Paths Less Traveled

By: Athenian Bard

© Athenian Bard, 2005

DISCLAIMER: This story contains material strictly from my own mind and, although the characters may get a little frisky, everything remains PG-rated. As always, I encourage you to use your imagination because, it is a terrible thing to waste. Exercise it daily! 

Warning! This story contains situations of domestic violence and substance abuse.

Special thanks to Al and T, and Vali who are great writers that continue to inspire me. Along with my Betas’ Okie and Michael for suggestions and encouragement

As always, you can reach me at I respond to all email.

Life, it’s a funny thing. So fragile, like a glass egg, it appears to be strong and viable but with a small move it can change everything. That’s what happened to me, my life moved in a direction I had never imagined. I made one choice and it changed my life, and now nothing will ever be the same. It all started on the departure of the one constant of my life.

Lorelei was a young woman who was just leaving her youthful look behind and approaching the cusp of adulthood; it showed in her mature features, lined by her 5'9 height and hazel almond eyes. She was an artistic soul who her younger sister adored. Karah had never known anyone else; Lorelei had been the mother that their mother was unable to be. Lorelei searched for clothes as she hurriedly packed her suitcase. There was a mountain of clothing piled high on her bed.
            "Hey Karah where’s my School of Rock t-shirt?"
            A voice outside the room yelled "I don’t know. Didn’t you check in the dirty clothes?"
            "No!" Lorelei mumbled under her breath, "Why would I check in the dirty clothes?"
            Going through the clothes in the dirty hamper, she found nothing and moved to search for it in the never-ending pile of clothes on the floor of her closet.
            "I found it!"
            A young girl, no more than seventeen years old, entered the room. She showed a family resemblance to the older girl yet there was something subtly different about her. She was 5'7 and had almond eyes like her sister yet her hair is cropped short, close around the ears and a dark auburn in color.
            "So, Lore, where did you find it? Exactly where I told you! “She raised an eyebrow showing her pleasure in getting the upper hand on her sister, which was all too rare an occasion for Karah. She walked over to stand beside her sister.
            "I found it on the floor in my closet. So there!" Lorelei stuck out her tongue at her sister, "I didn't find it in the dirty clothes hamper. Now I can finish packing."
            Chastising her sister, “Lorelei, I simply can’t believe you waited until the day before you have to leave to pack! I mean what were you thinking? If you forget something I swear I’m not sending it to you so you better make sure you got everything!"
            "You know what, you can bite me twerp! I had other things I had to do. I had to say goodbye to my friends, they’re going to miss me you know. I’m not like you, my friends actually like me!" Lorelei said and then stuck her tongue out again at her sister.
            "Oh yeah, very mature! And my friends actually love me!" Karah struck a diva pose. "So much so that I would say they actually worship me! Man I can't believe they actually picked you out of the hundreds of candidates for that scholarship. Man you got lucky!" Karah punched her older sister in the arm jokingly.
            "Whatever. Shut up and help me finish packing."
            "Fine, your majesty." Karah bowed deeply at the waist showing her servitude. "Where is your suitcase?"
            Lorelei pointed to her bed which was piled high with clothes and accessories for her trip." It’s over there on my bed."
            Karah walked over to the bed finding the suitcase under the clothes. She began folding each item and placed them with care into the suitcase. They worked quietly getting and packing clothes for a while.
            Karah folded the clothes more slowly while deliberating on whether to tell her sister how she was feeling. "You aren’t going to forget about me are you? I know I’m being stupid. I can't help but feel you’re going to go out there to NYU and meet all these wonderful new people and just forget about me." Karah sat down on the bed.

             "And I don't think I could take that especially if mom goes back to the bottle. I wouldn't survive." She began crying quietly. Lorelei stopped what she was doing and walked over to Karah and knelt down so that they were face to face.
            "How could I forget about you? You’re my sister and I love you, don’t you know that? Why would you ask me such a ridiculous question? Mom is still here, wait scratch that, that is alone. But I will be home for holidays and stuff, when I come home you’ll be dying to get rid of me! And if mom goes back to the bottle, well... you can always call me. I’m only a bus ride away. Ok?"
            She made a funny face causing Karah to laugh, making Lorelei feel better about her decision to leave home without her younger sister. They hugged and Karah burrowed into her sister’s shoulders. Lorelei pulled back to say, "So you know I could never forget you even if I wanted to because you are my annoying little sister that I love dearly. And I mean you’re my favorite sister, didn't you know?" She wiped the tears from Karah’s face and kissed her again on the cheek.
            "I’m your only sister stupid! Man how did you get that scholarship again? You cheated didn't you?" Karah moved out of the way just in time to dodge a playful swat from Lorelei.
            " No, I didn't cheat. Well then I can’t go and forget my one and only annoying kid sister then can I? You’re my baby sister and I love you. Now shut up and help me finish packing so we can get ready for mama’s farewell dinner."
            They finished packing, and as they were closing the suitcase they heard a doorbell. Then from downstairs someone yelled, "Come on down, Lorelei and Karah, everyone is waiting for you, and we’re hungry so light a fire under your butts and get down here!"

