Family Affair

by Ri

Disclaimers: This is an alternative, uber fiction, story. You may find some resemblance to a couple of characters that we know and love, but that would be purely coincidental! If you aren't old enough to read this, or if it is illegal where you live, you need to hit the BACK button and come back later! That being said, enjoy and please let me know what you think!

This story is dedicated to F. Scott Fitzgerald and Agatha Christie who inspired my fascination with the "Roaring 20's".


Part One

Julie got out of the bed slowly her long beautiful legs came out from beneath the soft cotton blanket. As she stretched she looked at her reflection. She was tall, almost six feet in fact with bobbed black hair and sapphire blue eyes. Julie blinked at her reflection noting that her baby blues looked awfully red. "Well looks like no more booze for a while Iíll have to stick to coffee the next time I go to the speak easy." Except for the red in her eyes she felt no worse for wear. In fact she felt pretty good knowing she was about to make her mark in the infant medium of the talking pictures.

"Louise Brooks look out!" She chuckled as she brushed a raven lock behind her ear. Her hair was chin length which heighten her high cheek bones. She winked at her own reflection and sauntered into her bath room. Her only luxury in this room was a the bath room. She even had to go down the hall to use her phone. "Soon, Iíll be able to do better, Kiddo."

The party she was at last night was at the famous speak easy 21 and she felt she made quite an entrance with her famous writer pal as an escort. The producers there seemed to fall for it. Hopefuls were always flinging themselves at those guys. Julie was the opposite. She was the picture of aloof beauty the whole night till the host came over and requested that she come to meet the famous producer-director. Julie smiled at the reflection in the mirror as she brushed her hair. By the end of the evening he was begging her for her phone number promising that it was for professional reasons only. He wanted her for Cleopatra. And sheíd give the last dime in her pocket to play the serpent of the Nile. She knew realistically it was too much to hope for the lead what she was hoping for a feature part. She had the looks and she had the voice for the new media she knew she could make the right impression.

Suddenly there was a ringing down the hall and her name was be called by the land lady. Julie grabbed a silk blue kimono and practically ran to phone.

"Julie? " a sweet voice asked from the other end of the line. Julie face broke out into a wide lopsided grin it was her childhood freind Diana. Her combination of innocence and spunky honesty always touched her deeply. She just loved the little minx and was always happy to hear her voice.

"Hey squirt whatís up?"

There was a girlish giggle and then Diana replied, "Oh Julie, I only take that squirt stuff from you!"

"Yeah I know, actually I think Iíd be really angry if anyone else said that to you. You know when I say it its pure affection, donít you?"

"Of course I do. You are my best friend. Which brings me to the reason I called...I....Uh...Julie, I..."

"Come on, Diana you can tell me anything you know that."

"Well Daddyís been rather difficult lately and I was talking to Mom and she suggested, if it isnít inconvenient that I...Julie you donít have to say yes, but..."

Julie was breathing rymthically as her blood began to boil. Dianaís father had been emotionally abusing his family, particularly Diana, for some time now and it really pissed her off. "Sweetie, you can come on down to me. Iíd love to have you."Julie said quietly.

Diana recognized the tone, She heard it many times before from her freind. Julie was trying very hard to control her rage. Julie could be very dangerous when she was angry. Diana remembered when a local mobster tried to shake down her brother in law and Julie came to the rescue. She beat the man up and didnít even break a nail.

"Jules, please you donít have to say..."

"Diana you're my best friend too!! Iíd love to have you here. Don is such an ass. Your Mom is way to good for him, she should of dumped him long ago."

"Where would she go?"

"Good question."

"Jules, your career is so important to you I really donít want to get in the way."

"You're not, Sweetie. You're my best friend and family. You come first with me. So come on down here Squirt Iím waiting for you."

Diana almost cried. Julies open heart always made her feel so loved. It filled a part of her left void by her father's constant abuse.

"Thank you Julie. Thank you," She quietly began to cry now she got herself together enough to breath and say, "Iíll be there tomorrow can you meet me at Penn Station at 230pm?"

"Iíll be there with bells on now dry your eyes and pack your bags and Iíll pick you up at 230pm. Ok Squirt?" Julie could hear her young friend and really made her heart break that such a good person had to go through such a rotten experience.

"Ok, Bye Julie," She replied softly as she hung up.

