JUST ONE OF THOSE THINGS PART 2
BY MAVIS APPLEWATER
Copyright August 2000
FOR DISCLAIMERS SEE PART 1
A quick note, I made a boo boo. In some of the early postings of part one of the story I used the wrong name for the nightclub that Sydney works at. I accidentally used the name of a real establishment. So you may notice that the name of the club has been changed to protect the innocent and my butt.
Also a special thanks to my beta readers Half Pint & Jennis!
As Always For Heather
It was a quiet cab ride to the simple restaurant. Karla's mind was reeling as she struggled to maintain control of her senses. She found it difficult to concentrate with the athletic blonde seated next to her. Tim struggled to keep the conversation going, but both women failed to speak more than a few words. The tension between the two was obvious. Karla tried to regain her composure and help Tim out, but every time she tried to speak, she found herself drowning in the depths of Olivia's eyes. "This is bad." Karla scolded herself. "Think Karla. You can make this work. You need to make this work! One last project and then you can get out of the corporate life."
Boston was the last stop on a very long road for her. If the deal she was brewing worked, the bonus would be more than enough for her to get out. It was time. She hated the rat race and now she just wanted a simple life. A life that she could perhaps share with someone. "Why did you have to be who you are?" She thought bitterly as she glanced quickly over at the blonde. Last night may have ruined everything. Maybe it wasn't so bad? So she slept with her new assistant. Not great, but not fatal either. It wasn't as if she was in the closet. They could get past this. After all, she didn't know she was her new assistant. And technically, she isn't her boss yet. But she isn't single either. That phone call this morning made that perfectly clear. This was gnawing at Karla. She didn't like it, having been on the receiving end of this kind of betrayal far too many times. And now they were sharing a meal together. "How civilized."
"What if Olivia is in the closet? What if she isn't even gay? Last night could have been some experiment or fantasy? Oh God! Now what? Stop it!" She argued with herself. "Get a hold of yourself. You met her at a gay bar, for Pete’s sake and based on how she behaved in bed, there little doubt that she had been with a woman before." Karla relaxed slightly, feeling a little more in control. "Face it your gaydar couldn't possibly be that far off and she was so good in bed. Don't go there you idiot . . Now is not the time to be picturing her naked." Somewhere she could hear Tim asking her a question.
"I'm sorry Tim?" Karla asked bringing herself back to the present.
"Are you two all right?" Tim finally asked.
"Jet lag." Karla lied.
"Couldn't sleep." Olivia added in her own defense.
Karla felt like a complete ass in front of this man, but she couldn’t tell him the truth. It also didn't help that scenes from the previous evening kept playing in her mind. This was a bad sign. How was she going to be able to function around this woman every day? Maybe after last night Olivia would turn down the position? No! That would not be fair, she deserved the job. Karla didn't agree with Tim's selection because of Olivia's looks. She had no idea what she looked like or that she was a lesbian. "Hell, when Tim first recommend someone from his staff, I didn't even know that it would be a woman. But can I really trust her?"
Karla suddenly found herself laughing at the absurdity of the situation. The sudden outburst had stunned her and based on the surprised look of her two luncheon companions, they were equally as stunned. "I'm sorry." Karla sighed feeling somewhat relieved by her own outburst. "I just needed to do that." She explained more for her own benefit than any one else's. Looking over at Olivia, she found her smiling back at her. Knowing that Olivia understood put her at ease. "It was assumed that last night could never be repeated. Olivia Davenport was certainly someone I could have cared for, but she is not available! Not that stopped her last night."
"So Olivia . . ." Karla began hoping to break the ice. "I saw in your personal file that you are originally from North Carolina. How do you like living in Boston?"
"Well, it was an adjustment." Olivia responded with a smile, seemly to relax a bit. "You know with the Yankees and all." She patted Tim gently on the arm.
"Yankee?" He gasped. "Never say that word to a die hard Red Sox fan."
The mood lightened considerably as the three began to discuss their backgrounds. Karla revealed that she had traveled a great deal, but she was a native Californian. Tim made some joke in reference to the Beach Boys song. Olivia found herself blushing at the reference. Tim finally said his good byes, explaining that the two women needed time to get to know one another. Truth be told, he had not planned on staying as long as he did. But the obvious tension between the two women had him on edge.
The two women sat silently for a moment. Finally Karla decided that they needed to clear the air between the two of them. "So Tim thinks that we should get to know each other better?" Karla teased hoping to keep the mood light.
"How much more would you like to know about me?" Olivia blushed. "Poor Tim . . . if he only knew."
Karla laughed lightly thinking that Tim must have been confused by the silence. Then she grew suddenly quiet. "If we had known." Karla said in a sullen tone. "We need to talk."
"Yeah." Olivia sighed.
"Do you still want the position?" Karla asked seriously.
"Yes." Olivia responded flatly. "I’ve earned this job and I think we can both be adults about this."
