The Enemy Next Door, part 2


The laughing in the kitchen died. Mom and Mary poked their head out the door to look at their youngest. Ender looked surprised yet hopeful and Taylor was smiling softly.

Mom and Mary went back into the kitchen, looking defeated. I heard Jim say, “Lean not unto thine own understanding.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Mary barked.

My dad laughed, “It means don’t try to understand what’s going on here. So we both raised houses full of lesbians. Best not to linger on it. I think they just take after their dads. We like a good-looking woman, that’s all.”

I had to stop and think. Things had just gotten too complicated. Taylor liked Ender? No, strike that, Taylor confessed she loved Ender? They had kissed? How could they be in love? They have hated each other since they had moved in next door. How in the Hell could they be in love? When had they the time to fall in love? To me that was like saying Lily and Claire loved each other and that Kris and I loved each other. I shuddered at the thought.

Every single one of us was staring at them. I couldn’t count the times I had seen them at each other's throats and now Taylor was telling us she thought Ender was beautiful when she was angry. I was having an extremely hard time believing it. I mean even if they found each other attractive, they couldn’t love each other? Right?

Ender tore her gaze from Taylor and growled, “What are you gawking at?”

Jennifer started to laugh. She said, wrapping her arms around herself, “Did anybody notice how cold it just got? I think Hell has just frozen over.”

I found it pretty funny. I tried not to join Jennifer in laughing but I couldn’t help it. Ender bravely took Taylor by the hand and stated, “We’re going for a walk.”

I shouted after them, “You have my little girl home before midnight, you hear?”

They both shot me a glare which I returned with a rakish grin. Once they left we were left in silence again. I looked at Claire, Jennifer, Lily, and my enemy, “So where were we?”

Jennifer grinned, “We were discussing your family’s genes that leads you to become lesbian voyeurs. It seems you and Lily had bad habits about spying on us Morison girls.”

I gave her a look, “Thanks, Jen. Knew you could keep a secret.”

I then mused, “But you know Taylor can see into Ender’s room since they’re right across from each other. Remind me to ask her about that.”

Side note: After a serious amount of pressuring Taylor confessed that she had watched Ender from her room. It’s in the genes I swear.

“Pervert,” Kris said, giving me a withering look. I rolled my eyes at her, “I’m not the one who walked around butt naked in the locker room, sunbathed in the backyard, and flashed the other teams at football games, now was I? Trust me honey, anything you got I’ve seen before without watching you in your room. Plus, my sights were focused on a more mature subject.”

Jennifer wiggled her eyebrows but I still shot her a look that said I wasn’t too happy with her. Claire seemed to snap out of her trance and said, “And back to your remark about robbing the cradle Lily, you can trust me when I say Jess was already out of the cradle and into a four-post bed by the time I slept with her. Also trust me when I say I don’t regret it. She can go all night and keep you screaming for more.”

I turned a bright red. I knew she had meant it as a snide at Lily, and it did boast my ego, but for God’s sake my mother was in the other room. Lily also turned red and Kris gave me an up-down look in disbelief.

Jennifer put her two cents in, “I second that and let it be known that Jess was a natural from the start. I know this because I was her start.”

I thought I was going to die from embarrassment. I muttered to no one in particular, “Why in the Hell do I have to pick women who like to humiliate me? Do you know what the worst of it is? I only slept with them one time. Well, only for one night, more than one time. That’s what is bad about it.”

Lily interrupted my mutterings, “What do you mean only one time? You’re not dating Claire?”

I decided to end the charade, “No, I’m not. Claire’s my friend who I slept with on Halloween not aware of who she was.”

Jennifer asked, her soft green eyes lit in amusement and delight, “How could you not know who she was? I mean we didn’t sleep together until the day before we broke up.”

“Are you that bad?” Lily teased. I glared at my sister, still red, “No. I looked so good at a Halloween party where everybody was wearing masks that a woman in a teasing, silk gown dragged me into one of the bedrooms.”

Claire protested, “I didn’t drag you. You came along willingly and I asked you if you wanted to sleep with me.”

“But how was I to know it was you? You had dyed your hair and I was too far into it to notice the carpet didn’t match the curtains.”

Kris snorted, unwillingly I’m sure. I shot her a look before turning on Jennifer. I shook my finger at her, “Now you look here, lady. You stop teasing me or I’m going to tell everybody about your high school crush on a certain teacher. Would you like me to tell them who?”

She quickly changed the subject, “Okay then. Now that everybody has stated their thoughts on Kris and Lily’s relationship, how about we get down to enjoying Christmas?”

Everybody reluctantly agreed. Sensing peace everybody came out of the kitchen and Ender and Taylor returned from their walk, shyly holding hands. Jennifer couldn’t have been more correct with her comment about Hell freezing over. It was just unbelievable.

I drew them both off to the side, “This better be a long lasting relationship. I mean it. I love the both of you, as little sisters mind, and I don’t want to have to beat up either of you if you break up. You two know you’re going to get into fights but I expect you to make up. You two are probably going to be the most sexually satisfied couple in the state with so much make-up sex you two are going to have.”

Ender turned a deep red while Taylor pushed me, a little pink herself. I gave them both a hug and grudgingly went to find Kris. I didn’t want to talk to her. I didn’t want to even fight with her, which was a surprise. I just wanted to ignore her. Still, I had to fill my position as a Knight and threaten to beat anybody who could hurt my family.

I found her standing in the large archway between the kitchen and the living room. I came in behind her, having come from the other kitchen entrance. She was just watching everybody. Ender and Taylor, still extremely shy with public feelings, were sitting close on the love seat while Lily talked to them. She was probably threatening them like I had. Daniel was obviously talking about something manly with our Dad and Jim. Mom and Mary were discussing some recipe. Kayla was talking with Jennifer and Claire about something or another. They had a fire lit and cups of eggnog were being drunk. It was a nice picture.

Kris glanced over her shoulder and sighed when she saw me. She said softly, turning back to look at the others, “I don’t want to fight, Jessica. I like your sister and I enjoy being with her. It might become something serious and it might not. But whatever you say is not going to change anything. So let’s not fight and let our families have a nice Christmas.”

I continued to look at her, bemused and impressed. For that brief moment I caught sight of the woman my annoying childhood enemy had turned into. I hated to admit it then, and promised to forget about it later, but I sort of liked her for a moment.

I then shocked us both by brushing my lips over her cheek and whispering, “Merry Christmas, Kris.”

Before she could say a word I pointed upwards. As she raised her head to find the mistletoe I moved away. By the time she lowered her gaze back down I had joined Claire, Jennifer, and Kayla. Jennifer whispered to me, “I saw that. That was a Christmas miracle.”

“You saw a woman resigning to her fate that her archenemy probably will become part of her family. We were just being civil.”

Jennifer smirked, “In everything give thanks.”

“God, you sound like my college roommate,” I said, taking her eggnog to drink.

“Faith, hope, and love are three things God gave us, Jessica. The greatest of these is love. Maybe you need some love in your life.”

I didn’t have anything to say to that.

Let’s fast-forward to seven years to this Christmas. I graduated from State and moved back home. I started working for one of my Dad’s friends. He owned one of the largest construction companies in a fifty mile radius and I started working as his assistant. I would take over managing it fully in two years.

I lived in the loft above the garage for six months while saving up my first few paychecks to put a big down payment on a fixer upper house and the 10 acres it sat on. It was an old eyesore that had been for sale since I was little, but that eyesore could easily be turned into a beauty with patience and work. The land wasn’t in the city limit so people really didn’t want to buy it. If I hadn’t known the ins and outs of the construction business it would have cost less to knock it down and build a new house. However, I did know the construction business and could fix it up cheap.

It was an old two story house built in the fifties. The place had three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a spacious kitchen, a large living room area, an attic, and an old cellar. It even had a large front porch, but that needed to be rebuilt as well. I was stuck in the garage a few more months while I saved up the money to fix the house and try to find time to actually fix it.

I did most of the work, but for the major stuff I called in some buddies of mine from work. They always liked making some extra cash. I’m also grateful the foundation and wall were still in good shape. They were made from hard-pine. However, the paneling and floorboards needed replacing all over the house. It took a few years to make my way through the house, working from room to room. Six years to be exact.

I suppose I should update you on everybody at that point. Taylor and Ender are still together though they fight constantly and when they’re not fighting they’re locked away in their bedroom having make-up sex. They use the level above Ender’s Garage as their home. Taylor loves her job as a nurse.

My handsome detective brother Alex was the last of us Knights to come out of the closet. He’s in a relationship with an equally handsome, high school guidance counselor, Nick. Mom really likes Nick though Dad still acts shelled shocked sometimes. You’d figure he would be used to it by now. Perhaps it’s something in the water that made most of us gay. I’m not complaining. I love women and leave the loving men to Alex.

Daniel and Kayla just celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary with their son, three year old Thomas Knight, and another on the way.  JJ is newlywed to a pretty book publisher, Hope, and they are expecting a boy who they plan to torture by naming him Jacob the third. I don’t know what to call him. JJJ? Triple J?

Jennifer is dating a supermodel, Anna, who just happens to have a PhD in Chemistry. It’s completely unfair. What ticks me off the most is that I like Anna. She is absolutely perfect for Jennifer and Jen was hinting that it is about to get more serious. They will look good together in the White House when Jen becomes President. She’s not in the senate yet but I have hopes.

The first time I met Anna I said, “How do you do it? Get such a great woman, that is. Teach me your way.”

Jennifer laughed, “Well, first thing you have to do is become a lawyer. Then you save the woman a lot of money in a lawsuit. The rest is just from having good manners.”

Claire is fabulously single as she puts it. Queen of one night stands but she now makes sure she at least sees their face. She owns her own gallery and loves the city life. Still, I think she’s lonely.

Kris and Lily lived together for a year and a half after that Christmas. They broke up saying one doctor in the house was enough and they were better off as friends. I don’t know who was more secretly happy about the breakup, me or Claire. Kris got her MD and works in Boston General. That’s where Lily works as well but she’s a trauma surgeon whereas Kris is an obstetrician. Both were single the last I heard.

This was to be a special Christmas because everybody, and I do mean everybody, was coming home. The thing was we were worried we wouldn’t have enough room for everybody.

