I Found My Heart in San Francisco
Book 5: Entwined
By S X Meagher
See Part 1
"Oh, youre up," Jamie said quietly as she walked over to the bed and sat on the edge. "How do you feel, Honey? Is your back any better?"
"Mrmmff," Ryan grunted again as the pillow went back over her head.
"Are you a grouchy little bear today?" Jamie ran her hand over Ryans stomach, tickling the soft, smooth skin.
"Dont want to get up," she growled, turning onto her side to halt the rubbing.
"Okay, Honey. You obviously dont feel well, so you should just go back to sleep. Im going upstairs to have a little breakfast. You come up later," she said as she bent to kiss her tummy.
"Dont leave me," Ryan whined, in full pout.
"Ohh, you are grouchy, arent you," she said as she climbed back into bed and wrapped her lover in her arms. "Do you want to be cuddled?"
"Mmm-hmm," came the mumbled reply as she contentedly nestled back against her body.
"Okay, well cuddle until you want to get up," Jamie soothed as she felt her grouchy bear relax and drift off to sleep again.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
It was nearly nine oclock when Ryans eyes opened again. She sat up with a start and looked around wildly to find the clock. "My God! Do you know what time it is?" she asked as she searched for her lover.
Jamie got up from the loveseat and came to sit by the bed. "I tried to wake you up, but you were very determined to stay in bed. I figured you wouldnt be that way if you really didnt need your rest. Its okay, Honey, we havent missed anything."
"But I never sleep this late!" she whined.
"Well, you did today. Its no big deal. Really."
"The boys will make fun of me," she pouted.
"I bet they dont. I bet theyre concerned about you."
"No, theyll make fun of me," she said as she stuck her lower lip out.
"Lets go upstairs and see, okay?"
"Okay," she glumly agreed as she got up and looked through her drawers to find some pajamas, mumbling under her breath, "Theyre gonna make fun of me."
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Jamie had taken her shower hours earlier and was fully dressed in khaki shorts and a yellow polo shirt, her preppy look further enhanced by well-worn Topsiders without socks. As they reached the living room, Jamie took her partners hand and guided her into the dining room. Conor was still at the table, and he looked up quickly when he saw them.
"Weve been worried about you guys," he said with evident concern. "Are you okay?"
"Fine," Ryan murmured, sitting down heavily in a chair.
Conor shot a look at Jamie, but she didnt want to make a big deal out of Ryans mood, so she just went into the kitchen to give Martin a kiss. As she greeted him, she picked up the bottle of Motrin and shook a couple of tablets into her hand. "Very, very bad mood," she whispered.
He handed her a glass and whispered back, "Did she get her period?"
Jamie found this rather surprising. She was certain that her father had no idea that she even had a cycle, much less when it fell. But when she gave it a moments thought, she realized that Martin was probably the one who had to explain the whole thing to his young daughter, so he would logically be more aware of her physical issues.
Jamie nodded while she filled the glass with water. "She didnt get much sleep either. That makes her grouchy anyway."
"I should warn you that this happens nearly every month. Her mother was the same." He smiled at Jamie with a little twinkle in his eyes. "I suppose thats another reason for me to be thankful that she has you. Now you have to deal with her!"
Jamie beamed up at him. "Its my pleasure to deal with her. Im just glad no one teased her about getting up late. She actually might bite today," she said with a laugh.
"I know how to cheer her up," he said with a wink.
Jamie went back into the dining room and sat next to her grumpy lover. "What were you talking about in the kitchen?" Ryan asked suspiciously.
"Nothing. Martin just wondered how you were feeling."
"He should ask me. I can speak for myself," she muttered as she rested her head on the table.
Conor shot Jamie a puzzled look and she rolled her eyes and mouthed, "Be nice!"
Martin came in moments later and placed a rather gross looking bowl of thickly sliced bread covered in warm milk in front of his daughter. She glanced up at him with a childlike smile and eagerly proceeded to add at least two tablespoons of sugar onto the bread. "You eat your goody while I get you something more substantial," he instructed, giving her a little head rub.
"Goody?" Jamie asked, privately thinking that the dish didnt look very good at all.
"Its the breakfast of Irish children, or at least it was in the bad old days," Martin said somewhat somberly. "When you couldnt afford a rasher of bacon or a dozen eggs, this was a handy substitute."
"Mama made this for me when I was sick," a small voice volunteered.
Jamie turned and saw the most adorable wide-open blue eyes that she had ever seen, gazing at her with all of the maturity of a five-year-old. It was all she could do not to wrestle the fragile woman onto her lap and spoon feed her, but she sensed that Ryans mood could go either way, so she just smiled and squeezed her hand as she continued to eat.
Ten minutes later, Martin returned and placed a bowl of oatmeal in front of his daughter. It had been smoothed out flat, and he had used a long slice of banana to make a mouth, two slices for eyes, a strawberry for a nose and a mass of blueberries for a curly hairdo.