Chapter Two
The family is gathered around a large round dinning room table piled high with the best soul food in the county. The dining room was decorated in orange and red crepe paper and a large banner hanging from the entry way saying 'Congratulations Lorelei and Good Luck We'll Miss You!' There are lots of people gathered around the table and everyone is talking comfortably while putting food onto their plates, when the woman at the head of the table begins to make a toast.
Raine, a beautiful older woman with chocolate skin tone and long dark hair stands at the end of the table holds up a Champaign glass to make a toast, "To my daughter whose great artistic ability has awarded her a scholarship at the top schools in the country!"
Everyone around the table begins to cheer, "Here! Here!"
“, I am really going to miss you guys."
Lorelei begins to cry Karah gets up and goes and hugs Lorelei. Raine already showing signs of tears says, "Don’t you dare start crying, or we all will be in tears and I worked to hard on this meal for it to become soggy from us crying, so let’s eat!"
 With that everyone begins to eat and chatter when the doorbell is heard. Raine silently rises to go answer the door. Raine re-enters moments later accompanied by a tall man handsome man dressed in khaki pants and a green button down polo shirt.
“Look who came to visit." Everyone looks up from their dinner and all fell silent. Everyone turns to see Lorelei’s reaction to the newest guest. Lorelei who is visibly shaken up by the unexpected guest rises from her seat and moves toward her mother.
"What the hell is he doing here?" Lorelei questions angrily
"Young lady watch your language remember you're still in my house!"
"Your right, sorry momma, but why is HE here?" She turns and addresses the man standing behind her mother, “Nobody WANTS YOU HEAR so do us a favor and LEAVE!"
Raine grabs her daughter and pulls her out of the mans face, “I invited him, that is why he is here so behave."
"You did WHAT? Why on earth would you invite HIM, knowing how we feel about him? What makes you think just because he’s tossed a few miserable apologies this family’s way would make up for what he did? He is a monster, mom when are you going to realize this. He terrorized this family for years," Tears stream down Lorelei's face as she rants, Karah sits in a corner not stunned as to her mother's reaction regarding their visitor. Raine shows visible signs of strain while she tries to calms down her irate daughter, "Because he is your father, or have you forgotten? No matter all the things he may have done he is and will always be your father!"
"Unfortunately momma I have not forgotten no matter how much I would like to. And lets get something straight just because his blood may run through my veins doesn't make him a father, a dog can make a baby but it doesn't make it a father anymore than it does him!"
" Why do you harbor such feelings toward your father? He didn’t do anything to you, his injustices as you put it were against me and if I can forgive him you should be able to!"
“Sorry momma if I am not as gullible as you are to believe that he has changed over night. Because it would have to be a miracle for that man to change and I have a feeling God has better things to do than worry about that over there" Lorelei says as she is pointing at her father.
Raine takes a defensive stance against her daughter, placing her hands on her hips, " Do you remember who you are speaking to?"
"Yes, I do, the same woman who was beaten nearly to death lying in the living room hanging on for dear life while I called 9-1-1 praying that my mother wouldn’t die!" Yelling Lorelei takes a two calming breaths trying to regain hold on her temper, "So yes indeed I do mother I know who I am talking to, a woman who is obviously gluten for punishment." Lorelei has stalked closely to her mother and is now yelling at her, the tears blurring her vision. "Who is too dumb to recognize a wolf when she sees him, because he threw off the sheep’s clothing long ago when he first broke your arm, do you remember that mom? I was seven and I remember we had to take you to the hospital, you were in agony. I was so scared; Karah was six and didn’t understand why mommy was bleeding so much!"  Lorelei turns to walk away when her father steps forward blocking her way of exit.
Lorelei begins laughing hysterically bent over because she is laughing so hard. "I will not speak to my mother like that huh? That's a good one, people might actually believe that you actually care about her well-being; problem is everyone in this room knows otherwise. Buts it’s nice to see you care, but not enough not to beat her when she was five months pregnant, huh? You care about how I speak to her when you degrade her in public, do you dear ole’ DAD, when did you suddenly become concerned with mom’s well being? Was it before or after the judge sentenced you to 15 years jail time? But unfortunately for us the parole board saw you fit for your release, you must be one hell of an actor dad."
Enrico walks over to Lorelei quickly and slaps her in the face. Lorelei recoils, wincing. She wipes her mouth to reveal she has a bloody lip.
Lorelei stunned that he actually would hit her, finding her voice, "Unlike my mother it only takes you hitting me once for me to get the picture. Mom you know I love you but if you choose him over us again don’t expect me to come back here, and I will take Karah with me so that we don't have to witness him beating the shit out of you! I feel sorry for you because if you let him back in your life he will eventually kill you and it won’t be attempted murder anymore, it will be murder."
Lorelei turns and runs out of the room, Raine begins to chase to the stairwells.
"Lorelei wait!! Come back you know he didn’t mean it!"
Standing up from her chair and walking over to address her mother, “What is it going to take ma for you not to defend him anymore? He FINALLY WENT TOO FAR HE HIT LORE! God, if you let him back in this house I am going with Lore, because she is right mom, when are you going to get it, he hits you! " She ran after Lorelei.
Standing in stunned silence at the wisdom of her children for seeing what she was unable to see, "They're right. This is…no was the last time I will ever choose you over my children. You hitting me was one thing but I will not sit here and let you hit my children so you can get the HELL out of my house NOW!"
"Baby, you know I didn’t mean that it’s just…" He says as he walks up behind Raine hoping to get back in to her good graces, "she had no right to say those things; she needs to learn her place baby, that's all. Come on baby you know I love you and the girls. Don't let them rule you. We are the adults of this house; your not going to let them tell you what to do are you?" He begins go to embrace Raine but she backs away.
“Like Tina said “What’s love got to do with it?” You just crossed the line and now its time for you to go. Those little mind games won't work anymore! My children aren't running this house they just see you for who you really are, who I was unable to see because all I could see was the man I fell in love with, well you aren't that man anymore.  So I think it is time for you to take you leave and if you don’t think you can do it on your own I know some people who would be more than willing to help you."
Two of the guys sitting at the table stand up and begins cracking their knuckles as they advance toward Enrico.
Chapter Two
Karah standing in the doorway of Lorelei's room considering how to approach her hurting sister. She walks up behind a sobbing Lorelei.
"Hey Lore? Are you okay?"
Lorelei turns around revealing her bruised cheek. "Do I look ok? Look at what that bastard did to me…LOOK! Even if momma won’t I am pressing charges that son of a b…. . . "
"Lore stop it and listen to me. She kicked him out! She finally kicked him out! She said hitting you was the final straw. She won’t let him back into the house; she even had Uncle Jake and Cousin David escorted him out!"
They both fall out laughing at the thought of their two line backer looking relative escorting their father out, who had caused much havoc among their family. Lorelei shaking her head at the memories of their home when he lived there, how she always came home in fear of what would be awaiting her.
"Well I am glad something good has come from all of this mess…" Lorelei begins to cry
…He has never hit me before, never! Not even when I got in the way of him trying to hit mom, he hit me, he would just turn around and go to the nearest bar. Oh Karah, you are so lucky you were too young to remember. By the time you would have been old enough to remember he was in jail already.
Karah walks over and sits with Lorelei and rocks her back and forth trying to calm her down. " But I do remember Lorelei. I mean I was seven, I may not remember in vivid detail compared to you, but I remember what it was like to come home not knowing whether we were going to be the Brady Bunch or Cops. But you want to know what I remember the most about those times?"
Lorelei looks up at her sister for the first time amazed at the young woman her sister had become without anyone even noticing. "What do you remember Karah?"
“I remember you always being there for me making sure that I ate something at night even if it wasn't much. I do you remember the Ketchup soup, when Mom had drank all or grocery money and dad smoked our heat payment? I remember my big sister there, looking out for me, making sure I was always warm and that I at least had something to eat, even if it wasn't a lot. That is what I remember. You are an amazing woman, one I hope to be just like as I grow older, so please don't let dad make a you a bitter cynic, because then he will have destroyed the best thing about you, your spirit." Lorelei hugs her sister fiercely for her kind words and in the embrace they both cry over their sad childhood, and thank god for the fact that they had and have each other.
They hear a knock on the door. Raine enters the room with a bag of ice and crosses slowly toward Lorelei and Karah.
"Hey baby I brought you some ice for your face, it should stop the swelling."
"Yeah you should know you’ve had a lot of experience in that area, huh?"
Raine visibly recoils at the comment, but says nothing knowing her daughter is upset. She shakes her head at the knowledge that she hasn't been the best mother she could have been.
"I am just trying to help you. You're right, unfortunately I have plenty of experience with swelling, bruises, and broken bones, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that I am and will always be your mother. Now I am sorry you had to watch what your father did to me but that doesn’t mean you get to treat me anyway you feel like it NOW TAKE THE DAMN ICE AND PUT IT ON YOUR FACE! “
Lorelei takes the ice and puts it on her face. They sit there silent for awhile, until Karah breaks the silence.
"Well I am going to go downstairs and entertain the guests and make sure that they leave us with at least some food!" They laugh, "You know Cousin Maurice will eat us out of house and home if one of us doesn’t get downstairs right now.”
She leaves the room sending out a silent prayer that her father won't have destroyed the relationship it has taken the past five years for her sister and mother to build, and goes downstairs to the now active dining room.
Lorelei trying to lighten the situation says, “I know I am going to need some of grandma’s pie when this is all over.”
“Are you alright baby? I don’t know why I it took him hitting you to make me realize that he was bad for me and you and Karah. It was... I don’t know I have never been alone, and I don’t know . . . but when he hit you its like something in me snapped, all sense of me caring about holding onto him was gone, he hit my baby girl. That was the last straw, hitting me was one thing but hitting you or Karah was another thing all together. You have my word baby he will never come near us again!"
They both start to cry as Raine embraces Lorelei in a hug. There is a knock on the door. The door opens to reveal Raine's aunt Pearl who was sweet as honey but was a firecracker when messed with. She stood 5'1 but a force to be reckoned with when pushed, with caramel skin and almond eyes all the women in the family inherited. A few wrinkles lined her face, but at all hiding the beauty the still laid within her face and personality. Ever the peace maker and grandma of the family she had come up to check on the two girls. "Hi darling I just came see if the two of you were doing ok, is everything alright in there?"
Raine wiping the tears from her eyes, "Yes Pearl everything is fine we will be down in a minute ok? Just make sure the crew doesn’t eat me out of house and home."
"I don’t have to do that Karah is down there rationing Maurice’s plate as we speak. If everything is alright I will go back downstairs dear."
“Thank you Aunt Pearl." She turns back and faces Lorelei. "Okay baby you finish cleaning yourself up and I am going to go downstairs. "
"Okay momma, go ahead I will be down in a sec.”
Raine exits the room. Lorelei walks over to a vanity, and looks in the mirror, there is noticeable bruising on her cheek where her father had slapped her; she sits down at the vanity.
Speaking as if trying to convince herself of what she is saying, "Just smile and get through it. You leave for NYU tomorrow. Things will be much better from now on! “

