~ Cherish ~
by Ambrosia

Disclaimers can be found in Chapter One.

Feedback: You wanna send me some? Ah gee, thanks! Please send your comments to


Early May of 1990

Half an hour passed and all she had typed was one paragraph and she was debating whether to erase that. Because of the raucous party going on beyond her closed bedroom door, she was having a difficult time concentrating on writing the essay that had to be completed and within the hands of her English professor by tomorrow morning at 10 o'clock. It was 2:47 a.m. now. The words 'you are so screwed' kept moving through her brain like one of those message scroll devices. At this rate it would be virtually impossible for her to finish an A worthy thousand-word paper.

Groaning her frustration, Jaden ripped the sheet of paper from her typewriter and balled it up before tossing it into the wastebasket. She was just rolling a fresh sheet into the typewriter when there was a knock on the door. Her intention was to ignore whoever it was, but because of their insistence she finally yelled for them to come in. Leaning back in her chair, she watched as Toothy (short for Toothpick--though her teeth were quite large) staggered into the room. The nickname Toothpick described the woman perfectly considering she was about the same color as a standard toothpick and all but disappeared when she stood with her side facing someone.

"Hey Toothy." Curious blue eyes landed on the small brown paper bag in the other woman's hand. "What do you have there?"

Collapsing onto the bed, Toothy patted the space next to her, indicating that Jaden should sit there. Her essay forgotten for the moment, the teenager did as she was instructed. The bag crinkled as Toothy opened it and pulled out a plastic baggie containing several small beige rocks that reminded Jaden of chunks of soap though she was aware of what those rocks really were. A four-inch long glass pipe with a cork at one end and a see through green lighter joined the baggie lying on the bed.

Grinning, Toothy looked up at the younger woman. "You ever freebased Jaden?" The teenager shook her head no. "You wanna try it? It's better than snorting."

Sorely tempted because she hadn't taken anything since the night before last, Jaden glanced between the crack cocaine and the typewriter set up with a blank page, which seemed to mock her. Finally sighing, she shook her head again. "No, I shouldn't." Pointing toward the desk, she added, "I have to get this paper done by morning. If I don't, I'll probably fail this class."

"How far have you gotten?"

"I don't have one word and we're required to write a thousand."

"Well," Toothy picked up the used pipe and clumsily twirled it between her thin fingers, "a little smoking might make you more creative. Activate your brain."

"You think?"

Grinning once more, Toothy showed her off-white colored teeth. "Yep. So you wanna? I don't share my stuff with just anybody, so you know that I must like you." She winked at the college student.

Convincing herself that she was only about to freebase in order to complete her essay, Jaden observed as Toothy dropped two of the rocks into the pipe and took a hit. When the items were handed to her, she flicked the lighter until a tiny flame was produced. Placing it underneath the pipe, she watched, almost mesmerized as the beige rock began to bubble, its evaporation escaping the glass confines. Fingers wrapped around the bottom portion of the pipe, which was covered in tape, Jaden inhaled the rising fumes. Instructed by Toothy, she drew in another lungful before passing the pipe and lighter back.

"Oh yeah," her eyelids beginning to droop, Jaden lay back on the bed. "That…is…nice." She stretched and as a result smiled because it was the best stretch of her life. At least it felt like it with the illegal substance racing through her at 150 miles per hour. Every nerve in her body was alive and in that moment Jaden felt as though she could have tackled anything. She felt powerful, exhilarated and on top of the world. That tiny voice inside of her head, reminded her that she should be tackling that paper, but folding her hands beneath her head, Jaden ignored it. The essay could wait a little longer.

Beside her, Toothy put the drug paraphernalia to the side and stretched out on her side facing the teenager. A hand supporting her cheek, Toothy openly admired Jaden. She was just a kid, but she was already a beauty. She could just imagine how beautiful the girl would be ten or so years down the line. Fingernails decorated with blue nail polish, trailed a path from Jaden's baby soft cheek down to her collarbone. Opening her eyes, the brunette lightly slapped Toothy's wandering hand away. Not to be deterred, the older woman waited a few seconds before trying again, this time making it to Jaden's breast. The next slapped stung.

"Chill Jaden," Toothy started in an airy voice. "I just wanna make nice with you." Scooting closer, she attempted to kiss Jaden's cheek but missed as the young girl bolted upright.

"I'm not interested in you that way Toothy. So keep your lips and hands to yourself."

Taking no offense, Toothy pushed her down to the bed and straddled her legs despite Jaden's protests. Leaning over, dirty blonde hair shrouded her gaunt face as she grinned. "You playin' hard to get Jae?" Lustful eyes roamed a lithe young body. "You are so bodacious. Shit, it should be a crime."

Her buzz forgotten, Jaden glared. "You know what else would be considered a crime? If I kicked your ass! Get off of me!"

"I share my stash with you and this is how I get treated? That's not cool." She undid one of the buttons on Jaden's shirt. "I think you owe me something because I was so generous with you." So intent was she on getting another button undone, Toothy failed to notice the bedroom door bursting open to reveal an irate Lucky. A couple of the nosier partygoers peeked inside, watching as Lucky hurried to the bed and yanked Toothy away from her girlfriend and deposited her on the floor. A frown was on the skinny woman's face until she saw the person looming over her. She didn't have to verbalize the words. Everyone looking at her could guess what she was thinking. Oh, shit.

"Wanna tell me what the fuck you're doing with my girl Toothpick?" She was too afraid to speak. "Do you want me to hurt you?"

Toothy realized that the rhetorical question was a warning that her lips better start moving. "It…I…I'm sorry Lucky."

"I've known you were sorry for a long time. Now tell me what the fuck you were doing on top of Jaden?" When she glanced toward the teenager it was impossible for Jaden to tell whether her anger included her.

"I was only playing with her." Lucky's arched brow prompted Toothy to explain. "I mean there was nothing going on."

"Why did she look anxious if you were just playing?"

"What?" Toothy hollered when a booted foot connected with her side. Clutching it, she inched further away from Lucky.

"You don't hear so well now? Answer me!"

"Lucky stop," Jaden softly pleaded. "We're both high…she didn't know what she was doing. I'm okay." She shrank back after the infuriated look cast in her direction.

"What…were…you…doing?" Lucky repeated between clenched teeth. "Tell me the truth or so help me God I will throw you out the window. And because we're on the third floor, that fall will be a bitch." Her smile sent a shiver through her girlfriend and Toothy. "It might even kill your bony ass."

"I…I didn't…Lucky I didn't know what I was doing." She pointed an accusing finger toward the plastic baggie on the bed. "It was the drugs."

Gray eyes turned into slits as the Italian woman stepped closer to Toothy. "The drugs sexually assaulted my girlfriend? And let me take a guess. You were only trying to rescue her?"

"What?" Toothy nervously laughed. "No Lucky, it wasn't like that. Jaden is all right. You can see that for yourself. I wouldn't harm her."

A menacing growl starting in her throat, Lucky grabbed fistfuls of Toothy's collar, effortlessly lifting her from the floor and slammed her against a wall. Toothy's back rustled the Pink Floyd poster taped to the wall as Lucky gave her neck enough of a squeeze to make her yelp with fear. The brunette moved her face closer until their noses grazed.

"If you ever touch Jaden…if you even look at her like you want to touch her, I will kill you," her voice was low, but not low enough that Jaden couldn't hear the threat. "And I don't mean that in a I'll just knock you around sorta way. I mean that I will personally guarantee that you are put six feet under because you didn't heed what I just said. Now I want you to get the fuck out of my house and it would be a plus if I never saw you again. Understood?" When Toothy answered with a shaky yes, Lucky stepped away from her and pointed toward the bedroom door, which was now empty because the nosy people had vanished the moment the altercation became physical.

Chancing a look at Jaden, Toothy ran faster than she ever had before. Though they meant a lot to her, she didn't even bother to grab her drugs from the bed as she hurried from the room. Following, Lucky stood in the doorway and yelled for everyone to get out. She was no longer in a mood to party. It had taken every ounce of control she possessed not to actually throw Toothy out of the bedroom window. Once her living room was empty except for the mess that she would have to clean up later, Lucky turned toward her girlfriend.

Eyes narrowed, she slowly shook her head as though bewildered. "What the hell were you thinking? You allowed Toothy, someone you barely know to waltz into our bedroom, close the door and sit on our bed. And you sat there with her to do some crack together. You never noticed the looks she gives you? She looks at you like you're a goddamn T-bone steak and then you sit in a bedroom all alone with her! I thought you were supposed to be doing school work anyway, so why were you getting high?"

"She said it would make me more creative," Jaden's voice was so soft that for a couple of seconds she questioned whether she truly answered aloud.

"You don't own a brain?"

The teenager bit down hard on her lower lip to stop herself from spilling the sharp retort on the tip of her tongue. "Lucky, just forget it."

Pouncing on her, Lucky jerked her arms above her head before gripping both wrists with her left hand. She used her right to slap her startled girlfriend across the face. When Jaden started wrestling beneath her, Lucky pinned her thighs to the bed by pressing her knees into them. Breathing raggedly, the older woman glowered at her.

"Just forget it? You want me to just forget that Toothy might have been preparing to rape you!" Jaden winced as the hand holding her wrists captive tightened. "Why are you treating this like it ain't a big deal Jaden? It's a fucking big deal!" Lucky's voice switched to a whisper, "Or maybe you secretly wanted it? Is that it Jaden?" With one tug on her shirt, small plastic buttons flew into the air. Tears gathered in the girl's eyes as Lucky angrily pulled on her bra until it ripped, exposing her breasts.

"Stop. Please." Jaden's lips quivered, tears slipping from the corners of her eyes.

The moment she noticed the tears staining the bedspread, Lucky relaxed her grip. Pushing her fingers through black locks, she stood up and walked over to the nightstand to retrieve one of the many packs of Lucky Strikes that she kept in the apartment. Pulling one from the pack, she lit it, took two slow draws and then faced Jaden. "Don't ever be that stupid again." Going to the dresser drawer, she found a basic white T-shirt, which she tossed to Jaden before leaving the room to clean up.

One glance toward the clock and Jaden sat up so quickly that the bed creaked. She had less than an hour to turn her essay in and she only had half a page written. Looking over her shoulder, she shook her bedmate's shoulder until a groggy and obviously irritated Lucky peeked an eye open. "Yeah? Something wrong?"

"You were supposed to wake me up," Jaden addressed her human alarm clock. "I told you that I wanted to take a thirty minute nap and it's been four hours." She could have cried because her professor would give her an automatic F. I'm so screwed. "You promised that you'd wake me."

With a sigh, Lucky raised her head and pointed at the desk. "I did promise but I didn't intend to wake you until…" She craned her neck to see the clock. "Oh, I wanted to wake you five minutes ago. Anyway, your paper is on the desk." Her head falling back onto the pillow produced a dull thump. "I finished it about twenty-five minutes ago. Don't know if it's an A, but I'm certain that it's better than an F." Her eyes drooped. "I'd bet D too." Lucky had forgotten how time consuming and brain wracking school assignments could be. That was the main reason she only intended one year of college. That was good considering she didn't know anyone in her family who had taken at least one college course.

"You wrote my essay?"

"Yeah." She paused, opening her eyes to meet Jaden's. "Least I could do baby. Just shower and get dressed. You can take my car." Jaden's car was in the shop for repair. "I'm just gonna sleep for a while."

"Not that I don't appreciate what you did for me, but it wasn't ethical…"

Lucky shrugged. "You would have been able to do it yourself if that party hadn't taken place. I shouldn't have had those people over. Don't worry about it." She sat up long enough to gently kiss Jaden's lips. "Now get outta here." Smiling, the student returned her kiss before heading to the bathroom as Lucky prepared to fall back asleep.


Several minutes prior to the kidnapping of superstar Jaden Connelly:

"Do you guys think this is a bright idea?"

"Now you're asking? When I first presented it, you were gung ho to participate."

Dressed in black from head to toe, the smallest kidnapper in the car deeply sighed. "I know I was, but dude it just occurred to me that Jaden is at least 165 pounds and a good portion of that is muscle that she's worked hard to get. What if we can't take her?"

"There's three of us and only one of her," the tallest kidnapper commented while tugging on their black ski cap. "We can definitely take her." Dark eyes shifted toward the porch belonging to Kevin and Rachel Connelly. The door opening, the family walked outside. From the kidnappers distance, it seemed as if they were saying goodbye to Jaden. "Almost time." The smallest kidnapper's apprehensive expression hadn't waned. "You can do this. We've practiced a million times."

Breathing deeply, they nodded. "Right."

Within three minutes, Jaden was headed toward her Hummer. Lifting a walkie-talkie, the headlining kidnapper contacted the getaway driver. "Have your hand on the ignition. The eagle has left the nest."

"Roger that," a male voice clearly responded through the speaker.

The three figures managed to open their doors a fraction of an inch when Jaden started looking around as though she had detected something. They didn't allow themselves to even breathe as they waited to see what she would do next. Luckily, she proceeded to her car.

"Move out," kidnapper #1 said in a hushed voice. Quick feet quietly paced toward the musician. Once the Hummer beeped, signaling that it had been opened, the dark-eyed kidnapper jumped on Jaden's back while their leader tossed a bag over her head in order to block her vision. Though she put up a great struggle, they managed to carry her to their automobile and place her inside before jumping in. As kidnappers 2 and 3 had a heck of a time holding Jaden down, kidnapper #1 grabbed the walkie-talkie again. "Let's roll like a pair of dice," they instructed in a voice deeper than usual. Immediately, the car started and they were pulling away from the curb.

"A pair of dice?" Brown eyes stared at the leader while an eyebrow arched. Of course it couldn't be viewed due to the ski mask.

Visible lips grinned. "Yep. I like how that sounds."

The kidnappers looked at their captive, startled by her sudden laughter. Her body shook as the tears rolled from her eyes underneath the bag. "Something funny Connelly?" The smallest kidnapper inquired, their fake voice sounding about as dangerous as a newborn kitten's mewl.

"I'm just so afraid of you big and so bad kidnappers." Jaden snickered. "However will I get out of this predicament? Please don't hurt me!"