We had JJ and Hope coming with their son and Alex and Nick. Lily was coming home as well. Then Claire, Jennifer and Anna, and Kris were coming home too. That was nine people coming in for two weeks of Christmas.

Mom and Dad had returned the attic into an attic and the loft in the garage was filled with old junk so they only had three spare rooms. The Morison’s had three spare rooms also but they had turned one of the rooms into a junk room. So they only had two rooms available. Five rooms for nine people and a baby.

Daniel and Kayla had no room with a toddler and a baby on the way. Ender and Taylor did have a very small spare room but no one wanted to be with the battling couple who had sex at least once a day. So I knew if someone needed a room I would be the one housing guests. I had two spare rooms, though one was doubling as an office/library, and I lived alone.

It all went down to first come first served. Mom and Mary told me that before the other started to arrive. I didn’t even offer my extra room nor was I asked. Mom simply said, “It’s so nice of you to take in the extras, Jess.”

Mary agreed, “I’m pretty sure it will be one of my bunch but we’re thankful all the same. You have such a good girl, Maggie.”

I had been conned pure and simple. It probably wouldn’t be so bad. So what if Claire or Jennifer and Anna stayed over in my house. You know the thought of the other Morison daughter staying with me never entered my mind. I should have realized how badly I was being conned because Mom and Mary knew that Kris would be the last to arrive and that we would be stuck together. I realize now they must have seen something we hadn’t.

The only comfort I had was that I wasn’t the only one being conned that Christmas. Mom and Mary set up Claire and Lily nicely. At least Kris and I weren’t locked in a basement together for an entire day though we were a little snowbound. I’ll get to that later.

So as everybody started to come home and got settled down I realized that certain somebody was missing. And when that someone arrived there were no beds available except at my house.

I remember sitting in the Morison’s kitchen with Mom, Mary, Claire, Taylor, Anna, Hope, Kayla, and Nick and they were discussing fashion. I was going to say the wives’ club was now in session but Claire wasn’t a wife and I sure as Hell wasn’t.

When Kris finally got in I was already in a bad mood from having to listen to them talk back and forth about this and that. I didn’t want to be there and let them know by deeply sighing every two minutes and crossing my arms while pouting. I could have been next door watching a game with the masculine side of the couples but no, my mother needed me to stay and do something. I had been waiting to do that something for an hour already.

Mom said, getting annoyed, “Sit down, Jess. You’re making me dizzy with all that pacing you’re doing.”

I had to count to ten before I was to reply without screaming my frustration. I growled, warningly, “Mom…”

The sound of the door opening and somebody calling out stopped me. Mom smiled sweetly and said, “The thing I want you to do is here.” That sentence makes me blush thinking about it now. Pun intended I wonder?

Mary called, “In the kitchen, sweetie.”

My nemesis came walking into the kitchen, bags over both of her shoulders and a suitcase in her hand. She glared at me, I once again thanked God some things never changed, and said hello to everybody else.

After introductions and welcomes Kris asked, raising her suitcase, “Mom, where can I put my stuff?”

Did you ever get that sinking feeling? Well, that’s what I got when Mary started, sweetly, “Well dear, you see you’ll be staying with…”

I interrupted quickly and loudly, “No! No! No! And for the love of God, no! Don’t even think it!”

I spun around to look at Claire, who was starting to grin as she realized what was happening (she got what she deserved later), and I ordered, “Go get your things, Claire. Let’s go now.”

Claire smirked, “No can do, Jess. I’m unpacked and I really don’t feel like sleeping in that thing you call home.”

I protested, “It’s finished now and looks really nice.”

Claire had fallen through the floor the first and only time she had visited my home. Well, I had told her to watch her step. She shook her head.

I turned to Anna, “Come on, Anna. You and Jennifer can stay with me and you two won’t have to deal with the ‘parents right down the hall thing’. It’s got a big, nice comfy bed. I have nice headphones and you two can have sex all you want.”

Anna turned me down with a tiny smile, hiding the laughter she was holding inside, “I might want to deal with the ‘parents right down the hall thing’ before I deal with ‘my lover’s ex-lover right down the hall and wanting us to have sex all we want thing’.”

I gave pleading looks to each of them, hoping that Taylor or Kayla would take her in or the others would trade with her. But all of them shook their head.

Kris demanded, having no idea what was going on but catching on fast, “What’s going on?”

I swore vividly when I realized I was stuck with her.

“Jessica Saxon Knight,” Mom scolded gently.

Claire asked, suddenly delighted, “Saxon? As in a ravaging, big muscled, battling warrior type Saxon?”

“Shut up,” I said. I sat down in a chair and crossed my arms, “I shall not be moved.”

“Now!” My mother ordered.

I grumbled as I stood up again, resigned to my fate. I took the suitcase out of her hand and one of the bags off her shoulder and growled, “Let’s go.”

I was yanked back when Kris refused to let go of either bag I had grabbed. She demanded, “What in the Hell do you think you’re doing? And go where? I’m not going anywhere with you, psycho.”

Mary scowled, “Kristina, manners. Jess is being gracious enough to take you in during the holidays. You should be thanking her or you would be sleeping on the living room floor and not a bed.”

Already knowing Kris was going to lose the fight she was about to pick with her mother I yanked the bags out of her hands and walked out of the house. I put them in the back of my Jeep. Yes I still have it. I was going to get a new one with some money I had saved up but I decided there were more important things in life. Besides it was still running good with Ender’s help.

Fifteen minutes later Kris came storming out of the house and marched to my running vehicle. She got in and slammed the door closed. Nice to know all those years of training to be a doctor did wonders for her people skills.

Kris muttered as I started driving towards my house, “Claire says it’s a death trap.”

I rolled my eyes. “If Claire stays in a hotel that has less than four stars she thinks she’s camping.”

Kris snickered because it was true. I knew Kris was expecting an old house about to fall apart and I was pleased when she could only gape at my house. With the outside wooden siding replaced it looked great. It took millions of pretty penny, a thousand bruises, a million splinters, and six years worth of work but it was done. I turned off the Jeep and grabbed the bags I had stolen earlier.

Kris followed me without a word until she got onto the porch. She stopped to admire the chainsaw carved eagles that I had bought from a man at work.

“These are nice,” She said, squatting to admire them, “They look good on the porch.”

I couldn’t believe we were trying to have a regular conversation. I said the first thing that came to mind, “They will soar with wings like eagles.”

The look Kris gave me made me realize that I had indeed sounded like the idiot I thought I had. I muttered as I unlocked the door, “I lived with a crazy throughout college. It wore off.”

Kris surprised me by not having a comeback. Instead she was too busy looking around the house once we entered, “You did this yourself?”

I shrugged, suddenly feeling shy, “I didn’t do much and I had help on some stuff.”

She eyed me in disbelief, “I remember this house, Jess-a-lot. It was a death trap. You obviously did more than a few things.”

I didn’t know if it was a compliment or an insult, “Don’t call me that.”

She smirked, “What? Jess-a-lot? Don’t you want to be like Lancelot? Win the love of the married Queen?”

I grumbled as I led her up the stairs, “Just for your information, Lancelot is not my favorite knight of the Round Table.”

“Just who is your favorite knight?”

I paused, surprised she asked. I answered while opening the door opposite my own room, “Gawain or Galahad.”

She mused while inspecting the room I had shown her, “The knight who gave the woman he loved a choice or the knight who searched for the Holy Grail. Nice choices.”

I was surprised she knew that much about Arthurian Mythology.  I wasn’t an expert myself. I looked around the room feeling lost. It was the second largest bedroom, mine being the largest of course. The room had a queen size bed with clean sheets that had been put on the day before. It was a simple guest room with simple decorations.

Kris stated, “It’s nice.”

She had been sincere but I took it the wrong way. All the conversation we were having without fighting was starting to unnerve me, “So glad you approve your highness.”

“Fuck you.”

“You wish,” I tossed back.

She let out a scream, “There has got to be a better place than here. We can’t do this. They were out of their damn minds when they thought we could. I’m going to find a hotel or something because I cannot stay under the same roof as you.”

“Good luck,” I sneered. “There’s only one motel and it’s always packed with In-Laws during the holidays. You’d be lucky to find a cardboard box to stay in.”

“Anything is better than here. Better than you,” She retorted.

I shrugged, “Go ahead. Feel free to use the phone. Better make it quick because a snowstorm is coming through the mountains and will be here by tonight. I think we both agree that we do not want to be snowed in together.”


As soon as I was safely downstairs in the living room I grabbed a couch pillow and started beating the couch with it, “Son…of…a…bitch. Stupid…moron. What in the Hell were you thinking?”

I was furious and I couldn’t figure out why. I was mad at Mom and Mary. I was mad at the others for not changing with Kris. Mostly I was mad about the feeling of helplessness that was overcoming me when I was around her. It hadn’t been there when we were teenagers. Why did I feel so incompetent now?

I didn’t even want to think about that innocent kiss we had a few Christmases ago. It had been innocent since I hadn’t planned it. I had caught sight of the mistletoe and decided it would be nice to see her stunned expression. I hadn’t planned on liking it and I most certainly didn’t plan on it keeping me up on odd nights during the past few years.

I ended up lying face down on the couch now hitting it with my fist. I kept muttering insults. I couldn’t get her out of my mind and I didn’t hear her come in the room.

“What did the couch do to you?”

I wanted to bolt. I clutched the cushion instead, keeping my red face buried in the seat. I merely grunted as a reply. She sighed, “I can’t find a room. Everything is booked in a twenty-five mile radius. Go on, say I told you so.”

“I told you so,” I said into the cushion. The next thing I knew I was being strangled as the front of my shirt collar tightened around my neck. Gasping, I reeled upright to loosen the pressure. She had been pulling on the back of my shirt.

I shouted, yanking free of her, “Are you trying to kill me?”

“Don’t think I’ve never been tempted,” She said darkly, “I like to see a person’s face when they’re talking to me and you would have suffocated if you kept doing that.”

I muttered, tugging my shirt back into place, “I was almost suffocated anyway. Or should I say strangled?”

“Okay, you don’t like me.”

“Check,” I affirmed.

“And I don’t like you.”

“Oh, two in a row. College was good for you,” I ridiculed.

“Will you shut up?”

