Author's Note: Well, this is it. Thanks to all who took time out to read the story of Bernadette and Jump. It was such fun writing these two. Your feedback kept me motivated and I thank you. Perhaps you'll see more of these two in the future Again, thanks for reading and thanks to my girl for reading it over my shoulder, in bed, while her beloved football team was playing
Like the setting sun over the Pacific, the end of August slipped by steadily and quickly. The swelter of summer soon gave way to the mild fall. Work and the growing familiarity of being in love filled the days quickly for Jump and Bernadette.
Things had been going exceptionally well for the two and it seemed inevitable that they would be moving in together pretty soon. At least that was what Jump had been thinking. The thought of permanently waking up with Bernadette thrilled her to no end. In fact, she'd catch herself daydreaming about it at work often.
She was doing just that when she sensed an angry platinum blonde staring at her.
"What do you mean you are not going to have a party?" Sue fumed. Sue must have overheard my conversation with Bernadette earlier.
"I didn't say I'm not going to have a party. I'm just not going to have a huge, elaborate one." Jump reasoned. She explained to Sue her plans for a low-key celebration for Ryan's 1st birthday in a few weeks. She also told Sue that since Ryan was just turning 1 and wouldn't remember anything anyway, she wasn't going to have decorations or any big celebration with clowns or balloons.
"Can I bring him a present at least?" Sue asked pitifully.
Jump's answer to that was an exasperated sigh and eye roll.
"You know that people from all over the country are flying in for this right?" Jump nearly bellowed. It was true too. Her mom was flying out from Vermont, Mark was coming out from Florida.
"Those are just family members. What about his little friends at the park, hmm?" Sue said with mild indignation.
Jump was not going to win here. She couldn't wait until Sue and Matt got married and started popping out kids. She'd have no time to bug her about how to throw parties for infants.
"Look, close family and friends are the only ones that need to celebrate Ryan's birthday. I'm gonna make a cake." Jump added, hoping to appease her friend. It's my kid for Pete's sake! Thought Jump, a bit annoyed at the whole needless argument.
"Fine. When Ryan gets older and becomes a maladjusted recluse, you'll know why." Sue huffed as she turned to go fold t-shirts.
Jump just dropped her head onto the counter and banged it gently, trying to rid her mind of the last 3 minutes of conversation.
Luckily, the phone rang before she could do any permanent damage to her forehead.
"Surf and Snow, Jessica speaking. How may I help you?"
"I would like some private surfing lessons."
"I'm very expensive." Jump replied seriously.
"Perhaps you can take it out in trade." Came the sultry voice.
"You better be real close." Jump growled. She was pretty sure her pulse was audible at this moment.
The bell to the store rang and Jump looked up to see a tall brunette with cut off shorts and worn t-shirt holding a cell phone. Be still my hard beating heart
The wonderful thing about living in California is the beautiful weather. Even in early October, the weather hovers around the 70s. It meant Jump could gaze at Bernadette's impossibly long legs for most of the months of the year.
"Are you almost ready?" Bernadette asked as she made her way to the counter where Jump stood gingerly rubbing her forehead.
"Yeah. Let me make sure Sue is still going to watch Ryan for the night." She said without explaining herself to a visibly confused Bernadette. I thought she'd confirmed it already.
When Jump returned after a couple of moments, she told Bernadette the conversation between her and Sue. Bernadette laughed.
"Well, when she has kids, she can have half the state come to their first birthdays. Until then, she can stay out of our yourparty planning business." Bernadette said with mock sternness.
Jump smiled at Bernadette's little correction. It gave Jump some insight into what Bernadette was thinking at least. The last couple of months had been going really well, but they hadn't really talked about any next step yet. Bernadette was still spending the night. After her last project had finished she'd been doing short-term jobs for her construction company. That also meant that she could spend every night with Jump because her mornings were a bit more flexible.
It was wonderful having Bernadette pretty much living with her now too. She'd even had Ryan for the days when she didn't work. It was pretty obvious to Jump at least, that they were ready to take the next step. She didn't want to be the one to bring it up though because she knew Bernadette would not want to give up the beach house and she wasn't going to ask to move in with Bernadette if Bernadette wasn't ready.
