Disclaimer: See Chapter 1
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Jo was a little bit on edge today and it was showing in her behavior. The last several days had kept Jo and Nydia apart. No calls had come in relating to any major incidents of domestic abuse, so there was no need for Jo to come to the ER, and Nydia was trapped working long hours. Several major traumas had come in over the last few days, keeping Nydia working well into the evening hours. While they spoke on the phone each night, it just wasn't the same as being able to hold her. Frustration was setting in and it was becoming disturbing.
“I feel like I'm an addict,” Jo mumbled to herself. “All I think about is being able to wrap my arms around her as I fall asleep.”
“Did you say something?” Duncan asked.
Jo blushed so hard it showed under her tanned skin. “No, was just thinking out loud. Any word on the victim from the other day?” She asked in hopes of distracting him.
“Well, yes and no. The vic identified the husband and stated she had been raped, but as you know, we've had no luck tracking him down. Someone's hiding him I can feel it. We're still waiting on forensics,” Duncan said.
Jo looked around the station room for a moment thinking. She noticed most of the other detectives weren't around. The messy desks were empty except for the files piled on them. “Where is everyone?”
“Out on calls. Didn't you hear the phones ringing.”
“Oh yeah. The phones.”
“Hmm. Where's been checked so far?”
“His parent's place, some friends we were able to track down through the vic and the local dive hotels.”
“Do you think he could have friends Barbara doesn't know about?”
“It's possible. She stated he went out a lot to the local bars around the house and near his work. He could know people from there and she would never know it. Bastard.”
“He may be a bastard, but now he's our bastard.” Jo got a devious idea of how to solve her personal troubles and work at the same time. “Let's go talk to Barbara again. Maybe we can jog her memory a bit more,” she said, as she stood and grabbed her coat of the back of her chair.
“Right behind you,” Duncan pulling on his coat, glad to leave the stuffy windowless office for some fresh air.
Nydia annoyed and frustrated. She was standing in the doctor's lounge alone when she turned to see Dr. Goddard come in. She turned back to making her coffee. “My day has gone downhill since the moment I walked in this morning, and the kid vomiting on my sneakers was no help. So what do you want Dr. Goddard, because I can tell you are about to get on my last nerve.”
“I just wanted to let you know that just because you have Dr. Stephenson hoodwinked Nydia, don't think I won't do everything in my power to see you out of this hospital. This is not a job for women, and especially not women of your like.” Dr Goddard said with a scowl of disdain on his face, his brows almost coming together and his face red with anger.
“Yup, I was right. There went my last nerve,” she said more to herself than Dr. Goddard. Turning around she confronted him. “First off, Doctor Goddard, you will address me as Doctor Gilman. I extend the courtesy to you. I expect and deserve it in return. Second, whether I stay or go has nothing to do with you thank God, but with Dr. Stephenson and the Board. And lastly, my life and how I choose to live it is none of your damn business.”
Nydia stood for a moment and stared at Dr. Goddard, her hands on her hips and a glare on her face. Anyone with any sense would recognize the signs to back off. She could see the anger rising in him as his face went redder and the vein on his forehead became pronounced and throbbed. The clenched fists by his side did not bode well she thought. It was clear he wasn't going to take that hint.
“How dare you talk to me like that. Because someone mistakenly put you in a supervisory role here does not make you respectful. You are far from it in my eyes. I am a man and a God fearing Christian and husband. Nothing about you or your personal life is within God's law. The fact that you are allowed to spread your filth onto the reputation of the hospital is abhorrent.”
“I don't believe in any God who requires fear to motivate, let's start there. Try reading the New Testament once in a while, Dr. Goddard. That is the God I believe in, a loving being, not a vengeful one. In addition, unlike your wife, I'm sure, women are actually allowed to work outside the home now. I know it's a newsflash for you, but please try and keep up with the rest of the world. Again, what I do on my own time has no impact on anyone but me and the person I choose to be with. So stay out of it.”
“My wife knows her place in life. Do not bring her into your vile rant. As, for you and this hospital, I will see you gone if it's the last thing I do.”
