A Thousand Kisses

Part 2

By: Girl Bard

Disclaimer:Please see part 1. Enjoy!

    October 2, 2000

    Rainbows of leaves crunch under my feet as I walk in the cool morning air. It's going to be another beautiful fall day and as I get closer to my goal I pick up the pace.
    Almost home.
    Our breath is visible in the chilled air and I can't help but smile at the sight of Bella and Bean eagerly trotting toward home in front of me. The only way our morning stroll could be better is if Jaden were with me.
    She'll be back in a few days, two to be exact. But the two weeks we've been separated have seemed like a lifetime.
    We haven't been apart since I was shot at the cabin. So when word came from her work that she was needed in St. Louis for some hands-on work in its' mounted program, needless to say, we were both crushed.
    I think she's having a more difficult time than I am. Not that I don't miss her like crazy, but it's easier for me because I am home. She's in a strange city with no one familiar. I at least have things here and the dogs.
    "Come on, ladies. Let's get a drink." I tell the two panting ones as I let us in to the apartment. They both go to their water bowl and slurp up the cold liquid. As I'm taking my shoes off, the phone rings and I grab it.
    "Morning gorgeous." I answer automatically, knowing it's Jaden.
    "See, you're getting better. I told you that you could learn to be a runner." Her rich voice answers and I smile.
    "Nah. I just got up earlier so I could walk the entire time." I reply, giggling.
    "You fink." Jaden chuckles. "So how is the love of my life?"
    "Missing you." I respond seriously. "Two days, right?"
    "Nothing could stop me. Can you still pick me up?" She asks.
    "You bet. I can't wait."
    "Me either. Listen, I have to run. Call me on my cell when you get home tonight, okay?" Jaden states, her tone annoyed. "I wish I could talk longer, but they're breathing down my fucking neck here."
    "Easy there Spots. It's only a few more days. I'll call you later and I love you." I reassure her calmly.
    "Love you more." She responds, hanging up. I put down the phone and sigh melodramatically. I really do miss her and these next two days can't go by fast enough.
    Shrugging out of my funk I strip and head for the shower.