I quieted. She started again, “But I haven’t got any other choice. Mom really doesn’t want me in the house. Matter of fact she said she would kick me out into the snow if I tried to sleep there. As much as I hate you and you me, I know you won’t turn me out into the snow. So may I please stay here until another option shows itself?”

I hesitated for a moment. I was sure something good had been said about me in there but I couldn’t figure out what. I finally nodded, “Sure.”

I stood, uncomfortable in my own house. Our eyes met for a moment but I looked away.  I started rambling, “There’s food in the fridge if you’re hungry. If you want a shower it’s the first door on the left by your room. If you’d like a nap and need more covers they should be in the top of your closet. I’m going to just go shoot myself now if you don’t mind.”

I rushed out of the room, screaming at myself mentally. How in the world had I lost it so bad back there? I didn’t think I could ever look Kris in the eyes again. I hid in my office for the rest of the day until hunger drove me into the kitchen.

As I started rummaging through my kitchen I noticed it had started to snow outside. I couldn’t help but smile as the first few flakes fell. Deciding to go wild I used the pack of hamburger meat I had set out to thaw earlier and set about making spaghetti. Feeling even wilder I opened a bottle of wine and set it aside to breathe. The smell of cooking lured Kris downstairs as I finished up the meal.

She asked hesitantly from the doorway, “Dinner for two?”

Not knowing exactly how to reply, I replied in a terrible medieval accent, “If thou does not mind eating with thou enemy.”

I will fear no evil,” Kris replied, “Keep thou friends close and thou enemies closer.”

Then the Morison girl I’ve always hated set the table and poured the wine for us. We started the meal in silence for neither of us knew what to say or even if we should say anything.

I sighed into my wine glass, “What is a safe topic we can discuss without the chance of it ending in a fight?”

It was a hard question. Anything that involved an opinion would likely end in disaster for sure. Kris suggested, “The growth of grass?”

I laughed even though I didn’t want to. She chuckled. I took another sip of my wine, “Tell me about your job. Do you enjoy it?”

Bingo. She rambled on about her job and some of her more interesting cases, a few of which I clenched my legs at.

 Kris said, fiddling with her fork, “The only part I don’t like is that I don’t get to know my patients that well. In the city it’s just get as many in and out as quick as you can. I really wouldn’t mind settling down around here to work. Perhaps working in the next county. They have a good regional medical center and there are always pregnant women around.”

That was interesting. I asked her, thinking of an incident that had happened the day before, “Would you like to have children? I mean with all the things you have seen?”

She paused and I realized how serious of a question I had asked her. We had been keeping things light and simple. I quickly tried to explain myself, “I only ask because the day before yesterday your Mom brought it up. Everybody was in the living room and she was playing with little Thomas. She sighed longingly and said, ‘I wish I had a grandchild.’ Your sisters looked at each other praying she would end it at that. She then gave each of them a glare and said, ‘I know lesbians lack a certain part to impregnate each other but by golly I want grandkids. When is one of you going to get pregnant?’”

Kris laughed, “I can’t believe she said that. I’m glad I missed it but man, I would have loved to have seen the other’s faces.”

I grinned, “Yeah, it was to die for. Claire turned dead white at the thought. Jen’s jaw dropped and she started to blush. Ender gave a weak smile but looked like she was ready to bolt out of the room. It got better when Taylor said, ‘Maybe someday.’ Ender about passed out. Anna added, ‘Some day sounds nice.’ You should have seen Jennifer’s eyes, they about popped out her contacts. Claire swore up and down she was never going to have kids until she ran out of breath.”

Kris almost fell out of her chair form laughing so hard. She dabbed her eyes with her napkin, “Oh, that’s great. I’m so thankful I missed it.”

Once Kris had calmed down, she answered my question, “I think I would have to agree with Taylor and Anna. Some day sounds nice but I’d like to be with someone first. Since I’m kind of single, some day seems a long way away.”

“What about you?” She questioned. It was only fair I answered, “I would like to have kids and kids as in plural. Plus a partner to raise them with. I think it would suck to be an only kid. But I most certainly wouldn’t want six or even four. Three sounds like a nice even number.”

Kris snorted into her wine, “Three isn’t even.”

“Was just checking to see how drunk you were.”

“Would you want to carry them?

We were getting rather personal and it was terrifying at how easy it was to talk to her, “Maybe. Childbirth and the whole nine months thing doesn’t sound like Heaven, but I do want children. I think I got the hips for it,” I joked as I stood up, taking the dishes.

Kris gave me the up down and lingered on my hips. I suddenly felt very warm and quickly took the dishes into kitchen. Kris followed me with the silverware and glasses. It was almost domestic like.

“I wouldn’t mind four kids. It was neat as a kid,” Kris said, handing me the glasses, “Of course I really don’t know the parents’ side of the story either. Probably just raising one would drive me insane.”

“I thought you already were insane,” I teased with a wink. My auburn haired houseguest playfully jabbed me in the ribs, “Shut it, you. I’ll have to dye your whites pink again like I did in high school if you don’t behave.”

“Hey I looked good in pink,” I retorted, pointing a fork at her, “Real butches can wear pink.”

She held up her hands, “I never said otherwise.”

We chuckled for a moment and then we stopped. The silence that filled the room suddenly became uncomfortable. Kris remarked, “This is weird.”

“Glad the feeling is mutual.”

“I’ve never liked you,” Kris mused, “That first Christmas I was with Lily…I still didn’t like you but for once I didn’t entirely loath you. And today, for the most, I didn’t hate you.”

“Only when I opened my mouth,” I jested. She laughed and our eyes met. Her green eyes were soft and I realized we were entirely too close.

“Oh, I don’t know. I wasn’t feeling hateful when I watched you beat up your couch.”

I reddened, “That was idiotic.”

She couldn’t repress her giggle, “So you said.”

I warned, shaking a finger at her, “You better stop right now, doc, or you’ll find a few copies of you in a lovely shade of blue posted around town.”

Her eyes narrowed, “You wouldn’t. You still have those pictures?” She gasped when she realized my threat could come true.

“I want those pictures, Jess-a-lot,” She demanded, her eyes darkening, but I could still see she was playing. I smirked, “Sure. I have at least a dozen copies and I’ve saved them to computers as well. It's good blackmail fodder to keep on hand.”

Kris grew quiet and then she spoke softly, unable to look at me, “Jessica, there’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you for a long time now. It’s about that day back in high school when we stole your journal. I’ve wanted to tell you how sorry I was for the longest time but I just didn’t know how to approach you. All I can say now is that I’m so sorry. Things could have gone so badly with that. It’s the one thing I regret the most from high school, outing you like that. I’m really sorry.”

I had never expected to hear Kris apologize to me. I hadn’t thought about that day in a long time and I never held any residual anger over it. I turned back to finish putting the dishes in the warm water to soak, “Don’t worry about it.”


I turned, wiping my hands on a towel, “Don’t worry about it. It was a long time ago, Kris, and we were high-strung teenagers. I never expected you to apologize to me, but I do accept it if that makes you feel better.”

“Aren’t you angry?” She questioned.

I paused to think, “I was. However, now when I think about it, I think of it as a good thing. I didn’t have to hide anymore and I got a girlfriend. I did feel violated when I found all the comments that were written over it but it worked out in the end.”

Kris swore, “I didn’t write any of those. Matter of fact I liked some of the things you wrote. You were very talented.”

I raised an eyebrow, “I still am talented.”

She rolled her eyes, “So you claim.”

“Well, ask Jennifer or Claire if I’m talented. Especially ask Claire.”

She looked slightly revolted by the thought. “I’m not going to ask my sisters if you’re good in bed. Though,” she trailed off.

“What?” I demanded.

She grinned evilly, “I would like to know how you and Claire ended up sleeping together. I have a feeling Claire wasn’t sober because she wouldn’t knowingly bed one of Lily’s little sisters.”

I was torn. I did want to tell her just to see her look of shock and because I knew she would tease Claire mercilessly. I was still sore at Claire for not helping me out earlier. Then again it was kind of private. I think the wine made us brave.

I gestured for us to go into the living room, taking another bottle of wine and glasses with us. I said, sitting on the couch, “Do you want the X-rated version or shall we stick to PG-13?

She chose the X-rated version. Perhaps she didn’t expect it to be so wild, but I didn’t hold back any details. I think I wanted to shock her. The wine didn’t help. When I was done she could only gawk at me. She finished her full glass in a long gulp, “Wow.”

“Yeah, wow,” I said, proud of myself.

Kris said, looking at the bottom of her empty glass, “Perhaps we should get some rest.”

I will give you rest,” I replied in a lazy mock retort.

She snickered and held out her glass, “Fill her up.”

Pouring the rest of the bottle into our two glasses I asked, “So how did you and Lily meet?”

The wine helped us open up quite a bit. The snow was falling harder and faster outside. We would be buried by morning.

“We met at a gay bar in Boston. We were surprised to see each other but a few drinks got us talking. Kind of like now. She asked me to dance and I said yes. After a few more drinks she kissed me, and then apologized. I told her it was quite alright and she asked me to dinner. It went from there.”

“You didn’t have wild, masked sex the first night?” I asked.

She giggled, “No. Lily’s never been wild with me. Oh, it was very nice and she can go all night but it was nothing like what you and Claire did. I think Lily can get wild but she never got wild with me. We waited six months before we had sex together and another six before we moved in together. We knew it wasn’t meant to last after a few months and we broke up. No hard feelings really. We knew we weren’t meant to be. Plus she loves the city and I’m not that fond of it. There’s no place like home.”

“You know what I want?” She asked. I finished my wine, feeling very tipsy, “No, what?”

“I want something like what Taylor and Ender have. I mean they argue like cats and dogs but you can see they love each other. It took me a while to see it since I’ve always thought of them as hating each other, but I can see the love between them. Plus, you know their sex life has got to be great. I want someone to grow old with but who can still make me want to pinch her butt when I’m in a stroller. Tease the kids and spoil the grandkids with. That’s what I want. A lifetime partner. Lily wasn’t my lifetime partner. She could be somebody’s but not mine. She doesn’t want any children. That’s another reason why we knew it wouldn’t work.”

She frowned at me, “Why am I telling you all this? I don’t even like you.”

