Natalie noticed a wallet on the dresser. Natalie knew Blair, if it didn't match her purse the wallet wasn't Blair's. Then when she walked over and looked in the master bathroom noticing two toothbrushes and she had all the confirmation she needed.
When the three walked back into the living room, Jo was still playing with her beer bottle. All three women took the same seats they taken earlier.
Natalie had to ask. She was nosey and they would expect nothing less out of her. Maybe she was totally wrong, still she couldn't help but ask, "So Jo, Blair, when do you plan to tell us?"
Dorothy looked at Natalie like she had lost her mind, wondering what she was talking about. Blair looked at Jo, waiting for permission to go ahead and include their friends in their secret.
Jo decided it was time for her to step up. Blair had been holding her hand through everything. "Tootie, I mean Dorothy."
Dorothy just laughed. "Jo, you can call me Tootie, you're the only one. It sounds more natural coming from you."
Jo smiled, grateful for these two special friends. "You guys didn't ask if I had anyone special in my life. I'm still having hard time believing it myself but I do. I didn't plan to tell anyone until after my divorce. I really wanted to straighten out my life before coming out and telling you guys. But circumstances have made that almost impossible. Guys, I do have someone special in my life." Jo looked at Blair before telling them who it was. "Blair."
Dorothy couldn't help but laugh. "Of course. You two have always been best friends."
Jo reached out and took Blair's hand in hers. Blair decided she would elaborate on what Jo had just said. "Dorothy, Jo is the person I want to spend the rest of my life with. I love Jo."
Dorothy just stood there with her mouth open. Natalie, on the other hand, was up and had the two in a hug. "I knew it, you two were meant to be together. Blair, I have to admit you probably just broke a lot of guy's hearts. But I can so see this."
Dorothy was just coming out of her trance. "Damn girl, when you help somebody you really help them." Then she went over and hugged her two friends, letting them know she too was OK with the news.
The four talked and laughed until late into the night, remembering the more innocent times of their youth. Natalie and Dorothy couldn't help but pick on Jo and Blair, and the irony of the two being a couple considering their legendary fights. Still at the end they let them know they really were alright with the information entrusted with them.
After the two friends left, Jo was feeling a lot more light hearted than she was earlier in the evening. "That went well. I hope it's that easy with our families."
Blair reached her arm around Jo's waist. "They are family. Let's go to bed. We still haven't christened our bed." Pulling Jo in a deep kiss, before whispering. "And Jo, I'm really, really in the mood to christen tonight."
BLAIR'S OFFICE, A FEW DAYS LATER
Blair studied the flow sheets sent to all the CEOs of the different Warner Industries. She couldn't help but feel proud of the fact that her company had one of the biggest profit margins.
She knew she ran her company differently than other companies and judging by the profit margins her ideas obviously worked. She believed in team meetings and team concepts. If her time at Eastland and Langley didn't teach her anything Mrs. Garrett did. They got more done as a team. Talking it out as a team always resolved issues that she thought were to big to resolve. Diversity brought progress.
She thought back to her closest friends at Eastland. They couldn't had picked out a more diverse group if they had tried. Yet through all their diversities there couldn't have been a closer group of friends. Mrs. Garrett had done a good job raising them. She had in so many ways become more of a mother than their own moms. Blair wondered what Mrs. Garrett would think if she knew she and Jo had become a couple. She felt deep inside Mrs. Garrett would approve.
Blair was pulled out of her daydream by a knocking on her door. She looked up and couldn't believe her father was standing there. He had a penthouse in this building, though like his father he very rarely used it. Seeing her father was rare and a nice surprise.
Blair's father had started working toward retirement. He was delegating more and more responsibility. Blair's success at this company had made him proud. His daughter would one day take over as the head not only at this company, but all of his industries.
She had proven herself as a more than a family name who only wanted to receive royalty checks. Blair truly was a gifted and ambitious administrator. She was still young and still needed to be watched and checked but he was very happy with what he saw.
He had been surprised when the family accountant called saying Blair had added someone to her personal accounts. Though this person hadn't seem to abuse any spending, David Warner wanted to check into it. Joanna Bonner. It took him a while to figure out who that was, until charges from an automotive store started to show up. He could only think of one Joanna that Blair knew that liked to work on cars.
