All or Nothing



Disclaimers: Please be gentle with me as this is my first posted work. All the characters belong to me and me alone. Copyright 1997, 1999. Love/Sex/Language: This is an uber alternative fiction story. It depicts a loving relationship between two consenting adult women. If you are under the age of 18 or live in an ignorant state wherein this may in any manner be illegal, please move on. There is bad language that may offend some, but given what is on tv/cable these days, it's probably tame. There's also drinking of alcohol and a tad bit of angst. Feed The Bard: Please let me know if you like my work!

Journal Entry #1- Alex

Okay, I don't why I'm doing this. Izzy suggested I try it to sort out my feelings, emotions, yada, yada, yada....

I feel like a teen-ager. "Dear Diary, I met this dreamy gal in Home room today". YUK!

Where do I start? 'Where am I at this particular point in time?' Izzy suggested I ask myself.

Although I know this is for my eyes only, I feel I should give some background (maybe to stall, who knows). About a month ago I received a promotion at work. Although I was just to get a title to go along with my current duties, my superiors have also expected far more from me than they did before. Sooo . . . I've been working a ton of hours, which doesn't really bother me, although I'm sure my assistant, Sally, wishes I'd let up so she could have a life.

But all work and no play makes Alex a dull girl. I've been seeing a woman named Chris who I met the night I got my promotion (which is part of, but another long story in itself). When I met Chris I was seeing a woman named Stacy, whom I really, really, REALLY like, and I guess, love, in my own way.

The first week or two, Chris and I didn't see a lot of each other. I was breaking up with Stacy and beginning to work insane hours and Chris was looking for an apartment and then moving. But as soon as she moved into town from North County, we began to spend more time together and we've been growing closer and closer.

My relationship with Chris doesn't seem as demanding as my relationship with Stacy. With Chris, although we enjoy our time together, I think we enjoy our time apart just as much. She's going through a lot right now; moving, leaving her husband; coming out- she just has a lot on her plate.

It's nice to know that you can be with someone and be able to be apart as well. Even though we seem to spend most of our free time together (which with my work schedule isn't a lot), we know that we're not joined at the hip. We started out making Fridays a definite night that we'd spend apart. I'd go out with Ginny and Izzy or some other friends and Chris would go out to dinner with her friend, Diane. The funny thing is, is that we would usually meet at Flickers and end up together, usually going back to her apartment.

Well, it all sounds fine and dandy. BUT (there always is one isn't there?), I have one small problem.

I can't seem to get Stacy out of my mind. Thoughts of her are always hovering.

I've tried to call her many times, but she either hangs up on me or I speak to her answering machine. I know I hurt her and on an intellectual level I guess I understand why she doesn't want anything to do with me, but it doesn't help my heart or emotions.

I can't seem to be able to let go of her.

I can't talk to Ginny about her. When we broke up and Ginny felt guilty and responsible, she made it clear that she was going to remain friends with both of us. I had to promise I wouldn't ask Ginny information about her.

I know it's not fair to Chris, me feeling this way. We have discussed it and she says she understands. I want to be friends with Stacy, or at least try to be. At least that's what I think I want. I don't think I can give her what she wants, commitment. My attraction and actions toward Chris proved that.

Ergo, Izzy suggested I write it out to try to clarify in my mind what I want.

Shit! It's almost 7:00 Friday evening and I have to go meet Ginny at Flickers. I guess I'll also be seeing Chris tonight like usual. I don't know when I'll be able to write again. 'Til later and who knows when that will be . . .

* * *

"So, how was your day?" Ginny asked taking a sip from her drink.

"S.O.S., same old shit. I did start writing like Izzy suggested."


"Oh, I don't know. It feels silly. I just seem to recant events and not my feelings."

"Well, keep at it. You'll eventually get the knack of it."

"I guess," Alex shrugged, exhaling the smoke from her cigarette.

The next two hours the two friends drank, danced, and talked. Alex continually looked at her watch, expecting Chris to show up at any minute. As the night wore on, Alex became irritated and antsy.

"Have you heard from her?" Alex asked sipping her drink.

