Author’s Note: Thank you to all of you who encouraged me to continue and finish Casey and Jennifer's story. My first attempt at writing fiction has been a true learning experience. It also brought some wonderful surprises I never dreamed possible. I am especially grateful to the Academy for the opportunity to post and share “The Message”. Perhaps we will meet again if the muse dictates. Please let me know your thoughts on these concluding chapters of “The Message”. And thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading the rest of the story when it's taken me so long to share it with you.
By J.A. Breeze
Casey tossed back in forth in the bed that had been hers since the night Courtney was abducted. Sleeping at the Gibson house had worked out well since it allowed her to be close to Jennifer and the command center which had taken over the family's kitchen. Casey rolled yet again onto her side facing away from the door. Her mind racing as she searched for some way to keep Jennifer in her life once all the details of the last few days were out in the open. One thing she knew for certain was that she needed to be the one to tell Jennifer about the circumstances surrounding Courtney's abduction. She was somewhat surprised that Jennifer hadn't already forced the issue. She hadn't even questioned why Michael wasn't with the family. And Courtney had been so worn out she had yet to mention that her father was present when she was rescued.
I need to tell her the whole story first thing in the morning. Before someone beats me to it. Having reached that decision, Casey closed her eyes and finally sleep claimed her exhausted body. Her dreams soon filled with visions of Jennifer, her eyes, her smile, the way it felt to kiss her, hold her.
Jennifer awoke to find Courtney sleeping soundly at her side. She noted that it was very early still, four o'clock in the morning. Slipping carefully out of bed she made a quick trip to the bathroom then returned to stand staring down at the serene face of her daughter. Please, God, don't let this whole mess scar her. Help my baby girl to be okay.
As she stood watching her daughter sleep, she felt an overwhelming need to know why this all happened and went in search of the one person she trusted to tell her. She knew which guest room Casey had been using for the last several nights. She paused outside the door for just a moment noting that the other woman had not closed it all the way. With a slow, careful hand she pushed the door open. Light from the hall illuminated the bed where Casey lay sleeping. Her dark hair usually neatly styled was tasseled and from the looks of the covers the assistant DA had a restless night. I wonder what demons you've fought in your sleep.
A soft click sounded in the room as Jennifer pulled the door closed and moved across the room to the sleeping woman. Her only intent was to wake her and seek the answers to the dozens of questions that had been flying through her mind the last several minutes. But those questions fled as she looked down on the slumbering woman. Dark lashes rested against creamy smooth skin. So beautiful. Giving in to temptation, Jennifer reached out to smooth Casey's hair into place. At the very instant her fingers touched the dark silky strands, Jennifer found herself looking into sultry blue eyes not of a woman fighting demons but of one in the throes of passion. Casey took her wrist in a gentle hold and pulled the smaller woman down beside her. Mesmerized by the need she saw in the other woman's eyes, Jennifer gave in to her own need ... a fire that had been smoldering before Courtney was taken.
“Oh ....” She moaned as her body joined the larger one beneath her.
Casey claimed the mouth that had taunted her in sleep. Her hands shaped the smaller woman's buttocks and pulled her close. She pushed her hips up to counter the smaller ones pushing down against her. Their kiss turned heated as desire ignited. Casey's hands slipped under Jennifer's satin camisole. She moaned has her hands touched bare skin. Her thumbs flirted with the sides of Jennifer's breasts as she caressed heated flesh. The smaller woman raised the upper part of her body and Casey instantly accepted the invitation. She pulled the camisole up to expose the twin mounds without ever giving up the lips she craved. Her hands sought what her eyes had yet to see. Breasts that fit perfectly in the large palms. Jennifer whimpered against her lips as Casey's teasing thumbs found both nipples and began a slow, sensual stroking.
Not to be outdone Jennifer worked her hands between their bodies until she reached the hem of Casey's t-shirt and began to slowly inch it upwards. The backs of her fingers glided against the smooth taut stomach a slow torture to the woman beneath her. The women continued to kiss, to move against each other until Jennifer finally succeeded in her goal to bare Casey's breasts. Casey moved her hands back to the smaller woman's waist when she felt Jennifer position herself to move their breasts together. As their heated skin fused, each felt a simultaneous jolt in her center. Casey tugged Jennifer's camisole up and broke the kiss long enough to remove it. Jennifer sat astraddle Casey's hips giving her a clear view of her upper body.
