Disclaimers: See Part 1
"So what kind of place is this?" Jodie asked Megan as she got off the back of the bike.
Megan took the helmets and locked them to the back of the seat. "Just a place we can come to relax and if you want, maybe a cup of coffee. It's really a nice place, Karen the owner was my mom's best friend.
They walked through a very lovely rose garden that lead toward the front of the one story coffee house. It was very rustic looking, the porch had a few wooden benches that were occupied by some people talking and laughing. The lighting outside was soft, but grew brighter when Megan opened the door for Jodie and her to go inside.
"Oh wow, it's beautiful Jodie said as she looked at the front room of the house. There was a fire burning in the fireplace and the room smelled like cinnamon and vanilla. Furniture was set out around the room but it was not cluttered. A large floral colored sofa sat up against one of the walls while a couple of powder blue and lavender love seats sat against another. Each wall had a painting of a nature scene which gave the room a multitude of colors. It was not insulting to the eye though, it felt comfortable.
"Well, hello Megan." A small woman walked up to the couple.
"Hi Karen, how are you," Megan replied with a hug.
"Just fine, who's your friend?" Karen asked as she looked at Jodie with a warm smile.
Karen was older than the two women, her eyes were as blue as Megan's, and she was just a tad bit shorter than Jodie.
"This is my friend Jodie." Megan said with stress on the word friend.
Karen raised an eyebrow. "Really, friend huh?"
"Yes, friend," Megan restated.
"Well, there's hope for you yet," Karen said with a laugh.
Jodie smiled looking from one woman to the other, she took Karen's offered hand. "It's nice to meet you."
"Well there's no one in your spot, why don't you two go and sit down, I'll bring you something to drink." Karen patted Megan on the arm.
Her spot? Jodie thought.
Megan led Jodie to a hallway, which branched into three different rooms. Each room had a wooden sigh over the entrance way. One read <Tea for Two and More, another read <All Love Juice>. Jodie stopped to admire the hallway which was set up like a nice little gallery. Pictures were evenly spaced along the walls. They were sketches and water colours of various settings featuring a woman with long blonde hair at various stages in her life, from possibly teenager to middle age.
"These are beautiful." Jodie commented on the paintings.
"Karen did them, " Megan said.
Megan then led Jodie toward the room that had <The Java Hutt> above the door. They went to a dark little corner table toward the back of the room near a smaller fire place with the fire slowly burning out. The tables in the room were small and round, enough for four people. Jodie looked around and expected to see people wearing black and snapping their fingers to Dylan's prose.
The scent of coffee tickled Jodie's noise pleasantly. "Mmm, smells good. So is this your spot?" Jodie asked.
"Yeah," said Megan as she pulled the chair out for Jodie.
The place was half full. Jodie glanced at the counter where there were a few people standing and sitting, talking and sipping. At some of the tables there were younger people probably college students studying. Each had at least one empty or nearly empty cup of coffee keeping their right as patrons to remain at their table. The music was at a level where conversations could be heard without screaming, adding to the intimacy of the room.
"This is really nice Megan," Jodie said. She felt comfortable and eased back into her seat.
"Yeah I thought you'd like it here," Megan said. <I'm glad I didn't take her to the Styx after all. I don't think she'd like that place too much.> Megan thought as flashes of biker chicks strapping leather, whips and chains went through her mind. There were candles on the middle of the table and Megan couldn't help but stair into Jodie's eyes which were reflecting off the light. <Beautiful,> she sighed .
"So you bring a lot of women to <your> spot?" Jodie asked gazing back at Megan.
"No, not really, Karen was my mom's best friend and I come up here to relax not um, you know, pick up or anything, I mean I'm not that bad."
"Really?" Jodie said with surprise. <Well I don't know her all that well, maybe I was wrong to think that she's just out to conquer every woman she sees. She sure is beautiful,> Jodie thought.
"Hey you, Karen told me you were here with a friend," a women with long blonde hair walked up to Megan and Jodie's table. "Hi, I'm Martha." She held her hand out to Jodie.
Jodie looked at Martha and for a brief moment she thought she knew her until she realized she had seen her in the paintings in the hallway. "Nice to meet you. You're the woman in the paintings?"
