DISCLAIMER: I don't own The Facts of Life or any of the characters represented in the show. They're owned by someone else who isn't me. No copyright infringement is implied/meant/deliberate in any way, shape or form, and no money is changing hands/no profit is being made, etc.
SEQUEL/SERIES: This story follows the events in You Take the Good, You Take the Bad, Who Watches The Watch Man?, A (Black and) Blue Christmas, Resolutions and Living in Exile.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
By Del Robertson
Jo shifted uncomfortably on the hardwood bench, loosened her tie. She unfastened the top two buttons of her collar, adjusting the material of her shirt. Using both hands, she flapped the material rapidly, attempting to create a cool breeze on her hot flesh.
"Will you stop it!" Blair hissed, leaning over, whispering in Jo's ear.
"I can't help it; It's like an oven in here!" Jo whispered back.
A woman in the pew directly in front of them turned around sharply, placing a gloved finger to her lips, loudly shushing them. Undaunted, Blair shushed her in return, haughtily motioned for the woman to direct her attention to the front of the Church. With a loud Tsk, the woman turned around in her seat so fast that the feather of her hat hit her husband in the back of his bald head.
"The janitor probably turned the heat up too high again," Blair murmured. "Just do your best to ignore it."
"Easy for ya to say, Princess. I'm the one sweating like a politician in a whore-house."
That last comment earned a scathing look from Mrs. Garrett. Thankfully, she was seated on the opposite side of Blair. If the seating had been reversed and she'd been seated nearer Mrs. Garrett, she was certain to have been swatted with the Church bulletin. As it was, she found herself slouching down lower in her seat to avoid making eye contact with the matronly woman.
"Here, use this," Blair reached into her purse, pulled out a white handkerchief, passed it to Jo.
Jo arched her brow, flicked a look at Blair. She was tempted to make a disparaging comment to the blonde about her sissy handkerchief. Then, deciding against it in church, she merely plucked the handkerchief from Blair's grasp with two fingers.
"And, try to pay attention," Blair admonished, turning her focus back to the front of the church where the preacher was delivering his sermon.
Blair tried to pay attention to the sermon. Honestly, she did. But, she was distracted by the frustrated, squirming, couldn't-be-still-if-my-life-depended-on-it woman seated next to her. She felt Jo bump into her hip as she shifted positions yet again. Rolling her head to the side, she fixed her best Turn-Blue glare on the other woman.
What she saw made her eyes go wide instead. Jo was seated on the bench beside her, shirt sleeves rolled up to her elbows. Her jacket was thrown haphazardly over the back of the pew. Her tie hung loosely around her neck, the knot coming to just below her breasts. The first three buttons of her shirt were undone, revealing her collarbone, neckline and beyond. A fine sheen of perspiration coated tanned flesh, glistening as it rolled in lazy rivulets beginning at the brunette's hairline, working its way over well-defined cheekbones and jaw muscles, to wander down her neck, between her breasts, disappearing into her cleavage.
Blair watched the process over and over again. From the moment the first drop of perspiration appeared at the edges of Jo's damp hair until it disappeared beneath the fabric of her shirt. As her eyes drank in the sight, Blair's tongue reflexively lipped her suddenly too-dry lips. Jo's hand came up, swiping at the back of her neck. She dabbed at the moisture between her breasts with Blair's dainty white handkerchief.
Blair watched with rapt attention as the dainty hankie momentarily disappeared between Jo's cleavage before making an appearance again. She heard a soft moan, thought it was Jo. The moan turned into a squeak as Blair's eyes went wide at the sudden realization the inappropriate sound had come from her. Biting her bottom lip, she abruptly turned her attention to the pulpit, making certain to sit rigidly upright in the pew. Idle hands were the Devil's plaything, her mother had always said. I wonder what mom would say about wandering eyes - and minds - in Church?
As the choir sang its last A-men, Jo jumped up from the pew, pushed past Blair and Mrs. Garrett in an effort to make it out the door first. She was standing, leaning against the wall, sunglasses on, arms folded across her chest when they appeared some ten minutes later. As soon as Jo saw the tall blonde and the slightly shorter red-head, she pushed off the wall, ready to climb in Mrs. Garrett's waiting car.
Her plans were quickly thwarted when she saw another woman walking with Blair and Mrs. Garrett. She was a blonde, but not a honey-blonde like Blair was. She was a pale blonde with a pixie haircut ending above the collar of her hunter green dress. Hunter green to match her eyes, Jo noted as the woman approached. As she saw Jo waiting beside Mrs. Garrett's car, her entire face lit up.
"You must be Jo! Mrs. Garrett has told me so much about you!" The woman stopped in front of Jo, extended her hand.
Hesitantly, Jo took the proffered hand, shaking it firmly. "I hope she left out the bad stuff, considering you go to Church with her and all."
"Oh, that is so funny!" The blonde chuckled. "Edna told me you had a wicked sense of humor."
"Yeah, that's me. Wicked." Jo flashed a grin of her own. "And you are - ?"
"Oh, I'm so sorry!" Mrs. Garrett cut in. "Jo, this is Mary Alice. She's in charge of our youth ministries."
"Really?" asked Jo, frowning at the sudden revelation.
"Yes. And, we'd just love it if you'd join us for our social."
"Social?" Jo said the word like it left a bad taste in her mouth. She noticed Blair standing behind Mary Alice, a huge grin plastered on her face at Jo's predicament.
"Well, it's more like a gathering. A group of us get together every Sunday after church and listen to music, drink punch and discuss the sermon and how it applies to today's youth."
"Oh." Jo looked at Mary Alice blankly. Mary Alice continued to stand there, staring at Jo, her smile seemingly a permanent fixture on her face. "I'd like to - but, ah - Blair and I gotta get home. I'm fixing my bike and then we're studying together. Got a big test tomorrow."
