DISCLAIMER: I own nothing. I simply borrow, play with and return to their owners unharmed.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thank you to rikkurd. She really helped me a great deal with suggestions and beta.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
CHALLENGE: Written for Epic Proportions 2009.

Getting the Girl
By quiethearted (QH Fletcher)


Blair burst through the front door and after glancing in the living room she hurried up the stairs. She could not wait to share her good news with her best friend, Jo. It had taken some doing but she had managed to get the tickets Jo wanted. Not finding the brunette in their shared room, she rushed back downstairs and headed for the kitchen. Still no Jo. Where the heck is she?, Blair wondered. Only Tootie and Nat were in the kitchen.

"Have either of you seen Jo?"

Nat lay her sandwich back down on the plate in front of her.

"She's in the garage."

"She has company," Tootie chimed in sitting down with her own sandwich.

"She said she doesn't want to be bothered," Nat added as Blair headed for the back door.

"Jo didn't mean me. We're best friends and I need to tell her something."

"Umm…Blair, I think she did," Tootie bit her lower lip. "She was pretty clear."

"So who does she have out there? The king of the grease monkeys?"

"A girl," Nat supplied taking a bite of sandwich.

"Another fashion reject from the Bronx?" Blair joked.

"Noooo," Nat drug out. "I'd say she was pretty fashionable. Wouldn't you say she was fashionable, Tootie?"

Tootie took a bite of her own sandwich and seemed to consider the question while she chewed. Just as Blair had decided to strangle her, Tootie swallowed and answered, "I'd say she was drop dead gorgeous."

"Who the heck has Jo got out there?" Blair was beginning to get upset. She really did not like the idea of Jo alone in the garage with a drop dead gorgeous anyone; most specifically not after leaving orders to "not be bothered" by her best friend.

Nat smiled sweetly, her fact a study in pure innocence. She secretly loved to see Blair lose her cool and besides, she had her own opinion about Blair and Jo's friendship, especially Jo's half of it. She could not wait to drop this bomb into Blair's lap.

"It's Cindy Jameson."

"Cindy…? " Blair's voice drifted off. Cindy Jameson was the only woman in Peekskill that Blair considered to even be close to being on a par with herself. As if a silky curtain of long auburn hair, large emerald eyes and a perfect somewhat voluptuous figure were not bad enough, Cindy was Blair's equal in both wealth and social standing. "What the hell does she want with Jo?" Blair demanded.

"There's something wrong with her car and Jo offered to look at it for her," Tootie offered helpfully.

"Well, actually, Jo offered to teach her how to fix it herself," Nat clarified.

Blair's irritation was apparent and Nat watched with growing interest. This ought to be good.

"Teach her! Why would Cindy Jameson want to learn how to deal with all that grease and oil?" Blair shuddered delicately. "She'll get dirty. People in our social circle don't get dirty."

Tootie's eyes practically rolled across the room at that; Nat mimicked picking them up and rolling them back to her friend before offering, "Blair, not everyone is afraid of a little dirt."

"I'm not afraid of dirt," Blair defended herself with a characteristic hair flip. "I just choose not to come into contact with it. I leave that to people like Jo and Cindy is not like Jo."

"Maybe she's more like Jo than you think," Nat could not help adding.

"Whatta you mean?" Tootie wanted to know.

"Oh, just a few rumors about Cindy." Building suspense was almost as good as making Blair lose her cool.

"What rumors?" Tootie hated it when Nat knew something she did not. "Come on, Nat. What rumors?"

"Wellll…," Nat wondered how long she could drag this out. Not long evidently, she thought as Blair took a threatening step towards her.

"Natalie," the blonde practically snarled doing a remarkable imitation of her best friends. It always worked for Jo so she figured it was worth a try.

"Boots told Nancy who told Sarah who told me that Cindy likes girls as in really, really likes girls…likes likes like," Nat forced it all out in a rush.

"Pfft..I like girls. So what?" Tootie observed completely missing the point.

"No, Tootie," Nat sighed. "Cindy likes girls like Blair likes boys."

Tooties eyes grew huge as it dawned on her what Nat was saying. "Ohhhh. But what does that have to do with Jo?"

Nat shook her head. "We're talking about Jo here, Tootie. Camouflage wearing, motorcycle riding, leather jacketed, guy punching, name me a cliché and she does it, Jo."

"I don't get it," Tootie insisted.

Nat shook her head. Her own best friend could be seriously naïve sometimes. "Tootie…" she started to try again but was interrupted by Blair.

"Never mind, Tootie. Nat's the one that's going to get it if Jo hears her." She was determined this conversation was going to end.

Blair had heard the rumors about Cindy and they did not bother her really. At least not as long as they had nothing to do with Jo. Her best friend wasn't like that. Was she? Blair pushed the thought away. Of course not. She and Jo spent every spare moment together practically so Blair would know if Jo like liked girls. For the past few months the two had even spent the majority of the weekends together, going to movies, campus events and any other activity that one or the other came up with. Blair had even gone out of her way to get a pair of tickets to some monster truck thingy that Jo had been excited about. The idea really did not appeal to Blair but Jo had gone to that art show with her last weekend so it only seemed fair to do something the other woman would enjoy this weekend. If Jo wanted to date women then Blair would have surely have known about it.

There had been that one woman at that antique car show thingy Jo had dragged her to, the evening gowns the models were had been nice to look at least, but Blair had sent the little peroxide blonde wannabe in last season's knockoff scurrying pretty quickly by linking her arm with Jo's and giving the…person her best disdainful you can't be talking to me look.

No, Jo was not interest in dating women. But if Cindy was then she might make a pass at Jo. Oh, poor Jo. Suffering unwanted advances from a red-headed lesbian sex goddess, Jo would need protection. Refusing to recognize how ridiculous the thought of Jo Poliaczek needing Blair Warner to protect her truly was, the blonde felt her ire being to rise. How dare Cindy make a move on her Jo. The brunette was not used to dealing with rich entitled people who thought the world would fall at their feet just because of who they were. Blair's own resemblance to that description and Jo's years of dealing with her bypassed the blonde completely. Blair needed to make sure Jo was alright.

Ignoring the other two girls, Blair hurried out the back door to the garage intent on her mission to save Jo. The only problem was Jo did not need saving. In fact, Jo seemed quite content…kissing Cindy Jameson. The red-head had Jo pressed up against the side of a red Porsche while she slowly and thoroughly kissed Jo senseless.

Blair stared openmouthed at the scene before her. Long slender fingers were buried in dark hair pulling Jo's mouth closer. How dare that…that…bitch! When the hands began to move down over Jo's shoulders to the front of her t-shirt Blair had had enough. Furious she slammed the garage door.

Jo's eyes popped open and widened at the sight of an obviously irate Blair. Hastily, she pushed Cindy away. Not really sure why, Jo had the distinct impression she had just been caught with her hand in the cookie jar.

"Hey, Blair," Jo tried for nonchalance.

"Don't you 'hey, Blair' me, Jo Polniaczek!" the blonde fumed.

Cindy looked from one to the other confused by the exchange.

"I thought you said you didn't have a girlfriend," she queried Jo.

"I don't," Jo hastened to reassure Cindy which only seemed to make Blair's face that much redder.

"Then what's Warner so upset about?"

"Hell, if I know," Jo replied. What the hell was Blair so upset about?

Being talked about like she was not there only served to infuriate Blair more.

"Exactly, what is going on here?" she demanded of Jo.

"I should think that would be obvious," Cindy smirked.

Momentarily ignoring the desire to slap the red-head silly, but only momentarily, Blair snarled, "I don't think I was talking to you. Well, Jo?"

The brunette was at a loss as to why Blair was so angry. She had never admitted she was gay to the blonde but she kind of thought it would have been obvious by now. After all, there was that woman she had flirted with at the car show. At least she had been until Blair walked up with some inane comment about clothes and the woman took off. After that it had not seemed as important to get the woman's phone number. The fact that Blair stood there now, arms crossed, foot tapping, waiting for an answer only served to cause Jo's anger to flair.

"What's the matter, Princess? Can't deal with two women kissing?" Jo shot back in her snidest tone.

"Not when one of them is supposed to be my best friend. My straight best friend, you Neanderthal," Blair advanced on the brunette fists clenched in her fury.

"When did I ever say I was straight, your majesty," Jo took a step forward not to be outdone.

"When did you ever say you weren't, grease monkey," Blair got right into Jo's personal space until they were nose to nose.

"When did you ever ask, Miss I Assume Too Much?"

Blair opened and closed her mouth repeatedly as she searched for a response. When none came to mind, she fell back on an old stand-by. Stomping her foot, she snarled, "Turn Blue!" and slammed her way back out of the garage. Moments later they heard the house door slam an echo.

"Turn blue?" Cindy asked lips quirking as she tried not to laugh.

"Yeah, Blair Warner's ultimate all-purpose response to end all arguments," Jo shook her head. It just wasn't like Blair. She was usually so accepting of people's differences. "I don't get why she was so angry though."

"You don't, huh?" Cindy smiled knowingly. She moved over to stand in front of Jo and draped her arm's around the other woman's neck. "It could have something to do with the fact that she just was the gorgeous butch she's always had at her beck and call kissing someone else and doing a very good job of it I might add."

As Cindy drew their lips once more together, Jo pushed thoughts of Blair away or tried to. It was ridiculous to think Blair might be jealous. Besides, she would much rather think about the warm, willing lips pressed against her own. Still…

Blair slammed the door and stormed through the kitchen ranting incoherently about sleazy red-heads and inconsiderate roommates who did not appreciate what they had. Nat and Tootie watched as she disappeared through the kitchen door. They listened as feet stomped up the stairs and another door slammed upstairs.

"Well, I'd say Blair is pissed," Nat commented.

"I wonder what set her off," Tootie mused.

"What indeed. Hang on a minute, Tootie." Nat slipped out the back door. In moments she was back. "Well, I know what upset Blair."


"Jo did."

"Tell me something I didn't already know, Nat. Only Jo makes Blair that mad."

"Ok, how about this?" Tootie could almost see Nat mentally rubbing her hands together in relish. "Jo's kissing Cindy."

For a moment Nat thought Tootie's eyes were going to pop all the way out of her head.

"Ooookay. And you think Blair's upset 'cause Jo's kissing Cindy?"

"No, I think Blair's upset 'cause Jo was kissing Cindy instead of her."

Tootie stared at her friend like she had just grown an extra head. "Nat, Jo being gay is not news. Besides kissing a girl doesn't make you gay. If it did 90% of the girls at Eastwood would be gay. I don't see where you get that Blair is jealous out of that."

Nat draped an arm around her friend's shoulder. "Trust me, Tootie. Blair's jealous. I'll even bet right now she's crying."

"Why would Blair be crying?" As hard as she tried Tootie just could not follow Nat's reasoning. "Because she's jealous?"

"Well, that and because Jo didn't follow her."

"Now I'm really lost," Tootie threw up her hands in frustration.

"Think of it like this. You've spent years liking this one person. You can't even admit it to yourself so you re-channel those feelings and they come out as arguments, really intense, passionate arguments that guarantee you this person's undivided attention. With me so far?"

"Yeah." That really did describe Jo and Blair's arguments well.

"Okay, so you spend more and more time with that person and one day you find this person kissing someone else, totally out of the blue. No warning at all. So what do you do? The same thing that's always worked before, of course. You start an argument and storm off. Only for the first time that person doesn't chase after you to continue the fight."

Tootie sat for a moment thinking over Nat's reasoning and the events of the last few months.

"Jo is in so much trooouble!" she concluded.

"Well, yeah…," Nat started then thought again. "How do you figure?"

Tootie shook her head at how dense Nat could be at times.

"Cause she's cheating on Blair," Tootie elaborated as if were the simplest thing in the world.

"How could she be cheating on Blair? They're not together." Sometimes Tootie's thought processes fascinated her friend.

"Trust me, Nat. That's a detail. Jo's cheating and Blair's hurt. Things are not going to be pleasant around here."

"I still don't see how Jo could be cheating." Nat shook her head in confusion.

"It's a girl thing," Tootie sighed.

"I'm a girl and I don't get it," Nat defended. "Well, I am and I don't see how you can cheat on someone you're not in a relationship with."

"Sit down. It's my turn to explain." Tootie got them each a soda and joined Nat at the table setting a drink in front of each of them. She popped the top on her can and took a sip as she thought how to begin. "Ok, how do you know two people are in a relationship?"

"Well, they spend a lot of time together. They care about each other. They're always doing things for each other. They look out for each other. They go to movies and stuff together. They even go to things they don't like cause the other person does. Sometimes they fight and they get in each other's personal space a lot."

"And what do Jo and Blair do?" Tootie asked.

"Well, they…," Nat's voice drifted off as she put it together. "You're right. Jo's in serious trouble. Hey! Where are you going?" she called as Tootie headed out of the kitchen.

"To comfort our friend whose girlfriend is cheating on her," Tootie threw over her shoulder as she kept going. Nat stayed where she was. She figured someone needed to tell Jo how much trouble she was in. Nat just hoped Jo would not kill the messenger.

