We Do What We Can
By: Girl Bard
Disclaimer: No one reads these, but Ill humor myself. I dont own LL or ROC, but if I did, Im sure Id be off doing more .er entertaining things rather than writing about some fictional characters by the name of Jaden and Grace. So dont get all legal on my ass because Im a very poor college student with no money to my name. So anyone trying to sue me will get a lot of art supplies and an ornery Jack Russell Terrier.
Subtext: yes, Yes, YES!! This story starts out with a G rating, but will eventually proceed to NC-17. This means explicit sex between women. If this offends you, why are you reading alternative fan fiction? Huh?
Summary: This is the sequel to the sequel of I Know This Bar. It would really help if you read that story, followed by Houdinis Box. This is the third (but not final) story in the series.
Author's Note: These two lovable characters blossomed into an actual story after driving on a rainy Massachusetts day listening to Ani Difranco's incredible song, "I Know This Bar." Henceforth, Houdinis Box was inspired by Jill Sobules equally incredible song "Houdinis Box." Because Im a strict believer in following tradition, this story is named after the lovable Sheryls Crow haunting song "We Do What We Can."
Feedback: PLEASE! Thats all I need to say. email@example.com
Dedication: My betas, you rule. My dog rules too. My girlfriend really rules. Life is good.Friday, August 4, 2000
I have such a great plan. Grace and I decided to go to the gay bar in Boston tonight, just to relax and have a good time. I keep telling Grace that we will go into the city and I'll show her around, but we haven't done that yet. Tonight is the perfect night to stay over in the city and spend the rest of the weekend just having fun.
I wanted to plan something special for Grace's birthday, which is the 13th of August. I thought we could take a trip to Vermont and go horseback riding somewhere now that her shoulder is pretty much healed. But I'd rather do that in the fall so she can experience the New England foliage on horseback. It's indescribable. So maybe I'll plan a trip to P-town for Grace's birthday. Yeah. I think she would love that.
So for tonight, why shouldn't I splurge a little on the woman I love? I think that this weekend will be just wonderful and I can't wait to spoil her rotten.
First things first. I have to find someone to watch Bean. Normally Joe & Diana would do it in a second, but they already have two dogs and an infected child. So I can't burden them with anything else, even a dog as well behaved as Bean.
I guess we could board her at a kennel, but I know Grace would be worried and truthfully, so would I. That little dog has me wrapped around her paw. Not that I'd ever admit it to Grace.
What about Steele? I'm sure I could convince the big lug to come over and housesit for the weekend. I know that since he came into town to work on the Aron investigation he hasn't found an apartment yet and is currently being put up in a motel. I'll at least try him; I don't want to be pushy or anything and if he balks at the idea then I guess I'll either try a kennel or just scrap the idea for the weekend.
"Jaden? I'm getting in the shower." Grace calls from the spare bedroom. She's been in there forever, agonizing over what to wear to the bar.
"Okay." I answer, and am rewarded by her naked form walking down the hall into the bathroom. "Thanks for the peep show!" I add and I hear her giggle as she shuts the bathroom door.
I don't have much time to make all of my plans so I better jump on it. Having Steele's cell number memorized I quickly dial and greet him brightly.
"Steele." His voice answers.
"Hey buddy! It's Jaden. How are you?" I answer, practically dripping with friendliness.
"Hi partner. Why are you being so nice?" He responds cautiously.
"I'm offended. Can't a person just be glad to talk to her friend?" I say, my voice offended.
"Yeah right. Seriously, what do you want?" He responds good-naturedly.
"You have plans for the weekend yet?" I ask, knowing he hasn't really socialized with anyone on the force yet.
"Nothing else other than a baseball game and some beer." He responds dejectedly. Jesus Christ, we really have to get this guy a life.
"Want to do your favorite partner a favor?"
He pauses for a minute. "Sure. But on one condition."
"What's that?" I question him warily.
"You never call me Harry again." He answers, chuckling under his breath.
I sigh in frustration. Of course Grace's enjoyment of this weekend is more important than my silly little pet name for him. "Consider it done." I tell him and have to pull the phone away from my ear when he responds with hoots and hollers. After he calms down I clear my throat. "You wanna know what you have to do?"
"I want to surprise Grace and take her into Boston for the weekend and Joe & Diana's kid has chicken pox so they can't watch the dog. I don't want to put her in a kennel so I thought maybe you would want to housesit for us until Sunday evening. My next shift isn't until Monday afternoon, when's yours?"