Jo hurriedly backed along the side of the car, hand feeling for the door handle. As her fingers closed about it, she opened the door, quickly sliding behind the wheel. She slammed the door, fumbled for her seatbelt at the same time. Cranking the car, she sat there, both hands on the steering wheel, staring straight ahead as she waited for Blair and Mrs. Garrett to get in the vehicle.
"Really, Jo," admonished Blair, "You could have been a little friendlier to the poor woman."
"Look Warner - " Jo momentarily took her eyes off the road, glanced at Blair seated in the passenger's seat beside her. " - I only agreed to go to Church with you, youth ministries and after-church activities were not part of the deal."
"Still, she's the preacher's daughter and it wouldn't hurt to be nice to her."
"I ain't going to be nice. I'm going because you said I have to."
"I never said you had to!" Blair puffed. "I thought we came to a mutual agreement on the matter."
Mrs. Garrett leaned forward in her seat, patted Jo on the arm. "I'm just happy you're making an effort to go, Jo. I don't care what the reasons are, as long as you're there."
Jo glanced in her rearview mirror, catching Mrs. Garrett's reflection. The red-head was leaning all the way forward in her seat, peering over Jo's shoulder. Her glasses were perched precariously on the tip of her nose, a chain running from the ends of her glasses down to the collar of her blouse. Her trademark smile was plastered on her face. Jo couldn't help but smile at the comforting reflection. Mrs. Garrett caught Jo's smile in the mirror, flashed an even brighter one of her own in response.
Jo exhaled loudly, propping her elbow on the wooden pew. She rested her cheek on her hand, leaned over the edge, looking at the blue carpeting. She figured she'd played it smart this weekend, making sure Mrs. Garrett was first into the pew, followed by Blair, leaving the aisle seat for herself. All the better to make her escape as soon as the last amen was said.
Now all she had to do was make it all the way to the end of the sermon. Judging from the length of last week's service, they were about halfway through the ordeal. Only about thirty more minutes to go. If I can last that long. Covering her mouth with her hand, she stifled a yawn.
I don't get it. How can Blair look so damn good on no sleep?
Jo and Blair had worked the morning shift in the shop yesterday. They'd been busy well into the lunch hour, having barely enough time to grab a sandwich between customers. And, that Saturday rush had continued well into the evening shift. They'd expected to be off by three and on their way to the mall. But, it was well after five and no sign of relief was in sight.
Blair became more and more despondent with each passing half hour. She'd been looking forward all week to going to the mall and seeing all the latest fashions. Jo had readily agreed to go, having only extracted a promise from Blair to stop by the electronics store for the latest Madonna hit. It wasn't that big a deal to Jo, though. She didn't need to go to the mall that badly. Mostly, she wanted to go just to spend time with Blair. Ever since their reconciliation, she'd been spending as much time as possible with the debutante in an attempt to speed along the recovery process of their relationship.
Now, watching Blair, seeing her becoming more and more withdrawn with the passing of each moment was disturbing Jo. Whereas Blair was becoming despondent, Jo was becoming angry. And, the longer they had to stay at work, the angrier she felt herself becoming. All because Natalie and Tootie had missed their shift. As usual, they'd gone off 'to study' that Saturday morning, leaving Jo and Blair to clean up after breakfast and open the shop. Now, here they were hours later, still holding the bag while Nat and Toot were out doing who-knows-what.
"You know, this is getting to be a real habit," Jo muttered between clenched teeth to Blair.
"I know. Every Saturday we work the morning shift, they don't show up." Blair cast a sidelong look at Jo. "You know, the old thug from the neighborhood would have tracked them down, threatened to break their legs and bullied them into working a month of Saturdays in compensation."
"Yeah," agreed Jo. "I must be goin' soft." A pause. "We close in ten minutes. We'll go then."
They had searched everywhere in Peekskill that they could think of. Starting with the mall. Blair tended to pause at every store window, but a determined Jo pulled her by the hand past every display. They were on a quest - and she wasn't about to be deterred by a shopping princess. From the mall, they hit every ice cream parlor, pizza joint and fast food restaurant. Cringing, Blair even followed her into the bowling alley, clinging to Jo's arm as the greasy attendant offered them rental shoes. They checked the local movies. The video store. The arcade. Every place they could think of between the two of them. Even the library, in case the girls were really telling the truth for once in their lives.
It was four a.m. when they stole up the stairs to the bedroom. To their consternation, both young women were snuggled down in their beds, fast asleep. Jo wanted to shake them both awake, interrogate them as to where they'd been. Being the more sensible one, however, Blair talked her out of it. It wouldn't do to create a racket and have Mrs. Garrett come in. After all, what would she find? Tootie and Natalie were dressed in their jammies, nestled down beneath the covers. Jo and Blair were the ones that had stayed out until past four in the morning, running the streets of Peekskill. Reluctantly, Jo agreed with her.
It had been the first time since New Year's that Jo had slept in the room. She had been prepared to return to her garage, had already said her goodnights to Blair, when she felt the restraining hand upon her arm. It was the lightest of touches, really. But, it pulled Jo to her just like she'd used a magnet. It was late; she had no doubt they'd both sleep soundly through the night. Stay; she insisted. And, of course, Jo could refuse her nothing.
Blair was wrong. She'd reassured Jo, saying they'd both sleep throughout the rest of the night. Jo hadn't slept a wink. She lay in bed, thinking about where Natalie and Tootie were forever sneaking off to on Saturdays. She thought about all the events since Halloween that had led up to this moment. But mostly, she thought about how good it was to sleep in the same room with Blair again.
Had Blair slept? She wasn't sure. When dawn had spread its first tendrils of sunshine through the open blinds, she'd rolled over, marveling at the blonde beauty in the bed opposite hers. Her eyes were closed, her breathing shallow. She looked for all the world to be sleeping. But, when the alarm went off several minutes later, she didn't jump like she usually did. Instead, she slowly blinked her hazel orbs open, pressing fingertips gingerly to the swollen bags beneath her eyes.