Tootie tapped lightly on the door before she opened it. Even though it was her bedroom too she figured it would only polite to give Blair the chance to pull herself together.

"Blair?" she called softly.

When silence greeted her, Tootie pushed the door open. Blair was lying on her own bed face buried in a pillow. The blonde's shoulders shook from her sobs. Sitting on the side of the bed, Tootie stroked the trembling back.

"I'm so sorry, Blair."

"What for?" the blonde sniffed lifting her head to look at her friend.

The younger girl plucked a tissue from the box on the bedside table and tucked it into her friend's hand.

"I'm sorry that you're hurting," she continued.

"That's just it." Blair sat up and wiped her eyes. "I don't know why I'm reacting like this. It doesn't make any sense."

"Sure it does. Of course, you're gonna be hurt if you catch your girlfriend kissing someone else." Tootie went on gently being as reasonable as possible.

"My gir…," Blair looked at Tootie like she had never seen her before. "Tootie, what are you talking about?"

"I'm talking about Jo cheating on you."

"Cheat…Jo…me?" Blair squeaked unsure she had heard right.

"Blair, be honest. How does it feel right now?" Tootie waited to give her friend time think about it.

"Like I caught my girlfriend kissing another woman," Blair whispered tears welling again. "But that's crazy. I don't date girls. Jo's not my girlfriend. She can kiss anyone she wants."

Dark eyes searched tear drenched brown ones. "Is that really how you feel?"

"No," the blond responded with a tear drenched whisper. "But that doesn't matter. It's how Jo feels evidently."

"Have you told Jo she has the option to feel different?"

"No!" Blair seemed stunned by the very idea.

"Blair, how do you expect her to know if you don't tell her?"

"I…I've never…," the blonde blushed a little embarrassed by what she was going to admit. "I've never had to tell anyone I was interested in them before. I mean I must sort of look at them and they ask me out."

"Okay, let me see this look." Tootie was having a little trouble believing all it took was one look. She knew Blair was good but honestly, one look?

"Tootie…," Blair began.

"No, I need to see it," Tootie interrupted.

Blair sat quietly for a moment. Then she glanced at her friend from under long lashes, a hint of promise in chocolate depths. A slight smile curled her full lips before long blonde locks obscured her face. Tootie found herself fighting a sudden urge to ask Blair out, anything to get the blonde to look at her that way again.

"Wow! You have to teach me that!"

Blair laughed, the blush deepening. "I can't teach it. You have to be born with it."

"Have you tried it on Jo?"

"All the time. How do you think I got her to go to the ballet with me last month?"

"I was wondering about that," Tootie admitted. "How'd she like it?"

"She said it was the best nap she'd ever had," Blair confessed ruefully. "I decided not to try her at the opera. The singing would keep her awake."

Tootie was really enjoying their conversation. Blair had never opened up with her this way before. She supposed it was the age difference and the fact Blair always had Jo to talk to which did not apply when Jo was what Blair needed to talk about.

"Why Jo?" Tootie blurted.

Blair stared at the tissue she was fiddling with so long that her friend was starting to think she wasn't going to answer. Finally, a soft smile graced her lips and Blair took a deep breath.

"Jo isn't like anyone I've ever known. She's rough and rude. She knows nothing about the finer aspects of life and doesn't care to learn. Which drives me absolutely crazy and at the same time it's so intriguing. She's brutally honest and she forces me to be the same way. She's just Jo and she won't tolerate me being anything except just Blair."

Tootie nodded. She could understand that Jo's honesty would be very attractive to someone who lived in a world where appearances were more important than substance. Something else occurred to her.

"Don't you think Jo might be a little too rough for you, Blair?"

The blonde blushed so hard this time Tootie was a bit worried her head might pop from the pressure.

"No," was her quick response. Blair started to get up from her place on the bed. "You're really too young for us to have this conversation."

"Huh?" Tootie was momentarily confused but them she realized the connotation Blair had placed on her question. Now it was Tootie's turn to blush. "I didn't mean that!" Grabbing her friend's hand she pulled her back to the bed.

Allowing herself to be pulled back down, Blair looked everywhere but at her friend, "Sorry, Tootie. Lately it seems I can't think about Jo without my mind going there."

"I thought you were going to wait until you got married?"

"I am!" Blair reassured her. "At least, that's always been the plan. I can't exactly marry Jo you know."

"So what are you going to do?" Tootie was curious as to how Blair was going to keep the promise she'd made to herself to stay a virgin until her wedding night if she could not marry the person she loved. Assuming she actually loves Jo and isn't just infatuated with their differences.

"Keep the promise I made to myself," Blair seemed adamant about that.

"How do you think Jo's gonna feel about that?" Tootie couldn't see Jo waiting for anything if she wanted it bad enough.

"I have no idea," Blair admitted. "I do think we're getting ahead of ourselves though. Last I saw Jo was kissing someone else." She glanced up at the ceiling to try to keep the tears that had welled up at that thought from falling.

"I think she kissed Cindy because she didn't know she could kiss you," Tootie reassured her friend.

"Believe me, Tootie, she's had more than ample opportunity if I was the one she wanted."

"Not if she's afraid of ruining the friendship," Tootie reasoned. "Isn't that why you haven't made things more obvious yourself? If it were me and Nat, that's how I'd feel."

Blair gave a small shrug that seemed really sad to Tootie.

"Yeah, and that's exactly why I'm not going to say anything now. Neither are you. Promise me."

"I promise," Tootie vowed solemnly very glad that Nat was not here to make the same promise. She had hoped Nat was having a very similar discussion with Jo right now. She just hoped Nat lived to tell her about it.

Nat had not waited long before Jo had come slamming into the kitchen yelling for Blair.

"Alright, Nat. Where is she?" Seeing the younger girl, Jo turned her anger on her.

"Where's who?" Nat tried the innocent approach.

"Blair. Who else's name was I just yelling?"

"She's upstairs." Seeing Jo head for the other door Nat rushed on. "But I wouldn't go up there right now."

"Why not? I need to talk to her." Jo kept going.

"She's crying!" Nat yelled surprised when Jo stopped in her tracks.

"Why would Blair be crying?" Jo demanded.

"Well, I'm not sure she is. I haven't been up there. Tootie seemed to think she was so she went up."

"Again. Why would Blair be crying?" Jo bit out her patience wearing thin.

Nat sent up a silent prayer that she was not going to get killed for what she said next.

"Because you kissed Cindy," Nat's tone carried disappointment.

That was just too much. Jo was tired of all her friends judging her today.

"And what's wrong with that?" she fired back. "I can't believe how narrow minded you're all being."

Nat burst out laughing. She could not help it. It really was just too funny. Jo thought they were prejudiced because she was kissing a female.

Jo clenched her fist ready to hit something. She did not find any of this funny.

"Nat!" she warned.

"I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" Nat choked out. "It's just that you've got it all wrong."

That stopped Jo in mid-boil.

"Whata you mean?"

"No one's upset you kissed a girl, just that you kissed the wrong girl."

"So you guys don't like Cindy. What's wrong with her?"

Nat sighed. This was going to be harder than she thought. Pushing out a chair with her foot, she took a sip of her soda and gestured at her friend.

"Have a seat." When Jo hesitated, she added, "Please."

Jo dropped into the chair. Hands shoved in her front pockets, she looked none too happy.

"It's not that we don't like Cindy," Nat began. "To be honest, Blair's the only one who actually knows her and has never said anything bad about her."

"Then I don't get it. What's the problem? Why's Blair crying?" Jo turned the conversation back to what was really bothering her, a fact that did not escape her friend's notice.

"Like I said you were kissing the wrong girl."

" So who should I be kissing?"

"Blair, of course."

Nat watched as Jo did a remarkably good imitation of a beached fish, opening and closing her mouth repeatedly. A couple of times she looked ready to speak, but each time she settled back into her guppy routine. Nat drank her soda and waited patiently. At last, Jo found her voice.

"Why do you think I should be kissing Blair?" Jo could not believe she had given herself away so completely. She had always been so careful not to let anyone see how she felt about the blonde. While she was thrilled with all the time the two of them had spent together lately, Jo always made a point of acting like she hated all the stuff Blair dragged her to, though the ballet had not been so bad. Jo had pretended to be asleep so she could watch her friend from under her lashes the entire time. She would never admit it but watching Blair was her favorite activity. The woman was gorgeous and Jo adored her absolutely.

"Come on, Jo. You've been dating Blair for months."

"Dating? Who said we were dating? We've just been doing stuff together," Jo protested. She had never had the courage of thinking of it as dating Blair, even if that was what she hoped it was secretly.

"Last time I checked 'doing stuff together' was the definition of dating." Nat could not help being just a little bit sarcastic, but she rushed on before Jo could react. "You really shouldn't date one girl and kiss another. That's cheating."

"Cheating! Where the hell did you get that from?"

"Well, Tootie," Nat admitted. "She said you cheated on Blair and that's why Blair would be crying."

"Blair's crying because she thinks I was cheating?" Jo was dumbfounded. How did all this happen?

"Wouldn't you cry if you caught your girlfriend kissing someone else?" Nat sounded so reasonable. Before Jo could answer, she went on. "No, you'd probably hit something or someone. But we're not talking about you, we're talking about Blair. She'd cry."

"Nat, what the hell are you talking about?"

"Jo, have you not been following the conversation?"

Unfortunately, she had been following it only too well. Somehow she'd given herself away, and now Blair had put two and two together. Unlike Nat, who jumped to conclusions and always got five, thinking Blair was upset she wasn't the one Jo kissed, the brunette realized Blair got the right answer and was feeling betrayed because her best friend had fallen in love with her. Jo felt she had to do something to stop this before she lost Blair totally. Her friendship with Blair was the only thing that got her through at times. She could not lose that. She had to defuse this before it blew up in her face.

"Nat, I've followed the whole thing but you're just not making sense. For one, no matter what you think, I haven't been dating Blair. I'm not dating anyone so I'm free to kiss anyone I want to. Cindy's nice and she's a lot more my type than Princess Warner. Blair is the last person I'd ever want to kiss. She's my best friend and we have enough trouble getting along without you trying to start trouble with your silly fantasies." Like my own aren't complication enough.

Blair slowly let the kitchen door swing closed. Jo's back had been to her so the brunette had not seen her as she told Nat off. Which was a good thing since Blair could not have hidden the effect Jo's words had on her.

Tootie placed a hand on her shoulder and squeezed gently in sympathy.

"I guess that answers all my questions," Blair murmured the pain easy to read in her expressive brown eyes.

Before Tootie could respond, Blair took a slow deep breath and settled the mantle of the Warner Heir around her shoulders. The younger girl stared in amazement at the transformation in her friend. Gone was any sign of the pain or upset of the last hour. Instead Blair looked as she always did. Tootie could not help wondering how much else Blair hid this way.

"Remember your promise," the blonde whispered before swinging the door open and entering the kitchen with her usual bounce and bluster.

"I see the grease monkey has finished her little…project," she smirked at Jo.

"Get a grip, Princess," Jo snarled, glad she did not see any evidence of Blair being upset or crying.

"Oh, I'd say you were the one with the grip. It's a wonder the poor girl could breathe and the grease will never come out of that silk blouse. What a waste of a good wardrobe."

"I didn't hear any complaints."

"Hard for her to say anything with your tongue stuck down her throat. Were you trying to give her an oral tonsillectomy?" Blair laughed.

"Get a life, Blair," Jo shot back as she stomped out of the kitchen to head back to the garage.

"I plan to," Blair whispered as she blinked to keep her eyes dry. Glancing at Tootie she added, "Not a word." Quietly she headed back upstairs.

Tootie sighed as she met Nat's eyes.

"This isn't good. Blair's really hurting."

"And Jo's in denial," Nat added. "So what do we do?"

"We wait. It's all we can do. Anything else will only make things worse."

Nat nodded but she could not help wondering how it could possibly get any worse.

But get worse it did. Jo always seemed to be gone with Cindy and Blair was working her way through yet another series of boyfriends. The two younger girls only saw them in passing. The never saw the two together and the few times they did meet up the older two barely spoke to each other. Nat and Tootie were really getting worried. If this went on much longer they did not know how it could ever be fixed.

Jo worried too when she slowed down enough to think about it. Blair seldom spoke to her. Hell, she never saw her to speak to her. If Jo came into a room, Blair left it. If Jo was already there, Blair kept going. The few times Jo had worked up the nerve to ask Blair to go do something, the blonde always seemed to have other plans. She avoided any reference to Jo seeing someone. She had alluded to it exactly once when she had given Jo the tickets to the monster truck rally. Jo had asked Blair to go with her thinking the tickets were a kind of peace offering and wanting to do her part to heal the breach between them.

"No, thanks," Blair declined. "You should take your girlfriend. You wouldn't want to cause any confusion about who you're dating."

