Chapter 3 You Want a Family with Those Fries?
Just as Bernadette predicted, Jump did fall in love with the unfortunately named dog. Over the course of the weekend they'd found the dog to be lovable, even-tempered and best of all, house trained.
At first they were both baffled as to why someone would abandon a dog like this until they realized the dog was quite appropriately named. They started to see things go missing- a sock, a hairbrush, a shoe, coffee cup coaster, even a pair of jeans. Bernadette had recovered them after an intense search of the cabin. She'd found them under the bed in a neat pile guarded by the dog. After about 15 minutes of trying to coax the dog out from under the bed, she finally plied him away with pieces of their left over breakfast with Jump amusedly looking on from the doorway.
Despite that, both women were convinced that with some intense training, they could break the dog of this unusual yet highly annoying habit.
They left their phone number and description of the dog with the cabin rental manager and the little mountain town post office, but they knew no one would be claiming the dog and that was just fine with them.
"You know, we really should rename him." Jump stated about halfway home. She'd been studying him intently, waiting for a name to come to her. A name other than 'Snatch'.
"What's wrong with Snatch?" Bernadette asked playfully with a smirk as she fumbled with the CD case. Jump rolled her eyes at the question and mechanically took the case from the driving Bernadette and picked out the CD she knew she was looking for. Bernadette's smirk widened into a smile. Jump looked at her and just shook her head with a chuckle.
"You really want an answer to that?" Jump responded as she slipped the CD out of its plastic sleeve.
"Oh babe, I didn't realize you were such a prude." Bernadette teased. She cautioned a look at Jump to see her reaction. When there was none, she began to worry she'd offended her.
"I'll remember that when you want to fool around next time." Jump said after a moment. The CD she'd selected for Bernadette went back into its sleeve and was replaced by one of Jump's hardcore mountain biking mixes that Bernadette tolerated because she loved Jump. She listened to it now without complaint the rest of the way home.
Jump and Bernadette had been successful in introducing Snatch into the home. He and Ryan became inseparable, mostly because of the amount of food Ryan had on his face at any given time, but also because Ryan was fascinated by the moving, barking toy and Snatch was fascinated by the flailing, slobbering little boy. Where Ryan was, Snatch was.
They'd even been successful in breaking the habit that got Snatch his name. The only thing they couldn't do was change the dog's name. Try as she might, Jump could not get the dog to respond to any other name.
Finally, after three weeks of trying names like 'Jack', 'Fred', 'Pete', and even 'Spot', she gave up.
"It isn't that bad." Bernadette reasoned one day while they were relaxing out on the beach. "I can think of other bad habits he could have that would warrant him a way worse name than Snatch."
"Don't name them, please." Jump laughed as she got up from their beach blanket and grabbed the sandy tennis ball. Snatch immediately hopped up and down and barked. Ryan squirmed out of Bernadette's lap and wobbled over to the excited dog. "Careful, Ry." Jump cautioned as she chucked the tennis ball towards the surf. Snatch took off after it, retrieving it quickly and dumping it in front of Jump to throw again.
Bernadette watched the scene with a contented smile. She felt a strong jolt of emotion suddenly and she swallowed hard to get it under control. She loved Jump and Ryan so much. She marveled at how her life had changed in the last year. Priorities, desires, dreams, they were all so different now.
She still found a satisfaction in her work, but real joy, the real sense of accomplishment was found in these two people in front of her. She wanted so much to tell Jump what was in her heart, but was unsure of the words to use. Jump knew she loved her. Bernadette knew Jump loved her.
But Jump's simple poem had stirred something in Bernadette's soul. She realized she was no longer satisfied with just living together. She wanted Jump as her wife, her partner, her mate. She wanted Ryan to think of her as his other caring parent.
Still a part of her was hesitant to express this all to Jump. Saying it opened up the possibility of rejection or realizing that Jump wasn't ready or worse, didn't want the same thing. The thought terrified her.
Brushing off sand from the top of her toes, Bernadette gathered her self together. She pushed herself off the blanket and joined Jump, Ryan and Snatch in the surf, her distress pushed aside for the moment.
"How was your mini-honeymoon?" Asked Jump as she spotted Sue behind the counter at the shop. She had been in the back calling to check on Ryan when Sue had come in.
"Wonderful." She said dreamily, giving Jump a dramatic sigh. She then grew more serious as she continued. "It is so different, Jump. I didn't think it would be. I mean we've been living together and all. Making it official though, it just feels so… complete, real."
