Author’s Note: So far, I’m sticking with the title. Most of you have said they liked it… Who am I to say??? J

BTW, I think you’ll really enjoy this chapter, it’s kinda angsty. We are getting closer!

Hammer and Nails

Chapter 11

A month had passed since the concert and Bernadette’s decision to keep her feelings to herself about Jump were weighing heavily on her. It seemed the more she tried to keep her distance from Jump, the more her feelings intensified. Jump was sensing things weren’t all right with Bernadette as well and it was getting harder and harder for Bernadette to come up with excuses. Not to mention the fact that she hated not seeing her nephew, whom she’d grown to love very much.

As a result, Bernadette decided just to push those feelings deep down. She had no other choice. She increased her time out at the basketball courts just to relieve some of the energy and tension she’d began to build up. She knew though that there was going to be a breaking point if she continued on this path. It was only a matter of time.

Perhaps she’d take some time off and go spend it up north where she liked to fish and hike. There was a sense of clarity and simplicity in her trips to northern California. No one to answer to, no deadlines, no complex, heart wrenching decisions to make. Maybe it was just what she needed to get her head clear again.

So, the decision was made. She’d take a couple of weeks off after the private school project was done and she’d be home in time for her father’s birthday party at the end of July.



"What’s going on with you and Bernadette?"

Jump’s back stiffened as she stopped reaching for the white purchase order binder above the desk in the storeroom. Here it comes. I should have known Sue would pick up on my grumpiness when Bernadette’s not around. And the utter giddiness when she is…

Time to come clean, Jump. Before you drive yourself crazy…

As Jump steeled herself to tell her friend what’s been going on with her at least, Sue continued on.

"’Cuz the way she looks at you, Jump… I gotta say…"

Sue could not believe she was voicing this to her friend now that she heard it, but damned if there wasn’t something between the two. She loved her friend, but she knew she didn’t look at Jump like Bernadette does sometimes. And it went both ways.

This thing between the two of them had been evident for a while now, but Sue kept quiet about it. Sue found herself waiting for Jump to say something, but she didn’t. Today, in the shop, Sue could stand it no more. She had to ask her best friend what was going on. And if she didn’t know, Sue felt she should tell her what it looked like.

"The way Bernadette looks at me?" Jump asked, shock evident in her voice.

Sue mistook it for fear and quickly backpedaled. Maybe she was wrong about it and Jump had no clue. "Well, I don’t know… maybe…"

Jump pounced on Sue’s first comment. She needed Sue to tell her what she thought. It couldn’t be? Could it?

"What exactly do you mean, Sue? How does she look at me?" Jump asked as if her life depended on the answer.

Sue was still a bit confused at Jump’s intensity. "Well, remember when we talked about… about Matt and me and…. Oh forget it Jump. I’m sorry. I must have been reading those times wrong." Sue was really afraid she’d made a horrible mistake, as Jump seemed to get more and more agitated.

"There’s been more than one time?" Jump asked in a small voice. She took a deep breath and slumped down in her chair, a look of disbelief on her face. Then, out broke the tiniest of smiles. If Sue weren’t staring at her friend intently, thinking she’d really put her foot in it, she would have missed it. Holy Shit!

Sue bit her tongue though and caught eyes with Jump. She quickly slid over a chair and sat so that her knees were touching Jump’s. She took both of Jump’s hands in hers and looked into her eyes intently and then grinned like a little girl on Christmas morning.

"All right, Missy, you better tell me everything!"

And Jump did. She told her friend how much she felt for the dark haired woman and how she’d been thinking of her non-stop for about a month now. Sue would periodically just shake her head in wonder. She watched her friend just beam as she talked about Bernadette.

"You aren’t freaked out by all of this? I mean, first Bernadette is a woman and second she’s Mark’s sister. Hell, I’m freaked out by it." Jump said matter-of-factly. "Christ, I can’t believe I told you. I wasn’t going to say anything, you know…" Jump expelled a deep breath. "But when you said you saw something in Bernadette, I couldn’t hold it in any longer. Perhaps it’s why she’s been avoiding me." Jump ended, more to herself than to Sue. Jump dropped her head and looked at her hands still linked with Sue’s. She felt a million times lighter and a million times more scared. It was out there now. Her feelings for Bernadette. She couldn’t call the words back, or the feelings. Suddenly, she looked at Sue with panic in her eyes.

"Don’t worry, I’m not going to breath a word to anyone. What are you going to say to Bernadette though? She obviously feels something for you too. I know that look." Sue said with an emphatic nod.

"What can I say, Sue? And where could it go? I mean she’s Ryan’s aunt…" Jump trailed off.

"Have you ever felt this way? With Mark, anyone?" Asked Sue, even though she knew the answer.