All three shared a look before silently agreeing to remove the bag. Jaden blinked and then took in her surroundings, surprised to discover that she was lying in the back of a stretch limousine. She then looked at the outfits worn by her 'kidnappers' and promptly endured another laugh attack. "Zorro called. He wants his clothes back." Removing their ski masks, they threw them at her.

"How did you know it was us?" Vanessa asked while pulling the black scrunchie from her head to free her braids. "Was it the voices? Mine was crappy."

Jaden neither confirmed nor negated that statement as she moved to the empty plush seat next to Georgie. "Actually I figured that two of you guys had to be Georgie and her partner in crime Van, but I wasn't sure who you might be Max. My first thought was Sharon." She grinned at them. "You sadistic twerps. Trying to give me gray hair at such a young age?"

Van pointed at her best friend. "It was Georgie's idea."


She shrugged. "Well it was."

Wrapping an arm around Georgie's shoulders, Jaden pulled her closer. "How was your dinner meeting with the female client?" She smirked.

"I had to cancel with the fake client since I was too busy planning this escapade." She kissed the older woman on her nose. "Happy birthday Jaden." All of them proceeded to sing the obligatory Happy Birthday song with so much gusto that they had Jaden both smiling and blushing. Bringing out the non-alcoholic bubbly, Georgie poured everyone a glass, including one for their getaway driver, who turned out to be Todd, Vanessa's younger brother. While attending a local college, he worked part-time at a limousine service company and when asked had been delighted to help out this evening. He would be receiving a nice tip later on.

"J-Co, we have decided that you aren't going home until at least 2:00 in the morning, which is," she looked at her watch, "roughly five and a half hours from now. Do you have a problem with that?"

"Nope." Looking very complacent, Jaden sipped her beverage. When given a compliment by Max that she was an exemplary captive, the musician winked at her.

"Just in case we keep you until after the sun rises, I have a couple doses of your medications and you needn't worry about Sasha because Heather and Tom are keeping her until tomorrow evening."

Turning toward the window, Jaden looked thoughtful. "Hey," the small word was slowly spoken as she her attention returned to Georgie. "That's why Bell and Nate asked me yesterday if they could take Sasha home with them for a couple of days. They were in on your escapade. And," blue eyes narrowed, "that's why my parents didn't wait for me to get in my car before they went inside tonight. In the past they've always waited until I drove away and I would beep the horn as a final goodbye. My family knew that you guys were going to kidnap me! I should have figured something was up by the 'I've got a secret' smile on Mom's face!"

Max grinned as did her cohorts. "Jae you are indeed the sharpest saw in the tool shed. The Scooby Doo Gang could use a brain like yours."

"Hah." Smirking, Jaden searched her jeans for her phone. She then remembered that it was in her car. "Are we returning to my parents' house to get my Hummer later?" She asked none of them in particular.

Georgie answered her. "Your brother-in-law will drive it to Malibu as Heather and the kids follow behind in their car. I'll take you home in my car. Do you want to make a call?" Grabbing the duffel bag from the floor, the blonde searched inside for her cell phone and handed it to Jaden. While she called Rachel and Kevin, who started laughing once they heard her voice (was sadism catchy?), the kidnappers pulled off their black attire, revealing clothes that were less likely to belong in Zorro's wardrobe.

Her mouth falling open, Jaden tried not to drool or stare at Georgie. It was tricky trying to keep up a conversation with her parents while she furtively ogled the gorgeous real estate agent. Was the sadism never going to end?

While Georgie ran a brush through her hair, which had a curl to it this evening, Jaden checked out the black leather pants that could have been painted on. Georgie in tight pants was something that she had never seen before. Her eyes moved upward to the dark blue jersey knit sleeveless top with a V-neck low enough to catch a hint of cleavage. Tearing her eyes away from the blonde, she looked at Vanessa and Max. Vanessa wore white low rider cords along with a tight red T-shirt that had the word 'sassy' printed across the front. Max was dressed in a pair of flared blue jeans and a T-shirt tie-dyed in a combination of purple, white, red and blue. Max in tie-dyed clothing. Hmm. That was something else new.

Okay, Jaden thought to herself, the phone still tucked to her ear. Where are you ladies taking me for my birthday? And should I be worried? Her eyes strayed back to Georgie. I just now figured out the true meaning of the word hot.


She hadn't seen much of anything for the last fifteen minutes when a sizeable building loomed ahead. As the limo pulled into the semi-crowded parking lot, Jaden stared out of the window at the large brightly lit sign affixed to the top of the building that read Jungle Gem. Beginning to smile, she looked at her companions, asking if Jungle Gem was a nightclub. Although they were outside, she could faintly hear music.

"Surprise!" Georgie, Vanessa and Max simultaneously yelled, causing Jaden's smile to spread.

"I haven't been to a nightclub in such a long time. Have you guys been here before?" She glanced out the window again, noticing that they were in line for valet service.

"This will be our first visit to Jungle Gem," Georgie answered. "This is Dylan's nightclub. He routinely gets those of celebrity status, so you shouldn't feel out of place." A grin settled on her face as she leaned over to sift through the duffel bag, pulling out a thin purple rope with an equally purple plastic card the shape and size of a credit card attached by a key ring. She gave that one to Jaden and then found hers, putting it around her neck. Vanessa and Max already had theirs situated. "That's your keycard," Georgie explained.

Bringing the card close to her face, Jaden read the small lettering. "The playroom?" She gave Georgie a questioning look. "What's that? Says here that it's on the third level."

As they drew closer to the front of the valet line, Georgie answered her question. The top levels (3 & 4) of Jungle Gem consisted of eight rooms on each floor. In all, there were sixteen rooms and each one had a specific theme. Club goers with enough funds to do so could rent these rooms anywhere from 24 hours to a week for private parties and were allowed to have up to nine guests in their rented theme room. Because levels 3 and 4 were heavily guarded by security the keycards given upon purchase were needed in order to pass the second level.

Finding out about the private rooms during her talks with Dylan, Georgie decided to rent one of the theme rooms and chose one called The Playroom, which was filled with big kid toys, quite a few of them expensive. Excited by the idea of his favorite musician visiting his nightclub, Dylan had wanted to give her the room for free as his birthday gift to Jaden, but after they argued a few minutes he managed to talk Georgie into at least letting him rent it with a 50% discount.

"Sweet." Beaming, Jaden was already enthusiastic about The Playroom, although she had no idea how it would look. All she knew was that she herself was a big kid who was still fascinated with toys. The activity room in her home wasn't really just for Nate and Bell because Jaden took a trip there nearly every day to play with the variety of games. She especially liked the X-Box and Batman Forever pinball machine.

Once at the front of the line, the four women exited the stretch limo along with Todd. Usually when he transported clients he remained in the car while they went to dinner, parties, the prom etc., but since Vanessa (his sister) and Georgie (practically his sister) were his clients this evening, he intended to have a great time. Having turned twenty-one not too long ago, Todd could count the number of occasions he went to a nightclub on one hand. Too bad his buddies wouldn't be here tonight to enjoy getting into the exclusive Jungle Gem with him. He would just have to remember to rub it in their faces later.

Bypassing the long line of hopefuls anxiously waiting to see if they would be granted access to Jungle Gem, the five of them traveled around the building to a secret entrance that Dylan had told Georgie about. Having been informed of their imminent arrival by Dylan, the tall hefty guard standing before the entrance allowed them to enter with zero fuss. They caught the strains of a No Doubt song as the heavy door closed behind them.

Wanting to go his separate way, Todd informed Vanessa or Georgie to call his cell phone when everyone was ready to leave. Once she warned him to stay out of trouble, he disappeared in pursuit of some delectable young ladies.

The remaining four headed directly to the third level, weaving through gyrating heated bodies, a few of which were so scantily clothed in their nightclub duds that they couldn't have been much more exposed if they were butt naked. Once they completed their walk up the flight of stairs leading to level two, which mostly consisted of more seating, they checked in with the four security guards (even beefier than the gentleman positioned at the secret entrance) flanking the two glass elevators that only led up from that point.

Filing inside one of the elevators they were standing on the carpeted third floor within fives seconds. Heading to room #6A, Georgie used her keycard to open the door. Nothing could be seen until she pushed the light switch causing three people to jump from behind a dark blue overstuffed couch a la Jack-in-the-box, shouting 'Happy Birthday Jaden' at the top of their lungs. A large sign suspended above them spelled out what they just shouted in multicolored letters.

"Aw thanks guys." Smiling, Jaden walked over to Sharon, Mack, and Kelly and hugged each of them. When the lights dimmed, she glanced over her shoulder as Max carried a cake over and carefully put it on the nearby poker table. In perfect sync, everyone excluding Jaden began to sing a slightly altered version of Happy Birthday as the smiling birthday girl admired her cake lit with two candles in the shape of a 3 and 2--her new age. The chocolate and vanilla ice cream cake had been formed to look like a quarter music note and had 'Happy 32nd Jae' written in creamy icing. When the song ended Jaden made a silent wish before she blew out the candles, her friends clapping as she did so.

Jaden felt like the luckiest person on earth. First, she had the pleasure of spending an entire fun-filled day with her family and this evening she was in the company of women who were quickly becoming her extended family. Blinking away tears, she gently pulled Georgie toward her and kissed the top of her head.


The very small pieces of the ice cream cake that remained had been placed in the mini refrigerator. Taking purchase on the comfy couches, one blue and the other a canary yellow, six eager women waited for the guest of honor to open her presents littering the space between the couches. Once everyone toasted their glasses of chilled champagne (Jaden and Max's sans alcohol) the birthday girl chose to sit on a large purple beanbag in front of her presents fingering the colorful ribbon attached to the top of a gift-wrapped rectangular box printed with just as colorful balloons and confetti. Because the shape and size reminded her of a shoebox, she wondered if someone had bought her shoes. It being the middle of a warm July a girl couldn't have too many sandals.

Grinning, Vanessa pointed to the gift that Jaden touched. "That one is from me." Her grin enlarged as she took a sip from her flute. "Why don't you open it?"

Although something about Vanessa's grin was alarming, the brunette proceeded to tear into the wrapping paper as everyone watched, wanting to see what she would reveal. Jaden heard a camera snap but she didn't look up as she pried the lid from the box after finally removing the stubborn tape. Peeling back soft pink tissue paper, her mouth dropped open as she stared at the unique birthday gift within. Murmuring an 'oh my', Jaden picked up what she correctly guessed was a vibrator. Not one mouth in that room was without a grin while Jaden slowly turned the six-inch long raspberry colored silicone vibrator around, examining it from every angle. With a small battery pack at the end, which took four AA batteries (she opened the compartment to discover four Energizer's already in place) the vibrator was quite shapely. In fact, it reminded Jaden of the curves on a woman's body. The delicate color made it appear only that much more feminine.

Speaking of delicacies, her cheeks were a delicate red as she offered the mischievous CNA a smile. "Thank you Van. It's lovely."

"Glad you like it." Vanessa allowed her relief to show. "Kind of thought you might wanna kick my butt. Have you ever used one before?"

Jaden nodded. "Yes, but it has been a long long time!"

"In that case, you probably don't have any of this." Reaching into the gift box, Vanessa searched through the tissue paper until she found a small bottle containing a cream colored substance. If Jaden hadn't known better, she might have mistaken it for lotion. Grinning, Vanessa placed the bottle in Jaden's palm. "Liquid Silk. I think you know what it's for. I've learned from personal experience that a little goes a long way."

The delicate redness of her cheeks growing, Jaden moved to her knees so that she could kiss the tip of the younger woman's nose. "Kinky aren't you?" She gently teased.

"Oh, baby yes I am!" Everyone laughed.

"Where do you purchase your toys Van?" Mack asked. "The place I used to go to closed down recently."

"I mainly shop from a catalog called Simply Sensual. Why don't you write down your phone number for me later and I'll call you tomorrow with the number for the store? They can send you a catalog. I'm pleased with their products and I've been a customer for two years."

Mack smiled at her. "Thanks Van."

"You're very welcome Mack."

"Just how many of us have experimented with adult toys?" Vanessa inquired being the least shy woman in the group. Everyone except Kelly and Sharon confirmed that they had.

"Let us know how you like your new silicone friend Jae," Mack said, a devilish grin on her lips.

Her brain didn't have time to send her the signals to be quiet. "Ah, actually I abstain from anything sexual." There weren't any immediate responses as they processed this information. Having brought up the subject, Mack spoke first.

"You don't…you know," she shrugged, glancing toward Kelly for help. To keep her mouth busy, the redhead drank more of her champagne. As Mack sighed, Jaden rescued her.

"I haven't had an orgasm since 1993 sweetie." She surprised herself by chuckling when Mack and Kelly collectively gasped. Before she could be asked why, Jaden gave a brief explanation of her reason for abstaining. "When I was diagnosed in the summer of '93, I decided that I would never again have a sexual relationship with a woman. I also decided to give up touching myself because I figured that would cause me to miss women even more."

"You have a lot of control Jae." Kelly started to blush, the red easily spotted because of her pale complexion. "I couldn't go a week without…giving myself release."

Jaden laughed. "When I discovered self release as a teenager, I couldn't go a week without it either."

"I have you beat." Max grinned. "I was 11."

"Damn Maxine! Only 11?" The architect nodded. "You certainly do have me beat. I was 14."

Dark eyes glanced toward the others. "Can anyone beat 11?" Max looked confident that no one would until Vanessa raised a hand.

"Dude, I was 8." Georgie was the only woman to look convinced by the admission.

"Van, you were 8 years old the first time you masturbated?"

"Sure was Max." Grinning, she inclined her head toward Jaden. "You heard hot stuff. I'm kinky."

"But 8 is awfully young," Sharon commented. Because she had been a late bloomer--discovering the art of self-fulfillment at 16 ½--she didn't care to offer her age.

"It is, but I swear that I was 8. My Mom had bought me this little book that explained the differences between a boy and a girl. Noticing the picture of a vagina, it got me curious about mine so I touched it. Granted, I had touched myself there many times before while cleaning, but I'd never just used my fingers. I'd been exploring myself for a couple of minutes when it occurred to me that it felt good, so I kept at it until I began tingling there. It slowly rose to my belly, my fingers quickened until I felt a tiny explosion. Very little, but it did qualify as an orgasm, though I didn't know what I was doing and what it was called at that time. Anyway, I liked the feeling so I started touching my vagina with just my fingers on a regular basis." Snickering, she looked toward Georgie. "Five years later, I taught Georgie."

