DISCLAIMER: The Facts of Life and its characters are the property of Columbia Pictures Television and Sony Pictures Television, no infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Written for wolfemeister as part of the fol_fiction ficathon 2008. I chose to write an episode type of fic; although, I do believe my muse is on crack. Special thanks to the wonderful atfm for the last second beta.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
The Princess and the Frog
The soft glow from the television screen provided the only light in the darkened room, the sporadic brightness casting an eerie shadow on the two figures huddled closely together on the couch, their heads barely peeking out from underneath the soft quilt as they held on to each others' hands tightly. A scream from the television's speakers had the smaller of the pair practically jumping from the sofa.
"He's got her, Nat!" Tootie inched closer to Natalie and balled the quilt in her fist.
Just as frightened, but determined not to show it, Natalie sighed loudly, pleased that Tootie's exclamation had covered the sound of her teeth clicking together. "Of course, he's got her, Tootie; she's not one of the main characters."
"Yeah, well, she certainly did a wonderful job with her role. Not everyone can let out a blood-curdling scream like that." Tootie always took exception to anyone dissing the minor actors. Everyone started out as bit players at one time or another.
From the top of the stairs, Jo quietly started down the steps, careful not to make a sound; she paused every couple of steps to ensure that her friends weren't aware of her presence. An evil grin crossed her face when she finally made it to the ground floor, and slipping out of her shoes, she crept silently toward the couch, crouching down close to the floor when she reached her destination.
"Oh for goodness' sake, just watch the movie, Tootie." Natalie turned her focus back on the screen, shivering slightly when the undead took a bite out of his prey. She hadn't noticed the hands that were reaching toward her and the unsuspecting Tootie.
Slowly pushing to her feet, Jo stretched forward and grabbed hold of each friend's shoulder. "Mwwwhhhaaahhh!"
Twin screams filled the room as Natalie and Tootie struggled to free themselves from their quilted confines, Natalie tugging hard to the right and Tootie to the left until both girls found themselves on the floor between the couch and the coffee table, the quilt lying crumpled on the carpet between them. Jo doubled over with laughter, holding her sides to keep from splitting in two.
"Oh, you should've seen yourselves. You'd have thought a real zombie was after you." Jo continued to find humor in the situation as intermittent chuckles punctuated her words.
Natalie pushed to her knees and placed her hands on her hips, less than happy with Jo's prank. "Very funny, Jo."
"Yeah, that was mean." Tootie eased to her feet and slowly rubbed her hip. "Someone could have gotten hurt."
"From falling a foot to the ground? C'mon, Tootie, you're just sore because I scared the socks off of you." Jo flipped on the lamp and couldn't help glancing down at Tootie's feet. Pointing down at the bare feet, she laughed once again.
"Har-de-har-har, Jo." Natalie snatched the quilt from the floor and stood. "You wouldn't think it was so funny if the shoe was on the other foot."
"Enough talk of shoes and socks, Jo ruined the movie." Tootie strode over and switched off the television. "Next time, we'll watch in Mrs. Garrett's room."
Chuckling, Jo moved around the couch and plopped down on the cushions, suddenly remembering why she'd come downstairs in the first place. "Hey, where's Blair? She wasn't upstairs, and there's no way she'd subject herself to a horror movie."
"Oh, she's at a planning session over at the library." Natalie moved to sit beside her friend, seemingly already over her upset at being scared half to death. "The scholarship committee is trying to come up with ideas on how to raise more money."
"That's easy, just get more people to donate." Tootie moved to the other side of Jo, the change in conversation distracting her as well.
"I think they want to include the students in the fundraising." Natalie shrugged. "You know, kind of make them feel like they're helping their fellow students get an education."
"Really?" Jo was surprised to hear that Blair and her rich friends had actually considered enlisting the help of the student body to aid in their cause. "That's good to hear."
"Isn't it though?" Having caught the tail end of her friends' conversation, Blair strolled into the den from the kitchen area. "Wait until you hear what we've come up with. It's going to be a grand success." Blair folded her arms across her chest and smiled smugly. "It was my idea, actually."
"Here we go."
"What is it, Blair?"
Jo and Natalie were far more skeptical in their replies while, true to form, Tootie couldn't wait to hear what Blair had come up with to help raise money.
"An auction." Blair said simply as she smiled and walked over to sit in the chair next to the couch.
"Hey, that's not a bad idea." Natalie nodded her head up and down. "Kind of like a garage sale, only more elegant sounding."
