Something to be Thankful For

Part VII

By Carrie Carr

Disclaimers: Yadda, yadda, yadda. Short story - getting longer. Nothing else to report. These characters are still mine - I don't play well with others, so please don't try to steal them or my warped ideas (like you would, anyway <G>).

Again, there is a theme of two women who like each other - we may even get the "L" word used, you never know (depends on them, not me <g>). There are a few naughty words, and other than the quick peek that Randi got earlier, there's no nudity. I'm still disclaiming the nasty relatives, too. If any of them recognize themselves, it's not my fault.

All comments, suggestions, or just notes to say hello can be directed to -

As always, my writing and my life are dedicated to my AJ, the brightest star in my universe.

Copyright January 2002 by Carrie Carr

Chapter 17

"Hold on, I'm coming," Randi yelled at the door. She had spent over two hours on the phone with Kay the night before and her eyes still hurt from crying after hanging up. I really need to get a grip on myself, she chastised, rubbing her face and opening the door. "Oh. Hi."

Patricia and Samuel Meyers stood in the doorway, their happy smiles fading when they looked at their daughter. "Are you feeling ill, Randi?" Patricia asked, pushing her way inside the apartment. She reached up to touch her daughter's forehead, but her hand was batted away.

"I'm fine, Mom." Randi waited until her father was inside before she closed the door and looked at them both. "You're a bit early, aren't you? It's barely past noon."

"We decided to get an early start. And by the looks of things, it was a good idea." Patricia bent down to pick up a jumping Spike. "Hello there, handsome. Is she treating you all right?"

Randi took the suitcase from her father's hand. "Here, let me get that. I thought I'd put you in the master bedroom, and I'll take the guestroom for tonight. All I need to do is put clean sheets on your bed." She led him down the hallway, while her mother stayed behind and fussed over Spike.

"I hate to think we're taking your bed," Samuel argued.

"No, that's okay, Dad. Really." Randi didn't want to admit that she didn't sleep in her own bed last night. She could still detect Kay's scent on the guest room sheets and couldn't bring herself to leave the smaller bed.

Samuel glanced into the guestroom and noticed the unmade bed. Uh-huh. She's got it bad, all right. I just hope we can talk some sense into her.

"I'll get the sheets taken care of in a little while," Randi explained. She placed the suitcase on an empty chair and turned around to look at her father. "I'm really glad you're here, Dad."

He crossed the room and took Randi into his arms. "I'm glad we are too, sweetheart." Samuel's heart broke at the sobs that wracked his daughter's body. He continued to stand and hold her until she got herself back under control.

"I'm sorry. It's just been a real rotten couple of days," Randi apologized. She wiped her face with the heel of one hand and took a deep breath.

"Did you ever talk to Kay?" He was afraid that the younger woman had dumped his daughter and broken her heart. No, I don't think she would have done that. I could have sworn she felt something for Randi, too.

Randi shook her head. "No, I didn't."

Patricia stood in the doorway holding Spike in her arms. "Well, why on earth not? That poor girl is probably just as miserable as you are."

"You don't understand, Mom. Things are--"

"Complicated. Yes, you've told me that several times, Randi." Patricia walked into the room and handed Spike to Samuel, who took the dog and the hint, leaving the room. "Sit down, Randi."

Uh-oh. Why do I feel like I'm about to get into trouble? "But--"

"Don't 'but' me, young lady. Now sit down and shut up."

"Yes, ma'am." Randi dropped down onto the bed. Might as well let her get it over with. Lord knows I won't have any peace until she speaks her mind.

Patricia sat down next to her daughter and grasped one of Randi's hands. "Now you know we don't like to interfere in our children's lives," she started, but stopped when an unbelieving snort came out of Randi. She used her spare hand to lightly slap a denim-covered thigh. "Hush. Now, where was I?"

"Not interfering," Randi mumbled sarcastically.

"Right. I know we don't talk about your, um, lifestyle much," Patricia admitted, "but just because I don't exactly understand it, doesn't mean I don't care or love you."

A small smile broke out on Randi's face. "I know, Mom. You and Dad were both a lot better about it than I thought, to tell you the truth."

"Really? How so, honey?"

Why are we getting into this discussion now? I've been out to my parent's for years, and they've never asked. Oh, well. In for a penny…"Well, considering Dad always referred to homosexuals as 'those fruits' or 'fags', I was really scared that when you found out I was gay, you'd disown me."

"Disown you? Why would we do such a thing?" Patricia asked, outraged. "I'll admit it took a while for us to come to terms with it and to stop blaming ourselves, but we love you. How could you even think that we'd do that?"