“So beautiful.” Casey mumbled as she feasted on the sight before her.
“So are you, Casey. So are you.” Jennifer responded as she looked down on the loveliness of the woman. “Take your shirt off for me, please. Show me.” She asked in a whisper and then watched every move as Casey took hold of her shirt where it was rolled just above her breasts. She raised her head slightly off the pillow and pulled the shirt over her head and tossed it away.
Casey's breath caught and her hips thrust upwards as Jennifer lowered her head and flicked her tongue across first one exposed nipple and then the other. Just a fleeting touch and then she was sitting once again looking down into desire-hazed eyes. She trailed a finger to the top of Casey's sleep pants and moved it back and forth across her stomach just under the elastic band. “May I?” Casey's answer was to raise her hips to allow the smaller woman access. And that was all the answer Jennifer needed as she began to pull the pants down an inch at a time. She moved off to one side of Casey's body and took the band in both hands to pull it over Casey's hips. Her mouth watered as she exposed the neatly trimmed mound of dark hair. But she didn't linger in her admiration. She pulled first one leg free and then the other. Then she stood beside the bed and slid her own sleep pants over her hips and let them fall to the floor. She stepped out one foot at a time. All the while she watched Casey's expression. She saw her eyes darken even further as she stood completely exposed before her. She saw the larger woman's hands clinch and then relax against the sheet. She moved onto the bed on her knees. Leaning down she allowed her breasts to glide against Casey's skin from the taller woman's hips to her breasts. Jennifer placed kisses at random on the torso as she positioned herself fully on the larger body. Casey eagerly enveloped the smaller body in her embrace and fused their lips in a hungry kiss. As their kiss grew more and more feverish, so did Casey's exploration of the body that had awakened the need in her own.
Jennifer could feel her release building as she rode against Casey's stomach. Her legs spread open as she straddled the larger body. Her clit gliding through the slick puddle she had created from her own arousal.
Sensing the changes in Jennifer's breathing, in her movements. Casey rolled the smaller woman to her side with her back against the mattress and dipped her fingers into the hot, wet pool. She entered Jennifer with two thrusting fingers. She claimed Jennifer's mouth and matched the rhythm of her tongue with her probing fingers.
“Oh my God, yes.” Jennifer moaned against Casey's mouth as her orgasm grew closer.
Casey gathered the smaller woman's natural lubricant on her fingertips and spread it to her clit where she began a gentle massage. She settled into a pattern that allowed her to maintain contact with the swollen nub with her palm while she penetrated Jennifer over and over with her fingers. Jennifer was soon grinding against the probing hand as she locked it in place between her thighs. Wave after wave her climax hit and she pulled her lips from Casey's. “Oh my God, Casey ... so good.”
Feeling her own release nearing, Casey moved over Jennifer and placed her center firmly against the smaller woman's thigh as she continued to delve with her fingers and claimed Jennifer's lips in a devouring kiss.
Jennifer pushed her thigh into Casey's center giving her the leverage she needed. The women rocked together at a fevered pace. Casey's fingers drew out Jennifer's second orgasm the same instant she found her own release against the muscular thigh. Exhausted from the shared experience, Casey collapsed with her body partially covering the smaller one beneath her. A few moments later she started to draw away but found herself locked in the strong embrace of the smaller woman. “Please. Not yet. Let me feel you so that I know this is real.”
At the softly spoken words, Casey drew back just enough to look into the eyes of the woman who had come to mean so much to her in such a short time. She ran her fingers across the silky smooth skin of Jennifer's face. “You are everything that I never thought I'd have again. Please tell me this is just the beginning.” The whispered words combined with the warmth in the deep blue eyes caused Jennifer's heart to skip a beat as she acknowledged her own feelings for the assistant DA.
“Yes, Casey ... the beginning.”
