© March 2007
________________ Chapter 20 ________________
New Year’s Eve began with the six friends gathered at Teela’s house for light snacks, conversation, and a drink. Jo, Teela, Pax, Emily, and Harley then squeezed into Boney’s beloved SUV. It was a wonder that they would arrive at Sibil’s in one piece. Boney had decided to set the tone for the evening and put in a CD she had made with thumping house party music. She turned the volume louder that normal inside the car and encouraged her friends to bounce in their seats.
“Come on you lazy old women. Where is your rowdy spirit?” She shook her head one way then bounced it up and down to the beat of the music. “You guys remember how we were in our wild and unpredictable youth? Well,” she laughed, “I am there.”
“You can have my headache Boney. I am not going to get whiplash just because you say we should.” Pax laughed at her friend. “And keep your eyes on the road.”
“What is this place we are going to Boney?” Harley screamed above the bass beat.
“It’s called Sibil’s,” Boney supplied as she turned the volume low enough to be heard.
“A women’s bar?”
“Not just any old women’s bar. A club with a split personality.”
“Must be owned by a relative of yours,” Teela said and chuckled.
“You are not getting me tonight Tapioca.” Boney’s eyes twinkled in the rear view mirror and she blew Teela a kiss. She laughed harder as Teela recoiled at her childhood name.
“Boney you called her that during Christmas dinner. What does that mean?” Pax asked as she smiled at the sulking social worker.
An evil laugh came from the front seat of the vehicle. Blackmail can be so sweet. “Anyhow you will see.”
Boney pulled in front of the night club and smiled. She let her passengers out at the sidewalk and then drove to find a parking space. It was early in the evening and she found a fairly close spot in the lot across the street.
In the corner of the lot behind smoked windows Boney was being watched. Enjoy the New Year and cheer. You’re going to need it later. The engine purred to life and the car pulled out just after Boney crossed its path. It would be so easy. Any other time you simpleton and you would be beneath my tires.
Boney met the women at the front doors of Sibil’s. The mixed crowd of men and women and everything in between was out for the night. Some were in their very best rented formal wear — tuxedos tails and short coats, cumber buns or band collars for some women whose partners wore dresses or their own style of formal wear. Sibil’s also housed its share of outrageous clog shoes or boots, big hair do’s, and sparkling gowns that adorned half of the queens.
Sibil’s place took up most of the city block. As the name implied it was a building split in two. The side or personality they were a about to enter was known as the oldies but goodies half of Sibil’s. The specialty here was rowdy audience participation sing-a-longs with the dueling pianos. To add to the fun were theme nights with skimpily clad wait staff. It was also the only part of Sibil’s where men were allowed.
Across the piano bar was a dual swinging door that opened into a short enclosed walkway. It was through this gateway patrons crossed back and forth into Sibil’s nightclub personality. Boney’s itinerary had the group starting at eight in the evening on the piano bar side to get them started and then shift gears into the dance nightclub half of Sibil’s personality by ten. If all went well, by midnight they would all be relaxed and comfortable, ready for the old year to end and the new loving one to commence.
Generally seating was on a first come first serve basis. You get there ungodly early on a Friday or Saturday night to get a decent table. When Boney picked up the tickets she had the foresight to make reservations for her party of six for this night. Thus she was guaranteed a fairly decent table for the festivities. Although the parking lot was a little sparse, the inside of the club was nearly full. People lined the walls already and a good many were in Hawaiian gear to celebrate the changing of the years.
Boney stepped up to the doorperson and told the handsome butch in the tuxedo she had a party reservation. The cropped haired blonde smiled and waved to one of the waitresses. In a few minutes, they were being seated at the two tables shoved together with Bonniker written on the large cardboard place cards.
They all placed their order for drinks while Boney ordered a cup of coffee. Only at the stroke of midnight had she planned to have one short drink of champagne to welcome in the year with her love. She did not mind being the designated driver this year. She figured it was someone else’s turn to be the comical ass after consuming alcohol.
“My, don’t we look purdy in our colorful leis?” Boney chuckled and glanced about the tables. Included in the admission to the piano bar was a colorful lei to go along with the luau theme for the evening.
The group rolled their eyes at their playful friend. Teela and Pax took the time to look around at the tropical beach front into which the bar had transformed. Large blown up palm trees scattered throughout the bar. The large ceiling fans on the high ceiling caused them to sway and weave lightly. Stuffed parrots of every size littered the place as well as coconuts and other island pacific fare. Each end of the club room held a bar. Above the bar was a roof fashioned of bamboo or straw. The bartenders were in full regalia of brightly colored Hawaiian print shirts and khaki or white shorts. Pax chuckled to herself; it was twenty below with the wind chill outside and the wait staff wore such skimpy outfits.
It wasn’t long before the small stage was approached by the talent for the evening. Both men were not what Emily had expected. Instead of starving musicians or college students looking to earn cash on the weekend the talent did not fit into her surmised profile. She estimated one to be in his late thirties and other in his middle forties. Both appeared with their hair neatly edged at above the collar and short sideburns. They had the standard business hair cut. All they were missing was the suit and tie.
Emily chuckled to herself. Playing here must be some kind of stress reliever for them. Huh, there I go again. Can never leave work at work. Just shut up and enjoy. She chastised. Dressed in their respective tributes to the tropics, the two men approached the stage, opened the pianos and adjusted their microphones.
“Happy New Year and welcome to Sibil's!” One of the men barked into the mike and received a dull chorus of the greeting in returned. “Oh no Danny,” he said to his dueling partner across the way. “This will never do.”
“I agree Matt. They sound like they haven’t been laid in over a week!” Danny said and received a multitude of loud whistles, cat calls and a yeah or two.
The friends looked at one another and two of the six women smiled at their partner and knew Danny’s statement did not apply to them.
“Let’s try this again. Happy New Year everybody!” This time, Matt received a tumultuous response of hoots, whistles, and feet stomping from the crowd that made eardrums vibrate.
That was how their night had begun. Within twenty minutes, the women surrounding Boney were clapping their hands and singing along with the upbeat renditions of the favorite tunes of yesteryear. They were the songs that excited the heart and invigorated the soul. Elton John’s “Crocodile Rock”, Queen’s “We Are the Champion’s”, Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Great Balls Of Fire” and all the rousing music was fair game to be played in shortened and animated fashion.
Boney went to the side of the podium and grabbed two of the song books and several pieces of paper. She handed one to Harley, Emily, and Pax while the other she shared with Jo and Teela. As they scanned the pages an occasional “Ooh, I remember that one” or “I haven’t heard that in years” crept back and forth across the table. They continued to laugh and point at the song titles that sparked their memories and scribbled their selections on pieces of paper. Boney loved the audience participation part. After an hour they were suddenly made to stand up.
The waitresses and one waiter climbed atop of the small stage and spread themselves out. The smallest of bunch was a cute petite wavy haired brunette. Dressed in her bra-like top she mounted the top of Matt’s piano stood and waited for her cue. The low hip rider slacks hugged trim hips that beckoned to be caressed by a pair of lips or a tongue.
College kids, Pax thought. Was I ever that young and wild? Hell yeah and would do it again in a minute if I could. I would be more comfortable with myself though. Oh God, she laughed silently at the familiar tune that wafted in the air. I have not heard this song in ages.
“Ok everybody, time to chase the alcohol sleepiness away,” Matt said as Danny continued to play the tune. “We are gonna do the ‘Time Warp’.”
“Oh wow.” Teela jumped up and down excitedly. “This is so much fun. I haven’t thought about that movie in years.” Her eyes never left the brunette atop the piano as Matt explained how to do the Time Warp Dance.
“Piece of cake.” Emily laughed.
“Honey, I didn’t know you knew about this movie.” Harley looked skeptically at her lover.
“It never came up as a subject before now. Why are you so surprised?”
“Well…” Harley stammered. “It just does not seem like you; that’s all.
Emily laughed and leaned in to kiss her partner. “Get used to it darlin’.”
Soon they were stepping as directed and bringing their knees in tight. The friends were laughing as they did the pelvic thrusts and throughout the remainder of the song and into several more wild arias. They had no sooner returned to their seats when Danny asked for five volunteers from the audience.
He received four and needed a fifth. Boney stood up and shouted, “Teela will do it.” She vigorously pointed above her friend’s head.
“I am going to kick your scrawny flat ass Boney.” Teela hissed and shrank down in her chair hoping not to be seen.
Danny started to chant and bang the cover of the piano keys back against the wood. “Teela! Teela! Teela!” Then a few more patrons chimed in until nearly the whole bar was chanting for her to get upon the stage.
Teela stood and turned to Boney and hissed “You are dead rotted meat when I get back. Do you hear me?”
“I am designated driver for the night. You can’t hurt me. Now go. Your fans await you.” Boney began to chant with the rest of the bar.
Pax looked at Boney and shook her head. Nice knowing you Boney. Jo will have to scrape what’s left of you off the seat when Teela is done with you.
Teela came on the stage to ear splitting whistles and hooted catcalls. “Let’s give Teela a hand ladies and gentlemen for being a good sport.” Danny cheered and applause rang throughout the bar. “Now, ladies what we are going to do is play an old game. Tell them what the game is called Matt?”
Matt tickled the ivories in the tune of “The Hokey Pokey.”
Teela glanced at her grinning friend across the way and drew her finger across her neck as if to cut it. Emily watched Boney use her hand to wave away Teela’s threat and laughed harder. Pax scooted her chair further away from Boney just in case.
“Okay ladies I’m sure you know how to play ‘The Hokey Pokey’. So let’s get started.”
“You put your left hand in you put your left hand out…” Danny began.
This isn’t so bad. Teela thought and began to shake the body part she was told to in rhythm of the song along with the other women. The participants were all of varying body sizes and colors. Most were laughing too much to take their being on display seriously.
“You put your right foot in. You put your right foot out…” Danny said.
I might let Boney live for another hour or two. Teela followed along with moving her head as Danny told them to and then doing the hokey pokey and turned herself around. I can do this. She might live until midnight.
“You put your right ta-ta in. You put your right ta-ta out…” Danny said.
I am going to kill her! Teela shot her murderous glance towards her table. Boney pointed and held her stomach as she laughed uproariously at her friend on stage shaking her boobs. Although she was grinning wildly just as her tablemates were, Pax’s heart thundered at the sight of Teela’s moving breasts. She recalled another time when they had shaken in front of her eyes. A moment months ago when Teela had straddled her hips and leaned over to let a breast dangle just above her waiting mouth. Pax nearly groaned aloud as she remembered the shudder that had made Teela’s breasts undulate.
“Oh my,” Pax mumbled.
“I am not protecting you from that Boney.” Jo tried to hide her chuckle. “You are on your own sweetie.”
“Ooh Boney,” Harley added. “Got that will written yet?”
“Stop that you guys. It’s all in fun.” Boney was now uncertain of the hilarity of her joke on Teela. She wouldn’t hurt me in front of a cop. She looked at her friend upon the stage. I think I am dead meat. Boney swallowed hard and watched as Teela thrust her pelvis out at the crowd gathered in the bar then shake it at the patrons. She couldn’t help the snicker that escaped once again. It is hilarious though. Who knew she could turn that pretty deep shade of red.
Boney turned and glanced at Pax who sat transfixed at the sigh of Teel’s gyrating hips. Ah ha I bet she doesn’t think it’s funny. She is thinking about doing the naughty. Boney giggled inwardly.
“And that’s what it’s all about it,” Danny finished. “Let’s give a round of applause for our dancers.”
Teela did not wait for the accolades as she stormed over to the table where she had safely hidden until she was forced to volunteer. “Where is she Jo?” Teela surprised herself and had asked very calmly and with a smile.
“I’m not sure Teela. She mentioned needing to use the bathroom and pokied over there.” Jo pointed and fought desperately to keep the grin from invading her face. By the look upon her friend’s face it would not have been wise at the moment. Her wife had duly embarrassed the hell out of her best friend and the usually pacifistic social worker was out for blood this time.
“I’m sorry that you have to become a widow on New Years Eve Jo.” Teela informed her friend and left the table in search of Boney.
An hour after Boney pled for her life, and having won a reprieve, she led them through the short walkway to the other side of Sibil’s. At the entrance they presented their ticket stubs and were waved into the nightclub side. Now that she had escaped from Teela’s immediate wrath, Boney had gone to the other side and located the table they would occupy for the remainder of the night.
Boney’s good friend had come through for her. Because she worked with a woman whose girlfriend was the DJ at Sibil’s, she was able to score some of the best seats in the club: a table next to the dance floor three tables away from the floor to ceiling speakers.
“This is a nice place Boney.” Emily leaned forward across the table to be heard above the music.
“Yeah. We haven’t been here in some time.”
“I never knew it was here,” Teela said. She looked at the strobe light just as it flashed her way. Instantly blinded, she emitted a few soft curses.