Julie softly hung up the phone then stood in the hall staring at that instrument with a distant look on her pretty intelligent face. Then suddenly like a panther she prowled to her apartment cursing under her breath. After slamming a few things around and cursing in her apartment for a few minutes, Julie got her blood pressure under control sat crossed legged in her sanctuary and meditated. Julie had studied under a Japanese master for many years she was a black belt in Juditzo and Karate. Her meditation and Tai Chi gave her great balance for these lethal pursuits. She focused her meditation on the joy she felt to see her freind once more.

* * * * *

Diana quietly waited at Penn Station for Julie to pick her up. She had shoulder length golden hair, sea green eyes and a sweet vulnerable face. Her small stature would have you think she was a child but after talking with the young woman for a few minutes youíd know very quickly what wise and intelligent young woman you had before you.

Several men were licking their lips thinking 'easy prey'. She was wearing a peasant blouse and a knee length skirt as far from being a modern as you could get.

A sleazy man in a dimestore suit approached her from behind and put a hand on her arm, or at least tried to, very suddenly he felt that same arm held behind his back with very strong long fingers. "I think youíve mistaken the young lady for someone else," said the low growl in his ear.

He turned to see very blue eyes in a very angry face. Julie was dressed in a very expensive, tailored suit. Fitted perfectly to her long form. Despite that she looked very femine thanks to the Scapperelli blouse and small dangle earrings that hung close to her perfect ears.

"Oh, yes...sorry miss...I..I..." He looked beseechingly at the beautiful angry woman.

She grimaced and let him go. He sprinted out of there as fast he could.

"Canít leave you alone for a minute, huh Squirt?" She asked calmly as she reached for her companion's luggage.

"I could of handled it, Jules....But, thanks," she said softly touching her arm tenderly.

Julieís eyes softened and she said," You're welcome. I know your mouth could stop a bullet faster then superman,"She replied with a sweet smile.

That got a giggle from Diana as they made there way out of the station.

* * *

In the taxi cab on the way to Julieís apartment, Julie smiled and said "So Squirt, any interesting writing matrial on the trip down?" She asked smiling and listened indulgently as Diana described her trip imaginatively from their home in Syracuse to New York. It never ceased to amaze her how her young freind could develop so much enthusiasm for such common things as a short train trip.

They arrived at Julieís apartment and after she got Diana settled she sat her down and said, "So?"

"So?"

"Come on, Sweetie. What did the creep do?"

Diana was on the couch, she drew her legs up and was practically in the fetal position, "Jules, I...I canít ..I..."

Julie knelt down by her side took both her hands into her's looked deeply into green scared eyes and said quietly, "Calm down. Tell me."

Diana saw nothing but reassurance in her blue eyes. She was quiet for a minute then a flood of tears began to pour out of her beautiful eyes. Julie gathered her in her arms and held her tight murmuring comforting sounds till Diana started to breath normally again. She saw that she was calming she said softly, "Please talk to me."

Diana looked up into the kind gentle eyes above her and saw that there were tears there. She gently wiped a tear, held it up to Julie and said, "For me?"

Julie smiled and shook her head, "No for the girl behind you, Of course they're for you squirt. Now come on, talk to me."

Diana nodded and stared off toward the closed door, "It started slowly at first he started to slam my house work saying it was a poor job and that I was a slob. Then it was my stories saying they were a result of my day dreaming and proved to him just how lazy I was and that I needed more work if I had all that time to write. So I started secretly writing. I wrote under my covers with flashlight." She could feel Julieís heart beating very fast against her head and asked, "Do you want me to stop?"

Julie smiled grimly and said,"No go on. You need to get this out and I need to learn to maintain my patience."

Diana nodded her head briskly and continued looking down at Julieís comforting hands around her stomach as she spoke, "Well, one day, the day before yesterday he found my work under my mattress and he..he...Oh Julie he started screaming at me. Such things. I could even begin to repeat them. Mom came running in and I stayed with her all night in her room and then she said I should call you...I stayed with Margaret last night since Jack was away on a business trip..." Margaret was Dianaís married sister she lived about 5 miles away from Dianaís parents home. Jack was salesman for the rail road and so he went out of town for periods of time.

"That Bastard!" Julie had gotten up and started to pace her living room like a caged tiger. "If I knew about this when you called I would of come up there and tore him limb from limb. I..I"

There was a gentle arm on her shoulder and she looked into sad eyes, "Jules, Iím here, safe. What could you of done? He yelled at me he didnít hurt me."

Julie turned suddenly and hugged Diana tightly to her. "If he hurt you I would of killed him. Last link to my father or not. That son of a bitch doesnít deserve any of you. You're all to good for him!!"

"Sh, sh , we're all ok, everything is ok..."

