Disclaimers-see part one. I used a Spanish word in this part, and considering I don't know Spanish, I'm hoping I used it in the right context. Comments welcome: XWPScribe@aol.com Part Three Chapter Nine
ONE YEAR LATER "Hey, you're late." The dark haired woman stated as her friend slid into the booth across from her.
"I know, my last client was held up in traffic and the meeting ran late. Have you ordered?" Tracy asked as she glanced through the menu. The ex-adult movie star decided to retire last year and finally use her MBA degree. While making movies, she had saved money and started her own accounting firm. After retiring she let her hair return to its original color of light brown and quit wearing the blue contacts, restoring her eyes to the brown, flecked with gold that Cody was used to.
Cody shook her head. "I'm not real hungry. I think I'll just have a salad."
Tracy was starting to worry about her best friend. Cody hadn't gone through mood swings like she had been having the past few months, since they had met at the university.
It had taken awhile for Cody to open up; they had become friends, then lovers and then best friends, before Tracy had learned of her troubled past. "You haven't had an appetite for awhile, what's up?" She asked after they placed their orders.
Cody slumped in the booth. "I'm not sure." She absentmindedly played with her eating utensils. "Amanda and I can't seem to have a conversation without getting into a disagreement these days."
Tracy dug into her cheeseburger. Another advantage to retiring was being able to eat what she wanted without having to worry about gaining a few pounds here and there. "Maybe you two are PMSing at the same time." She voiced between bites. Though she knew her friend's personality rarely changed during her cycle.
Cody shrugged her shoulders as she picked through her salad. "Beats me," she answered before taking a bite. "Our first six months together was like a dream come true, even though she was busy with starting the production company, I don't think we could've been any happier." She put her fork down and gave up pretending to eat. "Now though...she doesn't seem happy."
"You've asked her?" Cody nodded in answer. "What does she say?"
"That I'm never home," she paused when the waiter stopped at their table.
"Could I get you something else?" He gestured toward her uneaten salad.
"No, thank you. I'm not very hungry."
"Anything else for you, ma'am?" He asked Tracy.
"No thanks." She answered, then when he left with their dishes she said, "You have been gone a lot these past few months."
"I know, but she's been busy too. That's why I had to call you to pick me up last week."
"What happened with that? I haven't had a chance to ask." Tracy finished her tea and motioned the waiter for more.
"She said she got hung up at work and forgot. Thing is, I called her cell phone when I landed and it went directly to voice mail. I left a message thinking she was on a call, but when she didn't return my call, I phoned her office and she didn't answer there or at the house. Half hour later I called you to come get me, and while I waited for you, she finally called me back." Cody explained.
"What'd she say?"
"That she wasn't in her office and that her cell phone had been acting up."
Tracy watched her friend fidget. "You don't believe her." It wasn't a question. "You don't think she's having an affair, do you?" She saw Cody's jaw clinch and hated bring it up, but knew it was something her friend had probably already considered.
"She and Sabrina have been spending a lot of time together since I've been working so much lately. And Amanda did tell me that they were off and on lovers when they worked together in Japan." She looked away, but not before Tracy saw the confusion in the blue eyes. "But I just can't believe she'd do that."
Tracy wondered if Cody could see the similarities. "Honey, we spend a lot of time together too, and we're ex-lovers. I know Amanda loves you, I really don't think she would cheat on you either." She reassured her. 'At least she better not.' She added to herself.
"I do think Sabrina wants her back. Would you talk to her?" Cody pleaded.
Tracy sighed. "I can try, but she doesn't particularly like me. She's jealous of the time we spend together, just like you are of Sabrina." She explained to the confused woman.
"But...why? I've always tried to include her when we do things. It was Amanda that said she thought we should spend time together. And I'm not jealous of Sabrina, just leery of her."
"Ah." Tracy said knowingly. "And you believed her."
"Well yeah." She thought, then wrinkled her brow. "Why wouldn't I?"
"She probably wanted you to say you'd rather spend time with her." She educated the clueless woman.
"Why would she say one thing and mean another? Was she testing me? It sounds like she doesn't trust me." Cody didn't understand and was starting to get defensive. It sounded more and more to her, like she was being set up to fail.
"No, I don't believe so. I just think that the more time you spent with me, the more she started to resent it." Tracy paused. "I should have noticed what was happening, now that I think about it."
"I don't understand." Cody rubbed her temples, hoping to massage away her growing headache.
"I know, babe. I'll talk to Amanda if you want. I can try to reassure her, but if I'm right about all this, it might do more harm than good."
Cody took a deep breath. "No, you're right. I need to do this myself. Maybe we could get away for a quiet weekend, just the two of us. And I could show her how much I love her."
Tracy smiled. "Good idea. That ought to get you two back on track."
"You're home early." Cody said as she bent down and kissed Amanda on top of her head.
"Yeah, I had a stomachache. I can go in this weekend and catch up." She explained.
"Oh...I um, thought maybe we could go away this weekend. Spend some time together, just the two of us. I know its short notice, but we haven't had a lot of time together lately." She sat down next to Amanda, but was an arm length away since the blonde's legs were tucked up beside her on the couch.
"I'd say it's short notice, its Thursday. Where have you been? I thought you were working from here today."
"I met Tracy for lunch." She saw the green eyes grow distant.
"I see." Amanda stood and moved in front of the windows. "I can't just drop every thing because you decided to be here this weekend." She said coolly.
