MY SISTER’S KEEPER
By Mavis Applewater
For Disclaimers, see Part One.
A very special thank you goes out to my beta reader Joanne.
Jenny didn’t know what she should be feeling. A part of her wanted to reach out to Lizzie and a part of her hated the blonde for the hell she had put her through. “It’s still early. Why don’t you get some more sleep? You were tossing and turning all night,” Lizzie offered in a comforting tone.
Jenny scratched her aching head as she perused the clock hanging on the kitchen wall. “Just after nine thirty,” she grumbled, thinking that maybe a couple more hours of sleep just might be a good idea. Her blue eyes widened suddenly as she looked around the tiny apartment. There was the small living room with a coffee table, a chair, and the futon that she was reclining on. The tiny kitchen, which was separated from the room by an island, was so small that it wasn’t really another room. The small bathroom and Kate’s bedroom were the only other rooms. It was typical for Boston. It left one nagging question. In such a small space, just where had Lizzie slept last night? “Uhm,” she stammered. “Did we bunk together last night?”
“Yes,” Lizzie answered shyly as she chewed nervously on her bottom lip.
“I was naked,” Jenny gasped. ‘Okay, not a major deal. It’s not like Lizzie hasn’t seen me naked before,’ her mind reasoned. Still there was a sudden recall of holding a warm body very close to her during the night. Her mind sifted through the images and she realized that her hands had drifted as well. “Oh my God,” she shrieked. “I felt up a nun. That’s it; I’m going to Hell,” she muttered bitterly.
“Jenny.” Lizzie chuckled as she approached her cautiously. “First off, you don’t believe in Hell,” Lizzie continued, chuckling as she sat beside Jenny.
“After the past twenty-four hours, I’ve become a believer,” Jenny moaned.
“You didn’t feel me up,” Lizzie protested. “You were just very snuggly.”
Jenny glared at the amused blonde in disbelief. “Out with it, Sister,” she demanded as she felt a wave of panic rush over her.
“Well, perhaps slightly,” Lizzie responded in a strange tone.
“Slightly?” Jenny pushed.
“Oh Jenny.” Lizzie laughed. “Trust me; it wasn’t anything I would need to go to confession over.”
“This day just gets better and better,” Jenny grumbled as she pouted. “Hey, how do you do that? That voice, it’s all nun-like. One minute you’re the same goofball I grew up with, and the next you sound like a nun.”
“I am a nun,” Lizzie said with a smirk. Jenny watched as the blonde’s smile grew brighter.
“What?” Jenny questioned as green eyes twinkled at her.
“I can’t believe that you’re here,” Lizzie confessed. “I’ve thought about you over the years.”
“Really?” Jenny snorted in disbelief.
“Yes, really,” Lizzie responded sincerely. “Sleep. I’ll wake you in a couple of hours and we can see about getting some of your belongings.”
Jenny nodded in agreement as she climbed back under the covers. Lizzie stood and tucked her in before heading off towards the bathroom. “Lizzie?” Jenny called out as she snuggled into the soft pillow.
“Yes?” Lizzie responded softly.
“I thought about you too,” Jenny confessed as her weary eyes fluttered shut. She was asleep before the blonde could respond.
Jenny slept soundly and a few hours later she was awoke by someone gently caressing her shoulder. “Jenny,” the voice whispered softly against her skin. Jenny’s eyes snapped open as she recognized the voice. She sat up, her body still aching from the abuse she’d subjected it to the night before.
“Hi,” she said brightly to the blonde kneeling beside the futon.
“Feeling better?” Lizzie asked softly as she stroked Jenny’s arm.
“A little,” Jenny answered as she yawned and stretched. “Are you up for a little trip?”
“Are you sure that you’re up for this?” Lizzie asked in concern. “Perhaps you should talk to her first.”
Jenny raised her eyebrows quizzically, not missing the harsh way Lizzie had referred to Wendy. “I just want to get this over with,” Jenny said dryly. “Besides, I need to get some clothes.” Lizzie simply nodded as she stood. Jenny stood and grabbed her work jacket.