I made a mock stab at my heart, laughing, “That hurt, Kris. Here I thought we were getting along and you go and say that. But you know I want the same thing. That’s what I want. A lifetime of fighting, loving, pain, and happiness. All the ups and the downs. Sharing it all and still in love. That’s what I want, yes Sir E Bob.”

She giggled along with me. Kris gave me a lingering look and said, serious but still intoxicated, “I think I am beginning to like you, Jess-a-lot.”

“Don’t call me that,” I ordered good-naturedly.

She sighed dramatically, “But I don’t know what to call you. Jessica doesn’t cut it and you have never seemed like a Jess to me. I don’t think I can call you Knight after what you told me about Claire and you. So what can I call you? Hey, what was your middle name again?”

I had to think about it, “Saxon.”

“Saxon,” She tested, “I think I like that. Saxon it is. Cheers.”

“Should I call you Catherine?”

“Not if you know what’s good for you,” Kris said, winking at me. She looked out the window, “Look at the snow. Look how deep it is.”

Kris struggled out of my easy chair. Once on her feet she paused to brush the few strands of auburn hair out of her eyes and I found that entirely too sexy. I said, half lying down on my couch, “I think we may be drunk.”

“Those are fighting words,” Kris threatened with a lisp, stumbling towards me. I questioned, “Why?”

“I don’t know, but they sound like it. You get on my nerves.”

She tripped on the edge of the coffee table and I barely had time to open my arms before she fell into them. Instinctively I pulled her body close to mine and feeling her body press against mine made me stop breathing. I could feel her curves pressing into mine and I watched her eyes darken. I knew from experience with the Morisons that that meant she was either mad or aroused. My mind screamed for me to stop thinking what I was thinking. I did not want Kristina Morison. My mind kept telling me I hated her, that I was drunk, and that I would regret it in the morning. However, my body, and perhaps my heart, told me to go for it.

Hello, gorgeous.” Those words came out of my mouth before I could stop myself.

Kris softly smiled, “You talkin’ to me?”

“No other beautiful woman lying on top of me.”

Kris stared at me for a long moment before moving her face close to mine, “I don’t believe you can do all the things you boasted you did with Claire.”

I fell for it head, line, and sinker, “Would you like a notarized statement or…do you want an example?”

“Oh, I’m going to need an example,” She whispered as she closed the distance between us. Our lips softly brushed once then twice. I parted mine so I could kiss her bottom lip and I felt her hand start to slide under my shirt.

I wish I could tell you what happened after that but I honestly don’t remember. The last thing I can clearly remember was thinking, ‘Holy Mother of God, she can kiss.’

 The next thing I remember is waking up to an offending bright light. I cracked my eyes and grimaced as the sun shined directly into my eyes. I shook my head and tried to get my settings straight. I made an educated guess that I was sleeping on the couch by the lumpy cushions beneath me and the horrible cramp in my neck. I struggled to remember the night before and the first thing that popped into my mind was kissing Kris.

Suddenly wide awake, I shot up on the couch. My head protested that movement and so did a certain, hung-over auburn-haired woman who was using me as a bed.        She lay half on me and half on the couch.

I was in shock. The person who I had hated for so many years was sleeping with her arms wrapped around me, snuggled tight to keep from falling off the couch. Her head lay on my breast, obviously liking her new pillow, and she had a leg thrown over mine. Not liking me trying to sit up, she pulled me back down with a strength I didn’t know she had. She did this while still asleep too.

As I lay there, my mind wouldn’t stop racing. I had fallen asleep with somebody I hated and furthermore, we made out last night. Now what was I going to do? Another question was had we slept together? With some movement I reached down to check my fly. It was still zipped and I still had my clothes on. We both concluded later that we hadn’t had sex that night.

 As the shock wore off and the fear settled, I turned my head to look at her. She was very beautiful as she slept with her body soft and relaxed. It felt good having her body against mine. I shocked myself by running my fingertips down the length of the arm that was wrapped around me and back up again. It just felt right.

I didn’t know what to do. I was between a rock and a hard place. Okay, really I was between a lumpy couch and a warm body but you catch my drift. She was going to freak when she woke up and found us like we were. Then I stopped and pondered. Why wasn’t I running for the hills or screaming at her to wake up and tell me what had happened? My heart offered a few reasons, but I ignored it. I was thinking once the shock gave way when she woke up, we might be able to discuss this like rational adults.

I rolled my eyes and whispered, “Like that will ever happen.”

So with a half-baked plan in mind, I pulled her closer to my chest. I was surprised at how easy it was to fall back to sleep. It could have been because I was dead tired and my head was lightly throbbing. Or it could have been because of her. A pretty lady snuggled up against you is always a good reason to go back to sleep.

The next time I awoke was to someone trying to struggle out of my arms. I didn’t move to help. I heard her let out a muffled groan of frustration as she stopped struggling. I could almost feel her eyes roaming over me as I pretended to sleep. Her head came back to rest on my breast and I heard her sigh. I had no idea if she was sighing from annoyance or something else. I was so sure she could hear my heart beating like a drum right beneath her ear but she gave no sign that she knew I was awake.

I almost jumped out of my skin when I felt a soft hand brush along the arm that didn’t hold her. It traveled down my shoulder to my wrist and back up again. Since my hand was turned upwards and open, she was able to trace the lines of my hand and feel along the pads of calluses. It took everything I had not to move because what she was doing tickled.

Taking a huge risk I captured her hand in mine, linking our fingers. She jerked and I felt her head shot off my chest. I opened my eyes to find her green ones wild with far too many emotions to explain. She opened her mouth but I didn’t give her the chance to say anything. I firmly stated, “Ten minutes. We’re going to lie like this for ten more minutes. We’re not going to say another word until that time is up because we both know it won’t be nice.”

Her open mouth dropped even lower. When she looked as if she was going to speak, I gave her a look that said to obey. She gave another frustrated growl and looked away. It wasn’t long before she lay her head back down in defeat.

I wouldn’t doubt if a million thoughts raced through both of our heads in those ten minutes. I don’t know why I asked for ten minutes but it was a good sign when she didn’t protest to it. I took the time to softly rub my thumb along the back of her hand, enjoying the way her skin felt. I had no way of knowing when the ten minutes were up. After a time she softly said, “Houston, we have a problem.

“I know,” I replied just as quietly. She rubbed her thumb across the back of my hand as well, “Do you know why it feels so strange?”

I thought carefully, “Well, for me it’s because this feels good. It feels right. I’ve hated you for so long and yet when we kissed last night, I felt something… I… oh, I don’t know. It should feel wrong but it doesn’t. You practically melted me with your kiss.”

She confessed, “It was an amazing kiss. I can’t believe I groped you like that.”

“You obviously remember more than I do.”

Kris laughed and lifted up on one elbow to look at me. She gave a rakish smile, “So I fried your brain cells with one kiss?”

“Well, since you always said had few or no brain cells, that can’t be a good thing,” I joked.        

“Or maybe not,” I rationalized, “That will probably keep me from over thinking this. I always think too much.”

“I’m over thinking it now,” She admitted, still looking into my eyes. Good sign, maintaining eye contact.

Desire asked for me, “Would you like me to try to fry a few of your brain cells?”

Oh shit, I thought. I did not just say that. But I had. Her eyes widened, “I don’t normally kiss on the first date.”

I took that as a yes. I didn’t want to take it any other way. I would have kissed her again if she would have sneered, “In your dreams.”

All in one motion I took my hand from hers and rolled us so that she was pinned under me and all this without falling off the couch. That takes skill, I might add.

 “Lucky for us we haven’t started dating. Yet,” I added before I kissed her. I was very cocky. When she didn’t pull away and started kissing back, I deepened the kiss. When we finally had to break apart she asked, “What was I supposed to be thinking about again?”

“I haven’t the foggiest idea,” I answered. She said in mock seriousness, “I think you should kiss me again. Maybe I’ll remember then.”

Always do what a lady tells you. A few minutes after the kiss came to an end she asked, “Why does it feel like this is going to end once we get off this couch?”

To answer her question I reluctantly pulled away from her and stood up. She stared up at me, anxious. I held out my hand in an offer to help her up and she took it. After helping her up off the couch I took the palm I held and kissed the back of it and then the front. I glanced out the window to confirm something before speaking.

“This isn’t going to end because we got off the couch. We’re not going to try and forget it because of how much it confuses us. We’re not going to run away and even if we did want to run, we can’t. We’re stuck in this house.”

She jerked her hand away, “What?”

I walked around to the window to look outside better, “We’re snowbound. I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

She joined me and found there were almost two feet of snow that covered everything. I repeated, “So we’re stuck in this house. At least for another three or four hours. This road is pretty much the last one to get plowed.”

The phone disturbed our thoughts with its ringing. I jumped and cursed as I answered it. I heard Kris laughing at me and felt better for some reason. It was Mom and she asked if we were all right. I asked, “Mom, how do you get blood out of the carpet? I have been scrubbing all night but it won’t come out.”

Mom went dead silent and then she heard Kris’s howl of laughter in the background, “Jessica Saxon Knight, do not do that to your mother.”

I sheepishly apologized and confirmed we were all right. I then heard shouting in the background, “Who is that?”

Mom sighed, “Claire and Lily, who else? You two come over when you can. Though if you’re just going to fight stay over at your house.”

We hung up and I said, “She says to come over but only if we can behave.”

“Can we?” She questioned. I gave her a weary look and said, my hangover talking, “I don’t know. I might end up wanting to toss you out into the snow or I might end up shoving you against the wall and proceed to take every piece of you I can get.”

Her mouth opened but nothing came out. She finally closed it. She cleared her throat, blushing, “Really?”

“Yeah. No. I don’t know. I need some Tylenol, a shower, some food, and a cup of coffee and I’ll be better for twenty questions, I swear.”

She laughed, “Let’s try getting through breakfast and see what happens?”

So we went upstairs to shower and change, separately of course. She was already starting breakfast in the kitchen when I showed up. I moaned at the smell of fresh bacon, “Damn woman, you can cook?”

“Not often. I don’t have time to cook.”

After breakfast I suggested she should make time because it was delicious. I got a blush from her with that. I don’t know what was happening to us. I don’t know how in the world we were getting along. I’ve hated the girl who lived next door to me for so long and then a thought hit me. I hated the girl next door but Kris wasn’t a girl anymore. She was a woman and she didn’t live next door either. Maybe that was why we were getting along?