They waited for their wait person to approach their table and then quickly placed their orders. Boney shifted her chair closer to Jo and wrapped her arm around her shoulders. She bent her head and placed a soft kiss upon her wife’s neck. Teela watched as Boney whispered something into Jo’s ear just before her friend’s smile broadened and she playfully slapped her lover’s thigh.
The music here was a blend of the classics from the eighties to the present and the top one hundred retro. The floor was packed with dancers to the jungle drum music and known favorites. More than once Pax and Emily watched as their respective loves danced together with comfortable abandon. Pax felt the stirring deep within her groin as Teela’s hips gyrated seductively and surprisingly in perfect rhythm to the music.
Emily’s breath caught as Harley popped and locked her body. Her eyes were glued to how the fabric moved over the soft delicious skin she knew was hidden beneath. The two women danced beautifully and seductively together. Emily glanced over to her new friend and grinned as she fanned her face with her hands. Pax nodded in agreement and turned her eyes back to the social worker.
Boney and Jo were on the dance floor. Although the fast thumping beat drilled into the hearts of all in the club, she held her lover tightly against her and gently swayed with her wife. Nothing except the breath leaving their mouths was able to slip between them.
The four dancers took a break to wet their parched throats on fresh drinks. Boney wanted Jo to go back to the floor with her and she refused, so for the entire next selection they danced and bounced in their chairs. Teela giggled for they reminded her of those gofers in that game with the mallet. Harley laughed at them and snuggled further into the comfort of Emily’s tight embrace.
Pax looked at Teela and in synch their smiles slowly faded. The large gentle hand made its way to her face. Pax brushed a lock of Teela’s hair behind one ear. Pax loved that look on her. Everyone else, everything in the club faded away at that moment except the green of the woman’s eyes and a yearning to taste those lips.
They were drifting toward one another when they were jolted in their chairs when the club erupted into pandemonium of energy and screams. The “Grease Medley” piped into the club. The dance floor was taken over by at least twenty patrons younger than the group of women sitting there watching. They were jumping, twisting, and shouting to the pounding music. Pax laughed and glanced around the bar. So many people were mouthing the lyrics to the sounds of “Greased Lightening”. Then came the pounding on the tables for a short portion of the song at the DJ’s insistence.
Pax looked at her friends and felt the warmth spread throughout her chest. It had been so long since she had celebrated like this, not necessarily within a bar but with good friends, at ease, no pretenses not inhibitions. Her heart was warmed even further as she spied Teela’s participation in the song encouraging Boney to join in. They two of them stood by the table and danced along with those on the floor.
Pax spied the birthday party going on across the way. Balloons and streamers were strewn across the three table placed together. She saw the large sheet cake with several pieces missing at the end of the table. Pax cringed; she could never understand how people could drink beer or liquor and eat something as sweet as cake at the same time. She had tried and it was never an appealing combination for her taste buds.
Emily was the first to see her. Oh great, creepy is here. Across the floor were the woman from the bowling alley and her date. She looked back at her table of friends they were oblivious to the woman’s presence, especially Teela as the woman’s eyes were locked upon the blonde.
As the song ended and led into another Teela bent over and whispered in Harley’s ear. She leapt out of her chair and followed Teela to the dance floor to the next tribal beat song. This time, however, the two women faced their respective lovers and danced for them. Pax and Emily knew they were being teased mercilessly but enjoyed every gyration of the show.
Boney nudged Jo and forced her eyes away from Teela and Harley to her wife. Boney whispered and pointed. Jo groaned at the sight of Tanesha’s unabashed attention to the social worker. Autumn stood behind her and followed Tanesha’s gaze to the two women. Boney watched as she became angry and said something in Tanesha’s ear. Tanesha held onto Autumn’s upper arm and whispered closely into her ear. Just as quickly, the woman lowered her head and nodded. Her eyes were focused on her shoes for some time.
Emily turned behind her and saw that Boney and Jo had witnessed the same. “That’s not a good sign.”
“No it’s not,” Jo said.
“What’s not a good sign?” Pax asked and turned to her tablemates. She read concern on their faces and asked instead, “What’s wrong?”
Boney nodded. “Tanesha is here.”
Pax turned her attention to the area where Boney nodded. She quieted the growl that threatened to roar from her chest but not the ache that began in her leg. “Yeah and…?” she said through clenched teeth. “It’s a free country and she can go where she wants.”
Emily watched Pax. What is that all about? she wondered. These two have a history as well? Damn, small lesbian community indeed. If ya want to know go directly to the source. “What’s going on Pax?”
Pax turned to Emily and shook her head. “Let’s just say she is not one of my favorite people.”
The song ended. “Twenty minutes to the New Year!” the DJ bellowed through the mike and the club once again erupted into hoots and screams. The club staff suddenly appeared with boxes in their hands and began working their way through the crowd. They began to hand out either a top hat or a tiara to each patron of the club. Another box held the noise makers and hundred of those little gadgets with the string that when pulled popped and released confetti. Several other wait staff carried champagne bottles and glasses.
“Oh Boney I thought you would have chosen the tiara and Jo the top hat,” Emily said.
“I can say bite me to you tonight Emily because I know you don’t have your gun.”
“Are you sure of that?” She grinned evilly.
“You can’t shoot me. I’m the designated driver. How would you guys get home?”
“Ever hear of a cab?” Harley added.
“Very funny. You guys are so unappreciative of me.” Boney pouted and sipped her coffee.
“I appreciate you lovie,” Jo cooed and kissed her deeply.
“Thank you sweetheart.” Boney breathed when they parted. “Now that’s appreciation girls.”
“Well I am certainly not kissing you.” Pax shuddered in place and caused the other to laugh.
The DJ finally decided to slow the thundering music to something more romantic and quieter, a slow song that offered the chance to dance with Teela — something for which she had been waiting all evening.
“Will you dance with me?” Pax whispered in Teela’s ear.
Teela turned to Pax and stroked her cheek with the back of her hand. “I would love to.”
Teela stood and led Pax to a spot not far onto the dance floor. She looked up into the darkened blue eyes and felt her heart swoon in the flight of the butterflies. Pax bent down and brushed her lips across Teela’s so softly Teela wondered if it had ever happened. Then she was enveloped into the strong arms and pulled into a chest she had sensual memories of laying upon. Let her say yes. If there is a higher power out there somewhere. Let her say yes.
Emily kissed Harley’s cheek tenderly and asked, “Please dance with me. I beg of you to dance with me.” Emily smiled.
“I remember that line Emily Oliverez.” Harley beamed.
“And your answer is?”
“As it was then and will always be, yes.”
They follow Jo and Boney to the floor.
Teela lay her head on Pax’s chest and melded into her as if she were a second skin. Pax relaxed into Teela’s embrace and felt her heart thundering louder than the music itself. Teela had to hear the fast beat as her head was so close to Pax’s breast. She could feel her hot breath through the blouse she wore.
How she had missed holding Teela in her arms. She admitted that she could no longer fight the stirring the woman caused within her body, her soul. She needed her. She wanted to be with her. Forgiveness was inevitable. She did not have the strength to fight it anymore. Pax vowed to begin the year anew with a resolution that could be kept easily. She would have Teela back in her life fully.
Boney held her lover tightly and looked deeply into the face of her soul mate. “I love you so terribly much Johanna Forrester. Know that you are my heart, my breath, my reason for being upon this earth. I live only to hold you like this and to love you.” She squeezed her tightly.
“Oh Boney that was so sweet.”
“It was rough going a time or two this year but I would not change anything because it brought us closer together. Nothing or no one Johanna will separate me from you.” Boney cupped her cheek and placed her lips over the one’s she had never tired of tasting for over twenty years.
Three couples behind them Autumn and Tanesha barely moved in place. Autumn looked off to the right of her date’s shoulder at the brunette who waved to her. Tanesha’s eyes and attention were trained upon the blonde to the left, otherwise she would never have dared to acknowledge the woman who stood by the railing. That particular lesson was learned the week before. The reminder on Autumn’s shoulder was still too discolored otherwise she would have worn something more revealing for the evening.
Grateful that the song had ended, Autumn was able to breath a little easier. The grip Tanesha held upon her waist nearly crushed her. The next she knew her hand was yanked behind her and she found herself being pulled towards the blonde and her friends. Autumn secretly hoped the blonde would make a play for Tanesha and she would be tossed aside like an old habit. Just this once, Autumn prayed for that to happen.
“Pax?” Teela began.
“Yes.” She placed the tiara upon Teela’s head and smiled. “Your majesty.”
“Is that right?”
“That crown says that you are at least for oh, the less than twenty minutes.”
“Hmm. I could live with that. What is my realm to command?”
“Uhm, an unknown kingdom my lady.”
“Aahh unknown or a kingdom reluctant to be conquered?”
“Good evening ladies,” a voice interrupted them.
They all turned to see Tanesha and Autumn standing before them. “Hello Tanesha. Happy New Year,” Boney offered.
“Thank you Boney. Same to you to all of you actually.”
“Five minutes ‘til the New Year.” The DJ’s announcement filled the awkward silence. “Ladies find those special lips and get ready to pucker.”
“Well.” Her eyes traveled across the group but jumped between Teela and the Asian beauty sitting next to the cop. “I just wanted to wish you all a wonderful and safe New Year.” She smiled directly at Harley then turned and dragged Autumn behind her into the crowd.
“Does she have a death wish or something?” Emily said and followed the woman with her eyes.
“She is of no consequence honey,” Harley soothed. “Forget her and focus on me. This year we have a lot to be thankful for. You are safe, healthy, and loved very, very much.”
“Come on guys, let’s get on the floor,” Boney said. “And turn the year welcoming new friends and being thankful for the old ones.”
“Well said my love,” Jo replied.
The six of them made it to the floor just as it started to become crowded. Apparently half the club had the same idea as Boney. They stood in a small tight circle and jumped up and down as the count down began. A unified ring of shouts traveled throughout the club chanted the downward count to the New Year. The screams and celebrations were deafening and cheers echoed throughout every space in Sibil’s.
The traditional song “Auld Lang Syne” blared from the towering speakers and the cheers died to a minimum as partners and friends locked themselves in well wishes, hugs, and kisses full of new promises and resolutions.
Teela turned to Pax and wished her good cheer. Their lips came together in a languid, passionate embrace. Pax groaned at the tingling that spread from her cheeks and coursed south to pool between her legs. Teela shortened the kiss and reached into her pocket. She stepped back to see clearer into Pax eyes and drew a deep breath.
“I love you Pax. I always have. I just did not understand how to show you.” A lone finger reached out and traced one of the trilogy scars across Pax’s right cheek. “I want that chance.” She swallowed. “I…I…” She stammered and then lifted the ring between her thumb and forefinger toward Pax. “No games, no half truths. I swear I will never risk losing you again.”
Jo and Boney held onto one another and looked at Teela and Pax. They knew Teela was going to present Pax with a gift but they were uncertain if Pax would accept. By all rights she could reject Teela as Teela had done her several months ago. Teela was a different person then and she knew that now. Her shortcomings had cost her dearly then, and she was not about to risk it happening again.
Teela held her breath and awaited Pax response. She had taken so long to say or do anything, her face unreadable and blank that Teela sensed she had misinterpreted the signs that Pax had given. She felt the crack begin within the center of her heart. How could I have miscalculated… well everything. The crack spider webbed outward painstakingly slowly.
The fast and familiar sounds of Prince and his song “1999” thumped throughout the club and the dance floor was overrun again. In their own cocoon Teela and Pax stood inches apart as saw no one else, nothing else, hears naught but their own hearts drumming.
It’s up to you, Pax heard Felecia say. No Boney, the answer to you question weeks ago is no. I don’t want to be miserable. I want her. Pax smile and leaned in to whisper into the small ear, “I don’t like to share.”
“You won’t have to,” Teela whispered in return and waited for Pax to accept or decline. The knots within her stomach had long tightened past nauseating.
Pax slowly raised her right hand and allowed Teela to slip the ring upon her finger. She saw the slight flinch in Teela’s smile and knew she had desired Pax to accept the ring on the left ring finger. “This is where we start love.”
Teela’s smile sparkled in the strobe lights as she allowed herself to be pulled within her lover’s arms. She had prayed that Pax would return to her. In brutal retrospection with the help of Sterling Teela examined her actions and her bizarre sense of altruism and loyalty towards an unfaithful partner. Why? Because I was comfortable and afraid of change, because I wanted people to speak of me as the martyr who looked after her former woman, Who stuck by her woman no matter what the cost to her own self, because I was stupid to believe in my own bullshit. Not anymore. I will not screw this up again.
Pax tightened her arms around Teela. She did not hear whether the song spun by the DJ was fast or slow. All she cared to think of was the warmth that enveloped her soul as her body was squeezed by the small blonde. It was like coming home. Both women closed their eyes and floated within the essence of the other. Neither saw Tanesha leave Autumn alongside the dance floor and make her way towards them.
