Billie & Jewl by Katia N. Ruiz


Violence. Only a teeny bit, this is a romance.

Angst. LOTS AND LOTS OF IT, SO BE AWARE! I think there's a lot of crying in the story, mainly because I was crying a LOT when I wrote it, so… beware!

Love/Sex. Yes, between two women, and a man and a woman.

Age. If you're underage, and it is illegal where you are to read this type of story, then close this page. J, Thank you.

Title: This novel is not formerly titled, but Billie and Jewl is the identification name I'll be using.

If you have comments, non-destructive comments, of course, send me an email at

Billie and Jewl (UNTITLED)

By Katia N. Ruiz

Copyright 2002-present


Billie & Jewl

Jewl's gasps grew in intensity as Billie's silky lips sucked passionately on the heat between her legs. She groaned and her hips twisted as an incredible orgasm shot through her like lightning. The flat plane of her stomach heaved and quivered. She lay there, gasping, until Billie made her way slowly up her body, trailing soft kisses along her smooth sweaty skin. She grasped Billie's head in her hands, running her fingers through the short blonde hair, and pulled her up to kiss her deeply for a long time. Billie returned the kiss with equal passion, her own body sweaty and hot.

"I love you," Jewl kept saying like a mantra against her mouth. She felt Billie stiffen on top of her, her kisses hesitant.

Billie didn't reply, wouldn't reply, even though she felt the same. Knowing the circumstances of their relationship didn't allow her to express herself in return.

Jewl said: "Marry me."

In shock, Billie pulled back and simply stared at her, blue-green eyes disbelieving. "You can't possibly be serious!" She blurted all of a sudden, pulling out of Jewl's embrace and getting off the bed. She gathered her clothes, which lay in disarray all around the room, and began slipping them on.

Jewl watched with a confused frown, pushing her tousled light brown hair away from her damp forehead. "Did I say something wrong?" She asked, sounding puzzled and hurt.

Billie scowled at her, angry at her nerve. She buttoned her shirt quickly. "You have a lot of gall," She growled at her, slipping nicely toned legs into blue jeans.

"Why?" Jewl asked, growing angry herself at Billie's attitude.

"Would you be willing to come out to the whole town to marry me?" Billie asked, knowing that she would do it for Jewl. Sadly, she already knew the answer Jewl would give her.

Jewl, blue eyes wide, said: "Why does everyone have to know?"

That did it for Billie; she'd heard the same bag of shit ever since they became lovers. She was in the closet herself, but she was already tired of hiding, of lying to herself and to others. She wanted to be open to the world, not to hide under a mask. Jewl was the complete opposite; she was terrified of coming out. She used excuse after excuse to not come out; not even their love for each other was enough reason. After a while, Billie got tired of asking, until now she hadn't brought up the subject.

The hurt Billie felt at Jewl's attitude only made her angrier; there would be no turning back this time. No breaking up and getting back together at the first touch of her fingers or just the sight of her any more. She would be strong this time. Her face reddened and she strode over to her shoes. "This is over!" She hissed, pointing a shaky finger at the shocked Jewl. "I'm leaving you. I'm tired of this shit!" She said, sitting down and slipping on her socks and then her shoes. "I'm not coming back, and I'm coming out. Everyone will know I'm a dyke. You hear?"

Jewl stared at her in shock. "But-" she stammered, scrambling out of bed and standing naked in the middle of her bedroom. "You can't leave me!" She finally managed, tears filling her eyes. "I love you!"

Billie stopped buckling her belt and stared at her for a long moment. Then she asked: "Enough to come out of the closet as my lover?"

Jewl's blue eyes widened again, she was terrified. She had seen what some of the townspeople had done to people who had come out. All the beatings, the cold shoulders, etc. She wouldn't be able to handle that. She was alone; her father would say she was sick, an animal. Never mind that he was dead. "I can't!" She whispered softly, the tears dripping down her cheeks.

Billie's amazing blue-green eyes, eyes that were always hot when they gazed at Jewl, turned hard; her jaw tightened as she straightened her shoulders and tightened her belt into place. She reached for her jacket, which lay at the foot of the bed. "Obviously, you don't love me enough." She said; her voice was hoarse with suppressed pain, and left the room, and in seconds the house.



Chapter One

"What the hell is this I'm hearing around town?"