When Jennifer awoke a few hours later, Casey's side of the bed was empty. She stretched as a sleepy, contented smile formed on her lips. A chuckle sounded in the room as she remembered what she had shared with the other woman in the early morning hours. Her laughter greeted Casey as she entered the room towel drying her hair.
“What's so amusing to you this morning?” She asked as she took a seat on the bed beside the reclining woman. She couldn't help but notice the exposed thigh that protruded from the covers. The same thigh that she had caressed throughout their lovemaking.
Jennifer was making an exploration of her own. Casey wore a short midnight blue silk robe. Loosely tied at the waist it left a plunging neckline for her to enjoy. Jennifer sat up in bed. Linked her hand at the back of Casey's dark head and pulled her down for a kiss. “I'm feeling very happy and well satisfied at the moment. Now, kiss me good morning.”
As she felt the warm lips part against her own, Casey pushed her tongue inside seeking Jennifer's. Pulling the smaller woman more fully into her arms, she felt the sheet slip away leaving a warm nude woman in her arms. Jennifer peeled the robe from Casey's strong toned shoulders. Her fingers traced the contour to her neck and up to her earlobes. Casey's skin grew hot beneath her hands as the kiss deepened, as growing need, want took control. Reaching between their bodies, Jennifer loosened the sash with one hand and pulled the robe apart. Each drew in a deep breath as they were once again skin against skin. Jennifer kissed along Casey's jaw to her neck, along her shoulder. Taking the smaller woman into her arms, Casey scooted back against the headboard pulling the smaller woman with her. Jennifer straddled Casey's lap so they were face to face. She continued her exploration of Casey's skin with her lips, with her tongue. Occasionally taking playful nips with her teeth. Casey was in heaven. Her skin on fire. An inferno of need between her legs.
Casey ran her hands up and down the smooth back, settling on round buttocks to shape them with her hands. She kissed Jennifer's neck and claimed her lips for a lingering kiss. She gently pushed Jennifer back so she could run her tongue down the curve of a breast to the rigid nipple waiting for her mouth.
Jennifer moaned a the contact. First gentle and fleeting then more and more firm as Casey began to suckle her breast. “That feels so good, Casey ... so good.” Casey cupped the other breast in her hand. Gently massaging. She could feel the evidence of the smaller woman's arousal against her thighs. Casey started to shift and Jennifer sensed her intent but she had a craving that only a taste of Casey could satisfy. Jennifer slipped from her lover's arms and moved backwards between the outstretched legs. “Open for me, baby. Let me love you. Please, Casey. Let me taste you.”
Casey felt a spasm in her center at Jennifer's request. She bent her knees and pulled her feet up higher on the bed. Sliding her hips down just a little, she opened her legs to Jennifer. She drew in a quick breath as her lover connected with her most sensitive place. The blond head moved in and out as Jennifer worked magic with her lips, with her tongue. Casey's head was back, her eyes closed, mouth open as she basked in the sweet torment her lover created.
“Ah ... ah ... oh my God, Jennifer.”
Hearing the passionate cry from her lover, drove Jennifer over the edge. She locked her lips firmly around the swollen clit and sucked it into her mouth. Pulling over and over with her shielded teeth as she twirled her tongue over the sensitive nub. She felt Casey stiffen just seconds before she released a fount of cream. Like a starving woman, Jennifer drank the offering. Overwhelmed and overjoyed by Casey's response to her touch. Once she felt Casey's tremors subside, Jennifer made her way back up to claim her lover's lips. Casey pulled her close and deepened the kiss. Tasting herself on the love swollen lips. She cupped Jennifer's breast in one hand and squeezed the hardened nipple. Her other hand sought out the smaller woman's buttocks and pulled her close. Jennifer's mounting arousal soaked her stomach. She was just about ready to flip the smaller woman onto her back when Jennifer surprised her by pushing her hand from her breast to her center.
“Please, Casey. I want you inside of me. Now.”
Jennifer's words were all it took for Casey to slip a hand between the other woman's legs and begin a firm massage. Casey pushed two fingers deeper and entered. She began to move them in and out but Jennifer's need for release was too great. She began to ride the probing fingers. She used Casey's shoulders for leverage as she pummeled herself against her lover's hand. Casey curled her fingers to fill the tight opening fully.