"Yeah?" responded Jump, her thoughts now turning inward. She barely heard what Sue said about the rest of the trip, her mind occupied with what it would be like to have the same thing for her and Bernadette.
"I want to thank you and Bernadette." Sue said slowly, sincerely. Jump knew her friend well enough to know what was meant beyond her words of thanks. Jump just smiled warmly and gave her best friend a tight hug.
When they pulled away, Sue looked intently at Jump. "Why don't you guys register as domestic partners?" Jump looked at her blankly, making Sue chuckle. "You know what that is, don't you?"
"I've heard of it." Jump answered vaguely. She had, but really hadn't given it much thought as to what it entailed. She just knew it didn't have the same rights attached to it as marriage did and therefore didn't look into it.
Rolling her eyes at her friend, Sue fished through her bag and pulled out a folder. "Here, read about it." When Jump looked up at her questioningly, Sue added, "I picked it up when were up north." She handed Jump the folder. Smiling at her friend's thoughtfulness, Jump took the folder and opened it up. For the next half hour, the friends poured through the information together.
Bernadette felt the rivulets of sweat gathering and releasing from her forehead as she worked the junction box into the framing of what would be one of the bathrooms of their current project. Her fingers kept slipping off the metal and she banged her knuckles against the 2x4 studs. She wiped her hands on her jeans once more to get a better grip.
"Ah, finally!" She grunted as the box slipped in place. She stood back and mentally calculated how many more she could get done before lunch. She checked her watch and then went to get a few more from outside.
"Fuck it is hot!" Exclaimed Alex, one of Bernadette's construction crewmen. Their building project, a three story industrial building, had brought them inland about 30 miles, which meant about a 20 degree increase in the summer temperature.
"You are such a pussy!" Matt shouted back at him. Bernadette laughed. She was one of those people who loved the heat. When the men would be struggling to stay cool, she'd savor the enveloping warmth on her skin feeling strangely energized by it.
"So when are you gonna get Sue knocked up?" Bernadette teased as she and Matt sat down for lunch. He looked up at her and shook his head at her choice of words.
"Tell you the truth sis, probably not for a few years." He responded as he took a bite out of his burrito. Her eyes fixed on him questioningly as he swallowed. "We want to travel and stuff. Have some fun before we really settle in to the family thing." He took a sip of his drink. "Unlike you, huh? You're about as settled as one can get!" He said good-naturedly.
"Yeah, I guess I am." Bernadette said mostly to herself, smiling inwardly. They both fell into a companionable silence, eating their meals, minds miles away from their inland building project.
After picking up Ryan from Casey's apartment, Jump decided to make a special dinner for Bernadette. She stopped at the store and then at the corner flower shop. Tonight she planned on having a serious talk with Bernadette about the next step in their relationship.
Bernadette's comment after Matt and Sue's wedding had been playing on her mind off and on the last couple of weeks. Bernadette hadn't brought up having a ceremony again, but Jump had a feeling it was something Bernadette wanted. Reading about this domestic partnership was a bit of a revelation to Jump. It wasn't marriage, but it was a step in the right direction. It gave them some protections if one or the other fell ill and other things like being able to add each other onto their insurance, something important to self employed people like herself.
Jump made it through the door just in time to hear the answering machine click off. She put Ryan down in front of her made her way around the stumbling baby and the happy-to-see humans dog and pushed the message button. It was Bernadette saying they were going to be really late because of an accident on the freeway. "Crap." Mumbled Jump as she picked up the phone and dialed Bernadette's cell phone number.
"Hey babe." Bernadette answered. "Matt and I are going to grab a bite to eat and wait out the traffic. It's backed up for miles with this accident."
Jump was a bit disappointed, but she understood. "All right. Just be careful, okay?"
"Of course. I'll call you when we're back on the road. Love you." Bernadette said. Jump could hear Matt saying something in the background and then a loud, "Ouch!"
Jump laughed. "You two better behave!" Then, "I love you too." As she pressed the button to disconnect, she could still hear the two arguing playfully.
Some time later, Jump awoke to the unmistakable feeling of warm skin pressed into her back. The thin tank top and boxer shorts she had on did nothing to disguise the feel of Bernadette's erect nipples and course patch of hair between her legs. She became more awake as the rise of Bernadette's body temperature seeped into her skin. It made Jump wet with anticipation. She loved when Bernadette woke her up like this. She had no idea what time it was, but knew it wasn't morning yet. Had she just gotten home?