Billie, still half asleep, looked at her bedside clock. It was seven o'clock in the morning. Only her mother would call her at such an early hour on a Sunday. "Mom, what are you talking about?"

"You're a dyke! You're a dyke?" The woman shrieked, making her daughter pull the headset away from her ear, now fully awake. "I had to hear this from someone else!"

Billie's heart pounded. She never expected the news to travel this fast, though it had been her intention to have the news spread around. All she'd done was tell Agnes Title that she was a lesbian. Damn, that lady must have gone running as soon as I left the pharmacy yesterday! Billie thought bewilderedly. "I'm sorry you had to find out this way, mom." She finally replied.

"I am not your mother!" The woman raged, her words stunning her daughter. "You are dead to me!"

Billie was brought out of her shock by the sound of the dial tone. She sat up in bed, staring at the phone still in her hand. Disowned, She thought bewilderedly. She's disowned me! I'm dead to her… She felt tears sting her eyes for a moment, but she pushed them down, allowing anger to replace them.


She didn't feel any better. She hadn't really thought about the consequences of her decision two months ago. Not that she regretted it, while she felt depressed at the way thing were going, she still felt somewhat free and more herself. Her mood, though, was almost non-existent with Margo at the travel agency. The young men following her and taunting her as she made her way to work didn't make it any better either. She knew them, had grown up playing with some of them; she had once even considered some of them her friends until they spotted her this morning and began calling her names. She tried to pay them no mind, but it bothered her that people couldn't see past the labels and look at the person within.

She came out alright; Agnes Title had made sure that everyone knew that Susan Jordan's daughter was a lesbian. Jesus! Those first few days, Billie's mother refused to answer her calls, and when she showed up at her shop, acted as if Billie wasn't even there. Billie had given up after more than two weeks trying, the feeling of rejection turning into anger that she could hardly contain.

Jewl had tried to see her many times, and their arguments were barely kept private. When she showed up at Billie's place, Billy would let her in only to argue the same subject over and over. Jewl would not come out of the closet she was deeply entrenched in, and Billie would not wait around until she came around. It proved hard enough to try not to fall under Jewl's spell many times. She missed Jewl's perfumed beautiful body, her beautiful eyes, and her sweet-smelling hair. Her body yearned for her, her heart beat wildly for Jewl's, but she could not go back in the closet for her. Jewl had left many pleading messages in her machine, but Billie was determined to be strong.

Bobby Downy, one of her tormentors, whom she had brawled with enough times to teach him better, caught up to her as she turned the corner into the block where her small business was located along with others. He stood menacingly in front of her, blocking her way. His eyes were full of hatred and ignorance. She moved to pass by his side, but he moved in front of her again. Exasperated, she said: "What do you want, Bobby Downey?"

Bobby seemed to hesitate, as if he expected her to be afraid of him. He looked over her shoulder at his friends and seemed to gather his courage, little that he had. "You're a filthy dyke." He said, stuttering on "dyke."

She looked at him expectantly, putting down her suitcase and crossing her arms, blonde eyebrows raised. Finally, after waiting some time, she said: "And?"

He smirked, as if he had some power over her. He moved closer to her, beyond the point with which she was comfortable. "I think it's disgusting." He snarled into her face.

She laughed. That surprised him and his friends. She pointed a finger at him. "Do you honestly think that your opinion is important to me, Bobby?" She retorted mockingly. "I don't give a flying fuck about your thoughts, if you seriously have any. Now let me be." Bobby's mouth twisted, and she realized what he intended to do. She said with an angry growl: "You dare spit on me and I'll break your mouth."

He stopped in mid-spit-gathering, knowing fully well that she meant it. Once, six years ago, when they had been eighteen and in high school, they had gotten into a fist fight and she had broken his jaw severely, with just a right hook. It was known around Illuminations that Billie Jordan was strong as an ox. She could take on anyone that wanted to fight her, he learned first hand. He was still suffering now for it; his jaw ached terribly every time it rained.

She knew he remembered well, and she laughed. "You wouldn't want to walk around for six months with a brace on your mouth again, would you?" She taunted, letting him know with her eyes that he had pissed her off. It practically freaked him out. "You know how embarrassing that was the first time." She picked up her suitcase and walked past him, knowing he wouldn't follow this time. She shook her head.

