Genre - alternative

Violence & colorful language - no

Sex - yes

This is simply a short, early Valentine's piece and my first foray into posting at the Academy. Feedback is welcomed at lynnejordan01@yahoo.com. Be kind; I'm a newbie.

Chapter Fourteen

by LC Jordan copyright 2005

"Tell me again why I agreed to attend this, this, what is it again?"

I was in one of my not fit for human consumption moods and even that was deteriorating at a rapid rate. Friday night spent in the relative comfort and certain seclusion of my own home didn't seem a bad fate to me. My best friend Annie had an entirely different view however, and had worn me down all week with her combination of arguments, logic and guilt. She knew me well, and had been waiting on my doorstep that evening despite the cool fifty degree temperature lest I suffer a convenient memory lapse.

I took my time getting out of Sally. If I listened closely I could have almost sworn I heard her mutter a warning. Then again, it could have just been my worn brown leather jacket rubbing against the polished black leather bucket seats as I slid out. Sally was my second best friend, next to Annie. They had both seen me through some tough times. Annie had come to terms with my automotive personification but refused to acknowledge her by name. I mean after all, what else was I supposed to call a red '67 Mustang? Sally, of course. I am nothing if not logical.

"Where is your car?" I scanned the street and suddenly comprehended how a rabbit must feel the second it realizes that it's stepped into a snare.

"Rode my bike." Annie looked at me innocently. I had to give her credit for nerve.

"You rode your bicycle across town in February when the temperature is below eighty? This coming from the woman who pays her paperboy extra to leave the paper exactly next to your door so you won't be exposed to the elements by walking out to the box?" I raised my right eyebrow in a perfect arch while lowering the left one, which was my trademark expression.

Annie stood up and brushed imaginary dirt off her jeans in an effort to stall for time and come up with an irrefutable response. She picked up the backpack next to her and looked me in the eye.

"My glutes needed tightening," she stated flatly and smugly, knowing I would find no safe ground upon which to launch a rebuttal.

Her asset looked fine to me, and I had voiced that opinion many a time, but it was Annie's main source of physical despair. She always complained that it wasn't perky enough. This, of course, always threw me into a fit of laughter and I usually wound up on the receiving end of some object hurled in my general direction. The outcome of this particular topic was never favorable for me, and so I opened my mouth once, shut it soundlessly, and unlocked the door. Annie paused two, maybe three seconds for effect, then walked in ahead of me and turned on the lights in the living room.

"We can take Sally. I'm staying over at Michelle's tonight so we can get an early start in the morning painting the guest bedroom, so there's no sense in me driving." Annie knew she had me cornered, and I knew she was serious about getting me to go to this party or whatever it was. This was the first time she had ever called Sally by name. I was headed for trouble and was the designated driver, no less.

"What's in that?" I asked, pointing to her backpack. She was already unzipping it and pulling out some rumpled clothing. My hunger outweighed my curiosity and without waiting for an answer, I headed for the kitchen. With my eyes closed I was one bite away from bliss when the object of my affection, namely a chunky chocolate chip cookie, was snatched from my hand.

"Hey! Get your own." Hunger did nothing to improve my sense of humor at the moment.

"We don't have time for you to eat. You need to go get cleaned up or whatever ritual you perform to make yourself socially acceptable mood-wise," Annie stated while she held the cookie just out of reach in her left hand. "While you do that, I'll borrow your iron and get changed too." She waved around a red pullover Henley and a black pair of jeans in her right hand for emphasis.

"Food would go a long way towards improving my mood, missy," I growled back at her. "Iron's in the laundry room," I pointed down the hall.

As soon as Annie turned her head to follow the direction of my finger, I grabbed my stolen cookie back. Grinning victoriously and puffing out crumbs I mumbled, "Fank wou," and hurried out a little faster than my normal speed.

"Wear a white shirt," she ordered to my retreating back.

"What? A white shirffp? Why?" I demanded, blowing more crumbs in front of me. I swallowed and poked my head back in the kitchen.

"It's part of the whole theme for the party," Annie explained. "Everyone who was invited is supposed to wear a red shirt and bring someone who doesn't usually attend one of these famous get-togethers of my friend's. That person is supposed to wear a white shirt. Simple."

I blinked twice and swallowed the rest of my cookie. "So, the white shirt is to identify me as an anti-social outcast? Is this some heathen Valentine's Day sacrifice?"

"No, no, no," she huffed out impatiently. "It's just a game, a way of letting people get to know some other people whom they normally wouldn't meet if left to their own devices. Now, if I give you another cookie would you just please go change? Please?"

