If you’d like to tell me what a wonderful writer I am or that I royally suck, feel free at: XenaNut@hotmail.com. If you have suggestions or corrections, please don’t bother as that’s what my publisher’s editor is for.
Remmy stood back, hands on her hips, head cocked slightly to the side. She thought the picture was straight, but wasn’t positive. “What do you think?”
Julie studied it, taking a step back until her back almost came into contact with the wall opposite the one the picture had just been hung up on. “I think it is.” Then, chewing on her lip, she walked over to it, grabbing the two side edges, tilting it slightly left.
“Uh, no,” Remmy drawled, taking the edges and tilting it further right.
“No, it needs to go left,” Julie insisted.
“No. Now’s it’s dipping.” Julie tried to slap Remmy’s hands away, only to have her wrists grabbed by Remmy. “Woman! I’m gonna beat you!”
Julie looked at Remmy, eyes wide in shock. It didn’t take long for her to burst into laughter, Remmy quickly following. “I’d really like to see you try, Wonder Girl.”
Remmy’s brow shot up. “Tempt me and I might.”
Julie raised a brow of her own, silently challenging the brunette to try anything. The battle of the wills only lasted a few moments before Julie again broke into laughter. “Come on. Let’s go watch TV.”
Remmy watched Julie saunter out of the room, then glanced back at the picture. One more glance to make sure Julie was truly gone, she tilted the picture slightly to the left.
“No, I actually wanted to go into journalism in college,” Julie explained. She and Remmy were both seated at opposite ends of the couch. Remmy’s longer legs were curled up under her, Julie’s stretched out, crossed at the ankles.
“So, how did you end up in teaching, then?” Remmy asked, uncurling herself and letting one leg run along he edge of the couch, next to Julie’s. she wasn’t entirely surprised when the blonde took her foot in her lap and began to gently massage it.
Julie shrugged, her fingers absently working at the heel of Remmy’s foot. “I don’t know. During my junior year, I worked at a newspaper, shadowing a journalist for awhile.” Her nose scrunched up in distaste at the memory. “Her name was Doris Regal. Real bitch. I remember going out on stories with her, and I’d watch her with whomever she was interviewing, and god, she was just so damn aggressive. Downright rude, sometimes. I thought, if this is what being a journalist is like, no thank you. I changed my major from communications to Social Sciences.”
Remmy wrinkled her nose. “I hate science of any kind.”
Julie playfully swatted her foot. “Goof. What about you? College?”
Remmy smirked. “Now, Julie, that would require me to stay in one place and commit to something.” She was surprised to see Julie’s eyes suddenly become shadowed with a comment that was more teasing than anything. “Julie?” she said softly. “What’s the matter?”
Julie spared a glance into curious blue eyes. “Do you intend to stay here, Remmy? To stay in Woodland?”
Their gaze met, and Remmy couldn’t look away. There’s nowhere in the world I’d rather be. Instead, she sad simply, “Yes.” She swallowed, deciding to add, “I can’t imagine being anywhere else.”
Julie studied her for a moment, then tugged on her foot. “Lie down.” When Remmy had complied, she crawled down toward Remmy until she was sandwiched between her and the back of the couch. She rested her head on Remmy’s shoulder, an arm casually flopped over Remmy’s stomach. She felt gentle fingers run through her hair, lightly tugging it out of its ponytail until the strands fell through Remmy’s fingers like silk.
“You have the softest hair,” Remmy murmured, staring up at the ceiling fan, mesmerized by the blades.
Julie smiled, relishing the feel of Remmy’s warmth and calmed by the strong heartbeat under her. She toyed with the neckline of Remmy’s tank top, fingers grazing the tanned skin of her upper chest. “You know, after what Sergio did to me, I never thought I’d want to be touched again,” she whispered, unable to meet Remmy’s eyes. “I remember when I got back, I stayed with Matt and Skylar for a couple months. I just couldn’t stand the thought of being alone,” she explained unnecessarily. “Anyway, Matt and I have always been affectionate with each other. Our entire family was. He would look so hurt when I’d flinch whenever he came near me. He was really good about it, but still… It took all I had to be as normal with Skylar as I could. He’s so young, I knew there was no way he could possibly understand if suddenly Aunt Julie didn’t want his hugs anymore.”
Remmy listened, her fingers never stopping their petting. She couldn’t stop the soft sigh when Julie cuddled even closer, wrapping her arm almost possessively around the brunette’s middle.