Jo turned slightly in the pew to take in Blair's profile. No doubt about it, even on little or no sleep, she was still the best looking thing Jo had ever seen. Her honey blonde hair was feathered back, soft locks falling about her shoulders. Jo fought the urge to reach out, stroke her fingers through the tresses. Her makeup was flawless; there wasn't a hint of the baggage Jo had witnessed beneath her eyes that morning. Long lashes fluttered delicately beneath Jo's scrutiny. Even her lipstick was perfect. A pale pink, the kind that shimmered with a gloss whenever her tongue darted out, moistening full, pouty lips.
I'd give anything to kiss her! Jo stared at Blair's lips, mesmerized. No, you idiot! That's how you got into this mess in the first place! The tip of her tongue darted out again, tracing her bottom lip. Still, nothing wrong with admitting to myself that I want to do it. Her gaze dropped down to the front of Blair's dress. It was a midnight blue with a curving neckline, exposing just that little bit of tender flesh right there at her collarbone. Oh, man! I'd like to lick her right there while I cup her -
Blair turned abruptly, looking at Jo. She flashed one of her brilliant smiles. Smiling sheepishly in return, Jo squirmed in her seat. She forced her gaze to the front of the church, focusing on the choir. She bit her bottom lip, not even daring to look down when she felt Blair's hand come to rest on her upper thigh. And, when she felt the tips of those French-manicured fingernails tracing lazy patterns on her leg, her eyes slammed shut and stayed that way throughout the rest of the sermon.
Jo wasn't the first one out of the Church that day. As a matter of fact, she stayed seated for as long as she could. She needed the extra time to regain control of her body, her senses. She didn't trust herself to open her eyes, to even look in Blair's direction.
That's when she felt it. Blair's body leaning into hers, pressing up against her. The hot breath upon her hair, tickling at her ear. The words whispered in her ear in that soft southern accent. "Jo, are you still praying?"
Jo redoubled her effort to control her heart rate. Her eyes slid open, looking sideways at Blair. "I mean, if you need more time - "
"No, I'm done." Jo slid out of the bench, hastened to the front door.
She'd almost gotten away scot-free. She was walking at a rapid-fire pace through the parking lot, the gravel crunching beneath her boots. She slid to a halt as she approached the last row. There, leaning up against Blair's Porsche, was Mary Alice.
Jo glanced over her shoulder. Mrs. G and Blair were just now exiting the building, Blair supporting Mrs. Garrett as she navigated the front steps. Seeing no way of putting the meeting off without appearing blatantly rude, Jo hesitantly approached the vehicle. Mary Alice's whole face lit up as Jo edged near.
"I was hoping you would come again this week."
"Really?" Both Jo's eyebrows arched.
"Of course." She held a bible clutched in both hands in front of her, arms extended. Was she actually swaying side to side as she talked? "Listen, I know you weren't really interested in some of the activities that I mentioned last week. So, I was hoping maybe if we discussed what you're into, we might find some common activity."
"Oh, I'm pretty sure you're not into the things I am."
Mary Alice reached out, tentatively touched Jo's leather jacket. She ran her hand up the sleeve to pretty much the same place Blair's hand had been last night. Jo looked down at her arm, noting it didn't feel the same as when Blair touched her. She glanced back at Mary Alice.
"You never know, Jo; You and I might have more in common than you think."
Was that a blush? Jo didn't have time to process the innuendo. She heard the crunching of gravel behind her, felt a presence beside her. Mary Alice's hand dropped from Jo's sleeve. Slowly, she backed away. "It was nice to see you again. Hope to catch you next week, Jo."
"What did she want?" asked Blair, peering over Jo's shoulder at the retreating blonde.
"Just talking." Jo shrugged.
"She was talking awfully close and personal, wasn't she? I mean, really, you'd think the girl had never heard of the term personal space."
"I don't know; I think she was just trying to be friendly, Blair." At the miffed look from Blair, she added, "What?!? You're the one that insisted I be nicer to the preacher's daughter!"
They had almost been late that day. Not that Jo would have minded. Mrs. Garrett, however, was not pleased with the way Jo and Blair were lagging behind schedule that morning. She was so displeased, as a matter of fact, that she had gone ahead without them.
Jo thought that had been her reprieve. She should have known better. After all, the agreement she'd made had been with Blair, not with Mrs. Garrett. Of course Blair was going to insist that they attend the services, running a little late or not. And, Jo had to grudgingly admit that she wouldn't have really skipped anyway. She'd given her word. And, if there was one thing in the world anyone could count on, it was Jo keeping her word.
They slipped in the side door, noting the perturbed look from the preacher as he began the services from the pulpit. A slight nod from Mrs. Garrett acknowledged their arrival and her forgiveness for their tardiness. Jo stopped in the middle of the aisle, staring, until Blair nudged her from behind, urging her into the nearest pew.
"What are you staring at?" Blair whispered harshly as she nudged Jo, pushing her farther down the bench so she could slide in.
"Mrs. Garrett." Jo whispered in return, pointing to the third pew from the front. "She's sitting with the preacher's daughter."
"Don't worry, I'm sure Mary Alice will find you after the services, Jo."
Jo arched an eyebrow, stared at Blair. The tone was icy, classic Princess. Princess Warner in her You've-done-something-to-irritate-me-but-I'm-not-going-to-tell you what-that-something-is tone. She caught the little huff, the upturning of the nose as Blair feigned interest in the services.
Jo smirked to herself. Blair could be annoyed with her all she wanted. She'd get over it. After all, she'd done nothing wrong. Lately. As a matter of fact, thanks to her, they'd finally done something right last night.
They'd pulled another double shift in the store that Saturday. Mrs. Garrett was gone to visit an old friend who lived in the next town over. She'd left early that morning and wasn't expected until late that evening. Of course, Natalie and Tootie took advantage of the situation and rushed out of the house before Jo and Blair could so much as protest.