Annie looked up at me with wide, hopeful brown eyes, and I caved. The things we do for friends.

"They're my cookies in the first place, you know," I pointed out the obvious as I started to turn for my bedroom. I narrowed my eyes at her in mock warning and pointed at the crumbs on the floor. "Make yourself useful and clean these up for me," I suggested as I disappeared around the corner of the doorway.

Half an hour later I was showered and changed into a well-worn pair of 501's and the requested white shirt. Buttoning the last button and tucking the tails inside the waistband, I caught Annie with her hand in the cookie jar, literally.

"Just how many of those have you had?" I demanded.

"One," she replied, not meeting my eyes. "Let's go."

Michelle, who was more Annie's friend than mine, lived in a pretty impressive split-level brick house about twenty minutes away. Granted, being a paralegal, Michelle made more money than I did as a writer, but the house had been cheap and in dire need of interior renovation when she bought it. There were more weekends spent helping than I care to remember. Spackle and plaster are not my friends. But the end result was something even I took a little pride in, even though it wasn't my home.

Michelle always made up for it by throwing at least four or five get-togethers every year, although I had only been to the first, which was a house warming. This little affair seemed far more threatening to me than even the four-hundred-seventeen tiles I put on the bathroom walls. To this day, nobody has even noticed or at least not mentioned that five of those are upside down.

I pulled Sally into the side street that ran in back of Michelle's since there was absolutely no room to park on the block in front of the house. Turning sideways in the seat, I frowned at Annie and asked, "Just how many people are coming tonight?"

"Oh, I don't know. Maybe thirty," she answered as she slid out the car door. "Or more."

"Thirty?" I nearly shouted. "Will I know even half of these people?"

Annie made sure she was on the steps to the back door before she let herself grin wickedly. "Well, at least not anyone wearing a white shirt."

She tossed the bottle of rum she brought for Michelle to me and my reflexes automatically took over as Annie made her escape through the back door. I stood there on the bottom step like an unwanted vacuum cleaner salesman until Michelle popped her head out laughing and asked, "JD, are you going to stand out there and drink all that yourself?"

I smiled a weak smile, and gripping the bottle with both hands, walked into the brightly-lit kitchen. The smell of something wonderfully spicy hit me and my stomach did a complete flip in response and vocally made its presence known. Both Annie and Michelle laughed at my embarrassment. Judging from the heat I felt working its way up from my neck to my scalp, my face must have been a nice contrasting shade of red to compliment my white oxford.

Michelle stood on tiptoe and kissed my burning cheek while taking the bottle of rum from my hands. "Some things never change, do they, JD? Is Annie starving you again? It's good to see you, you know. You shouldn't be such a stranger."

"Good to see you, too," I managed to answer. "Time gets away from me I guess."

Michelle handed Annie an impressive platter of cheese, vegetables, and dip to carry out to the living room. I was assigned a huge crock pot of hot wings, while Michelle carried another filled with meatballs. My mouth was watering while I tried to concentrate on what my hostess was saying.

"So, JD, have you got another book in the works or are you freelancing most of the time?" Michelle asked as she led the way through the swinging doors that separated the kitchen from the dining room. The noise level rose considerably and I scanned the sea of strangers before I answered.

"Both, actually," I replied. "I've been doing a series of editorials on the gap in pay for women in professional sports and also doing research for a sequel to Love or Something Like It."

"Oh, so you're finally going to take pity on everyone you left hanging with the first book," Michelle chided good naturedly. "Is Annie going to edit for you again? More importantly, do I get a sneak preview?"

"Annie is cheap labor, so yes," I answered, earning a warning look from my best friend.

"And…" I drew out the word as I quickly scanned the large living room once more. There were maybe twenty-five people there, all wearing either red or white. I noted that none of them looked exactly miserable, despite the ridiculous dress code. In fact, most were laughing and generally enjoying themselves it seemed. My earlier mood returned though, and I stubbornly refused to be social. Continuing with my reply to Michelle, I angled for a deal.

"And if you let me take a plate into the kitchen and eat in peace, I'll send you the first chapter next week," I bargained.

"Done," Michelle quickly acquiesced.

My victory was short lived, however, as Annie heard our exchange and turned around from the dining table where she had been filling her own plate with more food than I'd had all day.

"Now wait a minute," she began, punctuating each word by pointing her fork at me. As fate would have it however, the meatball attached to the end of the utensil flew off and hit me square in the chest, leaving a circle of sauce on my white shirt before it landed on the hardwood floor.

For several seconds no one said anything. Then the absolute beauty of the situation dawned on me and I began to laugh. Michelle joined in and Annie just stared at me. A few other people noticed the unscripted comedy routine and tried to hide smiles.