Blair had left before Jo had a chance to think of anything to say. Jo had invited Cindy to go and they had both had a lousy time. The other woman was totally bored and showed it. While Jo spent the entire time wishing it was Blair who was with her. The Princess would have been bored too, Jo admitted to herself. But she would have kept them both amused with her commentary on the people and events going on around them. Besides which when a friend of Jo's had offered her a chance to drive one of the huge trucks Blair would have climbed right up into one of the monsters right alongside Jo, totally confident in Jo's ability to drive it, and always ready to share any experience that excited Jo. She would never have stood on the sidelines and waved as Jo passed the way Cindy had. Face it, Polniaczk, the main problem with Cindy is she's not Blair. Which was probably the main reason that even though Cindy had it clear on more than one occasion she'd like to take their relationship further Jo just could not bring herself to commit to more than casual dating. When the brunette thought of herself as having a girlfriend or making love with a woman it was always Blair's face she pictured. Jo was beginning to wonder if she was actually a lesbian or just a Blairsian.

Frustrated, Jo threw herself on the couch and started flipping through channels. She settled on an old movie from the 40's. She has spent many hours watching these with Blair. It was one of the few things they had both agreed on liking. Jo sighed. She missed Blair, missed the time they spent together doing things and just talking.

She barely looked up when Tootie flung open the front door shouting, "Hey, guys! It's snowing! Snowball fight!" Jo smiled as Nat grabbed a coat and tore out after Tootie. The four of them had made something of a tradition out of the first snowball fight of the season. She and Blair had always teamed up against the other two. Jo felt a bit sad that that tradition was about to be broken. She walked over to the window to watch, unwilling to take part without her usual partner.

Jo was not the only one who felt the loss. Over the past weeks, Blair found she missed her friend desperately. She had even gone so far as to talk to Mrs. Garrett about it all. Their guardian's advice had been simple.

"If the friendship is important enough to you, you'll find a way to put things right. Talk to her, Blair. You can't solve anything if you don't talk about it."

"Talking about it will only make it worse, Mrs. G. Jo doesn't feel the same way I do."

"And how do you feel?"

"I don't know," Blair admitted. "More than a friend should but I'm just not sure it's enough to risk our friendship over."

Mrs. G put her arm around the younger girl's shoulder to comfort her.

"It seems to me you're already risking that."

Now Blair stood off to the side and watched Jo through the window. Mrs. G was right. She was risking their friendship by cutting Jo off. Whatever she was feeling, however deep it went, wasn't Jo's problem. It was her own. Picking up a handful of snow she began to pack it into a tight ball. She knew one way to bridge the distance between them. Jo's temper had never let her down yet. With an evil grin, Blair let herself quietly in the front door.

Seeing Jo framed in the window, she drew back and threw nailing her friend in the back of the head. With a whoop, Blair ran back outside.

"Blair!" Jo's scream of rage could be heard throughout the house and out into the yard. Nat and Tootie looked up as Jo exploded out of the house and took off after a laughing Blair who had quite a head start.

"Yeah!" They both shouted as Jo threw one snowball after another at the blonde who dodged and ducked laughing all the while.

Blair could not remember the last time she felt this exhilarated. She loved it when Jo was like this. Passion practically sparked off the brunette as she chased after her. Back and forth across the yard they raced tossing snowballs at each other.

Their two younger friends were enthralled, even Mrs. G had come out on the porch to watch. This was how it should be. Nat threw an arm around her friend.

"Blair better be careful. Jo's gonna catch her."

"I know," Tootie laughed before shouting encouragement. "Run, Blair! Don't stop! Keep running!"

"That's a mistake," Nat observed as Blair slowed to grab another handful of snow. The two watched rapt as the blonde turned to throw and Jo launched herself at her friend. They went down in a tangle of arms and legs.

"They need to talk. Let's get some hot chocolate. I'll make it," Tootie offered tugging Nat towards the house. Feeling like all was right with the world again, the two joined Mrs. G and made their way inside.

As Blair turned to throw she hoped to hit Jo again. She could use the time she would gain to get away. She did not realize how close Jo was. Before she could throw, the other woman took a diving leap at Blair. The two went down with Jo ending up on top. Blair did not realize how excited she was by everything until they hit the ground. Jo's knee ended up between Blair's thighs and the blonde felt the contact throughout her body. She gasped as her hips instinctively arched up to increase the pressure.

Not realizing what was happening, Jo grabbed Blair's wrist and pinned them above her head bringing their bodies into closer proximity. The movement caused Jo's knee to grind tighter. Between the pressure and the way Jo held her captive, Blair was caught in a sea of sensation and could only respond. She moaned shifting her hips. Oh, damn…so close, was as near as Blair could get to coherent thought. She had to stop Jo before…before…

Feeling Blair trying to get away, Jo pressed closer to hold her in place. She looked down at the blonde and shifted, intent on keeping Blair from getting away and hitting her with any more snow. Startled green eyes looked into passion filled brown as the blonde grasped Jo's hand s and arched up into her friend.

"Jo," Blair gasped as she slipped over the edge.

Disbelieving, Jo took in the one sight she most wanted to see and never thought she would. Releasing Blair's hands, she cradled the blonde in her arms.

"Oh, damn, Blair. You're beautiful. So beautiful," she murmured holding the woman she loved close.

Blair could not believe what had just happened. The first time she had ever…done that…with another person and it was by accident and in the middle of the front yard. The front yard! Frantically, she started to look around.

"They went inside. No one saw," Jo reassured her. With trembling fingers, she brushed the hair back from Blair's check. "Just me."

Blair relaxed into the warmth of the body on top of hers.

"You weren't supposed to," she whispered.

Jo offered the crooked grin that Blair loved so much.

"I'm not sorry I did. It was quite a sight to see," she teased gently.

Blushing, Blair hid her face in Jo's shoulder. She supposed she should be angry, but she was not and she did not want to be. No matter how it happened she was glad it was with Jo. It could not have been better. Well, candlelight and silk sheets would have been nice, but anything was good as long as Jo was there with her. She pulled the lean strong body closer to her and reveled in the weight pressing down on her.

"Hey," Jo whispered in her ear. "You okay?"

Blair nodded still not quite ready to look at her friend.

"We need to get you up out of this snow. You're getting wet."

Blair giggled at the irony.

"Okay," Jo laughed. "You're getting wetter."

"Jo!" Blair gasped unable to believe Jo had said that. She risked a glance at the brunette.

Jo smirked at her. "You gonna tell me I'm wrong?"

"You gonna tell me I'm the only one?" Blair quipped.

Now it was Jo's turn to blush. How far should she go? What should she admit? She was aroused from seeing Blair so vulnerable and becoming more so with each moment she felt the blonde lying beneath her. Go for it, Jo. You'll never find a moment more in need of total honesty in your life. She had always been honest with Blair. Now was not the time to change that. Looking deep into warm brown eyes, Jo went for it.

"No, you're not the only one."

The smile Blair bestowed on her was so radiant Jo could feel it warming her toes. Some how she knew every thing would be alright.

"Come on. Let's get you out of all this snow."

Laughing, Blair let Jo get up and accepted the hand Jo offered to help her stand. As they walked toward the house neither noticed their hands were still joined.

As Jo reached for the door knob, Blair stopped her. Without a word she moved into Jo draping her arms around the brunette's neck. Pressing lightly into her body, Blair buried her face in her friend's neck. Silently they stood just holding each other reveling in the closeness until a rumbling sound cause Blair to laugh.

"Neanderthal," her warm breath drifted over Jo's ear sending shivers down the other woman's spine. Stepping back, she grasped Jo's hand and pulled her into the house. "We need to feed the beast."

"Who said it was hungry for food?" Jo whispered just loud enough for Blair to hear.

The blonde looked at her over a shoulder blushing profusely. She reached back and stroke manicured nails across Jo's stomach, pretending she did not hear the indrawn hiss of breath.

"I'm sure food would satisfy this."

Realizing it was the only offer she was going to get at the moment, Jo took Blair's coat before hanging both of their's in the closet. The phone rang as she turned back and Tootie ran in to answer it not realizing her friends were back.

"Hello?" the younger girl answered as she grinned at Blair dragging Jo towards the kitchen by one hand. Her smile faded as she listened.

"Hold on. Jo, it's for you." She held the phone out to her thinking some people had the worse timing in the world. "It's Cindy," she murmured as Jo took the phone.

Blair's face froze as she tried to pull away from Jo. What had she been thinking? Jo had a girlfriend. Some accident in the snow was not going to change that. She tugged harder trying to get free but the brunette was not letting go. The last thing Blair wanted was to listen to Jo sweet talk another woman after what had just happened, but it seemed she was not going to get a choice. In fact, Jo shifted the phone to that side and pulled Blair even close so she could hear both sides of the conversation.

Tootie's eyes widened when she saw what Jo had done and the angry betrayal in Blair's eyes. Jo, please don't screw up now, she prayed.

"Hello?" Jo answered.

"Jo, it's Cindy. Listen, I was wondering if you wanted to go sledding with a few of us."

"No, I've got other plans," Jo declined.

"Maybe tomorrow then?"

"I can't. Thing is I'm going to be doing stuff with Blair."

"I take it she came around."

"You could say that," Jo winked at Blair, who dropped her mouth open in shock and hit her on the shoulder before pressing her ear back to the phone. She definitely wanted to hear this.

"I'm glad, Jo. Don't screw up again. She's too important to you for that."

"Yeah, she is and believe me, I don't plan to mess it up."

"Well, the next time someone asks if you have a girlfriend say yes. Blair might let you live longer."

"I will," Jo laughed. "I have no intention of hurting her again." The brunette stroked one finger of the hand holding the phone against a soft cheek.

"Ok, talk to you later. Oh and bye, Blair."

"Bye," the blonde spoke before she thought. Clapping a hand over her mouth, she glared at Jo who had trouble hanging up the phone for laughing so hard. "I can't believe she knew I was listening the whole time."

"It was her idea. Oh, damn. You should have seen your face," Jo choked out.

"Her idea?" Suddenly it really was not funny to Blair. Had Jo set her up somehow?

Seeing the change in her friend's face, the brunette stopped laughing and jumped into damage control mode.

"Blair, Cindy and I are just friends. We only dated a couple of times and the kiss is as far as it went. Mostly we talked about you."

"Me?" Blair was clearly disbelieving.

"Yeah, she said you were always with me and she didn't want to share or feel like she was dating both of us, so it would be better to just be friends." Jo blushed as she continued, "She also said if it was her and she'd seen me kissing you like that she wouldn't truly believe we were just friends 'til she heard if from both of us."

"She's right," Blair admitted. "Too many hears dating people who won't think twice about lying to get what they want, I guess."

"And what did they want?" Jo asked sliding her hands around Blair's waist.

"The same thing you do!" Tootie quipped before running into the kitchen to spread the word Jo and Blair were back together.

"She's right, you know," Blair draped her arms around Jo's neck.

"I'd forgotten she was there, " Jo laughed for pulling Blair close in a hug. "She's wrong you know. That's not what I want." At a look from Blair she blushed, "Okay, it's not all I want."

"That's better," Blair teased. "I'd hate to think I've lost my touch."

"Hey, I thought you were going to wait for marriage."

"Oh, I didn't say you were going to get it," Blair mocked. "Just that you should want it."

"Blair, there's a name for women like that," Jo growled.

"Yes, virgin." With a squeal, Blair took off for the kitchen and the safety of numbers as Jo grabbed for her. "Neanderthal!" she taunted over her shoulder.

"Princess!" Jo yelled tearing after her hot on her heels.

In the kitchen, Jo encountered Nat, Mrs. Garrett and Tootie. With their arms around each other's shoulders and huge grins on their faces, they formed a wall behind which Blair hid peeking out at the brunette.

"Jo," Mrs. G. tried to look serious, "we're going to need a few new rules around here."

"Don't worry, Mrs. G., Blair has enough rules for both of you."

Blair stuck her tongue out at Jo before ducking back behind the others.

"Come over here and do that," Jo taunted her.

"Yes, Blair has rules," Tootie supported her friend.

"And we're all gonna help the two of you live by them," Nat added. "Wait! What rules?"

"The marriage thing," Tootie hissed.

"Oh, yeah…what Tootie said…those rules."

Damn, what have I gotten myself into, Jo wondered.

Seeing the frustration on her friend's face and remembering what had happened outside, Blair could not help wondering how fair all this was to Jo, and how long she would be able to keep the brunette in her life this way. The blonde did not want to compromise her principles but she did not want to lose Jo either. She peeked at Jo from over Mrs. G.'s shoulder.

Meeting those large brown eyes and correctly reading the fear in them, Jo smiled reassuringly. She did not speak for a few moments as she thought carefully. What would she say to these women, her two friends, the woman who had watched over her and was a close as her own mother, but most importantly to the gorgeous young woman Jo was so sure she loved with all her heart. She thought about what was important to each of them and she went over all the things she knew that guys had done wrong with Blair over the years. She could see the blonde getting more and more nervous but Jo felt she needed to take her time and get this right.

