I Found My Heart In San Francisco

Book 13 Monogamy

By: S X Meagher


Part 21

The chirp of her cell phone woke Mia from a troubled sleep. "H’lo?"

"Open your bedroom door," Jordan’s soft voice said.

Half asleep, Mia got to her feet and opened the door, staring into the empty hallway.

"The other door," Jordan said, snickering.

"Jordy!" Now fully awake, Mia closed and locked the door to the hall, frantically keyed in the code for the alarm, then scampered across the room to throw open the French door that led to a small deck. A grinning Jordan stood right before her eyes, and Mia threw her arms around her and hugged her so tightly that the larger woman couldn’t take a breath. But she didn’t mind a bit – gladly willing to forsake breathing to be held in Mia’s fevered embrace.

"Let’s go inside," the blonde murmured. "I don’t want your parents to hear us. Their lights are still on."

Mia tugged her inside, then spent a minute running her hands up and down Jordan’s long body – trying to convince herself that her lover was really with her. "How did you manage this?" she asked, completely amazed.

"When I finished practice today, I decided I couldn’t stand the thought of you having to do this all alone," Jordan said. "I called Jamie, and she and Ryan came to get me from the airport. I was at your house when we talked earlier."

"Are you shitting me?" Mia asked, her tone a little loud for the setting.

"Shh! They’ll hear you!"

"Why didn’t you tell me you were here?"

"Because I didn’t want to put any more pressure on you. I knew you’d want to come home if you knew I was there – but I wanted you to stay here if you needed to."

"Damn, it feels wonderful to be in love with someone who cares for me so much," Mia murmured, wrapping her arms around Jordan’s neck.

"I do, I care for you more than anything else in the world."

Releasing her, Mia stood back and ran her hands over her lover’s body once again. "You look very cute in your USA warm-ups, but you’d look even cuter out of them. Can I?" she asked, her hands on the jacket’s zipper.

"Of course. There’s no one I’d rather be undressed by."

Mia made short work of the clothes, getting her down to her T-shirt and bikinis. "You’re still overdressed, but it’s pretty chilly in here. Let’s get into bed, and you can tell me how you managed to find your way down here." They climbed into the single bed, shifting around a bit to be able to fit. Suddenly, Mia sat up, and said, "Shit! If you parked on the street they’ll tow you!"

"I didn’t," Jordan assured her. "Jamie told me the whole drill. We called her mom, and I parked over there. I didn’t realize you guys lived so close to one another."

"And she told you which room was mine?"

"Yep. As well as how easy it is to scale the trellis by the garage. You know, I don’t feel very good about you sleeping in a room that’s so easy to get into."

"Well, if it wasn’t easy to get into, you wouldn’t be here now, so let’s be thankful for small favors." Mia cuddled up against her partner and said, "I can’t believe this, but I haven’t even kissed you."

"Let’s make up for lost time," Jordan said, grinning widely.

Mia laced a hand through her hair and pulled Jordan’s lips close. "I love you so much," she whispered. Pressing her lips gently against Jordan’s, she let the familiar sensations wash over her body. The smaller woman greedily delighted in the exquisite smoothness of her lover’s skin; the way their bodies molded so perfectly against each other; the firmness of Jordan’s supple muscles; the soft resiliency of her breasts; the minty taste of her freshly brushed teeth. Each kiss made her hunger for more – her need to merge with Jordan growing so powerful that she was unable to resist.

Jordan’s hand slipped under Mia’s long T-shirt and rhythmically squeezed her ass, her kisses growing more passionate as her hands continued to explore.

Without even being aware that she had moved, Mia found her hands happily filled with the warm, supple flesh of Jordan’s breasts. Her tongue darted into the receptive mouth as her fingers gently pinched the firming nipples.

"Oh, God," Jordan sighed, rolling onto her back and spreading her legs apart. She maneuvered Mia into position and wrapped her legs around her, pressing her lover against her need. Her powerful thighs flexed, and Mia growled when her mound ground against Jordan’s heat.

"I’ve missed you so much," Mia murmured, kissing down Jordan’s neck and sinking her teeth into the delicate skin in the hollow of her shoulder.

Suddenly, Jordan held her tight, her eyes wide with alarm. She placed a finger to her lips, then pointed at the door. Sharpening her senses, Mia heard something creak, then heard the knob on her door turn. Her eyes nearly popped from her head, but then she remembered that she’d locked the door. To her dismay, there was a very gentle knock, and she rolled her eyes at Jordan, shrugged her shoulders, then got up and went to the door. "Who is it?" she asked.

"It’s me," her father said. "Are you all right?"

"Uhm … yeah. Why wouldn’t I be?"

"Well, we thought we heard something, then your mother noticed that the alarm wasn’t on, and that your door to the deck was open. Are you sure you’re all right, honey?"

She unlocked the door and opened it a crack. "I’m fine, Dad. I couldn’t sleep, so I went out onto the deck for a minute to watch the stars."

"Do you want to talk some more?"

"No, no, really, I’m okay. I only have a T-shirt on, Dad, and I’d like to get back into bed so I can warm up."

"Oh! Well, go do that, baby. I just wanted to check to make sure you were all right."

"I’m fine, Dad. I’ll see you in the morning – and I’ll lock the door and turn the alarm back on, too."

"G’night, honey."

"G’night, Dad. Thanks for checking on me."