"Let me grab you something to put on and I'll get that in the laundry to soak," Michelle said when she had calmed down enough to speak.

"That's ok," I assured her. "I keep some workout clothes in Sally. I'll just go out and get my gym bag." There was no way I was going to chance Michelle offering me another white shirt. I ducked out the back door before Annie could protest.

The cool night air felt good on my face as I walked to where Sally was parked. Briefly, I considered making my escape right then. Two factors kept me from following through though; Annie would be hurt and I was starving. I unlocked the car door, grabbed my bag and retraced my steps.

Not bothering to stop, I made eye contact with Michelle as I walked in and simply pointed towards the stairs. She waved me on, and I took them two at a time, heading for the bathroom with the incredible tile job. I quickly removed the shirt and replaced it with a gray sweatshirt that said Mac's Gym from my bag. I was skeptical that any amount of soaking would save my oxford, but I knew Michelle wouldn't be satisfied unless she tried. Grabbing my duffle again, I bounded down the stairs, intent on being fed.

Annie and Michelle were talking with several people I didn't know and I managed to fill a plate without either of them seeing me. Back in the kitchen, I claimed a stool at the counter and mentally challenged anyone to try and evict me for the rest of the night. Half way through my hard won meal, I heard footsteps click on the tile floor behind me as someone entered the kitchen. The refrigerator door opened and I could hear ice tinkling into a glass. Expecting to hear Annie or Michelle make some remark, I was caught off guard when an unfamiliar voice spoke.

"I can't tell what team you're on."

Nearly choking at the direct question, I thought I surely must have misunderstood. Swinging around on the stool, I managed to ask, "Excuse me?"

A dark haired woman in a white v neck sweater casually leaned against the counter next to the refrigerator and took a drink from her glass before answering. She was slender and graceful and seemed very much amused at the moment. Blue eyes twinkled at me as she raised one eyebrow and explained. "Your shirt," she remarked. "I can't tell if you're on the red team or the white team."

"Oh," I said, as I realized my thoughts had gone in an entirely different direction. Nodding at the floor next to my stool where my duffle sat, shirt draped across it, I replied. "I was an unwilling draftee for the white team."

She grinned. "You're the meatball woman, aren't you?"

Unable or unwilling to stop myself, I rolled my eyes and couldn't help smiling back. "Small price to pay," I deadpanned.

"Lucky you," she said with so much envy that I laughed. Sensing a kindred spirit, I felt more at ease than I had all evening and extended my hand. "Jennifer Dunn," I offered. "But everyone calls me JD."

Stepping forward and talking my hand in hers, she flashed an incredible smile and spoke, her voice low and warm. "JD. I like that. Kelley Richards," she offered in return.

Surprising myself, I hooked the leg of the stool next to me with my boot and pulled it out. "You're welcome to escape in here with me, if you want."

Kelley hesitated, then asked, "Are you sure? I don't want to interrupt."

"Interrupt what?" I asked. "I'm just hiding from Annie in here. I'd honestly like the company," I said, once again surprising myself.

"Thank you." There was that smile again. Kelley sat her glass on the bar and started to sit down, only to get back up again. "Have you had dessert?" she asked.

"No, I only made it out with one plate," I explained. "Let me go get us something. I'll be right back." Before I could answer, she was out the swinging doors.

Kelley returned in less than a minute with two servings of cherry cheesecake and put them on the bar in front of us. "Is this ok?" she asked while handing me a fork.

"Perfect," I said as I closed my eyes after taking the first bite. "Thank you."

"So Annie brought you here?" Kelley asked after we had eaten half the dessert in silence.

"Yes, she did," I answered. "Annie thinks I'm a hermit," I chuckled. "Maybe I am." I had no idea why I would admit that to this stranger. Not giving Kelley time to comment, I asked in turn, "Who blackmailed you into coming?"

"Michelle. I've known her since college but only recently moved back here from Atlanta. I took a job with her firm. Right now my living arrangements are a little Spartan until I get the rest of my things moved and my car driven up here. I've been imposing on Michelle most of the time I've been here."

"Ah, are you a lawyer or paralegal?" I questioned.

"Will I be subjected to endless bad jokes if I answer truthfully?" Kelley looked at me out of narrowed eyes, daring me it seemed.

"I don't make any promises I can't keep," I grinned in response. "By the way, what's the difference between a lawyer and a…" I began.

Kelley leaned over and bumped shoulders with me. "Stop it right there, JD," she couldn't help laughing. "So tell me what you do. If you're a hermit, I'm guessing stand up comedy is out."

