Disclaimers and etc. This is a work of original fiction; at least it has morphed into such. This is also a sequel to my previous story Mississippi Blues. It is helpful but not necessary to read it first. There are depictions of love/sex between two women of age and consent. If this aint your thing, or if it is illegal, skip it and move on.
Timeline: This story occurs roughly a year and seven months after the ending of Mississippi Blues.
One last note: Thanks to all of you who read Mississippi Blues and let me know how much you liked it. Thanks for the chants for the sequel too. <g>
Dedication: To my two beta readers, the Villagers, and the Chat lists who supplied a few names here and there <g> Thanks yall!
And now, on with the show.
All That Jazz
By and feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org
"Cmon, wake up, Lakky." Mandy pounded her fist on the bedroom door. "Dont make me come in there and get you up."
"Erg, ok, Mup." It took the bassist a few minutes to fully regain consciousness. She rolled over and found herself in bed alone. She almost forgot that her lover had not joined her the evening prior. Band practice and a car wreck kept the two apart once again. Laurel was really starting to hate their conflicting schedules.
Laurel rolled off her bed and began to search for clothing. Mandy had washed all of her clothing and laid the laundry neatly on the chair in her bedroom. Laurel was grateful. She hated doing laundry. Every time she tried, something always came out faded or a different color. Vowing to take a shower later, she dressed quickly and went to join her housemates for breakfast.
"Hey, there she is!" BJ smiled and pulled the bassist into a bear hug. "Congratulations."
"Ill second that." Sam pulled her into a hug as soon as the drummer let her go. "You made it through."
"That I did. Finally." Laurel grinned as she sat down at the table.
"To mark the occasion, I made your favorites." Mandy placed a plate of French toast, bacon and hash browns before her younger friend.
"Thank you, Mandy." Laurel was touched by the gesture.
"Hey, its not every day you graduate from college." The redhead brought her plate to the table. "So what happened to Nicole last night?"
"Work. There was a massive car accident on the highway last night." Laurel informed them. "She called me last night on her way to the scene." The bassist had learned the value of cellular phones over the past few months.
"Shes going to be at the party tonight right?" BJ asked as he slathered jelly all over his French toast.
"Yeah, the whole gang will be here. Well, Greg wont. He doesnt come into town much anymore." Nicoles friend had finally gotten a job as a sports writer for a small paper in northern Mississippi. Only those who attended college with him missed him.
"Good." BJ was still holding a year and a half long grudge against the man. Greg once made unwelcome advances toward Samantha.
"You are still sore about that arent you?" Laurel laughed. She understood where the drummer was coming from; had someone tried that with Nicole, Laurel would have removed his or her hands at the wrists.
"Not really." He shrugged. "Long as he keeps his hands to himself, itll be alright."
"So, someone we know needs to hurry up and get dressed. You are supposed to be there in an hour arent you?" Mandy checked the clock over the stove. "Its a longer drive from out here."
"Yes maam." Laurel grinned impishly. They moved the trailer to an acre of land several months ago, and they were all still adjusting to the time the move added to their trips into town.
"You watch it with that maam stuff." Mandy tried to sound serious. "Is Nicole meeting you there?"
"Yeah, she has to cover it for the paper. Shell be out here after she turns the film in. I think she conned someone else to process it for her." Laurel could not fight the grin that took over her face. She was still as in love with the photographer as she had been during their courtship.
"At least youll have some time together before everyone gets here." Mandy knew the conflicting schedules had been hard on both her friend and the photographer. They had practically done nothing more than talk over the phone while the bassist took her finals and completed the thesis required by the Honors College.
"Yeah that is true." Laurels expression changed. It became distant and a slight, soft smile hovered over her lips before landing and becoming a full-fledged grin. She could not wait to get reacquainted with her lover. It had been a long week.
"So, are you going to tell the band no?" Sam broke her silence.
"Yeah, I dont want that. Ive already taken two post college exams and need to finish applying to law schools and grad schools." Laurel shrugged it all off. "Ill choose whichever lets me in." She told them to forestall any more questions. "Ok, I need to get a shower and get out of here."
"Go on, Lakky, well clean up." BJ promised.
"Are you going to?" Laurel heard Sams question as she walked down the hall to the bathroom.
"If Lakky says no, then Ill say no." Came the response. Pleased with his answer, Laurel continued down the hallway to the bathroom. She needed a shower before she left. After all, it is not everyday that someone graduates from college, and she did not want to stink during the proceedings.
It was hot. Well, Mississippi is always hot in May, but Laurel felt the heat steaming from the ground under her feet. The slightly padded metal chair was very warm and even more uncomfortable. Even the presence of the ancient oak tree failed to provide relief from the suns rays. The sky was cloudless, and Laurel wished with all her might for a pair of sunglasses. Hers were confiscated during the line up for the Liberal Arts Schools. She would be able to reclaim them when she turned in her robe.