    Securing the dainty earrings in my ear I slip my dress shoes on and head for the kitchen. "Bella, crate!" I call to the large dog and she obediently strolls over to her crate in the corner of the living room.
    I shut the door to her crate, making sure she has a few toys and a fresh nylabone. "Bye sweetheart. See you at lunchtime." I coo to her and she circles a few times before lying down on the quilted blanket lining her crate. "Bye Miss Bean. Be good." I cross over to the couch where she is laying and gently pat my little dog's head. Rushing to the door I grab my purse and keys, late as usual.
    The beautiful fall day hasn't warmed yet at this early hour and I am grateful that I decided to dress warmly today. The drive to work is surprisingly traffic-free and I am actually on time.
    This job has been a lifesaver for me. After our disastrous meeting with my mother, Jaden and I hid at my uncle's place for a few days. I was able to meet with Lydia for about five minutes when she called saying both my parents had gone out, but I was too nervous to stay there long. Lyd understood and assured me that she wasn't mad at me. I really do miss her though. I send her email all the time and am glad we are keeping in touch. No one else in my family would see me. My mother must have called everyone because my grandparents, aunts and uncles, everyone just suddenly stopped being home for the few days we stayed in the state. It almost drove me to the edge; I couldn't and still can't believe that my mother turned my entire family against me.
    My only satisfaction was writing a particularly nasty letter to my town's local newspaper regarding the lack of support gay youth have in our town. I don't know if they printed it yet, but I hope they do. It will drive my mother insane.
    After we came back from Ohio I was surprised to have a message on the machine from Kim, one of the girls Jaden and I met at the bar in Boston. She mentioned that her stepfather, who is a psychiatrist, had an opening in his office for a receptionist. Kim thought that I might be interested. I scheduled an interview and got the job immediately. And I love it.
    "Morning." The gentle voice interrupts me from my musings. I look up to see Kim's stepfather, Dr. Dodes, smiling down at me.
    "Morning doctor. Did you have a nice weekend?" I return his smile.
    "Sure did, thanks. Kim would like you to call her." He continues and I nod, picking up the phone. "However, I'd wait a while. She isn't exactly an early bird." He adds and I chuckle.
    "Neither am I. Thanks for the message." I respond and he politely nods before excusing himself.
    He is a quiet person, and so far I am thrilled with my job. The pay is great and the hours, while a little early for my taste, are in-synch with Jaden's, giving us each a little alone time yet still the entire evening to spend together. By the time I get up in the morning Jaden is gone for the day, and she gets home two hours before I do in the afternoon.
    Except since she's been away on assignment. Now, because the dogs are used to their morning run with her, I have to get up at an insanely early hour to exercise them. As much as I hate to admit it, I'm actually starting to enjoy the quiet morning walks. They are so relaxing. Not as relaxing as sleeping in, but relaxing nonetheless.
    I go about the few tasks that Dr. Dodes requires. Overall, this job is very simple. I am responsible for taking all messages as well as making appointments and pulling charts. Most of the time the office is silent and I busy myself filing or making reminder calls to the doctor's clients. He has a small practice and seems to enjoy what he does.
    That reminds me, I have a meeting with Cheryl this afternoon. Closing my eyes I let out a deep breath. I've put off seeing her since Ohio, I haven't really been able to deal with it and this new job has taken a lot of my free time. But I really don't want to cancel for tonight and keep postponing the inevitable.
    And it will make the time fly by faster until Jaden is home. I have Bella and Bean's obedience class tomorrow night with Sam and I took Wednesday off of work to pick Jaden up from the airport. I also have her birthday to plan; it's only three weeks away.
    The doctor's first appointment for the morning comes in the office and I smile brightly at her. "Good morning, Mrs. Whit. Would you like some coffee or tea?"
    Returning my smile she greets me and agrees on a cup of tea. I am trying to familiarize myself with each of Dr. Dodes' patients. I know they feel more welcome that way and I like to make the office an enjoyable place.
