MY SISTER’S KEEPER
For disclaimers, see Part One.
A very special thank you goes out to my beta reader, Joanne.
As always, this is for Heather.
Hiding in the bathroom was probably not the best course of action, but for the moment it was all Jenny could think of. She’d taken a very long and very cold shower. ‘How did we go from the emotional strain of her mother attacking her to almost groping each other?’ Jenny wondered as she questioned her own sanity. She was quickly realizing that some things about her former lover never changed. During their brief teenage romance Lizzie was able to move from zero to sixty without batting an eye. If Jenny was completely honest with herself, it was one of the things that drew her to the blonde. “Just like a moth to a flame,” she grumbled.
Jenny finally stepped out of the bathroom wrapped in her favorite blue bathrobe. She could tell by the rise and fall of Lizzie’s chest along with the earth shattering snores that the events of the day had finally overwhelmed the blonde and she was fast asleep. Quietly Jenny shuffled over to the kitchen that was divided by a tiny island from her living room and bedroom. She was careful not to make any noise as she put the teakettle on, selected her favorite tea, and grabbed her favorite oversized mug. Wendy had always given her a ration of crap about the large mug that sported an image of Dopey from Snow White on it. She smiled as she poured hot water into the mug; she wondered if Lizzie still had the other mug with Grumpy on it.
It had started as a joke between them. Jenny had always said that Grumpy matched Lizzie’s personality before she had her first cup of coffee. The winter before they became lovers Jenny’s family had gone to Disney World and she’d bought her best friend the biggest mug with Grumpy’s face on it that she could find. Lizzie in turn paid her back the following spring by giving Jenny a huge mug with an image that she claimed reminded her of Jenny. The tall brunette had laughed herself silly when she saw Dopey’s silly grin smiling up at her.
Jenny giggled as she sat on the stool in front of her breakfast bar and sipped her tea. She had to admit that they’d had a lot of good times together even before things became intimate between them. She looked over and her smile grew brighter as she watched Lizzie sleep. The memories once again crept in and this time she didn’t fight them.
“What do you think?” Lizzie pleaded with her as they sat on the blonde’s bed. Jenny didn’t want to answer the question. She was terrified that her best friend would discover the feelings she had for her if she answered the question. She simply continued to brush Lizzie’s long blonde hair.
“I think that you would look like a kid in braids,” Jenny finally offered in an effort to avoid the real question Lizzie had just posed.
“Not about that!” Lizzie grumbled. “And I know I look like a twelve-year-old when I braid my hair, you goof. I was talking about Kenny.”
“Oh him,” Jenny grunted as she allowed her fingers to enjoy the soft silky feeling of Lizzie’s hair.
“Don’t you like him?” Lizzie asked in concern.
“He’s okay,” Jenny responded noncommittally. She didn’t want to tell Lizzie that she didn’t like or trust Kenny. She couldn’t since she knew that her dislike stemmed from her unexplainable attachment to her best friend. Kenny had been Lizzie’s steady beau for the last couple of months and Jenny hated watching them together. She feared that Lizzie would start a sexual relationship with the lanky redhead, and then there would be no place for Jenny in the blonde’s life.
“What’s wrong?” Lizzie asked, pulling Jenny away from the miserable thoughts that had been plaguing her.
“Nothing,” Jenny lied as she continued to brush Lizzie’s hair. “So what do you think he got you for your birthday?” Lizzie’s sweet sixteen party was that night and Jenny had come over a little early to help her get ready.
“I have no idea,” Lizzie huffed in frustration. “He said it was something special.”
“I bet,” Jenny groaned.
“What?” Lizzie pressed as she turned to Jenny.
Jenny’s breath caught as she became lost in the emerald pools looking innocently up at her. “Nothing. It’s just that…you know,” Jenny stammered as she lowered her head to hide the blush that was creeping up her face.
“I’m not going to sleep with him,” Lizzie reassured her as she removed the hairbrush from Jenny’s grasp. The brunette’s fingers tingled with excitement at Lizzie’s touch. Then Lizzie cupped her face and turned Jenny’s gaze back toward her own. “I’m not,” Lizzie earnestly vowed.