"Well I'm glad you 'see' because I don't." Cody also stood and threw her hands out sideways, then dropped them to her sides. "I wish you'd explain it to me. I want to understand what's happened. I love you, Amanda, and I thought you loved me. Maybe I was wrong."
The blonde turned around quickly. "Don't you make this my fault. I'm not the one that spends all her spare time with her ex-lover."
"I tired to include you when we made plans. But you wouldn't even attempt to get to know her. And you spend everyday with your ex-lover." Cody countered.
"That's work, it's different."
"So it was work every night last week? I know you were with her, I could hear her." Cody's voice wavered, not sure if she wanted the answer to that question.
"Of course it was. We were together because she has been keeping her niece Rosie and I was helping watch her." All true, she just left out the fact that they had invented work to do so Amanda could spend time with the child. "And I don't like Tracy." She added defensively.
"She was right, you are jealous." Cody stated.
"You talked to her about us?" She was angry, but also a little guilty since she had done the same with Sabrina. "I bet she had a good laugh."
"That's not fair, she actually understood how you felt."
"Great, that's all I need...sympathy from a porn star." She said sarcastically as she turned to face the window again.
"I never thought of you as a snob. Guess I was wrong about that too." A thinly veiled reference to the fact that Amanda had never corrected Cody's 'I thought you loved me' statement.
Amanda leaned her forehead against the window. She hadn't meant to argue with Cody, but she was very insecure about the close relationship between the two women and felt like a third wheel the few times she had done things with them. She raised her head and sought out her lover's reflection, but she was alone in the room. "Damn."
Halfway through the next week, the lovers were still leery of each other's moods. They both wanted to make up and try to resolve their problems, but were wary of starting another argument.
"I promised I would help Sabrina with Rosie tonight." Amanda dreaded bring up her business partner. "Why don't you come with us? We're going to grab dinner and go to a movie."
"I think I'll pass. I'm not comfortable around kids." Cody answered.
"What? You're great with kids." She leaned back against the sink she had put her breakfast dishes in. "The kids you taught last year at that job fair thought you were fantastic."
"Yeah, but I was talking about engineering then, so it was something I was confident with doing." She remembered the fair that she had been conned into doing. A room full of fifth and sixth graders was not her first of how to spend a Saturday morning. "And I was very uncomfortable."
Amanda smiled. "You just need one of your own. You'll be a natural."
"I don't think so." Cody said as she added her dishes to the sink.
"What if I do?" Amanda asked, not smiling now.
"What if you do what?" Cody filled her empty mug.
"Want one of my own." She answered. "Being around Rosie has made me realize that I want to be a mother."
"I don't suppose I could interest you in a puppy? They're cute and cuddly and need taking care of." Cody grinned, but Amanda didn't. "You're really serious about this, aren't you?"
"Yes, I am." She folded her arms across her chest.
"Oh boy." Cody ran her hands through her hair. "I'm not cut out to be a parent, Amanda."
"You don't know that. You're just scared, like any sane person would be." She started pacing in front of the tall woman. "Cody, I know your childhood wasn't the greatest, but that doesn't mean you wouldn't make a good parent."
"It's not only that, Amanda, you said yourself that I've been gone more than here lately."
"So, change it. Take fewer jobs or take more jobs around here. You don't have to stay gone so much." Amanda reasoned. "You were offered a job with the Department of Transportation that would keep you close to home."
"I like the jobs I've been doing, they're challenging. I worked hard to get where I am and I like to think that some of the work I do, makes a difference, makes life better for people without making things worse for the environment. I don't want to change what I do." Cody started getting defensive.
Amanda glared. "Are you telling me I can't have a baby?"
"No, I just...I can't be a parent."
Amanda stormed out of the kitchen. "You're going to make me choose between you and a baby." She yelled, not realizing Cody was following.
"We've been together a year and you've never mentioned wanting children, why now?" She questioned.
"I've just now realized it." Amanda stated as she grabbed her briefcase and started looking for her keys.
"What if next year you realize you don't want one? It's not like you can change your mind." Cody was following her around the house on her search. "They're on the end table."
"Thank you. And I'm not going to change my mind." She headed for the garage.
"I just think we need to discuss this in more detail."
"I don't think we have anything more to talk about, you seem to have made up your mind already. I've got to go, I'm gonna be late as it is."
"Are we still on for tonight?" Amanda looked up to find the dark-brown, curly haired woman standing in her doorway. "We're definitely still on; I'm looking forward to it."
"You've seemed pre-occupied today. Is there something wrong?" Sabrina came into the office and sat down in one of the chairs in front of Amanda's desk. "Is there anything you want to talk about? You know I'm a good listener."
"I know." Amanda smiled at her friend. "Cody and I had an argument...well, more of a disagreement really, about wanting children. I do, she doesn't." She explained the gist of their morning discussion.
"It sounds to me like she's making you choose." Sabrina said sympathetically.
"Maybe she's right about making sure. Its not something I could change my mind about once I get pregnant." Amanda reluctantly admitted.
"I know it's none of my business, but if you wait much longer, you might not be able to have a baby. Rachel, my oldest sister, put off having a family until she turned forty and then tried and tried but could never get pregnant."
Sabrina smiled inwardly at the look of panic on Amanda's face. "I'll be back later to see if when you'll be ready to go."
"Lawson." Cody broke out of her daze and answered her phone before it went to voice mail.
"Hiya, babe. How's it hanging?"
"Tracy, on god, I'm in so much trouble."
"What's wrong? Are you okay?" Tracy stood and started for her office door.
"No. Amanda wants to have a baby. She sprung it on me this morning. What do I do?"