David walked over, hugging his daughter. "Blair, I see you have a copy of this quarter's profits. I don't think I have to tell you this but I'm very proud of you. I think after this report all the skeptics about your ability will be silenced. So Blair, tell me, what's been going on with you?"
Blair walked around her desk to sit beside her father. "Not much, Dad. Working, shopping, spending time with friends. Would you like to see the spring catalog? It came out a little over a week ago, and the sales have already been brisk. I think this might be our biggest line to date."
David beamed with pride. He thought back to a few years ago, right after college, when he and Monica were worried about their daughter. He really didn't want to see his daughter distracted again. She was doing great and everything was going according to plan. He could see everything being hers in ten years.
His goal today was to refocus his daughter. He hoped to nip this Jo thing in the bud before it got out of hand. "Blair, honey I got a call a few days ago from Stan, our family accountant. He told me you've added someone to your accounts. Joanna Bonner. He did tell me that she hasn't used the accounts much, just grocery and car parts stores up state. Plus a purchase at Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart, Blair? Honey, why are you helping someone up state? More importantly, why did you put her on your account? Do you have any idea how many people are out there that would love to get their hands on the Warner's fortune?"
Blair was fuming. Those were her accounts, not the family's money. She worked hard and was a grown woman. Their accountant had no right to talk to her father. "Dad, I resent this intrusion into my personal business. Those are my accounts and in no way related to anything with Warner Industries. I added Jo to my accounts to help her out. You know Jo from my days in school. You also know Jo would never abuse my money. I'm sure you remember how hard it was to talk her into accepting scholarships from Warner Industries. I'm almost 30, Dad, my personal life is my own. I don't question yours."
David Warner was not the type man to let things drop. Especially when they involved the two things he loved most. His daughter and his companies. "Blair, honey, I remember the time after college when you and Jo had your falling out. Honey, your mom and I really worried about you then. She had hurt you badly. I don't want to see that again. You are doing great with the company. I really don't want to see you become distracted with Jo and her personal life."
Blair didn't want to get into it yet with her father. She wanted to invite her dad and her mom over to talk this out with Jo present. "Dad, first of all, I was with Jo when she was upstate. We stayed in our winter home. Just so you know, Jo is living with me now."
David didn't like the way the conversation was going. "So you two are roommates again?"
"Yes." Blair decided the conversation was over. "Dad, I don't want to get into this at work. I'll call Mom and see what she is doing. I'll then talk to Jo and see if she wants to cook or meet you and Mom somewhere for dinner. We can talk about all this then. I don't feel right talking about Jo without her here."
David Warner stood to leave. "Blair, I don't like being dismissed, especially by my daughter. Call me with the dinner details. But I'm going to go ahead and warn you I'm not happy with this turn of events."
As the door closed Blair leaned back in her chair feeling the beginnings of a headache, thinking, 'If he's not happy with the turn of events, wait till he hears the rest.'
MIDDAY, BLAIR'S AND JO'S PENTHOUSE
Jo was surprised when she heard Blair enter their home just before noon. Blair hadn't said anything about coming home for lunch. "Hey. I didn't expect you home or I would have fixed something for you to eat."
Blair waved her hand in a dismissive manner. "Don't worry about it Jo, I'm not really hungry. I just wanted to see you. So what are you working on?"
Jo was sitting on the couch with Blair's laptop on the coffee table. "Just looking for a job. Blair, I know you said not to worry about it but I think I might have found a job that I would love. I don't want you to interfere. I want to try to get this job on my own. It's a job here at Warner Industries. It doesn't pay much but I really think it's perfect."
Blair sat down beside Jo. "Jo, all that matters is if it makes you happy. If it was volunteer work and it made you happy that would be all that I cared about. We have plenty of money."
"You have plenty of money." Jo answered back.
Blair looked over Jo's shoulder to see what job she was looking at. It was a midlevel administrative position over the women's and children's charities of Warner Industries. This position required someone to oversee the funding and the allocation of money for these charities plus occasionally visit these charities to oversee the running of the sites. It required a degree in Social Sciences and a background in social work.
Jo looked at Blair. "I sent a copy of my resume to the human resource department. Blair, I want to try to get this job on my own. I know I could do a good job if they give me a chance. I also sent a letter attached to my resume explaining why I've been out of the field, and why I think I would be good for the job. What do you think?"