"Fascist." She muttered under her breath. She could not see the point in making them remove shades if they could wear jeans beneath their robes. And at least they could give those of us without an ass something more comfortable to sit in.
The bassist stifled a sigh and tried for the hundredth time to get comfortable. It was laughable, and she knew later she would indulge herself in a hilarious retelling of the tale, but her butt was falling asleep on the thinly padded chair. The proceedings had started an hour ago, and the Dean of the Honors College, the head of the History Department, and the head of the English department had yet to make their speeches. Had she known it would have taken longer to graduate college than to take her finals, Laurel would have gladly missed the ceremony.
As it was, all she had to do was stand when the appropriate college was announced. However, at this rate she doubted that would happen before the start of the summer term. Finally finding a decent position in the chair, Laurel leaned back to wait for her official graduation. She was not aware that she had dozed off until her neighbor elbowed her in the ribs.
"What?" She whispered. Talking was also not allowed during the ceremony.
"The speeches are over, were about to graduate." George told her. He had been in several of her classes, but all she really knew about him was his name. "Howd you do on your thesis?"
"Well enough to get honors." She grinned. She had not really paid more attention to her grade than that. "You?"
"About the same. Seemed kinda anticlimactic after all the other shit we had to do."
"Ill second that." While her thesis paper had been long and involved, turning it in and waiting for the grade had been more of a lesson in patience than a lifting of tension.
"Well, here we go, its about to be official." He straightened up in his chair.
"Bout damn time." Laurel followed his example. It still seemed somehow anticlimactic.
"Where is she?" Nicole easily spotted Mandys red hair in the crowd of people standing or sitting beyond the rows of graduates.
"Second seat in on the third row." Mandy pointed out the bassist. "She looks bored."
"Thats not good." Nicole hoped her lover would not fall asleep. Laurel hated to be bored and often became restless or sleepy when she fell prey to ennui. "This is a good spot." She commented as she took several pictures of the University President giving his speech.
"Yeah, we can actually hear the mutterings of madness." Sheryl commented. She was covering this graduation ceremony for the paper. Another reporter had covered the science departments ceremony that morning, and yet another would cover the rest of them that evening. The university had grown too large to hold the entire ceremony at once.
"Be nice, hes decent." Nicole told her friend. Many people believed the President of the University was insane, but having never met the man, Nicole was withholding judgment.
"Yeah, yeah, whatever." Sheryl held her notebook in her hands and listened for pertinent quotes. "Nice to see you again, Mandy."
"And you as well." The natural redhead grinned.
"Are her parents here?" Nicole had not broached the topic with her lover. Well, she suggested rather mildly that the bassist send them an invitation to the ceremony, but Laurel had declined.
"If they are, then I havent seen them." Mandy told her. "Not that I want to see them, mind you."
"Understandable." Sheryl commented. "I wouldnt either."
"Neither does Laurel." The photographer stated the obvious. They almost had a real fight over that. Nicole could not see why her lover was being so stubborn about the whole idea. However, Laurel had remained firm and Nicole had given up the ghost of an argument. "I cant really blame her, but maybe it is time to reconcile."
"What?" Mandys expression made the photographer wonder if she had just sprouted a horn and two wings. "I love Lakky to death, and Jon was the love of my life, but their parents are not worthy of thought. You just have to accept it and move on with them. Theyre not even worth holding a grudge against."
"Thought you didnt hate anyone?" Sheryl asked. She was still curious about Mandys beliefs.
"I dont hate anyone. If the Kendricks needed assistance, I would give it. Ive forgiven them, but I cant forget what happened, even though Ive let it go."
"Ok, now the deans are speaking." Nicole pulled their attention back to the ceremony. "And it looks as if Laurel has fallen asleep." She could not keep the small smile from her face.
"Now thats worth a picture, take it for me will you?" Mandy handed Nicole her camera. "After all you are the professional, and Ill even make you a copy."
"With pleasure. Wait here, Im going to try to get a closer shot." Nicole moved along the line of people until she was even with the bassist. Using the zoom on the little camera, she easily brought the sight nearer. Pleased, she snapped several pictures of the snoozing bassist with both cameras before returning to her friends.
"Oh, is she gonna get it for that." Mandy laughed. "BJ is around here somewhere. Lakky better hope he didnt see her fall asleep."
"I almost fell asleep during my graduation." Sheryl recalled.
"That you did, but you remained awake by constantly poking me in the back." Nicole remembered. "Course, we all walked across the stage to get our degrees then."
"Oh yeah, grandma, tell us about the good ole days." Sheryl teased. "This guy is almost as boring as the pres."
"True, but at least he dresses better." Mandy observed.
"Will you all please be quiet, were trying to hear." A rather large woman hissed at them. She adjusted the baby on her hip and rewrapped her hand around the toddler at her side.
"Sorry." Nicole sheepishly answered.
The three remained as quiet as possible after their harsh warning. Several other persons of note made speeches on a variety of subjects. Most of the audience was bored almost to tears. At least the infant the woman beside them was holding did. Shortly after the Dean of the Honors College took the podium, the baby began to wail. It continued to wail during last two speeches until the woman finally took the hint and retreated to the back of the human wall.