“That first day you showed up on my doorstep, it was like I couldn’t hug you enough. My dream savior had come to life,” she said softly.
“I’m just a person, Julie,” Remmy said, her other hand trailing soft fingertips along Julie’s arm. “Nothing more, nothing less.”
“Not to me,” Julie said. She raised her head, looking into Remmy’s relaxed, calm face. “You’re my hero.”
Remmy swallowed, feeling a burning heat radiate off her own body, and just hoped Julie couldn’t feel it. Her heart was pounding as she looked into Julie’s trusting eyes, so close to her own. She needed to diffuse the seriousness. “That may be, but I refuse to wear tights. Maybe a cape, but definitely not tights.” The smile that earned her was nearly blinding. She couldn’t help but return it.
Julie felt the tug, that invisible rope that drew her to Remmy time and time again. Her gaze swam over the features of Remmy’s face, landing on full lips, still curved in a smile. “Has anyone ever told you that you’re beautiful?” she asked in a whisper, surprised that she’d spoken the words out loud.
Remmy shook her head. “Not anyone that I cared what they thought.”
“Well, I hope you care what I think, cause I think you’re gorgeous.” Julie grinned at the blush that swept up Remmy’s neck and into her cheeks. Deciding to let her off the hook, she changed the subject. “Tell me about some of your other jobs over the years.”
Remmy blew out a relieved breath, chewing on her bottom lip as she thought about it. She was still acutely aware of Julie’s eyes on her, but tried her best to ignore it, as well as the feel of one of Julie’s breasts pressed against her side. “Well, I worked as a maintenance worker off and on- public schools, and office buildings, tings like that. Um, oh! One of my more interesting jobs was as a bartender at a strip joint.”
Julie pulled back slightly. “Really?” She was surprised, an raised a honey-colored brow at the mischievous grin on Remmy’s face. “Did you ever,” she cut herself off, feeling it was really none of her business. “Never mind.”
“No. What? Did I ever, what?”
Shy green eyes raised to meet Remmy’s. “Any of the women. The strippers…”
Remmy knew what Julie was wanting to know, and decided not to lie. She nodded. “A couple.”
“I guess that must have been exciting, huh?” Julie asked with far more enthusiasm than she actually felt. She was surprised that she felt… jealous.
“It had it’s moments, yes. But, it’s in the past and was a long time ago.”
Julie grinned. “A long time ago? You’re all of what, 23? Maybe 24?”
“I’m 25, thank you very much. And, yes, it was a long time ago.” Remmy reached both hands down, making Julie scream when she attacked her extremely ticklish sides.
Julie struggled, trying desperately to get away from Remmy’s ruthless fingers. She grabbed one, finally able to pin it to Remmy’s body, which left her with only one more torturous hand, but it also only left her with one hand, the other not daring to release Remmy. With a loud grunt, she managed to detain both hands, bringing them both up above Remmy’s head, holding both wrists with both of her hands. With this move, she found herself lying on top of Remmy, breast to breast, their faces mere inches apart, and both gasping for breath from their playful exertions.
Julie found her gaze straying to Remmy’s lips again, that rope pulling her along. She felt herself leaning in, but Remmy’s words caught her, making her blink several times.
“Oh, kinky, Julie,” Remmy grinned, teasing in her voice. “You into handcuffs, too?”
Julie froze, a chill filling her body. With a small whimper, she pushed up and off the couch, recoiling, her arms automatically coming up to hug herself. Remmy soon followed, wanting to cry at the terror she saw in Julie’s eyes.
“Oh, god! Julie, I’m so sorry,” she cried, keeping her physical distance. “It was a joke, I wasn’t thinking. I’m so sorry.”
Julie nodded, knowing that it had just been a comment, but it had tapped into a deep well of fear and memories that she thought she’d closed the lid on. Apparently not. She tried to control her body’s trembling, but only managed to run a shaky hand through her hair. Remmy stayed a few feet away, eyes focused intently on her.
“Is there something I can do? What do you want me to do, Julie?” she asked, voice soft and soothing. “Do you want me to leave for awhile? Go upstairs and leave you be-“
“No,” Julie said, shaking her head. “No. Please don’t leave.”
