See part 1 for disclaimers
Sandra could feel the warmth of her friend's admiring perusal.
She was surprised that it didn't bother her to have another woman looking at
her that way. She knew if she looked up, it would stop. So she pretended not
to notice and just enjoyed the moment.
Josie had drifted off into a peaceful slumber that was abruptly
disturbed by a sudden growled profanity and the sound of air being forced through
"What's the matter, kiddo? Run into a snag?" The petite blond
adjusted herself on the sofa to face the student.
"I just get so damned frustrated with this. I have clinicals
tomorrow and have to present three nursing diagnoses on this patient with five
interventions for each one and I just can't think."
"Sandy, you've been at this too long. You need a break to organize
all that information you've been absorbing so you can make sense of it. Why
don't we go for a walk, then I'll sit down with you and read your patient's
history. I'm sure I can help you with this. Ok? Anyway, the dogs and I could
use the fresh air." Josie struggled to her feet and took a deep breath. It was
amazing how much better she felt sitting still. Standing up she felt like weights
were hanging from her limbs. But, she wouldn't give into the lethargy. Once
she got moving around a bit she was sure she'd feel better.
"Sounds like a plan." Sandra jumped up from the table, grabbed
her boss' hand and practically ran out of the front door with Scooby and Doo
pulling up the rear.
The little blonde laughed. "I guess you were ready for a break."
The two women enjoyed a leisurely stroll, deeply breathing in
the scent of sweet olive and confederate jasmine that Josie had liberally planted
throughout her acreage. "It smells like the Garden District at home."
"Does it make you home sick?"
"Oh, I guess it does, just a little. Especially with all the
beautiful camellias and wisteria everywhere. You've managed to include so much
of what I love about home here." Sandra looked down upon her friend with affection.
"It's very special."
"Thank you. That was my goal. I'm glad I succeeded. And I'm
very glad you feel at home here." Josie smiled warmly at her friend.
"I do." The companion noticed her boss developing some shortness
of breath and weakness.
"You alright?" Sandra stopped walking and placed her hand under
the smaller woman's elbow to offer support.
"Yeah. I'm just a little out of breath. Let's sit here for a
while." Josie indicated one of several concrete benches strategically located
along the trail for to sit and enjoy her garden.
"I want you to call your Doctor in the morning. Ok? He needs
to know how you've been feeling these last couple of days."
"Ok." Josie agreed as she released a deep cough. She looked
up at her friend with a sheepish grin. "Allergies."
"Right. Let's go inside. I want to check your temp. and blood
glucose level before we eat. Then, you promised to help me with my clinical."
"And, I always keep my promises." Josie allowed herself to be
helped to her feet, then wrapped her arm around her companion's to steady herself
on her way back up the trail to their home.
"Ok, lady, you have a temp of 101 and a blood sugar of 250 mg/dl.
I'm writing that down with the others we've taken since you got sick. I want
you to tell all this to Dr. Akras tomorrow."
"Yes mam, now give me my medicine, so we can get started on
your school work. You have a big clinical day tomorrow and I don't want you
up late studying."
"Kids." Josie rolled her sea green eyes in mock irritation.
Enjoying the easy banter the friends had fallen into. 'She makes this place
really feel like a home.'
"Hey there. How are you feeling today?" Sandy asked as she unpacked
her study materials onto the dining room table. "What's all this?" The companion
asked indicating the rather large box taking up too much of what she now considered
"It's a printer. I saw it advertized in this morning's paper.
My friend, Annie had to go to Super Walmart today, so she took me with her.
I saved a bundle on it. Can you help me get it unpacked and hooked up to my
laptop? I can't wait to try it." Josie was like a child with a new toy and it
delighted her friend.
"You didn't over do it today, did you? And, did you call Dr.
"No. I didn't over do it. And, yes, I called the doctor and
he said to rest, monitor my temp. and blood sugar, and call him if there is
any significant change. He said to continue all my vities and my B12 shots and
my 70/30 insulin until I go back into remission. So we're doing everything right.
