DISCLAIMER: The Facts of Life and its characters are the property of Columbia Pictures Television and Sony Pictures Television, no infringement intended.
CHALLENGE: Written for the first International Day of Femslash.
SERIES/SEQUEL: A loose follow up to Bright Lights.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Like A Bad Movie
By Misty Flores
They had gone about this all wrong, and Blair was sick of it.
She was sick of informality. She was sick of unpredictability. She was sick of the non-conformist - pardon her language - bullshit that occurred when one was shackled to someone like Jo Polniaczek.
Blair was an executive with a six-figure salary in her father's company. She had a reputation to uphold. To protect. She didn't need a man, she needed an ideal. There was something to be said for boring and safe, after all. Blair had lived most of her life that way, and since the moment she and Jo had collided, nothing had gone the way it was supposed to.
Jo was female, for one thing. She wasn't tall. Under some light she could be considered handsome, but she was not olive skinned or Italian or male. God help her, the woman was POLISH of all things. And she wore that ridiculous uniform day in and day out, and on the rare days off, gave up the skirts she had been so comfortable in just a year ago for jeans and t-shirts and guzzling beer and 'hanging with the boys'.
And the most frustrating thing of all was that Blair actually thought the ... 'butch' thing was cute! Adorable, even. Attractive, to be honest. Intensely attractive.
Blair really did not enjoy the label of 'lesbian'. It simply was not stylish, no matter what Madonna decreed.
No, none of this was romantic in the least. Not the way they were sneaking around now. Not even how they got started.
Their first kiss had been a half-drunk foray into experimental nostalgia on the floor of her New York apartment. Jo had been very married and very insecure, and Blair had been too afraid and too overwhelmed to see it as anything more than a drunken (cheating) kiss between two best friends.
The first time they had actually been together was not much better. It happened nearly a year later. Jo was now a divorced rookie NYPD officer who had long since declared her intentions of the Sapphic nature to Blair and proceeded more often than not to act like a hooligan because of it. A long-winded fight took place in Blair's office, in which Blair pronounced herself sick of Jo behaving like a lesbian Neanderthal and staring at her as if she was a piece of meat. That had resulted in Jo threatening to storm off (which Jo absolutely LOVED to do) and then a sudden collision of bodies and tongues and wandering hands. The consequence was overturned office furniture, two broken nails, and the loss of Blair's virginity on her desk.
On a desk, for goodness' sake. With a woman. With Jo.
At the time, Blair had not minded it. In fact, she would never admit it to anyone but Jo, but she actually quite liked that their first time had been so unconventional. Jo had been so sweet, nearly reduced to sentimental tears because she wanted their first time to be 'nice' and rutting against the desk like sluts was definitely not nice.
Blair, overcome with adoration for her unconventional slutty lesbian Neanderthal, decreed there would be plenty of time for 'nice'.
Except nice never came. They were months into this twisted sort of courtship, and nice had never once entered the equation. There simply wasn't time for it. As a rookie officer working her way towards undercover work, Jo spent most of her days sleeping and most of her nights in some godforsaken ghetto chasing away streetwalkers. The job was frustrating and made Jo angry, and the result was more often than not, her Jo would show up at her apartment, already pulling buttons out of holes and sinking down to her knees to lift up Blair's skirt.
Blair's schedule was not much better, but at the very least she knew how to keep a calendar and a sense of decorum.
This Saturday was important. It didn't matter if Jo was a hooligan who wouldn't remember why. Blair craved romance like she breathed air, and she was determined to make the best of things, because like it or not, she was stuck with Jo. There was simply no one else. It was an inconvenient truth, but there it was.
Now that she had come to her decision, nothing would dissuade her from stating her own intentions. Not Jo's mouth nibbling on the sensitive skin just underneath her jaw. Not Jo's hands, blazing a trail of goose bumps as they palmed their way up under her Chanel shirt toward the La Perla bra. Not even Jo's thigh, working between her own, pressing insistently at her groin.