"Who?" Ginny asked perplexed.

"Stacy. Who else?"

"Yes, we had dinner with her a couple of days ago."

"How is she?"


"Come on Gin! I know I promised, but I need to know how she is, what she's doing. Anything, please." Alex pleaded in frustration. "She won't talk to me. She hangs up every time I call or won't pick up the phone. I miss her Gin. I can't seem to shake her out of my system."

"Let me tell you what you already know Alex. You hurt her. She's trying to get on with her life and doesn't think she can do that and still be friends with you."

"Is she seeing anyone?" She asked jealously.

"No one in particular. She's heard about you and Chris through other friends and that seems to have made things worse. Is that what's suddenly brought on the twenty questions, Al? Chris not showing up?"

"I guess in part. I've been wanting to talk to Stacy for weeks though. I've wanted to know this stuff for a while."

"Chris and Diane's plans probably changed Al. After all, didn't you agree that Friday nights were separate?" Ginny reminded her, trying to change the subject.

"Yeh, but when I spoke to her earlier, she said she'd be here. You're right though. They were going to dinner after Diane got off of work, which is sometimes late," she admitted.

"See, there you go. Anyway, what are you up to tomorrow?"

"I don't think we have any plans."

"Why don't the two of you come over for a barbecue?"

"I'll call you tomorrow," Alex answered. The two sat silently for a few minutes. Ginny turned and looked at Alex.

"Are you happy being with Chris?"

"I guess. I care a lot about her. She gives me the space I need, and can certainly be aerobic in bed," she added smiling.

"What about compared to Stacy?"

"That's not a fair question. They're different. While Stacy is introverted, Chris is extroverted. In a lot of ways they are opposites. If I could put the two of them into one, I think all of my problems would be solved."

"But you can't."

"No, I can't. Listen Gin, if I knew the answer I wouldn't feel like shit right now. I miss Stacy, including our friendship. I'm comfortable with Chris. We have a nice routine and understanding, but I'd still like Stacy in my life in some way."

* * *

Alex drove off from the bar and was still antsy. Between the writing and the conversation with Ginny, she was again becoming obsessed with Stacy. 'Maybe it is transference,' she thought. 'I'm pissed at Chris for not showing up like she said.' But Alex knew the overwhelming desire to see Stacy was probably much deeper.

As she drove closer to home. She debated with herself whether to drive by and stop at Stacy's on the way home. She knew she was taking a risk, especially if Stacy was not alone. But false courage from the alcohol ran through her veins. She turned off at the exit to Stacy's and drove by the house. She saw only the Porsche in the driveway, relieved that it appeared Stacy was alone. Turning her car around, she pulled up in front of the house and parked. Gathering her courage, she lit a cigarette, grabbed the rest of the pack and stepped out of the car.

With each step toward Stacy's front door, her anxiety increased. She wondered if she was making a mistake and considered turning around and running back to her car to drive away. Taking a deep breath she rang the doorbell a few times, standing for what seemed like eternity. After a few minutes, she saw the hallway light turn on and heard someone approaching the door inside. She could sense someone peering at her through the peep hole. The door opened slowly.

"Jesus Alex! It's after midnight. What the hell are you doing here?" Stacy sleepily demanded in anger.

"You didn't leave me with many other choices. I want to talk to you. Please don't shut the door on me. Just give me a few minutes please."

Stacy stood in the doorway in her bathrobe, looking at Alex for the first time in over a month. When she looked through the peep hole before opening the door, she was not only shocked to see Alex standing outside, but at the pure force of her emotions as well. Her stomach was giddy and had butterflies as much at this moment as when she first fell in love with Alex. She had hoped these feelings had passed and was surprised they still pulled at her core. There was Alex, standing at her door with her eyes pleading for something. She looked as innocent as when Stacy first met her, but this time in great pain.

"Come on in." She finally relented, opening the door further so Alex could walk in.

Alex stood in the front hallway while Stacy closed the door, waiting to follow Stacy's lead.

"Would you like something to drink?" Stacy asked coolly.