"Of course we can." Karla agreed with a smile. "Look, why don't we just clear the air about everything and then we can move on to a working relationship. First of all you are correct in the fact that you did earn this position. Based on what I have seen and heard, you have a natural talent for the PR business. I want you to know that it was your body of work and not your body that got this job."
"I know." Olivia replied in an even tone. "Last night you didn't know who I was. If either of us had, then last night would have never happened. I don't make a habit of sleeping with my boss. I have never even dated anyone that I worked with before. To be completely honest, I don't normally sleep with someone I don't know."
"Thank you. Now I can stop worrying that I will have to face the mystery caller every day at work." Karla breathed a sigh of relief. "I didn't think that you did." Karla explained. "I understand what you are saying and I believe that you don't normally do what we did last night." "Do I?"
"How do you know that?" Olivia questioned her. "I could be lying. I could be some kind of slut. Looks can be deceiving." Olivia protested without knowing why.
"Yeah right." Karla teased. "Let me guess, you spent your whole life fighting to have people take you seriously just because you look so innocent and naive. "Olivia simply nodded in agreement. "Trust me, I know far too well that you are not naive." Karla said in a sultry voice. "I believe you because last night was completely out of character for me. Why should I assume that it wasn't the same for you? Plus you looked far too guilty this morning." The last part was spoken slightly above a whisper.
"About this morning." Olivia began hesitantly. "I should explain. . ."
"You don't have to." Karla interrupted. "It is none of my business. It is just my luck though my first and only one night stand and I reek havoc with someone's relationship."
"You didn't, the damage was done long before you and I went into my hotel room." Olivia explained. "If my relationship had been what I have been trying to convince myself it was, I would have never been with you. But things have been bad for a long time. Perhaps they were never good to begin with. But that is something I need to work out. I want you to know that none of this will affect my job."
"Good, because I am going to be depending on you." Karla said firmly. "Like you said, we are both adults. Last night was what it was and it will never happen again. Olivia, before we put this completely behind us, I just wanted to say something."
"What?" Olivia asked curiously.
"It's just . . . perhaps I shouldn't say this, but last night was incredible." Karla blushed. "And if things were different . . . if I wasn't your boss and if there wasn't someone waiting back in Boston for you . . .” Karla’s voice trailed off as she realized how dangerous what she was saying was.
"Are you trying to say that you would try for a repeat performance?" Olivia answered for her.
"Yes." Karla said in a strangled.
"Karla." Olivia called to her firmly. "It's all right, so would I. I know that you know that given our present situation, anything more is completely out of the question. Karla, let's be honest. After today we’ll never be able to discuss this. So why don't we?"
"You mean a little down and dirty girl talk?" Karla beamed at the idea.
"Why not?" Olivia encouraged her.
"I like the idea." Karla smirked. "We can just be us and then we just keep last night and today to ourselves." Karla truly loved the idea of dispensing with the boss and employee dynamic. For just a little while, they could be two women talking about something that was about to become nothing more than a fond memory. Something she would keep to herself. "Well me, perhaps my left hand and my shower massage. After all, a girl can get lonely at night. “ So for the next few minutes, we are just Karla and Olivia, then after that we move on to a working relationship agreed?"
"Agreed." Olivia gushed as they shook hands. As their hands touched, each felt a familiar warmth. "Good." Olivia finally said as she released Karla's hand. "Because Karla, I just wanted to say that I honestly believe that I had more orgasms last night than I’ve ever had in my entire life. And I am by no means a virgin."
"You are blunt!" Karla blushed. "And somehow I suspected that you weren't a virgin. I just wished that I had known your name. " Karla held up her hand stopping the comment she knew was coming. "I know if I did then nothing would have happened. But I just wanted to able to say it while I was . . . you know."
"I know." Olivia smiled back at her. "Although after last night, I am considering changing it to Jesus Christ or Oh God Yes." They laughed freely until their eyes met. Captured in each other's stare, their hearts began race. "It was your eyes." Olivia said softly. "The first time I saw you, I felt as if I was . . ."
"Falling." Karla finished.
"Yeah." Olivia agreed unable to look away from Karla.
"This is getting dangerous." Karla said deeply.
"I know." Came the Olivia's shaky response.
"We can't." Karla moaned in desperation.
"I know." Olivia repeated, still unable to break away from the intensity of Karla's steely gaze.
"You are so beautiful. . ." Karla voice betrayed her.
"We can't." Olivia said, firmly tearing her eyes away from the dark hair beauty. "Maybe this wasn't such a good idea." She muttered bitterly.
Karla was dropped her gaze and began to rub her eyes, feeling a definite headache approaching. "You right. We need to discuss some business." Her voice turned cold and mechanical. "First off we will be working closely together. I don't have to explain to you that public relations is not a nine to five gig. I am bringing some accounts with me as well as a few pet projects of my own. I need to rely upon you. You are going to be my right hand. But more importantly, you will not be an extension of myself. I want you to be yourself and put your own spin on things. Can you do that?"