Jo had been watching her former colleague for some time. She and Boney had watched the oddly paired woman together. When she saw Tanesha leave a relieved Autumn and head towards Pax and Teela, she stepped out effectively blocked her path to the new couple.
“Happy New Year Tanesha,” she greeted her with a broad smile.
Her eyes never left Pax and Teela as she replied, “Same to you Jo.” She went to step around her and found herself stopped once again.
“Tanesha, I know that you work with Teela but may I suggest that you leave it at that. She is getting on with her life and does not have room in it for you.”
Tanesha turned coal black eyes upon Jo. “I have no idea what you are referring to Johanna. I was merely going to ask for a brief cut in. Nothing more.”
Jo dropped her smile and held the steely gaze. “You are no good for her Tanesha I know it and so does Teela. You saw what happened between them.”
“I have no idea what you are talk…”
“Yes…you…do,” Jo spoke distinctly. “Teela and Pax are together once again. Leave her alone. You have Autumn to keep you warm.”
“You should not interfere in things that do not concern you Johanna.” She peered around the woman.
“For a psychiatrist you are pretty damn dense.” That got coal black eyes turned on her.
Tanesha took a step toward Jo with menace she replied, “Watch your tongue or you might lose it. Then what would that ass-backwards bitch of yours do?”
Oblivious to the threat Jo continued, “Teela has made her choice and it wasn’t you. Move on.”
Tanesha opened her mouth to say something and thought better of it. She grinned evilly and gave Jo a curt nod before she turned and retreated back to her girlfriend. Jo felt the familiar muscular forearm snake around her waist and then the kiss on the cheek.
“Are you alright?”
“Hmm yes I am fine. You?”
“What did she say?”
“A whole lot of nothing but jealousy.”
“Think she’ll cause them trouble?”
“Not sure. She sure does not like you. She called you my ass-backward bitch.”
“Boney release her lover and put her hands on her hips in wonder. “Why is everyone focused on my ass lately?”
“Because it is the most wonderfully sexiest,” Jo used both of her hands to grab fists full of her lover’s ass cheek making Boney jump, “round ironing board I have ever bitten.”
“Oh my.” Boney blushed.
An hour later the three couples were situated in Teela’s living room having coffee before getting on the road. It had snowed a little while they were at Sibil’s but nothing had accumulated.
“Well I had a wonderful time.” Emily offered and gazed into her lover’s eyes. “I especially loved the entertainment.” Emily felt her free hand flip into the air. Teela’s dog had sneaked upon her and with her nose flipped the hand into the air to have it land on the back of her rock-hard head. This maneuver always ended in rubbing and attention.
“You would.” Harley laughed.
“Thumper you are such a hound.” Teela shook her head. “You can tell her to go Emily.” She watched as the detective gently shooed the canine and she reluctantly went to her favored corner to rest.
“I agree. Tonight was fantastic. I remember our first New Years together.” Jo smiled and watched the rarity of a blush spread across her lover’s face.
“Oh my god,” Teela gasped. “It must have been something Jo. Look at Boney.”
“Something cannot begin to describe what happened that night. Wouldn’t you say so sweetheart?”
The red deepened and her eyes glazed over. “Oh yeah.”
“Ok do tell,” said Teela.
“Maybe we don’t want to know. Look at Boney.” Pax laughed.
Jo leaned closer to her wife and whispered so that only she could hear. “I tried on the outfit this morning. It fits like a glove.”
Boney’s body shivered upon the couch in full view of her friends. A high pitched whimper resounded from her throat and her eyebrows knitted to an inverted V.
Boney shook her head and her eyes suddenly cleared. “Listen folks, it’s been real. It’s been fun, but we are going home to have the real fun.” She stood and yanked Jo behind her towards the door for their coats.
“Boney, we have to say good-bye first.” Jo giggled.
“Oh yeah.” Boney stopped abruptly and Jo ran into the back of her anxious lover. Boney whipped around and waved her free hand at the laughing women. “Goodnight all and Happy New Year. Emily and Harley enjoy the rest of your vacation. Pax we will see you at your place.
“Tomorrow at one. Bye.” Boney quickly helped Jo into her coat and nearly shoved her out of the door. The four friends looked at the empty spot where Jo and Boney were and laughed uproariously.
“I am not going to ask what that was all about!” Emily said.
“It’s better that we not speculate when it comes to those two.”
“I agree,” Pax added.
“But to take their cue,” Emily hinted, “I think we should be getting on home ourselves.” She wiggled her brows at Harley.
“I definitely think that is a wonderful idea.”
“Gawd.” Teela rolled her eyes with a smile. “All over the city tonight will be lesbians trying to make babies.”
Harley helped Emily to stand and then move into her arms. “Hmm, we always wanted a family love. Want to try tonight?”
“Sure my temperature is just right and I may be ovulating.” Emily laughed.
“Come one then, no time to waste.” Harley tugged her towards the door.
“Goodnight ladies and enjoy the New Year.”
“Hey if you are bored tomorrow football and snacks at my house,” Pax offered.
“Thanks Pax.” Emily made Harley squeal when she pinched her fanny. “I don’t think boredom will be in our vocabulary tomorrow. We are gonna be bunnies and make babies.”
They waved to Pax and Teela saw them out the door. She turned the lock and placed her back against the cold steel door for just a moment to gather her courage once again this night. She returned to the living room. Pax stood and fidgeted in place.
“I should be going too,” Pax stated softly.
“Where are you going?” Teela smiled and sauntered toward Pax. The rush of arousal engulfed her and her heart drummed.
“Well.” Pax swallowed. “It’s um late…” She stammered as Teela’s hand snaked its way up the front of her shirt to rest behind her neck. “I thought that you might…”
Teela guided Pax head down towards her lips. “Yes?” They were so close that Pax felt the puffs of air pass from Teela’s lips to her own.
“I thought you’d be tired and want to get to bed.”
“I thought you’d never ask.”
Teela closed the space between them as her lips pressed upon Pax’s. Shards of brilliant colors streaked behind their eyes as it had that day at Nettles Campground. Bursts of blues and green twirled around one another then mingled with oranges and red and gold. Their simultaneous moans of pleasure acted like bolts of lightening in a metal chamber. They crackled between and around them as the kiss deepened and their readiness to make love gushed from the spaces between their legs.
Pax stepped back and slowly opened her eyes and found herself engulfed in an emerald pair that sang with love and wanting. Pax gave into her heart and let her fears fall away. “I cannot fight you anymore Teela.”
“I don’t want you to.” Teela closed the space between them once more and kissed the hollow of Pax’s neck the sensual spot that made Pax inhale sharply. Teela was not disappointed when she felt Pax’s chest rise from the intake of breath.
“Or run from you anymore.” Pax swallowed loudly and closed her eyes against the onslaught of arousal. “I have tried. I just can’t do it anymore.”
“Stop and let me catch you in my arms,” Teela whispered. Her hand closed lightly around Pax’s firm breast.
“I have missed you Teela, so very much. I was just afraid of…”
Teela stopped her hand from circling Pax’s hardened nipple beneath her shirt and looked deeply into the cerulean eyes and said with as much honest as she could convey, “I love you Pax I will not hurt you again. I swear to you.” Tears welled within Teela’s eyes as she once again witnessed the depth of the hurt she had caused.
“I know.” Pax smiled and place her lips on Teela’s tongue immediately seeking permission to enter.
Pax lay on top Teela kissing her neck down one side and slowly moving to the other side. Pax’s hand glided down and up over her body making a new memory, similar to the images she already held in her mind from long ago. Pax glided her body down Teela’s her hands trailing. She sat back on her haunches between Teela’s outstretched legs and bent to take a nipple between her lips. Teela arched her back, rising above the bed as her thighs clamped against Pax’s. Teela’s hands twisted in Pax’s hair to keep her head in place upon her nipple.
Pax drew her hand downward between them over Teela’s mound and her fingers played with the tight curly blonde strands. Teela moaned her delight at the touch she had missed for so long. The emotions swelled within her and she nearly cried out at the passion Pax had awoken.
Pax switched to the other breast to pay equal homage to the hardened nipple as her finger easily followed the slickened trail downward. Teela’s breath came in pants and her hips lifted slightly seeking the fingers deftly playing between her legs. Pax removed her fingers from Teela and brought them up to her face. She could smell Teela’s sweetened blend of arousal and musk from the night of dancing.
Pax groaned as she placed her wet fingers in her mouth to taste Teela. She grinned and dipped her fingers once more along Teela’s swollen lips to gather more of her essence on those same fingers. She brought them once again to her mouth and moaned at their heavenly taste. Teela almost couldn’t stand to watch Pax’s tongue glide alone the side of one finger and then the other. Teela felt her center clench and release more of her arousal to drip down her buttocks to dampen the sheet.
Teela’s back sharply arched as her pelvis thrust into the air as Pax entered her fully with three fingers and her tongue circled the painfully erect nipple that jutted up to meet her. “God Pax!” Teela cried out as her hips rocked slowly taking Pax’s thrusts deep within her.
“So good,” Pax whispered. “I have missed being inside you for too long. You’re so wet and open for me. I want you.” Pax felt her own center release her arousal, which flowed down her thighs. “God you are making me so wet Teela.”
Pax pulled her fingers to the edge of Teela’s opening and heard the soft whimper escape her lover’s lips before the audible gasp and sharp intake of air as she plunged again deeply inside her. She repeated this for several strokes before she felt the tremble within Teela’s legs and knew that she was close. Her fingers had more room as Teela expanded within. Pax increased her speed and found Teela’s legs in a strangle hold around her waist as her head rocked from side to side.
Teela’s breath came in gasps as she felt the familiar and welcomed tingling course through her lower abdomen and swirl in place. Her legs trembled violently and she moaned Pax’s name over and over again. She felt Pax free hand reach behind and release her clamped legs. The bed shifted she was no longer full of those long fingers. She whimpered. She had been so close.
“Pax!” Her stomach muscles tightened and inhaled sharply as her breath was pleasantly stolen when as Pax’s lips sucked her in. The skillful tongue flicked and licked her swollen clit without mercy.
Teela twisted her hands in the sheet and bent her knees to press her heels into the bed. She pulled her legs apart and completely opened herself to her lover. Pax groaned at the invitation and plunged her three fingers once more inside of Teela and pushed into her slowly to pause only a nanosecond when she reached the depth within Teela. Pax wanted to drawn her pleasure out to make it last until she could no longer prevent her orgasm from bursting throughout her body.
Pax heard the sound from within Teela’s stomach begin as a low growl. Her hips stopped their gyration and froze midair. Her scream traveled up through her rib cage and into the stillness of the room. In an ear-piercing yell Teela’s orgasm exploded. Her eyes pinched shut and her mouth open as she became lost in orgasmic abandon. Pax moaned against the smooth folds of Teela’s center and felt her own clit twitch when Teela’s body released its essence on upon her face.
Pax kept up her ministrations and lapped the juices that crept from around her seeking fingers. She held Teela’s in suspended orgasm for as long as she could and relished in devouring her reward. Teela’s body flopped back down to the mattress finally spent of its energy. She lay motionless as Pax continued to savor what Teela had given her.
As she made her way up Teela’s limp body, Pax realized that Teela had apparently passed out for the moment. Her face was turned to the side, arms, spread in eagle fashion as her legs rested flatly upon the bed.
Pax grinned to herself proudly. “Now there’s a first.” She smiled. “What a way to start the New Year.” She kissed her lover gently on the forehead and eased off the bed. She leaned against the bed for a moment as she found her own legs did not want to hold her upright. She found them shaking as well as her hands. She looked down her own naked body and felt rather than saw her arousal drift down her inner leg. She looked back at Teela and softly chuckled. She padded off to the bathroom to relieve her suddenly full and uncomfortable bladder.
When she returned to the room, Teela was awake and beneath the covers. “Hi.” Her voice croaked from the dryness of open mouthed breathing and screaming her lover’s name.
“Hi yourself.” Pax smiled and eased upon the bed next to her love.
She gathered Teela within her arms and squeezed her tenderly. Teela hummed and kissed the valley between Pax’s breasts. “I have missed your touch so much. The reminder was absolutely wonderful.”
Pax kissed the top of the blonde head. “I am glad that you were pleased.”
“Pleased is not the correct word.”
“Oh yeah what you did to me and how you made me feel is not definable by the King’s English.”
“Wow.” Pax chuckled.
Teela raised upon her elbow and peered down at her lover. She lowered her head and gave Pax a kiss of passion, need, and want. Teela groaned soulfully as she tasted the trace of her own essence within Pax’s mouth.
Pax tore her lips away from Teela’s hungry mouth as she cried out, “God Teela!” Her back arched as Teela’s finger glided through her slick folds and in inside as far as she could bury them.
Exhausted Pax lay on her stomach one arm thrown above her head the other clenched tightly to the hand locked around her breast. Something caused Pax to open her eyes in the early dawn. They had not been asleep all that long when an overwhelming urge compelled her to open at least one redden and blurry blue eye.