    After Mrs. Whit the rest of the appointments filter in regularly. I am so caught up in scheduling and keeping things running that I realize I've forgotten to call Kim. As soon as there is a break I dial her number.
    "Talk." Kim answers, her voice thick.
    "Hey, it's Grace. Don't tell me you're still sleeping!" I joke with her.
    "Okay, I won't tell you. How are you?" Kim responds, and I can tell she's smiling.
    "Good. My boss told me to call you. What's up?"
    "Stacey and I are bored. Can we come over tonight?" She asks, yawning in the process.
    "You're bored? Don't you have things like classes and homework?" I respond, her yawn contagious as I fight with myself to not yawn.
    "Not today or tomorrow. Some internship thing or whatever."
    "Oh. Yeah, come over, I haven't seen you guys since last weekend. I'll be home around 7:00 or so." I tell her, excited at the thought of seeing her and Stacey. They are so much fun.
    "Yay! We'll bring dinner. See you then." She answers, yawning again before she hangs up.
    I feel 100% better as I hang up the phone. After returning from Ohio I've gotten together with them several times, always having a great time. Even Jaden likes to hang out with them, a fact that was hard to get her to admit. She always claims that people don't like her, but that's not the case.
    The phone rings, causing me to jump before I answer it.
    "Grace, turn on your fax machine." My uncle's gruff voice greets me.
    "Uncle Rick?" I answer, surprised that he's calling me here.
    "Hi sweetheart. Trust me and just turn it on. I'm faxing something over and you're not going to believe it."
    Doing what he says I press the fax to receive his message. "Okay, ready."
    The machine immediately rings and begins receiving. "Are you going to tell me what this is?" I ask.
    "Just read it." He pleads and I urge the machine to finish the transmission.
    Grabbing the freshly ejected paper I see it's a page from our town's local newspaper. I read the headline of the editorial page and my mouth drops open with shock. "Goddess."
    "You can say that again." He agrees. "They printed your letter and your mother is freaking out."
    "I bet she is." I answer numbly, my eyes scanning over the letter quickly. "Thanks for the information. I can't seem to process this right now."
    "Yeah, I bet. Give me a call sometime and I'll fill you in on the updates here. When's the wife coming back?" He continues, bringing me out of my shock.
    "Jaden? Wednesday morning and I can't wait. And she's not my wife." I argue meekly.
    "Not yet." My uncle adds before hanging up.
    My hands shaking, I set the paper down on my desk. How is it that I had so much courage to write this letter and mail it, not caring how my mother reacted, but now I'm completely terrified? I know she can't do anything to me, but I guess some part of me is still scared of her.
    Thank Goddess it's lunchtime. I need to get out and clear my head for a little while. As soon as the last appointment for the morning enters the doctor's office I excuse myself for my lunch hour and head home.
    Bella and Bean are eager to have a bathroom break and I let them run around in the back fenced-in yard. I'm amazed at what a wonderful dog Bella has become. I mean, from the minute we saw her at the shelter we knew we had to have her. But after she taught Bean how to destroy the house I knew that we needed help for her to be a better dog. We've continued her classes with Sam and also have been crate training her. So far it's working great. She does indeed act like her crate is her safe place and doesn't mind being kept in it during the day. I always come home at lunch and let them run and then it's only a few hours until Jaden gets home and takes them on another walk.
    The two dogs are enjoying each other perfectly. We've been so lucky that they've never fought and both are very mild mannered. Except around my mother. I still can't believe Bella was so vicious.
    Jaden says that she knew my mother wanted to hurt me and was protecting me. Regardless if that's the reason, I sure do feel much safer having her around.
    I whistle to them and interrupt their game of chase. They both bound over to me and I reward them with pats and praise as I take them back upstairs.
    After eating my lunch I leave them again and head back to work, the article my uncle faxed folded in my purse. I think I'll show it to Cheryl and see what she thinks. Despite my earlier feelings, I am now feeling pretty proud of myself, knowing that I did indeed do to my mother what she will fear the most. Proudly reveal my sexuality to Ohio.

