I Found My Heart In San Francisco

Book 13 Monogamy

By: S X Meagher


Part 16

"Fuck," Jordan growled as she punched her pillow forcefully and tried to find a comfortable spot in the big bed.

"What’s wrong, sweetheart?" It was mere moments after they’d finished making love, and even though Jordan had been a little distracted, and not as emotionally available as normal, it had still been very satisfying for Mia. Her body felt heavy and slow as she tried to gather enough brain cells to pay attention to her lover’s answer.

"I can’t get comfortable," she groused, twitching her long body into a few different poses. "I’ve got to get to sleep! There’s nothing worse than looking like shit for a big shoot like this. I’ll get ragged at by everyone from the make-up artist up to the photographer."

Shaking her head to clear the cobwebs, Mia pushed her partner onto her stomach and reached for the bottle of moisture lotion on the bedside table. Squirting a stream of it down Jordan’s back, she started to give her a soothing massage, half-listening to her mumbled grousing. It took a long while, but Jordan finally calmed and quieted down, and soon afterwards she was asleep. Mia pulled the sheet over their bodies and cuddled up close against Jordan’s side. "Rest, sweetheart," she soothed, running her fingers over the soft skin of her cheek. "It’ll all be fine. Don’t worry about a thing."

* * * * * * * * * * *

It was pitch black when the insistent buzz of the alarm woke her. Mia blinked in annoyance, unable to reconcile the sound with her normal alarm. But the warm body she was draped over was a very welcome surprise, and her mouth slowly twitched into a grin as she woke fully. "I’ve got to get ready," Jordan’s wide-awake voice announced. "The car’s coming at five."

"What do you have to do?" Mia mumbled. "Don’t they get you ready?"

"They don’t shave my legs," she said, rolling out of bed. The water was running before Mia could get her mouth to reply, and she was asleep again in moments. Her little respite didn’t last long, though. A damp foot was placed upon her belly, Jordan’s toes twitching insistently. "How do they feel?" she asked in all seriousness.

Mia wasn’t sure where she was or why Jordan’s foot was lightly resting on her gut, but she finally started tracking. Struggling to sit up, she gave the long leg a quick inspection. "Looks fine."

"No, Mia. I can do that. I need you to look carefully." She stuck her leg out, and added, "Use your tongue if you have to – but, please make sure I didn’t miss a spot."

Mia dutifully focused her attention, and covered every micrometer of the long legs, finding one tiny spot on the back of Jordan’s thigh that had escaped attention. Rolling out of bed, she took her partner’s hand and took her back into the shower, letting the warm spray simultaneously wake her. "Let me do it for you," she offered, and bent to her task. She wanted to spend a few minutes stopping in for a visit since she was in such a nice neighborhood, but it was clear that Jordan’s mind was on business.

As soon as Mia finished, Jordan hopped out of the shower and blew her hair dry. "How do you know what to do with your hair?" Mia asked.

"Oh, this is a clean/clean shoot. I only have to wash it."


"Yeah, that’s when you have to shave your legs perfectly and wash your hair. They assume you’ve had a recent bikini wax."

"What are the other options?" Mia asked. "Stubbly/dirty?"

"No," Jordan said, chuckling softly. "But sometimes they only want your hair clean. That’s the easiest of all. I thank God this wasn’t a clean/clean/clean shoot."

Mia’s brows twitched together as she considered what else would have to be clean. Her eyes widened and she looked at the neatly trimmed patch of white blonde hair above the apex of Jordan’s thighs.

"Yep," the blonde nodded. "I can’t tell you how much I hate that. It takes a week for it to stop itching."

"What on earth have you modeled that required you to shave?"

"Panties, thongs, lace bikinis. If the material is thin you can sometimes see a little bump if a woman has a lot of hair."

"But, you don’t," Mia said.

"I know that, sweetheart, but I don’t want to have to go a day early to prove to the art director that I’m well groomed. The last thing I want to do is have to take my panties off in front of one of those guys."

"Well, you’re beautifully groomed," Mia said, giving her well-tended hair a little tickle. "Tell them to call me and I’ll vouch for you."

"Will do," Jordan said, smirking at her partner through the shower door.

"Will they leave your hair down?" Mia asked.

"Mmm … they’ll have it ten different ways before they decide on what they want. But I can tell you right now what it’ll be."

"What’s that?"

"If the clothes are semi-casual they’ll leave it straight, probably parted down the middle. If the clothes are super-casual they’ll twist it up on top of my head – and make it look kinda haphazard. It’s always the same," she said, going back to drying her long tresses.

Turning off the water, Mia wrapped herself in the towel Jordan handed her. "Is there any part of this that you like?"

"Mmm … I like the money. That’s it. Oh – and the free product I usually get. That’s sweet."

"But nothing about the process? Nothing at all?"

"Nope," she said firmly. "I hate it, to be honest. It’s prostitution with my clothes on."

She turned and went into the bedroom to put on a pair of baggy sweatpants, a Cal volleyball T-shirt, and a Polo sweatshirt. A pair of shower sandals finished her very casual attire, surprising Mia a little.

"Trying to keep potential suitors at bay?"

Chuckling mildly, Jordan said, "We’re gonna be on the beach, so I want to make sure I have something to keep me warm. They always have robes, but I prefer to have my own clothes on."

"I’m learning a lot so far," Mia said, giving her a kiss. "I guess I’d better get my fill now, huh?" she asked, leaning in for another one for the road.

Jordan cocked her head, then nodded. "Yeah. It’s no big deal if you’re a lesbian model, but smudging lipstick is a capital crime."

* * * * * * * * * * *

The sun was still a promise when the limo picked them up at five a.m. The kitchen wasn’t open yet, and Mia’s stomach was growling furiously, making Jordan laugh in the otherwise quiet car. "Driver, could you stop at the Starbucks down on Montana? We’re in desperate need of a pick-me-up."

"I’d be happy to," he said, "but they don’t open until six. I need a boost myself."

"Well, maybe there will be one near the shoot."

"There’s one in Manhattan Beach," he said, obviously an animated Starbuck’s locator. "It’ll be open by the time we get there."

The blonde settled down into the cushy seat and extended her arm, pleased when Mia snuggled up against her. The driver looked in the rear-view mirror and caught her eye, giving her a tiny grin. Maybe a fantasy about us together will give him that little boost he’s looking for, she said to herself and kissed Mia gently, with the limo streaking towards Manhattan Beach.

* * * * * * * * * * *

After two hours of wandering around the deserted streets of Manhattan Beach, Mia wanted nothing more than a beach towel and a quiet patch of sand. Regrettably, the day was crisp, cold and windy, the brisk breeze blowing sand everywhere.

