We Do What We Can

Part 4

By: Girl Bard


Disclaimer: No one reads these, but I’ll humor myself. I don’t own LL or ROC, but if I did, I’m sure I’d be off doing more….er…entertaining things rather than writing about some fictional characters by the name of Jaden and Grace. So don’t get all legal on my ass because I’m 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 Houdini’s 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, Houdini’s Box was inspired by Jill Sobule’s equally incredible song "Houdini’s Box." Because I’m a strict believer in following tradition, this story is named after the lovable Sheryl’s Crow haunting song "We Do What We Can."

Feedback: PLEASE! That’s all I need to say. girl_bard@yahoo.com

Dedication: My betas, you rule. My dog rules too. My girlfriend really rules. Life is good.


July 4, 2000

Just before dawn

Thunder rumbling calls me from my deep sleep. I raise my head slightly to look outside, ignoring the sharp pain that shoots from my injured shoulder. It's eerily beautiful outside, the lightning flashes on the ocean outside showing the sky to be a strange shade of greenish-yellow.

"You okay?" Jaden's sleepy voice vibrates against my chest.

"Yeah." I tell her, lying my head back down to watch the dark room flash with light from the constant lightning.

"Nasty out, huh?" Jaden remarks, her eyes closed.

"The sky is green. Do you get tornados here?" I ask, my voice nervous.

"Not really, we've had a few small ones but nothing serious." Jaden answers, her breath warming my bare skin.

"We get them in Ohio, sometimes they are really bad. We always learned that the first warning sign was a green sky, like it is now."

Jaden must sense my apprehension about the storm because she gets up from the bed, rubbing her eyes and yawning as she turns on her alarm clock and tunes the channel to the AM weather station.

"Let's see what they say, okay?" She tells me quietly before getting back in bed.

"Thank you." I answer, ashamed to be so scared over a stupid thunderstorm. "I'm sorry I'm such a chicken lately."

She wraps her long body protectively around mine. "You're not a chicken, I am, remember? Isn't that how you said I danced?" She tells me sleepily before nuzzling her head into my skin. She sighs with contentment and falls almost instantly back asleep as I giggle at the memory of her doing the 'funky chicken' that night at the karaoke place.

A particularly loud crack of lightning makes me jump but Jaden doesn't stir. Bean bolts from her sleeping place in Jaden's dirty clothesbasket onto the bed and frantically roots her way under the covers. I guess I'm not the only one who is a chicken, and it makes me feel a little better.

I used to love storms. As a child I would get so excited to smell rain in the air. From my bedroom at night I would hear the thunder in the distance and play that game where you can tell how far away the storm is away by counting the seconds between the lightning and the thunder. I would hope and pray that the storm would get closer so I could see the rain pounding outside and jump with that childhood fear at the noise it made.

But right now, at this point in my life, I want sunshine and roses. Not a freaking thunder and lightning storm and tornados. I feel like the past few weeks have been like a whirling tornado, spinning everything out of control. I want a little reprieve from the storm now, at least for a little while.

I shut my eyes and concentrate on Jaden's even breathing and warm body beside me. The weather station is declaring Beverly to have a severe thunderstorm warning, but it should dissipate before dawn. That's good, I guess. At least it's just a simple storm.

Pacified, I snuggle deeper into my love's embrace and slowly fall asleep.


The next time I wake up, it's more pleasant. I feel Jaden's long hair tickling my chest and I can't help but giggle in response. I hear her laugh, her voice coming from somewhere above me.

I open my eyes, closing them quickly when the bright sun almost blinds me. I try again, more prepared this time and manage to crack them open enough to see my bizarre and very-awake girlfriend straddling my hips. Let me clarify. She's straddling my hips AND she's nude.

I let my gaze roam over her entire body as I smile in approval, my smile turning into a leer as I focus on her perfect breasts.

"Good morning." I mutter, my hands instinctively reaching to touch them.

Of course, my lustful desires turn painful when in my breast-induced haze I forget about my shoulder. I shriek in pain as the sudden movement almost makes me pass out.

"Fuck! Gracie, you okay?" Jaden asks, getting off of me immediately and peering at my bandaged injury. "I'm so sorry!"