“Oh yeah. Just like that. Mmm.” Jennifer crooned as her release came.
Casey's heart was pounding as the smaller woman settled in her arms. She could feel a matching heartbeat against her breast. Jennifer nuzzled her face into Casey's neck and held her. Before long Casey felt moisture against her neck and then realized they were most likely caused by tears – Jennifer's tears. “Jennifer, honey, are you okay? Baby, look at me please?”
Jennifer slowly pulled back but kept her head down as if uncomfortable with the situation. Casey tilted Jennifer's head so that she could see her face. She ran a thumb back and forth drying the tears. “Jennifer, can you tell me what's wrong?”
“Nothing's wrong, Casey. It's just that I was suddenly overwhelmed that for the first time in a very long time, everything feels just right. So you might say these are happy tears.”
The assistant DA stiffened. Aware of the truths she was keeping from Jennifer. “Jennifer, we really need to talk. There's something I need to tell you.”
Jennifer misunderstood and hurt destroyed the ecstasy she had felt in the other woman's arms. “It's okay Casey. No harm done.” And before Casey could react, Jennifer swiped the woman's blue robe from the floor beside the bed, pulled it on and fled. Leaving a stunned and naked woman behind.
Casey paused outside the door to the family room less than an hour later. She took a deep breath and prepared to confront the woman who had so quickly found a place in her heart. I can't let this go any longer. I've got to tell her. If I don't she may never forgive me. Please don't let me mess this up.
“... and they took Daddy away and brought me here.” Casey's heart caught and she felt like she had been kicked in the stomach when she heard Courtney talking to her mother. Oh ... hell!
She collapsed against the wall, taking deep breaths trying to calm her racing heart. But she knew she couldn't hide from Jennifer she had to confront her and help her understand that she was just doing her job. Jennifer please don't shut me out. Work through this with me. Surely you know that I love you. “Oh my God. I do love her.” Knowing that she couldn't continue to hide outside the door, Casey took a deep breath and prepared to face her destiny. The second she stepped inside the doorway, she was stopped dead in her tracks by the stone cold look in the smaller woman's eyes.
“How could you?”
“Jennifer, I can explain. Please just let me try to help you understand.” Casey crossed to the woman who is such a short time had filled her heart and brought hope to her life. She sat down beside of Jennifer on the sofa and reached to take one of the hands clinched into a fist—one of the same hands that just hours before had been bringing immense pleasure to her body. Just as her hand made contact, the smaller one was snatched away. Cold green eyes locked with devastated blue. No words were spoken and Casey knew that there was no way she could make Jennifer understand why she did what she did. Not now. Perhaps not ever. As quickly as the realization hit, tears began to fill her eyes but she held them back. She was used to hiding her pain. Burying the hurt. Knowing that she might never get the chance again, she leaned in close. Brought her mouth close to Jennifer's ear and very softly said the words that she never expected to say to anyone ever again. “I love you, Jennifer. And I suspect I always will.”
Jennifer felt a catch in her throat as she heard Casey's profession but she remained frozen and gave no indication of the importance of those softly spoken words—words that were bound to haunt her for days, weeks, perhaps even months to come. Jennifer shifted away from Casey and looked her straight in the eyes. “You need to go now. Your work here is finished.”
Yet again Casey struggled to contain her emotions as she admitted defeat. “You may not believe it now but I am sorry, Jennifer. I never wanted this. I even tried to stop it. Maybe someday down the road when things are better, you'll think back and remember. Remember me.”
“Just go, Casey. Just go.”
One lone tear trickled down her cheek as Jennifer watched Casey walk out the door and out of her life, shuddering as she suddenly felt utterly and hopelessly alone.
“Mom, are you okay?” Courtney had watched the exchange between her mother and the DA. She knew something horrible had just happened. She just wasn't sure what. Seconds ticked by and still Jennifer did not respond, lost in the misery of Casey's betrayal. “Mom, are you okay? You're scaring me.” Courtney asked as she squeezed her mother's arm.
“I'm fine, baby. You're safe and that's all that matters to me.” Jennifer pulled her daughter into her arms, placing her chin on top of the blond head so much like her own. Neither aware of time slipping away as each drew comfort from the contact.
