Chapter 30

Despite the Mrs. Farmer's funeral, the doctor refused to let the high she was feeling dissapate. She paied respect to the older women just as her neigbors did. She attended the services alone to say goodbye to her patient as well as some demons. The most important thing now was home.

Bobbi opened her mouth wide over soft flesh, and relished the feel of small hands winding in her hair.  She closed her eyes in contentment and forced out a puff of air over the quivering flesh, filling the living room with a loud, spluttering, obscene sound.

Seconds later, the room was filled with a different noise, baby laughter.  The doctor couldn't help but chuckle herself as she felt Toby's body quiver under her.   Tiny feet kicked in the air near her torso, but she continued with her antics.  On all fours and hunched over the child, she blew on his tummy again and heard peels of laughter coming from somewhere over her head.

The brunette peered up and followed the line of the thick beige area carpet, bought almost a week ago, until she saw Michelle's form trembling with laughter.  Bobbi gave her a toothy grin and a wink before Toby tugged hard on captured tresses in an attempt to get her attention.  "Ohh, sorry Peanut.  You like that do you?  Well, so do I."

Bobbi jumped in surprise as she felt the nudging on her thigh.  She glanced over to see the Husky smiling rather impatiently at her.  "Unh unh, I'm not touching your belly with my mouth. You can forget that boy!"


Doctor and dog both looked up at the strangled sound of laughter coming from the blonde.  Bobbi shook her head and grinned at the sight.  She loved seeing the younger woman like this.  It made her feel that no world existed beside their own.

She continued to stare at the chuckling form, noticing how the sun's glaring rays that seeped through the raised blinds, fell soft against the petite woman as if she was absorbing it.  At first glance, no one would probably see anything special about her, but if one looked again as she was prone to do the strength, honesty, intelligence, and beauty could be seen unobstructed. Damned special this one is.  I love seeing her like this.  Everything seems to come easier now for me and her.   All that weight I was carrying, it's almost gone.

Bobbi peered around the living room, seeing the framed photographs placed strategically on the glass table as well as scattered around the room.  She could see a younger version of herself smiling or looking somber.  The image of her brother or mother no longer caused that guilty twinge the doctor had gotten so used to. I love you guys.  Maybe it's time to add some new memories around here. Ignoring the head butt against her short encased thigh, Bobbi got back to the task at hand with a happy sigh.

Knowing when to bide his time, Taz retreated.  He sniffed then picked up the rawhide bone and began to chew on it contentedly as he watched the display between the humans.

This had become another one of their rituals.  First Billy, a shower, and now before breakfast, play time with Toby entered the picture. After moving the glass table, they would lay down the big soft rug and cover a small section of it with a blanket for Toby to commence watching him squirm like a monkey, while they both sat barely a foot away on the same rug.  Eyes met dozens of times in amusement, affection and tenderness, enjoying the extended time together.  It gave them both time to continue to heal wounds that seemed insurmountable months ago.

Who knew that under all that pain this was waiting for me? Bobbi untangled herself from the child's grip and reached for the plastic key ring that was inches away.  She dangled it in front of Toby, who continued to laugh as he tried in earnest to grab it.  The doctor pulled down Toby's white t-shirt, covering flesh she had tickled mercilessly a few moments ago.  Clad in only diaper and t-shirt, the little boy had never looked happier or healthier.  Bobbi continued to observe with a smile plastered firmly on her face.  This is all mine now. Family.  Now that I know the reality of death, its time for me to enjoy the reality of life.  It's sitting here right in front of me.  Maybe all the pain was a rite of passage of sorts that I had to go through to get to this.  Maybe.

Tugging down green Nike shorts that had ridden up her thighs precariously, Bobbi sat back on her haunches.  With a flick of her head, silky midnight tresses flipped over her shoulder, revealing the azure gaze.  Crystal blue met green.  Their gaze seemed to stretch in time.  Bobbi cocked  her head slightly in an attempt to read what was behind emerald eyes.  The only thing she saw was a combination of amusement and affection.  There's more.  There's always more with you Chelle.

Michelle met the doctor's gaze boldly.  She cringed inwardly, remembering a time when she could not.  She's so good with him.  He needs this, and I need to see this.  I know for a fact no one in Max's family or mine would have treated him like this, and he would have grown up as cold as his father despite me being there.  I know it.  I can feel it.   You won't get your hands on him now Max.  Over my dead body. The blonde felt the sudden flood of anger and went with it.

The doctor's eyes widened as she recognized  familiar emotion.  "Chelle?  Penny for your thoughts."

Sobering quickly, Michelle snatched her eyes away to look down at hands that picked with the pink sweat pants.  A moment later, they met each other half way once more.  "I was just thinking that I would like to give Toby all the things I never had.  You've helped me with that."

Dark brows scrunched in contemplation.  "Really?"

"Yes, really.  No one was ever there for me at his age or when I was older.  Sometimes I think that I can remember the pain from way back then, but besides that you are so good with him.  When he was born, I was scared that I would be the only one to hold him and love him.  I'm glad that I was wrong.  He needs this.  He needs you."

Wow.  "I-I . . .he's very special to me.  I think you know that I would do anything for him.  Um, I take it that Max wasn't affectionate?"

Michelle let out a bark of derisive laughter.  "He's never touched his son.  Never.  Not even at the hospital.  My mother was the first one to hold him."  She spit the words out as if they were spoiled, rancid.  "I'm glad he didn't. There's no telling what he would have done to him.  I put nothing past him.  I kept Toby with me at all times."  Michelle chuckled again, without the edge.  "When my mother or Max's family tried to hold him, God he would throw a fit.  I think, Beatrice, Max's mom, was the only one he responded to out of the three."  She paused.

"I would have given anything to have somebody like you in my life when I was little or even when I was a teenager just to have someone who cared.  Some teachers tried, but their interest never lasted."  The blonde sighed.  "I can't go back, but still, I'm glad he has you.  I don't ever want him to feel the loneliness.  Cause sometimes, I thought it went bone deep."   Michelle refused to break the connection between them.  Am I laying too much on her?  Blue eyes twinkled with patience and tenderness.  "I-I. . ."

During her friend's emotional words, Bobbi had some how gravitated toward her.  She didn't even remember moving.  They sat on the carpet thigh to thigh. The brunette found her hand there squeezing the blonde's knee in assurance and comfort.  Talking and touching came hand in hand with them both nowadays.   "I think I understand, Chelle, but I want you to know something.  I wouldn't be as free as I am with Toby if it hadn't been for you.  You taught me how to do this."

Bobbi continued. "Hell, I've said it once, and I'll say it again. We taught teach other. I don't think I can ever express to you how happy I am to be where I am right now. The past few years I think that I was living in my own personal hell.  I had everything once, almost everything and it was all snatched from me piece by piece.  I grew up happy, but to have everything crumble slowly around you starting with family.  I didn't  think I was going to survive it.  Some parts of me didn't.  I know that now.  I know all about the loneliness, but I think we're all good for each other."

Bobbi looked down as she felt the soft touch of fingertips against the back of her hand.  Her breath caught at the tingly heat that followed.  Still, she turned the appendage palm up. Fingers intertwined in an intimate hold.  "I think you're right about that,"  Michelle replied as she beamed up at her friend.  Determination glinted in deep green. "I went from having nothing to everything.  I won't  let anyone take that away from me now not Max or my mother."

"I'll be here with you all the way."

"I know you will,"  Michelle added softly with a reverent smile lighting her features.

Their gaze held for a second more, extending the profound moment to a comfortable silence, before turning back to the baby.  Bobbi  glanced at the squirming child and smiled.  "He's thriving, Chelle.  He's gotten so big, and I can't believe that he's sitting up and eating baby food now. How many months is he?  Because I think that he's gonna be crawling real soon, so that means child proofing the house."

The blonde grinned happily.  "I know.  He had been moving around on the bed for a while now, but I didn't know he'd gotten this far until I tried sitting him upright the other day.  Blew me away.  He's growing up fast. He's a little over six months now. It'll be seven next month on the twelth.   It's a good thing you bought all those things from that baby store."  She reached for her son who lay only a few inches away and pulled him into the open space between her legs.  The little boy lunged for his discarded toy, but his mother beat him to it.  Toby quickly shoved the plastic ring of  colorful, jiggling keys into his mouth.  A delighted coo resulted.

Committing the date to memory, Bobbi ducked her head in a nod.  "You know, I was just thinking that it's about time that this place be filled with new faces and new memories.   I hate we didn't catch him sitting up on film. Filming him feeding for the first time would have been priceless too. Maybe we should buy a camcorder, so that we can get all of his firsts on film."  The doctor smirked as the child peered up at her with curious blue green eyes.  She reached over and tweaked his nose with a free hand.  Her heart skipped a beat.   God, this little boy has a piece of me.  I think his mother does too.

Stunned by the implied sentiment, Michelle stared at her friend in wonder.  Sometimes it's hard to fathom that she means every word she says.  She really does care a lot about him, about us.  "You really mean that don't you?"

