Disclaimers: All characters referenced in this story are mine and mine alone. Any similarities between them and anyone else living, dead, or fictional, is purely accidental/coincidental. Basically, hands off without my permission-pretty please.
If you like them, feel free to let me know about it at Jeaninehemailemail@example.com if you don’t, please don’t be mean.
Warnings: This story will depict relationships between women. If that bothers you, I’m sorry for your narrow-minded approach but please leave now and come back when you come out. If it is illegal for you to view this type of story due to age or location then please come back when you age or move. There will at times be somewhat graphic descriptions of medical events, nothing too graphic but not for those who faint at the mention of an IV. With that said, I hope you enjoy!
I’d like to thank Vic and Trish, the two people that encouraged me to put this out to let others decide its fate.
Also, for Sue, the reason I want to do my best is to be the woman you deserve-I’m always on call for you!
It was Karen. I didn’t know what to do first, throw her out or ask her how the hell she got inside my house! Before I could wrap my mind around any words at all, she spoke.
“Did you miss me baby? Are you surprised?” She smiled in what I had one considered a seductive manner. Now, I found that it made me slightly nauseated.
“How did you get in here Karen? Do you realize you are guilty of breaking and entering, not to mention trespassing?” I could feel my blood starting to boil as I struggled to keep a handle on my rage. I flicked on the light switch by the door, bathing the room in light.
“Honey! Aren’t you glad to see me? I thought you would have missed me?” Karen leaned back against the pillows as I made a mental note to throw them out.
“I’m not your “honey” and no, I’m not glad to see you,” I growled at her.
“Why Chloe, I swear I have no idea why you’re so upset! I just wanted to surprise you. I’m thinking of moving back in to the area and I thought we could work things out.”
“What’s the matter Karen? Someone dump you? You can’t come running back here after all this time and expect me to be waiting for you.” I knew I was acting like a bitch but she deserved no better from me. “Besides, we weren’t working remember? You told me you weren’t happy with me and I still remember you in bed with that guy! Did you think I would have forgotten that?”
She rose up from the bed, confusion written all over her face. “I can’t believe you’re being so hateful! After all we shared?”
I shouted, “I’m sorry, do you not remember arranging for a new job and moving across the country and telling me about it less than a week before you left? I know I wasn’t a perfect partner, but I deserved better than that.”
I took a deep breath and lowered my voice. “You walked out without a word or hint that you were upset until I found the two of you together. You took what you wanted, left no forwarding address, and I haven’t heard from you in almost five years. You made your choice long ago, and I wasn’t what you chose.”
Karen lowered her head and had the decency to look embarrassed. In a quiet voice she replied, “You’re right. I know you’re right. You didn’t deserve what I did to you back then. I was pretty messed up by not being able to have a baby. I thought leaving was the answer but the problems followed me. I went into therapy and learned a lot of things Chloe. One of which was that I regretted the way I acted and the way I treated you. Is there any way you could forgive me? Could we try again?”
“I’m glad you got the help you needed Karen. There is no way we are going to try again though. I have someone very special in my life now, someone I love with all of me. I wish you luck in the future but it won’t be here or with me. Now, I need to ask you to leave and not come back.”
She pulled on the clothes she had left on the floor, her eyes never leaving my face. She looked sad and part of me, a small part, still wanted to go over and put my arms around her to make her feel better. Thankfully, the majority of me was smart enough to stay in the doorway. Karen blew out the candles as she made her way towards the door and I backed into the hallway.
“I’m sorry Chloe, I really am sorry. I made a lot of mistakes and this one cost me more than you know.” We walked down the staircase and headed for the door. She turned to me, a quiver in her lip and tears in her eyes. “I’m glad you’re doing so well. I’m glad you’re happy too. I’m just sorry I blew my chance with you. Can you ever forgive me for the way I acted?”