“Do you want to talk about it?” Lizzie inquired tenderly.
“Not much to say,” Jenny grunted, knowing that Lizzie was the last person she wanted to discuss her unfaithful lover with. “I came home early from work and found her in our bed with another woman. No scene, no yelling, I just turned and walked away. However I did kick her girlfriend’s Lexus and then beat it with a dozen roses. I bet when the alarm went off it finally got the two of them out of bed.” She chuckled wryly.
“She’s a fool,” Lizzie said dryly.
“Strange words coming from you,” Jenny spat out. Lizzie just stared at her oddly before putting on her own jacket.
Later, after circling the block of what was now her former residence, Jenny finally found a parking space for Kate’s truck. She was relieved when she didn’t see the Lexus parked out front. As they entered the building and walked upstairs to the apartment, Jenny was surprised that neither of them had spoken since her biting comment earlier.
Jenny received another surprise when she saw two cardboard boxes sitting in the hallway outside her apartment. She snatched the note from the top of one of the boxes. “Sorry you had to find out this way. I’ve packed your stuff. Wendy,” she read aloud. ‘Well, she’s direct; I’ll give her that.” She sighed, feeling a strange sense of relief that she was finally free.
“Uhm, Jenny?” Lizzie said slowly. “I don’t want to seem snotty or anything, but I have more stuff than this and I’ve taken a vow of poverty.”
“Right you are, my friend.” Jenny smirked as she dangled her keys. “Let’s hope Wendy hasn’t changed the locks yet.” She smiled as her key turned easily in the lock. “Oh Wendy, where are you? Are you home, you little troll?” she called out. “Looks like you won’t get to meet Wendy,” she said sarcastically.
“Pity,” Lizzie droned.
“You may need to go to confession yet,” Jenny quipped as she headed towards the bedroom. “How does that work?” she asked as she began to search for her jewelry.
“Confession?” Lizzie responded as she began to scan the bookshelf. “This is yours,” she said as she tossed an old copy of Victorian poetry onto the bed. “I bought it for you,” Lizzie added with a shrug.
“Yes, you did,” Jenny said as she smiled at the memory. “Not confession,” she continued with her earlier thought. “Your vows - what are they actually?”
“You take three vows when you enter the order,” Lizzie explained as she placed more books on the bed. She held up a tiny stuffed kitten and shook it gently, making the tiny bell around its neck jingle.
“Jingles.” Jenny smiled as she took the animal. “What were we, twelve when you won him for me at that carnival? I can’t believe she tried to keep him.” She held the tiny animal tightly as she resumed her search for her missing jewelry. “What are the three vows?”
“Poverty, chastity and obedience,” Lizzie explained. “Isn’t that your grandmother’s rocking chair?”
“Yes,” Jenny responded as she stared at the blonde with a dumbfounded expression. “How do you deal with that?” she managed to choke out.
“Poverty is a snap.” Lizzie shrugged. “I’ll bring the chair down to the truck.”
Jenny was dying to ask how Lizzie was faring with her other vows, but the blonde lifted the chair with ease and made her way out of the apartment quickly. “Oh, this is going to be fun,” Jenny quipped as she continued to search for her jewelry. “Jenny, focus on cleaning up this mess before you start dealing with the past,” she scolded herself.
“Okay, boss, what’s next?” Lizzie called out as she entered the bedroom. Jenny found herself staring at the blonde. “There was a tarp tucked behind the seat; I covered the rocker with it,” Lizzie continued as she stared back at Jenny. “Seventeen years,” Lizzie stammered. “I can’t believe it.”
“I know,” Jenny responded softly.
“I had prepared myself for the possibility that we might run into one another,” Lizzie began to explain as Jenny continued to sort through her belongings. “I didn’t know that you’d become a cop and worked with Kate.”
“You seem to be taking everything in stride,” Jenny said thoughtfully.