Sable brows scrunched.  "Yeah.  Um, if you're worried about the cost don't.  I'll take care of it.  Think of it as a late Christmas present from one friend to another."  That way when you leave.  I'll have something. . .  Bobbi swallowed hard at the sudden emptiness inside.   As if it was instinct or some involuntary action, the brunette brought their joined hands up, flipping them over to reveal the back of the blonde's appendage, and in one smooth motion, she graced Michelle's knuckles with a kiss.

Michelle held her breath at the unexpected electric like warmth that filtered up her arm sparking something inside, but she couldn't tear her eyes away from her friend's face.  Her heart thumped deep and hard.  What was that?  I don't think I've felt that before with her.  Or have I, and didn't notice? "Um, what was that for?"  Michelle asked in a voice that was a little higher than usual.

Soft.  With her mouth still precariously close to warm flesh, Bobbi whispered,  "Just cause."  B, what are you doing?

Michelle bit her lip as the heat flushed her face.  A slow smile formed anyway.  "Uhm, okay."   She paused clearing her head and enjoying the heat.    "I think a c-camcorder would be great."  She peered down at her son, running a hand through soft downy blonde hair.

"Great!  We really need to go grocery shopping too.  Do you want to come with?"  Please.  "Unless you had plans for today."

Michelle glanced down the nearby hallway toward the den/study.  Reading was the only thing she had in mind.  The flush returned as images associated with sensual words flashed behind her eyes.  Heat engulfed her, making her heart beat and respiration rise.  Oh, God.  She licked her lips absently. Maybe I should get away from this for a few hours.  I've already spent the past couple of nights in there.    "Um, I was going to. . .   Yeah, okay, but don't you have to work?"

Bobbi followed the red trail over her friend's face and neck, wondering if her skin would feel as hot as it looked. What the hell?!   She cleared her throat.  "Yeah, I mean afterwards.  I've got that interview for the nurse position at 1pm too.  Either way, I'll be finished by early afternoon."

Good, so I can still finish that story and take that break later.   "Oh,okay,"  Michelle added.

"Good,  I need to get dressed and go open the office."  She extricated her hand from the blonde's and pushed herself up with a reluctant sigh.  This is getting harder to leave more and more every time.   Bobbi glanced down at her friend only to find green eyes staring up at her, waiting.  "Uhm, don't forget to let the phone ring a couple of times, so the caller ID will work.  I want to make sure we don't have anything to worry about.  Those two calls were probably just pranks."

Michelle blinked.  What was I expecting her to say?    "Oh yeah.  I remember.  You showed me how to do it the other day when we first got it."   She wrapped fidgety hands around her son.

Rooted to the spot, their gaze held.  I don't want to go. "Uh, I guess I'd better go then."  Bobbi plucked at the edges of her white t-shirt, but she turned slowly toward the vicinity of her bedroom.

Michelle watched the taller woman's retreating frame. I don't want her to go. Before she had time to think, to process, words flew from her mouth.  "Bobb-i?"   Her voice cracked on the last syllable.  She saw the brunette's back stiffen.

Bobbi swung around all the while embracing the warmth that fluttered inside at the sound of her name.  She looked at her friend expectantly.

"I miss you when you're not here.  It's just not the same around here.  Even though, you're only--"   Michelle trailed off and confusion set in as she tried to decipher what it was she was saying.  Why is this so hard?  What am I trying to say?  She met the doctor's gaze and saw blue eyes twinkling with surprise, intensity, and something else that she could not identify.

A gigantic bolt of heat from deep within spread through the brunette's body, making her stomach flutter as well as her pulse.  Jesus.   Bobbi stood tall and as still as a statue, letting the feelings over take her.  She swallowed. . .hard then croaked out, "I know the feeling, Chelle."

As quickly as she could, Bobbi turned back and headed toward her room, totally aware of the green eyes that followed her.

Michelle watched until the brunette disappeared behind her door.  A few minutes later, her senses settled.  "I don't understand."  She looked down at her hand, still feeling the impression of the doctor's touch.  "What's going on? I don't think things felt like this before."  The blonde whispered.

Taz padded over, taking a seat beside his mistress.  "Wuff?"

"I-I don't think you can help me with this one, boy."   She peered at the closed door, realizing that she had never been so confused in her entire life.  With Max it was always cut and dry.  Our marriage was a lie.  I was nothing to him but a punching bag.  What is this that I'm feeling now?  I was so used to the hate, fear, and anger, but it wasn't until Toby that I knew love.  What is this?

Michelle brought Toby to her lap and snuggled him into her chest as she continued to look toward the doctor's bedroom.  She let out a long, shaky breath as the confusion suddenly mingled with fear of the unknown feelings that she didn't seem to be able to control.


Bobbi sat down heavily on the edge of her bed.  She let out a long breath and pushed shaking hands through inky black tresses.  Full lips thinned to a fine line as she stared at the far wall.  Maybe what I just felt in there was a fluke.  I mean after all this time?  Why would I just start feeling it now?  Unless. . .unless its been there for a while jumbled up with all those other emotions, but now that things are clearer---"Oh God, I'm attracted to her."

The brunette balled her hands into tight fist and banged them against her thighs in anger as she recalled that familiar curl in her belly.  It was stronger than ever before---more breathtaking.  She stood up abruptly and began pacing with hands clenched at her side.  "I can't believe this,"Bobbi mumbled through gritted teeth.  "She doesn't need this shit right now with everything that she's been through--another screwed up lover.  Who am I kidding?  I don't need it either.  I've gotten by for years without feeling this."

The doctor let out a frustrated growl.  "Why now?  When did it start?"  The first time she touched me?  The first time I hugged her?  The first time I saw her?  There's been this growing warmth between us for some time.  Why the hell did it have to grow into this?!  It's so damned cliche, but it feels good at the same time.

She stopped pacing, but her hands began to gesticulate wildly.  "Enough of the hows and whys onto the whats.   What the hell am I going to do about this?  Or maybe the question should be do I want to do anything about this?  I can't pull away from her or rather I won't."  Bobbi let out a bark of laughter.  "That's a lie.  The truth is that I won't be able to.  I need. . ."  Exasperated, the doctor stripped herself of her t-shirt and threw it on top of the clean pile before heading into the bathroom.

Bobbi stood in front of the sink, looking into the mirror.  She pointed at the face in it.  "You'll scare her.  You know that.  Hell, you'll scare yourself. This is different and you know that too.  You can't control this like you did all your other so called relationships.  So what are you gonna do?  Take it slow?  Pretend like nothing's changed?  That would be lying in a way, and you told her that you would always tell her the truth.  So, B, what are ya gonna do?"  Bobbi leaned in, touching her forehead to the cool glass.  She sighed. 

"I'm gonna be there for her just like always, and if I see a sign that she wants this, really wants this and isn't showing some strange sense of gratitude,  I'm going to. . . Ah, I don't know, but I've got to let her lead.  There's no other way. God help me.   I need her.  Please don't let me scare her away.  Patience.  I need patience." She glanced at the gold charm around her neck and wrapped her hands around it. "You've been working a lot better lately. Maybe you'll throw in a little patience too?" She begged then rolled her eyes at the thought.

The brunette let out another sigh and stood back up, seeing the worry shining in her own eyes.  "Patience," she whispered and stripped off the Nike shorts.  Without another word, she padded to the shower stall in all her naked glory and walked into a full blast of cold water.

Chapter 31

With a soft bounce, Janine sat down on the edge of the full-sized, unmade bed.  She scanned the room with a soft sigh.  "Time to move up in the world Jan. Money is running out."  The old lady she was renting the room from was nice enough, and the place was perfect---a two story white washed house, black shutters, and white picket fence.  It was the type of house she had always wanted to live in growing up, but looking at the same four walls dressed in lilac wallpaper and carpeting was starting to drive the petite brunette crazy. 

Janine glanced at the hideous adornment that seemed to cover the back wall, an archaic cuckoo clock, whose little yellow bird had obviously died long ago.  Still, with its constant tic-toc it kept perfect time. There was an hour to go before the big interview, an hour to go before she started a new life.

Seeing a glimpse of the tall, leggy doctor renewed Janine's faith in the two week old move from Missouri, away from the hustle and bustle of St. Louis to the snail pace of Ivanhoe.  She got up and ambled toward the mirror that covered the back of the bathroom door and gave her a view of the entire room. Open books lay scattered across the highly polished dresser, and unable to decide on shoes, pairs of them littered the floor, until she settled for black heels. I'll clean up later. Jewelry both faux and real hung out of its box on the dresser and colored perfume bottles were littered about.  Pictures, encased in a beautiful array of wooden and metal frames, of herself as a child, a voluptuous teen, as an adult, and single one her family, which included a mother she was trying to forget and a long dead sister.

The 19-inch TV buzzed quietly in the background, and she sneered at the cheap white phone that hadn't rung since it was installed.

Her attention returned to the woman in the mirror. She pulled down the jacket of the wine colored pants suit, exposing the off white camisole and examined her appearance, seeing that her make-up was as impeccable as ever. Large innocent looking doe brown eyes stared back at her. The nurse had to crack a smile at that.  She hadn't been innocent in a long time.  Pale powder barely covered the lines of freckles across a pert nose, but that did not matter.  The brunette grinned slightly highlighting slightly chubby cheeks, determined chin, and full sensuous lips.