She closed the door and leaned against it, holding her hand over her heart and beating lightly on her chest to show how hard it was fluttering. Jordan looked absolutely panic-stricken, and Mia quickly locked up and crawled back into bed. "Well, I’m still excited, but it’s a whole ‘nother kind of excitement. Now, where were we?"

Jordan grasped her shoulders to prevent her from leaning in for another kiss. "Are you crazy? We can’t have sex with them both awake!"

"I’ve had sex in here dozens of time," Mia said. "They only saw the patio door open – they didn’t hear us."

"No, no, no," Jordan said, her blonde hair bouncing. "There’s no way I could relax enough." She looked into Mia’s eyes for a moment, saying, "It’s enough for me to hold you. Isn’t that enough for you?"

Swallowing her disappointment, Mia nodded. "It is. Holding you is all I need to be happy."

"Just cuddle up against me and tell me everything that happened today," Jordan said. "I want to know every single thing."

Placing a quick kiss on her cheek, Mia did as she was asked, starting, "Well, I got home at about four, and my mom was making my favorite dinner …"

* * * * * * * * * * *

"Is she all right?" Anna Lisa asked, a little anxiety in her voice.

"She’s fine." Adam took off his robe and tossed it onto a chair. He slid into bed and wrapped his arm around his wife, cuddling her close to his chest. "She said she couldn’t sleep, so she went onto her deck to watch the stars."

"Well, at least she didn’t sneak out by climbing down the trellis like she used to."

"Whose idea was it to give her the room with the escape route?" Adam asked, chuckling.

"That was poor planning on my part," Anna Lisa admitted. "I was silly enough to think that our son would be the one we’d have to keep a close watch on."

"It didn’t work out that way, did it, honey?" Adam asked.

"No, but at least we didn’t have two like Mia. I don’t think I could have taken that."

"Mia’s one of a kind, honey. She’s truly unique."

"Oh, Adam, what are we going to do with her?"

"There’s not much we can do, Anna. She’s 21 now, and she’ll graduate in just a couple of months. We’ve done our best raising her, now we have to let her make her own choices."

"I can’t do that, Adam, I can’t. You’re right when you say we don’t have much control – that’s why we have to use what we have while we still have it."

"I don’t see what that’s going to buy us, Anna. I think we should let her do what she wants. What’s the chance of this lasting long, anyway? She’s never had a boyfriend for longer than a year or a year and a half. Why will this be any different?"

"This isn’t what I want for her, Adam! I can’t let her do what she wants this time. We have to show her how much we disapprove!"

"But, I don’t disapprove as much as you do. I don’t think Mia’s a lesbian, either, but I know her well enough to know that the best way to make her dig her heels in is to say no."

"You might be right, Adam, but this time I feel like we have to make a point. I know we can’t force her to do what we want, but we can make her have to endure a little hardship to support her choices."

"I don’t think it will work, Anna."

"It might not," she conceded. "But we have to be united on this, Adam. I truly think this is the way to go."

"All right," he sighed. "We’ll try it your way – and see what happens." He stroked his wife’s back for a few moments, then said, "Can we try to have a nice morning? I don’t want the whole day to be filled with tension."

"I’ll do my best, honey," Anna Lisa said. "I love Mia so much, Adam. I hate to yell at her, but she makes me see red!"

"Try to mend fences a little. Let her see how much you love her – try to get her to talk about Jordan, so she feels you’ve at least heard her side."

"I don’t want to know anything about her," Anna Lisa sniffed.

"Then put on an act. You always act interested when my mother talks about her golf game – if you can do that, you can do this."

Anna Lisa chuckled softly and snuggled closer to her husband. "You’re right. If I can sit through dinner with your mother, I can do anything."

* * * * * * * * * * *

"I’m getting stiff," Mia murmured. "Can we switch sides?"

"Mmm … my shoulder’s asleep," Jordan said. "Are you sure you used to sleep with people in this little bed?"

"Well," Mia drawled, "there wasn’t much sleeping going on, but I’ve had several overnight guests."

"Oh … so that’s what we’re doing wrong. This bed works better when your guest is on top of you, rather than next to you."

Mia shifted around and pushed Jordan onto her back, then climbed on top of her. "Does it bother you, honey?"


"Does it bother you that I’ve had other people sleep with me here?"

"I uhm … I don’t spend my time thinking about things like that, Mia. I … I try to focus on what I have – rather than what I wish I had."

"That wasn’t a very forthright answer, Jordy." Mia rose up and rested her weight on one arm, stroking her lover’s cheek with the tips of her fingers. "Does it bother you?"

"Look," Jordan said, gazing into Mia’s eyes. "Here’s what I wish for. I wish that I had grown up in Hillsborough, and had met you in high school. I wish that you were the first person I ever kissed; the first person who ever touched my body; the first person that I ever desired. And I wish that the same had been true for you. I wish we’d been together for 4 or 5 years by now, and that our parents were totally cool with our relationship. That’s my ideal. Everything else leaves something to be desired."

"So, it does bother you – a tiny little bit?"

"It doesn’t bother me, Mia. I honestly don’t think about it – unless a cute little brown eyed girl forces me to," she added, straining to reach Mia’s lips for a kiss. "I like to look at it positively. If you’d been as inexperienced as I was, we still wouldn’t have kissed. We’d be sitting up all night, talking and talking. We’d both have laryngitis."

Chuckling, Mia settled back down on top of her partner. "I guess you have a point. Boy, I’m glad we started kissing." With a contented purr, Mia started to kiss Jordan’s soft lips, once again finding her hands snaking up under the T-shirt to cup her breasts. "I can’t resist," the brunette murmured, pushing the shirt up as she scooted down the bed and captured a pert nipple in her mouth.