    "Grace! So nice to see you, come on in!" Cheryl's warm brown eyes welcome me to her office. Nothing has changed since I was in here last and I am instantly grateful that I did not postpone my appointment for today.
    "How are you?" I ask her and she smiles.
    "I'm a Godmother!" She proudly exclaims, going to her desk to retrieve a picture. "This is baby Jack, Miranda's son."
    "Oh, he's beautiful. I didn't know she delivered! How are they doing?" I ask, gushing over the picture of the baby. He really is a cutie.
    "He's one week old today and both mother and son are well." Cheryl responds, sitting in the chair across from me.
    "Give them regards from both Jaden and myself. I know she will be thrilled to hear the news!" I add, knowing how much Jaden likes Miranda. She came in for an appointment about three weeks ago and mentioned how Miranda looked like she was going to pop. I guess she did.
    "Will do. So how have things been for you?" She asks, her eyes studying mine intensely.
    "Okay." I tell her. "Well, honestly, some things have been okay, some great, and some terrible."
    "That's life for you. Start wherever you're the most comfortable." Cheryl responds and I smile in appreciation. She always makes me feel so safe to say whatever I need to say. Thinking quickly, I decide to start with what happened on my birthday.
    Cheryl    listens intently, smiling genuinely at the happy parts and frowning in support of me when hearing about my mother's tirade. I finish by telling her what happened today, and the letter I wrote to the paper.
    "Nothing is ever easy for you, is it?" She asks, her dark brows raised in question.
    "I never thought of it that way I guess. I see it as nothing ever happened to me until I met Jaden. Or at least that's what it feels like."
    "So how are you feeling about this letter?" Cheryl questions and I pause, trying to put my feelings into words.
    "A lot of things, I guess. Part of me is thrilled that they printed it, and another part of me is terrified because I know my mother is going crazy." I tell her and she nods.
    "I can see why you would feel that way. Do you want to share the letter with me?" She questions and I nod eagerly, taking it out of my purse and handing it to her. She glances at the headline and begins to read it aloud.
    "As we flourish in the new millennium I am constantly amazed at the rate in which our society has developed. Technology now takes us to the furthest depths of our solar system when the civil rights movement of 1964 is still a recent memory.
    However, not all aspects of our society have improved. Many members of our great nation are still denied the equal rights to which they are owed. Women still average less pay per hour than men, racial profiling is rampant in law enforcement, and every form of prejudice is still prevalent in our society.
    The injustice I would like to address is the prejudice and intolerance for gay and lesbian members of our community. I have grown up in this town and lived here my entire life. I have never seen any kind of gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender support group or community outreach offered. Instead, homosexual members of our community are mocked and made to feel unwelcome.
I find this unacceptable, being both a member of our small community and a lesbian. I have looked to my community for some kind of support and instead have seen nothing but negative images of homosexuals. This opinion that homosexuality shouldn't exist while condemning those who are homosexual is not going to suddenly change my sexuality. Instead, it pushed me so far back into the closet that I had to move halfway across the country to actually become the person I could only be inside.
    My parents and family have played the worst role. When discovering my sexual preference I was not met with any kind of acceptance. I was thrown out of my family and shut off from those who raised me.
    As a young lesbian, where am I now to turn? My community clearly does not accept me. My family has abandoned me. You all think this will just make me disappear into the sunset, taking my perverse pleasures with me.
    This is not the case. I am not the only homosexual to grow up here. There are more of us than you think, 2 out of every 10 people in fact. And while some may find it easier to stay closeted in order to keep their family and small-town roots, many others won't.
    I don't think our community is ready to lose many of our members because of simply who they choose to love. Yet by the constant bigoted small-mindedness and lack of support offered, I feel that is the end result.
    Parents: please love your children. Being a homosexual isn't wrong. We are not perverts. Our love for someone of the same sex is just as strong as yours for the opposite. Please give your children the love and support they seek in this difficult time in their lives. They will embrace you fully and be eternally grateful.
    Our community: Please try to be more gay-friendly. How about starting a chapter of PFLAG? I guarantee that you will not regret it.
    I do not wish the hurt or heartbreak that I have suffered at the hands of my family on anyone. We have done so much in our time on this planet to ensure equal rights for all. The only direction to move in is forward.
    Grace McKenzie"