Jordan was dressed and in make-up when the smaller woman came back, another giant latté in her chilled hands. Mia shivered when she saw her partner, clad in a tiny pair of white jeans shorts, a bright pink bandeau top, and a golden tan. They had spent the better part of the evening applying some very effective sunless tanning lotion to every part of the long body, and Mia had used Jordan’s immobility while it dried to good advantage, making love to her while she braced herself against the marble walls of the sumptuous bath.

Mia caught her lover’s eye and motioned to her to step away from the cadre of people who were huddled together deciding how to conduct the shoot. "You’re going to freeze to death! Go put your clothes on!"

"Can’t," she said, shivering fiercely. "The costumer just got the clothes where she wants them. I don’t want to screw up the seams."

"Do you want my coffee? I can go get more."

"Can’t. It might mess up my lipstick."

"Then go back in the trailer. Right now, Jordan!" Mia scowled, as the blonde’s lips turned blue.

"I wanted to see you," she said, her teeth chattering loudly.

"I want to see you, too, but not in the hospital. Now scoot!"

Blowing a kiss to avoid smearing her make-up, Jordan made a run for it, covering the short distance in a nanosecond. I thought Ryan was bad, Mia groused, rolling her eyes. What is it with jocks?

* * * * * * * * * * *

By eleven, Mia fully agreed with Jordan’s assessment. Watching a photo shoot was one of the least erotic things she had ever witnessed. She had spent most of her time shivering in a director’s chair at the edge of the crowd, covered with a spare space blanket, which did a good job of absorbing the sun. Regrettably, she had not thought to bring her sunglasses, and her head was throbbing from the bright glare off the water and the blanket. But no matter how cold or miserable she was, she knew it was nothing compared to what Jordan was going through.

Her lover was modeling with a fantastic-looking blonde guy, who was artlessly strumming a guitar. Jordan’s job was to straddle his leg, while bending over far enough to merely suggest the line of her thong. It amazed Mia how much time the various professionals spent making sure that the shorts were stretched tight enough across Jordan’s lovely ass to show that line – but it was obviously critical that they did so. At one point, they made her take off her shorts and try on a smaller size – right in front of two dozen people. Jordan didn’t even seem to notice the crowd, however. She stood there like a beautiful mannequin, letting several strangers try to zip her into the tiny shorts. Jordan’s earlier words came back to Mia, and she began to see what her partner meant about prostitution. This was clearly not an attempt to show off the shorts or the top. The whole game was to imply that this gorgeous woman could be astride your leg if you would only buy the Polo jeans that the guy had on, or that you could be a gorgeous woman if you would only drop $40 on a pair of Jordan’s shorts. They were selling sex – pure and simple. The clothes were incidental.

The hard part of Jordan’s job was to look hot – temperature wise as well as sexually. The shoot was meant to inspire mental images of a hot day, a hot woman and a hot guy – who were going to go do something even hotter as soon as the guy finished playing his song. Jordan wasn’t merely supposed to straddle him, she was supposed to look like she was gliding against his leg for obvious reasons. Her head was thrown back slightly, her mouth open just enough to show the tip of her pink tongue. Full, sensual lips were wet and glossy, and she was supposed to look like she wanted to take a very sensitive part of the guy’s anatomy into her mouth at the first opportunity.

Mia actually could have gotten hot from the look on Jordan’s face, but they kept spritzing her bare back with a fine sheen of glycerin to replicate the glow of arousal, and Mia was positive that the cold liquid was pure torture in the brisk, cold wind. She couldn’t bring herself to enjoy the show when Jordan was uncomfortable, even though the blonde’s nipples were as hard as she’d ever seen them; so she concentrated on watching the various professionals scampering around with lights, bounce umbrellas, and translucent shields of plastic to keep the wind from ruffling the models’ carefully arranged casual hairdos.

Mia smirked as she remembered that Jordan had correctly predicted the style her hair would be in. She wore a casual little twist, held in place with a tortoiseshell clip, long strands intentionally loose to give her that just-got-out-of-bed look.

Her stomach began to rumble, and Mia sauntered over to the craft services table and spent a few minutes chatting with the catering staff. They were having quite a time of it, trying to keep everything secured in the heavy wind, not to mention trying to keep sand out of the food. They finally gave up, and had some of the staff help them move the tables over to the paved strand. That, of course, took quite a while, since there was a small argument about which of the union workers was responsible for helping an independent catering service. Luckily, hunger prevailed over contracts, and the food was finally set in place.

Mia dug in immediately, joined by a few drivers and carpenters. The talent, as Jordan and the guy were called, were still working away, and to Mia’s surprise they didn’t get a significant break until two o’clock. By that time the food looked like it had been picked over by ravenous vultures, and the lanky blonde turned up her nose at it. Mia was certain that all she had in her stomach was about a gallon of hot tea, but Jordan claimed she was fine. Before she went back she grabbed an apple, then asked the caterers to cut it into small wedges. She ate it delicately, barely moving her mouth, and managing not to allow her lips to touch it.

They kept at it until four o’clock, when the sun began to fade. Jordan had been draped across the young man’s body in more positions than Mia had known were possible, and Mia was no novice in the draping-one’s-body-over-a-guy competition. After immodestly doffing her clothes and taking the clip out of her hair, Jordan slid back into her own roomy sweats and met up with Mia for the walk to the parking lot. She grasped her hand, but didn’t say a word, nodding to the driver as they slid into the leather seat.

He had driven enough actresses and models to know when to keep his mouth shut, and he did so on the long, congested drive up the 405 freeway. Things opened up a bit once they passed LAX, but Jordan was sound asleep by that time, her head softly bouncing against Mia’s none-too-soft shoulder. The smaller woman scooted to the other side of the car, then urged the still-sleeping Jordan onto her lap, where she gently played with her hair all the way to Bel Air, soothing her in her sleep.

* * * * * * * * * * *

The next morning was much the same as Friday had been, although Jordan was even more sedate. More painstaking leg and armpit shaving, more blow drying, and they were off again. This time Mia brought her sunglasses, as well as one of her textbooks. After an hour of walking around and drinking coffee, she climbed back into the limo and spent the better part of the day studying and napping, in equal proportions. She felt guilty about leaving Jordan alone, but they had interacted so little on the previous day that she was certain that her lover wouldn’t mind.

At four o’clock, a light knock on the window woke Mia from the latest nap, and she sat up groggily, rubbing her eyes. "So, this is how you spent you day," Jordan said tiredly. "I thought you took up with a surfer and ditched me."

"No way," Mia said. "You’re the only game in town. Now let’s go home and get you some food and some sleep – in that order."