Now, help me open my box.....uh.....No pun intended." Josie raised her eyebrow
"We're really feeling our oats today, aren't we." Sandra smirked
as she retrieved a knife from the kitchen and proceeded to help her friend unwrap
her new toy.
"Seriously, I feel much better today. I think you can stop worrying
for a while. Ok?" Josie reached out and touched her companion's arm.
"Ok..... Well, there you go. You play with your printer and
I'm gonna shower and hit the books."
"Don't hit them too hard. You might hurt yourself." Josie laughed
at her own joke as she dove into her project.
"Oh, brother. That one was really bad."
Sandra was in the shower when the strong coughing fit shook
her friends chest. "Ow. God that smarts." Josie went to the medicine cabinet
to find some old cough medicine she was sure she'd have left over from last
year and took a tablespoon of the sickeningly sweet liquid. 'It must be aversion
therapy. You stop coughing in self defense.'
"How we doin? Got yourself all hooked up?" Sandra asked as she
walked back into the living area, drying her long dark hair with a bath towel.
"It works great. Just what I need for my new career." Josie
looked up with a gleeful smile on her lovely face.
"New career? What career is that?"
Josie handed over a flash card. "This career. I want you to
post this to your bulletin board at school for me."
"Let me type and organize your research papers for you. I will correct spelling and grammatical errors. The end product will look professional and polished. I charge per page, not per error corrected.
Call me, Josie, at 555-1377 Have a great day."
"That's a great idea. The other students are always complaining
about their term papers. Well, actually, the teachers do a fair amount of complaining
about their illiteracy as evidenced by their term papers." Sandra chuckled.
"So, that's why you needed a new printer."
"Yep. And look at this quality." Josie handed her companion
a sheet she'd just printed of a letter she was sending her Mom. "Isn't that
polished looking to you?"
"That's really nice. You're going to have the students come
to you, aren't you. I don't want you having to run hither, thither, and yon
to collect your work. That would kinda defeat the purpose of working out of
your home." Sandra stated with concern.
"Well, I hadn't thought about it. But, I guess you're right,
especially the shape I'm in right now. I don't need to be spending energy unnecessarily.
I'll make it clear that they have to come to me or maybe they can leave their
stuff with you at school..... No. Scratch that. You have way too much on your
plate right now to be step and fetchin for me at school. The students will just
have to get here the best way they can."
"Ok." Sandra was relieved and it showed on her face. She really
wanted to help her friend in any way she could. But didn't think she could take
any more stress. She'd been so worried about her boss that she found her mind
preoccupied with her instead of her patients. It had caused her clinical instructors
to jump her case more than once for her lack of focus.
Josie read Sandra's expression and stood up to place an arm
around her tall friend's broad back, rubbing gently. "Listen, my friend, I remember
a very smart young woman giving some sage advice. You need to communicate with
me your needs and wants. If you are over stressed and need a break, I want to
know. You are no help to me if you get sick or if you become unhappy and quit
Sandra looked down into gentle green eyes, filled with love
and concern and tried to fill her smile with all the affection that was in her
heart. "Deal..... Thanks."
"Morning Glory, what's that fabulous aroma?" Josie bounced into
the kitchen, feeling better than she had in a week.
"My special New Orleans style french toast and sausage. It's
my Mom's recipe. I just felt like spoiling us this morning." Sandra couldn't
hide the strain on her beautiful features. She was homesick, stressed out and
exhausted from her constant studying and worrying about her friend.
Josie noticed the subtle changes, but chose not to confront
her over stressed companion.
"That was a "mouth fornication", dear girl. My compliments to
the chef." Josie wiped her mouth with her linen napkin and began clearing the
table. "For your reward, I'm going to do the dishes and you can go soak a few
minutes longer in the tub. Be decadent." The little blonde gave her a wink and
a knowing grin. "I'll see you tonight. Hope it's a good day for you."