"Then…" Sue was trying to get Jump to take action here, but it wasn’t happening.

"I can’t do this, Sue." Jump said with sad conviction, as she looked at Ryan who was fast asleep in his playpen next to her desk.

"Because of Mark…" Sue reasoned aloud as she too looked over at the sleeping baby.

"That and I just wouldn’t know how to go about it, you know?" Jump released Sue’s hands with a soft squeeze and stood up, running her hands down her thighs.

"Why don’t you bring it up and you two can talk about what you want to do? That way it’s out there and acknowledged and you two might be able to get some sort of closure or answers or something. ‘Cuz I gotta be honest with you my friend, your moods have been…" Sue mimicked the movements of a rollercoaster as Jump slapped at her hands and chuckled.

"Have I been that bad?" Jump asked as her chuckles died down.

"Let’s put it this way, even Matt has noticed. But since he’s a boy, I’ve been able to blame it on your PMS and he hasn’t been the wiser." Sue smirked.

"You Shit!" yelled Jump as she shook her finger at her friend.


This day could not get any worse for Bernadette. Two of her guys had called in sick today and one had given his notice because he was moving. She’d also just found out one of the subcontractors had forgotten to bury some wire before they laid the sub flooring. Now, she was going to be behind schedule fixing it and she wasn’t sure she was going to be able to take time off between jobs. Her mood had deteriorated so much her crew was afraid to approach her.

She stalked around the site, taking notes on what they’d have to do to get the wire buried with minimal demolition of the sub flooring. "Fucking subcontractors." She mumbled to herself. She felt a presence next to her and immediately knew it was her brother Matt. "It better be good fucking news." She growled at him. She turned to face him and his jaw was set firm and his eyes held a little fear in them.

"Uh, no, sis, it isn’t. Chris just cut through one of the plumbing lines and I have to dig in and replace it. It’s gonna put us back a bit more." Matt could see the purplish veins gaining color and pulse in his sister’s neck. He barely had time to duck out of the way before she punched through the newly hung drywall.

This was not her. That was the first thing that went through Matt’s mind as he watched his sister violently pull her mangled hand out of the drywall. It was slightly misshapen on the side of her pinky finger and he figured she’d broken at least one bone in her hand. She quickly wiped away a single tear and sniffled slightly. They didn’t say anything for a full minute as they both looked at what she’d done and then at her hand.

"I think I broke it." she said with detached wonder. Her eyes finally found his and what he saw in hers was a desperate need for help.

Mindful of the eyes watching them, he resisted the urge to put his arm around her and just motioned with his head for her to follow him to his truck. He gave instructions to a couple of the men and let them know he’d be right back after he took the foreman to the hospital.

Once in the truck, Bernadette broke down. She apologized for her outburst and for her mood in general lately. She told him how she was dealing with something that she didn’t know how to handle and it was wearing her down mentally. She stopped short of telling him the reason why, afraid of what he’d think. So she just sank back into the seat, cradling her arm.

Matt listened intently and his heart broke for his sister. She’d always been the stable, grounded one. She’d become unhinged before his eyes today and he wanted to know what had his sister so off balance and angry. It was obvious either she didn’t know or she didn’t want to tell him. He remembered once he’d told her to talk to Sue because she’s such a good listener.

He started out gently as if trying to soothe a hurt child. "Bernsy, I don’t know what’s eating you, but you gotta let it out. Even if you’re not sure what it is, just talking might help, you know."

"I know, Matt." He was surprised she’d responded. He was encouraged and looked at her as long as he safely could while driving.

I can’t keep this in any longer. I don’t know whom else to turn to. I hope he won’t hate me.

As she begun to muster the courage and words to tell him about Jump, they arrived at the hospital. He parked and then went around to the passenger side and helped Bernadette out. They walked to the emergency room entrance in silence.

After they’d taken Bernadette’s information, they realized they were going be here for a while. Matt looked at her, the question in his eyes unspoken.

"You should get back to the site. God knows the whole thing probably fell through a sinkhole." Bernadette said quite seriously as she gingerly sat down and grabbed a magazine with her unbroken hand and sat it on her lap.

"You sure you’ll be okay?" Asked Matt. He really wanted to stay, but knew his sister would have none of it when the site was still open and being that it was such a clusterfuck today…

"I’ll be fine. I’ll call you or dad when I’m out, okay?"

That seemed to satisfy him and he reached down and gave her shoulder a squeeze and headed back out to his truck.

Bernadette sat with the magazine untouched in her lap. She tried to avoid thinking of why she was in here but it was impossible. She thought about apologizing to her crew, but thought the better of it. They didn’t need to know anything except that she’d been in a bad mood for a while. Men didn’t really care anyway. It is really a blessing sometimes to work with men, mused Bernadette.