"Oh yeah, Karen did them, she's really good at that so I just usually sit back and let her do her thing."
Just then Karen walked up with two cups of her house special. She set them down at the table and winked at Megan. "Come on Love, we have a debate going on in the tea room," she said to Martha.
"So tell me about yourself Megan? I mean I already know you're a mechanic and a um gigolette," Jodie giggled. "Tell me about <you."
Megan laughed out at the word again. "Me, there really isn't much to tell, I like working on cars and I love making beautiful women feel good. So are you feeling good yet?"
Jodie smiled. <God she's good.> "Hmm," she sounded then paused.
"What?" Megan let out.
"Yea, actually I am feeling pretty good. Thanks."
"So tell me about you Jodie, what do you like to do?"
"I like to read a lot, but you're probably not interested in stuff like that," Jodie said.
"What do you mean? I actually love to read," Megan replied.
"Really?" Jodie said surprised.
"Yea just don't let anyone know, or I'll have to kill you." Megan grinned.
Jodie laughed. "So what do you like to read?" she asked as she reached over for the cream accidentally brushing up against Megan's forearm.
"I um," Said Megan trying to hide the goosebump which raised up on both her arms. "I, I like Science Fiction, um have you ever heard of Marion Zimmer Bradley?"
"Yes!" Jodie said her face flushing. " I read her stuff too. I love the Darkover books, especially the Free Amazons - um, I mean 'Renunciates'. You like Anne McCaffrey?"
"Pern?" Megan said eagerly.
"Yes, I love Pern," Jodie felt excited. She hadn't talked to anyone who enjoyed the same books as she did in a long time.
Both women sat and talked for the remainder of the night about their favorite authors. Their minds mingling in a way Megan hadn't felt since her high school days with her favorite teacher Ms. Penny. She felt so comfortable with Jodie, she just wanted to hug and cuddle her. She did everything she could to hold back. The last thing she wanted was for Jodie to think she was just trying to be a <Gigolette>.
Miranda sat on the couch in the living room sipping a cup of tea, she saw the headlight from Megan's motorcycle pull up to the driveway. She could barely hear the two women talking outside for a few minutes before Jodie walked into the house.
"Hi," she said to Miranda.
"So how was your date?"
"It wasn't a date, we just had dinner then went to a coffee house just outside of town. It was pretty nice." Jodie said with a big smile.
"Nice huh? Did you go out with Megan?" Miranda teased. "She took you to Karen's?"
"Yeah, it was nice. We talked about work and then about books and stuff."
"Books? What do you mean <books?" Miranda wrinkled her nose curiously. "Are you sure we're talking about the same Megan?"
"Yeah, why?" Jodie asked.
"Well, Megan doesn't usually take anyone to Karen's. That's her private place, and books interesting." Miranda said. <What's up with Megan?> she thought.
"It was nice," Jodie said then patted Miranda on the shoulder. "Good-night." She went to her bedroom and got ready for bed.
"Ah, shit," Miranda said.
"Who's that?" Jodie asked with a bitter tone. Her stomach suddenly feeling queasy.
"That's Honey. She's a psycho who brings that damn car in almost every other weekday, she always wants Megan to test drive it for her."
"Oh. And does she?" Jodie asked.
"Oh, yeah," Miranda said rolling her eyes.
"Hey," Megan called to the pair watching.
Jodie and Miranda walked over. "What do you want?" Jodie answered trying to hide the annoyance in her voice.
"Miranda can you test drive the car for Honey here? I have to go over some papers with Jodie."
Miranda looked strangely at Megan who winked at her.
"So, um, what seems to be the problem?" Miranda asked Honey.
"Oh, I thought Megan would be able to figure that out just by listening to it while we drove," Honey said, pushing her voluptuous bosom against Megan who was trying to get out of being cornered..
"If anyone can figure out what's wrong with the car by the sound, it's Miranda here," Megan stated flatly.
Honey could obviously see Megan was not in the mood. She looked at her watch. "I have an appointment I completely forgot about. I'll have to come back another time," she said as she got into her Porsche and sped off.
