MY SISTER’S KEEPER
By Mavis Applewater
For disclaimers, see Part One.
A special thank you goes out to my beta reader, Joanne.
As always, this is for Heather.
Jenny stood patiently in the long line at Dunkin’ Donuts. The morning commuters were eager to get their caffeine fix and Jenny was eager to get away from her traveling companions. When Katie suggested stopping for coffee, Jenny jumped at the chance to get away from the siblings. The long ride up to Salem with Katie and Lizzie was getting on her nerves. During the night Katie must have come to the misguided conclusion that a frontal attack would be what Lizzie needed to open up. Jenny adored her boss, but at times she was such a cop.
Lizzie’s response was not to utter a single word. “This is going to be a fun trip,” Jenny muttered as she continued to wait in the long line. If she just spent the rest of her day hiding in Dunkin’ Donuts, would the Carrington sisters simply leave her there to enjoy the peace and quiet? She knew that if she took much longer one or both of them would barge in and hunt her down. She had already slipped to the back of the line three times.
The thought of spending the day trapped on a sailboat with one woman badgering her sister and the other not speaking just wasn’t an appealing concept for the already over-stressed brunette. Suddenly Katie appeared at her side. “What happened? She throw you out of the truck?” Jenny quipped as Katie started to pout like a small child. Jenny didn’t know whether she should laugh or cry at the sight of her boss. There was no mistaking the fear and frustration clearly written on the blonde’s features.
Jenny sighed deeply as she prepared to step into some very dangerous waters. “Katie, she’s your sister. Just talk to her. Don’t lecture her and don’t badger her - just talk to her,” Jenny said directly, hoping that Katie would listen to what she was trying to tell her.
“Jenny, you have got to help me out,” Katie said in a pleading whimper.
“You have no idea what you’re asking,” Jenny grunted bitterly, angry at being trapped in this situation. “At one time in my life I knew Lizzie better than I knew myself. That just isn’t true anymore. Up until a couple of days ago, I hadn’t seen or spoken to your sister in over a decade. She isn’t the rambunctious teenager I used to play ‘truth or dare’ with any longer. She’s a grown woman with a new life and very adult problems.”
Jenny watched in horror as Katie’s pout formed into a bitter sneer. “Sorry,” Katie snapped in a harsh tone. “I just thought that if anyone could get through to her it would be you. I just want to know what happened to my baby sister. I feel so helpless.”
“So do I,” Jenny willingly confessed in her own defense. “But you seem to think that Lizzie and I can just pick up where we left off.” ‘Then again, if you knew just where we left off, you would probably beat the snot out of me,’ Jenny’s mind screamed fearfully.
Jenny found herself at the front of the line and placed their coffee order with the overworked teenager who was manning the counter. Katie’s scowl only seemed to grow as they waited. The deeper the scowl grew, the more Jenny knew that Katie had not listened to what she had said. “It’s just that . . . ,” Katie began urgently.
“Just what?” Jenny groused in defeat. “Katie, listen to me. The last major issue Lizzie and I discussed was how much it sucked that we had to wait until we were sixteen to drive,” Jenny lied, knowing that the last major issue they had in fact talked about was their past relationship and the still lingering attraction they both seemed to feel for one another. Much to Jenny’s relief, Katie simply nodded in silent agreement with her observations. The tall brunette paid for the coffee order before following Katie out to the truck. She had a nagging fear that the conversation was far from over.
“It’s cold,” Lizzie grumbled as they loaded the gear up onto the deck of Katie’s sailboat. Jenny would have agreed with the small blonde’s comment if she hadn’t been so startled by the sound of her voice. The irate little nun hadn’t uttered a word in over two hours. Jenny smiled as she glanced over at Lizzie who was trying to bury her face inside her jacket. Jenny’s smile quickly vanished; there was something about the way Lizzie was shivering that made her uneasy.
“You get used to it,” Katie snapped in response as she went about her preparations to cast off.
“I don’t want to get used to it,” Lizzie said as her teeth began to chatter violently. “Can’t we do this some other time?” she added with a whimper.
“No,” Katie fumed as she continued with her work. “The sun just came up. Once we’re out on the water and the sun is a little higher, it’ll warm up.”