A slow, sensuous smile spread over Jump's face as she felt Bernadette's hand slide around her waist and into her boxer shorts. She tilted her head back to rest on Bernadette's shoulder as she rotated her hips and spread her legs to give Bernadette full access.
Bernadette wasted no time, delving into Jump's folds, going deep into her and then sliding up to her clit. Soon both women were rasping out shallow, rapid breaths as they began to move rhythmically into each other. Jump's hand came up to the back of Bernadette's neck signaling her impending release. God, how Bernadette loved the seconds before Jump came. She slowed her rhythm knowing this would prolong Jump's orgasm. Just as Jump began to moan and call out her name, she bit down lightly on Jump's shoulder, riding out her release with her.
"Jesus, Bernadette. You sure know how to say 'hi honey, I'm home'." Jump sighed happily, catching her breath as she turned into Bernadette's arms and gave her a long, sweet kiss.
"Sorry I was so late. They actually shut down the friggin' freeway for like an hour." Bernadette said between kisses.
"It's okay. You are home now." Jump said sleepily, making Bernadette smile.
"I love you so much, Jump." Bernadette said as she hugged her tightly. Jump returned the hug just as tight and then pulled away from Bernadette to see her face. She could barely make out her features in the moonlight.
"Good." Jump said furtively as she tucked some of Bernadette's hair behind her ear.
"Good?" Bernadette amusingly barked out.
"Yep." Was all Jump said before she fell asleep right there in Bernadette's arms, a half-smile gracing her angelic face.
The two were woken up just after sunrise by Snatch who barreled his way into their room and onto the bed. He busied himself with cleaning his masters' faces thoroughly before he was gently tossed off the bed by a groggy Jump.
As if on cue, they heard Ryan stirring through the monitor. "I'll get him," said Bernadette as she slid her legs out from the bed and slipped on some shorts and a t-shirt.
"Oh, how I love you…" Jump half sang, half mumbled as she pulled Bernadette's still warm pillow over her head. Bernadette just giggled as she swatted her love on the butt and headed out of the bedroom.
"Hey, big guy!" Bernadette said as she lifted Ryan out of his crib. She made quick work of changing him and taking him out to the back deck to let Snatch do his business, as was their normal morning routine.
On mornings Jump had to get up early, she'd join them, but this being Sunday; she usually slept in a few extra minutes. Usually by the time they all came back in, she'd be shuffling to the bathroom.
Sure enough, as Bernadette sat wiping Ryan's feet off she heard a loud yawn and some unintelligible words. "Let's make mommy some pancakes this morning, whaddya say?" Bernadette asked the toddler. He knew the word pancakes and began to hop in place, slapping at Bernadette's thighs.
By the time Jump had emerged from the bathroom, more coherent and awake, Bernadette and Ryan were making pancakes. Well, Bernadette was making them and Ryan sat on the kitchen floor with a spatula in one hand and a vegetable strainer in the other.
"Good morning, Iron Chef." She said cheerfully as she bent down to give Ryan a kiss on the head. "And you." Jump purred as she wrapped herself around Bernadette who was still holding an egg in one hand the pancake mix in the other. She brought her lips to Bernadette's and explored her lips and tongue thoroughly.
"Wow… I should wake you up more often at night." Bernadette whispered into Jump's ear. Jump smiled seductively and swatted Bernadette's ass.
"What time was it anyway?" She asked as she poured herself and Bernadette a cup of coffee.
"It was around ten o'clock." Bernadette said as she poured the batter onto the hot pan.
"Really? Huh, I didn't realize I was that tired." Jump said absently as she leaned against the counter to watch Bernadette expertly flip the pancake.
"You think Snatch is ready to be introduced to the dog park?" Asked Bernadette, not looking up from her cooking task. Jump looked down at the dog that was between the kitchen and living room, engrossed in the task of licking himself.
She chuckled at the sight as she replied. "Oh yeah." Bernadette looked at what Jump thought was so funny.
"Nice, Snatch! The girls are gonna love you!" Bernadette said as she pointed the spatula at him.
A couple of hours later, they found themselves at the nearest dog park. "So, would he be considered a small dog, or large dog?" Bernadette pondered as they stood at the dog park gate. It had two different yards, one for small and one for large dogs. Jump looked down at the decidedly right in the middle sized Snatch and then over to both yards.
