See part 1 for disclaimers
Monday morning Ryan leapt out of bed practically singing. She dressed quickly and snagged Duffy for an energetic run in the neighborhood and was dripping sweat when she jogged back into the house. Conor was the first to greet her. "So, I'm right aren't I?" he said with a twinkle in his eye.
Ryan brushed past him to get a glass of juice. She tried to hide her smile but was quite unsuccessful. "C'mon Ryan, talk to me," he pleaded.
She turned the tap on and stuck her face under the cold water for a moment. Grabbing a kitchen towel, she dried off and turned around, regarding him with a stern look on her face. Seeing his grinning visage caused her to break into a wide smile. He threw his arms around her and squeezed her as he spun her around the kitchen. "I'm so happy for you, Ryan," he said enthusiastically as he lowered her to the ground, giving her a kiss on the cheek. "Tell me what happened."
"I guess I can give you the expurgated version," she said with a laugh. "We went to Mt. Tam and Muir Woods to ride and we spent the whole day just hanging out and talking. We were up on the top of Mt. Tam at about four and we realized we couldn't make it back without really rushing. Jamie got on her ever-present cell phone and found us a great room at the Pelican Inn."
"Not too shabby," he said with approval.
"Not shabby at all, in fact," she replied. "Anyway we were able to stay and watch the sunset and out of the blue Jamie told me that she loved me," she said simply.
"So.... you said " he prompted.
"I told her I loved her too, which I do," she stated happily. "But how did you guess?"
"Well, it wasn't really all that hard. The look on your face when you admitted you'd like to go out with her was a pretty strong signal. And since no woman in San Francisco is safe once you get her in your sights I knew it was just a matter of time. Then, when Rory said he offered to pick you up but you chose to stay in an expensive hotel "
"So my chronic cheapness did me in, huh?"
"Pretty much," he admitted. "But the kicker was those bee-stung lips you had last night," he laughed as she reached up with her fingers to feel the body part in question. "You looked like someone had been sucking on your face for hours!"
"Great!" she muttered.
"Um I guess I might as well tell you before Rory does...."
"Tell me what?" she said threateningly as she began to advance on him, knowing that he was only hesitant when he had done something wrong.
"Rory and I had a little bet on who would win Jamie's heart. I bet on myself as you can well imagine," he said proudly. "Rory of course bet on you. So even though I'm really happy for you, you did cost me $50."
She wrapped her arm around his neck and proceeded to thump his head with her other fist. Just then Martin came home from his shift, laughing at the antics of his children. "So this is what happens around here while I'm off at work, eh? What are you little hooligans up to now?"
"Ryan's got a girlfriend, Da," Conor shouted out before Ryan could say a word.
"That's nice dear," he said as he went to put water in the teapot. "Will we get to meet this young lady?"
"You already have," Ryan said as she blushed furiously.
He put the pot on the stove and turned to look at his only daughter. He folded his arms and regarded her blush and Conor's smile before he shook his head and laughed. "Well aren't you the lucky one, Siobhán. I couldn't be happier for you, Darlin'," he said as he wrapped her in a hug. "How did this all come about?"
Ryan looked at her watch and said, "I'm going to be late if I don't get in the shower. Conor can tell you all the details. Suffice it to say that I couldn't be happier." She gave them both a kiss and ran downstairs to get ready for school.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Before she left the house she called Jamie's cell phone. "Do you still love me?" she asked in her best sexy voice.
"I'm not sure," replied the teasing voice. "Does this sound like love? I went to sleep thinking of you, I dreamt of you all night long, I woke up thinking of you and you've been on my mind every minute since. I've been waiting to call you since six a.m., and if I don't see you soon I'm going to scream."
"Well whatever it is, it's contagious, because I have the same symptoms," Ryan replied seriously. "I think we should get together to compare notes."
"I think the only time we're both free today is at four for our workout," she lamented.
"We both have eight o'clock classes, right?"
"Right," Jamie replied.
"I'll come over and walk you to school. It's not much but I have to see you before four o'clock. Can you wait for me?"
"Always," she replied firmly.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Ryan flew across the Bay Bridge, mostly due to being allowed to ride in the car pool lanes because of her bike. She arrived at Jamie's at 7:30; just time enough to get to their classes if they hurried. Jamie was sitting on the porch with a big grin on her face when Ryan pulled up.
She hopped off the bike and ran up the sidewalk, grabbing the front door as she passed by her startled friend. "I need something from your room. Go with me," she demanded.