"Oh, baby," Jordan murmured, her eyes closing while her hands went to Mia’s shoulders. She had every intention of pushing the determined mouth away, but Mia’s touch was so delightful, and her mouth was so warm, that she found herself urging her on. "Oh, that’s the way … just how I like it. Ooo … that feels so fine."

The smaller woman lifted up enough to pull her shirt over her head, then she tugged Jordan’s off as well, the blonde not protesting a bit. Sliding off the athletic body and lying on her side, Mia started to gently lick the soft, pink flesh – starting at the very base of each breast and continuing up until she sucked the firming nipple into her mouth. She was determinedly working her way around the entire mound when she heard her lover’s voice.

"Mia," Jordan moaned, "honey, you know that makes me lose my mind."

"I want you to lose your mind," Mia insisted, maneuvering Jordan onto her side and slipping a leg between her thighs. "I want to make you absolutely crazy."

"But your parents …"

"It’s 4 a.m., Jordy. They’re asleep – I’m sure of it."

"But what if they’re not? Mia, we can’t risk it."

"Wasn’t it a risk when you climbed the trellis? Isn’t it a risk to be in my bed?"

"Yes, of course it is, but you know how we get. Neither one of us is very careful … or very quiet."

"Mmm … don’t you want me to touch you?" Mia asked, her voice soft and sweet and so very persuasive. She rocked her hips, sliding her thigh against Jordan’s vulva, smiling to herself when her lover’s eyes closed and she bit her lower lip.

"Of … of course I do," Jordan gasped, "but we shouldn’t."

"We’ll be quiet," Mia promised. "We don’t have to rock the house. I’ll just hold you and love you – quietly."

"We shouldn’t, Mia. We should … wait." Mia felt her lover’s whole body shake, and knew she was close to giving in.

"Make you a deal," Mia said. "You seem a little confused, so I think we should let your body decide. Let’s take a little peek and see how she votes." Before Jordan could react, Mia slid a hand down her belly and snuck under her waistband. Determined fingers parted her gently, and Mia growled into Jordan’s ear when her fingers were immediately coated with her essence. "That’s an unequivocal yes."

"I … I can’t be quiet when you touch me," the blonde groaned. "I just can’t."

"We’ll be quieter if we keep our mouths busy," Mia said. She started to slide down Jordan’s long body, a lascivious leer on her face. By the time she had snuck under the covers, she was surprised by Jordan’s long, elegant fingers preventing her from reaching her goal. Popping her head out of the covers, Mia said, "Hey! That’s my spot!"

"No way," Jordan said, smiling warmly. "You put your head right back down there and give me a little help. I can only be quiet if I have some control."

Eyes twinkling, Mia slipped back under the covers, saying, "I’ve never watched you touch yourself. This is cool!"

"Now remember, we have to be as quiet as little mice," Jordan said. She reached down and started to pull her panties down, starting when Mia latched onto them with her teeth and playfully removed them.

"You’re good at that," Jordan whispered, lifting the covers to gaze into Mia’s warm, brown eyes.

"Shh … we’re being quiet," Mia reminded her. She spread Jordan’s legs and rested her head on a muscular thigh, waiting patiently until the knowing fingers began to move.

Unable to resist the urge, Mia slipped a finger into Jordan as soon as the blonde began to touch herself. "Ooo … you’re so hot and wet," she moaned, her words muffled by the heavy blanket. Jordan’s scent was always alluring, but being under the blanket intensified the experience for the brunette, making her mouth water. Needing as much of the long-legged beauty as she could get, Mia started to kiss and suck the smooth skin of her lover’s perfect thighs. As Jordan’s fingers sped across her shimmering wetness, Mia bit and licked the pale skin, groaning right along with her excited partner.

After a few minutes, Jordan began to gasp for breath, her climax rapidly approaching. Mia slipped another finger into her, then started to lick all around Jordan’s fingers, competing with the blonde for precious space.

Jordan clapped her free hand over her own mouth, stifling the cry that desperately wanted to emerge. Mia heard the strangled moaning, and she climbed up her lover quickly, pulling Jordan’s hand away – only to replace it with her mouth. Kissing her rabidly while Jordan’s body still bucked and shook, Mia finally pulled away – both of them panting and gasping for air.

Holding her lover in her arms until Jordan had recovered, Mia teased her, "Such a bad little girl. If I hadn’t covered your mouth, my dad would have been down here with his shotgun."

"Your dad has a shotgun?"

"No, silly, my mom’s the enforcer around here. And she’s harmless as long as she can’t get to the butcher knives."

"Maybe I should leave now," Jordan said, only partly kidding.

"If you try to leave now, I’m the one you have to fear," the brunette warned. "I’m so hot, I’m smoking!"

"Let me help you put out the fire," Jordan said, starting to scoot down the bed.

"No, no, no," Mia said, grasping Jordan’s shoulders and pulling her back up. "If you go down there, I have no ability to control myself. Let’s keep it nice and simple and safe, babe.

Blinking up at her with guileless blue eyes, the blonde asked, "Just a tiny taste? I promise I won’t stay long."

"Uh-uh," Mia said, unyielding. "Your talented mouth is too much to resist. If I feel that fabulous tongue on me, you’re in for the duration – and that could have disastrous results."