So, Jump decided to leave the next step up to Bernadette. If she's been reading things right, it would probably be pretty soon.
When Jump had begun thinking about her and Bernadette living together, she talked to Sue. She wanted to make sure she'd be doing the right thing. She trusted her heart and she trusted Bernadette, but she knew talking to Sue about it would bring anything she'd missed into perspective. Sue, being Sue, played a bit of Devil's Advocate in regards to Ryan and what the implications would be for him as he got older and how it would effect Bernadette at work. With a child, Bernadette would have to be out to more people than she might want, Sue had brought up.
Sue brought to light many valid points Jump hadn't thought of and it was good for Jump to hear them. The decision to live with someone was not a light one for Jump. It meant commitment, sacrifice and work. She wasn't afraid of any of these things, but coupled with the fact that she had a child, with her partner's brother no less, it was a decision of great consequence.
"There are two questions you need to ask yourself, Jump." Sue had said when she saw the weariness in her best friend's eyes. "Do you believe Bernadette will do right by you and Ryan?"
"Can you picture life without her?"
A breath. "No."
"I think you have your answer." Sue said softly as she took Jump's hand in hers.
That was about three weeks ago and Jump had been thinking about it ever since. She certainly didn't want to push Bernadette; it was more of a need to get onto the next phase of their lives together that prompted Jump to ask if Sue could watch Ryan tonight. They were going to have dinner in and a movie at Bernadette's and then they'd go pick up Ryan in the morning and spend the rest of the day at the beach house. Perhaps tonight would be the night.
Bernadette was excited about tonight. Not that she didn't enjoy being with Ryan too it was just nice to have some 'Just Jump' time. She'd even picked out a new recipe to try for her.
They arrived back at Bernadette's house around five that night and Bernadette began cooking while Jump kept her company at the counter. They talked about Ryan and his upcoming birthday and what each was going to get him. Bernadette was very big on buying him his first pair of 'walking shoes'. It was endearing to Jump to hear how Bernadette did some research online about what a baby's first type of shoe should be for correct support and balance.
The subject of living together hadn't come up at all and Jump was determined not to bring it up. She felt the tell-tale pull of impatience, but quickly battled it down. It would serve no purpose but to make her edgy and potentially put Bernadette in a corner. Jump reasoned that it wasn't only her happiness that was involved here.
Dinner was delicious and the movie they watched spurred lots of discussion and mild debates. It made Jump laugh at one point when they both conceded the other's point just so they wouldn't get into a disagreement.
"This must be the make-the-other-happy-at-all-costs -phase." Quipped a very Sue sounding Bernadette.
"Or the how-far-can-I-push-without-decreasing-chances-of-sex-phase." Jump dead-panned. At that both women fell into each other's laps in laughter.
When the hour had become late and the bottle of wine had been long polished off, Bernadette stood from the couch and offered her hand to Jump. Shy smiles were shared as they padded down to the master bedroom.
Both had always done their nightly rituals at different times because one was usually putting Ryan down or checking in on him. Tonight, they were side by side flossing, brushing their teeth, washing their face.
"Now this is what I call romance!" beamed Bernadette as she spit out the last of her toothpaste.
Jump chuckled. The easy feeling of shared domesticity with the brunette had not escaped her and she wondered if Bernadette had felt it too. Before she could comment though, Bernadette had kissed the side of her head quickly and headed into the bedroom.
The scene in front of Jump took her a bit by surprise when she made her way to the bed. Bernadette was propped up on pillows, fully engrossed in a book. Was I supposed to bring something to read? Thought Jump momentarily. Granted, they hadn't made love every night they'd been together for the last two months. She just thought this night they definitely would because they were alone.
Jump wasn't sure what to do. For some reason, initiating anything right now seemed awkward. She didn't want to seem needy or clingy Oh hell, Jump!
"Where are you going?" Bernadette asked looking over her reading glasses at Jump.
"Oh, just going to get a book from your library. I saw one I've really been wanting to read and"
Bernadette looked at her peculiarly.