This is small-town life. She thought sadly, her depression returning with a vengeance. If only I didn't love Illuminations so much, I'd leave today. She shrugged to herself, making her way down the store-fronted block. Some townspeople were walking in her direction along the sidewalk, and crossed the street to avoid walking near her. They would not meet her eyes, and she lifted her chin. I'm not giving them the satisfaction. She was being honest about herself, that was all that mattered.

She lost what few friends she had when she came out, but she made a few new ones in the process. Margo Tanner, her assistant at the agency, became a friend. "Friends come and go." That was Margo's favorite line when Billie expressed frustration, the phrase delivered with airy flippancy. They'd had a friendly enough relationship as boss and employee, but when news got around town, Margo saw Billie in a different way. She came out of her way to talk to her, to be her friend, and made Billie laugh despite her obvious anger and sadness.

That first morning, after news had gotten around town that Susan Jordan's only daughter was a lesbian, Margo had been sitting at her desk, looking over some papers. As Billie walked in, expecting to find the office empty, flamboyant Margo had stood from her chair and greeted her with more gusto than she ever had before.

She got to talk, and told Billie that she was the headline of every gossipmonger in town, and that she shouldn't worry about herself, because she'd hired family when she hired Margo Tanner. She went on to give her every address of every lesbian bar, either in town or in the outskirts. Billie couldn't help but like her. They became instant friends, once the ice was broken.

Presently, Billie strolled into her office, and Margo was ready, waiting for her with a cup of hot chocolate. "For the crisp morning," She said in her laid back manner, sitting at her own desk with her own cup.

Billie realized that she had been so distracted she hadn't noticed the cooler weather; it was definitely becoming autumn. "Any calls?" She inquired, looking at the paperwork on her desk with no expression.

"Joseph left a message; he's back from his trip." Margo narrowed her eyes, mentally pulling up the message. "Give him a call, got the news, don't be afraid, he loves you anyway."

Billie smiled at the thought of her best friend, Joseph Marquee. He was a beautiful person, inside and out. His sweetness was unlike any man Billie knew, his benign love for his family and friends made him loved by everyone in town. He was so much like his late father, John Marquee, that many of the older ladies, many of whom had harbored deep crushes on the elder Mr. Marquee, called him John. If there was anyone who would shut people up about Billie's sexuality, it was he and his mother.

Lorna Marquee had taught her son well, acceptance and unconditional love being one of many lessons. She had always been more of a mother to Billie than Susan had been. If Joseph was home, then that meant Lorna was home also. She usually went on the trips with him, having a passive hand at Marquee Enterprises' business decisions.

They were leading family in Illuminations, rich beyond imagination. They owned several properties in town, but most of their business was in New York City, an hour's drive away from town. Their company, Marquee enterprises basically ran itself, but from time to time their input and signatures were needed; hence their sporadic trips out of town.

Smiling as she returned from her thoughts, Billie picked up the phone and dialed Lorna and Joseph's number.

Lorna picked up on the second ring.

"Hi, Lorna," Billie said, and then cut to the chase. "I suppose you've heard the news."

Lorna's motherly voice soothed Billie. "Of course I did. What would you expect in Illuminations?" She said, laughing softly. "So tell me, is this something that was always part of your life? Or is it recent?" She inquired gently.

Billie smiled; with Lorna she always felt cared for and loved. Lorna had always been that way, gentle and sweet with her and Jewl, even though they weren't her daughters. When Jewl's father died, Lorna and her husband did not hesitate in making sure the nineteen-year-old girl was cared for and that she kept her house.

Billie had grown up being best friends with Joseph and Jewl, and it was later, in their late teens, that Jewl and she had become lovers. No one knew, not even Joseph. "My whole life, momma," She answered, sighing. "Mother already disowned me."

Lorna cooed her comfort, then she said: "Don't feel bad, honey. That woman is a wretched creature. She never had any sense." Lorna and Billie's mother never once got along; for as long as Billie could remember, they had been fighting over the way Susan was raising Billie. As children they had been friends, but as they grew up both women grew apart. "She'll come around, even if it takes her twenty years."

Billie laughed, aware that Margo was on her own phone. She grew serious, closing her eyes. "I feel a little depressed." She confessed softly.

"I know, honey." Lorna replied. "I can hear it in your voice. Why don't you come to dinner tonight?"