Remmy nodded, letting out a long, slow breath. “Okay. Um,” she glanced back at the couch, then to Julie. “How about we just sit and watch some TV? Maybe a movie? Pop some popcorn? Or, how about I just shut the hell up and let you do what you want to do?”
Julie spared a brief smile at Remmy’s self-deprecating humor. “Go ahead and watch some TV or whatever. I need to feed the dogs.” Grateful for an excuse, even if it was a lame one, as it was an hour and a half too early to feed Bonnie and Clyde, she disappeared into the kitchen, the comforting sounds of Remmy and the TV in the living room.
She leaned against the kitchen counter, trying to still her heartbeat. She hated the cold prickle of fear that trickled down her spine, not having felt it for months. Not since Remmy had arrived. She was surprised that the brunette’s innocent comment had hit her so hard, and right between the eyes.
Julie brought a wrist up, cradling it with her other hand. She swore she could still feel the hard, cold metal of the bracelets around her tender flesh, leaving painful bruises that never got a chance to heal. For months after returning home, her wrists would ache, and were tender to the touch. More than likely, the doctors at the hospital said, the bone was deeply bruised. Even now, as she rubbed the skin, she could feel the barest sting, though it was far more likely it was all in her head.
She glanced out of the kitchen, toward the living room, able to hear the murmur of the TV, knowing full well that Remmy was sitting there beating herself up, not hearing a word from the program, nor seeing one image. She wasn’t angry with Remmy, nor hurt, nor any other ridiculous emotion. She knew in her heart of hearts that the brunette would never do anything to hurt her in any way. Maybe that’s why she was so quick to trust Remmy. In every way. She was able to touch her without thought, and be touched by her without thought.
Julie turned back toward the counter, staring out into the dark night beyond the windows, which in places had turned into mirrors. She could see her own silhouette, though could see no features. She could also see Remmy’s silhouette as she walked across the kitchen floor toward her. Julie’s head fell, feeling foolish as she felt warm hands on her shoulders.
“I’m really sorry, Julie,” Remmy said, her voice soft and tinged with emotion unshed. “I would never scare you like that on purpose.”
Julie nodded, head still hanging. “I know. It was me, totally me.” She blew out a breath, staring back out the window. “I shouldn’t let him get to me like that anymore. The bastard is dead, and can’t hurt me. My brain knows that, anyway.”
Remmy could feel the frustration pouring off Julie, and it broke her heart. She stepped up behind Julie and took a chance. Her arms snaked around the blonde’s waist, clasping lightly at her stomach. She smiled when she felt Julie lean back into her, the blonde’s arms covering her own, bringing their embrace tighter. Julie rested her head back against Remmy’s shoulder, feeling a light kiss placed on top. She sighed, all her fears melting away.
“Why do I feel so safe with you?” she whispered, closing her eyes at the feel of their fingers entwining.
Remmy smiled against the golden crown her cheek rested against. “Maybe because I’ve been in your mind, reading your thoughts.”
Julie chuckled. “No, I think it’s more of you’ve been in my soul.” She turned in the circle of Remmy’s arms, looking up at her. The harsh overhead lighting morphed Remmy’s angular features into monstrous proportions. “I feel you there, you know,” she said softly.
Remmy looked into Julie’s eyes, so open to her, but deeply shadowed after her scare. She brushed her fingertips across a soft cheek. She fought the urge to kiss the soft lips with everything in her, vowing she’d never do that again, to herself and to Julie.
Julie’s hands ran up over Remmy’s arms, following the line of her shoulders until her hands rested there, one stroking the rich, dark hair at the nape of Remmy’s neck. All she could do was look into Remmy’s eyes, unable to look away. Within their June sky depths, she saw so much emotion and caring, though he could tell that Remmy was using great restraint, and she knew why, as she could feel the pull, too. She respected Remmy for keeping her word, though there was such a huge part of her that wished she wouldn’t.
She could honestly say she’d never been so drawn to anyone in her life. What she felt like doing right now- kissing Remmy- wasn’t a matter of a sexual desire. She needed to feel close to Remmy, she needed to connect with her so badly. Before she knew what she was doing, she took a handful of Remmy’s hair in a gentle fist, and pulled the brunette down to her.
Remmy was surprised, but not really, as she sensed Julie’s need. She fought it for a moment, but then allowed herself to be brought down, her lips a mere couple of inches from Julie’s. She looked into her eyes, wanting to make sure the blonde knew what she was doing. Pleading eyes met hers, and Remmy gaze in that final bit, allowing her eyes to slide closed as she felt the softness press against her. She wrapped her arms around Julie’s waist, pulling her slightly closer until their bodies molded gently together.