"Calm down." Tracy returned to her desk chair. "Did you tell her how you felt?" She could hear the panic in her friend's voice and was concerned. In the first few years after they graduated and moved to Southern California, Cody had a few, not quite full fledged panic attacks, but when something in her personal life had gone beyond her control, she had become frightened and disappeared for several days at a time. It was one of the things along with the recurring nightmares that sent her back to a psychologist.
"Yeah, she thinks I'm trying to make her choose between me and a baby." Cody as her nervous energy made her pace.
Tracy paused. "Are you?" She winced, waiting for the reaction and counted to ten in the silence.
"Of course not. How could you ask me that?"
Cody's voice was strained and Tracy knew her friend had at least wondered at the possibility. "Cody, it sounds like she's made her mind up. That just leaves three outcomes; one, you give in, two, she gives in, and three, you break up." She hated to be so blunt, but knew that was what Cody expected from her. "What are you going to do when she says, 'I'm having a baby with or without you'?"
"I..." Cody sat down, trying to imagine herself as a parent. "I honesty don't know. This came up so suddenly that I was hoping it was just a phase or something."
"It's something you're gonna have to prepare yourself for if she's serious. It's a tough one, babe, I wish I could help you make a decision, but I'm afraid you're on your own with this one. But you do need to explain to her the main reason why you don't want any children."
"Yeah, I know." Cody closed her eyes and wished she could turn back time to when they were happy with each other. "So, what's up with you?" She changed the subject. "You still seeing Wren?"
"Yeah, we uh, are gonna try cohabitating for awhile and see if it works out."
Cody smiled; glad something was going right for someone. "Bout time someone made an honest woman outta you."
"Steve." Amanda called out when she saw the tall man go past her doorway.
"What's up?" He backtracked and stuck his head around the doorframe.
"If you've got a minute, I'd like to talk to you about something."
"Sure." He entered her office. "Shoot."
"Shut the door and have a seat, this is personal." She told him. 'I can't believe I'm gonna do this behind her back.' She had argued with herself all morning, going through the mental list of pros and cons over and over again. But what Sabrina had told her about her sister and feeling sure that Cody was just panicking and would really want a baby once she got use to the idea, spurred her on.
Steve was like Cody in many ways; he was intelligent, tall with blue eyes and had some of the same personality traits. He could be quiet at times, preferring his own company, or fun and outgoing with a group of close friends. He could be the best friend you'd ever want or the worst enemy you could ever have. The only problem was his blonde hair.
"I have something very personal to ask you and want you to know up front, that it's okay to decline." He nodded. "Also I don't want this to leave this office, not even to Sabrina or Lawrence."
"Of course. You know I'm not one for contributing to the office rumor mill."
"How do you feel about donating sperm? And about a lesbian couple having children?"
If he was surprised, he didn't show it. Steve was the only one of the four partners that was heterosexual. "I have nothing against two descent people raising kids, no matter what gender they are. As for the other, I've never really had an occasion to think about it. Are you asking me to be a donor?"
"Yes, I'd like you to think about it. I know some men can father children and not be bothered about being in their lives, but I also know that some can't stand the thought of having a child without being a parent to them." She explained.
"I never could see myself as a parent...you know, being responsible for raising a child. But I don't think I could just abandon one either. Of course, this wouldn't be the same as abandoning it. As for the donation part," he blushed, "it's not like every teenage boy on the face of the earth hasn't masturbated...several times ...a week." They both laughed, relieving the seriousness of the conversation. "It's just the thought of everyone knowing exactly what I'd be doing in that little room that's the uncomfortable part of it." Steve was quite for several seconds. "Let me think about it for a couple of days and let you know."
Amanda smiled. "Fair enough."
"So, you and Cody want kids?"
"I want kids...Cody's a little nervous about it." Amanda hedged. 'That's something else the two of you have in common.' She thought.
'Oh boy and they say men go through mid-life crises.' He mused. 'At least mine only resulted in a too expensive sports car.'
"Can I ask you why you don't want kids...if it's not too personal." Amanda sat up and leaned her arms on her desktop. She was very interested in his answer.
"Well...I can't claim a bad childhood; mine was great, even if I had all sisters and no brothers." He paused to gather his thoughts. "I guess if I had to give one or two reasons, I'd say that I'm very reluctant to bring a child into the hell that the world has become and that I'm just very selfish in that I can do basically what I want, when I want. I know that sounds bad and you might think less of me, but there are some people that were not meant to be parents and I know I'm one of them."
Amanda didn't argue that fact, she did believe certain people shouldn't have children, but firmly believed that Cody didn't fit into that group, she was to loving and caring to be one of them. "No, I don't think less of you. It's not my place to judge you. Thanks for telling me."
Steve shut her door as he left and Amanda turned to gaze out her window. 'Am I judging Cody? Would I think less of her if she really doesn't want kids?' She rubbed her face. 'No, I know she's just a little scared, it's understandable with the things her stepfather put her through. She'll come around.' She pushed the nagging voice to the back of her mind and phoned her doctor for an appointment.
Cody knew something was up with Amanda, over the past two weeks she had been on top of the world one day and the next looked like she had lost her best friend. Cody had tried once, to bring up the topic of children, thinking she should try again to better explain her fears to her partner, but Amanda had refused to discuss it. Cody was relieved to think she had changed her mind and had not pursued it.
Amanda, having gotten a clean bill of health from her doctor and Steve's agreement to help, put her plan into motion. She was rather impatient when something really mattered to her, and more than a little determined to put her plan in motion, so she vetoed the doctor's months of charting her cycle and scheduled the first appointment for the insemination.
