The Joke

By Anais

My thanks to Idryth for the kick in the pants and Midgit for fixing all my stupid errors. MH, I always appreciate your feedback and willingness to give me a few minutes of your day. Not to mention being my inspiration. Remind me to sing that to you sometime.

These characters are mine and in no way resemble any characters owned by SUSA or Oxygen or whomever is in charge these days. Not even after reading close to 1000 über stories...ok well maybe they do a bit, but they are still mine <g>.

This is KWLA Talk radio 650 AM wishing all you foolish people a very happy April Fools day! Now, stay tuned, we are going to re-play our yearly April 1st broadcast. If there's someone you want to make a fool of, have them tune in to KWLA at 7 am...

"Mmmmmm..." Rebecca snuggled in closer to the heat which came from the blonde lying next to her in bed. The satisfied smiles and the pile of discarded clothing next to the bed bore witness to the activities of the previous night.

Remember, the upcoming program is only a joke. It's not real...

The raven haired woman allowed herself to fall deeper into the arms of Morpheus not registering the gradually increasing volume from the clock less than an arm’s length from her.

Ok folks, the show is almost ready. Give us a few more moments to set things up. We will occasionally throw in some reminders that this is only an April Fools joke.

"Oh shit!" The now booming radio alarm had reached out and grabbed Rebecca out of her warm cocoon. Picking up the timepiece, her bleary eyes started to focus on the large red numbers. As the digits came into focus Rebecca realized she was due at basketball camp in 25 minutes and it was 22 minutes away. If you didn't stop at traffic lights. Or pedestrians.

The basketball coach hesitated only briefly enough to leave a quick kiss on her bed partner's forehead before jumping to her feet and dressing herself in some of the crumpled clothing left on the floor. At nearly a dead run, Rebecca jogged to the bathroom and quickly ran a comb through her hair and just as rapidly a toothbrush over her teeth. After splashing her face with water, she grabbed her keys from the kitchen counter. Hopping on one foot, she took another couple of seconds to put her jogging shoes on.

'This is going to be a very long day,' was her last thought as she slammed the door shut and started her morning.

Chapter 2

"Damned radio…can this day get any worse?" Rebecca mumbled to no one in particular as she tried to get her car radio to tune into her favorite jazz station. None of the FM channels were working and only two AM stations were somewhat audible. One of those was the local fire and brimstone station so she opted to listen to the talk radio show, which had been the station her alarm had been set to.

Again, welcome to KWLA…we are interrupting our regular programming to bring you this late breaking news. The US Supreme Court today has overturned the decision that allowed George W. Bush the presidency. Instead, the winner of the popular vote is the new president as of noon today. The news of President Gore becoming commander-in-chief and the realization that the Democrats have control of the House and Senate has thrown the stock market into chaos.

We have also had reports that Senator Joe Lieberman has rejected the vice president position so President Gore has announced he will be choosing Hillary Clinton to be the Vice-President.

We'll be discussing these startling changes and more when we come back from the commercial break.

"What the…" Rebecca had now spent more of the morning talking to air than she had other humans and while that was a bit worrisome to her as she thought about it, the fact that she woke to Vice President Clinton was even more disconcerting.

After making several variations of a bitter beer face directed at her radio, the athletic woman got out of her car and raced around the side of the red brick school to her home away from home…the gym.

Ten years ago, Rebecca barely graduated from college. She'd been introduced to drugs and alcohol by her first and until a year ago, only girlfriend. Although she had always felt different, being raised in a religious household, she turned away from the crushes she had on her childhood chums. Female childhood chums.

It was easy to not feel the clashing of religion and sexuality when one was high on pills or alcohol or whatever else it was that her girlfriend would give her. That was the easy part. The hard part was overcoming those days and they had long since passed. The turning point was when she flunked a random drug test and wasn't allowed in the state track championship. That was her way out. She would go to college and everything would be OK. But everything fell apart once the test results and the year suspension from competition came around.