"I'm a writer," I answered simply.

"Ok," Kelley said, apparently waiting for me to expand on the subject. When I didn't, she swiveled around on her stool to face me and tilted her head to one side, studying me. "Would I have read anything you've written?"

"Possibly," I hedged. I was always hesitant to confess my identity since I used a pseudonym when I wrote. Kelley didn't seem to be anything other than genuinely interested though, so I gave in and named three books I had written that had made the top ten in lesbian fiction lists over the past five years.

Nothing came out of Kelley's mouth for at least one full minute. In fact, she was looking at me as though I had just grown horns. Finally she spoke.

"You're Jude Donovan?"

"Yes, I am."

"Well, I'm at a loss for words," Kelley confessed as she turned back around towards the bar.

I couldn't resist the opening and bumping her shoulder in return, teased, "I've never seen a lawyer rendered speechless."

Kelley snorted, a completely unselfconscious reaction that I found adorable. "It doesn't happen often," she commented. "There is a very short list of things that will accomplish that."

My creative writer's mind instantly engaged and I was overwhelmed with the possibilities of what those things might be. Even more so, I wanted to find out for myself. I realized that for the first time in a long time, I was attracted to someone.

"Care to elaborate on that?" I wiggled my eyebrows in question.

Turning towards me once again, Kelley leaned in closer than before. Her blue eyes dropped to my lips before locking with my green ones. "No," she said softly.

I could feel the warmth of her breath in that one simple word and it ignited a desire I had no intention of resisting. "Pity," I whispered as I dipped my head and stopped a fraction of an inch before our lips met. When Kelley didn't retreat, I closed that small distance and felt the indescribable softness of her lips against mine. Not wanting to take more than she was willing to give, I pulled back after only a moment and opened my eyes.

Kelley didn't say anything, and I worried that I had overstepped. I began to move further away, but she reached out and laid both palms on my thighs, preventing me from getting up. "That," she murmured, "would be one of those things on the list that renders me speechless."

"Are you going to tell me the others, or do I get to find out for myself?"

Kelley released a shaky laugh and stated, "Not in the middle of Michelle's kitchen."

"Details, details," I said in mock exasperation.

Picking up the lone remaining cherry on my plate, I twirled it by the stem. It had a small amount of whipped cream left on the end and I dangled it dangerously close the v of her sweater.

"You know, I have another sweatshirt in my bag if you should need to change for any reason," I commented as I touched the tip to the exposed skin above the perfect round fullness of her breasts, leaving a tiny dot of cream there.

Kelley quickly grabbed my wrist in a grip stronger than I would have imagined and slowly brought my hand to her mouth, taking the cherry between her teeth and biting. I couldn't help the groan that escaped as I watched her tongue dart out to catch a bit of juice. Dropping the stem, I used my index finger to wipe the spot of whipped cream from her chest and licked it.

Just then the kitchen doors opened and Michelle walked in, followed by Annie. In truth, I was surprised we had been left alone this long. Quickly separating a respectable distance, we both tried to look nonchalant.

Michelle spoke first. "We wondered if you were still in here, JD. I see you've met Kelley."

"Yes, still here. I've been trying to get some free legal advice," I heard myself say in a weak attempt at humor.

"Really," Michelle sounded skeptical. Annie didn't make any comment, which concerned me. She was probably saving up her questions for later when she could corner me. I was about to make a desperate comment about how good the food was when Kelley saved me.

"Actually I was just telling JD that I had a list of things I need to work on tonight and she offered to give me a ride back to my apartment."

To my credit, I didn't let the expression on my face mirror my surprise. Taking Kelley's lead, I thanked Michelle for the evening and picked up my gym bag, ready to leave. Finally, I turned to Annie and impulsively kissed her cheek, which was something I rarely did. If there was any train of thought in her head, that one uncharacteristic act of mine derailed it. Two women stunned silent in one night; I was on a roll.

The drive to Kelley's apartment was mostly a silent one, except for the directions she gave me. When we were about a block from her street, she reached over and tentatively laid her left hand on my thigh. I covered it with my right hand and she turned her palm up, lacing our fingers together. I pulled into the parking lot of the building and cut Sally's engine. Neither of us moved to get out and with my thumb, I slowly traced a random pattern on the sensitive skin of her palm.

"I don't normally do this," Kelley spoke quietly into the dark.

"Do what?" I questioned just as softly.

"Act this impulsively. I'm blaming it on the holiday and those eyes of yours. They're the most beautiful shade of green I've ever seen."

Still not looking at one another, I smiled into the darkened interior. "You think my eyes are beautiful, do you?"