"Try and stop me." Olivia eagerly accepted happy that Karla wasn't looking for a secretary or a brown nose.
"Good." Karla relaxed slightly, thinking that perhaps they could put last night behind them. "This could really work." "I need you to start on something first thing Monday morning. This is a pet project of mine and it is very important to me. Are you comfortable working on a project that very lesbian oriented?"
"Why wouldn't I be?" Olivia responded in a confused tone.
"Well, I wasn't sure if you were gay." Karla explained slightly embarrassed.
"You have to ask?" Olivia laughed lightly.
"Hey, these days . . . people are very touchy about labels and a lot of women are bi." Karla tried to explain.
"I understand." Olivia answered. "Look in case you didn't notice last night, I'm a lesbian. Been one for a long time and I'm very good at it."
"Yes you are." It slipped out before Karla could stop herself. "Sorry." Apologizing immediately.
"Don't be." Olivia compassionate tone eased Karla. "Even when we close the door on last night, it did happen. I am certain that no matter how hard we try, things will slip out occasionally. I would like to make one thing perfectly clear though, I don't know what your status is, but the only time I see a closet is when I’m getting dressed. If you are uncomfortable with that, then tell me now."
"Oh please." Karla reassured her. "I have been out and about since Ronald Regan was in office. I was worried before about this project because I did not know if my new assistant would be gay friendly."
"Hey, I know Boston can still be conservative, but this is the twenty first century." Olivia teased. "We passed a gay rights bill long before you liberals in California did."
"Okay." Karla laughed throwing her hands up in defeat. "Actually your orientation could be an asset on this project."
"That would a first." Olivia admitted.
"Are you familiar with the writer Charlotte Hayden Smith?" Karla asked.
"Queen of the lesbian romance novels." Olivia beamed. "God I love her stuff. I know it is trashy, but when I need a break from reality, she is my girl."
"I know what you mean." Karla agreed. "She is perfect for the beach or reading in the tub. Lots of romance and sex, of course and the best part is her books a very short. What you don't know about her is before she started writing her patented girl meets girl, girl looses girl only to find her soul mate stories, she actually wrote a very decent novel."
"Really?" Olivia was indeed surprised.
"It was years ago." Karla began to explain. "It was never published. I only came across it when the J&B Corporation took over Mercer Publications. The strange thing is that they were ready to publish it in the mid eighties back when no one had ever heard of Charlotte Hayden Smith."
"So what happened?" Olivia was now very interested.
"Catherine Merrick." Karla responded with a raise of a single eyebrow.
"The actress?" Olivia gasped. "The one who plays that very wholesome school teacher on television?"
"The same." Karla explained. "She was just starting out on her first series, 'Winds of Cheyenne' where she created the school teacher character. Then when the show ended her character was featured in the spin off, ‘The Best of Our Days.’ When the book was about to come out, Catherine Merrick threatened to sue. Suddenly everyone backed off the publisher and the author dropped the entire project."
"That is odd." Olivia added. "You would think for her first book she would have put a fight. The publicity alone would have guaranteed sales."
"I know." Karla agreed. "But she didn't. After that she simply disappeared until 1998 when her book September Skies was published by Light House Press." Karla reached into her briefcase and pulled out a thick manila envelope and handed it to Olivia. "I want you to read this. This is her first novel ‘Jeanne’. It is so different from everything else. I couldn’t believe that it was written by the same woman who wrote all those romance novels. Granted I loved September Skies, the beach scene alone was worth it."
"I know what you mean." Olivia blushed. "I must have read that scene a thousand times."
"Read ‘Jeanne’." Karla encouraged. "It has some steamy parts like all of her writings, but for the most part, it is the story. Unlike everything else she has written, it is not a PWP. You know a "plot what plot?" It takes place in Boston during World War II. Starting on Monday, I need you to start looking for Charlotte Hayden Smith. Showtime and HBO are already fighting over the rights to this story."
"Finding Charlotte Hayden Smith shouldn't be that difficult." Olivia answered finding herself once again captured by those deep blue eyes. "This is certainly going to be a different kind of project for me. I am looking forward to the challenge. But if the story takes place in the 1940s, then what has Catherine Merrick so upset?"
"I have no idea what Catherine Merrick's problem is." Karla sighed. "It could be many things. I am just hoping that it isn't plagiarism. That is something else we need to find out. I haven't been working on this for very long. I am glad that you are enthusiastic about this. As for finding Charlotte, that is proving to be difficult. Light House Press isn't cooperating."
"Why would they?" Olivia noted. "If Mercer publishes this, then they have nothing to gain. I assume that Ms. Smith is under contract with them. Based on her books, I think that Boston is a good place to start looking for her. She is always using the city and other places along the east coast for her stories. She must be a local."
"I agree." Karla added as the waitress refilled their coffee cup. "I am going to start working on the Catherine Merrick angle before I leave the west coast. But I'm not very hopeful, based on the stonewalling I'm receiving from her people."