Fortunately, Rebecca had found someone who cared. Coach Moss was one of those teachers that if one is lucky, they will have once in their life. Someone who will challenge and expect the most you can give. Afterwards Rebecca decided to try life without drugs or alcohol, Coach Moss was there. After Rebecca found her girlfriend in bed, in their bed, with one of the drug dealers she bought from; Coach Moss was there.

Coach Moss was the person responsible for Rebecca graduating from the community college. Rebecca found odd jobs to pay her way through when she should have had a scholarship. And it was Coach Moss who introduced her to the person she saw first thing each morning for the last year. The only thing Coach Moss couldn’t help Rebecca with were the damaged walls, and the inability to tell Kait she was loved.

Sure, she had to know it. Thinking back to the first time Kait had said, 'I love you' to Rebecca, the response had been 'ditto.' Since then, she had used variations on that theme. Unable to say those three little words she had said and meant with all her heart, so very long ago to her first girlfriend who had betrayed her.

All of this played back in Rebecca's head this morning. With thoughts of how the world would be changed, as it had after September 11th and now…what she had heard on the radio. Everything will be different it seems, hopefully that will be for the best, Rebecca thought as she entered the gymnasium. Inhaling deeply, she took in the smell of the stale air that mixed with sweat, humidity, and old socks. "Ah, better than a shot of expresso," she exclaimed under her breath, shaking off the past for the moment.

Long strides took her quickly to her desk, where she set her sunglasses down and exchanged them for the jar of coffee. With precise measurements, the coffee was scooped into the cup and when the water was added, everything was set in the microwave oven to warm.

As was her routine, Rebecca reached for her newspaper to glance over the headlines while the coffee was heating up.

Local Woman Wins the Lottery….

……. the headline proclaimed. "Wonder if I know her?" She skimmed the story but missed the woman's name. Another sight Rebecca didn't notice was the gaggle of giggling girls watching for her reaction to their fake newspaper they switched.

Throughout the day, those same girls kept playing other pranks on their coach. A plastic mess of fake vomit left on the restroom floor. Phony dog doo left in the middle of the gym hardcourt. Even a bogus can of spilled coke on the passenger seat of Rebecca's prized SUV. Even with all that, still nothing clued her in on the date.

Chapter 3

The now slick -with -sweat gym floor made an echoing squeak with each step that Rebecca took on her way back to the small office. She had a few phone calls to return to parents who were sure their daughter was going to be the next Jackie Joyner-Kersey or Flo-Jo. As she sat on the creaky, metal desk chair calling the first parent, her eyes wandered back to the paper. Something about it captured her eye.

She opened the folded news publication and this time the winner's name stood at least 10 feet in the air. Kait Harding, 32, winner of the 42 million dollar lottery and local woman…….

Rebecca slammed the phone down while the parent was in mid-sentence droning about how her daughter should be good enough for the Olympics.

"Why didn't she tell me she’d won? I wonder if she’s even going to keep me around, with all that money she'd have her pick of anyone. Why would she stay with someone who doesn't even have the guts to say ‘I Love You’?"

While her thoughts were racing just about a million miles a minute, on the other end of town, Kait was having her own dilemma.

"Coach Moss, I'm glad you warned me about this. I don't think it will be a big deal but I'll let you know what happens, if she even noticed it. Yes, sure I understand the girls talked you into it; Rebecca isn't exactly known for her sense of humor now is she? Well, thanks for calling and I'll let you know. Good-bye."

Uh oh, I have a feeling this isn't going to turn out well. Maybe I just won't say anything unless she does.

The blonde busied herself straightening up all the errant things the two women threw around the night before in their haste. Amazingly, as she picked each item, Kait's smile widened with the memories.

Simultaneously, the oven timer rang as the front door opened. Kait got up from the couch where she had been sitting since her chores were done to tend to the dinner bell. What was presented to her was a slightly haggard, slightly nervous girlfriend.

"Are you OK?" Kait asked.

"Yes, I'm fine, hard day today," the raven-haired woman responded, her eyes searching for any sign of excitement from Kait. "Anything new?" she questioned.

Without thought, Kait's eyes shifted, avoiding those of her partner. What should I say? "Um, dinner's almost ready, let me go and finish it up, " and scooted past the taller woman.