"No complaints," Jordan said as she curled up against Mia. "I do have one piece of good news," she yawned. "I might not have to work tomorrow. Of course, my agent was on the phone for an hour, insisting that I be paid for the day, even if it’s cancelled."

"Why are they canceling? Is everything okay?"

"Yeah. My belly wasn’t pooching out or anything," she said. "The weather was great, and the sky was great, and the models were great," she said, "so they think they’ve got what they need. They’re rushing to develop the film tonight, and if they’re satisfied, I’m off! Cool, huh?"

"Very," Mia said. "We can stay in bed and eat."

Nuzzling her ear, Jordan purred, "Don’t you mean, make love?"

"We can do that, too," Mia said, "but I’m gonna get some calories into you, sweetie. You’re emaciated!"

"Two and a half days of barely eating makes a difference," Jordan said. "But the photographer was pleased. He said my cheekbones really stood out." She smirked wryly at Mia and said, "Makes you proud, doesn’t it?"

Mia patted her leg, not wanting to add her voice to the chorus of people who had been directing Jordan’s every move for two solid days. But she privately hoped that this was the last time her lover had to spend her day doing something that she got so little pleasure from.

* * * * * * * * * * *

They slept from six until eight, the phone waking them when Jordan got the call that the assignment was indeed, complete. The blonde had steadfastly refused to eat until she heard from her agent, despite Mia’s begging, and now she was ravenous – and could eat whatever she wanted. "Let’s call room service," she said as soon as her eyes were fully open.

"Okay," Mia yawned loudly. "What do you want?"

"Something full of calories and saturated fat and carbohydrates and … what else is bad for you?"

"I get the picture," Mia said as she scanned the menu. "How about fettuccine Alfredo, a Caesar salad, and some tiramisu for dessert."

"You know me well," the blonde said. "Add some lamb chops, and I’m set!"

* * * * * * * * * * *

They got up and dressed just in time, since a friendly employee showed up moments later to light the fire in their fireplace. Jordan took a half-bottle of white wine from the mini bar and poured two glasses of the crisp Chablis. They shared one of the sumptuous overstuffed chairs, cuddling together in companionable silence while they waited for their dinner.

"This is pretty nice, isn’t it?" Mia sighed, snuggling a little tighter.

"Yeah, it’s nice to have money, isn’t it?"

"Hmm … oh, I wasn’t referring to the room, I was talking about how it feels to be on your lap. It’s my favorite place, you know."

Jordan’s warm laugh made Mia burrow even closer. "I didn’t know it was your favorite place, but I’m glad that it is." She grasped her chin and turned her head to place tender kisses on her entire face. "I love you," she whispered. "God, I love saying that."

"I love you, too," Mia sighed. "Nothing feels so right to me as our being together. Even today, sitting in a car on a freezing beach – I was as happy as a clam because I knew you were there, too."

"I’m sorry it wasn’t more fun for you," Jordan began to apologize, but Mia silenced her immediately.

"I’m very, very glad that I came. This makes up for any minor inconveniences," she insisted, taking a delicate nibble of Jordan’s neck. They cuddled for a while longer, with Mia trying to think of a way to bring up the topic of school. Finally decided to get it out of the way, she said, "Uhm … honey? I’ve made a decision about school."

"Huh?" Jordan asked slowly, neck nibbling always serving to both relax and distract her.

"I’ve decided to postpone school for a year. I cleared it with Stanford, and I’ve already told my parents. Now, all we have to do is figure out what I can do in Colorado for a year."

Jordan pulled back as far as she could and stared up at Mia with a stunned look. "You’re doing this for me?"

"Well, yeah," she purred, playing with her hair. "For you and me."

"Oh, Mia, I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve you, but I’m so glad that you’re mine."

"You don’t have to earn my love. I give it to you freely. And the day after I graduate, I’m gonna be on your doorstep."

"That’s a day that will live on in my memory," the blonde sighed, holding Mia in a bone-bruising hug.

* * * * * * * * * * *

When dinner arrived, they extracted themselves from their loving embrace and directed the server to set up outdoors. Even though they were relatively close to the ocean, there was no wind in their protected enclave, and the private patio was surprisingly warm. Mia hadn’t been quite so immoderate in her menu choices, sticking to some grilled salmon, new potatoes and a field greens salad. They shared a little, but Mia had to act fast to snare a bit of the pasta over Jordan’s low growl. "Oh … territorial, are we?" she said seductively. "I want to hear that growl later."

"Fill my tummy up, and I’ll growl at you all night long," Jordan boasted. "No problem."

Mia scoffed at her bravado. "You’ll be asleep while you’re still twitching from your climax."

"Mmm … I like the sound of that," Jordan said. "You make even the word climax sound sexy."

Tossing her curly locks, Mia grinned and said, "I do what I can."

"You do a lot for … and to … me," Jordan said, leaning in close for a kiss. She was obviously still very hungry, since she pulled away after only one and dove back into her dinner. Mia was finished, so she leaned back in her chair and gazed at her partner lovingly, never taking her eyes off of her until the blonde head lifted and Jordan leaned back in her chair, finally sated. "Damn, that was fine."

"It’s even fascinating to watch you eat," Mia said, reaching across the table to grip her hand. "I love every little thing about you."

Suddenly serious, Jordan gazed at her intently and said, "I feel the same way about you." She dropped her head slightly and admitted, "It feels wrong to hide how I feel about you. While I stood around yesterday and today, I … uhm … had some time to think, and I decided that I’m going to tell my parents about us."

Mia nearly slid from her chair at this news. Jordan had never given the slightest hint that she was considering this, and she was frankly amazed. "Is that wise, baby? I mean, have you thought about this carefully?"

"Of course," she said quietly. "What do you think those two weekly 45 minute calls to my therapist are all about? We’ve talked about this until I’m sick of it!" She got up and fluffed her hair a bit, tossing it over her shoulders. "How can I tell you how much you mean to me when I’m afraid to talk to my parents about you?" She approached Mia’s chair and placed her hands on the arms, tugging at the piece until they were facing each other. Squatting down in front of the shivering woman, she gazed at her with an earnest expression and said, "You mean so much more to me than anyone in my family. Denying my love for you is wrong, Mia. I can’t do it any more. Yours is the only opinion that matters. I love you with all my heart, and I want everyone to know it."

"Oh, Jordan, that’s the sweetest thing anyone’s ever said to me." She wrapped her arms around her neck and held on tight, rising with the taller woman as she got to her feet. Jordan swooped her up in her arms and carried her to the canopy bed, settled her gently, and then climbed in next to her.

