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.
Anything I missed? Fill in the blanks or email me.
All comments, questions, suggestions and nice stuff are LOVED!
Earlier in the week…
Sharon thought about her meeting with Jay as she walked back to her office. She wished that things could be different, but she shook the thought from her head. She was worried about Jay and not just because she looked a little tired. Sharon knew first hand how hard it was to be a lesbian in this conservative company. She had decided long ago to play by the rules and stay in her closet. Her last relationship ended about five years earlier when her partner couldn’t take the secrecy, and was tired of coming in second to her job all of the time. Sharon had warned Jay about the company politics when they ran into each other at a concert just after Jay started with the company, a warning that Jay seemed to have followed. Sharon thought back to that concert, one of the last times she had been part of a couple.
It was a warm Philadelphia summer night with the Indigo Girls playing at the Mann Music center. One great thing about the Mann was the open seating area in the back, allowing for picnics and relaxed enjoyment of concerts. Sharon and Sandy had gone as an effort to piece things back together and enjoy each other’s company. They arrived early and shared a picnic on the lawn before the show. Sharon remembered the conversation being stilted as they sat and people watched, but at least they were sharing personal space again, at least until she spotted Jay. Sharon turned to one side and of course, Sandy noticed.
“What’s wrong? You look like you’ve seen a ghost” Sandy said.
Sharon just shook her head and said, “Nothing.”
Just then, Sharon heard Jay calling her name. She quickly pulled away from Sandy, then stood and greeted Jay in a very quiet voice. “Jay, what a surprise to see you here.”
“Sharon! I thought that was you! I didn’t know you liked the Indigo Girls.” She glanced over at the woman with Sharon, who stood up as had Jay approached.
Sharon didn’t even look towards Sandy as she replied, “Uh yeah. Jay, listen up. I don’t bring my personal life into work and I don’t want it brought there by anyone else.”
Jay looked taken aback by the sudden stiffness from her new supervisor. “Sure, I understand, keep things professional at work. Of course Sharon.”
Sparing a quick glance over at Sandy and noting her thin-lipped expression, Sharon sighed. “Jay, it’s more than that actually. No one at work knows about me. That’s how I’ve managed to get ahead there. This is a conservative company in a conservative field and they don’t promote people who are different. You might want to keep that in mind for yourself as well.”
“Um, yeah, I see your point. Sorry to have bothered you. Don’t worry, I won’t bring it up at work. Enjoy your evening.” Blushing furiously, Jay returned to her group of friends and hurried them along.
Sharon gave a sigh and rejoined Sandy on the blanket before noticing “the look”. She sighed inwardly this time and realized she was in for another “living out and proud” lecture from Sandy.
Trying to stop it before it started she said, “Look Sandy, I know how you feel about this issue but it’s best if she learns now what kind of environment we work in, and how best to deal with it.”
Sandy shook her head and said, “You were rude! You didn’t bother to introduce us. Now she’s afraid of you and she thinks she’s going to have to stay closeted for the rest of her life just to do well in your eyes! How is that environment ever going to change if you don’t work for change?” asked Sandy.
“Can we just agree to disagree on this one Sandy? You don’t work in the same kind of environment. You’re in a liberal field, and you don’t deal with the conservative jerks I deal with everyday.” In an attempt to change the subject Sharon went on, “I just want us to relax and enjoy the concert tonight. Is that too much to ask?”
Sandy agreed to drop it and enjoy the show but their final break up happened two weeks later.
Sharon decided to refocus on work and ignore the past. What’s done is done , I might as well leave it in the past . Over the years, she had spent way too much energy keeping Jay at a distance. Always afraid that someone might connect them in some way other than in their official capacity, she tended to shy away from Jay until recently. Lately, Sharon couldn’t stop thinking about her past and how she had handled things.
By reaching out to Jay at work, she felt as if she was taking a small step in the right direction. Sharon knew she wanted her life to be different, but at the same time, she was terrified of making changes that would upset the delicate balance she felt she had achieved in her life. Sharon knew that while Jay was viewed as highly talented and professional, she hadn’t taken Sharon’s advice to hide a part of herself at work. Sharon suddenly realized that she hadn’t run into Jay socially since that concert and had no idea what Jay’s life was like after hours. Sharon had stopped attending any events within the GLBT community for fear of running into anyone else.