Ryan looked up at him and gave him her first full smile of the day. He leaned over and gave her a long hug, which she gratefully accepted. He asked softly, "Is my baby feeling sick today?"
She merely nodded with her lip stuck out again.
"My poor little Siobhán," he soothed as he rubbed her shoulders. Soon she began to relax completely into the massage, her head bobbing up and down weakly. After a while, he smoothed her hair back and leaned over again. "Is that better, Precious One?" She gave him yet another smile and nodded her head. "You let me take care of you today, okay?"
"Okay," she said happily as she began to eat her oatmeal. As the contents of the bowl disappeared, so did her grumpy mood, and by the time the bowl was clean she was her normal, happy self, much to Jamies amazement.
After she had eaten a second bowl of oatmeal and a bagel, she went downstairs to take a shower while Jamie stayed at the table and chatted with Martin and Conor. When Ryan was out of earshot she looked at them and asked, "This happens every month?"
"You get used to it," Conor said blithely. "Im just glad we only had one girl in the family."
Martin shot him a look as he explained. "Siobhán was just a tiny thing when her mother first fell ill. From that time on, most of the energies of the house had to revolve around Fionnuala. Im afraid my little one lost out on a lot of the pampering that a young child needs to feel special. It doesnt happen very often, but when she wakes up in a very grumpy mood, my advice is to treat her like shes about three years old. Thats a winner every time," he said proudly.
Jamie got up and stood behind his chair. She wrapped her arms around his neck and gave him a firm hug, "I swear you are the best father on earth."
"Ha! I only wish that were so." He shook his head, remembering all of the mistakes he had made with his children. "It was all trial and error, Jamie, and I made far more than my share of errors. Especially with Siobhán." He grew pensive, gazing into his coffee mug for a few moments. "Coming from a family of brothers and having only boys didnt prepare me very well for my little one," he admitted. "I know I let her down a number of times but I tried to learn from my mistakes. I dont know how it happened, but she certainly has grown into a fine young woman."
"Hey, how about the rest of us?" Conor demanded. "Arent we fine young men?"
Martin gave him an appraising glance, unable to hide his impish smile. "You have your moments, lad. But your sister has a leg up on all of you for bringing this one into the family." Getting to his feet, he stood behind Jamie and gave her a kiss on the head. "Youre a gift to us all," he stated, giving her a little squeeze on the shoulder.
"That she is, Da," Ryan announced from the doorway, causing a blush to immediately suffuse Jamies cheeks. "She brings joy to my life each and every day."
* * * * * * * * * * *
"Soooo .what do you want to do today?" Ryan asked once they were back in their room.
Jamie had a feeling that several hours of sex was not on Ryans agenda, so she tried to think of a vertical activity that they could do together. ""We could go get Caitlin and take her to the park."
Ryan mulled that over for a bit, but reminded her, "Wed have to take her to the local one, Babe. No wheels."
"Hmmm," Jamie mused thoughtfully. They had the Boxster with them, of course, but the little two-seater could accommodate either Caitlin or Ryannot both. "Cant we borrow a truck?"
"Just Das," Ryan said. "And that doesnt help a bit." Martin had a small truck with bucket seats, also one seat short for their purposes. "Wanna play golf?"
"Okay. Where do you want to go?"
Jamie considered which public course might be least busy on a beautiful, clear day in July, and decided that the answer was none. She was only able to take Ryan to Olympic once a month as a guest, and she hated to spend that option so early in the month. "Maybe we should just go to the driving range. We can do that at Olympic without it counting as a visit for you."
"Okay," Ryan agreed, getting up to change into suitable attire. "Give me a second to look wealthy enough to slip through the radar screen."
"Funny. Very funny," Jamie smirked, slapping her sharply on the butt.
* * * * * * * * * *
"Daddy was right," Jamie mused, as they tried to figure out some way to get both golf bags into the Boxster.
"About what, Hon?" Ryan's analytical mind calculated all of the angles, and she finally decided that there was absolutely no way to get more than one bag in the trunk and it had to be hers. Jamies bag was a full-sized touring bag, just like the pros used. It allowed her to carry everything from a rain-suit to oversized Polartec mittens for cold, foggy mornings, but it would not fit in the trunk, and if it was going in the car, Ryan had to go in the trunk, and she didnt think that was a good idea at all.
"He thinks I should get a bigger car."
"Really? I thought you liked the Boxster?"
"Oh, I do. Its just that its such a hassle to take my clubs home after I play."
Ryan considered that for a moment and offered an alternative. "Why dont
you buy another set of clubs? It wouldnt solve the whole problem, but
at least you wouldnt have to lug them home every time you played Olympic."