Blair just smiled. Jo would always be Jo, thought Blair. "I won't butt in, but you know I could have a little influence over the decision of who they choose. I think they would be crazy not to choose you. We'll just have to wait and see. Sure you don't want my help?"
"No, don't help, I want to prove to myself I can do this on my own." Jo replied. "So what brings you home at lunch time?" Jo asked, wiggling her eyebrows up and down in a suggestive way.
Blair pushed Jo with her shoulder, laughing lightly. "I wish. Jo, my dad stopped by my office today. Long story short. He knows we are living together, but not the nature of our relationship. He also knows, thanks to a nosey accountant, that I've put you on two of my personal accounts. I asked him to have dinner with us tonight to discuss things and I've invited Mom. I came home to asked if that was alright with you?"
Blair suddenly realizing she really hadn't given Jo much of a choice, decided the least she could do was let Jo decide the rest of the details. "I guess I need to know if you want us to fix dinner here, or go out to a crowded restaurant to face my parents. Jo, we really need to talk to my parents before all this with Rick hits the press. I hope we can get their support. If not, we will handle Rick together without them."
"I'll cook. I would rather talk to your parents somewhere that I know curious ears aren't around. I can't believe this is happening so fast." Jo answered.
Blair stood to walk to the kitchen. "I was hoping you say that. I'm going to go fix me some lunch, would you like something?"
Jo stood up, following Blair to the kitchen. "Not anything to eat."
EARLY EVENING, PENTHOUSE
Jo had a simple but elegant menu planed. They would start out with a garden salad, followed by chicken parmesan over angle hair pasta, steamed broccoli and Italian bread, with cannoli for dessert.
She would let Blair pick out the wine when she got home. Jo had everything she needed for the meal except for the bread and dessert. She called an Italian store she knew that that delivered and had exceptional Italian breads and desserts. She knew with this address they would be more than happy to rush the delivery.
When she heard the knocking on the door it surprised her. How did the delivery person get through security without them buzzing her on the intercom? When she looked through the peephole at the door, she was shocked to see David Warner standing there with the delivery bag in hand. "Please come in Mr. Warner," Jo said after opening the door.
David handed Jo the bag. "Please Jo, I think you're old enough to call me David. I met the delivery person at the security desk. Hope you don't mind. I told him I would bring this up. He didn't seem to mind after the tip I gave him."
Jo started to make her way back to the kitchen. "No problem. David you can have a seat in the living room if you like. Blair isn't home yet. Or, if you want, you can come keep me company in the kitchen while I finish up a few things for dinner."
David decided to take Jo up on her offer for company. He had come early for the purpose of talking to Jo alone anyway. As he watched Jo move easily around the kitchen, it struck him she really was comfortable cooking. He figured she had ordered everything in after meeting the delivery boy, but could tell now that wasn't the case. "You know, Jo, none of my ex-wives cooked. They either had a chef or ordered in."
Jo had to smile at that. "Well that explains a lot about Blair."
David raised his eyebrows at that comment. "Are you saying my lovely daughter doesn't know how to cook?"
"She does great at warming bread products." Jo joked back.
David decided to get straight to the point. "Jo, why are you living with my daughter?"
Jo continued to work, not wanting to look at David while she spoke. She wasn't going to lie. She just didn't know if she could look at him. "David, six years ago I made a stupid decision. I didn't listen to Blair when I should have, and I paid a great price for that. I was in a terrible marriage for six years. Blair stepped in and helped pull me out of my personal hell. Like always Blair once again showed her endless depth of caring. She saved me in more ways than one."
David asked. "Jo, how much would it take for me to fix your life? Set you up somewhere nice so you can have your own place, and Blair can have her place back?"
Jo stopped working to look David in the eye. "Mr. Warner, I don't want your money."
"So I'm back to Mr. Warner. You don't want mine, are you waiting for Blair's? I have no doubt you know how rich Blair is?" David firmly stated.
Jo just shook her head, she really didn't know. "No I don't. I know she's rich, but we've never really talked about it."
