MEMORIES OF LOVE by Leslaureate

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Jessica and Cynthia walked into the lobby of the law firm where the arbitration was to be held and were greeted by Bridget who sat waiting for them. Both were dressed impeccably in business suits; Cynthia’s height was accentuated by the tailored cut of her pantsuit, while Jessica looked professional and credible. Bridget led them down the hall to a glass enclosed conference room, where Erin and her attorney were already seated at the far end of the conference table looking over some documents.

Before entering the room, Cynthia saw Erin look up and locked eyes with her, Erin’s demeanor changing rapidly. She then saw Erin turn to her attorney. The three in the hallway only heard scattered words, "No way…Bitch…in here…", but the three fully understood the source of Erin’s ire. They watched as Erin’s attorney tried to calm her down, then stand and exit the room to approach Bridget. The two attorneys stepped down the hall and spoke for a few minutes. Jessica and Cynthia watched Bridget nod her head and then turn and walk back towards them as the other attorney went back into the conference room. Bridget motioned them back to the lobby, where the three huddled together at the edge of the room.

"I’m sorry Cynthia, but Erin doesn’t want you in the room during the proceeding."

"Oh great! Can she do that?" Jessica asked angrily.

"Unfortunately, yes, she can. Because Cynthia isn’t a party to the proceeding, we have no right to have her in there." Bridget explained.

Cynthia turned to Jessica and put her hands on both shoulders looking into her eyes. "It’s ok sweetie. You’ll do just fine. I’ll go downstairs to the coffee shop for awhile and get some work done and then come back up here to meet you for the lunch break. If you need me sooner, either call me on the cell phone or have someone come get me. OK?" Cynthia tried to reassure, keeping eye contact until Jessica answered by nodding her head

"Thanks for being so understanding Cynthia," Bridget said relieved. "We should take a lunch break around 12:30-1:00 pm."

"Go get ‘em tiger!" Cynthia kissed Jessica on the cheek, turned, and walked out toward the elevators, her every move watched by Jessica.

"C’mon Bridget! Let’s go tame that savage beast!" Jessica finally broke her silence as she turned and determinedly strode down the hall.

* * *

Cynthia sat waiting in the lobby, her computer open on her lap, working while waiting for Bridget and Jessica. All of a sudden she saw Erin whiz past her and out the door. She then watched as Erin’s attorney ran quickly behind trying to catch up with Erin. She closed the program, turned off her computer and put it back into its case. A few minutes later she saw Bridget and Jessica approach her.

"What happened? Erin tore past me like a bat out of hell," Cynthia asked curiously, standing up to join the others.

"Erin didn’t like to hear what the arbitrator had to say. We agreed to submit the matter on the papers we previously gave him and with some testimony. When both Erin and Jessica were done answering questions, he didn’t even adjourn or recess to think about his decision. He basically read Erin the riot act about how childish and malicious she’s been and how she could end up endangering her job. He did convince her it was in her best interest to accept the original proposal we had made that was more in Jessica’s interest and that she should be thankful that Jessica hasn’t pressed criminal charges, yet. He then tried to tactfully suggest therapy, especially for anger management. That must have been the last straw, because that’s when she tore out of the room."

"Wow! So it’s over?"

"Pretty much. This was binding so she has to abide by his opinion. We can enter it with the court as a judgement and enforce it through the court if she doesn’t abide by it." Bridget explained.

"Oh Jess! I’m so glad for you!" Cynthia exclaimed, pulling Jessica into an embrace. "How do you feel?" She added, noticing the stunned look on Jessica’s face.

"Relieved. But I’ll believe it when everything’s entered with the court and she actually leaves me alone."

"I know Hon. But it is a giant step."

"Yeh, it is," Jessica conceded.

"So, can I interest you two in a celebratory lunch? You must be famished. It’s after 2."

"Sounds good to me," Jessica smiled in agreement.

"Thanks Cynthia. Let me make a quick pit stop and call the office and then I’ll be ready," Bridget said placing her briefcase down on the ground next to Jessica.