Julie felt like she was surrounded in a warm cocoon where nothing could hurt her, nothing could touch her. She felt as though she’d never been kissed before that moment. Remmy’s gentle caresses on her back calmed her, a soft hand coming to rest against Julie’s face, the backs of Remmy’s fingers beginning to caress the soft skin there.
Remmy only used her lips, sensing that her tongue would not be welcome. This wasn’t about seduction or anything that base. Remmy understood that this kiss was merely Julie reaching out to her, to connect in a way deeper than a hug, or deeper than mere words. It was primitive, yet as honest as it gets.
Julie drew away slowly, feeling calm, yet completely overwhelmed. She brought a hand up, brushing her fingers lightly over Remmy’s lips before resting her head on a strong shoulder. Her entire body felt energized, like someone had reached inside and lit her from within.
Remmy watched her carefully, rubbing soothing circles on Julie’s back. Finally she stepped away, giving the blonde some space. “How about that movie now?” she asked softly.
Julie nodded, smiling sheepish. “Except, I really do need to feed my dogs now.”
Julie lie in bed, staring up at the ceiling. She wasn’t sure how long she’d lain awake, any noise from Remmy’s room long ceased. The bedside clock read ten past one, yet still sleep was elusive.
Deciding she was hot, Julie kicked the covers off, earning her a glare from a sleepy Clyde. “Sorry, buddy,” she murmured. Dressed in only her tank top, she was still warm, the night air seeming stagnant and hot. Her mind kept returning to kiss they’d shared in the kitchen- she could still feel Remmy’s hands on her, so gentle as they touched her as if she were a fragile, priceless vase or fine crystal. She’d never been touched that way before, never felt so cherished. And the kiss. It had been rather basic, a simple touching of the lips, softness sampling softness. Wonderful.
Julie brought her fingers up, touching her lips lightly, still able to feel the tingle from Remmy’s kiss. That simple gesture had washed away every fear she’d had that night, every image of Sergio Venti and his damned handcuffs. How was that possible? How was it possible that with only one touch from Remmy, be it from her hands, a full-body hug, or the softness of her lips, Julie forgot all that could harm her. She was able to simply bask in the safe harbor that was Remmy Foster.
Remmy’s body was on fire, and she couldn’t find a comfortable position to sleep in for the life of her. Every window was open, the ceiling fan above swirling and rocking. It didn’t matter. The outside temperature wasn’t the problem.
With a soft groan, she returned to her back, resting her palm on a flat stomach. “Fuck,” she whispered with a heavy sigh. She’d do anything for Julie, but that kiss had nearly killed her- not necessarily the act itself, though that had been bad enough, but having to control it, keep it at a level that was safe for Julie. Had she had her way, she would have picked Julie up, sitting her on top of the counter and would’ve stood between her spread legs, showing her what kissing a woman was really about.
Maybe moving in with Julie wasn’t such a good idea after all, she wondered. She remembered the day her friend had suggested it. Immediately Remmy had said yes, the prospect of spending so much more time with Julie, being able to watch over her and protect her… No other choice. But, now. Well, things were coming up rather quickly that she hadn’t counted on, or figured she’d be able to control.
Remmy often wondered if Julie could hear her heart pounding whenever she was around the blonde. Could she see it in the carefully controlled expressions and eyes? Did it ever slip? No doubt, especially since Julie seemed to be able to sense nearly as much about Remmy as Remmy knew of Julie, just perhaps not in as visual a way as Remmy was capable of. She’d never known such a connection, and sometimes it scared her.
The thing that probably most scared Remmy was that never in her life had she known a home, a place where she belonged and truly wanted to be. With Julie, in her presence, in her house, in her life, she felt roots that had only months to grow, but in that short time, they’d rooted sturdy and solid, nothing budging them. If Julie were to leave Woodland tomorrow, Remmy would follow. She felt complete with her, she felt a sense of self that she’d never known before. That scared her, too.
Remmy sighed, a heavy sigh that unbeknownst to her, matched perfectly with Julie’s. The brunette turned over onto her stomach, allowing her legs to spread, finding cool spots on the mattress, and closed her eyes. She had work in the morning, and was exhausted.
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