Jamie looked at her quizzically, but dutifully ran after her. Ryan nodded to Cassie on the way up the stairs and closed the door after Jamie. "What did you ne...." Jamie started to ask, but her lips were otherwise occupied for several frantic minutes.
"I have never in my entire life, needed to kiss someone as much as I just needed to kiss you," Ryan whispered into her ear. After several more gentle kisses she smiled and asked, "Ready?"
"Yeah, but not for school," Jamie replied huskily as she wrapped her arms around Ryan and began to return the affection. But Ryan gently extracted herself and asked, "You free for dinner?"
"For you, anything," she replied breathlessly as she looked up at her in a state of helpless devotion.
They walked together in the cool mist, hardly even noticing where they were. As they walked by the plant genetics and biology building Jamie looked up at her quizzically. "Isn't your morning class in Koshland Hall?"
"Yeah," she replied with a sigh. "But I need a few more minutes with you. I'll walk you to your class."
"Ryan! Don't be silly," Jamie said, her good sense returning for a moment. "That will take you 20 extra minutes if you run all the way back!"
"Your point?" the thoroughly besotted woman asked.
Jamie couldn't help but gift her with a very wide smile. "My point is that you are quite possibly the sweetest woman on earth and if we weren't in public I'd kiss you until you cried for mercy."
Ryan matched her smile and slowly shook her head. "That will never happen," she vowed. "I love your kisses better than chocolate."
Jamie stopped in her tracks and stared at her in amazement. "Now that was a declaration of love!"
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Ryan showed up every morning at seven for the rest of the week. They would spend a few minutes in Jamie's room kissing and holding each other. Then they would stop at a coffee shop and get breakfast, which they would eat, on their walk.
To create more time alone Ryan had come up with the deviously brilliant idea of spending their lunch hour in the small observatory on campus. The intimate space was always dark and usually empty during the middle of the day. Comfortable, theatre style chairs ringed the small room providing a perfect secluded spot for a half-hour or so of quiet intimacies.
They spent every evening together. They were both wary of spending too much time at the house so they generally ate at local restaurants. Then they would walk around Berkeley or stroll through the campus until Ryan had to leave. This was the hardest part of each day for both of them; their need for each other was growing stronger day by day and parting was becoming more and more difficult.
Their partings were not often passionate. They were heartfelt expressions of the depth of their connection, a manifestation of their growing dependency. They would hold each other tenderly for long minutes, just letting the emotion seep into their bones. Then a few gentle kisses as they parted for the night, with one of them often rushing back for just one more firm hug.
On Thursday night Ryan had her companion backed up against the stone surface of Haviland Hall when a group of students exited right next to them. It was obvious to the young men that the women had been locked in a passionate embrace and as they passed Ryan stood at her full height and raised her arms to shield Jamie from their stares. They weren't obnoxious guys, but their snickers obviously affected Jamie. After they had passed she leaned her head against her partner's chest and sighed deeply. "This is really getting to be hard for me," she said softly.
"It's okay, Jamie," she soothed. "They didn't mean anything. I'm sure they would have done that if I was a guy, too."
"That's the problem, Ryan," she insisted. "I don't feel comfortable with a lot of public displays of affection. I wouldn't have felt comfortable kissing Jack like this in public either."
"God, Jamie, are you doing this just to please me?" she asked in shock. "I I just thought "
"No, no, Ryan, please don't even think that! I need your kisses desperately! It's just hard for me to feel like we have to sneak around to be close."
"Ah, damn, Jamie," she said as her shoulders slumped in defeat. "This is exactly what I was worried about. I never want you to feel like our love is anything to be ashamed of."
"I'm not ashamed, Ryan, I'm really not. I just feel like our love is a very private thing. I'm sure I'll loosen up with time."
"But Jamie, I don't want you to loosen up! If you need privacy to feel comfortable we'll just figure something out. Your comfort means a great deal to me and I'll do my best to make you feel safe."
"Thanks," she said as she hugged her firmly. "Let's go get your bike," she suggested as she took her hand. They walked back to Jamie's street where Ryan had started to leave her bike in the morning. To avoid detection she parked a full block away, which was where Jamie now said her good-byes. "Don't worry, Ryan, we'll figure out a way to get all of our needs met," she promised. But Ryan was more than a little disappointed when their good-byes were much more chaste than normal.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
On Friday evening after a short debate they decided to attend a movie. They wanted to see a quiet little picture about a farm family in the south of France, but once they entered the theater they were dismayed to find that the last three rows were filled. Neither of them had any real desire to see a movie at all. Watching a film would just be a necessary façade to disguise their true purpose--needing a place they could attend to their growing needs. The only theater in the complex with seats available in the rear was I Still Know What You Did Last Summer since most of that audience liked to sit close to the screen. As they squirmed around in their narrow seats, trying to make every minute count Ryan had a very unpleasant flash. I'm sitting in a tiny little chair trying to make out with my girlfriend with a horror movie blaring in the background. This is truly getting ridiculous! I feel like we're twelve years old! She found herself beginning to resent Cassie and Mia, then her own family, and finally Jamie for putting her in this situation. If she wasn't so fucking afraid of her dumb ass roommates we could be at her house right now! Hell, if she wasn't so afraid of her roommates we'd be having hot sex right now! Damn it, damn it, damn it!