She took a step back to take in her perfectly curved form that was thin at the waist but full in the hips and bust.  It was a face and body that women envied even hated, but she had gotten used to that over the years.  Even though, lately, it started to bother her -—the looks, the whispers. The grin fell from her lips. I'm tired of it all. I just want to start over fresh. No one knows me here and that means no one can judge me.

Women friends were few and far between. Even with being a lesbian, women were wary of her, holding on to their lovers whether they were male or female as if she were going to snatch them away with sharp talons.  It was something she had indeed been guilty of once or twice, including recently. She tried to shake morose thoughts by filling shifting them to the dark-haired doctor.

"She said that she was busy with her family.  I wonder what that means exactly?  Marriage?  Children?"  Is this another straight girl that I have to make see the light? Am I up to that? Who am I kidding? I'm not up to that particular game anymore. I'm not up to any game. I shouldn't have to play them to meet friends, women, or anything. I just want to meet some real people. I hope she's one of them. I'm tired of the fakers and the posers, and most of all, I think I'm tired of being who they want me to be. I don't think I even know who I am anymore.  Janine let out a shrill laugh.  "I can't believe that I'm doin' this on a glance. Isn't that what always gets me in trouble? Wasn't I supposed to be in love not too long ago?"   She wiped a piece of imaginary lint off her shoulder then stared back at her reflection, seeing the pain shining in her eyes.  "But isn't that part of the reason why I came?  To move on?"  She listened to the sing song sound of her deep southern accent, remembering the mediocre nursing job she abandoned for Minnesota, a place she had never been, a place that had been picked with the flip of a coin. 

"It's not just the games. I don't want to be second fiddle anymore. I want something for myself--something real, something that I can hang on to."  Full lips pursed in anger.  Fae, how can you say you loved me? You never listened to me. Then, you went back and fucked your husband every chance you got..  It was never over between you two, and I knew it. I could smell him on you every time.  Seeing you sitting a few feet away from me at the nurses' station was a little more than I could take.  I deserve better.  I deserve to come first.  I deserve to win for once.

Dark thoughts turned to the family she had left.  You're better off without me, mom. You never knew I was there anyway, even after Sue died.  She was your heart. . .my big, smart, beautiful older sister.  I was only second best. I'll never be what you wanted. I'll never marry into an old Southern family; give you grandchildren; and be Ms. Society. "I'll just be the black sheep," she whispered.

Janine could see the storm brewing in her features but could do nothing about it. "I can't feel sorry for myself not right now."  she muttered through clenched teeth.  "This is my chance to start over, and I'm going to take it.  No matter how slim it is."   I will get this job.  I will get this woman for my own. I might not know who I am, but I know what I want.  She adjusted her jacket one more time before peering at the ever present ticking clock.  It was time to formally meet Dr. Bobbi Waszinski.


Michelle scrunched her bare toes into Taz's fur as she absently pat the faux mane of the stuffed rabbit Bobbi had given her.  She had long since given her a name, Murphy.  The blonde brought the rabbit up, letting it caress her face.  The smell of its newness caught her senses.   Closing her eyes, Michelle was honest with herself and wished it smelled like the spicy scent Bobbi wore.  It had only been a couple of hours, and she missed the tall brunette.

She leaned back in the leather padded chair as the computer booted up.  I wish I knew what was going on inside me.  I know what hate is along with all that goes with it. Now, I know what friendship, trust, and caring are, but I have no map for what I'm feeling now.  B's touch even her presence has always made me feel  warm inside.  Nobody ever did that, and I learned to accept and cherish it.

Green eyes popped open as she recalled the electric tendrils that assaulted her body that seemed to go along with the doctor's touch as of late. The warmth is still there but it's so much hotter.  I like it.  I like it and I think it scares me.  How can I trust something this intense?  I don't even know what this is, and Bobbi is the only one I trust enough to talk to about this.  But how do I do that when it concerns her?

Seeing that this was going nowhere fast, Michelle let out a long suffering sigh.  "Maybe a little reading will get my mind off this for a little while."  She sat Murphy on the desk and glanced at her now sleeping son.  Then, with a click of the mouse, the blonde went through her bookmarks until she got to the ScullySlash website.  Having read through Fletcher and Fletcher 2, Michelle found another long story to sink her teeth into about Scully and a female doctor.

Having only read the first few pages previously, Michelle found herself lost in the story. The blonde felt a pang of anticipation when the other female lead was introduced.  She shifted in her seat and leaned in for more.

Pale brows lowered at the sudden familiarity of the words she was reading.  A deep seated knowledge spewed forth as she read on.  The warmth, the heat, the need to be near, and the flutter in her belly--it was all sitting there on the computer screen as big as life, the stirrings of attraction.  Stunned and with eyes as large as saucers, Michelle tore herself away and stared blankly at the far wall.  Her heart dipped in her chest, and she covered her mouth with a trembling hand.  It all made perfect sense now, and then again, it made no sense at all.

How can this be?  She's a woman.   Michelle glanced at the screen. So are they, but they're fake aren't they?  But the feelings described seem so real, feel so real.  It's obviously possible to feel this way.  But me. . . feel this way?  How is THAT possible?  And why didn't I catch on before? I should have seen this after reading the first story.

I thought Max had destroyed all that--all that made up that part of me.  I've never felt what I heard other girls talked about in school. Why her?  Why now?

Before she could even think about it, Michelle answered her own questions.  "Because she's the only one who was able to get inside."  Confusion quickly set in.   Is this right to feel for a friend, for a woman?  What do I do with all these feelings?  Maybe I'm confusing all this with friendship.  I didn't know how that was supposed to feel until Bobbi showed me.  Michelle shook her head vehemently.  No, I won't lie to myself that's not what this is. The blonde pushed her hands through short, shaggy locks.  I don't know what to do with this.  I don't know the first thing.  Can I talk to her about it?  What if she doesn't feel this?  What if she finds it disgusting?  What if she does feel all of this?

"Oh God.  How am I supposed to act around her?  Things have been so good."  With the confusion came doubt.  Maybe this will go away if I don't let her touch me.  I'm not sure I can handle this.  My relationships consisted of a man who almost killed me.  I couldn't give him what he wanted.  What makes me think I can do that now with a woman, with Bobbi? Why on earth would she want to be with somebody like me?  I'm almost there but I don't think I'm a whole person not until I can take life into my own hands.  Maybe she is my chance to do this.

Michelle leaned over the desk, placing her elbows on the edge.  "I don't want to hurt her.  I did that enough in the beginning."    A light bulb went on. She seems to need to touch me, and I have to admit that I enjoy that. I have to admit to myself that I enjoy touching her too.  It always makes the world seem a little brighter.  "Aargh, this is a mess." She covered her face with her hands.

She tells me that I've made her life better.  She tells me that I helped her to change and accept who she is and who she was.  Do I really do that for her?  Michelle let her mind settle around the concept.  "Bobbi's always tells me the truth,"  the blonde mumbled.  "I just don't know what I'm supposed to do now."

She took her hands away and peered at the screen.  Part of me wants to run from this and the other part wants to run toward it just to see where it can lead.  She hit the down key. Well, I know where it can lead. Now.  I'm not the scared little thing I was months ago.  I know that, but am I ready for this?  I can't hide.  I've been hiding for years.  I can't do that anymore.

"Baby steps.  Where have I heard that?  Maybe that's what I need to do--what we need to do.  I know one thing.  I don't want to lose her.  Maybe I can put some kind feelers out."  Michelle let out a short bark of laughter.  "I have no idea what I'm doing, but if I want this, if I feel this way, it can't be wrong for us can it? I should be disgusted and ashamed, but how can I be? There's nothing evil or nasty about this. It's all light. How can I be ashamed of the light? Ugh, this is all so. . . Oh, God," the blonde repeated.  A large case of nerves stole over her, making her hands shake more than they had previously.  "I can't do this.  I don't know, and I could screw up. . .  

Michelle's head fell in her hands again, as she let the mass of contradictions, doubts, and fear that she had become the last few days take over.


Having been talking for a while, Bobbi glanced at the woman on the other side of her desk.  If I were the old me, I would probably be chatting her up right now, but my libido's been dead for a long time until now,  until that little blonde that's probably sitting in my living room right now.  Now, Ms. Williams isn't even an option.

The doctor smiled as she caught the steady brown gaze.  "You have a very extensive background here, Ms. Williams, and you graduated from University of Tennessee. I see you recently got you license in this state also.  Very good."

"Oh, please call me Jan."  God, she's more beautiful than I thought.  That flash I saw of her didn't do her justice.   Janine resisted the urge to run a hand over her suddenly rapidly beating heart, but still, she drank in the other brunette's features as if she were dying of thirst.

"Okay, Jan.  Uhm, but I see that you've never worked in a private practice before.  This one here is a lot slower than the pace of a hospital.  Some days we're full.  Some days we're not.  It can be really slow, do you think that you can keep yourself busy?"   Bobbi shuffled in her seat at the feel of eyes raking over her. Ooooookay.

