Disclaimers in Part 1
On Monday evening Jamie and Ryan had dinner together, but Ryan insisted that she had to study at home. Since her bike was in the city, after a brief argument Ryan agreed to take the Boxster. Jamie kissed her goodbye and, standing on her front porch, watched her drive away until the taillights were just tiny red dots.
When Jamie went into the house, she distractedly walked up the stairs, reaching her door just as Mia was leaving her room. "Are you staying home tonight?" she asked, impetuously deciding to reveal her relationship with Ryan.
Mia regarded her friend's pink face, disordered hair and agitated demeanor and carefully said, "Yeah, why?"
"I need to talk to you, if you have time."
"Sure, I have time," she said easily. "It's too late to start studying at this point in the term."
Jamie gave her a smile and said, "Let me change, and I'll be right down."
Five minutes later Jamie came back downstairs. She had changed into an extra large yellow t-shirt and a pair of green, blue and yellow plaid flannel boxer shorts. The shorts were way too big for her so she had rolled the waistband over three times to snug up the fit. With her tousled hair, oversized clothes, and still flushed face, she looked like a young child that was wearing an older sibling's clothes. The childlike image was shattered when she said, "I need a drink. Join me?"
"Uhh sure," Mia said, reasoning that since she wasn't going to study anyway, she might as well have fun. "Do we have any Tequiza?" she asked, naming her new favorite beer that came laced with tequila and lime juice.
Jamie poked her blonde head into the refrigerator and found a new six-pack. She pulled out two bottles and set them on the kitchen table as they each pulled out a chair.
She took a long pull on her beer and shook her head as she made a face. "You like this stuff?" she gasped, as she convulsively smacked her lips.
"Yeah, it's got a kick to it," Mia laughed.
"That it does," Jamie replied, pushing the bottle away. Without the beer she had nothing to occupy her shaking hands and she could feel Mia's eyes assess her critically. Grabbing the bottle again she took a very deep breath to gather her courage, but couldn't seem to make any words come out. She closed her eyes to try again, but she soon felt Mia's small warm hand cover hers. "Jamie," her roommate said softly, "I know."
Jamie's eyes flew open as her head jerked up abruptly. She tried to make her mouth work, but the look of total compassion and understanding on Mia's face dissolved whatever composure she still had, and she burst into tears. Her head dropped to the table and great sobs wracked her body as she shook and gasped for air. Deciding that this conversation would likely be a long one, Mia gently took one of Jamie's arms and urged her up from her seat. Firmly wrapping her arm around her, she her into the library, where she deposited her on the leather sofa. Mia sat down right beside her and pulled her sobbing friend's head against her chest. She tenderly patted Jamie's back and smoothed her hair, murmuring reassuring words the whole while. Jamie clung desperately to her friend, letting all of her pent-up feelings flow through her body unabated.
It took a long time, but she finally had enough self-control to try to express herself. She murmured into Mia's chest, "I'm so sorry."
"Jamie," Mia soothed, "You don't have anything to apologize for. If this is who you are, you need to just accept it. It'll be okay."
She shot up and stared at her friend with wide eyes. "No, God no! I'm not sorry about Ryan, I'm sorry that I lied to you."
Mia breathed a deep sigh of relief as she said, "Thank goodness! God, you frightened me there for a minute, Jamie. I thought you were unhappy that you'd fallen for her."
"No! Not at all," she replied emphatically. After a moment she gazed up at her friend and timidly asked, "So you're not mad at me?"
"About which part?"
"Well, either," she said.
"I'm definitely not mad, perplexed, put off or surprised by your being gay," she explained. "But I am a little hurt about being lied to."
"I don't blame you," Jamie said softly. "I feel worse about that than anything that's happened so far. It's not really a very good excuse, but I was so taken aback by Cassie jumping on me that night that I just didn't know what to do. When you came upstairs I knew that I should level with you, but I just couldn't, Mia. I felt so overwhelmed by her that I just couldn't open it all up right then."