Julie pulled out of the embrace enough to look Diana in the eye, "No, its not ok. Its never ok. He has no right to take his frustration out on you and your Mom. You are staying right here and as soon as I can afford to so is your momma. There is no argument on this, its final."

Diana shook her head and smiled, "I wasnít arguing. We love you and weíd love to stay with you but Julie we're worried weíd get in the way of your destiny. You're the best actress in the world and we donít want to get in your way..."

"Sweetheart, you're not. And neither is your Mom. I love you both so much. Margaret and Jack too. You're the only family I have since Mom left me and I wonít let that Son of Bitch destroy it! I wonít!"

"He wonít, Mom is staying with Maggie. We're all ok, Jules. He has never physically hurt us so as long as we stay out of his hearing..."

Julie laughed, "I should be making you laugh, Squirt! Not the other way around." She stood up and stretched and put her hand out for Diana to grasp. Once she had it firmly she gently pulled her up and said, "Come on let's go get some dinner."

* * *

The two young women entered the speak easy and suddenly all eyes turned toward them. The tall beautiful brunette was used to it and couldnít care less. She knew she looked good and fashionable in a midnight blue, fringed dress by Scaparelli. She had a single row of pearls and matching earrings. She looked stunning. The young blonde was not used to the admiring looks and stepped closer to her companion. She was wearing a black knee length dress that was modest but showed her figure sweetly. She looked like the school girl she had been until very recently. Julie had picked out the dress because it brought out her coloring and blonde highlights. She looked stunning yet innocent. In Julieís opinion; perfect.

The overtly friendly Maitre d' was drooling over the two ladies and seated them at a central table. Julie surveyed the room with a critical eye. She scoped out two or three possible contacts and then smiled at her companion reassuringly.

"Jules, go ahead and make your contacts. I told you I donít want to be in your way."

"Squirt, I donít have to move. Relax. Theyíll come to me, I promise." She replied with a wink.

"Really? Wow, I read that actresses had to constantly bug producers and directors just to get a break."

"Yes. that true. I never have had to do it though. You see, I made a flash in a pan already as a model for the top New York magazines. So they now they feel like they know me. They are always coming to me with work, even if I donít want it. It sounds easy, but its just the right look at the right time. And right now Iím that look. So look at the menu, pick something and relax. Oh and Squirt you are never, ever in my way."

Diana gave Julie a huge grin, "You know that's the longest I think I have ever heard you speak."

Julie grinned back, "Cute kid, cute."

They ordered and people watched for a while and then a serious look came onto her sweet face, "Jules, did you mean it? Mom can come here to?"

"Of course I mean it sweetheart. I wouldnít say it if I didnít mean it. You know I consider you my family. I would have her move in now but I really think we need a bigger place for that. I just have enough room right now for you and me."

"Thank you for making room for me Julie." Diana said quietly squeezing the top of her friend's hand.

Julieís face broke into a beautiful smile and she lifted and elegant eyebrow, "You're my best friend, of course I always have room for you.." She was about to say much more when dinner arrived.

As they ate Julie thought about how important Diana was to her. She was more then her best friend and always had been. When her own family circle had broken up Diana, her mother and sister became her family. Diana was, since the day she was born, the light of Julieís life. The little girl could always make her feel happy and complete. Now this woman was so essential a part of her she could not imagine life without her. Diana looked at Julie through her eyelashes and tried to cover her look of joy with the glass of milk that Julie had bullied the waiter into bringing. Julie felt toward her as she had always felt toward Julie.

ĎNow I really wonder about my life. Why am I so lucky? By the Gods, how did I find someone as caring and patient as Julie? But Julie was always like that. She was always my loving and protective best friend as long as I can remember. Gosh, Iím lucky.í

Julie quietly ate while she contemplated how lucky she was and how she could best help her friend. The only thing she could think of was she could help her get started here in the city. Get a job and a stable life away from that brute of a father.

"Squirt, do you remember any of that stuff you learned in those secretarial courses you took at school?"

Diana looked at Julie surprised, big green eyes widened at the question. She smiled and replied," Of course I do, you think I have the memory of pea?"

Julie chuckled, "No I just remembered that one of the hot shots here was looking for a secretary. He is a decent sort and I trust him to treat you well. I know heíll give you the job if I ask him to...What's wrong?" She watched as the young womanís face fell into deep sadness.

"I knew I was in the way. Iíll take the job and move out as soon as possible..."

Suddenly there was an arm around her shoulder squeezing her against Julie's tall form tightly.