She's talking like I already have the job.  "That's no problem.  I'm sure just like any other doctor you have an extensive patient load.  A lot of time can be spent familiarizing myself with, scheduling follow up appointments, cleaning up the files, and so on.  I may not have worked in a doctor's office, Bobbi.  Uh, may I call you Bobbi?"  She waited for the nod.  "But, I've always prided myself on giving each patient individual attention even in the big hospitals.  That's what you need in a practice like this one.  Correct?"  Janine gave her a kilowatt smile, as she rubbed a sweaty hand against her pants leg. God, I'm nervous as hell. That's never happened to me. I hope she can't tell.

Bobbi peered at the list of references before leaning back in her chair.  She crossed Levi clad legs, feeling the worn, faded material move with her, and pulled at her ponytail.  She's good.   She crossed her arms loosely on her chest.  "I have to say that you're right on the money with this one.  I see you've handled kids, geriatric patients, as well as doing some volunteer in obstetrics. Can I ask?  From the sound of things, you're from the South.  There are quite a few very good hospitals down there.  Why come all the way up here to a little office like mine?"

Janine blinked.  She hadn't expected such a personal question.  I don't want to start this off by lying. I don't want to do that naymore.   "Uhm, it's going to sound cliche; but I needed a change.  I was tired of all the bureaucracy, and the hospitals were a hot bed for gossip.  It all got terribly old.  I decided to small town it, so to speak.  Flipped a coin, and here I am."   She snapped her fingers.  "I needed to make a new start and slow things down.  I applied at Harris, but I saw your add. It just fit somehow.  Uh-;"   The petite  brunette swallowed hard as pale blue eyes continued to hold her.  That wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. Maybe it's because of her. She could feel the blood rush to her face, but couldn't do a thing about it.  Startled by the revelation. The nurse was still able to gather her wits. "Uhm, that's my story in a nut shell."

Bobbi stared at the nurse's pinking face curiously.  Interesting. "Mmm, well I can certainly relate to that.  We have some very home town people here that may come off a bit strange.  Do you think that you can handle that?"

Janine chuckled.  "Please, is that a rhetorical question?  I come from the South remember?"

Bobbi raised an arched brow.  "Touche;.  I have to be honest with you.  You sound like you may be what I'm looking for.   Along with the fact that you're the first one to answer the ad since I put it up before the thaw, I'd say you're batting a thousand.  I've needed help around her for a while, and no one seems interested."

I'm interested. Every since I saw you.

"The only formality is checking your references.  Give me a couple of days to do that, and I'd say that you have a job."   I like her.  She seems very competent and down to earth.  It's warming up, and I'm going to be swamped soon. I think people would really respond well to her.    "Uhm, I'll get you a set of keys so you can unlock the office from the outside.  I'm usually on time, but sometimes depending on appointments, I come in a little late.  I'll need you to open things up around 9:30 sharp every weekday and have a list of appointments along with their files ready for me to peruse.  I do housecalls a month, and you'll have to hold the fort down while I'm away.  Also, things like the phones and stuff you can learn on the way.   The pay is fifteen an hour with holidays off, sick leave, and full insurance. What do you say?"

Janine stood up and leaned over the desk, exposing an ample amount of cleavage.  Bobbi did the gallant thing and kept eye contact as she reached out for the hand offered.  "I say that you've got yourself a nurse."  Feeling a little exposed suddenly, Janine's fingers itched to adjust her jacket. What am I doing? There's a lot more to me than that. I think there's a lot more to you too.

Smiling sincerely, Bobbi added, "Good.  Let's see. Today is Tuesday. Give me two days to check things out, and you can start Thursday morning.  I'll give you a call if there are any problems. Otherwise, I'll meet you here bright and early.  Let me show you around while you're here."   The doctor got up, adjusted the blue crewneck sweater, and made her way around the desk.

Janine rose and waited until she was shoulder to shoulder with the taller woman before moving.  "Great. Oh, and hey I want to apologize for interruptin' you the other day.  I don't have any family really, so I sorta forgot that Sunday was family day." The nurse rolled her eyes mentally. I'm fishin', and she probably knows it.

Bobbi stopped mid-stride and waved the sentence away.  "It's no problem.  I live with a very good friend, and we were just having a bit of fun."   The doctor smiled as she remembered the boisterous hugs she had received.

Thank goodness. She is unattached. Maybe I'll. . .   "Okay, just making sure. Uhm, I've only been living here a month, and I haven't gotten out a lot to look around.  I take it you've lived her for a while?"

Where is this going? "Yeahhh, I have.  Why do you ask?"   They started walking again, making their way out into the hall.  Bobbi turned her head to glance at the other woman.

"Um, I was thinking maybe we could do dinner.  You know to celebrate you getting a new nurse and me a new job.  Maybe you could show me around. . ."   Janine let the request hang in the air as she met the pale gaze once more.  She shivered inwardly and waited.

Big uh oh here!   I didn't even do anything!  Okay, new official policy.  Bobbi blinked in surprise.  "Um, Ms. Williams--"

"Jan, remember?"

"Uh, yeah Jan, sorry."  Bobbi dug her hands into her labcoat.  It had been a long time since she'd done this.  "Jan, I don't date people I work with.  Uhm, I'm flattered though.  It's been a long time since a woman asked me out."  Not that I would have said yes if anyone had.

Janine tried to hide her disappointment, and her brow wrinkled at the pang of hurt at the rejection.  At least we are batting for the same team. I won't give up so easily. I've got to do something here to clear the air.  She licked her lips then bit into the bottom one.  "Oh, okay.  Do I have egg on my face or what?"   The brunette brought a hand up to her mouth and coughed out, "Awkward, awkward."

Bobbi smirked in surprise then laughed out right. I like her.  Nice sense of humor.   She held up a hand.  "No, don't worry about it. I'd say that last statement just broke any somber mood," the doctor added good naturedly.

Janine smiled full out at the sound of the other woman's laugh. She's very down to earth.  I like that.  I like her.   "Well, can't blame a gal for tryin', but I hear you loud and clear.  No problem."  Ugh, what am I going to do about this?

"Okay, good.  Let me finish showing you around."  That was close. Maybe too easy.  Hmm.  "Uhm, I have a total of three examination rooms."  They walked down the hall, and she opened each door.  "There's a fourth room that used to belong to my father.  I need to clean it out, but I haven't decided if I want to make that into a new exam room.  Feel free to use it as a private office if you want until then."   Bobbi smiled inwardly at the lack of pain and the lack of overall burden.

"That's great.  Bobbi, I could clean it out if you let me.  Unless there are things--"  Janine stated.

"No, no feel free.  There's nothing in there but a desk and some medical books."  Bobbi glanced down the hall.  "That door leads to my house.  Uh, don't take it the wrong way, but please don't go in there without me."

Janine nodded.  "Okay, no problem." 

"Good, I think we understand each other then."  They walked back out into the waiting area.  Bobbi peered at the clock.  "Okay, I have a patient soon, but I will see you on Thursday."   She stuck out her hand again.

The petite nurse took it gladly, enjoying the softness. "Thursday it is."

With a small smile, Bobbi watched her go.  "Finally got that done."   The smile got bigger as thoughts of the blonde intruded.  Things have changed, Chelle whether you know it or not. She glanced at the clock, seeing the second hand move in  what seemed to be a snails pace.  The doctor sighed, knowing that each minute was going to creep by.  "I've never looked so forward to grocery shopping before."    She stopped the familiar thought before it reverberated through her head.  "I know.  Patience."

Chapter 32

Bobbi lounged back against the cream colored couch and waited impatiently for the blonde to make an appearance. She couldn't remember being quiet so anxious. I know she's on the computer. Why don't I just go in there and say hi? The doctor tilted her head in contemplation. Because I'm a nervous wreck who hasn't done this in a very long time. She took a deep breath. Things are gonna be awkward between us. I can just feel it. If I'm feeling like this now, there's no telling what I'll end up saying to her. Bobbi let the breath out in a sigh as she picked up the remote control. She looked down at the rubber buttons. But if I don't go in there, won't she think something is up? I mean, I usually go get her---ah hell, B get up off your ass and do this.

Urged by her inner voice, Bobbi put one foot in front of the other and made her way down the short hallway towards the den. With each step she gathered courage and confidence. That is until she actually got to the door. She peered at the slightly opened door with wide eyes. A lump formed in her throat, making it difficult to swallow, and breath rattling in her chest made it hard to draw in much needed air. The doctor peered down at her battered white Nike's. God, I feel like some green school boy. It's just Chelle. I know her. Yeah, except now I want to know her a lot better. I just don't know if I should.

The brunette jumped when the door creaked open and curious blue eyes peered up at her. She gave Taz a geeky little wave and smiled sheepishly at his all-knowing expression. "Um, hi?" The doctor croaked out in a whisper. The Husky canted his head from side to side as if trying to understand the tall human's strange antics. Poised to bark, he whimpered in further confusion when the tall, dark woman shushed him.

"Don't look at me like that!" Bobbi murmured harshly. "I'm just. . .hell I don't know what I'm doing. I guess she's in there?"

Taz gave her an answering whimper.

