Obligatory Disclaimers: This is an alternative story, yaddah, yaddah, women in love, yaddah. If it is illegal where you live, move. If you are underage, print it out, seal it, hide it and read it when you're older.
This is a sequel to Mississippi Blues. It is helpful, but not necessary to read it first.
Last but not least. If you like it, let me know. If you don't...well, I can always use scrap paper :->
By Blue Dragon
All That Jazz Part 5
Laurel rolled over and stretched gingerly. She was sore all over. She did not know what had gotten into to the photographer that evening, but for a while there, Laurel thought the photographer had been possessed. They made more love that evening than they had in six months. It was no wonder that her body was sore.
Somehow the bassist made it to her feet and to the shower. The water did not take as long to heat as it used to, which led her to believe that someone recently replaced the ancient water heater. When the water was just short of boil on contact, the bassist entered the stream and let it soothe her aching muscles. By the time she felt like a five foot six inch prune, she decided it was time to get dressed and run her errand. She persuaded Mozart to accompany her downstairs and left him in the Courtyard before exiting the building.
The streets of the French Quarter were crowded with tourists. Laurel did her best to dodge cameras, children and old men with sandals and tall socks. She was thankful for her sunglasses, as some of the outfits she saw were almost eye blinding. For a few minutes, she wondered what on earth could make a person wear gold or purple lame¢. She made a mental note to have Nicole promise to shoot her if the photographer ever caught her in one of those outfits. She wondered if it were just a part of getting old.
"Can I take your order?" The waiter behind the glass window asked as Laurel approached. She was so lost in thought that she did not realize she was already at Café Du Monde.
"Yeah. Ill take two orders of beignets, two chocolate milks and a coffee without chicory to go please."
"Yes, please." Laurel suppressed a sigh. She did not understand the current trend that added anything and everything to coffee other than regular Columbian flavor. Granted coffee and chicory was a drink older than the establishment she was ordering from, Laurel still did not understand the attraction.
She sat at a table and smoked a cigarette while waiting for her order. It felt strange to be suddenly so free. Her collegiate life was finished and she planned on having an entire year before she entered graduate school. She knew she should discuss that with Nicole, but she had not wanted to broach the topic until after she received word of her admittance. She wanted it to be a surprise in a way. They discussed moving to New Orleans several months ago, but lately the photographer did not want to discuss the future. The bassist could not understand why, but she felt it was time.
"Heres your order, maam." A young man handed her two bags and a Styrofoam cup.
"Thank you." She handed him two dollars. She liked tipping for service. It guaranteed better service the next time.
The sun was beating down on the cobble stone sidewalks and the heat was shimmering off the asphalt of the roadways. On her walk back, Laurel could tell that it was going to be another blistering day. She had no desire for outdoor adventures today, though she knew that this was mild compared to how it would be in the City by August. However, it had been such a mild winter that the heat seemed overpowering instead of a relief as it usually did.
She collected the dog and made her way upstairs. Nicole was in the shower; she could see the light under the door. Laurel took the plates from the cabinet and arranged breakfast before the photographer exited the bathroom. She also made sure Mozart had plenty of food and water. He bothered them less for scraps when his own bowl was full.
"Foods here." She called out when she saw her lover open the bathroom door.
"You went for food?" A partially dressed Nicole appeared in the doorway. She was drying her hair with an old towel.
"Well, after last night I thought we could use the nourishment." Laurel teased. She was pleased when she saw her lover blush.
"Yeah, that was rather intense. Sorry about that." She watched as the photographer ducked back into the bathroom and returned a moment later towelless.
"Hey, theres nothing to be sorry about. Well, at least there isnt now that I can walk without groaning." The bassist could not resist one last teasing comment. "Sides, its not everyday the normally reserved photographer I started dating becomes an insatiable animal woman."
"Yeah, well, I dont know what came over me." Nicoles blush deepened.
"Its alright. I enjoyed it almost as much as I enjoyed the payback session of our program last night."
"Yeah, remind me to have you see if you can rub the soreness out of my calves later." Laurel almost felt bad as she watched her lover gingerly walk over to the table and sit down.