"You’re no fun," Jordan said, grinning at the compliment.

"We’ll see how much fun you have when my mom’s chasing you down the street with a butcher knife," Mia warned, taking her lover’s hand and guiding it home.

* * * * * * * * * * *

At 7 a.m., a tall, blonde woman rolled over and reached blindly for the ringing phone. Unsure of the time, or even the day, she knocked the receiver to the floor, cursing softly while she fumbled for the instrument. "H’llo?" she muttered.

"It’s Mother."

Blinking the sleep from her eyes, the woman disentangled herself from the body of her lover, trying to figure out what was going on. "Why … what … what time is it?"

"It’s 7 a.m."

"Did somebody die? Why are you calling so early, Mom?"

"Because I spent most of the night tossing and turning – getting almost no sleep. I want answers, Cassie, and I want them now."

"Answers? What answers?"

"I want to know why you stooped to the depths of selling a bit of nasty gossip to a tabloid! We’re not the type of people who do that kind of thing!"

Her brain started firing, and Cassie slipped out of bed, pulling on her robe as she left the bedroom. Her boyfriend knew nothing of her association with the tabloids, nor with the money she had received. Speaking quietly, she sat in the living room and said, "I don’t know what you’re talking about, Mom. I don’t read those things."

"I didn’t ask if you read them, Cassie. I asked why you sold two stories to them!"

"I didn’t!" she said. "How can you even think I’d do that?"

"Cassandra Leighton Martin, I’m going to ask you this just once. Did you, or did you not sell stories to the National Inquisitor?"

"I did not," the younger woman said, sounding absolutely guileless.

There was a short period of silence, then Laura said, "If I didn’t hate her so much, I’d call Catherine Evans and apologize."


"I told her yesterday that I was very proud of the way you’d turned out. Now, I’m not so sure. I don’t appreciate being lied to, Cassie, and this makes me wonder about many choices you’ve made this year."

"Oh, God, here comes the lecture about Nick again, right?"

"You know I don’t like that boy, and neither does your father. I see no potential in him at all, and he might as well be an orphan for all the good his family will do for him."

"His parents are very nice," the young woman insisted. "His father makes a very good living selling cars, Mom."

"Selling cars," Laura sniffed. "Will you listen to yourself? You’re 22 years old, Cassie, and the contacts you make now are vital. Most women marry someone who they meet in college – you can’t afford to waste you time on this boy."

"We’re just dating, Mom, we’re certainly not engaged."

"Well, given that you’ve proven that you feel perfectly comfortable lying to me, I see no reason to believe what you have to say about this topic."

"I’m not lying, Mom." Yawning, she asked, "Can I go back to bed, now?"

"Certainly. I hate to keep you from your pressing business. Oh, one last thing. Don’t expect any more deposits to your checking account. You’ve gotten your last dime from your father and me."


"You heard me. I know you got $100,000 from the National Inquisitor. You can run through that until you graduate."

"But … but … I …"

"Yes?" Laura asked. "You had something to say?"

"You can’t do that to me, Mom! I don’t have any money!"

"You can lie all you want, Cassie. I saw the drafts that went into your account."

"But … but … I had to give the money away."

"Pardon me?"

"Jamie’s big dyke girlfriend showed up here and made me write her a check for every dime I had!"

"She threatened you?" Laura asked.

"Yes … yes, she did!"

"My God! What kind of a brute is Jamie hooked up with?"

"She’s horrible, Mom, really horrible. I think she’s been following me around school, too. She caught me alone in the bathroom the other day and I thought she was going to molest me!"

Totally shocked, Laura said, "Did you call the campus police?"

"No … uhm … I’m afraid of what she’ll do to me if I report her. She killed a man, Mom!"

Laura took a breath, then said, "Well, then you’d better call the police! As much as I disapprove of what you did, that woman shouldn’t be allowed to get away with harassing and robbing you."

"Uhm … I can’t do that. She … she blackmailed me."

"First it was force, and now it’s blackmail? Get your story straight, Cassie. This is getting ridiculous."

"She … she created a video game that showed me getting fat," Cassie said, her reason for giving away $90,000 sounding less catastrophic now that she was recounting it. "She was going to show it to everyone if I didn’t give her the money."

Once again, silence reigned for long moments. " I can’t guess which of the tales you’ve told are true. All I know is that you aren’t going to receive any more money from your father and me. You have a lot of growing up to do, Cassie. I suggest you get busy."

* * * * * * * * * * *

"Mia, breakfast is almost ready," Adam said as he knocked lightly on her door at 8 a.m.

"Be right down, Dad."

As they heard Adam’s footsteps retreat down the hall, the young lovers continued the bout of frenzied kissing they’d been engaged in when he’d knocked. Jordan had her hand on the door to the deck, but Mia was holding on to her so tightly that she couldn’t move an inch. "I’ve got to go," the blonde murmured between kisses. "Even if your parents don’t see me, the neighbors will."

"You can’t see the house from the street. I’ll go downstairs in my usual noisy fashion – and my parents won’t hear a thing. The kitchen’s at the other end of the house, and my mom always has music on in the morning."

"I could hide out here all day," Jordan said. "I’d like to keep an eye on you, and be here if you need me."

"I need you every minute," Mia said, kissing her again. "But you should go back to Berkeley and go to bed. You didn’t have a minute’s sleep, and I know how you need your rest."

"Will you call me?" Jordan asked.

"Yes, of course I will. I’ll call before I come home – but it might be late afternoon or early evening. Is that okay?"

