It had all been a dream.
Surely it must have been. Three glorious weeks in Tuscany and Paris? I hadn’t deserved that. Not with Jenna. And yet, we had been there. Granted, there had been a couple of rough patches, but we had survived.
Returning to work had felt foreign. I had spurts where I couldn’t remember the simplest of tasks. I was grateful I was a personal banker and not a teller. It was embarrassing enough when I forgot the basic paperwork or a step in the process after selling a product to a new customer. I would have hated to have short-changed one of the long-standing customers because my head wasn’t back in the states yet. Thankfully my boss was sympathetic, but I still felt horrible at my intermittent amnesia.
But like after all vacations, I soon got back into my routine. The only difference was, Jenna was still in my life. We dined together most nights, and we alternated between sleeping at each other’s apartment on the weekends.
We were playing house, we didn’t have to let anyone in on our little secret, and everything worked. I was just fine with that.
At Jenna’s suggestion, I had purchased a sound machine. I kept it by my bed and used the timer so that the sounds of rain or waterfalls or the ocean would stop after I had drifted off. As a result, my nights alone since our return had been filled with peaceful sleep. No more dreams of Danny…or of Danny and Jenna together.
I still thought of him on occasion, but usually it was with an understanding that things were better without him. I didn’t hate him. I truly didn’t. If he hadn’t screwed up, my life would not be as good as it was with Jenna. Slowly but surely, just being around her helped me move on.
But how long could this dream world last?
“You are deep in thought.”
I blinked and looked up from my magazine. “What?”
“You haven’t turned a page in five minutes. And since there aren’t any steamy articles in ‘Better Homes & Garden’ for you to fantasize in your head, you must be thinking about something really hard.” Jenna closed the lid on her laptop, set her reading glasses on the dining room table next to whatever she was working on, and joined me on the couch. “Feet. And spill.”
“I don’t know.” I shrugged and swung my feet up into her lap, sighing as she pulled off my socks and massaged my toes. “I was just remembering our trip.”
She grinned. “Anything particular stand out?”
“No, not really. It was kind of boring.” I glanced at her out of the corner of my eye.
“Bitch!” She tugged on my foot until I slid down onto my back on the cushions, then she proceeded to tickle me.
“Stop!” I shrieked and writhed beneath her relentless attack. She knew every little sensitive spot, especially the ultra-ticklish ones. “Jenna! Stop!”
Her torture continued despite my protests. “Say ‘mercy’ first.”
I gasped, another shriek frozen on my lips. Warmth radiated between my legs. I had spoken it many times in my head, especially since Jenna got a little carried away using our newest toy, a strap-on dildo. But it had never gotten to the point where I’d actually needed to use the safe word.
Either Jenna realized my body had gone stiff or she had decided to be lenient with me because her tickling turned into soft strokes. Arousing caresses that nurtured the fire building in my belly. They concentrated around my waist and sides and then ascended to the undersides of my breasts.
“Jenna!” I squeezed my eyes shut as her hand brushed over my nipple, the motion like an electric shock even through the material of my T-shirt and bra. I gripped her arms and battled between pushing her away or pulling her closer.
“Yes, Kitty Kat?” Her voice purred, warm against my cheek. Her hand moved against my breast again, making me jump. “Do you like that?”
I could only moan. Especially when she increased the pressure, squeezing as her fingers brushed over my nipple again.
Jenna had a way of distracting me to the point that I lost my clothes without knowing it. This time was no exception. One minute I was fully clothed, the next I was topless and her mouth had latched onto my nipple. When she wasn’t suckling, her tongue laved the tender point, her hand holding my breast in a firm but gentle grip.
My fingers wove into her hair, and I thrust my head back, panting. I managed to get my knees up around her hips and humped against her jean-clad pussy. My shorts rode up, and I whimpered, unable to get the right amount of pressure where I needed it.
“Shh.” There was a wet, slurping sound as she detached and moved to my other breast, holding it with her other hand. Now free, she slid her right hand down to unbutton my shorts. But that only made me whimper more in anticipation. Her voice was low and lustful when she said, “Here, kitty, kitty, kitty.”
I giggled and moaned at the same time. Her hand slid under the thin layer of my panties until a finger brushed my clit. I screamed and lurched my hips up.
“Yes, that’s a good girl.”
My mind was hazy as her fingers worked their magic, rubbing against my clit, building the tension within me. In only a few minutes, I was moaning loudly. “Please, Jenna. Please!”
“Come for me, Kitty Kat.” Then she slid her hand down further and thrust two fingers up inside me.
I screamed again, my fingers digging into her arms, my body flailing under her on the couch.
“Mmm. Lovely. Such a good girl.” Her tongue traced my lips before slipping inside my mouth.
I tried to return the kiss, but my muscles had gone to liquid. So I just lay there, letting the aftershocks move me like I was driftwood coming in on the tide. I felt her hand still buried between my thighs, and it felt so good. So right.
“I so love this, Kat.” Jenna kissed my nose and brushed damp hair from my forehead.
A warning buzzed at the back of my loopy brain. Something about her tone told me to snap out of my daze because this was important to hear and to remember. I struggled to obey, almost as if I was underwater and trying to swim to the surface. I just couldn’t get there, though. It didn’t help that she shifted her hand and her fingers slid out to stroke my wet and swollen labia, her thumb pressing against my clit. I bit my lip and shuddered through another, smaller orgasm.
“Oooh. That was nice, wasn’t it?” She brushed her lips against mine again. Then she pulled her hand out of my pants and lay down on top of me, my breasts pillowing her head.
I managed to lift my arms to wrap them around her, one hand on her head and one on her back. Her bare back. I smiled. Yeah, Jenna seemed to lose her own clothes pretty quickly these days. I realized her naked breasts pressed against my stomach and sighed. I raised my knees and cocooned her waist in my embrace.
I yawned and mumbled, “Yeah?”
“Did you hear what I said?”
“So do you think it’s a good idea?”
I opened one eye and looked down at her. She was smiling up at me, tracing shapes on the swell of my breast with her finger. “I don’t know. I um…I’ll have to think about it.”
“That’s all I ask. Don’t feel rushed to give me an answer yet.”
I sighed. Should I admit that I had no idea what she was talking about? Maybe she’d repeat it…or even better yet, just forget she’d asked whatever it was.
It didn’t help that I kept hearing those three words echoing in my head, even though she’d put her own flair on them. Problem was, I didn’t know if I felt the same way yet. Or if I ever would. She’d been harboring feelings for me since high school. I’d only been flung into this for a few months now.
Could I possibly love another woman? The way she apparently loved me?
Jenna hugged me and settled her face back against my breasts with her own sigh.