"Water or coffee. I can get it if you'd like," Alex offered.

"Suit yourself."

"Would you like anything?"

"Water please."

Alex walked into the kitchen, while Stacy went into the living room, turned on the lights and sat on the couch. 'What in hell is she doing here?' she wondered. Alex returned carrying two glasses of water. Handing one to Stacy, she sat on the opposite end of the couch. Stacy sat back and watched Alex closely.

"Why are you here Alex?" she asked breaking the heavy silence.

"You wouldn't pick up the phone or return my calls. I didn't have many other choices . . . I've missed you."

"From what I hear, you've been too busy to miss me," Stacy stated brusquely.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, from what I've been told, no sooner than we stop seeing each other you start seeing Chris. That's a hell of a way to take time to think about things. That really gave me a lot of incentive to reconsider my decision, as you so poignantly pleaded." Stacy's anger and sarcasm filled the room.

"I know I've hurt you and I'm really sorry. I honestly didn't mean to. I can't stop thinking about you and I miss talking to you," Alex answered trying to avoid the subject of Chris.

"Like I said Alex, it sounds like you've already replaced me."

"No Stacy, I could never do that. No one could ever replace you."

Stacy shifted uncomfortably. She was having a difficult time gauging Alex's intentions.

"Then what is it Alex? I just wasn't good enough in bed? I know you're not seeing anyone else but Chris, so what is it? Is it ok not to date other people with her and not me?" Stacy hissed.

"No! I told you I wanted to still see you! It was you who didn't want it," Alex retorted in defense.

"Yeh, I didn't want to be with you while you were out fucking someone else! If that's fine with Chris, then maybe the two of you are meant for each other!" Stacy stood, crossed the room and sat in a chair. The two sat in silence not knowing what else to say. "Maybe you should go Alex. I don't want to fight with you. I'd like to keep what few good memories I have of 'us'."

"I didn't come here to fight Stacy. You are still very special to me. You brought joy back into my life after I hadn't had any for so long. I think of you all of the time. I don't want to lose you, even as a friend. We are kindred spirits in so many ways, while complete opposites in others. But our similarities always scared me."

"I thought they were a plus. That they were in some manner a bond or an indication that we belonged together."

"So did I. Maybe that's what scares me."

"What do you mean?"

"That it was too much, too soon. Here I was by myself and the first night out, so to speak, I met you and we dated exclusively. We liked doing the same things, we are both workaholics, the list goes on. I couldn't handle it, but I also didn't say anything about how I felt or try to change things. I want you to understand that and that I take full responsibility for the lack of communication on my part."

"Why didn't you tell me?"

"I thought I had by saying I didn't want to settle down. Hindsight's 20-20. I should've said more. My actions certainly sent mixed messages, I'll admit that. But the bottom line is that I can't go back and change what happened Stacy. Things are what they are for the time being."

"What are those things?"

"I don't know anymore and haven't for a while."

"I take it you're still confused."

"Even more so, I think. I don't know what to do Stacy, I honestly don't. I've tried to figure things out. Sometimes I feel like a hamster on its wheel, I keep moving but I'm not getting anywhere. I just keep going around in circles. I feel like I'm the sole resident of the 51st state of confusion and can't seem to relinquish my citizenship." Tears started to roll down Alex's face. Stacy remained seated, watching Alex as tears began to fall from her eyes as well. She wanted to go and hold Alex and somehow take away both of their pain, but instead remained fixed in her seat. "I still love you Stacy. That doesn't help, does it?"

"No, it doesn't. I don't know what to say to you Alex. I'm trying to get on with my life. I don't deny that I still think of you. Every time I hear your voice on the answering machine I get butterflies and a part of me feels like a knife going through my heart. Each time I wonder whether I'm going to hear the words 'I want you'."

"I do want you Stacy, but I don't think it's in the way you want me to. I've learned something over the last month or so."

"What's that Alex?"

"I used to think that love was black and white, no gray areas. Now . . . now I know there's not only gray area, but many gradations of love. Like, infatuation, crushes, lust, caring, love, and being in love. Many are indistinguishable to most people, they confuse lust for love or love for being in love. The emotions can progress along the spectrum or remain stagnant and wither down the chain. Let me ask you this, if I told you I wanted to be with you and no one else, what would you say?"