"Monday afternoon. Captain said he wants us to clear up these Aron leads immediately and I don't know what my status is after that." Steele responds and I note a tinge of sadness in his normally upbeat voice.
"You want to stay on?" I question him.
"Kind of. I like it here." He answers. "Anyway, I think it's a great idea. You and Grace deserve a little mini-vacation now that she's all set with therapy. And when you get back on Monday we can go balls to the wall on this Aron thing."
I try to ignore his use of slang but can't help but chuckling anyway. "Great. We're leaving in a few hours to take the train in. I have to find a hotel room for the weekend and pack Grace a bag before she gets out of the shower. Can you get here tonight in about an hour?"
"Around 6:00? Yeah, that would be great and I can give you guys a ride to the train station. And while you're gone I can make sure none of Aron's followers are snooping around here. I'll see you then." He responds enthusiastically.
"Thanks. Call me when you pull in the driveway. You're a pal." I tell him sincerely as he hangs up.
Perfect. Now to find a hotel room on last minute notice. There are a lot of nice hotels in Boston, but I want to take Grace to somewhere special. The Park Plaza is really nice and close to Boston Common. I think I'll try there first.
Calling information, I get the number and quickly dial before Grace finishes her shower. She actually seems to enjoy showers again, something that she hasn't experienced since the shipwreck.
The hotel answers and transfers me to guest services. I quickly inquire about the availability of the rooms and they quote me a ridiculous rate for the weekend. Having no ability to barter, I relent and give them my credit card number. Nothing is too good for my Grace, that's for sure.
Task number two done. Now all I have to do is pack Grace some clothes and see when the next train is headed into Boston. I think it will be fun for her to ride the train into the city, and that way instead of being burdened with a car and trying to find parking in the city we can just take the T or cabs wherever we want to go.
I want to take her somewhere nice for dinner and to the museums and stuff. So she needs a few nice outfits. I suppose I could just tell her of my plans and everything but that would ruin the fun of surprising her.
Heading to the spare bedroom I am glad to hear the shower water still running. Good thing I already took mine or I'd have nothing but cold water.
The room is clean, with fresh linens on the bed that I had delivered for Rick. That's great, Steele can sleep in here. Grace's closet contains her neatly hung clothes and from the time that I was in Ohio and observed her incredibly messy room I know how much of a feat it is for her to be neat here. I appreciate her efforts, but I wouldn't care if she trashed the place. I'd love her anyway.
I grab a few of her favorite outfits as well as appropriate clothes for any kind of weather. I select the shoes she would wear to match and then try to decide what to bring for a formal outfit. Something slinky but refined so wherever we go she'll look incredible.
Furrowing my eyebrows, I pull a beautiful black silk shirt out of the closet. I've never seen her wear this! The short-sleeved v-neck top is beautiful and I can only imagine how it would look on her. It is hung with a black knee-length skirt that features small white pin dots on it. The entire outfit looks like something right out of the 1940s and I bet it looks gorgeous on her.
I'll bring this. I also grab a simple black sheath dress from the closet in case Grace hates this other outfit for some reason. Pulling her dress shoes from the closet floor I add a pair of nude pantyhose to my pile of her clothes.
Gathering up the clothes I hurry to our bedroom to pack them. I quickly fold everything neatly in my small suitcase. Running over a list of what I've packed I realize that I've forgotten Grace's underwear and any jewelry she might need. I head back to the spare room and rummage through her underwear drawer, wishing I had more time to relish in this task. I pull a few practical bras and matching panties, and add a few that are more risqué. I take Grace's box of special jewelry as well as a few of her everyday items that I know she will need.
I pack the few remaining items and remind myself to get her cosmetics from the bathroom when she's done showering. I put all of my clothes I'm taking into another small suitcase and get any other things I know she'll want, such as cameras and sunscreen and put them in her well-worn book bag. I add that to her suitcase and zip it up, storing it along with mine in the front closet.
I'm halfway through tidying up the spare bedroom to hide the fact that I've been in here when the water shuts off. Perfect timing.
Grace emerges from the bathroom wearing nothing but a towel and a smile. "I'm so excited to go tonight!" She remarks and I grin at her in return.
"I am, too. Listen, I know we said we weren't going to leave until nine or ten, but I thought we could head into the city earlier and have dinner. Sound good to you?" I ask and her eyes light up in happiness.
"That would be great! When do you want to go?" She responds, her soft pink lips framing her delicate smile.