    Cheryl lowers my letter and smiles. I return her smile, half proud of myself and half dumbfounded that they actually printed it and everyone in town is reading it.
    "Wow." She remarks and I smile wider. "What do you think will happen as a result?"
    I shake my head. "I have no idea. I hope that it can help at least a few people to know that they aren't the only ones. I know my uncle is proud of me and Jaden will be thrilled. But it's my mother that I'm worried about. She's crazy."
    Cheryl nods in agreement. "She sounds like she has a few loose screws. And you should take my word for it, after all I am a head doctor." Her brown eyes sparkle and I laugh in response. I'm so glad that I shared the letter with Cheryl. I just hope my mother isn't going to do anything but simply fade away.
    If it were only that easy.


    Sighing with aggravation I plop down on the motel room's crippled bed. It groans under my weight as I squirm around trying to get comfortable.
    Today royally sucked. I can't wait to be out of here. St. Louis is a pretty town and I know I would have more fun walking around exploring if Grace were here.
    On cue, my cell phone rings. Checking the caller id I am relieved to see it's Grace.
    "Jaden's escort service, Rhonda speaking." I answer huskily.
    "Ooh, help me Rhonda, get her out of my heart." Grace's voice responds, and I try to bite back a giggle at her attempt to lower her voice to my register.
    "Get who out of your heart, you little sex kitten?" I continue.
    "My tall, dark-haired, impossibly un-fucking-believably hot girlfriend." She answers, her voice rich.
    "Impossibly un-fucking-believably hot? Is that a real word?" I ask, smiling.
    "It is when used to describe you." She tells me and my ego swells. "I miss you Spots." She answers a bit sadly.
    "I miss you too. It won't be long." I reassure her. "I'll get off the plane and run into your arms."
    "Yeah." She sighs.
    "You okay?" I ask, knowing she's upset about something.
    "I just miss you. I had an appointment with Cheryl and it was fine, but I'm really worried about something." She tells me, her voice nervous.
    "What's the matter?" I ask, already scared, my stomach in knots.
    "Remember that letter I wrote?" She questions and I nod.
    "Yep? They print it or something?"
    "Yeah. They did. And my uncle said my mother is freaking out. What if she tries to do something?" Grace asks, her voice sounding small.
    "Gracie? Where is this coming from? Are you just nervous because you're feeling guilty about the letter or did she give you some reason to be nervous?" I ask, my gut telling me that Grace is holding something back.
    She doesn't answer for a second and I try to count to ten and remain patient.
    "Yeah, she left me a weird message on the machine. I just got it." Grace answers.
    I rub my eyes tiredly. I really don't want to have to kill Grace's mother, but it looks like it's my only choice. "What did she say?"
    Grace's voice cracks and I know she is on the verge of tears. "She said that I would be sorry for what I did and that the joke is on me because I'm not even her real daughter."
    "What?" I ask, knowing that my thoughts are confirmed. Grace's mother really is insane.
    "I don't know. What does that mean?" Grace questions sadly.
    "I'm not sure, sweetheart. But first thing when I get back, I want us to go and get a restraining order against her. I don't trust her. Meanwhile, don't answer the phone and don't erase any of her messages. Want me to call Steele and have him come over?" I ask, knowing that Harry wouldn't mind.
    "No, it's okay. Stacey and Kim are going to be over in a little bit. I'll be fine. It just freaked me out, you know? And I don't know what she means." Grace tells me, but I'm still not reassured.
    "That's her goal sweetheart, she wants to upset you." I tell her, trying to calm her jangled nerves.
    "I know." She responds softly. "It just sucks."
    "Yes it does. You don't deserve this." I soothe her.
    "I love you."
    "I love you too Gracie. And I can't wait until I can hold you."
    "Me too. Call me in the morning?"
    "Count on it. I'll be in for the rest of the night if you want to call me." I tell her before hanging up.
    Poor thing, I can't believe her luck. I feel like she's been unlucky from birth to have Debbie as a mother. I'm glad that the girls are coming over; they should be able to cheer Grace up. Kim is a riot and Stacey is so kind, they get along perfectly with Grace.
    I check my watch and see it's a little after 6:00. Climbing off the bed I decide to order in rather than go get anything for dinner. Today was a long and hectic day and a nice quiet time in front of the television with a hot meal sounds perfect.
    After a long shower, of course. I rode a gazillion horses today and have certainly smelled way better than I do right now. Placing an order with room service I head for the shower, Grace never leaving my thoughts. I hope she's okay.

