I Know This Bar
By: Girl Bard
Please see Part 1 for disclaimer.
Many thanks to everyone who mailed me feedback! Keep it coming!
May 6, 2000.
I glance at my watch for the fortieth time in the past five minutes. 11:14am and Im anxiously awaiting Jaden. I wonder when shell get here. My mother sighs audibly from her spot near the television and I scowl behind her back. Shes not happy that Jaden is coming for a visit, so I promised her that she could meet Jaden this morning. I cant decide if thats a good idea or a really bad one. My mother doesnt understand why I would want to spend valuable time with some girl instead of Scott, and Im not exactly in the place to tell her as of right now.
"Where are you going?" My mother asks, her eyes not leaving the television screen. Lydia is gone with her friends for the day and my father, as usual, is nowhere to be found.
"Im not sure mom, but Jaden will be here until Friday so Ill probably be spending a lot of time with her, showing her around. I wont be home much this week."
She mutters under her breath, and I know the line of questioning thats coming next. "Why is she staying so long?" She inquires, finally turning her brown-eyed accusatory glare to me.
I fidget under her stare and make the decision to lie. "Shes here on business, and doesnt know anybody else so I volunteered to be a tour guide. Theres so much to see here!" I add, feigning excitement. Northern Ohio sucks, to say the least, but there is a lot of touristy things to do. This seems to pacify my mother and I breathe a sigh of relief as I turn back towards the window.
After what seems like ages Jadens rental car, which turns out to be a Ford Explorer at no surprise to myself, pulls in the driveway. I bolt outside and hug her tightly before she has a chance to get out of the car. Quickly, before my mother can spy from inside I pull away and look at Jaden.
She looks incredible. Simply beautiful, her golden skin darkened from Florida sun and her raven-colored hair highlighted with streaks of copper and red from the sun. Shes wearing chinos and a short-sleeved red buttoned down shirt open over a white tank top and white keds. She looks so casual and elegant at the same time.
"You look gorgeous." I say, my voice low and admiring. "I cant believe youre here!" I tell her as I pull her towards my house. "Lets get this over with!"
My mother is waiting inside as Jaden and I enter. I stand uncomfortably between them, noting how my mother is almost as tall as Jaden. I clear my throat, about to introduce them when my mother interrupts.
"Well Grace, arent you going to introduce me to your friend?" My mother asks as she smiles her very large, lipstick-encased fake smile.
"Mom, this is Jaden. Jaden, this is my mother, Debbie." My mother extends her well-manicured hand and Jaden shakes it.
"A pleasure to meet you Mrs. McKenzie. Grace has told me a lot about you." Jaden smiles, practically oozing charm. My mother smiles tersely, and releases Jadens hand.
"Well, she hasnt told me anything about you." My mother coldly replies, and I resist the urge to put my head in my hands and scream. My mother is a work of art, to say the least. I expect Jaden to get cold and bitchy, but she surprises me and does the complete opposite. She smiles at my mother, who doesnt really know what to say next.
"What would you like to know? Shall we sit down?" Jaden asks, and sits down on the couch before my mother can respond. Not to be outdone, my mother sits on the chair opposite from the couch and glares at me. I quickly sit on the couch next to Jaden.
"Where are you from?" My mother starts. Jaden nods and answers her question.
"Im from northern Massachusetts, but Ive lived in many different places. I now reside in Beverly, which is about an hour north of Boston and close to where I grew up." Jaden is poised and well spoken, and I can tell my mother is slowly transcending from being really pissed-off to impressed by Jadens commanding presence.
"Well, that sounds lovely. What kind of work do you do?" My mother continues, pausing to add "Where are my manners, would you like a cup of coffee or tea?" My mother smiles, and Jaden politely declines.
"I work in law enforcement. I train horses to be used in police work. I started out in the force working as a mounted policewoman, and now along with that I travel to different states implementing mounted police forces." Jaden finishes, and my mother ohhs and ahhs, adding how interesting that is. A part of me is proud of Jaden, knowing how difficult it is for her to open to people. Another part of me is just fuming; furious that Jaden would open up to my mother yet is so fickle with what information she shares with me. I mean, for Goddess sake, Ive made out with her, and carried out correspondence for almost a year now and I still dont know what her favorite color is.
"Mom, we really should get going, daylights wasting. Ill be home later tonight, okay?" I stand up and head for the door. Jaden follows me as well as my mother. I open the door, scooping Bean up and handing her to my mother. My mother sighs as I hand her the dog, pretending like the last thing on earth she wants to do is puppy sit. I know its just an act; she seems to like Bean more than she does me!
"It was a pleasure to meet you Mrs. McKenzie. Thank you for allowing me into your beautiful home." Jaden smiles a dazzling smile and my mother immediately falls under her spell. I resist the urge to puke all over my new shoes as my mother coos to her.
"Jaden, you are lovely young woman. I am so glad my daughter has such a responsible and mature friend. And please, call me Debbie." My mother smiles tightly at me while saying; "Grace, dont forget, you promised to watch your sister tomorrow night so I can go out with my friends." I nod and say goodbye, walking out the door. Jaden says goodbye and follows me. I say nothing as I walk to the Explorer and get in. Jaden knows something is the matter but says nothing as she starts the car.
"Where are we going Grace?" Jaden asks, her voice small and tight.
"I dont know. Why dont you tell me?" I answer bitterly, and instantly regret my tone. I dont need to look over at Jaden to see the hurt look in her eyes. "Just drive Jaden, I need to get away from here."
She backs out of the driveway and heads towards town. My town isnt exactly large and its pretty easy to find your way around. Knowing Jaden is a cop, and the kind of person she is, I bet shes already figured her way around here.
I need to talk to her, and tell her how Im feeling. I just wish I knew how I was feeling. Im upset that Jaden felt like she could tell things to my mother that she wasnt comfortable telling me. I guess I should just say that. But of course, the way you want to say things is never quite the way they come out.
"Dont you trust me?" I ask her softly, now ready to break the silence. "Why would you tell my mother things that you couldnt tell me for months?"
"Oh Grace, of course I trust you. This has nothing to do with trust." Her voice is tinged with sadness.
