THE BRASS RING
By Mavis Applewater
For disclaimers see part on.
A special thanks to my beta reader Joanne.
A big thank you goes out to the talented Calli for the wonderful cover she has created for this series. If you would like to see more of her fabulous creations visit her website http://www.angelfire.com/art/calliscreations/
As Always this is for Heather.
Jamie had been standing out on her deck feeling lost. Last night had been a turning point for her; at least she hoped it was a turning point. Her shift at the hospital had been uneventful with the usual mix of heart attacks and extracting objects from person’s orifices that really had no business being there. She was looking forward to heading home and spending sometime with CC.
That was when the familiar panic she’d been experiencing lately crept in. She was growing far to fond of spending time with the attractive policewoman. Not to mention her hormones were reaching the explosion point every time she was near the tall dark-haired beauty. She couldn’t deny the sexual desire that seemed to be coursing through her veins. But sleeping with CC wasn’t really something that she considering doing at this point in time. She was fearful that if she rushed into CC’s arms she would do so because of the memory of what they had once shared or out of sheer lust. Neither would be the basis for a good relationship. And if she were to reunite with her former lover, she wasn’t going to settle for anything less. Then of course there was the question of what CC wanted.
These thoughts had been troubling her since the two had slept together a few weeks ago. When some of her co-workers suggested going out that evening, Jamie felt it might just be the thing she needed. The thought of spending time away from CC and not dwelling on something she might never have was something she felt she should be doing.
There was also the chance that perhaps she could find some release for her pent up frustration. Her hormones certainly didn’t rule Jamie but she was human after all. And being constantly turned on by someone she couldn’t have was beginning to wear on her. Add that to the fact that she couldn’t seem to alleviate the situation herself. This aspect was really working her nerves.
She went to the bar with her co-workers who were either gay or gay-friendly and ran into Liz. The brunette had pursued the young blonde doctor before but Jamie never gave her a second glance. Last night Jamie had a sudden change of heart. In hopes of releasing herself from the pain she was feeling, she decided to give Liz a chance. They ended up in Liz’s car. During the heavy petting session, Jamie became upsettingly aware that no matter how hard the brunette tried Jamie wasn’t going to be able to climax. Liz was persistent. Jamie tried to clear her mind to focus on something that would help her along the way. It turned out to be a poor choice. She ended up doing the one thing you should never do. They were kissing and it wasn’t Liz’s name that crossed her lips.
‘Why did I think of CC? Why was it her face that entered my thoughts at that moment?’ she thought as she recalled the hurt look on Liz’s face. She apologized profusely. They straightened their clothing. Liz just walked away from her in a stony silence. When Jamie went to rejoin her friends, she found they had departed.
Jamie drove around for hours trying to figure out the mess her life was becoming. Once again she found herself standing in front of the carousel at Cold Springs Park. Now she was home and feeling exhausted. She watched as CC stepped out on the deck with Emma wrapped up in her arms. She watched in amusement as the policewoman cooed and giggled with the infant.
‘I should have come home last night. It’s where I wanted to be. So why did I go out and try to get laid?’ she questioned herself as she fought back the laughter. CC was beyond adorable at that moment. She found herself blushing as she and her former lover exchanged friendly banter.
“Why is Emma so dressed up this morning?” Jamie inquired, knowing that she was grinning like an idiot.
“Her Daddy is coming over,” CC answered brightly as she adjusted Emma’s little outfit.
“Oh,” Jamie answered, more than a little curious about Emma’s father.
“Would you like to come over for coffee?” CC asked in a friendly tone.
“Yes,” Jamie answered quickly before she had a chance to think about it. Then she frowned. “Would you mind if I hopped into the shower first?”
“Go ahead. When you’re ready just climb on over,” CC readily agreed. “If we’re not here then we’ll be inside.”
“Thanks,” Jamie replied in gratitude.
She rushed inside her house and dashed up the staircase. She wanted to join CC for coffee, but she had no desire to dog it when she looked like hell and had the scent of another woman on her body. Jamie showered quickly and tossed on sweatpants and a T-shirt. She knew what had been bothering her. For most of her life she had avoided relationships and simply sought pleasure on occasion whenever she needed it. Dating wasn’t something she did very well.