“It just may be the last thing you do here, Dr Goddard, so I would tread carefully. I don't take well to threats.”
As she watched Dr. Goddard storm out of the room, Nydia let out a deep sigh to relive the tension and wiped her sweaty hands off on her lab coat. “I love the perks of my job.”
Nydia abandoned her attempt for coffee and followed Dr. Goddard out of the room and walked straight into Trudy.
“Whoa. Slow down. What's the rush?” Trudy asked.
“Nothing.” Nydia said in a curt tone. “My day is just sucking.” She let out a sigh. “It seems they are sucking more often than not lately.”
“Why? What happened?”
“Just more hospital politics and drama. Makes me rethink whether it's all worth it or not.”
“Oh, come on. Don't let a few bad days bother you. You live on the ER rush.”
“I know, but recently it doesn't fulfill me the way it used to. Maybe I'm just getting burned out.”
“I think you just need some time off with a certain tall detective. I'm sure that would cure most of your ills.”
A small smile came to Nydia's face. “I'm sure it wouldn't hurt. I'm not so positive it will cure it though.”
“Look, we are pretty well under control here for the evening. Why don't you call Jo and ask her to meet you for dinner. You know if we need you I'll call you,” Trudy offered, placing her hand on Nydia's shoulder and giving a reassuring squeeze.
Nydia thought about it for a moment. “You're right. Maybe I should take some time for myself.”
“No maybe about it. Just go have some fun with your girl.”
“My girl. I kind of like the sound of that.” Nydia said, as her smile got broader.
“Well then go call her.”
“Thanks Trudy I will.” Nydia pulled out her cell phone and began dialing as she walked away.
Jo was excited as she leaned against the rail of the veranda outside the restaurant waiting for Nydia. The Bistro was one of the more upscale places in town. Jo wanted to impress, and this place would indeed do that. She was eager to try the French country cuisine and wine, almost as much as the company.
Jo's deep purple polo shirt and beige chinos set off her dark hair and pale blue eyes. Jo turned around as she heard a car pull into the gravel driveway. She right away recognized Nydia's car. She watched Nydia exit the car and was rewarded with a vision that stopped her heart for a beat and took her breathe away. “Damn,” she said.
Jo could only assume Nydia had gone home before arriving. She wore a pastel, floral print sundress with low slung, heeled sandals. Her hair was up in a loose upsweep style. Around her neck, Nydia wore an emerald pendant necklace, which Jo could already tell set off her eyes. To finish off the look were matching earrings.
Jo brushed off her shirt and checked the crease in her pants without even thinking. She attempted to get her breathing back under control as Nydia drew up next to her. Jo looked around with caution before moving closer.
“I hope I haven't kept you waiting.” Nydia said.
Jo leaned down and placed a light kiss on Nydia's cheek. “Not really. But it was certainly worth it. You look beautiful tonight.”
Nydia blushed and looked down at her shoes. Jo thought her demeanor was adorable.
Jo held out her hand. “Shall we go inside, lovely lady?” Jo smiled as she watched Nydia blush again. “Blushing looks cute on you. I may have to make it happen more often.” Jo said with a large smile.
Nydia slapped her with a gentle touch on the arm. “Stop it and behave or no dessert for you.”
“And miss out on that? No way. I'll be good.”
“We'll see.” Nydia said. “Come on, I've been looking forward to this ever since I called you. I've never had a chance to eat here and I hear the food is wonderful.”
“You've been here before?”
“Yeah, my sister and I brought my mother here for Mother's Day. It was great.”
Jo noticed a sad look come across Nydia's eyes. The sparkle that was there a minute ago was gone. “Are you okay, honey. You didn't think I'd brought an ex here did you?”
“No, nothing like that. I was just thinking how sweet it was for you and your family to be able to do something like that.”
Before Jo could take the conversation further, the hostess approached them. “Hi and welcome to the Bistro Restaurant and Vineyard, do you have a reservation?”
“Yes, Jo Powers, for two.”
