We Do What We Can

Part 14


By: Girl Bard
girl_bard@yahoo.com

For disclaimers, please see part one.
 
 

August 6, 2000

    She sits silently on the ripped vinyl seat of the train, her arms crossed stiffly over her chest as her foot incessantly taps on the shiny but littered floor.
    "Stop pouting." I tell her and she glares at me and deepens her frown. Sighing, I lean back against the seat and close my eyes, determined not to fight with her any longer. I know she must feel miserable and doesn't need me nagging at her.
    But she's so goddamned stubborn. And frustrating. And she's got to be the worst person to be around when she's not feeling well. Nothing pleases her; nothing can bring her out of her funk. She's inconsolable.
    "I love you." I mention quietly. I know that she's pissed off at me for demanding that we come home and get her to a doctor for her chicken pox.
    "I love you too." Jaden responds, uncrossing her arms and taking my hand in hers. I open my eyes to see her staring at me miserably, a frown still plastered on her beautiful face.
    "I'm sorry you're feeling so badly. And I'm sorry that you got sick." I answer, squeezing her hand. "When we get home we'll get you to the doctor and get some medicine to make you feel better."
    "Gracie, I'm itchy." She tells me, her bottom lip sticking out further now in all her despair.
    "I know." I answer. I feel as if I'm dealing with a child. Smiling at her I lean over to kiss her cheek. "You'll feel better soon, okay?"
    "Promise?"
    I continue to smile at the woman I love. I would do anything for her. "Yeah, I promise."
    "I don't wanna go to the doctor." She continues.
    "I know. But you have to." I tell her firmly. She sighs dejectedly and stares out the window.
    "Can I go to work on Monday?" Jaden questions and I bite my bottom lip. She isn't going to like this, I can just tell. Regardless of how much Jaden has enjoyed her time off, I know she's eager to get back to work.
    "I don't think so." I tell her reluctantly. "Probably everyone on the force has already had chicken pox but their kids might not have and we don't want you infecting anyone. The doctor will probably give you antibiotics to stop you from being contagious but you'll probably have to be out of work for a week."
    She sighs again, mumbling under her breath. I continue on, desperate to make her feel better.
    "But you'll have plenty of bed rest and I'll take care of you, okay? I'll spoil you rotten." I tell her, scooting close to her and putting my arm around her shoulders and pulling her tall frame down closer to mine.
    "Okay." She answers. This seems to cheer her up. "Can we rent movies?"
    "Of course. Anything you want." I tell her quickly, before thinking. Realizing my mistake, I make a quick amendment. "Except anything that has more than fifteen car crashes or explosions."
    "Nope. You said anything I want." She argues good-naturedly.
    "I don't understand how you can watch that action crap. It's all the same! I don't care if you're the Terminator or not, no one can do those stunts!" I add.
    "I can. I'm Jaden: Warrior Cop! With my battling blonde sidekick I will free the world!" Jaden responds, giggling.
    Looking at her warily, I put my hand against her forehead. "You must have a fever."
    "Nope." She tells me, smiling for the first time since I discovered her little scratching party in the bathroom. "I'm just one of a kind."
    "That's for sure." I answer, grinning at her. "And thank the Goddess herself, because I don't think the world could survive with two of you."
    "What is that supposed to mean?" She responds, her face an expression of mock outrage.
    I pat her hand. "Nothing sweetheart, it's a compliment." She smiles proudly and turns to look out the window at the passing scenery. Chuckling under my breath I join her, enjoying both the train ride and the company I keep.
 