"How about Saturday night?" Billie countered.

"Sounds good, my love. I'll tell Joseph."

"As a matter of fact, I want to speak to Joseph." Billie said. "Is he at the office?"

"Yes, he is. Go on and call him." Lorna said.

"Hey," Joseph said, sitting down next to his friend on the bench. He looked around Drake Gardens with bluish green eyes, noticing the freshness of the air. "I've missed this place. New York City is so polluted." He pressed his shoulder against hers, smiling slightly.

"Hey," Billie said after a moment, unsure of herself. She couldn't meet his eyes.

Joseph's smile grew. "So what's going on? I leave town for a couple of months and you're a lesbian when I come back!"

She looked up and relaxed at the sight of his smile. "I've always been a lesbian."

"I knew."

She looked at him in surprise. "You knew, how?"

"Well, you were never interested in any of the guys, even when they tried their hardest to turn your head." He arched a very blonde eyebrow. "Plus the fact that you're a brute."

"Hey!" Her protest was half-hearted as she laughed.

"Face it," Her friend chuckled, scratching at a slightly fuzzy cheek. "I don't know many women that could actually beat me up." He lightly punched her shoulder. "You pack a mean punch." They'd gotten into enough scuffles growing up, that he knew what he was talking about. He'd seen her deal some damage plenty of times. He was easily twice her size in bulk and she could probably lay him out.

"You better remember that!" She said, grinning. Growing serious, she looked at him intently. "So you feel fine about it?"

Smiling fondly at her, he lifted an arm and wrapped it around her shoulders, holding her close. "You're like my sister, and I love you more than I say sometimes."

Feeling tears come to her eyes, Billie nodded. "I love you too." She said thickly, swallowing hard.

He held her until she recovered her composure. "Word around town is that your mother acts as if you don't exist." He said carefully.

"Yeah," Billie nodded, frowning.

"I'm so sorry, Billie."

"It's alright, I'll get over it." Billie said, shrugging. They both knew it was a lie. Billie didn't forget things like this easily. She would hold it in for years. Just like she'd held in the fact that she was a lesbian for so long. The way she came out was what amused him.

"What made you tell Mrs. Title, though?" He asked, lightening the mood.

Chuckling, Billie shrugged. "I don't know. I guess I figured that she would make sure everyone found out and that way I wouldn't have to actually talk about it or surprise everyone by starting to date a woman."

Joseph smirked. "I bet you didn't expect the news to get around so quickly!"

Both friends laughed, and they chatted until it was time to get back to work.


The next morning, Billie showed up a little late, and Margo was on the phone. Billie was glad, because at least she would have some time to think. Jewl had called that morning, begging her to reconsider and hear her out. Billie had been especially harsh to her ex-lover. It was killing her to treat Jewl that way, to make her cry. She would not go back in the closet to make Jewl happy though, even when she felt like she was dying to be in Jewl's arms again.

Margo hung up the phone and she left her desk to sashay over to Billie's. She sat on a corner of the desk, looking down at Billie with piercing brown eyes. "Now tell me why you're so down. You're supposed to feel free and happy after coming out." Margo said.

Billie shook her head, not meeting her eyes. "I don't know what you're talking about." She said evasively.

"It's a woman, isn't it?" Margo insisted.

"Margo." Billie said warningly, glaring at her.

"Nothing else could have you this way." Margo concluded, and studied her for a long moment. "It's a woman," Margo insisted. "I know it." She concluded thoughtfully, studying Billie again.

"It's a woman, okay?" Billie snapped, eyes flashing angrily and cheeks burning red. "And she's a coward! Not even our love is enough to give her courage to face the stupid people in this town." Her eyes watered as she looked away and clenched her jaw. She felt Margo's thin hand on her shoulder.

"I've got a remedy." Margo said soothingly. Billie looked up at her, confused. "Her name is Johanna, an out lesbian, sweet as they come." Margo continued with a smile. "She'll make you forget everything."

Billie looked dubious. "You're not talking about a prostitute, are you?"

Margo laughed loudly, slapping Billie's shoulder affectionately. "No, silly! She's twenty-eight years old, works in Real Estate, and is very successful. Beautiful as can be; you'll like her, I promise." She jumped from Billie's desk and went back to her own, picking up her phone.