Chapter Three

Karah and Raine are surrounding Lorelei in the airport as a lot of the families are doing around them. They are all excited to see their relatives off but sad to see them go. The digital clock on the walls says eight thirty and over the loud speaker the flight attendant announces that they are now boarding the plane.
Karah crying the most out of the three is desperately hugging Lorelei “Don’t forget to write Lore please it is going to be torture without you. You know that right? Even though I got on your nerves all the time it was only because I wanted to be just like you, and I just didn’t want you to leave without knowing that. “
"I know it squirt and I love you too! I promise to write as often as I can, and I will call when I get there, ok? I promise.
They do their secret handshake, and they both realize this will be the last time they will get to do that for a long while, and with that realization the tears flow anew for the two sisters who have never been separated.
Raine who is now holding onto Karah, as the flight attendant announces the plane is now about to depart from gate six we now ask that all passenger be on the plane, with that the give each other one last kiss.
“Go on now Lore you got to plane to catch. I promise to take care of her I promise! Now take care my melody and be sweet, melodious, and euphonious and all other synonyms for great music ok?" She says as she is wiping the now steady flow of tears from her eyes.
"Yes mama I will, I promise.” As she walks away she turns and yells, "See you at Thanksgiving!"
They watch as she goes onto the boarding gate and slowly disappear out of sight. Karah goes and sits in a chair in the waiting room, “I knew she was going to do it, but I can’t believe she went through with it. I mean you know how she is mama she says she is going to do something and then changes her mind, but she actually did it, she went and left me." Karah hugs herself to stop the oncoming shivers, Raine walks over behind Karah in hopes of being of some comfort to her daughter.
" Well baby as much as we want her here she has to do what is right for her, which is go away for this school where she will excel."
" I know I am just being selfish but it is hard, I am not going to have my sister, I mean she always stops the bullies from picking with me, by saying its her job," they both laugh knowing that its true, "and takes care of me when . . . well you know, when you were otherwise engaged."
"I know baby, basically Lore has been your mother while I was off making stupid decisions. I know you’re scared of being left alone with me, and I know I am not supposed to be afraid of anything but I am scared too. I mean I have always been able to depend on your sister too. Not only did she take care of you but she took care of me also, so now I must step up and be your mother. I am willing to try if you’re willing to let me?" There is a pause as Karah thinks this over, and then she nods her head yes.
"Ok good! I can’t promise you I am not going to make a mistake her and there but I promise I will do my best, ok?"
“Ok. I will give it a try."
“Well let’s go. What do you say we go out to eat? I mean it is just the two of us lets celebrate," The walk off laughing, "your sister is off brightening her future and you and I can do stuff together while she is gone!"