“It’s none of my business,” Jenny confessed sadly. She pulled away from her friend’s touch before she did something they’d both regret.
Jenny released a large gasp as she was knocked over and pinned to the bed. “Don’t say that,” Lizzie fumed as she held the larger girl’s arms tightly. “You’re my best friend and everything you say is important.” Jenny grunted in response as she tried to free herself from Lizzie’s grasp. She needed to distance herself from the compromising position; her body was enjoying it far too much. “Say it,” Lizzie demanded.
“Everything I say is important,” Jenny taunted her friend, knowing that she was dangerously close to being tickled to death.
“Not that,” Lizzie growled fiercely as her nimble little digits dug into Jenny’s sensitive side.
Jenny laughed hysterically as Lizzie assaulted her body with her fingers. She curled up in an effort to escape the tickling. Lizzie knew her and her body all too well and the attack escalated. “Say it,” Lizzie demanded.
“Fine. I’m your best friend, you little freak.” Jenny laughed as Lizzie’s fingers stilled. Jenny’s body was tingling as Lizzie hovered above her with a bright smile.
“And don’t you forget it,” Lizzie chastised her as she leaned closer to Jenny.
Jenny swallowed hard as she felt Lizzie’s breath on her face. For a brief moment she was almost certain that Lizzie was going to kiss her, granting her the one thing her body and mind had been craving for ages. Suddenly Lizzie pulled away. “So who’s your date tonight?” the blonde asked casually as if nothing had happened.
“Don’t have one,” Jenny responded as she sat up.
“Why not?” Lizzie squawked. “What happened to what’s-his-name? You know - booger boy.”
“Brian,” Jenny corrected her. “I dumped him. So I guess I’ll just be a wallflower tonight.”
“Yeah, right,” Lizzie snorted in amusement. “Every guy there will be flocking around you just like they always do. Thank God Robby isn’t invited; I hate the way he hangs all over you.”
“He doesn’t mean anything by it,” Jenny defended her neighbor.
“What? So you like him?” Lizzie hostilely.
“No,” Jenny blurted.
“Then why do you let him latch on to you like you’re the last lifeboat on the Titanic?” Lizzie hissed.
“I do not,” Jenny argued, still not understanding why Lizzie and Robby hated one another with such intensity.
“You do,” Lizzie whined. “I can’t stand him.”
“Forget about him,” Jenny said, trying to placate the pouting blonde as she reached for her purse and withdrew the tiny elegantly wrapped package she’d hidden inside. “It’s your birthday; just relax and enjoy the party.”
“Happy Birthday,” Jenny stammered as her palms began to sweat. With trembling hands she gave Lizzie the present she’d saved up for months to buy.
“Thank you,” Lizzie said with heartbreaking smile. Jenny held her breath as she watched Lizzie slowly unwrap the tiny box careful not to tear the paper. Lizzie’s jaw dropped when she opened the velvet box that was unveiled.
“Do you like it?” Jenny nervously asked.
“I love it,” Lizzie choked out as her eyes began to well up. “Put it on me?”
Jenny simply nodded as she removed the necklace with the teardrop-shaped emerald. It was Lizzie’s birthstone and she’d just had to buy the expensive necklace for her best friend. Her long fingers were shaking as she brushed Lizzie’s hair aside and clasped the necklace. “Thank you,” Lizzie repeated as she wrapped her arms around Jenny’s waist. Jenny held her breath as her friend’s breasts brushed against her own. Her heart was racing as she pulled her body away from her best friend’s grasp.
That night Jenny lurked in the shadows as Lizzie entertained her guests while she hung on her boyfriend’s arm. The sight was tearing Jenny apart. As she watched Lizzie dance with Kenny in her backyard, it was like a knife through her heart. Then Lizzie did something that made everyone stop and stare. She abandoned Kenny’s side just as a slow song began and walked over to Jenny. The brunette was floored as Lizzie led her across the backyard and danced with her. It was the best moment of Jenny’s life until the song ended and Lizzie gave her arm a gentle squeeze befor she rejoined her boyfriend. A few days later Lizzie and Kenny broke up. Jenny never asked why.