"What is it about then? When am I going to know who you are?" I struggle to keep my tone low and not get more upset. This is so not how I want to spend our first day together.
"Gracie, you do know who I am. I know you dont think you do, but you know me more than anyone else ever has." She takes her eyes from the road for a split second and glances at me. Her eyes are the color of a river frozen with ice and I can see tears threatening to spill. I dont want her to cry, I dont want to fight anymore.
I place my hand on her thigh, smiling when she drops one of her hands from the wheel to hold mine softly. "I believe you. Im sorry I got upset, the last thing I want to do is fight with you. Im so glad youre here, and Ive been dreaming of seeing you for months."
She smiles and squeezes my hand. "Jaden, I dont think you know how much it means to me that you flew here before going home. I know how long youve been away and I know how homesick you are."
The smile leaves her face and she slowly shakes her head. "Im not homesick anymore." She adds softly.
We drive in silence for a few minutes after our impromptu heart to heart. Not wanting to spend our day driving around aimlessly, I decide to bounce some ideas off of Jaden about what to do with her time here.
"What do you like to do?" I ask her, relieved to be talking normally to each other again.
She smiles a seductive smile. "I think you know the answer to that." I blush and clear my throat.
"Besides that, Miss hornball, I mean what do you want to do this week?"
"Whats a hornball?" She asks, her eyebrow rising in question.
I sigh. "Jaden, if you have to ask .."
She interrupts me. "I think I can figure it out." "And to answer your question, I like to do just about everything. Im sure you have some ideas." She finishes teasingly.
"We have so much to do!" I tell her, excited just to her response to my ideas. "I thought today we could go to Cedar Point, thats the largest amusement park in the world! Then on Monday we can go on the Ferry to the Lake Erie Islands, do you like boats?" I ask, and rattle on before she can finish. "Ohhh! And on Tuesday maybe we can go to Sea World and see the dolphin show! And on Wednesday we should just take it easy, maybe go to Mill Hollow for a short hike, like 4 or 5 miles? Thursday we can go into Cleveland and see the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and go shopping at Tower City, maybe go to an Indians game? What time do you leave on Friday?"
Jaden shakes her head at me and rolls her eyes. She has no idea what she has just gotten herself into. "That all sounds wonderful. I knew youd have everything planned out." She smiles and pats my hand.
"Well, I want to make the most of our time. Whatever you want to do is fine with me."
"Cedar Point sounds fun, how do we get there?" She asks and I direct her towards Rt. 2 Westbound. After merging onto the highway, I decide to give her some Cedar Point history.
"Its called Cedar Point because a long time ago it was a peninsula in Lake Erie covered in cedar groves. And then long time ago by some rich guy built it up into an amusement park."
"Dont you hate how people name things after what was destroyed in order to build that place? I mean, Cedar Point, named for the beautiful cedar groves that were cut down to provide entertainment for us." Jaden asks ironically.
"I know." I answer honestly. "Look at all the housing developments, especially around here. They are named Forest Acres, Meadow Glen, and so on. I hate how fast we are expanding without thought of how much the land can handle."
Jaden agrees with me. Ive known that the environment is important to her, especially after our conversation months ago at Mill Hollow. "I didnt mean to burst your bubble about Cedar Point, Gracie." She adds apologetically, "I just wanted to share that with you."
"Im glad you did." I smile at her. "Do you want to hear more about Cedar Point?"
"Yes! Please continue." She says, and I cant help but hope shes excited to go. She seems like the kind of person who would love a good roller coaster.
Its now the largest in the world, or one of the largest, I cant remember. It has 14 coasters, and this year opened the tallest and fastest in North America, Millennium Force, which I am SO excited to go on! I think youll like Cedar Point, the rides are awesome and they have great food. Do you like roller coasters?"
Jaden shrugs her shoulders. "I dont know, Ive never been on one."
My mouth drops open. "Seriously? Well, I hope you like it. We dont have to go if you dont want too, I would hate to go and have you hate it."
Jaden pats my hand. "Grace, dont worry about it. I want to go, and Im excited to spend the entire day with you. Dont you have a lot to do though? I dont want to keep you from anything."
I laugh. "Goddess, you are just what I need! Ive been complaining for weeks that I have nothing to do besides work and school and family crap. Now that school is over, Im trying to enjoy myself. Trust me, you being here is a blessed event." This seems to appease her, and I continue. "Although, my mother isnt exactly thrilled with the idea. Now she has to watch my sister after school instead of having me do it. Which means she had to reschedule all of her hair appointments and pedicures." I snort in disgust. Jaden must catch on to what a sensitive subject my mother is since she doesnt press the issue.
I direct Jaden to pull off into the right hand turning lane onto an unmarked road. "Where is this?" She asks, looking at the beautiful scenery. The lake is directly to our right hand side, dotted with boats bobbing on the horizon. To our left are beautiful houses that look like the cover of every home magazine they sell in the stores. It is a beautiful road and Ive always dreamed of having one of these houses.
"This is the Cedar Point causeway, or the back entrance to Cedar Point. Its beautiful, isnt it?" Jaden nods in agreement. We drive a short distance and pull into the parking lot. I hand Jaden my parking pass and the attendant nods and lets us pass. The park is deserted, and we are able to park in the very front row.
"Why is no one here?" Jaden asks as we get out and lock the door. I smile, very excited at the prospect of a deserted Cedar Point.
"It actually doesnt open until mid-May, but they open at the beginning of May for corporations and people with VIP passes. My father did some business for a bigwig here and we get a few passes to come early each year. Its pretty cool, on a normal summer day the average wait-in-line time is always over an hour, even for the sucky rides." Jaden looks impressed at the tall coasters rising above the landscape and I point to one, a nasty looking one with a hill so steep it appears to be a straight line down to the ground. "Thats Millennium Force! It has a first hill drop of 80 degrees!" I tug on her arm. "Cmon, lets go!" She walks fast to catch up with me as I race towards the entrance.