Chapter Four

Karah walks in the front door, having come home from school; her blue messenger bag hanging from her arm. She walks to the front hall closet setting down her book bag and hanging up her coat. Closing the closet she walks further into the house, and into the living room where she calls out for her mother, "HEY MA I’ M HOME!" Getting no response she goes into the kitchen, "MA!? YOU HERE?" Know seeing her mother isn't there in the kitchen she walks toward the stairs in hopes that she was upstairs sleeping as she sometimes does coming home from work as a CNA at a Nursing home. She walks up the stairs and looks in her mothers' room and seeing that she isn't there, "I wonder where she is? Oh well I better get to this algebra homework."
She goes back downstairs to the entrance way to grab her book bag taking it to the dining room table where she pulls out an algebra book and begins her homework, she turns and looks up at the clock its three thirty. Time ticks by and she is getting hungry, " Well I think that is enough for now," She walks into the kitchen peering into the almost bare cupboards pulling out the peanut butter, walking to the fridge, " Damn! There is no jelly; well I guess it’s a pb and pb tonight."
She beings fixing her a sandwich having fixed herself a sandwich she walks back into the living room, “Wonder where she is? I mean she should have been home from the shop by now they close at 5:00 so what’s keeping her?"
The telephone rings on the table next to her, she answers. Listening to the conversation on the other end and responding with, "Hi this is the Duncan residence can I help you? . . . hi ma. . . Oh ok. . . .Ok. . . . I will ma . . . You’ll be home by 10? . . . Ok, I will make sure to take out the garbage, yes I will even do it now. . . .Ok see you when you get home. "
She walked back over to the couch and sat down, just as her butt hit the chair there was a ring of the doorbell, Karah got up to go and answer the door. Opening the door she sees a tall woman dressed in a cop’s uniform, she has honey colored skin with big beautiful dark brown eyes. Karah just stares at her for a moment failing to notice that the woman was speaking to her," Excuse me, ummm, Miss?" She says trying to get Karah's attention.
“Good evening miss, may we speak with Ms. Duncan?"
Karah snapping out of her daze, "I am afraid she isn’t here at the moment officer is there something I can do for you?"
“When do you think she will be home miss? It is urgent that I speak with her." The officer notices that the girl is nervous by the fact that she steadily taps her foot like she is trying to decide whether to run or not, so she tries to put the girl at ease by giving her a kind smile. Unfortunately it has a strange effect on the girl instead of putting her at ease it seems to put her into some sort of trance like state.
"She will be home shortly officer is there something I can do for you? I am her daughter."
The officer shakes her head in sadness. This was the worst part of her job, here this girl looked so young and innocent and she was going to have to ruin her day. It broke her heart, to have to do it.
Clearing her throat, "Uhh, I just wanted to speak with your mother about a mister Enrico Rodriguez."
The officer noticing that the girl is growing increasingly nervous, "May I ask why you are coming to us about Enrico since he no long lives here?"
" Umm, Well He has your mother listed as his next of kin in case of an emergency."
"What do you mean in case of an emergency what happened to my father?"
"Well he was involved in an accident this evening. I was sent here to inform you and your mother and offer you a ride to the hospital. Are you alright?"
Karah stumbles backwards towards the wall as she slowly falls to the floor hugging her knees.
Whispering to herself forgetting that the officer was there, "He was just here a couple of days ago. I mean I was mad at him, hell we were all mad at him, but I didn't want anything like this to happen." Karah looks up at the officer.
"Tell me exactly what happened. More than just that he was involved in accident bullshit! What happened to my father?"
Officer squirmed not knowing how to answer the increasingly angry girl’s questions, because she didn't know the answers. "Well miss the thing is I was just sent here to collect you and your mother when I arrived at the scene they were already loading your father into the ambulance so I am not sure as to his condition, but I am sure if you allow me to take you down to the hospital someone there will be able to inform you as to his condition."
" So they sent you here and you can't tell me anything!!" Looks away and shakes here head as if to clear it. "I got to call my mother on her cell phone, she's on her way home from work right now and...."
The girl drops the phone and sinks to the floor and begins rocking back and forth crying. Gabrielle approached the girl in an attempt to comfort, her whispering kind things into her ear hoping that it will make her feel better. The door opens and in walks an older looking woman, she assumed that this was the girl’s mother.
"KARAH I AM.....who are you? Karah baby why are you crying? ....What happened? Is it your sister, Grandmother? What baby, what, what is going on," the woman kneeling on the floor on the other side of her daughter.
"Let me explain. I was sent her by the hospital because your husband was involved in an accident, so I came to inform you as well as offer you a lift to the hospital if you want it."
Seeing that Mrs. Rodriguez was taking in all the information. She stood up and let the officer continue to comfort her daughter. After the Mrs. Rodriguez calmly talked to her daughter she noticed that her tears had stopped. Seeing that they were ready she helps them up.
" Yes, that would be great because at the present moment I don't think I would be able to focus on the road clearly."
"That is no problem Mrs. Rodriguez," opening the door to the house and escorting the two women out, opening the car door to the backseat helping the women in.
The neighbors watched on from their kitchen windows peering out through their curtains, they were used to seeing cops at the Rodriguez residence although it had been sometime since the last cops had been at the house, all wondering what had happened to the family now, when they had just started to rebuild their fragile lives.

Chapter Five

The three women walk into the Emergency room where there is a frenzy of activity. Raine deposits Karah in one of the chairs where she continues to rock back in forth seeking some sort of comfort. The officer sits next to her in hoping to ease the young girl’s troubles. Raine approaching the nurses station, “Excuse me nurse?"
The Nurse looking up from her charting, "Yes how may I help you miss?"
" I was just informed that my husband was brought in here tonight I wanted to know his status, as well as where I can locate him."
"What is your husbands' name Mrs. ...?"
" Sorry, Mrs. Rodriguez, Enrico Rodriguez."
"Ahh, yes Mr. Rodriguez should be finishing up surgery shortly if you have a seat in the waiting room I am sure the doctor will be glad to see you. If you could while you wait fill out your husbands insurance information, for us please."
"Yes, fine. Sure."
Raine walks over to the waiting room and sits in the chair next to her daughter. Karah gets up and walks over to the door separating the waiting room from the emergency doors. The officer walks over to Karah.
“How are you holding up, umm is it Karah?"
" Yeah my name is Karah. Umm I am reeling; I mean my father…wow I haven't called him that in so very long. He is lying there in a hospital bed, and could possibly be dying and I am just thinking about the last words I said to him. We were so mean to him when last we saw him, I mean’s his fault right. He made himself so difficult to love. I mean he beat up on my mom and hit my sister. Why aren't I happy he is finally feeling the pain he spent years inflicting onto my family. I should be happy right?"
“I can't tell you how to feel. No matter what he did, he was still your father. Even though from what you said he let you down a lot, that doesn't diminish the fact that he was and will always be your father."
Karah flails herself into the arms of the officer, hoping to find some comfort somewhere for her main source of comfort was in New York. Raine looks on, sadly wishing that she could offer her daughter the support she so desperately needs. She goes back to filling out the required paperwork so she could find out what happened to Enrico.
"Sorry about that. I didn't mean to.....Umm, ya know," pointing at the officer’s shoulder.
“It’s fine. Do you feel better now? “
"Yes actually. Thank you I am sorry. Is there somewhere you have to be?"
The officer looking on with a sly smile, "Are you trying to get rid of me?"
Karah, not sure how to respond to the officer's questioning, "Uhmm no, I just didn't want to keep you away from your job with my emotional baggage. I didn't mean to imply...."
The officer laughing at the obviously uncomfortable girl, "Its ok I understand and thank you for your consideration. Actually I got off after I drove you to the hospital, so unless you want me to go I wouldn't mind keeping you company."
Karah really happy that the handsome officer wasn't going anywhere, "Yes its fine with me thank you. I appreciate it very much. Are you sure that there isn't something you would rather be doing. “
The officer, noticing the girls flustered state, smiles remembering being at that age and the easily infatuated nature that comes with it, "No, its fine unless you would like for me to go? But then again we answered this question already didn't we?"
"Umm, here I am crying on your shoulder, and telling you all my problems and I don't even know your name?"
Laughing she answers," Well yes that is probably something you would want to know. My name is Gabrielle Smith."
“Good. Ok Officer Smith? Thank you... for bringing me and my mother here and for listening to me. I really appreciate it."
“It’s fine, and call me Gabrielle I am off duty and your not in any trouble are you?" Karah shaking her head in an answer no, they both start laughing.
The nurse walks through the double doors walking over to Raine and her daughter. She walks over to Raine and speaks to her, while tears begin steadily streaming down her face; Raine walks over toward Karah in hopes of gaining some comfort. Karah waits over by the officer with baited breath scared as to the possibilities of what the nurse is saying to her mother, while she holds her hand.
"Mrs. Rodriguez...I am sorry, I am afraid the doctors did everything they could, but there was too much hemorrhaging in the brain for them to stop...I am truly sorry for your loss."
Raine and Karah stay frozen in place as if glued into their positions, both stunned by the news just given to them.
“Was it quick? Did my father die peacefully? ...He didn't suffer did he?" The sobs become uncontrollable and the Gabrielle takes Karah into her arms hugging her as Raine hugs onto herself. Gabrielle unable to comfort Karah she falls to the floor. Gabrielle sinks to the floor with her hugging her telling her everything will be alright.