Casey closed the last box and looked around her office making sure she hadn't missed anything. A couple layers of matching boxes lined the wall across from her desk. Gone from the walls were her framed diplomas and various citations she had received through the years. Gone were the photos of her with Kristin—her mother and father. Gone were the bits and pieces she had accumulated during her years as an assistant DA. It was bittersweet but Casey knew she had made the right decision. Although months had gone by since Jennifer sent her away she was still haunted by Jennifer's parting words ... “just go, Casey. Just go.” Her eyes began to burn yet again as she remembered the look of betrayal on Jennifer's face, in her eyes. For just a moment she let her thoughts carry her back to the hours before when they had made love over and over. “Ah, Jennifer. I do love you but I can't keep doing this to myself.”
After placing the newly filled box with the others, Casey pulled on her suit jacket and adjusted the sleeves and cuffs. She took her bag from its place on the chair in front of her desk and prepared to fulfill her role as an assistant DA for the last time. Winston had argued long and hard that she was overreacting and shouldn't leave her position as a prosecutor. He shared his dream that she would replace him as DA and begged her to reconsider. But with her mind made up, Casey wouldn't waver in her conviction.
As the door clicked closed behind her, she paused for just a moment and took a deep breath. If she was honest with herself, she would admit that she would miss the people who had been so much a part of her life. She would miss being a prosecutor and the investigative work she had become so good at and enjoyed. She passed the elevator and headed straight for the stairway that would lead her to the second floor of the justice building. Winston had insisted that she be there for the sentencing because of her work reaching plea agreements with each of the defendants—seven in all.
Jennifer stood at her office window, gazing out over the Tennessee River. Through the years she had stood there so many times, thinking her way through problem after problem—work, personal—small, seemingly insurmountable.
Closing her eyes, she leaned her forehead against the coolness of the glass. “Ah, Casey. We really messed things up. Didn't we?”
She had thought often about how attentive Casey had been to her from the very beginning. She had realized weeks before that she had reacted out of hurt and not given the other woman a chance to explain. “And I should have Casey. I should have listened to you. But now what's done is done.”
The click of the door closing behind her drew her attention but she didn't turn from the window. “Marie, whatever it is I'm sure it can wait.”
“Ah ... it's me, Jennifer, I just wanted to speak to you for a few minutes before you go.”
Jennifer turned at the sound of Melinda's voice. “Sure come on in.”
The executive editor took a moment to look around the office. It was stripped of everything that would connect it to the woman in front of her. “So you're really going to do it. You're going to leave the paper?”
“Yes. I am. It will be better for everyone, especially my family.”
“But you've poured your heart and soul into this newspaper and Jennifer, you're responsible for what it is today. How can you just walk away from that?”
“Ah ... Melinda, if nothing else these last few months have taught me that there are things much more important in life and right now my children need me and I'm not going to let them down.”
“But, Jennifer, you can certainly be there for your children and keep this job. You are the most resilient woman I've ever known. And I know for a fact that this is your decision that the powers that be have asked you to stay.”
“I don't know if you will understand this but I need to do this for me as much as Courtney and Brandon. These last few months have been hell for all of us and I have no reason to believe the next few will be any different. I need a chance to breathe ... to be with them ... to help them know that everything is going to be alright.”
“But what are you going to do? Will you stay here in Wilmington?”
“Like most every other reporter out there, I've always wanted to write that great American novel. I've been making notes for years so maybe now I'll take the time and actually start writing. But for now we'll stay in Wilmington. At least until Courtney finishes high school. I would hate to pull her out now.”
“It sounds like your mind is made up but I want you to know that it's not going to be the same without you here. I'm going to miss you terribly, my friend.”
“Stop that. You're going to make me cry and tough old newspaper publishers don't cry. You know that,” Jennifer bantered as she fought the tears beginning to well in her eyes. “And I will miss you too. You also know that.”
It was natural for the women to share a warm embrace as their relationship as publisher and editor came to an end.
“Now ... we had better get moving. I'm due in court and you have a story to report.”