"Let me show you how much I love you," she whispered. "Let me worship you."

Mia answered by grasping her firmly and pulling her atop her body, nearly smothering her with emotion-laden kisses that grew in intensity and passion until they were lost to the love that burned in both of their souls.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Even though she was fully awake, Mia tried hard not to move a muscle. She was lying on her left side, and Jordan was pressed up against her back. One long arm was tucked across her chest, and Jordan’s long, delicate hand gently held her left breast. The thought occurred to Mia that she could contentedly stay in this position for the better part of the day. She knew that Jordan could feel her steady pulse beating against her palm, and she thought, with a small amount of satisfaction, that the rhythmic beat was likely serving to allow her to relax enough to stay asleep long past her normal waking time. Of course, I might just have sapped all of her energy last night, she chuckled to herself.

Considering the evening, she had to admit that something had changed between them. Some hard-to-define barrier had been breached – freeing them to be more open with each other than ever before.

Mia had greatly enjoyed their physical connection from the start, and she was pleased to acknowledge that they seemed to get a little closer with each coupling. But the previous night was qualitatively different from any other time. She shifted a little and placed a gentle kiss on Jordan’s hand, unable to resist tasting her skin. Last night we became partners, she realized. It’s not her and me any longer; it’s us.

This realization made her feel nearly giddy, and she snuggled down even deeper into Jordan’s loose embrace. It was scary and puzzling, and actually made her stomach hurt a little when she considered all of the complications their relationship would bring to their lives. But, to her amazement, the practical, problematic issues paled in comparison to the utter joy she felt to love and be loved by Jordan. Being with her is worth anything we have to face. Lying in that elegant bed, in that luxurious room, she knew that they had turned a corner – and she hoped with everything that she had that there was no turning back.

* * * * * * * * * * *

After spending two restful days with her mother, Jamie woke up early on Sunday and got in the shower. When she emerged, her mom popped her head into the bedroom and said, "Going to church, honey?"

"Yeah, I told Annie earlier in the week that I’d take Cait. Would you like to go with me?"

"Sure. That’d be fun. Are we taking her to Ryan’s church?"

"Let’s be bold," Jamie said. "The Episcopal service starts an hour after the Catholic one. We can take our time and see Poppa in the bargain." Jamie put in a call to Annie to tell her of her plans, and the good-natured woman gave her permission to take Caitlin to whichever church she chose, she merely requested that Jamie not shave her head or dress her in a saffron robe.

The blonde was chuckling at Caitlin’s incessant babbling while she parked the car in the driveway of her grandfather’s small house, one more perk of being related to the priest. "Have you been coming to church again, Mom?"

"No, actually this is my first time in years. I need all of the centering I can get my hands on these days, and I thought this might help."

Jamie nodded sympathetically, and watched as her mother unbuckled the toddler from the car seat. "I’m not sure how much focus you can maintain with your biggest fan hanging off of you, though."

Catherine gave the child a kiss on the crown of her head and said, "Having a sweet soul like this on my lap gives me more evidence of the presence of God than any part of the service."

They went into the church and found seats in a pew on the far side of the church – hoping to disturb as few of the parishioners as possible. Scooting close, Jamie rested her head on her mother’s shoulder and let her mere presence soothe her. Caitlin flopped down on Catherine’s lap, then slid off – wedging her small body between the two women. The child pressed her head against Catherine’s breast, grasping Jamie’s hand as she did so. Mother and daughter exchanged warm looks, and Jamie noticed a few tears slipping down Catherine’s cheek. "You’re gonna be the world’s best grandmother," the younger woman said. "Not a doubt in my mind."

* * * * * * * * * * *

They decided to all have lunch together, and after Charles finished chatting with his parishioners, they set off for brunch at the Mark Hopkins Hotel, Caitlin happily in tow.

"So tell me how the training for your big walk is going?" Charles asked Catherine as they climbed one of the steep streets of Nob hill.

"Well, given that I can make it up these hills with no problem, I’d say it’s going well," Catherine said. "I’m honestly in better shape than I was when I was Jamie’s age, and it feels marvelous."

Charles spared a glance at his daughter-in-law and decided that Catherine looked happier than he had seen her since Jamie was a baby. "I think it’s a grand thing that you’re all doing," he said. "And it will be a nice way to spend some time together."

"Yes, I figure that we’ll chatter away the whole time," Catherine said. "None of us are tight-lipped, as you know."

"That was the worst thing about the AIDS Ride," Jamie said. "There were hours a day when I was too winded to speak. It was torture!"

"The pace I’m going to keep will allow you to have a running dialogue – if you choose to hang back with Maeve and me."

"That’s our whole purpose in doing this, Mom. It’s a bonding experience for both of us and our moms, as well as a way to make a statement about how breast cancer has affected all of us."

Catherine reached down and grasped her daughter’s hand, giving it a gentle squeeze. "I’m really looking forward to this, Jamie. I think it will be a wonderful experience for all of us. I only wish Caitlin could go."

"I pray that there’s no need for the walk by the time she’s old enough to join us," Jamie said. "It would be so wonderful if the babies being born now would never have to worry about breast cancer."

"Wonderful indeed," Catherine said, sighing wistfully.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Over brunch, Charles asked, "So, tell us about this golf trip, Jamie."

"It’s our first spring tournament, Poppa, and it’s being held over in Vallejo. Normally, we’d drive up for the day, but Scott decided this would be a good opportunity to do a little team building. So, we’re meeting over at Cal at 2, and heading up."

"Do you like the girls on your team, honey?" he asked.

"Yeah, I like them well enough – what I know of them, that is. They’re a very serious, fairly monosyllabic group. For the most part, most of the players live for golf, and, as you know, that’s never been my attitude."

"Well, if anyone can liven things up a little, you’re the woman for the job," Charlie said, giving his granddaughter a fond smile.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Jordan was more nervous than Mia had ever seen her, and she desperately wished she could help calm her down. But there was little she could do. The blonde was not in the mood to talk; her responses almost monosyllabic since her conversation with her mother. Mia wanted to go to Jordan’s house for the discussion, but the older woman wanted to come to their hotel, instead. Jordan had muttered something about "sponging a free meal" when she had hung up, and that was all that had been said since.

She was expected at any minute, but Mia caught the taller woman in a loose embrace, stopping her as she went to change her clothes for the third time. "Honey, you look wonderful. Please don’t spend the rest of our alone time running around like a mad woman."

Jordan started to defend herself, but she let those warm brown eyes draw her in, and almost immediately she could feel her racing heart start to calm. "Okay." It was a small concession, but one that Mia was very thankful for.