"I’ll join you. How about you?" Cynthia directed to Jessica, who shook her head no, so Cynthia handed Jessica her computer cases. The two walked out of the office suite to the rest rooms down the hall. Jessica stood at the edge of the lobby waiting for the others when the front door suddenly flew open and out of no where, Erin was in her face.

"You bitch! Why are you doing this Jessica? We are meant to be together!" Erin hissed.

"Erin, you’re delusional. We’re over, and have been for a long time now. Face it and accept it." Jessica tried to calmly respond, despite the fear growing inside of her.

Erin grabbed her arm and held it in a vice like clutch. "No! You’re wrong!" Erin growled loudly. Jessica was scared. She had never seen Erin like this and didn’t know what she would do. Even when Erin had previously attacked her, Erin didn’t appear to be this angry or out of control.

Jessica glanced over to the reception desk and saw the woman sitting there mouth ‘security’s on their way’. She felt Erin jerk her to get her attention back on her.

"Erin, let me go. Security is on their way. You don’t want them to take you," Jessica tried to reason calmly.

"All I ever wanted was you Jess. We are meant to be together!" She shook Jessica as if to shake her into submission, causing the fear in Jessica to escalate further. Her arms seared with paid where Erin was clutching her. She prayed security would soon arrive and wondered why no one in the office intervened.

"Let her go Erin." Jessica heard the menacing voice, looked up and saw Cynthia standing close to Erin’s side. She then saw Cynthia grab Erin and pull her away, her grip on Jessica’s arms pried off. Once free, Jessica instinctively stepped back towards the reception desk and out of harm’s way.

"It’s over Erin. This won’t help anything." Cynthia tied to calmly reason with Erin. Seeing the rage in Erin’s eyes she anticipated the blow that would soon follow. She watched as Erin pulled her arm back, only to be restrained by two uniformed security officers that seemed to appear out of nowhere. They pulled Erin’s arms behind her, restraining her with handcuffs. As they were putting them on, Bridget and Erin’s attorney walked through the door, the look of surprise evident on both of their faces once they saw the events in front of them. Erin’s attorney quickly walked up to the security guards to try to assist her client, but knowing the SDPD were on their way to arrest Erin.

"You ok?" Cynthia asked concerned.

"Yeh, I am. Thanks for coming to my rescue," Jessica reached up and gave Cynthia a kiss on the cheek.

"My pleasure! I will never let anything happen to you. Although I didn’t realize I had the butch in me like that," she joked trying to lighten the tense situation.

The three women were led into an empty conference room to await the arrival of the SDPD. After Jessica and Cynthia were questioned and gave their statements, they all left to go have their long awaited lunch which was now an early dinner.

Cynthia insisted she drive the pair back to Jessica’s house seeing that. Jessica was still shaken after they finished eating. Bridget bid both women good-bye, promising Jessica to have all the paperwork ready for filing with the court within the next day or two. Jessica and Cynthia drove back to the house in silence, Jessica lost in her thoughts of the violent altercation. Cynthia was concerned, but knew she needed to give Jessica space to sort things out by herself.

Arriving at Jessica’s the two quickly changed into shorts and t-shirts. Cynthia sat on the couch watching a mindless reality show on MTV, while Jessica tended to Tasha and then excused herself to call Shawn and tell her of the day’s roller coaster events. After eating and grooming, Tasha Joined Cynthia by laying claim to her lap. Cynthia was trying hard not to worry about Jessica’s reaction to Erin’s assault.

"Hey, can I join you?" Jessica asked sitting down on the couch next to Cynthia and petting Tasha. Cynthia immediately put her arm around Jessica, pulling her close to her.

"Of course!" she said kissing the top of Jessica’s head. "You want to talk about it?" she asked sympathetically.

Jessica sighed as she rested her head on Cynthia’s shoulder. "I’m sorry I’ve been so out of it tonight. I’m still in shock. I can’t believe she is so whacked!"

"I know hon. I’m just sorry I wasn’t there and didn’t get back sooner," she answered with guilt.