The intercom buzzed at that moment to inform Sharon that her next meeting was coming upstairs. She let her secretary know to send him in when he got there. Quickly, she glanced through the résumé of this applicant. There was an opening in Jay’s section and HR had sent this candidate over for a second interview. Bailey McIntyre, age thirty-four, graduate of the University of Miami, experience in another financial institution with a good reputation as a loan generator and closer. Excellent references, but no reason was given for the sudden relocation, and the HR department hadn’t sent over any information other than the résumé. That struck Sharon as odd, since there was usually some kind of discussion with HR before an interview was scheduled with her. There was a knock on the door.
“Come in,” called Sharon.
When the door opened, one of the most stunning women she had ever seen stood in the doorway. Stylishly short dark hair, green eyes like emeralds, short, standing around five feet three inches, tastefully dressed in a black skirt suit with small heels, she was the picture of a successful woman in business. Sharon blinked rapidly before standing and motioning her inside.
“I’m sorry, you’re Bailey McIntyre?” she asked.
Bailey smiled, showing her dimples, and said, “Yes, I take it you were expecting a man? It happens all the time. My parents met at the Baileys Irish Cream booth at a Taste of Philadelphia event and they decided to commemorate it.”
Sharon smiled, realizing how easily she had made the assumption of gender. Sharon apologized, “I’m sorry, I haven’t had a chance to talk to HR yet, and I was going solely off your résumé. Please, come in and have a seat. Can I get you anything to drink?”
Bailey smoothed her skirt and sat down in one of the leather chairs in front of Sharon’s desk. “No thanks,” she replied, “I’m fine.”
Sharon quickly sat at her desk and glanced at the resume one last time before starting with her questions. “I see here that you are relocating from Florida. May I ask what brought about this sudden wish for cold and icy winters?” she asked with a smile.
Bailey chuckled before responding, “One too many hurricanes happened. Seriously, most of my family lives in this area and I decided to move back to be closer to them.”
They continued the interview until Sharon decided to bring Jay in, since this would be a new member of her section. Sharon asked Bailey if she minded waiting outside her office for a minute while she placed a phone call. Watching her walk out the door, Sharon made the decision that if Jay had no objections, the job would go to Bailey. She quickly picked up the telephone and punched in Jay’s extension.
During Jay’s portion of the interview, Sharon remained silent, observing the interaction between the two women. Whatever their history was, she wanted to make sure it didn’t taint her department. Pleased by their professional conduct, she decided that if Jay were willing, they would make an offer to Bailey.
Sharon was waiting for Jay’s questions of Bailey to end. When Jay finished, Sharon rose, shook hands with Bailey, and said, “We’ll be in touch within a few days to let you know.”
“Thank you both, it was a pleasure meeting you Sharon, and Jay, it was a pleasure seeing you again,” replied Bailey. She gathered her briefcase and left the office while Jay took a seat in front of Sharon’s desk to discuss the interview.
“What did you think?” asked Sharon.
“On paper she’s a great choice, I’m just not sure she’s a good fit for this division.”
“What do you mean Jay? She seems to be a go-getter with a lot of loan experience and knowledge. What exactly are your concerns?”
Jay wanted to scream, but instead replied, “I’m concerned about her ability to blend into our existing setup. She’s not used to such an integrated group sharing the workload.”
Sharon tilted her head as she listened, trying to hear the explanation behind the words. She suspected issues from their past must be at the root of it but she wasn’t about to coddle anyone, especially Jay. “Do you have any concrete reasons why we shouldn’t give her a chance? Any concerns you want to voice? I have to tell you, I think she’s perfect for the position and I think we should give her the chance to prove herself.”
Jay just shook her head and said, “If you feel that strongly, I’ll give it a shot. I’m just not sure it will work out.”
“No worries, I know you can train and work with anyone Jay. Consider it another management-building lesson. Working with people we know can be a challenge, but it may be easier since you haven’t maintained a friendship over the years, you won’t have the issues of trying to manage a friend.” Jay plastered a smile on her face and agreed to give it a try. Sharon said she would file the HR paperwork and have them contact Bailey with the offer letter.