Eyes widening, the blonde picked up a large square gift-wrapped box from the floor and dropped it into Jaden's lap. "Okay! I think we've heard enough about masturbation and toys. J-Co, here's your next gift." Checking the card attached, she smiled at Kelly and Mack. "From Mack, Kelly, Colin and Jack."

"We hope you like it Jae." Kelly softly smiled.

"Already know I will Kelly." The golden paper quickly discarded, Jaden reached for the flaps, pulling them open. Merrily chuckling, she ran her fingers over the spines of the neatly arranged forty DVD's inside the box. Though she recognized many of the titles, there were only two movies that she remembered watching. Looking at the young musicians, Jaden smiled as she said, "I see a workout in my DVD player's future. Thank you both. I'll have to call Jack and Colin in the morning."

"During the tour you told us that you weren't a movie buff so that's why we got you a good variety of movies for your birthday," Mack replied. "Since you're retired…or temporarily retired, you can catch up on flicks. Each of us picked ten. I chose some action and adventure movies like The Matrix. I personally believe that Keanu Reeves isn't much of an actor, but the movie is awesome."

"But he's so cute," Kelly interjected.

Glancing toward her swooning friend, Mack playfully rolled her eyes. "Uh huh. And Mrs. Reeves wannabe here was in charge of comedy and romance, so you'll find Sleepless in Seattle among her titles. Colin had science fiction and fantasy movies such as Dark City--hey are you and Jennifer Connelly by any chance related? Both of you are famous dark-haired beauties with the same last name." She grinned and so did Jaden.

"Gee, I hope not 'cause I've always thought she was smokin' hot. It would be weird if she turned out to be my long lost cousin or something." She received some chuckles as well as agreements with the 'smokin' hot' comment. "What genre did your handsome twin bro have?"

"Drama. And I'm very proud of him because he threw in a couple of lesbian flicks." Eyebrows dancing, Mack pulled a copy of Desert Hearts from the box, showing it to Jaden. "Very good movie."

"I've heard of it but never saw it. I can't wait to get started on my movies. Just need to get some popcorn now." Jaden carefully refolded the flaps and then put the box on an unused table to avoid the risk of the fragile DVD's being trampled. When she returned to her cozy beanbag (she now planned on purchasing beanbags for her home) Max handed her another present, announcing that it was from her. Grinning, Jaden shook the slim lightweight box as if she were trying to guess what was inside without opening it. It was the perfect shape for a watch or bracelet, but since she barely detected a sound, Jaden figured that her gift wasn't jewelry.

Max chuckled. "You'd have to have X-ray vision or be a psychic to know what's in there so just open it you silly girl."

"Alright." Wearing a pretend pout, Jaden uncovered the plain white box and removed its lid. She found a full package gift certificate good until spring for a five-day stay at a lesbian couples resort in Palm Springs. Her glasses in her car, Jaden brought the certificate close to her face, reading that purchase of the full package included a room, all meals, spa treatments and unlimited use of their 24-hour gym. Though excited by the idea of vacationing in Palm Springs for a few days, Jaden questioned the couples part. Was that a requirement? She asked Max.

Grinning, Max shook her head. "It's not a requirement, but it is highly recommended that you bring someone with you. If not your life partner then a very close friend who perhaps is a lesbian." As she added that, she casually looked in Georgie's direction. Getting the hint, Jaden smirked.

Playing matchmaker Max? I should have known that she wouldn't give up.
"I'll have to think about the bringing someone along part. Either way, I'm definitely going way before the deadline. Thank you Maxie."

"You're so welcome honey." As they shared a hug, she whispered into Jaden's ear. "Give some serious thought into bringing you know who along with you. Even if you are just friends."

Nervous over Jaden would think about her gift, Sharon decided to go next and get it over with. Her palms a bit damp, she pushed the large canvas bag with 'Happy Birthday Jaden' along with two balloons stitched on the front toward the beaming musician. "I would have wrapped it in a box, but I thought it might be safer in there," Sharon explained. Touching the soft material, Jaden assured her that she loved the bag.

"So do I. That's so neat Ronnie," Georgie said as she leaned over to take a closer look at the detailed front. "Where did you get it done?"

Sharon appeared oddly embarrassed as she replied, "I did it. I bought the bag at a mall but the lettering and balloons are my handiwork."

"Wow, we have our very own Martha Stewart!"

She and the other guests laughed at Vanessa's remark. "Van, don't let the butchness fool you. I admit that I kinda like doing crafts." Starting to feel somewhat better, Sharon winked at her. If she could survive the bag, the contents might be a piece of cake. At least half of a cake--a three tier wedding cake. Dark blue orbs focused on Jaden, her breathing hitched as tissue paper of various colors was removed from the bag revealing five objects that were both slender and long wrapped in more tissue paper surrounding a larger object, which accounted for most of the weight.

Lips turned upward in a smile, Jaden took great care as she unrolled each item from its tissue paper. The five slender objects turned out to be blooming long-stemmed roses fashioned from glass. Their petals, emerald leaves (two per flower) and stems trimmed in 24-karat gold, each was a different color. Jaden had a difficult time deciding out of the pink, sapphire blue, ruby red, golden yellow and violet flower, which was her favorite. She finally concluded that she equally loved each beautifully designed glass bud. As the very impressed guests took the hands-on approach with observing her flowers, Jaden unwrapped her remaining gift from Sharon. Inside the tissue paper lay an exquisite elongated glass vase accented with swirls of each rose's color. The trim trimmed with gold, it's opening would be a perfect fit for the five roses.

Not the only one marveling at the vase, Vanessa corrected her earlier statement. "Scratch that Ronnie. If you and Martha Stewart had an arts & crafts competition, you would kick her ass!" The room was promptly filled with laughter.

After arranging her flowers in the vase with the golden flower proudly standing in the middle, Jaden arose and then pulled Sharon to her feet hugging her so tightly that it was amazing the pair didn't meld. Uncharacteristically blushing, the nurse uttered a quiet 'you're welcome' when Jaden showed and vocalized her appreciation of the thoughtful gift. Before they released each other, Georgie managed to snap another picture.

"How did you create these Sharon?" Jaden inquired as she touched the vase's polished surface. She had already figured out where she would put her present when she returned home--at least until she had the urge to relocate them. For now they would occupy her Steinway grand piano in the living room.

"Glassblowing." She shrugged. "It's a hobby that I've had since my early twenties. I've just gotten back into it lately. I do vases, bowls, abstract sculptures…you name it." Smiling a little, Sharon picked at a non-existent piece of lint on her black jeans.

"I think I've heard of glassblowing before. Is it complicated to learn?"

"It takes some practice. I remember that it took me a while to get the hang of it. I turned my garage into a workstation. If you're interested in learning, you can come by my house sometime and I'll be happy to show you."

"I'm always up for learning something new." Jaden smiled at her and Sharon returned it.

Fifteen minutes later, Jaden was tucking her already beloved journal from Vanessa inside the box holding her new DVD's. On her head was one of the ten hats that Georgie had bought for her. Tears rolled from her eyes when she opened the bag carrying the 'pimp' hat. She vowed that she would wear it soon--in public. Although Georgie was willing to let her off the hook, Jaden kept her promise to wear the purple fedora. Currently, she wore a soft green Kangol bucket shaped hat with khaki ripple stripes circling it. The comfortable hat was a perfect fit and its shade of green coordinated with the green in her shirt.

The gift opening finished, Kelly and Mack had taken possession of the PlayStation 2 system. Glancing toward them, Jaden smiled watching for a few moments as their deft thumbs manipulated the buttons on the controllers. Competing against each other in a racing game, they weaved back and forth on the couch depending on what directions their virtual cars traveled. Jaden chuckled when Mack started speaking trash after Kelly 'accidentally' ran her vehicle off the road.

At the ping-pong table, Max and Sharon had a nice game going. It was obvious that the two women were skilled at playing ping-pong, because the small white ball kept flying over the net without either opponent missing it. It was like watching Venus and Serena Williams engage in table tennis. Jaden had been observing them for a full minute when Sharon struck the ball with her red paddle and it caught in the net instead of sailing over it like it was supposed to. While Max grinned in triumph, Sharon being the good sport congratulated her on attaining the first point.

Retrieving the ball, the nurse proceeded to serve again as Jaden found herself distracted by a rhythmic thumping sound behind her. Turning around, she amusingly watched Vanessa jumping up and down on a steel framed trampoline with a diameter large enough to accommodate up to four adults. Each time her petite body was airborne, her braids flew above her head causing her observer to laugh.

Grinning, Vanessa asked Jaden to take off her shoes and join her. Thinking that the trampoline looked fun, Jaden pulled off her Skechers and leapt onto the bed beside her friend. She steadily gained momentum until she was jumping as high as Vanessa. Asking the musician if she could do this, Vanessa demonstrated what 'this' was by bending her knees so that the heels of her feet were almost touching her bottom. When gravity pulled her downward, her knees bounced on the trampoline bed. After she was pushed toward the ceiling again she landed on her feet, returning to regular straight jumps.

"That's easy buttercup." Within ten seconds Jaden had successfully executed the trick. "But can you do this?" Because she didn't want to risk injuring the smaller woman, she asked Vanessa to leave the trampoline while she performed her own trick. Once she was safely out of the way, Jaden moved closer to the center of the bed as Georgie returned from her trip to the restroom. Standing in front of the door she watched Jaden along with Mack and Kelly, who had paused their game. Into their table tennis competition, Max and Sharon gave a tiny fraction of their attention to the bouncing birthday girl.

"Kids, don't try this at home." Arms pressed against her sides, Jaden concentrated on her straight jumps. Her distance increasing with each leap, her feet contacted the same point on each landing. Soon content with her bouncing height, the brunette waited until she was airborne and then swiftly rolled her long body into a ball, her knees tucked against her chest and arms wrapped around her legs. Making it appear so effortless, she flipped clockwise once and landed on her feet, managing to hit her target spot again. Bouncing twice into the air, she propelled her body forward, landing gracefully on her feet on the carpet.

Everyone cheered, including the table tennis players who put their paddles down so that they could easily clap. Face flushed from exertion, Jaden beamed as she took a bow.

"Okay showoff," Vanessa grinned at her, "I'm not even gonna try that 'cause I'd probably end up fracturing something so you win." Jaden chuckled as she retrieved her shoes, leaning against the wall to put them on.

"Are you practicing for the Olympics next summer?" Georgie inquired while her rump occupied the arm of the couch so that she could watch Mack and Kelly race sleek fast cars. She winced in sympathy when Kelly lost control of her vehicle, sending it skidding into a row of orange traffic cones. "Because I'm sure that you would stand a great chance of winning the gold."

Walking toward the blonde, Jaden encircled her waist from behind and placed her chin on Georgie's right shoulder. Though her eyes were on the large flat screen where cars raced around a track, her thoughts were on the woman pressing back into her. She didn't bother to censure her statement. She didn't feel the need to. "I don't want to compete in the Olympics because I've already got the gold." Although it was softly spoken, every woman in the room heard it. Apparently, none of them needed a hearing aid.

Mack and Kelly temporarily stopped playing and shared inquisitive looks. They like millions of others had heard the rumors circulating about Jaden and Georgie, but figured that they couldn't be correct. However, could they really be headed toward couple status? This would have to be discussed later.

Playing the Austin Powers pinball machine, Vanessa kept her eyes glued to the steel ball, slapping it with her flipper when it came close enough. Meanwhile, she thought about what Jaden had just uttered…because I've already got the gold. What did she mean by that? Was that an indication that she wanted more out of the relationship she had with Georgie or was she only being a sweet affectionate friend? Still having mixed feelings, Vanessa couldn't yet decide which she preferred.

Max smirked for two reasons. One, she had a strong feeling that Georgie would be accompanying Jaden on her trip to the resort in Palm Springs. Perhaps they weren't an official couple, but in the architect's opinion they practically were. Once Jaden freed herself from that pesky stubborn streak (Max wouldn't give up hope) then they could make it official. They looked so cute together. The second reason she smirked was because she just earned another point after Sharon failed to strike the ping-pong ball--she made a halfhearted attempt to. The game was now tied.

She was supposed to serve, but she was much too busy staring at the pair cuddling as they perched on the couch's arm. Since their backs were facing her, they didn't notice her puzzled gaze. Head cocked to the side, Sharon unconsciously tapped the paddle against her thigh. What the hell does that mean? She internally questioned while trying to make sense of the intimate comment. They're just friends, right? Feeling a warm hand on her shoulder, Sharon blinked and looked at Max, seeing the concern written on her pretty features.

"Are you alright Ronnie?" Max asked low enough so that no one else could possibly overhear her. When the nurse nodded, she asked if she felt like continuing their game. For an answer, Sharon grabbed the ping-pong ball from the floor and moved into position to serve. She forced herself not to look toward Jaden and Georgie.

Her thumb idly rubbing the tanned smooth arm around her, Georgie released a soft sigh of pleasure. She had a strong urge to tell Jaden right at that moment that she loved her, yet she held her tongue. Instead she lifted one of the musician's hands and kissed the palm of it.


A green bottle filled with ice-cold beer in her hand, Mack traveled up the steps, her destination the second level of Jungle Gem where their party of seven had reserved a booth. Having just finished some vigorous dancing with a couple of gorgeous women wearing skirts that could have belonged to them when they were eight year olds, she was feeling overheated and wanted to rest for a bit. Mack deemed herself lucky when she found Sharon occupying the booth by her lonesome. She had wanted to speak with her privately and now was her chance.

Swallowing a mouthful of the slightly bitter beverage, Mack walked toward her crush, hips gently swaying as she neared her. Sharon failed to notice her until Mack slid into the leather booth and closed the distance between them until their thighs touched underneath the table. Smiling, Mack set the beer on the table and said hello in her sultriest voice.

"Hello Mack," the nurse politely responded.

"Why aren't you dancing? Everyone else is downstairs shaking their groove thangs."