"You stay as long as you need to. This is important, Mia. I want your parents to be on our side – and the chances of that are much higher if you spend some time explaining this to them."

"I’ll do my best. Now, go home and sleep! I won’t call before 4 or so – so you go crawl into my bed and dream of me."

"I will. I’m sure I’ll fall asleep immediately since I’ll be able to smell your scent on your pillow."

"If you need to relax, just open the bottom drawer of my bedside table," Mia said, grinning impishly. "My Jordy substitutes are all in there."

Chuckling, Jordan shook her head. "I want to wait for the real Mia. There is no substitute." She clutched Mia to her chest and said, "And tonight, I get to savor every inch of you. We can rock the house, baby."

* * * * * * * * * * *

To Mia’s complete amazement, the morning went stunningly well. Anna Lisa and Adam asked dozens of questions about Jordan and her future plans, and Mia went to her father’s computer and showed her parents some PG-rated pictures of Jordan playing for Cal, and her profile and picture on the USA Volleyball website. By mid-day, Mia was feeling remarkably relaxed, and she gladly accepted her mother’s offer to make her favorite dinner – and actually finish it this time. Even though she desperately wanted to be with Jordan, she knew that her lover was right – and that making peace with her parents was critical.

As the day went on, she felt practically giddy – her parent’s support meant so much to her that she couldn’t help but kiss and hug each of them every time she had an opportunity. Taking a break, she called Jordan at around 5. "Hey, baby, how’s my girl?"

"I’m good," Jordan said, stretching her muscles out. "I’ve been lazing around in bed all day, watching TV and napping on and off. I think I’m about ready for a big dose of my favorite woman. When will you be home?"

"Not for a while. My mom wants to make dinner for me – since she threw yesterday’s out. Do you mind?"

"No, I’ll see if I can find something around here to eat. No problem."

"What are Jamie and Ryan doing?"

"Oh, they’re going to a party."

"Oh, right! I said I’d go with them. When are they leaving?"

"Pretty soon. Ryan says it’s a ‘bring your own everything’ party, so they’re gonna stop and get some carry outs to take for dinner."

"Why don’t you go with them, honey? Then you can have dinner and socialize a little. I can come pick you up from there and take you back to Berkeley."

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah. I’d rather you went – I don’t want you hanging around the house, waiting for me."

"All right. If you’re positive."

"I am. Let me talk to Ryan so I can get directions, okay?"

"Okay. I’ll see you when you get there, Mia. I’m counting the minutes."

"Me, too. I love you, Jordy."

"I love you, too. Remember that if things get tough tonight, okay?"

"I always do. You’re never far from my thoughts, sweetheart."

* * * * * * * * * * *

After getting the details from Ryan, Mia went back downstairs to watch her mother make another attempt at chicken and dumplings. While her mother kneaded the dough, Mia gave her a shoulder massage, and the older woman purred with pleasure from the sensation. "You’re so good at that," Anna Lisa murmured.

"I’ve gotten better since I’ve been with Jordan," Mia said. "She’s gotten thousands of massages throughout her career, and she’s shown me some techniques that have helped me improve."

"I’ll just bet she’s shown you some techniques," Anna Lisa grumbled, with her first sarcastic comment of the day.

"Mom," Mia said, turning her mother so she could see her face. "Jordan was a virgin when we made love. She’s taught me a lot about love, but she didn’t know squat about how to have sex. I’m telling you – once and for all – this was my idea. I’m the one who pursued her – I’m the one who made the first and the second and the third and the fourth moves. If anyone should be upset – her mother should be angry with me!"

"It doesn’t sound like her mother would care if she were dating a serial killer."

"She probably wouldn’t," Mia said. "She’s a sorry excuse for a parent." She wrapped her arms around her mother and gave her a gentle hug. "You’ve always been a good parent, Mom, and part of the reason you’re good is because you care about me, and you want to make sure I make good choices in life. I know this one is hard for you to accept, but it’s the right one for me – I’m sure of that."

"I know you are, Mia," Anna Lisa said, giving her a kiss on the cheek. "I can see how determined you are about this."

"Jordan means everything to me, Mom. I’ll do whatever I have to do to protect this relationship."

* * * * * * * * * * *

Mia pushed her chair away from the table, moaning, "I wish I’d worn sweats. I might be able to eat another bite or two if I had an elastic waistband."

"At least I don’t have to wonder if you liked it," Anna Lisa said, smiling at her. "It’s very simple to make, honey. I’d be happy to teach you."

"I wouldn’t enjoy as much it if I made it for myself. I think it’s so good because you make it for me."

"I’d do anything for you, Mia. I hope you know that." Anna Lisa looked down at the table and ordered her thoughts, then said, "Even when I do something that hurts you, or makes you angry, I do it because I think it’s the right thing for you."

The look on her mother’s face and the tone of her voice set off warning bells; and Mia quickly looked to her father, seeing him staring at the table. "What’s going on?" the younger woman asked.

"Your father and I have talked it over, and we’ve decided that we can’t support your choice to be in this relationship. I know this will upset you, but I want to make it clear that we support you – we just don’t think this is right for you."

"So, what does that mean?" she asked, her whole body starting to shake.

"We’ll do whatever we have to do to stop you from going forward with this, Mia. You made it clear that you don’t think you’re a lesbian – someday, probably soon – you’re going to see that this isn’t right for you. We’re trying to save you, and Jordan, from a lot of heartache."