"AHHHHHHHHHHH" That would be Jaden, on her first roller coaster ever. She is screaming bloody murder, but really seems to be enjoying herself. I decided her first coaster experience should be the Magnum, built a few years ago as the fastest and taller coaster in the world. Taller models have now replaced it, but it still is a great ride. I coaxed Jaden to get in the very front seat and halfway up the hill she whispered in my ear that she was going to kill me. Its a pretty scary hill, at the top all you see is the lake and from the first car when you look down you cant see the track below you. Its that steep. But as soon as we started down the first hill, she threw her arms up in the air and loved it. I think shes having as much fun as I am.
"Jesus Christ Grace, that was incredible!" Jaden pats my back as we walk out the exit of the Magnum. "Whats next?" She looks like a child, her entire face is glowing and her eyes are dancing with excitement.
"I told you that you would love this!" I mock scold her, and then suddenly grab her hand. "We have to look at our picture!" I lead her over to the booth that displays the pictures taken while we were on the ride. We are easy to spot, and the picture is hysterical. Jaden is smiling so big her face looks like its going to burst. I am looking at her with such a sickly-sweet look of adoration on my face it almost makes me sick to my stomach. Its a great picture.
"Oh we have to get that picture! Where can we buy it?" She asks, and then sees the sign proclaiming "Get your Magnum picture while you wait, only $8.95!" Jaden promptly orders two copies of the picture.
A few minutes later, with the pictures stored safely in my book bag we are headed to the next big coaster. Jaden is unstoppable, wanting to go on every ride a dozen times, which is possible today because there is virtually no line. After riding the Raptor, my favorite ride and the coaster where you hang down from the track with your feet dangling in the sky, for the 5th time we head over to frontier land, where Ive promised Jaden they have Elephant Ears. We scarf down plenty of Cedar Point junk food, and before I can even begin to digest Jaden is running to the line of the Mean Streak, a surly wooden roller coaster that lives up to its name. I think Ive created a monster here.
"Grace, Im really sorry." I hear Jaden saying, through the bathroom stall door. She is pacing outside the door; I can hear her shoes squeak on the clean tile floor, back and forth. My only thought is thank Goddess Cedar Point is unpopulated, and the bathroom is clean and fresh smelling. My other conscious thought is to not throw up.
"Are you okay? Im so sorry, I didnt think you would get sick!" Jadens voice is insistent now, and I feel bad for putting her through this.
"Its okay, dont worry about it. You didnt do anything wrong." Squeak. Squeak. She is still pacing, and the noise is another unwelcome addition to my oversensitive nervous and digestive system. "Hey Jaden? Can you get me a glass of ice water?"
"Yeah, Ill be right back." And I hear her run out of the bathroom. Sheesh. I never thought that I would almost puke in front of her. That would have been so romantic, dont you think? I have now learned that tons of junk food and a really bumpy roller coaster dont mix well for me. Well, I think I would have been fine if we hadnt gone on the Mean Streak 11 times in a row. That 11th time really did it.
Jaden returns with my water and I drink almost the entire glass. That hit the spot and I thank her as I wash my face. She looks guilty, like a child who knows shes in trouble and I pat her hand to let her know Im not upset with her in any way.
"Jaden, dont worry about it! I didnt get sick, I just really felt like I was going to, thats all. Im not upset, okay?" She nods, still looking like a reprimanded child. I gently brush her long hair back from her shoulders and hug her. I feel her wrap her long arms around me and I settle in her warm embrace. I give a little sigh of contentment and she echoes me, sighing also. She kisses the top of my head and I snuggle against her. Im really enjoying our little touchy-feely session until I hear someone enter the bathroom. I pull away from her quickly, and see a flash of hurt on her unique features.
A woman and her young daughter enter one of the stalls and I move towards Jaden again. I pull her head down and whisper in her delicate ear, "I didnt mean to pull away from you. I just have to be careful here, Im not exactly "out" if you know what I mean." She nods in understanding and I softly kiss her lips. Its the first kiss weve shared since January and we stop before it becomes too passionate too quickly. We pull away and I smooth my hair as we run out of the bathroom giggling like children.
"Alright! If youre feeling okay I want to go on that Mantis ride again, you know, the roller coaster where you stand up? And after than we can maybe do the bungee jumping thing? And then.."
For the first time in her life, Jaden is actually talking more than I am. All I can do is nod my head in agreement and pray that my queasy stomach settles down.
We collapse in the car, dirty, sticky and thoroughly tired. We leave the Cedar Point parking lot and Jaden heads towards my house. Its already 9:00 and I thought the workers at the park would have to kick us out. I didnt think Id be able to get Jaden off of the roller coasters. The Millennium Force really did live up to its hoopla; Ive never been on a more thrilling ride. And I "convinced" Jaden to go on one last ride before leaving, the Giant Ferris Wheel. Our wonderful day at Cedar Point ended with watching the park alit with colored lights from the top of the Farris Wheel, holding hands and softly kissing. Yum. That was fun.
"What do you feel like doing?" I ask Jaden. "You must be exhausted from flying in today and than walking around all day!"
"Nah, I had a blast." She adds shyly, "What are your plans? Do you have to work tonight?"
I grin, eager to tell her my surprise. "Nope. I have the entire time youre here off. Uncle Rick said I could take some time, I havent had time off in forever."
"Thats great!" She says excitedly. "I didnt know if I could see you at night because of your schedule at the bar."
"Im all yours." I tell her, and I mean it completely. "Now, the only thing is that my mother thinks I have to work. If she thinks Im off than shell be pissed Im not going out with Scott." I shudder at the sound of his name. After much begging, Uncle Rick helped me out by telling Scott he wasnt allowed to sit in the bar and watch me work anymore because hes not 21 yet. Hes such a great guy, hard to believe hes my mothers brother.
"Okay." Jaden says agreeably, but her face is set and hard and I can tell that me being engaged bothers her. Of course it would, and I know I have to put an ending to this engagement thing soon.
"So, how about we go back to your hotel for awhile?" I ask, hoping she isnt upset.
"Sure, Im staying at the Holiday Inn thats pretty close to your place. I can drop you off later at your normal time after work."
