Disclaimer: See Chapter 1
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Nydia suppressed a yawn as Jo pulled up to Nydia's house. It was a medium size Cape Cod style, easily large enough for Nydia. The light oak cedar shingles gave it an inviting tone which contrasted with the black shutters and dark blue door. It was simple, just the way she liked everything in her life. The appeal lay in the airy layout inside and the dormers up top, which let in just enough light into her master bedroom.
Dinner and bowling had gone better than she could have guessed. The new Mexican restaurant in town had had a nice and romantic atmosphere. The two women spent hours talking about nothing in particular. Nydia anticipated feeling uncomfortable in Jo's presence, but it never came. Instead, she found herself enjoying her company.
The highlight of the evening had been when Nydia scored three strikes in a row.
Jo looked at her with brows furrowed and her mouth hanging open. “How did you manage that? I thought you didn't play?”
Nydia smiled and winked at Jo. “Just because I haven't bowled since high school, doesn't mean I don't know how. Did I mention I was on the school's bowling team and we were the state champs my senior year?” Nydia had laughed at the squinted eyed look Jo had given her. Nydia knew if looks determined life and death she would be a dead woman. But then Jo had then let out a huge unrestrained laugh.
Nydia wasn't sure she had ever heard such a wondrous sound before. The laughter was deep, free and contagious, and she had soon found herself joining in. It was the first good laugh she had in such a long time she felt wonderful. Nydia couldn't remember the last time she had let herself go so much.
The rest of the night was filled with such carefree moments and conversation.
Now here they were at her house, and Nydia didn't want the evening to end. She looked over at Jo who seemed to be struggling for something to say. They both spoke at the same time.
“I guess this is goodnight…”
“Would you like to come in for…”
Jo let out a slight laugh, while Nydia felt her face flush. She recovered first and asked, “I…I was going to ask if you would like to come in for some coffee.”
Jo gave her a smile, “I'd like that very much, thanks.”
After getting out of the car, Nydia escorted Jo up to the front door. She fumbled around in her purse for the key, finally finding it in the front pocket. As she tried to put the key in the lock, Nydia noticed her hand shaking. Nydia hoped beyond hope that Jo didn't notice. After two tries, she got the door open. She entered the dark house and turned on the light switch by the door, illuminating the front hallway as she held the door open for the tall brunette to enter.
Nydia walked through to the back of the house turning on lights as she went. She was vividly aware of Jo following close behind. At last, they made it to the kitchen.
“Have a seat while I get the coffee going.”
“Actually, can I follow you? Saves you the trip,'” Jo said, as a smile graced her face.
“Sure just don't mind the mess.” Nydia made her way into the kitchen. It was very functional and simple, neither overly modern nor art-deco in nature, a warm inviting atmosphere of with a Formica table, comfortable vinyl chairs and bright white appliances. It reminded Nydia of the time spent as a child with her mother. The kitchen was well used looking. Light oak cabinets lined the walls above the counter and below. Unopened mail lay on the countertop in the corner under the phone.
“I always find a little clutter is what makes a place a home,” Jo said.
Nydia moved around the kitchen as she prepared the coffee with the same fluid motions she displayed in the Emergency Room.
“You know, I wish I had the opportunity to see you work a trauma. I bet it would look like a well orchestrated ballet.”
Nydia blushed, but said nothing. She came over, took a seat, and found herself moving the chair closer to Jo while they both waited for the coffee to brew. They sat in companionable silence each looking in the other's eyes and getting lost in them. Nydia was surprised that she felt no discomfort at the close scrutiny. Instead, she felt it more a tender caress than anything else, a joining of two individuals on some primitive level.
Nydia realized the coffee had finished. Breaking away from the vision before her, she got up and grabbed the cups along with the sugar and milk. She placed them on a tray along with the carafe of coffee. “Let's go in the living room. It's more comfortable I think.”
“Sure,” Jo said as she followed along. “How about I carry the tray for you, it looks heavy. You've been on your feet all day I'm sure.”
Nydia felt Jo's eyes on her as if they were a soft embrace. “Okay, that would be wonderful,” she said as she handed over the tray laden with coffee and some cookies.
The two women settled on either side of the couch while Nydia poured
Nydia leaned back into the cushions facing Jo. “So tell me about yourself. We've spent the whole night together, and I feel like I've barely scratched the surface of learning who Jocasta Powers is.”