"She has people?" Olivia tried to hide her amusement.
"Don't they all." Karla sighed. "Actors can't live with them, can't shoot them. When I found that manuscript, I didn't have a clue that there was any controversy connected with it. The people at Mercer were thrilled so I ran out and started promoting the project. Who knew that the author didn't want it published?"
"How could you have known that?" Olivia reassured her.
"I should have checked on why it was never published in the first place." Karla admonished herself. "This always happens when I go off half cocked." Olivia simply raised her eyebrows in amusement. "I didn't mean . . ."
"It's all right." Olivia said gently. "Let me guess, you discover the manuscript and talked to the people at Mercer and they were probably foaming at the mouth that they had possession of a book by a now best-selling author." Karla simply nodded in agreement. "Chances are that none of the people you spoke to were even working at Mercer at the time the manuscript was first submitted."
"No, they weren't and none of them bothered to find out why the project was pulled. Everyone just assumed that it was because of the lesbian content. Back then, other than 'Rubyfruit Jungle' there weren't any mainstream publications of lesbian novels. I should have asked though." Karla said gravely. "It wasn't until the original editor, Katrina Samuels approached me, that I discovered the truth."
"Well, now we know." Olivia stated firmly. "Time for damage control. I think we can make this project work. My only concern is if . . . well what if . . . as we say in the south, Merrick and Smith were knocking boots?"
"Knocking boots?" Karla laughed. "That is very colorful. If they were, I am dropping the project and burying it. I am not looking to out someone."
"Good." Olivia relaxed. "I'm not naive. I know what it is that we do. But I just couldn't . . ."
"Neither could I." Karla reassured her. "The sooner you find Charlotte Hayden Smith the better. Now moving on, I understand that the Lieutenant Governor has expressed an interest in our firm."
At that moment a groan escaped from Olivia before she could stop it. "I'm sorry." She apologized immediately.
"Don't be." Karla said with authority. "The woman is a public relations nightmare. Be polite, but make sure we keep our distance. That goes for everyone in the department. I will leave it up to you. Now speaking of nightmares, I understand that you did some work for the Big Dig?"
Olivia groaned once again. The Big Dig was the major road construction designed to cut down on Boston's traffic problems. Of course, as with many such projects, it turned into a nightmare. The project was not only running way over budget, but many firmly believed that it would be not completed. "Yes, I did some work on that before the budget scandal broke." Olivia confessed reluctantly. "We are only one of many firms working on that."
"No wonder they are over budget." Karla responded with a smirk. "On our end the project is being headed by Norton?"
"Denny Norton." Olivia added. "He actually has faith in the project."
"How can he?" Karla asked in astonishment. "Hasn't it already been proven that if and when the construction is finished, it will be out dated? Never mind." Karla shook her head. "If Denny is the true believer that you say he is, then I want you to pull everyone, but him off of the project."
Olivia suddenly realized what Karla was saying. "I can do that?"
"You can now." Karla reassured her. "You are my second in command. I know it is always an adjustment for someone to go from being a co-worker to a supervisor, but I have faith in you."
Their conversation continued for a while. Karla discussed every project and what she expected. She also listened to and agreed to Olivia's suggestions. Olivia was amazed at how familiar Karla was with their current client base. Karla also explained some new clients she was bringing with her to Boston. The staff would be informed on Monday morning regarding the changes. Olivia was to move from her cubicle into her new office and just like that, she would running the department until Karla's arrival.
Olivia didn't allow herself to become excited about the changes at work. The changes at home far out weighed any joy she had over her new career. During the flight home, she kept trying to come up with just what it was that she was going to say to Ruth. Fear gripped her stomach as the airplane landed at Logan Airport. She retrieved her luggage and hailed a taxi. Much to her regret, she found her luggage and a taxi much quicker than she had ever done in her life. "Figures! The one time in my life, I am not in any hurry to get to where I am going."
Although Olivia thanked the driver and tipped him well for making record time from the airport to her apartment in Jamaica Plain, internally she wanted to kick him. Her hands were sweating as she walked up the three flights of stairs to her apartment door. She unlocked the door and let herself in. She exhaled a sigh of relief when she found the living room and kitchen empty. Thinking that Ruth must be in bed already, she was thankful for the brief reprieve she had been granted.
As she opened the bedroom door, she found Ruth in bed as she expected. What she didn't expect to find was a familiar red head straddling her girlfriend. "Well, this certainly makes breaking up with you a lot easier." She announced. The startled lovers gasped as they turned to see Olivia standing in the doorway.
"Olivia what are you doing here?" Ruth shouted fearfully.
"Excuse me?" Olivia laughed.
"It is not what it looks like . . .” Ruth stammered.
"Correct me if I 'm wrong, but it looks like you are fucking our therapist." Olivia laughed at the absurdity of the situation. Looking at them, it became all too clear that this had been going on for sometime. All of the excuses and along with Ruth's anger about Olivia wanting to know how she spent her time. If Olivia hadn't committed the same transgression, she would have been angry.