Jenny stared down at her now empty mug before her eyes drifted to Lizzie who had managed to cocoon herself in the blankets. “The old tuck and roll. I’ll be lucky if I get a scrap of blanket.” Jenny snorted slightly, amused by the situation, as the brunette simply accepted her fate. If she tried to crawl into her bed she would undoubtedly freeze since Lizzie had managed to trap the blankets beneath her. “Oh well,” Jenny sighed as she turned the teakettle back on and grabbed a book from the shelf. She thumbed through it; she’d started to read it some time ago but had been forced to put it down when reality interrupted her quiet time.
She got caught up in the story as she prepared herself another cup of tea and took the steaming mug into the living room. She released a heavy sigh as she sat in her grandmother’s rocking chair and wrapped her grandmother’s afghan around herself. She sipped her tea before setting the mug down on the small table next to the rocker. Jenny opened the book again and found it impossible to focus on the words. Instead of reading the story that had once captivated her, she found her eyes constantly wandering back to Lizzie’s slumbering form.
She couldn’t keep the flood of memories at bay. She closed the book and set it down as she decided to stop fighting the tidal wave and simply allow the pleasant voices from the past to invade her mind. Jenny almost laughed out loud as she recalled the time she and Lizzie were just finishing junior high school.
“Come on, Jenny,” Lizzie earnestly implored her. “This is going to be the coolest thing we’ve ever done.”
“Lizzie, this is silly,” Jenny whined as she wrapped her arm around her best friend’s shoulders. “What if we get caught?”
“Please, Jenny, I really want to do this,” Lizzie pleaded. Jenny took one look in the blonde’s emerald eyes and agreed. Even then she couldn’t refuse anything the blonde asked of her. So there she was on the last day of junior high willingly participating in yet another one of Lizzie’s brilliant and insane ideas. Lizzie had wanted to make a statement. At least that was the way the exuberant blonde described her latest harebrained scheme. Each of them was wearing one roller skate as they clung to each other.
“We’re going to fall.” Jenny grumbled.
“Hold on to me; I won’t let you fall, Jenny,” Lizzie vowed as they nervously waited for the bell to ring announcing the end of the class period.
Soon the hallway would be flooded with students and teachers, each hurrying to reach their next class before the next bell rung. Jenny’s heart was pounding with fear as the bell clanged and the hallway suddenly filled with hundreds of people. Lizzie gave them a push and they were sailing down the longest corridor in the school. They bounced and weaved as they rolled, clutching one another tightly in an effort to remain standing. They had almost reached their destination at the opposite end of the hall while the other students laughed at their antics. The journey came to an abrupt end when they slammed into Mr. Truman, the assistant vice principal; they almost sent the small man sailing through the air. Jenny could have sworn that the old man was trying to hide a smile as he ordered them to remove the skates and walk to their next class. It was the only reprimand the duo received.
“Oh, the things I let you talk me into,” Jenny chuckled whimsically. The muffled sounds of sobbing broke through her happy memories. Horrified, she looked at Lizzie’s shivering body as the blonde released a helpless whimper. Jenny bolted out of the rocker, tossing the afghan aside as she rushed to Lizzie’s side.
“No! Please stop!” Lizzie screamed as her body curled up into a ball. Jenny climbed up onto the bed and wrapped her arms around Lizzie’s trembling form.
“Ssh. I have you,” Jenny whispered in Lizzie’s ear as she rocked the smaller woman gently in her arms.
Lizzie struggled to free herself from Jenny’s hold; the brunette continued to rock her gently as she whispered soft words in her ear. Lizzie’s trembling finally faded and she relaxed into Jenny’s warm embrace. Jenny rested her body against the headboard as she cradled Lizzie in her arms. A single teardrop slid down her cheek as she tightened her hold on the smaller woman. “I’m here, baby,” Jenny reassured the sleeping woman. Jenny held Lizzie for what seemed like hours until she drifted off to sleep. While she slept, the past once again invaded her dreams.
“I guess hiking is out?” Jenny teased Lizzie as they sat across from one another in their usual booth at Dante’s Diner.
