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.
Warnings: No violence, sorry. This does involve a look at loving relationships between women. If this is not your style, you are under 18, or if this is not legal where you live: Either don’t read it, don’t get caught reading it, or forget you ever saw this stuff.
For those who think lesbianism is wrong -sorry, perhaps one day after we cure stuff like cancer and AIDS we’ll work on stupidity-until then, don’t read and don’t flame.
Sex: Of course-not in all sections but it does happen now and again.
Sue: Always for you!
Anything I missed? Fill in the blanks or email me.
All comments, questions, suggestions and nice stuff are LOVED!
“Honey, I’m home,” Bailey still loved being able to yell that out when she got home.
“In here,” yelled Jay from the kitchen.
“What are you doing? Something smells great in here!”
“I felt pretty good this afternoon, so I decided I would cook dinner. I finished going through all my work e-mails and decided that lasagna sounded really good.”
Bailey groaned in appreciation, then quirked an eyebrow at her lover. “Just how long have you been cooking today? Aren’t you supposed to rest?”
Jay laughed, “I’m fine, I promise. I didn’t precook the noodles, I just used extra sauce in the layers. I mixed the cheese layers sitting at the table and the sauce was from the stuff we made a while ago and froze. I really only stood to brown the meat and put it in the oven.”
Bailey went over to Jay and gave her a hug and kiss. “Okay, as long as you didn’t over do it. I’m glad you’re feeling better.”
Bailey went in to their room to change clothes, feeling the need to shed her work clothes as soon as possible. She was just glad Jay hadn’t gone back to the office yet. She didn’t want to tell Jay and have her upset or worried, but it felt like there might be some backlash building from their outing as a couple after all. She had spoken to Sharon about it today but there really wasn’t anything to be done yet. Once things became flagrant, Bailey could go to HR or directly to the Board of Directors but neither woman thought it would do any good. Until things got worse, or Jay talked about going to the office, Bailey didn’t want to worry her.
After washing her face and hands, and then blotting them dry with a thick and fluffy towel, Bailey felt better and was glad to be home. She went back out and saw that Jay was settled on the couch, so she went and grabbed plates to set the table.
“Honey, want me to make a salad?” called Bailey into the other room.
“Check the fridge,” yelled Jay.
Sitting in the refrigerator was a gorgeous salad, two kinds of lettuce, lots of veggies, and a bottle of Jay’s homemade dressing. Bailey went into the living room and leaned over the back of the couch to embrace Jay.
“You are the most wonderful live-in lover ever!” she proclaimed.
Jay raised an eyebrow and asked playfully, “Have you lived with many?”
Bailey chuckled and gave her a quick hug, “Of course not you lug, I’ve been holding out for the best.”
She dropped a kiss on the top of Jay’s head and went back to finish setting up for dinner. Bailey decided to heat up some Italian bread. She cut it in half lengthwise, brushed the cut sides lightly with some extra virgin olive oil, and grated a little Parmesan cheese over the top of it before popping it under the broiler when she took out the lasagna. She brought the lasagna out to the table to join the salad and dressing and called to Jay to come to the table. She was there by the time Bailey got back with the warm bread.
“Great idea for the bread baby, thanks for doing that.”
“You are quite welcome, thanks for the rest of dinner. After dinner, I’ll take dish duty since you did most of the cooking.”
Jay agreed and they ate while discussing their day and some work related issues however, Bailey kept quiet about her uneasiness at work.
“You wanted to talk to me?” asked Jay when she got Sharon on the phone.
“Thanks for calling Jay, I didn’t want to call and disturb you. That’s why I sent the e-mail. I figured you’d get it when you were ready.”
“Is there a problem in the department? Bailey hasn’t mentioned anything to me.”
“Well, it’s not so much a problem within the department, as within the company. I think Bailey hasn’t wanted to worry you so she hasn’t mentioned it.”
“Now you have me a little nervous, what’s going on?”
“I’m hearing rumors, murmurs, about the two of you and your situation. Some people are saying you shouldn’t work in the same part of the company, some are saying things that are more negative, about you two personally.”
“I see, would there be anything I could do if I came into the office? Someone I could address this to in person?”
Sharon thought for a moment, “You could bring it up to the HR VP, she might listen to you. She and I have gone rounds when I’ve wanted to let someone go and didn’t have enough documentation, but you have a good relationship with her. Bring up the concept of discrimination and allowing a hostile work environment and she might listen. Just remember, there is no company or state policy protecting you from being fired for being a lesbian. Technically, they could pull out the morals clause in the company handbook and use it on you.”
Jay grimaced, “I can’t believe they would go that far. It would be kind of a stretch since nothing has ever taken place on company property, or on company time. I mean, Hell, I have cancer and I’m still working part time from home, just weeks after major surgery. What more do these people want from us?”
Sharon heard the exasperation in Jay’s voice and tried to calm her down. “Look, I know it stinks, but nothing overt has happened yet. So far it’s been subtle stuff that could be read two ways.”
