Author's Note: Here it is… as a good friend of mine says, "They are gonna have a 'Come to Jesus'." Hope you enjoy. Drop a line, let me know what you think. Thanks for reading too. J

Hammer and Nails



Chapter 12

Bernadette sat on the beach watching the people set up their blankets and umbrellas with the first rays of the afternoon summer sun. It was Sunday and she'd spent most of the morning thinking about how to approach Jump. Before Bernadette had begun trying to distance herself from Jump, they'd kind of had standing plans on Sundays where one would come over to the other's place and just hang out. One of them would usually call after lunchtime, when Bernadette was done with house chores and Casey or Sue at the shop had relieved Jump.

They abandoned the need to make excuses to see or talk to each other long ago, but now, Bernadette felt it necessary to have a reason to call Jump and invite her over today. For the past couple of weeks Bernadette had made herself unavailable and now that she knew Jump probably had feelings for her too, she felt twice as bad for avoiding her. I'll make it up to her if she'll let me. Bernadette knew this all came down to making that first step. She needed to call Jump. What am I going to say if she comes over?

Bernadette stood up and brushed the sand off the back of her legs. She walked into house and into the kitchen and grabbed a piece of paper and a pencil. She began to write out with her right hand rather sloppily what she'd wanted to say to Jump. She wrote it in the form of a letter:

You know I'm not one to use a lot of words when only a few are necessary. I'm not sure when it happened, but somewhere between now and the day we met, I fell in love with you. I think you are the one that fits me. I want nothing more in this world than to be the one that fits you too. Please say you'll give us a chance.

It's a bit blunt, but I'm no writer… She read it over to herself and folded it up and put it into her pocket. She walked to the phone, picked it up and dialed Jump's number. It rang three times and was picked up by a breathless Jump.

"Hello?" she panted.

"Uh, hi, it's me." Bernadette said lamely.

"Bernadette? How are you?" Jump's heart climbed up her throat.

"I'm…hanging in there. How about you? Did I catch you at a bad time?" Bernadette tried picking up the pen with her casted hand, dropping it and trying again and again to giver herself something to do.

"Oh, I just walked in. It's becoming a real pain to carry this little guy up and down stairs." Jump said with a breathless chuckle as she took his car seat off of the table and began to unbuckle it.

"I bet. Listen, I was wondering if you were doing anything today. I was wondering if you could come over. I think we need to talk." Jeez, could I be more to the point? Bernadette cringed.

There was a momentary pause on Jump's end and Bernadette was sure she'd hung up. But after a beat, Jump cleared her throat. She spoke with forced casualness. "I think we do too. I'll be over in about an hour. Is that okay?" Jump was beyond excited but also felt like she was going to throw up from sheer nerves.

"Yes, that'll be fine. I'll see you in an hour then?" Whew, thought Bernadette as she mentally wiped her brow.

"An hour it is. Bye Bernadette." Shit… I'm not sure I'm ready for this.

"Am I ready for this?" Bernadette said to no one after she hung up the phone.

At no time in history had an hour ever passed so slowly. Bernadette went over what she'd tell Jump, she straightened and re-straightened couch cushions, she debated putting out snacks (she didn't). She alphabetized her DVD collection. She changed her clothes four times. Bernadette was ready to climb the walls by the time Jump knocked on the door.

"Hey, come on in." Bernadette said in an uneasy rush. No welcoming hug, she noted.

"I dropped Ryan off at Casey's." She said when she saw Bernadette looking for the little guy.

"Oh, okay. Come on in." Bernadette smiled, embarrassed. "I already said that didn't I?"

"You did." Jump said around a shy smile.

"Let's have a seat in the living room. I've arranged the cushions 44 times, so they should be comfortable." Both women laughed at that and it seemed to ease the tension a bit.