"Bullshit!" she said, throwing her napkin down onto the table. "You’re full of it, Mom! That’s not your motivation, and you know it!"

"It is, too!" Anna Lisa shouted, her volume rising over Mia’s. "What kind of man will want to marry you when you tell him you were lovers with a woman for a year or two? This is only a phase, Mia, but it will come back to haunt you!"

"What in the hell are you talking about? I’d never marry a guy who was so narrow minded that it freaked him out to learn about Jordan! Besides, I’m not gonna marry anyone but her!"

"You’re being ridiculous!" Anna Lisa said. "You can’t marry her – you’ll never be able to marry her! There are laws against that kind of thing, and for good reason!"

"Great! just great! You’re probably gonna vote for Proposition 22! My own parents!"

"We are not," Adam said, looking to his wife for the confirmation that didn’t come. "Well, I’m not. I don’t want you to get hurt, Mia. I don’t want you to close off your options – you’re too young."

"I’m old enough to know that I’m in love," the younger woman declared. "You can’t change that!"

"Maybe not," Anna Lisa said, "but we don’t have to support it. If you continue with this, we’re not going to support you next year like we said we would."

Mia shoved her chair back, knocking it to the floor as she stood. "So, this is what love is, huh? You love me, and support me as long as I’m doing what you want. But as soon as I do something that doesn’t suit you – you cut me off financially. That sucks!"

"You watch your mouth, young lady, or we’ll cut your support off now!"

"Go right ahead," the younger woman spat. "I don’t want your fucking money!"

"Don’t you dare speak like that in this house!" Anna Lisa cried. "Don’t you dare!"

Mia leaned over her mother, fixing her with a fierce glower. "Fuckyou," she said, enunciating each word clearly.

"Mia!" Adam shouted. "You apologize to your mother, right now!"

"I will not," she said, giving him the same look. "You’re both a couple of hypocrites!"

She ran upstairs, throwing her things into her bag. Moments later, she was back downstairs, her parents still sitting at the dining table, but with Anna Lisa’s face now filled with rage. "You think you can talk to me like that? I’ll show you who’s boss, Mia! As of today – you’re cut off! Give me your car keys! You can take the bus back to Berkeley!"

"The car’s in my name," the younger woman said. "It’s paid off, and it’s mine!"

"You don’t pay the insurance!" Anna Lisa countered.

"Cancel it," Mia taunted her. "See if I care! I’ve got nothing, and if I get into an accident they can take me to the county hospital."

"We’ll see how long you last without your charge cards or your checking account," Anna Lisa said. "You know you can’t live without shopping!"

"I won’t have time to shop," Mia said. "I’ll be working."

"You know as well as I do that you don’t have the ability to get a decent job in Berkeley. What are you going to do? Make coffee at Starbuck’s after class?"

"I’m not going to be in Berkeley," Mia declared. "I’m going to be in Colorado Springs. I’ll send you my new address." She hoisted her bag onto her shoulder, and made for the door.

"Mia! Get back here right this instant!" her mother yelled.

"You can’t make me stay and listen to this crap," she said. "You don’t have any power over me, Mother. I’m going to be with Jordan – she’s the only one who loves me for who I am."

"We love you, Mia," her father said. "We really do."

"You’ve got a damned funny way of showing it, Dad. Cutting me off financially, and making me have to get a job to support myself isn’t the most loving act I’ve ever heard of."

"Anna, can’t we talk about this?" Adam asked in a pleading tone.

"No! Mia thinks she’s an adult. Let her prove it!"

Walking to the door, Mia stood with her hand on the knob for a moment, then turned and faced her mother. "I’m sorry I told you to fuck off. That was rude, and disrespectful." She reached for the door again, saying, "Goodbye," over her shoulder.

* * * * * * * * * * *

With tears streaking her face, Mia drove to the closest ATM. She took out $500, the maximum for a single day, then started to head towards the city. When she neared the airport, she had an idea, and took the first exit. After parking in a short-term lot, she went to Continental Airlines and found a pleasant woman at the ticket counter. "Hi," she said, sniffing a little. "I’m going to need to go to Denver on short notice. If I buy an unrestricted ticket, can I trade it in, or get a refund?"

"Yes. An unrestricted ticket is the same as cash. You can use it for any of our flights."

"Great." She looked at the receipt she’d gotten from the ATM, checking her balance. "I need a ticket that costs $1500, tax included. What have you got?"

The woman looked at her confusedly. "I’m not sure I understand …"

"Look," Mia said, "It’s too complicated to explain. I need to go to several different places over the next couple of months, but I’m not sure where or when. I’ve got $1500 in my account, but I won’t have it for long. So, I thought I’d better get a ticket to somewhere, and then trade it for what I need, when I need it."

The woman looked at her for a moment, then gave her a sympathetic smile. "Divorce?"

"Something like that," Mia nodded. "Bad break-up."

* * * * * * * * * * *

Back in her car, Mia dialed her parent’s home, pleased when her father picked up. "I cleared out my checking account, Dad. I’ll pay you back after I get a job, but I had to have enough money to get to Denver. I assume that Mom already canceled my charge cards."

"Uhm … yeah, she did," he admitted. "She tried to contact the bank, but they were closed."

"Well, I’d appreciate it if you don’t put a stop payment on the check I wrote to Continental Airlines. I think kiting a check for that much is a felony, and a prison record would really turn off the man you two envision me marrying."

"Mia, can’t we discuss this rationally?"