“Well there isn't much to tell. You already know about my job.” Jo said.
Nydia cringed a little at the mention of Jo's work. “Let's not talk work, tell me something about you. What do you find important in your life?”
“My family is the most important part of my life outside of that. It's my mother, Julia, my baby sister, Elly, and me. We live together over on Fulton Street in a nice little place we like to call home,” she said with a proud smile.
“What about your dad?”
“My mother divorced my father when I was twelve.” Jo's tone of voice changed now holding a hint of anger.
The change made Nydia uncomfortable, but she decided to let Jo keep on talking, not wanting to let her own emotions ruin what had been a perfect night so far.
“Was it amicable?”
“It was anything but. You have to know my father to understand. The man was a shit. Pardon my language. He abused my mother for years, even sent her to the hospital several times.”
“I'm so sorry to hear that,” Nydia said. She reached up the back of the couch and placed her hand over Jo's. She tried to infuse comfort through her touch alone.
“Yeah, but it turned out okay. My mom finally left him after he started on us kids. We lived in a women's shelter for a time while she got training as a paralegal. I remember it was the first time I could think of that I got a full night's sleep without having to hear the fighting going on in the other room, or the sound of breaking furniture.”
Jo let out a deep sigh. When Nydia felt she appeared under control again, Jo looked up at Nydia with a smile over the rim of her cup as she took a sip. “I always thought it contributed to my slight womanizing ways. I think I've been trying to find someone as strong and confident as my mother. Hopefully I'll find her,” Jo told Nydia.
“Somehow I don't think there was anything slight about it.” Nydia replied with a smile.
“You're right,” Jo answered in a voice tinged with regret. She asked Nydia, “So tell me about your family. Do they live in the area?”
“Yes.” She answered. She pulled her hand from Jo's and placed them face down on her pants.
Nydia ignored the confused look Jo gave her at the curt answer. “So do you see them often?”
“No, not really. We're not close. I'd rather not talk about it.” She sat up straight moving towards the end of the couch, away from Jo. Nydia hoped Jo would change the subject. The hand holding her cup held a slight tremor to it. Nydia wanted to avoid the questions.
“How come? I mean I would think in your line of work family would be important. Having to deal with life and death everyday is sort of what draws me close to mine.”
At this Nydia put down her cup, spilling some of the coffee, and looked at Jo with anger in her eyes and she felt her jaws clench. “To be honest it's none of your damn business. If you could just stop being a cop for five minutes, you would've understood that when I said I didn't want to talk about it. I don't want to talk about it. My God you people can be so controlling and domineering.”
“What the hell does my being a police officer have anything to do with it? I just wanted to get to know you better. We didn't talk that much about ourselves tonight. I thought this would be our chance to really get to know each other. I want to learn who you are.”
Nydia saw Jo's eyebrows furrowed and her eyes no longer shone as they had been. Nydia knew the look of confusion on Jo's face and in her tone of voice, but she didn't care. Right now, she was too angry to concern herself about it.
“It had everything to do with it. You people never know when to butt out of other people's lives. Did it even occur to you that it was a closed subject, that maybe, just maybe I didn't want to get into it?” Nydia's voice rose with each statement until she was yelling. “Of course not, because you people don't have the common manners to realize when people don't want to talk to you, or else you just ignore their wants and needs and think you're more important than they are.”
“That's not what I did. I merely thought that if I got you to talk about it, you might share some of yourself with me. I want to get to know you Nydia, all of you. I have from the moment we met.”
“Who I share myself with is of no concern to you… officer. I think you should leave now.” Nydia replied standing up and walking towards the door. As she opened the door, she turned to see Jo sitting on the couch her face full of hurt. Her bright smile was gone. Jo looked close to tears. “I said I wanted you to leave, or do I need to call the police and have you forcibly removed?”
With that comment, Jo finally responded to the accusation, “No!” Jo, said as she walked up to Nydia, she stood toe to toe to her, “I felt a connection to you from the moment I first saw you and deep down inside I know you felt it too Nydia, no matter how much you try to deny it or push it away.” Having said her peace, Jo turned and walked out the door.
Nydia felt the beginning of tears in her eyes but she refused to let them fall in front of Jo.