Bailey left the building, got in her car and headed back to her parents’ house. She hadn’t found a place on her own yet since she had only been back for a week. She was thinking of living in the city but she hadn’t yet made a decision. In part, it would depend on the outcome of her interview today. That’s when she remembered that her mother must have known where Jay was working and hadn’t warned her! That got her fuming again. Why would her mother do that to her? She knew that they hadn’t been friends in years so she could have at least warned her. Of course, Bailey realized, her mother didn’t know the history behind everything, so she might not have thought twice about it. Her mother probably assumed the two girls just lost touch as they built their careers.
With a sigh, Bailey turned in the driveway to her parents’ home and parked her blue Toyota Rav-4. She went into the house and went looking for her mother.
“Mom, where are you?”
“In here honey, how did the interview go?” Her mother was working in the solarium, tending to her plants, which was a favorite pastime. Bailey went in and sat down to watch her mother work as they talked.
How did the interview go? Bailey though about the interview after watching Jay walk into Sharon’s office.
Bailey was called back into Sharon’s office and she took the offered seat next to Jay. She tried to appear calm and poised, but inside her heart was pounding. Why didn’t I know this was Jay’s company? Damn my meddling mother! She must have known and said nothing! In fact, her mother was the one who suggested this company as one of the better financial companies in the area. She must have known that the daughter of her friends worked there … and in the same field as her! What was she thinking? Did she really think the two of them could work together every day after all this time? She was positive that Sharon liked her or she wouldn’t have brought anyone else in to the interview. But, the question was what Jay thought about her joining the company. Only time would tell. It might even hint to her if she had a shot at repairing their friendship.
“Why didn’t you tell me Jay worked there?”
“Oh honey, I didn’t even think about it. Did you see her there?”
“Not only did I see her, but if I get this job, I think it will be working under her.” As soon as the words left her mouth, she felt her face get warm and blushed, thinking back to their past.
Bailey started to stir, slowly coming awake, and she realized the position they were in. She couldn’t remember ever feeling so safe or so aroused in her life. She lifted her head so she could look at Jay’s half-lidded eyes and she smiled as she reached out to caress the soft skin of her best friend. She’d had a crush on her for so long and now she couldn’t hold back. Ever since Jay came out to her at school, Bailey had wanted this but didn’t know how to deal with her feelings. Now, it didn’t matter. She wanted this with Jay, and by the way Jay’s body reacted, so did she.
The next morning was when the panic set in. Bailey took off before Jay awoke. She was terrified of the consequences of the night before. She knew her parents weren’t going to understand that this was real, and feared that they might cause trouble for Jay. All she could think about was her conservative family and the high expectations they had for her. She was not going to let them down. Instead, she ran. She ran from Jay, from her family, and from herself, all the way to Florida.
Her mother didn’t notice anything, since she was still busy with her plants. “That’s great dear. You’ll have a chance to renew your friendship! You two were thick as thieves until college. Whatever happened to make you lose touch?” asked her mother.
Bailey just shook her head, “I don’t know Mom, and it was a combination of things including distance. I transferred to Florida for school and we lost touch.” Bailey knew her parents were accepting of her sexual identity now, but she had no intention of sharing the night of her first experience with her mother.
“Well, you’re home now. Perhaps you two can pick things up again. It would be so nice for you to have a friend to do things with here.”
“Uh, sure Mom. You know, I think I’m tired. I didn’t sleep well last night. Nerves I guess. I’m going to go rest for a bit.”
“Good idea dear. We’re going to the club for dinner, so be ready at six.”
“Okay Mom. Thanks.”
Bailey headed up to her room to figure out a way to have her life make sense again. The problem was, she didn’t know if it was possible anymore. She may have simply waited too long.
After the two families met for dinner that week, Bailey struggled with images of her past as she laid in her childhood bed just a few houses away from Jay. There was so much to say, so much to apologize for and she didn’t know how to approach her. She had told everyone, including her parents, that she moved home to be close to family and because she missed the change of seasons. Deep down, she knew the main reason she had come home was to tell Jay the truth. The truth about everything, and give Jay the chance to hurt her as much as she knew she had hurt Jay all those years ago. Besides, if they were going to work together, she had better speak with her sooner rather than later, and clear the air. If this situation wasn’t going to work out, she wanted to know before she accepted a job that would torture both of them. With that thought, Bailey decided to speak to Jay the next morning before she left her parents’ home. With a sigh of relief, Bailey finally drifted off to sleep.
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