"No Squirt, you got it all wrong. I am not, repeat not trying to get rid of you. I know that work well done helps to build confidence and I really want you get back your self esteem. I really, really, really have no desire to get rid of you. Really sweetie, I want you to stay!"

Dianaís face was flushed and tears were falling down her cheeks, "Really?"

"Really," The dark model replied gently removing a tear from the young womanís cheek. "So what do you think?"

Diana looked down at the table then back into Julieís blue eyes and said quietly, "Ok, Iíd like to try that. But Jules, I know nothing of your world."

That got a snort from her older compainion,"Who does, Kiddo? Listen even the biggies have no idea what will happen tomorrow." Julie then looked up and smiled sweetly at a round faced older man which made him practically run to be by her side.

"Pete, Iíll make you a deal. Iíll do your film if and only if youíll have my friend here as your new secretary. Deal?" She asked quietly putting her hand out toward him waiting, confident of his reply.

"Deal, Jules. Iíd be nuts to turn that down." He looked at Diana appraisingly.

"Can you type, Kid?"

* * * *

Julie was dressed in beautiful black silk evening dress. In her raven black, chin length hair she wore a blood red rose above an ear. It annoyed her greatly but she put up with it. She wore exaggerated make up and was holding an unlit cigarette in a long holder placed against her deep red lips. Behind her was a white drape that was back lit to create shadows. It was a typical shoot. She rolled her eyes as she took her place before the camera. She was bored out of her mind, she hated this kind of slick photo shoot. It was so damn phony. She had promised Pete that sheíd do it as part of the deal for the film and Dianaís job.

Though her face showed the dead panned look of the current look, inwardly she smiled. Diana was really enjoying herself. Pete was a kind and generous boss and Diana had the natural organizational skills of secretary. Best of all because Julie signed an exclusive contract with the producer she was with Diana every day.

"Ok, darling take a break," The photographer told the pretty woman before him. He smiled brightly and her and said, "Amazing stuff, Jules!"

"Thanks, Don. I just stand still and let my mind wander."

"Well you're brilliant at it. I wish youíd light that damn cigarette though."

"No, absolutely not! I hate and despise those things. Its bad enough just posing with the crap."

"But, Darling it creates an atmosphere of elegance and sophistication..."

"Bull. Thats the concept of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Hemmingway. I adore all their books. The fact they feel you're not sophisticated unless you drink like a fish and smoke till you smell like youíve been to a fire doesnít influence me and donít even try to..."

"Ok, ok," said Pete loudly from the door. "Enough already. Diana go get your buddy changed, then take her out to lunch. Thats an order!"

Diana chuckled and said, "Yes, Sir! Your wish is my command."

"Donít give him any funny ideaís Sqirt."

"Julie! I do not indulge in that. Iím a rarity in this world; a man thatís actually happily married and..."

"I know! Why do you think I picked you out to be Dianaís boss?"

"Touché. "

"Okay,okay," Said a chuckling Diana, "Come on Jules, lets get you changed, Iím starved."

"Now there's a shock," Replied Julie as Diana led her toward her dressing room.

* * * *

They were seated in a plush booth in the Russian Tea Room. Julie had changed into a simple blue dress that brought out her striking eyes even more. Gone was all that horrible exaggerated make up and Julie looked simple and elegant. She had a really wide smile on her face as she listened to Diana relate behind the scenes of running the Farnham empire. Dianaís soft voice always soothed Julie and she enjoyed her descriptions of people and events immensely.

"So Pete had me call the designer and ask him very nicely if he could move his show forward two weeks so it will coincide with an article about him in the magazine. Well Pete was startled when the man said ok. I mean no muss, no fuss. Then...he....said...." Diana suddenly developed a stutter and turned beet red.

Julie smiled, "He complimented you." she said simply with a wink.

Diana nodded.

"What did he say?" She asked proudly. Pete only complimented when completely warranted.

Diana stared at the fork she was twisting in circles on her plate. "He said I was a God send and that I was his right hand and that he thanked God you brought me to him." She said quietly still staring down on her plate.

Julie felt tears come to her eye and she gently pried the fork out of the young womanís hands and took them in both of hers. She squeezed them gently and said in a quiet choked voice, "You're a God send to me too, Squirt."

Shocked green eyes looked up through long lashes, "What?" She whispered.

"Donít you think Iíve noticed how my apartment has been? How organized my desk is now? Donít you think I appreciate the meals you make me? By the Goddess, you are the center of my life now!" Tears were falling down her eyes and when she looked up she saw that tears were falling down Julieís eyes too. When she looked into those pretty blue eyes she was startled to see that it was true.

"How could I be?"