“Not really.” Lizzie laughed lightly. “I’ve been through a lot over the years. I’ll tell you about my life and I’d like to hear about yours. And I would really like to get some coffee.”
Jenny couldn’t help but laugh at the blonde’s last comment. “Still a caffeine junkie?” Jenny taunted her.
“You have no idea,” Lizzie droned.
“Tell you what, let’s finish sorting through this mess, and on the way up to Haven we’ll stop for coffee,” Jenny explained.
“Good. You’re buying.” Lizzie wiggled her eyebrows playfully. Jenny flashed the amused blonde a mock look of indignation. “Hey, vow of poverty.” Lizzie chuckled as she held up her hand in protest.
“Yeah, about those vows. . . ,” Jenny began with renewed interest as Lizzie rolled her eyes.
“Pack,” Lizzie instructed her firmly.
“I’m just curious,” Jenny continued as she began to collect more of her belongings. “How chaste is chaste?”
“That’s what you want to know?” Lizzie grumbled. “Not what it was like teaching children in an impoverished village? What do you think about the trouble going on in the church? Nope, you want to know about my sex life?” Lizzie teased as she poked Jenny playfully. “Did you get taller?”
Jenny laughed as she swatted Lizzie away. “No, maybe you got shorter,” Jenny taunted her.
“Still a brat,” Lizzie chastised her.
“Come on, let’s get moving. I want to get out of here before Wendy shows up,” Jenny said. Her mind was still contemplating the question that Lizzie hadn’t answered.
A strange energy filled the room as they continued to work. Jenny found her jewelry hidden in Wendy’s bureau. She didn’t feel any bitterness; her emotions were busy handling the way her body was reacting to Lizzie’s presence. “Does it bother you?” Jenny finally asked as they were packing some boxes.
“Are we back on the celibacy thing?” Lizzie chuckled lightly.
“No,” Jenny said quietly although she was more than a little curious about Lizzie’s celibacy, only because Lizzie’s libido when they were dating was the size of the Aegean Sea. “Does it bother you that I’m gay? That’s a pretty big no-no for your bosses. The church has a major problem with it,” Jenny pointed out. “Of course, they have a major problem with most everything.”
“Not fond of the clergy, are you?” Lizzie snorted in amusement.
“Oh no, I think you folks are great bunch,” Jenny snarled.
“I know that the Holy Father has some strict views,” Lizzie continued casually.
“The Holy Father?” Jenny choked, unable to believe that she heard Lizzie speaking this way.
“I don’t have a problem with your sexuality,” Lizzie stated firmly. “How could I? You were my lover. I didn’t forget you, Jenny. Nor did I forget what we once shared.”
“I guess we need to add that to the things we need to talk about,” Jenny responded calmly. There was something in Lizzie’s eyes that made the ice around her heart melt slightly. She glanced at her watch quickly. “But not now. I really want to get out of here as quickly as possible. I need to put this part of my life behind me.”
“I’ve waited a long time to talk to you again,” Lizzie said quietly. “A little while longer won’t hurt.”
They finally finished. While Jenny was locking up the apartment, Lizzie went to check on the truck. “Jenny?” Wendy’s sickeningly sweet voice called to her as the tall blonde descended down the hallway.
Jenny groaned in disgust as her now former lover smiled at her. “I’m glad you’re here,” Wendy purred as she approached. Jenny brushed away her hands as she tried to hug her. “I see you got your things.” Jenny looked at the floor where the two boxes had been waiting for her. ‘Oh goodie, she thinks I just got here,’ her mind growled. She was about to subject Wendy to some very choice language when she saw Lizzie enter the hallway.
“Yes, I got all my things,” Jenny retorted with a sly smile.
“What?” Wendy choked.
Jenny didn’t pay any attention to Wendy; she was too busy watching Lizzie’s approach. The small blonde seemed to be seething. She stopped behind Wendy and folded her arms across her chest in a defensive manner. Jenny rolled her eyes in amusement as she wondered just what the little nun was going to do.