It was too soon to talk about love though that was how she felt. Way too soon for marriage or anything approximating it. What did you really have to offer someone like Blair. Maybe that was the point, she really had nothing to offer except herself. Looking into that beautiful face, Jo knew it was not enough. No matter what she did, what she became it would not be enough. She would always be the kid from the Bronx with a juvie record. She could never deserve someone like Blair Warner. After all that was exactly what the Princess had been telling her all those years. Jo Polniaczek was a pretender here. She would never be good enough.

Blair watched as the emotions played slowly across Jo's face. She knew her. She could read her as if every thought were printed in a book. No one knew the doubts that plagued Jo at times. No one except Blair. The blonde knew she was losing her friend to those doubts, knew the exact moment she lost the chance at happiness she wanted so badly.

"No," she whispered. It was not fair.

Oh, Jo, find the courage, Mrs. G. pleaded silently. The soft sounds of Blair's tears behind her were tearing at their guardian's heart. As much as it pained her, she had to let Jo do this herself. If she could not be strong at the beginning she would never make it the distance. They would both get hurt much worse later.

Nat and Tootie shared a glance. What was happening with Jo? It was almost like she was deflating before their eyes. They both knew Blair was a handful but Jo had always been able to deal with it. Was Jo going to be like all the guys Blair had dated? Was she going to cut and run if she could not get what she wanted?

Jo was asking herself the same question. She knew she was hurting Blair. She could see it in the steady stream of tears leaving those haunted eyes. Those eyes…those beautiful chocolate drop eyes. Jo closed her own and pictured Blair's earlier that day. The mischievous sparkle as she ran across the yard. The warm gleam as they stood on the porch. The teasing glint as she ran for the kitchen. The passion glow as she lay under Jo and that precious, sweet moment when her eyes had been almost black so intensely were they dilated. Jo wanted those moments over and over, a lifetime of them to balance against the times when those wonderful eyes looked as they did now, filled with shadows and pain.

Yes, she wanted Blair, but more importantly she needed Blair. This woman made her better than she was alone. With all her pampered princess ways, Blair gave her peace. Jo had never had that before and she knew she would do everything in her power to keep that feeling. If it was hers to keep. Opening her eyes, she stared directly into Blair's searching to find the answer she needed.

Blair gasped. She knew that look, knew what it asked. She touched Nat and Mrs. G on othe shoulder so they would let her through. She wanted to make sure Jo saw her, saw her answer, felt her answer. She walked slow and steady to the brunette and wrapped her arms around the strong neck. Pulling Jo's head to her shoulder she whispered, "Give us a chance."

Strong arms wrapped around her, pulling her close as Jo nodded. "I won't push. We wait 'til we're both ready. I promise."

It was all Blair needed. She had her Jo. The rest would work itself out.

Feeling she had to do one last thing, Jo looked over at Mrs. Garrett.

"We know the rules. They won't get broken."

"Good enough. I trust you both," Mrs. G replied hugging them both.

Tootie poked Nat with an elbow. "You could write a soap opera with all this drama."

"Yeah, Gays of Our Lives," Nat grinned. It was nice to have their family back to normal or at least as close to normal as they got.

Yep, back to normal, Nat thought as Jo's bellow sounded through the house.


Even thought the two were now dating, Jo and Blair fought as much as ever. The only difference that Nat could see was now when they took over the TV to watch one of their old movies Jo had her arm around Blair as they sat on the couch together. That and they were both a little more careful to dress and undress in the bathroom. Truth be told Nat thought Blair teased Jo a bit more. She seemed to love to see the brunette lost her temper.

Like now for example, Nat watched as Blair snuck into the kitchen with Jo's motorcycle helmet under her arm. A moment later she dropped on the couch sans helmet and began to flip through one of the dozens of fashion magazines she received every month.

"Blair!" Jo yelled as she stomped down the stairs.

"I'm right here, Jo. You don't need to yell."

"Where's my helmet, Blair?"

"Why would I know where your dirty, filthy helmet is?" Blair asked the picture of innocence.

The woman's good, Nat thought.

"Dirty, filthy is redundant, Princess. Where is it?"

"It's not redundant. It's just extra dirty, you Neanderthal. Do you see it anywhere around me?" Blair gestured to the surrounding area.

"Blair, it's not safe to ride without it," Jo was beginning to lose her patience.

"Then take the car," Blair shrugged. "It's safe."

From her place in the chair, Nat watched to see if Jo would take the bait. They had had this argument a lot lately. Blair thought the motorcycle too danger and wanted Jo to driver her car instead. Jo on the other hand saw it as giving up her independence and adamantly refused. Nat did not think Jo would ride without her helmet but Blair had never played this dirty before.

"I'm not driving your car, Blair."

"Well you can't drive Mrs. G's. She's gone to the store so I guess you'll just miss your class," Blair seemed totally uninterested.

And Tootie wants to be an actress. Blair should get an Oscar for this performance, Nat observed.

"Fine, have it your way, your highness." Jo slammed her way out of the house.

Blari had a very smug, self-satisfied smile on her face right until the moment she heard Jo's motorcycle start up and roar down the driveway.

"She wouldn't!" Blair jumped up and ran to the window but Jo was out of sight. Running into the kitchen, she came back with Jo's helmet in her hands. Nat saw her own fear mirrored in her friend's eyes.

"Oh, Nat. What have I done?"

"She'll be fine. She'll be extra careful without it."

"What if she's not?" Blair cradled the helmet against her chest.

"She'll be back in three hours. We'll wait together."

"Jo's always careful, isn't she, Nat?"

"Yes, she is. Don't worry. Come on, we'll sit on the couch and find a movie to watch."

Blair sat next to Nat and tried to relax. The hours passed slowly as the two waited. Blair could not seem to put down the helmet. She held it in her lap silently berating first herself for playing this childish game and then Jo for being so stubborn. Back and forth she went as the minutes ticked by.

Halfway through their wait, Mrs.G came in looking of help to get the groceries out of the car. Obediently, the two trouped out to help, Blair explaining the entire time adding in complaints about a stupid college that would have stupid Saturday classes to her litany of blame. Their guardian listened quietly while she stored food stuffs and prepared tea for them all. Finally, she reassured Blair and joined them in their vigil with a healthy infusion of tea and cookies. That was where Tootie found them two hours, two movies, three pots of tea and a half hour late Jo later.

She flew in the door fairly vibrating with excitement. She barely managed to get her coat hung up.

"Guess what?" she gushed oblivious to the hushed atmosphere in the room.

"What, Tootie?" Nat asked.

"There was a huge wreck today."

Blair jumped up, pale and shaking. Mrs. G grabbed her as she swayed. Nat went straight to Tootie.

"Details, Tootie," she grabbed the other girl's shoulders and shook her. "Details."

Stunned, Tootie blurted, "A car hit a motorcycle and someone died."

"Who? Who died?" Nat demanded as Blair gave a little scream and collapsed to the couch.

"I…I don't know. They were talking about it at the library." Something was definitely going on here. Blair was way too upset for a little gossip. Looking from one tense face to another Tootie noticed who was missing. "Where's Jo?"

"We don't know. She left without her helmet this morning," Nat supplied.

The younger girl gulped. "It's just a rumor. It doesn't mean anything. You would have heard if it were Jo."

"She's right, Blair," Mrs. Garrett reassured the blonde.

The younger girl joined her friends with Nat taking up vigil at the window. At the sound of every vehicle on the street, Blair looked up and only to have Nat shake her head. Another two hours passed this way.

"Nat, come sit down," Tootie encouraged but her friend was not listening. She had stiffened and was staring intently out the window.

"Is it Jo?" Blair asked hopefully noting the change in Nat's posture.

"It's the police," came the bleak reply.

The silence that descended was tangible, a living thing that entered the room and blanketed each of them, stifling voices. Tears came to three sets of eyes. Blair, who had been fighting tears most of the day found herself curiously dry eyed. She felt herself disconnect from the moment. It was as if she were caught in a nightmare. The others seemed to recede from her. She saw them walk to the front door but could not make herself move to join them. From a distance she heard the faint sound of knocking then the murmur of voices.

This had to be a nightmare. That's it, she thought. This was all some kind of bad dream. If she just got into her bed and pulled the covers over her head, she could wake up again and none of this would have happened. She just had to go upstairs. She could do that. Dazed, she started for the staircase unmindful of the helmet clutched in her arms.

"I see you found my helmet, blondie," she heard. That voice. She turned towards the sound.

"Jo." Blair knew she moved her lips, unsure if any sound came forth. She stared, closed and opened her eyes. Jo was still here, supported on either side by Nat and Tootie. The brunette's left arm was in a sling. Her left pants leg was slit to the hip and a large bandage covered the outside of her thigh. A bruise graced her left cheekbone. She was torn, scraped and bloody but standing in the living room. Blair knew Jo was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen.

"You just gonna stand there all day, Princess. I could use some help here."

Blair never remembered moving, never remembered the scream she uttered that brought Mrs. G and the two officers into the room. All she remembered later was the solid feel of Jo's arms as the blonde sobbed into her shoulder. She remembered pressing dozens of kisses to the woman's face and neck between murmurs of "I'm sorry" and "Forgive me."

So totally was she focused on Jo that she never heard the others herd the officers into the kitchen for coffee and pastries so they could hear the rest of the story. She never knew how the brunette maneuvered them to the couch. She was too busy putting everything she felt and thought she had lost into a kiss that left Jo moaning and gasping under her until a sharp cry of pain pierced the fog Blair was in. She looked down into intense green eyes that laughed up at her.

"Damn, Princess, remind me to have more accidents."

"Don't you dare," Blair warned tears once again threatening.

Jo brushed the hair back from the warm brown eyes, hints of fear still obvious in their depths. "I'm alright, Blair. Just road rash and a sprain. Some sleep, a couple days of rest and I'll be good as new. I promise. Just don't grab my arm again, okay?"

"Okay. What happened, Jo? Your helmet…I…" A finger stilled her lips.

"I had on a helmet. I had borrowed one from a friend. I was going to take you riding."

Blair's expression clearly said Like that's gonna happen.

Jo chuckled, "Yeah, I know. But I had it in the garage and grabbed it this morning. I went to class and then met up with some of the guys for a couple hours. I was still pissed from this morning and needed to blow off some steam. I was on my way back when a car blew through the intersection right in front of me. I laid down my bike to keep from ramming him head on. He slammed into a telephone pole and I left skin on several yards of pavement."

"You must be in so much pain and here I am lying on top of you." Blair tried to get up but Jo held her in place with her one good arm.

"No, stay. You're better than anything the doctor prescribed. I'm mostly stiff and sore."

"What did the doctor say?"

"She prescribed moist heat. I definitely think you've got that covered," Jo grinned and flexed her hips against Blair's thigh.

"Jo!" Blair blushed intensely. "Now I know for sure you'll be alright."

"The day I don't want you, Princess, I will most definitely be dead," Jo assured. "I doubt I can do much about it right now though. Good thing it's not an option. The temptation might prove too much."

Judging by how she felt earlier, the blond admitted to herself it was more of an option than her girlfriend realized. Now just was not the time to go there.

"We need to get you out of these clothes and into some clean ones." Blair changed the subject. "You might need some help."

This did not prove to be much of a subject change for Jo who flushed slightly at the thought.

"I think it would be better if Nat helped me."

"I can help you get cleaned up, Jo. I'm not totally inept," Blair felt a bit hurt.

"Your 'eptness' is not in question, Princess."

"So what's in question, then?"

Jo had to smile at how naïve Blair could be at times. "One, I am not a pretty sight right now and two, I think it might get a bit too intimate."

Now it was Blair's turn to flush a bright red but she was ready for Jo's arguments.

"Well addressing number one, it is a sight I prefer not be shared with just anyone, pretty or not. As for number two, I think we can handle that kind of intimacy. If not we're not going to make it very far with this relationship. We ought to be about more than sex, Jo."

"Since, so far, we haven't been about sex at all, I'd have to agree," Jo joked.

Blair let it pass since she really was not ready to have that conversation. There was one thing she wanted to know though. She laid her head on Jo's chest too shy suddenly to meet her eyes.

"Do you regret making that promise to me?"

"Not for a second. What we have is strong and very special. To be honest, I'm not sure I'm ready to go any further myself right now. I think it would change things between us, make it all more intense somehow. I'm not sure we're ready to handle what that means. Though a few more kisses like that last one wouldn't hurt. I'm not always sure you think of me that way."

Blair was stunned to learn Jo questioned the level of the blonde's feelings for her. Though as she thought about it, Blair realized there had been very little actual change to their relationship. Jo was more likely to put an arm around her now and there was the occasional peck on the lips but that was it. There was less physical interaction between them than there had been with some of Blair's boyfriends. She had never cared half as much about any of them as she did about Jo. She liked that Jo respected her and realized the brunette was taking her lead from Blair. Only the blonde had seldom in her life had to be the aggressor in matters of the heart. Blair decided this required a lot more thought and quite a few changes.

Lifting herself carefully from off her girlfriend, Blair smiled down at her. "I'm going to let Mrs. G know what we're up to then we're going upstairs and get you cleaned up and changed."

"Blair…," Jo began only to be interrupted quickly.