"Yeah, Blair, that's a decent idea. I bet we can get Mrs. Garrett to donate some items." Jo agreed with Natalie, very pleased that Blair had actually come up with something that the other students would feel comfortable participating in.
"What do you need us to do, Blair?" Even though she was still a student at Eastland, Tootie was excited about the prospect of helping the Langley students and looked forward to being involved.
Smiling, Blair sat back in her chair and looked over at her eager friends.
"Actually, it's a little different from your typical garage sale."
"Have you lost your mind?" Jo paced back and forth in front of the couch, having sent Tootie and Natalie into the kitchen for a snack while she raked Blair over the coals for coming up with such an insane idea.
"The rest of the committee thought my idea was brilliant." Blair continued to sit in the chair, feeling a bit dizzy watching Jo stomp across the room and then back again.
"Oh, yeah, I'm sure all your friends thought it was a grand idea to auction off the other female students while you sit back and laugh. It's only one step above prostitution." Jo was furious with Blair. She couldn't believe that the university's Vice-President of Finance had actually agreed to the fundraising idea.
"It's a date auction, Jo; just dinner and a movie. And, for your information, the members of the committee have all agreed to participate. We're going to try to enlist Eastland's help as well."
"Eastland? You're going to let those pimply-faced boys bid on college students? You're nuts, Blair, you know that?" Jo had stopped her pacing long enough to glare a hole or two in Blair's head. Blair just smiled.
"No, silly, Eastland boys will bid on Eastland girls and Langley men will bid on Langley women. The proceeds of both auctions will go to the scholarship fund. We still have to get permission from Eastland, but Langley is definitely a go."
"So, a student must be enrolled in the same school as the person he'll bid on?" Jo relaxed a bit, still not totally happy with the idea.
"Yes, it was the first thing we all agreed on."
"Well, I just hope this doesn't come back and bite you in the ass . . . ets." Jo tilted her head and smirked, waiting for Blair's comeback. When none was forthcoming, she started for the stairs. "I'm going to bed. Thinking about this stupid idea of yours has exhausted me."
A smile crossed Blair's face as she watched Jo climb the stairs. Jo hadn't said that she'd participate in the auction, but she hadn't said that she wouldn't either.
The Following Saturday
"Isn't this exciting?" Blair looked out over the participants of the auction, the Eastland and Langley females all lining up in numerical order of the cardboard tags that were affixed to the backs of their clothing.
"Yeah, a real barrel of fun." Jo rolled her eyes and reached down to pick up the tag she'd been assigned. She couldn't believe she'd been guilted into participating in the fundraiser, but when Tootie, Blair, and Natalie had all signed up for the auction, she'd known she was doomed.
"Oh, c'mon, Jo; it won't be so bad. Besides, it'll do you good to actually go out on a date that doesn't include grease, oil, and the sound of loud engines racing around a track." Blair smiled as she grabbed up the last of the cardboard placards. It was only fitting that the auction saved the best for last.
"Hey, I've been on movie dates before." Jo moved to stand in line behind the other girls. She glanced across the stage to see Natalie pinning Tootie's number on her back. "Traitor," she said under her breath, still sore at Natalie for giving in to Blair's plea that Natalie participate in the auction. If Natalie had stood her ground, Jo wouldn't be standing in line, waiting to be auctioned off like a side of beef.
"Yes, that's true." Blair smoothed down her skirt, wanting to look her best when she walked across the stage. "But won't it be nice to see a movie where someone doesn't get mutilated within the first few seconds of the film?"
"No." Jo edged a few feet closer to the stage, wishing this nightmare would hurry up and end. "Those sappy romance movies make me sick. In real life, there's no such thing as knights in shining armor arriving at the last second to save the damsel in distress."
Thirty minutes later, Jo walked from the stage with a huge smile on her face. Judging from the black biker boots and the leather jacket worn by the guy who'd bid on her, she'd be sitting front and center at tonight's dirt bike races. Blair had been right; this auction thing hadn't been so bad after all. Reaching the other side of the stage, Jo moved behind the curtain and watched to see who would bid on Blair.
"And now, for the last of the Langley women, the beautiful Blair Warner." The emcee swept his hand outward and dramatically swiveled around toward the far end of the stage, smiling brightly as he waited for Blair to step into the spotlight.