Glancing at the clock in the kitchen, I see that it's about 5:30. Steele will be here in a half-hour.
"Around 6:00. Can you be ready by then?"
Her eyes widen in surprise when she realizes that it's such a short time. "I'll hurry, but yeah. This is going to be so much fun, thank you." She finishes sincerely and I can't help but pull her close and wrap my arms around her damp body.
"I love you and would do anything for you." I tell her. "Now go get ready!"
She patters into the bedroom and I head for the bathroom, getting all of our cosmetics and shower stuff and putting it in a plastic bag so it won't leak over our clothes.
"I'm taking the dog out." I call to her from the living room and she thanks me, her voice muffled by the bedroom door. I take the two suitcases from the closet and add the bag to their contents. Then I call Bean, who is enjoying the large sunspot in the living room and head out the front door with both suitcases and the dog.
We head down the stairs and outside to the Explorer. Throwing the suitcases in the back, I then take Bean into the back yard for her potty break. I let her off leash in the fenced-in back yard and she excitedly hops around, sniffing everything in sight.
I allow her a little romping time before calling her in. She obediently trots over to me and I clip her leash back on her collar and head into the building.
"Don't worry, Harry is coming over and he's a nice guy who will play with you in the back yard and give you lots of treats. I promise. And your mom and I will be back in a few days. You're going to have fun." I tell the little dog as we head up the stairs. Hey, I promised Harry I wouldn't call him that anymore, but it doesn't mean I can't keep it between the dog and I.
Letting myself back in to the apartment I see that Grace is now in the spare bedroom putting on her makeup. I dress quickly and dust on some light eye shadow and mascara, and after brushing my teeth I add a soft burgundy lipstick. Adding a few touches of jewelry I grab my makeup and throw it in my leather satchel. I put on my shoes and glance at my watch. It's 5:50 and Steele should be here any minute.
"You almost ready?" I ask Grace, calling to her from the kitchen.
"Yeah." She responds and I see her walk quickly from the spare bedroom to our bedroom once again. I use this as my opportunity to sneak into the spare and grab her makeup, adding it with mine in my bag.
"How do I look?" Grace asks from our bedroom and I head in there to answer her.
As expected, she looks completely hot. She is wearing leather pants. Leather pants!? Who knew that Grace owned leather pants, let alone would wear them? She has on great black boots and a tight red slinky shirt. I've never seen her look more sexy. No, that isn't the right word. Not only does she look hot and sexy, she looks beautiful with her well-applied makeup and stylishly messy hair. She's incredibly lovely. I think that's what I'll tell her. It sounds more poetic than 'hot'.
"You look incredibly lovely." I tell her softly, and am rewarded by a gentle smile.
"As do you. Jaden, I've never seen you look more beautiful." She responds and I feel a faint blush cross my face. Come to mention it, I feel like I've been constantly blushing for the past hour or so, I've been so overheated. Must be because I was rushing around like crazy trying to pull off Grace's surprise.
"Well, let's grace everyone with our loveliness, shall we?" I take her hand and pull her toward the kitchen. She gathers her wallet and slinging her small black bag over her shoulder, she bends down to say goodbye to Bean.
The phone rings, and I grab it. "Hello?" I ask, hoping it is Steele.
"Dog-sitter at your service." He responds and I chuckle. "I'm in the driveway."
"You're the best. I owe you big time." I tell him, hanging up the phone. Grace looks at me curiously.
"What's going on?" She remarks and I wave my hand in the air, dismissing the phone conversation.
"Just work stuff, no big deal." I answer. "Let's get out of here!" I grab my keys off of the counter, knowing that I have Grace's set to give Steele in my pocket.
We coo our goodbyes to Bean and head down the stairs. As we head outside, Grace notices Steele's car.
"What's he doing here?" I ask, beating her to the punch. Steele turns off the engine and gets out, making it seem as if he just pulled in.
"Hey guys! I was driving around and thought I'd come and say hello." He remarks and Grace gives him a welcoming hug.
"Sorry, we're just on our way into the city." I tell him, trying to keep a straight face.
"Oh." He responds, his face disappointed. "I was hoping you wanted to go out for dinner or something. Maybe next time. Are you driving in or taking the train?" He asks, already knowing my answer.
"The train?" Grace questions and I pretend to think about the idea.
"That's a great idea, partner. That way we don't have to park the car." I look at him, grinning. "You mind dropping us off at the station so I don't have to leave my car there? I have a schedule upstairs on the fridge for the train."