Bobbi fidgeted nervously, tugging at the edges of her sweater with her hands and painting invisible lines into the carpet with her feet. "Um, do you think I should go in there or wait?"

Taz huffed but continued to stare at the strange woman standing before him.

"Right. I should just go in and tell her we need to get going." Bobbi inched quietly closer to the door. "Uh, right?" She glanced at her furry companion. "Oh, this is ridiculous. It's not as if you know what's going on." With that statement, the doctor closed the distance between herself and the door.

The Husky watched her go in. Then, he gazed at the space she had just vacated as he wondered if he would ever understand humans.

Bobbi stood in the doorway stock still as her heart did a triple flip. Under a cap of short blonde hair, green eyes peered at her with an intensity that she had never seen before. The function of breathing that had just returned moments before left her again in a silent whoosh as the familiar flutters in her stomach started. Oh, geez! I don't know if I can handle this right now.

Their gazes locked and held.

Michelle swallowed, hard, unable to turn away. The shaky hand encompassing the mouse quickly minimized the current window on the computer screen. She held her breath, knowing the red flush covering her face was more prominent than ever. The blonde mentally shook her head in an attempt to clear it of the sensual images the words on the page had created, but the haze remained, making her pulse pound and stomach tie in tight knots that sent an electric jolt to just about everywhere. Oh, God. This isn't going to go way is it? What do I say? What do I do?

In her line of sight, Michelle could see the quick rise and fall of her friend's chest. She touched her hand to her own realizing her chest was doing the same. Wha? Their gaze was unwavering—green on blue.

Drawn in by some force she just recently recognized, Bobbi took a step into the room and barely acknowledged when the dog brushed by her. Say something you idiot! The doctor screamed at herself. Or she'll know something's up. Bobbi took another step then another forward before husking out, "Hey you."

Michelle bit her lip as the sound of the brunette's voice resulted in a pleasant tingle. "Um, h-hey," the blonde returned, feeling a stutter that hadn't been present for a while return with her nervousness. "Y-you're finished already?"

"Yeah, got me a new nurse too." Bobbi tried to smile but the attempt resulted in the corners of her mouth lifting just slightly.

"Oh! That's good then." Michelle bristled with momentary excitement before returning to her previous awkward state.

"Yeah," I was right things are just a little off. They lapsed into silence. I don't want things to be like this. It's been so easy between us.

Michelle blinked then continued to stare at her friend, who was now only a few inches away from the desk. It shouldn't be like this between us. I don't want it to be this way. I just want—- God, I don't know what I want, but I know that I don't want these feelings to go away. I feel this for a woman. My God that's going to take some getting used to. I hope that I can.



They both grinned slightly then chuckled.

"You go first," Michelle murmured.

Bobbi scratched her nose, stuck her hands deep in her jeans pocket and looked down at her shoes again, noticing scuff marks, nicks and the strange pattern they made. She glanced back up holding emerald eyes with her own. "I missed you."

It left her lips as though she had said it a hundred times and hung in the air as if it weighed a ton. It was the truth, and the doctor did not want to take it back. Bobbi continued to look upon the blonde's countenance, seeing the emotions that she couldn't hide. I did that.

The breath stopped in the blonde's chest, and she bit her lip in silent reaction. Her face flushed a deeper hue of red, spilling over and engulfing her entire body in a subtle heat. It had barely been a day, and Michelle had made the discovery of all discoveries. Still, in the span of the few hours that she had spent thinking, the blonde was no closer to a decision—to run or to stand and welcome it all in. Her saying things like that to me makes running seem like a stupid option. She heard the words reverberate in her head before she spoke them. They seemed right. "Me too."

Unable to stop what she had undoubtedly started, Bobbi let some of her feelings spill over. "What you said earlier? I didn't mean to interrupt, but I really do know exactly what you mean. I'm so used to having you around laughing, talking or whatever that it feels strange and kinda empty when you're not. The whole time I'm at the office I keep wondering what you're doing. Does all that make sense?" As her voice fell back to silence, some of the nerves left, leaving the doctor eager and flushed. God, I hope that I'm not saying too much, but if feel like something inside me broke. I won't push her. I won't push an us.

Michelle clenched her fist in a white knuckled grip, but she refused to turn away, not wanting to miss a thing. These stories don't prepare you for this—-this feeling. I feel like I'm floating and falling at the same time. Unable to stop it, the petite woman smiled, a warbly one at best and whispered through her dry throat, making her voice huskier. "Yeah, I understand. I-it's pretty much what I was trying to say earlier. You're just better at words than I am."

Bobbi smiled ruefully. "No, I'm just opening up just like you are."

The blonde's smile matched her friend's. "Yeah, I guess you're right about that one too." She paused to catch her breath and bearings. "Um, so did you have a good day?"

Bobbi sighed inwardly. I love this. Domestication is everything that people said it would be. I've never felt so settled. Knowing that someone cares means so much. The doctor nodded and added, "Uhm, yeah. It's gonna get a lot busier as the weather gets better, but I enjoy that ya know? Being around these people is an experience I don't want to give up anytime soon. Some of them make my day. I wish you could meet some of them. They would love you." Trailing her fingers over the tip of the desk, the brunette waited, hoping that she wouldn't see the fear color eyes that sparkled back at her. She smiled inwardly when it never came.

Michelle bit her lip again. "Maybe I will. It seems easier now that I pretty much don't look like I used to. Maybe you could introduce me?" The blonde asked with a dip of her head.

Bobbi smiled full out. She has come a very, very long way. "Really? If you like, we could start at the supermarket. I always see someone I know. We'll have to give them a fake name just to be sure---"

"I-I like the one you gave me when the police were here, Jo, just like the brunette on "Facts of Life?"

Bobbi chuckled. "Yeah, she's my favorite." And, God, so are you.

"Yeah?" The blonde asked shyly and whisper soft as she felt another surge of heat serge into her face. Is she talking about me?

Did I say that outloud? Or can she tell? "Oh yeah," Bobbi answered. She cleared her throat. "Um, so how was your day with the Peanut? What did you do?"

Michelle looked at the screen and blushed a hot red. "J-just some reading. Toby was worn out from this morning, so he slept on and off."

The brunette scrunched her brow confused by the flush. "You're finished with those books already? You know, you can take the Cherokee anytime you want if you get bored or something. You don't have to stay here."

The petite blonde ducked her head in a nod. She's right. Getting out there in the world is just another step I have to take. I wouldn't have to go far, and at least I know somebody there. I think it's about time I did this. "You're right. The last time I went out by myself I ran into a cop. I shouldn't let that color things. Maybe, tomorrow, I can try to take those books back by myself."

Huge step, Chelle, but I think you're ready to take it. "Okay, good for you, just take my cell phone. I'll just be a call away if you need me."

Still hesitant, Michelle asked, "Do you think that I'll be all right?"

Bobbi grinned with confidence. "If you believe that you will. I know so." With a quick glance, there was a silent meeting and converging of wills that had long since mingled.

"I'm gonna do it," Michelle said in a stronger more sure voice.

"I knew you wouldn't have it any other way," Bobbi added with a teasing smirk. She casually crossed her arms over her chest. "So are you just about ready to hit the road? I'm sure Peanut will enjoy getting a go at the stroller for the first time."

"Yeah, sure. Let me just make sure that he's dry, and we can go."

Signaled by the constant use of the word ‘go,' Taz pranced around until he was noticed. Bobbi raised a dark brow at him. "Wuff!

"No no, boy you don't get to go this time either. She kneeled down to his level and scratched him behind the ears as she whispered, "I need you to look after the house for me. Can you do that?"

Taz seemed to puff out his chest. "Wuff!" His tail curled over his back, wagged furiously.

"Good boy. How about I take you out while your mama is busy with Toby?"


Michelle watched with amusement as she scooped up Toby. She's so good to us. How can I not feel this?

Still speaking with the Husky, the brunette added, "Let me go say hi to Peanut, and we can go."

Not hearing her friend's statement, Michelle's breath quickened as heat seemed to engulf her from all sides. She turned her head and looked up to see pale blue staring down at her so close that she could discern specks of darker blue, along with small wrinkles fanning out the side of the brunette's eyes. The warmth of the taller woman's body wrapped around her like an electric blanket, sending pleasant tingles all the way to her toes. God! This is definitely not going away. Totally flustered, the blonde backed away hurriedly stunned by the intensity of her feelings and scared of what the brunette might read into it all.

Forever drawn to the smaller woman, Bobbi moved closer, enjoying the soft smell of Ivory soap, floral shampoo, and something more that was all Michelle's. Worry creased her brow at her friend's antics and pale face. What did I do? Can she see it—-the way I feel? Confusion and worry made the brunette reach for her friend, trailing her hand from the blonde's shoulder to her arm. Bobbi felt the resulting shiver and her concern increased. "Chelle, you okay?"

Michelle nodded a little too quickly and refused to meet the brunette's eyes. "Um, yeah. You just scared me. I-I didn't mean to react like that." I need to get away just for a minute. Damn those stories. "Uh, I'll be ready to go in a few minutes." Without another word, Michelle left in a sensual haze of touches and manufactured images.