"It's happened to families closer than ours," Randi explained patiently. "I'd heard all sorts of horror stories about how kids were getting disowned, or beaten by their 'loving' family after telling them they were gay." She looked up into her mother's upset face. "And, as much as I love Dad, sometimes his Texas 'good-old-boy' attitude scared me to death."

Patricia hugged her daughter. "He's not the most progressive man around, but he loves you, dear. All we both want is for our children to be happy, no matter what brings that happiness about."

"I realize that, now," Randi sniffled, fighting back more tears. When am I going to stop crying like a damned baby? This is getting ridiculous.

"Now, back to what I started to say earlier," her mother chided gently. "Why won't you tell that sweet girl how you feel about her? Do you like being so miserable?"

Releasing her hold on her mother, Randi dropped back onto the bed and covered her eyes with her arm. "Kay's a very independent woman, Mom. She has a life in Woodbridge, and just started a new job yesterday. I have a job here with several people depending on me for their livelihood. Neither one of us can just pick up and move on a whim."

"Is that what this is all about? Some warped sense of duty?" The older woman reached over and pushed Randi's arm away from her face. "Do you think that either one of you can be satisfied with a long-distance relationship? If you truly care for Kay, then you're going to have to make some big decisions, Randi."

"I know that, Mom. But it's--"

"If you say complicated one more time, I'm going to paddle your behind," Patricia warned. "Do me a favor, please?"

Randi sat up and wiped at her face. "What?"

Taking both of Randi's hands in hers, Patricia waited until she had her daughter's undivided attention. "Stop and think about how you feel about her, and what she means to you. You might also want to consider how you'd feel if she found someone else, because you were too damned busy being noble."

"I'm not--"

"Hush. Just take a while and think about what makes you happy, Randi. That's all I ask of you."

She's right. I've got some serious thinking to do. "Thanks, Mom. I will." Randi pulled her mother to her and hugged the older woman. "I love you."

"I love you too, stubborn kid of mine," Patricia teased. "Now, let's go see how much trouble your dad and Spike got into while we were in here."


Another pile of papers was dropped onto her desk and Kay looked up to see an apologetic Richard standing nearby. "Gee, thanks."

"I'm sorry, Kay. I'll find someway of making it up to you," he promised.

She laughed. "No, that's all right. I just was hoping to get done fairly early tonight."

"Hot date?" Richard queried. He noticed that she kept no personal pictures on her desk, and whenever he'd catch her in the break room, she never spoke of anyone.

"Not exactly. I'm just expecting a long-distance call tonight and wanted to get home and get a few things done, first." She hated to think what Randi's phone bill was going to look like. The veterinarian would call her every evening, and they'd sometimes spend several hours talking on the phone.

Richard nodding understandingly. "I see. Well, I won't keep you, then." He waved and wandered off, humming to himself.

A dark head poked over Kay's cubicle wall. "Oh, good. You've got the next batch already." Lucy Whitington was the young woman's immediate supervisor, and couldn't believe how quickly Kay had caught on to their system. Married with four children, the forty-two year old woman always looked harried, and rarely stopped for more than a moment. "Wednesday night is Ladies Night at Larson's, and a bunch of us are going to stop by for a quick drink tonight. Do you want to join us?"

Kay shook her head. "No, thank you. I can't."

Skirting around the wall, Lucy pushed some papers out of the way and sat down on the edge of Kay's desk. "Can I tell you something, Kay?"

"Sure. What's the problem?"

"Look. Some of the women in the office have been talking. They say you think you're better than anyone else, and that you're Richard's little pet. I was hoping you'd come with us and show them what I already know - that you're a good person." Lucy's dark eyes softened. She really liked Kay, and wanted her to succeed. "Just come with us for one drink, then I'll take you home. Please?"

What could it hurt? I should still get back in plenty of time to talk to Randi. "All right. That sounds like fun," Kay agreed. "But I do have to be home pretty early tonight, if that's okay."

Lucy smiled widely. "Not a problem at all. I have to get home to the brood, too. But we like to go out as a group every now and then to keep things loose here at work." She tapped the desk and stood up. "You're going to have a great time, Kay. I guarantee it."

"I'm looking forward to it," Kay told the retreating woman. She picked up the phone and dialed a number from memory.


"Hi, Nancy."

A heavy sigh from the other end of the line expressed Nancy's feelings. "What is it, Katherine? Judge Judy comes on in five minutes, and I haven't seen it before."