I blew out a breath and examined my feelings. I was amazed, but the truth was, I no longer harbored any real anger or hurt in connection with Karen. “Karen, you are forgiven. We both made mistakes and we just didn’t fit each other well. I think we both learned things that will help us but we need to accept that our time is over.”
She offered a shy smile. “Thanks Chloe. I’m sorry for barging in, and for assuming that you weren’t already taken. I thought if I just tried, it would work this time. I’ll leave you to your new life. Be safe and be happy.”
With that, she threw her arms around me for a hug that happened so quickly I didn’t have time to react. She left quickly and I watched her get into a car I hadn’t recognized across the street. I closed the door, and leaned against it for a moment, taking a moment to ground and center myself after the shock of the afternoon. Once that was done, I headed upstairs to change the sheets and discard the pillows. It may have been overkill, but I knew I would feel better with all traces of Karen gone from our bedroom.
“Honey, I’m home!” I heard Caty call as I tossed the sheets in the dryer in the basement. About damn time, since you made me promise to leave work to get home, I thought. I realized that I was just grumpy from dealing with Karen so I let it drop. I tromped up the steps to see Caty and find out where she had been for so long.
When I got upstairs I was greeted by a bouquet of flowers, my favorite flowers in fact, tiger lilies. “Thanks! Were we sharing a brain today? I got you flowers too! They’re on the dining room table.”
She chuckled as she shed her coat and dropped a few bags on the floor. “Must have been! I saw those and I decided you needed them. You’ve been working so hard and you never reward yourself.”
I didn’t really know what to say to that, so I said nothing. I knew she was right, I worked overtime and socked the money away. The whole reason I bought so large a house, other than hoping for a family at some point, was that it was a good investment.
I decided to take care of filling her in about Karen instead, so that we could deal with it right away. Besides, I needed to talk to her about it and see what she thought. Lover or not, she was still my best friend and that was who I needed right then.
I followed her to the kitchen so I could put the lilies in water while she checked out her flowers in the dining room. She thanked me profusely for remembering her favorite flowers and then pulled back a bit. “What’s wrong Chloe?”
Slightly startled I asked, “Why do you think something’s wrong?”
She shrugged, “I don’t know. I just know that something is wrong. It’s like your whole body feels different when you have something on your mind that you don’t like.”
“Damn you’re good woman! Tell you what, let’s order a pizza, I’m feeling like some junk. Do you want to order or get the wine?”
“I’ll order, you’re better at picking wine out. Just make it a red…a chianti or merlot would be nice. Any topping requests?”
“Nope! You know what I like and don’t like. I’ll meet you in the living room with the wine.”
I went back downstairs to our small wine collection. We had recently gone to a few wine tastings, and a few local vineyards, and made some purchases of things we liked. We didn’t know much about wine other than what we enjoyed drinking, but it was always a fun day out and we always had something on hand too. I decided on a nice chianti we had picked and had both enjoyed.
Upstairs again, I took a couple of wine glasses and the corkscrew to the living room where Caty already sat waiting for me. I opened the wine and felt the weight of Caty’s eyes one me as I delayed our talk. Finally, I had no other stall tactics. I decided on the direct approach after I took a fortifying sip of the wine. “Karen was here today.” I cringed slightly, waiting for the reaction I assumed was coming.
Silence. Not a sound, not a peep, nothing.
“I said, Karen was here today. In our home.”
No reaction. None at all. I wasn’t certain but I was pretty sure she was able to hear me.
“Are you going to say anything?”
She shifted on the couch, looked over at me, and said nothing. I couldn’t figure out what she was thinking. Her expression was blank, her eyes said nothing to me for the first time that I could remember.
“Caty! Don’t you want to know why she was here?”
“I know why she was here. She came to ask you to give her another chance.” There was no trace of my Caty in her voice, just a flat monotone.
I was confused and astounded. “Are you psychic? How did you know that?”
Caty looked at me with the first expression she had shown since we sat down. “How do you think she got in the house? Why do you think I wasn’t here when I said I would make dinner?”