That managed to get a chuckle out of Sharon. "Maybe later on I'll go shake my groove thang too."

"If you decide to, will you promise to fill in a place for me on your dance card?" Mack ran her index finger along Sharon's armband tattoo consisting of flames surrounding Yin and Yang symbols. Sharon's bicep involuntarily flexed as Mack's finger continued to caress the dark tattoo. The young musician wondered how those arms would feel tightly wrapped around her body. She definitely works out and does it very well, Mack mused.

"I…uh…will do that."

Drawing her hand back, the younger woman offered a pleased smile. "How many tattoos do you have? Or is this the only one? I like it."

"Thanks." Pulling her glass over, Sharon took a sip of Coke. "I have three more." When Mack asked if she could see them, Sharon turned her head toward the left and pointed to the tattoo on the nape of her neck. It was a small indigo blue dragon spitting an orange, red, and blue flame.

"That is awesome Ronnie." Mack had to reach out and touch that tattoo as well. "I've been thinking about getting a tattoo. You make me wanna get a dragon."

There was a faint smile on the nurse's lips as she turned back to her admirer. "I'll tell my sister that you like her work. She drew what I described and then I took her artwork to my tattoo artist. Here's the third one." Pushing the table back a few inches, Sharon pulled up her right pants leg and showed Mack the row of Chinese characters tattooed down her leg with the word 'serenity' in petite script beneath them. "This is my latest tattoo. Had it done back in February. The Chinese symbols translate into serenity, so I thought I'd have the English meaning tacked on so people wouldn't have to constantly ask what it says." Grinning, she added, "Of course some people do that anyway."

Not wanting Sharon to get the impression that she was a groper, Mack put her hands in her lap. "It's beautiful Ronnie. I like how the English translation of serenity is done in purple."

After fixing her pants leg, Sharon pulled the table toward them. "I chose that color because it symbolizes peace of mind and spirituality, which I have been striving for. I chose serenity because I like the softness of the word when I say it and its meaning, which is the condition of peace or tranquility. With the help of my therapist I've been making some progress."

Mack smiled. "So you're more serene now than you were before the leg tattoo?"

"Yep. I haven't bitten anyone's head off since…" Sharon looked at her soda thoughtfully. "April. Yeah, it was April unless you want to count a conversation I had with my sister last month. But I should get a pass for that because it was my birthday and she was acting like a total brat."

"I'm not counting it." Mack watched as a smile bloomed on the other woman's lips. "Okay, where's tattoo number four?"

"Uh, you can't see that one."

"Why not?" Gleeful brown eyes performed a quick study of Sharon's body from head to toe. "Is it in a private place?"

"No, but close. I'd have to pull my pants down and I don't feel like being arrested for indecent exposure."

"Indecent exposure? Have you seen some of the girls--and some guys too--on the dance floor?" She chuckled. "A fourth of the people in here should be arrested. But if you're shy or whatever, let's go to the bathroom and you can show me there."

Sharon shook her head. "I'm also not showing you because it's embarrassing." Mack arched a brow in question. "Brief explanation is a couple of years ago I lost a bet and was forced to get this particular tattoo. However, I was allowed to put it wherever I wanted, so I picked the inner region of my thigh so it couldn't easily be viewed. I never wear short shorts and absolutely no skirts, so it's always covered."

"Could you at least tell me what it is?"

Raising her right hand, Sharon stared at it for a moment, her lips moving as she pretended to read. "Oh, look. According to my dance card, it's your turn to hit the dance floor with me." Guzzling the rest of her Coke, she slid out of the booth and reached for the younger woman's hand. "Ready?"

Laughing, Mack let Sharon pull her from the seat. "You rather dance than tell me what your fourth tattoo is. It must be bad!"


Move your feet
And feel united
Oh, oh, oh…

Junior Senior sang thanks to the DJ set up near the stage. Holding hands so they wouldn't lose each other in the boisterous crowd, Jaden and Georgie headed toward the bar, singing the lyrics to the song, which was perfect for a party. Warm and thirsty from dancing, they had decided to quench their thirsts just as the next song started to play.

Arriving, they found two padded stools next to each other and quickly occupied them. "What will you be having?" Jaden asked as she swiveled toward her companion. Noticing the beads of perspiration on Georgie's forehead, she grabbed a cocktail napkin from a thick stack and wiped them away.

"Thanks J-Co." Georgie withdrew a napkin from the pile. "Let me help you out too." As she dabbed at Jaden's forehead she asked, "Have you ever done a chocolate shot?"

"No, can't say that I have Gigi. Is that similar to a tequila shot? I did my share of those in college."

"Yes, it's similar. Actually, I think that I just made it up. I've never heard of non-alcoholic shots."

"I see…so what would be in these chocolate shots?" Jaden smiled. "Besides chocolate that is."

"Hmm, what about coffee?"

The musician nodded. "Coffee's good." When one of the bartenders walked toward them to take their orders, they asked to have a couple more minutes to decide. "Chocolate, coffee…milk?"

"Absolutely. And ice to make sure the ingredients are nice and chilled," Georgie added after a brief pause.

"We just described the ingredients in an iced mocha. I've never drunk iced mocha in a shot glass. Couldn't we drink them in regular glasses?"

Georgie looked like a woman with a secret that she didn't want to reveal just yet. "Yes we could," she slowly replied. "But there's something I want to try with you." Getting the bartender's attention, she leaned across the wide bar top and whispered close to his ear. A grin appearing on his face, he occasionally nodded and whispered back to her. Although she strained to hear their conversation, it was impossible to do so with the loud music and other conversations going on around them. The only words Jaden could make out were 'whipped' and 'fun'. All sorts of thoughts too risqué to see the light of day raced through her mind. It didn't help that Georgie's firm little leather-covered butt wiggled in synchrony with the beat of an older song by Prince.

When the bartender walked away to carry out her order, Georgie turned to her companion with a bright smile. "You wanna go to our booth on the second level and I'll meet you there in a few minutes with the drinks?"

Finding herself both intrigued and alarmed wondering what Georgie had up her sleeve, Jaden complied. "You don't need my help?" She asked as she stood up and stretched.

"Nope." Georgie surprised her with a quick kiss on the corner of her mouth. "You go on up now and I won't be far behind you."

Once she slipped into the empty booth, Georgie joined her less than five minutes later. Jaden focused on the serving tray that the blonde set on the table. There were ten shot glasses filled with iced mocha, a cup of what appeared to be chocolate powder, packages of wet naps and a can of whipped cream. The latter explained the word 'whipped'. Now where did the 'fun' come in?

"Okay Gigi, what are we going to do?"

Very excited, Georgie couldn't contain her grin as she answered, "Body shots with chocolate--mocha instead of tequila." As Jaden's mouth dropped open the younger woman indicated the tray. "Lucky for us the bartender had everything that I needed. The chocolate powder takes the place of the salt and we'll have whipped cream instead of lime wedges."

"Uh…no." Jaden shook her head so quickly that it was a surprise that her cap didn't fly off. "I don't think so G."

"Why not Jae?" That grin refused to vacate her mouth.

"Um, because I don't do body shots anymore. Now I don't have a problem with drinking these little mochas with you, but we'll have to leave the chocolate powder and whipped cream out of it." Georgie's delicate mouth on her skin--Jaden shivered at the image. Way too dangerous. She chanced a look at the blonde. Damn, why was she still grinning?

"I'm cashing in my wish now so it would seem Ms. Connelly that you don't have a choice."

Her expression purposefully blank, Jaden asked, "What wish?"

The real estate agent smirked. "Pretending like you don't have a clue what I'm talking about won't get you out of it. To 'refresh' your memory, I'm referring to the wish I won when we went to McDonald's last month. The woman working at the window noticed you and you bet me that she wouldn't, so I get one wish."

Jaden sighed. "Yeah, but this? Body shots?!"

"Your only stipulation was that I couldn't ask for anything illegal. As far as I know doing body shots in California isn't illegal."

"Well just to be on the safe side, I think you should look into the California law first."


She sighed again, this time louder. "Georgie body shots are intimate. Too intimate for us to be doing."

Georgie looked at her pitifully. "I've never done body shots before and I thought you could break me in. But if you'd rather not," she turned her body toward the tray, "I'll do 'em by myself." Realizing that she had Jaden's undivided attention, she brought her left hand to her mouth. Slowly sliding her tongue between her soft rose-colored lips, Georgie drew tiny wet circles on the fleshy area between her thumb and forefinger before sprinkling a little chocolate powder there.

Her mouth hanging open for an entirely different reason, Jaden couldn't help but to stare as her friend sucked the chocolate powder into her mouth. She glanced around to make certain that no one was privy to this little show but her. Just as she turned back, Georgie selected a mocha shot from the tray and quickly emptied the creamy contents. Grabbing the can of whipped cream, she opened her mouth and allowed a bit of the weightless cream to collect on her tongue. Closing her mouth she swallowed and winked at her 'audience'.

"That was tasty. You wanna do one?" Georgie inquired in a tone that Jaden would describe as provocative. She might as well have switched the 'one' at the end of her question with a 'me'. When the musician didn't give an immediate reply, Georgie stretched her arm out, tapping her wrist with a finger. Smiling in challenge she said, "You could fulfill my wish and do one itsy bitsy shot right there. It's just a wrist. No big deal."

Jaden silently deliberated this compromise. She told herself that it wasn't a big deal. Swipe the powder from Georgie's wrist, down the shot and chase it with a dollop of whipped cream. She could do that. Even as she gently took a hold of Georgie's wrist, the tiny voice of wisdom living inside of her head warned that doing a body shot with the attractive petite blonde was a stupid idea. Of course, Jaden was in ignore mode.

Her intention was to flick her tongue once across the other woman's wrist, yet her traitorous tongue spent a few seconds caressing the sensitive area. As she reached for a pinch of chocolate powder, she thought that she heard Georgie moan, but she wasn't positive. The powder distributed over the damp wrist, blue eyes connected with dreamy green while Jaden unhurriedly removed the cocoa dust, her tongue swirling over Georgie's pulse point. She could feel it rapidly thumping against her tongue. She wondered if her friend knew that her heart wasn't the only one beating wildly. This was just as Jaden had suspected. Way too dangerous.

When she finished her thorough cleaning, she picked up a shot glass, threw her head back and downed the espresso and chocolate blend. As she placed the glass back on the tray, Georgie pressed the plastic tip of the whipped cream can against her parted lips. The spell was somewhat lifted when the cool substance hit the roof of her mouth. Chuckling, Jaden swallowed. Georgie slowly grinned at her.

"Was that so bad J-Co?" She sounded breathless and even with the low lighting Jaden noticed that her cheeks were flushed. She imagined that hers were as well.

It was sweet torture! "Uh, nope. Like you said--no big deal."

Georgie nodded in agreement, though neither of them appeared completely convinced. She glanced toward the eight remaining mocha shots. "So…what do you say that we drink the rest of these the old fashioned way? Then we can go dance some more. See what our friends are up to."

Grabbing two of them, Jaden put one shot in Georgie's hand while she kept the other for herself. "Gigi that's a great idea." Clinking their shot glasses together, they drank.


Around 11:30, the entire group decided to check out the lower level of Jungle Gem, which was like an additional nightclub considering it held a bar and there was music to shake one's groove thang to out on the dance floor. However, there was one big difference between the large underground room and the main level of Dylan's nightclub. During the summer and spring months Jungle Gem's lower level was a foam zone from 9 p.m. until 1:00 a.m.

While the majority of the room was foam free, the dance area contained a constant three to four feet of thick fluffy foam. Two employees operated a cannon like machine at each end of the dance area, shooting streams of foam between the high barriers, which served to keep the 'no foam' section from getting wet. Hanging from the ceiling, a large foam machine showered dancing club goers in the white froth.

Although the seating areas and bar were relatively dry, starting at midnight until 1:00 a.m. not one inch (except for the restrooms) was considered safe. Midnight was when the many variety of foam/water guns hanging from hooks on the walls could be removed and played with by Jungle Gem visitors as long as they didn't attempt to leave the lower level with them and heeded those who didn't want to be sprayed. In the past, bouncers had to escort people from the club because they got out of hand.

Using small plastic cases provided upon entrance into the underground foam zone to keep their belongings in, the ladies found an empty booth that would accommodate the seven of them. A pitcher of beer and one of pink lemonade was promptly ordered for the thirsty bunch and were delivered by a bartender within five minutes. Noticing the celebrity sitting at the booth, he also brought a complimentary basket of soft salted pretzels with a generous cup of warm melted cheddar cheese. On other occasions he had discovered that celebrities loved receiving freebies. Often this increased his tip intake.

"Jae hanging with you has its perks," Mack commented as she dipped a pretzel into the gooey cheese.

Jaden chuckled. "Yep, I'm good for gratuitous appetizers." Hers along with every other hand at the booth took a trip to the basket of fresh hot pretzels.

Once the basket was empty they headed to the foamy dance floor. Because slow tunes weren't played in the underground floor, every song they danced to was hip-hop, pop or disco related. It was easy to get the heart furiously pumping when dancing along to the exuberant music and frolicking in the mass of foam.

Jaden thought it particular funny when the Spice Girls' Say You'll Be There boomed over the speakers. She turned toward her left to say something to Georgie, but found that she wasn't there like she had been a second ago. The musician turned in a full circle searching for the little blonde among the sea of foam, yet every body her eyes landed on didn't belong to Georgie. Where could she have gone that quickly?

Her scream was swallowed up in the noise when a yank on her shirt caused her to lose her balance and collapse forwards onto the floor. Fortunately, Jaden didn't injure herself because she fell on something soft…and warm…and moving. Becoming aware of what--or whom she was on, Jaden rolled onto the floor and sat up before she helped her cushion to a sitting position. Pushing foam out of the way, she looked at the reddened face of her companion. Once she was assured that Georgie wasn't hurt, she laughed at her bubbly hairdo.

Laughing too, Georgie wiped away the foam surrounding her eyes. "You're not looking too suave either J-Co."

"And whose fault is that?" Jaden pointed a finger at the guilty party seated next to her. "Did you fall and then wanted my company down here?"

"I didn't fall. I gracefully lost my footing and as a result ended up on my ass," she stated in a regal voice.