I got a phone call later from someone at city hall saying they wouldn’t be able to get the snowplow out to my road today and they asked if I would be able to make it through the night. I told them I could and relayed that message to Kris and our parents.

Mom said, “That’s fine, dear. You and Kris just try to behave while you’re snowbound.”

I could almost hear the smirk in my mother’s voice. I rolled my eyes, “It sure is quiet on your end of the line. Claire and Lily wear each other out?”

“Oh, they’re around here somewhere.”

I frowned at the phone in confusion after my mother hung up. She had sounded very weird when she said that. I figured later that it was from trying not to laugh sinisterly.

So what do you do when you’re snowbound with a beautiful woman? Do you:

A) Make a pair of snow women complete with big boobs

B) Have a snowball fight

C) Curl up beside a warm fire with cups of eggnog

D) Make passionate love by the fire

E) All of the above

The answer of course is E, but we only did A, B, and C. We made an agreement to try getting along without the aid of alcohol. So I spent the morning getting to know Kris, M.D. and she spent the morning getting to know Jessica, business manager.

We did have a little fight during the snowball fight. She threw the ball and I dodged it. I threw a ball and hit her right in the face.

“Stupid jock,” She said, wiping the snow off her face. For a second I was back in high school. I retorted without thinking, “Better to be a stupid jock than a stupid cheerleader.”

Yes, I know, very mature. Kris narrowed her eyes and growled, “Back off, Jess-a-lot.”

“Make me. Catherine,” I dared her, “Go ahead--make my day.”

The next thing I know we’re wrestling in the snow. It was like we were kids again except we weren’t. My eleven-year-old self could have never properly appreciated wrestling in the snow with Kristina Morison. Eleven-year-old me would have been throwing punches and trying to drive her face in the snow. I was more interested in pinning her down so I could enjoy the press of my body against hers. The present Kristina must have been interested in the same because the next thing I know she had me pinned to the ground.

The triumphant look on her face would have once shot my temper through the roof and I would have seen red. Now all I could see was her and she was beautiful covered in snow powder.

I tried not to pout, “Some butch jock I am letting a cheerleader top me.”

She laughed, “Poor Saxon. You must be getting old.”

 Before I could say she was two months older than me, she kissed me. After that I couldn’t remember what day it was much less how old we were.

We got into another wrestling match later that night. I set aside my eggnog and said, “Kristina, I have something I got to tell you.”

She set her cup down afraid things were going to get serious. I looked her right in the eyes and said, “I see dead people.”

“Why you little,” Kris exclaimed before she tackled me back onto the couch. That fight ended well with us making out. We had no problem with the whole passion thing.

But you know it’s not easy to go from hating to dating. That was proven the next day.

It had started innocent enough. The road had just been plowed and we were on our way to see our parents. She asked to drive the Jeep and I said no, saying something like a city girl didn’t need to be drive in mountain winter weather.

“That’s ridiculous. I grew up driving around here just like you did and it’s not like I haven’t driven your Jeep before.”

That stopped me. I stared at her in confusion. “What do you mean be that? You’ve never driven my Jeep before. Unless you and Taylor when joyriding one night.”

Then I remembered. She had dated Alex and rumors said she had slept with Alex.

“So Alex let you drive the Jeep?”

Kris shrugged, “We drove out to a lake once and he showed me how.”

“Among other things I bet,” I said it before I could stop myself. I don’t know why but the thought of Kris sleeping with Alex bugged me more than the thought of her sleeping with Lily.

Kris looked stunned my words and my tone. She recovered to retort, “Yes among other things. What do you want to hear? I slept with your brother. We did it in the back of the Jeep and then in the front another weekend. Are you saying you never fucked Jen in this Jeep?”

“No,” I snapped. “I’ve never fucked anyone in this Jeep because…”

“But you did fuck her liked you fucked Claire…”

“I did fuck Claire but I made love to Jennifer because I loved her!” I shouted.

“Well I fucked Alex and it was pleasant but you know what? You ain’t heard nothin’ yet.  Alex was nothing compared to your sister.”

“I’m surprised you even know what good sex is since you said Lily was never wild with you. You must be a bore in bed,” I snapped.

She shoved me, “I’m not a bore in bed. Lily and I did it so often we almost had to walk bowlegged to work. Lily was amazing in bed and I had to beg her to stop. But I wasn’t talking about Lily.”

It took me a second to comprehend what she meant and then I exploded, “You fucked my sister?”

“Both of them. Lily and Taylor,” She said with a smug look on her face.

I was beyond furious. She had slept with my brother and both of my sisters. She poked me in my chest, “Look at you, hypocrite. You’re mad because I slept with your siblings but you have slept with mine.”

I hissed, seeing black, “If I had known it was Claire I never would have slept with her. I don’t intentionally go sleeping around like a slut.”

I was too angry to regret the words then. I regretted them later once I cooled down and cool down I did as Kris laid me out in the snow with her right cross. She stood above me and sneered, “You must be a slut too since you would have slept with me these past few days if I had let you.”

With that she turned around and started walking away. I sat up to watch her walk down the road to her parents’ house. I scooped up a ball of snow and pressed it to my eye, it was already hurting and I knew I was going to have one hell of a shiner. I sat there for thinking about what I had said. I was a hypocrite for disliking the fact she had slept with Alex and Lily. Let’s not forget she also slept with Taylor. That was a new one for me. I had never once thought of sleeping with Ender. It would be like sleeping with my little sister and that was gross. I guess Kris hadn’t thought of Taylor like a sister.

I finally got up and into my Jeep. I couldn’t let her walk all the way across town and I did need to apologize. I found her a mile down the road. She walked fast, fueled with anger. I slowed down to drive beside her and rolled down the window. She didn’t even glance at me.

“I’m sorry.”

That got nothing. I continued, “I am a hypocrite and you had every right to hit me. I deserved it and more.”

Still nothing.

“Would you at least get in the damn Jeep? You can’t walk all the way to your parents’ house. It’s another eight miles.”

Kris held her head up high and kept walking. It was a good thing she was wearing boots. I kept pace beside her, going back and forth between apologizing and asking her to get into the Jeep. I ended up having quite the line of cars behind me since we were now in a no passing zone. They started honking their horns.

“Kris, please get into the Jeep before they decide to kill us,” I pleaded.

After another minute Kris finally got into the car. I quickly sped up to please the other drivers. She said nothing. When we pulled up in my parents’ yard she finally said, “This isn’t going to work between us.”

I sighed as I put the car in park, “I know. Whatever Ender and Taylor have must be something special because you can’t go from hating to liking overnight.”

She nodded and got out without another word. It felt like we had just broken up but how could that be when we had never started? Everyone was gathered in my parents’ house, talking and decorating. Mom gasped when she saw my eye, “What happened to you?”

“I fell.”

It was an automatic reply from my youth. Mom glanced at Kris who met her gaze easily but flinched when her mother stared glaring at her.

“It’s nothing,” I said, moving away to go help Anna put tinsel on the huge tree they had cut down earlier. Christmas was now only a few days away. I missed the look of exasperation between my mom and Mary.

I looked around as I helped Anna, “Where is Jen? Where’s Lily and Claire too?”

Anna sighed, “Jen has had her ear glued to her cell phone the past two days, talking to the senator she works for. She promised not take any calls but she did. She’s over at the other house. As for Lily and Claire, I haven’t seen either of them since yesterday.”

Well I sure wasn’t going to let Jen ruin Christmas for her and her girlfriend. I excused myself and when to the Morison’s house. I found Jen talking on her phone in the living room. She held up her hand for a moment as she talked into the phone. I gave her a moment before I snatched it out of her hands.

Jennifer watched, shocked, as I talked into her phone, “I’m sorry but Jennifer’s a little busy right now. Yes. Yes. No, I can’t put her back on the phone. Yes, I know who you are, Senator, but Jennifer needs to be on her vacation now. As a matter of fact I recall you have a beauty family so why don’t you go spend time with them so Jennifer can do the same? Oh and don’t try to call later her phone will be disabled. You have a Merry Christmas and Jen will see you after New Year’s.”

Jen jerked as I broke her little flip phone in half. I said, dropping the pieces, “Now you have a great girlfriend over there putting up with both of our families by herself. You should be with her.”

I expected her to start screaming about me messing up her career but instead she shocked me by asking, “What’s wrong? And what happened to your eye?”

I put on my best Brando impersonation, “I coulda been a contender.”

“Haha, very funny. Jess you look someone just hit you with a hammer, physically and emotionally. Did something happen with Kris?”

“No… yes… kind of. There might have been something but I screwed it up.”

“Tell me what happened,” She ordered. I shook my head and said, “No. You go kiss and make up with your girlfriend. I’m just going to find some Tylenol for my eye. Your mom still keep her drugs in the kitchen?”

Jen nodded but then she handed me a key, “Be careful when you open it but make sure to open it.”

I didn’t have a clue as to what she meant. I shook my head as she walked away and I went into the kitchen. After finding some drugs and drowning them with a glass of water, I noticed the brand new lock on the basement door. I was staring at it when it started shaking, “Mom is that you? Will you please open the door? Jen? Let us out.”

My eyes widened when I realized Claire was locked behind the door. I ran to unlock it. Claire flung the door opened wild-eyed, looking ready to kill, “How dare you lock us in there overnight! I should…”

She stopped when she saw it was me. I kept staring as Lily came up the stairs, looking just as rumpled, worn out, and angry as Claire.

I muttered to Jen who was safely away, “It’s another fine mess you’ve gotten me into.”

Then I asked them, “What in the Hell happened to you two?”

Claire opened her mouth, probably to go on a long rave, but I held up my hands to stop her. “Look why don’t you both go freshen up? I know there’s a bathroom down there but God only knows what you two went through. We have a few hours before we have to go see the Holiday Parade with the rest of the family.”

Claire asked, “Will you stay with me while I get ready?”

I nodded, not wanting to go back over to my house and face Kris. I barely glanced at my sister as she watched us head upstairs. Claire told me some of what happened after she showered and started getting ready. She had become such a close friend that I wasn’t bothered as she changed right in front of me. Claire told me how she and Lily were tricked down into the basement and then locked inside. She says they shouted for hours but were ignored.