Josie was relaxing at the dining table, playing with her new
printer when she heard her companion let herself in. "Hey slim. How was your
"Ok, I guess." Sandra put her books down and sighed.
"That doesn't sound too good. What's not going well for you?
I want to know. Maybe I can help." Josie didn't approach the forlorn woman but
gave her the space she needed to gather her thoughts.
"I feel like I'm on a tiny ship out at sea, tossing across the
waves with no anchor to hold me where I need to be nor sail to catch the wind
to move me in the right direction. My Mom's always been my anchor. I've never
really had anything to give me direction before....., well before you came into
my life. The other students have so much more education than I do that I always
feel like I'm playing catch up. I don't even understand some of the words they
use. I sit in class with my dictionary on my lap so I can quickly look up normal
words that the instructors spout out. I'm just so tired of always being two
steps behind. You know?" Tears began to form in the companions sad blue eyes.
"Sandy, when's the last time that you visited your family?"
Josie maneuvered her friend over to the sofa and sat her down.
"Not for the last three months, I guess. I write my mom and
my little brother when I have the time. Mom's not too good at writing, so she
sends cards." Sandra smiled at the thought of the lovely cards she'd been receiving
twice a week since she'd moved away. "I miss talking to her, you know. It's
just not the same without hearing her voice or seeing that smile. Mom's got
the gentlest smile. You'd like her." Her eyes filled with unshed tears and a
painful lump formed in her throat.
"I know I would. I hope to meet her some day soon. Do us a favor,
would you. Take the portable phone out on the porch and call your mom."
"Josie, I can't do that. It's long distance. It'll cost a mint."
Sandra swiped at a tear that had escaped.
"Consider it a bonus for taking such good care of me and my
insurance that you won't jump ship and swim for home. But, hold it down to twenty
minutes, please mam. And, tonight..... dinner's on me." The compassionate little
blond wiped away another tear that had escaped the blue eyes she was growing
very fond of. "Tell your mom I said "Hey". Now go. I have things to do." All
Sandra could do was nod her thanks.
Sandra's tears had been replaced by a joyful smile. She returned
to the living area to find Josie was gone. Just then she heard a car drive up
and went to investigate.
"Hey slim. I got us pizza and a movie. No stress tonight. I
got us Sister Act 1. Is that Ok? I also got us a veggie pizza and garlic bread
sticks." Josie was beaming with pride at her idea to relax her friend.
"I love that movie. That was so sweet of you."
"I'm a sweet kinda gal. Come on. You get the plates and lots
of napkins and I'll pour the Barq's."
The friends laughed and sang along with all the old Motown hits
until they were both pleasantly and serenely exhausted.
"Hey, I didn't know you could sing. You sounded great in there,
hanging with Ms. Woopie. What else can you do?" Josie asked amusedly.
"I have many skills." Sandra responded with a raised eye brow,
doing her best Xena impression.
"Oh, please. On that note, let's clean this mess up and turn
in. Don't forget to brush your teeth. You ate enough garlic tonight to waste
"Me!?! Why you little wop. I oughta pound ya." Sandra made a
fist and waved it threateningly at Josie.
"Yeow!" Josie squealed and ran through the house, over furniture
and around tables giggling as she dodged her attacker. Sandra had just tackled
her on the sofa when the phone rang, interrupting their fun.
Josie grabbed the phone panting, trying to catch her breath
and compose herself. "Uh..... whew.....Hello?"
"Bon soir, ma cher. Comment sa va? You sound all out of breath."
Kathy's familiar voice said.
"Hey Kathy. Yeah, I am. Sandy and I were just playing."
"Playing? You and "Sandy" were playing what?" The red head sounded
"Nothing. We were just kidding around. What can I do you for,
my friend?" Josie plopped down on the sofa and rested her feet upon the coffee
table and watched Sandy do the same with a smirk. She stuck out her tongue and
squinched up her face at her companion and got smacked in the belly by a throw
pillow for her trouble.
