MEMORIES OF LOVE by Leslaureate

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"Nervous?" Jessica asked, glancing at Cynthia and resting her hand on Cynthia’s leg. She had picked up Cynthia at the hotel and was now pulling her car into Shawn’s driveway.

"Well, yeah! You’re feeding me to the wolves," Cynthia joked, taking Jessica’s hand into her own, lifting it up to her mouth, and kissing the back of it.

"I have no doubt that you can hold your own," Jessica smiled. "C’mon, let’s go into the den."

The two had arrived at Shawn’s a few minutes early so Jessica could introduce Cynthia. They got out of the car and walked to the front door of Shawn’s Craftsman style house. Ringing the doorbell, they heard footsteps approach. Shawn opened the door greeting Jessica. Jessica quickly made the introductions between the two, while they stood eyeing one another, appraising the other like two fighters encircling one another during a fight. Cynthia finally held out her hand.

"Hi Shawn. I’m glad to finally meet you. Jess has had nothing but great things to say about you," Cynthia smiled, showing her teeth and turning on the charm.

"Hello Cynthia. I’m glad to finally meet you as well," Shawn greeted in return, shaking Cynthia’s hand. "C’mon in. Everything is out on the back patio," she stepped aside to allow her guests to enter. They walked to the back patio where Cynthia settled in with a soda on a chaise chair, while Jessica excused herself to help Shawn in the kitchen.

Jean arrived shortly after along with a few other women that Shawn had invited and that were mutual acquaintances with Jessica. The party soon swung into full gear with music playing and all sitting outside around a patio table talking and laughing.

After dinner, Jessica sat down behind Cynthia, sliding her arms around her. "Having a good time?" she whispered into Cynthia’s ear.

"Yeh, I am. They seem to be having a pretty good time too," she laughed pointing to Jean and Shawn sitting together by themselves across the yard.

"So it appears!" she chuckled in return. "Do you mind if we stay and help clean up?"

"Not at all. What do you want to do after that?"

"You want to see my house and meet Tasha?"

"Sure," Cynthia answered, surprised at the invitation to Jessica’s private enclave.

"Good, let me start to help straighten up so we can get out of here."

The two left shortly after, leaving Shawn and Jean by themselves. Pulling into her own driveway, Cynthia admired the modern house, much like her own. Opening the front door and walking inside, they found Tasha waiting for them. Meowing and rubbing against their legs, she greeted the humans and demanded food.

"Well aren’t you the pretty one?" Cynthia knelt down and petted the feline as she rubbed against her leg. "Did you miss your mama today? She’s here now to feed ya," Cynthia reassured. Hearing her Mom in the kitchen, Tasha darted away with Cynthia following.

"Let me feed her and then I’ll give you a tour," Jessica pulled the bag of cat food out of the pantry placing it on the counter. "Help yourself to a drink in the refrigerator." Cynthia followed her instructions, opened the fridge and pulled out a bottle of spring water. She leaned back against the kitchen counter and watched Jessica place Tasha’s bowl full of food on the floor and then placing the bag back into the pantry. Jessica walked over to Cynthia, leaned in close and reached up and gave her a quick kiss.

"C’mon, let’s take that tour," she said taking Cynthia hand and leading her out of the kitchen to show her the rest of the house.

They soon settled in the living room, deciding to watch another movie on DVD. "So, did you have a good time today?" Jessica asked as placed the DVD into the player and walked back to the couch sitting down next to Cynthia.

"I did. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. But then again, since Shawn and Jean were more intent on each other, I got off easy." She said putting her arm around Jessica’s shoulder, and scooted around until they both got comfortable.

"That was a surprise to me. I never would have thought to pair those two up," Jessica admitted snuggling in and pointing the remote and turning on the movie. "I’ll have to grill ‘em both for the dirt."

* * *

The sun poured in through the large glass window casting a ray of light onto Jessica’s face, walking her up. She felt Cynthia’s arms around her and realized she was laying on top of Cynthia. She raised her head and observed the peaceful look on Cynthia’s face. Not wanting to disturb her companion, she closed her eyes and snuggled into her human pillow and fell back asleep.

Cynthia’s eyes fluttered open, the sunshine glaring. At first disoriented, she realized she was laying on Jessica’s couch, but Jessica was not near.

"Hey Princess. How are you this morning? Where did your mama go to?" she greeted Tasha who had jumped onto her lap.