Julie shrugged, "Donít know. Just happened. Before you came I was just existing. Now you're here and Iím actually living. I canít put it any more succinctly then that, can I?"

Diana looked at Julie and then her eyes dropped again, "You are the center of my world too. You protect me and take care of me. You actually listen to me. You have been and will always be my best friend and I donít know what Iíd do with out you.." She felt Julie squeeze her hand but did not look up.

Julies eyes were still tearing as she croaked, "You donít ever have to because Iíll never leave you. You're my best friend. Now, are you hungry or what? " She asked with a wide smile though she felt the tears still fall.

"Starved," Was the quiet reply.

Julie signaled the waiter and said," Never think you are anything other then a priority in my life."

Diana nodded and replied, "As you are in mine."

* * * * *

Diana was lying on the couch reading the latest F. Scott Fitzgerald novel and eating potato chips and Coca Cola. Julie was doing her Tai Chi moves silently. The atmosphere in the room was comfortable silence. Diana looked up from her book and watched Julie in silent in admiration. She moved with the swiftness of a panther and yet it was done slowly with great gentleness. It just fascinated her.

"Julie?"

"Mmm?" She mumbled completing the movement before giving Diana her attention.

"Could you ...a...teach me that?" she muttered shyly.

The smile on Julieís face brightened, "Of course! Iíd be happy to." She gestured to stand beside her, "Címere."

Diana got up and walked over to her and unexpectedly Julie gave her a big bear hug and then a pat on the back as she said, "You pleasantly surprise me every day."

Diana beamed both at the affection an the unexpected compliment, "I do?í she asked quietly.

"Oh yeah! Iím very proud of you. You amaze me sometimes. You grow everyday in maturity, spirit and confidence. It's a really beautiful thing to watch."

Diana blushed a deep red and Julie laughed, "Squirt, you donít need to blush, but it is very cute." She pulled her to the center of the room and said, "Okay, lets get you ready to learn a new discipline."

* * * *

Julie looked at her pancaked white skin and ridiculous make up that she was about to take off and shook her head, ĎWhat a way to make a living,í It was all so damn tedious and half the time was wasted on the banal dialogue she was expected to speak. It was nothing like the theater. She trained two years on the stage for what: to make face and say stupid dilalogue. "Yeesh!" She got the cold cream out put her long hair in a net and started to smear it all over her face.

Pete walked in and smiled as he stood behind her, "You know you even look good in cold cream."

"Yeah, yeah, what do you want, Pete?"

"Now why should I want anything?"

Julie raised an eyebrow in the mirror.

"It doesnít work quite as well with that glop on your face."

"Pete," Julie growled quietly.

Pete laughed, "Ok, ok I need you to do me a little favor..."

"What else is new?"

"True. I have a...a backers cocktail party tonight at my place and I need a face. What do you say?"

"Pete, I hate these things. You know they think they can get a roll in the hay out of it and I really donít want to spend my evening fighting off a bunch of rich lecherous sharks." She started to take off her make off with a practiced hand grimacing at her friend and boss as she removed the make up with clean even strokes. The tension was obvious in her hands. She didnít want to go but she knew she would. She had an obligation to Pete and she always fulfilled her obligations.

"Come on, Jules, I need you. You can take Diana with you and youíll be so busy protecting your little buddy that youíll be too busy to notice them coming on to you. Besides Diana has worked hard and she deserves an evening out."

"An evening out, you're very right. If it was the movies or play or even a dinner party with friends. But this canít be described as fun." She looked at Pete's pleading face and rolled her eyes. "Ok, weíll go but I expect you to do your part on the protection front for both of us!" She finally said to her boss with frustration obvious in her voice.

"I will, Jules. As long as we keep the sharks at bay I really think Diana will have a good time. So smile and donít worry." He was answered by a flying sponge hitting him gently on the face.

"Funny kid. Sure you donít want take to the stage with Fanny Brice?" He smiled at her sweetly and patted her on the shoulder. She simply rolled her big blue eyes at him again and shook her head trying to clear it.

* * * *

Dianaís eyes were wide with shock, "Why would want me there, Jules? Iíd only hold you back..."

Julie and Diana were in there apartment and Julie had an extremely frustrated expression on her face. Diana appeared flustered and looked about to cry. They had been tossing this back and forth for an hour and Julie still had to get Diana a dress.

"Squirt, you never ever could hold me back!! You are an asset. I really, really need and want you to come with me. I really need your calming influence or may I take one of those cigar smoking louts and toss them across the room." Julie gently put her hands on Dianaís shoulders and directed her toward the couch as they sat down Diana looked up at her friend with a confused expression.