"I can explain . . .” Ruth began.
"Don't." Olivia stopped her. "I'm not angry."
"You're not?" Ruth almost sounded disappointed.
"I slept with another woman." Olivia admitted partly out of spite.
"You what?" Ruth bellowed.
"Don't you dare!" Olivia flared at them. "I had a one night stand with a stranger. I wasn't sneaking around behind your back with our therapist. And I certainly didn't bring someone home to our bed! Okay, so I'm a little angry!" As the words flew out of her mouth, she knew then that she was indeed angry and hurt by Ruth's betrayal. She clenched her fists together and turned to leave. Knowing that if she didn't get out of there soon she would do something that she would regret. She grabbed her suitcase and slammed out of the apartment.
Olivia trudged her way up to Center Street, her heart was pounding fiercely as she looked around. "Great! Now this is not a good area to be standing around in the middle of the night." She spotted a taxi and waved it down. She felt a wave of relief hoping that her luck was about to change. "The Stardust, Brookline Street in Central Square, Cambridge." The driver eyed her curiously. The Stardust did not have the best reputation. It was the varied theme nights. Wednesdays was a Goth Industrial night. Thursdays was Gay. Fridays was a Fetish night and Saturdays were a Retro night that mixed eighties and disco. It made for an interesting atmosphere. But all in all, the Stardust was a great place to go. It provided a comfortable atmosphere for its patrons and lacked the clique attitude found in many of the nightclubs found on Lansdown Street. Their Thursday nights had a been a tradition for the gay community for over seventeen years. "Thank God tonight is Thursday . . . the last thing I need is to hang out on bondage night."
Olivia had only visited the nightclub once on a fetish night. The atmosphere was comfortable, but it was definitely not her style. Many of the men paid far too much attention to her. That and seeing her former flame Sydney dressed in a dog collar and a wonder bra and barely anything else was a bit unsettling. The trip to Cambridge was brief and Olivia found herself standing in front of the dark building clutching her suitcase.
As she approached the door, the security men looked at her oddly. The young men's faces were unfamiliar to her. Unlike the bartenders, the other employees tended to come and go. She produced her ID as they stared at her luggage. They looked at her carefully and stamped her hand, thinking that the innocent looking blonde posed no threat. She paid the cover charge and entered the large nightclub. It was still fairly quiet, not unusual for the hour. Olivia knew that in the span of a few minutes, both dance floors would be packed to capacity. Olivia could see Sydney's bar from the entrance.
It lay opposite the entrance, across the dance floor. The bar itself stretched the across the back wall and once business picked up, a second bartender would join Sydney. Olivia walked past the front dance room and past the lounge area, which was set up with chairs, a pool table and two vintage video games. She strolled straight ahead into the back dance room, waving to the thin platinum blonde behind the bar. Teresa Raven had been tending bar there almost as long as the club had existed. "Hey Dolly!" Teresa shouted over the music. Teresa was nothing less than flamboyant. Olivia made her way over to the bar.
"Planning on moving in?" Teresa teased as she pointed to the suitcase.
"I'm crashing at Chase's place for awhile." Olivia responded casually, hoping that Teresa wouldn't pursue the subject any further. Subtle was not Teresa's style.
"Oh?" Teresa questioned her. "Want to talk about it?"
"No." Olivia responded, knowing that Teresa wouldn't push.
"Okay, how about a drink?" Teresa smiled back at her.
"Maybe later." Olivia answered, thankful that Teresa was dropping the subject. "I'm going to check my bag and then hang out with Chase for awhile." Olivia explained quickly. Teresa and Sydney had two different styles of tending bar. For Sydney, it was all about the show, her drinks rarely tasted like alcohol, which could be dangerous at times. Teresa's were boarded on being lethal. Both would get you drunk, but with Sydney's, you never see it coming. Their personalities were night and day as well. Sydney was always pleasant unless you pushed to far, with Teresa there was always an under lying feeling that the petite blonde would inflict pain without much prodding.
Olivia made her way down to the coat check and tipped the young man generously after her reassured her that her luggage was not the strangest item he had ever checked. Olivia walked through the basement to take the opposite staircase back up. As she emerged, she noticed that the crowd had picked up considerably. Duncan, the tall slender African-American man was taking his station at the bar in the lounge area. "Hey girl." He smiled at her as he removed his leather jacket to reveal a black T-Shirt with the words "Obey Me" sprawled across the front.
"Does that work?" Olivia teased him.
"The shirt?" Duncan smirked. "Not on the ones I want it to." He grinned wickedly.
They chatted for a while longer about nothing at all until the crowd began to grow. She knew that Duncan would be a gentleman. But he needed to focus on his paying customers. Olivia knew that she was stalling. It was time to face the music. Neither Teresa nor Duncan had inquired about Ruth. Sydney most definitely would not let her off so easily. After all she was staying at the woman's apartment, she must know that something was up. Olivia traveled into the front dance room and was instantly immersed in the constant beat of techno music and flashing lights. Olivia made her way through the sea of sweaty bodies.