    The annoying electronic-keyboard-sounding ring of my cell phone wakes me from my restless slumber. I pop straight up out of bed and answer it, frowning with worry when my sleepy eyes see that it's Grace.
    "Gracie? You okay?" I answer, checking the bedside clock and seeing that it's 2:12am here, meaning it's an hour later at home.
    "Is Rhonda there?" Her bubbly voice answers, followed by a loud giggle and a crash.
    "What's going on?" I ask again, only to have her giggle harder in my ear. What the hell?
    "Rhonda, I'm looking for a good time. Can you help me?" Grace replies and promptly cracks up again.
    "Grace McKenzie! Are you drunk?" I ask as I finally realize what has gotten into her. A lot of alcohol.
    She laughs so hard that she snorts, causing her to laugh even harder. "Yeah. I'm smashed." Grace manages to tell me.
    "Gee, I couldn't tell." I answer dryly, feeling wide-awake despite the late hour. "What's going on?"
    "Nothing. Stacey and Kim got me drunk. They are sleeping in the spare room. I'm calling you." She replies, finally getting herself under control.
    "Oh." I respond as a yawn escapes. "Why aren't you sleeping?"
    "I miss you. I want you here." She tells me. I know she's pouting.
    "I know. I wish I were there." I tell her as I snuggle down back under the covers.
    "Do you know what I'd do to you if you were here?" Grace questions, as her voice turns seductive.
    I swallow audibly, knowing how she gets when she's been drinking. "What would you do?"
    She chuckles, suddenly sounding very sober. "I'd make you come so hard the entire neighborhood would hear it."
    Closing my eyes, I groan. It's been a long two weeks and my body is aching for Grace's touch. "And how would you do that?" I ask, hoping the conversation will lead where I think it's going too.
    "I would lay you down on the bed naked. I'd take your hands in mine and put them on the headboard. You're not allowed to move them from that spot."
    "Jesus Christ." I tell her, imagining the scene.
    "Then I would straddle your hips and grind myself into you as I kiss you, my tongue deep in your mouth." She continues and I feel myself already throbbing.
    "Yeah?" I ask, not being able to stand this sweet torment.
    "My breasts rub against yours, my hands are running up and down your sides, but you still can't move your hands and no matter how much you beg I won't let you touch me." Grace's voice is low and sultry. "I just keep grinding myself into you, I'm so wet and you can feel it."
    "Oh God, I want to feel you!" I exclaim, feeling myself become more and more turned on.
    "I continue to torment you until you can't stand it. Your hands come off the headboard and you pull me onto you before rolling me underneath you. You begin to touch me but I stop you because you broke the rule. Now you have to be punished."
    I moan in response and Grace continues on with her sordid tale. "You're not allowed to touch me, but I tell you that you can touch yourself." She pauses, her breathing growing heavy. "Are you?" She whispers and I feel it all the way to my toes.
    Reaching my hand down I find myself soaked. I run my hand through my swollen center, gasping when my fingers brush against my clit. "Yes." I answer, my breath shaky.
    "Good girl." She responds. "Tell me what you're doing."
    "I'm running my fingers through my wetness. I'm so wet for you Grace, Jesus Christ I want you. I'm brushing them against my clit."
    "Put your fingers inside yourself." She orders, her voice heavy with desire. I obey her command and let out a loud groan. "Oh Goddess!" She exclaims, and I know she must be touching herself. The thought of that makes me even more wet, if possible.
    "I want you to come Jaden, please come for me." Grace begs and I speed up the movements of my fingers. She murmurs words in my ear, things she wants to do to me and things she wants me to do for her and as I hear her breathing quicken my body shudders with my orgasm. I moan and cry into the phone as I climax and Grace's gentle voice brings me down.
    "Oh my God." I manage to exclaim into the phone. Grace chuckles.
    "How was that?" She asks and I try to regain my breathing.
    "Well, I'm officially now a fan of drunken phone sex." I answer and she begins to giggle again.
    "Me too. That was fun." She replies. "But I still wish you were here. I'm lonely and I can't fall asleep."
    My heart aches with her simple admission. I haven't slept well since we've been apart either. "Gracie?"
    "Yeah?" She answers softly.
    "Close your eyes and take nice calming breaths. I'll sing you a lullaby."
    "Really?" She asks incredulously.
    "Really." I respond, smiling as I hear her get comfortable. I'm completely in love. What a great feeling.

Part 3: To be continuedÉ..

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