“Can you give me an example?”
“There was a committee formed and instead of asking Bailey to represent your department, they went to your Team A leader and asked him to join the committee. Now, it could be that they knew Bailey would want to spend more time helping you instead of sitting on a committee.”
“Or?” asked Jay.
Sharon sighed, “Or it could be a way to shut you both out because someone didn’t approve of two executives dating in the same department.”
Jay grumbled, “So, they want to play that way? We’ll see about that!”
“Jay, I mostly wanted to talk to you so you would know what Bailey is dealing with, not so you could get involved. Promise me you will continue to work part time from home. I don’t want you to try to come in before you are ready!”
Jay was taken aback by the obvious emotion in Sharon’s voice. She hadn’t realized Sharon cared that much and she was touched.
“Fine, for now I agree, and I’ll find a way to bring it up to Bailey so we can talk it over. Thanks for the heads up Sharon, that was really good of you.” Jay paused then made a decision she hoped Bailey would agree with later. “Sharon, are you doing anything Friday night?”
Taken slightly off balance at the new direction the conversation had taken Sharon stuttered then replied, “No, not really. I was going to stay home and relax this weekend. Did you need something? I’m happy to help you guys out if you need me.”
“No, it’s nothing like that, we’re having a friend over for dinner, and I thought you might want to join us. Nothing fancy, jeans are the fashion requirement and then we’ll pull out a board game or something.” Riley was going to be over, and she hoped that with three bankers, she wouldn’t be too bored, but she felt as if she owed Sharon a little more than just a thank you on the phone.
“If you’re sure, then I’ll be there. Do you need me to bring anything?”
“Just you, we’ve got it handled. Oh, and of course you can bring someone if you would like, I don’t know if you’re dating anyone.”
Sharon smiled wistfully but said nothing other than, “Just me, no one in my life right now. Thanks, I’ll see you on Friday, Jay.” After they hung up, Sharon wondered if the woman she met at the hospital would be there, but shook her head clear of the silly thoughts she was having. There was no way that tall, athletic woman would want anything to do with an older, out of shape banker. With a sigh, she went back to her computer and her paper pushing.
When Bailey got home, she saw that Jay was waiting for her. She had a bottle of wine on the coffee table, since the ban on alcohol had been lifted for now, and she smelled a pizza staying warm in the oven. She leaned down to kiss Jay, and then kissed her again, to thank her. Jay slipped her tongue between her lover’s lips and Bailey was more than willing to extend her thank you kiss.
When they broke apart, Bailey looked at Jay appreciatively, “What was that for?”
“Because I love you.”
“Does there have to be an “and”? Maybe I just missed you.”
Bailey looked at her and knew she was seeing something else in Jay’s warm brown eyes. “Uh huh, it’s possible but I suspect something else is afoot here.” Bailey gave her a hug and said, “I don’t mind though, anytime you want to bring something up, feel free to start with a kiss like that one. Do you want to talk now or later?”
Jay laughed, happy that her lover knew her so well, even as it disconcerted her a bit. “Let me get the pizza while you change. We can talk after we eat.”
Once the pizza was demolished, and about half the wine gone, Jay brought up work. “Anything going there I should know about?”
Bailey looked to the left a little then said, “No, I think we’re doing well.”
Jay’s face grew grim, “Bailey McIntyre! I cannot believe you would sit there and lie to me! Why haven’t you told me about the bullshit going on there? I deserve to know and you shouldn’t have to deal with it alone.” Jay was a little worked up, but she felt she had the right to defend her lover and it felt as if it was being denied to her.
“Sharon called you?” Bailey asked, looking at the floor.
“Not exactly, she e-mailed me asking to call when I could. She didn’t want to tell me, but she suspected that you hadn’t, since I hadn’t called before now.”
Bailey got up and poured a little more wine, “I really like this Yellow Tail Merlot. I’m glad we picked it up.”
“Stop avoiding me Bail, this isn’t how you and I do things. Talk to me, please?”
When Jay added that plaintive please on the end of her request, Bailey knew she had to talk it over with her lover. She couldn’t resist her and she knew that Jay was right. This isn’t how they did things. They shared pretty much everything.
“Okay, I’ll make you a deal, I’ll tell you about it, but you can’t go in there trying to fix it. I just want you to focus on you healing enough to start the rest of the treatments, and getting through those. That should be all you worry about for now.”
Jay looked at her, understanding a little more now why Bailey had kept her concerns from her. She was afraid the stress would be bad for her recovery. Bailey was afraid. The sudden realization hit Jay and she made a promise to herself to be on the lookout for signs of fear from Bailey so she could reassure her in the future.