Sydney was busy making cocktails. The former actress worked the crowd for all it was worth. Most of Sydney's customers never waited long. She had an uncanny ability to remember exactly what everyone drank. Most of her customer's drinks were waiting for them when the stepped up to the bar. She stood back as her friend caught her eye, giving her a knowing smirk. Chase stood a few inches taller than Olivia. Her long curly auburn locks cascaded down her back.
"Chase, we need a round of shots." A platinum blonde man called out. "You decide." An older man beside him called out.
"You know the game boys." Chase teased. "Pick a color."
"Blue." The blonde called out.
"Blue?" Chase laughed as she rolled her grey eyes. "Try harder. Okay, blue it is. How many?"
"Four." The older man instructed her.
Olivia chuckled as Chase held up four fingers to confirm the order. Sometimes the volume of the music led to mistakes. The men held up four fingers in agreement. Chase then held up her fist and pointed to the back of her hand. Olivia recognized the sign for the four patrons to show her the stamp on their hands that indicated they were of legal drinking age. Chase smiled as she began to flip bottles in the air making four very blue shots and receiving a generous tip for her efforts. Olivia watched as one youngster pushed his way through the crowd. "Hey!" He called out.
Sydney spun in his direction. "Did you just hey me?" Sydney grinned wickedly at him. The youngster opened his mouth to speak, but seemed to think better of it. He hung his head and patiently waited his turn.
Olivia watched in amazement as Sydney and her partner David ran from one end of the bar to the other. Olivia admired the way they handled the crowd. She knew that she could never deal with the shouting and rudeness. Sometimes for little or no money. Sydney stopped briefly to talk to Olivia. "So?" She was asked.
"It's over." Olivia said simply.
"Drink or do you just want the keys to my place?" Chase offered knowing it was far too loud for discussion.
"Keys." Olivia sighed with relief.
Chase handed her the keys without questions. She explained that her car was in the lot behind the club and should start since it hadn't rained that day. Another constant in the life of Sydney Chase was that everything she drove was held together with duct tape, spit and a lot of prayer. Olivia retrieved her luggage from coat check and thanked whatever high power that watched over her that Sydney's car not only started, but made it all the way back to her apartment. Once inside, she took a long shower. She tried to wash away the images of Ruth and Dr. Metger rolling around in bed together. The images faded only to be replaced by a different far more disturbing thoughts. The thoughts turned to a raven-haired beauty.
She remained in the shower long after the water had turned icy, hoping that the frigid water would cool her jets. It failed as she pictured Karla's naked form behind her gently grinding her wetness into her backside. This was not good. Olivia gave up her resolve and grabbed the shower massage from its cradle. "What is that Syd always said? A shower massage was a single gals best friend." After her extended shower, Olivia made her way back into the living room/bedroom and crawled into bed. The tension of the day finally won out as her head hit the pillow and she instantly fell asleep. She awoke briefly around three am when Sydney was ranting about her obvious displeasure regarding the lack of hot water for her shower. Olivia giggled as Sydney cursed from the bathroom as she drifted back to sleep.
It was morning and time for Sydney to wake up or at least Olivia felt that Sydney should wake up. "Chase." Olivia nudged her gently. Receiving no response and knowing that Sydney was a deep sleeper, she pushed her harder. "Chase!" She growled more forcefully.
"Five more minutes." Sydney groaned as she rolled back over.
"Please." Olivia pouted as she whined. "I need someone to talk to."
"Ugh." Sydney growled as she tried to retreat under the covers.
"Come on Chase." Olivia was more insistent. "I reserved a court time for us."
"Really?" Chase's grey eyes peeked out from underneath the blankets.
"Yes, I know how much you enjoy playing at my club." Olivia encouraged her.
"Can I have coffee?"
"Of course sweetie, now just get ready." Olivia smiled as Sydney hopped out of bed and headed towards the shower.
Almost two hours later Olivia and Sydney were sitting in the glass racquetball court sweating heavily. "I hate racquet ball. You know that." Sydney panted.
"I never understood that since you love tennis so much." Olivia grunted in returned.
"It's not the same." Sydney explained. "With tennis, there is a simplicity. With this, the ball comes at you from all angles. That is why I like to call this game 'duck and run'. It wasn't very nice of you to mislead me into thinking that we were playing tennis." Sydney snorted.
"All I said was that I had reserved a court." Olivia explained innocently. "I never said it was a tennis court."
"Brat." Sydney snorted. "So you want to talk about it?"
"Tennis?" Olivia quipped. "Or why you suddenly find yourself with a new roomie?"
"You pick." Sydney encouraged.
Olivia took a deep cleansing breath and then began. "I left her." Sydney remained quiet allowing her to go at her own pace. "She was sleeping with our therapist."