Chapter Six

The door to a grungy apartment swings open as Gabrielle walks through the door of her apartment. She is very weary having spent the last eight hours running down the scum of the city, and she was beat. After that night with Karah at the hospital she had given the young girl her number, she smiled thinking of Karah as a young girl when they were only three years apart in age. They had kept in touch over the past three weeks since that night at the hospital. Her heart truly went out to the beautiful young woman. She just wished she could help ease her pain.
She hopped giving the young woman her phone number and telling her she could call anytime she needed to talk would help some. The way Karah talked it was as if she had no one who she could depend on; she just hoped that she could be that person for her.
Stepping further into the apartment and setting her bag down onto the couch, sitting down next to it to take off her work issued boots. Just as Gabrielle was taking out the bun in her hair the phone rang. Getting up and walking over to the wall phone in the kitchen to answer, " Hello?...This is Gabrielle......Hi Karah," smiling she takes the phone off the wall and walked back over to the couch to sit down. "So how are you? ...yeah that tends to happen when someone close to you dies....umm you want to meet?...NO it’s not a problem..." Gabrielle laughs and begins twirling a piece of her hair around her finger as she listens to Karah stumble over her words, " KARAH, its fine. No I don't mind at all....The funeral is when? Ok well the next day is fine....ok take care, and see you on Tuesday...goodbye." Hanging up the phone. Gabrielle sat there for awhile thinking about what she had just agreed to.
She sensed that this girl was indeed part of the family, that is gay, but the question was if she was emotionally equipped to deal with it. She had the feeling that the girl wasn't aware until yesterday while staring at her. She was arguing with herself about what she was getting into with Karah, ' Well this should be interesting. I shouldn't do this. She is in an emotional state and... I just got out of a relationship with Lucy, I don't know if I can deal with this.' while the other side of herself reasoned, ' its fine, it doesn't mean anything you are just helping a young girl get through a tough time, it doesn't matter that she kept staring at your lips as you talked, or the fact that you wanted desperately to kiss her, you can control this...urge. It’s only because you haven't gotten laid in awhile. Well I will have to do something about that this weekend won't I,' smiling to herself.

Chapter Seven

There is a funeral procession in place. Raine walks in the front followed by Lorelei and Karah. Lorelei and Karah are holding hands tightly.
“Thank you for coming home Lore. I really missed you. Mom has been so sad lately that she hasn't come out of her room. It has been awful."
“I know Kar I am so sorry that you were left alone by yourself, maybe I shouldn't go back to school. I mean mom, seems so depressed."
"I will be ok Lore; you have been waiting for this opportunity for ever. I will be fine I promise. If I am not I promise to call you immediately."
"Are you sure Karah? Mom isn't drinking again is she? I won't go back; I can't leave you alone with her, who knows how long she will last. With mom like this she is a ticking time bomb."
" No mom isn't drinking again she is still sober. I promise we will be fine, but I know just what this school means to you and I won't let you give it up for me. You have already given up so much for me. I won't let you give this away too! I won't!"
“If things get too bad do you promise to call me?"
“I promise. .... Lore, do you miss him? Dad, do you miss dad. I mean I know after everything that happened he wasn't the best dad in the world but he was our dad," Turning to face Lorelei, needing that sense of comfort her sister always provided her.
“No, I don't miss him squirt because I know all the pain and hurt he caused this family, but I understand if you do, and that is alright. You are allowed to feel anyway you want to."
"Thank you Lore, If it makes you feel better I do have someone here who is looking out for me."
“You do?" Lorelei questions while raising one eyebrow, her famous intimidation tactic, "Who might that be?"
Karah not so quick to answer her sisters question, not knowing how she responds when she tells her, she starts walking again to catch up to her mother when Lorelei grabs her to stop her pulling her further off to the side.
"Who is it, missy? Is he cute? Where did you meet him? What is he like? Wow my sister has a crush I am so happy! It’s about time something good for you happened, that is other than me!" They both laugh and Karah punches Lorelei and the arm, and just as suddenly she started Karah stopped laughing, losing the light from her face that always was there when she was happy.
" Ummmm, I don't really know how to tell you this...."
Karah trying to stall, thinking of every possible answer she could give her sister but the truth. She looked at her sister and decided the truth has worked so far why not continue; besides Lorelei would know if she was lying in a heart beat.
“I umm, well. It’s a she, not he....I know it’s so weird but she is so cool and is so nice. I met her when she came by to tell us about daddy. She showed a real interest and concern as to my well being, and she was just amazing during the entire thing...and let’s not forget she was very good looking!"
Lorelei still standing there dumbfounded as to her sisters response. "When did you become interested in women? I mean last time I checked didn't you dated Brandon Shaw last month? I mean don't get me wrong I don't care one way or the other its just strange to all of a sudden to hear that my kid sister is a lesbian!" Lorelei pulls Karah off to the side so no one can hear their conversation.
"Well don't you think it’s a bigger shock to me? I mean I have never really shown any interest in women! I mean I have thought a couple were cute and were curious....about something’s. But this is the first time I ever thought about a relationship with a woman!"
“Well do you even know if this woman is a lesbian? I mean you could be wrong, and she could have just been showing concern to your well-being. I mean what if she isn't a lesbian?
“I never thought of that. If she isn't a lesbian than I will just have to deal with that won't I? I am hoping that she is though, because that would work in my favor now wouldn't it. This feels just so odd. I mean It feels so weird I mean here I was boy-crazy and then BAM, I have this crush on a girl!" She begins giggling nervously.
“Wow, I mean I am shocked but whatever works for you sis, you know I am here for you right?"
" Of course, I know I can always count on you know matter what is going on always! So when do you leave to go back to school?"
“I leave in two days and then I am off."
She and Karah begin walking again to catch up with the rest of the mourners, although their pace is much slower than the rest of the group.
“So what are you going to do about this woman? I mean are you planning on calling her? How are you going to find out if she is a lesbian or not? And if she is what are you going to do about it?"
"Slow down Lore! I am still processing it myself I haven't even gotten past the whole I have a crush on a girl part! I mean she is attractive and sweet and that is totally attractive but I mean I have to seriously think about it I mean... could I actually see myself doing all the things that go along with a relationship with a woman? I mean kissing no big deal, but sex? Going out and holding hands? I mean there is just so much to comprehend, to deal with."
Karah slows down to a stop considering the weight of her words, but then she thinks about Gabrielle and starts smiling stupidly just leaving a confused Lorelei staring at her with curious eyes.