"That would be so much fun!" Grace adds. "Do you want me to go and get the schedule?"
I smile fondly at her. "I'd love for you to do that. Thanks." Gracie smiles and takes my keys to let herself back in the house.
When she's out of earshot, I turn to Steele and hug him. "I really appreciate this. You're the best, you know that?"
"Yep, I do." He says, smiling. "Seriously though, it's not a problem." I thank him again and we take the suitcases from my Explorer and transfer them into Steele's trunk. I hand him Grace's house keys.
"Bean is a great dog. Give her fresh water everyday and she has dry food in an automatic feeder that should last her through the weekend. She loves people food and expects a part of whatever you eat, but make her do a trick before giving it to her. No chocolate or citrus fruit though, it will make her sick." I tell Steele, feeling like a parent leaving their child for the first time.
"She is great about going outside to potty, she needs to go every eight hours or so. You can take her into the back yard and let her off leash there if the gate is shut. She loves to play and will probably sleep with you at night." I add and he nods intently.
"Anything else?" He questions.
"Yeah, you can sleep in the spare bedroom, the bed is all made up for you. The fridge is stocked; help yourself to whatever is there. You can answer the phone if you want or let the machine get it. And be careful, you never know what Aron is going to try, dead or alive."
"Yes ma'am. I am a cop, you know." Steele can't help but resist adding. I smile and punch him lightly on the arm.
"Thanks again." I tell him. "I don't have many friends but I'm proud to consider you one."
"Same here." He answers, grinning to reveal his white teeth. "Looks like Grace is raring to go." He continues, nodding toward the door where Grace has just emerged. "You two deserve to be happy. I really like her." Steele finishes.
"Me too, my friend. Me too." I tell him softly, my eyes drawn to the way the sun glints off of Grace's red gold hair. She is beaming as she trots towards us, the bright green of the train schedule visible in her hand.
"There is a 6:30 train, can we make it?" She questions when she reaches us.
"Sure. Let's go." Steele answers and we all pile in his car.
We all chatter on the way to the train station. Beverly actually has two stations, and one is fairly close to our apartment. I direct Steele to that one, knowing that we will indeed make the 6:30 train. That's exactly how I planned it, and we will arrive in Boston a little after 7:00. From there we will take a cab to the hotel and grab something to eat before heading to the bar.
Reaching the station Steele lets us out and pops open the truck. I take the suitcases out and set them on the ground, waving to Steele as he drives away. Grace looks at the suitcases curiously and I know it won't be long until she is forced to ask me what they are for.
I act like nothing is out of the ordinary and head for the train, carrying both cases. Grace trots after me and I look at her and smile.
"What gives, Jaden?" She finally asks.
I shrug my shoulders and peer at her strangely. "What do you mean?"
She rolls her eyes and laughs. "The suitcases? Why do we need them to go to a bar?"
"Who said we were just going to the bar?" I respond, nodding to the attendant as I step onto the train, Grace following.
"What does that mean? Where else are we going?" She questions.
"You'll see, my dear. All in good time." I respond as I select a seat and put our suitcases on the luggage rack above the seat. I allow Grace to scoot in first so she can have a window view. It's pretty neat taking the train into the city and I know Grace will just love it.
"Jaden, you know I can't stand surprises. I'm too impatient. Please tell me!" She answers beseechingly, her hands clasped together.
I just cock my head and smile at her, turning to give the attendant our money for the tickets.
Grace sighs and folds her arms over her chest, slumping in her seat and pouting. I slide over closer to her after receiving my change and put my arm around her.
"You really want to know?" I ask, my voice teasing her.
"Yes!" She demands. "Jaden, whatever it is that we're doing, I know it's going to be wonderful. I'm so lucky to have you and I hope you know how incredible you are to me. I'm very much in love with you." She finishes, pulling me down for a sweet kiss.
"We're staying over in the city for the weekend." I tell her in between kisses. She shrieks with delight and wriggles in her seat like a puppy. Speaking of, I better tell her about Bean before she starts to worry.
"And don't worry about it, Steele is going to house and puppy-sit for the weekend. Bean's in great hands." I add, gazing into her forest green eyes.
Gracie is silent for a few seconds. "You're incredible." She finally says, her lower lip trembling as her eyes fill with unshed tears.
"You make me want to be incredible." I respond, pulling her close to me. She fiercely wraps her arms around me and buries her nose into my hair.
This is going to be a good weekend.
Part 12: Coming soon! Stay tuned and please email me with feedback!!!