"No matter what happens, nothing will be very different at the end of the day," she soothed. "You don’t rely on your mother for any type of support – physical, emotional or monetary. She can’t take anything away from you, because she doesn’t give you anything." Mia knew that her words were harsh, but they were true; and she wanted Jordan to be able to look at the reality of the situation.

To her surprise, Jordan nodded her head firmly. "I know that," she said, her voice filled with emotion. The bright blue eyes were clouded with pain as she whispered, "But she still hurts me. She hurts me so much that sometimes it feels like I’ll die."

Mia wrapped her arms tightly around her shaking body and hugged her with all of her might. This was the most revealing thing Jordan had ever said about her relationship with her mother, and a large part of Mia wished she hadn’t revealed her pain. But knowing and loving Jordan meant understanding her most broken self – no matter how hard these things were to hear. "I know it’s hard," Mia whispered, "but I’m here for you, sweetheart. We’ll get through this together."

A light knock on the door made her stomach flip, and she felt Jordan’s entire body go rigid. "It will be all right," Mia said, her voice reflecting a confidence she didn’t feel.

The blonde nodded briefly, squeezed her hand, and strode across the room to open the door. A tall, thin, elegant-looking woman breezed in, giving Mia a raised eyebrow as she entered.

"Mom, this is Mia Christopher. Mia, this is my mother, Daniella."

Daniella turned to her daughter and grasped her lightly by the shoulders. She gazed at her for a moment, then pulled her close and placed a kiss on both of her cheeks. Releasing her, she turned to Mia and graced her with a wide, confident smile. "It’s good to meet you, Mia," she said. "Are you … here for the modeling assignment?" It was fairly clear that the young woman wasn’t a model, even though she was attractive. But women under 5’8" did not appear in Ralph Lauren ads, of that, Daniella was certain.

"No, no," she replied, trying to make her smile appear genuine. "I’m here with Jordan. We’re friends from Berkeley."

"Oh! Well that’s very thoughtful of you to come down only to see Jordan," the older woman said.

What an odd thing to say, Mia thought, but forced herself to smile enigmatically.

"Are you ready to eat, Mom?" Jordan asked. "I’ve made reservations on the terrace."

"Yes, I’m famished. Shall we?"

Daniella led the way, her determined stride indicating her familiarity with the property. Mia hung back a bit and watched her walk, seeing so many similarities to Jordan that she was a bit stunned. Their gait was identical – smooth, long strides that ate up space, but gave the illusion that they were gliding, rather than walking. Their hips twitched in exactly the same way – barely enough to hint at the curves hidden beneath their clothes. The thought flashed through Mia’s head that if Jordan looked exactly like her mother in twenty-five years she wouldn’t have a complaint in the world. She can look just like you, Daniella, but if she starts acting like you, I’ll have to kill her to put her out of her misery.

They were seated at a table under a wisteria-covered pergola, discreetly hidden heat lamps providing enough warmth to take the chill off. They ordered their meal, with Daniella making noises about how nice it was to be young and able to eat whatever one wished. Mia tried to act friendly and show some of her natural warmth, but she let Jordan take the lead.

The older woman unobtrusively eyed every other table on the terrace, and Mia let her eyes wander too. "Jordan," she whispered excitedly, after spying one of the stars of her favorite show, "isn’t that Sara Michelle Gellar?"

"Yeah, it is," Jordan said, a fond look settling onto her face at Mia’s excitement.

Daniella turned and gave the young woman at the distant table a long look, then raised an eyebrow at her daughter. "She’s nobody," Jordan said, indicating that Sara was no one that her mother should know. Gazing again at Mia, she added, "But, we like her."

They passed an hour chatting about nothing in particular while they ate their meal. Daniella seemed polite and pleasant enough, but she didn’t have one question for Mia, and didn’t seem curious about her in the least. When Jordan and her mother were engaged in conversation, Mia took every opportunity to observe how they interacted, and it wasn’t good. Jordan was as guarded and wary around the woman as Mia had ever seen her. She was able to carry on her half of the conversation, but there was no spark at all, not even a hint of a familial relationship between these two remarkably similar-looking women. It reminded Mia of how Jordan would be during a job interview – for a job that she knew she was not going to get.

The longer Mia stared at the pair the more she realized that there were a few very small differences that played a very large role in differentiating the pair. They had similar coloring, their hair was the same shade and their eyes were carbon copies of each other. Jordan definitely had her mother’s nose, and their high, distinct cheekbones were the same, too. But Jordan was blessed with full, rose-colored lips, one of her most sensually appealing qualities to Mia’s appreciative eyes. Daniella, on the other hand, had thin lips that she tried to make appear fuller via a careful application of lip liner and gloss. And even though their eyes were the same color, there was a warmth and a playfulness behind Jordan’s that Mia was always cognizant of – even if others couldn’t see it. But, Daniella’s eyes went from disinterested to frosty to ice cold; with no indication of any warmth or compassion hidden within.

As Mia continued to avail herself of every opportunity to study the woman, she also noticed that Daniella’s smile appeared composed and studied, whereas Jordan’s burst onto her face like a bright light being switched on in a dim room. Even though the smile was absent today, Mia reflected that she saw that fantastic smile more and more these days, as Jordan grew more comfortable sharing her inner self.

She was so lost in her musings that she was startled when she felt a warm hand moving about in her lap. Catching Jordan’s hand in her own, she gave it a squeeze and waited expectantly when she saw the blonde gather herself and clear her throat.

"Mom," she began, her voice steady, but higher than normal, "I wanted to do more than introduce you to Mia today." Her hand began to grip tighter, and Mia held on tight, waiting for the bomb to drop. Daniella inclined her head, her short, layered blonde hair moving gently with the gesture. "I want you to know what she means to me."

"Pardon?" the older woman asked, those penetrating blue eyes shifting from Jordan to Mia and back again.

"Mia’s more than my friend," Jordan said. "She’s my lover." The grenade was lying right there on the table, and Mia braced herself, waiting for the inevitable explosion … that never came.

"Oh! Well … that’s nice," she said, giving each of them a guarded smile. She seemed at a loss for words, and Mia assumed that she was too surprised to comment. It took a moment, but as the time ticked by she realized with a start that Daniella wasn’t stunned – she was truly uninterested in the announcement.

"Don’t you have a reaction to that, Mom?" Jordan asked tentatively.

Jesus, Jordy! Don’t go looking for trouble! Mia screamed silently.