 

    Journal entry:
    August 6, 2000
 

The spider delicately dances over its transparent web on the windowpane. I know if Jaden were awake she wouldn't appreciate the sight, but I've always been fascinated by spiders. I find them eerily beautiful and anything that eats mosquitoes and flies is a friend of mine.
    I'm content to sit here and watch the daughter of Arachne weave her web. As a child, the myth of Athena and Arachne was always my favorite.
    Jaden is resting and I was surprised to see her obediently head off to bed after I made her an oatmeal bath and rubbed anti-itch ointment on her pox. They've already spread down to her legs and onto her arms and I know she must be miserable. The doctor ordered her to rest and stay hydrated but I know it's going to be a tough few days until she feels better.
    After she fell asleep I came back to the kitchen and visited with Bean. Steele seemed to love staying with her and I think she was equally happy, but still excited to see us nevertheless.
    Then I made homemade lasagna, which is now bubbling in the oven and filling the apartment with a wonderful aroma. I know Jaden will be starving when she wakes up and something warm should make her feel better. At least I hope.
    Steele left the apartment tidy so I didn't really have anything else to do. Grabbing my journal I sat down next to the window and decided to write.
    But I've been distracted by a silly spider. The web is beautiful, its tiny silver strands glistening in the late afternoon sun. It's strange how something so delicate looking can really be so strong. I guess that's how I feel about Jaden sometimes. She is so powerful, yet fragile on the inside. I think that's what I am like too.
    I've decided to go back to school. I know that I've been toying with the idea the entire time that I've been here in Massachusetts but now I know I'm certain.
    I will take the fall semester off and start in the spring. I want to find a job that I like now and save up more money so I can work less while in school. First thing Monday morning I will call Pressman and see if I can get a meeting with a counselor about transferring. Maybe I'll give Stacey and Kim a call and see if they want to show me around.
    I can't really decide where I want to job hunt though. I know I could easily get hired at a bar; my experience along with my uncle's recommendation would help. But I'm not sure if that's something I want to do anymore. Maybe I'll try to get a job at a stable or something. It doesn't pay well but it sure would be nice to be around a barn again.
    Poor Jaden, I know she was dying to go and see Studley so we could go riding. I hope, for her sake, that she heals soon. Though it is nice to be taking care of her for once. She sure did everything she could to make sure I was pampered when I was hurt.
    But back to school. I am still at a crux in my life. What do I want to do? I was thinking of maybe going into psychology. I really respect Cheryl for being able to listen and help me put things in perspective so caringly.
    Could I do that? Listen to people's lives and try and help them sort things out? I think maybe I could. I want to make a difference in the world; I know that.
    We'll see. I guess I have to decide on a major before I begin college again. I don't have long before I graduate. But I think that taking an entire semester off will help me gain some perspective on who and what I want to become.
    At least I hope it will.
 

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    "Gracie?" I call, my throat dry. The entire apartment is quiet and Bean's small body is pressed between my ankles. A wonderfully smelling aroma drifts through the bedroom and my stomach growls in response.
    Spaghetti? Must be something like that.
    "Hey, how are you feeling?" Grace responds, standing in the doorway of the bedroom. She looks ethereal, the sunlight bathing her skin with golden luster.
    "Better now." I answer as I hold my arms out to her. She silently pads across the floor and settles herself in my embrace, placing her palm on my forehead.
    "Your fever is down." She tells me, her hand cool against my flushed skin. "You need some water?" She asks, placing a soft kiss to my dry lips.
    "Yeah, I'm going to get up. What's cooking?" I ask as I tiredly get out of bed. I feel like a limp dishrag, tired and really achy.
    "Lasagna." She responds, smiling.
    "You're amazing." I tell her as I stretch and head into the kitchen. "Is it almost done?"
    "Yep. I'm toasting the garlic bread now." She responds, handing me a glass of red wine. "You didn't take any medicine yet, right?" Grace continues, knowing my aversion to taking anything.
    "No. I'll start it tomorrow." I respond, clinking my glass against hers before drinking. "Thank you for this." I say softly, hoping she knows how lucky I am to have her in my life.
    "It gets even better." She answers, grinning like the Cheshire Cat. "Look in the fridge."
    I quirk my eyebrows at her and obey her command. I see a half pint of my favorite Ben & Jerry's ice cream as well as a box of Popsicles.
    "You're a Goddess." I respond, kissing the top of her head.
    "Wait, there's still more!" Grace answers, sounding like a television announcer from the 'Price Is Right.'
    "More?" I tell her, playing along.
    "Not only will you enjoy an evening of wining and dining with your girlfriend, but you'll also be entertained by your very own Sony PlayStation!" Grace tells me, handing me a large Wal-Mart bag.
    "What? Are you kidding me?" I set my wine glass down and open the bag to find a PlayStation with a ton of games. "How did you do this?" I ask, as I look at all the games. "This is awesome!"
    "You're welcome." Grace responds, smiling brightly. "I ran to the store while you were sleeping and I figured this was a great way to keep boredom at bay while you were sick."
    "You shouldn't have done this, it's so expensive!" I argue, touched that she would think of me.
    "Please. Since I moved here you haven't let me pay for anything. It's the least I can do. Besides, I thought it would be fun. I wasn't sure if you liked stuff like this but it's better than nothing." Grace answers, her beautiful eyes glowing with happiness.
    "I love it. I love you. You're the most incredible thing that's ever happened to me." I tell her, pulling her toward me and crushing her with a hug.
    Holding her feels so incredible and I could do it forever. Hell, if I have things my way I will do it forever. I never want to leave her side. I need to do something, anything, to show her how much I feel for her and how much I want this relationship to work.
    The shrill oven timer goes off and Grace gently pulls herself from my embrace. "Why don't you get comfortable on the couch and I'll bring this over to you, okay?" She tells me and I smile.
    "I'll hook the PlayStation up." I respond, eager to do something useful.
    "Okay." Grace answers. "You can do it by yourself, right?"
    "Sure." I tell her confidently. "How hard can it be?"
    Grace smiles sweetly as she puts on her oven mitts and opens the oven, filling the kitchen with the delicious smell of dinner.
 