Steve had met her at the doctor's office and had been too embarrassed to face her after his part had been accomplished. It had taken him a few days after the fact to be comfortable enough to have things back to normal at the office.
Amanda had been on cloud nine after the appointment, believing she would become pregnant; then would come a let down when she would worry if she were doing the right thing. Which would lead to a period of anger at Cody when she convinced herself it was her partners fault for making her feel guilty.
Cody grabbed the ringing phone from her belt. "Lawson."
"Cody Lawson?" A male voice asked.
"Yes it is."
"Hi, my name is Nathan Hargrove and I work for Cottenwood Oil. You were recommended to us by Tomas Warden."
"What can I do for you Mr. Hargrove?" Cody knew this was a small oil company that had a couple of oilrigs in the Gulf of Mexico. And knew they had a good track record for protecting the environment.
"We're having a problem with one of our rigs and would like you to take a look at it for us."
"When and where?" She was relieved to have a reason to get out of Amanda's line of fire for a while.
"Great. You don't get seasick I hope. It's one of our platforms about 100 miles off the Texas coast." He informed her.
She chuckled. "No, Mr. Hargrove, I love the ocean or in this case the gulf. How do I get there?"
"I'll have my secretary make the arrangements and call you back, if that's okay?"
"I'll be waiting."
"For what?" Amanda had just gotten home and was leaning against the doorframe of Cody's office.
Cody wondered how she would react to the news. She knew her being gone so much was one of their problems, but she had trouble lately reading Amanda and wondered if she might welcome the separation. "Travel instructions."
"Oh...where?" 'This is good timing.' Amanda thought. Having to be less than truthful with her partner about doctor's visits, and worrying that they might call the house phone instead of her cell phone, had been getting to her.
'She's not upset. I wonder if that's good or bad.' "To an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico."
"Well, at least it's not in the middle of the North Sea. How long will you be gone?"
"I hope not to long, but I don't know what the problems is."
"Okay, what else do I need to add to the list?" Cody browsed the contents of the refrigerator. "Milk...already on the list...ah, need juice."
"You going to the store today?" Amanda asked as she entered the kitchen, threading her belt through the loops on her slacks.
"Yep, what kind of coffee? It's your turn to pick."
Amanda patted herself on the back for thinking ahead. "You pick, the doctor told me to cut way back on the caffeine. She believes that's what was causing my stomach problems a couple of weeks ago."
Cody closed the cabinet door and turned around. "Why didn't you tell me you went to the doctor?"
"Um..." Amanda looked down at her briefcase, pretending to search for something. "It was no big deal. She said it was probably acid reflux and if this didn't work, she'd give me something for it." She knew she looked guilty and kept her eyes focused downward.
"Makes sense." Cody said. "But I wish you would have told me. I would have gone with you. I know you hate going to the doctor's office almost as much as I do."
"Oh, I'll be late tonight." Amanda changed the subject. "Lawrence threw together a small celebration for our one year anniversary."
"Oh, okay." She noticed Amanda was fidgeting with her clothes, something she did when she was nervous. "It's just for the employees, I take it."
"Um...yes, I believe so." She kissed Cody on the cheek. "See you tonight."
Cody crossed her arms over her chest and leaned back against the counter. "I get the distinct impression you're lying and don't want me there tonight." She said to the empty room. "Or am I just being paranoid?"
Later that afternoon, Cody was putting the groceries away when the house phone rang.
"Hi Cody, its Lawrence. How are you?"
"I'm good, keeping busy. Congrats on the anniversary."
"Thanks, actually that's why I'm calling. We're having a little get-together after work tonight and Amanda said she didn't think you'd be able to make it. And I wanted to see if I could talk you into being here. You see, I feel that without our families support, we wouldn't have made it this far, so I feel strongly that our families be celebrating with us. So if there's anyway you could make it..."
So, she wasn't being paranoid, Amanda didn't want her there. Did that mean she was having an affair with Sabrina? They had spent a lot of time together. Her heart refused to believe it, but her mind was urging self-preservation. But she couldn't help thinking back to how good they had been together.
Almost perfect, is how she would describe it to anyone that asked. They laughed and joked with one another, liked a lot of the same activities. And their love making...Cody had never felt the powerful emotions that she felt when she and Amanda made love.
She remembered one time, many months ago. They had been out most of the day, nothing special, lunch a little shopping and then home. She didn't even remember which of them initiated it, but suddenly they were locked in a seductive kiss, with hands quickly removing cloth barriers.
Amanda pushed Cody back onto the bed, breaking their kiss. Crawling on her hands and knees to straddle the prone woman, letting her nipples graze along Cody's thighs and stomach.
Cody pushed herself back towards the headboard and moaned as Amanda crawled up her body. "Oh Goddess." Her breathing became rapid as taut nipples moved along her body, leaving a trail of goosebumps in their wake. Her breathing became labored when Amanda straddled her hips; spread herself open and ground against the dark haired mound below.
Amanda's head fell back and her eyes closed when Cody palmed her breasts and long fingers began to knead the supple flesh. "Um, that feels so good." Her hips began to move faster, as Cody's lips closed over her breast.
As Cody's tongue started to tease Amanda's nipple, she slid her hand between their bodies, moving her fingers over the blonde's clit.
"Oh God, baby. Inside please...I need to feel you inside." Amanda begged, as she rose up just enough for her dark haired lover to slip two fingers inside. "Yes ...oh yes." She moaned, as she rode Cody's hand.