Struck by a giggle attack, Jaden vanished beneath the foam. Grinning, Georgie pounced on her, tickling her unmercifully.


Briskly rubbing her damp head with a towel, Jaden sent a mock scowl in Georgie's direction. The mock scowl deepened when the real estate agent stared back in innocence. Ha! She was the farthest thing from it.

"What?" Georgie asked, curling her legs underneath her on the couch. Minutes before everyone had returned to the Playroom. The foam zone wasn't yet closed but half an hour after midnight they decided to leave.

"You know what." Jaden smirked. "How come you took out your trigger happiness on me?"

"You looked hot." Georgie blinked long lashes at her. "My only intention was to cool you off. I was trying to help you."

"Yeah. Right." Dropping the towel on her lap, Jaden combed through her hair using her fingers.

Plunking down next to the singer, Vanessa kissed her cheek. "Believe me when I say that this isn't a come-on. I think you look hot--and I mean that in a good way--when you're wet."

Jaden flashed her a grin. "Thank you buttercup. I think you're hot at anytime, day or night."

"You two want all of us to leave the room so you can be alone?" Glancing toward Max they laughed.

"Speaking of leaving," Kelly started from her position on a beanbag, "Mack and I should get going. We have to be up early." Mack confirmed this with a reluctant nod. After their tattoo conversation earlier in the evening, she was beginning to feel that Sharon was warming up to her. They danced, talked more and Sharon had shown her how to play ping-pong. Of course Mack hadn't been a natural at it, but she now knew more about the table sport than she had before tonight. The most important thing was that she had the opportunity to spend time with Sharon, finding that her crush on the older woman hadn't weakened since Hawaii. If anything after tonight it was stronger.

"It's time for me to go too," Sharon stated as she glanced at her watch. She had to be at work later that morning by 7 a.m., and usually on a work night she was in bed by 10:30. She would need to make a stop at Starbucks for a gigantic coffee on her way to the rehab clinic.

"Ronnie would you give me a lift?" Vanessa asked her since she also had to be at the same place at the same time. "That way Jaden, Georgie and Max can stay here and party some more and when they're ready Todd will be waiting with the limo. I'll be happy to give you gas money."

Sharon waved a dismissive hand. "It's not like you live that far from me. And even if you did, I wouldn't take your money. I'll take you home."

Max looked thoughtful. Everyone besides Jaden and Georgie was preparing to leave. Her thinking was that if she left as well, the potential lovebirds would be left completely alone. She bit her lower lip to keep the grin hidden. "Jae, Georgie I'm going to leave you girls to your own devices and call a taxi."

"Why?" Jaden looked vaguely suspicious. "An advantage of doing freelance work is being able to make up your own hours."

Nodding, Max pulled her cell phone from her back pocket. "True, but this highly significant project I'm working on has a deadline." She didn't think it necessary to include that the deadline wasn't for another four weeks and she expected to be done with her scale model for the movie theater by next week. The actual construction of the Hollywood based theater could begin earlier if her clients approved of her design. Max was pleased with her work thus far.

"Max, where is your abode located?" Mack asked, her car keys already dangling from her fingers.

"Thousand Oaks."

"A taxi would cost a ridiculous amount of moolah to travel that distance. Give me the directions to your house and I'll drive you there."

"No, Mack." She shook her head. "Thank you honey, but I live thirty miles away from L.A. A taxi will be fine."

"At the speed she drives, Mack will be pulling into your driveway within fifteen minutes of leaving here," Kelly said, wearing a broad smile. A long time ago she lost count of the many times she scolded her friend for blatantly ignoring the speed limit. Somehow Mack always managed to arrive at her destination without harming she and her passengers, other drivers and pedestrians. "It's her car, but neither she or I will hear of you taking a taxi to Thousand Oaks."

Jaden glanced at Georgie as she offered, "How about the three of us find Todd and leave now?"

"I've changed my mind," Max replied, pushing the phone back into her jeans. She smiled at the youngest musicians in the room. "Ladies I'm accepting your offer. However, I will pay you." Mack was about to argue. "No, no. It's either you or the taxi."

"Fine," Mack grumbled as she stood. "But my fare is way cheaper than the taxi would have been. Jae," walking toward the woman whose name just fell from her lips, Mack hugged her tight, "Happy birthday to you. I'll talk with you soon."

Smiling, Jaden returned the hug. "Thank you for being here and for my gifts. I'll let you know when I watch Desert Hearts."

She and Georgie shared a hug with everyone along with a few cheek pecks before they filed out of the Playroom. Falling back onto the couch, Georgie spread her arms along the back of it as she sent Jaden a mischievous grin. "Alone at last."

Chuckling, the tall woman settled beside her. "Did you plan that?"

"Yeah, sure." Green eyes rolled. "When you weren't within earshot, I coerced them all into leaving so that I could seduce you."

"Do you want to seduce me?" The question was out of her mouth before Jaden could tell herself to shut up.

Georgie silently gazed at her before she spoke. "Do you really want me to answer that Jaden?"

"I uh, guess not. No."

"How good are you at pool?"

The brunette instantly smiled, glad that her friend had changed what was an awkward subject. "Guess you'll have to play me to find out." Rising, she walked over to the pool table and selected a cue stick.

A smile planted on her lips, Georgie followed her, choosing her own cue stick. "Wanna make a bet?"

"I'm a believer in reincarnation so I'm going to ask. Were you a bookie in one of your past lives?"

Laughing, Georgie proceeded to rack the polished pool balls.


With their driver Todd already waiting for them in the limo, Jaden and Georgie were headed out of the nightclub hand in hand when the eldest of the two pulled her companion to a stop. Turning around, Georgie gave the musician a quizzical look. Smiling, Jaden commented that she loved the song that the DJ had just started to play. It was one of the few slow songs that he had chosen for tonight.

"Could I persuade you to share one last dance with me?"

Jaden's smile broadened as she led Georgie toward the crowded dance floor. "I can definitely be persuaded." Wrapping her arms around the smaller woman's waist, she drew her closer. Her cheek pressed against Jaden's chest, Georgie's arms looped around her neck.

Let's take a walk together near the open shore
Hand in hand you and I
Let's cherish every moment we have been given
The time is passing by

I often pray before I lay down by your side
If you receive your calling before I awake
Could I make it through the night?

Cherish the love we have
We should cherish the life we live
Cherish the love
Cherish the life
Cherish the love
Cherish the love we have
For as long as we both shall live
Cherish the love
Cherish the life
Cherish the love

The world is always changing
Nothing stays the same
But love will stand the test of time
The next life that we live in
Remains to be seen
Will you be my side?

I often pray before I lay down by your side
And if you receive your calling before I awake
Could I make it through the night?

Cherish the love we have
We should cherish the life we live
Baby yeah,
Cherish the love
Cherish the life
Cherish the love

Oooh, I miss love
Let's cherish every moment we have together
Hand in hand, you and I

Cherish the love we have
We should cherish the life we live
Cherish the love
Cherish the life
Cherish the love


Both Todd and Georgie were perplexed when Jaden suddenly asked him to pull over, giving no explanation as to why he should. However, since they were his clients (and he thought that Jaden Connelly was one hot babe) Todd shifted the limo toward the right, parking at the curb next to a darkened motorcycle dealership. Removing money from her wallet, Jaden leaned across the seat and slipped the folded greenback into Todd's hand as she asked him if he could do her a favor. Little did she know he didn't require payment to do her a favor. That fact didn't stop him from pocketing the money.

"Sure. What's the favor?"

"Georgie and I are getting out here so could you take our belongings to your sister's? Then you can call it a night."

He glanced toward Georgie who appeared just as clueless as him. "No problem, but how will you two get there?"

Patting him on the shoulder Jaden responded, "Don't worry about us. We'll be fine. Thank you for supplying us with the wheels tonight. I must say that you drive this stretch beautifully Todd." She smiled at the now blushing young man. "And it was so nice to meet you."

"Likewise Ms. Connelly."

"Jaden." She grinned. "I'm not that old yet."

Georgie and Jaden waved when Todd honked as he drove down the sparse street. Once the limo was just a black dot in the distance, the blonde turned toward Jaden. "Okay, so we're stranded…"

Grinning, Jaden linked her hand with Georgie's. "Not for long. Come on." She began to lead them toward the dealership.

"Um, Jae if you're going where I think you're going, it's closed. Few businesses stay open this late."

"I know, but there's a light on in the office."

"So? What if the owners forgot to turn the light off when they left?"

Jaden glanced over her shoulder to see Georgie who was lagging a step behind. "Then we're stranded."

Fortunately, they soon discovered that they wouldn't end up stranded because one of the motorcycle dealership owners was in the office, although the store had been closed since eight p.m. Ordinarily, he wouldn't have been there at that time of night but he had an argument with his wife and instead of sleeping on the couch in their living room, he decided to go to work extra early and sleep on the office's couch. Suffice it to say, he was in a foul mood when he heard the knock on the door. He yelled for whomever it was to go away, claming that they were closed. However, Jaden being a tenacious lady kept knocking until he threw back the thin blanket in irritation, stormed toward the door, and opened it. When he saw the woman standing there, Hank was delighted that he had. Of course, he wished that he hadn't been wearing just his boxers and undershirt.

Claiming that it was a birthday present to herself, Jaden purchased a pearl silver metallic BMW R 1200 CL motorcycle. She was a beauty that Hank assured could be ridden for hours with the rider and possible passenger experiencing zero discomfort because she was built to cruise. The BMW was equipped with special features such as heated handlebars and seats, a CD Player, cruise control and an elevated seat for the passenger, giving them a better view. Because it was Jaden's birthday and he was happy with the sell, Hank threw in a dust cover that would have cost close to a hundred dollars. His spirits had most definitely lifted. In fact, he might even call the wife after they left.

Purchasing two fiberglass helmets, one peal silver metallic to match the motorcycle and the other solid black, Jaden gave the former to her anxious friend. Never having the opportunity to ride a motorcycle before, Georgie was nervous about getting on the BMW, which looked quite intimidating in her opinion. Trying to quell her nerves, Jaden kissed her forehead.

"Relax Gigi. It's been a while since I've ridden one, but I have ample experience with motorcycles. I learned how to handle them a long time ago. I'll take good care of you."

Georgie smiled up at her. "I don't doubt that you will."

"So are you ready to hit the road?"

Green eyes gazed toward the waiting Beamer. "Yes, but let's not hit it too hard."


Agreeing that they were hungry, Jaden asked Georgie to choose a place where they could grab a quick bite. A hotdog sounding good to her, the blonde thought of Pink's and suggested it. Because she had never eaten there before--although she heard on more than one occasion about how terrific the food was-- Jaden was interested in trying a Pink's hotdog. Hopefully, she could get them to the restaurant before closing time.

Georgie was eternally grateful that Jaden seem interested in driving her new bike like a bat out of Hades. Although they were driving in L.A., the streets were quieter, therefore giving Jaden the chance to go faster. However, she obeyed each speed limit sign on their journey to La Brea Boulevard.

By the time they arrived, Georgie couldn't claim that she loved being the passenger on a motorcycle, yet at the same time she didn't hate it. The most obvious reason being that it was a requirement for her to tightly wrap her arms around Jaden's waist. By doing so she had an excuse to press her front against the other woman's back. She could feel Jaden's radiating warmth all the way to Pink's. These were very good reasons to travel via a motorcycle. Besides those, she could learn to enjoy cruising on Jaden's Beamer. It would just take some getting used to.

By the time they walked up to the order window, Pink's was ten minutes to closing time. There was one small group sitting at an indoor table finishing up their meal. Jaden and Georgie ordered two hotdogs apiece with the blonde insisting that this was her treat. Jaden ordered a basic chilidog and to take a walk on the wild side, a spicy polish dog. Georgie decided on two ten-inch chilidogs, which was what she ordered just about every time she ventured to Pink's because she believed in sticking with a good thing. She cajoled Jaden into sharing a side of onion rings with her.

Once they were through eating with Jaden exclaiming on how delicious the hotdogs had been, one of Pink's employees asked if they could take her picture for the wall of fame. When she obliged, the employee took a headshot of her and another with her and Georgie, which surprised the real estate agent. When developed and framed, the photographs would join the crowded wall of celebrities who had visited Pink's in the past. The pair promised that they would return at a later to sign the photos and were promised that they would receive a free order of hotdogs for doing so. On their way to the motorcycle, they made a date to come back next week.

Close to 3:00 a.m., Jaden pulled her BMW to the curb at her friend's apartment complex. Standing next to the bike they removed their helmets, placing them on the handlebars. Georgie enjoyed watching the musician repeatedly running her fingers through her hair to get it to lay in some semblance of order. Something about it oozed sexiness. Georgie reflected that if she observed Jaden painting her toenails, she would think that sexy too. She sighed. Her goddess was simply sexy personified.

"Georgie?" Jaden waved a hand in front of her face, trying to get her attention. "Are you okay?"

The petite woman blinked, realizing that she had been caught staring. She could feel the heat from her resulting blush. "Uh, yeah. I'm fine Jae. Just thinking."


"You." She winced, hoping that it was too dark for Jaden to witness. You have one big…freaking…mouth Georgie.

Jaden gazed curiously. "Really? What about me?" She paused, thinking. "Or would you rather not answer that?"

Jaden could probably hear her relieved sigh. "I'd rather not if it's alright with you."

Smiling, the older woman squeezed her shoulder. "It's just fine. You want me to walk you to your door?"

"You're leaving?"

The brunette nodded. "I'll ride my bike home and return tomorrow--or actually later today with the Hummer to pick up my gifts if that's okay."

"You could do that or you could just spend the night here and I'll drive you and your gifts home later. Or you can sleep at my place, drive home on your Beamer later this morning and Thursday when I come to Malibu for our next surf lesson, I can bring your gifts with me."

Smiling, Jaden replied, "I like the last option."

"Great. So," Georgie reached for her hand, "let's go inside sweetheart." Carrying their helmets in their free hands, they headed toward the apartment Georgie shared with Vanessa.

"Georgie, I really enjoyed my birthday. Thank you for setting it up 'cause I had a blast with all of you." She shyly added, "Especially you."