"Perfect." I answer, upset already about the thought of having to go home later. I want nothing more than to spend the night in Jadens arms. But I dont know if shes ready for that. I know I am because Ive been taking cold showers for months after our make-out session at Mill Hollow!
May 7, 2000.
I love the smell of the lake. A few years ago it was so disgusting that no one wanted to swim in it, let alone smell it, but after a major clean-up program good old Lake Erie now smells like it should. Jaden and I are on the ferry back from Put-in-Bay, one of the islands in Lake Erie. We had a blast here today; we rented bikes and biked around the island enjoying the warm spring day. Then I trounced Jaden at mini-golf after we rented Jet-skis and chased each other around the Lake Erie shoreline.
I was really upset when I told Jaden I had to head back early so I can baby-sit my sister for my mother tonight, but Jaden was great and offered to keep me company. I love my sister, but she doesnt need to be baby-sat anymore. She has her own social life now and when I baby-sit her I sit and write in my journal while she talks to her friends on the phone. Having Jaden around will be nice.
I lean back against the cool vinyl seat. Jaden has been quiet since we got on the ferry, and has just started out into the water. The wind makes its difficult to talk over the wind, and she seems content to just sit and stare. Im content to sit and stare at her.
I cant believe its Monday already. Yesterday at Cedar Point was so fun. And last night was great. Jaden and I just sat together in her hotel, not really talking or anything. We kissed a little bit and I know she wants to go further but she just wont let herself. I wish she could, Im aching for her. I wont pressure her though, I know from first hand experience with Scott how awful it is to be pressured into something youre not comfortable with. I would never want to do to Jaden what Scott does to me.
We sit, discretely holding hands and every once in awhile Jadens thumb strokes my palm and she turns to look at me, her blue eyes boring directly into mine. Its so intense, and I feel as if I want her to look at me that way forever.
The ferry docks and we make our way to Jadens Explorer. "What time do we have to be at your house?" She asks and I glance at my watch.
"Well, my mother wants to leave at 7:00 and its 4:30 now. So we have a while if you want to go somewhere." I tell her, wondering what is on her mind.
"Can we go somewhere private?" She asks, her voice unreadable. "I think we need to talk."
"Sure." I tell her as I swallow nervously. My stomach clenches and I immediately think the worst. What does she want to talk about? Weve had a wonderful day together. Did I do something to upset her?
"Hey Grace, I can feel your tension from here. Its not a big deal, I just want to be alone with you so we can talk, okay?" She asks and I nod. She starts the car and pulls onto the highway.
After a few minutes I recognize the roads leading to Mill Hollow, and I know that is where Jaden is headed. Im glad of her decision to go there, its defiantly a place where were both comfortable to sit and feel each others presence.
I get out of the car, grabbing my sweatshirt. The wind has picked up and I think it might rain later.
After walking through the open gate we look around and see the place is deserted. "You should see how packed it is here on the weekend. Were lucky because its a weekday and most people are still at work."
"And its going to rain soon." She adds. "Hopefully we wont get soaked." She says, smiling. She seems so calm and collected that I begin to hope that she isnt going to give me horrible news. Maybe she just wants to be alone before facing my family again.
"Want to head to the bluebird fields?" I ask her, knowing the answer. "Well probably see a lot more than last time." She agrees happily and we head for the fields.
Arriving at "our" bench we sit as the bluebirds chirp in the background. Every few seconds a flash of blue flies by our heads. The color is so intense and over so quickly its as if it was imagined. I glance over to Jaden. She is staring into the field, her bright blue eyes studying the landscape before her. Her eyes rival the color of any bluebird. I then realize how similar she is to the elusive birds. They are both so beautiful and always have their guard up. Maybe that is why she has become so drawn to them, she sees herself in the rare birds.
"They are beautiful." She says quietly. I grasp her hand and scoot closer to her on the bench.
"So are you." I tell her and she smiles and ducks her head.
"Listen, Grace." She begins, her voice more nervous than Ive ever heard. "I dont really know how to do this, but I have to tell you."
"Tell me what?" I ask hesitantly. I dont know if I want to hear this.
"Im scared." She finally admits, her voice defeated.
"Scared of what?" I ask her and she doesnt answer. "Are you sick? Is it your job? Your family?" I ask, desperate to know what is going on.
"No, nothing like that." She says as she continues to stare at the bluebirds flying around frantically in and out of their man-made homes. "You can tell its going to rain. The parents are going crazy trying to feed their families before the rain forces them inside." She adds.
Thats a suave subject change if Ive ever heard one. But obviously what shes trying to tell me is important and I refuse to let her back down now.
"Jaden, please talk to me." I tell her, taking her chin in my hand and gently turning her face towards mine. "Dont you have any idea how I feel about you? Do you know that since the first night I saw you Ive lain awake at night thinking about you? Wondering about you and caring about you?" Jaden lowers her head and purses her lips. "Goddess Jaden, do you have idea how much you mean to me?"
She turns to me with such a look of anguish that my heart cries out to her. "Grace, I dont know how much you care about me. But I do know how much I care about you. And that is what scares me."
I grab both of her hands. "Why does that scare you?" She shakes her head and looks away. "Jaden, look at me. Please."
She does, and I think she might cry. Her shoulders sag and she tries to avert her face. I gently cup her cheek in my hand again and pull her to me. She falls limply into my arms and I hug her. "Please talk to me Jaden. I want to know everything about you. Please let me care for you. Please."
She removes herself from my embrace, seemingly ashamed of her moment of weakness. "You know how you said the last time we were here, that you were scared of the dark?" I nod and she continues. "Well, that is how it is for me. I know I cant explain why opening myself up is so terrifying, but it is. I just feel safer being alone."
"Whether you like it or not, youre not alone. I am here for you and I always want to be. Jaden, trust me. I know this is hard for you, but I am begging you to let me in. All I want is to love you, be with you, and never leave you. These last two days have been incredible, I cant imagine not having you in my life." I am getting so choked up, my eyes well with tears and nothing I try to do to stop them is working. Jaden tilts her head, and looks like she fascinated by the fact that I am crying. I cant believe I just told her that I loved her and wanted to be with her. That is so not how I expected to say that.