Chapter Eight

Here Gabrielle stood, what was she doing? She had no clue, but she had agreed; so here she was outside of Karah's house, waiting for her to come out so she could drive her and her sister to the airport. She said her mother hadn't been doing so well lately. And remembering what Karah had told her over the past couple of weeks, she was amazed at how the young woman was handling it so well. She didn't think she would have been so strong given that fact that her father had just died and her mother was unemotionally available, and she and her sister had been planning the funeral via the phone together over the past two weeks.
The door to Karah's house opened and out strutted Karah just smiling at Gabrielle. ‘Wow, she is beautiful? And sweet, she is the total package,' Gabrielle shook her head trying to shake away that forbidden thought from her head.
Karah looked on confused as to what had just changed in her good looking friend. She was sure she had got something from Gabrielle. She still wasn't sure to whether she was a lesbian or not, hell she wasn't even sure if she was a lesbian. But she was sure a relationship was something she wanted to explore with Gabrielle. There was just something about her that just screamed for her attention. She didn't know whether it was the long lean legs, the beautifully kissable lips, or the nice jugs. With that thought Karah blushed, she didn't know what it was, she just knew she wanted to be with this woman. If Gabrielle turned out not to be a lesbian she would settle for friendship.
Karah slowly walked down the stairs, and at the same time they both thought, ' There in this person I hardly know awaits my destiny.' They both shook it off to be a weird thought but one that never left either of them.
Lorelei had walked out behind Karah, catching the underlying current between her sister and this she had to admit it gorgeous stranger. She just hoped this woman didn't disappoint her sister she had been disappointed enough in her life. She slowly walked down the stairs carrying her bags, she was determined to always look out for her sister, especially now when their mother was so grief stricken. She really thought she should drop out of NYU but Karah had convinced her not to stating that if she did she would never speak to her again. They both knew it wasn't true, but she made Karah promise her that if things got really bad she would call Lorelei and she would immediately come home.
She walked down the sidewalk toward the car walking up beside Karah and Gabrielle looking at the both of them examining them seeing what they obviously couldn't see. Standing beside them she could obviously see the attraction that lied there between them.
“If you too are done making googly eyes can we get this show on the road?" Lorelei said trying to get their attention; her plane would leave in two hours. With they rate that they were going she would surely miss it.
Gabrielle clearing her throat, “Yeah we're ready. Let's get you to the airport."
With that they all got into the car and left for the airport.

Chapter Nine

Arriving at the airport parking port, all three women got out of the car. Lorelei went to the trunk to retrieve her bags, giving the two women a moment alone.
"Umm, well....thanks Gabrielle for giving Lorelei a ride to the airport. My mom hasn't been in the best shape lately, and her saying goodbye to her oldest daughter in public, well it isn't an option, given her emotional state. I hope I didn't interrupt any plans you had for today."
“It’s no problems Karah. I told you that when you asked me, and when you called me yesterday with the time, and when I talked to you this morning." Gabrielle and Karah laugh at her annoying manners. “As for my plans today, they were no existent. I was just going to be doing laundry and the house work I have been putting off for two weeks now. So actually thank you! You gave me another day’s reprieve."
Lorelei walked back around the car towards the two. “This is where I say goodbye sweetie. I am going to miss you," Lorelei began to cry and Karah walked over to her and wrapped her in a bear hug.
"Hey remember what you told me? You'll be home in no time; I mean Christmas is only three months away. And I promised you if mom started drinking again I would call you. So don't be worried, please because then I will start to cry and it will never end." Lorelei hugged onto Karah tighter. When she pulled back she gave Karah a kiss then walked over to Gabrielle and shook her hand, "Thank you for the ride and please look out for my little sister here, seeing as I won't be here to do it for myself."
"I will. Have a safe flight."
            Lorelei turned with her bags and entered the airport, leaving her little sister behind again. The only difference being that she knew she was in good hands with Gabrielle. She could feel it and it and that gave her comfort.

As the two stood there watching Lorelei walk into the airport a multitude of unvoiced thoughts were running throughout their minds, many unanswered questions that lurked in the recesses of their minds. With the heavy silence between them they turned and walked back towards the car.

            “Hey are you ok? I mean about your sister leaving, with everything going on?" Gabrielle asked as she opened the car door for Karah. As she turned to walk toward the drivers side seat Karah began to slowly cry, for she had never felt so alone. Gabrielle opened the car door and sat behind the wheel, as she began to turn the car on she noticed the crying girl sitting next to her. She leaned over to move the strand of hair from out of her face, “Hey what's wrong Karah."

When no answer was given Gabrielle pulled Karah into her for an embrace. They sat like this for a few moments until an officer walked over to the car to ask them to move so that other drivers could let out their passengers. Gabrielle slowly let Karah go insisting that she put on her seat belt before she pulled off. After fifteen minutes of driving Gabrielle pulled over into an empty high school parking lot. Once parked Gabrielle turned to face the distraught teenager who had become a fast friend. “Hey what’s wrong? You can tell me, whatever it is I am sure we can fix it."

            Instead of answering Gabrielle, Karah flung herself to the young officer, who immediately embraced her into a hug. They sat in the semi-darkness; neither said a word for neither was sure exactly what to say to the other. Karah pulled back from Gabrielle, looking into the woman's eyes she saw the love and warmth she had never seen in anyone else's eyes except that of her sister, but beyond that lied something she had never seen before. Karah continued to stare at Gabrielle's eyes. Gabrielle leaned in closer to the woman, kissing her lightly on the mouth.

            “Karah I am so sorry. I don't know what came over me. I never meant to do anything to make you uncomfortable I am so sorry, I mean I don't even know if you’re gay or not...." Before she could continue Karah leaned over and kissed her on the lips; where Gabrielle's kiss was chaste Karah's was that of over whelming passion and feeling. Gabrielle pulled back from the kiss in a daze of confusion and passion. "Wow, I guess that answers my question to whether or not you're gay.”
            Karah laughed, “Yeah, I guess. I guess I am, because I have wanted to do that since I met you."