She had chosen to live her life this way because of a misplaced sense of mistrust. Now that she knew that CC had never meant to hurt her, she couldn’t foresee continuing as she had in the past. Last night had proven that those days were indeed behind her. As she stepped over the railing onto CC’s balcony her only question was ‘But what am I suppose to do about it now?’
Jamie found everyone in the living room. She smiled as CC refused to hand Emma over to her mother. “Is she holding your daughter hostage?” Jamie inquired as Stevie glared at her sister.
“It would appear so,” Stevie teased. CC yawned as she held her niece tightly. “Did you get any sleep last night?” Stevie asked with concern.
“Couple of hours,” CC replied, yawning once again.
Jamie felt a pang of concern that CC hadn’t been sleeping. “Would you like some coffee, James?” Stevie asked.
“Yes, thank you,” Jamie replied eagerly since she’d had no sleep at all.
“Caitlin, go get Jamie some coffee,” Stevie instructed her sibling firmly.
Jamie watched in amusement as CC curled up her lips and snarled. “Fine. Don’t think I don’t see this as an attempt to trick me into giving up the peanut,” she grumbled as she stood and handed Emma back over to her mother.
“That was too easy,” Stevie said suspiciously. She sniffed for a moment before taking a quick peek into her daughter’s diaper. “I should have guessed,” Stevie said in disgust as she rolled her brown eyes. “You only love her until she leaks. Come on, Emma. Mommy needs to change you before Daddy gets here.”
CC chuckled as she led Jamie into the kitchen. Jamie couldn’t help but notice her muscle definition as she reached up to the top cabinet. A sigh escaped from her. CC turned and gave her a curious look. Jamie blinked guiltily, knowing that it was clear what she’d been thinking. The sigh wasn’t ‘gee I’m tired’ or even a ‘hurry up and get the damn coffee’. No, it was clearly the kind of sigh that screams ‘wow, you have a hot body!’
Jamie stood there chewing on her bottom lip, trying to think of something to say. Anything that would get her out of the embarrassing situation that she’d placed herself in. It was hopeless and she knew it. “Sorry,” she muttered finally as CC handed her the coffee. CC smirked at her and shook her head in amusement. As CC turned back to replenish her own cup of coffee, Jamie took a quick glance up and down the woman’s long legs. She said a silent prayer of thanks that CC was clad in boxer shorts.
“Enjoying the view?” CC taunted her as she turned back around. Jamie had already been busted and decided to just go with it.
“Yes.” She smirked confidently. CC’s blush showed that the leggy brunette was thrown slightly by Jamie’s bravado. “I see that you’re still working out,” Jamie continued, amused by the flustered expression on the normally stoic policewoman’s face.
‘What the hell am I doing?’ Jamie suddenly panicked, realizing that she was flirting with her ex-girlfriend. But it felt so right. She couldn’t deny it; just being around CC made her crazy. She placed her coffee cup on the kitchen counter and tried to steady herself. “Are you all right?” CC inquired carefully. Jamie shook her head in confusion.
CC placed her own coffee mug down and wrapped her arms around Jamie. The doctor melted into CC’s touch. Instinctively Jamie wrapped her arms around CC’s waist as the brunette rubbed her back gently. “Sometimes when I’m around you . . . ,” Jamie began softly as she laid her head against CC’s chest. Nothing in the world felt as good as being held in CC’s arms.
Jamie lifted her head and found herself locked in an electric blue gaze. Her pulse raced as she watched CC tilt her head slightly. The only thought racing through Jamie’s mind was that she wanted to kiss CC. No, she needed to kiss this woman. Their faces were only a breath apart when the sound of a ringing doorbell interrupted them.
They stepped away from one another shyly, each seemingly lost in her thoughts. Jamie turned away slowly as CC leaned on the counter. Jamie picked up her coffee and sipped it as she wondered whether the interruption had been a good thing or a bad thing.
“That must be Brad,” CC commented as she picked up her coffee cup. Jamie simply stared off into space, her body still reacting to the kiss they had almost shared.
“Brad?” Jamie responded absently as sounds from the outer room invaded her senses.
“Emma’s father,” CC supplied with a shrug.
“Really?” Jamie perked up. She had been curious about little Emma’s origins. Not that it really mattered. Emma was an adorable little girl. Jamie was just an overly inquisitive person.