The reason filled her eye immediately. Thumper sat close to the edge of the bed her muzzle inches from Pax’s face. Oh God, must we relive this scene again dog? What did we do wake you up? I know I am in your spot. I am back. I won, she smirked. Now go away. Thumper remained a few seconds longer before her tongue reached out to lick Pax’s cheek. Gee thanks.
Thumper looked across at her mother and then at the woman lying in her spot. She turned and started to leave the room. Pax smiled and closed her eye to return to her dream of Teela’s naked body on the beach. Thumper took a quick glance back at the bed to check that neither human was moving. She stepped across the clothing thrown on the floor and found Pax’s boxer briefs to take downstairs.
_________________ Chapter 21______________________
Pax sat atop the table with a scratchy paper sheet across her lower half. At least she was able to retain her underwear underneath. She wiggled her feet, still in her black socks, in the coolness of the room. I should have brought a magazine in here from the waiting room. They make you wait out there then they bring you back here to wait. Damn doctors, she grumbled as she waited for her orthopedic surgeon Dr. Kourt Harrison to enter the room.
Pax waited for two weeks for her appointment to see the much sought after specialist. She had the good fortune to find Dr. Harrison was a fellow martial artist and he immediately formed kinship with her on that level. As a result, he seemed to provide her with extra care and attention when she was in his examining room. She liked him as well. But you’re still slow like every other doctor. Or am I just impatient?
She sighed heavily and closed her eyes. Instantly images of Teela came to her. Teela always seemed to be in forefront of her mind. The past two weeks they had been inseparable, with the exception of their respective obligations to go to work for eight hours a day. Pax smiled and slightly swayed upon the examining table.
They had fallen into a comfortable routine. The first order of business before getting out of work was to decide at whose house they were going to be for the night. After that came the care of Teela’s baby, Thumper. Most times the couple ended up at Teela’s so that Thumper would not have to be out in the extreme cold weather. It would have been better if the dog tolerated the fleece coat and matching boots her mother had special ordered for her.
Upon arriving at Teela’s they would take care of the dog with letting her out and the nightly feeding. Then they prepared dinner for themselves. Together in Teela’s spacious kitchen they spent more time in hugs and touching that the easy thirty minute meals took nearly an hour and a half.
After they had eaten and Thumper had received her bone for the evening, they watched as the dog performed her ritual of turning three times in place before settling on the floor. Upon the couch they snuggled in each other’s arms talking of the first thing that occurred to them.
Although they were like a new couple, neither felt pressed to make love every night they were together. Just being in one another’s company was satisfying. They were amazed in the delectable way their bodies fused into one another, as they lay with their bodies pressed against each other and marvel in the aphrodisiac of heated skin. It was sensually arousing beyond what Pax ever could have fathomed. Both realized that making love was not a requirement for intimacy.
That damn dog even knows that this time is different. She is not giving me a hard time like before. Much. Pax thought as she swung her legs back and forth on the exam table.
When Pax came into Teela’s home, following close behind the blonde, Thumper no longer just greeted her mom and snubbed her. After she pranced in place in greeting Teela, Thumper would look at Pax and sniff her uniform pant leg. Then she would turn her head and trot towards the kitchen sliding door.
Prior to their break, she and Thumper had settled their differences. That was months ago and apparently the dog had a short memory span and resumed her dislike of the zoologist. Before they would become friends again Pax and Thumper would need to duel once more.
Pax needed to be able to enter Teela’s home on her own. For that to happen they would need to practice her doing just that with Teela at the ready, just in case. Pax was not thrilled with the idea of entering the dog’s domain unannounced. She was far less pleased with herself that she was unable to counter a single argument of Teela’s as to why this step in their relationship needed to be taken now or at all. Most of all, she was not thrilled with her body becoming a potential chew toy.
Surprisingly, it had taken only one try to get Thumper to accept her and let her into Teela’s home without her present.
“Okay Pax,” Teela stood behind her on Teela’s front porch and instructed. “Open the door a little bit; call her name loudly to let her hear your voice. Tell her who you are. Then open the door a little further.”
“And then?” a still unconvinced Pax asked. It was one thing to be inside the dog’s lair and be able to move about freely. It was another to enter a pit bull’s home unexpectedly without her owner. Depending on if the dog thought of you as friend or foe, which could be dangerous.
“She should accept you with a wagging nub.”
“Uh huh.” Pax turned toward the door then turned back to her lover. “You are sure about this? I would feel better if I wore one of those padded suits they wear to train police dogs. It might give me a fighting chance.” Pax tried to smile.
“She won’t be that bad Pax. Remember she knows you already. We will need to do this a few times before the both of you actually feel comfortable about your comings and going.”
“Uh huh.” Pax was not convinced yet.
Pax turned towards the door again and slid the key into the brass bolt. She drew a deep breath and let it out in a wave of mist from the chilly air around them. Pax turned the knob and opened the door.
“Thumper? Thumper it’s me Pax.” Pax’s body was coiled and ready to spring backwards shutting the door in self-defense if necessary. Breath held she paused and listened. She waited to hear a stirring somewhere, anywhere within the house to ensure the dog had heard her.
“What is she doing?” Teela asked anxiously. Oh Thumper, please be a good girl. No fooling around this time. You and Pax are friends remember? I hope.
Not hearing paws charging towards her Pax opened the door and took a step inside. She listened again carefully. She looked back at Teela and shrugged. When she faced forward again she saw the ninety pound dog in front of her with its head lowered and growling.
“Oh shit,” Pax said as every muscle in her body tensed along with the dogs.
“Pax let me in.” Teela’s fear surfaced clearly in her voice.
“No wait,” she whispered eyes never leaving the dogs. She relaxed her body and tried to appear unafraid of the jaws that could easily shred her body. “Don’t even try it dog.” She placed her hands on her hips to stop them from shaking and stared back at the dog. “Thumper, you know who I am and if you want to go potty and for a ride you will knock it off right now,” she said with more bravado than she truly felt. “You don’t scare me dog.” You believe me right?
Thumper remained in her protective stance for a few seconds longer with her and Pax locked in the battle of who would break and look away first. Pax willed her eyes to remain fixed upon the brown ones. Thumper’s eye twitch and she raised her head. Pax let the smile spread across her lips as the nub started to wiggle. She let a resounding bark and trotted over to Pax and sat at her feet.
“Good girlie.” Pax breathed in relief. She was afraid her bravado would not work against the dog. She reached out and thoroughly rubbed the large head.
“I’m impressed.” Teela stepped inside the door and was immediately greeted by her daughter.
“We just needed to come to an understanding.”
After that Thumper had gotten used to Pax showing up at her home unannounced. She also learned that if the tall woman appeared without her mother then she would get a treat of a ride and ice cream in the big truck.
My truck Pax frowned at the thought of losing her beloved F-150. Well not losing it, she smirked. The body had been repainted and restored to a more brilliant finish than before it was decimated. She had her truck back for two days before she traded it for the brand new white dodge truck.
“Hello again Ms. Baldwin,” Dr. Harrison interrupted her thoughts.
“Tell me what you are experiencing?”
“Weakness mostly, it has been going out on me. I fell on Christmas because of it.”
“I see.” He washed his hands at the small sink across the room. “What else?”
“Out of the blue I’ll have pain.”
“On a scale of zero to ten, with zero being no pain and ten being the worst. Where would you rate it?”
“When it happens a five maybe.”
“Uh huh. When the pain comes is it during activity or at rest?”
Pax continued to answer his emotionless rapid fire questions and tolerated his cold hands prodding her exposed right leg. She hated the test with the rubber headed hammer. It always left her limbs tingling after he had tapped her knees for their reflex ability.
Dr. Harrison’s face never changed from the scowl and tight grimace as he manipulated Pax’s leg at the joints and then the left one. He palpated the muscle structure of both limbs and did a little of this to her and a little of that. By the time he told her to get dressed and had left the room, Pax felt as though she had been accosted.
He returned after fifteen minutes with loose papers in his one hand and her chart in his other. “Ok Ms. Baldwin, here is the thing.” He sat in the desk style chair opposite from her. He reached down and lifted the metal rod locking the small board into place.
“Must be serious.”
“Think positive Ms. Baldwin. That’s fifty percent of the battle with any dysfunction.”
“I would like to see what is going on with the blood flow in the arteries in that leg. You’ve had a Doppler Flow Study before so I am going to order another one and make a comparison between the two.”
“Ok. What else?” What are you saving for the end doc? Spit it out for Christ’s sake!
“At the same time I am going to order a Duplex Imaging test, which is almost like the Doppler only it’s an ultrasound.” Pax did not respond but stared at the man impatiently. “I will have…”
“What are you looking for doc?”
“Occlusions mostly, plague formation, anything that may indicate if the arteries are malfunctioning or other problems causing your weakness and pain.
“I am having Julie come in and measure you for a brace to be worn on that right leg.”
“A brace?” Pax was alarmed.
“It’s what we call a Don Joy Brace. It will provide you support mid thigh to below the knee.”
“I need to wear a brace?” Pax detested another visible sign pointing to her disability. It would be a constant reminder to Teela that another woman she had chosen was not physically healthy.
“At your discretion. You are experiencing weakness and have fallen. If you wear it constantly then take it off periods of fifteen to twenty minutes to relieve the pressure. Or you can wear it only when you feel that you require support the most.”
“The mechanics are located at the sides of the knee to allow for flexibility and movement.”
“And how long will I have to wear this brace?”
“We are not certain at this point. We are on a journey Ms. Baldwin to find the best possible level of functioning for you. Our journey may be very rocky or somewhat smooth. I am not certain until we begin aggressively. That starts with the Doppler and the Duplex.”
You are so weird sometimes doc. “Ok I am with you.” Would Teela want to come along on the journey knowing this? Shit, now I am talking like him.
“Julie my Orthodist will come in and measure you for the brace. It should take about a week to make and get it in. We will call you to come in for the fitting.”
“In the meantime, I want you to use an immobilizer. Now you won’t be able to drive with it on as you cannot bend your leg with this one.”
“Oh not one of those things that makes me look like I have a peg leg?”
“I am afraid so.” Dr. Harrison replied pointedly. “I am truly concerned about the numbing Ms. Baldwin. You must understand that until we know what is going on, we should take precautions. Now I am giving you a lot of leeway here with intermittent use. I should be telling you to wear it during waking hours.” Pax opened her mouth to protest. “But I also recall how stubborn and noncompliant you can be. Your Ortho from California wrote it in big letters in your chart.” He smiled at her dismay. Pax raised her eyebrow and settled back upon the table quietly. “You’ll have to remove it when driving of course.”
“Of course.” She looked him squarely. “Worse case scenario is…?”
“Surgery. The test results will determine A- if surgery is needed and B- what type of surgery will be done.”
“Let’s take it one step at a time. No pun intended of course.” He smiled. “I’ll go tell Julie she can come in and start.”
“Yeah sure.” Pax looked down and rubbed her tender thigh.
Pax sat on her couch snuggled deeply within Teela’s arms. She felt content and warm without the new brace that lay on the floor in front of the TV that Boney still coveted. A loud snore came from somewhere in the room and told them that Thumper had stopped chewing on her bone and fell asleep. They had talked about the doctor’s report and Teela found it difficult to put Pax’s reservations to rest.
“Pax, I love you. I am not running away from you.”
“I appreciate that. I truly do.”
“Thank you. I understand that you don’t want to be dependent on anyone. I can almost understand the comparison of yourself to Bess, but you are not her and this is not the same thing.”
“No listen to me. If anything, I should be the one feeling guilty. It was because of me that fight happened.” She raised her hand to stop the woman’s protest. “I don’t care what you say, you two were fighting not only for your egos and honor, but she made me the prize. So you were indirectly fighting over me.”
“Point taken. However, the damage was done to my leg long before I returned to Michigan.”
“And was further traumatized here in Michigan. Look we can play words game all night; it is not going to change the fact that we have to wait and see what the tests say as to our next step.”
Pax looked back upon her lover and smiled warmly. She is so cute. Pax tried to hide her smile. But much cuter when she is mad. “Our next step?”
“I told you already Pax Kattapoulous Baldwin. We are in this together. Got a problem with that?” Teela poked her in the chest to emphasize her point.
Oh heart stoppingly cute. “Kiss me.”
The eyes outside the window turned red with fury as they watched the two women meld as one on the couch. Grrr, the quiet hiss evaporated as a trail of mist into the air above their head. Bitch. Careful as to not touch the side of the home the figure made their way toward the side walk and the driveway. You always have to come out on top, don’t you? mumbled the dark figure and stared at the white truck in the drive. I hope you got it inspected before you purchased it Pax dear. Vehicles can have so many gremlins in them who know when something could go wrong. Walking down the drive the figured softly chuckled.
“Oh excuse me,” came a voice and then a hard body against their own.
The stalker stiffened and swore silently. Shoulders squared and a small smile I didn’t see or hear anyone coming. Damn. “I am sorry. I wasn’t paying attention I didn’t run over you did I?” The voice was filled with horror and concern.