“It was Hell, Jess. Stuck down there with her all night…”

Claire trailed off, lost in thought. I asked, “Did something happen between you two down there?”

Claire jumped, startled, and then sneered, “Like I’d let anything happen.”

I didn’t believe her and I learned later something did happen. Claire confessed a cot had been set up down there and just enough blankets to keep them warm if they snuggled together. They had started arguing while snuggled together and one thing led to another. That’s why their clothes had looked rumpled. One heck of a way to keep warm if you ask me.

A thoughtful look came over Claire as she stood before me, topless, “I like you, Jess.”

I blinked, surprised, “I like you too, Claire.”

“You’re a good friend. You’re funny, smart, attractive, and you make a good living.”

I didn’t like where this was going.

Claire started moving closer to me, “You’re great in bed and always there when I need you. I’ve been a fool not to see what’s right in front of me.”

Then she was there, kissing me. She took the lack of protest as the signal to keep going. She deepened the kiss as she sat on my lap. Finding myself agreeing with Claire, I kissed her back. I mean in theory she was everything I wanted in a girlfriend and all of our common friends told us we would make the perfect couple. I couldn’t say I didn’t feel any desire for her. Claire is stunning and one hell of a kisser. Despite all that, our kiss slowly started to die.

Claire pulled her lips away and shook her head in frustration. She jumped off my lap, “Damn it, why can’t it be you? You have all the right qualities but…”

“I’m the wrong Knight,” I finished for her. I laughed, humorlessly, “Everybody wants the girl next door but they don’t consider what will happen if there is more than one.”

“It shouldn’t be like this. We only sort of got along last night and then when we… anyway, it shouldn’t be like this. I’ve hated her since we moved here. I can’t be falling for Captain Daffodil.

It would have been funny if I wasn’t in the same situation, “I think you already have.”

Claire stopped to glare at me. She then noticed my eye and gave her own laugh, “I think you have as well. Right cross?”

She asked, “What happened?”

I told her everything. I couldn’t have told Jen because she wouldn’t understand like Claire would. When I finished she was shaking her head, “You better be glad Kris only punched you because if it had been me…”

Claire turned to look at me, “Do you remember the morning after we slept together?”

“Vividly,” I answered with a confused look at the change of subject.

She smiled briefly and turned to look out the window, “I think you had a point back then. I would have never slept with you if I had known who you were. All I could think that morning was that I had slept with Lily’s sister.”

Something hit me. I asked, “Why did you think of me as Lily’s sister and not JJ’s? You actually dated him.”

Claire laughed, “Don’t remind me. That was back when I thought I was completely straight, just a little curious. We actually cheated on each other with the same cheerleader.”

That was kind of disturbing information but I proceeded, “Still you did date him for two months. Why did you think of Lily first?”

“I don’t know, Jess. What’s with the questioning?” Claire demanded.

I said, getting to my point, “Lily’s always been in your mind. Maybe this isn’t a recent development. Maybe we’ve always felt something for them.”

“I think you’re crazy,” Claire stated solemnly, “Perhaps we should go make sure Kris didn’t know your brain cells out.”

I shook my head, frustrated, “I’m not saying we were, or are, in love with them. I’m just saying maybe we felt something more than hate for them back then. If we can admit that what we’re feeling right now might be easier to accept.”

Claire said, still looking at me like I was crazy, “You go first.”

I groaned and fell back on the bed. I said, pressing my palms into my eyes, “It was beauty that killed the beast. I’ve always thought she was beautiful.”

“Okay so we both thought they were hot.”

I jerked my hands away when the bruised eye reminded me it was there by protesting greatly. I smiled, “Kris has always had a mean right cross.”

“So we might have respected them.”

“She never ran to someone else for help when I pulled a mean prank on her.”

“So they have pride and confidence.”

“I never saw her be mean to anybody but me and my team.”

“So they can be decent people. What’s your point?” Claire retorted.

I laughed, sitting back up, “So maybe we liked them, Claire, and just didn’t know how to say it.”

She asked, pointedly, “Are you willing to admit that?”

I fidgeted, “I’m willing to admit I might have, kind of, sort of liked her. But just a little.”

Now it was Claire’s turn and she was fidgeting, “I’ll admit the same.”

“Oh no, no, no. You have to say it,” I protested.

She rolled her eyes, “I might have kind of liked Lily just a bit.”

So we admitted it. I didn’t feel any different so I wondered if it had done any good. I don’t know why I had even bothered since Kris and I had already agreed that it wasn’t going to work. Maybe I was hoping for a Christmas miracle.

Claire finally put on a sweater and we went back over the Knight house where everyone acted as if Claire and Lily hadn’t been stuck in the basement all night. I was pleased Jen and Anna seemed to have made up and a little less pleased to see Lily and Kris practically glued together. Again I was being a hypocrite since Claire and I stayed right by each other. Safety in numbers you know.

Three year old Thomas came running down the hall at me in his reindeer costume. I stood in his way and said in a deep voice, “You must pay the toll fee. Show me the money.”

He giggled and tried to crawl through my legs. I stopped him, “Money first.”

Thomas knew how to beat me. He held up his arms, “Up, Jess.”

So I admitted defeat and picked him up. I asked, looking him over, “How is my little man?”

Thomas threw up his hands and declared, “I am big!”

I planted a noisy kiss on his cheek, “You’re still my little man.”

“He’ll be taller than you in a few years,” My brother Daniel mocked, coming up beside me to tickle his son.

“Shut up, Daniel. You’re only an inch taller than me. He’ll be tall like his mom.”

“Well go put this little man into the car. We have to get down to the start of the parade.”

I took Thomas to put on his coat and then took him to the car. Once I got him buckled, I tapped his chin with my fist, “Good luck, Tommy. Here’s looking at you, kid.”

As I watched him wave as they drove away, I realized I wanted babies. My biological clock was beating against my heart, making it hurt. Then I caught sight of Kris watching me and that made my heart hurt even more.

An hour later we walked down to Main Street to watch the parade. We always went but this year was special since Thomas’s daycare had a float in it. Even though she had already seen him in his costume, Mom was excited. She brought two cameras and a video camera. She gave one to JJ and Dad and ordered them to take pictures.

I actually enjoyed the parade. My company had a float in it as well. Our float was two play-sets on a large trailer. One was in the shape of half a pirate ship. It had a deck on top that could hold a couple of kids with a giant ship wheel. There was a giant slide going down the side and kids could even play in the bottom of the ship. There were a bunch of employees’ children playing in the ship or waving while the tracker drove. Dad laughed, seeing their faces peep out of the portholes, “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

The second play set looked like a miniature house on the outside but all the windows and doors were open on it so people could see it was overflowing with toys stuffed inside. On the side of the trailer was a large sign and we read it as it drove by, “Donated to Jackson County Children’s Orphanage by Kingston Construction Company with special thanks to Jessica Knight.”

I was suddenly aware of everyone staring at me. I fought not to blush.

“Special thanks?” Mom asked. “What does ‘special thanks’ mean?”

If anyone else has asked I wouldn’t have said anything. Since it was my mother I muttered, “Well it was my idea to do a donation that’s all.”

Dad spoke up, “Not only was it her idea but she encouraged the other employees to spend time building the play-sets and got them to donate money. She said for every dollar they gave she would give double that. Bill told me that they raised two thousand dollars and Jess gave four thousand. Made me right proud to have her as my daughter.”

Bill was Dad’s friend so it shouldn’t have surprised me that Dad knew my secret. You have to realize Dad doesn’t say much but when he does it means something. I started blushing, “I bet Bill didn’t tell you that he donated twice as much as me. He gave eight thousand.”

“But only when he heard what you were doing. You were the mastermind,” Dad retorted.

I was getting frustrated and redder as they kept staring at me.

Ender embarrassed me even more, “I thought you were saving that money to buy a new Jeep?”

I ignored her, “I’ll be back. I’m going to get some cotton candy. Anybody want any?”

I walked off without waiting for an answer. I felt horrible. I donated the money because it was the right thing to do. Still a little part of me had done it to feel good about myself. With everyone knowing what I had done, I felt bad it wasn’t a truly selfless act. But when people donated didn’t they feel good about themselves? So wouldn’t they do it again so they could feel good again as well as do the right thing? I gave blood because it’s the right thing to do and I feel good about myself afterwards that I had saved lives. I knew I didn’t do it for the juice.

As I paid for a few bags of cotton candy I started thinking that I might be over thinking things. I thought I needed a mind blowing kiss to get rid of some pesky brain cells and then I became depressed when I realized how low the likelihood of that happening was.

I got back to group in time see little Thomas’s float go by. The way my Mom, Mary, and Kayla acted you would have thought Thomas dressed as a reindeer was Elvis Presley. I handed Jen, Nick, and Hope the other bags of cotton candy and waved at Thomas.

“You’re an idiot,” Lily said, startling me. I hadn’t notice her move next to me.

“You’re an idiot for letting Kris get away. Not to mention a damn hypocrite for getting upset over who she has slept with,” She said, giving me a look of distaste.

Now Lily and I have never been close. She’s a lot older than me and I was much closer to Taylor then her. I love her but I think the only things we have in common is blood, loving women, and softball. To say I got pissed is to say the least.

“First of all, fuck you. Second, who are you to talk to me that way? Thirdly, if I’m an idiot that makes you the damn Queen of idiots since you let Kris and Claire get away.”

“So have you.”

I smirked, “Who says I’ve let Claire get away? She said she wanted me this morning and you know everybody’s always saying we would make the perfect couple.”

Lily frowned, “You’re lying.”

I wasn’t lying. I was implying a lie. Wrong yes I know but she was getting on my nerves.

“Am I? She seemed pretty eager to get away from you this morning and she then took a very long shower. Almost like she was trying to wash away something. After that she came over and kissed me like…”

“You’re lying!” Lily shouted, shoving me.

It had been a very physical day that day. First Kris punched me and then I snapped Jen’s phone in half. Next Claire kissed me and now Lily was pushing me. I was beginning to think I should have stayed in bed that morning.

I couldn’t let her get away with pushing me so I pushed her back. Next thing I know we’re struggling on the ground. The fight didn’t last long of course. Daniel, Alex, and Jim pulled Lily away and Ender, Dad, and JJ pulled me away. I was able throw my bag of cotton candy at her before they restrained me.