The woman looked down at her book on the table by the door and looked back up at Jo. “Here you are. Your table is ready, if you will just follow me, please.” She said as she picked up two menus.
The hostess sat them by the window with a view overlooking the vineyard. The sun was setting over the fields of grape vines, coloring the sky a magnificent pink and purple on a blue background.
Jo held out Nydia's chair for her and took the seat next to her. As soon as she was settled she reached over and placed her hand over Nydia's as it rested on the table.
Before Jo had a chance to ask what was on her mind Nydia asked, “So, tell me about your family. You sound very close to each other.”
Jo let herself be distracted. “We are. My mother and sister mean the world to me. I would say they come first in my life, even above my job, if you can believe that.”
“Wow. That is saying a great deal. I know how much your work means to you.”
“Yeah, I feel very satisfied with my work, especially now working on this Unit.”
“Ugh, I wish I could feel that way about my job. Just now it seems like more trouble than it's worth. I spend more time dealing with paperwork and politics, than I do with patients.” Nydia said, as she perused the menu. “Then it seems like more than half the people I treat for domestic violence go back to their attackers. I don't see much point to it all nowadays.”
“I know you're right, many do go back, but there are the ones that don't that you have to consider. Those are the ones I do the job for. To be able to get a single woman or child out of that kind of violent, hate-filled environment means everything.”
“Maybe, I'm just not so sure I agree with that anymore. Okay, change of subject. We're supposed to be having a good time tonight, not being maudlin. Tell me about your family, I want to know all about them.”
Before Jo had a chance to get started, the waiter came over to take their orders.
After they ordered Jo said, “Well my family is definitely important to me.”
“That must be a great feeling,” Nydia said.
Jo thought she detected a slight wistful tone in Nydia's voice. Jo reached across the table and took her hand, knowing that the intimate setting wouldn't draw attention to them. “Yeah it is. I don't know what you have been through to make you so sad, but I'm here to listen whenever you want to share.”
Nydia bent her head down and withdrew her hand. “I know. I'm just not ready. I'm sorry, Jo.”
“Nothing to be sorry about Nydia. You'll share when you can.”
Looking back up Jo saw Nydia's smile return making Jo's own heart feel lighter.
“Thank you for understanding,” Nydia said.
“So tell me about them, your family.”
“Well, it's just my mother, Jackie, and sister Elly. My mother works as a waitress downtown and Elly is a nurse, at your hospital, as a matter of fact. She works in the post-op center.” Jo said.
“Elly, Elly Powers, I know her. I've run into to her a bunch of times checking up on patients. Nice woman. She always seems to care about her patients. You know now that you mention it I can see the resemblance.”
“Yeah, fortunately we both take after my mother.”
“Why do you say luckily?” Nydia said.
“Dad was such a shit, pardon my language, that I don't know what mom would have done if either of us looked like him. I'm sure it would have been hard on her after all she had been through.”
“How old were you when they split up?”
“Thirteen. Elly was only nine then, but old enough to know what was going on. I would say I do what I do to help kids like we were. I remember the police woman who came to the house that last night being so nice to us and she made us feel safe until we got located into the shelter.” Jo said.
“That's great you had someone watching over you.”
“Yeah, it was. I always remember her. She's still on the force. Her name is Rose Cutler. I stop by and say ‘Hello' every once in a while.”
“So what are your mother and sister like?” Nydia asked.
“Mom's great, she waitresses down at the TRP restaurant. That's how she supported us all those years, waitressing. Now she works in one of the premier places in town. The work is hard but mom loves people. It's a trade off for her. She is tough as nails. Won't take crap from anyone. Of course, she wasn't always like that. However, somewhere along the way she changed. She went from meek to strong willed very fast once we left my father. I guess, looking back, she had to change. Mom had two kids to take care of in a bad situation. Don't get me wrong, she still has a soft side. Most of the neighborhood kids practically lived at our place once we found a house. Mom was notorious for her oatmeal cookies and great sense of humor.”
“Wow, she sounds great.” Nydia said in a tone Jo couldn't decipher.
“I think she is, but I'm a bit biased.” Jo said with a broad smile. “The same with my sister, Elly, she's great.”