“No not at all.” The man smiled. “No harm done. You live here?” He eyed the stranger with obvious interest and took a step back from their intimate space.
“No I don’t. I uhm, was just visiting a friend and the time got away from me. I stopped to admire uhm his truck.”
He looked at the house number and smiled invitingly. “My bad luck.” He searched the body head to toe and lingered on the hips. She had the perfect type of figure he could really sink his teeth into.
“Yes, well goodnight.” The figure hurried past him and down the street and into the red small compact car with the mismatched colored fender and door.
“Oh come on Pax, I think it will look cute on her.” Teela giggled.
“Cloe is not going to wear that tee shirt Teela and that’s that. She doesn’t even like that school.” Pax shook her head at the toddlers tee with the university of Michigan emblem on it.
“It’s a gift from Boney.”
“Boney can go to hell.” She pouted. “Cloe has school pride. She is a U.S.C. Trojan, not a Michigan Wolverine!” Pax laughed and led them down the corridor towards her office. They had stopped at the zoo on their way to Jo and Boney’s. Pax needed to pick up a few papers and get them priority mailed before the post office closed.
“Hey Pax,” came the voice from behind them. She turned and saw Max Caldwell and the Enviro Tech approach. “Pax, I have not been able to catch you lately.”
“Sorry Max. I have been busy lately.”
He looked down at the metal contraption on her leg. “How is the leg?”
“It’s doing thanks.” She felt a chill travel her spine and reflexively stepped closer to Teela. When she looked to her side, Teela eyes were not on her but upon the Enviro Tech thumbing through a magazine behind Max.
You look oddly familiar. Teela peered closer at the woman’s face or what she could see of it as it was tilted low and in the shadows. Her eyes surveyed the hands and the woman’s round hips. Strange, she thought. You hair is awful though. Teela chuckled silently at the Enviro Tech’s red and black hair. She had seen the same style on several of the younger aides at the ARCC and thought the style was horrific along with having a patch of ungodly color in the hair.
“I wanted to speak with you about the viper pit expansion.”
“Sorry Max but we can talk about it on…” A loud screech and them a scampering sound came down the hall. The four turned and peered behind them as a running Chimpanzee came to a skidding halt around Teela’s legs.
“Cloe is that you?” Teela asked. Cloe grinned and stretched her arms up asking for a lift from Teela.
“Yes it’s her.” Pax’s assistant rounded the corner winded. “I have been chasing that little monster all over the building.” He panted bent at the waist hands resting on his knees as he sucked air into his lungs.
“Pax told me you were a little escape artist kiddo.” Teela reached out her arms and the chimp bounced once and then up into the blonde’s arms. She gave Teela a wet peck upon her cheek and then showed every yellow tooth she had as she grinned at Pax. Then she spied Max. She made a sound as her vision reached Tammy and remained there for a few seconds longer. Then the chimp whined softly and buried her face in Teela’s shoulder her furry arms tightly around the social worker’s neck.
“She is getting out of hand Pax,” Max added. I caught her in my office the other day writing on my desk with a blue crayon.” Cloe chose that moment to give Max a very wet raspberry.
Pax and Teela did not do a good job of hiding their amusement at Cloe. “We have tried everything Max.” She stroked the spike hair between the chimp’s large pink ears. “I am not sure how she keeps getting out. It’s always just her and not the rest of the chimps? It’s not making sense to me anymore,” Pax stated.
“Have it make sense and fix the problem Pax.” He puffed out his chest in authority. He saw Tammy watching out the corner of his eye.
Pax shifted and straightened to her full height as she had at least three inches on him. You want to posture Shorty? I can too.
“Time to go back Cloe,” Gary said not wanting to witness another row between his immediate boss and her boss.
“That’s ok Gary. I’ll take her back and lock her in myself,” Pax volunteered.
“Are you sure? I can take her no problem.”
“Ok then. See ya.”
She watched him walk away. “Max the project is nearly complete ahead of schedule. Outside of what happened with me there have been no problems reported. Unless there is something critical that you think I should know…”
“I was hoping to speak with you about a new addition before…”
“Max that is not possible. You know the budget constraints the Board has dictated for me to work within.” Me not you. They remember how you botched the Petting Zoo reconstruction. “There are a few other areas that could benefit from the left over funds as well.”
He glanced at Teela and the chimp snuggled against the woman’s bosom. Lucky monkey. “Ok, we can talk about this on Monday.”
“You can talk, but I doubt if I will reallocate funds for your new projects.” She looked at the Enviro tech whom seemed disinterested in the entire scene either out of deference to the senior employees or in general rudeness. She was lost in her magazine.
“Well I…” Max’s reply was cut short by the squawk of his hand radio. He was being called to another area. “Tammy do you have time to go with me to the emu pen or do you have to get working on that paper of yours?”
“I have a few minutes doctor thank you.” Tammy lisped and smiled at the doctor. Pale brown eyes rapidly blinked from behind the large glasses at Max but never acknowledged Teela or Pax.
“Well if you’ll excuse us,” he said to them. “We will talk again Pax.” He turned and was followed by Tammy. “Emu’s are a wonderful creature,” Pax heard him begin.
When they had left Cloe wiggled violently wanting her freedom from Teela. Teela put her on the floor and the chimp scampered directly to Pax’s office door. She tried the knob and could not get in. Pax reached her door and looked down upon her friend. “I started locking it to keep you out. You have been getting in and rearranging things without asking.” Cloe whimpered. “Tough. Deal with it.” She turned the key and opened the door. The chimp ran straight to her little table and rummaged through the crayon box.
“Been giving you all trouble has she?” Teela laughed and watched the chimp set about coloring on a fresh piece of construction paper and the crayon.
“More than you know.” Pax went to her desk and retrieved a stack of papers from the locked smaller drawer. “She has been totally rotten sometimes. Never listens or obeys the rules.”
“Like someone else I know.” Teela chuckled and stared at the zoologist.
“Is that supposed to be a crack about me?”
“Not sure? Feeling guilty?” Teela had a coy smile upon her face and moved around the desk to stand in front of Pax.
Cloe left her chair and strutted towards the desk. She reached her thin arm forward and snatched an apple from the basket on Pax’s desk then scampered back to her drawing. “See? She doesn’t even bother to sign apple anymore. She just takes it. Imp.” Cloe put the crayon down for a moment and then threw Pax a big kiss. “Don’t try to kiss up now.” She laughed.
“Oh leave the baby alone,” Teela said firmly and turned Pax’s head towards her. She studied the blue eyes and watched them change colors. Teela loved watching Pax’s eyes. As usual it aroused her instantly and the wetness gathered between her legs. This moment was no different.
Pax turned and stood between Teela’s legs as she sat on the corner of the desk. She gathered Teela in her arms and squeezed her lovingly. She brought her close and inhaled her light scent and felt her muscles clench between her legs. Her hips automatically moved forward to touch Teela’s. You feel so good. So much time wasted between us, Teela, so much time. We can take Cloe back in a few minutes. I just want to hold you like this for a little while longer.
They held one another and moaned together in the safety of their embrace. Intimacy was all they wanted, all they needed at the moment. Their passionate love making might take place later on, but for the moment each were contented to remain in the arms of the other.
Or so that is what Pax had told herself. Her mind put her thoughts to unspoken fantasies and she realized where they were. The contented smiled became full of wickedness at the thought of having Teela on top of her desk. You are so bad. That is not a good thing to be thinking right now. Well it is but it really isn’t, she argued with herself. Besides, you’d never be able to sit here and work ever again.
“I feel you grinning. What are you thinking?” Teela asked.
“You really don’t want to know.”
“Gutter time huh?” Teela leaned back so that she could see the blush across Pax’s face.
“You must be there too?”
“Could be.” Teela laughed.
“Great minds think alike as they say.” She laughed and bent her head to kiss her lover.
The blending of their lips began softly and was sexually stimulating as their moans simultaneously filled the air. Pax’s nostrils flared as she deepened the kiss between them. She felt Teela’s tongue touch the tip of her lip and allowed her entry.
A piercing screech erupted into the air. They jumped apart. Their heads turn to see Cloe hyperventilating and clutching her throat. White foam began to form in the chimp’s mouth as her stomach spewed its contents tinged in blood upon Pax’s clean office floor.
“Cloe!” Pax shouted and struggled to get to the animal.
The chimp turned her brown eyes upon her human and then dropped to the floor. An eerie whine sounded from Cloe as her small body jerked and all four limbs beat in an odd rhythm upon the floor in violent convulsion. Then it was quiet. Cloe lay still on the floor.
“Cloe?” Pax’s voice was small as she came to the still form of the chimp. She forced her knee to bend so that she could get close to the animal. “Cloe?”
Pax’s hands trembled as she reached out to the silent body of her friend. “Cloe? Come on now, stop fooling around.” Pax shook the animal but knew that she was not play acting this time. It was a game they used to play like Clint Eastwood and Clyde the orangutan in the movie Every Which Way But Loose. “You’re scaring me Cloe.” Tears dropped from her eyes in large droplets. “Cloe?”
She picked the animal up and enclosed her in her arms and began to rock her back and forth. She sniffed back the tears and smelled the strong scent of almonds. And the choking gasp escaped her lips.
“Pax? Pax what is wrong with Cloe?” Teela stood behind her lover unable to understand what had happened. Her nostrils filled with the stench of the bile from the chimp’s stomach and emission loss of feces and urine. “Pax what do I do?”
“She dead,” came an eerily distant voice. Then the sobs broke free and her shoulders shook. “Cloe’s dead!” Pax cried out. “She’s dead,.” and hugged the lifeless body of the chimp close to her chest.
“Oh god, no.” Teela fell to her knees behind Pax and gather the sobbing zoologist in her arms. She placed her cheek beside her lover’s and let her own tears mingle with Pax’s falling upon their friend’s body. Teela rocked her back and forth in nurturing comfort. What could she have said at the moment? I am a social worker. I am supposed to know what to say. So why do words fail me? Her lover was in pain and it seemed the only thing that mattered was to hold her.
Pax sat in her living room with her legs drawn under her on the couch. Teela had managed to get her home and called her friends to let them know what happened. They gathered around in her living room and kitchen as supportive friends do.
Boney sat at the end of the couch closely watching her friend and the empty blanched look upon her face. She had seen this level of despair on Pax’s beautiful face one other time since they had met. And that was when Teela had closed her out of her life. Then like now, she was not certain if her friend would pull out of it on her own, recover and be healthy.
“How are you Pax?”
It took a moment for Pax to register that someone had spoken to her. She turned to Boney and replied flatly, “Doing Bone.”
“Am I going to have to worry about you?”
“No. I’ll be alright.” Pax sniffed. “I know it may sound crazy to you that I am acting this way about a chimp…” she said mechanically
“Not at all Pax. She was very special and you loved her. A little furry with big ears but your friend nonetheless.”
Pax chuckled softly and then let it fall in the sadness of the room as she wiped the tear from her eyes. Her lips drew into a snarl. “And someone killed her.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes I’m sure!” Pax’s reddened blues bore into Boney’s. An almond smell was coming from her mouth Boney and that means cyanide. Someone poisoned her.”
“Cyanide? Why? When?”
“Don’t know that. That’s what the investigation will find out. Goddamn it. Someone killed Cloe and they will pay for that. So help me they will pay!”
Boney and Emily looked at one another as Pax’s face once blanched and stark white shaded in a vibrant red of fury. The shouting brought the other women out of the kitchen. Teela hurried into the room followed closely by Jo, Harley, Felicia, and Amanda.
“Pax? Honey…” She sat on the couch beside Pax and touched her cheek. The sound of her voice had scared Teela. It was the most animation she had heard from Pax for over six hours since Dr. Caldwell and Gary removed Cloe’s body from Pax’s arms.
“Some bastard killed Cloe.” Pax said through clenched teeth. She felt the rage well within her and spill forth in tears.
“I know sweetheart. We are going to find the murdering bastard.” She gathered her love into her arms and held her. Teela stroked the long dark tresses and hoped that they truly find the culprit behind the chimpanzee’s death. Lord help that person when Pax gets her hands on them.
It was several days before Pax was able to return to the zoo. She had warred with her conscience whether to go back to her office to look for evidence or to observe her need for solitude to mourn the loss of her beloved friend. She had taken a few days sick leave so she could come to terms with Cloe’s murder. She was totally convinced it was murder. The clear stench of almonds laced Cloe’s breath. That was as much as Pax could ascertain at that moment. Her mind had been reeling but not enough to misidentify the smell above feces and urine. An autopsy would confirm her suspicions that poison killed Cloe.
She stood outside her office door and summoned the calm to turn the knob and enter her office space. The metal felt cold and damp beneath her palm and her throat pinched shut restricting the airflow from her lungs and nostrils. Her heart thundered and the roar of blood passed through her ears and deafened her hearing.