"Goddess, you didn't do anything wrong." I tell her, breathing deeply as the pain slowly ebbs. "I'm a horny idiot who only had your boobs on my mind, and wasn't thinking straight."

"Excuse the pun." Jaden jokes and I laugh in response. "You need your medicine?" She asks as she pulls on a t-shirt and a pair of shorts.

"Please." I answer as I extend my hand to her. She takes it and gently helps me into a sitting position. Picking my discarded pajamas off from the floor she carefully puts my pajama top on and hands me the bottoms.

"Be right back." She says and heads for the door.

"Um, Jaden?" I ask and she turns around, raising an eyebrow inquisitively. "Does it bother you that I have pain medication in the house?" I ask, hoping I'm not opening a can of worms, so to speak.

"Why would it?" She questions and I bite my bottom lip in nervousness.

"Well, when you were hurt in the shipwreck, you wouldn't let the doctor give you pain medication because of your former addiction." I spit it out, surprised when I see not anger, but a gentle wash of emotion come across her face.

"Thank you for asking sweetheart. But no, it doesn't bother me. I want what is best for you and that's what is important. I know how much pain you're in and that is what matters." She says softly before leaving the room.

Okay then. That wasn't so bad.

Bean appears from under the covers and trots out after Jaden. I hear Jaden cooing to her as she returns with my medicine, a glass of juice, and a granola bar. "Don't take those on an empty stomach." She orders as she hands me the medicine.

"Yes mom." I tell her, rolling my eyes. She sticks her tongue out at me in response, a rare gesture from my normally stoic girlfriend. I chuckle as I tear into my granola bar.

Jaden raps on the door of the spare bedroom before opening it briefly. "Rick, rise and shine. You gotta show me how to make that potato crap." Jaden leaves the door open wide enough for Little Herc who comes barreling out of my uncle's bedroom to be taken outside.

Goddess, she's in a great mood this morning. She's been so sleep-deprived the past few days that it's a wonder what a good night's sleep has done for her.

She's such a goofball sometimes. I finish my granola bar and take my pills with my juice. Then I face the task of putting my pants on. I pull them on one-handed, and pleased with my success I get up and head out into the hallway.

Jaden is back inside by now and she joins me in the hall, giggling like a child as she opens the spare bedroom door once again. "Watch this." She tells me as the dogs race into the bedroom and pummel my poor, unsuspecting uncle.

He protests from his bed as they lick and nibble at his face. He tries to pull the covers up over his head but the dogs only growl at him and play tug-of-war with the bed linens. My uncle finally gives up and surrenders to them, allowing them to kiss and slobber all over his face.

He shoots us a wary look as he gets out of bed and we can't help but laugh at his polka-dotted boxer shorts. He grumbles in response as he stalks past us into the bathroom, shutting the door behind me.

Jaden and I giggle like mischievous children as we make our way into the kitchen, the dogs trailing at our feet.

"Shit, it's already 11:00?" I ask as Jaden stretches her long arms above her head.

"Yep. We're supposed to be there soon." She answers.

"Opps, I guess we were tired." I tell her, admiring her toned body as I give her a morning hug.

"Yep." She answers, kissing the top of my head.

"You two ever stop?" My uncle jokes as he emerges from the bathroom. I blush, not used to being affectionate with anyone in front of my family, especially my girlfriend. "Okay, let's make this." He says as he begins to take the ingredients out of the refrigerator.

"I'll leave you chefs, I'm going to take a bath." I tell them, giving Jaden one last squeeze.

"Need help?" Jaden asks, waggling her eyebrows as my uncle chuckles.

"I think I can manage." I tell her and they busy themselves with their task.

I enter the bathroom and run the bathwater, making sure it's nice and hot. I try to remove my clothes, thankful for my button-down pajama top that makes it easy. I test the water with my foot, and finding it to be the perfect temperature, I get in.

I take a clean washcloth and dampen the tape holding the bandages on the front and back of my shoulder so when I rip it off it doesn't hurt. It practically peels itself off and I remove the bandages.