"No. You're mine, Jo Polniaczek, and I'll take care of you. So just get that through your thick head, Neanderthal."

Now that Jo could understand. "Yes, Your Highness," Jo flashed her crooked grin. As much as she hated being told what to do, she loved the thought of belonging to Blair.

Blair made her way downstairs to join her friends. The past hour had been an extensive test of the blonde's ability to control her emotions as they swung from strong desire at seeing and touching her girlfriend's nude body to wrenching pain at the damage done to that body.

They had talked of the accident as a way of deflecting their more physical responses to each other. This was how Blair learned the driver of the car, who was intoxicated, had died on impact with the telephone pole. It surprised the blonde to find that for the first time in her life she had the urge to do real physical harm to someone over the man putting Jo's life at risk. Blair had no doubt that, had he not been killed, she would have gone after him with every bit of power and influence that her family could wield. What she felt for Jo was truly overwhelming in its intensity.

She stopped on the stairs and glanced back at where she had come from, while drawing a shaky breath. In the time she spent caring for Jo, Blair realized that, while she had secretly harbored a fear of her own ability to be with another woman physically, making love with the brunette was not going to be an issue. Even now Blair could picture the other woman's body, feel the satiny soft skin on her fingertips. No, the problem was not going to be touching Jo. It was going to be stopping once she'd started.

"We're going to need a long honeymoon," she muttered to herself. "Very long…like a lifetime or two."

Right now she had to get on with the business at hand. Jo needed to eat, take her medication and sleep. Blair was determined that for tonight at least her girlfriend was not going to sleep alone.

As she climbed back up the stairs at the end of the evening, Blair mused that the hardest part had been explaining to the others over dinner that she would be sleeping in Jo's bed tonight. Each had their own cause for concern but Blair had explained calmly. Laying down her fork, Blair looked at each of them in turn.

"Jo and I have been very respectful of everyone and of the house rules. I, for one, have been so careful that my girlfriend told me today she doesn't even know how I feel about her."

"Blair…," Mrs. G started.

Blair held up her hand to forestall any comments. "No, let me finish. I could have lost her today. Jo could have died without ever knowing how much I care about her. I'm not even sure I knew until today. Nothing will happen that you wouldn't approve of but I'm going to make sure that if she wakes in the night I'm going to be there and she's going to feel my arms around her keeping her safe." The almost omnipresent tears glistened in her eyes as she silently pleaded with her friends to understand.

Mrs. G reached across the table and squeezed her hand. "I wouldn't expect anything less from you."

"Wake us if you need any help," Tootie added.

"You go be with Jo. We'll do the dishes and maybe watch some TV." It was Nat's way of making things more comfortable for all of them. They would give Blair time to get Jo and herself settled before they came up.

She checked on Jo who slept soundly before slipping into the bathroom to change into her most conservative pajamas and perform her nightly rituals. There was no point tempting fate, or Jo, she thought. Softly, she slid into bed behind her girlfriend. Arm around Jo's waist she rested her cheek on the shared pillow.

"Good night, my barbarian," she murmured.

"Night, Princess," Jo mumbled. Not really waking, she snuggled back into Blair and drifted deeper into sleep.

Jo awoke sever times during the night amid soft moans of pain. Each time Blair was there stroking her and murmuring gentle words encouraging her back to sleep.

At dawn Jo was driven to wakefulness by a tickle on her cheek. She brushed at it but it did not go away. She became aware that her pillow felt different, softer somehow. Opening her eyes, the brunette was shocked to find her pillow was her girlfriend's left breast and the tickle was caused by strands of silky blonde hair drifting over her face. Blair's arms held her securely in place. Jo could not imagine how much trouble the two of them were going to be in and at the moment she did not care. If felt too good having Blair there. She would never move if a trip to the bathroom were not becoming increasingly more urgent.

Moving carefully, she tried to stifle her moans at the pain and stiffness in her body. Help would have been nice bout she could not bring herself to wake Blair. The blond looked so peaceful. She was startled to feel a hand on her elbow.

"Need help?" Nat asked.

Jo hated to admit weakness, was really surprised she had done so with Blair but she welcomed the assistance at the moment.


Nat nodded and slipped an arm around her waist. They moved at Jo's pace. "Blair's been up several times," the younger girl offered. "Better to let her sleep."

"You don't seemed surprised by where she's sleeping."

"I'm not. She told us at dinner. Once I thought about it I knew I'd do the same if I were her. And don't get any dumb ideas about sleeping in her bed. We're all okay with this. You take care of the people you love, Jo, and we all love you, Blair especially."

Nat waited outside the door and helped Jo back to bed when she was done. She got her medication and a glass of water before going back to her own bed with a whispered good night.

Jo eased back into the same position she had been in when she awakened. She supposed she should feel guilty for blatantly lying there with her face cradled on her girlfriend's breast but she hurt and it made her feel better. Warm arms enfolded her and she felt what she assumed was a kiss pressed to the top of her head.

"Feel better?" Blair's voice was husky with sleep.

"Getting there," Jo responded adjusting her cheek more comfortably.

"Like your pillow?"

" s' wonderful." Jo pressed a kiss to said pillow.

"Mmmm," was the drowsy response. "Go to sleep."

Smiling, Jo drifted off wondering how she got so lucky. Hours later, she awakened to something poking in her ear. It took her a moment to clear her mind enough to realize the something was a nipple, Blair's nipple, Blair's very bare nipple. They had moved very little while sleeping but Jo's moves, at least, had been strategic. Her eyes widened as she realized her hand had risen up under Blair's pajama top, which was now pushed way up under her arms, and was currently cupping the other soft mound while her knee was firmly between warm thighs.

Lifting her head, she determined the other two girls were already up and gone. She looked down and sighed in relief that the covers were pulled high enough they had not seen this. At least, she hoped they had not.

She watched in fascination as her warm puff of breath caused the nipple to tighten further, the surrounding areole wrinkling. Nat stopping to think she extended her tongue and licked once, twice before enveloping the hardened nub with her mouth. She sucked gently, her ears picking up a soft moan from Blair. Firm thigh's rubbed against Jo's knee as the blonde shifted restlessly. Her fingers pulled and plucked as she used her teeth to nip carefully. She figured her girlfriend was awake when soft fingers threaded through her hair to pull her head closer.

"Joey," Blair moaned.

Jo smiled around her mouthful. It was the first time Blair had called her that. The brunette decided instantly that she liked it, especially in that tone.

A tug on her hair brought her up to claim full lips. Jo licked and nipped at Blair's lower lip until the blonde opened up and she could slip her tongue inside. Then all Jo knew was wet heat. She feasted on her girlfriend's mouth, lost herself in the feeling of touching and loving this woman. She reveled in the soft sounds Blair made. She wanted her, needed her. She broke the kiss and looked down at the blonde's body. And if she did not stop right now she was going to take her.

She tore herself from Blair and lay on her stomach, looking away fighting to breathe. She groaned at the ache deep inside. Jo had ever been this aroused. Not even that day in the snow. Then it had been over before she knew what happened. Now she and her body were fully involved.

"Joey?" Soft hands touched Jo's shoulders. The brunette turned her head slowly to take in the sleep tousled hair, kiss swollen lips and worried brown eyes of the woman who now sat beside her.

"No," Jo groaned. "Cover yourself."

Blair looked down at her pajama top which was still tangled under her arms. Blushing, she pulled it down.

"You don't …like…my breasts?" she asked feeling inadequate suddenly. Were they too big? Not everyone liked full breasts.

"Wha?" Battling the sexual haze, Jo was not sure what Blair meant.

Blair crossed her arms defensively over her chest. "My breasts. You looked at them and then you…turned away…were gone. What's wrong with them?" She looked more uncertain and insecure than Jo h ad ever seen her. Sometimes the brunette wondered if anyone ever saw this side of lair except herself. Now she hastened to reassure the blonde.

"there's nothing wrong with them. They're perfect. You're perfect. So perfect, in fact, that you either need to get more clothes or less."

Blair's smile was radiant as she leaned to kiss her girlfriend which gave Jo a wonderful view of perfection down the front of the pajama top.

Jo groaned. "I mean it, Blair. Either get out of the bed or get out of the clothes. But do one now cause you're killing me."

Doe eyes studied the brunette as white teeth worried at a bottom lip. Jo could see Blair's mind racing.

"Blair," Jo's tone was warning.

With a sigh, the blond slid out of bed.

"Principles suck," Blair announced succinctly before heading into the bathroom.

Jo gaped at the closed door. It was the first time she had ever heard Blair use any type of profanity. As the effects of Blair wore off the effects of the accident came to the fore. With a groan, Jo rolled to her back. One way or the other, today was going to be painful.

A muffled squeal from the bathroom told Jo the blonde was not taking her usual steamy shower. Jo occupied herself deciding if a cold shower for the Blair symptoms or a hot shower for the accident symptoms would be preferable. When the blonde streaked through and into her closet with a hurried, "Forgot my robe" Jo pulled a pillow over her head. Cold, definitely cold, icicles would be nice.

"Look, Jo, I know you don't understand, but it's something I have to do," Blair explained as she folded yet another elaborate dress into yet another suitcase. "My parents expect it of me and I have to do it this way."

"So you're going on this date with this guy no matter what I say? I thought this…" Jo gestured between the two of them. "…us…meant something to you."

"You know it does; but I have no intention of upsetting everyone over this. The Warner Christmas ball is the height of the winter season. I'm expected to attend with an appropriate escort." Blair smiled at her, not understanding what Jo was so upset about. It wasn't like it had anything to do with two of them. She wasn't interested in Jeffrey Tharrington. She was just required to let him be her date for the ball. She'd made a promise and she was going to keep it. "I told you about this months ago before you and I…well, before you and I. You didn't expect me to just cancel, did you?" Brown eyes widened as realization hit. "You did, didn't you? You thought I'd cancel. Jo, I'll only be gone for the weekend. You're going to your mother's. We'll both be home Sunday night and we'll have Christmas together just like we planned."

Jo realized something too and she felt her heart break just that much more. If she, Jo Polniaczek, was in a relationship with Blair Warner, she was in it alone. Blair would never be able to just be with her. The blonde was all about appearances and Jo's would never be appropriate for a Warner, which was probably why Blair always stopped them before things could go much farther than a few kisses. A poor kid from the Bronx would never be good enough to touch the Warner heir. Jo was a fool to ever think differently.

"You do what you feel you have to do, Blair," was all Jo said. And I'll do the same. Without another word Jo left their room.

What does she want from me? Blair asked herself before, with a shrug, she went back to her packing. We'll talk about it when I get back. Jo will just have to understand.

Blair went to the ball with her very appropriate escort, Jeffrey Willis Tharrington IV. She danced, smiled and did all the things she felt were required of her. The entire time she just wished she were home in Peekskill curled up in Jo's strong arms. The only time her smile was real was when she thought about the special present she had planned for Jo on New Year's Eve. Blair was tired of waiting. She thought things were going well until just before midnight when her mother and Jeffrey's father called for everyone's attention.

"Everyone…everyone…could I have your attention?" Monica Warner requested smilingly sure that no one would dare ignore her. "We know you're all having a wonderful time and we couldn't think of a better setting for this announcement. Both the Warner and Tharrington families would like all of you to join us in toasting the engagement of our children, Blair and Jeffrey." Monica smiled brilliantly as she raised her flute of champagne towards where Blair and Jeffrey stood. Blair felt the room spin around her as Jeffrey shoved a large rock on her left hand and kissed her. Eyes wide she stared at him like she had never seen him before. She was only vaguely aware of the flashes of light going on around her.

"What are you doing?" she hissed low enough so only Jeffrey could hear.

"Just go with it. I'll explain later." he murmured back before turning to accept the congratulations of one of his father's friends.

Rolling her eyes, Blair pasted on a plastic smile and went into full Warner Heir mode to accept her own share of the good wishes. Jo is going to kill me for this.

The rest of the evening passed in a blur before she was at last sitting in the limo with Jeffrey on the way to her parents' penthouse. As soon as the door closed she rounded on Jeffrey.

"You'd better have a very good explanation and you'd better start telling it now," she snarled at him.

"Blair, I'm sorry but it was the only way to get them off my back. You see, my dad called me into his office yesterday and…"

She was relieved when she was able to leave New York behind finally and get back to where she felt she belonged. She just had to explain what happened to Jo before she could hear about it any other way. With the ring stowed safely in her luggage, Blair breezed through the front door in her usual "I'm here, look at me" style and greeted Nat and Tootie who were sacked out on the couch watching old movies.

"Hi, Blair. How was the ball?" Tootie asked excited to hear the details.

"It was wonderful. I'll tell you all about it later. Where's Jo?" Blair felt she did have some priorities straight even if Jo did not always agree. She could not help but notice the strange look the two younger girls exchanged. "Isn't she back from her mother's yet?"

"Um…Blair, it's like this…um…ya see…," Nat stumbled over her words looking decidedly uncomfortable.

"Jo moved out." Tootie finished for her. "We thought you knew."

Blair laughed her tinkling bell of a laugh. "That's funny, Tootie. Now where's Jo?"

