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!
Jay was reading through files and sifting through documents at work on Tuesday when Scott interrupted.
“Hey Boss, I’m going to go grab a sandwich, want anything from the deli?”
“No thanks Scott, I’m not feeling that hungry. Go enjoy your lunch. Just make sure you forward the phones, please.”
“Sure thing,” he said as he headed out.
Jay was still at her desk, checking e-mail when she leaned against her left hand. That’s when she felt it, that small bump Bailey had mentioned. Strange, she thought as she prodded at it, it wasn’t there last week, and now it felt bigger than a pea. As she though about it, Jay remembered waking up several times drenched with sweat. She had blamed it on the heat Bailey put out as she slept, but now she was wondered if it wasn’t something else. Jay decided to see her doctor so made the call right away. As it turned out, they had a cancellation for the next day. After checking her schedule, she agreed to the afternoon appointment and went back to work. She sent Bailey and Sharon a quick e-mail to let them know she would be out of the office the next afternoon.
About five minutes after she sent the e-mail, Sharon was at her door. “What’s going on Jay? You’re never sick, are you feeling okay? You’ve looked pretty tired lately.” Sharon bombarded her with questions and comments. Waiting for the eventual break in Sharon’s questions Jay was ready with an answer.
“It’s just a basic check up Sharon. I’ve been feeling run down, and I thought they could suggest some vitamins or something. It’s no big deal, this was just when they could fit me in. If taking off is a problem, let me know.”
Sharon shook her head, “Jay, you are senior management. You work the schedule you set based on company needs. Basically, if you need to leave early, I appreciate knowing, but you don’t really have to ask me anymore. But please, let me know how it goes with the doctor when you get in on Thursday. In fact, go home early today and rest.”
“Thanks Sharon, I actually rode in with Bailey today, the CR-V is getting an oil change.”
Sharon looked at her and smiled, “You two really have rebuilt your friendship. See, you were worried when I wanted to hire her.”
Jay bit back a grin and said, “I’m sorry I doubted you, she was a great choice both professionally and personally.” Jay had to smile but Sharon missed the double entendre.
“Jay, give her a call and tell her I want you out of here for the day. If you want to take the whole day off tomorrow, do it.”
Jay was surprised but hid it, “Thanks Sharon, I should be fine and it will keep my mind of things to come to work for the morning. Have a good night.”
As soon as Sharon left, Jay called over to Bailey’s office. “Hey, are you busy?” she asked when Bailey got on the line.
“Nothing too pressing,” she said, sounding a little distracted.
“Ready for some boss dictated hooky?” Jay asked.
“What are you talking about Jay? Does this have something to do with the e-mail you sent me? I haven’t had a chance to read it yet.” Bailey pursed her lips as she changed screens to get to her e-mail program. Jay was explaining as she opened the e-mail and read it.
“Is something wrong Jay? I can be ready to leave in a few minutes.”
“Take your time and come over when you’re ready, I’m fine, but we were ordered to leave early when I explained you had brought me in so my CR-V could get the oil changed.”
Bailey smiled as she shut down her computer. “I’ll be right over, shut down your computer and get ready.”
Scott came into Jay’s office holding a deli bag. “Here you go, turkey on wheat with thousand island and lettuce. I know, you said you weren’t hungry, but you have to eat Jay. If you don’t mind me saying, you’ve been looking pretty ragged these days.”
“Thanks Scott. You really didn’t have to but thanks. I know I’ve been run down which is why I’m leaving for the day. I’m also leaving at noon tomorrow. Move my calls around as needed, if it is urgent by your standards, not someone who is panicking, get me on my cell. Otherwise route things to the on call lender or Bailey.”
Scott looked surprised. Jay rarely left early, especially two days in a row. “Things okay with you Jay? Anything I can do?”
Jay was touched and he really did look worried. “No, I’m sure it’s nothing. I just thought it might be a good idea to get a check up and see about some vitamins or something.” She pause and smiled at him. “Thanks for asking, you’re a sweet guy.”
He blushed and wished her well and went back to his desk just as Bailey got there. Jay came out to meet her and they left for the day.
Jay didn’t think about her appointment until her e-mail alarm reminded her to go. She arrived at the doctor’s office with five minutes to spare and checked in. Musing about the irony that she struggled to get there on time, yet no one else ran on time, she waited a few minutes until her name was called. She followed the nurse to the exam room where they began with the ritual of vital signs and a weigh-in. Next, the questions started about what brought her in. Jay pointed out the small lump and admitted to fatigue for several months, some lightheaded moments, and recently some night sweats.