"Oh, I will. Gladly. So what did you want to do today?" The bassist asked. She thought it best to change the subject before she attempted to engage in the very activity that had made them sore.
"I have no plans. Guess we could see what Michael and Stan are up to, if you want."
"Whatever is fine with me. The only thing I wanted to do outside of the bed was to go to the music store. It is closed on Sundays isnt it?"
"Yeah I think so, and I believe that it closes early today, but I dont remember when. Why do you want to go there?"
"Well, I promised myself a new bass for graduation. I wanted to see what type of selection I could find here. I hate the music store in town."
"Well, we can see what the boys want to do and then walk over there. Theres a decent place for lunch around there too. Or at least there used to be." Nicole hefted her first beignet and took a bite. "Thanks for breakfast."
"My pleasure." Laurel tried to stifle the laugh but failed as the white powered confection exploded all over her lovers shirt.
"Gee, thanks for your help. Just sit there and laugh. See if I care." The photographer grumbled.
"Oh you want help?" Laurel smiled wickedly. "I can help get you all nice and clean." She rose from her chair and knelt in front of the photographer. Nicole had not buttoned her shirt, but left it hanging open, exposing her bra. The bassist leaned in close and began to lick the powered sugar from her lovers chest.
"What are you doing?"
"Im helping. Want me to stop?"
"No, dont you dare."
"Shall we take this to some place more comfortable?" Laurels knee was beginning to shake under the strain. It was still protesting her overindulgence during the evenings activities.
"I think that might be a good idea." Nicole placed her hands on the bassists shoulders. "Though as sore as I am, this might not be a good idea."
"Ill make you feel better. I promise." Laurel stood and offered her hand to her lover. She smiled as the photographer took it and used it to pull herself to her feet.
"Ill hold you to that."
"I was hoping you would. Now first, we have to get rid of this shirt." Laurel pulled the shirt from her lovers shoulders and down her long arms. "You said something about a massage?"
"Yeah, I think I did."
"So where does it hurt?"
"Poor baby. Alright, lay down on the bed and let the doctor work." Laurel stood back and let her lover get comfortable on the bed before joining her.
"Mmmm, you have very talented hands, doctor."
"Years of practice." Laurel used hands strengthened by years of playing the bass to ease the tension from her lovers shoulders.
"It definitely paid off." Nicole groaned into the pillow.
"Im glad you approve." Laurel continued the massage until she heard the gentle snores beneath her. "Damn. Guess well make it up later." She muttered as she lay down beside her lover. It took a few minutes, but she was soon dreaming as well.
"Laurel?" Nicole gently shook her lover. "Wanna try starting the day again?"
"Yeah, sure, whatever." The bassist rolled over on to her side and buried her head into the pillow.
"Come on, Laurel wakey, wakey." The photographer gently rubbed her lovers back. "Stan and Michael want to go out to lunch."
"Ok." The word was mumbled into the pillow.
"Ive already had a shower, do you want one?"
"Are you going to get up?" Nicole was reaching the end of her patience.
"Nope." Laurel rolled over and pulled her back onto the bed. "Well, I guess I am now."
"Come on, lets go."
"You sure you dont wanna just lay in bed all day?"
"You are the one who wanted to go to the music store. Stan and Michael would like to spend some time with us too." Nicole pointed out.
"I suppose we could get up." Laurel sat up and released her hold on the photographer. "Ill take a rain check though, if you care to issue one."
"Yeah, Ill issue one but its good for one night only." Nicole smiled. She knew that the bassist would claim it later.
"Then Ill accept. Ill take Mozart downstairs while you finish getting dressed."
"Thatll work." Nicole rolled off the bed. She still needed to put on her socks and shoes and button her shirt.
She waited until after Laurel and Mozart disappeared downstairs before collapsing on the couch. She was finding it harder to keep up the charade than she expected. Half of her was still clamoring to throw out the plan and continue with her life the way it was now. The other half was busy disassociating herself from her relationship. She wanted it to be as easy as possible. Her heart had already been bruised twice, now it was about to be broken.