"Uh, well, since it is our first time, I guess we should go with the small. Plus, with Ryan, it is much easier to hold him away from the dogs if he gets scared." Jump reasoned. They knew Ryan loved dogs, but perhaps the larger park would be a little overwhelming, perhaps for Snatch too.
"Little dog section it is!" Bernadette announced, as she picked up Ryan and swung him over to her hip. Jump took Snatch's leash and they headed into the dog park.
Before getting to the gate though, Jump stopped abruptly. She looked at Bernadette pointedly. "When they ask the dog's name, and they will, you will be the one to tell them."
The dog park had turned out to be quite fun. Especially for Jump who watched Bernadette answer each and every person who asked the name of their dog. Their reactions ranged from quizzical looks, to polite smiles to outright guffaws. She gave up on trying to explain the name after the first two people.
Ryan was delighted to stand on the bench with Jump and watch the dogs run and chase each other. Every once in a while, a dog would jump up on the bench to greet Ryan who would shriek and giggle.
After the dog park adventure, it was decided that they would eat at their favorite taco stand, sharing street-style carnitas tacos and a large bucket of fries. "Who knew a taco place would make the best fries." Pondered Jump as she added a french fry to Ryan's collection of little Vienna sausages and crackers.
"So, I saw the stuff for domestic partnership registration." Bernadette started conversationally. She'd wanted to ask Jump about it last night, but the discovery of the folder had prompted Bernadette to take another course of action. And it wasn't talking.
This morning she'd resigned her self to letting Jump bring it up, but like a kid expecting a gift, she wanted to hurry it along.
Jump's fry stopped halfway to her mouth as she looked up at Bernadette. She kept her expression neutral waiting for Bernadette to continue. She hadn't counted on discussing this sitting outside their neighborhood Taco Loco.
"You asking me to be domestically partnered with you?" Asked Bernadette lightly. She knew that look in Bernadette's eyes though. Hope with a bit of fear mixed in. Oh Bernadette, I would be so much more if they'd allow it.
"This isn't where I envisioned asking you, but yes." Jump replied with a quirky smile. Jump saw her love's hand reach across the concrete table and then felt her face being caressed, then led into a sweet soulful kiss. Jump felt rather than heard Bernadette say yes.
As they broke apart, Bernadette took a deep breath and then looked over to Ryan. Now is the time. She looked back at Jump.
"I understand that registering as domestic partners will allow me to legally adopt Ryan as well." She continued to hold Jump's eyes. "If that's what you want." Bernadette finished quickly.
"Is it what you want?" Jump asked, more reactively than sincerely.
Bernadette was a bit thrown by the question. "Of course." She said. Suddenly she began to feel insecure. "I figured it was the next logical step."
Jump sat back a little, not saying anything. "Is it not?" Bernadette asked, sounding a little desperate. Had she been reading Jump's intentions wrong? Shit, this is suddenly like a really bad dream.
"I… I don't know, what about Mark and…" Jump trailed off. She looked up at Bernadette who had gone from delighted to dejected at Jump's hesitation. Jump sat helpless, as she couldn't think of the words to fix this immediately. She had no idea about the procedures or what that would do to Mark's rights. While she was already committed and ready to be as legally bound to Bernadette as the law would allow, she hadn't considered the possibility of Bernadette wanting to legally adopt Ryan. She was his aunt, after all, related by blood already. She continued to sit there, stupefied at the hard questions brought on by Bernadette's statement.
Realization hit Jump like a ton of bricks. She couldn't believe she hadn't seen it sooner. She rushed out of her seat and kneeled in front Bernadette who was still looking like she'd been slapped.
"Oh baby. I'm such an idiot. Of course I want you to adopt him. I guess I just thought of you as his parent anyway. I didn't think about how you might want to make it official. I should have thought to look into it as well. I'm sorry I didn't."
Bernadette smiled with relief. She scooted over and motioned Jump to sit next to her. She discreetly looked around to make sure they weren't making too much of scene. She then focused on Jump. "I'm sorry I just kind of blurted it out instead of asking you." Bernadette looked down at her feet. "I did do some research already." She said quietly, getting a smile from Jump, which she returned shyly. "Neither of you have to give up parental rights, but we do need permission from Mark. I need to be investigated; they need to make home visits. It's gonna be a real pain in the ass, so…"
Jump put a finger to Bernadette's lips. "It doesn't matter. We'll do whatever we need to do, okay?" She looked into Bernadette's beautiful eyes. "Okay?" Jump asked again, quieter.