A collective 'ah' came from the crowd as Blair sashayed onto the stage, her dazzling grin sparkling in the overhead lights. A Langley senior in the front row yelled, "One hundred dollars!" and Blair winked saucily at him. "Two hundred," followed from the back row, and the bidding was on. From stage left, Jo suddenly felt sick to her stomach.
"That's against the rules!" Blair stood across from the two committee members with her hands on her hips. "We distinctly said the younger boys would bid on Eastland girls."
Muffy Barrington continued to stack the one hundred dollar bills. "No, that wasn't what we said, Blair. We said that Eastland boys would bid on Eastland girls, and Langley men would bid on Langley women."
"But, Jason Simmons isn't a man!" Blair waltzed toward the table and placed both hands on its surface, leaning menacingly forward. "He's sixteen years old!"
"He's a Langley student, Blair." Not at all intimidated, Muffy grinned as she placed the money in the metal box. "And a Senior at that. Besides, I thought you'd be prancing around going on and on about how you pulled in the most money."
Blair frowned. "What do you mean? You and I both brought in the same amount."
"Oh, didn't I tell you?" Muffy placed her hand on her chest, feigning surprise, knowing damned well she hadn't told Blair about the bargain she'd made. "Jason offered to double his bid if he could spend the entire day with you. As chairwoman of the committee, I took the liberty of granting his request. It is for charity after all."
"You did what?" Blair gripped the edge of the table tightly, her face turning blood red. "You can't do that without committee approval." She glanced over at the other committee member for help, but the red-haired woman kept her focus on the money before her. There was no way she was getting between Blair and Muffy.
Muffy folded her arms across her chest and grinned smugly. "Do you seriously think the committee will turn down more money?"
Blair glared back at the other woman, her anger bubbling just below the surface. She knew Muffy spoke the truth; the other committee members wouldn't hesitate to vote along with the peroxided blonde. Turning on her heel, Blair stomped away. Muffy Barrington would get her own soon; Blair would see to that.
"Hey Blair!" Natalie had watched the exchange between her friend and Langley's resident snooty busy-body. She glanced back at a chuckling Muffy as she strode after Blair. "Wait up!" Increasing her pace, she finally caught up with the retreating woman.
"I'll get back at her if it's the last thing I do." Seething, Blair spoke the words under her breath, but Natalie had heard every word.
"What did Muffy do now?"
Blair whipped around, pointing back at the table she'd just left. "She made arrangements for me to spend the entire day with that . that . child!"
"You mean Jason? He's really harmless, Blair." Natalie tried to calm her friend, but her overactive imagination couldn't help but conjure up an image of a princess and a frog. She chuckled out loud at the thought of Blair's kiss turning Jason into a prince.
"It's not funny, Natalie." Blair started to walk away, but a hand on her arm stopped her progress.
"I'm sorry, Blair. C'mon, let's go meet up with Jo and Tootie. Maybe we can figure out a way to get you out of this."
Blair nodded her head and turned to follow Natalie. Together, the two went in search of their friends.
Later in the evening
"Poor Blair, I can't imagine spending ten minutes with Jason, much less the entire afternoon and evening." Tootie pushed her shoes from her feet and leaned back against the couch. "I'm just glad I only had to spend a couple of hours in the company of George Perkins. I had no idea he was such a bore."
"Yeah, I know what you mean. Did you know Barry Gregory has had three major surgeries already? That's all he talked about. I hardly ate a thing, and for the first time in my life, I actually skipped dessert." Natalie's stomach growled right on cue. She was just about to suggest the two of them go find something to snack on when the front door swung open, revealing a leather-clad Jo. She was grinning from ear to ear.
"Wow, the races were fantastic!"
Natalie smiled. "So, you had a good time with Jake the Snake?"
"No, I dumped him after the third race. He kept flirting with the girl sitting next to him." Jo placed her helmet on the table and plopped down next to Tootie. "So, how did your dates go?"
Jo laughed at the expressions both girls wore. "Yeah, just like our regular dates, only the guys had to shell out big bucks to have a terrible time."
Natalie tilted her head and grinned. "I hadn't thought of it like that, Jo, but you're right." She sighed aloud. "I wonder how Blair's faring with Jason."
Tootie laughed. "He's probably showing her his secret laboratory that he's always bragging about."
"Laboratory?" Jo leaned forward and placed her elbows on her knees. "What are you talking about, Tootie?"
"Oh, my friend Tony grew up with Jason. He said that Jason's father built Jason a laboratory so that he could conduct experiments."
"What kind of experiments?" Natalie sat forward as well, suddenly very interested in Jason Simmons.