"No! It’s not your fault! We had no way of knowing she was going to come back, yet alone that she’d be so violent. I lived with her all those years and never imagined she’d act as she has."

"Yeh. At least she won’t be able to do it again. Although I doubt she’ll spend much, if any, time in jail."

"I know this may sound magnanimous, but I just hope she gets the help she needs. I know that if she keeps her job that they’ll require some type of treatment, but I just hope she opens up enough for it to help her."

Cynthia fought back a fleeting comment about Jessica being too forgiving, but immediately realized that she wouldn’t be sitting holding her love without that same forgiving nature. "You are a better woman than I am Jess," was all she could say.

The two sat quietly watching tv and holding onto one another. Cynthia not knowing what to say and Jessica lost in her own thoughts. "Shawn reminded me I needed to talk to you and not let my walls go up over this," Jessica said softly, breaking the silence.

"Yeh? Thank her for me."

"Yeh. I may be a little skittish for awhile, but I will do my best not to shut you out," She raised her head to look at Cynthia’s face. "I do feel completely safe with you."

Cynthia looked down and saw the sincerity in her lover’s eyes. "Good. I am here for you Hon. I’ll do anything you want or need me to do for you."

"Thanks," Jessica leaned up, kissing Cynthia softly on the lips. She rested her head back down on Cynthia’s shoulder and both went back to watching the tv show in silence.

* * *

Cynthia sat at the kitchen table watching Megan prepare yet another culinary experience for their dinner. The two friends hadn’t seen much of each other over the last few months due to Cynthia’s busy travel schedule. She’s either been out of town on business or in San Diego visiting Jessica. They had exchanged emails allowing Cynthia to keep her friend abreast of all the happenings in her life, but they didn’t have the opportunity to discuss many details.

"Hey Megan? How would you feel if I moved to California?" Cynthia tried to casually ask.

"What!" Megan exclaimed, surprised by the question and almost cutting herself she was using. She spun around to look at her friend.

"You heard me. What do you think of me moving to California?" she repeated.

"You’re serious, aren’t you?"

"Yep, I am."

Megan placed the knife down on the counter and joined her friend at the table, sitting down in the chair next to Cynthia. "You’ve fallen, haven’t you?" she said more as a statement than as a question.

"Like a ton of bricks," she answered embarrassed.

"I knew things were working out, but not this well. So has she asked you to move?"

"No, not yet. This is my idea so far. We haven’t actually discussed anything about this topic yet, other than a brief conversation a few months ago."

Megan looked at her friend’s face and saw concern. Things must be going well and progressing if you’re even thinking about moving to San Diego."

"They are. Things are going great. I’ve been out there a few times since the arbitration two months ago and we’re crazy about each other."

"Why do I feel like there’s a ‘but’ coming?" Megan sighed.

"But, since the arbitration she just hasn’t wanted to talk about the future. I know the situation with her ex has effected her, and our relationship, so I haven’t pushed the topic. I’ve let her guide the way so far and have been waiting for her to make the move to take ‘us’ to the next level. I want her to be sure and to know that she can trust me completely. I’ve just tried to be there for her in any way I can."

"How does that make you feel?"

"A little insecure. I really have no doubts that she wants me to move there, but she’s afraid. And I’ve been too chicken to raise the topic myself, but I think it’s time that I should. I think it will help show her how serious and committed to this relationship I am."

"OK, but how do you feel about moving to San Diego? What about your demons?"

Cynthia smiled with pride. "My demons are gone. I haven’t had one nightmare since I got together with Jess and I finally feel at peace with that whole period of time. I guess she made me finally have to remember and face what happened. So I’m very ok with it."

"Are you sure this is what you want to do?" Megan asked concerned.

"Positive. I don’t think I’ve been surer about anything. I just feels like it’s the right thing to do."

"Well, my friend, I’m going to really miss you, but it looks like I have a place to stay in California for my next vacation."