"They're not joking, Blair." Mrs. G entered from the kitchen doorway where she'd been listening. "Jo moved out the day after you left."

The room seemed to shift and Blair swallowed against a sudden feeling of nausea. " Where…" She swallowed once more and tried again. "Where did she go?"

"I'm not sure." Mrs. G's eyes were sympathetic as if she knew how hard this news must be for the blonde. "None of us were here. I'd taken Natalie and Tootie to the train station. I found a note when I got back. It just said that she thought it was for the best and she had to do what she felt she needed to."

"What she felt she needed to," Blair murmured remembering those words only too well. She had done what she felt she needed to and lost Jo in the process. It really wasn't very fair.

"Blair.." Mrs. G started towards her, but Blair backed away.

"I'm really tired. I think I'll go upstairs for a while." Turning, Blair fled to her room. She could not let them see how much this affected her. No one knew about her and Jo and now there was nothing for anyone to know. Jo had left her.

Hours later, Blair sat on her bed staring at the bare mattress beside her own. Jo's comforter should be there, her sheets and pillow tucked under it. Jo should be there, stretched out on the comforter enjoying one of her rare naps so Blair could pretend to read while she really watched her girlfriend sleep. This was not supposed to happen. She was Blair Warner. People did not leave her. Especially not someone she lo…she cared about.

For the first time, she had let someone close. Protecting herself was one of the first things she had ever learned. Jo was different. She was just as wary as Blair of letting herself care. That's one reason they had moved so slowly. She knew Jo wanted her and there were times when Blair thought she would go insane if she could not feel those rough hands on her body but she'd always stopped things before they got that far. No one had ever touched her bare skin before. She had always been determined to not be like her mother, to wait for intimacy until she was married. She knew she and Jo could never be married, not legally, but she wanted that commitment with her. She wanted to wait until she was sure they loved each other enough to make that kind of lifelong commitment. She had reached the point where she knew it was what she wanted. If Jo felt the same, the blond had intended to spend New Year's Eve making love with her.

The engagement with Jeffrey was a farce. Surely Jo could not have heard about that already. It had only happened last night. That couldn't be why she had left. No, this had to do with Blair going to the ball in the first place. This was about her life as a Warner and it was something Blair did not know how to change. She would always be a Warner. She did not know how to change that or even if she wanted to. The one thing she did know was that she did not want to live without Jo. She needed to explain so they could work this out.

A light tapping brought her out of her musings. Maybe it was Jo. Rising from the bed, she ran to the door.

"Jo..oh, Mrs. G…I…I was hoping…," letting the thought slide away, Blair moved back to sit on her bed. It was pretty clear what she had been hoping.

"Blair, Jo brought this for you," she offered the blonde the envelope she had been holding.

"She's here?" Blair jumped up and started for the door again, only to be stopped by a hand on her arm.

"No, Blair. " The redhead's smile was sympathetic. "She just dropped this off and left. She said…well, she said she doesn't want to see you. What happened, Blair? The two of you seemed so happy together lately. Now this."

The tears began silently leaving glistening trails down the beautiful face. The blonde didn't resist as she was enfolded in a warm, loving embrace. She wondered fleetingly why her own mother seemed incapable of this type of support and caring. It was something Mrs. G did effortlessly. No longer able to hold the sorrow inside, Blair broke down and sobbed.

What seemed like hours later, the blonde had been through a box of tissues and the entire story, leaving nothing out. Except for a few pertinent details about the things Jo and she did together.

Smiling softly as she tucked a blond strand behind the girl's ear from where it had been stuck in the tear stains on her cheek, Mrs. G considered all she had been told.

"Blair, I don't understand any of this. It's been obvious there were strong feelings between the two of you from the first moment you met. I'm surprised it took you as long as it did to realize what those feelings were. "

"I guess we were both just too afraid of rejection to ever say anything. I've cared about Jo for years. Telling her was the hardest thing I've ever done. Until now. I just don't understand why she left."

"Maybe you should read her note," Mrs. G advised patting the blonde on the back.

Hands shaking, Blair tore the envelope open. She read quietly before dropping the note on the floor and throwing herself on the bed in a fresh storm of tears.

Mrs. G picked up the note and read.


Your mother called. She wanted us to all know your good news. Congratulations. You always said you wanted to marry a rich man and have the kind of life you're used to. You'll have that now. There are things I want too. I want to thank you for helping me to realize what they are. I need to make some changes in my life. I'm sorry I won't be there to help you celebrate. I really do care about you, but I need to get over whatever there was between us and maybe find someone of my own. I hope you'll understand. Maybe I'll be in touch one day if you still want to be friends by then. Good luck.


Moving over to sit by Blair, Mrs. G rubbed her back as she gazed down at the young woman sobbing out her heartbreak into a pillow. Oh, Jo. What have you done?

Across town in a rented room, Jo lay on her bed and stared at the ceiling as her own tears ran into her ears. She had not wanted to believe it when Blair's mother had called to announce her daughter's engagement wanting them all to know before the formal announcement that night. The front page of the newspaper's social section the next morning had a big picture of the event showing Blair kissing her new fiancé, the huge rock flashing on her finger. Jo had wadded up the paper and tossed it in the trash. Taking the stairs two at a time she had rushed upstairs and began to pack. She had not known where she would go. She just knew she couldn't be there when Blair came back, couldn't watch the woman she had fallen in love with while she showed off the ring and bragged about what a catch Jeffrey was. Most important, she could not stay there to hear Blair telling her how they could not be together anymore or worse that they could if Jo was willing to be Blair's mistress. Jo might be able to do a lot of things in life but sharing the woman she loved was not one of them.

Jo knew right then she had to leave, had to get over her feelings for Blair and get on with her life. For that to happen she had to be far away from the beautiful blonde and everything that reminded Jo of her. Picking up the phone, she called Cindy who had just the solution to Jo's problem.

Christmas and New Year's came and went with no sigh of Jo. The days had passed into weeks and then into months, four of them to be exact, before Blair saw Jo again. It was only from a distance but it was enough to kill the small spark of hope the blonde had carefully kept nurtured.

It was outside the library. Blair had come around the corner of the building on her way to meet a study group for her history class in time to see Cindy throw her arms around Jo's neck and give the brunette the type of hug that only Blair should have been allowed to give. Moving back out of sight, the blonde had needed the support of the building to remain upright.

She stayed there for a long time trying to wrap her mind and heart around the knowledge that it was really over. Jo had moved on, found someone else. If she had replaced Blair that quickly then she had never loved the blonde. Whatever had been between them had not been love, not the undying kind of love that Blair felt for her. She was glad all this had happened before New Year's and what she had planned for them.

With a deep breath, Blair straightened, calling on all her years of social training to paste the plastic smile and debutante aura firmly into place. It was time for Blair to move on as well. Looking down at the ring on her finger, the blonde realized she had fourteen more months of this farce of an engagement to get through and then she could begin to put her life back together. Until then she had to take one day at a time and not let anyone know that her heart was broken. She was a Warner after all. Warner's did not pine for lost loves. They got on with their lives and concentrated on business and that was exactly what Blair intended to do.

Jo never saw Blair that day, though she saw her many times before and many after. Indeed, Jo would have been surprised by the conclusion Blair drew from seeing Cindy hug her. The redhead had become a good friend over the months and had been thanking Jo for intervening in a misunderstanding between her and her girlfriend. Jo had made several good friends during the time since she moved out of Mrs. G's.

It surprised her to realize that the closest person to her now was someone who came from the exact same background as Blair. He was a nice guy, gay like herself, that she'd met the day she moved out when Cindy had introduced them. He had been willing to knock the rent down to next to nothing in exchange for Jo doing household and vehicle repairs. "Us queers have to stick together" was the way he put it. Jo had laughed and agreed, desperate as she was to find a place to live on such short notice. She had not been able to face seeing her mother and had called her with an excuse.

They were sitting on the back porch drinking beer and admiring the yard that Jo had just spent most of the afternoon mowing and tending.

"I saw Blair today." Jo commented taking a long drink from the bottle she had been studying intently for several minutes.

Phil expected as much. His roommate always became introspective when she caught a glimpse of Ms. Warner. It also explained the way she had attacked the yard like her life depended on it reaching perfection within an afternoon. He refrained from commenting and just waited.

"She looked good. Tired, maybe. Must be spending too much time with the fiancé." Jo drained the bottle and reached into the cooler between them for another.

"I thought the point in your moving was to get over her."

"I'm over her."

Phil glanced over and met clouded green eyes. "No, babe. You're not."

"No, I'm not," she agreed finally.

"Do you want to be?"

For a long time there was silence while Jo considered. "I want to understand." Her voice was so soft, he had to strain to hear her. "How could she be with me one moment and him the next? No break between. No explanation. Just pow. She's engaged. I thought we had something. I thought she…I don't know what I thought. It don't matter. I was wrong whatever I thought. Blair loves Blair. Anything else is just one of her rich bitch games. I ain't gonna fall for it again." Phil winced at the way her Bronx accent got stronger with each word. Only Blair Warner seemed to be able to put Jo in touch with her roots in such a strong manner.

Time to defuse. "Want to go to a party tonight?"

"Whose party?"

"Ours?" He wagged his eyebrows at her. Jo was always ragging on him for his ability to throw together a party at a moment's notice.

"Is this a girlfriend party or a roommate party?" Jo laughed and shook her head, referring to the fact that she sometimes pretended to be his girlfriend to keep especially determined debutantes at bay without creating situations his parent's would not appreciate.

"I guess that depends on who shows up, doesn't it?"

She cut her eyes over his muscular 6'2" frame. "It would be easier if you were uglier."

"I could say the same about you," he quipped returning her perusal and referring to their last party where he'd had to chase away at least three women who were determined to get up close and personal with Jo. "Although, getting laid might not be such a bad thing for you."

"Damn, Phil. That's your job. Mine's to make sure only men apply to be the perks of the job."

Laughing so hard he almost fell out of his chair, Phil pulled out his cell to start making calls. "I'll make some calls. You check out the new outfit I laid on your bed."

"Phil, we talked about this." Jo warned. "I don't need handouts."

"What handout? A friend was cleaning out her closet and asked me to drop a bunch of stuff off at the used clothing store. I went through the bags first. She's about your size. Give a donation on payday and consider the stuff yours."

Though she seriously doubted the story about the friend, Jo had watched Blair sort out her wardrobe often enough over the years to just shake her head and give in. "Fine. Just no dresses, alright? I had enough of that at Eastland."

Waving her off he started punching buttons on his phone. "Hey, Scott. Party at my house tonight. Bring whoever." He watched out of the corner of his eye to make sure Jo actually entered the house and was safely out of sight. "Listen, Scotty, my man. You know Blair Warner, don't you? Thought so. Listen, I need a little favor…"

Blair sat at her vanity applying make-up, or at least she was trying to. It was difficult with Nat and Tootie watching her every move. Finally, she could not take it anymore.

"What?" she snapped throwing down her eyeliner pen.

"Umm…you're really going out?" Tootie ventured.

"Yes, I'm really going out. Is there a point to this?"

"You haven't gone out since….well, since a long time," Nat answered for them. "Why are you suddenly going out tonight? I thought you were laying low because of the whole engagement thing." Blair had long ago told the two the truth of her engagement.

Blair rolled her eyes in annoyance and reached for her eyeliner again. "A friend asked me to do him a favor. Besides I'm engaged, not dead."

"And you don't think it would cause problems for Jeffrey if word gets out that his fiancé is going to parties with other men," Tootie was in a logical mood tonight.

"I called Jeffrey and told him. Besides which Scott is one of his best friends. And Jeffrey's been upset with me because I've been staying home so much. He doesn't care if I go out as long as I don't seem to be dating anyone."

"What about Jo?" Natalie's tongue was ahead of her brain at the moment.

"What about Jo?" Blair asked softly.

Realizing what she had asked and that she was not supposed to mention Jo around Blair, Natalie began to backpedal.

"Nothing. Forget I asked."

Blair turned to face the other girl instead of watching her in the mirror as before.

"No, Nat. What about Jo? What does Jo have to do with how I live my life? No one's heard from her in months. We don't even know if she's de…still in town."

Both girls noticed how Blair stumbled.

"You were going to say dead or alive." Tootie replied watching Blair flinch at the thought. "She's alive. I saw her today."

"Where?" Blair shot back. "You were with me all day."

"When we went shopping. She was on the street. When she saw us she ducked into a store."

"Why didn't you say anything?"

Tootie shrugged. "She obviously didn't want to talk to us."

"Didn't want to talk to me, you mean." The other two girls fidgeted uncomfortably at the pain in the soft brown eyes. "I'm sorry she's avoiding you both because of me. I never wanted that."

"Just explain it to her, Blair," Natalie broke in.

"How, Natalie? I don't know where she is. She goes out of her way to avoid me."

"Call her mom or something," Tootie was grasping at straws to help.

Blair shook her head. "I can't do that. Mrs. Polniaczek would have too many questions that I couldn't answer without hurting Jo." The blonde looked up at the ceiling batting her eyelashes to hold in the tears. "If that's the only alternative then it just has to stay this way. Now let me finish dressing. Scott will be here soon and I still haven't figured out what to wear."