What a lazy cow. "I just wanted to let you know that I won't need a ride home from work tonight, that's all. So you can go back to your stupid television show," Kay snapped, practically slamming down the receiver. "I hope it gets preempted," she grumbled.


"Randi? There's a call for you on line two," Christina announced, as the vet walked by her desk. Before she could tell Randi who it was, the younger woman grabbed the phone.


"Dr. Meyers? This is Anne Crawford. I had spoken to you yesterday about my St. Bernard, Clarice?"

Shaking off her pang of disappointment that the caller wasn't Kay, Randi sat down on the edge of Christina's desk. "Yes, Ms. Crawford, I remember you. Didn't Dr. Wilde take care of Clarice last week?" She gratefully accepted the file from the secretary, quickly glancing through it. "It was just a routine spaying, wasn't it?"

"Yes, it was. But poor Clarice has been getting more and more listless, and just a few moments ago she started throwing up blood. I’m terribly worried about her." The woman's voice was steady, but she did sound upset. "And frankly, I didn't want to talk to that other doctor. He has ignored my calls the last couple of days."

Shit. "Okay. Can you get Clarice up here right away?" Randi exchanged worried glances with the receptionist, who had overheard the entire conversation.

"No, I can't. All I have is a motorcycle, and I can't find anyone that has a car big enough for her. What am I going to do?"

Randi bit her lip in concentration. Think. She looked over at the closed door of Dr. Wilde, and grinned. "Do we have your correct address?"

The woman paused for a moment. "I believe so. Seventeen thirty-six Sycamore. Why?"

"Because I'm on my way over with a nice big car," Randi assured her. "It should only take about ten minutes for me to get there."

"Bless you, Dr. Meyers. We'll be waiting for you." Ms. Crawford hung up the phone in relief.

Christina shook her head. "You're not going to do what I think you are, are you?" She watched as Randi walked over to the coat rack and searched Dr. Wilde's coat pockets. "If he finds out--"

"I don't have time to mess with him, Christina. It may already be too late for that poor dog." Randi pulled the keys out and waved them around. "I'll handle Dr. Asshole when I return." She rushed from the clinic without looking back.


Pulling up in front of a modest home, Randi shook her head. What in the hell was I thinking? I must be losing my mind. "Maybe the lack of sleep these past few days is starting to wear on me," she mumbled as she walked up the steps. Before she reached the door, it opened and a small dark-haired woman greeted her.

"Dr. Meyers?" she asked, looking at Randi. Her blue eyes were red-rimmed, and her shoulder-length brown hair was in disarray. "Thank you so much for coming." She held the door open and ushered the vet into the home.

Randi looked around as she followed the petite woman through the house. The woman looked to be in her late twenties, and the jeans and sweatshirt she wore had several dark stains on them. Probably the dog's blood, poor woman. I hope we can save her. She was led into a kitchen, where the St. Bernard lay panting in one corner on top of a soiled blanket.

"Here she is, doctor," Mrs. Crawford announced unnecessarily. "Clarice, sweetie. This nice lady is going to help you," she told the dog in a soft voice.

As Randi edged closer, baleful brown eyes tracked to her and the dog whined. "I know, girl. Just hang on." She reached down and placed her hand gently near the sutures, feeling the heat emanating from the spot. The hair was already starting to grow back where the incision had been made, and the stitches looked fine. Has to be some sort of internal bleeding. She turned to look at the woman. "We're going to have to take her in."

"How are we going to do that? My brother helped me the last time. I don't think I'm strong enough to slide her across the floor, much less pick her up."

The vet eyed the other woman. She's smaller than Kay, and would probably have trouble picking up Spike. How do I get myself into these things? "Okay, what we're going to have to do is use the blanket as a type of stretcher. Do you think you can manage?"

"I'll try," the woman agreed.


Kay looked around as she followed Lucy and some of the other women into the bar. Round tables surrounded by soft leather chairs filled the main room and a small dance floor took up a tiny amount of one corner. A long bar with mirrors behind it ran along the opposite wall, and there were only two or three tables being used. Nice. Not at all like I expected. She followed the women to the corner away from the dance floor, where they pushed several of the tables together.

"So," one of the women across from Kay addressed her, "what happened to your leg?"

Nosy. Now, what was her name again? Oh, yeah. "I took a tumble down a hill and broke it. Irma, wasn't it?" Kay responded sweetly.

The woman nodded. "Yeah. Do you have a boyfriend?" She looked around the table, as if to get up the nerve to ask something else, but stayed silent.