"What was that?" Kathy asked.
"That was me getting throttled by a throw pillow, an obviously
dangerous weapon in the hands of Ma Barker over here." Josie couldn't help dissolving
into giggles as her friend and some time lover began to wonder if she was horning
in on something.
"So to what do I owe the honor of this call, oh sexy one?" Josie
signaled her friend to stop her antics so she could pay attention to Kathy.
"Well, there is a conference in Hattiesburg on Friday and I
thought, if you were feeling up to it, we could get together and maybe finish
what we started last week. But, if you and "Sandy" are together now.....well,
I wouldn't want to do anything to upset the apple cart."
"No, Sandy and me? We've become good friends and were just goofing
off to release some of the stress she's been under with school. Actually tomorrow
night would be great if you'll stay through Saturday and maybe Sunday morning.
What do you say, Casanova. That will give Sandra the chance to go visit her
Mom and not have to worry about me. I'll be in your, Uh...hum, very capable
"Well, that's the best offer I've had in a coon's age. Only
one thing could sweeten the deal."
"Yeah....., you can bring your fishing pole. But I'm not touching
any more slimy worms. Yuck! And, you're not touching me until you scrub that
muck off of you. Of course we could always soak you clean out in the hot tub.
It's warm enough to use it now. Would you mind preparing it for us while you're
"Ah...ha! An ulterior motive. You just want me for my strength
and stamina. I think I'm hurt." Kathy couldn't suppress her chuckle.
"Oh I definitely am counting on your strength and stamina."
Josie purred into the phone.
"I'll call you from the conference tomorrow, then. Rest up.
I intend to wear you out."
"I will. Looking forward to it. Good night."
"A' bientot, ma cher."
Sandra had left the room and was packing up her things to move back
to her apartment. Josie seemed to be doing much better and she
wasn't needed. She'd call her Mom in the morning to tell her she was coming
for a visit. She knew she should be excited about going home, but she just felt
strangely disappointed. 'Geesum petes! What is wrong with you Sandra? You have
two whole days to spend with your Mom, all the creole cooking you can eat, and
no clinicals to prepare for and no one to worry about. Sounds like heaven. Then,
why do I feel like I'm being punished? Why does moving back to my apartment
feel like I'm being sent to my room for misbehaving?' Sandra sat in the guest
room and tried to figure out what she was feeling and why. But, all she managed
to do was irritate herself. 'Girl, just go to bed and give it a rest. You're
giving me a headache.' Sandra scolded herself and proceeded to pack.
Josie hadn't noticed what her companion was doing while she
was enjoying a flirtation with her favorite Cajun and wondered where she'd gotten
"Sandy." Josie called out. "Where y'at dawlin?" Sometimes making
fun of the New Orlean's "Y'at" accent was just too tempting. How that Bronx
sound ever made it to the deep south was beyond her.
"In here, boss lady." Sandra responded. "And I don't talk like
Josie came bouncing into the guest room. "What are you doing?"
Josie looked around taking in the fact that her companion was packing her things.
"I'm just moving back to my apartment. You're doing great. You
don't need me to be down here anymore." Sandra avoided looking into her friend's
eyes as much as possible as she quickly carted her belongings out of the house
and up the stairs.
"Oh.....Well.....Ok......Let me give you a hand." Josie started
collecting Sandra's books from the dining room table and followed her companion
up to her apartment.
"What are you doing?" The tall beauty was perturbed that her
charge was lugging her books up the staircase that she knew was so hard for
her to climb. She quickly placed her bags on the floor and grabbed her books
from Josie's hands.
"I was helping you. I'm not an invalid, you know. I have something
to offer, too, damnit!!! Josie didn't know where her outburst came from, but
she found she couldn't contain her anger, frustration and hurt.