"My calming influence...you really donít seem very calm right now."

"Iím frustrated because you are so damn stuborn," Julie shook her head and smiled down on her friend saying, "But 99.9 percent of the time you make me feel peaceful and content. Please come. I need you."

Diana looked down at the beautiful hand hold hers and then she looked up and petted Julieís soft dark bangs and smiled gently, "You make me feel so safe and protected that I forget you can be vulnerable. I think we trade off pretty evenly donít you?

Julie looked at the pretty blonde and nodded yes, she put all her effort in putting all her need in her eyes, she requested again quietly, "Please, Squirt?"

Diana felt the tears before they started, "I just donít want you to ever think I would use you...I couldnít...I wouldnít...."

Julie gathered her tightly to herself and cooed sweetly in her ear petting her hair till she heard her breath even out. Then she took a breath and she quietly whispered in the ear that was closest to her, "I never ever would think that of you." She pulled back and said, "Look at me, come on."

Two teary eyes looked up at her.

Julie smiled and said," Now look in my eyes and tell me if I would ever think that you of all people would ever use me. For Godís sake Diana I asked you to go with me not the other way around. Canít you see you're being silly, sweetheart?" Gently wiping tears from sad green eyes.

They looked deeply into each other's eyes for a couple of minutes and then Dianaís eyes dropped again to her lap as she replied quietly, "You are right and I guess I am being silly. But Jules, Iíve seen so many people take advantage of you. Even Pete! I never ever want to make you feel obligated to me..."

"I am obligated to you. You're are my best friend. Iím obligated to you because I love you dearly and I always will."

Big round tears fell from Dianaís eyes, "I love you too. You are the dearest, kindest, most wonderful person Iíve ever met. I just want to be worthy of you. I want your hopes and expectations of me fulfilled and I hope never to disappoint you."

Julie hugged her tighter and said, "Honey you could never disappoint me. I have no expectations of you except I want you to be everything and anything you want to be. Thatís all I want or expect from you, Ok?" Julie gently lifted her chin so she could see her eyes.

Diana nodded her head and smiled shyly.

"Good, Now lets wash our faces and get your damn dress before the stupid party is over!"

* * * *

You really couldnít see either of them because they were completely surrounded by a wall of men. Julieís tall frame was encased in a flame red, fringed dress. Her bobbed hair had matching headdress and shoes matched as well. Her only adornment was beautiful diamond bracelet borrowed when they went hunting for Dianaís ensemble. She looked breathtaking and everyone was whispering about it. Diana was dressed in a long emerald green dress with one shoulder uncovered, she had modest cleavage and a little leg exposed by a slit. Her strawberry blonde hair was pulled up exposing a pretty neck and a pair of simple emerald earrings that Julie had bought her as a special gift. She looked beautiful and mature and Julie was very proud of her. She had to smile inwardly as she remembered the fight to get her young friend to accept the gift. Julie would accept none of Dianaís arguments, "It represents our respect and friendship." She said simply at the time.

Julie was enchanted by the image her friend presented though she didnít speak much, when the young woman did it was thoughtful and intelligent. In fact Julie noted that she was charming the hell out of the barracudas. No one had as yet put a move on her, but Julie was watching, trying to figure out in advance who would be possible problem and head it off before it could happen.

She suddenly felt a presence behind her, in full protective mode she turned sharply but her face changed from challenging to smiling when she the familiar face, "Josh, I could of knocked you into next week. You know better you idiot!" she said as she hugged him.

Josh returned the hug chuckling. He was bigger then Julie; about 6í4 and very handsome with blonde hair and blue eyes. His strong perfect body made him perfect for modeling, which is how they met. Josh was also doing movies because like Julie he had pleasant voice and theatrical training. He was a trusted a dear friend and Julie was well pleased to see him among the sharks.

"It was worth the risk of bodily injury just to see your face. Which was priceless," He replied with large grin.

"How did you get stuck at this thing?"

"How else? Pete used his most persuasive tactics; he promised a donation to my favorite charity if Iíd come."

Julie laughed and said, "Good for you! I got him to let me bring my freind. Just a second," She easily got through the crowd and was beside Diana just as sleazy producer type was trying the usual line of seduction. She saw by Dianaís face that she was not pleased. Julie walked briskly over and smiled charmingly at the old codger, "Excuse us Edward, got to dash." Julie put her hand to Dianaís back and guided her back toward Josh.

"Thanks Jules, He was nice enough but...he..."