Cody felt Amanda was close to coming, and captured her nipple between her teeth, flicking her tongue over it, as she used her thumb to rub the blonde's erect nub.
Amanda's head fell forward and she held Cody's head tight to her chest, as her body convulsed with her release.
"Easy, love, I've got you." Cody lay back and held her close, while Amanda recovered her equilibrium. "I love you." She said, as she kissed the top of the blonde head she cradled.
"Love you, too." Amanda responded. "And now I'm gonna show you just how much." She grinned, as she reversed her path down the long body she was on top of.
Cody ran her fingers through the blonde hair, as Amanda suckled her nipple. Her breasts had never been one of her erogenous zones until Amanda had loved them. Now she could almost climax from that alone. She spread her legs more to accommodate the body steadily moving down her.
"Mm, you smell good." Amanda settled between the long legs. She breathed in Cody's earthy scent, as she ran her tongue along quivering thighs.
"Don't tease me, love. I'm dying here." Cody said, and raised her hips in an invitation for her lover's touch.
Amanda relented and ran her tongue through the slick folds, lightly grazing the throbbing bundle of nerves.
"Goddess...yes." Cody pinched her own nipples. "Please...I need..."
Amanda drove her fingers inside before Cody could finish her request. It had been like that from almost the beginning of their lovemaking. Both knowing what the other wanted before the request could be voiced. She thrust her fingers steadily into Cody and sucked her clit into her mouth, running her tongue over it quickly, as she felt Cody stiffen and cry out, as her body shook from its intensity.
"Oh, sorry, Lawrence. Yeah, I think I'll be able to make it after all." She answered. It was time to find out what was going on, once and for all.
"Great, I'll let Amanda know."
"No." Cody quickly said. "I think I want to surprise her."
"Yeah, that'll be fun. She said that you were leaving on another job and I know she really misses you when you're gone. She was really upset today." He had assumed the reason Cody was not going to make the party was that she would be gone.
"Yeah." She played along with his assumption. "But it turns out that I'm not leaving until Sunday now." She wondered what her lover had been upset about today since she knew it wasn't because she was leaving.
"We're gonna get the party started about six, so any time around then would be good. See ya then, Cody."
"Bye Lawrence." Cody disconnected the call and sat down on the couch. She still refused to believe her partner could be cheating on her. They had made love two nights ago and she knew in her heart that Amanda couldn't have touched her or responded to Cody's touch the way she had and be doing the same with someone else.
Cody started to call Tracy, but remembered Amanda's reaction when she found out she had been discussing their troubles with her best friend once before and decided against it.
Several times that afternoon, Cody had almost backed out of coming, and again during the short elevator ride to the third floor, she had wondered if she was doing the right thing. "Too late now," she mumbled as the doors slid open and she stepped out into the reception area.
'Wow, Lawrence wasn't kidding about families being part of this.' She thought there must be about 30 or 40 people there. The company employed seven other people excluding the four partners.
Cody spied Amanda on the other side of the floor, holding Rosie in her lap and saw Sabrina sitting beside her. She headed in their direction but was stopped by Steve before she got very far.
"Hey Cody, glad you could make it."
"Steve, good to see you again, it's been awhile."
"It has. In fact, I was surprised I didn't run into you at the doctor's office." His comment generating a blush.
Cody remained silent, confused as to why Steve had accompanied Amanda to the visit.
"I know you must have been upset to miss something that important." He continued, oblivious to her confusion. "What are you hoping for? I know most people say it doesn't matter, but I bet everybody has a preference."
The smile on her face prompted him to continue his rambling.
"If it was me, I think I'd want a little girl. You might have a fair shot at a girl, since I'm the only boy and I have four sisters." He didn't notice the shell-shocked expression on Cody's face, since his attention was focused on Amanda. "I think maybe your partner might want one too. She's been spending all her free time with Rosie and Sabrina."
'Oh my god...she's gone ahead with this without telling me, and knowing how I feel about it.' Cody wasn't sure if she was more hurt or angry.
"Cody, are you okay? You look a little pale." Steve had turned his attention back to her. "Let me go get Amanda."
"No...no, I'm okay. Don't bother her; she's having a good time, I'm sure. I'll be okay." She hoped she was convincing.
"Okay...why don't you go sit down for awhile, until you feel better?" He suggested.
"I will." She told him and managed to sneak away and make it back to her bike before her legs buckled.
"Have you seen Cody?" Lawrence asked Steve.
"Yeah, I talked to her about an hour ago. She didn't look to good though and come to think of it, I haven't seen her since."
"Who?" Amanda joined them, munching on a meatball covered in white cheese sauce.
"Cody." Steve answered.
"Cody was here?" She suddenly regretted everything she had eaten that night as her stomach tied itself into a knot.
"Yeah, I called her this afternoon after you said she couldn't make it, I wanted to try and change her mind. She said she'd be able to make it after all." Lawrence explained.
"Amanda, now you look pale." Steve wondered if there was something going around and made a mental note to stop by the drug store and pick up more vitamin C.
'Oh shit. I bet she thinks I didn't want her here. And now she knows I lied on top of everything else.' "I need to go...and check on her. I'll see you both Monday." She grabbed her purse and quickly headed for her car.
When Amanda entered the house, she could tell it was empty. Cody's bike was in the garage, so that meant her partner was somewhere on the beach. She made her way through the dark house and stepped out on the deck, and located the missing woman sitting in the sand, close to the incoming waves.
Amanda was unsure of what to do. Usually when Cody was upset, she let the tall woman have her solitude until she was ready to talk, but she was aware she needed to explain her reasons to her partner.