Stacy paused. "I don't know Alex. So much time has passed and I'm just now healing. I don't think I can answer that question right now."

Alex felt rejected. "Could you ever?"

"Probably. But it's hypothetical. For now, I'll just think about it if and when that ever occurs."

"I deserved that. We made a promise awhile ago Stacy. I am still trying to keep it and I want you to as well. I refuse to give up. Can't you see that we can still talk and be there in some way for one another? Can't we at least have that?"

"I'll see Alex. I can't answer that right now."

"That's a big step as far as I'm concerned." Alex stood and walked across the room to where Stacy sat and leaned over and kissed her on the forehead. "I'll let you get back to bed. I'm sorry I woke you. I just felt desperate. I'll lock the door on my way out." She turned and began to walk toward the door.

"Alex!" Stacy called out causing Alex to stop and turn around. "I can't promise anything else."

"I'm not asking you to right now. I'll talk to you later." She turned and left, leaving Stacy trying to decipher the true meaning of their cryptic conversation.

* * *

Alex vacuumed and dusted her house with an unusual intensity. Her thoughts were lost in her conversation with Stacy the night before. The effect that Stacy had on her was perplexing. Although she was seeing and was somewhat emotionally involved with Chris, she was still obsessed with Stacy. Seeing her again only intensified those feelings. It had been a fairly inane, but extremely emotional encounter. Alex walked out of Stacy's house more confused, but with a feeling of promise for something. What the something was, however, she couldn't put her finger on. The phone rang interrupting her thoughts.

"Hey darlin'," Chris purred.

"Hi," Alex said coolly. She was still upset at Chris for not showing up at the bar the evening before. She knew that there was probably a reasonable explanation, but something disturbed her about the absence.

"What's wrong?" Chris asked sensing Alex's displeasure.

"Nothing, I'm just cleaning the house. What are you doing?" She asked warmly, trying to disguise her feelings.

"The same thing. What's up for tonight?"

"Ginny invited us over for a barbecue. Want to go?"

"Sure. I just have to finish up here and I'll be over at your place as soon as the laundry's done."


"Are you sure nothing's wrong? You sound like you're upset about something." Chris asked concerned.

Alex paused, debating whether it was even worth getting into. "What happened to you last night? I thought we were going to meet at Flickers."

"Diane had to work late so we just grabbed something to eat, stayed in and watched a movie," she explained. "We thought about going out, but we were both pooped. Sorry. Would've loved to have seen you. How was your night?"

"It was ok. Ginny and I sat and talked and watched all of the little kids bop around the bar. It made us feel old."

Chris laughed, "Your not old, Honey. Trust me. So, nothing exciting happened?"

Alex then vacillated whether or not to tell Chris of her encounter with Stacy. Her relationship with Chris had been founded on honesty, and they had many discussions about Stacy. Chris knew of her confusion and believed it was because Alex wanted to remain friends with Stacy.

"I saw Stacy last night," she finally confessed.

"Really? At the bar?"

"No. I went over to her house on the way home. You know that I've been bothered about the way things ended and I had to talk to her. Do you understand?"

"Sure. I know that whole thing has been disturbing you and that you want to salvage a friendship. How did it go?"

"It went. At least she talked to me. We aired some things that had been left unsaid. You sure you don't mind?"

"No, not at all. As long as it's just friendship you're just talking about," Chris teased.

"That's it," Alex assured, not really knowing whether or not it was the truth.

"Good, see you in awhile," Chris said hanging up the phone.

Alex returned to her cleaning, still angry at Chris, but she didn't really know why. She realized it was probably her insecurities, but part of her questioned that. She was thankful that Chris was so understanding about her visit to Stacy. She momentarily wondered if she had been completely honest with Chris about her discussion with Stacy, and assumed she had been. She had nothing to hide from Chris. Since they started dating, they had many lengthy conversations in which they talked about everything from their past and current lives to their personal preference of feminine hygiene products. They spoke easily, as if they'd known each other for years.