"Well, Tony said that Jason was always going on about some kind of machine he was building that would transfer one person's brainwaves into another person."
Natalie made a face. "You mean like Dr. Frankenstein?"
"You watch too many horror movies, Nat. Evidently this Jason guy does too."
"No, Jo. He really thinks he can do it." Tootie's head bobbed up and down, punctuating her words. "Tony said Jason mentioned something just the other day about being ready for the final experiment."
"What do you mean, final experiment?" Jo suddenly had a queasy feeling in her stomach.
Tootie scrunched her brow, trying to remember what she'd heard. "Let's see, he told Tony that his machine was finally completed, and all he needed was to find the right person to transfer his girlfriend's brainwaves into. He said he needed a real looker so that he could have it all a girlfriend with brains and beauty."
"Blair!" Jo and Natalie jumped from the couch, both coming to the same conclusion at the same time.
"Quick, Tootie, call your friend Tony and find out where Jason lives. Have him come over here to get you and Nat. As soon as he gives you the address, I'll head over there on my bike, and you two can follow with Tony. Hurry, Tootie, we may not have much time."
Tootie quickly scrambled from her chair, hoping that Jason's words had been just that all talk with nothing to back it up.
The low rumbling growl of the motorcycle echoed through the trees, the lone headlight shining brightly down the dark, narrow road which led to the Simmons' estate. Jo leaned forward, willing the bike to go faster, as she kept her focus straight ahead, hoping to come upon the residence soon. Tootie's friend, Tony, had said that Jason's laboratory was located behind the house, so Jo planned to stay close to the trees once she neared the estate, not wanting to waste any time getting to Blair. Leaning further over the bike, she accelerated, veering quickly toward the tree line when she finally spotted the well-lit house.
Jo killed the engine when she neared the large building at the rear of the property, immediately spying Jason's black Gremlin X parked next to the side entrance. Allowing the bike to roll as close as possible to the door, Jo pushed the kickstand into position and climbed from the bike, removing her helmet in a single motion as she scouted the area. The moon shining through the trees higlighted the door to the building, only adding to the already creepy scenario. Jo eased toward the door and slipped inside, Blair's voice immediately making itself known.
"Okay, Jason; you've had your fun, now let me go. You said this would be the last science experiment I'd have to do today. This date is officially over."
Jo crept forward, sliding behind a set of large crates as she moved closer to the voices.
"No, Blair, you're wrong; the date has just begun." The curly-haired boy pushed his glasses further up the bridge of his nose and walked over toward the small wheel that was affixed to a complicated-looking machine. "As soon as the maximum amount of voltage is reached, I'll turn this wheel and your pea-sized intellect will be transferred into Meredith's brain and hers into yours." He turned to check the dial, pleased that the needle was rising. "I just hope your brain is big enough to hold all her knowledge."
"Hey, I have you know that the Warners are known for their big brains!"
Jo shook her head and moved in closer, her voice a mere whisper. "That ain't the only thing that's big." Jo maneuvered herself into position behind the end crate, affording her an unobstructed view of Blair, Jason, and the strange-looking machine. She had to force herself not to focus on how the pressure of the metal band across Blair's midsection had pushed up her 'other big parts' so that they looked even bigger. Instead, she grinned when she spotted the power supply to the building. Inching forward, Jo set her sights on the electrical box.
Across the room, Jason glanced at his watch. "In about two and a half minutes, we'll find out if your claim is true."
"Okay, Jason, this has gone far enough. If you're trying to scare me . . . well, you've certainly made me nervous, so you can let me go now." Blair paused for a moment and then narrowed her eyes. "Hey, wait a minute. Muffy Barrington put you up to this, didn't she?"
"Actually, she was the second choice for my experiment." Jason looked down at the gauges and smiled. "Ah, I must have miscalculated; the voltage built up two minutes earlier than I'd thought." Blair's eyes widened as Jason reached to turn the wheel. She screamed when the room suddenly went pitch black.
Jo had flipped the power switch just as Jason had turned his attention on the machine; she'd already mapped out her path to Blair, pleased that there weren't any obstacles in her way. She'd made it to Blair's side in a matter of seconds.
"It's okay, Blair; I'm here now." From touch only, Jo easily removed the metal bands from Blair's feet and arms, but the band across the blonde's middle seemed to be stuck. Jo continued to struggle with the restraint, cursing the stubborn piece of metal. "C'mon, what the hell is wrong with this thing?"