            Gabrielle leaned back into her seat taking in the information that had just been given to her. Not quite sure what to do with the information she started the car and drove Karah the rest of the way home. Through the entire ride they sat in uncomfortable silence neither knowing what to do with the new information that had just been given to them. When Gabrielle pulled up in front of Karah's house they both continued to sit there wondering what to say to the other, until finally Gabrielle broke the silence. “What did you mean by you guess you are gay?"

            "Umm, well I have never really been attracted to women except for the occasional ‘hey she's pretty’ and men haven’t really kept my attention for that matter either, although I have dated. That is until I met you. When I saw I was scared because of the uniform, but over the weeks that followed I realized I cared about you and not in the way that you care about a friend but I realized I liked you. With the amount of time we spent together the more I realized that I liked you; and I really wanted to kiss you. So that is what I meant when I said I guess I am gay."

            “So you've never been attracted to other women besides me? I mean I guess I am flattered." She leaned her head against the steering wheel and turned to face Karah, who was looking at her intently wondering what her reaction would be to the fact that this was all new to her. "Man, I have never been the first crush for anyone let alone someone so young. What am I doing Karah? You are only 17, that's too young. Are you sure what you're feeling for me isn't just misplaced hero worship, because we have been spending a lot of time together lately."

            “You know what FUCK YOU! I know how I feel, I am sorry if I have complicated things for you. But remember you kissed me first, remember that. And now after I kiss you back you want to say that I am too young and that I don't know what I am feeling! You know what you can go to hell!" With that last declaration Karah swiftly got out of the car and slammed the door and ran to her house. She stood at the front door going through her purse searching for her keys; once she found them her hands were shaking to bad for her to open the door. She sank down the door to sit on the porch. She started crying, for again she faced rejection from someone she cared about and someone she thought cared about her.

            Gabrielle saw the young woman sink down to the floor of the porch and begin to cry, it broke her heart that she was the cause of it all. She resolved that she wouldn't question the young girl’s feelings but take things slowly with the girl. She got out of the car and walked over to the girl who was still crying. She sat down next to Karah and held her. Her immediate reaction was to try and fight Gabrielle, but she gave up and let Gabrielle embrace her.

            "Why do the people I love either leave me or not love me back? Tell me what is wrong with me, maybe then I can fix it. What is it about me that drives people away? The only person I know I can count on left me to pursue her dreams. Why? Why? Huh, what is it? Please tell me?" Karah's sobs drowned out the rest of her speech, breaking Gabrielle's heart. Gabrielle pulled Karah closer and rocked her gently.

            “It is nothing you did that makes people not love you and I am sure they all loved you back. There is nothing wrong with you, sometimes people have issues of their own and aren't sure how to express what they feel or are so wrapped up in their own problems that they can't take time to realize what a great person they have in front of them. God Karah there is nothing wrong with you at all. As for Lorelei, she wants to be able to help you in the future and in order to do that she has to get an education so she can get a good job, that's all. I don't doubt for a minute that your sister loves you." Gabrielle kisses the top of Karah's head and the sobs slowly stop.

            “What about you? Why do you doubt how I feel? Do you think that I am so damaged that I couldn't possibly know how I feel?"

            “No. I don't think that you are damaged. I just don't know how I feel, not about you but about this situation. I mean Karah your 17 you haven't finished high school yet. I am 24 years old; we are at two different places in our lives. You have also just been through an emotional roller coaster lately. I mean you've had to deal with your sister's departure from your life and let’s face it she was the one person you felt you could always count on. Then the death of your father, and no matter how much you say you hated him, you didn't hate him you hated what he did to you and your family but you loved him. He was your father after all. So with all of those facts...I am not sure how smart it would be to start a relationship with you."

            "Ok, I guess I could understand that. But I want you to know something, no matter what YOU personally decide I know how I feel about you and I care very much about you, and I believe with time it could very well develop into love. I know that I have been through a lot lately but none of it changes what you mean to me. As for the age part, well there is nothing I can do about that. I am almost 18 if you’re worried about legalities. So with what I just told you, you need to make up your mind whether you want to be with me or not and not the excuses that I can see you putting in our way." With that Karah stood up and took a deep breath of air and unlocked the front door. She walked into the house and closed the door leaving Gabrielle in the same spot wondering about what the girl had just said. Was she just making excuses for all the reasons why they shouldn't be together? Was she just trying to protect herself from the pain she had felt with her last relationship? Since Lila there had been no one else, that is until Karah. Could she let go of all the pain and baggage from her last relationship to try some sort of relationship with Karah. The young woman seemed to know her own feelings far better than Gabrielle. She thought about this all the way back to her apartment.

            She opened the doors to her apartment they felt emptier than they had ever before. She went in and sat on the couch, to think about what Karah had said to her. Was she just making excuses because she was scared of being hurt again? Karah wasn't Lisa she wasn't anything like Lisa. She got up from her position on the couch and walked over to the refrigerator; opening it she saw Pepsi and plenty of it, but no food. Thinking about whether she was even hungry or not she heard her stomach grumble letting her know not eating wasn't an option. She didn't want to be stuck inside her lonely apartment so she decided to go out to eat; Karah came to her mind and what the young woman might be doing for dinner. But would it be wise to call the young woman given the conversation they had only had 30 minutes ago? The thought of going to dinner alone wasn't an option for she didn't want to be left alone with her thoughts right now. Thinking that the young woman was still mad at her, she thought about her best friend Joey who had been neglected lately with all the things going on. Between work and spending time with Karah she hadn't made much time for Joey and she knew that Joey would be pissed with her but hey what are best friends for, if not to be pissed at you.

            An hour later sitting in Tikki their favorite restaurant Gabrielle waited for Joey to show up. She didn't know why she even bothered to show up on time when she was going anywhere with Joey knowing that the girl was always late no matter to what function they would be going to; she suspected that the girl would even be late to her own funeral. That thought caused her to laugh, with that she spotted Joey walking up to the waitress who pointed her out. She stood up to greet her friend and embrace her in a hug.

            “Hey stranger! When was the last time you called me?"

            “Hey no jibes please it’s been a very long and tiring day."

            “I thought you didn't work today? What happened?"

            “I didn't work today I helped Karah take her sister to the airport."

            Tell me all about her."

            “You haven't been dumped I have just been really busy. As for Karah well I met her when I had to go deliver some bad news to her and her mother about her father who was killed in a car accident. Well I felt so bad for the girl; I mean she looked like she didn't have a friend in the world so I gave her my phone number in case she ever needed to talk, and she did. So we became friends I helped her through it or I am or trying I don't right now everything is so confusing......." Gabrielle puts her head in her hands and takes three shaky breaths.

            “Hey babe calm down I am sure if you tell me what is wrong I can do my best to help." Joey said as she gently rubbed Gabrielle's back trying to calm her down.