Jamie shot her a glance to see if she was kidding, but when it became apparent that she was not, she gently informed her, "Ive been building that set of clubs since I was 16, Honey. Theyre impossible to recreate exactly."
"Really?" she asked ingenuously. "Dont they still make Ping clubs?"
"Yes, Dear, they do, but they dont make this particular model. Ive got a little extra weight built into the club heads on my short irons, and custom shafts on them, so theyre just not replicable. Ive been using this putter since I was twelve, and the metal woods "
Ryan held up a hand, thoroughly convinced that another set of clubs was not an option. "Just a thought," she said, trying to decide how to merge their clubs to make the trip worthwhile. "Weve gotta take my bag, so why dont you pick out a few clubs you want and well get going."
"We could borrow a truck for this," Jamie mused.
"Yes but the clubs would just fly around in the bed of the truck."
"Hmm thats not really how Id like to make an entrance at Olympic," Jamie decided. "My parents are being pretty darned good about our relationship, but that would change immediately if I start driving around in a pickup truck with my clubs banging around in the back. Some sins are just not forgivable!"
Ryan laughed at her hyperbole, at the same time recognizing that it was not really that much of an exaggeration.
* * * * * * * * * * *
They looked a little out of place, sharing a bag of clubs on the driving range, but it allowed them to work together, so they were both satisfied with the arrangement. Ryan had exhausted her interest after hitting one buckets worth of balls, so she sat on the springy ground behind her partner and watched her work her way through her available clubs, hitting one crisp shot after another. The day was warm, but a nice breeze flowed across her skin as the sun lulled her into near torpor. A soft voice behind her caused her to jump noticeably, and a gentle hand lightly squeezed her shoulder. "Im sorry I startled you, Ryan."
She turned to gaze up at Catherine, the sun glowing behind her head, making her look a little like an icon of a medieval saint. "Hi," she murmured, getting to her feet quickly.
Surprisingly, Catherine leaned in and placed a soft kiss on her cheek. Ryan stood rather awkwardly waiting for Jamie to see her mother. Thankfully she did, rescuing Ryan from her indecision about how to return the greeting. "Mother! What a nice surprise! Playing tennis?"
"Yes, Dear. I just finished, but Miriam mentioned that you were here," she said, referring to the locker room attendant who seemed very fond of Jamie.
While the Evans women spoke, Ryan spent a moment taking in her mother-in-law. Even though Catherine had said that she had already played tennis, Ryan mused that she must either have been significantly superior to her opponent, or they both played a very relaxed game.
Catherine looked as though she had done nothing more strenuous than take a slow walk in a shady park. She wore a very pale blue tennis dress, the cut and the fit showing off her slim body to good effect. A bright white cotton sweater was draped loosely around her shoulders, a fashion choice that Ryan recognized as a favorite affectation of her partner as well. Even looking closely, Ryan was unable to decide if the older woman wore make-up on her flawless looking skin. It seemed an absolute anathema to her to consider participating in a sport thus adorned, but Catherines skin looked so perfectly smoothjust the slightest bit of a blush on her cheeks--that Ryan thought it might be cosmetically achieved. Whatever she doesit looks great on her, she thought.
"Pardon?" she asked absently, seeing two pairs of questioning eyes gazing at her.
"Would you like to have a little lunch with me?" Catherine was directing a hopeful look at her, and Ryan realized that here was yet another Evans woman she was powerless to refuse.
"Id love to." Ryan shot her a dazzling smile, causing Catherine to reply in kind.
* * * * * * * * * * *
Ryan felt a bit uncomfortable when their server delivered their lunch and tried to arrange most of the plates in front of her. Catherine had ordered a garden salad-no dressing--to go along with the Bloody Mary she was working on. Jamie echoed her mothers choice of entree, but she at least had some vinaigrette on hers. The cheeseburger, fries, coleslaw and chocolate malted that Ryan had chosen fitbarelyon the remainder of the small table, and she shot her partner a sheepish look as she dug in.
"Shes a growing girl," Jamie said fondly, addressing her mother.
"Its very refreshing to share a meal with someone who obviously enjoys eating." Catherine beamed a smile at Ryan.
"Oh, I enjoy it enough for a family of four," Ryan smiled back.
They spent the better part of an hour exchanging small talk about their respective weeks, with Jamie again bringing up the issue of buying a larger car. "Why dont you do that, Dear?" Catherine encouraged. "It seems silly to try to carry things around in your tiny car. I could fill up that little trunk with one trip to Union Square," she laughed.
Ryan observed the casual way the Evans women talked about a decision to spend a substantial amount of money on something that they didnt really need. "You havent really expressed an opinion about this, Honey," Jamie finally said, addressing Ryan.
She shrugged her broad shoulders, indicating that she was a little too busy eating to render her opinion at the moment.