“It’s too cold,” Lizzie protested.
“It’s just a little brisk,” Katie argued in response.
“Brisk?” Lizzie continued to protest. “Katie, it’s cold.”
“Why are you acting like such a baby?” Katie grumbled.
Jenny was ready to jump ship as the Carrington sisters continued to snipe at one another. She was about to do just that when she glanced over at Lizzie. There was something disturbing about the way the blonde was desperately trying to burrow herself deeper inside her jacket. The brief glimpse she caught of Lizzie’s face made her heart stop as the reality of the situation hit her. Lizzie not only hated the cold; she feared it. Jenny could not understand why Katie seemed so oblivious to her sister’s discomfort as she tossed life jackets at the both of them. “Let me help you,” Jenny offered as Lizzie began to fumble with her life jacket. She took the jacket away from Lizzie and tossed it onto the deck next her own. Then she removed the heavy gloves she’d put on when they were unloading the truck.
“Put these on,” she insisted as she handed her gloves to the trembling blonde. “No arguments,” she asserted. Lizzie simply nodded in agreement as tears began to fill her emerald eyes. As Lizzie put on her gloves, Jenny reined in her anger as she turned towards the older Carrington. “Katie, does the heater in the cabin work on this bucket of bolts?“ Jenny demanded.
“Yes,” Katie conceded with a groan. “But once the sun is a little higher in the sky, we’ll be just fine,” the blonde argued as she set about casting off.
Jenny stumbled slightly as the small sailboat left the dock. She wrapped her arms around Lizzie and tried to warm her as she fought the urge to beat Katie senseless. “Get down below,” Jenny instructed Lizzie softly. Her heart dropped as a pair of frightened green eyes stared up at her. “Go on down below,” she repeated. “There should be some blankets. Wrap yourself up in them and climb into the bunk. I’ll be down there just as soon as I can to turn the heat on,” she offered in a comforting tone as she guided the shivering blonde towards the hatch that led to the boat’s cabin.
Jenny’s blood was boiling with uncontrollable anger as she watched Lizzie’s tiny body retreat to the lower deck. Jenny spun around to her sergeant whose physical strength seriously outmatched her own despite the fact she was shorter than Jenny. As Jenny stormed over to Katie, she was well aware of the fact that Katie could easily beat the brunette to a pulp without breaking a sweat. This did not stop Jenny from yanking the preoccupied woman by the arm and spinning her around. Katie’s reaction wasn’t unexpected; her body reacted to Jenny assault and she swung a fist to defend herself. Jenny had anticipated her reaction and deflected the blow easily.
“Jacobs?” Katie spat out in confusion.
“Sarge, do me a favor and pull your head out of your ass for two seconds,” Jenny demanded with a fierce growl as she kept a tight hold on Katie’s arm.
“Excuse me?” Katie fumed as she cast a menacing gaze up at Jenny.
“She’s cold,” Jenny hissed as Katie looked at her in confusion. It was clear that Katie still didn’t understand what the problem was as Jenny tightened her grip on the blonde’s arm.
“And?” Katie asked in bewilderment.
It was at that moment that Jenny realized just how little the Carrington sisters had shared with one another over the last decade. Katie was acting like she didn’t know what was going on because she truly didn’t know what was going on. Jenny loosened her grip and released a frustrated sigh. “Do you know that she ran away from that school your mother dumped her in?” Jenny inquired carefully as her voice trembled.
“What?” Katie stammered as her face suddenly paled.
‘Why do I have to be the one to do this?’ Jenny’s heart screamed. She braced herself so she could explain what was wrong with Lizzie without Katie going completely ballistic. “She ran away right after your mother abandoned her there,” Jenny explained in a slow controlled tone. She watched for any sign that Katie understood what she was talking about. She was worried that she was about to betray Lizzie’s trust in her. Jenny brushed the thought aside as she watched Katie’s mind process what she’d just told her.
“She ran away?” Katie stammered. Jenny nodded shyly in response. “Where did she go?”