"Why are you crying Gracie?" She asks, sounding like a child.
"Im crying because I dont want to lose you. And I feel like I already am." I explain, hoping shell understand. "And Im crying because I am afraid to ask you something."
Jaden ducks her head. "Youre not losing me. And you never have to be afraid of asking me anything. Im sorry for not being able to be more open with you. Ill try." She looks up, hoping this will appease me. But it doesnt.
"I need to ask you something." I say, regaining my strength. She nods and narrows her eyes questioningly. "You told me we couldnt go any further sexually until I knew what I was getting into. Now you tell me you cant open up to me and tell me who you are. Does this mean you dont want to make love to me? That you just want to be friends? Because I want to be your friend Jaden, but I dont think thats enough for me."
Jaden grabs both of my shoulders and looks directly into my eyes. "Believe what Im telling you right now Gracie." She stares at me, pleading with me to believe her. I nod, and will myself not to start crying again. "Believe that the only reason I keep coming back to this pathetic part of the country is to see you. You know the first night we met?" I nod, how could I ever forget it? "That was completely by chance. I was in my hotel in Cleveland and I just had the urge to go out. I got in my car and drove almost an hour to a random bar, and there you were. But every other time after that was not by chance. Did you know that I drove hours and hours from different parts of the Midwest every time I was in this area to see you?" I squint my eyes; this is all news to me. She continues and Im almost afraid of the intensity burning in her eyes. "That night in December when we were alone in the bar? I drove from Chicago in a snowstorm that night."
I find my voice. "Jaden, Chicago is 6 hours away!" She smiles at me, but her eyes still are hard and intense.
"Now do you understand? That is how strongly I feel for you. I want to make love with you more than you know. But Im afraid to let myself fall for you any harder than I already have." She gentles her voice and her eyes change back to the soft colors Ive become so fond of. "Gracie, I cant lose you."
My voice sounds stronger than Ive ever heard it. "You wont."
Suddenly glancing around Jaden stands up and extends her hand to me. "Can we go somewhere more private?" She tilts her head indicating the few people now walking through the field hoping to get a glance of the bluebirds. I grasp her hand and allow her to pull me up.
"Yep. I told you this place gets busy after people get out of work. Its almost 5:30, we have about an hour before we should go." I tell her as we head for a well-worn trail. "Theres a nice place up here where we can sit and not be disturbed." I cant explain the peace I feel here, walking next to Jaden. Nature is our only company and her hand is in mine. Regardless of the past few hours, I am so content and I can tell Jaden is also. Shes walking with an easy swing to her long stride, and looking ahead down the path. I wonder if she realizes how much she glances at me, smiling in my direction. I feel hypersensitive to her this now, like my every nerve is acutely connected to hers.
Stepping on several large rocks to cross the shallow stream that runs across the path I veer to my left and Jaden follows. There is a small meadow here, hidden from the path by the trees, and it is soft and private to sit in. I fold my legs underneath me and sit next to the gently running water. Jaden appraises the surroundings and gives me a dazzling smile. She sits as close to me as possible and takes my hand in hers. Ahhh. This is more like it. I wish we could stay here forever.
I desperately want to know more of her, about her life and her past. I want her to talk to me. I am so confused about our discussion of a few minutes ago. As if shes reading my mind, Jaden begins to softly speak, her low voice barely audible over the trickling of the water.
"I had a brother named Jonah." I look at her in surprise, not really sure as to how she wants me to respond, so I say the first thing that comes to my mind.
"You both have really interesting names, Jonah and Jaden. Why did your parents choose them?"
"Jonah was named after my grandfather, my mothers father. And I got my name for a completely different reason." She doesnt continue, so I raise my eyebrows at her to let her know Im interested.
"I was supposed to be named after my grandmother, Katrina. When I was born my grandmother took one look at me and decided she didnt want me named after her." She smiles a wry smile.
"Why?" I ask, feeling a sudden surge of anger towards Jadens grandmother.
Jaden pats my arm, smiling at my protectiveness of her. "My grandmother said: "Shes only five minutes old and she looks as if shes been jaded already!" Jaden laughs. "I guess I was a very stoic child, babies usually cuddle with their mothers but I sat there pouting for the first few months of my life. My grandmother said I was upset that I was disturbed from my mothers warm womb, and they all described me as jaded. The name just stuck, and I was dubbed Jaden."
"Well, I think its a beautiful name." I smile, thinking of a very crabby and pouting baby Jaden. "I bet you were adorable."
She shrugs. "I guess." She glances around, suddenly uncomfortable with her openness. I squeeze her hand and lean over, giving her a soft kiss. She relaxes under my touch and gently strokes my long hair.
"Tell me of your childhood. Where did you grow up?" I ask and Jaden nods as if she was expecting the question. Her eyes dart around, trying to avoid talking about herself. When she looks to me and sees my expectant face and the "Im not backing down no matter how much you try to get out of this" look on my face, she sighs.
"I was born in Massachusetts. My mother was from Australia and my father was a photographer in New York City. They met on a shoot." Jadens voice is remote, detached.
"You mother was a model?" Well, I guess I know where Jaden got her refined looks.
"Yep, she moved to the states when she was 18, met my father immediately and married him. She thought that since he was in the business that he could get her jobs. A year later my brother Jonah was born, and my father wasnt exactly happy."
"He loved his lifestyle, working with beautiful models by day and going out to clubs at night. An immigrant wife and young baby didnt exactly fit into that." I nod, now understanding. Her fathers a creep.
"My grandparents, my mothers parents, were upset that my mother had married this jerk and had a child already at the age of 19. My father was very controlling and eventually my mother realized she wanted to leave him."
"Wow, she was a brave woman." Jaden shrugs and continues.
"So Jonah was 2, she was eight months pregnant with me, and she had no where to go. My grandparents flew in and they decided to stay in the states until after I was born. My mother wanted me to be born a United States citizen."
"So how were you born in Massachusetts if your mother and father lived in New York City?" I ask, confused at Jadens intricate past.