The nurse left and her doctor came in a few minutes later. They exchanged small talk while he washed his hands and took a seat on the ubiquitous round stool on wheels that lives in every exam room.
“Let’s see what’s going on with you Jay. You’re usually healthy as the proverbial horse.”
Doctor Stewart felt along her jaw and down her neck before examining the inside of her nose and mouth.
“So Doc, did you find the answers to the Universe in there?” joked Jay. She knew she was just letting off some nervous tension, but it made her feel better.
“Actually Jay, I’m a little concerned. Lymph nodes vary in placement depending on an individual’s physiology. However, I’m not sure that your swollen area is a lymph node. I’d like to take some blood and send you for a CAT scan. I think I’m also going to refer you to a good Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist.”
Jay looked a little startled. “You mean there might really be something wrong?”
Dr. Stewart smiled reassuringly at her, “Jay, I’m not saying it is something, just that I would rather be safe than sorry with your health. The test is painless and harmless, you just lay down and they scan you in a tube. I can draw the blood work here today, so you don’t have to make a separate trip for that as well.”
“What could it be?”
“I don’t want to speculate Jay, it could be absolutely nothing. Since I don’t know what it is, I just want to be safe. Let’s just do the tests and go from there.”
Jay agreed and got the referrals she needed to schedule the other appointments. After they drew the blood work, she decided to go home for the rest of the day instead of going back to the office.
After checking in with Scott and letting him know her plans, Jay drove home trying not to think about the lump in her neck. The first thing she did when she got home was call to schedule the appointments and then she changed into her “hang around the house” sweats. She decided to read until Bailey would be free. Around four pm, Bailey called to check on her and they decided to order in Chinese food, so that they could talk about the appointment and the tests the doctor ordered.
It was almost seven before Bailey got to Jay’s house, and she let herself in with the key Jay had given her a few weeks before. She found Jay curled up on the couch reading a book in the fading light. For some reason she felt a mild panic start to grip her.
“Jay, why is it so dark in here? What’s wrong?” Jay looked startled to see her, then got up, stretched, and gave her a hug.
“Sorry, I was wrapped up in my book that I didn’t realize it was getting darker. Sure does explain why my eyes are a little tired though.” Jay gave a sheepish grin as she turned on a light and asked, “How was your day? You looked pretty busy when I saw you this morning.”
“Nothing that won’t keep, I’m starving, let’s order and then I’ll change. After that, I want to talk about your day.”
Jay nodded, and got the menu. “Just order the usual?” she asked.
“Sure honey, thanks, I’ll go change while you do that.”
While they waited for the food to arrive, Bailey insisted that Jay go over her entire visit with the doctor. She watched Jay for signs of anxiety, fear, or anything that might indicate that there was something more going on than what she was bring told. Bailey found none and started to relax after making a mental note to search the internet the next day for things that could be the cause of Jay’s lump and symptoms.
“Well, whatever it is, we’ll deal with it together,” said Bailey emphatically. She leaned into Jay, loving the feel of her lover’s strength and warmth. She gave a little prayer that everything would check out and then focused on Jay for the rest of the evening.
Riley called Jay to let her know she was five minutes away. She was picking Jay up for her CAT scan appointment. The three women had gotten together over the weekend and both Riley and Bailey decided they wanted someone to accompany Jay to the appointment. The problem was that Bailey couldn’t take off without tipping their hand at work about their relationship. Riley offered to take Jay and then they had decided to hit the bookstore and replenish Jay’s supplies. Jay was waiting outside when Riley pulled up, so she just hopped in and they headed to University Hospital. Jay wasn’t really feeling nervous but she was glad to have the company of her friend, it made the waiting easier at least.
“So, any more book suggestions for me? I’m running low with all this waiting around I’ve been doing,” joked Jay.
“Yeah, I’ll help you spend your money, that’s what friends are for,” replied Riley. “Though I don’t know how you have much time to read with a new relationship,” she teased.
“Actually, the work situation has gotten better. With the work more evenly divided I get more time to myself, and more time for Bailey,” said Jay with a chuckle. Jay frowned as she admitted to herself that she’d really been too tired the past week or two to do much more than cuddle.
Two weeks later, Jay packed up her briefcase, grabbed her jacket from her closet, and met Bailey at the elevator. Today was her appointment with her ENT, and lucky for her it was late enough that that Bailey could drive her as if they were simply car-pooling. Once they were in the car and headed for the specialist, Jay took Bailey’s hand, needing to feel her strength and comfort. Bailey gave her hand a squeeze and shot her a comforting look before returning her attention to the rush hour traffic.