Walking inside the apartment, the first thing they noticed upon turning on the living room light was their belongings carefully arranged on the couch. Grabbing her duffel bag, Georgie led Jaden to her bedroom after quietly opening the door and checking on Vanessa first. She was fast asleep on her belly, arms wrapped around her pillow, softly breathing through an open mouth.

Peeking around Georgie, Jaden smiled. "Aw, doesn't she look adorable?" She spoke in a hushed voice.

Agreeing, Georgie eased the bedroom door closed and headed toward her own. The condition of her walls didn't cross her mind until it was too late to urge Jaden back to the living room so that she could do something about it. Wishing that she could rewind the last minute, she didn't dare glance at Jaden as she dropped her duffel bag on the floor. Now she'll have 100% proof that I'm obsessed with her. She didn't have to wonder very long what the older woman was thinking. Hearing Jaden's soft chuckle she looked up questioningly.

"Wow, this is impressive Gigi." She sounded like she genuinely meant that. Georgie sighed her relief although she remained more than a little self-conscious with the musician entering her bedroom to find framed pictures and posters of her nailed to three out of fours walls. One wall had been reserved for Georgie's permanently glued jigsaw puzzles. She had seven of them up, most created by the talented artist Thomas Kinkade.

Jaden moved toward the puzzle wall. "I see you like jigsaw puzzles. You did all of these?"

"I did."

"Are they 1,000 piece puzzles?"

"Most of them." Sitting on the bed, Georgie took off her shoes while wondering if Jaden would directly comment on the other pictures. She felt the bed bounce as Jaden sat on it.

"How long does it take you to complete a puzzle with a thousand pieces?"

"It depends on the details of the picture," the blonde answered, her eyes on the closet as if her friend was in there. "I've found that if there are many different details it's easier to put together. However, if a lot of it is similar such as there being an abundance of greenery, than it tends to take longer. To answer your question, on average if I dedicate enough time on a daily basis to finding where the pieces fit, I could finish a thousand piece puzzle in about two weeks. And then I glue it and that takes about an hour because I like to apply two coats so it'll be extra stiff."


Unprepared for her name to be whispered in her ear, the agent nearly bolted from the bed. Hands clenching the bedspread she remained seated. "Yes?"

"You sound nervous. Is something wrong?"

"Do you think it's weird that I have pictures of you strewn across my walls? Be honest." Jaden was about to answer, but before she could Georgie interrupted her. "These weren't always here you know--it's a recent development. Before we met back in April I didn't have any pictures of you in here. I had some of your music but no pictures. Most of these I took when Ronnie and I were in Hawaii at your concert and I thought hey, I'll put them up in my room. I bought a couple of your posters at a music store in the mall." She blushed. "I couldn't resist. You looked…" Criminally sexy. "Nice."

"Thanks." Grinning, Jaden covered her hand, lightly patting the back of it. "Are you done now?"


"It's not weird sweetie. I'm touched. My favorite is that one." She pointed to a framed photograph positioned above the lamp placed on a nightstand. The photo was of she and Georgie taken in Hawaii. In it they were straddling their surfboards in the ocean with theirs wrapped around each other's shoulders. They faced the shore where a helpful young man had aimed Georgie's camera at the pair and took an excellent photo. Immediately afterward, a wave had tossed the blonde into the water causing Jaden to laugh until her drenched friend tipped her board over.

Georgie smiled toward the picture. "Hmm, that's one of my favorites. However," she turned her head toward the poster near the television, "that is my number one favorite." Her expressions sheepish, she admitted, "When I spotted it at the mall I went gaga over it. Van has the magazine that it originally appeared in. In that issue you were voted one of the top sexiest performers in the music industry."

In Georgie's opinion that poster was the prime example of 'criminally sexy'. Taken two years ago, it showed Jaden seated on the ground with her back pressed against a wall painted in maroon. She was dressed in roomy black jeans, a stark white long-sleeved shirt and black Timberland ankle boots with black and white laces. A backwards black tam was placed on her head; unrestrained dark locks trailing past her shoulders. Since the first few buttons of her shirt were undone, a bit of her black lace bra was intentionally exposed along with some cleavage. And because her jeans were unbuttoned and unzipped, a hint of her white boxer briefs with a black waistband could be viewed.

With her right leg bent enough that the heel of her boot touched the floor, Jaden rested her arm on top of her knee. Her left leg lying straight, her left arm was at her side, palm pressed against the floor. Her head slightly cocked toward the left, full lips shining with lip-gloss, she refrained from smiling. Instead, her lips were parted as baby blue eyes gazed toward the camera in a way that could give someone the impression that she had serious intentions of making love to the person wielding that camera. The look in her eyes was intoxicating.

Her face reddening, Jaden looked at the poster for no longer than two seconds. "Uh, yeah. I remember taking that picture--started not to go through with it. I was so nervous trying to be sexy. It isn't my thing."

Georgie gaped at her. "You're kidding right?"


"Jaden you are magnificently sexy without trying." She watched as Jaden's face reddened further. "And now I'm going to shut my mouth before I stick my foot in it any more."

"It's okay Gigi. Thank you for the compliment." Leaning over, she bean to untie her shoes. As she pulled them off, she asked if they were sharing the bed.

"If you don't have a problem with it we will."

"No, I like sleeping with you." Her eyes widened at the unintentional sexual innuendo. Whoa, I better fix that. "I mean, I like sharing a bed with you." Georgie began to grin. Damn, that's not much better. Try again. "You know as um, in a platonic way."

The blonde nodded, trying to wipe the grin from her face. "Of course J-Co. Let's get ready for bed. There are new toothbrushes in the bathroom and I think I might have a nightshirt that'll fit you." While walking over to her dresser to find the nightshirt, Georgie removed her jersey top.

Closing her eyes to keep them from staring, Jaden deeply inhaled. Please give me strength.


"Georgie where are my meds?" Jaden asked her as she walked into the bedroom, closing the door. Already in bed with her borrowed tight nightshirt on, Jaden lay on her back with her hands folded beneath her head.

"Oh, they're in my duffel bag. You want them?" She headed toward the bag before Jaden could answer.

"Yeah. I have to take a dose in a few more hours and I don't wanna have to wake you up to do so."

Finding the small white plastic pillbox, Georgie placed it on the nightstand next to her friend's side of the bed. "Plenty of food in the kitchen so you better eat something before you take those pills. I don't want you feeling nauseous."

Jaden smiled up at her. "Yes Mom."

Tweaking her nose, Georgie jumped into the bed beside her. Pulling the covers around them, she rolled to her side facing the other woman and rested her cheek in her hand. "You want me set the alarm for the time you have to get up and take your meds?"

Jaden's dark head moved back and forth on the pillow. "I'm equipped with an internal alarm clock. It's very reliable."

The light bouncing off of it attracted Georgie's attention to the musician's necklace. An exquisitely crafted yellow and white gold cross pendant lay on a thin gold rope chain. "This is lovely Jae," Georgie responded while her fingers grazed the cross resting against Jaden's chest. "Did you just get it? I don't remember it."

"My paternal Grandpa and Grandma sent both the necklace and pendant to me via UPS." She smiled. "They moved to Florida after retiring a few years ago. They were the first ones to call me yesterday morning to wish me a happy birthday." Chuckling, she said, "I don't think it was five a.m. yet. The hands," Jaden indicated the pair of tiny hands with outstretched thumbs surrounding a heart with a crown above it, "is a symbol for friendship. The crown symbolizes loyalty and the heart you might be able to guess is for love. It's referred to as a Claddagh cross."

"Claddagh." Georgie's brow scrunched in thought. "Is that Irish related?"

"Yes ma'am."

"Duh. Connelly. You're an Irish lass." Her lips spread into a grin.

Jaden returned the grin. "Yes ma'am."

"Are you Catholic?"

"I'm supposed to be."

Georgie chuckled at her answer. "Supposed to be huh?"

The brunette nodded. "I have a difficult time belonging to a faith that believes practicing homosexuality is a sin. It shouldn't matter who you give your heart to. I don't believe God would think a woman debase for romantically loving another woman or a man loving another man. What're you?"

"Christian, but the last time I attended church--not long after I moved in with the Martins-- my parents caught me sitting in one of the back rows. Just the look in their eyes was enough to let me know that I wasn't welcome there so I stayed until communion and then walked out, never returning to the church that I had been a member of since I was a tot in Sunday school."

Pulling the petite woman into her arms, Jaden kissed the top of her head. "Do you know where they live?"

"My parents?" Her cheek against Jaden's shoulder, she draped an arm over her stomach.


"I don't have a clue. I think they moved not long after I graduated high school."

"Well would you mind if I had a private investigator uncover their whereabouts so I could show up at their front door and give both a good swift kick in the ass? I'll wear my biggest boots."

Starting to laugh, Georgie pressed her face into a convenient neck, which smelled soapy. She figured that had to be from their adventures in the foam pit. "Jae you're my heroine."


Opening the bedroom door with the stealth of a cat burglar and dressed only in a towel, Vanessa tiptoed inside the room, her goal the perfume tray sitting on top of the dresser. Fresh out, she needed a hit and knew that Georgie had plenty. She was halfway to the dresser when her eyes strayed to the bed. Surprise written across her face, she turned toward the couple inhabiting only one side of the bed because the smaller of the two was using the other for a body pillow.

Okay, this was unexpected, Vanessa thought to herself. She had been aware that Jaden's belongings were in the living room, but she had no idea that the musician was in the apartment as well. Georgie, dude I can't wait to talk with you later. Not wanting to disturb them, she continued quietly to the perfume tray, selecting one of several fragrances Georgie had.

Dashing a touch of White Diamonds on her neck and wrists, Vanessa put the bottle back on the tray. Rubbing her wrists together, she was about to leave when she heard a softly uttered 'good morning'. A smile lighting up her face, she went toward the left side of the bed and leaned down to kiss Jaden's forehead as she returned the greeting in a quiet voice since Georgie was still asleep.

"You smell delightful." Jaden grinned, using Vanessa's close proximity to tug on one of her braids.

"Thank you hot stuff. I have to take a trip to the mall and buy some more perfume. Maybe I'll go today after work."

"What time do you get off?"

"3 o'clock. Though it's usually 3:15 or 3:20 depending on how long it takes my turnover to get there. Okay I better put some clothes on so I can get outta here." Grinning, she pointed toward Georgie. "How long has she been on top of you?"

"I don't know. I'll take it as a compliment though. I must be more comfortable than the mattress."

Vanessa softly chuckled. "Yeah. Well you have a wonderful day Jaden." She puckered up and didn't end up disappointed when Jaden lightly kissed her lips. "Thanks again hot stuff." Leaning a bit further, she kissed her best friend's soft cheek. After waving at the door, Vanessa quietly left. Before she had her nurses' outfit on, Jaden had fallen back to sleep with her arms wrapped around the blonde nestled on top of her.


As she drank the remainder of milk left in her bowl after she finished her cereal, Georgie's cell phone started to play the tune to a Jaden Connelly song. Grabbing it from the bar, she pressed the talk button and said hello as she dropped her bowl into the sink.

"Hi Georgie," a husky voice that she immediately recognized replied. Grinning, Georgie quickly rinsed the bowl and spoon. "What're you doing this beautiful Sunday morning?"

"Just finished eating my cereal."

"I love cereal. What kind of cereal?"

"Cookie Crisp." Her companion snickered. "Hey, it's the only kind of cereal that I can get Van to eat. She thinks Cheerios and Corn Flakes are boring."

"That's why you hook 'em up with fruits such as peaches and bananas. Do you have plans today?"

"Well I was coming to your house to go surfing."

"No you can't do that."

"Oh. Okay." Georgie tried to conceal her disappointment. She wanted to ask why she couldn't, but instead she kept quiet.

"You're going on a field trip!"

The agent's mood brightened within a millisecond. "Really? Where?"

"Griffith Park."

"Lovely park. I haven't been there in a long time. What will we be doing there?"

"Hold on. Someone's at the door."

As she waited for Jaden to return to the phone, Georgie busied herself with drying her bowl and putting it in the cabinet while keeping her cell phone to her ear. Hearing a knock at her own door, she walked over and opened it. There stood a beaming Jaden with her cell phone pressed against her ear. Taking in her outfit, Georgie started to chuckle. The musician was casually dressed in a pair of navy blue baggy cargo shorts that reached her knees and a ¾ sleeve red and white raglan baseball T-shirt. A navy blue skullcap with tiny alternating red and white stars stitched along the brim covered her head and wraparound shades with silver frames and blue tinted lenses covered her eyes.

"You look semi butch," Georgie commented with a smile.

Jaden raised a dark brow. "Semi? What keeps my butch transformation from being complete?"

The blonde snickered as she turned her cell phone off. Jaden did the same. "The stars on your hat detract from it." Her smile grew. "But don't take it off 'cause I think it looks cute on you. Have I mentioned that I love when you wear headgear?"

"You just did." She winked. "Now I'm ready to start our field trip whenever you are Gigi."

"Are we riding your bike to Griffith Park?" Georgie might as well have had 'please say no' blinking in neon letters across her forehead.

Jaden laughed. "Nope, today is your lucky day. We're driving the Hummer."


Georgie lay on the large checkered blanket with her bare feet propped against an oak tree and her hands loosely clasped on her stomach as she gazed toward the cloudless sky. She was sucking on a mint after eating the scrumptious lunch that Jaden had put together. Sitting on their picnic blanket, they dined on thick turkey sandwiches, baked chips (homemade!) and plain yogurt with crumbled granola and diced strawberries for dessert. All very healthy yet at the same time delicious. It was nice to feel full without the guilt. Though Georgie didn't intend to completely give up her junk foods.

As she waited for Jaden to return (she wouldn't mention where she was going) she thought back on their fun and action packed day. Their first stop was the stables where they rented two American quarter horses for a duration of two hours. Unescorted, they chose one of the many bridle trails located in Griffith Park, their amicable horses moving at an unhurried pace since Georgie wasn't used to being in the saddle. Several times during their journey she urged her friend to go faster, but Jaden declined, keeping their horses side by side.