"Guess I should go join the others." Nicole told herself. She tied her shoes and got off the couch. She used the walk down the stairs to button her shirt. Laurel, Michael and Stan were waiting for her in the courtyard.
"Now what is the plan for today?" Michael asked as she joined them.
"I want to check out the basses at that music store a few blocks from here." Laurel told them. "After that, I have no idea what we can do today."
"Shouldnt we have a plan of attack?" Michael asked.
"Pretty organized for a surfer, there bro." Nicole laughed. Organization was a trait the two shared.
"Its a habit or genetic. Im not really sure which." He shrugged.
"Makes me glad my mom is the Herbert and not my dad. Planning is really over rated." Stan laughed. "Whats wrong with flying by the seats of our pants?"
"That is a good question." Laurel commented. "Why do we have to plan out the day?"
"Just seems like a good idea?" Nicole asked. She knew her lover was not one to plan most things out. It was one point they disagreed on time and again. "I thought maybe we could go to the French Market or the Riverwalk or something. Its a bit too hot for the zoo."
"Well, theres always the Aquarium. Ive never been there." Michael suggested.
"Good idea. Are we ready?" Stan asked as he got to his feet.
"I am if everyone else is." Nicole shrugged.
"Guess thats a yes." Laurel looked at her lover. "Shall we?" She offered her arm.
"Why thank ya maam." Nicole used her best Southern movie accent. She laughed when she heard the others groan.
Though they both hated it, Nicole dropped her lovers arm when they exited the building. They were on the wrong side of the French Quarter to indulge themselves during daylight hours. Laurel stuffed her hands in her pockets, but made sure to stay beside the photographer. Nicole was grateful. It allowed her to pretend that things were as they should be.
"Music store first?" Stan asked. He took charge of the little group.
"Yep. Then to the Aquarium." Michael fell back to walk with his sister. "So, what has been going on?" He asked as Laurel lengthened her stride to allow them some privacy.
"What do you mean?" The photographer did not want to discuss anything that the bassist might overhear.
"You just seem kinda distant. Have you two been arguing, cause Laurel looks like the world is fine, but you sure dont."
"Arent you my younger brother?"
"Yes, but Im also your only brother which means I get to play enforcer, inquisitor, protector, and mischief maker. Ill ask again. Whats up?"
"I dont really know." She lied.
"Liars go to hell, you know that, Catholic girl." He teased. He had been raised outside of any church, which is another reason Adia did not approve. Their grandmother was a stickler for religion.
"Probably better than you do, heathen." She returned his volley. "Things are just changing a bit too rapidly."
"Getting a bit too intense?"
"No, the intensity is kinda backing off a bit. Thats whats got me scared I guess." She admitted after making sure that Laurel and Stan were a good distance ahead of them. Her lover seemed enthralled in conversation with her walking partner.
"Interesting. Are you planning on riding out the storm then?"
"I honestly dont know." She lied again. Nicole had already made her decision. She just did not want to tell anyone yet.
"Thats not good. You need to decide before it gets too late."
"Are yall trying to lose us?" Laurel called back. She and Stan stopped to allow the others to catch up.
"Well, we were trying, but apparently not hard enough." Nicole teased.
"Cant get rid of me that easily, Hotshot." Laurel grinned. "I have my own key to the Warehouse, remember?"
"Yes I do. Now, do we all go in the store?" Nicole asked. They only had to cross the street. The music store was directly in front of them.
"Cmon. You can help me choose a bass." Laurel cajoled.
"Yeah, Id like to see what all they have. Ive never been in here before." Michael looked at the storefront with obvious interest.
"It really is a neat place." Stan commented. "I should go in and see what to send Jessie for her birthday." All the Herberts played instruments, though most played the piano. Jessie, Stan and Nicole were different. Nicole still practiced the violin, Stan had long ago quit playing the trombone, and Jessica played the flute.
"After you." Michael held the door for the others.
"Thanks." Nicole smiled at her brother. Laurel and Stan were already inside drooling over the music equipment.
©2001 Copyright All Rights Reserved by Blue Dragon
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