Mia draped her arm around her friend's shoulders and said, "I understand that you didn't want to get into it, but it would have hurt a lot less if you had just said you didn't want to talk about it. It's the outright lie that hurts, James."
"I think I get that now," she admitted. "I think I learned a valuable lesson though. This lying stuff is a lot harder than it looks!"
"Well, I could have told you that," she laughed. "It's a skill, like anything else, James--you shouldn't try to just jump in with the pros!"
Jamie snuggled up against her friend and rested her head on her shoulder. "I really am sorry, Mia. I knew in my heart that you would be supportive, but I just chickened out. I hope you can forgive me."
"You've got to do a lot worse than tell a lie to get rid of me, Girlfriend," she said as she gave her a firm squeeze. "I want to be in your life for a long, long while, James."
"There's nothing I'd like better, Mia. I want to know your grandchildren," she said sincerely. She wrinkled up her forehead a bit as she considered Mia's first statement. "What did you mean when you said you weren't surprised about my relationship with Ryan?"
"To be honest, I started suspecting the first time you told me about her," she admitted. "You were just too interested in her for her to be just be a classmate. I've known you for a long time, James, but I swear I've never seen your eyes sparkle like they did when you spoke about her."
"But that wasn't enough to make you sure about it, was it?"
"No, but I've been pretty sure ever since I started working out with her. And that night around Thanksgiving when we went out to dinner together made it totally obvious," she said as she rolled her eyes.
"But how can that be?" Jamie cried. "I didn't even know until a little over a month ago. Ryan didn't know then, either! Right after that she started dating someone seriously."
"I don't know, James. You've just been acting like a lovesick puppy for a long while. And that night at dinner you both acted like lovers."
"But we aren't.... I mean we weren't...." she said as she blushed a deep shade of pink.
"What's going on?" Mia asked suspiciously. "Are you lovers, or not?"
"Well, yes, we are. I mean, we almost are in some ways, and we really are in others." She looked up and laughed at herself. "Wasn't that clear?"
"Crystal," agreed Mia as she playfully ruffled her hair.
"Okay, I'll give you the whole sordid story." Jamie took a breath to organize her thoughts and began, "The night in February that Jack broke up with me, I went over to her house. I was a wreck, as you might imagine," she laughed wryly. "But she held me in her arms and rocked me and sang me a lullaby to put me to sleep." She blushed again at revealing this tender intimacy, but Mia smiled reassuringly and urged her to continue. "The next day she had the woman over that she was trying to be serious with, and I was so irrationally jealous! I wanted to be her girlfriend, and I swear that's the first time I knew."
"So what did you do between February and now?" Mia asked, clearly confused.
"I immediately found a therapist. What else? This is California, after all," she laughed at the stereotype.
"Wow, I had no idea you were in therapy. You've always seemed so well adjusted."
"Well, I am in many ways. But this was really hard for me, not to mention the fact that I was having a tough time adjusting to having Jack break up with me."
"That makes sense. But I want you to hurry up and get to the good parts," she begged.
"Okay, okay. Remember that Jack popped back into the picture for a short while? Well, that was just my inability to face the facts about Ryan. After being in therapy for about two months, I started to believe that this was right for me. I mean, I'm still not sure if I would be with women other than Ryan, but I know she's the person for me," she said confidently.
"Good parts?" she reminded her.
"Okay. I knew I was going to tell her the day we went on a long bike ride to Marin. At the end of the day, we decided it was too late to come home on the ferry, so I found us a room at the Pelican Inn. We were up on the top of Mt. Tam, sitting on a big boulder, and watching the sunset. I gathered up my courage and told her that I loved her." She smiled broadly at the memory, feeling a chill chase down her spine even now. "To my amazement, she told me that she loved me too."
"So then you went to the inn, and you did it until you passed out!" Mia exclaimed.
"No. Not quite." she replied slowly.
"Why not?" she asked in shock. "She's so hot looking I know I couldn't keep my hands off of her," she said with a leer.
Jamie gave her a startled look but finally just shook her head at her friend's sexual hyperbole. "Far be it from me to argue that point, Mia," she said with a smile. "But I'm just getting comfortable with this. This is a very big change for me, you know."