We lay half-naked in each other’s arms for quite awhile, and I began to drift off. I was thinking I should suggest we transfer to the bedroom and call it a night, but I didn’t know if I had the energy to form the words…or move my body the fifteen feet down the hall.
“I think it would be so great if you agree.” Jenna paused to yawn. “Moving in together is just the next step forward to showing how much we are committed to this relationship.”
My eyes popped open, but my mind went blank. Once again, Jenna had left me speechless.
I took a deep breath, pulled the door open, and went down the rabbit hole for the second time in my life. And while it was a staircase rather than a tunnel into the ground, it still led to a wonderland.
The same blue rope lights lined the floor and ceiling like a runway to the lower level. A muted base thumped its way up from the darkness below, calling to me like the beating heart from a living, breathing creature. In the four months that I had been with Jenna, I had yet to venture back to the place where we had run into each other one rainy night, twenty years since parting ways after graduation.
Once more, the door opened before I reach the last step, and a woman in a dark pantsuit greeted me with a smile and a nod.
“Welcome to Maggie’s Lounge.” She closed the door behind me as I stepped past her.
“Thanks.” I smiled but didn’t bother with chitchat like last time. Even if I wanted to, the woman faded back into the shadows.
Shaking my head, I crossed to the bar, amazed at how crowded the place was for a Thursday night. I raised my hand, caught the bartender’s attention, and nodded when he held up a finger, motioning he’d be with me in a moment.
I took a deep breath and looked around. The same ambient mood-lighting filled the lounge. The same style of music. The same type of clientele.
Nothing had changed. Nothing but me.
My gazed drifted from table to table. Most of the women paid me no mind, not even breaking from their conversations to give me a glance. A couple did nod their acknowledgement when we made eye contact. But for the most part, I was ignored.
Apparently, although I’d only been here once before—and not on one of my best nights—I didn’t stand out like an outsider. Which surprised me. Why was no one approaching me? Had Jenna sent out a memo or something? Posted in Magic Marker on the bathroom stall, “Kat Jenkins + Jenna Swallow…hands off!”?
I snorted softly at the ridiculousness of the last thought. But my eyes still darted toward the hallway on the other side of the bar under the Exit sign. Maybe I should visit the restrooms before I left, just to be sure.
I took one more sweep of the room and then checked my watch. We had agreed on seven o’clock, right? I sighed again and was turning to go back the way I came, foregoing my drink, when I heard the unmistakable sound of Jenna’s laughter between songs.
I snapped my head around, searching.
“Kat, your drink.”
I spun back to see Brad, the bartender—and the only man on the premises—setting a glass before me. “SoCo and Coke, right?”
“Yeah, thanks. How much do I owe you?”
He waved his hand. “Jenna said to put it on her tab. She’s got a table in the corner.”
I laid a dollar tip on the bar, picked up my glass, and followed his pointing finger with my eyes. Yes, exactly where I thought I’d heard her. I prayed my eyes were playing tricks on me, though.
Why couldn’t I breathe? Why was the room closing in on me? Why was everyone watching me as I crossed the empty dance floor?
I forced a smile to my lips and took in the cozy little scene before me. A square table was bumped up against the wall. Jenna sat against the wall in the chair furthest from me. Above her, a wall sconce made her face glow a warm yellow. It was kind of romantic. Except we weren’t alone. And neither woman sitting at the table seemed to notice that I was standing over them.
I took a sip of liquid courage, noticing that my hand shook a little. “Jenna, you’re early. Or rather, I must be late.”
“Kat!” Jenna smiled up at me and reached her hand out, her fingers wiggling until I held out my own hand. She squeezed it and pointed to the empty chair in front of me. “Sit, sit, sit. You remember Lauren?”
“Hi.” I nodded toward the blonde sitting between the two of us.
“Hi, Kat.” Lauren swirled the tiny straw in her drink, her arm resting next to Kat’s other hand that also circled a glass. She made no effort to move away from my girlfriend, and that ticked me off a little.
“Thought maybe I’d gotten the time wrong.” I twisted in my chair and leaned against the wall, my left arm resting on the table and my glass wrapped in my hand. We were three peas in a pod. Joy. “I’m glad Brad pointed you out. I almost left. Thanks for the drink, by the way.”
“Yeah, I got done with work early and was heading out at the same time Lauren was. She asked if I wanted to grab a drink, and I said I was already heading over here.”
“I thought it was just going to be the two of us.” I eyed Lauren over the rim of my glass as I sipped, noting that Brad had put a double shot of Southern Comfort in my drink. Although it bit the back of my throat, I was glad for the extra alcohol. Maybe it would calm me down.
“I didn’t know. I can go.” Lauren said the words, but she didn’t move a single muscle otherwise.
Jenna laid a hand on Lauren’s arm. “No, you’re fine.”
It took all I had not to throw my drink in Lauren’s face and stomp out of the place. I knew I was overreacting—they were coworkers and had been friends for years—but I couldn’t help being jealous. At the least, Lauren could have offered to switch places.
Somehow, I lasted the next hour while we all spilled about our day at work. I was growing tired, not only from my long week but also from the alcohol. Jenna kept ordering more rounds, and I tried to keep up. I just wasn’t the lush that the two of them apparently were. By the time that Lauren finally stood and said she had to part from our company, I was way past buzzed…and pissed.
“I’m so glad you could come out,” Jenna said, standing as well. She hugged Lauren, and I swear, Lauren held on longer then necessary.
“It was my pleasure,” Lauren almost purred.
I clenched my hand under the table, suppressing a growl. It was the alcohol talking, telling me something was off. That was it. I just need to go home and rest.
I slumped against the wall as the third wheel walked away. Finally, we were alone. But my joy was short-lived when I remembered I was probably useless for any meaningful conversation.
“You feeling okay? I’ve never seen you drink so much before.” Jenna moved to the chair Lauren had vacated. She pressed the back of her hand to my forehead. “You’re a little warm.”
I knocked her hand away, my words slurring together as I said, “Just fine. Go settle our tab. I have to hit the restroom before we leave.”
“Kat?” She gripped my hand on the table. “I’ll go with you.”
I shook my head and got to my feet. “I’m a big girl.”
I managed to cross the room with the aid of my hand on just about every table or wall, my eyes focused on the neon-red Exit sign above the doorway leading to the bathrooms. Except that a couple of times, there were two signs. I stumbled into some empty chairs at the bar when I closed my eyes to blink and clear my vision but my eyes didn’t know they were supposed reopen right away.
A migraine sliced through my head as I finally pushed through the bathroom door and was practically blinded by the fluorescent bulbs that seemed ten times brighter than the rest of the lounge. Thankfully, the first stall was empty because I shoved against the door and would have collapsed on the floor if it hadn’t swung open. Even then it was a chore to stay upright and close the door behind me.