Lucy walked up to the table with a tray of drinks before Kay could answer. "Irma, why don't you get your own life, so you'll quit worrying about everyone else's?" She handed Kay a glass of white wine.

"Thanks." Kay took the drink and placed it on the table, then looked across at Irma. "To answer your question, no, I don't have a boyfriend."

"Figures," Irma grumbled. She was about to make another snide comment when a large group of people came in from outside, and took up a couple of tables near the bar. One of them said something that caused several to laugh out loud, and another woman at Kay's table shook her head.

"That's the only bad thing about coming in here," she complained. "We have to put up with the likes of them." An older woman, she touched one side of her industrial-strength sprayed hair and glanced around the table. "It's getting so's a decent woman can't go out and have a little fun, without being harassed."

Irma laughed. "You've got to be kidding, Judy. None of those grease-monkeys will have a thing to do with your withered old ass, anyway." She tilted up her drink and drained the glass.

Looking over at the group that came in, Kay's eyes widened when she recognized one of the "grease monkeys". Just great. Why is it my luck never seems to change? She felt eyes on her and looked at Irma. "What?"

"Nothing. I was just wondering, since you don't have a boyfriend, do you have your sights set on Richard? After all, he does own the company. Be a nice way to get out of working, don't you think, ladies?" She looked around to see if the other women agreed, but no one else said a word. Glaring back at Kay, she snarled, "Well?"

"Shut up, Irma," Lucy snapped. "Leave the woman alone." She patted Kay on the hand. "Don't listen to her, honey. She's always cranky."

Mary, the quietest of the group, looked up at Lucy through her wire-framed glasses. Her dark curly hair framed her face, and she kept playing with the napkin her glass was sitting on. "He does seem to dote on her, Lucy. We've all seen it." She gave Kay an apologetic shrug. "No offense."

Unable to help herself, Kay laughed. "You think I'm after Richard?"

"Well, what do you expect us to think?" Judy asked. "We've seen how he acts around you. And we've never seen you with a boyfriend, or heard you speak of anyone else. You've got to admit, it does sound fishy."

Kay rubbed her forehead, feeling a familiar ache. These women are just like my aunt. Always seeing what they want to, and never listening to reason. "You've never heard me speak of a boyfriend because I don't have one," she tried to explain. She looked over at Lucy. "I'm really going to have to get home, if that's okay with you."

"Sure," the dark-haired woman agreed. "Let's go." She looked at the other women around the tables. "You should all make it a short night, ladies. Tomorrow's a work day."

"Yes, mother," Irma grumbled. She waved the waitress over and ordered another round of drinks.

As they worked their way through the maze of chairs, Kay tried to keep Lucy between her and the boisterous table, hoping that she wouldn't be spotted.

The two women were almost to Lucy's car when her cell phone rang. "Hold on." She dug it out of her purse and flipped it open. "Hello?" Listening for a moment, she shook her head. "No, you listen to me. You tell Cindy that if the dishes aren't done by the time I get home, her ass will be grounded for a week!"

Kay stood and tried to keep from listening to Lucy's conversation, when a tap on her shoulder caused her to turn around. "Oh. Hi."

"Hi there yourself, Katie. Didn't think I'd be seeing you so soon," Beth commented. She looked over at Lucy and frowned. "Got you another one, all ready? What ever happened to that obnoxious bitch with the Corvette?"

"Like it's any of your business, but Randi is back in Fort Worth," Kay explained. "And Lucy is just a co-worker. Several of us went out for a drink tonight, that's all."

Beth grabbed Kay by the arm and pulled her closer. "Quit being such a smartass, Katie. I care about you, and I don't want to see you hurt."

The smell of beer on her breath almost caused Kay to gag. "Let go of me, Beth." She was trying to twist away when Lucy turned around and saw the burly woman holding Kay by the arm.

"What the hell is going on here?"

"None of your damned business, lady. Katie and I are old friends." Beth squeezed Kay's arm until she cried out.

Lucy shook her head and waved her cell phone in the air. "I don't think so. Let her go, before I call the police."

"Tell her to get lost, or you'll both get hurt," Beth whispered angrily to Kay. She released the younger woman's arm and stepped back. "See? Just a misunderstanding, that's all."

Not convinced, Lucy flipped her phone open. "Get out of here."

The muscular woman glared at Lucy, but started to walk away. "I'll talk to you later, Katie," she called, before she stepped back into the bar.

"What was that all about?" Lucy asked, as she helped Kay get seated in her car. "How well did you know that drunken woman?"