“Why would you let her in, never mind leave her hear alone? I don’t understand Caty. Are you made at me?”
She drained her wine glass and poured more wine. “Just tell me what you have to tell me.”
I was struggling to figure out why she was suddenly acting this way. I really must have part of my brain turned off. “Uh, well, when I came in the house, it was dark…I didn’t know where you were so I looked around cause something felt wrong. I finally found her, in our bedroom. She was trying to seduce me Caty, but I told her the truth, I am over her. I am in love with you, and I asked her to leave.”
“You did? You weren’t tempted? I know how much she hurt you, which means you had to have a lot of feelings for her.”
I struggled, but I finally understood. Caty was worried that I was trying to end things with her! I rushed to make her understand. “Baby, it is you and only you I want! Whatever she and I shared is ancient history. I did tell her how much it had hurt, why I wouldn’t want her back even if I was single, and I walked her to the door. That was it.”
Finally, a wan smile broke out across her features. “So, nothing happened?”
“Well, not nothing, I was able to realize that I had let go of all that pain and baggage from my past. I forgave her and wished her well. She apologized and wished us well, then she gave me a quick hug and left. I made it clear that I was only interested in one woman and she wasn’t the one.”
Tears started trailing down Cait’s face. It almost broke my heart to know she had doubted us, doubted me and my commitment to her. I gathered her in my arms and held her tightly. “Baby, don’t ever question my love for you. You are it for me, my other half, my soul mate. You are who I have searched for my whole life. There is no one else who holds any interest for me, only you can love me the way I want to be loved. Only you let me love you the way I need to love someone.”
I felt tears welling in my own eyes and didn’t even try to fight them. I felt Caty brushing them away with her thumbs. “I’m sorry for doubting us Chloe. I guess I wonder if I’m enough for you sometimes. If I’m exciting enough.”
“Caty, look at me.” I waited for her eyes to lock with mine and I saw the pain there as well as the doubts. “You are the most interesting and exciting woman in the world to me. You are my best friend as well as my lover. I’m so sorry I gave you room to doubt that. I want to make sure you know how important you are to me. How important we are to me.”
I leaned in and gave her a kiss that I hoped would show her the depth of my feelings. As I started to deepen the kiss, the doorbell rang. We broke apart laughing. I went to the door and Caty went to grab plates. We met back in the living room and the mood of the room seemed lighter somehow.
I looked over at her. “Are we okay Caty?”
She gave me a brilliant smile, “Yeah, we’re just great. I’m sorry I melted down. I’m sorry I left her here for you to find like that too. I didn’t think she’d be brazen enough to wait for you in bed like that. By the way, we need to change the sheets and burn the pillows.”
I looked up and saw that she was serious. “I already changed the sheets. They are in the dryer now. The pillows are in the donation bag since they are fairly new. I used the extra pillows to make up our bed and decided we could buy new ones this week.”
Smiling, she agreed and added, “Let’s donate the sheets as well.” I laughed and agreed. Caty finally looked relaxed as she announced, “Let’s eat! Suddenly, I’m starving!”
About a week after Karen’s impromptu visit, the doorbell rang. We were both home but I offered to get it so I could get out of folding laundry. Pauly was at the door looking uncomfortable. “What’s up? Come on in.” I stepped back to let her in but she stood on the doorstep. “Dude, come in, I’ll get Cait for you.” She still stood there, not saying anything.
“I don’t know what’s wrong, but we can’t fix it or help if you don’t come in the house Pauly.” I put my best command tone on, “Now, get in here and go to the living room!”
At least she finally moved inside so I could shut the door. It was getting chilly outside and I was even colder standing in an open doorway wearing nothing but shorts and a t-shirt. I followed her into the room with a quick shout downstairs to Caty to join us in the living room. Pauly just paced, still not talking. I didn’t know what to make of it and since Caty was home, I decided to take a backseat and let her figure things out.