"I know it is, Jamie. But don't you think you'd get comfortable faster if you just did it a whole lot?"
Jamie laughed and patted her cheek fondly. "I think you and I have different ways of dealing with things, Mia. My way is to feel comfortable first, have sex later."
"Not to slight you, but I'm amazed that she's willing to wait. I mean some of the stuff I've heard about her..."
"Hey, watch who you're talking about," Jamie said defensively. "That's the woman I love."
"I just mean that I've heard she really gets around. A lot of women at the gym talk about her, and they've said that she has a lot of sex with a lot of women. It sure sounds like she's not used to being celibate."
"Well, to be honest, she's not used to being celibate. She has a very active libido. But she loves me, Mia. She wants me to be happy and secure. I don't think you've seen that side of her."
"So you do nothing for her? I mean, how do you decide how far to go when you're gay?"
"I do things for her," she said a little defensively. "Well okay, to be honest I drive her crazy," she admitted with a laugh.
"So how is it for you, James?" Mia asked, returning to her favorite topic. "Do you feel more interested in sex than you did with Jack?"
"Whew!" she said as she blew out a breath that fluttered her bangs. "No comparison. She makes me hotter than I ever thought possible. It's well; I don't have anything to compare it to. It's just more than I ever dreamed of."
The front door opened at that point, and Cassie glared across the library at them. They were sharing a single seat cushion and Mia still had her arm around Jamie, who was snuggling up against her side. "Oh great," she growled, "now both of you are turning!"
Mia looked over at her with a placid expression, but Jamie could see the impish look in her eyes. "Hey Cassie, would you do me a favor?"
When Cassie tilted her head questioningly, Mia sweetly asked, "Go fuck yourself, will you?"
Jamie's eyes nearly popped out of her head, and Cassie looked like she might storm over and pop Mia one, but the outraged woman merely threw her books to the floor with a bang and stalked off to her room.
"Mia," Jamie squealed. "Why did you do that?"
"Because she's a big pain in the ass, and I don't want any part of her," she said decisively.
"But " Jamie began but Mia cut her off.
"I wasn't going to tell you this, but you'll find out anyway. On Saturday night she called your parents' house because she didn't believe that you went down there. Which I might add, you did not," she said as she wiggled her eyebrows.
"I was with Ryan at her family's house," Jamie meekly admitted.
"Geez! You sleep with her and still don't have sex with her! That's beyond cruel, Jamie!"
"But she likes to sleep with me," she stated rather innocently.
"Of course she does!" Mia cried. "She thinks she's gonna catch you at a weak moment and have you in the ready position."
"Mia! She's not like that! Now tell me what happened with Cassie."
"She spoke to your mom. Apparently your mom wasn't very happy with her calling the house rather than your cell phone, and that really pissed Cassie off," she said with a smirk. "But your mom said she would call you and have you call Cassie back. So what happened? Did she call you?"
"No oh, wait, someone did call me on Saturday night, but they hung up when I answered."
"Has anyone else called you since then?"
"No, I don't think so. Why?"
"Go get your phone," she instructed. Jamie went to the entry table and fetched the device. Mia picked it up and dialed *69 and handed it back.
Seconds later Jamie said, "Hi Marta, this is Jamie, is my mother home?"
After a pause she continued, "No, that's okay, I'll call tomorrow. I just want to say goodbye before she leaves for her trip. Goodnight, Marta," she said as she clicked off. She looked at Mia rather dumbfounded and asked, "Why would she call me and hang up? That just doesn't make any sense."
"I think you need to consider that she might know more than she's letting on."
"You don't know the half of it," she grumbled as she rolled her eyes dramatically. For the next 15 minutes she explained Cassie's other little tricks and related her own lies to her mother. They weren't able to resolve much, but they both agreed that they were well rid of Cassie.
They walked back into the kitchen, and Jamie poured their now warm beers down the sink, running the water for a while to remove the sharp odor of the tequila. They went up to bed with their arms loosely draped around each other's waists, their friendship once again on solid footing.
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