Cody took the decision out of her hands by returning. "When did you get here?"
"Just now." Amanda had prepared herself for Cody's anger and the look of utter defeat shocked her. "I owe you an explanation."
Cody held her hand up, stopping Amanda. "I think I understand. I just don't know what I should do."
The response puzzled her. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you, but I just...tonight was important and I know you don't really like Sabrina. I just thought it would be easier if you didn't come."
Cody realized they were talking about different things. Obviously Steve hadn't known he had spilled the beans. "It's nice to know that you're more concerned with Sabrina's feeling than my own."
"I didn't think of it like that. I just thought there might be some tension between the two of you. That's what I was trying to avoid."
"I'm glad you have so much confidence in me to act like an adult at something that's so important to you." She replied sarcastically and Amanda winced.
"It wasn't my intention to hurt you and I'm sorry I lied to you." She sighed heavily, suddenly very tired.
Cody moved to the railing and looked out over the moonlit ocean. With her back to Amanda, she asked, "Are you pregnant?"
There were seemingly several minutes of silence. Another reason she'd had for not wanting Cody there. It eliminated the awkwardness of telling Steve her partner didn't know what was going on. "You talked to Steve...obviously."
"Imagine how surprised I was when he asked me what I was hoping for, a girl or a boy?" She turned to face Amanda. "Answer my question."
"I...I don't know yet, it's too early to tell."
"How could you go behind my back and do this?" The tone of her voice was fluctuating between pain and anger.
"I didn't. I told you I wanted to have a baby." Amanda defended herself.
"And I told you I didn't." Cody walked into the house with Amanda following. "Goddess, I can't believe you've been lying to me the entire time." She paced away from the blonde then back towards her.
"Damn it, Cody, if you'd quit protesting so much and give yourself time to think about it, I know the idea of a baby would grow on you."
"Look at me, Amanda." Cody grabbed her by the shoulders and bent down until they were eye to eye. "The thought of having a child terrifies me. I'd be my mother all over again."
"Your mother really did love you, Cody. She may not have been the perfect parent, but nobody is. And our situation is different from hers."
"It really isn't," she let go and straightened up. "You see, she never wanted me."
"What do you mean?"
"Not long after my dad died, I overheard her talking to her minister; she asked him what she was supposed to do with a child she never wanted. Seems my dad wanted children and she didn't want to disappoint him."
"I'm sorry, Cody. I never knew." Amanda wasn't sure what she could say to someone who went through life knowing she wasn't wanted.
"No, not many people do." Cody's phone rang, interrupting them. Checking the caller ID she flipped open the phone. "Hey, Tracy."
"You are still alive. You thought about calling your best bud and letting her know what's going on. I've been on pins and needles."
"Sorry. Can I call you tomorrow? This isn't a real good time."
"Sure. Um...you okay, you sound a little funny."
"Tomorrow, okay." She closed the phone, ending the call.
Amanda had automatically become defensive at the mention of Tracy's name. "Well, I guess this makes your decision easier." She had never gotten over the jealously she had felt the first time she had met the woman who was her partners ex-lover.
"What do you mean?" Cody said tiredly.
"This is a perfect wedge to put between us, so you can be with her again." She accused.
"Amanda, that's crazy. I don't love Tracy anymore, at least not in that way."
"You might not be in love with her, but a person would have to be dead not to want her. And you obviously wanted her in the past. The two of you spend enough time together, it makes me wonder."
"The keys words being 'the past' and you've always been invited to join us. And speaking of spending time with ex-lovers, you and Sabrina are together a lot more than Tracy and I are."
"I've told you, that's work."
"All I have to do is watch her, watching you to figure out she wants you back." Cody raised her voice.
"That's bullshit." Amanda's voice matched Cody's.
"This whole thing is bullshit." Cody grabbed her jacket and keys.
"Where are you going?"
"For a ride. I need some space." Was said before the door slammed.
"Space...right. Probably take all of 15 minutes to end up at her 'best friends' house." She felt herself on the verge of tears. "Shit, shit and more shit."
Two in the morning came and went and Amanda, now worried, paced through the empty house. By half past, she couldn't stand it anymore; she called Tracy, hoping Cody was there. At least she would know she was safe.
"This better be good." A very sleepy voice answered the phone.
"Yeah...Amanda? What's wrong?" She was suddenly more awake and thinking of all the horrible reasons for getting a phone call in the middle of the night.
"Uh, by that question, I take it Cody's not there."
"No she's not. So what's going on?" Amanda heard mumbling in the background, then, "Shh Wren, go back to sleep." Then a door closed and Tracy was back. "Well?"
Amanda hated to admit anything to Tracy, but she was more worried than ever, now that she didn't know where Cody was. "We had an argument and she's been gone since about eight."
Tracy could hear the concern, even through the phone line and debated on whether or not to reveal Cody's private retreat. "There's a place she used to go when she was really upset."
'Great.' Amanda thought. 'Something else she knows about my partner that I don't.'
"She'd go up to Point Conception, sit out on the rocks and watch the ocean."
"About 50 miles or so past Santa Barbara."
"What? That's got to be over 250 miles...that's crazy, she's got the ocean right here."
"I'm not sure she went there, I'm just guessing since she's done it before, but not in a long time."
"Thanks for the information...sorry I bothered you."
"It's okay, I know you're worried." Tracy quickly debated with herself. "Look, Amanda, I know it's none of my business, but Cody really loves you."