They sat on the sectional and turned their bodies so they faced each other. They were about half a foot apart. Bernadette's casted hand rested on the back of the couch and Jump tapped it gently with her right index finger. "Sue told me what happened. I never knew construction could get you so fired up you had to punch holes in the wall." Jump teased.

"Well, it does take a lot to fire me up. That particular day I never want to repeat again, that's for sure." Bernadette said with conviction.

"Am I gonna ever hear the whole story?" Asked Jump, all teasing aside.

"You will Jump. You will." Bernadette said as she dropped her head in order to get her emotions back together. She felt Jump's hand under her chin, lifting it up slowly, a hint of pressure. They looked into each other's eyes for a long time. I feel like I'm about to jump off of a cliff without looking to see where I'm gonna land, thought Bernadette.

It was Jump who broke the silence first. "Bernadette, I really like you." She swallowed hard but maintained eye contact with Bernadette. There was a look of disappointment in Bernadette's eyes that Jump didn't understand.

"But you don't in that way." Bernadette filled in, thinking Jump's words were the beginnings of an easy letdown. A panic-ridden thought surfaced in Bernadette's mind. Sue had been wrong about Jump.

"No! No…that's not it." Jump corrected quickly.

She gave Bernadette a small smile and looked down at her hands sitting lamely in her lap. With a deep breath, she locked eyes with Bernadette.

"I like you, as in more than a friend Bernadette. It took me a while to figure it out, but I did."

Bernadette's eyes closed slowly and stayed closed for a good few minutes. A huge, bright smile spread across her face as she took a deep breath.

She opened her eyes to look at Jump who was waiting patiently for her response. By the smile on Bernadette's face, Jumps knew the feeling was mutual.

"Thank God." Bernadette finally breathed.

They both released a sigh that masqueraded as a soft chuckle. They both sat a few heartbeats in silence.

Finally, Bernadette gave Jump a crooked smile and said, "I wrote out what I wanted to say to you today. It's sitting in my pocket."

Jump had begun to sniffle intermittently. She felt the moisture in the back of her eyes starting to form. This was more than she could ever have hoped when she began to have feelings for the strong, independent and beautiful woman.

"Can I read it?" She asked quietly. She'd brought both of her hands to sit in her lap again and began to fidget with her fingernails.

"It's silly." Bernadette said as she felt her heartbeat speed up even more. She knew she would show Jump her sloppy note and the truth would be looking at them in black and white.

"Do you trust me?" Jump asked. The question caught Bernadette off guard, but she knew the answer as automatically as she knew to breathe.

"With no hesitation." Bernadette said seriously as she reached into her right pocket and pulled out the note. She handed it to Jump who stared at it for a moment before opening it and reading it slowly to herself:


You know I'm not one to use a lot of words when only a few are necessary. I'm not sure when it happened, but somewhere between now and the day we met, I fell in love with you. I think you are the one that fits me. I want nothing more in this world than to be the one that fits you too. Please say you'll give us a chance.

Bernadette watched Jump's face for any sign of fear. She knew she'd put it pretty plainly. But it was what she felt.

"Yes." Jump said in a quiet sob. She smiled through freely flowing tears now. "Yes, I want to give us a chance." She said, her voice stronger. They both smiled widely at each other and Bernadette brought her thumb up and wiped at Jump's tears. She hadn't realized that she was crying too until she felt wet drops on her cheeks.

"You are in love with me?" Jump asked, her voice rising at the last word in wonder.

Bernadette's smile softened and her voice grew serious. "I've never felt so completely taken by another human being. You are all I've been thinking about." Bernadette took a deep breath. "I'm completely in love with you, Jessica Thomas." Bernadette tentatively took Jump's hand in her own. She softly brushed Jump's knuckles. Jump didn't pull away.

If Jump walked into Bernadette's house unaware she was in love with her, it certainly became evident to her as she heard this woman speak her name. The sound of it coming from Bernadette was the sweetest thing she'd ever heard. She wanted to hear it again and again from the woman who indeed captured her heart.