“Cute,” Lizzie retorted as her lips curled up into a snarl.
“Hey, I told you not to climb out my bedroom window,” Jenny said softly. With an amused smirk she stared at Lizzie’s foot that was still wrapped in a cast as a result of her escapade.
“Oh sure. I could have just strolled downstairs and said hi to your dad,” Lizzie snorted. “And when he asked what I was doing there so late, I could just tell him I was deflowering . . .” Jenny leaned over and clamped her hand over Lizzie’s lips before she could finished what she was saying.
Jenny blushed deeply as she recalled what she and Lizzie had been doing before they drifted off to sleep and her parents arrived home. She bit back a moan as Lizzie’s tongue tickled the palm of her hand. “You’re such a brat,” Jenny scolded the giggling blonde as she removed her hand and wiped it on a napkin.
“What? Afraid you’ll get cooties?” Lizzie teased her.
“I should spank you,” Jenny threatened. Her blush grew deeper as Lizzie simply wiggled her eyebrows in a suggestive manner. “What has gotten into you today?” Jenny laughed.
“You,” Lizzie responded in a husky tone that sent a delightful shiver down Jenny’s spine.
“Where can we go?” Jenny asked in a breathless whisper as she watched her lover’s eyes darken with desire.
“Why? Are you planning on having your way with me?” Lizzie asked softly as she leaned over the table.
Jenny opened her mouth to respond when she felt a large mass plop down beside her. Jenny didn’t need to look over to see that it was Robby. The disgusted scowl on Lizzie’s face told her all that she needed to know.
“Hey, Jenny,” Robby greeted her brightly as he placed his arm on the back of the booth.
“We were talking,” Lizzie growled at him.
“Sorry, didn’t see you, Lezzy,” Robby offered in a condescending tone. Jenny hated it when he called Lizzie that. But what could she say? They both knew they had to keep their relationship a secret. “So, Jenny, do you want to go to the drive-in tonight?” he asked as he ignored the low threatening growl Lizzie directed at him.
“I’m busy,” Jenny sighed in a dismissive manner, wondering why he just wouldn’t take a hint. Her heart sank as she stared into her lover’s eyes. She knew that Lizzie was silently pleading with her to tell Robby to go away. As much as she wanted him to leave them alone so they could go back to making plans for the night, she couldn’t be rude to her neighbor.
“So change your plans,” Robby persisted.
“No can do,” Jenny offered as politely as she could. “Maybe some other time,” she offered in hope that their uninvited guest would leave.
No sooner had the words left her mouth than Lizzie reacted by shoving her plate across the booth. Her half-eaten hamburger landed in Robby’s lap. Lizzie crawled out of the booth, snatched up her crutches, and hobbled off. “Lizzie, wait!” Jenny called after her lover. She was unable to chase after the small blonde since Robby was blocking her exit.
“Let her go,” Robby fumed as he tossed the remnants of Lizzie’s lunch onto the table.
“Robby, move,” Jenny demanded.
“Seriously, she’s a bitch. Let her go,” Robby stressed as he tried to clean up his lap. “Jesus, what crawled up her ass today?” he asked, still not moving so Jenny could get out of the booth.
Jenny felt the anger explode from deep inside of her. She shoved Robby harshly, sending him flying out of the booth. The diner erupted in laughter when the other teenagers caught sight of the football player lying helpless on the floor as Jenny stepped over him. When she reached the parking lot Lizzie was nowhere to be seen. “Damn! For someone with a broken ankle she can move fast,” Jenny muttered as she looked around for her lover. “I’m in such trouble.”
It wasn’t the first time Jenny and Lizzie had fought about Robby. It was the first time they’d had an argument since becoming lovers. It was also the first time Jenny bought a woman a present to say she was sorry. Then again it was also the first time she learned just how much fun making up could be. Jenny’s eyes blinked open and she looked down at the blonde who was looking back up at her while she rested in Jenny’s embrace.
“What are you in trouble for?” Lizzie asked her curiously.
“Just dreaming,” Jenny said with soft smile. “Sorry, didn’t mean to wake you.”