“Nowhere,” Jenny explained. “She had no money and no street smarts to get help. Look, she can explain it to you later,” Jenny added, trying to get Katie to focus on the immediate problem. She watched as the anger steadily began to cloud Katie’s face. “She wasn’t hurt,” Jenny added quickly in an effort to placate the furious woman standing before her. “Work it out later,” she added firmly. “Right now I have to get her warm.” The only thing Jenny wanted or needed at that moment was to take care of Lizzie. “How do I turn on the heat in the cabin?” she asked calmly.
“I’ll do it,” Katie sputtered, trying to control her breathing. “I need to anchor us first. Go to her.”
Jenny nodded in response as her throat constricted. The overwhelming anger she felt at that moment for Mrs. Carrington and what she’d done to her children’s lives threatened to consume her. Stuffing her hands deep into the pockets of her jeans, she turned and went below to check on Lizzie. The sight that greeted the normally controlled policewoman broke her heart. Lizzie was bundled up under a pile of blankets on the bunk located towards the aft of the boat. She was shivering violently and whimpering like a small child. “Katie will be down soon to get the heater up and running,” Jenny explained as she climbed up onto the bunk, crawled under the blanketsand wrapped her arms around Lizzie’s trembling body.
Lizzie turned into the comforting embrace and snuggled up against Jenny’s chest. “I’m sorry,” Lizzie whispered into her body. Jenny felt better as she felt Lizzie’s breath seep through her clothing.
“For what?” Jenny asked softly as she rubbed Lizzie’s back in a reassuring manner.
“For acting like this.” Lizzie sniffed. “Katie’s right; I am acting like a baby.”
“No, you’re not,” Jenny answered her in a firm yet gentle tone as she continued to caress the smaller woman’s back.
“I didn’t know.” Katie’s voice echoed through the small cabin.
Jenny and Lizzie turned to look over at Katie. Jenny found it unsettling that her normally hard-as-nails supervisor was looking so forlorn as she shifted nervously on the balls of her feet. “Katie,” Lizzie began in a shy quivering voice.
“We can talk about it later, kiddo,” Katie quietly reassured her. “Why don’t the two of you get some shuteye? Frankly, both of you look like crap,” she added with a shy smile.
Thank you,” Jenny snorted sarcastically in response as she felt Lizzie snuggle closer to her. Unconsciously she tightened her hold on the smaller woman. There wasn’t anything sexual about their embrace; Jenny was simply comforting a friend who was having some kind of bad flashback. This moment was very different in comparison to the exchanges they’d shared over the past few days. This time, sharing a bed with the small blonde was easy.
“The heat should kick up in a bit,” Katie explained. “I’ve got the motor running and I’ll be sailing us a little ways out towards Gloucester. Get some rest.” Jenny watched as the blonde made a hasty retreat back up to the deck. Katie seemed to need to put some distance between her and Lizzie so she could wrestle with her own demons.
“Get some shuteye.” Lizzie giggled against Jenny’s chest. “She would have made a great drill sergeant.”
“Tell me about it,” Jenny agreed with a heavy yawn. “Lizzie?” she inquired softly as she continued to rub the blonde’s back. There was something that had been nagging at her for the past couple of nights and she wanted to know what Lizzie thought about it.
“Hmm?” Lizzie murmured in response.
“Do you find it a little strange that your overprotective sister doesn’t seem to have a problem with me climbing into bed with you?” Jenny asked thoughtfully.
“She trusts you,” Lizzie reasoned with a hint of hesitation.
“Yeah,” Jenny agreed, still feeling a little confused by Katie’s actions. “But still, even though we don’t talk about it, she knows that I’m gay. I know that she’s cool about it and all, but ever since Wendy and I broke up she’s been practically ordering me into bed with you. Is it just me or is that a little odd?”
“It’s odd,” Lizzie confirmed with a heavy sigh. She shifted her body so they could see one another while they spoke. “With everything else that’s been going on, I hadn’t really stopped to think about it,” Lizzie continued thoughtfully. “The other day she didn’t even blink an eye when I was teasing you about your breasts.”
“Oh, you mean when you were whining about the fact that I wouldn’t show you my boobies?” Jenny teased as she poked Lizzie’s ribs playfully.
“Yeah, then,” Lizzie confirmed with a giggle and a slight blush.