Natalie grinned imagining the comments Jo would have made about the party only lasting one night and Blair never being able to decide in that length of time. The grin faded quickly. She really missed Jo. Watching Jo and Blair argue, snipe and eventually fall in love had made the time they all spent together fun. She had watched avidly to see just when the sexual tension between the two would finally explode. Once it had, they had been so sweet together. Still sniping and arguing but with an undercurrent that spoke of the deep love they felt for each other. Nat had been convinced that the arguing had just been their own personal form of foreplay. She figured their lovemaking would be just as explosive if they ever got that far, which she did not think they had. Then suddenly there just was not any Jo anymore.

Nat had lain awake many nights and listened to Blair's soft crying. She had wanted to go comfort her friend but somehow knew Blair would not appreciate it. The blonde did not want anyone to know how much she was hurting and Nat could support her that way if no other. It was sad though. Not only was Jo gone but Blair was too. At least the Blair they had known was. The new Blair was totally wrapped up in studying and classes. She was serious and intense, no longer the happy, carefree girl they'd all loved. Blair without Jo was not any fun and Nat did not know how to fix things. She had spent hours talking about it with Tootie who was just as much in the dark about how to get their Blair back. They both just kept praying for a miracle.

She watched as Blair finished her makeup and moved towards her closet.

"Wear the blue one," Nat advised.

"No." was Blair's quick response. Nat had expected it. The blue was Jo's favorite. Blair had not worn it since before Christmas. She had even gone so far as to bury it in the back of her closet. Nat suspected Blair had been wearing it the night Jo told her she had feelings for her which was why Blair no longer wanted to even look at the dress.

"Wear the new red one we got today, Blair." Tootie advised. Her own reasoning had been following along the same lines as Natalie's and she knew the red one would have no memories of Jo attached. Blair really had not bought anything new since, except for today.

"Good idea, Tootie. Thanks." Blair laid the dress in question on her bed and went back to the closet to find the heels she had that would match. The blonde pushed away the thought that she had bought the dress with Jo in mind or more specifically, with the thought of Jo's reaction when she saw Blair in it. With spaghetti straps and a deeply plunging neckline that definitely highlighted her assets, it was more risqué than the type of thing Blair usually wore. Gathering lingerie and hose, she carried it all into the bathroom to finish dressing. As the doorbell sounded, she called out, "If that's Scott, tell him I'll be ready in a minute."

"Come on, Nat. Maybe there's a movie on he can watch while he waits." The two girls left the room both wishing Jo were there to interrogate Blair's date like she used to, or better yet, be Blair's date.

The party was in full swing when Blair and Scott walked up the drive towards the front door.

"I really appreciate this, Blair. I'd never hear the end of this if I showed up stag and I can't invite just any girl without a lot of uncomfortable complications."

"It's not a problem, Scott. The majority of my dates over the last few years have served the same purpose for both parties."

The muscular blonde shook his head in amazement. "That still shocks me. Man-crazy Blair Warner a lesbian. No one would believe it if they did find out."

"And no one can find out. At least not for another fourteen months," she cautioned.

"You're really great to do this for Jeffrey. I know he appreciates it. I hope it hasn't cost you too much." He noticed in the street light that Blair's smile at that seemed rather sad.

"It's cost me everything, but hopefully something good will come out of it for Jeffrey at least."

Scott, who had noticed that the beautiful butch brunette that Blair was often seen to be hanging around with was no longer around, thought he might have some idea of what it was the blonde had actually lost. He silently cursed Jeffrey for not thinking fast enough to avoid hurting Blair. "I'm really sorry, Blair. Maybe it won't be too late."

"I'm very much afraid it already is," she sighed before flipping her hair in typical Blair Warner move and taking his arm lightly. "Now, we have a party to go to. It's time for a little more fun and a little less serious." He watched slightly stunned as the blonde wrapped her frivolous debutante persona around herself like a mantle and began to mindlessly chat about the party ahead. He'd known Blair a long time and realized how little of her true self she showed to the public at large. The woman he knew was quiet and gentle with a big heart who was always ready to help a friend no questions asked. He just wished she felt safe enough to show that side all the time.

Placing his hand over her's where it rested on his forearm, Scott took a deep breath. Please don't let this be a major screw-up, he thought as he rang the bell and murmured, "It's party time."

The door was opened by Phil who was wearing black slacks, a blue silk shirt that matched his eyes and an enormous smile.

"Scott! Wondered when you were gonna get here," he laughed. "And you must be Blair. Come in. I've heard so much about you. You really are stunning."

Not quite sure what to make of his comments, Blair preceded Scott into the house. The house was packed with people laughing, drinking and dancing but didn't seem to be the all out brawl that so many college parties were. Glancing around, the blonde saw many people she knew, an inordinate number of whom where gay and paired off in same sex couples. Brown eyes cut towards Scott as she wondered why he felt he needed cover at this particular party.

"Come on back to the kitchen and let's get you both a drink," Phil continued as he led the way. "After that it's everyone for themselves."

As they wove their way through the crowd, Blair stopped short. Was that…no, it couldn't be… The hair was all wrong, the color was right, but the cut was too stylish. And that was an Armani suit. But the way the dark haired woman moved and gestured. It was so reminiscent of Jo. Blair shook her head at herself. It must have been talking to Nat and Tootie about their former roommate. It had Jo on her mind that was all. Jo would never be caught dead wearing Armani and hanging with 'a bunch of rich bitches' as she was fond of saying. Pushing the thought away she resumed following Phil who had stopped to look back at her.

He had been watching carefully the play of emotions across her face when she had seen Jo. His smile got even brighter when he realized his roommate was not the only one who was not over that relationship. He made up his mind on the spot to get to know this woman better. He had been warned by Scott that the Blair he met at first would not be the real Blair, that would take a bit more work. The fact that she was a close friend of Scott's might just let him do double duty tonight. He got them each a drink and watched as Jo led a few people into the den to watch the Langley football game on TV. He then maneuvered Blair and Scott into the living room where they would have a chance to talk. They chatted about mutual acquaintances and school until someone caught Scott's attention and he moved away to talk with them.

"Do you know if he's seeing anyone?" he asked Blair innocently.

Always ready to protect a friend, the blonde hedged. "What makes you think he's not seeing me?"

Gesturing towards the large ring on her left hand, Phil smiled. "Mainly because I do know he's not engaged and not the type to poach. He is rather quick to don a beard though."

Blair laughed. "I was wondering about that. This doesn't seem the type of party to require one."

"It's not. You're here under false pretenses. I asked Scott to bring you."

If the remark startled her, the blonde hid it well which Phil gave her points for. Very cool, this one, he thought.

"And why would you do that?" she asked.

"Jeffrey, Scott and I went to prep school together. We've moved in different circles since but I wanted to meet Jeffrey's fiancé. Seal of approval and all that."

"I see. So do I have it?"

Phil studied her for a moment. "Outwardly, I'd say yes. You are quite beautiful."

"Thank you." Blair inclined her head regally. "And beyond that?"

"I don't know yet. I don't think you're quite what you appear."

"Is anyone ever?"Blair inquired.

"Some people are. My roommate for one. She is exactly what she appears to be." He sipped his drink and waited.

"I knew someone like that once." The brown eyes took on a faraway look before darkening with a hint of sadness. "People like that don't fare well in our world."

"Don't they? Perhaps if they knew the rules, they'd do better with it. My friend seems to be doing very well. She had a bit of trouble at first, but once I explained…" his voice drifted off as he thought he caught his first glimpse of just Blair.

"Sometimes we don't get to explain, no matter how much we might want to," her voice was low and infused with pain. It made Phil almost hurt to hear it. So this woman did have a weakness. He glanced at the den doorway over Blair's should just as that weakness appeared.

"Ah, speak of the devil. Here's my roommate now."

Before Blair could turn around, she heard a low voice.

"Hello, Blair."

If he had not caught that fleeting glimpse before, Phil would have been shocked at the raw emotion he now saw on Blair's face. Her eyes glistened with unshed tears. He watched as she struggled to regain her composure but the strength of the emotions she was dealing with was too strong. She stood slowly and just started walking…away.

Blair had no idea where she was going, she only knew she had to get out, get away before she totally embarrassed herself. She had not been prepared. She had felt those two simple words, felt her name spoken by Jo in that way only Jo could manage. It humiliated her to think that just the sound of her name on Jo's lips had made her instantly aroused. She couldn't handle this. She was not ready. Mindlessly, she walked through the house, out the backdoor and to the far end of the yard. She would have kept walking forever maybe if she had not encountered a tall privacy fence.

When Blair walked away, Jo turned in the opposite direction. She would have walked right out of the house if Phil had not grabbed her arm to stop her.

"Go after her, Jo."

She glanced at him, her own eyes shimmering with tears.

"No. You saw. She walked away. She doesn't want to see me."

He shook her lightly. "You didn't see her face. I did. She walked because she was about to lose it. That isn't done amongst our crowd. She's devastated. Go after her."

She shook her head in the negative, not trusting herself to speak.

"Joanna, hear me," he urged getting into her personal space and with his hands on either side of her face forced her to look him in the eye. "That woman is so in love with you that just the sound of your voice destroyed her composure completely. I know her fiancé." He ignored Jo's wince at the word. "I grew up with him, went to school with him. He's one of us, Jo. One of us." He continued as if he could read her mind. "Not the rich us…the gay us. He was my first lover. The engagement isn't real. It can't be. Go after her. Don't screw up your life by throwing away the one thing the rest of us would give everything to find." He searched her green eyes until she saw realization dawning.

"Blair." Her voice was hoarse, the tone tortured. "What have I done?"

Phil smiled gently. "Nothing you can't undo if you hurry. She went out back. She can't get further than the fence. Now go before she figures out where the gate is."

He laughed as Jo tore through the house. "And good luck, roomie," he called after her.

Jo shoved people out of her way. She did not have time for polite. She had to get to Blair. Now. Before it was too late. She jumped off the porch ignoring the steps and ran towards the back of the lawn. Desperately, she searched the shadows. Where was she? Please, please, don't let her have left. About ready to turn back towards the house, Jo saw her. Huddled in the far back corner, face turned into the fence, arms wrapped tightly around herself as her body shook with sobs, was Blair. Jo didn't even think. She simply went to her and pulled her into strong arms. The brunette pivoted so her own back rested against the fence and held Blair that much tighter supporting both their weights. Her hands caressed a slender back as the blonde burrowed closer into her embrace. Her face pressed tightly into Jo's neck as she soaked the collar of her suit with tears.

Blair cried for the loss of the very arms that now held her so securely, the voice that murmured in her ear that it would be alright now and for all the wasted days and months. When her tears at last were finished she stayed where she was, afraid to move or speak. Afraid that if she did, Jo would leave again; and that was something she could not deal with twice. She just wasn't that strong. She barely allowed herself to breathe until she felt the tickle of tears against her cheek and knew they were not her own. They were Jo's. Her Joey who never cried, was crying now and Blair could not have that.

She leaned back just enough to see Jo's face. Tenderly she reached up and wiped the moisture away. "Shhh, don't cry…I'm here…Blair's here…it'll be ok…don't cry, baby," Blair murmured over and over doing her best to calm this woman she loved so deeply.

At last, Jo drew a shuddering breath and rested her forehead against Blair's. "I've missed you."

"I missed you too. So much."

They just held each other for a long time, green eyes gazing into brown, each questioning and searching, both afraid of the answers. It was Blair who finally broke the silence.

"Why did you leave me, Jo?"

"I couldn't stay and watch you belong to someone else. I just couldn't." The pain that would have caused her shone clearly in her eyes.

"Jo, I never belonged to anyone but you. Never." The gold flecks in the brown seemed to glow with the sincerity of Blair's words.

"I know that now. Phil told me about Jeffrey."

"Then why didn't you come back? If you knew, why did you stay away?"

Jo could not help smiling at that. "He only just told me, Blair. Right before I came out here. When your mother called, I thought it was real. I thought you'd gone off and gotten yourself engaged for real."

"Oh, my poor Jo. You must have been devastated." Another thought occurred to Blair. "You had to have known I wouldn't do that to you. With how I felt about you, how I feel about you, I could never do that."

"That's just it, Blair. I have no idea how you felt."

Blair's eyes widened in shock. "How could you not know?" She stepped back putting space between the two of them. They both shivered as the loss of warmth. "Jo, how could you not know how I feel?"

Jo pushed away from the fence and began to pace. Her movements jerky and agitated.

"Because we never talked about it. That first night, we both just admitted to having feelings. We never defined what those feelings were. Everything just went on like before. We argued and insulted each other like always. The only difference was we made out sometimes."

"Sometimes?" Blair couldn't help piping in with a raised eyebrow.

"Alright, a lot. We made out a lot. But, hell, Blair, you made out with half of Peekskill. You were the damn make out queen of Eastland."

"Jo Polniaczek, you take that back. I was no such thing." Blair was really angry now.