"Good morning!" Jessica greeted cheerfully. As if on cue, Jessica walked into the living room looking refreshed after washing up and brushing her teeth.

"Good morning to you! I guess I fell asleep during the movie," Cynthia said apologetically.

"No worries, so did I." Jessica walked to the couch and leaned over and softly kissed Cynthia’s lips. "Actually, I woke up laying on top of you." Cynthia playfully raised an eyebrow in response. "Want some coffee?"

"Desperately. Black please," Cynthia answered quickly hugging Jessica and pulling her in for a more passionate kiss.

"Hmm… I’ll be right back," Jessica pulled away, walking to the kitchen. She returned shortly carrying two cups of coffee, handing one to Cynthia before sitting down next to her."

"Thanks. So, it was a human blanket I thought I felt all night," Cynthia commented suggestively.

"Yep. Sorry about that," she apologized taking a sip of her coffee.

"No need to be sorry. I’m the one who’s sorry for sleeping through that," Cynthia joked trying to give a lecherous look.

"It was nice. I woke up and thought about getting up, but I was too comfortable and you looked too cute and peaceful."

"Thanks, I’m glad" Cynthia leaned forward, placing her cup on the table and then settling back to face Jessica, taking Jessica’s hand into her own. "I’ve really enjoyed myself Jess. To be honest, I don’t want to go home."

Jessica was silent. "Me too," she finally said softly. "That’s all I’ve been able to think about since I woke up. I want to be selfish and try to talk you into staying longer, but I don’t want to prolong the inevitable," she said sadly. "I know this sounds crazy, but in some ways I feel like the time we’ve been apart really wasn’t there, it didn’t happen. It’s like I’ve known you for the umpteen years and not the few months we’ve been reacquainted," Jessica paused momentarily taking a sip of her coffee. "As angry as I was with you and as scared as I have been, and still am, you’ve managed to sneak back in here," she said pointing to her heart.

Cynthia listened, her eyes starting to mist from Jessica’s admission. "I feel the same way, hon. This weekend was better than I ever imagined. I’m so very glad that we’ve been able to work things out so far and I know that we’ll figure something out." She pulled Jessica to her, embracing her.

"Is that what you want Cyn? To work something out between us?" Jessica asked looking for an answer in Cynthia eyes. The endearment Cynthia called her did not go unnoticed.

"More than anything!" She answered without any hesitation. "What about you?"

"Yeh, I do too. But you’re 3000 miles away. How are we going to do this? I know I should have thought of this before, but it wasn’t real until now. I mean there’s the phone and email, but how are we going to see one another? I want to be as realistic as possible."

Cynthia paused to think before answering. "Well, I can arrange to come here at least once a month on business. We’ll both be working most of the time, but we’ll have nights and some weekends. It’s not much, but it’s a start."

Jessica sat up and looked at Cynthia, a smile growing across her face. "You’d be willing to do that?"

"Without hesitation. Like I said before, I lost you once and I won’t do that again. I will do everything in my power to make sure that I’ve done my best to see if this works."

Jessica was speechless. She knew that Cynthia cared for her, but never felt words spoken so sincerely. Whatever doubts she had to trust Cynthia slipped away. She knew it was too soon, but she knew how she felt. She leaned up to kiss Cynthia, at first gently placing her lips on Cynthia, then passionately, spreading Cynthia’s lips with her tongue. At first Cynthia was surprised by the contact, but quickly relaxed and pulled Jessica on top of her as she lay back onto the couch. They laid kissing and exploring for what seemed like a few minutes, but was actually an hour. Cynthia glanced at the clock and gently pulled away.

"Hon, I hate to say it, but I better get back to the hotel and check out. My plane leaves in a few hours."

"I know. I just don’t want to let you go yet," Jessica pouted hugging her companion.

"I don’t want to go either, but I gotta. I’ll be back next month," she whispered. They held onto one another until Cynthia pushed up to a sitting position, taking Jessica up with her. "C’mon Sweetie," she said standing up and taking Jessica’s hand to pull her up. "Listen, why don’t you drive me back to the hotel and come back and get some sleep? I have to return the rental car, so I have to drive myself to the airport."

"So this is it?" Jessica asked sadly.

"Nope, just for this trip. You ain’t getting rid of me so easily, remember?" she whispered taking Jessica’s lips with her own.