There, that's not that gruesome. I look down at my lower shoulder where the bullet pierced through. It's healing pretty well, not as red and swollen as it was, and the bandage is free from any drainage. That's a good sign. The skin around the entry point is purple and bruised, and the black stitches stand out against my pale skin.

By craning my neck over my shoulder I can see the back of it where the bullet exited my body. It looks pretty much like the front, but is a little more irritated. I know it's from laying down on it all night. By being outside and standing or sitting most of the day it should be okay.

I wash it with the washcloth and then sink down into the warm water, careful not to get my shoulder wet. I stretch my legs and close my eyes for a minute, reveling in the fragrant water and peaceful bathroom.

After the shipwreck I never thought I'd enjoy taking a shower or bath again. I'm glad that I am able to do it now, although I'm still not completely over that experience. I don't think I ever will be.

Experimenting with my range of motion I move my injured shoulder around. It hurts, but the combination of the pain medication with the gentle and repetitive movements is making it less of a nagging pain. I can't wait to start physical therapy next week. I know it's going to hurt like a total bitch, but it will be good to feel like I'm being active in my own healing. And the faster I get my shoulder and arm usable, the sooner I can write in my journal.

I reluctantly finish my bath and step out of the still-warm tub. We're already running late for the cookout and Jaden and my uncle still have to shower. I dry myself off the best I can and wrap my towel around myself.

"Jaden?" I call to her before I close her bedroom door. I still can't bandage my shoulder yet and she has to do that for me.

"Yep?" She asks, coming into the room and wiping her hands on her shorts. I drop my towel and stand nude before her.

"Bandage me baby." I tell her, my mouth curved into a smile.

She matches my smile with one of her own. "Ohh, kinky." She purrs, waggling her eyebrows. I throw my towel at her and she laughs on her way to the bathroom to wash her hands.

She returns quickly, a twinkle in her eye as she surveys my nakedness. "You're beautiful." She utters with reverence as she kneels before me and tenderly kisses my belly.

"You're not bad yourself." I joke and she tickles under my rips. "Hey, no fair. I'm hurt and can't fight back!"

"Yeah right." She answers as she continues her gentle assault. "You're nowhere near helpless." Jaden releases me from her tickling and carefully places a clean bandage on my shoulder.

I know she was joking and didn't mean anything by it, but for some reason her statement really upset me. I'm not helpless. I proved that when I killed Aron. I took someone's life with my own hands.

I swallow the large lump that has formed in my throat and only vaguely aware of Jaden's tender hands bandaging my wounded shoulder.

"Earth to Grace?" She says after finishing, waving a hand in front of my face. I shake my head to clear myself from my thoughts.

"Sorry. Thanks." I tell her.

"What's the matter?" She says and I force myself to smile. I won't do this to her today, this is supposed to be a fun day.

"Nothing. Just thinking about what I should wear." I tell her.

She smiles. "I kind of like what you have on." Jaden teases, hugging me and running her hands up my bare back.

"Behave." I tell her as she pinches my butt. She laughs and I relax into her embrace.

"Wear whatever you want. It's nice out but I know you'll get cold."

"Okay." I tell her as I pick up the towel I threw to her and wrap it around myself. "I'm going to get dressed." I tell her and head into the spare bedroom to go through my clothes.

"I'm going to get Rick in the shower and clean up the kitchen." She says and heads down the hall.

I shut the door behind me, seeing that my uncle has kept the spare bedroom extremely neat. His clothes are hung in the closet and his bed is made. I pause at that thought, realizing that Jaden never had a bed in here before. She must have bought it when she realized he would be staying for a while.

Wow. That was so thoughtful of her. She's so incredibly giving, and I have to remember to thank her more often. I'm so lucky to have her in my life. I don't know what I'd do without her. I can't think of it.

Glancing at the clock I realize that if I don't get moving we're going to be really late. I choose a simple blue button down shirt that I can leave open over my white tank top and my khaki cargo pants. Putting my bra on really hurts, but I do it myself anyway.