"My father had a small house in a town called Newburyport. It is a port town on the ocean, and he allowed my mother ownership. That was in exchange that he never had to see us or pay child support."
"Goddess Jaden, no offense, but your fathers an asshole." Jaden surprises me with the loudness of her laughter and I giggle along with her.
"Yeah. I dont think anyone has quite put it that way, but he is an asshole." She finishes laughing, and resumes her story. I decide not to interrupt again, I cant believe how open shes being and I dont want to jinx it.
"When I was about six months old we made the trip to Australia. We lived on my grandfathers horse farm and my first memories are of being held on horseback by my grandmother while she taught riding lessons."
"I can just see you on horseback! I bet you were so cute!" The words come out before I can stop myself. I really need to get better at this keeping my mouth shut thing.
For the first time I notice a slight blush creeping onto her face.
"I was a holy terror. My name really fit me; I felt like the world had a personal agenda against me. I used to run away and everyone would be searching the entire farm. They would find me a few hours later, braiding wild flowers into all the horses manes."
"It sounds like you had a lovely childhood."
She nods, but I notice her eyes softening to a soft, sad blue. "It was, in a way. My grandfather died when I was 8 and Jonah 10 and the farm was sold. Ill never forget watching all the horses, my only friends, being loaded into different trailers to go to their new homes. It was one of the most difficult times in my life."
"I understand." I tell her softly, my own memories resurfacing. I push them away and concentrate on Jaden. I just want to hold her and tell her that Im sorry she had to go through that pain at such a young age. But she seems so remote right now; I know she just needs to tell her story and feel the emotions raging through her.
We moved back to the states and lived in the house in Newburyport. My mother once again got the modeling bug and moved to LA. The modeling bug soon turned into the acting bug and all her schmoozing with important people she somehow landed a small part on a soap opera. My grandmother took care of Jonah and I, and I dont think I saw my mother until I was 13. I was such a hellion and Jonah was such a goody-two-shoes. We were so different, he would study and do his homework while I would be ripping my school uniform and shaving my head! And this was when I was 10!"
I burst out laughing, picturing Jaden with a shaved head. This is hysterical. She pouts, trying to look hurt at the fact that I am laughing at her, but she gives it up and laughs herself.
"Anyway, I was a huge troublemaker at school. I had no friends and all I thought about was horses. My grandmother took a part time job to pay for lessons and I started working at a stable just to be around horses."
A thought suddenly dawns on me. "Why dont you have an accent if you were raised in Australia?" She smiles, ducking her head.
"You mean like this?" Her Aussie accent is flawless. Smoothly she resumes her normal speech. "The kids made fun of me for my accent, so it was easier to speak like an American. I fit in better, not that I care about fitting in, but people are always on your case if you have an accent. "Where are you from? What an interesting accent! Do you ever see kangaroos? You know, annoying things like that."
I smile, knowing that anyone trying to ask Jaden a question like that would just get a glare or be ignored totally. I feel privileged to know the real Jaden.
"So, did you ever see kangaroos?" I ask and Jaden groans. I smile at her to let her know Im just kidding.
"Bye mom." I say to her retreating back as she leaves. Jaden, Lydia, and I are standing in the front yard with Bean. We all just look at each other, unsure what to do next.
Lydia breaks the silence. "Hey, Grace can I go over to Janas?" A loud clap of thunder interrupts her and we hastily retreat into the house before it starts pouring. "I didnt ask mom because she would have said no, but can I go? Shes having a sleepover!"
Hmmmm, make Lydia stay here and be miserable or have her go and have Jaden all to myself? "Sure! Ill drive you over right now, go get packed!" Lydia smiles and runs to her room, returning with her sleeping bag and her overnight bag.
"I knew youd say yes." She says, and I smile at her.
"Jaden, do you want to stay here or come with us? Jana just lives around the block and Id make Lydia walk but I wouldnt want her to melt in the rain." I tease and Lydia sticks her tongue out at me.
"No, Ill go." Jaden says, grinning at Lydia. Im glad they seem to like each other. I grab my keys and make a run for it in the rain. Opening my car I push the seat up so Lydia can climb in the back. Jaden struggles to fit herself into my small passenger seat and I shut my door and speed out of the driveway.
"Next time Grace, were taking the big girl car and Im driving." Jaden says as I fly around the corner.
"What do you mean?" I ask, insulted that she doesnt like my car. I love my little blue Sunfire and I tell her that as I pat her dashboard. Jaden looks at me like Im insane.
"She means that you drive like a madwoman." Lydia helpfully pipes up from the backseat.
I glare at her in the rearview mirror. "Shut up you!" I tell her, and she rolls her eyes. We quickly drop her off at Janas and I speed home.
Jaden and I head for the couch, a bowl of popcorn in hand, trailed by Bean. We snuggle on the couch for a while; listening to the rain caress the windows and I make the difficult decision to bring up the sensitive subject of Jadens past again.
"So, you never finished telling me. What happened after your mother moved back from LA?" I ask, and giggle about how we were interrupted before.
Jaden and I had been sitting contentedly at Mill Hollow talking about her childhood, when suddenly another couple obviously intent on making out found our hiding spot. The four of us stood there, staring at each other, until Jaden got up and said, "Here, you can sit here. Were leaving." And grabbed my hand, pulling me up to my feet. We giggled the entire way back down the trail, talking about how the girl was way too cute to be with that hairy man-beast she called her boyfriend. By the time we got out of the woods it was time to head back to my house.
Jaden shrugs and I feel her tense. "There isnt really much to tell, I guess. My mothers role on the soap ended; by that time she was 35 and couldnt find anymore work. So she moved back to the house in Massachusetts, and that was about it."
Something about Jadens tone makes me not believe her, and instead of pressing her I decide to let it go. She opened herself up to me so much today, Im not going to scare her or push her away by being too demanding. Instead I lean in close to her and we share a tender kiss that holds a lot of promise.
I accept her answer and formulate a plan in my head. Heh, this could be fun. I just hope that Im not rejected, but something tells me by the nature of that kiss that I wont be. I quickly work the few steps of my plan out in my head. Deciding what Im going to do I get up and head for my bedroom. Bean jumps down and follows me, and I know Jaden eventually will too.