A small scowl formed on the older woman’s face and she said, "You’re not the first people in the world to discover lesbianism. It’s a phase many girls go through. My God, the stories I could tell you about the women I worked with in the seventies. Some of the best-known models of that time slept with far more women than men. It was quite common – but not permanent." She shrugged her shoulders and gave Mia a small smile. "Not to imply anything about the quality of your relationship, of course." Another shrug and she said, "You might feel this way for the rest of your life I suppose, but only time will tell." She craned her neck, looking for their server and said, "I’d love an espresso. Anyone else?"

* * * * * * * * * * *

Jordan was completely unnerved by the conversation, and she got up to use the rest room. Mia looked up at her to see if she wanted her to join her, but she shook her head slightly and strode off.

Daniella watched her walk away, and turned her gaze to Mia. "She’s an odd girl, isn’t she?"

Mia’s eyes widened and she found her head shaking. "No, not at all."

The small, slightly annoyed frown returned, and Daniella said, "Oh, I didn’t mean anything by that. I only meant that I can never read her. I’ve never been able to. She’s so different from Gunnar. He and I are so alike it’s quite astonishing."

"That must be … nice," Mia said, not having any idea how to respond.

"Oh, it is. But, frankly, I’m at a loss with Jordan. I never know what she wants from me."

"That’s not been my experience," Mia said. "I find her to be very open and easy to read," once she trusts you, she didn’t add.

"Hmm … well, I suppose a parent only gets a small part of the picture, doesn’t she?" She seemed perfectly comfortable with this excuse, and Mia was the last person who was going to try to dissuade her from her opinion.

"I suppose so." She took in a breath and tried to think of something to say, but she was at a loss. They sat at the table in silence, neither even making an attempt at conversation. Strangely, Mia didn’t feel uncomfortable – perhaps because Daniella seemed perfectly at ease. It was almost as if they were at two separate tables, and Mia wondered if this was what it was like for Jordan when she was growing up. My God, she makes you feel like you don’t even exist!

Jordan finally returned, and she got the conversation going again by mentioning the Olympics. "I’ve made the reservations for you and Grandmom and Gunnar."

"Oh, that’s great. We’re all looking forward to it." She was smiling warmly when a concerned frown suddenly stole over her features. "Is there any chance you’ll get any individual publicity? Like one of those features that NBC does?"

Shifting uncomfortably in her seat, Jordan shrugged and said, "I haven’t been approached, but I guess it’s possible. Why?"

"Well, I hope that you don’t plan on telling them about this … lesbian thing if they do interview you. That’s not the kind of thing that people need to know, Jordan."

Giving her a surprisingly forthright stare, Jordan narrowed her eyes and said, "It’s not a thing. Mia and I are in love. We’re going to do our best to be together for the rest of our lives, Mother."

"Oh, of course you do," she said, smiling at them like they were slow-witted. "Every woman thinks her relationship will last forever." She laughed derisively, shaking her head. "I don’t think there are 5 good relationships in the whole country, but more power to you."

"That’s not true," Jordan said. "Just because you don’t know people who are happily married, doesn’t mean they don’t exist."

"Now, don’t get all huffy with me, Jordan," Daniella said, rather dismissively. "I know you think you’re special – but humans aren’t made to be monogamous. Neither your father nor I could ever manage it."

Jordan’s jaw nearly hit the table at this revelation. Her mother had played the martyr for more than 10 years – repeatedly moaning about her former husband’s infidelity. Jordan had always assumed that her mother had been betrayed, not that the infidelity had been mutual. Her mother’s voice droned on, "Now, I know you’re only able to think about how in love you are, but there are many, many people who don’t want to hear about that type of thing."

Looking at her for longer than was polite, Jordan cocked her head and asked her mother, "Do you wish that I hadn’t told you, either?"

The older woman cleared her throat and gave Mia a pointed look. "Could we have a moment alone? We won’t be a second."

"No problem," she said with false brightness, giving Jordan a quick glance. "I’ll go wash my hands."

As Daniella watched her walk away, she turned back to her daughter and snapped, "Look, whom you sleep with isn’t any of my business. You’re a very pretty, very talented girl, and I’m sure that you could have your choice of men or women. But I don’t want this to get out. It doesn’t look right, and it could hamper your future opportunities." Her brow tensed appreciably as she cocked her head and asked, "What does your father think about this bit of news?"

"I haven’t told him yet," Jordan said. Lying blatantly she added, "I thought you’d be more supportive, since I know how worldly you are."

That pleased her mother greatly, and she smiled broadly. "Well, I think a mother is always concerned for her child’s happiness. That’s all I care about, Jordan. I only want you to be happy."

Narrowing her eyes, Jordan said, "Mia makes me happier than I have ever been in my entire life. My life didn’t begin until the day I met her. Now I know what it’s like to be loved."

A tiny frown greeted that statement, but Mia returned and the three of them sat there with tense smiles, waiting for the check. Once Jordan had signed for it, they started to walk back to the room. Daniella linked her arm around Jordan’s and asked, "Walk me to my car?"

"Sure. Here’s the room key, Mia," Jordan said. "I’ll be back in a minute."

Mia extended her hand. "It was good to meet you, Daniella. I hope we get the opportunity to see each other again before the Olympics."

The older woman attached her warmest smile onto her face and nodded, "I hope so, too. Take care, now."

Mother and daughter walked out towards the small line of people waiting for the valets to bring their cars up to the main entrance, more than one passer-by staring at the pair in obvious appreciation. Jordan glanced at her mother and said, "Thanks for uhm … coming. I know this wasn’t what you wanted to hear, but …" With a sharp glance, Daniella cut off.

"Not in public," she whispered. "Someone might recognize us."

Having nothing else to say, they stood in the cool breeze, waiting patiently. When the car was delivered, Daniella asked the attendant to pull it off to the side, and she motioned for Jordan to join her so they could talk privately. "Your little friend is going to the Olympics, too?"

"Of course she is," Jordan said. "She’s my lover … my partner, Mom. We’re not casually dating."

"Right," she sniffed. "You’re going to be together until the end of time." Taking in a frustrated sigh, Daniella asked, "How will you ever afford to pay for her? You told me that money was tight."

"She’s paying her own way, Mom. We’re lovers, but I don’t support her."

That seemed to brighten her spirits, and she smiled once again. "You’re really growing up," she reflected. "I think being in love will be good for you." She opened the door to her pale green Jaguar and slid into the creamy, buff-colored leather interior. "Just remember, you have to be a little suspicious of people who want to get close to you when you start to develop some fame." At Jordan’s wide-eyed expression, her mother added, "I don’t want you to get hurt, or be taken advantage of. You’re not very good at protecting yourself."

Yeah, that’s obvious. I’m voluntarily having lunch with you! "I trust Mia, Mom. She’s in love with me for me – not my small amount of fame."