Billie stared at her. "You're fixing me up, aren't you?" She demanded; she was afraid of what the outrageous Margo was capable of.

"Of course I am." Margo said offhandedly, pushing a lock of frizzy dark brown hair away from her dark cheek. She paused from her dialing, looking at Billie for a long time, then saying: "She's had the hots for you since she first saw you years ago, but we all thought you were straight. Though we should have known better, you never dated men… and knowing Johanna, she probably hasn't heard a thing about you being gay yet." She shrugged, dialing the rest of the numbers. "Johanna Mason-Lee, please." Margo said into the phone, and then waited.

"Hi, Johan, how are you?" Margo listened for a couple of seconds and chuckled. "I have something interesting to tell you, honey. Can you guess?" She smiled at Billie and winked, pursing her lips and arching an eyebrow. "Well, you know Billie Jordan? No, she's not in front of me, are you crazy?" She winked at Billie again and Billie had to laugh. "No, that's the radio." Margo said. "Well, Billie Jordan is family, darling." She continued smugly, a shoulder shaking slightly, looking at Billie. "Yes, honey, she is. And I want you to come over to the agency before lunch, so I can introduce you two. Any objections?" She sat on her chair and grinned at Billie. "Perfect. See you then." She hung up and smiled at Billie. "You ready?"

Billie chuckled and blushed slightly. "I've never been hooked up before." She admitted, brushing a hand through her hair. "I probably look like crap; I haven't been myself lately."

Margo looked her over. "Gorgeous." She said openly, and met Billie's eyes. "Have you ever been told you're gorgeous?"

Billie blushed violently, picking up her papers, embarrassed like she'd never been before.

"Well," Margo said laughingly. "You are gorgeous and all the lesbians in Illuminations have a crush on you. They absolutely adore you."

Billie's blush grew in intensity. "Stop it!" She said, when Margo laughed.

"Why?" Margo insisted. When Billie didn't answer, she asked: "Who is this woman that has you all discombobulated over her?"

"Jesus, Margo, you take it all the way!" Billie exclaimed, glaring up at her.

"Hey, I'm just trying to get to know you, Billie." Margo defended herself. "We are starting to become comfortable, and I worry about you."

Billie sighed and shook her head; she knew friendship with Margo would be a trial. They worked in companionable silence, until a little after twelve, when their twinkling bells rang as the door opened. Billie's eyes widened and she stood up nervously, butterflies in her stomach, and Margo greeted her friend, Johanna Mason-Lee. She was beautiful, Margo had been so right.

Johanna Mason-Lee had long black wavy hair that went down to her waist, hazel green eyes that crinkled sexily at the corners. Margo had told Billie that she was twenty-eight years old, but she looked so much younger, though her eyes told of a wise mind. Her lips were full, pink and delicate. She wore no makeup, and that added even more to her natural appeal. A beautiful body was encased in beautiful tanned skin; she stood about three inches shorter than Billie's five feet nine inches.

Oh My God, Billie thought, her heart beating erratically out of her chest. She was instantly attracted.

When their eyes met, Johanna seemed shy and a little embarrassed. Her smile towards Billie told her Margo had been right, Johanna had the hots for her. Billie couldn't keep her eyes away from her face as they shook hands. Johanna's palm was smooth and slightly moist in Billie's hand, and Billie detected a little tremble. "Nice to meet you," Billie said huskily, her eyes looking deep into Johanna's; she was mesmerized.

Johanna seemed to be mesmerized also, and she seemed unable to say a word.

Margo gave them a great idea when she chuckled and said: "Why don't you two go out to lunch or something?"

Billie glanced at her gratefully and looked questioningly at Johanna.

Johanna grinned. "Sounds great to me." She finally said, her voice musical and soft to Billie's ears.

Chapter Two

They sat together at Rosenbloom's Restaurant, which was gay-owned. Margo had given them the suggestion, knowing that Rosenbloom's was one of their best in town. The owner was a self-proclaimed "faggot;" he called himself that "so that nobody else could." He was one of those owners that loved to mingle with his employees and clientele. He loved working, cooking, waiting on people. Couldn't live without any of those things, he said.

His name was Mike Rosenbloom and he had always been a fixture in Billie's small town life, even if from far away, in business before Billie had even been born. Susan Jordan never allowed her daughter near Rosenbloom, saying her daughter wouldn't mingle "with one of those people."