I plopped onto the toilet, realized I hadn’t lowered my pants, somehow managed to rectify that situation, and then leaned my head against the wall. The cool metal felt good. From the recesses of my fuzzy brain, I remembered to look for any memo about me belonging to Jenna. But the walls were pristine. Why I thought they’d look like a regular tavern’s bathroom stall with lurid sayings and random hook-up phone numbers I have no idea. I was partly disappointed that Jenna hadn’t proclaimed our relationship to all her friends.
I closed my eyes for a moment and took a deep breath, letting it out slowly.
When I opened them again, I was in my bed and it was gray and pouring outside according to my sideways view of the window. My head was throbbing, I was wearing the same clothes from yesterday, and I had a horrible taste in my mouth. I rolled over and groaned.
“Welcome back, Kat,” Jenna said from the chair she had curled up in with her laptop.
“Yeah, good morning to you, too. Do you ever put that blessed thing away?” I sat up slowly and swung my feet over the edge of the bed.
“What? For the hangover? Yeah, thanks.” I rubbed a hand at my eyes. “If I didn’t know you better, I would think you did it on purpose. I’ve only been to Maggie’s Lounge twice, and both times I ended up with a fucking marching band in my head after you brought me home.”
“Talk about getting up on the wrong side of the bed.” She shut her laptop and set it aside. “I was referring to the fact that I found you sleeping in the bathroom stall with your pants around your ankles. Brad helped me get you into a cab, and Jose, the cabbie, helped me get you up here. You’re pretty much dead weight when you’re passed out.”
“Gee, thanks. Now you think I’m fat.” I brushed my hair out of my face and wondered how heavy Lauren was when she was passed out. Would Jenna know?
“You’re something, I’ll tell you that.” Jenna stood up. “I’ll make you a Bloody Mary.”
“Don’t bother. I’m going to the bathroom, taking some Tylenol, and going back to bed.” I shut the bathroom door behind me, not waiting to hear her response. The door didn’t prove to be a very good barrier as I could hear her heavy sigh.
“I have no idea what bee has gotten into your bonnet, Kat, but I have better things to do today than sit around and play babysitter. You can suffer or make your own damn Bloody Mary. You know how to get ahold of me.”
I waved my hand through the air at her even though she couldn’t see me. Shucking off my wrinkled clothes, I climbed into the shower and turned on the nozzle before I realized I had only meant to use the toilet. Oh well. The hot water felt good as it streamed over my face and aching muscles.
My headache lessened a little by the time I climbed out and dried off. Instead of heading back to bed, I popped two Tylenol, wrapped my wet hair in a towel, donned a fuzzy robe, and curled up in the living room in front of the television. “Overboard” was just starting, and I eventually drifted off to visions of Goldie Hawn prancing around a yacht in her barely-there bikini…except in my vision it was Jenna.
When Sunday afternoon rolled around and I still hadn’t heard from Jenna, I wasn’t really worried. I’d actually had a nice, quiet weekend, just relaxing. It had rained non-stop, so there wasn’t much to do but watch movies, and that was fine with me.
Twice I almost called Jenna, but I refused to be the first one to concede in this fight. I guess I was still feeling the burn that she had invited Lauren to our little date. Well, it had been a date to me, at least. Apparently it hadn’t meant that much to Jenna. I mean, it was her stomping grounds with people she knew. It would have been the first time we were publicly announcing we were a couple. Although I’d been more than a little nervous, I had been ready to do it.
Maybe Jenna really didn’t feel that way about me. But she was the one who had talked about moving in together. That showed she wanted more commitment, right? She’d even used that word.
I stared at my phone on the far couch cushion where I had thrown it an hour ago. I could feel it taunting me, daring me to make the first move when all I really wanted was for her to call and apologize …even offer just an explanation. Because I was sure that if I brought it up, she’d laugh it off and tell me I was just having cold feet about making a decision about our living situation.
I procrastinated for another thirty minutes while I made some popcorn and poured a glass of wine. I flipped the sound back on the television as another movie started. Great. “Thelma and Louise.” Talk about two women who belonged together for life.
I glanced at the phone again. Oh hell. Maybe I was just making this more than it really was.
I hit the mute button on the remote, snatched up the phone, and pressed the power button once to light up the screen to dial. That’s when I saw the blue box with “1 Voicemail Message” posted over the wallpaper image of the Eiffel Tower view from our hotel room in Paris.
Damn. When had that been left? I hadn’t heard the phone ring at all this weekend.
My finger hovered over the button that would take me to my voicemail. I couldn’t think of anyone else who would call me, but I would be devastated if it wasn’t from Jenna. I set the phone aside and turned up the sound on the television again.
I watched the movie until after the bar scene where Thelma almost gets raped and Louise kills the would-be rapist, hoping that if it had been Jenna who’d left the message, she’d call again. I was getting as jittery as Susan Sarandon and Gina Davis running from the law, glancing back and forth from the screen to my phone where I’d set it on the arm rest, praying for it to ring.
The movie broke to commercial, and I let out a loud groan. What the hell was wrong with me? I jabbed my index finger at the tiny buttons on my phone until the screen flashed the list of recent calls. Right at the top was Jenna’s name and number with a timestamp of six hours ago. I’d still been sleeping.
I dialed the number for voicemail and raised the phone to my ear with a shaking hand. When I heard the automated voice tell me I had one message and the time it had been left, I cursed it to hurry up. I closed my eyes and smiled a little at the sound of Jenna’s voice, but my smile quickly disappeared as I listened to the message.
“Hi, Kat, it’s Jenna. You’re not picking up, and I’m on the freeway. Mr. Jacobs—damn, I hate calling him that; he doesn’t deserve that title—anyway, Tim is sending me to California for the next week for a business conference. I’m not sure when I’ll be available to talk, so just leave a message if you need something and I’ll try to get back to you. Bye.”
I pulled the phone away from my ear and frowned at it. I could just barely hear the automated voice asking if I wanted to keep or delete the message. For some reason, I chose to keep it. I guess somewhere deep inside, I wanted to be able to hear her voice if I got too lonely.
Having that matter resolved, I tuned back into the movie half-heartedly. I wondered that if Jenna and I were in a predicament like Thelma and Louise, would she have my back? And for some stupid reason, I pictured Lauren and Jenna together trying to outrun Harvey Keitel in a convertible through the western desert, except that they were heading towards California not Mexico.
I shook my head and snorted softly. “Get those stupid ideas out of your head, girl. You just imagined whatever that was at the bar. You were nervous about being in public like that with her. There is nothing going on with Lauren. Jenna is out west—by herself— on business. When she gets back, we’ll move in together. In fact…”
The clock on the stereo showed it was only two, and the view out the window revealed it had finally stopped raining. A plan quickly evolving in my head, I changed into something more street-worthy than my pajamas and robe and retrieved three empty cardboard boxes from the storage closet. I did a quick perusal of my necessary belongings, packed them up, grabbed my set of keys and the ones to Jenna’s place, and took three trips down to my car.