Shutting her eyes tight, gathering her resolve, Blair grabbed hold of Jo's navy blue collar and yanked hard, catching a bit of hair in the process.
"OW!" Jo's eyes widened, her hands slid out fast. "What the hell was that for?!"
Despite the fact that she was decidedly moist from Jo's attentions, Blair persevered. "I'm serious, Jo. I want a date."
"You want a date," Jo repeated, as if the request was absurd. Her look was glazed, and already her hands were back under Blair's shirt, disregarding her completely. "Blair, I've got an eighteen hour shift starting in like, three hours."
As if that mattered.
She placed her palm squarely on Jo's open shirt, right next to the Kevlar, halting the horny approach. "Which should give you plenty of time to think of a suitably private venue," she explained patiently. "That is not a hot dog cart," she added, because one could never assume with Jo. "Or anything with wheels, for that matter."
Jo's chest was heaving beneath her touch. It was almost mean, to stop her when Jo was so obviously needing satisfaction, but Blair was determined.
"You're serious," Jo breathed, sounded more irritated by the second. "Blair, we've been together for months."
Leave it to Jo to state the obvious. "So?"
"So we've dated!" Jo snarled, and dipped her head, already making Blair quiver when her teeth scraped along Blair's collarbone, octopus hands already sneaking around her waist.
She grabbed hold of the Kevlar, resolve winning over her rapidly beating heart. "Name one instance in which you and I have gone out to a public place and consumed food." She arched a challenging brow. "Or something date appropriate." Jo's mouth flopped open like a puppet, but despite the fact that Blair could actually SEE her lover dizzily searching for an instance, she came up empty handed. Somehow, that only made it insulting. "Sometimes I wonder if I'm nothing more than breasts and an orifice," she snitted, arms crossing and shoulders straightening.
"An orifice? Great." Jo, at least, seemed to have given up on pawing her, and was now running her hands through her bangs, mussing them more than usual. "Look, you're the one that has to keep this in the closet, or whatever."
"Then find some place with discretion," she enunciated.
Jo blinked. "And why do I have to do it?"
"Because you're the man."
"I'm the what?!"
Why on earth was it always Blair who had to explain everything? "You have the masculine energy, Jo. This isn't news. Look at you. You're wearing armor and a gun."
"Female cops wear armor," Jo snapped. "I have breasts."
"Yes, I'm well aware of that," she snapped. She quite enjoyed them, as a matter of fact. "But honestly, do you expect me to plan it? I want a date, Jo. I want you to take me out. How difficult is that to process, really?"
It was pure logic. Jo hated that.
"I really hate you sometimes."
Unable to help herself, she allowed one adoring smile, before her expression straightened. "I mean it, Jo. I want a proper date. With flowers. You know which I like."
Sucking in a long suffering breath, her girlfriend let her hands rest on her hips, and gave Blair her best (adorable) glare. "Seriously. I hate you."
"Start thinking," Blair commanded, and now that that was decided, reached for Jo's belt, pulling at the buckle. "I want it to be a surprise. And I want it to happen this Saturday. At seven PM. You can pick me up. We'll take the car." She tugged the belt open and began working at Jo's buttons.
"I can't stand you," Jo grumbled, but because her lesbian Neanderthal was a slut, did not stop her from sliding the blue shirt off her shoulders, and pressing her mouth against hers.
"So she wants a date. Give her a date. I don't see what the big deal is." Jimenez took a large bite of his hot dog, chewing happily.
Jo did not have much of an appetite. "The big deal is, where the heck did this all come from?" Scuffing her black shoes on the sidewalk, Jo huddled in her jacket, trying hard to keep warm in the blistering Bronx cold.
"From the fact that Blair's a girl," the older cop stated matter-of-factly, turning down the radio on his side.
Jo felt a shiver of irritation go up her spine. "I'm a girl," she pointed out.
A loud rush of air pushed through his lips. "You're not a girl. You're a dyke."
"Watch it," she growled.