"Here it is." Mandy bounced on her toes as the Dean requested the students receiving degrees in History to stand.
"About time." Nicole readied her camera. As the Dean made a few final words and gravely pronounced those standing as being officially graduated from college, she snapped a picture of all the caps in the air. Still, she thought it was rather anticlimactic after all the brouhaha leading up to it.
Laurel was hot, sweaty, and exalted. Four long and hard years of studying had finally paid off in the form of a nice little piece of parchment she could frame and hang on her wall. Nothing else mattered to anyone outside of academia but that expensive proof her degree. Of course, the real degree would be mailed to her, but they had been given nice little plaques for them at graduation.
"You gonna take a shower before the party?" Mandys voice echoed through the trailer.
"Yeah, might as well. I want to take a nap too." Laurel had returned her robes, reclaimed her sunglasses and then headed straight back home. She did not see the point in remaining around campus after the ceremony since all her friends would be at the party.
"Take your time. Ill send Nicole back there when she gets here, though havent you already had your nap?"
"I didnt mean to fall asleep at the thing, it just kinda happened."
"Thats ok, Im sure the pictures will look cute."
"Pictures?" Laurel poked her head around her door. "Pictures of what?"
"You sleeping through your graduation." Mandy told her. "Dont worry, Im sure Nicole took plenty for everyone."
"Let me get this straight." Laurel walked into the kitchen. She was half dressed but did not care. "Nicole took pictures of me sleeping during the ceremony?" Mandy just nodded. "Was I drooling or something?"
"I dont know. I wasnt close enough to see." The redhead shrugged and went back to marinating the ribs. "But Im sure well find out when the pictures have been developed."
"This better not end up on the front page." Laurel threatened. She was slightly embarrassed, but only because she had been caught in the act.
"Dont tell me, tell your girlfriend." Mandy tried hard to keep the humor from her voice. She failed.
"You would find this amusing. Im going to go take a shower." With that, Laurel retreated back to her room. She chose clothing for the party and took the bundle to the bathroom.
"Hey." Nicole stood in the open doorway. "Is it safe to come inside?"
"Yeah, shes taking a nap." Mandy laughed and waved the photographer into the house. "She does know about the pictures though. Be warned that she does not want to end up on the front page."
"She wont. Im a little late because I ran the pictures myself. The prints are out in my car on the front seat if you want to see them." Nicole pointed to the blue convertible in the driveway. Her other car had finally died so she was left with no other means of transportation than her fathers car.
"We can leave them there for the time being." Mandy opened the oven to check on the ribs. "Why dont you go ahead and spend some time with your girlfriend?"
"That is the best idea I have heard in a long time." The photographer grinned and turned toward the bassists bedroom.
"I will make sure you arent disturbed for at least an hour or more."
"Thank you very much, Mandy."
Nicole opened the bedroom door to find the bassist curled up on her side facing the door. The blonde bangs, badly in need of a trim, obscured Laurels eyes, but the photographer could tell that they were open. The bassist smiled but did not move from under the covers.
"Hey, Ive been waiting for you." She said softly.
"Sorry I took so long. Were you sleeping?"
"Nope, just laying in bed waiting on someone. Im a little too keyed up to sleep, if you know what I mean."
"I think you may have to explain that to me." Nicole smiled and set down on the bed. She could tell that her lover was naked under the covers. She could already feel her bodys reaction. "So?"
"So get undressed and get under here, goofball."
Nicole shed her clothes in record time. It had been a long two weeks, and neither of them wanted to wait another second. The last time they slept together, they had both been so tired that all they did was sleep. That had been a week ago. Neither of them was going to let such an opportunity pass them by again.
"Suppose I dont want to join you?" Nicole teased as she folded her shirt and set it on top of her jeans.
"Nicole Herbert, dont make me get out of this bed." Laurel tried to sound threatening, but the laughter in her tone destroyed the effect.
"Well, since you put it that way." Nicole pulled the sheet off her lover and stopped. The sight seemed all the more glorious since she had not seen it in a few weeks. Absence may make the heart fonder, but it also makes the hormonal reaction stronger.
"Going to stand there all day?" The photographer had not been the only one admiring the view, but Laurel was more intent on seeing by Braille.
"Just admiring the view." Nicole sat back down on the bed.
"Me too, but I want to do more than admire it." Laurel sat up behind her lover and wrapped her arms around the photographer. "I have missed you."
"And Ive missed you. Missed this too." Nicole whispered as strong arms tightened around her.
"Well, we wont have to go through weeks of hell anymore. Now, what say we get reacquainted? My name is Laurel and I really want to make love to you." The bassist began to treat the photographers shoulders to a massage of kisses.
"Mmmm, Im Nicole. Take me, Im all yours."
"Oh, I intend to." The bassist pulled her back on to the bed. "And well both enjoy every minute of it."
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