“You are such a brat,” Jenny responded as she once again playfully assaulted Lizzie’s ribs with her fingers.
“I am not,” Lizzie protested vehemently as she tried to swat Jenny’s teasing digits aside.
Jenny was surprised when the smaller woman quickly turned the tables on her and began to tickle the brunette furiously. Lizzie straddled her body and began a full attack on Jenny’s over-sensitive sides. Lizzie’s firm thighs tightened around Jenny’s body, making it impossible for her to move. “No,” Jenny squealed in protest, thinking it wasn’t fair. Lizzie had known every ticklish spot on her body since they were six years old.
“You are such a wimp,” Lizzie taunted her as she zeroed in on some of Jenny’s more sensitive spots.
“Am not,” Jenny fumed as she squirmed in a desperate need to free herself.
“Admit it,” Lizzie demanded with a mischievous grin as she tickled Jenny harder. As Jenny tried to fight her off, their legs became entwined, capturing both women as they squirmed against one another’s bodies while giggling hysterically. Tears were streaming down Jenny’s face as she tried to capture Lizzie’s wrists and cease her assault.
“I said sleep!” Katie’s voice suddenly boomed from above. Both women froze in sudden panic. Both of them looked up fearfully as they remained frozen in place. Slowly their gazes drifted down, and as their eyes met they broke out in gales of laughter.
“That was weird.” Lizzie laughed as she slid her body off Jenny’s. “I felt like I was twelve years old again and she was babysitting us.”
“Oh man, she was so strict,” Jenny agreed as she tried to steady her breathing. “Then again, every babysitter in the neighborhood agreed that they didn’t want to watch the two of us at the same time.”
“I never understood why.” Lizzie snickered. “Didn’t Debbie Collins say that together we were pure evil?”
“Do you remember what we did to poor Debbie?” Jenny asked as she rolled over to face Lizzie.
“No,” Lizzie responded.
“We took Polaroid’s of her and her boyfriend making out on your parents’ sofa,” Jenny supplied with an evil grin. “That was after we made water balloons out of the condoms we found in her purse.”
“We didn’t,” Lizzie protested with a slight cringe. “Well, it serves her right for sneaking a boy into the house when she was supposed to be watching us. Whatever happened to her?”
“She’s the president of a bank,” Jenny replied as she brushed an errant lock of hair off Lizzie’s brow.
“Now that’s a scary thought,” Lizzie grunted as she leaned slightly into Jenny’s touch.
“I think she said the same thing about you becoming a nun.” Jenny chuckled as her fingers lingered on Lizzie’s face.
They gazed into one another’s eyes and a familiar warmth filled Jenny. Suddenly they both quickly withdrew as Jenny sensed the lines once again blurring. “Feeling better?” Jenny questioned in a clinical tone.
“Yes,” Lizzie responded lightly. “I don’t know what happened. It was like I was back there. I think the pressures of the last few days and seeing my mother again brought everything a little too close to the surface.”
“Probably,” Jenny agreed with a yawn. “I’m exhausted.”
“Me too,” Lizzie concurred as they both snuggled under the blankets.
Before Jenny realized what she was doing, she wrapped Lizzie up in her arms and drifted off into a blissful slumber. As the policewoman slept, images from her past crept into her subconscious. She was lost in a vision; a younger version of herself sat in her first car and her first love was wrapped up in her arms.
Jenny had parked the tan little car in the state park just a few miles away from their homes. She and Lizzie were kissing passionately until they bumped into the stick shift once again. “You couldn’t get an automatic,” Lizzie grumbled as her hands caressed Jenny’s body.
“I like this car,” Jenny offered weakly as she allowed Lizzie’s hands to drift up under her sweatshirt.
“It’s too small,” Lizzie argued as she cupped Jenny’s breasts.
“Lizzie,” Jenny moaned deeply as her body arched in response. “Baby, if we stay here any longer we’re going to be late for school. Again,” she reluctantly pointed out. She didn’t want to stop but one of them had to be the voice of reason. When Lizzie was in an amorous mood, she never thought clearly about anything except ravishing Jenny’s body.