Bobbi watched her go. Puzzlement covered her face. She glanced down at her furry friend. "I don't want to scare her, boy, but the Big Guy knows that I can't stay away not now. I hope He sends me down a lot of patience." She shook her head. "C'mon let's go play."

Bobbi grabbed a shopping cart and pulled up beside Michelle, who pushed the blue and white stroller. She peered at the blonde out of the corner of her eye. The ride over had been quiet, tense and full of awareness. The doctor had wanted to reach over for the blonde's hand but didn't dare. Idle chit-chat was made over the drone of the radio. I've got to find someway to break this ice around us.

Walking neck and neck with her friend, Bobbi glanced down at Toby who was now awake and shaking the plastic keys with abject joy. She grinned. "Well, he seems to be enjoying his new digs. Don'tcha think?"

Michelle peered down at her son, seeing him shove a key in his mouth and slobber all over it. Amusement colored her face, making a smile break through. "Yeah, I guess that's the true test. If he slobbers all over it, he loves it."

Sable brows shot up. "He most really love me then," the doctor added tritely.

Michelle turned to her friend in surprise and chuckled at the wry look on her face. "I think he does."

Bobbi smiled toothily, making her eyes turn a deep cobalt. "That's good cause I think I love him too."

The store was loud with the sound of moving carts, chattering people, and dinging bells. For that minute, Michelle heard none of it. She stopped and turned to the brunette. He deserves to have somebody like her in his life, and maybe so do I. Emerald green eyes were wide with surprise and her pupils moved quickly studying the doctor's face for signs of insincerity that she had come to recognize on others. It wasn't there. "Really?"

"Yes, really," Bobbi answered softly. Truth, Chelle.

At that moment, Michelle knew that her son had never been safer. Not knowing what else to say, some unthinking part of her spoke for her, "Oh."

Bobbi smirked crookedly. "Yeah, oh." Compelled to, she reached out and swiped the wisp of bangs away from the blonde's forehead. The doctor sighed inwardly when Michelle did not jump away. Bobbi glanced down between their bodies, seeing the sneakers, pink sweatpants and the red jacket that seemed to swallow the blonde whole. "Nice jacket by the way." Bobbi enjoyed the flush that covered the petite woman's face.

Michelle bit her lip. "Uhm, I found it in the living room closet. It. . .it smells like you." Once the words were out, the blonde wished that she could take them back. That is, until she saw the pleasure blossom on the brunette's face. I made her look like that.

Already only inches apart, Bobbi took a minute step closer. "Really?" Her voice, already like velvet, lowered an octave.

Michelle swallowed hard at the sudden blast of heat that swallowed her, but something inside her refused to back away. "Yes, really," the blonde said breathlessly."

Bobbi blinked unable to believe what was happening. Is she flirting with me? I don't even think she knows that she's doing it. She watched as the other woman again bit her bottom lip. Going with the momentum of the situation, Bobbi reached out touching the blonde's lip, separating it from her teeth. "That's a nasty habit you're getting." On the inside, she was shocked at the wave of electricity that pulsed through her body. Whoa, B! Slow it down a thousand!

For what seemed like the millionth time today, Michelle felt her breathing go ragged. She lowered her eyes and watched as the brunette's large hand fell away. This is. . .way too much. Too intense. Do I really want this? "I-I didn't know, um, that I was doing it," she retaliated with a stutter.

They both jumped in surprise at the loud clamoring of the doctor's name. "Doc B! Doc B!"

Taking it as the reprieve that it was, Bobbi turned to see Kevin and his friend Cam heading their way. Oh, goodness. Shoulda known he would be the bell that saved me.

The young man waved as he moved closer to them. A minute later, his lanky form stood in front of them with the taller and even lankier form of his friend behind him. He stuffed his hands in his pockets and smiled. His semi-pimple ridden face glowed. "Hey Doc. I was gonna call you today."

Bobbi raised a brow. "Hello to you too Kev and Cam," she said sternly.

The two boys stared at each other in confusion before a light flashed over Kevin's face. "Oh, hi Doc. Sorry about that. Hello, miss." He nodded toward Michelle. Cam followed with a mumbled hello. Kevin did a double take as he glanced back at Michelle. "Hey, is that the woman you were wrestling in the snow with?"

Bobbi scowled. Teenagers. They're so damned tactless. She didn't dare glance at Michelle knowing that the woman was probably already blushing. "No," she added through clenched teeth. "She—" Bobbi stopped talking abruptly at the feel of a small hand at her back. She turned to see that Michelle's face wasn't red at all. In fact, she looked poised to speak. The brunette's mouth fell open but nothing came out.

Michelle's eyes twinkled. The boys' presence had given her time for her senses to return. "Um, those were snow angels I believe, and I'm also the woman you helped out in that blizzard about four and a half months ago. You know the one you're supposed to keep quiet about?" This is me talking like this! It's who I am. Who I've always wanted to be—-bold and confident.

Kevin glanced at his friend. "Ohhh, shhhh. I'm sorry ma'am. I wasn't tryin to be rude. I knew it was you." He smacked his buddy on the back. "You don't have to worry about us. Our lips are sealed. Right Cam?"

"Yeah, yeah man even the Feebs couldn't pry them open."

Kevin nodded, making the lip of his ball cap moving up and down maniacally. "'Sides, what Doc B says goes. I wouldn't let her down."

They all turned to look at her only to see her looking back blankly. Michelle thumped her friend on the back. "Bobbi?"

The doctor jumped. "Huh? Uhm, yeah, yeah. Good Kev." She glanced from the boys back to the petite blonde at her side. Ebony brows raised. She leaned in and whispered. "You're just full of surprises aren't ya?"

Michelle gave the brunette what could only be defined as a rakish grin. She had never felt so good. She went from being wrapped in a web of sensuality to a web of confidence in short minutes. Woo hoo for me! Her mind recalled the brunette's soft touch. I didn't know anything could feel like that. Why did she do it? I have to admit that I want to feel it again. She smiled full out at her friend then felt herself biting her bottom lip again. Bobbi wagged a finger, and Michelle let go of the flesh guiltily.

Reluctantly, Bobbi turned back to the boys. "So what were you comin' to see me about Kev?"

An embarrassed flush covered his face. With a jerk of his head, he beckoned her away from the group. Bobbi sighed and followed him. She looked at the teenager expectantly. "What's up?"

He pulled of his cap, revealing a shock of mushed blonde hair. With nervous fingers her traced the rim of the cap between his finger tips. His eyes refused to meet hers. "Um, was gonna come to you for some rubbers. Uhm, is that okay?"

Bobbi wanted to laugh. Ah, the impudence of youth. "Uh, why can't you buy them here?"

He met her eyes shocked. "Cause they know me here!"

The doctor raised her hands in supplication. "Okay! Calm down. Does your mom know about this?"

"Nah, but my dad does."

"At least you're trying to be safe for Janie."

He hung his head again. "Uh, we broke up."

Bobbi‘s brows rose high under her bangs. "She wouldn't put out, huh?"

"No. . .uh. . .I mean yes. Ah, man you know what I mean," he sputtered.

"Mmm hmm, I do. Come see me tomorrow with your father okay?"

He smiled crookedly. "Okay."

"Now, c'mon. I need to get my shopping done."

They walked back over to see Cam kneeling and cooing at the baby. Bobbi looked at Michelle in horror when the baby seemed to be talking back.

Kevin swatted his friend on the back again. "Look at that, Cam. You speak the same language."

The doctor looked up at the sound of Michelle's chuckle. She joined in as they watched the boys walk away. "They're strange but kinda sweet."

Bobbi nodded as she caught the blonde's gaze. "Mmm, that could said for a lot of the people that live around here." She paused and smiled slowly. "And you miss are really something."

Michelle smiled sheepishly. "Why? What did I do?"

Not missing a beat, Bobbi went on, "Let's just say that where ever you wanted to go with your life, I don't think you're far from being there."


Remembering that that word seemed the theme for the day, Bobbi answered, "Uh huh, really. You think about that for a while. Now, let's get to shopping."

Michelle stopped then beamed with pride. "Oh, okay. Do you have a list?"

The doctor snorted. Then in the worst spanish accent she could muster, she muttered, "List? We don't need no stinkin' list!"

Michelle blinked then looked at her friend blankly. "Huh?"

Bobbi chuckled, "Nevermind. Bad joke. I'm not organized enough to make a list. ‘Sides it's all up here." She pointed to her head. "C'mon."

"Lead on," Michelle murmured. She followed the brunette, pushing the cooing Toby all the way.

They went from aisle to aisle picking up various items. Michelle on one side and Bobbi on the other. The blonde glanced over her shoulder, seeing her friend grab a bag of Ruffles and throw them in the cart. Michelle smiled. My favorite. It feels good that somebody knows me so well. The petite woman grabbed a couple of six packs of Dr. Pepper from the opposite shelf and sat them in the basket. The doctor glanced up and grinned. "You're hooked on that stuff."

Michelle pursed her lips to keep from smiling. "Yeah, and?"

Bobbi shook her head and snickered. "Nothin." She peered down at Toby. "You know we really should get him a different kind of cereal. I don't think he likes the type I bought him. It's about time for The baby aisle is a few aisles over."