As she thought more about her relationship with Chris, she thought something was either missing or amiss. It wasn't their communication, nor was it their lovemaking. As she thought of the latter, Alex smiled. Emotionally they also seemed in harmony. They both professed their "love" for one another, but Alex knew she wasn't "in" love with Chris.

The one thing Alex had in her relationship with Chris that she had never really had before was a healthy type of 'space'. It was refreshing. As Alex's mind continued to wander, she thought of Chris' friends. For some reason, she felt jealous of Diane and the time Chris spent alone with her. She knew the two were just good friends and that she and Chris had no commitment to each other and that Diane had Michelle, but something was gnawing at her. But she knew that it was no different than the time she spent alone with Ginny. "I'm just losing it and am paranoid," she said aloud, shaking herself out of her daydream, returning to her dusting.

* * *

Stacy kneeled scrubbing the kitchen floor, thinking about Alex. There were moments while Alex sat in her living room the evening before that she just wanted to walk over and make love to her. Then, there were other moments when she could have become violent and wrung Alex's neck. Seeing Alex lessened her resolve to cease contact. The entire encounter was so disturbing to her, she hardly slept the rest of the night

She had missed Alex. Their talks and Alex's quirky sense of humor had become fixtures in her life. Despite her loneliness, the pain was still too fresh for her to jump back into an instant friendship. She knew she'd always be wondering what Alex was doing and the thought of Alex with Chris nauseated her.

It was too soon, she decided. Too soon to become bosom buddies, but maybe they could still talk, she thought. As far as other alternatives, maybe it was time she too jumped back into the singles scene. She had done it for the past few years, why should she stop now? No emotional attachment, just nights of fun and, perhaps, an evening of unadulterated sex. After all, she had built up a reputation over the years, why not live up to it?

* * *

Alex pulled her car into a guest parking space at Chris' apartment complex. It seemed like she rarely went over there anymore. When Chris moved in over three months before, they had tried to split their time evenly between their two living quarters. Now, they rarely seemed to see each other. Alex was usually too tired to drive back into town after going home late from work and Chris was too enthralled with the newness of her apartment and living alone to constantly stay at Alex's.

Shortly after her promotion, Padre had signed a hot new author who caused Alex endless hours of torment ensuring that Padre's contracts were perfect. Once that settled down and word spread about Padre's coup, a bitter battle broke out to obtain a controlling interest of the company's stock, so they could cash in once the author's book hit the best seller's list.

During the time she and Chris did spend together, she noticed Chris grow more and more distant. At first Chris blamed it on work and the newness of the changes in her life. But as time went on, Chris claimed she needed more space to adjust. Alex knew that much of Chris' time was spent with Diane. Chris explained that Diane was just being her friend and helping her adjust to the nuances of the coming out process and living alone for the first time in almost a decade.

Earlier that day she had spoken to Chris and had to cancel their dinner date thinking she wouldn't get off work in time. Sally magically discovered a way to solve the problem they had been having with the computer, saving them hours of work. Her evening freed from work, Alex decided to surprise Chris. Walking to Chris' door carrying a bottle of champagne, she heard Tina Turner screaming from the stereo in the apartment. Ringing the bell, she waited, anticipating Chris' surprise.

After waiting a minute with no response, she impatiently rang the bell again. Still not receiving a response, she pounded on the door calling Chris' name. Chris finally opened the door wearing a tank top and shorts, her face showing obvious surprise to see Alex standing there.

"Hi! What happened? I thought you had to work late," she asked nervously.

"Sally was a miracle worker and solved our problem. I thought I'd surprise you," Alex said walking past Chris into the apartment, handing her the bottle. She turned and faced Chris, who shut the door and placed her arms around Alex, kissing her. "I've missed you," she whispered against Chris' mouth. Although Chris had returned Alex's affection, Alex noted she was somewhat more reserved than usual. Alex became more oriented to her surroundings. She then heard the shower running and was startled. "So what took you so long to answer the door?"