Unable to breathe through her nose, she parted her lips and took several deep breaths as she shifted the backpack further onto her shoulders. Come on Pax, you can do this. She was your friend but she is dead. You have to move on. Pax inhaled once more and turned the knob and pushed the door open but slammed her eyes shut. The faint scent of disinfectant assaulted her nostrils and she wrinkled her nose.
She slowly opened her sorrowful blues and locked on her desk and the disarray of creased and wrinkled papers. Her gaze tracked about the room and landed upon the cabinet that displayed Cloe’s crayon masterpieces. You were right Teela when you said they would be worth a fortune someday. She felt the tears well in her eyes and sniffed them back into control before they could spill. Cane in her hand, Pax painfully limped into the office and sat heavily in her chair.
She reached into the back pack and removed her fitted leg brace. She swiftly strapped it on as instructed and then leaned back in her chair. She did not know which hurt more: the throbbing pulse in her leg, or the squeezing of her heart at losing Cloe.
Pax looked about the room and saw the office supply box sitting atop Cloe’s table and her heart sank. She let the tear fall and then squared her shoulders in resolve. I will find out who did this Cloe. I promise you. Just don’t be giving them heck in monkey heaven. Alright?
She turned and sat her small back pack upon her desk. She looked at some of the masterpieces on displayed upon the cabinets and wall. Ok I will frame a few. I like this one. She said of the dark red and blue abstract watercolor. It’s kind of…something.
When she opened the drawer of the file cabinet, her cheery façade waned immediately. She reached in and pulled out Cloe’s USC Trojans football jersey. She neatly folded it and placed it inside the box.
A soft rap sounded behind her and she turned to see her boss Max standing there. “Hello Pax.” Max spoke from the doorway.
She wiped her eyes and turned to him. “I hope you have some news for me Max. I am not in the mood for anything else.”
“As a matter of fact I do.” Her head turned sharply towards him.
“What is it then?”
“Why don’t you sit down Pax?”
“Don’t coddle me like I’m some teenager who lost their pet rabbit.” Her voice edged a warning.
He walked over to her desk and perched his hip on the corner. He regarded her grimly. “Toxicology showed cyanide poisoning.”
“I guessed as much.”
“Oh?” Max looked at her with more interest.
“When I held her I smelled the almonds. Couldn’t miss it.”
“So did I actually.” He paused.
“Where would she have come into contact with that stuff Max?”
“Who knows Pax? She was running amok around this place and could have gotten into cleaning products or the pesticides or other chemicals. Hell she could have gotten into the labs.”
“That’s ridiculous Max. Cloe was smarter than that. She wouldn’t have ingested that stuff.”
“She had a significant quantity in her system Pax? How do you explain it?”
“I have no idea Max. If I knew I’d go after the idiot that left it out for her to get into. So help me God I’d beat the shit right out of them.” Pax seethed and paced the short distance across her office floor.
“Is that what you are going to do to yourself?”
Pax stopped in mid stride. “What? What the hell is that supposed to mean? I didn’t poison Cloe.”
“Are you sure Pax?” Max looked at her with skepticism.
“Are you crazy? I have no patience for games Max,” she warned.
“It came from the apple she was eating.” Pax then realized that Max’s hip rested where she had kept the basket of apples. Max could see the realization in her face and tense muscles. “Toxicology tested each of the apples in the basket you kept on your desk Pax. All of them were soaked with cyanide. Want to tell me how or why that is?”
Pax’s mouth opened and closed without a sound. She remembered watching Cloe take an apple without signing for it that day. She recalled her and Teela laughing about it. “I have no idea Max,” she replied softly. “I have no idea.”
He studied her reaction and then decided to speak frankly. “Look Pax. I am terribly sorry about Cloe I know how much you cared for her. I am sure you can understand how suspicious this looks.”
“You are not alone.” Pax sighed heavily. “Someone infused those apples with poison knowing that Cloe or I would take one.”
“Someone put those snakes in your office knowing that you would walk in and find them,” Max added.
“Someone is right. Who?”
“Are you saying that someone is trying to hurt you Pax? That those two events are not coincidental?”
“It sounds like paranoia Max but I am beginning to think that way.”
“I hope that you are wrong. Why would someone want to do that?”
“Don’t know Max. I have been asking myself that question too.” She turned to place more of Cloe’s belongings in the box and sighed wearily.
“Look, we are going to investigate this fully Pax and get to the bottom of it. I assure you.”
“I know you will Max,” Pax replied.
“Until then, we are placing you on suspension.”
“Just until we figure this whole mess out.”
“What does suspending me have to do with finding out who murdered Cloe?” Pax charged.
“Pax be reasonable. We are talking about two serious incidents involving you in this office, one of which caused the death of an animal in your possession. Be reasonable about this.”
“I had nothing to do with Cloe’s death or the vipers in my office. Suspending me will send the message that I did.”
“Pax that is not true.”
“Oh really?” She turned her back and thought for a moment, Who did I piss off that wants me suspended?
“Pax that is way off base here. Everyone is grateful for your contributions to the zoo since your arrival.”
“Uh huh.” She suspected more than what Max was saying. “How long is the suspension Max?”
“I am not sure until the investigation is over perhaps.”
“Oh? And who decided that?”
“The Board Pax.”
“What about the remodeling projects. Will they be placed on hold until all this is over as well?”
“Uhm no.” He rubbed his hands together. “They have asked me to carry on with the project.”
“They asked you or you asked them Max?” She pursed her lips together and titled her head. She watched the line of sweat bead across his upper lip and bridge of his nose. You little prick weasel ass.
“I assure you Pax, I told them to choose someone one else and they declined. It’s nothing personal on my part.”
“Sure Max, nothing personal.” She placed the last of Cloe’s artwork in the box. “When does it start?”
“Immediately. I have Roger from security outside the door. I asked him to wait while we talked first. I knew you wouldn’t do anything rash with me so I asked him to wait until we were finished to escort you to your car.”
“Great. I am not going to take anything but Cloe’s clothes and drawings.” She sucked her teeth and exhaled deeply.
“It’s protocol Pax. Roger has to be with you.”
“Protocol huh?” Pax huffed at her boss’ adherence to protocols when it suited him.
“I need your keys and your badge,” he stated with his hand outstretched.
Several retorts came to her but she decided to hold her tongue. She slowly lifted the key ring from her and unclipped the badge from her shirt. She placed both in his waiting hand. Her cell phone rang at that moment. Irritated at the disturbance she calmed her voice before answering, “Baldwin.”
“Pax, its Zander. Did I catch you at a bad time?”
“No. Hold on a moment.” She covered the receiver with her hand and turned to Max. “It’s my brother in Texas. Let me take this call and I will be right out.”
“No problem Pax. I’ll leave the door open so that Roger can see in.”He turned back to her as he opened the door and nodded at the young man from security standing outside the door frame. “We will find out how Cloe died Pax. Although she was a little imp, I liked her too.”
She watched him speak softly to the security officer before he moved off down the hall. Roger looked directly at Pax with an unblinking gaze. “Sorry about that Zander.”
“No problem. I just spoke with Felicia and she told me. I am so sorry for your loss Pax.”
“Thank you Zander.”
“Is there anything that we can do for you?”
“No thank you. Felicia has been wonderful as usual. You did good in selecting her.”
“I tell myself that very thing everyday.”
“Yeah.” She waited in the awkward pause between them.
“The reason that I called. I wanted to let you know what was happening.”
“Okay.” She looked about the office that she would be leaving for some time. In the corner, the image of Cloe in her USC tee shirt and hat danced across her mind and she fought against the tears once more.
“I am meeting Hank Stanson tomorrow and he is going to give me the address of Brenda Devereaux. We were supposed to meet to day but an emergency came up for him.”
“Sounds good then Zander.”
“I thought so. He is positive this is the woman we are seeking.”
“I hope so too.” She sniffed and turned toward the door in time to see Tammy the Enviro Tech stop in her door. “Listen Zander, I have to go. Keep me posted.”
“Will do Pax. Goodbye.”
“Bye.” She closed the cell phone and returned it back to her pocket. “Something I can help you with…”
“Tammy,” the woman lisped.
“Right, Tammy. Something I can help you with?”
“Not really. I just wanted to say how sorry I am about Cloe.” Her lisp was severe at the moment. “I know that you were very close.”
“Thank you. I appreciate that.”
“I kind of liked the little thing myself even though she was always into trouble.” She chuckled and Pax found her self cringing at the high pitched snort the Enviro Tech made. It grated on her like nails scratching across a chalkboard.
“That she did with perfection.” She grew pensive in the uneasy pause between them. “Tammy, let me ask you something.”
“Sure Pax you can ask me anything,” she said eagerly.
“Have you seen anyone coming in or out of my office lately?”
“No I haven’t. Doc Caldwell asked me the same thing yesterday and I told him just what I said to you.”
“You and Doc Caldwell are good friends I take it?”
“The best.” The woman’s smiled was rimmed with discolored teeth. “He is teaching me a lot about veterinary medicine. He helps me with my classes a lot. Very nice man.”
“Uh huh.” Pax hid the shiver that coursed through her body.
“Well, I gotta get a move on. I just wanted to stop and give you my condolences about Cloe and all.”
“Thank you Tammy.”
The woman turned and walked away. Tammy looked back over her shoulder and softly chuckled to herself. Yep, good old Doc Caldwell helps me a lot with my studies.
________________ Chapter 22______________________
Teela sat behind her desk writing a progress note on one of her clients. Across the metal desk sat Tanesha also finishing a consultation note on one of Teela’s patients. Their time together had been shorten as Teela’s co-worker had majority of the patients to be evaluated this visitation by Dr. Evans. If Nona had not required a follow up she would not have seen Tanesha at all this visit.
“This is Teela,” she said into the telephone’s speaker.
“Teela,” the receptionist voice came through clearly. “There will be a call for you when I hang up.”
Teela picked up the receiver quickly. “Who is it?” she asked her receptionist.
“I asked her but I can’t remember. Sorry.”
“No problem. I’m ready.”
“Okay she will be on the line when I hang up.”
Teela paused then spoke again into the receiver. “This is Teela, how can I help you?”
“Wanna kiss me baby?” came a nasal sounding voice.
“Eeww no way. Don’t know where you have been.” She laughed.
“That’s could be true at the moment by the way I sound.”
“You sound horrible Jo.”
“I feel worse than I sound.”
“Oh my. Anything I can do?”
“Naw Boney is taking care of me. Thanks though.”
“You might want another nurse as a second opinion.”
“Don’t talk bad about my wife now. She is a sweetheart.”
“That she is my friend.”
“So you can guess that I am not going to bowl tonight.”
“The way you sound Jo, I would prefer that you stay home and rest than come to the bowling alley and spread your cooties.”
“I do not have cooties,” Jo whined.
Teela chuckled. “Stay home and get well my friend.”
“Watch Boney for me tonight.”
“She is not staying home with you?”
“No I am making her go bowl tonight. She means well, but her pampering annoys me.”
“You know she will be preoccupied with worry about you so why sic her on the rest of us?”
“Because you can handle her and I might say something that could hurt her feelings. I am cranky when I’m sick remember? I want to be left alone to lick my wounds. Boney likes to be pampered when she is sick.”
“She might as well be sick with all the whining about missing you she will be doing tonight. Don’t worry we will take care of the Bone.”
“Thanks kiddo. See ya soon.”
“Get some rest Jo.” She returned the receiver to its cradle.
After several moments, Tanesha offered her summary on Nona Reece’s condition. They discussed her recommendations for continued treatment and Teela agreed whole heartedly with Tanesha’s plan of care. Follow their short discussion, Tanesha stood and shrugged into her coat and bid Teela a good day.
Teela watched the woman leave her office and thought, No comments this time Tanesha? You must have finally gotten the message that Pax and I are together and you do not figure in the equation.
Zander pulled along the curve and cut the engine to the sedan that he had rented at the airport. He studied the piece of paper in his hand and compared the address written there with the large brass numbers on the square stately two story home across the street.
Two hours ago Hank Stenson slid the paper across the table to him with one hundred percent confidence that this address was of the woman he and his sibling sought. Stanson had watched the woman for a couple of days and was able to provide Zander with a clear description of her and her husband.
Taking a deep breath Zander wiped his sweaty palms across his dark brown slacks. He stepped from the car and adjusted the matching suit jacket and his tie. He ran a hand through his black locks and started for the home across the road.
Each step he took tightened the knots in his stomach and he thought of returning to his car and trying again tomorrow. Instead he pushed on. He experienced hesitancy again as he reprimanded himself for not calling first instead of showing up as a surprise on the woman’s doorstep. What if she slams the door in my face? Then what?
“Take that!” Teela pumped her fist in the air at her third strike in a row. From behind her she heard the familiar turkey gobble from her friend Boney. The sound alone made most nearby smile, laugh, or shake their head in wonder.
“Oh so you think you are hot stuff now don’t you?” Harley chided her friend.
“I am in the zone and sizzlin’ baby.” Teela flopped into her chair.