She quickly grasped at the closest potholder and opened the oven door, busying herself to buy some time to figure out if she should expose the joke or continue to not say anything.

Her dejected lover shuffled to the kitchen. Pausing momentarily, Rebecca was captured by the sight of her companion. A relatively normal picture of a woman dressed in an apron taking dinner out of the oven, yet it was this very display that turned to a vision of…love?

OK, it's now or never, Rebecca thought. Swallowing hard, she took two steps, reaching Kait's side. Kait was facing away from her, still fooling with the dinner in the oven. "Turn around for a sec."

Kait turned to look at one of the saddest faces she'd seen…ever. She took a breath and started to speak.

"Wait, don't say anything, I have to get this out or I never will be able to. I saw the paper today." Again, Kait tried to say something. Rebecca covered Kait's lips with one of her fingers. "You don't have to explain, I understand. I know that I'm not easy to live with. I know there are better people out there, better for you than I am anyway. To show you how much I care about you though, I'm going to do something that hurts me. Hurts me more than I could ever imagine. I'm giving you your freedom. You don't have to share the money with me and I won't ever try to get a cent of it." The lump in Rebecca's throat had become painful and her lips were beginning to quiver.

"I won't make this worse than it is. I'll pack up my stuff and leave," and with that she quickly turned to walk out of the small kitchen.

Kait stood unable to move; her mouth looked almost exaggerated as it hung open. A shiver ran through her bringing her back to reality. "Wait," Kait said suddenly breaking the quiet tension, and grabbed Rebecca's wrist before she was able to escape from the room.

"Honey, it's not what you think." Rebecca stood without turning, afraid to show the emotion on her face. "The paper, it was a prank, Coach Moss…the girls-" words were coming out quickly and jumbled.

Rebecca turned finally to face Kait, "Prank? What do you mean prank?"

Kait, smiled through the tears which were now flowing freely. "Today's April 1st."

It was almost as if the scene in the kitchen had turned into a cartoon and a light quite literally appeared above Rebecca's head. Immediately the sorrowful face turned to one of relief. "You mean everything today…" Without explanation, Rebecca dropped to one knee and grabbed Kait's hand.

"I didn't want to say this to you when I thought you were a millionaire. It's taken me long enough to figure it out for myself, but then I didn't want to make you think I was saying it because of the money...that I didn't mean it. Because I do…with all my heart."

Kait's forehead creased in puzzlement.

"I know that it's been a long road, and I haven't been able to share all my feelings with you… because of my past. But today…when I read that you’d won all that money, I thought you wouldn't want me, I wasn't good enough for you. That made me realize a lot of things, but most importantly, it made me realize there was something I had to tell you if I ever had the opportunity. And, thank goodness, I do."

Kait kneeled so she could look Rebecca in the face directly. "What are you talking about?" Kait quizzed. "You aren't making any sense."

"What I mean…what I need to say, is simple." Rebecca paused to great effect, looking Kait directly in the eyes. "I have never said this to you before, but it doesn't mean that I haven't felt this way for a long time. Kait, I love you."

Kait gasped in surprise, not expecting this revelation at all.

"I've loved you for a long time, Kait. I just held back and I shouldn't have. I shouldn't let my past shadow my future, because, if you'll have me, you are my future. I want to spend forever with you…if you'll let me." Rebecca looked shyly away a little afraid of being rejected. As seconds ticked away, the silence became overwhelming.

Rebecca slowly looked up to see an absolute look of love coming from the other woman. Kait leaned in and gave Rebecca the kind of kiss that has been known to curl toes or melt an iceberg.

Speechless, as she had been so many times throughout this memorable day Rebecca waited to hear something...anything from Kait.

"Of course I'll let you."

As several more kisses were planted between the two women, Rebecca suddenly laughed. It started as a small chuckle and then soon turned into an infectious belly laugh. "Happy April Fools Day, " Rebecca said as soon as she was able to catch her breath.

"Happy April Fools Day," Kait responded as both women dropped to the kitchen floor and another round of laughing began.


The end

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