"Oh, the music was playing loud. I went running with Diane and I was getting a towel for her so she could take a shower. I'm glad you came by. I wish you would've called so I could've taken a shower and not be so stinky," Chris explained quickly.

Looking around the room, Alex saw an almost empty bottle of wine sitting on the coffee table and two sets of shoes on the floor. Glancing toward the bedroom, she could see the rumpled bed through the partially opened door. She felt as if someone had kicked her in the stomach.

Many things raced through her mind as she tried not to jump to any conclusions. After all, Chris' story was plausible, but what about the wine and the bed? Chris always made her bed in the morning. In fact, Chris usually nagged her to do the same when she stayed over at Alex's.

"You fucking bitch," she hissed suddenly, spinning around toward Chris.

"Alex! What's the problem?" Chris asked innocently. "It's not what you think!" She added after looking at Alex's face.

"Not what I think? Nice try Chris. Whatever happened to the honesty and open communication you promised? I guess it didn't suit your purpose this time, did it? I'm outta here. You can save your sweet talking for Diane," Alex started toward the door when Chris grabbed her arm, swinging her around.

"Alex, please! Listen to me! I'm sorry! I didn't mean to lie. I'm sorry that this happened, but it was the first time. I don't know how or why it happened, but it won't again. I promise!" Chris begged, still holding onto Alex's arm.

"You promise?! You're damn right it won't happen again because I won't be around to worry about it. You're some friend Chris. Fucking your best friend's girl friend. That's really nice, shows how much class you have," she hissed, shaking her arm out of Chris' grasp.

"What about you Alex? It's ok to have phone sex with your ex-lover though, isn't it? Calling her and showing up at her house. You are the one who has been so adamant about not having a commitment. I told you I had no problem with that and you were relieved. So now it's different, huh?" Chris screamed back defensively. Alex stopped dead in her tracks.

"How dare you! We both had an understanding from the beginning that we wouldn't sleep with other people, and I've kept my part of the bargain. As far as Stacy's concerned, given all of our discussions, that should not be an issue. I've told you from day one what the hell was going on there and you, you encouraged me to talk to her. At least I've been honest with you. But this Chris? The two of you have probably been screwing around for weeks. That's why you needed more space, isn't it?" screamed Alex. Chris remained silent, looking down, not able to look Alex in the eyes, knowing she couldn't lie anymore. "Well fuck you Chris! Just fuck you!" Alex threw the door open and stormed out, almost running to her car. When she finally got the key into the door and opened it, she sat and held the steering wheel, shaking. She couldn't believe what had just happened. She felt hurt and was ashamed at herself for not recognizing the signs sooner.

Starting the ignition, she drove away feeling dirty. 'How long had they been making love?' she wondered. The thought of Chris touching her after being with Diane made her sick to her stomach. Driving home, all she wanted was a shower and to go to bed.

What hurt her most was the feeling of betrayal and the lies. She admittedly wasn't in love with Chris, but did love her. She had felt she had thrown away a lot for this woman who promised her truth and honesty. But what honesty was there? She didn't blame Chris for what happened with Stacy. That was her choice and she was still living with the consequences.

Despite her pain, she thought of Stacy. Since her midnight appearance at Stacy's door the first night Chris failed to meet her at Flickers, she had called Stacy at least once or twice a week. They talked about the inane things in their daily lives and escapades with friends. Not breaking an unspoken rule, Alex never mentioned Chris and Stacy never spoke of dating anyone else. Alex also occasionally appeared unannounced at Stacy's door after drinking with friends, sometimes finding Stacy wasn't home. During the last week or two, in fact, Stacy never seemed to be home and failed to return her phone calls.

After Alex got home and took a shower, she poured herself a glass of wine and took it into the bedroom with her. Sitting up in bed smoking a cigarette, she was angry not only at Chris, but at herself for allowing what happened with Chris to happen. 'Like I had any control to

begin with,' she admitted to herself. Thinking again of Stacy, she wondered how their fragile friendship would be effected. She couldn't stand to completely lose them both. She put out her cigarette and laid down. After tossing and turning for a while, she finally drifted off to sleep, realizing she was more confused than ever.