"Grace? What are you doing?" Jaden asks after a few minutes of silence. I dont reply as I shove my dirty clothes and other junk under the bed. Hastily, knowing shell get suspicious, I throw the covers on my bed and survey the room. I decide to put music on, choosing Sophie. Mood music.
"Grace?" She calls again, sounding worried. I chuckle under my breath and change my clothes.
Five minutes later:
What the heck is she doing? Ive been calling her and she wont answer me. Frustrated, I get up; searching the house in the vague direction she went. I hear music, and follow the sound. It sounds like Sophie B. Hawkins; shes one of my favorites. I wrinkle my nose at an unfamiliar smell. It smells spicy and sweet at the same time, and once I get used to it, I kind of like it.
I get to the end of the hall and stop at the door that reads "Graces Room." The sign is covered with bunnies and ducks and it looks like Grace made it when she was about five. Its very cute.
I knock at the door. "Grace?" No answer. "Can I come in?" I know shes in there, but she still doesnt answer and I huff under my breath. I wait a few seconds more, and my patience finally runs out. "Im coming in." I open the door.
Grace smiles a sweet smile. "Took you long enough. Lock the door." I open my mouth but no sounds come out. I somehow manage to lock the door behind me.
"You like what you see?" She asks. I nod, knowing my mouth is hanging open like a codfish.
Grace is lying on her bed, wearing some kind of black lacy thing. Her golden hair is highlighted to a fiery red by the various candles she has lit throughout the room. Sophie sings from a small CD player in the corner and after I make a quick glance around the room my eyes are drawn back to Grace. She opens her arms to me and I fall into them, feeling for the first time her bare skin. She is warm and soft and everything I thought she would be.
She pouts. "Youre wearing too many clothes." She gives me a little kick with her dainty foot and I get up from the bed. Her aqua eyes glisten with excitement as I pull my shirt over my head. She moans as I reveal my simple ivory bra. I smirk at her and repeat her question.
"You like what you see?" She looks at me as if Im stupid, like I didnt need to ask that at all. I start to unbutton my jeans and she shakes her head no.
"Why no?" I ask, confused.
She blushes. "I want to do it." I raise my eyebrow, it seems I have a little sex kitten on my hands. Meow. I saunter over to her, noting how her hands tremble as she undoes my button fly jeans. I shake my hips, sending the jeans to the floor and her eyes look as if they will pop out from her head. She lies back and I gently lower myself on top of her. Her silky body feels wonderful against mine and I kiss her.
We kiss forever, or so it seems, grinding against each other and feeling each others bodies through our undergarments. I decide its time to move on, figuring weve had more foreplay than Ive ever had. Hell, these past few days have been enough foreplay for me.
I sit up and release the front clasp of my bra. Graces delighted face when she sees my breasts is hysterical. She quickly gets over her shock and takes a nipple between her teeth. She sucks and nibbles my breast as I run my hands through her thick hair, pulling her face closer to me.
She moves on to my other breast and I moan when she takes my aching nipple into her mouth. I lower the straps on her silky garment and lower it around her hips. Her breasts are perfect, so soft and white, with hard pink nipples. I brush my thumb over them, and hearing her moan of approval, I squeeze them. I am amazed at how intensely I feel for her, I never want to stop touching her. Usually I treat sex as a way to get off, a stress relief, but with Grace I want to make it last forever.
"Stand up." I tell her, my voice husky. She does and her outfit falls to the floor. She is standing naked in front of my now, every line and curve of her flawless body revealed to me. She looks embarrassed and I tilt her chin so she looks in my eyes.
"Grace, you are gorgeous." She smiles with tears in her eyes. "Why are you crying?" I ask her, and she shakes her head from side to side. "Dont cry." I tell her, running my hands up and down her full body. I am amazed how differently she looks without clothes on. She is fuller, rounder, and womanlier that she appears in clothes. I admire her little belly, her toned calf muscles and soft thighs, the gentle curve of her breasts and graceful neck.
She kisses me eagerly, pulling down my underwear and I kick it from around my feet. We move to the bed and lay next to each other, our lips never parting. I pull away from her, concerned about her teary eyes, and look at her. She furrows her brow, confused as to why I am stopping. I run my hands up and down her arms and shoulders, making sure she really wants to do this.
"Dont you want to have sex?" She asks, her voice low and full of confusion.
"Of course I do." I say, smiling at her.
"Then fuck me."
Needless to say, I am shocked. I havent heard Grace curse before, and never has anything turned me on like she just did. A jolt of arousal goes straight to my groin and I pull her on top of me, opening my legs. We moan into each others mouths as our lower halves meet for the first time. Thrusting into each other excitedly she attacks my neck with her mouth and I run my nails up and down her back.
"Grace?" I muster, finding it difficult to talk with her mouth attached to my breast.
"Hmm?" She mumbles; her mouth latched onto my nipple.
"What do we need to do as far as safe sex?" She looks up to me as she continues her wonderful assault on my breast. "I havent been with anyone since the last time I was tested, and everything was fine." I tell her, wanting nothing more than to keep her safe. She nods happily, removing her mouth and slowly kissing down my stomach. "Oh God Grace." She feels amazing.
"Dont worry about me, Ive always used protection." She continues kissing my stomach, slowly moving down to my thighs. I moan as she licks my thighs, her mouth out of control. She is nibbling and licking every part of my inner thigh, each time moving closer to the place I want her mouth the most. I wrap my hands in her hair and direct her head gently. She laughs. "A little hasty, arent we?" She asks, her blue-green eyes dilated with arousal. I nod as she crawls back up to me, pillowing our breasts together. "Jaden, I want to lick you but I dont know how." She admits, a tad bashfully, "Ive never done this before."