“How so?” Nydia asked as she grinned at Jo's exuberance.
“She has a great sense of humor to start with, Very dry and witty. She can make anyone laugh. Elly says it's good for the soul. She's very passionate about her work. Her patient's mean the world to her. Elly works almost as many hours as I do, but she relishes every moment of it, it seems. Her confidence level is through the roof, but she's not over assertive. It's a nice balance. She's a great and loyal friend. God that made her sound like a dog, but it's true. She would cut off an arm if you needed it.”
“She sounds amazing, just like you.”
Jo felt her ears heating up and knew her face was in all likelihood turning a nice shade of red. “Thank you, but there's nothing amazing about me. I'm just a lowly cop.”
“No your not. I happen to think you are one of the most amazing people I know. So stop blushing and just accept it as truth.”
Jo had never been one for compliments, but looking into Nydia's eyes for a moment she in fact believed them in her heart. Around the lump in her throat she said a quiet “Thank you.”
“My pleasure. Always. I reap the benefits of your amazingness.” Nydia said with a grin.
Another blush graced her face as Jo said, “You're crazy, but I'll keep you anyway.”
“'Keep' me. How generous of you. Maybe I should rethink this whole thing.”
At the mention of this, Jo felt her chest tighten. In a small voice she said, “Tell me you're kidding, please.”
As if realizing what she said hurt Jo, Nydia said, “Oh, honey, of course I'm just kidding.”
Jo let out a breath she didn't even realize she had been holding. “I can't wait for you to meet my family. They'll love you.”
Jo noticed Nydia all of a sudden avoided eye contact with her at that statement. Believing it was just nerves on Nydia's part, she reassured her. “You'll be fine, don't worry. They aren't that scary.”
“No it's not that at all.”
“Then what is it.”
At that moment, the food began arriving. Nydia began commenting on the food, quickly changing the subject Jo noticed. She decided to let the topic go for now.
The rest of the evening went perfectly in Jo's mind. The food was great, as was the company and conversation. Jo found Nydia easy to talk to and a great conversationalist. They had covered topics from work to politics, and several others. Though Jo did notice Nydia never mentioned her own family. After the incident on their last date Jo knew she couldn't push the topic, and she didn't want to spoil the evening for Nydia by bringing up unpleasant issues. She'll tell me when she's ready, Jo thought.
Now the two stood outside Nydia's door. Jo was nervous all of the sudden. Her hands began to sweat and she rubbed them on her jeans for a second to try to get them under control.
“So I guess I'll say good night.” Jo said, though she really didn't want the night to end. For her it had been perfect. She just hoped Nydia felt close to the same.
Nydia took one of Jo's hands in hers and looked up into Jo's eyes.
Her eyes are darting back and forth as if she is nervous about something , Jo thought.
“Would you like to come in, maybe have some coffee.”
“Are you sure? It's getting kind of late. Don't you have to work in the morning?” Turning down Nydia's offer was the last thing Jo wanted to do, but she knew Nydia's schedule was a hard one.
“I don't have to be in until ten o'clock in the morning. Please?” Nydia asked with a tenderness in her countenance shining through her smile and her deep green eyes.
“How could I deny you anything when you look at me this way? Sure, I'll come in.” Jo said with a broad, yet soft smile. The corners of her mouth lifted even higher as Nydia's own broadened at the acquiescence.
Nydia opened the door and turned on the lights. “Would you like some coffee?”
“Yeah, that would be fine. Just black.”
“Okay. Have a seat on the couch while I get it. Shouldn't take more than a minute or two.”
“Sure you don't need a hand?” Jo asked, not wanting to be out of Nydia's company.
“No, sit, relax. I'll be right back, I promise.”
Jo noticed a copy of the latest National Geographic on the table and picked it up. She had only glanced through a few pages when Nydia returned with two cups of coffee.
Jo placed the magazine back down and took one of the mugs.