"Wow." Was all Jump could manage at the moment. She looked down at their joined hands and took a moment to compose herself.

"I've never experienced anything like this, Bernadette. I feel so deeply for you it's overwhelming…but in a good way." She quickly added with a shy smile.

They were both having such a hard time voicing their thoughts that they gave up all together. Jump was the first to make a move as she scooted towards Bernadette. Then there were hands on backs of heads and cheeks against cheeks as they fell into a tight embrace. They breathed in each other's skin and hair and only after a few minutes did they pull away enough to look into each other's eyes once more.

"I've never kissed a woman before." Jump said shyly.

"Neither have I." Bernadette responded with a shy smile of her own.

"But I've never wanted to kiss someone so badly in all my life." Came Jump's frank admission. They both chuckled at that. Before Bernadette's chuckle died away completely, Jump covered her mouth with her own. It surprised them both, but they recovered quickly and let their lips linger on each other's. It was the softest, sweetest kiss Bernadette had ever felt.

"I had to do that before I lost my nerve." Explained a blushing Jump.

"I appreciate your initiative. I've never made the first move. It might have taken me a long time." Grinned Bernadette. Then she added, "Can we do that again?"

Jump's answer was a quirky grin as she pulled Bernadette's head in for another kiss. This one was a bit bolder but still simple and sweet. Neither woman was quite ready for anything more. They relaxed into the couch cushions, but Bernadette kept a hold of Jump's hand as they began to find their words again.

It was Bernadette who started. "I was so scared to tell you about how I felt. Actually, I'd made the decision to keep it to myself. I didn't want to jeopardize our friendship, you know?"

Jump knew exactly how she felt, and told her as much. "I tried to ignore them for a while." Jump said with a twinge of sadness.

"So, why now?" Jump asked gently.

"It was killing me inside. The times I tried to distance myself from you only intensified my feelings. I was ready to take off for a couple of weeks just to get back some semblance of my life. I'd never experienced that kind of emptiness or pain in my life outside of my mother dying."

The frank honesty of Bernadette's answer touched her but also scared her a little. What if I'm not what she expects?

Bernadette read the slight fear in her face correctly and squeezed Jump's hand.

"Listen, Jump. I'm just telling you the truth of how I feel. I don't expect anything from you that you aren't ready to give. I myself am pretty scared at the intensity myself. I feel a little out of control even." She said with a self-depreciating smile.

Jump smiled knowingly. It sure says a heck of a lot for her to admit that.

"I know. We'll take it slow then?" She said quietly.

"Absolutely." Bernadette gave her an affirming smile.

They sat for a few moments in silence. Bernadette's curiosity finally got the better of her and she asked. "When did you figure out that you had feelings for me?"

Jump sat back slightly and struck a thoughtful pose. "I figured it out a few weeks ago. As for when I started to have feelings for you, I think it was shortly after Ryan was born. Every time you came to visit or call, I'd get this little," Jump made a cute little shivering motion, "and I would miss you every day you didn't visit or call. Thinking back on it now, I should have realized a lot sooner. I never felt that with Mark." Jump finished. She felt a little guilty bringing him into the conversation, but it was something they'd have to address sooner or later.

Bernadette sat listening with a little smile on her face. It fell a bit when Jump mentioned Mark.

As if reading Bernadette's mind, Jump brushed her thigh to bring her eyes back to her. "We'll deal with what to say to Mark when we need to okay? We'll work it out together." Jump said with confidence. She didn't want Bernadette feeling any worse about that situation than she knew she already did.

"Okay." Said Bernadette.

Jump looked down at her watch. She'd been at Bernadette's for a couple of hours and she needed to go pick up Ryan. "Hey, I gotta go get Ryan. Do you wanna come with?" Jump didn't want to part company just yet.

"Sure. Let's go get him." Bernadette smiled at being included. She didn't want to part from her quite yet either.