Ah. A lesbian virgin. Wow. "Dont worry, its easy." I tell her, flipping her onto her side. I need to touch her, to taste her, before I die. Without warning I stroke between her moist thighs. She moans, taking her bottom lip between her teeth, a habit of hers I find very cute. She opens her legs to allow me better access and traces her hand down my body to touch me. She mimics every action I make, I part her wet folds and gently touch her clit, and she does the same to me. We both cling onto each other as our hips pump wildly in the others hand. I am quiet, she softly moaning with every touch. Her ocean-colored eyes bore into mine as I lean to kiss her. She is bringing me so close, so fast, and my hips buck. I rub her harder and faster, desperate to bring her over the edge.
"Oh yes girl, please." She moans, never once slowing her hand as she touches me. I am getting so close and I want to make her come before I do. I stop touching her and she lets out a scream of frustration.
"Shhh. Patience." I whisper, removing her hand from between my legs. I lay halfway on top of her, from this position I can kiss her and touch her at the same time. I love feeling her hips buck as her clit demands more attention. I know shes now close; her eyes clenched shut and mouth parted. I lean to her ear and whisper to her. "Come for me Grace. I want to make you come." She moans and moves her hips faster and faster.
"Jaden." She says desperately. "Fuck me, please." She pulls me completely on top of her, my hand situated between her legs and our breasts pressed together. She pleads with her beautiful eyes as she moves her hips. I slowly follow her rhythm, my hips moving in time with hers and my fingers thrusting in and out of her. Every thrust I rub her clit, sending her over the edge. She trembles and kisses me, releasing my mouth to moan. "Oh Jaden, oh girl .yes.."
She is still. I gently remove
my fingers and kiss her softly.
"Hold me." She simply demands. "Please?" I pull her against me, feeling her breathing slow and heart rate return to normal. "Jaden, that was incredible, thank you." She closes her eyes and I smile at her look of complete contentment. I kiss the top of her head and snuggle into her, enjoying the feeling of her next to me.
One aqua eye opens. I smile at her and she grins, wrinkling her nose and shutting her eye again. Grace is beautiful, not in any supermodel way, but simply beautiful. She yawns and opens both eyes, stretching like a lazy cat. I cup one breast as she arches her back. She smirks and takes my hand from her breast and puts it in her mouth, licking herself off the hand that just fucked her senseless. Oh my. That is really hot. She removes my hand from her mouth and sits up. Like shes stalking me, she crawls on her knees towards my thighs. I narrow my eyes at her and grin slowly, hoping to portray an "I really want you to touch me" look. It seems to work, because without any warning she is parting my thighs and licking my clit. Oh dear God. For never doing this before she certainly is good at it. She slides two fingers inside of me, not once stopping her torturous licking. I feel like Im going to pass out, she is everywhere and I feel surrounded by her warmth and love. Im so turned on and shes so incredible that it doesnt take me long to come and Im screaming out her name. I wrap my hands in her hair as I plateau and then pull her onto my chest. I feel like Im having a heart attack. My chest painfully constricts and my entire lower body is throbbing.
"Was that okay?" She asks in a small voice, concerned that she didnt do it right.
"Sweetheart, that was the most amazing thing thats ever happened to me." I squeak out, still panting from my orgasm. I feel her smile against my breast and we lie in silence, drifting in and out of sleep, and tracing meaningless designs with our fingertips on each others bodies.
My last conscious thought is how much I feel for her. I havent felt anything for anyone in a long time, and by chance I meet this amazing kid who has changed my life. I smile, remembering how natural it felt to walk with her at Mill Hollow, the soft sound of her breathing lulling me to sleep.
"Jaden." I feel her nudge me. I raise my hand, waving her off. "JADEN." Nudge. She shakes my shoulder. "Wake up, I think my mothers home!"
Crap. It was so nice and comfy to lay here with her as my human blanket. We scurry out of bed and re-dress, blowing out the dwindling candles and turning off the long-stopped CD player. We just make it to the couch as Graces father walks in. I sigh, I really hate schmoozing with people, but I know that its for the best. I hate feeling like we have to sneak around behind her parents backs though. I feel like Im in high school again.
"Dad!" Grace says with a surprise. "I was expecting mom." He smiles and looks at me, confusion on his handsome face. "Oh, this is my friend Jaden. Shes here for the week."
We say our introductions and then he excuses himself to his study. Grace looks at me and sighs and I know shes just as upset about being interrupted as I am. Then, before we can begin to speak about what just happened, the door opens and Graces mother comes in.
"Oh hello girls!" She greets us with a chipper voice. I wonder if Grace knows how fake her mother is. Im sure she does, my Grace isnt stupid. "Its so late girls, Jaden you probably should be getting back to your hotel. Grace does need her sleep, and she never gets to bed early when working at that awful bar. Its so nice for Rick to give her a night off once and awhile. Did you enjoy your night off Grace? Wheres Lydia? She convinced you to let her go to that Janas house, didnt she? She doesnt think I know about it, but I keep it in mind to know whats going on in my daughters lives." Debbie finishes, looking at me.
Jesus Christ, I feel like a fish being circled by a shark. This woman is evil. I take her hint and stand up; agreeing that its late and I should be heading back. Grace looks torn between asking me to stay and disobeying her mother and I try to give her a sympathetic smile.
"Thanks for today Grace, I had a great time." She smiles at me and I can tell she thinks Im upset with her. Im upset with her evil mother, but its not Graces fault. I smile at Debbie, thinking the entire time that two can play at this game and I know Im a lot scarier than Debbie could ever be. "Nice to see you again Ms. McKenzie." I head for the door.
"Jaden, why dont you join us for breakfast tomorrow. Im sure my husband would love to get to know you before he leaves for work. Be here around 7:00?"
I wouldnt miss it for the world. I say to myself, not wanting Grace to be in this womans clutches any more than she already has too. "Sure, Id love too." I tell her, smiling. This pacifies her and she heads down the hall.
As soon as her mother is out of earshot Grace speaks. "You dont have to come, shes just being herself." I take her hand in mine.
"Grace, every minute spent with you is worth having to listen to your mothers grating voice." I lower my voice, not wanting to get her in trouble. "Today was incredible. Ill never forget how your lips feel on mine." I tell her before heading out into the rainy night.
As I drive away I see her in the window, waving. I wave back and head for my lonely hotel room.
Part 3: Coming soon! Stay tuned and please email me with feedback!!!
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