"Jump did you look at what I was reading?"
Jump slowly shook her head as she squinted to see the title.
"Oh." A deep blush. "Oh!"
"Now get your cute ass back over here and let's try some of these out!" Bernadette purred.
Try as she might, Jump just couldn't get out of her funk. Bernadette had not asked her and Ryan to move in with her that night. Nor the next week, nor the next. In fact, she hadn't seen much of Bernadette at all. She'd told Jump that she was working on a new project that she needed to be very visible at. She'd only spent a couple of nights over at Jump's too.
Jump understood the demands of Bernadette's job. The fact that she'd had to work a lot the last couple weeks weren't what was really bothering Jump. It was the evasiveness. She'd offered to bring lunch to Bernadette, just to be able to see her, but Bernadette had told her she'd be taking her own lunch and she didn't need to come to the site. When Jump asked where the site was, Bernadette just said it was near downtown.
It was obvious to Jump that Bernadette was reluctant to tell Jump where the site was. That was unlike Bernadette. She'd tried to pry Matt for a little information but he was just as helpful as Bernadette. And when Jump asked if she and Ryan could come over last weekend on their way to the park, Bernadette had told her she wasn't feeling well. Jump could have sworn she'd heard another's voice, but it could have just been the T.V.
She trusted Bernadette with all of her heart but she just didn't understand all the secretiveness. Bernadette seemed to be very happy to see her when she did briefly during the last two weeks. This whole 'thing' was really starting to bother her. She was loath to bring any of it up too because she had to concentrate on Ryan's birthday and find places for the people coming in from out of town to celebrate. So, she'd decided just to let it go for now and put up a brave front. Jump did not do insecurity well and she hated herself for feeling this way.
"Ugh" She groaned out as she called to confirm the hotel her mom would be staying at. The party was in three days and she still had some things to do before everyone came in.
Just as she was about to wake Ryan from his nap, the phone rang, hoping it was Bernadette she ran down the hallway and grabbed for it before the answering machine switched on.
"Hey Jump, it's me, Mark."
"Oh, hey! How are you doing?" She tried not to let her slight disappointment be heard.
"I'm good. Getting ready to come out to California Hey, listen Would it be okay if I brought someone out with me?" Mark asked hesitantly.
"Of course." Then it dawned on her. "Is it a special someone?" She couldn't help but let the slight teasing tone surface. She'd heard through the grapevine that Mark was seeing someone. It made her happy and honestly, a little relieved.
There was a bit of a pause at the end of the line. Had she made him uncomfortable? She was about to apologize when she finally heard him chuckle softly.
"I'm not sure yet, but it looks that way." She could picture his grin as he talked.
"Then I'm very happy for you, Mark. I'd love to meet her." Jump said with warm sincerity.
"Good. I was actually a little nervous to tell you." He confided.
She wasn't quite sure what to say to that. She wanted to put him at ease though. "I know the feeling." She said benevolently.
"I guess you do."
Jump cleared her throat quietly to dissipate the slight uneasiness that had crept on them both and asked, "Are you staying with Matt and Sue?"
"Cool. I'll see you Saturday then?" Jump asked.
"You will." He said jovially.
After a heartbeat of silence, they both said their goodbyes.
Jump had had about enough. Ryan's party was in a few hours and she hadn't heard hide nor hair from her partner. It had been almost two days. She'd gotten a quick phone call from her Thursday morning right after Mark had called. She said she would be caught up at the site and she'd see them at the party.
Jump had half a mind to find out where her site was somehow and go over and straighten this out once and for all. This was not just a case of being at the construction for hours on end. There was something going on. She didn't like that she was thinking about this constantly when she should be baking a cake! Her mom was due to arrive any moment and her dad was in the living room playing with Ryan.
I'll call her cell phone. Just see how she'd doing.
Bernadette heard the phone ring, but she was in no position to pick it up, so she gestured to Patty to get it. She'd been expecting Mark to call her cell and let her know when he was coming in.
"Hello?" Patty answered, a little out of breath.
"Hello?" Who the hell was answering Bernadette's cell phone? She knew she had the right number, it was number one on her speed dial!