“So?” Lizzie murmured as she began to kiss Jenny’s neck, eliciting a throaty moan from the brunette. “Both of my parents have left for the day. We could sneak back to my house,” Lizzie suggested in a soft inviting whisper against Jenny’s neck before she began to suckle the pulse point under her lips.
Jenny cried out as all thoughts of getting to school on time quickly vanished. Instead she slipped her hand between Lizzie’s thighs and cupped her mound. After an intense groping session, Jenny drove back to Lizzie’s neighborhood, parking her car a couple blocks away from her lover’s home. They made a mad dash to Lizzie’s house and snuck in through the backdoor. Once they confirmed that the house was empty, they quickly raced up to Lizzie’s bedroom and made love until they forced themselves to finally go to school. They each produced a carefully forged note explaining why they were tardy.
The dream was so real that Jenny could feel Lizzie’s body responding to her touch. Her mind was filled with images of nestling between Lizzie’s thighs as she feasted upon her lover’s desire. Lizzie was moaning deeply as Jenny pleasured her. ‘Oh . . . Jenny,’ Lizzie moaned just as she had that day. The images in Jenny’s dream shifted to Lizzie lying on top of her. Lizzie slipped her hands up under Jenny’s clothing and began to gently roll one of Jenny’s nipples between her fingers.
Jenny’s body arched in response as she felt her desire dampening her jeans and the gentle waves of the ocean rocking her body against Lizzie’s. ‘The ocean!’ her mind suddenly screamed as her crystal blue eyes snapped open. Her body was tingling with desire; Lizzie’s hand had indeed crept up under her clothing and she was teasing Jenny’s nipple. “Ugh!” Jenny cried out as she sat up. Lizzie’s emerald eyes opened and she stared at Jenny in confusion. Jenny watched as Lizzie’s look of confusion quickly shifted to one of horror as she discovered where her hand was resting.
“I’m sorry!” Lizzie quickly blurted out as her hand retreated from under Jenny’s clothing. The small blonde was blushing furiously. Jenny stumbled off the bunk and crashed down onto the cabin floor. The brunette was completely flustered as she scrambled to her feet. “Bad nun!” She wagged an accusing finger at the embarrassed blonde as she scolded her. “Very bad nun!”
“I didn’t mean to,” Lizzie protested as her face turned an even deeper shade of red.
“That settles it. When we get back to your sister’s apartment, you’re sleeping on the floor,” Jenny continued to fume.
“Why do I get the floor?” Lizzie whined as her blush began to fade.
“You copped the feel,” Jenny hissed.
“Trust me; it won’t happen again,” Lizzie offered apologetically.
Jenny was so flustered that she was about to blurt out something she’d regret. ‘How can I trust you? You broke my heart!’ her heart screamed. Fortunately her mind caught up with her anger and prevented her from uttering the hurtful words that would certainly open up another painful discussion. Jenny wasn’t ready to deal with that part of their past yet. The emotions they’d been forced to face over the past few days were already taking a toll on her fragile state of mind.
“Do I want to know what’s going on down here?” Katie called out frantically as she entered the cabin.
“No,” Jenny managed to answer before storming past Katie and climbing up on deck.
The warmth of the sun was refreshing as Jenny took a deep breath, inhaling the sea air. She looked out over the glistening water and allowed the tension to slip away. Her body warmed as she felt Lizzie approach her. “I’m really sorry,” Lizzie offered in a hushed tone.
“Forget it,” Jenny responded softly, brushing away the last shreds of tension as she stared out at the ocean surrounding them. “You’re still sleeping on the floor,” she added with a wry chuckle.
“You two look like you’re feeling better,” Katie commented as she handed them their life jackets.
“It’s beautiful,” Lizzie said admiringly as she and Jenny put on the lightweight vests.
“I love it out here,” Katie responded absently, getting lost in the pleasure of the beauty surrounding them. “Why don’t the two of you relax and I’ll get lunch started?” she suggested.
“Lunch?” Jenny said in surprise as she quickly glanced at her watch. “I guess it is lunch time,” she agreed as Lizzie chuckled. “What?” Jenny asked the amused little blonde.
“Still into the seven dwarfs, I see,” Lizzie pointed out. She tapped lightly on Jenny’s watch, which displayed all seven of the little darlings.