"I know, Squirt he had really obvious ulterior motives. Come on I want you to meet a good friend." They stopped in front of Josh, "Josh, this is Diana, my best freind. Squirt, this is Josh an old, old, old friend."

"Thanks Jules, Like I need you to add 20 years to my age. Nice to meet you Diana. Iím afraid Iíve heard nothing about you." He said gently shaking her hand and sending an accusing look toward his smiling friend.

"Nice to meet you too. You canít blame Julie, Josh Iím not that interesting..."

Julie sighed and shook her head in frustration, "I beg to differ, Squirt. Believe me kiddo you are more then interesting. The old hounds around here are just one pace from pouncing on you. Uh.. Josh, could you keep an eye on her for me? Sheís really hot tonight and the hounds will come sniffing as soon as leave her. I had to promise old Pete Iíd make the circuit at least once."

Josh smiled at his friend and was touched by her confidence in him.

"I would be honored, Mizz Diana, maíam if you would come with me Iím a goiní to protect ya maíam." He said in his best sheriff style voice.

It made both woman laugh.

"I think Julie is exagerating how much protection I need Josh," Diana said to the sweet man with a girlish giggle.

"I beg to differ, Squirt. You are a beautiful woman and these are shark invested waters. Right Josh?"

"Absolutely! Take it from a shark," Josh said with a wiggle of his eyebrows.

Diana was confused and her face reflected it, "Donít worry heís just teasing you. Heís a doll. I wouldnít put you with a shark, Love." Julie said reassuringly.

"I know that, it's just that this is such a different world and ..Iím...well just a little nervous."

Josh chuckled, "You have more then a little reason to be nervous my young friend. Come on dance with me that will give tall dark and gorgeous time to single mingle."

Diana smiled at the nice man and shyly nodded. She looked at Julie once more before she quietly left the room with the handsome model. Julie took a deep breath as smiled reassuringly to Diana and then turned to do her duty to her benefactor.

* * * *

Josh and Diana were sitting by the dance floor talking quietly when Julie appeared behind Diana gently putting her hands on her shoulders.

"Ok Squirt, lets git!" Diana knew it was Julie before she spoke. She could feel it. She loved the gentle massage Julie was giving her sore shoulders. She didnít even realize that she was that tense. "Thank you, Julie."

"For what?" replied Julie with a chuckle still gently massaging her from behind.

"Everything," Diana said very quietly and sincerely.

* * * *

Diana was fast asleep in her bed and Julie was inches across in her own bed. As was her custom Julie woke first. Big blue eyes slowly focused and she turned slightly so she could see her young friend.

ĎIt is remarkable how much better I feel knowing she is near. If she wasnít Iíd be constantly worried about her and be so lonely I just donít want to think about it. That loneliness was starting to catch up to me before she appeared on my door step. Listen to me, I sound like she is foundling. Well I really had no one I could call a friend here. Here I was the toast of the town and I was drowning in loneliness. I realize now that call from her that day was a God send as is she.í Julie concentrated all her attention on the young woman across from her. She was lying on her side with the blanket almost over her head. All that was really visible were wisps of golden hair. It made Julie smile. The only thing Diana hated about working is waking up. It was one of the fun things for Julie to devise new and creative ways of waking up the sleepy woman. This was Sunday though and they nothing to do so Julie was content to let the poor girl sleep.

Julie got up stretched and went to the bathroom for a leisurely shower. She loved Sundays! No rushing, no worries about dead lines, no go sees or auditions, no make up and casual clothes. God how she loved to wear her jeans; no muss or fuss!

She came out of the bathroom in a light blue silk kimono and stopped dead in her tracks. There before her was a vision. Diana was naked just slipping on her robe to take a shower when Julie walked into the room. She looked up and Julie almost fell down. For the first time she realized that she was physically attracted to Diana. No it was more then attracted, ĎOh my God, am I...I canít be...I am, Iím in love with her. Nothing like doing the things the hard way, Jules. Two strikes against you from the start. Weíre woman and sheíd never, ever think of you in that way! She is a complete innocent.í

Julie got herself together and smiled saying lightly, "All yours!"

Diana was going through her own avalanche of emotions as she mumbled "Thank you" and stumbled into the bathroom.

As soon as she got behind the door she had a panic attack. ĎOh my God, Oh my...Oh God...I...she...wow...I canít. This is impossible,í But she knew it wasnít. Seeing Julie in that kimono with nothing on under it, her breasts and legs so exposed, she knew she was aroused. She got into the shower, a cold one and thought about the implications. Ď Sheís older. Sheís beautiful and experienced and as far as I know as straight as an arrow. I donít stand a chance. Oh, God."