Traversing to another trail, they passed by a chattering group of four people who were dressed as though they had just stepped out of the Wild West. Cowboy hats, vests, gun holsters, chaps and spurs on their just below the knee boots--they looked every bit authentic. The two men tipped their wide brimmed hats to Jaden and Georgie as they trotted by while the women smiled. One of them looked at Jaden with recognition, but she didn't say anything. It wouldn't do to get out of character.

After they returned the horses to the stable, they walked to the zoo where they spent the next couple of hours sightseeing the many animals in the substantial park. Although feeding the animals was no longer permitted, they enjoyed observing and learning interesting facts about them. Such as the gray wolf having powerful muscles in its legs can travel long distances reaching up 120 miles per day while moving at a steady trot.

Somewhere during her reminiscing Georgie closed her eyes drifting into an unplanned catnap. About five minutes into her catnap, she felt something soft graze her cheek and instead of looking she rubbed at her cheek with the back of her hand, figuring that it was just a fly. However, when it immediately occurred again, this time brushing against both cheeks and her forehead she opened her eyes, gasping at the grinning face hovering over her. Instead of flies, loose dark strands were the culprits.

Hers and Jaden's forehead would have collided had the older woman not demonstrated her quick reflexes by moving backward on all fours when Georgie sat up. Turning around, the blonde smirked as Jaden sat on the blanket.

"You should join the police force. Suspects would never realize that you were following them until they felt the cool metal of your handcuffs on their wrists."

Jaden chuckled. "Did I startle you?" She asked, though it didn't sound like an apology would follow.

Georgie reached out and lightly smacked her arm. "What do you think?"

"Oops." Her grin hadn't faltered.

"Uh huh." Georgie's eyes shifted to the large black backpack seated next to Jaden. So she had gone in search of a backpack. Now what was inside the backpack? Before she could ask, Jaden unzipped it and removed two helmets and two pairs of kneepads and elbow pads. Ooh, J-Co. What do you have in store for me?

Obviously a mind reader, Jaden pulled up the edge of the checkered blanket to reveal two skateboards. The deck of one of the skateboards was a sunny yellow with a large black happy face in the middle. Below it printed in bold black was the phrase 'Don't Worry Be Happy'. The matching yellow helmet along with the black kneepads and elbow pads were perfect for the board. The other skateboard had a neon pink background with multicolored female symbols littering it and the words 'Grrls Rule' done in pride colors at the bottom. The corresponding pink helmet (with a rainbow colored female symbol painted on top) and pink kneepads and elbow pads would go with it.

Placing the skateboards in front of her so that Georgie could get a good view, Jaden asked her to choose one. She explained that both skateboards belonged to her, but she was willing to share. Georgie glanced between the brightly colored boards and then pointed at the 'Grrls Rule' one. Smiling, Jaden scooted the skateboard toward her along with its protective gear.

"Put your socks, shoes and those on Gigi," the brunette stated while removing her skullcap and grabbing the yellow helmet to put on. "Skateboarding is sort of like surfing on dry land. Today I want to show you some basic moves on a skateboard that will be useful to you in the water. You're standing and balancing well on your surfboard now and I'm impressed with your riding the soup. This week I want us to paddle out further into the ocean and try catching some real waves." She laughed when both of Georgie's eyebrows quickly shot up. "You're almost ready. So you can practice yours twists and turns on the skateboard. In fact, you can take it home indefinitely and practice on the sidewalk or go to that park that's within walking distance of your apartment."

Georgie nodded as she attached the last kneepad. "Does this mean I get to ride Flipper on Tuesday?"

"No, your riding companion will still be Neon Stretch, but you may take Flipper out of my garage soon."

The agent wore a tiny frown. "I'm beginning to believe that you're holding her hostage."

"Nah, that isn't so." Jaden stood up and stepped on the tail of her board, gripping the nose as it bounced into the air. "If I'm gonna hold a Flipper hostage, it's going to be the great Flipper Birch. But I couldn't ask for ransom because she's priceless." Winking, she indicated for her blushing friend to follow her to the nearby pavement.


Using her key to open the gate leading up to the pool deck, Georgie walked up the short flight of stairs and toward the glass door leading into the house. Since it was about an inch open, she pushed back enough to walk inside, calling out her friend's name as she slid the door closed. Instead of receiving the usual greeting from Jaden, she watched with a smile on her face as Sasha hurried down the stairs and straight for her. The growing puppy asked for a kiss upon arrival so Georgie leaned down, giggling as Sasha left a wet kiss on her cheeks and chin.

"Thank you Sash. Where's your Mommy? She must be home if she left the door open. Plus she always expects me at this time on Sundays."

Sitting on her haunches, the Alaskan malamute quietly studied the adored human for a moment as though she were trying to process the question. After a moment she stood, nudged Georgie's hand with her cold nose and then began to slowly walk toward the stairs leading to the second level. Once she traveled five feet, she stopped and glanced over her shoulder to see if the blonde was following her. Because Georgie hadn't moved, Sasha made a u-turn, nudged her hand with more insistence and then headed in the direction of the stairs again.

"Oh! You want me to follow you girl?" Georgie suddenly felt like she was in an episode of Lassie with Sasha stepping into the role of Lassie as she played the female grownup version of her loving little master Timmy. It then occurred to Georgie that whenever Lassie urgently wanted someone to follow her it meant there was trouble. Trying to stay calm, telling herself that Jaden was probably just in the shower and that's why she couldn't hear her calls, Georgie followed Sasha up the stairs. With each step her heart beat a little faster and by the time they reached the top of the stairs she could hear it pounding.

Stopping just outside of Jaden's bedroom, the puppy looked at Georgie as if to say 'Mommy's in there'. When she observed the motionless musician sprawled across her above king-sized bed with her eyes closed, Georgie could have sworn that her heart ceased to beat. Racing passed Sasha whose dark eyes seemed to be filled with worry; the small blonde jumped onto the bed and proceeded to shake Jaden as she yelled her name.

She only had to do it once. Lethargic blue eyes devoid of their usual sparkle opened, focusing on her--focusing on the tears escaping from her eyes. "Gigi, why are you crying?" Jaden's voice sounded as worn out as she looked. There were dark circles under her eyes, her cheeks were pink and she was perspiring. Georgie didn't have to touch her forehead to know that she had a fever.

Trying to smile, Georgie wiped the tears away. "I'm okay. You feeling a little under the weather?"

"No, I'm fine," Jaden unconvincingly lied. "What time is it?"

"Time for you to receive some tender loving care. Besides the fever what other symptoms do you have?"

The brunette shook her helium filled head as she carefully sat up. "I'm fine." She slowly turned her head to look at her bedside clock. "Let's go surfing."

"Absolutely not. You're sick."

"No, really Georgie I'm fine. I wanna go surfing." Feeling the sensation that alerted her one was about to come, Jaden covered her nose with a hand just as she sneezed. While Georgie blessed her, she attempted to get out of the bed. However, her attempt was thwarted when the blonde lightly poked her in the chest with one finger, causing her to fall back on the bed. She then sneezed again followed by a rattling cough. "Georgie stop," she whined.

"I pushed you on your back with one finger and you think you're in the position to tackle waves? Ordinarily I couldn't do that using both of my hands unless you didn't put up resistance."

Jaden sniffed. "I was gonna let you ride Flipper."

"Nice try since you know I've been wanting to, but Flipper can wait. Your health is more important to me."

Jaden didn't answer. Having closed heavy eyelids she had fallen back to sleep. Making a quick decision, Georgie folded the wrinkled blanket over her before walking to the bedroom door where Sasha still sat. Leaning over, she kissed the top of the puppy's head. "Sash, keep an eye on your Mommy. I'll be back soon." As she headed out, Sasha walked inside the bedroom and jumped onto the bed to lie beside her Mommy. Not allowing herself to take a nap, she watched Jaden sleep.


Dropping off the aromatic bag and a bottle of 7-up in the kitchen, Georgie headed toward Jaden's bedroom with the other. It had taken her 45 minutes to finish her errands and return to the house. When she walked into the bedroom she found Jaden in the same spot she had left her in and beside her lay Sasha keeping vigil. Reminding her of what a good pup she was, Georgie reached into the bag for the squeaky hamburger that she had purchased at the store. Thanking her with a kiss, Sasha accepted the toy and walked out of the room to play with it elsewhere. She didn't want to disturb her Mommy and she realized that she was now in good human hands.

Letting Jaden snooze a bit longer, Georgie carried her bag into the large bathroom and over to the Jacuzzi style tub. Turning on the hot and cold knobs she adjusted the temperature to her liking before pouring two capfuls of therapeutic bath salts into the water and swirling the formula with her hand until it dissolved. She waited until the water filled to a good level before shutting off the spigots, grabbed Jaden's luxuriously thick terrycloth bathrobe, which was hanging from a hook attached to the bathroom door and left the room.

"My poor baby," Georgie quietly said as she passed the sleeping musician. Her face flushed, her mouth hung open so she could breathe easier. Returning empty handed from the laundry a few minutes later, Georgie tapped her friend on the shoulder as she gently called her name. Cracking open one eye, Jaden looked at her and managed to produce a smile. It was weary but at least she tried.

"Hi," the brunette said in a nasally voice.

"Hey," Georgie returned, brushing back Jaden's damp bangs. "How're you feeling sport?"

Jaden decided not to continue lying. It took too much effort. "Kinda like crap."

Georgie knelt on the floor resting her arms on the bed. "When did you start feeling not so good?"

"Yesterday. I woke up and I felt less than 100%, but I tried to shrug it off. However, by that evening I felt lousy."

"And you haven't called anyone, have you? Your doctor? At least your mother?"

"Oh, God no." Jaden faintly grinned. "If I called Mom she'd be over here in a minute and then wouldn't leave for a week! I love her like crazy, but she's one of those traditionally fuss over you until you wanna scream maternal folks. You're not gonna call my Mommy are you?"

Shaking her head, Georgie chuckled. "No, I won't. As long as you do what I say."

Even raising an eyebrow caused her head to hurt, but Jaden managed it. "Is this your dominatrix side coming out Ms. Birch?"

"No, I left my whip at home and I'm no good without it. Plus, I usually leave the domming for my movies." Resting her hand on Jaden's stomach covered with a gray T-shirt, she asked about the last time she had a bath.

Jaden's soft laugh turned into a cough. Although her head swam when doing so, she sat up and covered her mouth with both hands. Standing, Georgie patted her on the back. Jaden took a deep breath once the short coughing spell passed. "Is that your subtle way of telling me that I stink?"

"No sweetie," Georgie assured her, a smile playing on her lips. "I don't smell you at all. But I think a bath would help you to feel a little better and we can wash away that sweat. A bath or shower has always helped me some when I felt under the weather. Feeling clean can give the spirits a boost."

Licking dry lips, Jaden slowly nodded. "I actually would like to take a shower 'cause I feel sticky and the last time I took one was yesterday morning to answer you." Bowing her head, she closed her eyes to rest them for a moment. "Have you seen Sasha?"

"Not too long ago, yes. She was playing on her back with her new hamburger."

Carefully raising her head, Jaden looked up at the blonde. "And you say that I spoil her."

With Georgie's help, she shuffled into the bathroom, announcing in a quiet voice that she had to use the toilet before getting in the whirlpool bath. Nodding, Georgie leaned against the sink and folded her arms, waiting. Instead of pulling her boxers down, Jaden turned toward the other woman curiously.

"Um, G?"


"I realize that I have exhibitionist tendencies, but I'm not ready for you to see me sitting on the toilet. I promise to wash my hands afterwards."

With her cheeks coloring in embarrassment, Georgie made a beeline for the door, asking Jaden to yell out to her when she was in the tub unless she needed assistance getting into it. A few minutes when she dutifully yelled, Georgie peeked her head into the bathroom finding the brunette soaking in the corner tub and stated that she would be there shortly.

Tapping on the door about ten minutes later to alert Jaden that she was entering, Georgie walked in and saw that her patient's eyes were closed as she leaned back against the cushioned edge of her Jacuzzi. At first Georgie thought that the sandman had captured her again, but then she spoke with her eyes yet to open.

"What'd ya say J-Co?" Arriving at the tub, Georgie settled onto the carpeted rug lying in front of it.

"I said the water feels good." Opening her eyes, Jaden looked at Georgie then the misty bubbling water, lightly slapping at the surface. "What did you put in here? I can feel my sinuses clearing already."

"Bath salts especially made for relieving congestion, body aches, chills…all of that yucky stuff. I put the container in the cabinet underneath your sink. For the next couple of days if not longer, I'd like you to use it."

Jaden softly smiled. "I will Gigi."

Georgie smiled back it. "Good." As she pulled her bag over and began rifling through it, she asked if the 13-inch television built into the whirlpool tub received satisfactory reception. Though she had been in Jaden's bathroom before she had never turned on the television. Also, she never had the chance to inspect it before the musician put in her bid for the house, since she purchased and had the tub installed immediately after finishing her concert tour. The other circular Jacuzzi that used to be in this bathroom had been nice, but Georgie had to admit that this one was ten times better. It was the first she had seen up close with a built in television and a CD/stereo system.

"It does. Good clear picture. You want the remote?"

"Nah, not unless you want to turn it on." While Jaden remained still, Georgie pulled a bottle of therapeutic body wash and a package containing a pair of coral peach exfoliating gloves from the bag. Tearing the plastic packaging open, she pulled out the gloves and slipped them on. Flexing her fingers she discovered that they fit perfectly. Watching, Jaden asked what the gloves were for. She could understand if Georgie had chosen to put on latex gloves for protection, but those looked like the kind one might have on if their hands were cold.

Rubbing her gloved hands against Jaden's cheeks caused the older woman to smile. "Jae these are called exfoliating gloves. They're good for removing layers of dead skin and for stimulating circulation. I've never used them before but I saw them at the store and thought I'd try them on you." Grinning, she flipped the top on the body wash and poured a generous amount of gel into her palm.

"Um, are you uh," Jaden audibly swallowed, "going to bathe me?" She was both terrified and intrigued to hear Georgie's response.

"Yes. But I'll leave the private places to you." She rubbed her hands together to distribute the gel. "For now you can just relax J-Co."

Relax? That's a laugh. How am I supposed to relax with your hands all over me? Granted you have gloves on, but they aren't that thick! Despite her anxious thoughts, Jaden didn't resist. Besides hadn't Georgie mentioned that she was supposed to listen to her otherwise she would call her mom Rachel? She didn't want to disappoint the cutest little 'nurse' that she ever had.