What was ironic was that her daughter turned out to be one of those people. Billie knew the fact was killing Susan. Mike greeted Billie with a hug and kiss, very happy to see her there, especially with a date. "I heard the news, of course. Billie, I'm so happy you're one of us." He had said as he guided them to their table in a private area of the locale. "Family, you know. We have to stick together here in Illuminations, with the filthy hetero homophobes here and all. Anyway, you're too gorgeous to be straight; it would be such a waste." He settled them at the table, giving them the menus. "Have a drink, my treat." He said.

Billie and Johanna declined graciously, making their orders. After he left them in a flurry of hands, they stared at each other for a long moment, and then burst out laughing. "He's something," Johanna said between chortles. "Really something."

Billie had to agree. She laughed, remembering. "When I was a kid, I used to see him in the street." She said to Johanna, feeling comfortable. "I remember that he flamed down the street, and he didn't give a shit what anybody thought. I wanted to be brave like him." She sat back in her chair in a relaxed manner, both arms on the armrests of her chair, head cocked to the side and smiling.

Johanna smiled softly. "Were you?" She asked gently, leaning forward with interest, delicate hands on the table.

Billie looked down at Johanna's gentle-looking hands. She said honestly: "No, but now I am." Their eyes met.

"I'm glad," Johanna said with a soft smile. Their orders arrived and they ate.

"My mother died of a stroke two years ago." Johanna was saying over coffee, spinning her spoon sadly in her cup of tea. She looked up at Billie, her eyes watery. It is so easy to talk to her, she thought. "My dad died not long after that, from heart complications. I'm an only child. I moved here from the city not long after he passed." She let her gaze fall to the table as she thought sadly of her parents. Billie had been telling her about her mother disowning her after all those years just being the two of them with no father, and it had brought back memories of her sweet parents. "I'm all alone."

Billie leaned forward and reached across the table, taking Johanna's hand in both of hers. Johanna met Billie's sympathetic ocean colored eyes, her heart fluttering wildly. She allowed her hand the pleasure of feeling Billie's smooth palms around it.

"No, you're not. You've got Margo." Billie managed, feeling nervous also. "And now you've got me. I'm your friend now."

Johanna was touched; she lifted Billie's hand to her mouth and kissed it gratefully. "You're so sweet." She whispered, taking in every feature of Billie's perfect face with her eyes. She noticed the cleft on Billie's chin and hungered to kiss it. "I'm glad Margo introduced us today." She said, her voice low as their eyes met.

Billie smiled engagingly, revealing a row of white teeth. She said: "I'm glad too."

"What about your father?" Johanna asked, curious. "You haven't mentioned him."

Billie looked down at the table, shrugging. "There's nothing much to say, really." She replied, taking a deep breath. "I don't know him."

"I'm so sorry," Johanna whispered in sympathy, leaning forward again. "Has he passed away?"

"I don't know," Billie said, jaw clenched. "My mother never really spoke about him. I don't miss it though," She continued, smiling softly. "There was a man that was like my father."

"Oh? I'm glad," Johanna said sincerely, smiling back. "And who is this man?"

"Was," Billie corrected, taking a deep breath. "John Marquee. He treated me as if I were his own." Her smile turned bittersweet.

"I'm glad you knew his love, then." Johanna whispered, reaching across the table and grasping Billie's hand in hers.

Billie looked up into her new friend's eyes, feeling warm and cared for already.


"Excuse me," A voice brought Margo out of her work. She lifted her eyes to find the most beautiful creation she had ever seen. Her eyebrows rose as her eyes took in every feature.

Straight light brown hair fell over a face that could have been made for movies and magazines; the features resembled a younger Kristie Alley's, brought straight out of heaven. Blue eyes were the color of the sky, and they looked so endearingly innocent. She had a body worthy of praise that was attractively clad in beige working woman's skirt suit complete with blazer and white gold necklace and earrings. Her skin was creamy and smooth looking.

Margo swallowed hard, and was finally able to say: "May I help you?"

The young woman seemed unaware of Margo's baffled admiration. She looked over at Billie's desk and then at Margo inquiringly. "Is Billie in?" She asked; her voice was sweet and soft.

"Not at this moment, she's out for lunch." Margo said slowly, still staring. "Anything I can help you with?"