Nydia sat down next to her. Jo noticed Nydia sat so close their thighs touched along their length. Jo felt her heart rate speed up and her breathing hitch for a moment at the mere touch. Jo wasn't certain Nydia was aware of it until she felt Nydia place her hand on Jo's leg.
“I had a wonderful time tonight, Jo.”
“So did I.”
Jo looked deep into Nydia's eyes for a few moments. Then she leaned down and placed a gentle kiss on the lips she had hungered for all evening. Jo began to pull away when she felt Nydia's hand go to the back of her head pulling her down in an invitation for more. Jo was more than happy with that idea. She leaned in again, only this time the kiss deepened.
Jo reveled in the play of their lips against each other. The softness of Nydia's lips was like velvet. She felt the burning desire to taste what lay beyond. Jo ran the tip of her tongue along Nydia's bottom lip, and was rewarded with a deep inviting moan and entered into the warm welcoming bastion beyond. As soon as their tongues began the sensual dance Jo felt a clenching of her sex and dampness begin to build.
They broke apart. Each taking in ragged breaths. Jo looked deep into Nydia's eyes and gently laid her hands along the sides of Nydia's face in a caress, and said, “What you do to me with just one kiss is indescribable.”
“I could say the same. I've never felt that with anyone before.”
Jo smiled, the corners of her mouth coming up high and with a tone of pride in her voice said, “Really?”
Nydia let out a chuckle, “Yes, really.”
Jo ran the pads of her thumb along Nydia's cheek, “I want more,” she said, bending her head down to take whatever Nydia offered her.
The second kiss was as passionate, if not more so than the first. Gone was any uncertainty on Jo's part. She was confident in her feelings for Nydia. Deep down she knew this was more than anything she had ever had before. This was love.
Jo felt a wide expanse of hot skin under her hands. At some point Jo removed the straps of Nydia's dress without realizing it and was now caressing her shoulders. The moans and sighs she heard coming from Nydia only encouraged her more. She brought her hand around to the front and cup one of Nydia's breasts. Jo began massaging it through Nydia's dress. She was surprised to realize Nydia was not wearing a bra.
Nydia broke off the kiss and moaned, “God, this feels amazing.”
Jo continued her actions as Nydia began placing searing kisses along Jo's neck. “I want you so bad, Nydia. Please.”
Nydia took a deep breath and pulled away from the feast before her. Nydia shook her head. “I want you just as bad, but we can't.”
“Why not, you must sense it too? We were made for this.”
At Jo's declaration, Nydia pulled back more and looked at Jo. Jo saw confusion in her eyes. “We can't because I don't know what ‘this' is. This whole thing. Us. Is so new to me. The feelings I have for you I've never felt before, but I don't know what they mean.”
Jo was hurt, not by what Nydia said, but at the realization that Nydia didn't know that their being together was meant to be. Jo saw it as destiny. Apparently, Nydia didn't feel the same way, or wouldn't allow herself to believe it. Jo got some control over her body and emotions. “It's okay, we can take this as slow as you want. I'm not going anywhere.” She said in hopes it would reassure Nydia and allow her time to consider what Jo knew they had together. She meant it from the depth of her soul. She wasn't leaving Nydia for the world.
“Thank you for understanding.”
“I should go now. Thanks for the coffee.”
“I'll say you're welcome, even though you never got the chance to drink it. I'm sorry, Jo.”
“Nothing to be sorry for. Like I said I'll be here when you're ready. As a matter of fact why don't we make plans for next Friday night. We could go down by the river. There is an awesome restaurant I would like to take you to.”
“Sounds heavenly. I can't wait.”
“Okay, I'm sure I'll be talking to you tomorrow, so I'll say ‘goodnight.'”. Jo leaned down and placed a chaste kiss on Nydia's lips.
“I'll talk to you tomorrow. I look forward to it.” She said as she touched her lips.
Jo didn't think Nydia even realized she made the gesture, but she found it sensual as hell.“I better go now. Take care of yourself Nydia. I had a wonderful evening.” Jo turned and walked towards her car, not trusting herself if she stayed any longer. As she got in her car she looked back and saw Nydia still standing on the porch.
To Be Continued
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