With one last glance around the office, Jennifer grabbed her bag and gestured for the editor to precede her out of the room. At the door she paused just long enough to flip the light switch engulfing the room in darkness. She closed her eyes for just a second, took a deep breath and stepped through the doorway and out of the office for the last time.
“That went really well, Casey. You should be proud of the work you did on this case. Eight to twelve for each of them is not bad, not bad at all.”
“You mean that we did on this case, don't you, Sam?”
“Well, I thought that went without saying. I mean everyone knows you couldn't have done it without me and the kid here,” the crusty old investigator said as he waved the stub of a cigar in Matt's direction.
“I wanted to thank you, Casey. Agent Webster told me that you sent along a written recommendation to her.”
“Matt, it was nothing. You did excellent work finding the clues we needed to tie this all together. We could not have done it without you.”
“That's right, kid. You did a fine job.”
The young agent turned red at the praise but the smile that broke out on his freckled face spoke volumes about his pleasure.
“Casey, what are you going to do now?”
“Well, Matt, I'm going home. Back to Middle Tennessee. I have a few acres there overlooking the river and it's always been my dream to build a cabin there with lots of windows to enjoy the view.”
“What about work? What are you gonna do, kid?”
Eyebrows arched over glaring brown eyes at the remark but Casey couldn't hold the glare and Sam couldn't control the laughter that bubbled out.
It was the trio's laughter that greeted Jennifer as she walked down the steps of the Justice Center and out into the sunshine. She watched Casey with the men. The movement of her hands. The smile on her face as they talked. Without thinking she moved in their direction. No longer noticing the beautiful spring day.
Casey watched as Jennifer came closer. She fought the urge to go to her and waited instead. My God you are so beautiful.
“Congratulations, Casey, gentlemen. You must be very pleased with the outcome.”
Brown eyes locked with green. Casey stood transfixed as the seconds ticked away. She couldn't seem to find her voice. Surprisingly Matt saved her when he ended the silence.
“Thank you, Mrs. Gibson. We know that this was a terrible thing for you and your family. I know I speak for all of us when I say how sorry we are for everything that's happened to you.”
“It's not your place to apologize Agent England. You were not at fault here. That pleasure lies with my husband and ...”
Before she could finish, Casey interrupted. Her voice filled with hurt. “You aren't ever going to forgive me for this are you? You'll always blame me.” With those quietly spoken words, Casey turned and walked away leaving three pairs of stunned eyes watching her retreat.
“That wasn't what I was going to say. Oh ... Casey ....”
Casey sat in the swing on her back deck. A view of the river clear through the trees. She had always wanted a porch swing to enjoy after a long day at the office. She chose to ignore the blistering cold that stung her cheeks while she watched snowflakes settle on the ground. She had just finished unpacking the last box and was ready to enjoy her new home. She only had two weeks left before she would begin her new job as the Fentress County Prosecutor. She got the appointment after the current prosecutor decided to retire early to be with his terminally ill wife. They had already packed and moved to Arizona. With five years left on his eight-year term she had plenty of time to prove herself and to decide if she would seek election to the office. She doubted that there would be as much excitement as she had found in either Memphis or Wilmington but she looked forward to a more simple life. Yeah all your dreams are coming true except you have no one to share them.
A gust of cold biting wind drove her from her place on the deck. Once inside she stoked the fire in the stone fireplace and added a log. Sitting back on her heels she held her hands out to warm them. It so dammed quiet. Maybe I should get a dog or a cat. Maybe I'll just get one of each. Or hell, I've got lots of space. I could get two of each. The buzz of her cellphone stopped her wandering thoughts. A smile softened her face when she checked the display before she answered.
“Hello, Sam. How are you, you old son-of-a-gun?”
She was greeted by a chuckle from the man on the other end of the line. “I'm doing good. How about you, kid?”
“Not too bad. I've finished unpacking and I'm all settled in.”
“Good, Casey. That's really good. Winston told me about your appointment as DA. I'm really happy for you, kid. You'll be good at it. They couldn't have chosen better.”
Casey's eyes grew misty at the praise and even pride she heard in the seasoned investigator's voice. “Thank you, Sam. That means a lot to me coming from you.”