"One of your <girlfriends>?" Jodie said sarcastically
"No, um, huh uh - trust me I've never been with her, no, no," Megan said, shaking her head emphatically. She felt as though she had to give Jodie an explanation.
"What papers did you want to look at?" Jodie asked as she looked into Megan's pleading eyes.
Why do I believe her? Why should she lie, I mean she did tell me she fooled around so why would she have a reason to lie?
"Oh, never mind, I'll be back in a while," Megan said as she headed upstairs to her apartment.
Megan went upstairs and laid down on the couch. "What's wrong with me," she closed her eyes and Jodie's face appeared. "Oh boy!" She decided to take a shower, a cold shower.
Downstairs Miranda got to work on one of the cars and Jodie went into the office to look over some of the IOU's.
"Okay here goes," Jodie said as she started dialing the first of many phone calls she had planned for the day.
It was almost lunchtime, when Megan came into the office to see a angry looking Jodie. "What's wrong?" she asked.
"What's wrong? Jeesh Megan I've been on the phone all morning trying to collect money from some of your <customers>."
"Yeah?" Megan wasn't sure what Jodie was getting at.
"What, do you take it out in trade or what?" Jodie replied sarcastically.
"What do you mean?"
"Well, take this one here for instance," Jodie held up a piece of paper, it had the name Margaret, the phone number and $250.00 scribbled on it . "I called Margaret and she said she had a dinner planned for you in lieu of payment and you never showed up. It must have been some dinner for $250.00 and you never even bothered to collect."
"Oh yeah, forgot about that." Megan scratched her head. "I wonder if she'd let me take a rain check."
Jodie rolled her eyes. "Tch. And this one, Louise, $120.00, I called her too and she said she had a weekend planned at her time share condo, and again you never bothered to show up?"
Megan thinking back, "She drives the red mustang?"
Jodie rolled the papers into a ball and threw them at Megan.
"Well, what do you want me to do? I mean I fix their cars and they can't all afford to pay cash so ... I guess it's what you call a barter system. I can't help it if I don't always remember to collect."
"Well, if you want me to help you, we do it my way from now on. No more IOU's, only cash, check or valid credit card. Your prices are reasonable enough, they should be able to afford something," Jodie said with her arms crossed over her chest.
Megan shrugged. "Okay. " <Or they could always come work for me, Megan thought with a smile. Yea I'd have a garage full of women. She thought about that vision again but it just didn't feel right. Nah, I only need one employee, and she's already here. Megan smiled at Jodie.
Jodie couldn't help it, her eyes lit up and she grabbed Megan's face between her hands. "What am I gonna do with you?"
Megan's lips parted slightly as if in anticipation of a kiss, and her heart started pounding wildly.
Jodie realized what she was doing and dropped her hands blushing.
Megan thought fast. She grinned and raised one eyebrow. "You really want me to answer that?"
"Um, no," Jodie said.
Megan turned and quickly walked out of the office holding her breath until she got by one of the cars and put her face down into the engine then released it.
The next few weeks passed quickly. Megan was kept busy working on cars that were expected to be done right away since payment was now collected before the work was even begun. Jodie had most of the IOU's paid or in the process of being paid which gave Megan a hefty cash flow but no time to spend it.
Jodie and Miranda had been spending a lot of time together after work, they both enjoyed being in the kitchen experimenting on recipes. Jodie brought a dish they had made the night before into the garage for Megan but Megan had left a note that she'd be out all day. She had to go out of town to a parts shop for some parts she needed to finish up Jodie's car.
Not long after they got in that morning, Miranda got a call for a broken down truck out on the highway. She left Jodie there by herself to mind the garage.
"Hi, anyone here?" Karla called as she walked into the garage.
"Hi," Jodie replied from the office door.
"Jodie, how are you? Is Megan around?"
"No, I guess she had to go pick up some parts. Is there anything I can do for you?" Jodie asked.
"No not really, I just needed to talk to Megan and clear some things up. What is that smell?" Karla asked sniffing at the food Jodie had heated up in the microwave. "Smells good."