"Isn't that against the rules?" Sydney was clearly surprised.
"I would think so." Olivia added. "But I was going to leave her anyways. I'm not happy and I haven't been in a long time. We haven't had sex in years."
"Sweetie that's not a relationship." Sydney snorted. "That's called being roommates."
"You were right about her." Olivia continued. "I jumped into the relationship far too quickly. I guess I didn't realize how bad things were until the other night. I . . . I . . . uhm."
"What is it?" Sydney offered gently.
"I slept with my boss." Olivia blurted out.
"You slept with Tim?" Sydney gasped. "He's a married man."
"Not Tim, you dufus." Olivia swatted her. "Now hush up and listen for a change, you ignorant cracker. I slept with my new boss. It was in New York only I didn't know who she was at the time."
"Oh." Sydney sighed. "I see. No wait, you had a one night stand?"
"Yeah." Olivia confessed. "It was just one of those things."
"Not for you." Sydney pointed out.
"No but there was something about her." Olivia sighed as she relived the memory of Karla's touch. "I met her in a bar and without a word, we left together and went back to my hotel room. She's beyond beautiful. She is tall, jet black hair, chiseled features and the most amazing blue eyes I have ever seen."
"You slept with the Warrior Princess?" Sydney chuckled.
"Who?" Olivia asked in confusion.
"You know from television." Sydney tried to explain. "In the right light, you could pass for the sidekick."
"I don't watch television." Olivia snorted indignantly. "Sydney, this woman was amazing. I couldn't get enough of her and I didn't even know her name."
"It sounds like you took a walk through my life." Sydney teased.
"I can't explain it." Olivia admitted. "Then the next morning I found out she was my new boss. We were both mortified. Neither of us knew. We talked about it and agreed that we can't sleep together again."
"Well that sounds like a good idea." Sydney pointed out. "And it's good that you talked. So do you think you can work with this woman and not be tempted?"
"Tempted?" Olivia shrugged. "I'm an adult and I'm not about to have an affair with my boss. That would be stupid. Did you ever sleep with your boss?"
"Olivia, I'm a bartender in a nightclub." Sydney laughed. "Most of my superiors have been gay men. Our interaction is limited to what are you doing for pride and listen up Mary, I'm not working that shift."
"What about your days as an actress?" Olivia inquired.
"I could never tolerate my directors well enough to sleep with them." Sydney laughed again. "Most of them were men anyways. As for my co-stars, I'm far too egotistical for that."
"That leaves the crew." Olivia teased as a shadow covered Sydney's features. Olivia had touched upon a very sensitive subject that always loomed between the two. "Hey, don't go there okay." Olivia laid her head on Sydney's shoulder. "We got past that and it should prove that I know I can put my feelings for Karla aside. I'm really looking forward to working with her. She is bright and really cares about my opinions."
"Do yourself a favor." Sydney asserted. "Get to know her. That way if anything does happen between the two of you this time you'll be sure it is real."
"Come on." Olivia nudged her. "You need a shower, frankly you smell."
"Oh yeah and you're freakin' rose garden." Sydney snorted in response.
They stood and made their way out of the court. "Do you think the car will start?" Olivia asked playfully.
"Who knows?" Sydney sighed. "I'm thinking of getting a new car."
"Maybe you can get one that will pass inspection this time?" Olivia teased.
"No, I mean a real new car." Sydney confessed. "I've made some extra money over that past couple of years and I think it's time."
"My God, you're not becoming an adult are you?" Olivia gasped.
"No way." Sydney snorted.
While Olivia was questioning Sydney's maturity level, Karla was gripping the armrest of her seat on the airplane that was about to land at LAX. Karla firmly believed that God had never intended for human beings to be this far off of the ground.
Karla breathed a heavy sigh of relief once she was safely on the ground and out of the confines of the airplane. She gripped her bag, thankful once again that she believed in only taking carry on luggage and she made her way out to the taxi stand. "Yeah, it's good to be back in LaLa land." She muttered as she watched a parade of people who all seemed to be firmly attached to their cell phones.
Later that evening, she found herself relaxing on the deck of her sister's house as her brother-in-law was frying up some tofu burgers. Her older sister was leaning back on her deck chair watching her daughters as they tortured the family dog. "So are you up for the move to the east coast?" Meg asked her softly.
"I think so." Karla answered as she smiled at nieces. "I need to get out of LA."
"Tonya sweetie, don't pull on Ty's tail." Meg called out to one of the triplets.
Karla laughed at the girl’s antics. "You laugh?" Meg teased. "They are going to miss you."
"I'm going to miss the munchkins too." Karla responded with a touch of sadness. "I still think a trip to Orlando around the holidays would be neat." Karla suggested hopefully.
"Oh yeah a jammed packed theme park with three hyper-active seven year olds and you. How can resist?" Meg laughed. "Not to mention the flight out there."