The line was silent for a minute while each regained composure. Finally Sam broke the silence. “Casey, I need to tell you something and you may not be too happy with me but I thought you should know.”
“Spill it, Sam.”
“A ... well ... a ... aw hell. I saw Jennifer Gibson earlier today and she was asking about you.
Casey felt a catch in her throat at the mere mention of her name. “Go on, Sam. Tell me. Where'd you see her? What'd she want?”
“It was outside your old office. She had come by to see you and was surprised to find that you no longer work here.”
“What did she want with me, Sam. To slap me down one more time? Tell me yet again how I ruined her life?”
“Now, Casey. You know that's not fair. I tried to tell you after that last day in court. You didn't let her finish. She was devastated when you walked away. And Casey ...”
“She was still devastated when I saw her again outside your old office.”
“What did you tell her about me?”
“That's the part you might not like. I told her about your new job and that you have moved. And I may have told her where you live.”
“What do you mean you may have told her? Either you did or you didn't.” Casey's heart rate had kicked up more than a few notches as she waited for his response.
“Hell, I told her that you've built a cabin on the river and how to find it. She said she needs to talk to you. And Casey, I think you really need to talk to her ... to resolve this thing between you.”
Casey moved to watch the snow continue to fall in the growing darkness. She could see her reflection in the window. She didn't know what to think or feel. She needed time to digest this new information to analyze it. “Thanks for calling. For letting me know. I'll talk to you soon. Okay, Sam?”
“Sure, Casey. We'll talk soon. You take care. And you know that I'm here if you need me, right?”
“Yes, Sam, I know. You take care too.”
“I hope I'm doing the right thing. Please let this be the right thing.”
Jennifer pulled her cellphone from its place on the console and began to dial. She listened to ring after ring. Her heart pounding. Finally she heard the voice that filled her dreams but it was a recorded message. Hell, now what do I say? Before she could fully form the thought she heard the beep signaling that she should record a message.
“Hi Casey, it's Jennifer and I really need to talk to you. There's so much I need to say. So much that I need you to hear. I'm sitting in your driveway right this minute. Will you listen to me ... give me a chance?”
Several long moments passed as Jennifer waited. Then she saw the door open and there was Casey silhouetted in the lights from inside. Jennifer made her way to the steps leaving footprints in the freshly fallen snow. She couldn't help but remember another time when Casey opened a door to her ... to give her refuge, sanctuary. One by one she took the steps. Never taking her eyes off the waiting woman. When she was just a few feet away, she stopped to admire the vision before her. “Will you, Casey? Will you give me a chance to make things right between us?” To her dismay her voice broke as she spoke and tears threatened to spill.
“Jennifer, all I ever wanted was take care of you ... to be there for you.”
Casey's softly spoken admission gave Jennifer all the courage she needed to move forward. Once again she stopped. This time just inches from the taller woman. She took one of the larger hands in her own and looked into the warm brown eyes she had grown to love so quickly. Casey used her free hand to wipe away just a glimmer of a tear that shone in the corner of the smaller woman's eye. Then she allowed her thumb to slowly trail down the soft cheek before locking their eyes once again.
“I know, Casey. I know. And I'm so sorry.”
“Shh. I'm the one that's sorry. We have lots of things to talk about and we will. But right now more than anything I want to hold you. Just for a minute. Then we'll talk. Is that okay?”
“Yes, Casey. That's more than okay. But could we finish this inside. I'm freezing out here.” Suddenly she trembled from the cold easily proving her point.
Casey stepped back and allowed Jennifer to precede her inside. Jennifer abruptly stopped just inside the door. She looked around the cozy room. At the sofa. The inviting warmth of the fire. The wall of windows that were a frame to the beauty natural scenery beyond.
“Casey it's lovely. Absolutely beautiful,” she said as she turned to the taller woman.
“Yes, absolutely beautiful,” the taller woman agreed but her sight was fixed on the lips of the blond. “Come here, Jennifer.” Casey pushed the door closed with her foot effectively closing out the cold just as the smaller woman stepped into her embrace. “We'll talk later.”
“Much later,” Jennifer whispered.
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