Jay went over to Bailey and took her hand; she moved her over to the sofa and pulled her down on her lap. Cradling her against her chest, Jay spoke very calmly to her. “Bail, I won’t let anything compromise my treatments, I promise. I will fight this with everything I have in me so that I can spend a long life with you. I will not leave you, not if I have any say at all in the matter. But you can’t use this disease as an excuse to keep things from me. I’m not fragile, I won’t break, and I can control my temper enough to not charge in there to knock heads. I promise. Please trust in that and talk to me.”
Bailey leaned into her, hearing Jay’s strong heartbeat beneath her chest. She sniffled a little, trying her best not to cry but it was futile. “I’m so sorry, I’m supposed to be strong for you now, and here I am crying all over you.”
Jay held her close and rubbed her back gently, trying to soothe her lover. She repeated over and over again that she loved her, and that it was good to cry. Jay had been waiting for Bailey to let go about all this and she knew it was crucial for Bailey to cry so she could start dealing with the changes in their lives because of the cancer. Finally, Bailey’s tears quieted and she dried her now red and swollen eyes with a tissue that Jay handed her.
“I’m sorry Jay. You shouldn’t have to take care of me now.”
Jay turned her head so that her brown eyes could look into Bailey’s green ones. “I don’t recall that part of our relationship being discussed. I thought we were supposed to be here for each other, not just one for the other. There are no rules that say you can’t be human and grieve the loss of a part of our lives. We should still be in the honeymoon phase of our relationship but instead, we’ve had to deal with life threatening illness and hassles at work. I grant you, we instigated the outing of our relationship, but it’s still hard to deal with, am I right?”
Bailey nodded slowly and snuggled in Jay’s chest. “It has been hard there since I’ve been back. I don’t understand it. We’ve never done anything improper at work and you aren’t in my chain of command. Yet, there’s all this underlying tension going on in the office that I don’t understand. I knew it would be hard being in a conservative business at times, but this is beyond my expectations.”
Jay continued to hold her while she listened and rocked her slightly. Her left side was starting to tingle a bit but she didn’t care. She needed this closeness with Bailey while they discussed the situation.
“How do you want to handle it, Bail? Honestly, you could quit, I can keep working from home and stay on the insurance plan, and we’d be fine. You could find something else in the field with no problem, if that is what you want to do.”
Bailey shook her head emphatically, “No way am I letting them win that easily! I think I’m going to continue as I have been but with a few not so subtle changes.”
Jay could almost see the wheels turning and saw the devilish glint in her eyes.
“I think I’m going to put a picture of you on my desk, maybe one of both of us together. We have a couple of them from that thing at your folks house right before this all happened. Other people have pictures of their significant other’s on their desks, why not me? I’m also not going to beat around the bush if people bring up your name, or wonder how you’re doing. There is no reason why I can’t discuss you without fear of crossing some weird line.”
Jay marveled at the strength Bailey had found after letting go of her tears and stress. This woman was amazing, and she realized yet again how much she loved her. “I’m fine with it honey, do whatever you need to do to make it bearable. Is there anything I can do to help? Is there anyone you want me to talk to about anything?”
“No, I need to do this on my own I think. When you get back to work in the office things will be strange enough. It will be so much worse if my girlfriend has to fight my battles.”
Jay nodded in agreement and decided Bailey had it under control for now. “Speaking of work stuff, I may have forgotten to mention this, but I asked Sharon over for Friday night. She seems to be reaching out. It’s subtle and took me until today to catch on, but I think she misses having lesbian friends. I don’t think she’s dated in years, she’s been so afraid of exposure at work.”
“Hey, I’m fine with it, she’s been trying to help us out, the least we can do is entertain her for one evening. Now, let me up, I’m going to go take a shower before I get ready for bed. I’d ask you to join me, but I know your scar is still raw.”
In truth, Jay had been reluctant to be fully undressed in front of Bailey since her surgery. She knew it made no sense. Bailey had taken care of her while the wound was fresh, and had seen it as it healed, but she didn’t feel comfortable in her own skin. She sure didn’t feel beautiful or sexy, mostly she felt damaged, angry and sad. She stood up, kissed Bailey, and started tidying up the living room and kitchen from their dinner before turning off the lights, and heading into their bedroom.
She looked around, noticing again the pictures Bailey had put up on the walls, pictures of them together as they grew up. It seemed as if they had known each other forever, and yet they still learned new things all the time. Grabbing her sleep clothes, she changed from her sweats into shorts and an old tie died t-shirt before going into the bathroom to brush her teeth. In another hit on her self-esteem, she put in her fluoride trays after brushing her teeth. She’d been told to sleep with them in as long as she could into her radiation, then brush or swab the fluoride on her teeth if her mouth became too sensitive for the trays. Looking in the mirror, she grimaced at her image and turned away quickly, going into the bedroom and turning out the main lights, leaving just Bailey’s bedside table lamp on for her to see by when she came in the room. She heard the shower stop, and then she heard Bailey getting ready for bed. Jay rolled onto her right side, the closest to a comfortable position she could sleep in so far, and willed herself to sleep so she wouldn’t have to face Bailey’s beautiful face and body in bed.
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