David pulled out an article that came out in Forbes a few months ago that he had stuck in his pocket for the purpose of showing Jo. It was common knowledge about his family's wealth so he brought the article along just in case Jo tried to say she didn't know. He handed it to Jo.
Jo read the article before handing it back to David. "I really didn't know, nor do I care."
David folded the article before placing back in his pocket. "Now do you see why I'm concerned about you and my daughter? I'll ask you again now that you know you can set a high price. How much would it take to fix your life and get you out of my daughter's?"
Jo looked him straight in eye again. "How about what would it take to fix my life? I can answer that. David, just so you know, you can't buy me this. I don't want your money, I'm not trying to take Blair's money. The thing that can fix my life is simple. I want your daughter's friendship. I want Blair in my life. I don't care if she rich or poor. If you told me you were cutting her out of all the Warner money I would still be here with her. She's more than Warner money. If you don't know that, you don't know your daughter."
David looked straight at Jo, stating very seriously. "Jo, just know if you hurt my daughter again you will have to contend with me."
"My plan is to never hurt your daughter." Jo answered back.
About this time they both heard the door opening. "Jo, I'm home." Blair called out.
"We're in here, Blair." Jo answered back.
Blair entered the kitchen. "Dad, what are you doing here? I didn't expect you here for another hour."
David walked up giving his daughter a hug. "Just getting reacquainted with Jo."
Blair looked over to Jo, puzzled. Jo just shrugged, giving her a small smile, letting her know everything was alright. "OK, I'm going to go change. I'll be back in a few minutes."
After Blair walked out of the kitchen, Jo turned to David. "I'll be right back."
Jo entered the bedroom and walked over to hug and kiss Blair hello. "Blair, he knows about us. I think he figured it out right from the start when you told him I was living here. I think he and I might have an understanding. We both have the same goals."
Blair continued to bask in the warmth of Jo. "And what goals are those?"
Jo pulled Blair into a deeper hug. "Making you happy."
Monica arrived on time after being buzzed up by security. The meal with Blair's parents was just like Blair expected to be. Everyone keeping the conversation light, complimenting Jo on her cooking and keeping the topics safe. Warner businesses, and catching up Blair's parents about Mrs. Garrett and their friends from school were acceptable dinner discussions.
Jo and Blair excused themselves to clean up. They quickly finished the dishes, knowing this would give David and Monica time to talk.
Blair looked at Jo before taking her hand. "Ready?"
Jo closed her eyes, taking a deep breath to steady herself before looking at Blair. This was a big step for both of them. "Ready."
The two let go of each other hands before entering into the living room. They knew they were going to come out to Blair's parents tonight. They just didn't feel the need to flaunt it.
Monica's face let Blair know before she even sat down that her Dad had already told her his suspicions. The air in the room already felt like it could be cut with a knife, and they had yet to start to talking. They sat down on the couch facing Monica and David. Sitting together, but still not touching. They felt very much on the spot, yet ready to face what ever they had to.
Monica stared at the couple in front of her, not really understanding it. Her daughter was beautiful. She could have any man she wanted. Then she noticed Jo was quite striking also, different from her daughter, but beautiful none the less. "Blair, I don't understand. You've dated so many men. How is it that you and Jo ?" Monica couldn't finish what she was saying as she started to be overcome with emotions.
"Mom, Dad." Blair looked over to Jo, hoping she would understand. "I dated boys and men exclusively in high school and college. Even had a few semiserious relationships. But they never made me happy, not completely. Since college I've dated both men and women. But Mom I'm going to be honest, in the last few years I've dated far more women than men. I found I'm just more compatible with women. I know you remember what I went through after Jo married. It was during that time I began to question my feelings toward women. This isn't a stage, or something I'm experimenting with."
Monica dismissed the statement. "Blair you just haven't found the right man yet. I can't believe. I won't believe my daughter. My beautiful daughter is gay."
Blair knew she was disappointing her mother. She wouldn't back down or sugarcoat it. She knew she was gay. It was time for her parents to realize that. They also needed to understand this in no way was Jo's fault. Even if Jo hadn't reentered her life, she would still be with a woman. Only now she felt lucky she was with the woman she loved. "Mom, Dad, I'm gay. I will never be with a man again. I love Jo. I probably always have. I can't imagine myself with anyone except her."