Kay rubbed her arm where it had been grabbed. Going to have a bruise there, I bet. She sighed. "Too well, I'm afraid," she admitted. "Turn left at this light. I live a couple of miles past the cemetery," she directed.

"Okay." They drove along in silence for several minutes before Lucy's curiosity got the better of her. "Just how well is that?"

"What? Oh," Kay watched the passing scenery for a moment, then looked back over at the woman driving. "We lived together for several years. She's my ex-girlfriend."

Lucy was quiet for several minutes. When she was stopped by a red light, she turned in her seat to look at Kay. "Girlfriend? As in--"

"Lesbian," Kay supplied. "I'm gay."

"Oh." The light changed, and the car hurried down the road. "So, I guess that's why you're not interested in Richard, huh?"

Kay nodded. "Pretty much. Does it bother you?"

Thinking for a moment, Lucy frowned. "I'm not sure," she answered honestly. "I've never known a lesbian before."

"You probably have, they just didn’t tell you," Kay offered.

"Gee, that's a nice thing to know," the dark-haired woman spat sarcastically. "Were you ever going to tell us? Or were you just going to keep it a secret?"

"What does it matter? Why should I have told you?"

Lucy cut her eyes over at her passenger. "You just should have, that's all."

"Do you go around telling everyone that you meet that you're heterosexual?" Kay asked.

"Of course not!"

"Why not?"

"Because I don't have to," Lucy retorted.

Kay wasn't going to give up. "Why don't you?"

"Because they already know it, that's why." She turned the car onto the cemetery road and slowed down.

"Do they? Are you absolutely sure?" Kay pressed. "Or, do you just assume that because you're heterosexual, everyone you know, and all of your friends, have to be, too? Isn't that a little narrow-minded?" She looked up and pointed down the road. "My driveway is up there next to that mailbox."

Wordlessly, Lucy pulled her car into the graveled driveway. She stopped and put the vehicle in park, but wouldn't look at Kay.

"Thank you for the ride." Kay got out of the car and turned back before closing the door. "I'm still the same person, Lucy. Just think about that, all right?" Not getting an answer, she closed the car door and started for the porch. The vehicle didn't leave until she was inside the house, but Kay realized with a sad heart that she just lost another friend.


Exhausted, Randi walked out of the operating room and smiled at Ms. Crawford. Before she could speak to the woman, the door to Dr. Wilde's office opened and the furious man stepped in front of her.

"In my office at once, Doctor Meyers," he commanded in a cold tone.

Randi glared at him. "In a minute, Dr.--"

"Now!" he barked, then turned and stalked back to his office, slamming the door behind him.

Ignoring the man completely, Randi turned her attention back to Ms. Crawford. "Clarice came through just fine," she assured the woman, who hugged the vet in exuberance.

"Thank you so much, Dr. Meyers," she gushed. "I don't know what to say."

"It's all right," Randi affirmed, pulling back from the embrace. "I'm afraid it's going to take her a little longer to heal. I'd like to keep her here for a few days to keep a close eye on her."

Ms. Crawford nodded. "Yes, please. Whatever it takes." She touched the vet's arm. "I know you'll probably think I've lost my mind, acting like this for a silly animal. But, she was the last gift my father gave me before he passed away, and she means everything to me."

Randi nodded. "I completely understand." She gently disengaged the woman's hand from her arm. "There's going to be a significant scar, but barring any unforeseen complications, she should be good as new in a few weeks."

"Thank you again." The petite woman looked at the closed office door. "You're in a lot of trouble for what you did today, aren't you?"

"I could be," the vet admitted. "But don't worry about it."

A wicked smile covered the sweet woman's face. "I'm not, and neither should you."

"What do you mean?"

"This is that other doctor's clinic, isn't it? The name outside is the same as his," Ms. Crawford asked. At Randi's nod, she continued. "You just tell him my name, and what you did for me." She hugged the vet again, and turned to walk out the door. "I'm going to go make a few phone calls, Dr. Meyers. He's going to wish he never heard of me by the time I get through with him. Oh, and I'll be back a bit later to see Clarice, if it's okay."

"Uh, sure." Randi waved at the woman and looked over at Christina, who had a very large smile on her face. "What was that all about?"

The older woman shrugged her shoulders. "I’m sure I don't know, dear. Are you going home, now?"

"Not yet. I still have to listen to Dr. Asshole whine about something." Randi waved a hand and stepped into Dr. Wilde's office.

"Close the door," he ordered, leaning back in his chair.

Randi did as she was told, and leaned against the wood. "What is it that you want, Wilde? I was just on my way out."