"Would you like some? It's a chicken dish Miranda and I whipped up last night," Jodie said, already getting a plate ready.
"Sure." Karla sat down at the desk. She noticed how much cleaner and spacious the office looked. "Wow, you've done a great job here. I'm glad that you're helping Megan out, even though I know she's not happy when I'm around."
"What makes you think that?" Jodie asked.
Karla laughed. "Are you kidding? You were here, you've heard how she talks to me."
"I'm sorry, I was trying not to listen but "
Karla laughed again. "Oh please, how could you not listen to that? I know Megan tells everyone that I'm her girlfriend, but really I'm just an excuse for her to not get serious about anyone else."
"Oh really?" Jodie said with surprise.
"Yes really." Karla sighed. "That's what I need to talk to her about. I'm tired of being used and I want to let her know that I won't tolerate it anymore."
There was a long silent pause so Karla decided to taste the food Jodie offered. She took a piece of chicken and dipped it into the sauce Jodie held out. "Mmm, this is wonderful, wow, you and Miranda made this?"
"Well, actually I did the sauce and Miranda did the chicken," Jodie said with a smile. "You like it, huh?"
"Oh yeah, it's really good. I didn't know Miranda could cook."
<Hmm. I wonder if Karla would be interested in Miranda? Jodie thought. "Well, I'm pretty sure Miranda would love to have you over for dinner sometime.
Just then the tow truck pulled up to the driveway and Miranda got out after setting the truck up in its usual space. She saw Karla and Jodie through the office window, they both looked pretty chummy which brought a smile to the mechanic's face.
"Hi, what're you two up to?" Miranda said as she walked into the office.
"Oh, nothing much, Karla was just enjoying the chicken you made last night," Jodie said with a grin.
"Oh, you like it?" Miranda said teasingly.
"Very much," Karla returned. "Jodie was telling me that the two of you like to cook together. Miranda, why is it you never told me you were such a good cook? I mean with me being in the catering business and all."
"I don't know, it's just something that I enjoy doing. I've never really gone all out like I have the last couple of weeks with Jodie around."
"Well, I'd love to try some of your recipes and I'm sure some of my clients would too," Karla said.
"Clients? What do you mean?" Miranda asked curiously.
"Mandy," Karla said with a pat to Miranda's shoulder, "This is really good. This dish alone would be a great sell at one of my catering affairs."
'Mandy'? Jodie thought to herself, Does this woman know how to work it or what? Yikes, what have I gotten Miranda into?>
Miranda had the biggest smile on her face. Jodie decided to let whatever happened, just happen.
"If you'd like, Karla, you're more then welcome to come over tonight for dinner." Miranda's smile faded a bit. "You can bring Megan if you see her, too."
"Sounds great, but I don't think Megan and I are gonna be seeing much of each other anymore," Karla stated flatly. "What time to you want me there?"
Miranda's eyes widened just enough before she regained her composure. "Um, seven?"
"Great see you then," Karla said with a smile. "Thanks Jodie, I'll be back later to talk to Megan."
"I'll let her know," Jodie replied.
Karla turned and walked out the door with Miranda's eyes locked on to her until she was clear out of site. Miranda turned back to Jodie. "What was that all about?"
"Oh she came looking for Megan and she smelled the food I was warming "
"No I mean about her not seeing much of Megan?" Miranda interrupted.
"I don't know. She said something about being tired of being used." Jodie rolled her eyes.
"She didn't seem too heartbroken about it though," Miranda said.
"I think I'm starting to understand Megan a little better. She's really not that much of a player though she likes people to think that she is. I kinda figured it out when I started making those phone calls, I mean she never seems to accept the offers made to her. And Karla, well I know now that she's never taken that relationship very seriously. Karla was her safety net. She keeps all the others at bay. I wonder why though? Something or someone must have really gotten to her once." Jodie said all this to Miranda and to herself.
"Funny though, since you've been here I've seen some changes in Megan. She seems more ... I don't know, settled, I guess," Miranda said then turned to go work on one of the cars.
"Settled?" Jodie repeated. She thought about this for a moment and went back to her paper work.
original fiction index | xena homepage | what's new | amazontrails.com