Monica noticed Jo sitting quietly beside Blair. "So Jo, you were married. Explain to me how a woman is married one day then my daughter's girlfriend the next. I mean this is new, right, you two weren't "
"Mom stop it." Blair interrupted.
"That's OK Blair." Jo took her time speaking. "Monica, I don't know what to say to you. Blair was my best friend in school. That was all. But you know when I think back to our days at Peekskill I realize I've probably always been in love with her. I just didn't understand my feelings back then. I think all that fighting we did was our way of keeping each other at arm's length. You're right though, Blair could have her pick of any man or woman she wants. I'm just very happy she chose me. I hope in time you two will see all I want to do is love your daughter and try to make her happy. I know I'm not what you imagined your daughter settling for and I hope one day I might win your approval." Jo then looked over to Dave. "And trust."
David looked at Monica before speaking for both of them. "Girls, one thing Warners have always prided ourselves on is being open minded. However, I will have to say this is testing the limits of my open-mindedness. But you two are grown women. I might not understand my daughter being gay, but I'll always love her. Just give us time to adjust." David looked over at Monica to see if she agreed with what he had just said.
Monica nodded in agreement. "Well, I guess I should stop trying to set you with Trish's son from the club."
Blair reached and squeezed her mother's hand. "That would probably be best."
"God, the club. I'm sure if this gets out we'll be the talk of the town for months," Monica said in jest.
David caught the eye contact between the two women. Being good in business meant being able to read people. "What aren't you two telling us?"
Blair proceeded to tell her parents everything. Natalie's chance meeting with Jo, Blair's offer to help. Then she told them about Rick filing for divorce and the lawsuit against both her and her company.
David Warner listened, then asked. "Blair what do you want to do?"
"Fight him." Blair answered back without hesitation.
David then looked over to Jo. "And you?"
"I don't want Rick to win." Jo answered honestly. "I don't want him to think he can ever beat Blair down in any way. I'll do what ever Blair wants me to do. He's gone beyond just hurting me and is now trying to hurt Blair. We can't let him succeed in that."
David just nodded in agreement with what both girls were saying. "Warners have never backed down to blackmail or threats. If you two want to fight this you have my full support."
Blair knew she had one more thing to tell her father, hoping he would still feel the same after hearing it. "Dad, one more thing. He has pictures. Pictures that might hit the press. I just want to warn you before they do. They're pretty incriminating." Blair didn't feel the need to elaborate any more about the pictures. If her parents did see them she would just have to live with that when it happened.
David sat thinking before he came up with what he thought might be a solution. "Blair, Jo, why don't you beat him to the punch. Blair, isn't your other friend from Eastland a journalist? Call her and ask her to recommend somebody to do a story on you two. Tell your side before he has a chance to distort everything in the tabloids. If the Vice President's daughter can come out, so can David Warner's. Princess, just so you know, whatever happens I will always love you."
Blair liked the ideal but she still wondered. "Dad what about Warner Industries?"
David thought back to the ups and downs his companies have had in the past. "Warner Industries will survive. I will not have someone extort my daughter, even if it causes our stocks to fall for a few days."
LATER THAT NIGHT
That night as they lay in bed Blair couldn't help but notice Jo wasn't sleeping. "Jo, I know you're awake. What are you thinking about?"
This was one of the time Jo was grateful for the darkness. Through all of this it struck her how strong Blair was. Why didn't she see that when they were younger? Had she always had this inner strength? Never in her younger days would Jo ever thought she would be thinking this. But tonight she was wishing she was more like Blair and not worried about what people thought. "Blair, I hate that my parents are going to find out about us through the press."
"Sweetie we don't have to do this." Blair answered, spooning even closer to Jo.
Feeling Blair moving her hand up and down Jo's arm, Jo couldn't help but think how normal and natural it felt for Blair to touch her. "Yes, we do. I guess I'll try talk to my mom after the interview, before it hits the press. God, Blair, I have so much to talk to my mom about. I hope she doesn't hate me."
Blair moved Jo's hair before kissing her neck. "I'm sure she doesn't. We'll talk to your mother. That's if you want me there with you?"
Jo's mind was starting to fade off the conversation as Blair touched her more. Before turning over to capture Blair's lips in a deep kiss, Jo replied. "Always."
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