“It’ll be fine sweetie, no matter what, I’m here for you,” Bailey tried to reassure her frightened partner.
Jay gave her a smile, trying not to show how deep her fear ran. Over the past two weeks, the lump had grown and Jay felt obsessed with checking the size and shape throughout the day. It now stretched for a good inch parallel to her jaw line but just under it and was almost an inch wide. It didn’t hurt but it was getting scary, especially with the night sweats growing more frequent and her fatigue growing by the day. Suddenly everything seemed to be getting worse very quickly. Jay didn’t want to voice it but she had to. “What if it is serious babe? What then?”
“Then we deal with it Jay, together.”
Bailey knew what Jay was really asking, would she stick around or would she run? No matter what else happened, Bailey knew that Jay was her soul mate, the one she was meant to be with and she wasn’t letting go now that they had finally found each other again. Together, they went in to the doctor’s office and filled out the usual forms, then sat waiting for Jay’s name to be called.
Once they took seats in the exam room and the usual things were out of the way a resident came and introduced himself to them. He took a history, both general and specific to the cause of Jay’s visit. Jay handed over the CAT scan results and after the resident did a quick physical check of the lump, he left them alone again.
“I’m scared Bail, I’m so scared!” said Jay, her voice quivering as she grabbed Bailey’s hand. Bailey made some soothing sounds and held her lover tightly while she struggled to regain her composure. Just as Jay pulled it together, the doctor walked into the room.
Dr. Brown was highly recommended in the area and was the head of the department in his hospital, but he was also kind and compassionate. It showed in his greeting of the two women, and his empathy as he listened to Jay retell her recent history, at his request. He gently examined the area, took some measurements, and verified some details. After checking in her nose and throat, he sat down with her chart and the CAT scan report.
“I’m a big believer in telling people exactly what I’m thinking and why. Does that work for you?”
Jay nodded and added, “Please make a note in my chart that Bailey is my partner and should be given full disclosure as well.”
“Not a problem” he said, making a note. “If you have any supporting paperwork, we’d like copies, but your request is enough for me. Now, down to the business at hand. This is officially a tumor, but we don’t yet know what kind. It could be a fatty tumor, it could be a pre-cancerous tumor, or it could be cancer. Are you with me so far?”
Both women held hands tightly and nodded their understanding.
“Here’s my standard procedure, I treat everything as if it is cancerous until I can prove it’s not. That way, I’ve taken every precaution to prevent the spread to the rest of the body if it turns out to be cancerous. Does that make sense?”
Jay looked a little pale but she said, “So, better safe than sorry? Be aggressive until we’re sure it’s harmless, right?”
Dr. Brown looked at her and nodded, “Exactly the idea. What I would like to do next is a needle biopsy to try to determine what we’re working with here. I can do it right now, in the office, if you agree and it should give us a better look at the make up of the tumor.”
Bailey asked the doctor, “Is there much pain involved? And how much can you see with a needle?”
“Good questions, the pain will be minimal since I will use a local anesthetic as well as a topical.” The doctor paused as if to consider how much they were ready for before speaking, “The truth is the needle biopsy could give a definite answer but it is such a small sampling that we could miss the important cells. Either way, the tumor needs to come out, especially since it’s growing.”
Jay let out a long breath and her hand became clammy in Bailey’s.
“So, we’re talking surgery either way? Why not just wait to biopsy it when you take it out?”
“We would like to see what we are dealing with as soon as possible. If it were to come back malignant, it would give us an idea of what to expect when we go in, otherwise there will be the possibility of changing direction midstream as it were. I’ll give you two a moment to digest it all and check back in a few minutes.”
They nodded and he left the room.
“I guess I should do that biopsy, it might at least tell us something. I’m going to have to take a leave from work to get the surgery. I have to tell my folks, and what will I tell Sharon?”
Jay was panicking and pacing in the small room. Bailey stood back. She understood that her lover needed to pace, but she kept an eye on her.
Catching Jay’s eye Bailey said, “Honey, let’s do one thing at a time. First, we’ll let him do the biopsy and I’ll be here with you through that procedure. Next, we’ll go home and get you into a bubble bath while I make dinner. After dinner, we’ll call our folks and let them know what we know.”
Jay smiled gratefully at her lover, knowing that she was right.
“You’re right sweetie. I’m sorry, panic mode is off for now. We do need to discuss how much to tell Sharon and when. At least I can telecommute some of the time, so I won’t miss as much work while I heal up.”
Bailey smiled reassuringly at Jay, “That’s the spirit honey. We’ll figure it out as we go. I can help with the workload too so don’t worry. I’ll let the doctor know we’re ready.”