 

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"Jaden, sweetheart, come and eat. We'll do that later." I tell her, trying to coax her toward dinner. Ignoring her grumbling I stand and take her hand.
    "Let me just finish this, I'm almost done." She argues and I know I won't win this battle unless I turn to desperate measures.
    A guilt trip.
    "I made this wonderful dinner for you and now you're going to let it get cold. Please come and eat." I add and she looks at me, smiling.
    "Okay." She joins me on the couch, the twisted remains of the PlayStation littering the living room floor. Poor Jaden, this isn't her day. She was so convinced she would be able to hook it up before dinner, and she's not even close.
    She digs into her dinner happily, making little noises of approval. I smile in response, glad to see that she hasn't lost her appetite yet.
    Actually, she doesn't seem to be as miserable as I thought she would. I figured she would be scratching herself like crazy but I haven't seen her do it at all besides catching her in the hotel bathroom last night. She must have amazing self-control, I know if I had chicken pox I'd be unable to stop myself from scratching constantly. When I was a child and got them, my mother made me wear winter gloves because I wouldn't stop scratching.
    It doesn't surprise me though, Jaden can do anything she sets her mind to.
    "This is the best food ever." She tells me, her dark hair falling in her eyes. I instinctively reach to push it behind her ears.
    "I'm glad you're enjoying it." I answer.
    "You made it for me. Even if it tasted like crap I'd still love it." She adds and I laugh at her blunt honesty.
    "Thanks, I think." I tell her and she chuckles. She abruptly stops laughing and wriggles her nose. It is then that I notice the small red spot on the end of her regal nose. Oh no.
    "What?" She asks, seeing the look on my face.
    "Nothing, it's just that you have a pox on your nose." I tell her solemnly.
    "No, I don't. It just itches." She reaches her hand up to scratch and I quickly slap it away. "Hey!" She protests in vain.
    "It itches because there is a pox on it!" I tell her and she vehemently protests.
    "No there's not!"
    I set my plate down on the coffee table and stand up, careful not to step on an anxious-looking Bean who is sniffing at my plate and licking her chops. I head down the hall and retrieve my compact mirror, holding it up to an astounded Jaden who has just seen her very first face pox.
    "Shit." She mutters.
    "Yeah." I confirm. "Well, there's one good thing that came out of this I guess."
    "What?" She questions dourly.
    "I won't need a night-light for awhile, huh Rudolph?" I ask seriously before breaking into giggles.
    She frowns at me. "Shut up."
    I crack up, unable to contain my laughter. When I finally get control of myself I take our empty plates into the kitchen and scrape the leftovers for Bean. Returning to the living room, I extend my hand in apology.
    "I'm sorry." I tell her, leaning down to kiss her pouting lips. "Come on, let's get this PlayStation hooked up for you so we can play your reindeer games."
    "Grace!" She whines and I begin laughing all over again.
 