            “Yeah, maybe you can help me make since of it all because right now I am at a loss for what to do. Well anyway we got close where I was spending so much of my free time with her. I am like seriously interested in this girl; but I don't know what to do. I mean I kissed her and she kissed me back after I stopped and said sorry. But when I did that she got really pissed, said that I didn't think she could make up her mind that I was questioning her feelings...BAH I don't know it's all so confusing I don't know what to do, you have got to help me!"

            Joey bursts out in laughter bending, while Gabrielle looks on horrified at the fact that her best friend is laughing at her desperate predicament.

            "Are you threw laughing at me know?"

            Joey's laughing began to wane, "Yeah sorry. It’s just funny to see my cool and suave friend getting her ass handed to her by a young girl. I mean this doesn't happen often and I want to enjoy it." Taking a jab at Gabrielle, "But anyway to be honest yeah I would have been mad at you too, I mean you don't believe the girl knows what she wants and are questioning her, how do you like it when someone questions you on your sexual preference? Yeah, yeah I know she had never kissed another girl before, but did you have to actually have a relationship with another woman before you knew you were gay?"

            "In that case yeah I can see how I might have pissed her off. what do I do know?"

“Tell me more about her? What are her likes, dislikes, blah blah blah, you know details.”

“Ok well, she is the youngest; she is into rock music, which is definitely new for me!” laughing, “she tells great stories, she gets all animated and does different voices when telling one. She hates all vegetables except broccoli and collard greens. She is a really art fan, I can’t really describe her, she is just so much fun to be around. I mean with all of the crap she has been through in her life she still has a great untapped strength in her, but you can also see the scars that have been put there also. Those they make you so sad, that this beautiful and vibrant person has been hurt…” Gabrielle shakes her head in order to regain composure. Joey stared at her curiously.
“Gabby, I hate to tell you this but you are so far gone its sad. I mean how long have you known her?”
“I have known Karah for about …it will be a month next week. Why?”
“Because I wanted to document how long it took our fair Karah to steal your heart. Now get to the good stuff what does she look like?”
Gabrielle laughs, “Always one for looks aren’t you?”
“Don’t even try that Gabby so are you!” They both laughed knowing the truth of the comment.”
“Yeah, well. She is I want to say 5’6 she isn’t as tall as you are so yeah I would say that is right. She has caramel skin, almond eyes that are hazel. Shoulder length auburn hair; she dyed it last year and decided to keep the color. She will graduate in May of this year.”
“Oh so she goes to a community college here? You never did mention how old she was.”
Gabrielle shifted uncomfortably in her seat, “No not a community college, high school.”
Joey stared at her incredulously; she went through the constant motion of opening and closing her mouth for five minutes before she was able to speak again. “Are you telling me the girl who stole your heart, is exactly that a GIRL? I mean what the hell are you doing you are a police officer! Statuary rape, and just the fact that the relationship is inappropriate.”
“Don’t you think I know this! That is part of the problem; I mean how is it I fall for the unavailable and the too young! I don’t want to love her……whoa,” shocked by her omission she stood up and walked to the bathroom. In one of the stalls puking is where Joey finds her.

“Hey you ok?” Joey asked walking into the stall.
“What does it look like? I am on the floor puking because I just realized I am in love with a teenage girl I barely know! No, no I am not alright!”
“Hey calm down. I didn’t mean to upset you. First let’s get you off of the bathroom floor.”
Joey helped Gabrielle up off of the floor and led her to the sink where she wiped off her face. Gabrielle splashed water on her face and drying it off,

“Feel better now?” Joey asked.
“Physically, yeah.”
“Good come on.” Leading Gabrielle back out into the main bar and back to their pool table.
“Ok, oh wise one what do I do? Because I am completely lost here, I mean she will be 18 soon so I guess that doesn’t bother me that much, it’s….”
“Giving you heart up to another person and having them take a dump on it.” Joey said knowing what was going through Gabrielle’s head.
“Exactly. I promised myself after Lisa that was it. But then here is Karah, what do I do Joey?”
“Well first you hang out with your friend who hasn’t seen you in weeks then you go home and clean up that pigsty of an apartment.”
Joey moves to break the balls on the pool table, sinking a striped ball into the left corner pocket. Gabrielle watched waiting for the rest of her friend’s advice. Joey meanwhile sunk three more balls.
“Hey are you going to finish with your line of advice anytime soon?” Gabrielle said getting upset.
Laughing, “Yeah, I just really think you should clean up your apartment. Now here is my advice about the girl. Go over and apologize, with her favorite candy, I mean since you are dating them kind of young you should get her candy,” Gabrielle punched her in the arm, “ Hey its not my fault you like to rob the cradle! After you do that, that is if she hasn’t slammed the door in your face, talk to her. Ask her what she thinks about your relationship.” While Joey had been giving advice she had sunk all of the stripped balls, and was aiming for the eight ball, “Eight ball right corner pocket,” leaning over the table giving it her utmost concentration she sinks the ball in the correct pocket. Gabrielle is flabbergasted because while receiving advice she hadn’t noticed that Joey had been sinking all of her shots.
“Wha…how did you do…I hate playing pool with you!” With this comment they both bust out laughing. “I haven’t laughed like that in awhile. So thanks for the advice. I think I am going to go put it into action now.” Gabrielle puts on her coat and gloves and gives Joey a hug goodbye and walks out to her car.
Karah had been sitting on the living room couch for the past hour, wondering what had just happened with Gabrielle. Should she have blown up at her? She couldn’t blame the older woman for being cautious regarding her intentions, with all the things that had happened to her in the past month, which would make anyone cautious when dealing with her. Karah got up deciding to call Gabrielle and apologize for overreacting when the doorbell rang. Walking to the door wondering who would be stopping by. She opened the door, completely surprised to find Gabrielle standing there with a dozen Orchids-her favorite.
“Hi,” Gabrielle said.
“Hi. Do you want to come in?” Karah said stepping away from the door allowing Gabrielle to enter.
“I came over to apologize to you for what I said earlier. You’re right it was wrong of me to assume you don’t know how you feel; I mean everyone had to have their first experience sometime right?”
“Yeah. I want to also apologize to you, because you did indeed have a right to question my motives…”
Gabrielle interrupting, “No, no I didn’t. You know how you feel, and I shouldn’t have second guessed that.”
“Yes, but you were concerned about my emotional state, because of all the things that have been going on in my life. And when I thought about it, I realized how sweet and considerate you are, because you wanted to make sure that I was entering into this with a clear head.” Karah said as she stepped closer to Gabrielle, stopping when they were face to face. Gabrielle taking a gulp, “And are you? Entering into this with a clear head I mean?”
Karah closed the gap between them giving Gabrielle a searing kiss. Parting when the need for air became too great.
“Does that answer you question?”
Laughing, “yes I believe it does. Shall we do it again just to make sure?”
Smiling they begin kissing again.

The End …Or is it?

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