DISCLAIMER: I'd love to own the rights to this wonderful series, but sadly I don't.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By Ann


"You know . . . this doesn't look good."

"No kidding, what is it?" Jo asked her lover.

"It's Mrs. Garrett's famous vegetable stew. She gave me the recipe just the other day. I can't imagine what happened," Blair replied as she continued stirring the concoction, hoping that the spoon would miraculously transform the thick, foul smelling liquid into the stew she had hoped for.

"Blair, you did follow the recipe, didn't you?" Jo questioned the woman standing next to her.

Shrugging her shoulders, the blonde explained, "I just thought it would taste better if I added a few extra ingredients."

Looking into the pot, Jo observed, "Well, I don't know what you added, but this looks like shi… I mean, um, it doesn't look very appetizing at all."

"What am I going to do? Tootie and Natalie will be here soon, and I promised to serve them stew, and not just any stew either. Noooo, I had to go and brag about how they wouldn't be able to tell the difference between mine and Mrs. Garrett's. I'm going to be the laughing stock of the culinary arts," Blair sobbed, throwing down the spoon and running from the room.

Torn between consoling her lover or cleaning up her mess before Tootie and Natalie arrived, Jo chose the latter as she took the large pot outside to feed the dogs; however, the canines took one whiff of the mixture and promptly turned up their noses and walked off.

"Traitors," Jo muttered to the animals.

Making her way back to the house, Jo stopped just inside the doorway and smiled. Stepping back outside, she made her way to her workshop to retrieve the solution to the problem.

Twenty minutes later, Jo started toward the master bedroom to tell her lover the good news when the doorbell sounded. She turned back toward the door and cursed the fact that Blair wouldn't be privy to her plan before their guests arrived.

"Hey, Tootie, where's Nat?" Jo asked her friend as she pulled her into a hug.

"She's arguing with the cabbie. Nat insists that if he had taken the route she suggested, the fare would've been less," Tootie replied with a laugh.

Releasing her friend, Jo ushered her inside just as Natalie rounded the corner cursing a blue streak.

"Damn it to hell. I told the son of a bitch to take Madison, but he insisted on taking the loop. We'd have cut at least fifteen minutes off the drive if he had only followed my instructions."

Jo stood in the doorway smiling and said, "Nice to see you too, Nat."

"Jo! How've you been? Where's Blair?" Natalie replied as thoughts of the cabbie vanished into thin air.

Grinning at her friend's turnaround, Jo answered, "She's freshening up. Why don't you two have a seat, and I'll go get her."

"No need, here I am," Blair stated, walking over to greet their friends.

Greetings and hugs were exchanged, and suddenly, Natalie piped, "I'm starving. Where's this wonder stew?"

Blair opened her mouth to offer her apologies and confess her failure, but she was stunned into silence when Jo cheerfully invited Natalie and Tootie into the kitchen.

"This way, guys. Blair's really outdone herself this time. You're going to swear that you're sitting in Mrs. G's kitchen eating her stew," Jo offered.

Winking at her lover, Jo ushered the two women into the kitchen while Blair stood motionless. Several seconds later, she followed the trio into the other room while making plans for Jo's punishment; two nights on the couch seemed appropriate for the crime.

Blair stepped into the kitchen just as Jo was removing the lid from the pot on the stove. Cringing, she waited for Natalie to make a comment about the smell, the texture, the color, or a combination of the three.

"Wow, this smells great," Natalie offered as Tootie nodded her head in agreement.

"You're right, Nat. I think we should check the closets to be sure Mrs. Garrett isn't hiding out," Tootie countered.

Grinning, Jo grabbed a couple of bowls and said, "Wait 'til you taste it."

Glancing at Blair, she gave a quick smile before ladling the stew into the bowl. Natalie and Tootie moved to the already prepared table and took their first taste.

"Hmmm, this is great, Blair. I've really missed this stew," Natalie commented between bites.

Blair managed to take the few steps to the table and sit next to her friends with a forced smile on her face. Glancing into the bowls, she couldn't believe her eyes. It was definitely stew, not the stuff she had made, but real stew.

Jo placed a bowl in front of her lover and patted her lovingly on the shoulder before taking a seat beside her. She smiled when Blair picked up a spoon and began to eat; all evidence of her shock seemed to have disappeared.

The four women enjoyed second helpings and wonderful conversation as they caught up on the events of each other's lives. Hours past, and Jo insisted the two women stay the night in the spare bedroom. Each agreed, but only if they were allowed to help clean up before bed.

A familiar routine of washing, rinsing, and drying was established, and the kitchen was spotless in no time. Blair set up the coffeepot for the morning, and the women retired to their respective bedrooms after Jo managed to find a couple of t-shirts for her guests to sleep in.

Climbing into bed, Jo switched the lamp off and pulled Blair into her arms.

"Jo, are you a witch or something?" Blair asked her lover.


"Well, it had to be magic. It's the only explanation I can come up with because I know the extra time on the stove didn't turn my flop into Mrs. G's wonderful stew," the blonde explained.

Chuckling, Jo replied, "It wasn't magic, Blair. The last time you were out of town, I took a little trip of my own. I drove to visit Mrs. G for the day, and she served me stew for lunch. I remarked how much I had missed her stew so she put the rest of it in containers and sent it home with me. We didn't have any room in the freezer so I put it in the shop's freezer. I had forgotten all about it until tonight."

"I guess I'll have to call Mrs. G and thank her for saving me from Natalie's remarks. Too bad it wasn't magic because I was going to reward you in a big way," Blair stated in a teasing tone.

"You know, it was my idea. Don't you think I deserve a little bit of a reward?" Jo pleaded her case.

"Hm, I don't know, Jo. I was really counting on the magic explanation."

Rolling on top of her lover, Jo looked down into dark eyes and slid her hand under her lover's sleep shirt.

"I bet if I tried really hard, I could work a bit of magic with my fingers," Jo purred as she moved her hand lower.

"Oh, Jo," was Blair's last coherent response of the night.

The next morning, a sated Blair woke with a smile on her face. Glancing over, she softly stroked Jo's face with the back of her hand.

"You are magic, Jo," Blair whispered to her sleeping lover.

The End

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