The woman shook her head; her hair shook itself onto her cheeks. "Do you know when she'll be back?" She asked.

Margo grew curious, as it was part of her nature. "In another twenty minutes or so," She replied, eyeing the woman closely. "Would you like to leave a message?"

The woman shook her head again, soft hair swaying healthily. "No, but I'll wait a little while." She sat down on one of the chairs meant for clients and stared out the storefront window.

"Would you like some hot cocoa, or coffee?" Margo offered, studying the perfect profile of the woman. That was when she noticed that the woman's full lower lip pouted slightly, and very attractively.

The woman shook her head again, eyes half-lidded as she continued to stare out the window.

Margo shrugged and went back to her paperwork, eyeing the stranger curiously and admiringly from time to time.

Jewl saw them first, standing in front of the agency talking. The way they looked at each other, the way they smiled as they spoke sent a sharp jab of jealousy and pain through her. The woman with Billie was absolutely beautiful, and Jewl could see that Billie could not take her eyes away from her. She breathed deeply, trying not to attract the attention of Billie's assistant by crying.

She was hurting inside, and the pain only intensified when Billie took the woman into her arms and hugged her tightly, bringing their bodies close together, as if they belonged that way. It was obvious Billie was attracted to this woman.

So this is why Billie didn't want anything to do with me, Jewl thought sadly, her eyes filling with tears. She's found someone else.

The woman finally left and Billie came in, looking shocked when she saw Jewl sitting there. She stopped short, eyes wide, for a moment full of love, then hard and unwelcome.

Margo took a look at Billie's angry eyes and stood up, reaching for her purse and leaving, murmuring something about being hungry.

Jewl stood up, her expression needy. She took a step towards Billie, but stopped short at Billie's tone towards her.

"What do you want?" Billie demanded brusquely, walking past her and moving around to the safety behind her desk.

Jewl's eyes watered, her heart ached. She whispered brokenly: "I've missed you."

Billie sat down, her eyes still hard. "Okay." She said. Inside, she was dying to hold Jewl. She wanted her, needed her, but she wouldn't budge.

Jewl sobbed quietly, burying her face in her hands. Billie forced herself not to respond. Finally, Jewl lifted her head and stared at Billie through red-rimmed teary eyes. "You're seeing that woman." She stated more than asked.

Billie didn't deny it; she'd be seeing Johanna again that weekend.

"Are you?" Jewl insisted, her heart aching terribly.

Billie lost her patience. "What is it to you, Jewl?" She snapped loudly, her cheeks reddening in anger. "Leave me be, stop leaving me messages, I don't want any more to do with you. Don't show up here ever again, I can't stand to be around you. Can't you understand that?" She was distressed, because her body and heart were telling her to go to Jewl, to take her into her arms and to love her, there on the floor if she had to. But her head was telling her that Jewl would only hurt her again, would never come out so they could be together openly; it warned her not to get hurt anymore. "Leave me alone, Jewl. Move on. I have."

Jewl left, crying.

Billie slumped down onto her chair, unsuccessfully trying to hold back the tears. This was going to be so hard; she loved Jewl so much.

Margo returned not long after Jewl left. Billie tried to wipe her cheeks dry with the back of her hand, but the tears kept coming. Margo respectfully let her be after giving her a tissue for her runny nose. For a few minutes, Billie tried to compose herself.

Finally, Margo said, her voice gentle: "So she's the one."

Billie looked up at her in confusion, her nose red and eyes puffy from crying.

"The one who has you going all crazy, eh?" Margo clarified. "Honestly, I don't blame you, she's a beauty." She whistled appreciatively, picking up a pen and twirling it between her fingers.

Billie sniffled, looking down at her desk, eyes full of pain.

Margo saw through her. "But her looks are not all that important to you; you're in love with her, aren't you?" She asked softly. Again, Billie said nothing. "She's in love with you also, that much is obvious. I saw her running down the street, crying a lot. She's a fool. A big fool, if you ask me. I think she has realized that she's lost you." She paused, looking at Billie. "Are you going to date Johanna?"

Billie nodded, looking up at her again. "Yes, she's too sweet and nice for me to let her pass by." She said softly, her voice hoarse.

Margo chuckled wisely. "You're no fool, I know that now." She said, making Billie smile just as a client stepped in.

Continued in Part 2

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