* * *

Journal Entry #2- Alex

Well, I can't believe I'm writing again. I haven't written anything since that one other time. I guess it must just take a lot of pain to motivate me.

Well, Chris and I are over. I essentially walked into her apartment interrupting her and Diane. She gave a lame story about them going out and running and then Diane needing a shower. That didn't explain the near empty wine bottle and rumpled bed. I told her to fuck off and I stormed off. That was two days ago.

She's called me trying to talk. I spoke to her the first night and it didn't go well. I was too hurt and pissed. She swore up and down that it hadn't happened before and that it wouldn't happen again. She was crying and pleading with me to forgive her and to let her come over. I told her I couldn't talk to her and to leave me alone, she made her choice. Actually I said that she made her bed, or rather failed to, and she'd have to live with the consequences.

The last few days I've been working even more, if that's at all possible. Just working, grabbing a bite to eat on the way home and then going to bed. Trying to avoid any feelings or emotions.

This is all so surreal. I feel like friggin deja vu, but with the shoe on the other foot. My God! Is this what I did to Stacy?!

It's amazing how perspectives can change so quickly. Is this my karmic punishment for not only Stacy, but for Cindy's partner and any other affair I've had with someone involved in a relationship?

I feel really empty right now, betrayed, and scared. I know Chris and I each had our freedom, but dammit, sleeping with others was an express no no!

At least she could have been more honest about it. She was like a little kid with her hand caught in the cookie jar and then trying to deny it. I've spoken with Michelle. She's absolutely devastated. At least Diane confessed and was finally honest with her. Losing her best friend and lover in one fell swoop. She was oblivious to what was going on as well. It turns out, Diane admitted it had been going on for at least two weeks. Chris hasn't fessed up to that, and I doubt she will unless I confront her. How stupid!

Any ways, Chris keeps calling me both at work and home, leaving messages. Since I spoke to her that night, I can't face her. It's obvious that she's lied and that I can't trust her. In the back of my mind I'll wonder how many times we were together after she was with Diane, as who knows really how long they were sleeping together. It makes me feel dirty and want to shower just thinking about it.

The long and short of it is that I can't see or speak to her right now, nor do I have any desire to even consider to continue our relationship in the future. My discovery of her liaison with Diane destroyed any trust I may have had.

So now what? I really have to decide what it is I want. No matter what goes through my mind, Stacy still pops in there. That tells me a great deal. But can I give her what she wants? I still don't know. Guess I'll have to think and write some more on that one, especially when I'm not falling asleep like I am right now . . .

* * *

Not having heard from Alex for over a week, Ginny was concerned. She called Alex a few times at work only to be told by Sally that Alex was tied up in a meeting. When she called Alex's house, she had to leave a message on Alex's home answering machine. With her concern increasing, she made an unexpected visit to Alex's office on a Friday afternoon.

"Hey stranger," Ginny greeted, walking into Alex's office unannounced.

"What are you doing here?" Alex asked surprised as she looked up from her work seeing Ginny walk into her office.

"You haven't returned any of my calls and Izzy and I are worried about you. What's going on? How goes the battle?"

"Which one?" Alex asked exasperated.

"There's more than one? What happened?" she asked concerned.

"I don't want to get into it now because I have to get these contracts out, but suffice it to say that if it wasn't for work, my life would be completely in the outhouse."

"Chris or Stacy?"

"Both. There was a reason Chris was spending so much time with Diane. They were having an affair."

"Oh my God!" Ginny exclaimed in surprise. "How . . . when did you find out?"

"About a week ago when I tried to surprise Chris by showing up after I said I couldn't. I'll leave the gruesome details for another time."

"Why didn't you call? Jeez Al, that must have been a shocker."

"Trust me, it was. I've been so busy here, I've put everything off."

"Why don't you come over for dinner tonight and tell us what happened?" Ginny offered.

"I'll give you a call later. It depends on how much work I can get done."

"Izzy and I are here for you Al, you know that."