“So what were you dreaming about?” Lizzie asked as she nestled against Jenny’s shoulder.
Jenny rubbed the blonde’s back in a soothing manner. “Oh, just some fight you and I had years ago. Robby ticked you off and we ended up having a huge argument,” Jenny explained.
“You’ll have to be more specific,” Lizzie informed her as she yawned and sat up.
Jenny’s body instantly ached at the loss of contact. “We fought a lot because of him, didn’t we?” Jenny asked as she thought about the run in she’d had with Robby the last time she’d seen him.
“Yeah,” Lizzie grunted as she gave Jenny a challenging look. Although she hadn’t seen the look in many years, Jenny was very familiar with it. “I can’t say that I blame him though.”
“Huh?” Jenny choked out, truly surprised by Lizzie’s change in attitude.
“Robby and I clashed because we were both in love with you,” Lizzie explained calmly as she climbed off the bed and stretched her body. “How can I blame him for falling in love with you? How could he resist?” They found themselves locked in an intense gaze for a brief moment before Lizzie turned away. “Is it alright if I put some coffee on?”
“Go ahead,” Jenny answered as she climbed off the bed and followed Lizzie into the kitchen. “I had a run in with Robby the other day,” Jenny explained as Lizzie made herself at home in her kitchen.
“Really?” Lizzie responded blandly.
“You don’t seem surprised,” Jenny said as she grabbed the orange juice from the refrigerator.
“He didn’t seem happy to see me,” Lizzie explained with a shrug. “I’m certain that seeing the two of us together brought up some issues for him. And tell me that you’re not going to drink that from the carton,” Lizzie scolded the tall brunette who was about to raise the juice carton to her lips.
Jenny stopped moving, lowered the carton, and placed it on the counter. “Why would he have issues?” Jenny asked as she retrieved a glass from the cabinet and poured a glass of juice. “Do you want some?”
“Thank you,” Lizzie said with a smile as she began to search the cabinets. “Robert has issues because he was in love with you,” she explained. “Where are your coffee mugs?” the blonde asked in frustration.
“He knew about us?” Jenny said in bewilderment as she reached over Lizzie’s head and grabbed a mug from the top shelf. “I have to wash the other one,” she explained as she poured Lizzie a glass of juice before going back to the living room to collect the mug she’d used the night before.
“Of course he knew about us,” Lizzie said with a hint of surprise. “You didn’t know that?”
“No,” Jenny answered honestly as she rinsed out her Dopey mug. “The first clue I had was when he said something the other day. I almost decked him.”
Jenny almost laughed as Lizzie’s eyes widened and she choked on her juice. “What did he say?” the blonde asked as she coughed.
“He accused you of turning me,” Jenny grunted. She looked at her coffee maker to see if it had finished brewing their coffee. She grimaced when she noticed the machine was still chugging away.
“Into what?” Lizzie laughed.
“A lesbian,” Jenny explained with a scowl.
“That is a shame.” Lizzie sighed deeply.
“What?” Jenny asked in confusion.
“That he’s still a clueless dork,” Lizzie grumbled as she began to pour coffee for both of them. “Dopey?” the blonde exclaimed when she picked up the large mug.
Jenny blushed as she turned her attention to the floor. She finally looked up when Lizzie handed her mug filled with coffee. “Thanks,” she shyly muttered. “So how did he know about us? More importantly, when did he find out?”
“I don’t know,” Lizzie answered her with a shrug. “It wasn’t all that long after we became lovers. He and I had always vied for your attention. But that summer he started threatening me. By the things he said I assumed that he knew.”
“He what?” Jenny blew out bitterly. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I don’t know really, other than I didn’t want to upset you,” Lizzie said calmly as she sipped her coffee.
“You didn’t want to upset me?” Jenny hissed, not believing what she was hearing. “That rat bastard threatened my girlfriend. You should have told me. I’m going to ring his neck.”
“Jenny, it was a long time ago,” Lizzie tried to reason with her. “At the time I didn’t care what he thought or said. I still don’t. I was just happy knowing that we were together.”