We attracted the attention of the police with our fight. Thank goodness our Dad was well liked in the town. He merely looked over and asked ‘Is there a problem, officers?’ and that was the end of the matter.

It was a long walk home. Ender, Jen, Anna, Claire, and I walked in front. I guess to keep me away from Lily. They kept asking what happened but I was too mad to speak. Mom, Dad, Mary, and Jim walked in the middle. Lily and Kris walked with the rest in the back. I’ve never seen Mom look so furious. I was afraid to get back to the house and hoping I could escape with my body intact. Then I knew I should have stayed in bed. When we got back to the house, Mom ordered, “Lily, Jessica, inside the house now. Would the rest of you excuse us?”

Lily and I shot each other a look before heading into the house after Mom. Mom led us to the living room and wordlessly pointed at the couch. Both of us sat at opposite ends.

Mom crossed her arms, “Explain.”

Lily and I looked at each other and shrugged. We didn’t need dialogue—we had faces. Our faces were pretty much saying ‘fuck you’. Mom just stood there giving us a cold glare. Lily cracked first but I guess she hasn’t seen Mom’s glare in a long time. I usually got it on a bi-monthly basis for some reason or another.

“She started it,” Lily cried, pointing at me.

God, what were we? Twelve?

“That’s a lie. She did,” I whined. No, we apparently were ten.

Lily and I gave each other a heated glare, about to go at each other again. Mom shouted, “That’s enough!”

We both turned away from each other.

“I hope you are both ashamed of yourselves. Acting that way in front of young children, acting that way in front of the whole town. You embarrassed me and your father. Are you trying to ruin Christmas for us and the Morisons?”

“It’s your fault,” I muttered. God when did I get so ballsy? I had never talked back to my mother. Lily and Mom looked stunned but Mom got over it first, “Excuse me, young lady?”

“It’s your fault. Yours and Mary’s. If you two hadn’t tried to set me up with Kris and Lily with Claire we wouldn’t have been fighting in the first damn place,” I said, getting up and walking to front door. I yanked it up.

“Don’t you dare use that tone of voice with me!” Mom shouted. I was so upset that I missed the triumphant look in her eyes. If Lily and I were fighting about Kris and Claire then they obviously meant something to us.

“I can use whatever tone of voice I want. Now I’m going back to my house and packing up Kris’s stuff. She can switch with Claire, sleep at Ender’s and Taylor’s, or in Lily’s bed. I don’t care.”

I slammed the door shut, stunning the people inside the house and the group outside.

Everybody was looking at me with a shocked expression. Taylor was the first to speak, “You just… you just back talked Mom. What’s the matter with you?”

I had had enough. I hear lesbians often have more drama than anyone else and I can say at that point it was true for me. This is the part where I ruined Christmas and why I’m hiding in my room in case you’ve forgotten.

I shouted, “What’s the matter with me? With me? What’s the matter with all of us! What is in our blood that makes us not only want the girl next door but all of them! I’ve heard of keeping it in the family, but this is ridiculous!”

I wasn’t sure that made any sense but I went with it. Ender gave me a look, “Jess what in the Hell are you talking about?”

“I’m talking about this whole fucked up mess. I’m talking about that out of six children only one hasn’t sleep with a Morison. You haven’t have you?” I asked with a pointed glare at Daniel. Everybody turned to look at him especially his wife. He held up his hands, “Morison free.”

Thank God for small miracles. I later thought my brother was the smartest of us all not to get into the sticky mess the rest of us had made.

“And all of you have slept with a Knight,” I said, waving my hand at the Morison sisters.

Everyone was staring at me like I had lost my mind and they were probably wondering where the closest mental asylum was. I didn’t care. I was angry that everything seemed to be going against me. I couldn’t have what I wanted. I didn’t want what I could have and all the happy couples were showing off that they had gotten what they had wanted. That made me even angrier and I was especially mad at Taylor and Ender. Ender then made the unwise choice to talk.

“Don’t go waving that hand over here. Yeah my sisters and I have slept with either you or some of your family but it’s only you, Lily, Kris, and Claire that can’t keep it in your pants. The rest of us have had only one girl next door.”

I should have kept my mouth shut. Oh why didn’t I keep my mouth shut?

“Oh really,” I sneered, “Then you obviously don’t know your partner as well as you think you do.”

A look of confusion crossed Ender’s face. She turned to look at Taylor who paled. Kris was giving me an evil look, but I think she was surprised Taylor hadn’t told Ender.

“Taylor what is she talking about?”

Taylor’s jaw was moving but no words were coming out. Ender repeated, her voice rising, “Taylor what is she talking about?”

Taylor still didn’t seem able to talk so Ender took charge of the conversation, “Did you sleep with one of my sisters?”

Taylor gave a nod. Ender shouted, “Which one!”

“Kris,” Taylor softly confessed.

Ender looked wildly between Taylor and Kris. I had never seen Ender look so furious.

“You slept with Kris,” Ender said in an eerily calm voice.

“Ender it was back in high school. Way before you and I got together,” Taylor explained, “It was only one time.”

“And in all the time we’ve been together you never thought to mention it?”

“I didn’t think it was important…”

“It is important when you neglect to mention for 8 years!” Ender shouted. She turned on me. “And you! You knew and you didn’t tell me!”

I suddenly realized my life might be in danger. I came to my defense since I knew no one else would, “Hey I’ve only known for six hours. It was almost too disgusting for me to believe.”

Ender crossed her arms, “You’re right. It is disgusting.”

“Excuse me?” Taylor said. “Disgusting?”

“Yeah,” I replied. “That would be like Ender and I sleeping together.”

Ender and I both shivered at the thought and not the good kind of shiver.

I heard Anna mutter, “Well I personally think that would be very hot.”

I watched out of the corner of my eye as Jennifer elbowed her girlfriend. I said, “Ender’s almost like my sister and us sleeping together would be gross. I thought Kris and Taylor had…”

“I don’t know why we’re having this conversion,” Taylor interrupted, “My sex live is none of your business, Jess. I can sleep with whoever the Hell I want whenever the Hell I want and I don’t need anyone’s permission.”

I think Taylor forget she was practically married. No one knows why they haven’t gone to Massachusetts to tie the knot. Ender growled, “You go ahead and sleep with whoever you want whenever you want because you sure won’t be sleeping with me.”

We all watched as Ender stormed to her truck and drove off. As Taylor crumpled into tears, Lily shouted at me, “Do you see what you did? Who are you going to break up next? Jen and Anna? Alex and Nick? Why don’t you go ahead and burn down the Christmas tree since you seemed so bent on ruining everyone’s Christmas!”

The last words I said to my family were, “You just go ahead and have your Christmas cause I sure as Hell won’t be there. Hasta la vista, baby!”

That brings us to the present. That was two days ago and I’ve been locked away in my house since. I drove back to the house and angrily packed up Kris’s stuff before throwing it out on the porch. I then locked and barricaded the doors since Mom has a spare key and Alex is trained to break open doors. I’ve turned off my cell phone, unplugged the house phone, left my email unchecked, and ignored the frequent knocks at my door.

If you don’t count that I feel awful for what I did, it’s been a very nice couple of days. I’ve caught up on all the shows on my DVR, watched lots of Christmas movies, and spent time reading fanfiction. I’ve kept myself busy so I can’t concentrate on what I did, but I’ve obviously failed miserable since I just wrote this whole story about what happened.

So it’s Christmas Eve and I’m locked in my room. You’re probably wondering why I’m in my room. You see when I heard someone breaking down the front door I grabbed a bunch of junk food and rushed upstairs. I then pushed the dresser against my bedroom door. Afterward I patted it and said, “Fasten your seatbelts--it’s going to be a bumpy night.”

I wasn’t coming out and I wasn’t talking. I’ve written this whole story with headphones on. Am I being immature? Yes but after reading this whole story haven’t you realized that I am a bit immature. I’m living off of junk food and water I get from the sink in the master bathroom. I promise I’ll come out after Christmas, but I’m sure it will be better for everyone if I miss this one. I couldn’t bear to see Taylor or Ender without each other. I couldn’t bear to see the look of disappointment in everyone’s eyes or the look of hate. So I’ll just wait until after Christmas to…

Some Time Later

      I guess you noticed I kind of left you hanging there. You see I was interrupted. In the middle of writing I glanced up and shouted when I saw someone standing by my bed. I ripped my headphones off and shouted at Kris, “You screamed the Hell out of me.”

It’s alive! It’s alive!” Kris mocked, “Anyway, serves you right.”

I looked around. The dresser was still against the door and the windows were closed. I asked, “How did you get in here?”

“You forget to lock up the bathroom window,” She said, looking around the room in distaste. “This place is a mess.”

I looked around the room again. Some clothes on the floor and my large closet looked like a tornado went through it. However, it wasn’t that bad, “This is how it always looks.”

“Slob,” She sneered.

“Neat freak,” I guessed.



We both glared at each other before looking away in frustration. Why was she here? I mean I knew Mom would send someone but why her? I was about to ask her that when she commented, “It doesn’t smell as bad as I thought it would.”

“I have to live with myself and I like to live with nice smelling people so I’ve taken showers. As for my dirty clothes there’s a laundry chute right there.”

“Your clothes will get hung up and lost,” She remarked.

“No. I usually run a large brush down it every few months or when I can’t find my favorite … Hey, wait a second. Just what are you doing here?” I said, snapping out of it.

She ignored my question and went around the room. She asked, inspected inside the closet, “Do you like cats or dogs?”

“Depends on the cat or dog. Now quit changing the subject. Why are you here?” I demanded to know.

She ignored me again and continued inspecting my room. I flopped back down on the bed and screamed into the mattress, “You are the most irritating woman I have ever…ugh.”

I was suddenly being choked as my shirt was pulled tight against my throat. I struggled to sit up and relief the pressure.

“You’re going to stretch out my shirts,” I snapped, rubbing my throat.

“I like people to face me when they’re talking to me.”

“You were ignoring me anyway,” I muttered.

Kris crossed her arms while simply staring down at me, “Your mother wants you to come over to open presents and she says you are coming over for Christmas dinner tomorrow even if she has to burn your house down to get you out.”

I considered my mom’s threat very carefully. While I doubt she would set my house on fire I knew she would and could do something. Still, I didn’t think I deserved a Christmas.