Michelle looked thoughtful. "You sure we should just change it like that?"

"Yeah, it should be fine. He just needs to be monitored to make sure he's not allergic or anything. At least we'll be able to get use out of that camera I'm gonna buy."

"Mmm, he'll probably get more on me than in his mouth just like before, but it's worth a try."

"Good, why don't you go on over there." She glanced at the cart full of fresh veggies, eggs, milk, sugary cereal, etc. "I figure all we need now are meats. Oh, and pick up anything else you want." With a smile on her face, Bobbi watched her go. You broke the mold when you made her. Didn't you Big Guy. She's an incredible woman, and I hope I get to be part of that.

Bobbi circled around picking up various meats including turkey, chicken, and pork. Ignoring the beef that she knew the blonde detested. She sneered up her nose at the nice thick Porterhouse steak and chuckled as she realized that she had lost her taste for it as well. "To the Deli," she whispered to herself.

Pale blue eyes widened when she saw Michelle at the front of the line with her hands already full. People milled behind the blonde, but she seemed oblivious. The fear she usually harbored seemed non existent as she appeared to be chatting to the deli clerk. Stunned, Bobbi stopped and watched.

Michelle gave the young man a small smile. Fear crept at her from around the edges, but it stayed away, knowing that Bobbi was somewhere near. She could feel the stares and hear the buzz of the people behind her, but somehow, it did not matter. They didn't matter. I'm not her anymore. I know that now. Me and that woman I saw in the mirror are one in the same. I can do this. The young man looked at her expectantly. "Uhm, can I have two pounds of smoked turkey breast, two pounds of honey ham, and a pound and a half of Munster?" He smiled at her. "Yes, ma'am. Comin' right up."

Michelle waited patiently but looked down suddenly when she felt one of the items in her arms slip. She tried to draw it back with an inventive wiggle, but seconds later baby cereal, loaves of bread, and the six pack of Jell-o chocolate pudding slid from her grasp. She gasped then jumped in surprise when four of the men she'd seen in the line rushed to help her. They stood in front of her—-four young men of various heights holding at least one item of her groceries. They smiled at her and waited for instruction. Confused at their gallant behavior, Michelle opened her mouth then closed it again. Still, they waited. She smiled warily at them and grabbed onto the stroller beside her with a white knuckled grip.

Bobbi saw the accident coming and sped over. "Chelle?"

The blonde jumped at the sound of her name then smiled in relief at the sight of her friend. She turned to the men, who all looked crestfallen. "Um, could you put it in there?" She pointed to her friend's cart. One by one, they deposited their bounty and retook their place in line. Michelle turned at the sound of the clerk's voice and reached for the things she ordered. The petite blonde placed them in the cart and met the doctor's inquisitive gaze. "Um, I was getting you some things to make sandwiches with?"

Bobbi smiled toothily and beamed with pride. "I see that. Thanks for thinking of me."

"Uh, anytime."

As they walked away, Bobbi glanced back over her shoulder giving the men in line a withering glare.

They stood in the check out line. Michelle peered at the full cart. "Whoa, my forty dollars a month must not even put a dent in that." Okay, why did I say that? I'm not worried about it. She's already said what's hers is mine. I accept that and I've thanked her for it. I want to know what happened back there.

Bobbi looked down at her friend. "Hey, don't worry about it. You give me a lot more than money."

Michelle nodded. Then, before she could lose her nerve, she blurted out, "Why were those men acting that way? I mean, no one's ever acted like that around me."

Bobbi's eyes widened then narrowed as she thought of the way the men were looking at the blonde. "Cause you're a beautiful woman, Chelle. Any red blooded man would react to that."

Again, words flew from her mouth before she could stop them. "What about women? Would they look at me like that?" Red flooded her face. I can't believe I just said that! Can't take it back now. Michelle refused to hang her head as she waited for the answer.

Bobbi's breath wheezed out of her chest. Okay, big question here! Watch where you step, B. The doctor cleared her throat as they moved up in the line. "Um, some of them would I'm sure," she whispered only intending the blonde to hear. "Uh, why do you ask?"

Michelle refused to break the gaze wanting the brunette to hear and see her face as she whispered the words she had seen in fan fiction quite a few times, "Just curious."

Bobbi sputtered. Oh, God. I've got my hands full with this one. Help! Always articulate, the doctor muttered, "Oh," as she began to put groceries on the conveyor belt.

Michelle smiled. I like this.

They left the store walking so close that arms were brushing. The trip to the local Radio Shack was quick, but they spent the time browsing the camcorders in close proximity of each other. Arriving home, groceries were put away; Toby and Taz were fed; and dinner was cooked just like every other day. The night ended the same way the day began with Toby still awake and playing on the carpet surrounded by the women who loved him--surrounded by women who were a step closer to choosing whether to run away or toward each other.

Chapter 33

Michelle looked in the driver's side mirror as she drove away from the place she had learned to call home. Out of the corner of her eye, she watched it disappearing, knowing that it was only a mirage. It would still be standing when she returned strong as ever, and so would she.

During the night, residual fear plagued her until finally, she fell into a wary sleep. Though the nightmares still visited her in a much milder form, this night had been different. Max stood tall and omnipresent as gatekeeper, keeping her from the light that was the world. In the deepest part of the night and in this particular dream, unbeknownst to Michelle, Bobbi's name spilled from her lips in a silent whisper.

After that, came her own self-made mantra of "No, never again." She shouted it at him, ignoring the fiery fists, glowing eyes, and booming voice that told her life would never be hers. Over his thunderous voice, her shouts sounded like murmurs, but the blonde became louder until she drowned out the sound of him. Like her words possessed a powerful magic, Max Jr. began to shrink right before her eyes. He shrank until they stood eye to eye and toe to toe. She saw it then, in his eyes, his frailties, vulnerabilities, fears, and insecurities that he tried to hide behind slashing fist. At that moment, he wasn't a monster but just a man. Without so much as a word, Michelle stepped around him and walked slowly toward the lush green of the other side.

Other dreams visited her during the night -–ones dripping with sensuality and promise that left her with both a taste of the familiar and the unknown. She jerked awake with an ache that was unrecognizable but good. It meant she was part of the land of the living, the feeling, and the wanting. They were all good signs. She was ready for today.

The blonde blinked as the house disappeared from view. She turned the corner with a small smile on her face then took a cautionary glance toward the back, hearing but not seeing Toby coo quietly.

Her grin grew. He loves those keys Bobbi got him. Her thoughts stuttered. Bobbi. I was someone I never thought I could be yesterday when I was with her-- someone confident, sure, witty, and intelligent. This is who I'm supposed to be. Nothing ever felt so right. Everything about yesterday felt that way---the way she touched me, looked at me, and spoke to me. There was this heat about it. Everything that went wrong in my life always felt cold, frigid, but it seems like the right things almost scald me with fire.

Making the last right, Michelle found herself cruising in the library parking lot. She pulled the Cherokee into a spot close to the entrance and switched off the ignition. The blonde stared at the diaper bag in the passenger seat, envisioning the doctor's cell phone sitting quietly in the side pocket. I wish I knew what to do about this--this attraction I feel towards her. God, it's hard to say sometimes, giving words to things you've never felt. I guess it makes it all the sweeter now. I don't want to go back, but I don't really know how to go forward. The women in those stories seem so sure of themselves. How can they tell that she feels the same way? I haven't seen her shudder at my touch or get goosepimples all over her body. All I know is that I like touching her, talking to her, and being with her. I'm sure she feels the same. Does that prove anything? This is so frustrating!

Maybe it's time to put those feelers out, or try to.
Michelle took a deep breath and released it with a long sigh. "One thing at a time, Chelle. Today, being out on my own and tomorrow maybe facing Bobbi," the petite blonde muttered. But that doesn't mean that it'll happen. She mumbled inwardly.

The blonde woman grabbed the diaper bag and opened the door. She peered around the parking lot, seeing the sparse dusting of cars that glinted in the mid-morning sun. Turning around, she opened the back door and mumbled nonsense to Toby as he was being unstrapped from the car seat. He smiled as if he understood every word. After making sure the child was secure in the carrier, Michelle balanced him on the edge of the back seat. "Can you believe it little man? We're out on our own." Deep green eyes did a quick scan around the lot. "See, no monsters and no shadows just the sun shining on our faces. This time we're staying in the light."

With a slight ‘umph' she lifted up the carrier and made her way toward the building with the light all around her and the heat of the shy sun at her back. With each step Michelle took her thoughts turned inward. I'm scared Max. Scared of you; your family; and my mother, but it doesn't rule me anymore. I can't let it. I'm not the woman you and momma made. She's almost gone. I can still feel her somewhere deep inside of me, but she has no influence. I maybe still unsure of things and still insecure in ways, but it's good to feel that Max because I'm learning everyday. She stopped in front of the glass doors. Last week, I was shaking at this point because I forgot that she doesn't rule me. I forgot for a moment that it was okay to be scared. I won't forget again, and if I slip, I have someone to catch me.