* * *

Jessica was driving to Shawn’s feeling an emptiness in her heart since she dropped Cynthia off at her hotel. After she left the hotel, she returned home and tried to catch up on her chores, but felt too restless to concentrate on anything. Giving up on even doing a mindless task like laundry, she called Shawn to see if she wanted to meet for lunch. As she neared Shawn’s house, her cell phone rang to the tune of "Celebration".

"Hey there! I missed you already and didn’t want to wait until I got home to talk to you."

""Hi!" she greeted surprised but glad to hear from Cynthia. "I’m glad, I was missing you too. Where are you?"

"That’s a very good thing, that you miss me that is. I’m at the airport waiting to board the plane. I just dropped the rental car off. Where are you?"

"On my way to Shawn’s. I couldn’t concentrate, so we’re going to have lunch together."

"Cool. Hey listen Hon, I have some bad news."

"What’s that?" Jessica asked concerned.

"I checked my schedule and I won’t be able to come out for at least two months," she said sadly. "I forgot I have a huge project in Cleveland. I have to go there to install and train on a new system. I’m really sorry," she apologized sincerely.

Jessica was quiet as she drove up in front of Shawn’s house and parked.

"Jess? You still there?"

"Yeh, I am. Just a bit disappointed." Jessica admitted.

"I am too. I’ll do what I can and maybe I can move some things around and come out sooner. OK?"

"That sounds great!" Jessica cheered up hearing the possibility.

"I’m glad you’re glad. Hey, they just called my flight to board. Talk to you tonight?"

"Yeh. Call me when you get in. Have a safe flight. And Cyn?"


"I had a really good time this weekend. I’m really glad you came out here and I wish I can see you again soon."

"I know, me too. I really have to go now. I’ll talk to you in a few hours. Bye."

"Bye," Jessica said hitting the off button on her cell phone. She rested her head back on her seat and exhaled a big sigh. She suddenly felt very lonely. Sitting up, she got out of the car and walked up to Shawn’s door, pushing the doorbell. A few seconds later she heard footsteps and then the door opened revealing Shawn dressed in denim shorts and a sleeveless blouse.

"Hiya! Come on in!" Jessica walked in the doorway, hugged Shawn, and followed her friend to the back patio. A pitcher of iced tea and plastic glasses sat on top of the patio table. Shawn sat down and motioned Jessica to sit down in the seat next to her.

"How are ya doing today?" Shawn asked cheerfully, pouring two glasses of iced tea.

"Not as good as you seem to be," Jessica observed.

"Having a hard time already?"

"You can’t imagine. I knew that if things went well it would be hard to see her go, but I didn’t imagine it would be this hard. And to make matters worse, she called right before I got here and said she may not be able to come out for another two months," Jessica pouted.

"Ouch! So I take it things went well."

"Yeh, they did. It was a nice relaxing weekend."

"Oh really? Are you going to give me the dirt or am I going to have to pry it out of you?"

"Well, I’ll tell you if you tell me what’s going on between you and Jean."

"Fair enough. Deal! Now tell me!" she said impatiently.

"Alright!" Jessica smiled, "Well we had a great dinner on Thursday, then walked down to Seaport Village. Then on Friday, we went to the zoo and walked around Spanish Village. It was fun. We were both wiped so we went back to her hotel to relax."

"Really? So you went up to her hotel room?" she asked suggestively.

"Yes. I laid down on the extra bed and fell asleep!"

"Bummer!" Shawn teased.

"Well, I woke up and we decided to watch a movie and ordered room service."


"We kissed and snuggled."


"We watched a movie."

"That’s it?" She asked suspiciously.

"That’s it. I went home when it was over and I didn’t see her until I went to pick her up to come here."

"And what happened when you left here?"

"We went to my house and I introduced her to Tasha."

"Good God woman, you’re making this hard! And?"

"I fell asleep on her as we watched another movie."

"Oh man!" Shawn chuckled. "So, how do you feel about her? Have you forgiven her?"

"Yeh, I think I have. I also think I’m falling in love with her again," Jessica admitted.

"Ya think huh? Isn’t it a little soon and doesn’t she have some trust to rebuild?"

"Well, considering I’ve known her for 17 years, that’s not too soon is it?" Jessica asked innocently.

"Don’t give me that bull shit Jess. You’ve only really known her a few months counting all of the email."