Karla's face scrunched up. "Don't do that Karla." Meg pleaded. "I swear you are worse than the kids. We'll work something out. Like I told you the day our parents split up, you will always be my sister."
It was true. Meg had always treated Karla as if they were blood. They both had endured a long list of stepsiblings, never feeling like a real family except with each other. On the day that Mauve, Karla's mother and Tim, who was Meg's father, split up, Meg promised the fourteen year old that they would always be sisters and they had been. They shared secrets, clothing, and the occasional fistfight.
"You could just stay you know." Meg suggested hopefully. "I know you are not happy with your job but . . ."
"I'm in PR in the middle of LaLa land and I hate it and the people I have to deal with." Karla groaned. "Everyone is so shallow out here. The sick part is that I'm good at what I do. I need to find out if it's the place or the job. If it's the job, then I need to decide what I want to be doing." Karla explained.
"I know kiddo." Meg reluctantly agreed. "So what are you not telling me?"
"I don't know what you mean?" Karla hedged.
"There something else bothering you today." Meg pointed out. "I can feel it."
"So are you going to Tom and Vivian's party?" Karla asked quickly.
"Of course I'm going to Dad's and Vivian's anniversary party." Meg answered calmly. "Fifteen years that must be some kind of record in this town. They are really happy though. Now stop changing the subject."
Karla grimaced, knowing that she could not keep anything from her big sister. "When I was in New York, something happened." She said finally. Meg remained quiet allowing her to continue at her own pace. "I kind of met someone."
"Really?" Meg prodded brightly.
"It just sort of happened." Karla tried to explain.
"No!" Meg squealed like a teenager. Then her face dropped suddenly. "Mary, get off Ty. He's a dog, not a horse. Thank you." She added once the girl climbed down off of the very tired Great Dane. "Wayne honey, watch the girls Karla and I going for a walk."
"Is everything okay?" Wayne asked with concern.
"No, just a little girl talk." Meg reassured her husband. "Stretch got lucky and I wanted all the steamy details."
"Meg!" Karla growled.
"Hey, I want to hear." Wayne protested.
"Wayne!" Karla flared. "Tell you what Wayne, I'll give all the steamy details if you put some real meat on that grill."
Her brother-in-law seemed to consider the offer as Meg began to drag Karla off. They walked down the road of the quiet suburban neighborhood as Karla filled her sister in on what had transpired in New York. Meg seemed to be enjoying the little tale even though Karla left out the most graphic points. It was when she finished the story Meg seemed visibly upset.
"I know sleeping with someone you work with is plain stupid." Karla said heavily.
"That's not it." Meg stated firmly. "Hell, Vivian was Dad's assistant, so was your Mother and mine. Perhaps that's why Vivian is the one who picks Dad's assistants now."
"Probably." Karla chuckled. "I have noticed since they got married, that Tim's assistants have been always been older guys."
"Karla." Meg began in a motherly tone. "Office romances are not a good thing. But I know you and I know that you can be an adult when you have to be. It's that she cheated on her girlfriend for a one nightstand."
"I know." Karla sighed. "But she did tell me that they are having problems."
"So, her wife doesn't understand her?" Meg snapped.
"It's not like that." Karla tried to argue.
"How do you know?" Meg pointed out. "Maybe one of the problems is that she is sleeping around. Look ten years ago, I would have looked at this differently. But ten years ago I wasn't a wife and mother."
"You and Wayne really have a good thing." Karla added absently.
"Yes, we do." Meg confirmed.
"What's your secret?" Karla questioned her in awe.
"That's just it baby sister." Meg smiled. "There isn't one. We've had our ups and downs just like everyone else."
"Of course." Meg laughed. "I know that Wayne and I are one of those annoyingly happy couples. But it's a marriage, not a trip to Disneyland. We've had our share of fights, usually over something stupid." Meg chuckled slightly. "Hell, you should have heard what I called him when I was in labor."
"Is that why the video was cut off?" Karla laughed.
"Hey, you try giving birth three times in one day." Meg groaned.
"No, thank you." Karla shuddered at the thought. "Olivia and I talked all of this through and I think it is going to be just fine."
"Uh huh." Meg responded coldly. "Based on what you told me of the little chat the two of you had the morning after, I'm not buying it."
"Well, it didn't sound like you solved anything." Meg said firmly. "It sounded more like the two of you were flirting with each other."
Karla just stared at her sister blankly. "No." She protested. "We definitely resolved . . .” Karla’s face dropped suddenly as she recalled the conversation with Olivia. ". . . Oh God." She groaned. "We were flirting weren't we?"
"It's just my opinion. But yeah, that's what it sounded like to me." Meg explained. "Karla, this move is very important to you. I know that the projects you are working on can give you the finances you need to start over again. Can you really trust this woman?"
"My heart and my gut say that I can." Karla tried to explain to her sister and herself.
"And the rest of you?" Meg pushed.
"I don't know." Karla confessed. "I honestly don't know."
End of part two
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