Kelley chuckled, breaking the tension. "Don't get a big head over it," she warned playfully. Slipping her hand from mine, she opened Sally's door and stepped out. Taking my cue, I followed.

Unlocking the door to her apartment, Kelley led the way inside, not stopping until we reached her bedroom. She turned on the recessed overhead lights and dimmed them until everything was cast in silhouette. As she turned towards me, I reached out and cupped her face, brushing my thumbs across the prominence of her cheeks. One of Kelley's hands traveled up my arm and across my shoulder to curl around the back of my neck, tugging me down until our lips came together.

Unhurried at first, the kiss soon became more insistent as I tilted my head, our mouths fitting together seamlessly. I lightly ran my tongue across her full lower lip, gently sucking until I felt her tongue flick out to meet mine. It became a dance of retreat and follow, both of us exploring the velvet softness of the other.

My hands left her face to travel down to her collar bones, finally cupping her breasts. I lifted the heavy mounds, loving the feel of the weight in my palms. The hard nipples stood out beneath the material and I caught both between my fingers and rolled them. Dragging her mouth from mine, Kelley reached down and grasped the waistband of my jeans. Slipping her fingers between the buttons of my fly, she backed towards the bed, pulling me with her.

The backs of Kelley's knees hit the edge of the mattress and she started to sit, but I grasped her hips and quickly reversed our positions. As I sat down I wrapped my arms around her, pulling her forward and guiding her to straddle my lap. Bracing her hands on my shoulders, she claimed my lips again while I slipped under her sweater and explored the warm skin of her back. Gliding the tips of my fingers around to her taut stomach, I felt the muscles there contract.

An urgent need to see the beauty my hands were mapping made me grasp the hem of her sweater and lift up. Kelley raised her arms in surrender and within seconds she was naked from the waist up, rocking her center against my thighs, her fingers threaded in my short blond hair and guiding my mouth down to her breasts. I circled a dusky pink tip with my tongue before my lips closed around it, drawing it in and feeling it swell even more. Kelley's back was arched, her head thrown back and the fingers in my hair tightened when I switched breasts, capturing the neglected nipple between my teeth and biting lightly.

With every forward thrust of Kelley's hips, my already painfully swollen clitoris received just enough pressure to make me desperate for some relief. Clasping my hands around her bottom, I stood abruptly, taking her with me and then falling back onto the bed. Kelley grabbed my sweatshirt, nearly ripping it from me in her hurry to get it off.

She loosened the buttons on my fly and slipped one hand inside, her fingers gliding through the wetness she found there, milking my clit. The first waves of orgasm threatened and I stopped her. Not wanting this to end so soon, I met her questioning eyes and said, "Not yet. Please," I spoke against her neck, "Let me have this. Let me have you." Her eyes, darkened with want, met mine and then she closed them, reaching above her head in surrender again.

Rising up on my knees, one leg on either side of her hips, my hands shook with desire as I unzipped her jeans and hooked my thumbs in the waistband. Kelley lifted up, allowing me to slide them down her legs, my lips and tongue following the path of newly exposed skin. The jeans landed in a pile on the floor along with her shoes and as my mouth traveled back up, her legs parted automatically.

The first taste exploded on my tongue, robbing me of coherent thought as I slowly laved every fold, every hidden place, coaxing her nub out further before settling my mouth firmly over it and stroking rhythmically.

Kelley began pumping her hips in time with my strokes, her breaths coming faster as she gripped fistfuls of the sheet above her head. I slid my hands under her ass, squeezing the firm globes as I sucked harder. Soundlessly she climaxed, her face a beautiful mixture of pleasure and surprise. I felt her body stiffen as her back arched off the bed and I continued to lick lightly, slowing the pace until her body became limp and her breathing evened out.

Kelley reached down and clasped my hand, pulling me back up the bed. She kissed me languidly, her tongue swiping my lips to sample the taste there. When she finally spoke, I thought I had misunderstood.

"Number one," was all she said.

I waited for her to continue, and when she didn't I racked my brain trying to figure out what she meant. When it finally dawned on me, I let out a laugh.

"Your list?" I guessed.

"Umm, yes," she hummed against my neck, her mouth moving lower to my breasts while her hands pushed impatiently at my jeans.

Before all logical thought failed me I managed to ask, "What's number two?"

Kelley laughed softly. "Why, are you writing a book?"

"Maybe I am," I said.

That was over a year ago. For our first anniversary I presented her with a draft of my latest book. It is a collection of short stories, erotica I guess you'd call it. I'm up to chapter fourteen. That's as far as we've gotten on Kelley's old list. We're working on a new one now.

The End

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