“Come on,” CC offered as she led Jamie back into the living room. Jamie grabbed her mug of coffee and followed the taller woman. Jamie looked at the tall dark-haired man who was fussing over Emma. Something about him was familiar. “Hey, Brad,” CC called out happily.
“Girlfriend,” Brad responded as Jamie smiled, realizing that Brad was a big queen.
“Brad this is . . .” CC paused with her introduction. “ . . . our neighbor Jamie.” The blonde doctor smiled, thinking that the situation was a little unusual.
“Nice to meet you, neighbor Jamie,” Brad said as he smiled over at her.
“She’s the doctor who took care of Emma,” Stevie added as Jamie tried to figure out where she’d seen Brad before.
“Oh my God!” he squealed. “I can’t thank you enough.”
“It was no problem.” Jamie brushed it off. “You look very familiar,” she finally said.
“I . . .well . . . ,” Brad stammered uncomfortably.
“Brad performs at a lot of the clubs in town,” Stevie supplied.
“That’s it,” Jamie responded brightly. “It’s Cher.” She slapped her forehead.
“Excuse me?” CC nudged her.
“I saw you perform last night at Vapor,” Jamie explained brightly. Then her heart dropped. Liz was a friend of his. That’s why he looked so uncomfortable. He must have heard the whole story about what had happened. “You were very good,” Jamie muttered quickly, noticing the curious looks they were getting from both CC and Stevie.
“Thank you,” Brad responded sincerely while still unable to look at her directly. Jamie knew that she had nothing to be embarrassed about. Still she didn’t want CC to know she’d been making out with another woman.
“You have everything?” Stevie asked as she checked the bundles of baggage she had loaded Brad down with. He nodded as she led him to the door. Everyone exchanged goodbyes quickly. Stevie stepped outside with Brad.
Jamie and CC just sipped their coffee, trying to ignore the uncomfortable tension that was surrounding them. After what seemed like an eternity, Stevie reentered the condo.
Jamie was relieved that Brad had left without a chance to reveal her activities the night before. “So that’s Emma’s father?” Jamie asked Stevie.
“Yeah.” Stevie smiled brightly. “Brad’s one of my best friends. He absolutely adores Emma.”
“So how did . . . ,” Jamie began, uncertain if she should pry into Stevie’s life.
“Brad and I go way back,” Stevie cut her off. “We even shared an apartment in college. We both got dumped after being in long term relationships. So we went out one night to cry on one another’s shoulders.”
“And drink,” CC added.
“We woke up the next morning saying ‘we didn’t, did we?’” Stevie laughed. “When I found out I was pregnant, it was pretty clear that we did. We were both surprised, to say the least. “
“You were surprised?” CC grunted.
“Enough out of you, tough stuff,” Stevie chastised her. “Okay, now both of you out.”
“What?” CC yelped. Jamie just stared at her blankly.
“The contractor is coming over.” Stevie sighed. “You are not going to be here. Emma’s room has taken forever because of you,” Stevie accused her sister. “Jamie, do me a favor and take her out of here,” Stevie pleaded.
“But I’m exhausted,” CC whined.
“You are not staying here,” Stevie growled. “You keep interfering. Jamie, please take her with you so I can move my daughter out of what is supposed to be my office.”
“Okay,” Jamie agreed before she could think about it.
“Good,” Stevie said with satisfaction.
“But . . . ,” CC began to argue.
“No buts,” Stevie flared. “If you had your way, Emma’s room would stay down here next to yours until she’s ready for college. No go play with Jamie.”
Jamie’s jaw dropped at what Stevie had just said. “Fine,” CC grunted as she stormed off towards her bedroom.
“Jamie, thanks for doing this,” Stevie said gently. “Oh, and Brad is a big gossip queen. I heard about last night,” Stevie said flatly as she held her hand up to stop Jamie from saying anything. “It’s none of my business. But I want you to understand something. I know that the first two times you hurt my sister it wasn’t your fault. Do it again and I’ll make you sorry you were born.”
“I have no intention of hurting her,” Jamie said with anger.
“I know that,” Stevie said quietly. “I’m just telling you how I feel.” Jamie stood there. She understood that Stevie was simply looking after her sister. She tried to brush away the uncertain feelings she had. As CC reemerged from the bedroom dressed in jeans and a sweater, Jamie realized that she had just agreed to spend the entire day with the woman.
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