* * * *

It was a very quiet breakfast, each was deep in thought. They were each worried about destroying all they had and neither felt there was much hope for any other outcome. Silently, within their own minds they both decided to take this new discovery one day at a time. If this was truly love then there would be signs. If it was just a passing fancy then it would burn itself out and no harm would come to the strong bond they did share. They looked up at each other and smiled, knowing each would do everything in their power to keep the other in their lives forever.

Julie decided to take Diana to Cony Island for the day. They could relax and have some fun. ĎHopefully, I can put my libido to rest for the day." thought Julie as they got ready for their day on the boardwalk.

They were on line for the Ferris Wheel and Diana was telling Julie all about this fortune teller sheíd just been to. Julie was listening with an indulgent smile when Diana looked up and said, "So what do you think?"

"Darling, you really donít want to hear what I think. I promise you that."She replied with a wink and lopsided grin.

Diana gently slapped her stomach ,"Come on, Jules, What do you think?"

"About you being rich and famous? Thatís up to you my friend. You know I believe we make our own luck through our own skills. About you falling madly in love? Again I donít see why not, you're very lovable..." She stopped, swallowed and started choking. She was actually crying but since she was holding back the sobs it sounded like choking to Diana.

Diana naturally put an arm around her and tried to calm the choking woman. Which just succeeded in making Julie choke back another sob. She finally turned away and took some deep breaths to calm herself. "Iím sorry, Diana. I guess I swallowed wrong."

"Thereís nothing to be sorry for. Are you ok now?" Diana was a little scared. Julie was pale and her eyes were red.

"Yea, would you mind if we went on the ride after lunch? I think I need a little water."

"Of course not, come on." Diana gently grabbed Julieís hand and led her to one of the eating areas. "Sit here. What would you like? Iíll go get it for you."

"No, I'm fine...I just..."

"For once in our lives would you let me care for you? Please? I really want to." She pleaded quietly bending slightly so now she and the now seated Julie were eye to eye.

Julie grinned sheepishly, "Ok, go on, take care of me, Squirt."

There was a triumphant look on Dianaís face as she headed over to Nathanís to get their lunch."Oh Lord, what am I going to do?"

* * * *

Julie was lying in bed. She could hear gentle breathing and knew Diana was deeply asleep.'Shit I almost threw my whole game plan away today! Where did all this suddenly come from? I mean always loved her deeply but this passion is very new. It's scary and it's very strange. Iíve always been a sexual creature. Iíve used those charms for the job, period and there was no emotion attached, it was just a technique. Iíve never had any attachments except of course for family. I only let love surface for family. Sheís been like family to me. But how...where did the rest of this come from? Iím overwhelmed by it.í Julie glanced at her sleeping friend and snorted quietly. ĎSheís such an innocent, she has practically no thoughts in that direction. So what do I do to avoid this happening again? Nothing. I am not willing to distance myself! I love and need her too much. It would also crush her. No, that is not the way. So what?í Julie sat up and quietly went into the bathroom. She sat on the edge of the tub and thought. She needed to distance herself a little so she could think clearly. She breathed deeply for a few minutes with her eyes closed. Shaking her head she stood up and looked at her reflection in the mirror. Blue eyes that were tired and sad looked back at her. ĎI guess just keep things status quo for now. Iím not going to do anything to give the game away. Iíll do my damnedest to be as I"ve always been to her, big sister.í She rolled her pretty blue eyes and sighed, 'Damn.í

* * * *

Diana awoke to the movements of her best friend. She watched as Julie quietly moved into the bathroom.She studied her graceful movement and beauty then she sighed sadly to herself.

ĎI love her so deeply and I have no idea how to express it or even if I should. She is such a good sweet soul. She has been my support and my anchor and Iíd do anything to protect her.í Diana sighed again and rolled over so her back faced the room. ĎShe only sees me as her sweet little friend, the Squirt. She says it with such a deep love and affection I couldnít possibly be mad. In fact Iíd miss it if she stopped. I just wish she saw me as a woman! I wish she could see me as an adult, as a...í a tiny sob slipped out and Diana quickly looked to see if Julie had left the bathroom yet.

ĎSheís still in there, thank goodness. I just canít let her find me like this. Iíll tell her...How can I not...I have to be strong. I have to allow myself to go with the flow of things. Iíll love her and protect her and...thatís it. Sheís my dearest and my best friend and I guess sheíll just have to be my secret passion. That will have to remain enough for me. I canít lose her, I canít!í

end part one

to be continued...

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