She heard her name being called, so she set her magazine on the table and walked to one of the emergency bays. The two bones in her hand on the side of her pinky and ring finger were indeed broken and would require casting.

"I hope this wasn’t your writing hand." Quipped the handsome Indian doctor who was busy casting her hand. She looked down at it and smiled. Of course it would be my left hand. "I guess I’ll learn to be ambidextrous for a while."

After she’d taken care of the insurance stuff and called Matt, Bernadette sat out on the bench outside the emergency room, her newly casted hand sitting awkwardly in her lap. She noted that it was a beautiful day and wished she could just go home, walk on the beach and get lost in the rhythm of the moving ocean. She knew she had to get back to the site though as it was still open for at least another 3 hours.

She looked up when she heard the familiar rumbling of a truck, but was surprised to see who was driving it. Sneaky brother, thought Bernadette as she got up and walked to the now idling truck near the curb.

"Hey, Sue." Bernadette smiled as she opened the truck with her good hand and hopped in.

"Hey yourself, Mike." Sue smiled at Bernadette. She’d guessed Matt filled her in on how she broke her hand. She was appreciative of Sue’s humor though. It made it a little less awkward to be in her company on the trip back to the site.

When Sue didn’t take the freeway, Bernadette knew she was in for an impromptu counseling session, set up by her little brother. Taking the long way would ensure dialogue between the two. Bernadette prepared herself to tell Jump’s best friend about her feelings. It wasn’t whom she would have wanted to tell first, but it seemed she didn’t have an option here.

"Bernadette, your brother is worried about you." Sue started. She paused and Bernadette took this as her cue to begin. She was surprised when Sue looked at her pointedly and said, "I’m guessing it has something to do with Jump."

Whoa. How did she know?

"I bet you are wondering how I know." Sue said with a sneaky little smile and a sideways glance at Bernadette. Bernadette sat in dumb silence.

"It’s how you look at her. A friend of mine once pointed out to me that when someone is in love, you can tell. And Bernadette when you look at Jump, I can tell." Sue finished and looked over at Bernadette, almost challenging her to disagree.

"I had no idea." Bernadette breathed. "I had no idea you could tell by that." She briefly thought of the day when she saw Sue and Matt at the site.

Bernadette waited for a lecture, anger, admonishing, even disgust from Sue. It wasn’t there. Instead, Sue reached over and put her hand around the newly casted hand lying limp in Bernadette’s lap.

"I think it is wonderful. A fool could see how happy you make each other…if they were looking." Sue said gently. She paused until Bernadette looked at her. She needed to make sure Bernadette understood what she was about to say. "When Jump’s mood changed that time you guys weren’t seeing each other much, I tried to figure out what it was. It nearly slapped me in the face at the Sting concert. And just this past month you’ve hardly seen each other at all, and it has taken its toll on Jump as well."

Bernadette listened intently. So intently in fact, she almost missed the mention of Jump’s mood change as well. "Wait a minute, are you saying Jump…that Jump…" Bernadette broke off in amazement.

"Wait a minute now…" Sue didn’t want to be the go between here. She was way out of junior high and didn’t want to revisit it again.

Bernadette looked at her expectantly. This was more than she could ever hope or dream. Jump was thinking about her too.maybe? She wanted to press Sue, but Sue set her jaw and shook her finger at Bernadette.

"All I’m going to say is you two need to talk. Soon. I need my friend back and you need to stop punching walls and scaring your brother."

Bernadette chuckled but said nothing more on the subject. She was floating so high with hope, she felt detached from her body. Sue asked her if there was anything she could do for her as they neared the site. Bernadette smiled sweetly and thanked her for what she’d done already. Sue pinned Bernadette with her eyes before she slid out of the truck.

"I’ll talk to her, Sue. I promise." Bernadette said. They said their goodbyes and Bernadette headed back to the site, a much different person than when she’d left.


"So, did you get through to her? Did she say what was bothering her?" Asked Matt as Sue picked him up at the site later that day. "Because she seemed her old self again." Matt explained.

"We talked." Sue answered cryptically.

"Girl stuff?" Asked Matt, genuinely curious. He was looking at his girlfriend intently.

"You could say that." She replied straight-faced.

Matt blew out a breath, where was his chatty girlfriend? "You gonna tell me?"

"It’s not for me to tell." Sue hated to do this to him, but she knew this had to come from Bernadette, not her. She knew she needed to explain before Matt got upset with her.

"Look, Honey, Bernadette will tell you soon. There is just one thing she has to do, and she will tell you, I promise." If this had any chance of working Bernadette and Jump were going to need to be honest with everyone involved. She also knew it wasn’t going to be easy.

"Okay." Matt said. The explanation satisfied him and they continued on in animated conversation with Matt giving a detailed account of the crazy day.

Part 12

Return to the Academy