Long before the movie was over Ryan indicated that she just had to leave. They walked along the quiet streets, hand in hand as usual, but neither of them spoke. It was obvious that the strain was wearing on both of them even though less than a week had passed. She walked Jamie to her door and gave her a friendly hug. "We'll figure this out. I promise."
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
She was home by a little after nine and after a rousing welcome from Duffy she shuffled into the living room. "Hi Da," she said wearily.
"Hello, Sweetheart," he said with a wide smile. "Did you have a nice evening?"
She flopped down on the loveseat and gazed at him glumly. "No, I would have to say this was not a nice evening."
"What happened, dear? Did you have a row?"
"No, nothing like that. We just spent a dreadful hour at an insipid horror movie."
"You took Jamie to one of those things? I wouldn't have guessed that was her style." She gave him a look that included one raised eyebrow and a smirk. "Oh, I see, the movie wasn't the attraction. But why spend your evenings that way, Darlin'? Doesn't Jamie have her own home?"
"She does, but she has a roommate that doesn't like me. Jamie doesn't want her to know about us, so we can't spend much time there. And we can't really be too affectionate around campus or even out in public. Jamie is just not ready for the world to know about us so we have to be pretty careful." She turned to smile up at him, "I guess it's making me a little cranky."
"Be kind to yourself, Siobhán, falling in love is not the easiest thing in the world, in the best of circumstances."
That brought a small smile to her face. "I guess that's part of it," she replied. "She's all I think of, Da. I've just never been like this about anyone," she said as she shook her head a little.
"She's really special to you isn't she?" he asked fondly.
"She's the one, Da. I've never said that about anyone before, but I know it's true. She's the one for me."
He looked at her for several minutes, neither gaze wavering in the slightest. "I believe you, Sweetheart. I know that determined look and when you have it, there's no doubt in your mind."
"None whatsoever," she agreed with a beaming smile.
"You know, Darlin', the reason I've always asked all of you not to have your girlfriends over here is because I felt that it created a tense atmosphere for the others. But maybe we have to look at this issue again for you."
"Why just for me?" she inquired.
"Well, honey, you're the only one who can't get married to your love. It hardly seems fair to stop you from being with the woman of your dreams just because you can't make a public commitment to each other."
She got up from her chair and crossed over to him to hug him soundly. "When was the last time I told you that you were the best father in the whole world?"
"You show me every day, Sweetheart. You don't need to tell me," he said as he gave her a kiss on the forehead.
She sat back down and tried to explain the current state of their relationship. "I can't tell you how much I appreciate your willingness to change the house rules for us, Da. And we will get to the point that we're ready to take you up on the offer. But we're not really there yet," she said with a thoughtful look on her face. "We're both very committed to one another but Jamie has some issues to work out concerning well, sex," she said with a blush.
"Well, I'm one of the world's poorest resources on that topic but I'd be happy to talk to you about it if you need to."
"Thanks," she said with a big grin. "It's not really all that big a deal. Jamie has just never been with a woman. She wants to take it slow so she can feel comfortable. She likens it to just dating for a while."
"Oh," he said, "So you've not "
"Right," she agreed. "We've not."
"Ahh, that must be quite a sacrifice for you, Darlin'. I know you're not used to a celibate life," he said with a chuckle.
"Y Y You know about my ?" she stammered.
"Siobhán, just because I haven't been with a woman in 17 years doesn't mean I don't understand the urge. It's been obvious to me for years that you greatly enjoy the company of women."
"Does that did that bother you?" she squeaked out.
"Well, I'd be lying if I said I would have chosen that path for you or for any of your brothers for that matter. I would prefer that you found someone to love and shared yourself with them alone. I've always considered it a blessing that you're a lesbian though," he added wryly. "It's been a weight off my mind not to have to worry about you getting pregnant!"
"One more benefit of lesbianism," she agreed wholeheartedly.
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