"I know, but it’s like I told you before, there’s something there that I can’t explain. I’ve never felt it before with anyone else. I feel like I’ve known her forever. It’s like we just fit together."

Shawn looked at her skeptically. "What about the distance thing?"

"That’s going to be hard. She’s going to try to come out once a month so we can spend time together. And there’s always the telephone and emails. I don’t know, maybe we’ll get web cams so we can talk on the net and see each other. We’ll just have to see what happens."

"Jess, I’m just worried. Relationships are hard, yet alone long distance relationships. They are extremely difficult, not to mention expensive. I just want to be sure that you’re being realistic."

"I am… and, by the way, who are you to talk? So, what’s going on between you and Jean."

Shawn sat back into the chair and took a sip of iced tea, placing the glass back down on the table.

"She’s nice. I really liked talking to her. We exchanged numbers and plan on going out. She’s going to call me tonight and we’ll figure something out. Are you ok with me seeing her?"

"Of course I am! I’m sort of pleased to be honest with you. I didn’t think she’d be your type, so I didn’t even think of setting you two up."

"Well, she really isn’t my ‘type’. You know me, I usually prefer a bit more femme. But she seems like a really good person and I am attracted to her."

"And what about the long distance thing?"

"At least she’s reasonably close and is in the same state!" Shawn laughed.

"Touché," Jessica responded sadly. "But on the positive side, it forces me to take the time to get to know her."

"True, very true. You don’t need to be running into anything so soon. You still need to be finally rid of your last one. Any progress?"

"Thirty days until the arbitration and then it’s over. I just found out on Thursday and haven’t had a chance to tell you."

"Well it’s about time! Just let me know when and I’ll be there if you want."

"Thanks. I cannot wait for it to be over and finally rid of her."

"I bet! So you hungry? I’ll go make some lunch." Shawn stood and walked into the house, with Jessica following to help her.

Over the course of the next few weeks, Cynthia and Jessica talked on the phone or emailed on almost daily. They shared their days, discussed current events, followed odd little philosophical or humorous tangents one would go off on and the other would follow. On a few occasions Jessica was surprised at work by bouquets of exotic flowers and cards that simply read "I miss you. Cynthia".
As the date of the arbitration approached, Jessica became more and more apprehensive. Her anxiety was allayed a week before the date when she received a phone call from Bridget informing her that one of the arbitrators had a family emergency and would not be back in time for the arbitration. After many phone calls, the hearing was rescheduled for the following month. As she hung up the phone after speaking with Bridget, a mischievous thought crossed Jessica’s mind. She quickly picked the phone back up and dialed numbers that were branded into her memory.

"Cynthia Jarvis." Jessica heard the cool business voice over the phone line.

"Surprise! It’s me!"

"Hey me! What’s up?" Jessica heard the voice on the other end warm and relax after Cynthia recognized her voice.

"I just spoke to Bridget and the hearing has been rescheduled back three weeks."

"I’m sorry Jess. I know how much you wanted this done and over with," Cynthia consoled.
"Well, it’s ok. I did have a thought though…"

"And what would that be?" Cynthia tried to prompt, hearing Jessica’s hesitation.

"Well, I figured I had the time off already scheduled. So…what are you doing next week? I’d really like to see you if that’s possible." The silence after she spoke was deafening to her, causing her already heightened anxiety to increase. "Hello? Cyn?" she finally prompted, afraid of Cynthia’s response.

"Sorry! I was just surprised speechless, that’s all. I’m thrilled and would love to see you!" Cynthia exclaimed, unable to contain the joy she felt at even the remote prospect of seeing Jessica again. "One problem though…"

"What’s that?" Jessica asked concerned.

"I’ll be away on business those days, in Cleveland. That’s the trip I told you about." Cynthia could feel the disappointment emanating from the other end of the phone line. "But… have you ever been to Akron or Cleveland? Would you like to join me?" she quickly added.

"I’ve been to Cleveland once, but I didn’t see much …I’d love to join you! When and where?" she replied, both excited at seeing Cynthia and of the adventure.

"I’ll be there Sunday through Friday. When can you come in?"

"I can fly in Sunday and have to leave Wednesday. I have to be back to work on Thursday."

They finished coordinating their schedules and said goodbye. Immediately after hanging up, Jessica called her travel agent to make the necessary arrangements for her trip before she could change her mind.

Continued in Chapter Seven

Copyright 1999, 2003. All rights reserved.

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