"I do, thanks. I'm just licking my wounds right know. I'll call you at home later on."

"Good enough. I'll talk to you then." Ginny walked out leaving Alex alone.

Alex turned off her computer at about 7:00 p.m. then called Ginny to say she'd be over shortly. After spending over 12 hours in her suit and panty hose, she quickly changed into the jeans and sweatshirt she kept in her office.

She soon arrived at Ginny and Izzy's, walking in and finding a spaghetti dinner awaiting her. Sitting down and eating, Alex described the nightmare with Chris.

"Wow! I'm so sorry Al. That must have been rough," Izzy sympathized. "I mean, it's bad enough to discover your lover's been unfaithful, but when you walk in on them, or even almost, it's gotta be ten times worse! So, what are you going to do now?"

"I'm going to get on with my life. What else can I do? Don't worry, I'm not suicidal or anything," Alex joked. "I'm in pain, but it's Stacy that scares me, not Chris."

"What do you mean?"

"It's bad enough that I got screwed over by Chris, but if I completely lost Stacy as well, I know I'll be off the deep end."

Both Ginny and Izzy looked at each other puzzled. "What do you mean? You lost Stacy when you started seeing Chris. I know you've been talking to her, both of you have told me that, but Alex, I think she's gone. I don't know if you knew it or not, but she's been dating other women. She didn't wait for you." Ginny advised gently.

"I know Ginny. I heard she's been dating, but nothing serious, right?" Ginny shrugged her shoulders in response. "We've had a lot of talks. I know I've hurt her. If I lose what little tie I still have with her, then I'll be completely crushed."

"Do you still love her?" Izzy asked.

"Yeh, very much so. I'm only now realizing how much of a jerk I was though."

"But Al, are you "in" love with her? I don't think she'll settle for anything else."

"Yes, I think I am. That's the part I haven't figured out yet, because I'm not completely sure of my feelings. It's been over three months and I can't imagine either of us wanting to jump back into anything. I know we'll essentially have to start from scratch, but I at least want a shot at it. You know, when I found Chris with Diane, she threw my words that I didn't want a relationship back at me. Since then I've been thinking. Maybe I do want the relationship and I'm just terrified. Right now I can't imagine being able to commit to anyone but Stacy . . . Well? What do you think? You've been talking to her," Alex asked Ginny.

Ginny paused a moment before responding. "I don't know Al. Maybe you should take sometime to recoup and think things through. You've just been through a lot. Maybe you should just spend some time with yourself and recover from all this and get some direction of what you really want." Ginny suggested with concern.

"Ginny's right, Al. First Stacy, then Chris . . . maybe you should just take some time and decide what it is that you want. Trying to draw Stacy back in before you do, that isn't fair. Especially if you discover you're still not ready for a committed relationship."

"I'm not saying I'm not going to spend some time alone. I just don't want to lose Stacy completely in the process. That's the one thing I do know. I now know exactly what I put Stacy through and I would never, ever do that to her again, or anyone else for that matter. I've learned my lesson in that regard. The thought of her not in my life is the scariest thing of all and has been during this entire time."

"You haven't discussed this at all with Stacy, have you?" Izzy asked.

"Not yet. I just sort of really started thinking about it within the last day or so."

"Just sort of? God help you Al, you're going to need it." Ginny squirmed in her seat, knowing she must tell her friend the truth. "Al . . . I hate to be the one to have to tell you this, but Stacy may really be gone . . . for good."

"What do you mean?"

"Stacy's up in San Francisco right now interviewing for a new job. She'd be crazy to turn it down if it's offered to her."

"What?! You're kidding me . . . Aren't you Ginny? You're just kidding me," Alex said in disbelief.

"No Al, I'm not." Ginny looked at her friend compassionately.

Alex sat back in her chair, dumbfounded. "Well . . . this is a shocker. Certainly changes things."

"Yes it does Al. Maybe it's a sign that you should let her go," Izzy said softly, patting her friend's shoulder.

"I can't Izzy. I'll just have to try harder and try to find other alternatives. But I don't think letting her go without trying is one of those options."

Continued in Chapter 9

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