"Truer words were never spoken, Dr. Meyers."

"What's that supposed to mean?" she asked, stepping further into the room until she was standing directly in front of the desk.

The smile that crossed his face was anything but friendly. "It means, that once and for all you've given me the perfect opportunity to get rid of you, and there's not a damned thing you can do about it." Dr. Wilde placed his elbows on the desk and rested his chin on his steepled fingers. "You're fired."

"Fired?" Randi laughed. "I pulled your sorry ass out of trouble, possibly saving you from an expensive lawsuit, and you're firing me? On what grounds?"

"Grand theft auto, for one. I'm still trying to decide whether or not to call the police and press charges. I have several witnesses."

Randi placed her hands on the desk and leaned forward. "I don't think anyone will testify to that, you pathetic asshole. As a matter of fact, my witnesses will testify that you offered me the use of your car."

He frowned. "So what? I still want you out of this clinic, Meyers. When I get through with you, there won't be a place in this entire state that you'll be able to work. Now get out of my sight!"

"Fine! But when you're up to your ears in patients, don't come crying to me to bail your worthless ass out again!" Randi turned from the room and slammed the door behind her. She ripped her jacket off the coat rack and slipped it on over her scrubs. "Goodbye, Christina. I'll be back later for my things." Another wave to Joyce, who had just stepped into the waiting room, and Randi walked out into the cool night air.


Chapter 18

Kay slammed the phone down in disgust. It was just after eight o'clock in the evening, and Randi wasn't answering her phone. The confrontation with Lucy had upset her more than she cared to admit. The most upsetting part of all was that she hadn't gotten home in time for the phone call from Randi, which she desperately needed.

Depressed, she got undressed and climbed into bed, hoping that Randi would call her soon. "Where are you?" she asked the empty room, tears slowly tracking down her face. When the phone rang, she almost broke her other leg scrambling to pick it up. "Hello?"

"Katie. It's me."

Slamming the phone down in disgust, she fell back against the bed. "What part of no doesn't she understand?" The shrill ring drowned out her thoughts. "Hello?"

"Please, don't hang up," Beth pleaded. "I just want to talk to you."

"I think we said all we needed to say to each other earlier, thank you very much." Kay was about to slam the phone down again when she heard sniffling on the other end of the line. "Beth?"

"I'm sorry, baby. I didn't mean to act like such a pain in the ass tonight. Are you all right?"

Kay frowned at the phone. This doesn't sound like Beth. I wonder what she's up to? "I'm fine, Beth. But I really don't have anything else to say to you." She heard what suspiciously sounded like crying. "Are you okay?"

"No, I'm not," Beth cried. "I need you, Katie. You don't know what I've been going through these past seven months - it's been hell without you."

"You should have thought of that before you started screwing around, Beth." Kay closed her eyes at the open weeping the other woman was doing. "Beth, stop it. Crying isn't going to help."

The older woman continued to cry. "I can't help it, Katie. You mean everything to me. I can't stand the thought of you with anyone else. Please, please, give me another chance."

"I can't, Beth. I don't love you," Kay argued gently. "You don't want someone who doesn't love you, do you?"

"Just give me a chance, baby. I can make you love me again, I know I can."

Ouch. How do I tell her the truth? Just spit it out, I guess. "Beth, I cared for you, really. But I never really was in love with you. I'm sorry."

The crying stopped. "What do you mean, you were never in love with me? Of course you were - we were together for too many years."

"No, I wasn't. I cared for you, but it wasn't love." Kay looked at the clock. I need to try and call Randi again. She's probably worried sick. "Beth, hang up the phone. We can talk again when you're not drunk."

"I'm not drunk," Beth argued, then belched. "I've had a couple of beers, but I'm not drunk. Not really." She started to cry again. "And I'm not hanging up the phone until you tell me you love me, and that we'll get back together."


Oh, for God's sake. I don't need this tonight. "Beth, I'm never going to tell you either one of those things. Now hang up the phone, and get some rest. You'll feel better tomorrow."


"Please? I can't have my phone tied up all night." Kay could feel tears of frustration welling up in her eyes. First that fight with Lucy, and now this. I can't take much more. She held back a sob. I need Randi.

"Tell me you lo-ove me," Beth sang.

"I'm not going to do that, Beth. Please hang up the phone." Kay continued to fight her tears. "Please."

Beth belched again. "I'll be back in a minute," she said, then set down her phone. The sound of a car door opening and closing could be heard.

Damn. She's on her stupid cell phone. She could be anywhere. "Beth? Are you there?" But all Kay could here were cars driving by and drunken laughter.