Jo held back her own tears and began driving off. She got as far as the end of the street before she stopped. How long she sat there, she had no idea. But finally, she was able to bring her hurt under control and let her anger towards Nydia come out. She hit the steering wheel with the palm of her hand. Once she let her anger out she began to think about what had happened.
Jo realized that whatever Nydia's issue was with her family, Jo was just a convenient target tonight. Jo knew she needed to talk to Nydia and find out what had happened. Jo felt this was too important to let pass. Turning the car around Jo headed back.
She stopped the car in front of the shingled house again. Jo stayed in the car for a moment trying to think of what to do or say to Nydia. How could she make Nydia understand?
She walked up to the house and noticed the lights were still on. Jo knew chances were that Nydia was still downstairs. When she got to the door she went to ring the bell, but something stopped her. She thought she heard something coming from the other side of the door. Placing her ear against the window in the door, she could make out the sound of crying. She could make out Nydia's form on the floor even through the curtain over the glass. Her heart broke knowing that Nydia was lying on the floor sobbing. Jo felt a hurt inside her knowing she played a part in it.
“Nydia, it's Jo. Open the door please. I want to talk to you.” There was no answer except the sound sniffling.
“Please Nydia, I can explain everything.” Her voice cracked but she continued. “I never meant to push you. I would never make you do something you didn't want to. You have to believe me.” She heard quiet on the other side, but could still see Nydia's form lying on the floor. She saw her slowly stand and face the door. Jo knew whatever happened next might turn the tide of their future, and she wasn't one to give up on that easily.
“I don't know, maybe you're right and I've been a cop too long,” she said, as she rested her forehead wearily against the frosted glass of the door. “But I didn't mean to be one with you. I only want to be your friend. Maybe even something more if you can give it a chance. Come on Nydia open the door. Let's talk about this,” she said in an almost desperate tone, as she felt a pain in her chest. “Don't give up on us, I'm begging you.” She stood silently waiting and hoping for a response. When she saw the shadow of Nydia stand, Jo hoped beyond hope that Nydia would open it.
After several minutes, Nydia began walking away.
“Nydia don't do this. Please?” She practically yelled once Jo realized there was no turning the woman back. “I'm not leaving. I'll stay right here until you talk to me.” She watched as Nydia silently walked up the stairs. Through the glass she couldn't tell if Nydia even gave a backwards glance, though Nydia's form did stop for a moment before continuing climbing.
I frustration Jo hit the door jamb with the palm of her hand. Looking around, she noticed the porch swing in the corner. She walked over and sat down trying to think of what to do next. She wouldn't leave, that was for sure. She couldn't. Her heart told her too much was depending on her staying.
Nydia woke from a fitful sleep. It had taken her until the early morning hours before she fell asleep. Even then, her mind had conjured up disturbing images which she couldn't recall. However, she could still feel the uneasiness they caused. She recognized them as the same emotions she had whenever she dreamed of her family. It was a sense of loss, pain and anger. However, something was different. Normally, she had no problem remembering her dreams, however, this morning; the only memory she had to hold onto from this particular dream was of hurt filled piercing blue eyes.
Dragging herself into the bathroom, she took care of her morning routine. While she showered, her mind turned back to the events of the previous evening. Nydia felt guilty about what she said and did to Jo. Her heart broke as she remembered hearing the strong woman begging to talk. Nydia's mind wouldn't let her listen to her heart. Too much had happened over the years to simply put it aside.
Getting dressed, she decided she wasn't in the mood for breakfast. Instead, she decided to just grab a coffee at the Mini-Mart. She picked her keys off the dresser along with her wallet and made her way downstairs.
Nydia unlocked the front door and opened it. Stepping outside, she saw Jo's car parked at the curb. She was curious if Jo was asleep inside. As she turned around, something caught her attention out of the corner of her eye. There on the white swing at the far end of the porch was Jo. She was lying down, having apparently fallen asleep during the night. Her body scrunched into the small space.
Nydia let out a deep sigh feeling bad that Jo saw the need to stay the night because of her. While the weather had been nice overnight, it had still been on the chilly side creating a layer of dew on the ground. She could see the woman shiver in her sleep, her long body crammed up on the small porch swing.
She quietly walked over to her and looked down at Jo's sleeping form. Nydia had to admit that the police officer was beautiful, even in sleep. This only confused her to no end. “What does she see in me?” She asked herself. Nydia appreciated the beauty before her. Nydia couldn't help but feel the stirring of desire that welled up in her. Given half the chance, she knew she could easily fall in love with Jo. However, she knew her mind would never let her over-rule her heart. Nydia never had and couldn't imagine a force that would.