"Is Bernadette there?" Jump ground the question out irritably.
"Oh, well, yeah" Patty wasn't sure what to do. She knew who it was. She also couldn't tell her what Bernadette was doing at the moment. She looked questioningly over at Bernadette and put her hand over the mouth-piece and whispered who it was.
Shit. Thought Bernadette.
Bernadette could not not take the call. What was she going to say?
"Hey, babe!" Bernadette said a bit too cheerfully.
"Who was that?" Jump asked evenly. She didn't want to jump to conclusions, but Things were not looking good. At all. She wouldn't, Bernadette isn't like that.
"Oh, that's Patty. She's a..a friend." Bernadette offered. Please don't ask why she answered my phone. I'm not that good of a liar.
"I see" Jump said. She was unsure of what to say or do next. Do I call her on it? Come out and ask what the hell is going on? Because she isn't offering up any information to make me think otherwise. Damn it Bernadette!
Bernadette seemed completely oblivious to Jump's restrained tone as her
gaze followed Patty down the hall. I better go help her finish or she'll be mad.
Bernadette's lack of response began to really infuriate Jump. She couldn't deal with this now. She was about to say something she imagined she might come to regret when Bernadette said, "Baby, I've got a few things to do before I come over. But I'll be there a little early to set up, okay?"
Is she for real? Jump seethed.
"If you can tear yourself away from your friend." She said and promptly slammed the phone into its receiver.
"Damn it!" Bernadette said aloud into the silent phone. She thought momentarily about calling her back and explaining. Oh, she'll figure it out at the party, thought Bernadette. She was counting on it.
Jump was numb. She didn't know whether to be angry, sad or humiliated. She knew Bernadette was at home. She could hear the goddamn waves in the background.
"Dad, can you watch Ryan for a bit? I've gotta run an errand real quick." Jump called over her shoulder as she grabbed her car keys. She looked at her watch. Three hours until the party. She'd have time to find out what's going on, possibly torch the beach house and be back in time to bake a cake.
"Sure honey. I'll even let your mom in if she asks nice."
Damn forgot about her. "Thanks, Dad!" She bellowed as she raced out the door.
Play me for a fool No way.
The trip to Bernadette's was not enough time to allow Jump to calm down at all. It was just enough time for her to add fuel to her speculative fire. Bernadette better have a lot of homeowner's insurance.
She left her car door open, the soft ding of the door ajar ringing incessantly. In seven strides, she was pounding on the front door.
A slightly disheveled Bernadette answered the door.
"Jump!" She exclaimed in shock. She wasn't prepared for her to find out already!
"What the hell is going on Bernadette?" Jump half cried half shouted.
"Going on? What do you mean?" Bernadette was confused.
"You know damn well" Jump made a motion to push past Bernadette and enter the house. Bernadette blocked her way.
"You can't come in" Bernadette's words were cut off by a shoulder shoved into her ribcage. Still confused and now becoming a bit scared, she gave way and let Jump's momentum carry them into the house.
"Why can't I come in? Who do you have" Jump took a few steps into the house, intent on heading into the bedroom. Something caught her eye though and she stopped.
She suddenly felt like the biggest idiot who ever walked the earth. Her shoulders slumped and she felt hot tears form in her eyes.
How could I have been so stupid?
Bernadette watched her intently. Whatever had made Jump angry was suddenly forgotten. Bernadette came up behind her, finishing the sentence Jump wouldn't let her earlier. "You can't come in because I wanted it to be a surprise. I'm not quite finished yet."
Jump looked up and read the sign above the back door again. "WELCOME HOME RYAN AND JUMP." She then looked out at where the deck used to be out the sliding door. She could see a four-foot fence where railing used to be and fresh sod covered the ground. Bernadette had torn out her beautiful deck and built a small backyard. For Ryan.
"Oh, Bernadette" Jump choked out. She turned to look at her, but couldn't meet her eyes.
Bernadette began to panic. Had she read Jump wrong all this time? Why didn't I just ask her before doing all of this
"Listen, if it's too soon, or you don't want to I understand. I didn't think you'd be finding out this way." Bernadette said quickly. The unknown reason that brought Jump here in the first place was momentarily forgotten.