Jay put her arms out for a hug, after which she nodded and said, “Let’s do this thing!”
The doctor and his resident came in, with an intern in tow, to watch the biopsy. The doctor readied his instruments and the sampling kit for the lab, after applying a topical numbing agent and then injecting a deeper numbing agent to lessen the pain for Jay.
“I’m going to stick the needle in one time Jay. While it is in, I’ll aspirate material from several different locations within the tumor. You will feel some pressure as the needle moves, but very little pain. Bailey, why don’t you sit next to Jay on her right side. You can hold her hand and help her to stay still.”
Jay closed her eyes and gave the go ahead to the doctor. She listened to him tell the students what he was doing and why as she felt the pressure and some momentary twinges of pain. Bailey held her hand through it all and Jay could feel her strength and energy through their bond. Suddenly the doctor was snapping his gloves off.
“Leave the bandage in place for the next four hours, then it is fine to remove it. You’ll hear from the office as soon as we have results.”
“What about the surgery? Should we schedule it now or wait?” asked Jay.
“I operate on Wednesdays and I’m booked this week. Let’s book you for next week. Does that give you time to arrange your schedule?” he asked.
“Whoa! That’s quick. I didn’t really think… I’ll make it happen. I want this thing out of me, especially now that we know it could be dangerous.”
“Good girl! I’ll see you that day, before the surgery, and I should have some answers by the time you wake up. My nurse will call and give you instructions a couple of days before the surgery but please don’t hesitate to call if you have any other questions.” He left and the two women stood looking at each other in a bit of shock, it had all happened so quickly.
“Let’s get you home and in a bath, everything else will wait.” Bailey ushered her lover to the reception desk to schedule everything and then to the car and home.
That night in bed, they lay in each other’s arms trying to decide how to handle things at work. Both sets of parents had been concerned and supportive, of course. Riley offered to help with anything she could since it was the slow season at the club. Now they were trying to determine what to do about work and Sharon.
“I don’t care, I want to be there when you have surgery damn it! Sharon can be damned if she doesn’t like it.”
Bailey was adamant that Jay and her needs came first, but Jay thought she should be at work covering things on that front.
“Honey, I’ll be sleeping, it’s not like I’m going to be awake and you could keep me company. Riley can drop me off, or you could before work, and I’ll be awake to see you by the time you get out of work.”
Jay thought it a logical plan, but she had spent more time sublimating her life in favor of the needs of the company.
“Let me explain this to you Jay.” Bailey pulled away and sat up, her voice started to increase in volume with her frustration. “I wasted too many years not being here for you and with you. That stopped the moment you were willing to talk to me again. Where you go, I go. That means I go as close to that surgical suite as they let me, and I wait there until I can see you awake and healthy. I will stay there until they kick me out and then I’m back as soon as they let me in the morning.”
Jay felt tears well up as she heard the emotion in Bailey’s voice. In a husky tone Jay replied, “I get it honey, and I love you for it. Having you with me today made all the difference, and I don’t want to be without you either. I have no idea how to approach this at work though.”
Bailey settled down and gathered Jay in her arms. “Frankly and honestly? Maybe they just never had to deal with a couple that told them the truth. Maybe that’s why some people think you can’t get ahead as a couple within the company. We aren’t the only people in that company dating Jay, that can’t be too big of an issue.”
“I’m listening, what do you suggest baby?”
Bailey let out a breath and said, “I suggest we go into Sharon’s office tomorrow and tell her about the surgery and that I will need a couple of days off then also, to take care of you. Assuming she asks why, we tell her the truth that we are a couple and that is what couples do.”
Jay smiled, admiring her lover’s spark and persistence. “And what do you suggest when she either tells you no, or threatens our jobs?” She paused a moment before she added, “Bailey you have to know that Sharon won’t just roll over and agree to have her two top officers out at one time, especially if word gets out why we’re out at the same time.”
“Well, there are two options, we tell her we are going to HR and filing discrimination claims, or we tell her that her little secret might not remain such a secret.”
Jay pulled back in shock, “You can’t threaten to out her Bail, she’ll know that info came from me. I can’t just out someone, how she lives is her choice.”
“Okay, you’re right, I’m just so frustrated. The whole closet thing is just such a catch twenty-one. People fear coming out because they may face discrimination, but the discrimination continues because people hide and allow it to continue. I will contact HR about it if I have to do so. Either way, I’m coming with you to that surgery. End of story!”
“Yes Dear” Jay joked.
“That’s right, you keep practicing those words woman! Now get over here and show me how much you appreciate me.” Jay complied willingly, ending all other conversation for the night.
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