Jenny was still steaming as she dressed for work. “Can I trust you to stay here?” she asked as Lizzie ransacked her kitchen cabinets.
“If you promise to bring back something I can cook for dinner,” Lizzie mumbled.
“You can cook?” Jenny exclaimed in surprise.
“Not really,” Lizzie bashfully confessed. “But I thought I’d give it a shot.”
“I don’t think so,” Jenny scoffed. “How about I bring home something I can cook for dinner?”
“Works for me,” the nun readily agreed. “So by staying here you mean . . .”
“Here,” Jenny barked. “As in you are not to leave the apartment.”
“I need clothes,” Lizzie protested.
“I’ll get them,” Jenny instructed the frowning blonde as she walked across the room and pulled her lock box out of a cabinet. “There’s something else you can do for me,” she continued as she pulled out the .38 she kept as a backup. She checked the pistol carefully as she stood and turned back towards Lizzie. “The safety is on,” Jenny began to explain.
“No . . . no . . . no . . .no,” Lizzie chastised her as she waved her hands in a dismissive manner. “Nuns and guns are a bad mix.”
“I’d feel better if you had some protection,” Jenny said, trying to reason with the aggravated woman.
“From my mother?” Lizzie countered. “Look, I know she’s lost it but I couldn’t raise a hand to her. What makes you think I could use one of those? I’m a nun; we don’t shoot people. That thing makes me nervous just looking at it.”
“Fine,” Jenny finally conceded, understanding Lizzie’s point. Offering her gun to a civilian wasn’t the smartest thing she’d ever done. “Look, it isn’t just your mother who’s hunting you down these days. So I’m just going to put it in my top dresser drawer.”
“Good, then your bras will be well armed,” Lizzie quipped. “So what am I suppose to do all day? I’m not used to being cooped up.”
“Watch television,” Jenny shrugged. “You seem to enjoy that.”
As Jenny was about to leave, her breath caught at the sight of the smaller woman standing in her apartment clad in nothing but her bathrobe. Jenny released a heavy sigh before going out the door. As she walked to the station house, she wondered how long it would take Lizzie’s short attention span to run out before she stole some of her clothes and made a break for it.
When Jenny arrived at the station and received her assignment for the day, it was heart wrenching to see how exhausted Kate looked. The tall blonde pulled her aside just as she was about to follow Nuru out to their patrol car. “A moment?” Kate requested wearily. Jenny simply nodded as she followed the sergeant back into the station house.
“How are you holding up?” Jenny carefully inquired.
“Just peachy,” Kate sighed. “I’ve brought some clothes and stuff for Lizzie. Thank you for looking out for her.”
“You don’t have to thank me,” Jenny reassured her.
“My mother is out and she’s not a happy woman,” Katie explained as she rubbed her face. Jenny could see the dark circles under the blonde’s eyes.
“I suspected as much,” Jenny said. “Any chance she’ll be charged?”
“No,” Katie groaned.
“Look, Lizzie can stay with me as long as she needs to,” Jenny offered.
“You know, I understand that every family has its own dysfunctions but this is ridiculous,” Kate grumbled. “Do you think there’s any chance you can convince my pig-headed baby sister to get a restraining order?”
“Are you kidding me?” Jenny almost laughed, knowing that Lizzie would never agree to such a harsh course of action.
Kate released an exasperated breath. “Fine. Just give her a hug from me,” Kate said, her voice trembling slightly. “And Lizzie’s superior, Mother Agnes, wants to meet with you.”
“Me?” Jenny squeaked out fearfully. “Why me?”
“I have no idea,” Kate answered her with a shrug. “I’ll catch you at the end of your shift.”
Later that night Jenny grumbled as she climbed up a fire escape. “I hate it when they run,” she groused as she climbed up onto the roof of an apartment building, searching the darkness for the scrawny little bugger they’d caught climbing out a window in the building. He’d dropped the DVD player he was carrying and bolted up the fire escape. While Nuru was bringing the squad car around the opposite side of the building, Jenny was forced to scale the fire escape.