If Jenna wanted commitment, then she was going to get it.
Monday morning, I had a clear head and a smile on my face. I could imagine birds fluttering and tweeting over my head as I sat up and stretched like a Disney princess and laughed. Okay, maybe I was exaggerating, but it pretty much summed up how I felt inside. Completely opposite from my mood all weekend.
It was a little weird waking up in Jenna’s bed without her beside me. Plus the sheets and comforter were throwing me off. We had gone shopping last week, and Jenna had pointed out a bedding set she’d fallen in love with. I’d secretly echoed her sentiment, but I had been too afraid to say anything at the time lest she think I’d made a decision about moving in together.
Well, now I had, and I had bought the set last night, as well as a few bathroom accessories I’d seen her eyeing. I felt a little guilty that we hadn’t technically picked them out together, but I hoped she would be pleasantly surprised when she returned.
I went through my routine of taking a shower—using the new set of towels I’d purchased—and having a cup of coffee and a bagel before getting dressed. I swear I had a new perk in my step as I left Jenna’s apartment and drove to the bank. I couldn’t wait for her to get home.
Why had I been such a bitch to her? She was only doing what any girlfriend would do. She was my someone to fall back on, and vise versa. My Thelma to her Louise.
The day passed quicker than I had expected for a Monday. As I waved goodbye to my co-workers, I giggled like a little girl getting ready for a party. I went in the other direction as I left work, driving back to my apartment.
I had more packing to do, and I was on a time crunch. I needed to sort through everything I owned, determining what I wanted to put into storage and what I thought could be moved to Jenna’s. A moving truck would meet me at lunch tomorrow, and I would need to be ready.
I’d also worked it out with a realtor to lease the apartment until it could be sold. He already had a client who was looking to rent long-term while in the city for business. It was good news for everyone, it seemed. Funny how only a couple of phone calls could change your life in an instant.
It wasn’t until I had most of my apartment packed into boxes when doubt crept in. What if Jenna was upset with me when she returned? What if she had changed her mind since we’d had the one-sided conversation about moving in after making love? Especially after my behavior on Friday?
I slowly lowered myself to the couch and looked around at my life that was now either in boxes or labeled with a Post-It to get stored away.
No. I was doing the right thing. Despite my apprehension, I knew this was an important step I needed to take.
This had been my apartment with Danny for almost two years. I’d only lived there a few months before we’d met, and once we’d gotten serious, he slept there most nights. I laughed at the thought that we’d been engaged and on the threshold of marriage, yet we’d still kept our separate places. And here I was moving in with my girlfriend after only really getting to know her after four months.
I shook my head and got back to business. It was getting late, I had work tomorrow, and I still needed to get to Jenna’s apartment to go to sleep as I’d already dismantled my own bed.
It was Wednesday before Jenna called me again. I was on my lunch break and trying to shove a small bookcase in the corner by the window when I heard the ringtone I’d set for her: kd lang’s “The Air That I Breathe.” I smiled and left the bookshelf cockeyed to retrieve my phone from the kitchen counter.
“Jenna!” I was all smiles, and a little out of breath.
“Hey, Kat, just checking in.”
Jenna’s voice sounded so far away. I felt a pang of longing for her. “Sorry I missed your call on Sunday. How’s the conference?”
“When we’re not in a seminar, we’re hosting a booth at the trade show, and it’s non-stop running in between. There’s barely enough time to eat or sleep it seems. How are you?”
The background noise level increased a little and then faded away. She must have changed ears with her phone. “Same old, same old. Just working and keeping busy. Hey, I’m sorry about Friday. I don’t know what got into me.”
Or what got into me right now. Here I was pining for an apology from her, but after hearing her voice, I was the one giving in? Ugh. I was hopelessly lost when it came to Jenna Swallow.
“It’s okay, sweetie. Not sure what was up with that, but I figured it would blow over.”
I bit my lower lip for a second and decided what the hell. “Hey, I have a surprise for you when you get home.”
“Oh? I like surprises. Give me a hint.”
“Nope. A surprise is a surprise. You’ll see when you get home. Are you flying in on Saturday or Sunday? Do you need me to pick you up?”
“Saturday evening before dinner. I have a ride, but thanks.”
“Jenna, we’re going to Planet Hollywood for lunch. Come on,” I heard a female voice say.
I froze with my mouth open. Surely I was mistaken. It couldn’t be…
“I have to run, Kat. Lauren and I are going to lunch. Love you, bye!”
The phone went dead, and I slumped against the wall.
My daydream had been correct. Well, at least the part about Jenna and Lauren going out west together. They were just in an airplane instead of a convertible.
Somehow I made it through the rest of the afternoon at work. And for the first time since moving into Jenna’s apartment, I wished I had my own to go back to. Instead, I ate a cheeseburger and fries on the drive home from work and crawled beneath the sheets once I locked up and changed my clothes.
Then I cried myself into a blubbering mess.
I knew Jenna and Lauren worked at the same place. And I guess I remembered Jenna saying they had worked together on some projects in the past. I just hadn’t imagined the two of them traveling together for work.
Suddenly, I shot up straight. Had Lauren gone to France with Jenna before? Had they eaten at the quaint restaurant Jenna had said was her favorite?
I collapsed again, hot tears smearing across my cheeks as I rolled my face back and forth against the pillow. A dull ache started in my chest, and I gripped the sheets. I felt the urge to scream and let loose against the pillowcase. I let myself have a hissy fit, pounding my fists into the mattress, kicking my legs against the comforter.
I was so fucking fed up with getting screwed around by my lovers that I was ready to join a nunnery.
Maybe Jenna wanted both of us and figured she could have me on nights and weekends and days off, but she could be with Lauren at work during the day and on business trips. But I wasn’t having any of that. No way. I wasn’t sharing my girlfriend with another person. If that was the way she wanted it, we were through.
Problem was, just the thought of not being with Jenna made my chest hurt more.
At some point, I fell asleep. I woke once in the middle of the night after dreaming of Jenna and Lauren sunbathing on a private beach where Lauren asked Jenna to rub suntan lotion on her back which led to Lauren losing her bikini. It just went south from there.
I sat up, panting and brushing my damp hair out of my eyes, trying to convince myself it wasn’t real. I just couldn’t get back to sleep after that because I was afraid I’d dream about the two of them again. But then I didn’t want to stay awake, either, because all I could think about was how stupid it had been for me to move into Jenna’s place the way that I had.