* * *

It was a long flight, and she was both exhausted and eager to see Jessica. She parked the rental car in Jessica’s driveway, grabbed her luggage and let herself in with the key that Jessica had given her months earlier. Not seeing Jessica’s car and the house dark, she figured she had beat Jessica home. She opened the front door, looked into the living room and stopped dead in her tracks. The room was awash in light from the candles lit all over the room and from the fireplace. She closed the door behind her, sets her bag aside, and looks at the room amazed. She sees Jessica laying on the couch in a silk robe, quietly looking at her.

"Jess?" she asked perplexed, walking to sit on the edge of the couch.

Without saying a word, Jessica reached up, put her arms around Cynthia and pulled Cynthia down to lay on top of her, her mouth devouring Cynthia’s. "Welcome home", she whispered into Cynthia’s ear, nibbling on the earlobe.

"Damn! What did I do to deserve a reception like this? I want to know so I can do whatever it is again!" Cynthia moaned.

Jessica chuckled. "Just be you."

"I think I can handle that", Cynthia said softly, kissing Jessica’s neck then moving her lips to capture Jessica’s in a passionate kiss. She finally had to pull away to catch her breath. She sees glasses on the table, filled with a cool liquid treat. "Hold on a sec." She grabbed a glass and took a sip of grape sparkling cider. "Thirsty?" she asks Jessica, who nodded affirmatively. As she went to pick up Jessica’s glass she notices a small gift wrapped package on the table and looked at Jessica with curiosity.

Jessica smiled, and simply said, "Open it."

Jessica sits up and takes the glass offered by Cynthia. Cynthia pick up the package, holds it up to her ear and shakes it. Not hearing any clues, she quickly tears off the wrap and opens the enclosed box revealed a heart shaped diamond pendant on a {type of} chain. Her eyes grow wide in surprise.

"Oh my God Jess! It’s beautiful!" Cynthia picks the object up and out of the box to admire it more closely.

Jessica had sat quietly watching the surprise unfold and was pleased that she had received the desired effect. "I’m glad you like it."

"Like it? I love it! Thank you!" Cynthia leaned and kissed Jessica showing her appreciation. "Uh-oh…did I forget something?" she asked embarrassed, fearful she had forgot a special occasion.

"No, you didn’t," Jessica laughed. She took Cynthia’s hands into her own, looking into her love’s eyes, hoping to remember the speech she had been practicing for the past week.

"Cyn, I just wanted to thank you for being there for me and to let you know you truly have not only my heart, but also my body and soul. I know you’ve been showing a little restraint since that whole ordeal with Erin and waiting to follow my lead on some things, but I don’t want you to have to do that anymore…"

"Jess, I…" Cynthia started to protest, only to be silenced by Jessica’s finger on her lips.

"Shh… let me finish. I don’t want anything between us Hon, You’ve been flying out here every few weeks without fail and haven’t said a word about what you’re thinking or feeling about ‘us’, our relationship."

"I didn’t want to rush you," Cynthia was able to interject.

"I know, and thank you. But I’m ok now and we need to talk about it, especially our current living situations." Cynthia started to become a little panicked, not knowing the direction of the conversation. Hon, it’s not a bad thing, relax. Actually, I think it’s a good thing," Jessica quickly added sensing Cynthia’s apprehension.

"What is it then?"

"I miss you when you’re not here. It’s really hard to be without you sleeping by my side and not waking up next or on top of you. Things happen and I want to share them with you, but I can’t because you’re 3000 miles away. I want to live with you." Jessica held her breath, anxiously waiting for Cynthia’s response. She was relieved when she saw an expression of joy on Cynthia’s face.

"I want that too. I’ve wanted it for awhile."

"Good, I guess we just need to work out all the logistics then, huh?"

" Um, actually, I’ve already done some research on moving expenses and renting out my house until we decide what to do with it." Cynthia shyly admitted.

Jessica snickered. "Awfully sure of yourself, aren’t you?" she teased.

"Nah, just really hopeful," she answered placing her lips upon Jessica’s and parting them with her tongue and pushing Jessica back down on the couch, laying on top of her. The decision finally made both felt a sense of completion, that the circle was closed, and the future would be singular and whole.


Thanks for taking the time to read my little ditty. Any comments, praise, worship, etc are welcomed!

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