And, much like the previous week, Jo's temper had her seeing red. She immediately rushed out with Blair after work, chasing their tails all over Peekskill, looking for some trace of Natalie and Tootie. This time, however, they played it smart. They worked the town systematically, starting from one end and making their way across town.
Not that their plan had worked. They'd come up empty again. Natalie and Tootie got out of a blue four-door Ford as it pulled up to the end of the drive. They both leaned in, thanking the driver as they grabbed their purses and coats from the backseat. Giggling, whispering amongst themselves, they made their way up the drive towards the house.
As they passed the garage, two arms shot out, grabbing them. Screaming, they were thrown against the garage wall, their backs hitting hard against the concrete. Roughly, they were yanked inside the wooden side door. The door was slammed shut and they were pushed up against the workbench lining the nearest wall.
"Alright, spill! Where the Hell have you been all night?" Jo yelled, leaning into Tootie's personal space.
"N - Nowhere." Tootie's eyes were as big as saucers.
"Yeah, right." Jo made a showing of rolling up her shirt sleeve. She glared at Natalie. "Talk, Green! Or, your new name will be Blue. As in black and - ."
"Jo!" Natalie held both hands palm up in surrender. "Good to see you! You, too, Blair!" she smiled widely, seeing the honey blonde hovering behind Jo. Blair wouldn't let Jo hurt them. She hoped.
"Natalie." Blair's arms were folded across her chest. She wore a scowl on her otherwise flawless features. "Tootie. What have you done?"
"We haven't done nothing!" shouted Tootie.
"Bull! You've been sneaking around every Saturday for the past two months. Disappearing, leaving us to cover your shifts." Jo rolled up her other sleeve for emphasis. "Yet, we're supposed to believe you two haven't been doing anything. Just like you expect us to believe you didn't do nothing to Blair's dress, either!"
Jo jerked a thumb towards the dress in question. She had hung the oil-stained dress on a clothes hanger after her reconciliation with Blair. She knew nothing would get the oil and grease out of the designer fabric, but she couldn't bear to throw the garment out. It remained hanging in the garage beside her bike as a grisly reminder of what she had almost lost.
"Now, Jo." Natalie reached out, putting her hand on Jo's forearm. As Jo looked down at the touch, she let loose Jo's arm. "Sorry. Sensitive to being touched right now. Won't happen again." She took a step backwards, bumped into the workbench. A wrench wobbled, fell off its peg on the wall. "I know we've done some pretty lousy things. You know, sticking you with our shifts and all. But, I swear we had nothing to do with Blair's dress. And, we'll make up the shifts."
"Damn right you will, Green. Every Saturday for the next two months."
"Three," chimed in Blair's southern drawl.
"Wait just a min - " Tootie's words died in her throat at the withering look from Jo. "Okay, the next three months it is."
"I'm glad you decided to accept our offer." Blair had been hovering in the background. But now, sensing the negotiations on the table, she couldn't help but step into the conversation. She clung to Jo's arm, standing slightly behind her in case Natalie and Tootie tried anything aggressive.
"And a very generous offer it is, too." Natalie grabbed Tootie by the arm, slowly maneuvered her away from the workbench. They backed towards the door, reaching behind themselves to turn the knob. As they slipped out the door and closed it behind them, both girls broke into a mad dash for the safety of the house.
Jo and Blair had stayed up half the night talking about the look on the younger girls' faces. And, every comment brought a new round of laughter to the conversation. The jokes and giggling continued to the point that Blair fell off the couch, she was laughing so hard. Then, they laughed about that, too.
By the time they finished, they were both laughed out to the point of exhaustion. Looking at her watch, Blair suddenly realized it was after three in the morning. Jo offered to walk her up to the house. Blair insisted that she could make it on her own, not wanting to inconvenience Jo by dragging her back out into the night air again. Jo refused, citing that she could be mugged between the garage and the front door. Blair countered with the fact that Jo could just as easily be mugged on her return trip from the house to the garage. That earned a loud snort and defensive posturing from Jo. Finally, Blair relented, compromising, agreeing not to go out if Jo would let her sleep in the garage for the night. As usual, Jo could refuse her nothing.
She made out the couch, fixing it as Blair changed into a spare set of pajamas in the corner of the room behind some boxes. Then, Jo grabbed an extra blanket and pillow, settling herself down in the recliner as Blair darted from the "dressing room", sliding deftly beneath the covers in one swift move. And, for the second Saturday in a row, Jo found herself contentedly watching as Blair slept soundly across from her.
She's smiling. Blair remained rigidly upright in her seat, her posture perfect, looking for all the world like she was intently focused on the choir activity in the front of the Church. It was an art form she'd perfected, being able to watch out of the corner of her eye while remaining seemingly focused on something else. She'd employed the technique for years, finding it especially handy whenever she was stuck sitting on the sofa watching some inane television program with the rest of the girls.
She's probably replaying the events of last night in her mind again. Jo's smile widened even farther to the point that it was in danger of becoming a full-on grin. She has every right to be proud of herself. She was so aggressive, so dominating. Reminds me of the old Jo.
Jo had always been self-sufficient. That was one of the traits that Blair admired about her. Blair herself was used to being self-reliant. That came with the territory when you were a society girl shipped off to boarding school after boarding school to keep you out of your parents' hair. She had the experience - and the bank account - to afford to be able to stand on her own.
Jo had - well, Jo only had Jo. She wasn't rich. And, even though Blair knew Jo's parents loved her, they weren't supportive of her. She'd confided in Blair that her dad was in jail since the time she could remember and her mom was always working two jobs, trying to bring in enough money to keep them afloat. Sometimes, the only chance Jo got to see her was if she crept into her mom's room between four and six in the morning to watch her sleeping. That's the only time Jo could be positive her mom would be at home, was that little two-hour window of opportunity between shifts. Blair had silently listened as Jo confided to her that she would crawl into the bed and lay down beside her mom until she had to get up at seven. Then, she'd fix her own breakfast, get herself ready for school and leave as quietly as she could so she didn't wake her mom.