Eventually, sunlight peeked through the slats of the wooden blinds. I had dozed a couple of times but had never really gotten into the deep sleep I was used to. I was so exhausted I considered calling into work and saying I was sick, but I’d been gone so long on my fake honeymoon I didn’t want to push it. I lay half-alert until the alarm went off, and I managed to get through a shower without falling asleep under the hot streams coating my face and body.
Work was abysmal with hardly any customers. I hated days like that. The clock never seemed to move, and all I wanted to do was crawl back under the covers for a couple of days at least.
When my lunch break came, I went to a restaurant instead of going back to Jenna’s. I was having trouble calling it ‘home’ as I wasn’t sure if I was going to be staying there much longer. Although, I was going to wait until Jenna returned and we could talk this out first before making another drastic change in my life without thinking it all the way through. I was certain that if I did go back there, I’d end up falling asleep and not waking up in time to return to work. It had happened once before, and I had spent the rest of the day feeling as guilty as sin for causing my coworkers to pick up the slack in my absence.
Thursday night, I crashed after work without eating dinner. I’d picked up some pills at the pharmacy to help with insomnia, took two with water, and crawled into bed in just my underwear.
I slept like a baby.
I woke feeling refreshed on Friday, amazed that I’d made it through the week without Jenna and through the night without dreaming about her and Lauren.
The morning sped by, and I spent my lunch hour making finishing touches around the apartment. I reviewed the placement of the smaller pieces of furniture I had brought over and merged with Jenna’s belongings in the living room—a coffee table, an ottoman, a padded storage bench that was perfect in the bay window alcove—and finally put the small bookshelf into place as I’d abandoned it since Jenna’s call on Wednesday.
Before I went back to work, I loaded the dishwasher and set it to run. I’d do a load of laundry tonight and finish unpacking the rest of my boxes. I’d have the place all ready for when Jenna returned, even if it wouldn’t be until late tomorrow. And even if her surprise would be short-lived once I conceded that she could have Lauren. I was even prepared to grovel with the realtor that I’d changed my mind about selling my place.
As everyone was leaving at five o’clock, some of the girls asked me to join them for a drink. I declined. I sat in my car instead, watching everyone drive away to meet up with their spouses and families or significant others for whatever their Friday nights would consist of. I considered picking up fast food, but that meant I’d have to eat alone. Again.
Knowing I couldn’t stay in the bank parking lot forever, I started driving. I wasn’t sure where I was going, but I figured it didn’t matter and I would decide what to do when I got there.
After thirty minutes of roaming up and down the streets of a neighborhood I knew was safe, I sighed and decided I should just go back to Jenna’s. But as I turned a corner to head back towards her apartment, I saw a neon blue sign and pulled the car over into an empty parking space.
“Maggie’s, huh? If I didn’t know better, I would think someone is trying to tell me something.”
I shook my head and headed into the lounge.
“Evening, Kat. What brings you in here?” Brad asked as I slid into a chair at the bar.
The crowd was still thin with it just being after work. I noticed a clear, plastic advertisement holder sitting nearby and saw they served appetizers until seven. It was mostly fried stuff, which made my stomach rumble just thinking about it.
“Hi. I’m hungry and lonely. Can I have a SoCo and Coke and one of the combos of mushrooms and jack-sticks with ranch dressing?”
“Lonely, huh?” He smiled at me and scooped some ice into a lowball glass.
“Yeah, Jenna’s out west at a conference for work.” I thought I’d leave out the fact that she was with his sister, mostly to see if he’d bring it up himself. “She’ll be back tomorrow night, but it’s been a long week without her.”
“I can imagine.” He poured more than a shot-worth of alcohol over the ice and then filled soda up to the rim of the glass. After adding a lime and a tiny straw, he set it before me. “I’ll call your order back to the kitchen. Be right back.”
I swirled the straw through the dark liquid, blending the soda and alcohol, and watched him as he picked up a phone at the other end of the bar. My gaze traveled around the rest of the room, noting that the dance floor was empty and dark…and there wasn’t any music playing. They must amp up the atmosphere later in the evening like most bars and taverns. In the three times I’d been in here, tonight had been the earliest…and the quietest.
Brad refilled some drinks at the other end of the bar and then walked back toward me, flinging a bar rag over his shoulder after wiping at a spot on the counter.
“Are you getting the lay of the land a little better now?” He retrieved the rag and ran it over the drink ledge, lifting up a mat to clean underneath it.
I raised an eyebrow at him. Surely he had cleaned before going home last night and there hadn’t been enough customers today to get the bar dirty already. “The lay of what land?”
He shrugged and kept his eyes diverted. “Being a lesbian.”
“Ahh. Touchy subject for you?” Hell, it was a touchy subject for me most of the time, but I felt at ease here. Maybe that’s why my subconscious had led me back.
“Not at all. My sister has been a lesbian for more than a decade, and I work in a bar that caters to lesbians.” He lifted his eyes to mine finally. “I just never pegged you as one.”
For a long moment, I held his gaze. I felt absolutely nothing, and he was a very good looking guy. I snorted softly, smiling. “Me either, until I ran into Jenna again. Do I really stand out that much?”
He shrugged again. “You looked like a fish out of water the first time you were in here. Pun intended. Then the last time, well, you looked like a lost kitten.”
“And now?” I watched him over the rim of my glass as I took a sip.
“You’ve got some cajones, coming in here alone.”
I sat back and crossed my arms. “And why is that?”
He held up his hands, palms facing me. “Don’t get offended, but a hot woman like you showing up here alone will attract a lot of attention. It did the first two times.”
“I was alone then, too.”
“Not for long.”
I guess I must have had a confused look on my face because he laughed.
“You wouldn’t have noticed it, but from my vantage point, when a woman who is not a regular visitor to an establishment like this ventures in, she stands out. Especially when she is unaccompanied. The women here are just so used to noticing that they don’t make it obvious. They don’t want to scare off the newcomers.”
I raised my eyebrow again. “And when I’m not alone?”
“Word travels quickly among these women.” He gestured around the room with the rag. “They know who’s available and who’s not, mostly just by reading body language. They knew the second you walked in, dripping wet like a poor, discarded animal, that you were ripe for the taking. But the second time…you were still nervous, but you had an agenda. Plus they’d heard the gossip that you and Jenna were a couple. Now? You just showing up alone…and looking depressed like you do? It gives the message that you might be returning to the available status. So they’re going to take notice, even if you don’t realize it, and even if you’re not available. They’re curious why you’re here without Jenna.”
“Interesting observations. I told you, Jenna is on a business trip. And I’m not depressed.”
“I know that, but they don’t. And you are depressed.”
“Honey, you couldn’t look any closer to a soulful puppy dog than if you were one.”
“Fine, I am, but whatever. And what’s with relating my moods to all these animals?”