I finish dressing and pull on a pair of white canvas sneakers. I can't help but laugh in frustration when I realize that I can't tie my shoelaces. I think about calling Jaden or my uncle, but my pride won't let myself. It's bad enough they already have to wait on me hand and foot, and I think that since I've been able to tie my shoelaces since kindergarten that I can manage now.

I throw my leg up on the bed and bend at the waist, grasping the laces with my hands. I figure out how to quickly tie them and do a double knot so I won't have to go through all of this again at the cookout in case they come untied. I repeat the action with the other shoe and open the door, fully dressed.

I hear the shower running and a huge crash followed by curses. I realize from the language that it is my uncle in the shower and Jaden cursing. I giggle and head for the kitchen.

She is standing in what looks like a war zone of condiments. The normally spotless tiled floor is now littered with broken glass from a mayonnaise jar, globs of creamy mayonnaise, eggshells and broken eggs, and pieces of celery. There are a few unused potatoes still rolling around in the mess and Jaden is frantically trying to keep the two curious dogs from sneaking a taste of the concoction on the floor.

I have to seriously bite my lip in order to keep from laughing and I help her out by putting Bean and Herc away in the bedroom. I return to find Jaden gingerly picking pieces of glass out of the mess, her curses never ceasing.

"What happened?" I ask as I bend down to her crouched level. She shoots me an annoyed look.

"I'm cleaning up the kitchen." She mumbles in between curses, averting my gaze when a giggle escapes.

"Good job." I tell her, jokingly. She ignores me and puts the pieces of the broken jar in the trash. I grab a handful of paper towels and wipe up the mess. She helps me, taking my soiled towels from me. She finishes picking up the mayonnaise and I deposit the two goo-covered potatoes into the trash.

"I dropped everything." She remarks, taking out some Lysol and spraying it on the floor.

"I gathered." I respond dryly, standing up to give her more room to clean. "Care to tell me how?"

"No." She says, her face turning a bright red.

"Okay." I agree, leaning against the counter as she wipes up the rest of the mess and the cleaner, bringing the floor to its' normal shine.

She signs and I bite the inside of my cheek to keep from laughing. She's like a little kid who desperately wants to tell me what happened, but embarrassed to do so. I know it's killing her not to tell me. I'll just bide my time and wait until she can't take it any longer. From the look of her internal struggle, it won't be long.

"I thought I saw something." She says, struggling to maintain her already lost cool.

"Like what?" I ask, wondering if she's having trauma over what happened between Aron and I. We really need to discuss this, and soon.

"A spider." She states, her face flushing even brighter.

"A spider?" I repeat needlessly.

"Yes. I hate them." She tells me, her tormented blue eyes finally gathering the courage to look into mine. The look she is giving me is priceless; she appears to be so innocent and childlike right now, pleading with me to not make fun of her.

Like I ever could.

"They're icky. I don't mind them, but I hate cockroaches." I tell her, shuddering at the thought of the disgusting insects.

She smiles, her eyes brightening. "Really? Cockroaches aren't that bad, they don't bite people like spiders do."

"Yeah, but they get into food." I add.

"True. I guess they'll about equally bad." She answers.

"Yep." I tell her, nodding. "So, let me see this wonderful potato salad." I change the subject, knowing how embarrassing it must have been for her to tell me of her fear.

She proudly opens the fridge to show me the magnificent potato salad saran-wrapped in a ceramic bowl.

"Wow! Great job sweetheart!" I tell her as I wrap my right arm around her waist.

"Thanks. Rick did most of it, but I helped." I squeeze her middle and pull myself into her embrace.

"Well, you're on your way to being a first class chef." I joke and she returns my hug.

"Thanks for not making fun of me. I know, it's pathetic, a cop being afraid of a stupid bug." "No more pathetic then a grown woman being scared of a thunderstorm." I answer, looking up into her incredible eyes.

"We're pathetic." She says, her lush mouth curving into a smile.

"We're allowed to be." I tell her, pulling her down for a kiss.

"Christ almightily, you two are grossing me out." My uncle remarks as he walks from the bathroom to the spare bedroom, shutting the door loudly.

Jaden and I break from our embrace and look at each other, our eyes rolling simultaneously.

Part 5: Coming soon! Stay tuned and please email me with feedback!!!

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