“You’ve been inside?” Wendy inquired in a hostile tone.
“Yes,” Jenny responded flatly as she watched Lizzie’s eyes get darker. She knew that look and it only meant trouble. “Here’s the key so you won’t need to change the locks.” She handed the key to Wendy in the hope that it would end the conversation.
“What did you take?” Wendy fumed.
“Only what’s mine,” Jenny snapped. “Look, it’s over. Fine; I hope you’re happy with your new girlfriend. Goodbye.”
“Jenny, we should really talk about this,” Wendy continued, oblivious to the small blonde behind her who was about to burst. “You know if you had been around more . . .”
“Hold it,” Jenny yelled. “I wasn’t around because you said we needed more money. Look, you got what you wanted from me. You can keep the apartment.”
“What about your half of the rent?” Wendy whined.
“My half?” Jenny blurted out. “For starters, you never paid rent. The apartment is yours and so is next month’s rent.”
“Let’s go,” Lizzie growled from behind Wendy.
“Who are you?” Wendy asked in confusion.
Lizzie’s face grew hot as she slowly lowered her arms. “No,” Jenny cautioned Lizzie. “Go wait for me downstairs.” Lizzie looked as if she was about to protest. “Go, before I have to arrest you,” Jenny growled. Lizzie chuckled slightly at the comment as she held her hands up in surrender. “I’ll be fine,” Jenny offered in a reassuring tone. Lizzie nodded in understanding and walked away, but not before she cast one last icy glare at Wendy.
“She hasn’t changed a bit.” Jenny laughed lightly.
“Who was that?” Wendy said accusingly.
“I really am in Hell,” she groaned as she prepared herself for whatever Wendy wanted to talk about.
Jenny was exhausted by the time her conversation with Wendy had concluded. The gist of the conversation was that somehow Wendy blamed Jenny for her infidelities and wasn’t thrilled about Jenny informing the cable company, the electric company, the gas company, and the landlord that she was no longer living there. When Wendy realized that Jenny was going to close all the accounts and remove her from her credit cards, she actually suggested that Jenny stay so they could work things out. That’s when Jenny finally exploded and told Wendy exactly what she could do with her suggestion. Although Jenny doubted that her advice was physically impossible, she would certainly enjoy watching her try.
When she reached the street she noticed that the rain had stopped and Lizzie was pacing up and down the sidewalk. ‘Okay, I’ve dealt with one and now it’s time to deal with you,’ her mind fumed. “You were going to hit her,” she blurted out when she caught up with Lizzie. “Don’t lie. I’ve seen that look in your eyes before.”
“I don’t like her,” Lizzie explained flatly.
“So you were just going to pop her one?” Jenny asked incredulously. “Don’t they teach you gals to turn the other cheek?”
“Yes,” Lizzie responded slowly. “But when I was sent up to a convent in Saskatchewan, there was this Mother Superior who certainly knew the value of a good whooping. I’m sorry. She was just so mean to you. I hate bullies. And I hate seeing you hurt.”
“They sent you there?” Jenny said slowly as her mind began to process little bits of information that Lizzie had given her. “Your other assignments out of the country - you were sent there as well?”
“Yes,” Lizzie responded nervously.
“You didn’t volunteer?” Jenny pushed. “You didn’t choose to stay away from your family? You were sent away. Why?”
“Jenny, it’s a long story.” Lizzie sighed in exasperation. “Mostly I was sent to difficult assignments as a form of punishment.”
“Punishment?” Jenny pried further.
“Well, the joke is on them.” Lizzie said, trying to make light of the situation. “I loved teaching those kids in areas where running water is unheard of.”
“What were you being punished for?” Jenny said as she held onto Lizzie’s shoulder tenderly. “What happened, Sister? Did you get caught again?”
They looked deeply into one another’s eyes as a spark of electricity flowed between them. Lizzie swallowed hard before answering in a soft simple tone, “Yes.”
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