She hadn't wanted to be at Eastland. Not because she was scared of leaving her family like some of the other girls were. No, Jo was scared of being a burden to her mother. She had actually thought about dropping out of school and getting a job to help support her mom so she didn't have to work so hard. It had taken a lot of talking from Mrs. Garrett to convince Jo that wasn't the answer.
Blair smiled wryly. Mrs. Garrett believed that the reason Jo hadn't left was because of her. And, it was - mostly. Jo had grown fond of the matronly woman in such a short period of time. Probably because Mrs. Garrett was taking the place of the absentee-mother. Blair had seen it before. So many of the girls developed a deep bond with the woman, craving the attention from her they either didn't receive - or simply missed - from their own households.
Blair knew better. She knew that even though Jo might have secretly wanted to stay, she wouldn't if she thought she was any sort of a burden to her family. No, Jo was always the sort of person to put her family first, no matter what the sacrifice to herself might be. She knew that although Jo loved Mrs. Garrett, even her advice couldn't have swayed a stubborn Jo that much.
That's how she knew Jo was up to something. Something that had her sneaking out of the house after lights out. And, then sneaking back in around two, three a.m. via an open window. She'd followed Jo one night. Wearing a trench coat and big glasses with a private investigator's hat. She'd followed Jo out of the house, down the sidewalk, all the way into downtown Peekskill.
In retrospect, she had to admit her disguise was flawed. She'd thought she'd found the perfect private investigator's outfit. That's how Jo was able to spot her so easily. She even accused her of watching too many Colombo movies. In her defense, Blair hadn't realized she'd be staking out an underground leather bar. Or, that Jo was hustling the regular patrons at the pool table every night to raise money to send back home.
Even though she was mad at Blair for following her, she refused to let the rich debutante walk home alone on the streets of Peekskill at midnight. So, Blair patiently waited, gratefully accepting free sodas from strangers as she watched her friend play pool. By the end of the night, they had formed a somewhat tenuous friendship, Jo had earned a couple hundred dollars, and Blair had worn the nickname "Colombo" for the next several weeks.
Blair briefly focused on the altar. The preacher was asking for anyone to come forward that wanted to while the choir led them in their closing song. The service is almost over, she realized with a mixture of sadness and relief. She was sad because she enjoyed being able to sit quietly beside Jo, observing her in this atmosphere without the distraction of Natalie and Tootie and who-knows-what-else. Relieved, because she wasn't sure how much longer she could sit beside the gorgeous brunette, smelling her perfume, feeling her warmth, without touching her inappropriately.
She's been awfully well-behaved today. Not squirming like she usually does. Blair followed Jo's gaze, trying to see what she was focused on. She was quite certain that the Bronx native wasn't that enthralled with the choir's singing abilities. Therefore, she had to have found something else to occupy her imagination. Blair's eyes narrowed to tiny slits as she found the object of Jo's interest. Seated there, next to Mrs. Garrett, Mary Alice kept glancing over her shoulder, attempting to make eye contact with Jo.
Blair came out of the ladies' room, made a beeline for the exit. She rushed down the stairs at a brisk pace, attempting to not look too obvious in her haste as she brushed past several congregation members. Her pace slowed considerably as she broke through the crowd, saw Jo leaning against her Porsche.
To her consternation, Mary Alice was already there. Standing too close to Jo, placing one well-manicured hand on the Porsche's frame as she leaned in farther. Her other hand was busy picking imaginary lint from Jo's shirt. Imaginary, because Blair herself had used that tactic on her crushes before. It was a seemingly innocent gesture designed to enable her to have a legitimate excuse to move in, touch lingeringly, invade her target's senses.
Blair didn't appreciate the tactic. Granted, it was one she had invented, cultivated, mastered as her own. She could give lessons to Mary Alice about the subtleties, how to finesse the lean-in, the touch. And, in different circumstances, she might even be tempted to advise Mary Alice on how to refine her techniques for guaranteed success. But, not today. And, never with Jo.
Her pace stiffened. Mary Alice's hand wandered up to Jo's shoulder, fingers grazing through brunette locks that were worn down today, brushed out because Blair had idly made a comment that she liked Jo with her hair out of her ponytail sometimes. Blair's eyes narrowed. Her fingers clutched reflexively at her handbag.
Mary Alice looked up at Blair's approach. With a smirk and a passing comment, she pulled herself off of Jo. Brushing past Blair, she issued a curt greeting. Blair smiled pleasantly, forced a greeting of her own. As she sidled up to Jo, she made sure to pick the opposite side that Mary Alice had been leaning against.
"Do you like her?"
"What?" Jo asked, arms folded across her chest, watching Mary Alice's retreat up the church steps.
"I mean, it's okay if you do. She obviously likes you."
"She's the preacher's daughter." Said with biting sarcasm. "It's her job to like everybody. That's how they get people to come to Church and make donations. You wouldn't give money to them if they were mean to you, would you?"
"You're being defensive because you like her."
"I don't like her." Said gruffly this time. Jo's stance remained the same, posture rigid, arms folded across her chest, eyes glued to the front of the Church. "I don't know her well enough to like or not like her."
"I think you do. She went inside a full two minutes ago and you still can't tear your gaze away from the front of the building."
Jo blinked, turned to look at Blair, then returned her gaze to the Church again. "I'm watching for Mrs. Garrett."
"She'll find us. We're parked right next to her." A patented Blair-pout. "Do you think she's prettier than me?"
"What the - ?" This time Jo did turn and stare directly at Blair.
"Do you think she's prettier than me?" Blair pressed.