"Your getting sick is not fucking helping. Don't help me so
damned much, Josie. I need to have something else in my life. Not just you and
that fucking nursing school." Sandra pitched her Nurse's drug handbook across
the room as hard as she could as she burst into soul wrenching sobs.
Josie found herself totally shocked at their altercation. "What,
the hell, just happened here?"
She watched, dumfounded, as Sandra's face continued to crumble
as her tall frame slid limply down the wall. "I don't know. I just don't know
anything anymore. All I know is that a moment doesn't go by that I don't think
about where you are and what you're doing and with whom. Shit! This is so damned
humiliating..... I've never felt this way before about anyone and I just don't
know how to handle it or if I even can."
Josie came to sit next to her distraught friend careful not
to touch her at first, just letting their thighs meet. The despair on the beautiful
face of her companion was breaking her heart. When she felt it was safe to do
so, Josie took a trembling hand into her own and brought it to her lips, kissing
it gently and stroking it against her cheek. "Sandra, are you saying you are
in love with me?" The compassionate little woman asked, never letting go of
her friend's hand.
Sandra couldn't trust herself to speak. Sighing in resignation,
she nodded her admission.
"And that frightens you?" Josie asked softly as she continued holding her friend's larger hand in her own.Again, just a nod. Sandra had yet to look into those beloved green eyes.
"May I ask you a question?..... Why now? I know you have been
under tremendous stress with school and taking care of me. You've been terribly
home sick and we have spent all your spare time together, and you know I am
attracted to women. All that has to add up. But what made you have this epiphany
now when you were going home and escaping all this for a few days and you knew
I would be spending my weekend with Kathy. Was that what caused this? Are you
jealous of Kathy because she would be having sex with me?"
Again, she nodded. "I am so sorry, Josie. I've never felt so embarrassed in my life." Sandra sniffled as her tears slowly rolled down her face. "I thought I was being magnanimous about you and Kathy by moving back up here and giving you your privacy. But, when you carried my books up those stairs with total disregard for your health, and in the name of helping me, it was like what I feel doesn't matter to you. You'd rather be with Kathy having "recreational sex" than "making love" with me." Sandra took a deep breath and looked into her friends gentle face, seeing no malice, only compassion, she continued. "Where do we go from here?" She looked away again. "I mean, I do work for you and live in your home. I'd like to stay so I can finish school. If that's alright with you. We could go back to the way it was, just driving you on Tuesdays and being here at night if you need assistance. Strictly business, you know." Sandra hated that she had placed herself in the position of needing Josie, in more ways than one.
Josie brought her beloved's hand to her lips, kissing it tenderly.
"First, let me make some admissions of my own. Are you listening to me?" Josie
sought out her companion's pain filled eyes as she placed her over heated hand
against her face and kissed the palm. "I do love you..... I do want you.....
But, I need you to understand something." Josie stopped to take a deep breath
to compose herself. "I need to feel useful. To be useful, especially to the
people I love." She couldn't hold her tears back any longer. "I want to help
you in any way I can......Please, let me."
Sandra couldn't fathom what she was hearing. She just continued
to look into the eyes she loved as she felt the softness of the skin against
her palm. Her own tears began anew.
The little blonde straddled the much larger brunette's lap and
pulled the dark head to her chest to offer comfort. Murmuring words of love
and devotion, while stroking silky black hair, Josie was finally able to halt
her beloved's tears.
"Better?" Josie tilted Sandy's head to kiss her forehead.
"Yeah....., better." Sandra nodded and swiped at her tears.
"I must look a sight."
"You look beautiful." Josie moved her stroking hand to Sandra's
flushed cheek. Sea green looked into soft blue with a depth of feeling that
both fascinated and frightened the younger, less experienced, woman.
Seeing the turmoil in Sandy's eyes, Josie decided that taking
it slow was a definite necessity or this chick would fly the coop. "Hey, don't
be afraid. We can take this as slow as you want or as fast as you need. You
set the pace. Ok? I'm not going any where. I'll be here when you are ready.