He wasn't the least bit intimidated. "You know what I mean," he continued, after gulping down the last of his hot dog. "You're like you know a motorcycle-riding, rookie cop-beatin', pussy-eating dyke." At the fairly accurate, highly insulting description, Jo rolled her eyes. "Blair's like girlie and stuff. You're the man."
"I'm not the MAN!" God-dammit.
"You're the man, Jo. Just deal with it." Jimenez shrugged. "If it helps I think you're hot."
It didn't help. "Thanks," she replied dryly. Sighing, she crossed her arms, shifting her weight on her aching feet back and forth, before eyeing a suspicious looking group of grungy looking kids gathered on the front stoop of an apartment building. "I'm serious, though. We've been together for months. We see each other when we can. And when we do it's..." she trailed off, flushing to the tips of her ears. "It's pretty great. And I've taken her for pizza and stuff, but it's not like I can hold her hand or call her my girlfriend or anything."
Because Blair was a Warner and a rising executive in her father's company. A public figure. It 'simply wouldn't do' if she were outed as having a 'gay-type' of a relationship with a rookie cop and her best friend of ten years. She had heard that both from Blair and Blair's father.
Yeah. She was still a little bitter about that encounter.
"So you stay at her place and have a lot of sex. Poor you."
Her partner seemed determined not to take her side. Then again, considering the guy was half in love with Blair, Jo never really did expect him to.
"Be creative," was his grand suggestion.
Creative. Jo hadn't been on a real date since Rick. And she had been the girl back then. He had done all the planning. They'd gone to college parties and movies and nothing like that sounded like anything Blair wanted.
She turned a critical eye to her perpetually single partner. "Well, what do you do on dates?"
"For a class act like Blair?" Jimenez whistled. "I dunno. Carriage ride in the park?"
"Too public," she dismissed immediately.
"Russian Tea Room?"
"On my salary?"
"Her dad can get her tickets to a box seat to any play in town."
"What makes Blair happy?"
That was easy. "Money. And foofy clothes."
Jimenez rolled his eyes. "And romance," he enunciated. "I'm bettin'. Girls like that frilly stuff. You know. Flowers. Really shows them you care." He chucked a fist into her shoulder, making her wince. "You gotta think like a girl, Rookie!"
Gritting her teeth, Jo forced herself to count to ten. "I am a girl."
"Whatever." Jo wanted to kick him in his balls. "Look, you're already getting laid, so show her she means more than that." He paused, then turned a critical eye on her. "She does, right?"
"Yes," she said, a little grouchily, because Blair didn't need any more white knights. She had plenty at the office, ready to take her out the minute she decided she didn't want to 'focus on her career' anymore. Jo had a healthy fantasy life gunning down a few of them. "But she knows that."
Of course, she wanted to say. Scratching futilely at the sweat inching down her neck, right under her Kevlar, where she couldn't reach, she found herself flailing.
"What, you think she needs like a gesture or something?"
A heavy hand slapped on her shoulder. "Now you're thinkin' like a girl!"
"You keep sayin' that I'm gonna make you scream like a girl with a kick in the balls."
"I'm wearing a cup," he remarked, and turned the radio up. "We got a call."
On Saturday, at 7:15PM, Blair Warner dialed her assistant Felipe.
"She's late," she announced, the moment he picked up. And of course he would, because she was paying him obscenely to be at her beck and call.
"It's only fifteen minutes," he told her, half asleep. "Give her time."
"She knew how important this was to me. And she's completely disappointed me."
"Maybe she's figured it out."
"She wouldn't. She's as dense as a fog."
"Maybe she's building up anticipation."
"Jo doesn't have a patient bone in her body," she sniffed. "Not when it comes to the possibility of sex."
It was unfair, Blair understood, to call her assistant with things like this. The beautiful gay man did enough for her already. But he was, however, the only one who knew about the nature of her relationship with Jo. The only one who supported it, and although he found out by walking into her office at a very inopportune moment, she highly doubted he could complain about the extremely generous bonus he got a month later.
"Maybe she doesn't like the fact that you made her plan a date," he said in a perfectly reasonable tone.
"Maybe you need to do your job and make me feel better."