“Yeah, whatever,” Jenny grumbled as she tucked her hands in the pockets of her jacket. “I guess I have a soft spot for short things,” she teased as she glared down at Lizzie who was scowling up at her. “I really did get a lot warmer,” Jenny noted. She was uncomfortable wrapped in her heavy jacket. She hoped it was the air around her and not the way she woke up that was wreaking havoc with her body temperature.
Jenny and Lizzie both removed the life vests and the jackets that they were wearing and relaxed in the sunshine. “The weather’s been so strange the last few years,” Jenny commented as they stretched out on the padded seats located at the aft of the boat. “I remember my freshman year of college we had a huge snow storm in the middle of April.”
“Where did you end up going?” Lizzie asked as she stared out over the ocean.
“BU,” Jenny responded, lost in thought.
“Just like we always planned,” Lizzie responded with a heavy sigh.
“Yeah,” Jenny confirmed as a slight twinge of guilt hit her.
“So what did you do when it snowed in April?” Lizzie asked brightly. “I bet you did something crazy.”
“No,” Jenny lied.
“Come on, tell me?” Lizzie encouraged her. “We weren’t allowed to do anything slightly rambunctious. Tell me what you did?”
“A bunch of us got together in a friend’s dorm room and played strip poker,” Jenny confessed shyly.
“Really?” Lizzie blurted out as her emerald eyes lit up.
“Yes,” Jenny reluctantly confirmed. “It was nothing, just a little harmless fun.”
Jenny was uncomfortable; she noticed Lizzie’s eyes had gotten darker. Thankfully Katie reappeared with lunch and the conversation was forgotten. While they ate and chatted, Katie reminded them to put the lifejackets back on. Jenny complied with Katie’s request; Lizzie did not. It amazed Jenny how Lizzie bounced from a mature responsible woman back into the brat kid sister whenever Katie ordered her to do something.
After lunch Katie cleaned up the mess and took the boat out a little further. Jenny and Lizzie relaxed against the rail while Katie pointed out the landmarks. “You should put your vest on,” Jenny encouraged the smaller woman.
“I have to tell her everything,” Lizzie said thoughtfully as she stared out over the water, ignoring Jenny’s suggestion. She turned to Jenny and captured her in a troubled gaze. “Are you all right with me telling her about us?”
“I’m fine with it,” Jenny agreed. “It does scare me just a little.”
“Why?” Lizzie asked.
“I’m afraid that Katie’s going to beat the snot out of me for . . . you know,” Jenny said with a slight stammer.
“Deflowering her baby sister?” Lizzie teased her in a hushed tone.
“That would be it,” Jenny confirmed with a heavy sigh. “You should put your vest on.”
Lizzie once again ignored the suggestion as Katie anchored and approached them. “Put your vest on, Lizzie, and get away from the railing,” Katie chastised her as she relaxed on one of the padded seats. Jenny joined her as she poured coffee from a Thermos. Lizzie ignored her sister’s instructions, mesmerized by the sights and sounds that surrounded them.
“Lizzie, at least step away from the railing?” Jenny asked in exasperation as she sipped her coffee.
“Listen to her, kiddo,” Katie chastised her as she stretched out her legs and sipped her own cup of coffee.
“So what were we talking about?” Katie inquired innocently.
“Oh, just some girl talk,” Jenny hedged, not wanting to lie to her friend.
“Goodie, can I join in?” Katie beamed, eying her younger sister carefully. “Kiddo, get your butt away from that railing.”
Lizzie turned to them, leaning her back against the railing and folding her arms across her chest in defiance. “So do you have any girl talk for us, Katie?” Lizzie asked in a cocky tone as she batted her eyes at her older sister.
“No, I have questions,” Katie began slowly. “What happened?”
“When?” Lizzie answered shyly as she began to chew on her bottom lip.
“That night,” Katie continued; she was treading very carefully. “When Dad called me in a panic because Mom had beaten you so badly that he thought he would have to take you to the hospital.” Katie paused briefly; Jenny felt like she was going to be sick. Katie turned to her. Jenny knew that she’d turned pale. “You should have seen it, Jenny. I was a rookie back then and I rushed to the house still in uniform. Mom was screaming like a crazy woman. I’d never seen her like that. Dad, poor Dad was trying desperately to calm her down. I had no idea what was going on. I found Lizzie curled up in a corner of her bedroom closet.”