“Yeah yeah,” Boney said and opened her cell phone.
“She is doing fine Boney.”
“I just want to make sure she is Harley.”
“You spoke to her less than thirty minutes ago.”
“And your point would be?”
“How do you make it through working eight or ten hours without calling?”
Boney tilted her chin in the air slightly. “None of your business. Besides, I forgot to tell her that the garage door is stuck open.”
“Oh Boney that is so lame.” Harley chuckled.
Harley left to take her turn at the set of ten pins while Teela chuckled at Boney’s entertainment. “She is probably sitting in her chair reading Boney. You know how she is.”
“Hi…” Boney’s lips curled into a smile. “Honey, I… no but I …” The smile slowly faded. “Aww baby I am wor…” Her lips formed a comical “O” and her eyebrows shot to the top of her forehead. Teela snickered lightly as she heard Jo’s voice from the cell phone but could not understand what she had said. “Ok sweetie bye.” Boney closed the device quickly and laid it on the table top. On second thought she slid it a few inches away from her. Boney stared at the phone in fear that it would come to life sprout legs and walk back across the table and smack her.
Jo left the light above the stove on so that Boney would not crash into anything when she came through the kitchen. She set her steaming cup of tea on the table beside her favored chair. She turned clicked the volume of the stereo up another notch and hummed along with the smooth sounding jazz.
“Okay, where were we?” She sighed and sat in her chair and shifted into her couch pouch. A Christmas present from Boney, the pouch was a combination between a sleeping bag and a blanket. One side had the dual tab zipper and came to rest just above her breasts. The down-filled pouch warmed the wearer instantly using one’s own body heat and magnifying it.
“Ahh.” She sighed as she sipped her tea. “Perfect, I am toasty again. Now I can read.” She gave a little purr and laughed.
Inside the darkened garage the shadowed figure silently and diligently worked to pick the lock. Jo was engrossed in living the adventure of the character in her book against the background sounds from the stereo that she did not hear the click of the kitchen door.
“Well, how is she?” Teela asked.
“She is uhm ok.” Boney’s eyes darted to Teela and then back at the phone. She swallowed hard before reaching for her beer. “She is uhm, busy. You were right; she was reading.”
“Uh huh. Anything else?”
“To say hi to everyone and…” Boney trailed off.
“If I don’t stop calling she will smack me in the back of my head so hard my eyes will pop out and roll down the driveway.”
“Oh Boney she didn’t mean that.” Teela laughed as Harley returned.
“She was pretty convincing.” She took a pull from her beer. “All I want to do is take care of her. Why does she make things so hard sometimes?”
“She loves you Boney and you know this.” Teela soothed and touched her friend’s hand. “She is crankier than an old goat when she is sick. You also know that.”
“She never lets me take care of her Teela. She always has to come across as strong and indestructible. That grates on my nerves ya know?” Boney’s shoulders slumped as she stood to take her turn at the lane.
“Oh Boney.” Teela saw the momentary defeat across her friend‘s face and posture. “Is everything all right with you and Jo?” Teela held her breath in hope that they were not having any new problems or rehashing old ones.
“Yeah I’m pretty sure. Ya know, sometimes I wonder if she even needs me?”
“Boney you know that she does. Jo loves you. Don’t take what she said personally. She did not mean it.”
“She’s my wife Teela. Everything she says I take personally.” She left them for the lane.
“What was that all about?” Harley asked.
“Jo threatened to blind her.”
“Oh.” Harley looked at Teela confused and took a sip of her house wine.
Zander inhaled and released his breath several times while he stood on the stoop of the woman he came to see. He checked his watched and instantly remembered he had forgotten to change the time. The new wrist watch that his boys had given him for Christmas still read Michigan time an hour ahead of Texas. The sun had begun its setting rotation as he gathered his courage and pressed the white button. He heard the melodic chimes from within the home and waited for his host to arrive.
The door opened by the woman he assumed to be the mother of his half-sister. She was obviously puzzled at the stranger and asked from behind the full length glass screen door. “Yes, may I help you?”
“My name is Zander Baldwin from Michigan. We spoke on the telephone earlier?”
The woman inhaled sharply and placed her hand across her breast bone in shock. So this is the day, she thought. It has finally come. “Yes Mr. Baldwin, come on in.”
“Hey,” Teela called to her two teammates. When they turned her way, she tilted her head to the right and said. “Take a look at that will ya?”
A few tables over their eyes landed on Autumn. Usually obnoxiously buoyant and chatty, the woman sat quietly with her tablemates with her head lowered slightly. She had a glass of water in front of her instead of a beer. A large bruised with faded hues of yellow and black covered the right cheek.
“Oh my God what happened to her?”
“Don’t know,” Teela said and looked to Boney.
“I don’t know,” Boney said defensively.
“I am not accusing you of anything Boney. I just thought you would know since you work with her.”
“She does not talk to me. It’s best that way remember?” Boney said and looked again at the cell phone.
“Don’t do it Boney.” Teela warned.
“You know what. Do you want to be like Helen Keller?”
“No.” Boney couldn’t hold the laugh that escaped her lips. “Good one though. I am so proud of you.”
“Thanks.” Teela beamed. “She’s fine.”
“I don’t know Teela. Something inside me is not feeling right.”
“It could be the two chili cheese dogs and fries that you ate.” Harley said.
“No it’s more than that.”
Jo laughed aloud at the passage in the book she read and then began to cough heavily. It was when she turned and reached for the box of tissues on the table that she spied the shadow of a raised arm behind her. The scream was an unfamiliar sound in her throat as the hard flat object crashed against the back of her skull. Jo toppled onto the floor in a heap and grunted from the painful impact.
Her vision dimmed as she witnessed the shadow draw closer and stand over her, ears ringing in time to the throbbing of her head. The pain shot through her eyes like flames and she clenched them to deaden it. Her arm shot up to protect her face and head from another blow.
“Plea…” She gasped as the heel of the shadow smashed into her abdomen and then stomped again causing the chicken soup she had for dinner and other contents of her stomach to spill forth onto the carpet.
“Boney,” her voice cracked as she curled her body inward to protect what she could. Her mind filled with one thought, I am going to die and Boney will be left alone. “Oh God,” she cried. Tears streamed down her face as she rolled onto her stomach. Her hands clawed at the carpet as desperation set in. She clutched handfuls of the carpet and dragged her battered frame fleeing from her attacker.
Another kick slammed into her once again and a loud crack caused blinding pain to streak throughout her body. What was left in her stomach spewed from between her lips alternating with a scream. Several blows bludgeoned her face, her shoulder, and directly in her sternum. The force of the blow caused her body to bend upward as the air expelled. Her limbs flopped weakly on the floor as her bladder released in her pajamas, the pouch, and into the plush carpet.
Jo was yanked upright and shaken. Her head bobbed upon her shoulders like a rag doll as she moaned and coughed out dark red blood. Her body burned white hot. She welcomed the darkness that beckoned. Just as she closed her eyes to allow it to envelope her, in the far distance she heard a ringing.
“No, no, no. Don’t fade on me yet,” the voice hissed and Jo smelled the sour garlic and the scent of coconut.
She gasped as a hand curled around her windpipe and tightened. Her own hands immediately went to the attacker’s fingers and trying desperately but ineffectively to loosen them. The attacker made a strange sound while sweeping Jo’s legs out from under her. The carpet provided no cushion as Jo’s back was driven into the floor. Jo’s arms flopped out to her side. Her vision faded to black as she heard the grisly laugh.
“She is not answering.” Boney let the frustration show through. “I have been calling for half an hour and she is not answering the telephone.”
“She probably went to bed Bone.”
“She would at least answer the extension in the bedroom.”
“Not if she was ignoring you in order to sleep.”
“That is not funny Harley.”
“Not trying to be Bone. I agree with Teela. She is just sleeping.”
“You don’t understand. The rare times that Jo has been sick, it knocked her flat on her beautiful ass.” Boney looked at the two of them and sighed heavily. “But I guess you are probably right.”
“Now for a subject change,” Harley said. “Teela how is Pax?”
“So you see Mr. Baldwin,” Babbette Oliverez said.
“Please it’s Zander.”
“Zander,” she smiled softly. “My daughter does not know the true identity of her father or any of the sordid details I have just told you.” At least part of the details to the truth of my and Angelica’s past.
“It cannot be kept a secret any longer.”
“Obviously not. Your father has made sure of that with the letters and Angelica’s birth certificate he kept in the safe deposit box. ” She sipped her coffee calmly. It is a relief to tell someone other than Fredricko. I just hope that she will be as understanding and forgiving.
“Is she here where I can meet her?” Zander sat the delicate white china cup and saucer back on the table. He was afraid that his nervousness would cause him to drop the small cup.
Babbette looked deeply into her cup and hesitated. It was some time before she spoke again. “Have you any skeletons in your closet Zander?”
“Yes.” He thought of his sister and his actions as a teen.
“I’m sure you can understand why I have kept my secret until now.” Babbette hoped that the young man who looked so much like her old lover understood her logic.
“Yes I think so but you must understand. We mean no harm to you or to our sister. We would like to meet her and then the four of us decide on whether to let the relationship develop.”
“I understand.” She paused once more. “I would like to tell my daughter before you make contact.”
“Ok.” He nodded. “When? I am returning home tomorrow.”
“Let me get my affairs in order Zander. I believe that may take a few days. I will return to Michigan at that time and tell her.”
“Michigan? Angelica lives in Michigan?” His heart leapt.
Babbette presented a faint smile. “Yes for the past ten years Emily Oliverez has lived in Michigan.”
“Emily? Her name is Emily?” Babbette nodded softly. “Where?”
“I believe in your fair city. She works for the city as a matter of fact.”
“Really? Amazing. All this time.”
“Yes, all this time.”
“I think that is fair enough.” He shook his head in wonder. “I am truly grateful that you have been so open and honest with me Babbette. You have no idea how much this means to Pax, Damian, and me.”
“I had no doubt that your father would break the news to you all in some fashion. I am sorry that it had to be under such circumstances.” She sat her cup on the table and smoothed the material of her dress. “I need to ask you something Zander. I understand if you do not want to tell me, but I have been wondering…” She hesitated and smoothed the wrinkles of her lap once again. “Your father did not suffer, did he?”
Zander smiled at the woman. “No ma’am. He went quickly and quietly.”
“Praise the lord for that,” she said with such relief that Zander knew then that she had loved his father deeply.
“Yes ma’am.” He reached in his jacket and pulled out his business card. I want to thank you again for seeing me. Here are my numbers. Please call me when you get in. We’ll be anxious to hear from you.”
“I promise you I will.” She stood and walked him to the door. She placed her hand on his shoulder as he stepped across her threshold. “I loved your father dearly. Emily and the memories of him are all that I had been given. I cherish each gift fully.” Her sorrowful eye spoke what her lips could not.
“I know. Thank you. I’ll be waiting for you call.”
Boney pulled into the driveway later than usual on bowling night. On her way home she had decided that Jo needed something to brighten her spirits. She stopped at the local all night convenience store and purchased her a new comedy to watch and a dozen packaged roses. Ha! She will love these. Tomorrow we can watch the new movie and snuggle on the couch eating ice cream. Yeah, sounds like a plan to me.
What the hell? She looked at the closed garage door. How did that get unstuck? She scratched her head and pushed the button on the remote in the visor. The chain clanked to life and the two-car garage door rose along its track smoothly. Hmm must have been frozen or something.
Boney parked in the garage next to Jo’s car. She got out loaded her arms with the flowers, movie, and ice cream. The shoulder strap from her bowling bag pulled her a little off balance. Boney climbed the few steps in the garage to the door that led into the kitchen. She pushed the remote on the wall to close the garage door. As she went to place her key in the lock, the light touch caused the door to push open. That’s odd, curiously Boney tilted her head in thought.
She pushed the door open and walked into the dimly lit kitchen. Lights on as usual, she stretched her hearing to reach other parts of the house for any sign of activity. She smiled at hearing the voice of Jo’s favorite singer coming from the living room. Waiting up for me? That’s a good sign. Wait ‘til you see what I got you.
She dropped her bowling gear by the door. Closed and placed the bolt lock across the door. She dropped her keys on the kitchen counter Boney stepped over to the kitchen door that led to the dining room and opened it slightly and called, “Jo! I’m home. I’ll be there in a second.”
She turned back into the kitchen and put the quart of ice cream in the freezer then grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge. She put the roses behind her back and pushed through the kitchen door. Hmm must be something about that damn song or is it my timing? Boney questioned as she heard the lyrics to “I’d Rather” once again coming through the stereo.
Eeww! What’s that smell? She crinkled her nose. Jo honey what ever you are taking for your cold is giving you some rotten gas. I definitely will keep that to myself. She chuckled.
“Jo honey?” She called as she walked across the dining room floor towards the living room. “Honey you in here?” She immediately saw that Jo’s recliner was empty.