Michelle pulled the door open and walked briskly up to the counter. Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted the older woman clad in dangling jewelry and a fuschia pants ensemble set off by a bow of another pink holding her hair in place. Tight blonde curls bounced and so did bracelets and earrings as she moved from the back of the desk to the front, helping another patron. Michelle could hear the clearness of her voice and a trill of laughter followed. She stood behind the male patron, waiting patiently for her turn.

Warm brown eyes lit up with a smile as did pink lips. "Hey Jo! I was wonderin' if I was gonna see ya this week. You're just making this place your home." Michelle grinned outwardly but inwardly she cringed, hating to lie to the other woman about her name. I don't like lying to people, but I guess it's a necessity until I can be sure about her. Michelle heaved the carrier on top of the counter and started to fish through the diaper bag pulling out four books, including the one on baby development that she had eyed curiously when Bobbi gave it to her to return. "Hey yourself. I almost forgot about them really. I finished reading them a few days back."

She looked up to see the clerk reaching into the carrier and clicking her tongue at Toby. "Oh, and I see you brought this little darlin' with ya. He's just precious. Makes me wanna run out and have one." Michelle watched with a soft smile. She had already dismissed the woman as a threat.

"They'll light up your life big time. Watch your hand though. He's slobbered all over the place. Been chomping on that toy," she commented. Is it this easy? No fire? No brimestone? Just this? The smaller blonde had expected bells and whistles to go off as a marker of the occasion, but all she felt was a healthy dose of normalcy. This is how friends are made. Was it always this easy?

Annie waved at her nonchalantly, "Oh pooh. It's okay. He's just too cute not to touch." She played with him a few more minutes before she turned clear, warm brown eyes to Michelle. She pursed her lips and smiled cheerily. "So, how have you been Ms. Jo, and what world can I take you to today?" Her voice lowered dramatically and she moved her hands in a swaying pattern as if casting a spell.

Michelle chuckled, "Somewhere I've never been before."

Annie clapped her hands giddily. "Oh goodie. I have just the thing, but. . ." She leaned back and glanced around. "Where is that tall, dark girlfriend of yours? Parking the car?"

Michelle could feel her mouth drop open and her eyes widen in stunned surprise, but there wasn't a thing she could do about it. "Wha—wha?" She looked away quickly and down at her sneaker clad feet. Self-consciously, she pulled the red windbreaker closer to her body and got a whiff of the woman in question. Heat flooded her body, including her face. Oh, God Bobbi what am I going to do about you? Does she see something I don't? Michelle looked back up slowly to see worry written plainly in the blonde clerk's cherubic features.

Annie reached out to grab Michelle's hand in apology. "Oh, hun. I'm sorry. Did I say too much?"

Michelle blinked and looked around her brain for the English language. She finally found it, but each word came out in a broken stutter. "Um, why—we. .. friends." Flustered again, she peered down at her feet and batted the other woman's hand away.

Annie put her hands up in surrender. "Oh my." She turned and called her co-worker out of the back office, asking her to take over the front desk. "Let's go have a seat. I think I just put my foot in it, and I didn't mean to."

Michelle nodded almost imperceptibly and grabbed the carrier and diaper bag. Annie beat her to the later. The short-haired blonde followed behind the library clerk. What am I doing? I don't know this woman like that, but she makes it so easy. Maybe she can help somehow.

They sat at one of the little round wooden tables. Michelle took a quick glance at the curly haired blonde and waited, seeing the apprehension written all on her features. Annie fidgeted, pulling at the bow in her hair and picking imaginary lent off her pink shirt. "Um, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to embarrass you. If you are, you know, together it's okay by me. I'll still like you just the same. I'm sorry to blurt it out like that cause some people around here are so closed minded. They'd treat ya like a cow sitting in the road."

Michelle's brow drew together as she peered at the other woman. "Huh?" A cow?

"Oh, I just mean they'd try knock you over and go on ‘bout their business like nothin' happened."

"Oh, um, but we're not to-together. We're just friends."

It was Annie's turn to flush in embarrassment. She brought a hand up to her mouth. "Oh goodness. She seemed so protective of you, and I got all these vibes."

Michelle's brow felt as though it was going to make a permanent line right over her nose. Her brow scrunched again. "Vibes?"

Annie nodded quickly causing the dangling chandelier like earrings to clang against themselves "Yeah, you two throw off a whole lot of energy. All of it's positive, and it seems to center on each other. There's some other stuff I picked up too. Some sex—" She trailed off when she saw the woman's flush return. It didn't feel right to go there. "Um, you've both been through a lot. It's like your auras are just now setting themselves right."

Michelle felt her face shape into a look of incredulity. "How. . .would you know all this?"

Annie chuckled cryptically. "Oh, I'm not psychic or anything. I just get these feeling or impressions about people. I usually get it when they've been through something big emotionally. Now, I can't see exactly what it is but. . ."

Michelle looked at the other woman with a look of disbelief and suspicion. What's going on here?"

Again, the other woman raised her hands in a gesture of surrender. "I know you probably think I'm crazy, but hey a lot of people do so that's okay." She snickered. "But, I like you. I get these feelings about people all the time, but I don't tell them unless I like them. I'll say it again I like you. You have something about you that just speaks to me, something special. I knew it the first time you talked to me, but I decided to wait and tell you." She paused. "As for thinking that about you and your friend I'm sorry, but I still think something's there. I know sparks when I see them. It doesn't take a psychic." She giggled at her own joke.

With a wary look still in her eyes, Michelle nodded slightly. "This is a little hard to take in." But, she's right on the money about both of us going through something---something big.

The other woman nodded somberly. "I can imagine, and you don't have to believe any of it just don't forget it." She leaned in over the table. "Listen, I don't want anything from you---no money, not your first born, not even your friendship if you don't want to give it. I just know good people when I see them, and you two are very good people." Her voice gentled. "You two belong together," she mumbled through pursed lips.

Michelle leaned in too hoping to hear what she was saying. No such luck. Could it be my luck to meet two good people? I know they're out there, but for me? I know the look of a monster of a liar, and she's neither. Maybe some people just care and are genuinely concerned for others. Definitely maybe. Most of the wariness lifted. "I don't understand you. I didn't think people like you existed. I want to trust you, but that's so hard for—"

Annie smiled slowly in understanding. "I know just know that I'm here. When you ready. If you want, we can get to know each other better. Now—" She stood up with a flourish causing the over sized bracelets to clash against each other with a musical shimmie. "Let me be your guide through scientology and things of the paranormal." Annie spread her hands wide and bowed slightly. "If you two will follow me. Oh, and tell the little one over there not to drip slobber on the floor."

Michelle chuckled and peered at her son who looked back from under fair lashes. Clear shiny spit covered his cheeks, his hands and dampened the bib embroidered with the yellow duck. As if he knew he was being discussed. Toby gave his audience a loud coo, a toothless grin, and shook the plastic keys at them.

Before Michelle left the library, she had procured books about psychic phenomenon along with a romance novel by Penny Jordan. Annie had tried to get her to check out How to Woo Your Woman: A Lesbian Guide, but with red face and shaky hands, Michelle refused, murmuring, "Maybe next time." The blonde left the library indeed seeing and experiencing something she never had.

Driving down the connecting streets once more, Michelle found herself holding a conversation, wishing that Toby could talk back. "Some day, huh, little man?"

He blew raspberries as a response.

"When I went in there, I sure didn't expect that!"

A loud sigh answered her.

"We did it though. Didn't we? We won back another piece of our lives today."

Toby gurgled out what sounded like a loud coo of triumph.

She turned onto the highway to make the short trek back home. I feel like I'm flying. Like I own something again-—my own piece of sky, my own piece of me, and all it took was a simple walk through a glass door. The fear wasn't with me. Max wasn't with me. The petite blonde pulled at the collar of the red jacket sniffing it. But she was there the whole time.

At a stop light, Michelle reached for the diaper bag and got out the cell phone and dialed the a number that was burned on her memory, Bobbi's office. It was picked up on the first ring.


The sound of that voice caused a familiar wave of heat. "How did you know it was me?"

"I just had a feeling." Michelle could hear the smile in the doctor's voice.

The blonde bit her bottom lip when suddenly she recalled the feel of soft fingertips tracing that same spot. Fire curled through her belly. She released the bit of flesh and muttered, "Uh, I was thinking about you." Her voice was soft, husky.

The petite woman heard an intake of breath just as clear as day. It caused her hand to shake even more. "I-I was thinking about you too," the velvety voice returned. There was a long pause punctuated by the sound of breathing and hard swallows. "Um, how did it go?"

Michelle swallowed once more for good measure. Maybe I'll try one or two of those feelers. Maybe I should have gotten that book after all. At least, I might know a little bit more about what I'm doing. "Um, I'd rather talk about it in person. Are you coming home for lunch?"

"Always, but Chelle—" worry laced the brunette's voice.

"It's nothing bad. I just want to see you."

Another gasp, almost indiscernible.

"Oh." A pause. "I'll see you at home then."

"Yeah, home." Michelle uttered.

Hope you enjoyed the update. Let me know. Oh no I'm not going to beg this time. Well, maybe a little. Plueeeze? Drop me a line at Minerva.

next part

Return to Main Page