The answer to Jo's question was illuminated when the building was suddenly flooded with light as Jason had managed to feel his way to the electrical box, flipping the switch to restore power. Jo immediately spotted the pin that was holding the metal band together just as Tony, Natalie, and Tootie arrived. Seeing the new arrivals, Jason quickly sprinted toward his machine.
"Tony, stop him!" Jo removed the last restraint and helped Blair to a sitting position. "Nat, you and Tootie need to free Jason's girlfriend."
The mousy girlfriend had been quietly lying on a nearby table, and Tootie and Natalie quickly discovered why she'd been so quiet. "She's out like a light!" Natalie eased off the hand and foot restraints while Tootie easily removed the metal band across her middle.
"Get this thing off!" Blair wrestled with the contraption that was attached to her head. "Help me, Jo!" Jo reached out to assist her friend but kept her attention on the two boys who were wrestling on the floor, her jaw dropping as the smaller Jason managed to free himself from Tony's grasp. With a maniacal laugh, he raced toward the machine and reached for the wheel.
With a shot of adrenaline, Jo yanked the contraption off Blair's head and tossed it well away from the table, while across the room, Natalie and Tootie had already released Meredith and were helping the groggy girl from the table. His back to the subjects of his experiment, Jason turned the wheel in a clockwise direction.
The headgear both women had been wearing began to rattle loudly, and after a few very long seconds, an electrical charge from each device suddenly shot across the room, making two huge holes in the walls of the building. Tootie and Natalie were just able to catch Meredith as she fainted dead away while Blair's immediate reaction was to jump from the table and into Jo's arms. Jo held on tightly.
Jason looked from the machine to the massive holes in the walls and then back again at the gauges of the machine. He scratched his head. "Huh, must've used too many amps."
"Blair, you sure you don't want to ride with us?" Natalie watched as the two policemen escorted a babbling Jason to their patrol car. The cavalry had arrived moments after the machine had blown through the sides of the building, the officers none too happy that the blast had narrowly missed their squad car. Natalie hadn't thought that calling the police was necessary, but now, she was certainly glad Tootie had insisted on it. She looked across the lawn and waited for Blair's reply.
"No, I want to go with Jo." Blair was fixed to Jo's side like a limpet. She hadn't released her hold on the other woman for a second, not even during her interview with the police officers.
"You're going to voluntarily ride on Jo's bike?" Tootie's eyebrows scaled to her hairline. "You said you'd never, ever ride with Jo."
Blair tightened her hold on her savior. "I want to go with Jo."
Jo smiled and shook her head. "Are you sure, Blair? It's very different riding a bike at night."
"I'm sure it'll be fine." Blair looked over at the bike in question. The seat certainly didn't look very big. She guessed she'd just have to hang onto Jo very tightly. The idea was sounding better and better to her.
"Okay, suit yourself." Jo turned toward Natalie and Tootie. "We'll meet you guys back at the house." The two girls agreed with a nod of their heads as they helped Meredith into the back seat of Tony's car.
Taking Blair by the hand, Jo started toward the bike. "Last chance to back out, Blair." Jo stopped next to the motorcycle and lifted the helmet from the seat. "If you're going to ride with me, you need to put this on." Blair didn't hesitate to take the helmet and slide it firmly on her head, her teased hair causing the helmet to sit a little higher than normal. Jo smiled and climbed on the bike. "Okay, let's get you situated." She held out her hand and assisted Blair onto the back of the bike.
The loud rumble once again upset the peaceful quiet of the small country road as the motorcycle slowly made its way toward the city. Jo lightly applied pressure to the brakes, enjoying the leisurely ride, or at least that's what she told herself. It was easier to accept that particular reason rather than the fact that having Blair pressed against her so tightly was heaven. A small smile edged its way onto Jo's face as she leaned into the curve. Blair instinctively tightened her arms around Jo's middle and leaned right along with her, their two bodies hugging the curve as one. Each and every curve was met in the same manner with their bodies in perfect sync with one another.
Finally clearing the tall trees, Jo looked to the left, readying to veer into traffic, but changed her mind at the last moment, staying on the less crowded feeder road. She accelerated through the green light and turned left at the next street, eyeing the vacant park which lay dead ahead. She guided the bike near the empty swing sets, killing the engine as she coasted the last several feet.
"Why are we stopping here?" Blair slowly became aware of her surroundings, secretly pleased that she'd have more alone time with Jo.