Boney stepped around the chair and saw that Jo was indeed in the room.
“Hurry honey!” Teela said anxiously.
“I am sweetie but I want us to get there in one piece.” Pax slowed as she came to the intersection where she needed to turn onto Jo and Boney’s road and rolled through to continue on their way.
“I’m sorry. I am worried.”
“I know. What did she say?”
“It was hard to understand her. She said that someone hurt Jo that she was bleeding badly. She was really hysterical.”
“At least she managed to call for an ambulance and the police.” Pax pointed at the ambulance down the road that halted at their destination. Next was the police car. Pax pulled along the road and jammed the gear into park. She exited the truck as fast as she could. Teela stood at the end of the truck and waited for her lover. “You go on ahead and find Boney. I’ll catch up soon.” Pax told Teela.
“Are you sure you can manage?”
“Go, Boney needs you.”
Teela darted from the truck and up the drive as fast as she could. She entered into the house despite the police officer’s attempts to stop her. “I’m her friend. She called for me.”
“Don’t you hurt her!” Boney yelled from inside the room.
“Boney!” Teela called and barged past the officer and into the room. What stopped her this time was first the stench that assailed her nostrils and secondly, the flushed tear stained face of her friend being held in a firm grip by a beefy male officer twice her size. He was struggling to maintain his hold upon her friend. Teela eyes followed where Boney pointed and wailed.
She recognized Jo’s legs and feet. They were lifeless on the floor between the two paramedics who spoke to each other in whispers. They were focused in their task of determining the extent of the damage to the woman lying before them.
Unable to see Jo’s face, she knew there had been a lot of blood loss by the large dark spot in the carpet close to where the Paramedics had kneeled. “Oh my God, Boney what happened?” She gasped when she looked at a near hysterical Boney. Her shirt had dried blood prints on them and a light blood smear across her right cheek stopping on the outside of her right eye. Her hair wild and strands stood on end as if she had pulled them straight up and out.
Boney ceased her struggling for just a moment and looked at her friend with red swollen eyes filled with a grief and sorrow that pierced the very depths of Teela’s heart. “Teela…” Her voice was an indescribable pitch as her body began to shudder in the wake of new sobs of pain.
“Let her go please.” Teela felt the tear slide down her dry cheek and waited for Boney’s embrace.
Boney shook the policeman’s arms away from her and glared at him. Instead of taking the few steps toward Teela, Boney turned toward the still body of her wife on the floor. She stopped at the small feet pointed up and outward and sobbed once again. She dropped to her knees before her wife. Teela had never heard such a mournful lament. It made her heart sick with sorrow.
“Why?” Boney asked her soul engulfed in grief.
Teela closed the space between them pulled Boney’s head to her midsection and held her. She never knew the full physical strength of Boney until that moment when her arms encircled her waist and squeezed the very breath from her body
“I don’t know Boney, but…”
“We are going to find out,” Pax confirmed from behind Teela.
“Damn straight we will,” Emily added and entered the room. “What happened?” She looked at a panting Boney and then at Teela who shrugged. “Officer?”
“And you are?” the patrolman asked snidely.
“Emily Oliverez.” She stood to her full height her blue eyes bearing into his brown ones. She felt the shift in her personality from friend to cop.
“Detective Oliverez?” he asked.
“Used to be.” She rested her hands on her hips.
“Hey us beat cops heard what you did for our buddy Jimmy. We really appreciate it when you Goldies stick your neck out for us like that. Thanks.”
Emily fought the blush. She hadn’t been called a Goldie in quite some time. It was the nickname the beat cops gave the detectives because of the gold shield.
Boney heard the crackle of the paramedic’s radio and turned back in time to see them carefully place the C collar around Jo’s neck. “Oh God. Why isn’t she awake yet?” Her body lost its rigidity and she appeared to slump once again with the sickening feeling that all meaning was slowly slipping through her grasp this night.
“She took a blunt trauma to the back of the head ma’am. She may be out for some time.”
“Well use that stinky smelly stuff on her and wake her up.” She beseeched the men.
“That’s not wise ma’am.”
“Why aren’t you on your way to the hospital already?” Boney’s voice took on an edge of anger. She felt her emotions swinging precariously like a pendulum.
“Ma’am we need to finish our assessment and get her stable for transport to General Hospital.”
“Stable?” Boney’s anxiety leapt higher. “Is she going to be okay? What are you doing to her anyway?” Boney fired at the men her eyes wide. She swallowed back the nauseous bile threatening to rise from the depths within.
“Boney.” Teela touched Boney’s arm gently to calm her. “Let them do what they have to Boney, for as long as they need; they are taking care of Jo. We don’t want to rush them, right?”
Boney emotions played across her face in rapid succession before her lovely face distorted into a frown. Her heart was stricken with grief. Like a river the tears ran swiftly from her eyes. She did manage to give Teela a sharp nod. She turned to the paramedics beside Jo. “I’m riding with you.” Boney impatiently wiped at the flowing tears and stepped around Pax. Boney took a half step forward, her eyebrows knitted in warning.
Pax looked at her friend and wondered in amazement at the protective mother bear that had been released within Boney. She feared for her wild-looking friend as the desolation and anguish burned its way to the surface. Pax knew all too well that feeling beyond grief and suffering. She prayed that she never had to venture into its realm ever again.
Boney’s shoulders straightened and she had a different attitude than what she was a second before. “Try and stop me.” She threatened.
The paramedics looked at one another. One gave a curt shake of his head and his partner understood the warning not to argue the point.
“Officer…” Emily began. She nodded curtly to the State Trooper that had came into view behind the patrolman and quickly left for the outside as she recognized the detective.
“Barnett.” The large cop filled in her gap in memory.
“Thank you. Officer Barnett, who else has been called out?” Emily asked.
“No one yet detective. Officer Warren and I had arrived minutes before these two.” He pointed to Teela and Pax.
“Well why not?” Boney whirled on the officer. “What are you waiting for? You’re wasting time. You should be out there finding whoever did this.”
“Boney calm down honey. This isn’t going to help you or Jo.” Harley whispered.
“Calm down? Are you kidding me?” Boney was stunned and turned towards Harley.
“I know this is irregular and I am no longer on the force,” Emily said. “But I am assuming command of this crime scene until someone else arrives. Do you have a problem with that?” She exuded confidence.
“Yeah I do.” He straightened to his full height and looked down on the former detective. “I” he emphasized, “have control of this scene detective. I will determine what has occurred here. You have no jurisdiction, no claims.” He glared at her. “WARREN!” He barked making everyone in the room jump except Jo. The officer stepped into the doorway with a couple of sheriffs.
“Yeah?” His buddy came into full view and surveyed the scene.
“Call this in and tell them we need an investigative team out here stat.” His eyes never left the Emily’s in challenge.
Emily bit the inside of her cheek to keep from biting the officer’s ass. He was correct in his assessment as she thought but he didn’t have to be so smug about it and dress me down. If I still had my shield I would bust your big ox ass to directing traffic. Ha! She laughed inwardly. I just might have to call in a favor or two to teach you a lesson. “Can I at least ask what happened?” she asked coolly.
“Someone broke in here and hurt Jo. That’s what happened,” Boney supplied full of anger she had never known before. It embraced her like a second skin and she wanted to pulverize something or someone. Moreover she wanted the person who hurt her Jo.
“Are you sure ma’am?” Officer Barnett asked.
“What?” She couldn’t believe the nerve of the officer’s implication. She did not like his tone and felt her body bristle.
“Your hands and clothing are covered in the victim’s blood,” he stated flatly.
“I turned her over when I found her,” Boney said barely in control. “She is my life and soul. I would never harm her. Have you had one too many doughnuts tonight shit for brains?”
“Boney, come on let’s go in the kitchen for a minute.” Teela tried but Boney was not listening. All of her energy was focused on the man standing before her.
“It’s a statement of observation ma’am.” Officer Barnett clenched his jaw in restraint.
“For the record officer, Boney would never harm Jo or anyone,” Pax verified to corresponding head nods of Teela, Harley, and from the former detective. “We are their closest friends. We should know.”
Officer Barnett studied each of the women staring back at him.
Boney’s hands balled into fists and she would have stepped into the policeman’s comfort zone had he not take one backwards. “Are you saying that I did this?” Boney challenged. “Tell me…” her voice dropped to a menacing level. “You are…NOT…” she barked. “…saying that I beat up my WIFE?” Boney quickly crossed the two short steps to put her up close and personal with the policemen. Then because she was not as tall as the cop and could not reach she bumped her chest somewhere into his ribcage. “Are you?”
“Boney come on!” Pax called to her too late.
In a nanosecond Boney found her face pressed against the nearest wall and her hands pinned behind her back. “You are under arrest for assaulting a police officer.”
“WHAT?!” came the chorus of voices from around the room. One of the paramedics quickly looked over his shoulder then back to his task.
“What the hell are you talking about?” Teela was flabbergasted. “She did no such thing.”
“She assaulted me.”
“She is distraught!” Harley retorted and looked to Emily for her to do something. “Are you saying that this woman’s tits hurt you?”
“She assaulted a police officer,” he repeated flatly.
“For God’s sake you can’t be serious? Emily, do something,” Teela pleaded.
“I can’t go to jail.” Boney’s voice softened as she started to fight against the cop but could not move. He leaned his weight against her and her legs were spread wide. “You can’t take me to jail. My wife needs me.” She cried as the metal cuffs clicked around her wrists.
Officer Barnett continued his hold until he double checked the handcuffs to ensure they were firmly locked in place. “You have the right to remain silent…” he began.
“Dear god.” Boney cried and struggled to break free when he spun her around. She nearly lost her balance but Barnett held her upright. “Don’t do this. I’m sorry,” she pleaded. “Really I am. I didn’t mean to hit you or whatever. Please.”
“Anything you say…”
“Officer Barnett, may I speak to you please?” Emily started and ran her fingers through her hair. The situation had escalated far out of control. Oh Boney, Why did you have to touch him?
Boney became dead weight and dropped onto the floor. She snapped her head in Teela’s direction. “Teela the papers on me and Jo are in the desk.” Teela nodded. “Jo…Jo baby.” She screamed as the officer hauled her to her feet and forced walked her out the room. “Don’t leave me honey. Please don’t leave me!”
“Oh god Boney.” Teela followed behind them.
Officer Barnett continued to Mirandize Boney as they made their way out of the room and toward the front door. Once outside, Teela gasped at the sea of emergency lights that flashed in strobes across the snow covered lawn. Teela was stunned at the law enforcement support that lined the drive and road.
Boney’s eyes grew wide and she resisted the officer and made him work to place her in the hard back seat.
“We’ll stay with Jo Boney.” Teela told her before he slammed the door shut. “Where are you taking her?”
“The tenth precinct,” he replied flatly.
“Where are your keys Boney?” Teela shouted to be heard through the glass.
“On the kitchen counter,” came the tearful muffled scream.
“Harley will follow you in your car. We will get you out Boney. I promise.”
“Officer Barnett,” Emily began rationally. “I am sure you can understand how distressed she was to come home and find her partner like that. She was out of control. I agree. What she did was foolish but it certainly does not warrant assault charges.”
“She assaulted me detective, plain and simple.” He opened the driver’s door.
“Can you let her go? As a favor to me? I do not forget my favors and I pay up.” She held his gaze and begged him to accept. “She needs to be with her partner. If it were you and your wife were lying in there fighting for her life can you say that you would react differently?”
He looked towards the house and thought. Emily and Teela paused with hope. “I’m sorry detective. Hey!” He shouted at Boney. “Stop kicking my seat.” Boney lowered her legs back to the floor. She dropped her head to her chest as her face still wet from tears that chilled in the night air were joined by warm fresh ones.
“Look. I am sure that you do not want it to get around the squad room that you arrested a woman for throwing her tits at you. The guys might start to question that?” she goaded and hoped once more that he took the bait.
After a hesitant moment Officer Barnett clenched his jaw once again. “I’m sorry detective. If I let her go, next time it will be someone else who forget themselves and the next person and the next. Before you know it no one will have respect for officers anymore and then where would this town be? I cannot.” He lowered his voice so that only the two of them could hear. “Besides, you and I know that she is first in line for questioning.”
“WE have proof of her whereabouts from six this evening.”
“You will probably get a chance to show it.” He sat in the driver seat. “Goodnight, Ma’am.” Barnett closed the door and pulled away from the house.
“Goddamn it!” Emily screamed her frustration. Oh Boney, what a mess.
She ran her fingers through her thick mane and exhaled loudly. She reached into her pocket and pulled out her cell phone. She pushed the buttons until she found the number she was looking for. Quickly she dialed the speed number and waited with the phone three inches from her ear. The loud bark into the receiver came on the second ring.
“It’s Emily sir…”
“Yes Captain, it’s me. I’m sorry to disturb you at this late hour but I need to speak with you sir.”
Continued in Part 7
Extended Intentions comments to the bard at Jynaki@aol.com
Back to the Academy