After they picked up Ryan, they headed back to Jump's apartment where she cooked an early dinner for the both of them.

"Hey, buddy, don't eat the spoon!" Laughed Bernadette as she fed Ryan his favorite strained pear baby food. The baby slapped his high chair tray excitedly as he responded to Bernadette's voice. Jump looked across the counter to where they sat. She stopped what she was doing to watch the two interact. A small tear threatened to roll down her cheek and she slowly wiped it away. The scene did something to her that was hard to explain. It was almost like she was looking into the future and the past at the same time. It filled her with a peace she'd never knew she was lacking. She smiled warmly when she saw Bernadette looking up at her.

"Dinner's almost ready."


Bernadette had a hard time getting to sleep that night. Her mind was abuzz with thoughts of Jump. It was another chapter in her life she was looking forward to exploring but she knew soon the challenges would begin that would either strengthen or pull apart this burgeoning relationship. She prayed it would be the former.


Matt sat dumbfounded. When his sister asked him to lunch, she figured it was to get the lowdown on the progress of the sub flooring demolition, not to tell him he was dating their brother's ex.

"So, was this the thing you were dealing with?" He asked needlessly.

"Yep. Listen, I am surprised by all this as well. It just happened, you know?" She was hoping he could see the similarity between how he felt for Sue and how she felt for Jump.

"But, she's a woman. Mark's ex-girlfriend. Mother of his child, Bernadette." He said incredulously.

"I know all this. Why do you think I kept this to myself? But you could see yourself it was eating me alive." She raised her cast for emphasis. "When I found out she felt the same way… I had to take a chance, Matt… I'm in love with her." She finished quietly.

"Am I the only one who knows about this?" Matt asked suddenly.

"You and Sue I imagine. She was the one who told me about Jump."

"Sue knew?" He asked, surprised.

"I told her not to say anything until I talked to you. I had to make sure it was okay with Jump first." She reasoned.

"Oh." He said, a bit put off.

"I'm asking you not to call Mark or tell dad or Carrie yet, okay?" Bernadette looked into his eyes.

"Don't worry about that, sis. I'll leave that all up to you."

She began to give him a hostile look until she saw him smile.

"Look, Bernsy, I know as well as anyone that you have no control over who you fall in love with. Sue took me by total surprise too. I can't lie to you though; this is a little weird. But I support you. Both you and Jump. Obviously there was a reason her and Mark didn't work out." He said logically. He then graced her with a big smile and grabbed her shoulder across the lunch table.

"My big sister is in love…" he said in a sing-song voice.

"Watch it." She growled playfully.


Sue sat casually in the booth at her and Jump's favorite café with a smug look on her face.

Jump rolled her eyes and laughed. "Yeah, so you were right, Cupid."

"It's kind of ironic in an…ironic sort of way. After all, it was I who set you up with Mark." Sue observed as she took a long pull of her Diet Coke. She continued. "You think you and Bernadette would have still fallen for each other? I mean I am dating her brother and all. You guys would have met regardless."

Jump thought about that for a moment. "I think we would have gotten together. But I don't regret what I had with Mark. I have Ryan now and I wouldn't change that for anything. Are the circumstances more complicated, absolutely. I know we have some obstacles to face, but I truly believe this was meant to be. And we haven't even done anything yet." Jump added with a blush.

"Explain 'anything'." Sue countered as she sat up straight in the booth. Jump was sorry she spoke that last sentence. Nevertheless, she giggled like a schoolgirl.

"We kissed…three times." Jump said. God, I sound like I'm back in the sixth grade.

"Three?" Sue said in mock astonishment.

"Shut up!" Jump said. She was truly embarrassed now.

"I'm just teasing you Jump. I hope you know how truly happy I am for you and Bernadette." She said with a genuine smile.

"Thanks. That means a lot to me." Jump said as she took one of Sue's hands between her own.

Continued in Chapter 13

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