‘Lizzie, I never should have left you,’ Jenny’s heart screamed as tears filled her eyes. She turned away from Katie, unable to look at her friend, feeling as if she’d betrayed them both. “Lucky me, my own mother was almost my first bust,” Katie continued and Jenny could hear the panic creeping through the calm tone she was maintaining. “I swear, Lizzie, if you and Dad hadn’t stopped me, I would have slapped the cuffs on her right then and there.”
“Katie,” Lizzie pleaded in an effort to stop her.
“No, Lizzie. No more lies. You’re not putting me off this time,” Katie argued in a firm controlled tone. “Now I want to know why. I know that Mom has always been a little out there. But what she did was total insanity. Then without talking to Dad about it, she ships you off to a convent school in Minnesota. Neither Mom or Dad are willing to talk about this; all I get from you is, ‘I got caught’. Tell me because I really need to know just what happened to my sister’s life. And I want to know now.”
Jenny knew that there was no way for Lizzie to get around it this time. She had to tell her sister everything. Jenny nodded to Lizzie whose face was filled with pain. She silently let her know that it was all right to tell Katie everything. They would survive the fallout. Lizzie sighed deeply before speaking. “Mom . . . ,” Lizzie began, choosing her words carefully. “Mom came home early from bingo that night and she caught me in a compromising position.” She paused. “In the kitchen,” Lizzie added shyly as she stared at her sneakers.
The thought ran quickly yet clearly through Jenny’s mind. ‘She’s trying to protect me? Damn it, doesn’t she see that it’s okay? Everything will be alright.’ The words echoed in Jenny’s mind and sent a chill down her spine. Her misery was suddenly broken as Katie broke out laughing. Both Jenny and Lizzie stared at her with stunned expressions.
“The kitchen?” Katie laughed, looking first at Lizzie and then at Jenny. “What were the two of you thinking?” Jenny and Lizzie were visibly shocked at Katie’s outburst. It took each of them a few moments to completely understand what was happening.
“You know?” Jenny choked out first.
“How?” Lizzie stammered quickly.
“Sorry,” Katie said as she shook her head before laughing once again. “First, let me explain something. I never said anything to either of you about your relationship out of respect for your privacy. I assumed that if you wanted me to know you would have said something.”
“How long have you . . . I mean when did you find out?” the flabbergasted Lizzie demanded.
“You’re going to laugh,” Katie said with a wry smile.
“I doubt it,” Jenny threw in, deciding that Katie was far too amused by the situation. The two of them had spent over a decade hiding it from her, fearful of her reaction. Jenny had worried that Katie would freak out and hate her or worse. Laughter was the last thing the tall brunette had expected.
“Okay, so maybe you won’t laugh.” Katie giggled, which was something Jenny had never seen the stern policewoman do. “Here goes,” Katie began once she calmed herself down. “It was when the two of you were still in high school. It was a weekday and I happened to have it off. So I figured that I could sneak home while the folks were out. You know, do some laundry and raid the refrigerator. Anyway, I drove in from the city and checked around to make sure Mom wasn’t there. I was about halfway to the laundry room when I suddenly realized that I wasn’t alone in the house. At first I was scared that someone might have broken in and they were upstairs in my baby sister’s bedroom. I was just about to call the local cops when I realized that the person upstairs wasn’t an intruder. It was Lizzie ditching school. I was pissed thinking that the little twerp cut school so she could mess around with her boyfriend. Or so I thought. I was about halfway up the staircase when I stopped. Hey, it wasn’t anything I hadn’t done when I was her age. I decided to sneak out so I wouldn’t cause you any embarrassment. I was planning on sitting you down later for a long talk about safe sex and all of that other big sister stuff,” she offered to Lizzie in a gentle voice. “Just as I started to make my retreat, I heard it.”
“Heard what?” Jenny stammered fearfully.