She bit back her first thought of 'You're right, it isn't your business'. After all, Tracy could have told her to stick it or lied and told her Cody was there, but she didn't. Instead, she simply replied, "I know."
"Please have her call me? I want to make sure she's okay."
Tracy headed back to bed mumbling about fools that were too blind to see what a good thing they had.
It was daylight before Amanda fell asleep and noon when she woke up. When she passed the sunroom, she saw that Cody had fallen asleep on the couch. With the relief that came with the knowledge that her lover was okay, also came the anger that Cody had left her to worry all night.
She stormed into the kitchen, slamming cabinets and grumbling. Turning, she saw the tall woman in the doorway. "Call your best friend."
"Why?" She moved past the shorter woman and started coffee.
"Because I called her at 2:30 this morning, thinking you were there and 'she's' worried about you." She headed to the deck with her juice.
Cody followed. "Did you tell her why I wasn't here?"
"I told her we had an argument. Why?"
"Because you got mad when you found out I had talked to her about us. I don't know what I'm allowed to tell her." She threw up her hands in irritated resignation.
"I don't care anymore; you can tell her whatever you want." Amanda turned her back on her partner.
"Fine." Cody forced through gritted teeth.
After a day spent avoiding each other, Amanda went to bed regretting her inability to make to first move towards reconciliation. Cody, also regretting wasting her last day before leaving, debated sleeping in the guestroom, but decided against it, knowing that once they crossed that line, there would probably be no going back. And she wasn't going to make that kind of decision when she was still angry.
Cody was up, packed and showered the next morning before the blonde had crawled out of bed. By the time Amanda made it from the bathroom to the kitchen, Cody had finished the paper and her second cup of coffee.
Amanda knowing she shouldn't have the coffee if she was pregnant; sniffed the half full pot of dark liquid, hoping to transfer its ability to jostle her body into wakefulness through osmosis. "Where are you gonna be, exactly?"
Cody was grateful for the direction of the conversation. She didn't want another argument right before she left. "About 100 miles southeast of Galveston on Cottonwood Platform..." she pulled a folder out of her briefcase, "Athena #113. Probably won't get there before dinnertime, though. I fly from here to Houston; then take a commuter plane to Galveston, then a helicopter out to the rig."
Amanda looked over to see her partner just standing in front of the coffee maker with a lost expression on her face. "What's wrong?"
"I...guess I wasn't thinking. I made you coffee." Cody turned it off and emptied the pot. "Do you want to take me to the airport or should I call a cab?" She hurried on before Amanda could respond about the coffee.
"No, I'll take you." She knew Cody wanted to avoid any unpleasantries this morning. "Are you ready?"
"Yeah, my stuff's by the door."
The drive was silent until the exit for the airport. "Cody, I don't want to get into an argument, but we do need to make some decisions. I was thinking maybe it would make a difference if you talked to a psychologist. I mean even if I managed to get pregnant this time, you would have nine months to get used to the idea."
Cody continued to stare out the side window. 'She said 'this time'. I guess that means she plans to try again, knowing how I feel.' "I have seen a psychologist, when I was at MIT and then again after I moved here."
"You talked about having children then?"
"Not specifically, but it did come up several times."
"Oh." Amanda sounded disappointed. "Do you want me to park and wait with you?"
"Just drop me off. I'll go ahead and go through security. No need for you to wait."
"Okay." Amanda leaned over and kissed her on the lips. "Call me when you get to the rig tonight. I love you."
"I love you, too." Cody exited the car and watched it drive away. 'That's the problem; I love you and don't want to lose you. But then I think I'm being selfish if I don't let you go so you can find someone who wants the same things you do.'
She was brought out of her thoughts when a skycap asked if she needed help with her bag. "No thanks." She turned and entered the airport.
"You left in a hurry Friday night. Everything okay?" Sabrina asked as she and Amanda rode the elevator together Monday morning.
"Huh? Oh, yeah...fine, every things fine."
"How 'bout lunch today? My treat."
"Rain check, I've got a prospective distributor I'm meeting for lunch today."
"Sure." They stopped in front of Amanda's office door. "Could I interest you in dinner instead? I've got Rosie for another day." Sabrina coaxed.
"I thought your sister was back this past weekend."
"Supposed to have been, but ended up working through. She's gonna be back late tonight or tomorrow."
"Okay. It sounds like it's my last chance to spoil her. You pick her up and we'll meet at the house. That way I can change out of this monkey suit I had to wear today."
"Sure. We can decide where to go then." Sabrina grinned at the chance to be almost alone with Amanda for a little while.
"Or we could just stay at the house and I could cook. I know Rosie loves the beach."
"That'd be great; if you're sure you don't mind."
"Positive. Say six o'clock? Will that give you enough time to pick her up and get out there?"
Sabrina agreed and smiled all the way to her office, thinking about the perfect opportunity to show Amanda how well the two of them looked in a family setting.
"As you can see," Clint, the rig's manager, said. "The numbers don't match up. We should be pumping this much," he pointed to a column on the printout. "But this is what's going into the storage tanks." He pointed to a different column on the same printout.
"And you're sure it's not a computer error?" Cody asked as she reviewed the numbers. "This is a 16% difference."
"We've had hardware techs and programmers out here, both say the system is fine. And we've had the divers down, so we know it's not a leak." He explained.
"If you were leaking this much, you'd have a slick from here to the coast. I guess we start at the beginning and go back over everything, every pipe, valve, gage, coupling and fitting until we find it." Cody folded the printout and stuck it under her arm to study later. "I'd also like to go down and check the gages, the drums and the pressure flow into the storage tanks, instead of just running the diagnostics from the computer system."