"I thought you might want to talk about tonight before you had to answer all of Tootie and Natalie's questions." Jo placed her feet on the ground, balancing the bike and its passenger. "Would you rather go on home or get off for awhile so that we can talk?"
Blair reached up and worked at the chinstrap of the helmet. "I think talking is good."
Jo braced her feet on the ground. "Okay, I'll steady the bike while you climb off." A shiver ran down Jo's spine when Blair used her shoulders for leverage, the socialite finally managing to free herself from the bike's seat; however, she continued to wrestle with the chinstrap.
"Here, let me help you with that." Jo easily slid from the bike and moved Blair's hands out of the way while she concentrated on the stubborn strap. Blair watched Jo's every move, noting, not for the first time, how truly beautiful Jo was. She swallowed hard.
"There; I really need to replace that buckle. It's been causing me problems for weeks." Jo stood back and forced herself to allow Blair to remove the helmet by herself. She gestured toward the swings. "Let's take a seat."
A comfortable silence ensued as each woman swung to and fro, holding loosely on to the chains which anchored the swings to the frame. Finally, Blair spoke her thoughts.
"I can't believe I fell for Jason's innocent routine. I just wanted the day to be over, and I stupidly thought that if I did what he'd asked that he'd have pity on me and call the date off early. I had no idea what he'd planned."
"Don't blame yourself, Blair. Tootie said that even Jason's friend, Tony, thought that Jason was harmless. Tony even tried to tell us that you were perfectly safe with Jason and that Jason was just full of hot air." Jo slowed her swinging motion as she turned to look at Blair.
"Well, I'm certainly glad you didn't listen. I'd finally have that hole in my head that you've always accused me of having." Blair completely stopped her swinging motion, trying to make light of the potentially dangerous situation by accompanying her words with a wink and a smile. The result of her gestures had the opposite effect on Jo.
"Blair, the guy's a nutcase. You could've been . . ." Jo bit down on her lip, not able to bring herself to say the word aloud. She came to a stop and stared down at the hard packed ground.
"You saved me, Jo." Blair stood and moved in front of the other woman. Jo never looked up; she kept her focus on the small divots she'd made in the dirt with the heel of her boot. Blair knelt down in front of the other woman and placed her hands on Jo's knees. "The auction was a stupid idea."
Blair had positioned herself directly in Jo's line of sight, and Jo was forced to take her eyes from the vee in Blair's shirt. She looked directly at Blair, a slight blush covering her cheeks. "No, it wasn't. You made a ton of money for the scholarship fund."
"Yes, I suppose it was a success, but can I tell you a secret?" Blair squeezed Jo's knees, and Jo was very grateful that she was already sitting; the joints in question would've certainly buckled had she been standing when Blair had initiated the physical contact. Jo just nodded her head in response.
"We've been spending so much time together, but lately, I got the feeling that you've been avoiding me. Neither of us has been on a date in awhile so I just thought, um, . . . well, I wanted to make you jealous," Blair admitted quietly, her focus remaining on Jo's face. She immediately noted the shocked expression and wondered if perhaps she should've kept her secret to herself.
"What do you mean?" asked Jo cautiously, afraid to read too much into Blair's words.
Blair just tilted her head and shrugged. "I'm really not sure what I mean."
"Are you saying that you've missed our friendship or that you want more?" Jo couldn't believe they were having this conversation. Blair had been right, Jo had been avoiding her. It was just that they'd become so comfortable around each other that Jo found herself falling in love with the other woman. She couldn't count the number of times she'd almost leaned over and kissed Blair.
"I think I want more." Blair didn't hesitate with her answer, but Jo needed Blair to be sure. Thinking was one thing, knowing was what Jo needed to hear.
"You're just confused, Blair."
Blair slid her hand to Jo's thigh, the firm muscle jumping in reaction. "No, I don't think I am. I was, but I'm not now."
Jo looked down into shining dark eyes, unsure whether to concentrate on the first part of Blair's statement involving the 'thinking' or the second part which definitely indicated 'knowing.' She slowly reached out and cupped Blair's cheek.
"If you change your mind, I'm not sure I can go back to just being friends."
Blair leaned into Jo's touch. "I'm sure, Jo. I'm really sure."
Slowly easing forward, Jo maintained eye contact with Blair, looking for any signs of hesitation. Blair never flinched as lips met gently and then more firmly as Jo deepened the kiss. The fairytale had come to its end with the knight being rewarded with a kiss from her princess, the happily ever-after a foregone conclusion.
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