"No." Blair's eyes narrowed to tiny slits. Jo shrugged both shoulders. "Really. It's like comparing Kris Munroe to Jill Munroe."
"Charlie's Angels. You know, Kris and Jill. When Jill left the show, they wrote in her little sister to replace her. They're both good looking, both blondes. But, Kris will always be the little sister. She could never compete with Jill."
Blair frowned. "I'm sure there's a compliment in there somewhere, but I really have no idea what you're talking about."
"Charlie's Angels. Female private investigators dressed in fashionable clothes, driving hot cars." Jo was shocked. "You've never seen Charlie's Angels?"
"No, but it sounds interesting. When's it on?"
Jo shrugged. "It went off the air in the seventies." A fleeting look of disappointment crossed Blair's features. "But, I think I have some episodes on tape."
"Great!" Blair's smile instantly returned. "Do you think we can watch this afternoon?"
"Sure." Jo shrugged. "After I get Mrs. G. home, I'll look for the tape. I'm sure it's somewhere in the garage."
"I'll wait for Mrs. Garrett. You go home and look for the tape."
Jo glanced at Blair's Porsche. "You know how she feels about riding in your car, Blair. She doesn't think sports cars are safe."
"Oh." Blair bit her bottom lip, frowning. Then, she smiled broadly. "I just had a brilliant idea!" She reached in her purse, pulling out her car keys. "I'll drive Mrs. Garrett in her car. And, you can take mine!"
Jo quickly grabbed for the keys, then hesitated. "You sure, Blair?" Jo eyed the car appreciatively. "It's an expensive ride."
"Pshaw! It's last year's model." She waved off Jo's concerns with a flick of her wrist. "Besides, I trust you, Jo."
"Thanks, Blair." Jo leaned in, quickly planting a chaste kiss on Blair's cheek. "I'll see you at home."
Blair watched Jo open the door, jump into her car. She flicked the ignition, gunned the engine. Checking her mirrors, she guided the car out of the parking lot and onto the street. Blair leaned against Mrs. Garrett's car, her fingertips gingerly touching the place on her cheek Jo had just kissed.
Jo was kneeling on all fours on the floor of the garage. She lifted the skirt lining the bottom of the sofa, peering beneath. Grunting, she reached a hand beneath the sofa, stretching as far as she could. Fingertips grazed the edge of a cardboard box.
She heard the wooden door open and close, the sound of high heels echoing on concrete. The footsteps became muted as the wearer went from concrete to carpeting as she crossed the room. Jo felt a presence behind her.
"Almost got it, Blair. Do me a favor and grab a couple of sodas from the fridge, huh?"
Jo leaned impossibly closer to the sofa, pressing herself against the cushions. Struggling, stretching, she maneuvered the box with her fingertips, edging it closer. With a satisfied smirk, she felt the corner of the box inch nearer. She grabbed it full on, dragging it towards her.
That's when she felt it. On all fours, one hand trapped beneath the sofa, her butt up in the air. Her mouth dropped open in shock as she felt the hand on her backside. Fingernails scratched roughly on the pocket of her denim jeans. "Blair?" Her voice came out as a tiny squeak.
The touch became firmer, more familiar. Instead of mere fingernails scraping along denim, the touch became an entire palm stroking along her backside. Jo felt additional weight pressing against her back as Blair leaned into her, across her. She bit back a groan at the firm touch from soft flesh. Hot breath tickled at her ear.
"Not Blair," she hissed in Jo's ear.
Jo reacted violently, roughly jerking her arm free from beneath the sofa, scarcely noticing the coarse fabric scraping her flesh. She quickly turned over, flipping her assailant off her back. "Mary Alice!" she exclaimed, scrambling backwards along the carpet. "What are you doing here?"
"Mrs. Garrett told me you had your own place out here. And, that you usually spent Sunday afternoons working on your bike."
Jo continued her backwards crawl, the video box clutched securely in her hand. "You like bikes?" Jo grunted as her back hit the edge of the crate that was serving as her end table, effectively halting her retreat.
"I - " A pink tongue darted out, wetting full lips. " - like - " Mary Alice crawled along the floor, pursuing her prey " - bikers - " fingers locked around Jo's ankle, nails biting into her flesh.
"Well, umm . . . Mary Alice. Not that I wouldn't like to hang out with you and all, but see, I've got this thing planned with Blair." She used both hands to hold the video cassette in front of her. "We're watching Charlie's Angels. Blair's never watched, so I kind of promised - "
"Pity." She crawled up the length of Jo's body, sliding both hands up her torso as she went. "You haven't lived until you've seen 'Angels in Chains'." Nails caught Jo beneath her ear, traced their way along her jawline. "I love the delousing scene in the prison."
"Speaking of delousing - " Jo and Mary Alice looked up sharply at the voice. "Seems Jo has a pest crawling all over her."
"Blair!" Jo couldn't hide the desperation in her voice if she tried. She watched with a sigh of relief as Blair calmly sat down the tray of sandwiches she'd been carrying on the crate she had backed into. She had been worried that Blair would interpret the situation the wrong way, especially after the conversation in the parking lot earlier.
"Jo." Blair nodded. "Mary Alice."
"Warner." Mary Alice continued to straddle Jo, stroking her hands up and down the brunette's torso. She paused only long enough to glare at Blair. "Why don't you go buy a shopping mall or something?"
Blair's eyes narrowed sharply. She reached out, grabbing Mary Alice's upper arm, jerking her off of Jo. "Get off my girlfriend and get your choir robes back on and get out of here!"
Mary Alice jumped to her feet, fists clenched at her sides. She leaned forward, bracing herself, staring Blair in the eye. She thrust her chest out, invading Blair's personal space. Defensively, Blair took up an identical stance, refusing to give an inch to the woman bent on usurping her territory. Jo lay on the floor between them, frozen. She was shocked, afraid to move, to even speak, fearful that the two women may turn their combined wrath on her.