He paused. "Maybe we need to define the line between an assistant and a friend."
Blair, in a chic designer dress that he helped her pick out, put her head in her hands. "I'm sorry. I'm worried out of my mind."
"She'll turn up," he told her, careful and quiet. "Maybe she's just working late."
"She would have called. What kind of moronic impulse makes someone go and join the NYPD anyway?" It was a repetitive complaint. "I don't understand this perpetual need Jo has to constantly try to 'make a difference'. In a few months she's due for reassignment, and she's going to be doing undercover work, Felipe. Do you understand what that means?"
"Yes," he replied heavily, because he had heard this all before.
The doorbell buzzed before Blair could work herself up too badly, and without preamble, she hung up on her assistant and moved quickly toward the entrance.
"It's me, Blair," Jo said, thumping on the door. "Open up."
Huffing, Blair crossed her arms, feeling silly and stupid in her beautiful dress. She had gotten dressed up. For Jo. And the other woman hadn't even seen fit to show up on time.
"It took you long enough."
"Blair, would you just open the door?"
"I'm taking my time," she replied idly, cocking her head. "Because it appears you don't mind waiting."
"Blair, god-dammit, open the damned door or I'm leaving."
And it actually sounded like she meant it. Frowning, Blair took a hesitant step forward, then another, until she was fumbling with the lock with trembling hands. The anger that came so indignantly had stalled for a moment of fear, and it flooded her insides when the door finally opened.
"Sorry I'm late," Jo breathed, and Blair gasped in horror. Her lover stared blearily at her from beneath a swelling black eye. Her lower lip was cracked with a trickle of dried blood, and her left arm was braced against her side with a sling.
With a grimace, Jo offered up a battered single rose, with half its petals missing, drooping over in its pathetic attempt at romance.
"I had more," Jo explained. "I dropped it on the subway and it got all trampled-"
"Oh my God, Jo." Fingers wrapping around Jo's wrist, Blair tugged. "What happened?" she asked, hoarse and conflicted, unable to keep her fingers off of Jo's black and blue face.
"Got called in on a bust," Jo said, jerking her head away from Blair, refusing as always to be coddled. "It went bad." She limped toward the couch, and Blair said nothing about the stained and dirty pants that would mark her pristine white couch. Instead, she watched without a word as her girlfriend settled against the plush cushions with a loud sigh, like she could finally breathe. Blair, in her immaculately put together outfit designed to be seen and appreciated, immediately dismissed her hopes for a night out, and moved toward the kitchen, yanking open the freezer door and removing the ice packs she had ordered Felipe to procure the minute Jo had entered the Academy.
When she settled beside Jo, she gently laid the pack against the swollen eye, hissing underneath her breath when Jo jerked underneath her touch. It was only for a moment, and then her lover leaned into her, keeping her good hand clutched around the stem of the rose, fingers mangling the poor little thing, nearly choking it to death.
It was a literal interpretation of their night if there ever was one.
Keeping her resigned smirk to herself, Blair instead stroked Jo's face gently, keeping the icepack on Jo's swollen eye, using a dainty fingernail to tenderly push the scraggly, sweaty bangs away from Jo's forehead, hooking them over her ear.
Exhaling slowly, Jo finally seemed to look at her, notice the dress, and the elaborately pinned up hair, the diamonds hanging just so from her earlobes. The fingers tightened over the rose.
"You look really beautiful." Jo stumbled over the words, tone laced with regret and apology.
She both broke and mended Blair's heart.
"So do you." It came out gracious and honest, because there really was nothing quite as beautiful as Jo with her swollen eye and split lip, resting on her couch as if she belonged there. As if she needed to be there to feel whole again.
"Oh, shut up." Always crabby, that was Jo. The petals continued to disintegrate, and suddenly Jo issued a hollow, dark laugh. "I'm sorry."
"Don't be sorry," Blair answered, because she couldn't stand it.
"I was gonna wear a dress." Jo's smile was bittersweet. She thumbed now at her dirty jeans, then the silly blue shirt that had NYPD printed on it boldly. "Felipe helped me pick it. I was gonna look gorgeous and I had this bouquet of flowers... roses, because I knew you liked them. I got my mom to help me with that."