Jump recovered and looked up into Bernadette's fear-filled eyes for what seemed like many moments. The rapid melting away of the fear and insecurity she'd been consumed with just moments ago was replaced with a feeling of utter clarity, resolve and finally, love. She took Bernadette's hands in hers.
"Oh, babyIt is exactly what I want. I want nothing more than to be with you."
Bernadette closed her eyes for a moment, letting the words sink in. She opened them slowly to a sight she'd see for the rest of her years to come- the beautiful smile of the woman she loved.
Returning the smile, she wrapped Jump in her arms and gave her a kiss to end all kisses. It left them both breathless and wanting.
After a beat, Bernadette held Jump out at arms length and looked at her, studying her it seemed. Jump squirmed playfully under the relentless scrutiny.
"What?" Jump finally asked.
"You thought I was cheating on you, didn't you? That's what brought you over herethe little tantrum" Bernadette gestured nonchalantly towards the door.
"Tantrum! I was ready to torch your beloved house!" Jump shouted before she could stop herself. She really didn't want to explain this to Bernadette. Not now, not ever.
Bernadette looked at her in such shock it was almost comical.
"Baby, don't you know how much I love you?" Bernadette's said quietly but with sincerity.
"I do. Now, more than ever. I just jumped to all the wrong conclusions. Not telling me where the site was you were working on, sporadic phone calls. I just began assuming the worst. By the way, who was it that answered your phone?"
"Oh! Well, let me show you. It's easier to explain." Bernadette grabbed Jump's hand to pull her down the hall, but Jump was rooted to the ground. When Bernadette turned around, Jump gave her a look of trepidation.
That was all it took.
They walked down the hall hand in hand and stopped in front of the guest bedroom. There was a little wooden sign that had the name "Ryan" on it hanging on the door. Bernadette gave her a quick, bright smile and opened the door.
There were built in bookshelves and an adjustable loft with a crib on the opposite corner. The wall adjacent to the window was a painted scene right out of the children's book Where the Wild Things Are. It was amazing. She listened to Bernadette going on animatedly about how she'd designed the furniture to grow with Ryan.
Jump found it hard to swallow the lump forming in her throat. How could she ever think Bernadette was cheating on her? It was obvious just what 'site' Bernadette was working on and why Jump wasn't allowed over.
As Jump looked around what could only be described as a young boy's fantasy come true, she pieced together what Bernadette had probably planned. Bernadette was going to ask her to move in probably after the party. And she'd ruined the sweet surprise.
Bernadette began speaking from where she stood behind Jump. "Patty is Clay's wife. She's an interior decorator and she was helping me with a 'theme' for Ryan's room. I had no idea there had to be 'themes' in children's rooms. Anyway, she answered my cell phone because I was on my back on the scaffolding painting the ceiling. I was expecting a call from Mark to pick him up at the airport."
Jump looked down at the ground. A new wave of guilt crashed onto her conscience. "I'm so sorry, honey. I spoiled everything because of my lame ass insecurity and paranoia."
"Hey." Bernadette said gently as she put her fingers under Jump's chin. "You are all I want in this world and the next. The fact that you said yes is all that matters okay? If anyone should be sorry, it's me. I could have handled the secrecy thing a hell of a lot better. I just got so caught up in making sure I finished on time."
Jump took this all in. What a rollercoaster of emotions she'd been on the last couple of weeks. If anything, she'd learned a few things about herself. One, she had a rather large propensity towards jealousy. Two, she had quite a temper when faced with aforementioned jealousy. But the third and most important thing she learned about herself was that she didn't ever want to find out what her life would be like without her Bernadette.
She looked pointedly at the object of her undying affection. A small grin crept onto her face and grew larger as did Bernadette's. They stood a couple feet apart, just looking at each other. It was as if they were measuring each other up, but in a positive way. Jump's nose and corners of her eyes crinkled in an adorable smile.
"Are you ready for this Bernadette Rand?"
"Never been more ready for anything in my life, baby."