Selecting a station on the radio, she settled back and closed her eyes, letting her friend know without words that she could proceed. She heard Georgie moving around and within seconds, petite gloved hands were massaging her shoulders, gently easing the achiness out of them. Jaden honestly tried not to moan but when she felt fingers pressing up and down the nape of her neck she couldn't help it. She was grateful that Georgie didn't comment.

Before long, soapy gloved hands were trailing slow paths along her back, continuing to massage as they scrubbed the body wash along her skin. Not wanting to get her shirt wet, Georgie pulled her gloves off long enough to remove the short-sleeved garment and tossed it across the closed lid of the toilet. Jaden realized that there was only a bra covering her upper body now, but she wasn't about to turn around to take a good look. She ignored the little voice that taunted her with the fact that she would have liked to.

The little voice shut up when Georgie's hands glided toward her lower back underneath the swirling water, pressing on the sore muscles within. Her head falling forward, Jaden didn't suppress the next moan. It hurt, but in that oh so good way.

Returning from commercial break, the radio D.J. repeated his earlier announcement that he would be accepting calls for song dedications during the next hour. While Georgie's hands relocated to the middle of her back, the first caller--a young man--dedicated Lionel Richie's song Do It to Me to his girlfriend. He explained that they had their first huge fight last Thursday and that she hadn't talked to him since, so he hoped to gain her attention and forgiveness via the radio.

Remembering the lyrics to the song right away and opining that they were too sensual for the setting she and Georgie were in, Jaden was about to reach for the remote to change the station when the younger woman gleefully remarked that it was one of her favorite Lionel Richie songs and that it had been too long since she heard it. Quietly sighing, the brunette dropped her arm back into the tub. Despite her current preference for an unromantic song, Jaden began slowly nodding her head to the leisure melody. It was a great song.

Girl you're such a bad thang
Standing there all alone
Lookin' so good to me baby
Can't do no wrong, hey baby

Put your arms around me
Set my world on fire
There ain't never gonna be nobody like you baby
Honey, that's no lie, yeah

Her vision blocked by closed lids, Jaden concentrated on the fingers caressing her arms, tracing a myriad of paths from her shoulder down to her wrists. Although the water was quite warm, Georgie's touch caused goosebumps to stand at attention. Every so often she could feel Georgie's chest brush against the back of her head as she moved behind her. She secretly relished each one. Damn Lionel. I should have turned to a rock station. Hard rock. That's it. It was either Lionel Richie's or her cold's fault. Jaden decided to blame her libido on both.

Hey, hey what I'm sayin' is--
Do it to me one more time
Oh, give you one more chance
This heart of mine
Do it to me one more time, baby
Can't get enough of your love

With a refill of gel in her gloved palm, Georgie chose to half crawl and slide to the other end of the large tub, not knowing that previously closed eyes were watching her behind's every move. Asking permission to do so first, Georgie kicked her sandals off and slipped her feet into the water before she gently pulled her patient's right leg out of the water. Holding the long shapely limb with her left hand, she proceeded to scrub with the right, beginning with Jaden's foot, which she tried her best not to tickle.

The higher her lathered hand traveled the more Jaden found herself on the verge of hyperventilating. Their eyes connected the moment Georgie touched her soft inner thigh below the surface. Neither could visually tell what she was doing, but both felt it. Especially Jaden.

You're puttin' that spell on me
I'll tell you baby
You know you set me free
Oh little girl you know my heart's on fire
I'm sayin' come do it to me baby
It's you I desire

Her breathing hitched, Jaden kept silent as she waited to discover where Georgie's hand would stray next. To her relief Georgie away and switched to her left leg, again starting with her foot. The difference was that she only washed until she reached Jaden's knee because she actually didn't trust herself to go any further. Her heart still raced from touching Jaden's thigh a couple of minutes ago.

Her part of the cleansing complete, Georgie reached out for the floating white pouf and squirted body wash onto it. After squeezing the pouf until the soap turned foamy, Georgie gave it to Jaden.

The brunette faintly smiled. "For my private places?"

Chuckling, Georgie peeled off the gloves. "Yes. Where do you keep your shampoo and conditioner? I didn't buy any because I figured you'd have some."

"My dear, I have plenty. Check the cabinet underneath," sneeze, "the sinks."

"Bless you sweetie." Jaden thanked her as she moved to cabinet. Kneeling on the floor, Georgie pulled the doors open, laughing as she saw the numerous body and hair care products. Jaden could have given any beauty supply business tough competition by opening a store out of her master bathroom. With quick inspection of the products Georgie found such as Herbal Essences, Paul Mitchell and Nivea among others that she had never heard of. Those that she was unfamiliar with were the ones that looked expensive. Some of them even had expensive 'sounding' names.

Glancing toward Jaden who was scrubbing underneath her arms, Georgie asked her which shampoo and conditioner that she would like to use today. "Take your time deciding." She grinned. "You have so many to choose from."

Jaden moved the pouf to her chest so Georgie thought it best to look elsewhere while she washed that particular area. "I get bored if I use one body wash or shampoo too many days in a row. I'll use it for a few days and then it'll start to feel monotonous so I have to switch weekly."

The blonde laughed again. "I see. So you have difficulties with commitment?"

"You my shrink now?" Jaden asked as she laughed. "Let's try Fudge."

Georgie searched the cabinet until she found two slim lavender bottles and pulled them out. One was Fudge Unleaded shampoo and its counterpart Unleaded conditioner. A thoughtful look on her face, Georgie tried to decide what was the best way to wash Jaden's hair. She had intended to wash her hair while she soaked in the tub, but perhaps the dual shower would be the better choice. Jaden's shower stall had built seating so she could relax there while Georgie used either of the two handheld showerheads.

"Jae how would you feel about getting in the shower with me?" She was amused to see the other woman's sudden panic stricken expression.


"So we can wash your hair?" Georgie pointed at the bottles in her hand. "I thought that would be easier than doing it in the tub."

Doing it in the tub? What an interesting choice of words Georgie. Or maybe I'm just reading too much into what you're saying. "Yeah…sure. Give me a few minutes to finish up here."

Jaden was certain that her younger friend had concocted a devious plan to cause her to have a heart attack when she unbuttoned and pulled off her shorts, dropping them on top of her discarded shirt. Though the musician had seen her in full naked glory, the bra and bikini panties had her heart performing somersaults. In fact, the rapidly pumping organ started doing Olympic worthy somersaults when the water spraying from multiple showerheads caused Georgie's undergarments to cling to her skin. During their short time spent in the shower, Jaded kept her eyes shut as much as possible.

Once they were done, Jaden remained seated in the shower until Georgie returned with her robe and a large towel. Bless her heart--she had tossed the bathrobe and towel into the dryer so they felt toasty on Jaden's body. Georgie assisted her in drying off with the towel before she pulled the robe on, instantly enveloped in warmth. Wrapping a towel around her body, the blonde let the heated air in the bathroom dry her while she blow-dried Jaden's hair making sure that not one strand was left damp. She then braided and pulled it up into a simple bun.

Standing, Jaden pulled Georgie into a tender embrace. "Thank you for taking such good care of me."

The agent smiled, kissing her warm cheek. "Thank you for allowing me to." She reached for Jaden's hand, leading her toward the door. "Now I want to get you into bed."

With her head no longer aching, Jaden raised a pain free eyebrow. "Are you doing that on purpose?"

Georgie looked at her blankly. "Doing what?"

"Ah, never mind." She smiled. "Nurse Franklin take me to my bed please." When they returned to her bedroom, Jaden looked toward her bed in surprise. Gone was the germ-infested mess that she had vacated less than an hour ago. Her 'nurse' had changed everything but the bed skirt, which happened to match with the bedding she chose. One corner had been pulled down and next to it on the nightstand rested a fresh box of Kleenex, a glass of 7-up and a packaged digital thermometer. "Aw Georgie, you didn't have to do all this."

"No, but I wanted to. You're clean and I wanted you to have clean sheets. Why don't you put your jammies on while I make a trip to the kitchen?"

Jaden shook her head. "I don't want you getting sick too. You shouldn't walk around here in wet undies and a towel. Lemme see…" She pulled open a couple of drawers, searching for clothes that wouldn't hang off of Georgie's smaller frame. She managed to find a pair of shorts that were a tad too snug for her along with a sports bra and a T-shirt. "The T-shirt will be loose on you, but it'll do for the time being."

Georgie accepted the clothing. "Thank you. I'll change in the bathroom while you put some clothes on."


Jaden was sitting up in the bed watching television when her friend walked in carrying a tray with her lunch on it. Jaden could see the steam rising from the bowl as Georgie neared the bed, carefully setting the tray at the bottom. She hadn't realized that she had an appetite until she observed the contents of the bowl. It was chicken noodle soup filled with onion, carrots and celery. Although she could hardly smell it due to her stuffy nose, Jaden figured that it smelled just great as it looked. Beside the bowl of soup were a saucer of crackers and a cup of applesauce.

The thermometer being waved in front of her face quickly distracted her. "Oh, you don't need to take my temperature Gigi."

There was a small beep as Georgie turned the thermometer on. "I could take it the way your mommy probably used to when you were a baby."

"You wouldn't do that." Jaden didn't sound completely sure of her reply.

"Don't underestimate me J-Co." The brunette opened her mouth wider than what was needed for Georgie to insert the thermometer's tip underneath her tongue. Georgie smiled as she waited for the results. When the thermometer began beeping, she gently pulled it from Jaden's lips and looked at the tiny screen. "101.3." Turning it off, she returned the thermometer to its plastic case. "Let's work on lowering that."

"Yes, let's." Georgie tweaked her nose and she beamed. Despite having a temperature she was feeling better. Georgie might actually be the cure to the common cold that doctors believed didn't exist.


They spent the remainder of the day in bed and Jaden managed to stay awake the entire time although her friend insisted that she could and should take a nap. Tired of being by herself, Sasha joined them after Georgie took her outside for a potty break. She watched as her two most favorite humans in the world played a few games of checkers followed by many hands of poker. Though Georgie learned how to play 7-card stud, if they had been playing for real money she would have been going home with empty pockets.

By the time evening arrived, Jaden's temperature was down and she rested comfortably beside Georgie. They had been watching one of the comedic movies that Kelly purchased for her birthday, but her eyes began to droop about halfway through. No longer able to fight it, Jaden went to sleep leaving Georgie and Sasha (she actually wasn't paying that much attention) to watch alone.

When the credits rolled, Georgie turned the television off and glanced toward the clock. She figured that she better put her clothes on and head home because tomorrow would be a busy day. Quietly slipping from the bed she changed and cleaned up what little clutter there was. She intended to brush her lips against Jaden's forehead and then leave, but when she did so the musician's drowsy eyes fluttered open.


The blonde leaned toward the bed to hear her better. "Yes sweetie?"

"Will you be my girlfriend?"

Georgie had a stunned look on her face while Jaden gazed at her waiting for an answer. That was the last question she ever expected Jaden to ask her. She wondered if she too had fallen asleep and this was only a dream. Just in case it wasn't she replied with an obvious yes. With a little smile on her lips, Georgie's patient went back to sleep. Slowly shaking her head in amazement, Georgie patted Sasha's head as she softly said goodnight to her and then headed out of the bedroom-- unbelievably stunned.


Early Tuesday morning after her finishing her jog, Jaden walked along the shore as she smiled after her vigorous puppy running back and forth on the beach, paws kicking up sand at the speed she was going. If she could speak, Sasha would comment that this was her favorite time of day when she and her Mommy went out to the beach for their morning exercises.

Wiping at her dampened neck with a towel, Jaden sat down on the sand. As she looked out toward the ocean her thoughts began to wander. However, they didn't have the chance to wander very far when Sasha trotted to her with her newest toy hanging out of her mouth. She squeaked it once before dropping it in Jaden's lap and sitting down in front of her expectantly. Chuckling, Jaden picked up the damp hamburger.

"What would Georgie say if she knew that you were playing with your toy outside in the sand? You know that you should only have your Frisbees, beach balls and tennis balls out here." Jaden put the squeaky toy in the pocket of her shorts. "I'll wash it off when we go inside the house and then you may have it back. Where's your Frisbee? I'll throw it for you."

While Sasha excitedly bolted after her pink Frisbee, which was about fifty feet away, Jaden's thoughts centered on Georgie. She hadn't seen her since Sunday but they briefly spoke on the phone yesterday afternoon when the agent called to check on how she was doing. Jaden couldn't put her finger on it, but during the few minutes they spoke she got the impression that Georgie was waiting for her to say something…important maybe? She hadn't figured it out and was still confused by the underlying tension in their phone conversation.

Removing the Frisbee from her puppy's mouth, she flung it through the air and watched as Sasha jogged after it. Something out of the ordinary must have happened on Sunday. Jaden retraced their day. Georgie took outstanding care of her, they ate lunch, played games and then watched television. She had fallen asleep at some point during the movie Bridget Jones's Diary and when she awakened…

Oh, no. Blue eyes opened wide as dark brown ones stared in curiosity. Sasha abandoned her Frisbee as she studied her Mommy's face. What was the problem?

Jaden covered her face, moaning as she shook her head. She hadn't. She couldn't have. There was no way that she had asked Georgie to be her girlfriend. She peeked through her fingers at the Alaskan malamute.

"Sasha, tell me that I didn't ask Georgie to be my girl. That question didn't come from my mouth on Sunday did it?"

The puppy immediately barked as though giving her an answer. Her owner groaned more as she dropped her hands into her lap. "Why did I do that? I know I was having a dream about Georgie where she and I…well, you young lady don't need the details, but I thought that was all apart of the dream. Shit." Jaden sighed. "Ah, sorry. Don't ever use that word."

Sasha cocked her head to the side. If only she knew fluent English she could understand what Mommy was jabbering on about.

"You have any suggestions on how I can take it back?" Snorting, Sasha grabbed the Frisbee with her teeth and sauntered away. "Hey, what is that supposed to mean?"


***The song Cherish (which happens to be the 'theme' song to this growing novel) is performed by Kool & the Gang.

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