"Oh, now, I meant nothing by that. I’m not talking about her specifically, anyway. She seems very sweet. Not quite the type of person I pictured you with, but very sweet." Giving her child a thoughtful look, Daniella said, "I could see the attraction if she were a fellow model. You’d look so elegant with someone your height. Someone who was as pretty as you are."

Eyes darkening with anger, Jordan snapped, "Just for the record, I’ve never seen a woman more beautiful than Mia. And she’s the most loving woman I’ve ever met. She cares about me – not just herself."

Now Daniella’s blue eyes darkened in almost the same fashion. The two women stood, rooted in position for several seconds. Finally, Daniella blinked, ending the standoff. "Well, good for you. I guess I’ll see you in September."

"Uhm … don’t leave yet, Mom."


"I ahh … think we need to have a little discussion about money."

"Money? Whose money?"

"Well … mine; or at least the money that should be mine."

"What do you mean by that?" Daniella’s eyes were like two shards of light blue glass, and Jordan could feel them cutting into her soul. But, she was determined to get this out – no matter what.

"You haven’t given me one dollar of support since I left for Berkeley. I’ve never told Dad that, because I knew it would cause a huge fight and I didn’t want to be put in the middle of that …"

"Wait a minute!" Daniella leaned closer and said, "I provide a lovely home for you, and it’s available to you at any time! How much do you think a home North of Montana costs to keep up, young lady?"

"I don’t live there, Mom," she said quietly. "I never will, and you know that. You’ve kept $126,000 that’s rightfully mine, and I’ve never said one word about it."

"You’re saying plenty of words now," Daniella snapped. "What are you angling for, Jordan?"

Deciding to lay her cards on the table, the younger woman said, "Dad is going to petition the court for a reduction in the alimony he pays you."

"Over my dead body," Daniella said, an unattractive sneer settled on her face.

"I’m asking you to be reasonable," Jordan said. "That’s all – just be reasonable."

"Your father made over one and a quarter million dollars last year, Jordan. If you think I’m going to allow him to pay me one dime less than $131,000, you’re out of your mind."

"Well, $36,000 will automatically go away when Dad tells the court that I’m not a student any longer."

"You haven’t graduated!"

"That doesn’t matter, Mother. The decree says he has to pay child support until I turn 21, unless I’m a full-time student."

"But, you’ll go back! He has to keep paying until you go back!"

"No, he doesn’t," the younger woman said, shaking her head slowly. "His obligation is over, Mom."

"How can I possibly live on $96,000 a year?" she gasped.

"Dad’s going to propose less than that, Mom, and if you don’t want me to send an affidavit to the judge about you withholding my child support, I think you should try to think of a way to live on less."

"You wouldn’t!"

Jordan sucked in a breath while she tried to keep her breakfast in her stomach. Summoning every bit of courage that she had, she said, in a calm, even voice, "Yes … I … would."

Remarkably, Daniella’s eyes grew even colder, her lips pressed into a tight line. "Well, someone is going to have to pick up the slack, Jordan. You’d better hope that you continue to get some lucrative ads – because you’re going to need them."

The younger woman stepped back a bit, overwhelmingly intimidated by the tone and passion in her mother’s voice. She felt like the woman could incinerate her on the spot, but she didn’t back down. She stood as tall as she could and said, "I’m not going to model any longer – unless I have to. I don’t enjoy it."

"You’d better learn to enjoy it," Daniella snapped.

"No," the young woman said, her gaze unflinching. "Gunnar can get a real job and help you out if you need it."

"Don’t be ridiculous! I have to give him two or three thousand dollars a month so he can keep up on his car payment."

"Then you’re both going to have some adjustments to make," Jordan said. She held her pose for a moment, then turned and walked into the hotel, her legs feeling as rubbery as they had the first time Mia kissed her. Just get to the room and it’ll be all right. Mia’s here … my Mia’s here.

* * * * * * * * * * *

When Jordan entered the room the look on her face brought Mia to her feet. "Honey! What’s wrong?"

"I can’t," the blonde mumbled. "I can’t." She fell onto the bed, fully clothed, staring up at the ceiling, her eyes never blinking.

"Jordan, please! Tell me what’s wrong!"

"Please, Mia, just hold me. Please … hold me."

Sighing, the brunette sat down by her lover. "Let me undress you, baby, then we’ll go back to bed and cuddle, okay?"

"Yeah … yeah."

Quickly undressing the obviously distressed woman, Mia doffed her own clothes and slid into bed. She knew that Jordan dealt with things better when she vented her feelings, but it was clear that wasn’t going to happen today. As soon as Mia pulled the covers up, Jordan turned onto her side in her favorite sleep position.

Mia wrapped an arm around her waist, placed a few gentle kisses on her back and whispered, "I love you."

Jordan silently lifted her hand and kissed it. "God, I hope you do." Placing the hand on her chest, she sighed, and was asleep before Mia could count to ten.

* * * * * * * * * * *

When Mia woke, Jordan was facing her, gazing at her intently through wide-awake eyes. "I’m gonna call my father."

"Now?" Mia gasped.

"Right now." Getting to her feet, she crossed to the phone and dialed the number, pacing across the room while the phone rang. "Hi, Candy," she said, with a look of distaste. "Is my father home?" She paused a moment and rolled her eyes. "It’s Jordan … his daughter." While she waited, she quietly grumbled, "Do the fucking math, dumbshit! Who else would call the house and ask for her father?"

"Jordan?" Jorgen Ericsson said when he came on the line.

"Yeah, it’s me again, Dad. I uhm … have something to tell you, and I hoped you could spare a few minutes."

"You need to see me … in person?" he asked.

"Well, that would be ideal. Can you swing it?"

"Oh, gee, Jordan, our masseuse will be here soon. We like to have a nice massage on Sunday evening to make Monday a little more bearable."

Oh, that makes sense. Lying on the couch watching the soaps is pretty debilitating. Candy must be beat by the end of the week. "I can be there in 45 minutes, Dad. I want to talk to you about this, because if I don’t, Mother will."

He checked his watch and sighed. "Can’t we talk on the phone, honey? I tend to go to sleep as soon as my massage is over. You don’t technically have to see me, do you?"

"No, I guess I don’t," she said softly. "It would have been nice ... but, it’s not required." Swallowing the lump in her throat, she began, "I’ve fallen in love, Dad."

"That’s great!" He paused for a moment, then a thought occurred to him, and he asked, "This is your first time, isn’t it?"

"Yep. It’s my first time." She turned and gave Mia a smile warm enough to melt a block of ice. "If I’m lucky it will be the last time."

Unable to resist her smile, Mia got out of bed and walked across the room, urging Jordan into one of the upholstered chairs. She climbed onto her lap and cuddled close, trying to re-assure her with her touch.