Jenny heard the distinct sound of someone wheezing while they tried to catch their breath. “Smokers just make this so easy,” she whispered as she smirked. She quietly snuck around the air vent and found the man with his back to her, puffing like a steam engine. She grinned wickedly as she leaned down. “Boo,” she whispered in his ear. His eyes were dilated as he stared up at her. “Great,” she groaned, knowing that the boy was high and wouldn’t be thinking clearly. The smell that assaulted her informed her that he had lost control of his bladder. She reached out to grab the teenager. Just as she had feared, he tried to scramble away from her. She grabbed him by the back of his shirt and forced him down to the ground.
“Get off me, you bitch,” he spat at her as she placed the cuffs tightly around his wrists.
“You know I just can’t hear that.” She laughed as she pulled him to his feet. “You’re under arrest.”
Jenny radioed down to Nuru and informed her partner that she had the little weasel. She scanned the darkness for an exit since she had no intention of carrying the boy back down the fire escape. Bringing the ranting teenager back to the station house was no picnic; his stench filled the car as he released a stream of highly unflattering words.
After they had booked the boy, Jenny was relieved that the shift was finally over. She just wanted to go home and take a long hot shower. “You stink,” Kate informed her as she approached her carrying a bag.
“The last one peed himself,” Jenny explained in disgust.
“Things like that make me so happy I’m behind a desk.” Kate laughed. “Here are Lizzie’s things,” she explained as she handed Jenny the bag. “And here’s Mother Agnes’ address,” she continued as she shoved a slip of paper into Jenny’s hand.
“I have to do this tonight?” Jenny whined.
“Please,” Kate pleaded.
Jenny released a sigh as she nodded in agreement. “Good.” Kate smirked. “But take a shower first. You reek.”
“Thanks a lot,” Jenny growled.
Jenny took Kate’s advice and showered before taking a taxi over to the small house in Allston where Mother Agnes lived. She waited nervously in the sparse living room, looking around at the plain furnishing. “They need some plants or something,” the brunette mumbled, thinking that her tiny little apartment wasn’t so bad after all.
“It might help.” She jumped at the sound of Mother Agnes’ voice. Inexplicably the brunette stood up and waited for the older woman to greet her. She didn’t understand why this frail woman instilled such fear in her.
“Please have a seat, Officer,” Mother Agnes politely offered.
Jenny sat back down on the sofa as Mother Agnes joined her. “Thank you for meeting with me,” the older woman said in a gentle tone that did nothing to relieve the anxiety that was surging through the brunette’s body.
“I’m more than a little curious as to why you wanted to speak with me,” Jenny finally blurted out as she tried to will herself to calm down. “Is this about the incident at the school?”
“Goodness no,” Mother Agnes offered. “I think you know why I wanted to speak with you.”
“No, I don’t,” Jenny stressed.
“Sister Rachel,” Mother Agnes flatly offered.
“I didn’t touch her,” Jenny gasped in a sudden panic as the theme song from Charlie’s Angels played in her head.
Mother Agnes’ laughter broke through her thoughts. “My, you are a tense one, aren’t you?” The nun laughed. “I spoke with Sister Rachel this afternoon,” the woman continued as Jenny’s crystal blue eyes widened in fear. Suddenly the panic was replaced with anger.
“Wait! She came here?” Jenny fumed. “I told her to stay put.”
“You seem surprised.” Mother Agnes laughed. “Yes, she came here to explain the difficulties with her family.”
“Difficulties?” Jenny choked out is disbelief. “My, you gals certainly know how to whitewash things.”
“Be that as it may,” Mother Agnes addressed her sternly. “Sister Rachel needed to talk to someone. She asked if she could start her leave of absence sooner. I agreed and she is now on leave.”
“Great; it will give her the time she needs to think,” Jenny answered. “That still doesn’t explain why I’m here.”
“She has spoken about you a great deal over the years,” Mother Agnes continued, completely unfazed by Jenny’s outburst.
“She has?” Jenny practically gushed before she could rein in her emotions.
“Yes,” Mother Agnes confirmed. “Your friendship has always meant a great deal to her.”
“Friendship?” Jenny mumbled. She wondered if that was the way Lizzie had chosen to describe what they had shared.