I shook my head, “I’m not going. You can take my present to Mom if you like but I’m staying here until Christmas is over.”

Kris flew into a rage, “You are acting like a selfish brat! Now go get ready to go to your mother’s or I swear I’ll blacken your other eye!”

I stared at her, shocked, and then hung my head in shame. I said, to the loose thread on my quilt, “I don’t want to ruin Christmas and that’s all I seem capable of doing.”

A surprisingly gently hand cupped my chin and lifted my head.

“Face me when you’re talking to me,” Kris reminded me, “And the only way you could ruin Christmas, Jess-a-lot, is by not showing up.”

“But Taylor and Ender…”

“Are back together,” Kris interrupted me, “Taylor cried for ten minutes, worried for twenty, and raged for thirty. She was on way to confront Ender when Ender pulled back in the driveway. They looked ready to murder each other but they fell into each other’s arms, crying and professing their love. Ender did give me one frightening glare though.”

“That’s my fault. If I had kept my mouth shut…”

Kris shut my mouth to keep me from talking, “And if Taylor had told Ender. If Taylor and I hadn’t got drunk one night. If I hadn’t told you just to upset you because you had upset me.”

I removed her hand from my mouth and confessed, “I know I seem like a hypocrite but it bothers me you slept with Alex…and Taylor…and Lily.”

Kris sat down beside me on the bed. I guessed she got tired of standing. She said, leaning back on her arms, “It bothers me you slept with Claire and Jen.”

“Guess we’re even then.”

“Even?” She asked. “You have two to my three.”

“Well I’m not sleeping with Ender so we’re just going to call it even,” I said, a smile trying to grace my lips as I wanted to remain serious.

She chuckled. I took a chance with her in good humor and asked, “So why are you here?”

“I got tired of watching Lily and Claire make out like lovebirds.”

“What?” I asked, shocked. “Are you serious?”

“When you left Claire walked right over to Lily and punched her…”

“Right cross?” I broke in with a grin.

Kris smirked, “No, left cross. You forget Claire’s left-handed. After Claire knocked her flat on the ground, she started chewing her out for being such a jerk to you. Lily then demanded, laying right in the snow, who Claire wanted, you or her. Stunned for a moment, Claire turned the question back on her. Who did Lily want? Lily said her and then Claire said her. Claire yanked Lily to her feet, kissed her, and they went inside as our moms broke out in cheers. The past two days I’ve seen and heard them talking all mushy to each other in-between make out sessions. It sucks being the only single person in the house so I figured I’d come make you join me in the misery. I think the worst part for me was when Claire admitted she might have liked Lily a little in high school and Lily looked ready to melt from the love.”

“I made her confess that after she kissed me that morning,” I stated. I was suddenly worried Kris would get angry over that but she only nodded, “Lily came over from my parents’ house that morning like a bat out of Hell. She grabbed my hand and pulled me upstairs. She told me we had made such a great couple and she wanted that again. Then she kissed me. I kissed back because we had made a great couple, but the kiss ended awkwardly. It was a nice kiss but whatever we had was gone. I made her tell me what happened in the basement between her and Claire. Such an interesting way to keep warm.”

Taylor and Ender were still together and Lily and Claire were together. I asked, brightening up, “So I haven’t ruined Christmas?”

“You will if you don’t go get ready,” Kris said with a smile.

I hurried to get ready. I mean I knew I would have to beg and plead for Mom’s forgiveness for my attitude, but I was sure she would forgive me. I thought about wearing the horrible Christmas sweater she bought me last Christmas as penance but shoved the idea out of my mind. If I showed up wearing that sweater she would call the mental asylum.

While I stood in the shower I wondered about me and Kris. We had gotten along for the past ten minutes; surely that was a good sign. I’m sure if we’d just talk... I then got rid of that idea since talking usually ended badly between us. I could just kiss her to show her my feelings but my eye had just starting to fade into bruise yellow. I didn’t know how I was going to tell her that I had fallen for her.

I came out of the bathroom dressed but needing a belt and shoes. I stopped in my tracks at what I saw and then paled. Kris was staring intently at my laptop and guess what had been left up? Yeah, you guessed right. This story.

I barked, harsher then I meant to, “What are you doing?”

Kris looked up, sheepish. I stormed over to the bed and ripped my laptop away from her, slamming it shut. I briefly hoped I had saved the story (I obviously had) and growled, “That’s not yours.”

“I’m sorry. It was there and I just…”

I broke in, very upset, “First my notebook and now my laptop. Will you ever learn the meaning of privacy?”

She looked aghast at the thought, “Kris, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean…”

“How much did you read?” I broke in again, hugging my laptop to me.

She hung her head, “The first few pages.”

While very upset I couldn’t help but think I didn’t have to tell her I had fallen for her. She had already read it. Still verbal confirmation would speed up whatever we were going through.

I tossed my laptop on the bed and cupped her chin to tilt her head up. I scolded, mirth obvious in my voice, “I like people to face me when they’re talking to me.”

I caught the twinkle that started glowing in those damn green Morison eyes. I said, leaning down, “I also like people to face me when I’m about to kiss them.”

I don’t think Kris had a problem with that one since she finished pulling me down for the kiss. Jen’s kiss had once been incredible, Claire’s kiss had once driven me wild, but it was this woman’s kiss that made me weak in the knees. Literally. I buckled and Kris reached out to catch me before I fell pulling me onto her lap. She grinned, “Well this is different.”

It felt weird being the one sitting on another’s lap but not entirely wrong. I muttered, “I could lose my butch card for this.”

“I won’t tell,” She promised before kissing me again. I slowly forgot about it being strange to sit on her lap but I started remembering why she was here. I broke the kiss and said, regrettably, “We have to go.”

I stood up as she sighed in agreement. I took that moment to confess. “I’ve fallen for you, Kristina Morison. I know it’s strange to go from hating you to liking you, but like I admitted to Claire I think I’ve always liked you a little. Or at least liked hating you.”

Kris laughed, “I will admit it was fun back then, playing pranks and the shouting matches. I think I might have liked you too and I know I like you now despite the fights we had. So where does that leave us?”

“Well you live in Boston so…”

“But I never told you,” Kris interrupted, “That the reason I was so late getting here for Christmas. I was fulfilling my last month’s notice. I’ll be living at home with Mom and Dad while I look for a job and a place around here. I hated this place when we first moved here but now I can’t imagine calling any other place home. I’m sure I’ll find work around here.”

“So we won’t have to deal with a long distance relationship?” I asked, happy she interrupted. I broached, “So if I were to ask you out on a date?”

“I’d say pick me up at eight.” We both giggled at how it rhymed. God what were we turning into?

Kris watched me as I finished getting ready, “Will you be sitting on my lap again soon?”

I shot her a look, “While that was nice I’d much prefer you sitting on my lap.”

She shrugged with a smile, “I would fight you on that but it’s a win-win situation to me. Maybe I’ll sit on your lap at your parents’ house.”

“Oh that will thrill our moms,” I laughed, “You know our ten year high school reunion is just around the corner. You could sit on my lap there too.”

We both laughed as we thought of everyone’s faces when they saw us together. She helped me push the dresser out of the way and we both headed downstairs. I stood, blinking at my front door. It looked like the S.W.A.T. team had busted into my house.

“You should have opened it before your mom ordered Alex busted it down,” Kris commented. I finally shrugged, “I’ll get Dad to help me fix it.”

I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse,” I added, trying my hand at impersonations again. Kris just shook her head at me.

Later that night we all sat around in the Morison’s living room just talking or watching little Thomas play with the boxes his toys had come in instead of the toys themselves.

Ender commented with a laugh, “So I guess Jennifer is the only Morison who didn’t end up with a Knight.”

“I’m not complaining,” Jen said with a bright smile at her girlfriend. Jen had gotten a new phone from her parents. I had gotten a new door from mine. Mom always knew just what to get me.

“We can actually fix that very easily,” I commented. Everyone turned to stare at me. Mom said, “I hope you are not suggesting your father and I have another baby.”

Everyone laughed but I said, trying to keep a serious face, “That’s actually what I’m saying.”

“You’re messed up in the head Jess,” Taylor said. “I hope you know what you’re getting into Kris.”

Kris, who was sitting between my legs on the floor in front of me, shrugged while she leant forward. Kris had discovered I could give decent back massages and was enjoying one now.

Jen said, shaking her head, “I expected more from you, Jess.”

“All I’m suggesting is that we adopt Anna. I think she would make a very good Knight.”

“That’s a great idea, Jessica,” My mom said, “Jennifer since you’re the lawyer you can draw up the paperwork for us.”

Anna said, adding her thoughts to the mix, “I don’t think my parents would be too happy if I let myself get adopted.”

“Don’t you want to be a part of the Knight family?” I laughed.

“Not in a hundred years,” She replied easily. Jennifer had picked a smart one.

I looked around the room, pondering our future. How knew where we would be in the future.  Afterall, tomorrow is another day.

I didn’t really have time to think about the future much longer since Kayla, who was pregnant with her and Daniel’s second baby, calmly said her water had just broken. You have never seen such chaos. Kris finally took control of the situation, she was the baby doctor after all, and took Kayla to the hospital. We all followed like a herd of sheep.

At the hospital Dad gave Daniel a pep talk before sending him into the room with Kayla. I mean after all Dad was an old hand at deliveries by now. I waited with the others in the waiting room. Three hours later, shortly after the stroke of midnight, Margaret Catherine Knight was born on Christmas Day. Margaret after my Mom, who cried like a little girl and Catherine after Kris who helped in the delivery.

After everyone had a turn of holding looking at the little one, we went home. Kris asked me as I drove us back in my Jeep, “You are going to change the names on that story aren’t you?”

I smirked, “Afraid of people finding out the truth about us?”

“Afraid of stalkers,” She remarked. “At least change the town’s name.”

“I’ll think about,” I said before she smacked my arm.

That was four years ago. Today my life is really great. Kris and I are still together and I gave birth to our son almost five months ago. His name is Morison Knight and he has his mother’s hair and eyes. I remember her taking him into her arms after he was born and holding him up for the rest of the family to see out of the window. After looking at me then him with more love than I’ve ever seen she said, “Say hello to my little friend.”

The End


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