Katie’s response came in a low sensual tone. “Oh . . .. oh . . . yes . . . yes . . .. Jenny,” Katie panted. Jenny almost dropped her coffee mug while she and Lizzie each turned a brilliant shade of crimson. Katie erupted in gales of laughter as Jenny started to hyperventilate. “I swear . . . , “ Katie continued as tears streamed down her face, “it was the funniest thing. I mean, I was more than a little surprised at first. But once I began to grasp the situation, I thought it was hysterical. I had to stuff my fist in my mouth to keep from bursting out laughing. Come on, you two, it’s funny. Mom always thought that Jenny was so sweet and such a good influence.”
“So you just snuck out and never mentioned it?” Lizzie fumed as she crinkled her brow.
“Relax, kiddo,” Katie retorted. “Turns out I never got the chance. Plus I didn’t know if it was a phase or experimentation or the real thing for both of you. You have got to hand it to Mom though. It takes a certain type of genius to decide to send your daughter to an all girl school after catching her with another girl.”
“Yeah, I know,” Lizzie agreed, finally smiling at the situation. “Especially when you take into account that most of the other girls were there for pretty much the same reason.”
“Way to go, Mom.” Katie chuckled, still thoroughly amused.
Jenny on the other hand was fuming inside. Mrs. Carrington took Lizzie away from her and sent her to the one place she could easily meet another girl. Jenny’s hatred for the misguided woman was growing with each passing moment. “Tell me about when you ran away,” Katie asked, her voice suddenly tense. Jenny absently listened as Lizzie explained what had happened. As the sisters agreed that their father had probably been unaware of Lizzie’s arrest and the deal her mother had made, Jenny was nursing old wounds. “Now that everything is out in the open, maybe we can all move on?” Katie suggested. Jenny realized that the comment was made for her as well. She nodded mutely, still feeling numb from the old memories that haunted her. “And step away from the railing, Lizzie,” Katie chastised her sister.
“Fine,” Lizzie agreed as she threw up her hands in exasperation.
Jenny watched in horror as Lizzie slipped the moment she stepped away from the railing and started to fall backward. She sprang up without thinking and captured the small blonde in her arms just before she tumbled overboard. A surge of warmth spread through Jenny’s body as she held Lizzie tightly against her and assisted her over to where Katie was seated. “Thank you,” Lizzie murmured against Jenny’s chest. The tall brunette suddenly became aware of just how intimate her hold on the smaller woman was and quickly released her.
“No problem,” Jenny responded with a nonchalant shrug.
“You’re bleeding,” Lizzie gasped.
Jenny looked down to find a deep gash on her elbow dripping blood. “Must have scraped it or something,” she responded nonchalantly.
“There’s a first aid kit down below,” Katie offered. “Why don’t you give our hero a hand, Lizzie?”
“I’m fine,” Jenny protested.
“Nonsense,” Lizzie chastised her as she took her by the hand and led her towards the lower deck.
Once they were down below, Jenny washed the cut while Lizzie retrieved the first aid kit. Lizzie guided Jenny to sit down and knelt beside her. The blonde’s touch was sending delightful tremors through Jenny’s body. “You’re shaking,” Lizzie said softly, her warm breath teasing the skin on Jenny’s forearm.
“I’m fine,” Jenny responded coldly as Lizzie continued to tend her wound.
With each touch of Lizzie’s gentle hands, Jenny felt the familiar ache of desire filling her. Once Lizzie had finished, she jerked her arm away, unable to stand the contact any longer. She saw the hurt look in Lizzie’s eyes; it wasn’t the small blonde’s fault she was feeling this way. “Sorry,” Jenny mumbled. Lizzie still knelt beside her with one hand resting on her thigh. Jenny fought to control her breathing as she stood suddenly, almost knocking Lizzie to the floor.
Jenny crossed the tiny cabin in an effort to put some distance between them. “I’m moving out of Katie’s tonight,” she said abruptly. “I can’t do this. I can’t be around you not right now,” she explained, wondering if Lizzie understood what she was saying and why.
“I understand,” Lizzie agreed as a dark shadow crossed her face and she turned away from Jenny’s look.
“It’s for the best,” Jenny tried to explain, her own emotions beginning to spin out of control. She turned away from the sight of Lizzie still kneeling on the floor of the cabin and retreated topside.
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