In here half asleep state, Jo felt something touch her shoulder. She reacted instinctively. She tried to jump up off the swing, but found her legs were stuck in position. All she managed to do was ungracefully fall off it. Instead of the hard ground, she found herself landing on a soft body. Getting her bearings, she looked up into the greenest eyes she had ever seen, which meant they could belong to no one but Nydia. She looked deeply into her eyes and thought she saw the beginning of a tear. Jo held onto the hope that Nydia now felt regret over what happened. Drawing strength in that idea she slowly moved her head down, staring at the soft inviting lips which were now her goal.
Quickly Nydia backed her head away slightly, “Uhm, you can get off now.”
The moment broken, Jo moved away, her heart aching. I guess I was wrong. “Yeah sorry,” she said as she got up and reached out a hand to help Nydia up off the porch. She noticed Nydia hesitate before taking it. Jo's heart broke a little bit more, but once she felt Nydia's hand in hers, Jo felt as if the world was narrowed down to only the two of them. Nothing else existed for her except the woman whose hand she held.
As they touched, Jo saw goose bumps rise all along Nydia's arm. She could see the connection was felt by Nydia as well. However, Jo now knew that for some reason Nydia was pushing it away.
“You need to go home, Jo. There's nothing here for you,” Nydia said in a strangled voice.
“No, not until we talk about this Nydia. I can see it in your eyes. I feel it in your touch. We need to talk this out. You and I need to work this out, for both our sakes. You know in your heart I'm right.” Jo pleaded with everything she had, tears forming in her eyes.
“No, Jo, there's nothing to talk about. I can't do it. I won't get involved with a cop. I'm just not strong enough.”
“Í know it's a dangerous job, Nydia, but I'm more than careful. I'm very good at my job.”
“It's not that. It's who you are, what you are. I know all about you. Your need for control, the sense of superiority, the power it's all a part of you. You can't help but exert it every chance you get. I know your type. Policemen do nothing but push people around and control them for their own benefit.”
Jo was stunned at the words. She didn't know how to respond for a moment. Her chest felt tight. Was this truly how Nydia felt about her? Jo put her fist to her chest to try and relieve the pain. “But, Nydia I'm not like that. Just give me a chance to prove it to you. I became a cop because I wanted to protect people not abuse them. I would never dream of using the authority I have for that. I promise. Please Nydia, let me show you. I can prove it to you. Just give me a chance.” As she pleaded, Jo's felt her heart began to beat faster. “I swear, give me the opportunity. It's worth it. We're worth it.”
“I don't think I can do that, Jo. I'm just not strong enough.” Nydia said.
“I'll be there with you. I want to be with you Nydia. Together we can do this, please.”
Seeing the tears running down Nydia's face, Jo couldn't take it anymore. She took her by the arms and pulled her in close to her. She hugged her tightly. After a short time, she felt Nydia stop crying. Jo placed her hand under her chin and lifted Nydia's face. Slowly, she bent down and gently placed a kiss upon Nydia's lips.
Jo felt Nydia stiffen in surprise, but instead of pulling away, Nydia leaned further into her. After a moment, Nydia began kissing Jo back. Jo reveled in the taste of Nydia lips. It was a kiss of tenderness and promise. Jo felt a feeling of electricity pass between them and knew Nydia must have experienced it as well.
Nydia pulled back. “What do you make me feel Jo? It confuses me. When I'm in your arms I feel safe for the first time in years, I feel at home. Despite everything you are.” Nydia moved in closer. She wrapped her arms around the taller woman. Nydia leaned her head against Jo's shoulder.
Jo heard her take a deep breath and let it out. She felt the body she was holding relax into her.
“I still don't know if I can do this Jo.”
“You can Nydia. I know you're strong enough. I can feel it. This is too special for you to give up easily. We will fight for it together.” Jo gently placed a kiss on the crown of the blonde head. “Come on. Let me take you to work. You're in no shape to drive right now.”
“Okay, come inside and I'll get you some coffee before we go. Maybe you can warm up a little.”
“I don't need anything but you right now, Nydia.” Jo said, as she followed Nydia into the house.
To Be Continued
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