"No, Blair, I won't. You never let me touch you. Not once. For all I know every damn guy you ever dated got further with you than I did." Jo was working herself into a righteous anger. " What's wrong, Princess, are my hands too rough? Am I just not good enough to touch that perfect Warner skin? Am I just the flavor of the month? Afraid I'll get you dirty from the grease under my nails? A stupid Pollock not good enough for the mighty Warner heir?"

Blair felt herself getting angrier with each word Jo uttered and then suddenly it was just gone as she heard what Jo was really saying.

"Oh, Joey, what have I done to you?" The genuine sorrow and regret in Blair's voice stopped Jo in her tracks.

"Huh?" Before Jo quite got her mind around what was happening, Blair had thrown both arms around her neck and pressed their bodies close again.

"I'm so sorry, Jo. I thought you knew, I thought you understood."

Having a hard time thinking beyond the feeling of Blair's body tight against her own, Jo just held her and tried to figure out what had just happened. The blonde should be tearing into her right now. Instead she was apologizing and driving Jo crazy by lightly dragging her nails across the back of the brunette's neck. Jo knew she had missed something somewhere but for the life of her she couldn't figure out what or where.

"I think my Polish is showing or your blonde is because I'm totally lost here," Jo mumbled into silky tresses.

Blair laughed and pulled out of the embrace. "It must be your Polish because I'm only half blonde."

"Half?" It was Jo's turn to raise an eyebrow.

"Yes, half." Blair slapped her lightly only the shoulder. "Ever heard of highlights, Polniaczek? I am blonde just not quite this light a blonde, which you would know if I hadn't been so determined to wait."

Jo worked back over that one as her eyes slid down the blonde's body. As the green gaze drifted lower, it suddenly occurred to her what Blair meant. "Ohhhh." Jo felt the blush creeping up her face.

"Joey, you're blushing." Blair clapped in delight and proceeded to kiss Jo to within an inch of her life. Jo, happy to oblige, returned the favor, until Blair pushed her away. "Ohhh, we have to stop that or we'll never get this resolved."

"Resolve what?" Jo asked dazedly as she tried to pull Blair closer again.

"No, Jo. That's what got us into this mess in the first place. Your kisses are addictive, Joey. That's why we never seemed to talk."

With a deep breath, Jo stepped back. "You're right. I just…I get so lost in you, Blair. I can't think."

The smile that earned her was pure love. Blair reached for Jo's hands and raising them waist high turned them palm up to lightly stroke her fingertips over them.

"Ok, Jo, from the beginning. Yes, your hands are rough." She caught Jo's wrists as the brunette tried to pull away. "No, leave them. As I was saying, you work with your hands. You do things that leave them callused and rough. What you don't know is how incredibly good that feels when you touch me." She moved Jo's hands to either side of her face. "Just the thought of your hands on my body…" The shiver than ran through Blair said more than words ever could.

"Blair." Jo groaned as a tingle ran through her in response.

The blonde moaned and bit her bottom lip. "You don't know what you do to me when you say my name like that. But you have to let me finish. This is important for us."

Jo held her hands up and stepped back. She stayed silent for a moment gathering herself and then nodded for Blair to continue.

"I don't care where you came from, Jo. At least, not beyond the fact that your experiences made you who you are and I adore who you are. If anything, I sometimes think I'm not good enough for you." Blair raised her hand as Jo started to speak. "Wait. You know so much more about life and the world than I do. I've been sheltered and you've lived. You should be angry and bitter. Maybe you were when you first came to Eastland, but you still had this amazing capacity to love and care about people. You showed that over and over."

"You have that too, Blair."

"Maybe, but my first reaction is to throw money at the problem. Your's is to reach out and do."

"That's only because I don't have money to throw."

Blair smiled as she stepped forward and caressed Jo's face. "And that's another thing. As much as you pick at me for my short comings, which tells me you see them, you're just as quick to make excuses for them, to try to see me in the best light possible. Not because you want anything from me, but just because you care."

"It's because I love you, Blair, and the only thing I want from you is you. I just want to spend my life with you."

The smile that brought was so radiant Jo thought for a moment the sun had come out in the middle of the night. Blair seemed to flow into her arms.

"Now you can touch me, Joey. Anywhere and everywhere you want." Blair ran her fingertips up into Jo's hair and licked her bottom lip to punctuate her words.

"What changed?" Jo breathed against soft, full lips.

"You said the magic words," was Blair's response.


"It's ok. You're Polish." Blair opened her mouth and invited Jo in. Tongues dueled as Jo's armed tightened more and more. She just couldn't seem to get Blair close enough. The blonde finally pulled their lips apart to protest. "Joey, I have to breathe."

"Oh, damn; I'm sorry." Jo loosened her hold slightly. She buried her face in Blair's hair and inhaled loving the scent she had missed over the last months. "I just want to breathe you." She felt soft lips taste her neck. "Blair?"

"Hmmmm?" Blair had moved up to an earlobe and was worrying it with her tongue. She really didn't want to be distracted right now.

"What did you mean?"


"What magic words?"

With a sigh, Blair shifted to look into Jo's eyes. "I guess we really should finish this. I've never made a secret of the fact I wanted to wait until I was married before I….well….you know."

Jo nodded to show her understanding of 'you know.'

"I didn't see how the fact that you were a woman should make any difference to that."

"But, Blair, we can't get married. Not legally anyway."

Blair rolled her eyes. " I know that. We've already established that I'm not that blonde. Marriage is more than a piece of paper, Jo. It's a lifelong commitment to another person. I wanted to wait until I was sure that's what we had."

"So the magic words were…"

"I love you and I want to spend my life with you. Which you said just a few moments ago."

"What about you?"

"Jo, I've felt that way since our senior year at Eastland. I was waiting on you to catch up."

Jo laughed. "Then you were looking in the wrong direction. I knew that was what I wanted our junior year. By the time we started Langley I'd figured out you felt the same way or at least I hoped you did."

"Then why didn't you say anything. That was two years ago."

"Because we were too young and you gave off such mixed signals I wasn't sure about you."

"You could have taken the chance."

"And lost my best friend in the process? I don't think so."

"You're probably right. I didn't say anything for the same reason. But now that we have…" Sliding her fingers back up into Jo's hair Blair pulled her head down until their lips met. Her lips were soft as she nibbled at Jo's. She sucked first one and then the other into her mouth, her tongue sweeping back and forth in delicate little licks to gain entrance. When Jo opened to her, Blair was there putting everything she was, everything she felt into the kiss.



"You live here, right?" Blair had moved on to Jo's neck trailing kisses as she went.

"Uh huh."

"That means you have a room here, right?" The blonde was back to sucking on an earlobe.

"Uh huh."

"With a bed?" Blair nipped gently at the lobe.

"Uh huh. No."

For a moment, Blair wasn't sure she heard right.

"No as in you don't have a bed?"

"Oh, I have a bed, Blair."

"Well, since I'm not Polish, I seem to be having a blonde moment. What did you mean by no?"

"No, you are not getting into my bed tonight. If your date is here, he's taking you home or I will."

"He's not my date. He's just a friend. And what do you mean I'm not getting into your bed tonight." Blair pulled away to stare at Jo dumbfounded.

"You're engaged, Blair, or have you forgotten?"

"How could I forget? My mother calls me every day to remind me of that fact. What does that have to do with anything?" The blonde was getting angry just thinking about those phone calls.

"I'm not going to sleep with you as long as you're engaged to someone else." Jo was beginning to get irritated with Blair's tone.

"But I'm not really engaged. You know that."

"I may know it and you may know it. But the rest of the world, they don't know it, Blair."

"What does that have to do with anything?"

"I will not be known as Blair Warner's sex toy."

"Sex toy? Sex Toy!!!??" Before she said something she would really regret, or not, Blair turned on her heel and stalked away.

"Blair. Blair! Blair, come back."

The party had pretty much wound down so only Scott and Phil were left sitting in the living room when Blair slammed into the kitchen. A very disheveled and obviously furious blonde stomped into the room. She pinned the two men in a frigid glare.

"Scott, take me home, please." The words practically dripped icicles.

Before he could move, Jo came in.

"Blair, where are you going?"

The blonde whirled and stalked over to invade Jo's personal space. When there was less than an inch between them she snarled.

"To buy a fricken sex toy since you've decided to be useless in that department." Grabbing Jo by the lapels she shoved the brunette back against the wall and proceeded to ravish her mouth putting every ounce of lust and desire that Blair had held back for over three and a half years into the actions of her lips, tongue and teeth. Finally, tearing loose she stared deep into Jo's eyes. "And by the way, Jeffrey doesn't receive the bulk of his trust fund for fourteen more months, Jo. Fourteen months. That's how much longer this engagement has to last. Think about it." Spinning, she crossed the room, threw open the door and left the house.

Jo's eyes widened to the point Phil was starting to worry they were going to pop right out of her head. "Fourteen months?" she mumbled. Fourteen months of Blair kissing me like that and then just leaving? I'll go fucking insane! "Blair!" Jo ran out the door after her girlfriend.

Scott looked over at Phil. "Sex toys?"

"I don't think I'd ask."

"Probably safer. So that was Jo?"


"She's gorgeous. They're an amazing couple."

"Stunning was the word I came up with." Phil sipped his drink.

"Lots of sparks flying around."

"Yes, a regular electrical storm. That kiss almost got me going and women do nothing for me."

"Who you think is going to win?"

Phil considered for a moment. "My money's on Blair. Time is on her side."

"That dress doesn't hurt either," Scott chuckled.

"They've been outside in the dark. Jo hasn't really seen the dress yet."


"Where are they standing?"

Scott leaned back in his chair and looked out the door. "Bottom of the walk under the street light."

"I give Jo another 5 minutes. It'll take that long before the kiss wears off enough for her to notice the dress."

They sat in silence for a few minutes sipping their drinks. Scott checked his watch and leaned back to look out again. "Blair's still talking. Jo's standing there with her mouth hanging open."

"She noticed."

"Seems like. They're headed this way." They heard the two women before they saw them.

"Jo, slow down. I can't run in stilettos."

"I don't understand why you wear the damn things anyway, Blair."

"Well, considering you can't keep your eyes off my legs when I do, I'm surprised you wonder."

"True." They had made it as far as the porch.

"Joey!" Blair squealed as Jo swept her up in her arms and strode through the house taking the stairs two at a time. The next thing the men heard was a door slamming upstairs.

Setting his glass on the coffee table, Phil stood. "How about I take you out to breakfast? I have a feeling no one is going to get any sleep around here tonight. Jo told me this has been over three years in the making."

As a rather loud "Ohhhhh, Jooooeyyyy" drifted down from upstairs, Scott laughed and followed his friend out the door.

The next morning Tottie and Nat were eating breakfast when they heard the front door open and close.

"Think that's Blair?" Nat asked.

"Either way she's in troooooouuuuble. Mrs. G is not going to be happy she stayed out all night."

Blair pushed through the kitchen door in time to catch the last comment.

"Mrs. G knows where I was. I called last night. This morning I am in serious need of coffee." Still in the dress she'd worn the night before, Blair walked over to the cabinet and took out two cups. Filling them with coffee, she set about doctoring both cups.

"Must of been some party if you need two cups," Nat quipped.

"Oh, they're not both for me," Blair replied airily. "The other one's for the person I spent the night with."

"You spent the night with Scott?" Tootie stared at her amazed. She knew Blair had been acting strange lately but this was too much.

"Of course not." Blair waved her off. "Scott's not my type."

"You met somebody at the party," Nat guessed.

"Oh, yes." Blair's smile was totally smug.

"And spent the night with them? The whole night?" Tootie finished.

"Definitely." Blair's smile turned dreamy.

Tootie's eyes grew big while Nat's grin turned wicked.

"You had sex," Nat accused.

Blair blushed and took a sip of her coffee.

"B-but wha-whatt about waiting til you got m-married?" Tootie stammered.

"Relax, Tootie. Technically, I'm still a virgin," Blair reassured her.

"Whatta ya mean technically?" But Blair just gave a mysterious little smile and ignored her.

"What about Jo!?" was Nat's question.

"What about Jo?" came from the kitchen doorway. The two girls watched open mouthed as Jo walked over taking the cup Blair offered with a soft kiss and a murmured "Thank you."

"Jo!" They screamed together before launching themselves at their friend. Jo barely had time to set the cup down before two sets of arms tried to squeeze the air out of her in enthusiastic hugs.

"Ok, ok. Easy. I gotta breathe here."

"Now you know how I felt," Blair smirked referring to how tightly Jo had held her the night before.

"Well, if you're gonna complain, Blondie…," Jo left the threat open ended.

Blair pushed the other two girls aside before deliberately wrapping her arms around Jo's neck. "Oh, no, grease monkey. You're mine now. You're not getting away that easily again." She kissed her lover slowly and thoroughly.

"Ok, I don't need an education here." Tootie complained.

"Educate me. Please, educate me." Nat begged.

Blair snuggled into Jo's chest. "Tootie, you can always leave the room; and, Nat...get your own girl."

The End

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