As soon as Caty came in the room, Pauly rushed over to her, threw her arms around her and started sobbing. I was uncomfortable and thought about leaving the room until Caty pinned me with a look that told me to sit right where I was for a while. After a few minutes, Caty guided Pauly to the couch and sat them down. I discreetly slid a box of tissues down the coffee table to put them easy reach.
“I’m ready when you are Pauly, what’s going on?” Caty looked much more patient than I felt. I was ready to fix whatever was wrong but there were no signs or symptoms other than the tears and lack of communication.
“I just…I don’t know what to do Sis. I’m scared and I don’t know what to do!” cried Pauly.
Well, for me, that narrowed it down. It had to do with Gina because if it were fire department related, she would have come to me. I hesitantly asked, “Is it Gina? Did she do something?”
Pauly sniffed and reached for a tissue. “Uh huh, and I don’t know what to do. Just because I couldn’t give her an answer right away she probably thinks I’m too stupid to be with anyway.” That set off another round of tears.
Blood and guts I can handle. Tears and angst scare me away. In true keeping with my nature, I decided we all needed some tea. Caty acknowledge as I mimed making tea and I escaped to the kitchen. I got the kettle going and decided on a calming tea with some honey. After stalling all I could, I took a tray back in with the teapot, honey, three mugs, and spoons.
Back in the room, the waterworks had calmed and I didn’t say anything for fear of starting them again. I sat and waited for Caty to draw things out. She had an amazing talent for talking to people and I assumed it would work even better with her own sister.
“Okay Pauly, I want to help but I don’t know what happened. What started this? Yesterday you were all excited about a date you had planned with her.”
Pauly gave a few sniffles, but held together as she answered. “I picked her up and she was stressed about finding a place to live.” Caty looked at me and I realized I hadn’t told her of Gina’s situation. I ducked my head in apology and Caty gave me a bemused grin. She returned her attention to Pauly.
“So, she’s stressed about living arrangements. How long does she have to find a new place?”
“A couple of months. Her place is going condo and she doesn’t want to buy in. I told her she could stay with me if she hadn’t found a place in time. I’m an idiot! That’s what started this mess!”
Perplexed, I had to ask. “How did that start anything? I think it was nice of you to offer to help her out.”
Caty looked at us both as if we had grown extra heads. “How is it that the two of you can save lives daily, but don’t understand the basics of relationships?” She turned to Pauly, “What was her reaction when you suggested her staying with you?”
Pauly’s face fell further. “Her face lit up! Then she started asking me if I was positive that I was ready. Then she started talking about arranging things to fit both of our things. I guess I looked confused or something because she got really quiet.”
Caty asked softly, “She thought you meant she should move in permanently, didn’t she?”
Pauly nodded. “Yeah. I thought I was clear by asking her to stay with me, not move in with me. My place isn’t big enough for two people Caty, you know that! We would be in each other’s faces all the time! When she asked me if I was serious about us moving in together, I just lost it. I couldn’t even speak. She got upset and left the restaurant. By the time I paid the check and made it to the front, she was gone. She must have taken a cab because I couldn’t find her. She hasn’t answered her phone at home or her cell. She isn’t at the station house, I even checked my place in case she had gone over to get her stuff.” Pauly looked up with tears running down her cheeks, her eyes filled with pain. “What can I do Caty? I don’t want to lose her! I didn’t think she wanted to move in with me yet. That’s the only reason I didn’t just suggest we find a bigger place together. I blew it Caty! I blew it, and now she hates me!”
Caty looked over at me and I knew my task. I had to find Gina and bring her back here. Caty hugged Caty and thanked me silently. I grabbed a pair of jeans and a jacket, pulled on boots with no socks, and headed out to look for Gina equipped with my wallet, keys, and cell phone.
I called over to the station and verified that no one had heard from her. I headed towards Gina’s place while making calls. I called Bran and she hadn’t heard from her. There was no sign of life at her apartment and her car wasn’t in the lot. Since Pauly has said she had picked Gina up, I surmised that she had come home, gotten her car, and left again. Great work Detective Donny, I thought with a smirk. Now what?