    Journal Entry:

    August 10, 2000

 

 
 

    Remember what I said about Jaden doing pretty well with her chicken pox? How she wasn't really scratching or feeling too badly?
    Scratch that, excuse the pun. She's a scratching machine. She was able to control herself for a few days and then it all went downhill from there.
    I called Pressman on Monday and spoke with an advisor. I met with a really nice counselor who reviewed my transcript from my old college yesterday and it looks like I wouldn't lose many credits, and the college has a great psychology program. I also called Stacey and Kim and they said they would show me around this weekend. So I'm excited about that.
    But anyway, yesterday morning I went to my appointment with the advisor. Jaden assured me that she would be just fine by herself for a few hours. I left her with a full belly and a working PlayStation and returned to find her unable to control her scratching.
    I've tried everything; oatmeal baths, ice cubes, and every ointment and cream under the sun. Nothing is helping her and it's breaking my heart to see her be so miserable.
    Hopefully today will be better. I woke up before her, a rare occurrence. She seems to be sleeping peacefully and only woke up a few times scratching in the middle of the night. Her entire face is now covered with spots, as well as her back. Maybe she'll feel better when she wakes up this morning.
    I just wish I could find some way to cheer her up.
    My eyes linger on a red pen, left on the coffee table from last night's game of cards when it was used to keep score as I kicked Jaden's butt in forty-fives. She was actually convinced that because it was a regional game only played in New England, I wouldn't be able to beat her.
    I almost took pity on her and let her win. Almost. But she's been beating me so badly at video games that I didn't feel too badly about winning.
    Anyway, back to the red pen. It might be the answer I'm looking for.
 
 

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    It only takes a few minutes before I realize how itchy I am. I sigh irritably, a frown already forming on my face. I woke up so peacefully; Gracie left the fan blowing and a glass of water on the nightstand for when I woke up. It was heavenly, for about two minutes. And then my stupid pox reminded me how much I itched, so here I am, scratching away already.
    "Hey, Spots." Grace calls from the hallway and I hear her walk toward the bedroom. She must have heard me wake up.
    "Mornin╔what the hell?!?" I stutter as I look at my beautiful girlfriend who is standing in the doorway. My beautifully naked but chicken pox-covered girlfriend.
    She smiles at me. "What's the matter?"
    I don't answer her, falling back on the bed and covering my face with a pillow instead. I can't believe I got her sick too. She's going to kill me!
    Wait a minute; didn't she already have the chicken pox? And can't you only get them once? Sensing something is amiss; I remove the pillow from my self-suffocating intent and sit back up, peering at her more closely.
    "I thought we should match." She states seriously, walking over to the bed. I grab her arm and look at it, noting how perfectly spaced her dots are.
    "You wrote on yourself?" I ask stupidly, knowing the answer. Laughing, I shake my head from side to side. "I can't believe you."
    She joins in my laughter, shrieking when I pull her on top of me and roll her over onto the bed, tickling her for all it's worth.
    "Stop it! I'm going to pee my pants!" Grace pleads as I relentlessly continue my assault on her ribs.
    "You're not wearing pants!" I respond and she giggles harder, her slender arms snaking out to retaliate.
    I yelp as her hands find their way to my own ribs and suddenly find myself on the defensive, a naked and spotted Grace taking control and straddling my stomach. She pins my arms above my head and smiles at her victory.
    I know I could easily pull away but I don't want to. She knows it too and releases my arms as she kisses me sweetly.
    "Sucker!" I tell her as the kiss ends. My hands wrap around her slim waist and I tickle her for all it's worth until she's snorting with laughter.
    We both collapse on the bed, our spotted chests heaving from the exertion.
"What a pair we are." Grace tells me, her voice rich.
"A pair of what?" I answer and she elbows me gently in the ribs.
"Don't make me answer that." She responds and the sound of our laughter fills the room.
 

Part 15: Coming soon! Stay tuned and please email me with feedback!!!



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