He shook his head and laughed. “Lesbians are nothing like straight women who go looking for a stud. If a straight woman doesn’t get a bite on her line with the first guy, she has plenty of others to pick from. Not so with this crowd. Available women are a dime a dozen around here, and everyone is respectful of each other when a couple forms. If they know you’re taken, they’ll keep their distance but remain friendly for the most part. But if you’re unattached…that’s a different story entirely. Don’t be surprised when they approach you. Not if, when.”
I snorted again and took a longer drink.
“What’s so funny, Kat?”
“You seem like an expert on lesbians, yet you’re a hot stud yourself. Surely you miss not being able to flirt with all the straight, attractive women while on the job.”
“I actually used to be a bouncer at a popular club. It grew old very quickly trying to fight off all the women. I have a girlfriend. And she thinks it’s awesome that I hang around all the patrons here most nights but I come home to her, and she has nothing to worry about.”
“How sweet.” I gave him an honest smile and thanked the woman who appeared beside me and set a basket of fried food and plastic silverware next to my glass.
Brad handed me a pile of cocktail napkins. “But that’s not what you were really laughing about.”
“Wasn’t it now?” I cut the mushrooms and cheese sticks in half to cool, glad that I had a diversion, and hoped that my voice hadn’t come out as shaky as it had sounded in my head.
“No. I told you I’m as good as these women at reading body language. I just can’t read minds. You wouldn’t look at me when you answered my question before, and your shoulders slouched. What did you find so entertaining in what I had said? And what are you so afraid to admit to now?”
I ignored him and dipped half of a mushroom in the ranch dressing before popping it into my mouth. It was hot and I had to take a gulp of my drink.
“If you spill the beans, your drink and food are on the house.”
My eyes shot up to his, and I almost choked as I swallowed.
“Tell me what made you laugh, or fork over $11.95.” He leaned his forearm on the counter and watched me as the corner of his mouth tilted up. He was enjoying this, but he was serious, too.
I wondered if he could see the gears turning in my head as I first tried to decide if I wanted to take him up on his offer, and then what words to say if I chose to get a free meal ticket.
“Offer expires in five-four-three—”
“Oh hell, I think your sister is in love with my girlfriend. I’m pissed that she apparently didn’t get or read the private memo or whatever it is these women use to communicate with each other that they’ve chosen a partner. And now she’s been with my girlfriend for the past week out in California and I’m stuck here all alone imagining the worst-possible scenarios. She’s taken my Louise and become Thelma. I’m supposed to be Thelma!”
“Wow.” He filled a glass with soda and downed half before speaking again. “That…was not what I was expecting.”
I sighed and ate a few more pieces of food, washing them down with the rest of my drink. “I have been going crazy all week, afraid that I’ve made a big mistake. Maybe I’m just imagining it. I just can’t…I don’t know. I mean…they’ve been friends longer than Jenna and I have. It just seems natural that they would be together. I don’t…”
“You don’t think you’re worthy enough for Jenna to pick you over Lauren.”
I raised my eyes to his and nodded slowly. I felt like one of those blow-up toys you win at the carnival and someone pulled the little stopper, letting all the air out.
“Kat? Look at me. I mean really look at me.”
I sat up straighter and stared into his eyes. Blue eyes. They really were nice eyes, they just didn’t do anything for me. I imagined they were violet, and my heart skipped a beat. I missed those violet eyes.
“My sister has been after Jenna since as long as I can remember. Jenna has flat out denied there is anything there but honest-to-goodness friendship. They had a little tiff right here at the bar the day before you left for Tuscany. Lauren begged Jenna not to go. To choose her instead. But Jenna told her to stop fantasizing about something she couldn’t have, or she was going to ruin their friendship. You were all Jenna has ever wanted, and now that she’d found you again, she isn’t letting go.”
I felt a tear in my eye. I wanted to brush it away, but I was too afraid to move.
“Honey, everyone here knows that you and Jenna are an item. A very hot, special item that is hard to find. So don’t let the little green monster convince you of something that isn’t real. Because you will only push away the one person you should cling to, and you just might slip into that available category without realizing it. And trust me. There are plenty of women here who would be there to catch you. They just aren’t Jenna Swallow. I don’t think you’d have embraced this lifestyle if it had been anyone but Jenna who’d introduced you to it.”
So I hadn’t been too far off with my assumption that Jenna had somehow told everyone that I was hers. I giggled and felt the tear escape.
Brad lifted a cocktail napkin and dabbed at my cheek and then at the corner of my eye. “You have nothing to be afraid of, Kat. Jenna only has eyes for you. Yeah, maybe my sister hasn’t gotten the memo, per se, but that’s her problem. Jenna is loyal and trustworthy. She’s just trying to balance her friend and her girlfriend right now. I just pray Lauren doesn’t make her choose one or the other because she won’t like Jenna’s answer. While Jenna may have been friends longer with Lauren, you are her soulmate, and that is stronger than friendship any day. She told me so.”
“Really?” I wrapped my hands around my empty glass, feeling a little giddy at his words.
“Yes, really.” He quickly finished his soda but slowly lowered the glass to the counter, his eyes back on mine. “What was this big mistake you made?”
I giggled again and hiccupped. “Oh, well, I moved myself into Jenna’s apartment this week. She’d asked me a couple of weeks ago but I hadn’t given her an answer. I was going to surprise her when she got home. But then I was questioning my decision, feeling a little stupid for not thinking it through before I acted. Especially if she really wanted to be with Lauren. I was ready to let her go, even though it hurts like hell to think of her being with another woman.”
He stared at me for a second longer and then said, “Don’t move.” He came out from behind the bar and disappeared through a door.
I nibbled on a cheese stick while I waited, wondering what he was doing. Then I replayed his words in my head and sighed long and loud, not caring if anyone heard me. Jenna thought I was her soulmate? She told him that?
Brad returned a few minutes later with a brown paper bag and a small Styrofoam container. “Let me box up your food. Go home and get some sleep. Put the contents of the bag in your fridge first, and read the directions.”
I reached to open the bag. “What—”
He put his hand on mine. “Don’t open it here. Just do what I said. I’m glad you stopped in tonight.”
I stared at his hand for a moment and suddenly wished it were Jenna’s. But I was glad I had stopped in as well, if only to vent my frustrations and get a little reassurance. “Thanks, Brad. For everything.”
“Don’t mention it. That’s what a bartender is for.” His smiled brightly at me and shooed me away with his hand. “Don’t forget to read the instructions. Have a good night, Kat.”
I shrugged into my coat and thanked him one more time before grabbing the paper bag, surprised that it was heavier than I expected. I drove with the bag on my passenger seat, and I was tempted a couple of times to pull over and open it. But I reigned in my excitement until I could get home and discover the surprise, concentrating on the evening traffic instead.