"Damn!" Jorgen said, pulling Jordan from focusing on her lover. "You probably wanted to bring this fellow over to meet me, didn’t you?"

"In a way, yes," she said. "Only thing is that it’s not a fellow, Dad. She’s a woman." She decided to say as little as possible at this point, allowing him to process the information as he saw fit.

"Wow," he finally muttered. "That’s a very big surprise, honey." A thousand thoughts went through his head, but he summarized them briefly. "Does this woman make you happy?"

"Yes," she nodded soberly. "She makes me very happy, Dad. She’s a great person, and I know you’ll love her."

"It doesn’t matter if I do or not," he said. "It only matters that you do, Jor. So, tell me about her."

"Well, she’s a senior at Berkeley," she said, grinning shyly at Mia who grinned back. "She’s absolutely gorgeous, she has a wonderful sense of humor, and she loves me as much as I love her."

"I guess that covers all of the important things," Jorgen said, laughing. "Is she an athlete, too?"

"No, not really. She plays golf well, though. Maybe I’ll try to learn and we can all play together some day."

"That would be great. Oh, what is this gorgeous creature’s name?"

"Mia. Mia Christopher," she sighed, loving the way the name rolled off her tongue.

"I’m looking forward to meeting Mia," he said. "I’m sure I’ll be favorably impressed."

She was quiet for a moment, then asked, "You’re really okay with this, Dad?"

He let out a breath and admitted, "I said this was a shock, honey, but in a way it isn’t. You’re too pretty a girl not to have had any serious boyfriends. I thought it was a pretty good possibility that you preferred women."

"Huh … I guess that makes sense," she said. "Well, it feels like more than a preference, but no matter what it is, I’m happy."

"Then I’m happy for you," he said. "Uhm … did you recently figure out that you liked women, honey? Or have you been hiding your … desires?"

"Mmm … a little of both, Dad. But, to be honest, I’m glad that I waited for Mia. I want her to be the only lover I ever have."

Jorgen started to laugh, unable to control himself. "Oh, Jor, that’s such an adorable wish. Sometimes I forget how young and earnest you truly are. It’s delightful."

Sighing, she said, "Dad, I know that you haven’t had very good luck at having a long-lasting relationship, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t."

"No, of course it doesn’t, honey. I wish we could get together, but I promise that next time will be different. Tell Mia that I extend my warm welcome into the family."

"I will, Dad. Thanks," she said. "Thanks a lot."

"Uhm … did you get a chance to talk to your mother about that little issue we discussed, honey?"

"Yeah … yeah, I did. I can’t guarantee anything, but I think there’s a chance she’ll be a little more reasonable this time, Dad."

"Really?" he asked, his voice filled with glee. "Thanks so much, Jor. You don’t know how much it means to me to always be able to rely on you."

"I can only imagine," she said, her voice breaking on the last word.

"Hey, now, don’t get all sentimental on me," he said, chuckling softly. "Go give your girl a big kiss for me, okay? I can’t wait to meet her."

"I will," she said, the tears flowing down her cheeks. "Bye."

Placing the receiver back into its cradle, Jordan gently patted Mia’s butt. The smaller woman got to her feet, and automatically wrapped her arms around her partner and held her as tightly as she could. Leading Jordan back to the bed, they lay together with the shaking woman sobbing as though she’d lost something vital to her existence. Jordan didn’t say a word, and Mia knew it was futile to ask her to talk. So she held her and rocked her and soothed her as best she could, until it was time to leave for the airport.

* * * * * * * * * * *

They were halfway down the 405 before Mia pressed her lover to see how she was feeling. "Honey, can you talk about your discussions with either of your parents?"

"Not really," she replied, continuing to look out the window. "I need to let it settle."

"Okay. I understand," Mia said, even though she didn’t. She was the type of person who understood her feelings by talking about them – at length – to nearly anyone. But she had quickly learned that Jordan was her exact opposite in the sharing department. It sometimes drove her crazy – like today – but she knew she couldn’t drag it out of her, so she contented herself with being as close physically as they could manage. As her speech decreased, Jordan’s displays of affection grew, until on a day like this, she was nearly molded to Mia’s body. Mia had been driving without her right hand since they’d left the hotel, and Jordan showed no signs of letting go soon. A warm hand rested on her right thigh, and Jordan occasionally gave her a squeeze, to remind her that she was there. It’s not what I want, but at least she can stand to touch when she’s like this, she mused. I don’t feel nearly as shut out when we’re close.

Dreading the sight, she noticed the first exit for the airport. Even though they hadn’t been together all that much, and they hadn’t spoken much when they were together, Mia felt incredibly connected to her partner, and she knew it would be painful to let her go. They had no firm plans to see each other again, and the time they would have to be apart seemed to stretch into infinity.

When they got to the point of choosing Departures or Arrivals, Jordan directed her to the Arrivals level, saying, "I want you to get going. I worry about you driving all the way back to Berkeley tonight."

"But you’ve got another hour until your flight," Mia pouted. "I want to be with you as long as I can."

Jordan gave her a fond smile and said, "Come on, baby, give in for a change. If you get going now, you’ll be home by the time I am, and I won’t have to stay up waiting for your call."

The curly-haired woman hated it when Jordan used her concern for her to get her way, but it really did work, so she had to give her credit. "Okay. I don’t like it, though."

"I don’t like it either," Jordan said quietly, sounding like she was about to cry.

Mia clasped the hand that held her tightly and said, "If you cry, I’m gonna park. You don’t want that, do you?"

Her gentle attempt at humor brought Jordan partially out of her lachrymose mood and she gave her partner a wan smile. "I’m okay. Promise," she added for good measure. Mia pulled up in front of the Continental Airlines terminal, and gazed at her partner longingly.

"How can I miss you already?" she sighed.

"I don’t know; but I miss you, too, so let me know when you figure it out."

Even though her tone was light, the sadness in the clear blue eyes was too much for Mia to take. "You’d better scoot," she said. "The police are moving people along."

Jordan leaned in and kissed her firmly, squeezing her tight as she tried to stave off the tears that were desperately trying to escape. "I love you. Thanks … for everything, Mia."

"Hey … no big deal. I just loved you. That’s always a pleasure."

With a wan sigh, Jordan got out and tugged her bag out of the back seat. She stood up, bag in hand, looking more like a lost child than an adult. "I wish that were true," she said, so softly that Mia almost didn’t hear her.

Fighting to control her emotions, Mia blew her a kiss and waved, then veered her car into the heavy Sunday evening traffic for the long drive home.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Continued in Part 17

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