Randi paced the floor of the apartment, checking her watch. "I don't like this," she told Spike, who was sitting on the sofa watching her with thoughtful eyes. "What is going on? I always call at seven, and it's after ten, now. She can't be on the phone all this time." She had rushed home from her office after the vicious argument with Dr. Wilde, and still stalked around in her surgical scrubs.

With her nerves already shot from the confrontation, Randi continued to try and call Kay all evening with no success. She considered calling the police, but didn't think they'd agree that it was an emergency. Exhausted, she sat down on the sofa and pulled Spike into her lap. "Do you think I'm losing it, boy? I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation why her phone has been busy all night." She leaned back and closed her eyes, the day beginning to catch up to her.

Hours later, the feeling of being watched caused Randi to open her eyes. A familiar figure stood next to the sofa, his sad eyes focused intently on her. Randi wracked her brain to remember his name. "Jared? What are you doing here?"

"Kiki's so sad," he related, tears in his eyes. "She needs you."

"What do you mean?" Randi sat up and reached for him, but he backed away. "No, wait!" She fell back against the sofa. "Please, tell me, Jared. Is something wrong with Kay?"

"She needs you," he repeated.

Shit. Playing Twenty Questions with a boy who's been dead for five years isn't my idea of fun. "Okay, Jared. We've established that she needs me. But is she hurt? Is someone threatening her? What?"

He shook his head. "Kiki needs you. Her heart hurts."

"Her heart? Is she having heart problems, Jared?" When the boy started to fade away, she reached out for him again. "No, wait! Tell me, please! What's wrong with Kay?"

She needs you…

Waking up with a start, Randi blinked several times and looked around the dark living room. "Shit."

Spike woke up from his warm nest in her lap and looked up at her. He yawned and then dropped his head back down onto her legs.

"That was creepy," Randi told the dog, who continued to ignore her. "Was it a dream? It sure seemed real enough," she mumbled, standing up and bringing Spike with her.

After splashing water on her face, Randi glanced at the clock in the bedroom and saw that it was almost one o'clock in the morning. Concerned, she picked up the phone and hit the speed dial for Kay's again. The obnoxious tones made Randi slam it down again in disgust. "Still busy? What the hell is going on?"

Spike jumped up on the bed and barked.

"You think so too, huh?" Randi picked up the dog and carried him out of the room. "That's it, buddy. We're taking a road trip."


Pulling into the outskirts of Woodbridge, Randi rubbed her eyes and shook her head. "What the hell was I thinking? Driving halfway across Texas in the middle of the night, just because a phone was busy?" She looked down at Spike, who stretched and yawned. "Don't look at me like that. It was just as much your idea as it was mine." She drove the loop around the sleepy city and took the exit for the cemetery.

"I must be losing my mind, I've spent the last two hours talking to a dog." Since the Interstate was practically deserted, Randi enjoyed using the powerful engine to cut some time off her trip. She was quite thankful that the Highway Patrol had better things to do than run speed traps on the Interstate, although that wouldn't have stopped her from trying to get to Woodbridge as soon as she could.

The deserted road that led to Kay's house was so dark that she had to slow down in order to see, and she almost missed the familiar tow truck that was parked just this side of the entrance to Kay’s driveway. Randi reached across the seat and held Spike, slamming on the breaks. "Hold on, buddy. I need to check something out." She turned off the engine but left the lights on. "I'll be right back."

Walking up to the darkened cab, Randi pounded on the door. "Beth? Are you in there?" she yelled as she continued to beat her hand against the metal.

"Stop it," a pitiful moan begged from inside.

"Dammit, Beth! Open this goddamned door!" Randi continued to belt the door with her hand.


Randi jerked on the handle of the door and was startled when Beth came tumbling out on top of her. She lay on the blacktop of the road, squirming to shove the dead weight off. The heavy smell of stale beer almost made Randi sick. "Jesus! What the hell are you doing out here?"

Beth belched and swallowed the bile that rose from her throat. "You're in Worth Fort," she groaned. "How'd I get there?"

"Get off me, you drunken idiot," Randi complained, finally worming her way out from underneath the inebriated woman. She grabbed Beth by the front of her shirt and pulled her into a sitting position. "Now what the hell are you doing out here? Is Kay all right?"

"I just wanted her to love me," Beth whined. "That's all." She struggled to stand up, glaring at Randi. "But no, she wouldn't. It's all your fault, you bitch!" Beth screamed, running at Randi and swinging her arms.