Without any clues, and not knowing a whole lot about Gina, I wasn’t sure where else to look. I decided to drive around to a couple of department hangouts, but struck out at each place. I decided to swing back to Pauly’s place and see if her idea of Gina going to clear out her stuff was right. Sure enough, her car was there, so I waited. I didn’t want to interrupt her and I was afraid of missing her in the elevator since there were two elevators.
A few minutes later, I saw her exit the building and head to her car with a small duffel bag slung over one shoulder. I got out of my car and stood next to her waiting. She saw me and a look of anger crossed her face. “Here to play the good sister in law Donny? I didn’t take anything that isn’t mine but go ahead and search my bag if you want.”
Taken aback, I wasn’t sure how to respond, so I treated it like a call. I lowered my voice and didn’t approach her. “I’m not here to check up on you Gina. I’m here to find you. Pauly is at our place crying her heart out with Caty. She thinks she has lost you for good over a miscommunication.”
She snorted. “A miscommunication? Is that what she told you? Some freakin’ misnomer!”
“Gina, I’m not going to claim that I understand any of this right now. All I know is that none of us want you driving around upset like this tonight. Let me take you home, either mine or yours, and figure out what is going on.”
Gina’s shoulders slumped a bit, that proud angry stance starting to slip away. “I don’t know if I can see her right now. What did she tell you guys?”
“All I know is she had planned a nice date and part way through she mentioned you staying with her since you hadn’t found a place to live. She mentioned that she didn’t handle it well when you thought she meant a permanent move.”
“Huh! Didn’t handle it well? That is a classic Pauly understatement! She couldn’t speak! She was frozen and I was mortified when I figured out that I misunderstood her.”
I nodded, “I kind of got that part. She said you left and that you were gone by the time she paid the check and made it to the door. I have to tell you Gina, I don’t think she meant it in a bad way. She thought you weren’t ready to live together since you hadn’t said anything about it when you got news of the condo stuff. She was trying not to pressure you and she had trouble changing gears.”
Gina looked surprised. “She thought what? That I didn’t want to live with her? Hell Donny! I want to marry her someday! Shit! Now what do I do?”
I smiled and moved to take her duffel bag from her. I tossed it in my back seat and guided her to the passenger door. “Now, we go back to my place and straighten things out. I’m just glad I found you. I don’t think Caty would have let me back in the house without you.”
She smiled at me and sat quietly the whole ride back. When we got to the house, we both sat for a minute after I switched off the engine. I looked over at her, “Ready to go in?”
Gina shook her head but opened the door. “Not really, but we can’t stay here all night either. How bad is this going to be?”
I tried to smile reassuringly, “I don’t think it will be too bad. After all, you both misunderstood the other one’s position. Just talk from your heart Gina, it will work out.”
We were barely in the door before Pauly was in the entranceway fiercely hugging Gina. “Don’t ever leave me like that again! I was so scared Gina! I’m sorry I was an idiot! Please, can we talk?”
Gina hugged her back and nodded. They went upstairs to what had been Pauly’s room and I sank into the sofa with Caty. Jerking my head towards the stairs I asked, “Something you suggested?”
She shrugged, “Seemed more private than us going upstairs and them down here. We’re less likely to hear them finish the fight … and making up.”
I chuckled, “So, we have houseguests tonight. No problem. Anything else decided while I was gone?”
She leaned into me and kissed me gently and sweetly. “One other thing. If Gina accepts the idea, they will be moving in to my old place. It is a bit small, but they are young and don’t have that much stuff. I’m going to rent it to them and they can either buy it, when they are ready or I’ll sell it when they move out.
“Sounds like a great plan! Now, peacemaker of mine, shall we head upstairs as well? I’m tired from all that search and rescue work tonight!”
We held hands going up the stairs, carefully stepping over that creaky step so as not to disturb the couple in the room with the closed door.
Continued in Part 18
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