I know this is all new to you and a bit frightening. But, believe that I love
you and it's going to be Ok."
The tall beauty studied her love's face seeing only gentle concern
and sincerity. "What about this weekend." Sandra stopped and, taking a deep
breath to bolster her courage, said what she meant. "What about you and Kathy?"
Again she looked away. "I can't bear the thought of you together.....like that."
Tears filled her eyes again. "Good grief, I think I've sprung a leak." Sandra
smiled at her own levity.
"I'll talk to her. She'll understand. My happiness is important
to her. And, you are my happiness.....Anyway, I think she gets nearly as big
a kick from fishing as she does from sex.....I want you to go visit your Mom
and get some rest. Don't worry about tonight. We'll work it all out. I promise.
Kathy and I will have a long talk tomorrow. No sex. I promise. You have nothing
to worry about. I'll explain us to her. You know, she asked me if we were together
"She did? That's amazing."
"Sandy? I need to do something, but I don't want to frighten
you. I'll stop whenever you want, but please....., let me kiss you." For the
first time, Sandra saw desire in the depths of the green eyes she loved. She
raised a long elegant hand to stroke pale soft cheeks, trying to memorize every
sensation about this moment. She watched as Josie leaned toward her and licked
her lips to moisten them. There was a small grin on the full, soft, lips just
before they met with their goal. Sandra could feel herself trembling. She'd
never been so aroused before. She increased the pressure against Josie's lips,
but the smaller woman pulled back slightly and Sandra pursued, her lips separating
begging her boss' warm tongue to enter at will. And, she did. First there were
tentative little licks, just tasting, then entering, deeply perusing all available
surfaces, then retreating and inviting Sandra into her warmth. Both women moaned
their passion as Josie gently sucked her companion's tongue, fanning the flames
of their mutual desire.
Sandra's heart felt like it was beating out of her chest and
she realized that she needed air. The feelings she was experiencing were all
too new to her and way more intense than she could have imagined. She pulled
back from her desires. Too emotionally overloaded to handle any more.
"You Ok?" Josie's voice was full of concern and love.
"Oh, Josie..... That was incredible. I've never felt anything
remotely like that before. I'm..... overwhelmed. If we continue on, I won't
be able to stop and I know I'm not ready to handle anymore. At least not for
a little while."
"I understand." The little woman kissed her love's forehead,
her eyelids, then the tip of her nose. "You get some sleep. You still have school
tomorrow. I'm going to dream of us and all the wonders there are to discover
together." Josie gave Sandra a soul lifting smile. "And I want you to promise
me you won't spend all your time at home worrying about us. We are going to
be great together. I feel it in here." Josie lifted her companion's hand over
her heart then to her lips.
Blue eyes followed the tiny hand that held her heart in its
embrace. "I'll try. This is all new to me. It might take me a while to get used
to.....Josie, I need you to do something for me."
"What's that, sweetheart?" Josie searched her love's eyes.
"Get off a me. I gotta pee somethin fierce." Sandra lifted the
smaller woman off of her lap and sprinted to the bathroom.
The tall beauty stared into the bathroom mirror as she washed
away all traces of her previous heartache. 'She loves me. I heard her with my
own two ears. She said she loves me. Wow!' A smile of genuine joy plastered
itself to her face as she brushed the tangles out of her raven hair.
"Honey, you Ok in there?" Josie feared their new relationship
had overwhelmed the inexperienced woman.
The door opened and a very happy woman leaned against the frame.
"I am so way more than Ok that I can't even tell you." Sandra pulled her beloved
into her arms and kissed the top of her golden head. "I love you..... God, it
feels so good to say that." Laying her cheek against silky soft curls, the tall
beauty heaved a contented sigh.
Josie rested her ear against her love's heart feeling like she
had come home at last.
To Be Continued in part 3 of The Apartment