Although she was tired, Randi had no problem avoiding Beth's pitiful attempts at a fight. When the drunken woman charged her again, Randi used her hands to push her into the side of the truck, causing Beth to fall to the ground and cry.

"You're a mean bitch," she moaned, holding her head in her hands. "Kay deserves better than you." Beth continued to cry as Randi helped her back into the truck. "I love her."

"So do I," Randi admitted to her quietly. "Now just lie down and sleep. You'll feel better when you wake up," she lied. Waiting until Beth did as she was asked, Randi reached into the ignition and removed the keys. She placed them on the back bumper of the truck. I'll call her office and tell the dispatcher where the keys are, after she's had time to sober up. No sense in taking any chances. She sat back down in the Corvette and looked over at Spike, who was standing on the windowsill of his side of the car, his small tail wriggling furiously. "You know where we are, don't you, Spike?" His whine caused Randi to smile for the first time that evening. "Come on, let's go check on Kay."

Pulling up to the dark house, Randi debated again on whether to knock on the door, or wait until daylight. "What do you think, buddy? Now, or wait?"

Spike looked at the house and barked. His tail continued to quiver, and he kept jumping from one foot to the other.

"I guess that's a now," she laughed. "Come on."

Randi stood at the front door with Spike squirming in her arms. She raised one shaky hand and firmly knocked on the door. Come on, Kay. Be home. Be okay. Please. She was about to knock again when the porch light lit up and almost blinded her. The front door swung open, causing the animal in her arms to bark again.

"Randi?" Kay gasped, dropping one of her crutches in shock. "Is it really you?" Only clad in a long tee shirt, she looked like she had just woken up. Which, considering the time, was highly likely.

"Uh, yeah. Are you all right? I got home a little late tonight, and didn't call when I was supposed to. Then, when I finally got home, I kept trying to call, and--"

Kay grabbed the babbling woman and pulled her inside. "Get in here, you nut!" Her other crutch fell to the floor as she wrapped her arms around the exhausted vet. "Oh, God. I'm so damned glad to see you," Kay cried, almost crushing Spike in the process. Both women laughed and Randi reached down to pick up the crutches.

Closing the door, the veterinarian put Spike on the floor and followed Kay over to the sofa. "I'm sorry to be barging in like this in the middle of the night, but I was worried," she explained.

"Is that dried blood?" Kay asked, touching the scrubs that Randi still wore. She shook her head at the sheepish expression. "It's not yours, is it?"

"Uh, no. I had an emergency surgery this afternoon. That's why I was late calling." Randi pulled Kay close to her and buried her face in the blond hair. "I really missed you."

"I missed you, too. This day has been awful." Kay wrapped her arms around the other woman and enjoyed the feeling of being in Randi's arms. "How did you know I needed you?"

Randi opened her eyes and frowned. "I'm not sure. It could have been a dream, or maybe a premonition." Or a little interference from a friend. "Can we talk about it more tomorrow? I'm really beat." After the adrenaline had worn off, Randi felt as if she had run a marathon - in mud. Her exhaustion was so complete, she felt as if she could fall asleep sitting up.

"That's a good idea. Tomorrow is soon enough," Kay agreed. She grabbed her crutches and stood. Reaching out, she smiled as Randi took her hand. "Come on. No more couch for you."

Suddenly awake, Randi blinked. "What? But--"

Kay laughed. "Don't look so scared, doc. Just come to bed with me. I'm not going to ravish you," she winked. "At least not until we can both enjoy it."

"Oh, boy," Randi muttered, a stupid smile on her face. She dutifully followed Kay into the bedroom and stood while the younger woman climbed into the bed and got comfortable.

"Well?" Kay patted the space beside her. "Take off your shoes and climb in. We'll worry about getting you something else to wear tomorrow."

Randi quickly shed her shoes and sat on the edge of the bed. "Kay, I--"

"Sssh. We'll talk tomorrow, okay?" Kay waited until Randi had crawled under the covers and then patted herself on the chest. "Nice soft pillow," she offered, wanting the chance to hold the vet in her arms all night. "I promise I don't snore."

"Oh, boy," Randi repeated, snuggling up beside the smaller woman. She dropped her head onto Kay's chest and rested her arm across the flat stomach. "Just let me know if I squash you."

Kay started playing with the dark hair. "No chance of that, honey. Now get some sleep." The soft snores that answered her caused a tender smile to etch its way onto Kay's face. "Goodnight, my hero." She kissed the top of the unruly locks and closed her eyes as well.

To be Continued in Part 8

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