"For what its worth, I think you should get that nice little Mercedes SUV," Catherine suggested. "Andrea Whiting has one, and its very handy. Then youd have your little convertible and a nice, big car to carry things."
Oh boy this is going to be a struggle, Ryan thought, picturing a stable of cars parked in front of her Noe Valley home.
* * * * * * * * * * *
Jamie excused herself to use the facilities, leaving Ryan to finish her malt.
"You dont appear to be very comfortable with the idea of Jamie buying another car, Ryan. Is that so?"
Ryan looked up, a little startled that Catherine could read her mood without her having said a word. "I uhh I guess it just seems like something we dont need, so it seems pretty frivolous to me."
"Ohh, I thought Jamie indicated that it was difficult to transport things and take your little cousin with you with her car."
"Well, it is," Ryan agreed.
"Isnt that reason enough, Dear?" she asked, a slightly puzzled look on her face.
"Ive gone without a car up to this point, Catherine. Its never really bothered me before, so I guess my perspective is just a little different than Jamies."
Catherine gave her a long, appraising glance, holding Ryans gaze for a moment. "I like your perspective, Ryan. I hope youre able to keep it."
It dawned on Ryan that Catherine was referring to the enormous power of money to change people, and she sought to reassure her. "I think Im pretty well grounded, Catherine. I admit its going to be hard for me to adjust to Jamies money, but I think well do fine as long as were both willing to give a little."
"Are you willing to give in on this issue?" she asked, quirking a grin.
"I suppose I will," Ryan admitted. "I start out with such resolve, but she starts working on me, and before I know it I find my head nodding up and down. I still dont know how she does it," she said rather helplessly.
"Shes her fathers daughter," Catherine said fondly. "I dont think Jims lost five arguments in his whole life. He just wears you down."
Ryan smiled, thinking that wasnt exactly the tactic her partner used, but that Jamies was equally effective.
* * * * * * * * * * *
After a long afternoon nap, Ryan woke feeling refreshed and happy. Her cramps were gone, she had enjoyed a nice sleep, they'd had a pleasant lunch with Catherine, and they were having company for dinner-which always meant something special on the menu.
"You awake, Love?" Jamies soft voice tickled the sensitive skin on Ryans neck, and she giggled a little in response. "Ooh, youre not only awake, you must feel better, too."
"I feel fine," Ryan admitted. "If I can knock my cramps out right at first, theyre never a problem."
"Im glad." Jamie snuggled up a little tighter and placed a few soft kisses on Ryans neck. "When do we have to get ready for dinner?"
"Same time as usual," Ryan said. "Well probably eat around six."
"Should I wear a dress?" Jamie asked, unsure of the level of formality required to dine with the parish priest.
"This is just Father Pender," Ryan reminded her. "Hes like a member of the family."
Ryan hopped up and slipped back into her navy blue poplin slacks, adding the blue and white checked polo she had worn to play golf. "Im done," she grinned.
"Youre incorrigible." Jamie smiled at her partner and wrapped her in a hug. "And thats just how I like you."
* * * * * * * * * * *
By nine p.m. they were snuggled together in bed, trying to make up for the late night of the previous evening. Jamie was gently rubbing the small of Ryans back, making sure that no residual tension remained. "Father Pender looked a little surprised when you introduced me as your spouse," Jamie said.
Ryan chuckled a little, recalling the startled look they had received from the priest. "I thought it was kinda funny," she agreed. "Im sure he knows Im firmly committed to the lesbian lifestylejeez, he knows every bit of gossip in San Francisco!"
"Did you ever tell him that you were a lesbian?"
"Yeah he was actually the first person I told. I knew he would keep my confidence, so I talked to him right after the whole thing with Sara. He was less than helpful," she scoffed.
"Tell me what happened, Honey."
"He wasnt obnoxious or anything," Ryan said quickly. "He just wasnt helpful. I wanted advice on how to get on with my lifeas a lesbianbut he wanted to get me to go to this Catholic group called Courage."
"Yes, Courage," Ryan muttered, shaking her head at the memory. "Its a support group to help gay people have the courage to resist their urge to be sexual."
Jamies hand stilled and she lay down close to her partner, asking in a soft voice, "Did you want to try not to be gay?"
Ryans dark head shook, her hair trailing across her pillow. "Not in the least," she said confidently. "Ill admit that I felt pretty shitty about myself, but I never considered trying to be someone I wasnt. I thanked Father Pender and threw the phone number away in the trash can outside of the rectory."
"Did he ever talk to you about it again?"
"Nope. As I said, Im sure he knows that Ive um dated a lot of women, though. Maybe thats why he was surprised that Ive settled down."
"Oh, youre settled all right," Jamie giggled, wrapping her arms tightly around her partner.
"Thats just how I like it." Ryan snuggled even closer against Jamies warm body, secure in her love and her unwavering support.
* * * * * * * * * * *
Continued in Part 5
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