Twenty four hours from now, Jenna would be on her way home to me. I just couldn’t wait.
The Saturday morning sky was overcast, matching my mood. What was with Chicago weather this year? I knew it was the Windy City, but this was feeling more like Seattle with all the rain.
I sat in the oversized chair by the fireplace, curled up in a blanket over my sweatpants and sweater, sipping a mug of hot chocolate. In my other hand was a sheet of paper that I’d found in the bag Brad had given me.
Everything on the list was doable. Well, everything but the last item. I just didn’t know if I had the guts to go through with it. But his P.S. at the bottom made me smile: “You are a very strong woman, and I’m rooting for you.”
It was touching. And encouraging. Yet, I still procrastinated.
After a shower, I ran to the store for some chicken breasts, teriyaki sauce, rice pilaf, French bread, and the items to make a simple salad. Jenna had said she loved that meal when I made it before. But I still had to figure out something to have for dessert with the bottle of champagne, the only contents of the bag Brad had given me besides the list.
An hour later, I put the groceries away and turned to stare in the decorative mirror above a hallway table. I wondered how I’d feel after completing the last item on the list. I knew that no one would know what I’d done, but would they be able to tell something was different about me?
I took a deep breath and let it out slowly.
Oh hell. Fine. I’d do it.
Sometime in the night, I woke to use the bathroom. Jenna had not come home. I crawled back into bed and cried until my body shook with the sobs. I missed her so much. And despite what Brad had told me …what I had done …I still had my doubts about her feelings toward me.
The air held traces of the sweet-scented chicken and rice that I’d eaten alone against the backlight of a dozen taper candles. So much for a romantic welcome-home dinner. I’d had the uncontrollable sobs then, too. My hands had shaken so badly as I’d boxed up and stored the leftovers, I was certain I would drop them on the kitchen floor. At least the cheesecake I’d purchased hadn’t been ruined since I’d left it in the fridge. For over an hour, I’d sat in Jenna’s oversized chair, watching the rain as it pelted against the windows, the occasional thunder and streak of lightning breaking up the steady sound. Visions of Tuscany and Paris had flitted through my brain, increasing the longing for Jenna’s return. My chest had grown so tight with worry and confusion for my feelings, I was afraid that something was physically wrong with me.
Finally, I had given up and slipped beneath the sheets and comforter feeling anything but comforted. I’d pulled on the sheer two-piece teddy I’d purchased for the occasion. I’m not sure why I decided to wear it. Maybe some macabre thought in my head said I needed to punish myself for thinking she’d rush home to me.
I fell asleep again, but I was roused from a myriad of strange dreams by a loud thump followed by laughter and voices. Fully awake now, I lay facing the doorway that led into the living room. I was glad I had decided to leave the door partly open. It allowed me to hear the conversation clearly, especially since they had no reason to think they needed to speak softly.
“You should have let me get the cab fare,” Lauren said.
I cringed at that voice and gripped the sheet.
“You got dinner,” Jenna said. “It was only fair.”
My nipples tightened at just the sound of her voice. She was so close.
Light suddenly spilled through the crack in the door.
“Yeah, well, you win this time.” Lauren giggled. “How about I make us a drink?”
I rolled over to face the wall, feeling the tears well up again.
“You know you want a drink. Just a small one.”
“Fine. A small one. Then bed.”
I clenched my eyes shut, silently praying that Jenna didn’t mean Lauren would join her.
The sound of cupboards opening and closing then the clink of glasses filtered their way into the bedroom.
“Do you smell something?” Jenna asked.
“Like what? Smoke? Fire?”
“No, not fire.” Jenna was quiet for several seconds. A glass clinked against the marble countertop. “It smells like…I don’t know. Something sweet. But yeah, also smoke, now that you mention it.”
Another glass hit the countertop, a little louder this time. “Do you think something’s on fire? Where’s your extinguisher?”
“No, I said it’s not fire. It’s…”
I could imagine Jenna walking through the open kitchen, her eyes grazing over the adjoining living room, trying to put a finger on what was off. I wondered how long it would take her—if at all—to notice the extra furniture, the rearrangement of her own. How would she react?
Once more, I regretted my decision to make this big change without consulting her first. At least to see if she was still on the same page as me.
“What’s wrong, Jenna?”
“That smell. I’ve smelled it before. Those candles have been lit. I could swear my chair…”
“Jenna?” Lauren’s voice had softened, much like mine did when I tried to console Jenna after a hard day of work. I had to force myself not to leap from the bed and confront them. Especially when Lauren said, “Honey, what’s wrong?”
No one called Jenna ‘honey’ but me!
“Lauren, I think it’s time to call it a night. I’ll call you a cab.”
“But I just got here. And we haven’t finished our drinks. Besides, I’d hate to make a cab come back out at this time of night.”
“No, Jenna, I’m not leaving. I’m tired of getting pushed aside. You know how I feel about you.”
“Don’t do this, Lauren. Kat and I—”
“Forget about Kat. She doesn’t know what she wants. Hell, she was riding a dick just a few months ago. She’s not even a real lesbian. She just thinks she is because you helped her out one time. But I am. I’m the real thing. I’m just what you need. We’re good together. This week proved it.”
“Stop it yourself. Quit hiding behind that silly high school crush. You’re a grown woman now. You need another grown woman beside you. Yeah, Kat will take it hard at first, but she’ll go running back to her men soon enough.”
There was a loud slapping sound.
“Why the hell did you hit me?” Lauren gasped.
“I told you to stop it.” Kat’s voice was a low growl, but the sound still carried across the living room and through the door where I lay holding my breath. “You are delusional, and I’ve put up with your fawning way too long. You are my friend, Lauren. Period. Nothing more. It’s up to you to decide if you still want that position or not. But you’re going to have to decide that on your own. Now, please leave.”
“You have no idea what you’re missing out on!”
Loud footsteps echoed across the distance, followed by a slamming door. Then there was silence.
I took a shallow breath and tried to slow my heart rate as I waited. Surely Jenna must have realized something was different by now. But was she upset?
After all that she’d said to Lauren, she hadn’t really said much about me. She hadn’t proclaimed her love for me. That stung a little. Oh hell, it stung a lot.
I strained my ears to listen for her approach. And when it finally came—her soft footfalls on the hardwood and then the carpet of the bedroom after the door creaked open—I tried to lay as still as possible. Would she believe I was sleeping?
Nothing happened for the longest time. I had that slightly unsettling feeling you get when you know someone is watching you and you don’t want to turn around to prove it. What was she seeing? I wished I could read her mind.
“Oh, my Kitty Kat,” Jenna finally whispered behind me. Her voice cracked as she said my name.