"Excuse me; Did I hear right? Ice Queen Warner's blue-blood frigid thighs have been pried apart by the greasy biker living in the garage?" She laughed haughtily in Blair's face. "Won't Muffy and the rest of the collegiate campus be interested to know that?"
"Even think of breathing a word of this and I'll make certain your father is relocated. Don't forget it was Warner money that paid for the rebuilding of the Church after that fire tore through it last year. A fire that mysteriously started in a utility closet." Blair tapped her chin thoughtfully. "I wonder; Who do I know that smokes? That might be hiding her habit in a closet?" A feral smile played over Blair's lips as she caught the glimmer of fear in Mary Alice's eyes. "How do you feel about doing missionary work in the Congo?"
Mary Alice's face blanched. "You wouldn't - "
"Oh, I would." Blair folded her arms across her chest, stared down Mary Alice. "Get out. Now."
Blair picked up Mary Alice's purse from the sofa, thrust it into her hands. Sputtering and gasping, Mary Alice hastily retreated towards the door, promising Blair to not say a word as long as she wouldn't do anything rash. She hastily breathed out a promise to forget everything that she had seen. Swore she'd never come near Jo again.
Jo crawled to her knees, braced herself on the sofa. She pulled herself up, coming to stand beside Blair. With a smirk, she witnessed Mary Alice's retreat and Blair's subsequent victory dance.
"Blair." Blair turned to look at Jo, a smug expression still on her face. "Listen, thanks for the rescue."
"Not a problem."
"What you said - " Jo suddenly found something incredibly interesting about her boots at that moment. " - You know, about me being your girlfriend and all; Did you mean that?"
"What?" Blair laughed, waved off the notion with a flick of her wrist. "I just said that to get that blonde-haired-dye-job off of you."
"Oh." Something odd flickered across Jo's face, to be swiftly replaced by an awkward smile. "I found the video you wanted to watch." She quickly turned her back to Blair, ostensibly searching the sofa cushions for the discarded video box.
"Jo, I didn't mean - " Blair reached out, grabbing Jo by the arm, spinning her around. "Oh, what the Hell - " Grabbing Jo by the lapels of her jacket, she yanked her forward. Roughly, she pressed her lips to Jo's, catching her in a bruising kiss.
Jo was caught off-guard by Blair's sudden oral assault. As Blair pressed the attack, her tongue mercilessly plundering Jo's mouth, she lost her balance, falling backwards onto the sofa. As she sank into the cushions, Blair's body followed hers, pressing into her.
Fingers stroked through Jo's hair, curling possessively in ebony locks as Blair's other hand squeezed its way between their torsos. Her hand found, caressed Jo's breast. Fingers quickly unsnapped shirt buttons, darted inside denim material. When Blair first saw Jo in the denim blue work shirt, she hadn't been pleased, thinking it resembled something a convicted criminal would wear. Now, she loved the shirt, grateful for the easy-to-undo snaps. Fingers closed about a hardening nipple, applying pressure.
Jo couldn't think. Couldn't move. Couldn't breathe. Not that any of those functions seemed all that critical at that moment. The only thing she knew, the only thing her body needed for survival was Blair. Blair kissing her, touching her, undressing her. She gasped as teeth bit into the flesh of her neck. Arching her back, she lifted her hips when she felt Blair's hands pulling her shirttail from her jeans.
A frenzied tongue, sharp teeth were everywhere. At her earlobe, on her neck. Ravening, then biting her nipples. Calloused hands stroked through honey blonde locks, tangling themselves in luxurious strands. Soft, delicate hands mercilessly worked at the button of a faded pair of well-worn jeans. Slowly, methodically taking the zipper down, exposing inch by inch of damp, ebony locks.
Blair inhaled deeply, smelling the musky aroma of Jo. The entire room smelled of arousal. Hers, as well as Jo's. She'd never wanted anyone the way she wanted Jo. All the weeks, months, years of denying her feelings. It was so obvious; she couldn't hide her arousal now if she tried.
Fingers traced along the denim of Jo's jeans. Teasing, taking her time, pressing into the squirming brunette through the layer of confining cloth. Jo squirmed beneath her, arching, twisting this way and that, attempting to follow Blair's fingers. Begging for release from her torment, pleading for Blair to touch her.
Fingers slipped inside the well-worn denim, stroking through soaked hair. Nails scraped along swollen labia, opening Jo to her touch. A single finger dipped between her lips, gliding through slippery wetness. It sought, found the tiny pearl it searched for. Pressing in, Blair applied torturous pressure to the swollen bud. Caressing, she manipulated the tight bundle of nerves, pressing into her lover with three fingers, making tight little circles with her digits. Jo came hard, her upper body lifting off the sofa as she clutched Blair's shoulders, screamed her name.
They lay curled together on the sofa, Blair's head tucked beneath Jo's chin as she lay stretched out on her stomach. Her fingers idly played with Jo's nipple as she watched the television. One of Jo's hands cupped her left buttock, squeezing the bare flesh.
"I must say, Jo, I really do appreciate your taste in t.v. shows." Blair giggled. "I especially like the scenes where the Angels run in slow motion."
"Hey! That's quality entertainment you're making fun of!"
"I'm sorry." Blair suppressed another giggle. "Really. So, which Angel is your favorite?"
"Jill, of course."
"The one with the blonde hair and big - "
"Smile." Jo ran her free hand through Blair's locks. "What can I say; I'm attracted to a certain type. What about you?"
"What about me?"
"Which Angel are you most attracted to?" asked Jo, nudging a stalling Blair.
"Hmmm." Blair made of showing of tapping her finger to her chin as if she was giving the question serious merit. "It's such a difficult decision. But, if I had to choose, I'd say the one with the short hair and attitude."
"Yeah. I like my women with a certain amount of rough charm."