Clint scratched his chin. "I figured as much. We might as well get lunch before we get started."
That afternoon, Cody and the rigs two divers, went over everything. As the basket pulled them back to the platform, she shook her head at Clint. "Looks good down there." She said as she took off the hood of the short wetsuit and shook her hair out.
"Who is that?" A tall blonde muscular man asked his companion.
Chico looked over his shoulder. "She is the engineer the company brought to find out our pumping problem."
"Wow, beauty and brains. I think I'll give her a thrill and introduce myself."
Chico laughed. "Bobby, she is way above your station."
"Bullshit, Chico. Don't you know by now, women fall all over themselves to get a piece of me." He bragged as he flexed his muscles. "Later." He watched her go through the door that led to the dive gear and changing room. "I'll give you a play-by-play tonight."
One of the female rig hands was walking by and noticed him shaking his head. "What's the matter, Chico?"
"Bobby, the tonto, is about to, how you say, 'make a play' for the new senorita. I don't very much think she will like that."
"You mean the engineer?"
"I think you're right, Chico." Eddy ran for the dive room, yelling for Clint to follow her. She had worked the winch on the basket that brought the two divers up and had hung around admiring the tall woman until she had gone inside to change. Eddy didn't think Bobby would be stupid enough to force himself on the engineer, but he could be hardheaded at times.
Cody placed two of the tanks she had used by the compressor to be refilled. Opening the locker where her clothes and the coverall she had been wearing were hanging, she started to unzip the wetsuit when she heard the outer room door open and close. Walking out of the small changing room, she saw a tall blonde haired man leaning back against the door. "Can I help you?" She asked with a slightly suspicious voice.
"I do believe we can 'help' each other, sweetheart." He pushed off the door and walked towards her.
Cody's eyebrows shot up her forehead in surprise. "Rather sure of yourself, aren't you cowboy?"
"Yep, I've never had any complaints." He stopped in front of her and ran the tip of his finger down the path of the zipper on the front of the wetsuit.
Cody wanted to back away and put a little distance between them, but stood her ground. "I doubt I'll be complaining either," she noticed his smirk, "because you're gonna get your fucking hands off me and leave." She saw surprise in his face before he turned cocky again.
"Now, sweetheart, no need to play hard to get. You've already got my 'full attention'," he looked down at his pants straining against his growing excitement, "if you know what I mean."
"Can't say I didn't warn ya." She kneed him in the crotch and quickly stepped back as he squealed and dropped to his knees.
"So much for running to the rescue." Eddy mumbled. She and Clint had come into the room in time to see Bobby drop. "Looks like you have things under control." She looked up from the heap on the floor to Cody and noticed her shaking slightly. "Maybe not. Here, sit down." She guided the engineer to a chair and pushed her into it.
"Thanks." She looked up into concerned brown eyes. "Sorry, I don't know what's wrong with me. I've had to physically persuade one or two men that I wasn't interested, I usually don't react this way."
"It's okay. I'm sure the dive took a lot outta you. Why don't you get changed and we'll get some food into you." She looked over to Clint who was halfway helping, halfway dragging Bobby out of the room. "And I'm sure Clint will give you the rest of the night off to rest."
Clint turned back and grinned. "I think that's a great idea, considering that I am surely not gonna be arguing with the lady any time soon, Edith."
"If you'll remember, Clinton, the last person that called me that found himself hanging by his ankles off the helipad." She winked at the dark haired woman. "Everybody calls me Eddy."
"Cody, and thanks." She had no trouble believing the compact woman before her could do just that. She had muscles that would put Arnold to shame. Half a foot shorter than Cody, with short brown hair and kind brown eyes.
"I didn't do anything, but you're welcome. I'll wait here while you change." Eddy made sure the outer door was shut and leaned against the wall to wait. "Man, she's got the bluest eyes I've ever seen."
Cody had eaten an early dinner with Eddy and Clint; then returned to her small room. She had wanted to call Amanda after the incident with Bobby but waited until she had calmed down, she didn't want her to worry unnecessarily. Picking up her cell phone, she called Amanda. On the third ring, the phone was answered by an unfamiliar voice. "Who is this?" Cody knew she hadn't misdialed; the number was programmed in.
"Who are you calling?" Sabrina countered.
"Cody?" Sabrina asked, even though she now recognized the voice.
"Yes." She answered through gritted teeth.
"This is Sabrina...Amanda's still in the shower."
"Shower? Where are you?"
Arguing with herself about whether she should tell the complete truth, alleviating the doubt, she could hear in Cody's voice, or the partial truth, intentionally aggravating the woman's fear. "At home." The little bitty devil on her shoulder smiled and its counter part, the angel on her opposite shoulder frowned and disappeared in a puff of smoke, having lost this round. "Your place, I mean. Amanda kindly offered to cook me dinner." She neglected to explain that the blonde offered because of Rosie's love of the beach.
There was a long pause. "Cody, you still there?"
"Yes." She said around a clinched jaw. "Please have her call me when she gets out, I need to talk to her."
"I'll tell her as soon as she gets out." Sabrina said good-bye and smiled as she turned the phone off; anybody that called would now get voice mail and placed it back in Amanda's briefcase, out of sight.
'I'm not causing problems. They're already having troubles.' She tried to convince herself. 'I didn't realize how much I cared for her until I lost her.' She stared out at the waves wondering why she felt so bad. 'She wouldn't be with Cody in the first place if I had realized that I loved her before we separated.'
Concluded in part four
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