I heard her circle the end of the bed, and the mattress shifted as she sat beside me. I kept my eyes closed and forced myself not to lick my suddenly dry lips. To not reach out and touch her even though my fingers itched to bury in her hair and pull her mouth to mine.
“Whatever have you been up to, sweetie?” Her voice was tight. I could tell she was holding back tears. Her hand brushed hair back from my forehead. “I was giving you all the time in the world, but it was killing me. How you torture me so, Kat. Are you really sleeping?”
I couldn’t feign my innocence anymore. I swallowed and rolled onto my back. “Are you upset?”
“Absolutely, positively, no. I am speechless, Kat.” Her lips brushed my temple. “I couldn’t have imagined a better surprise to come home to. How ever did you do it by yourself?”
“I called a moving van.”
I finally opened my eyes and stared up at her. I choked back a sob and wrapped my arms around her neck, pulling her to me. I had to kiss her. I had to feel her lips against mine before I said another word. I was like a starving child in need of nourishment, and there was only one thing that could appease my hunger.
Jenna moaned against my mouth. She crawled on top of my body, deepening the kiss.
I sighed and held her to me. At least until she shimmied her body between my legs, and I cried out.
“Kat? Are you okay?” Jenna sat up in a hurry and snapped on the bedside lamp.
Her hair was a little messy from my hands kneading through it, and her lipstick was smudged from my kisses. She looked gorgeous. God, I wanted to fuck her right then and there. But…
“Kat?” She glared down at me with one eyebrow raised.
Her eyes slowly lowered from my face, apparently taking in the sheer, navy top that lay over my swollen breasts, my nipples hard and begging for attention. The material would normally hang down to my hips, but our movements in bed had pushed it up to reveal my flat stomach. And the edge of the matching thong panties.
I lifted my hands above my head and worried my lower lip.
“What have you done, Kitty Kat?” Her voice was raspy now, and damn seductive. She traced the edge of my panties and then hooked a finger under each side, sliding them down over my hips.
I shuddered as her fingers glided against my skin. I could feel the heat and moisture gathering between my legs, and I licked my lips.
Her eyes jumped up to mine, and then they focused again down below where her hands were gently parting my thighs. I imagined it was like opening a present on Christmas morning to her. I sure as hell was enthralled in the revealing process.
“Oh. My. God.”
That’s all she said. But her heavy breathing, the way her hands crept up and caressed her breasts through her shirt, and her tongue darting out to lick her lips showed more than she could ever have put into words.
I smiled and raised my knees up so my feet were flat on the sheets. “You like? A little birdie told me that it has always been a fantasy of yours.”
“A birdie named Brad?” Jenna was gasping as she stood and removed her clothes. “I never told another soul. Funny what you will tell a bartender when you’re drunk.”
“You realize it’s still very tender and won’t be completely healed for at least four to six weeks?” I arched my hips up to her.
“Can I touch it?” She held out a shaky hand when I nodded, her index finger extended. Ever so slowly, she ran her finger down the top of my shaved mons to my clit where she paused. After a few deep breaths, she lowered her finger and gently lifted the silver ring and ball away from my swollen skin.
I bit my lip, cringing slightly. It hadn’t hurt as much as I’d expected. I think I was more afraid of someone putting a needle through my skin down there. Now? It wasn’t as much the after-pain but the fear that there would be pain that prevented me from relaxing.
I remembered how pretty it had looked at the tattoo parlor when they’d shown me the finished product in a mirror. A ‘clitoral hood piercing’ they’d called it. It glimmered in the light, and the way it would lay—especially when I was fully healed—allowed it to press against my clit.
I felt sexy just thinking of it being there. I giggled. Before Jenna, I would have never thought of getting a tattoo, much less a genital piercing. Now I had both. She’d flipped an erotic switch in me, and it made me all warm and gooey inside.
While the piercing was very arousing for me, it was apparently for Jenna as well. Brad had written in his note how she had marveled at pictures of women who had one. That while she’d never had the courage to do it herself, she’d hoped that someday she’d find the right woman and she’d get to experience the pleasure of a ring through her partner.
He’d encouraged me to take that step and be that woman for Jenna. The woman she wanted and needed. Not that I wasn’t without the piercing, but I felt it would bring us that much closer together.
“Does it hurt?” Then Jenna snorted softly. “Of course it hurts. You cringed in pain when I pressed my body against you there. I’m sorry. I didn’t know.”
“It’s okay, honey. It’s tender. But not unbearable. Not like not having you here all week—”
“I’m sorry, sweetie. I missed you something awful.” Jenna’s voice cracked again. She leaned up and kissed me. My lips parted, and our tongues tangled.
“You wouldn’t believe all the torture I put myself through,” I said, pushing her away for a moment. “Especially when I found out Lauren was with you. I have never been so jealous in my life.”
“You heard us though, right?” She motioned toward the living room.
I just nodded.
“There was never anything with her, Kat. Please believe me. It’s always only been you.”
I nodded again, but I needed her to say more. I held my breath and silently begged her.
She ran the back of her fingers down my cheek. “I love you, Kat. I hope you know that. I need you to know that.”
“I love you, too, Jenna.” I reached up to pull her mouth to mine before I started crying again.
We kissed for several long minutes, our hands tangling in each other’s hair until both of us were panting.
Jenna sat up and casually ran her hand over my chest. “I like the top. New?”
“Yep, just for you.”
“You cooked dinner, didn’t you?”
I shrugged. “I thought you’d be home in time.”
She lowered her eyes, and her hand stilled from where it was cupping and squeezing one of my breasts. “Lauren had insisted on stopping for dinner. I just wanted to get home, but I was hungry. I’m sorry.”
“We’ll have other nights. There are leftovers in the fridge.”
“When did you move in?” Her hand resumed its caresses, her fingertips teasing my nipple.
“Sunday night. After I got your voicemail. It gave me a kick in the pants.”
She gasped. “And your apartment?”
“On the market. It’s currently being leased. Most of my stuff is in storage. I just moved the essentials until we could discuss it more. Or until you kicked me out and I had to beg for my place back.”
“You, my dear, are not going anywhere.” Jenna grinned and kissed my nose. “We can discuss our belongings later. But right now…”
I gasped as I felt two of her fingers pressing up inside me, the heel of her hand grazing my piercing. “Gentle, honey. We can fuck all we want until it’s healed, just keep it clean from fluids.”
“Now that, Kitty Kat, might be a little difficult, because you, sweetie, are dripping with arousal.” Her voice was a low growl. She locked her eyes on mine as she crawled between my legs again. “I’m sure I can lap it all up with my tongue. But my question to you is this: do you think you can come without me touching your clit?”
I growled right back at her, circling my hips against her hand. We had weeks to perfect it, and I was up for the challenge. In fact, I had never looked forward to something more in my life.
Nothing but to see Jenna home again. Right where we both belonged.