"Really?" Jo laughed at Blair's confirming nod. Jo slipped her hand between Blair's parted thighs. "Does she make you - " Two fingers dipped inside Blair as she paused, then delivered the last word " - hot?"
"Oh, yeah." Reflexively, Blair clenched her inner muscles, tightening her wall around Jo's probing digits. She giggled as Jo's eyes closed and she moaned deeply. "Too bad you don't have any more tapes. I'd like to watch some more with you. Like this, naked on your couch."
"Really?" Jo opened her eyes, propped herself up on one elbow. Lowering her head, she caught Blair's lips in a kiss. "Just so happens there's an Angels marathon on next Saturday. Eight hours of nothing but scantily-clad, beautiful women fighting crime."
"Guess it's a good thing you convinced Nat and Toot to cover for us, huh?" Blair smiled impishly. Leaning in, she kissed, then bit one of Jo's nipples.
"Oh, yeah," Jo breathed between clenched teeth. She loved what Blair was doing to her. They hadn't made it off the couch since that afternoon. She wasn't positive what time it was now, but she knew by the rumbling in her stomach they had skipped lunch and it was well past dinner time. They'd briefly considered eating the sandwiches Blair had brought, but then decided against it since Blair had slathered mayo on them. Hopefully, they could find something in Mrs. Garrett's kitchen - if they ever found the self-control needed to make it out of the garage.
"You know, Tootie and Natalie never did say where they disappear to every Saturday."
Jo craned her neck, looked down at Blair. She looked adorable, cupping one of Jo's breasts in her hand while licking at the nipple like it was an ice cream cone. "Naw, I guess they didn't."
"And, they never would admit to ruining my dress, either."
"Well, there's no doubt they did it. Tootie was a sneak from the first moment she learned how to tie on rollerskates." She caught the dissatisfied frown on Blair's otherwise perfect features. "You want me to go beat a confession out of them?" Jo asked, shifting her weight, moving as if she had every intention of sliding out from beneath Blair.
"Don't you dare!" Blair shrieked, repositioning herself on top of her lover. "I haven't finished with you, yet. I have many wild and wickedly wonderful things I've been fantasizing of doing with you."
"Yeah?" Jo asked, arching a bemused eyebrow.
Blair leaned in, capturing Jo's bruised lips with her own. Jo's arms slid about Blair's waist, pulling her deeper into the embrace. Growling softly, she nipped at Blair's neck with sharp teeth. Reaching up, she pulled a quilt from the back of the sofa over their naked bodies, protecting them from the chilly night air.
Upstairs in the main house, Mrs. Garrett flittered from room to room, cleaning and dusting as she went. Natalie and Tootie were downstairs at the dining room table, finishing their homework. Why the girls waited until Sunday night every week was beyond her. They should do it and get it over with early the way Blair and Jo did. Then, they'd have the entire weekend to enjoy themselves.
Mrs. Garrett entered the girls' room, tsking at the sad display of organizational and cleaning skills. Bending down, she picked Natalie's empty book bag up off the floor. She never had to clean up books from the other side of the room. The older girls were always so much more respectful of their school belongings. Speaking of Blair and Jo, she hadn't seen them all afternoon. She briefly wondered if that nice girl from the Church had caught up to Jo. Imagine a sweet, little thing like that wanting to ask Jo about bikes. Why, a delicate thing like that didn't look like she knew the first thing about bikes, let alone be able to handle something so dangerous. Of course, she'd referred her to the garage, knowing Jo would be willing to give her the benefit of her experience.
Mrs. Garrett finished straightening the bedspread on Tootie's mattress, moved to Blair's. Of course, Blair's bed was in relatively pristine condition, but it never hurt to give the pillows a little extra fluffing. Fluffing brought the pillows' owner to mind, and she briefly wondered if Blair had spent the entire afternoon in the garage with Jo and Mary Alice. She knew they'd been attempting to mend their damaged relationship, but she wasn't convinced that Blair was likely to spend an afternoon hanging out in the garage while Jo and another woman talked motorcycles.
Jo. Mrs. Garrett looked at her bed. It was perfect. She'd almost gotten her hopes up last Sunday morning when she came in and found Jo sleeping in her old bed. She thought that meant Blair had come to terms enough to allow her back into the house. Apparently, it was just a temporary reprieve, as the bed hadn't been slept in since. Although, Blair did spend Saturday night out in the garage -
She made her way to the door, reached for the light switch. She was just about to turn the lights out, when she paused, fingers on hovering on the doorframe. She glanced back at Jo's bed, eyes narrowing to tiny slits. With determined strides, she crossed the room again, heels echoing on hardwood floor.
Approaching the end of the bed, she knelt down. Lifting the edge of the bedspread, she reached beneath the frame. Fingers skittered along the flooring, blindly searching. At length, she pulled out a large bath towel, wadded into a tight ball. With the bundle tucked beneath her arm, she stood up, making her way out of the room. She paused just long enough to turn off the lights before heading for the stairs.
Humming to herself, she made her way downstairs, past the table where Natalie and Tootie were busy studying. They briefly glanced up, saw Mrs. Garrett passing through the room with a dirty towel tucked beneath her arm. She marched straight past them, through the kitchen and into the utility room.
Placing her bundle on top of the washing machine, she measured her detergent, set the controls. As the washer began filling with water, she calmly unwrapped her bundle. Still humming, she wiped down the bottle of motor oil that had been wrapped inside the towel, deposited it on the shelf between the laundry soap and the fabric softener. She threw the the towel in the washer, slammed the lid.
"Everything okay out here, Mrs. Garrett?" Natalie asked, sticking her head around the doorframe. "I thought I heard a noise."
"Pardon?" asked Natalie.
"Oh, you know what they say, Natalie." Mrs. Garrett shooed Natalie out the door, turned out the lights. She raised her voice an octave to be heard over the sound of the washing machine. "Oil's well that ends well," she finished with her patented Mrs. Garrett laugh and wink.
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