Blair's eyes floated down to the wasted remains of what was left. "I'm sure they were lovely."
"We were gonna have dinner at this little Italian place. It's all cozy and romantic and no one woulda known you there, Blair. And I had borrowed this car, we were gonna go to the country."
Choked on Jo's good intentions, Blair smiled gently. "It sounds lovely," she whispered, and lifted the ice pack to inspect the eye, found to some relief that swelling had at least stalled.
"Sounds like a bad movie," Jo muttered, looking embarrassed at her own lack of imagination. "Some terrible cliché. But it was what you wanted. And I wanted it to be perfect for you."
Blair could not imagine it being more so than this moment.
Fingers traced along a strong chin. "I'm just glad you're here." Dirty jeans, scraggly hair, bruised face and all.
"I remembered what today was." Jo had now taken to scratching at her sling. "Betcha didn't think I'd remember, but I did."
Unable to help herself, Blair pressed a gentle kiss to Jo's smooth cheek. "I haven't the foggiest idea what you mean."
"Two years ago," Jo said, visibly swallowing, shifting underneath her touch to look her in the eye. "I kissed you for the first time. Right here. On that rug."
Astounded, touched beyond belief, Blair could only stare in shock.
"I love you, Blair." Jo lowered her head miserably. "I'm sorry this went all wrong."
And really, what else could Blair expect? They had gone about this, all of this, the wrong way. From the first kiss to the first anniversary, their romance was doomed to lesbian clichés, busts gone wrong and lowered expectations.
Jo wasn't a man. She wasn't a gallant Prince Charming, but a handsome young woman struggling to find her way, giving her body and her soul for a city that would never appreciate her, would never understand what it meant to a devastated Jo that all she had for the woman she loved was a bruised body and a wilted flower.
It was moments like these, in which Blair wondered to herself how her father could ever think there could be anything better than what she had stumbled into, one drunken night where she had missed Jo too much to keep from opening her mouth and her heart to her best friend.
"I think it's gone quite perfectly." Jo looked surprised.
"You were the one who kept whining about having a date." Blair rolled her eyes.
"So we'll have a date," she said, shrugging, because it was not that hard to understand. "There is such a thing as rescheduling, Jo."
Jo still looked suspicious. "It's the eye, isn't it? You don't want to be seen in public with the eye?"
Blair allowed a small smile. "Absolutely. You look horrendous."
It was tiny, but she finally saw Jo's exhausted, disappointed expression fade in favor of the tiniest smile.
It meant the very world.
They had gone about this all the wrong way, but Blair wasn't sick of it. Not the informality. Not the unpredictability.
Jo exhaled raggedly, tilting her forehead until they were curled together on Blair's couch.
"I arrested this guy twice my size, Blair."
She would be proud of that. "Of course you did."
"He had brass knuckles and everything. But I got the drop on him. Got my arm around him in this chokehold, like they taught in the academy?"
Blair simply leaned forward, lowered the icepack, and placed a gentle kiss on swollen lips. "Did you, really?"
"Yeah. Jimenez said I handled it like a pro. Said I don't have to be called 'Rookie' anymore. I got my name back. Polniaczek."
Yes, that was so much better. "Wanna order a pizza?" she asked, deliberately chipper.
"Olives," Jo gave her order quietly. "With anchovies. I've got cash in my wallet-"
Steeling herself in an effort not to give her muted grimace away, Blair shook her head in resigned adoration and placed the ice pack in Jo's free hand, getting up to reach for the phone.
"No, no. I insist."
"I was gonna take care of tonight, Blair. You said I was the guy, remember?"
Jo was not like any guy Blair had ever known. "A pizza is not going to let you off the hook, Jo. I expect an obscenely thoughtful and expensive date in the foreseeable future."
Jo tried to scowl, but she couldn't hide the smirk of satisfaction.
She was so ridiculously easy to read.
Like a bad movie indeed.
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