“Whitewashing,” Mother Agnes reassured her in soft tone. “Sister Rachel and I also discussed recent events.”
“Recent?” Jenny squeaked out fearfully. She wondered if nuns still carried around those big rulers so they could whack people. “How recent?”
“My, you’re as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.” Mother Agnes chuckled. “Relax, Officer . . . Jenny,” she added as she patted the brunette’s hand. “I just wanted to caution you about letting things get out of hand so to speak.”
“You mean keep my hands to myself,” Jenny grunted as her brow furrowed.
“It would be in her best interest and yours if the two of you kept a careful watch on your emotions,” Mother Agnes calmly explained.
“I know that,” Jenny fumed. “I know that she needs to make her choice without any outside influences.”
Jenny was furious, feeling that this woman was telling her to back off so Lizzie would remain a nun. “As do I,” Mother Agnes agreed and Jenny felt her anger fading. “I’m just worried since the two of you are experiencing such intense emotions. Trust me, Jenny; I’m not judging or condemning either of you. I just want her to find her way. Even if her path leads her away from the church.”
“Really?” Jenny asked suspiciously.
“Yes, really,” Mother Agnes confirmed.
“That’s all I want,” Jenny agreed.
“Then we’re in agreement?” Mother Agnes stressed.
“Yes, I’ll keep my grubby hands off of her.” Jenny almost laughed at the situation as she stood.
“Not to worry, my child,” Mother Agnes reassured her as she led her to the door. “I feel that she already knows where she belongs; she’s just afraid of taking the final step.”
“She’s leaving?” Jenny inquired eagerly.
“Possibly,” Mother Agnes hedged.
“She’s staying?” Jenny asked in a defeated tone.
“Possibly,” Mother Agnes hedged once again.
“That is so annoying,” Jenny grumbled as she stepped out into the cool night air.
“I know,” Mother Agnes responded with a smile and a wink. “Stay safe, Jenny.”
Jenny finally arrived back at her apartment after taking a bus and then enduring the crowded subway. She stopped for a pizza, no longer having any desire to do anything slightly domestic. She found Lizzie sitting on the bed, reading the paperback she’d abandoned the night before. She quickly brushed aside the thought of how adorable the blonde looked in the jeans and flannel blouse that were far too large for her tiny frame.
“I hope you like pizza,” Jenny announced as she set the box on the breakfast bar.
“Sounds good,” Lizzie responded as she bounced off the bed.
Lizzie opened the box and inhaled the delightful aroma. “Long day?” she asked as she continued to stare at the pizza.
“You could say that,” Jenny groaned. “Kate sent over a bag of clothes for you,” she explained as she grabbed a couple of plates and napkins. “I had to chase a junkie across a rooftop.”
“Are you alright?” Lizzie asked in a panic.
“I’m fine,” Jenny reassured her as she grabbed a slice of pizza, careful to gather up all of the dripping cheese. “Eat,” Jenny instructed the blonde as she took a bite. “Oh, and I met with your boss after my shift.”
“God?” Lizzie inquired curiously as she took a slice of pizza for herself.
“Not that far up the chain of command.” Jenny chuckled. “Mother Agnes.”
“Why?” Lizzie asked just as she was about to take a bite of the gooey cheese pizza.
“First tell me why you snuck out,” Jenny demanded as she cast an icy glare at the blonde. The amused smirk Lizzie flashed her informed the brunette that the little nun wasn’t buying her tough cop act for a minute.
“I needed to talk to her,” Lizzie dryly explained.
“So for the time being you’re not a nun?” Jenny asked as they continued to eat.
“This is so good,” Lizzie hummed. “I can’t remember the last time I had pizza.”
“I’m glad you like it,” Jenny said with shrug, not missing the fact that Lizzie avoided her question.
Lizzie sighed as she put her plate down and then wiped her hands and face with the paper napkin. “No, I’m not a nun. For now,” Lizzie stressed. “But if I break my vows, I can’t go back.”
“I understand,” Jenny reassured her as she put down her own plate. They stood there for a moment in an uncomfortable silence.
“I wish I did,” Lizzie sadly confessed.
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