"I thought we had," she said. "But you know, you and Mom weren’t alone at all today. You had to have made up your minds about this last night."

He was quiet for a moment, then said, "That’s true."

"So, my talking about Jordan and trying to let you two see what she meant to me was a complete waste of my time. Nothing that I said mattered, Dad. Is that what you call discussing something rationally?"

"I’m sorry, honey," he said. "I swear that I am. I don’t want you to quit school and move away. Please reconsider."

"No, I can’t, Dad. I learned tonight that you have to have the guts to back up your choices in life. I … choose … Jordan."

* * * * * * * * * * *

The partygoers had to park so far away, that they were only four blocks from the O’Flaherty home. "Why didn’t we park in the garage and walk?" Ryan asked.

"Look at the bright side," Jamie said. "If you drink too much, you don’t have to worry about driving."

"The pizza’s getting cold," Ryan grumbled. "I should have dropped you guys off first."

"Then the pizza would be gone," Jordan said, bumping her friend with her hip. "I didn’t get lunch."

"You were asleep all day," Ryan reminded her. "I guess we could have hooked you up to an IV …"

"I didn’t get any exercise today, either," Jordan said. "Maybe I should take that pizza and run the rest of the way."

"No, thanks," Ryan said, clutching the box a little tighter. "I’ve seen how you can chow down when you’re hungry. I’m glad we bought a large."

"There’s plenty here for both of you," Jamie insisted. "Now, behave or I’ll have to separate you."

"Ahh … I haven’t heard that threat in years," Ryan said, smiling fondly.

"Well, if our kids are anything like you, you’ll be uttering that threat constantly in a few years," Jamie said, laughing at the insulted look on her lover’s face.

* * * * * * * * * * *

When they reached the proper street, Ryan ran in to a corner mini-mart and bought a twelve pack of beer – knowing that at least half of her purchase would be absconded with before the night was over. As usual, she bought the most offbeat brand she could find – merely so she could identify the thieves and give them a hard time.

Walking into the party, the trio was assaulted by a sea of humanity – seemingly filling every inch of the two-bedroom, second floor apartment. "Let’s try the other place," Ryan said, leading the way to the third floor.

"Other place?" Jamie asked.

"The party’s given by women who live on the second and third floors of this three flat," Ryan said. "Eventually, the guy on the first floor will get sick of their parties and move out – then they can have someone they know move in down there, and they’ll have the whole building."

As she had guessed, the third floor was significantly less crowded, and Ryan led the way to the kitchen, nodding and waving at people as they moved. A woman walked into the kitchen and gave Ryan a very friendly kiss, lingering longer than Jamie was comfortable with. "Bring your own, babe?" the woman asked.

"Yep," Ryan said. "Are you the enforcer, Judith?"

"Yeah. I try to catch people when they first get here and try to squeeze five bucks out of ‘em. But since you brought your own, you don’t have to pay."

"Oh, we can pay," Jamie offered. "Are you running short?"

Judith leaned against the counter and gave Jamie a long look. "Introductions, Rock?" she asked, her eyes never leaving the blonde.

"My fiancée," Ryan said with mock formality. "Jamie Evans, this is Judith Case."

"I never thought I’d see it," Judith said, shaking Jamie’s hand. "Are you sure you know what you’re getting into with this one?" She wrapped her arm around Ryan’s neck and gave her a gentle rap on the head.

"I’m learning more every day," Jamie said, sticking her tongue out at her partner. "This is our friend, Jordan, Judith. She helps me keep Ryan in line."

"Oh, I always knew it would take more than one woman to tame this one," Judith said, laughing heartily.

"It takes a village," Ryan said, wrinkling her nose at her old friend. "But Jamie has primary responsibilities."

"Well, give me a buzz if you need any help, Jamie. I know she can wear you out."

Jamie gave the woman an enigmatic smile, raising an eyebrow at her lover as Judith left the room. "Have you worn Judith out, sweetheart?"

"Uhm … wow, we’d better get these beers chilled, huh?" There were two plastic trash bins filled with ice, sitting in the middle of the kitchen, and Ryan dumped the beer into the depths, retaining three bottles for them to drink immediately. "Let me find a spot for the pizza, and we’re ready to rock."

"Silence is affirmation, O’Flaherty," Jamie said, making Jordan snicker.

"I take the fifth," the brunette said. "I never kiss and tell." She added a wink, saying, "You know I have a fatal weakness for blondes."

While giving her partner a pinch, Jamie looked around at the small counters, bursting with boxes, bags and takeout containers. "Martha Stewart would throw up if she took a peek into this place," she said, chuckling softly.

"Hey, they have a few decorative touches," Ryan insisted. "See the nice plants?"

The blonde took note of the six potted marijuana plants, with a grow light hanging over them. "My mistake," she giggled. "Martha is very much in favor of edible plants."

"Sorry you came?" Ryan asked, leaning over so only Jamie could hear. "Did meeting Judith bother you?"

"No, not at all, baby. I love to see how you lived in your single days. It’s like getting a glimpse into your past."

They took the pizza and tried to find a flat surface to place it on, but Ryan stopped short on the way to an empty coffee table. "What’s wrong?" Jamie asked, having run into her partner’s back.

"Look who’s on the sofa," Ryan said, sounding very unhappy.

Jamie took a peek around her shoulder, seeing Jordan put the pizza down on a table just feet from a torrid make-out session – being conducted by Sara and Ally.

"Oops," Jamie said. "Well, not much we can do about it now. We’d better go say hello."

"In a minute," Ryan said, turning on her heel and disappearing before Jamie could say another word.

Rolling her eyes, Jamie went over to sit on the floor and dig into the pizza. Noting Ryan’s absence, Jordan looked around questioningly. Jamie twitched her head in the direction of the trysting couple behind them, and Jordan nodded. Leaning in close, she asked, "What’s up with that? Does she like those two, or not? She invites them to her house, and then acts like she can’t wait to get away from them."

"That’s about it," Jamie admitted. "You’ll have to ask her if you want a more detailed answer. Sometimes the reasons behind her behavior elude me," she said, adding a wink. "Let’s eat as much as we can before she gets back. If she’s gonna pout, she’s gotta suffer."

* * * * * * * * * * *

After about ten minutes, Sara broke away from Ally’s fervid embrace, and ran her hands through her hair to settle it. Jamie saw the opportunity, and raised her voice above the din. "Hi, guys."

"Jamie!" Sara said, looking mortally embarrassed. Her eyes shifted to Jordan, and her head cocked a little, then she said, "Hi, Jordan. Uhm … I … uhm …"

Ally came to her rescue, saying, "Hi, Jamie, Jordan. Sorry about the blatant PDA. We haven’t seen each other for a few days. Sara was on a business trip, and she just got here a few minutes ago. You know how it is."

"I do," Jamie nodded, smiling.

"Count me in," Jordan said. "Mia’s supposed to be here soon, and when she gets here I want us to be doing exactly what you were doing."

"Where’s Ryan?" Sara asked, looking around the room.

"Oh, she’s around here somewhere. She knows an awful lot of people."

"How are things in Colorado, Jordan?" Sara asked.

"Cold … lonely," she said, smiling shyly. "But it would be perfect if Mia were with me."

"I know what you mean," Sara said, giving Ally a squeeze. "I just saw my sweetie on Tuesday night, and here I am, making a fool of myself."

"You don’t look foolish," Jamie insisted. "When Ryan and I were first together, we snuck around campus, making out in every dark corner we could find."

Sara looked at her for a moment, then said, "You know, I could spend the rest of the evening being embarrassed – or I could slip my arms around this gorgeous woman and kiss her until her toes curl." Leaning so close to Ally that the larger woman could feel her warm breath caress her lips, Sara added, "I’d have to be a fool not to choose to kiss her." As the pair came together again, Jamie turned her back to give them some privacy, and said to Jordan, "We’ve been together 9 months, and I can’t even get Ryan to stay in the same room with me. What am I doing wrong?"

"Want me to go find her for you?"

"Nah. She’ll show up when she’s good and ready. If she’s not back by the time Mia gets here, I’ll go find her." Her eye was caught by a curly head, and she elbowed Jordan. "I think it’s your turn to start kissing, buddy."

Jordan was on her feet in less than a second, dashing across the room to throw her arms around Mia and hug her enthusiastically. "Mmm … I missed you," she sighed.

Mia held on tight, and buried her head deep into Jordan’s shoulder. When the taller woman felt Mia’s body begin to shake, she pulled back and stared at her in alarm. "Honey! You’re crying … what’s wrong?"

"Oh, Jordy, it was awful," she sniffed, tears slipping down her cheeks.

Jordan looked around the room, saw a deserted corner, and said, "Let’s go sit over there and you can tell me all about it. Can I get you a beer?"

"Got anything stronger?" she asked, and Jordan could see that her whole body was shaking.

"I’ll go to the liquor store for you. It’s right on the corner. What do you want?"

"A bottle of tequila … and a lime," she said immediately.

With wide eyes, Jordan nodded and started for the door, saying, "Jamie’s right over there. I’ll be right back."

Mia trudged over to her friend and plopped down next to her. "I’m an orphan," she said, leaning heavily against her.

"What? What happened, Mia?"

"My mother decided that she doesn’t want me to be with Jordy, so she used the only tool she has – she cut me off financially. The money I have in my wallet is all I’ve got."

"She what?"

"You heard me. By the time I’d left Hillsborough, she’d cancelled my charge cards. If the bank had been open, I wouldn’t have been able to take any money out of my checking account."

"Oh, Mia, I’m so sorry. That must have hurt you so badly."

"It did, it really did, James. I thought they loved me," she sobbed, burying her head into Jamie’s neck. "I thought they loved me enough to want me to be happy."

They were still sitting on the floor, Jamie rocking and soothing Mia, when Jordan returned, the tall blonde breathless from her run to the mini-mart. She pulled a plastic cup from out of the bag, then poured a generous portion of tequila into it and used the pizza knife to cut a wedge of lime. "Here, honey," she said, handing her the glass.

Mia drained the cup with one gulp, then bit into the lime, grimacing as she did so. "More," she said, extending the cup to her partner.

Without comment, Jordan complied, watching Mia carefully. After the smaller woman had bit into the lime, she placed the cup on the table, then gave Jamie a kiss on the cheek. "We need to find a quiet place to talk."

Jordan took her partner’s hand and said, "Come on, let’s sit in that quiet corner. No one will bother us."

"Okay." She let Jordan pull her to her feet, already feeling the alcohol starting to hit her. "See you later, James. We’re gonna go get drunk."

"Go ahead," Jamie said, "Rory’s out of town. You can have our room."

"Thanks, bud. We’ll just have to see if Jordan can carry me that far."

* * * * * * * * * * *

Continued in Part 22

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