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This might be the last chapter I submit for a while. I have plenty of story for the girls, but other stories are beginning to need attention. I’m hoping I can submit some of these new stories, which will be much shorter than JJ and Ashley, so there will still be some activity. I’m definitely not done with the girls, but I need to let them sit and work on other projects.
A couple hours later they took a break from studying the photos. JJ excused herself to use the bathroom while the other women refreshed beverages. Both of them whirled to face the front door when a key scraped into the lock, the deadbolt slid back and the door opened.
Ashley stopped short in the doorway, one foot in the house, one still on the porch. She definitely wasn’t prepared to see two stunningly beautiful and very tall strangers in JJ’s kitchen. She certainly didn’t know what to make of their interested perusal of herself.
Stepping into the house and quietly shutting the door Ashley spoke calmly despite the confusion brimming inside. “Hello. I’m Ashley.”
The women looked at each other, a message clearly being shared between them. The brunette of the pair spoke in a lightly accented voice. “Of course you are. Not quite the small town bumpkin we expected, but JJ does have standards.”
That hurt, Ashley already struggling with a sudden sense of inadequacy, faced with these women of great physical beauty. She kept her head up though, determined to act like an adult.
She opened her mouth to ask where JJ might be when the redhead clucked her tongue and nudged the brunette. “It’s delightful to have a face to put with the name. I’m Veronica, this mouthy bitch is Margaret.”
Ashley ignored the way her stomach dropped, trusting that JJ would have an explanation for this. She’d only been aware of a skype call to sort out this little spat. “Likewise. I apologize if this comes across as rude, but I was under the impression JJ was going to video chat with you today. What happened?”
Veronica blushed, looking very regal despite the discomfort on her face. “That was the plan. I took advantage of having her address. Flew in last night with high hopes of getting her back. I can see now,” the redhead held up a perfectly manicured hand,”that was wrong. JJ isn’t mine. I had my chances and she’s moved on. Quite happily, I must add.”
Ashley had no idea what to say, appalled and hurt that this woman had intended to steal JJ away. Luckily, JJ picked this moment to emerge from the bathroom and entered the living room.
She instantly spotted Ashley, the immediate joy switching to cautious happiness at the blank expression Ashley had.
“Hey, Ashie. How was work?” JJ came forward to give the blonde her customary kiss. Ashley didn’t push her away, but it was a frosty greeting.
“Work went fine. There’s an opportunity for some extra hours I wanted to talk with you about.” Ashley added, hoping the hint would land.
“Okay. I was about to step out for a smoke anyways.” JJ gestured towards the hall she’d just come from.
“Let me put my stuff down and I’ll join you outside. It was lovely to meet you both, hopefully we can get to know one another a bit before you leave.” Ashley directed this last part to Veronica and Margaret before disappearing down the hall.
Ashley set her backpack and small overnight bag on JJs bed and took a deep breath. She didn’t want to start crying, but dammit, it was period week and her emotions were close to the surface. Scrubbing her hands over her face she took another deep breath. “Calm and collected. Handle this rationally and with some poise.” she reminded herself in a whisper, sliding the back door open.
JJ met her in the middle, stepping outside from the kitchen door. Ashley watched as she lit a cigarette and exhaled the first puff of smoke. “I’m guessing you didn’t get my text, somehow.” JJ began, her tone questioning.
“Nope. Today wasn’t the best day to leave my phone at home, but I did. Probably still plugged in too.” Ashley leaned into the porch railing, facing the backyard. She tapped her thumbs on the rail, unsure what to say, too many snide comments springing to mind.
“Well, I did text you so you’d be aware that things changed without my knowledge. That was the plan anyways.” JJ leaned her butt against the rail, standing close enough they could talk without the smoke blowing towards Ashley.
“I appreciate that. It was a shock to see strange women in your house. I figured I’d come over and you’d have this little mess dealt with and we could spend some time together before we go bowling with the girls.” Ashley looked down at her hands. “What happened? They just showed up?”
“Pretty much. I thought about slamming the door in their faces, but that wouldn’t have helped anything. We talked and actually made some fucking progress. This mess is no longer a mess.” JJ looked directly at Ashley, who looked over, her concern clear. “I promise you this won’t be an ongoing problem. Veronica understands that she fucked casino şirketleri up, and needs to straighten up and
move on.” JJ watched Ashley process this, tears slowly filling her eyes, blurring their clear blue color. Panic bubbled up inside JJ, her gut reaction to crying women.
“Please don’t cry.” JJ chucked her cigarette into the butt can and came forward to hug Ashley, wrapping her arms around the blonde from behind. She rested her chin on Ashley’s shoulder, cheek against the blonde’s ear.
Tears ran down Ashley’s face, fed by the hurt and confusion, the idea she could have lost JJ again, and her own stress over the entire situation. Relief played a part too, that she hadn’t walked in on some sort of nasty secret JJ might have held. All those trivial worries vanished before they had time to really gain traction.
“I’m okay. Relieved, actually.” Ashley whispered, half choking on the tears. “I saw them and for a split second had all these thoughts that there was some secret thing and I was the last to know.”
JJ squeezed her, understanding the reactionary doubt Ashley spoke of. “I can’t keep secrets from you. I’m not sure how I’ll manage to do Christmas without spilling the beans.”
Ashley chuckled, sniffing. “You’ll manage. But seriously, JJ, compared to them I felt like this tiny, naive, underdressed little thing. Like what the hell? You were with her, someone who’s famous for her looks, and you still picked me?” Ashley felt JJ shift, knew JJ was about to leap to her defenses. “I’m not saying I’m ugly, I’m not. If anything, it makes me feel extra, extra special. You could have had her. You could still have her, and you chose me.” She wiped tears from her cheeks and turned to look at JJ. “I’m not trying to imply that you select a partner only by her physical appearance, since it’s clear you don’t. I don’t know if I’m making much sense, but it makes me appreciate what we have all the more.”
JJ kissed Ashley’s cheek. “You’re not your usual articulate self but I get you. I’m definitely in love with you as a person, not for how you look. I’ve done that, chased the prettiest girl in the room, had my fun with stuck up pretty girls. I’m tired of those games, of the drama. I’m ready for
something real, which I feel we have.”
“I’d agree we have a real relationship. Sure, it’s fed by some awesome chemistry at times, but that’s not all we have.” Ashley laid her arms over JJs, already calmer and becoming collected emotionally.
Inside, Margaret and Veronica watched this exchange play out from the small kitchen window. They couldn’t hear anything, but they both saw Ashley’s tears and JJ’s reaction.
Veronica moved away from the window, stunned. “This girl really does mean something to JJ. Any time I cried JJ would leave the room.”
“Is that just because she saw through your fake cry act?” Margaret asked, leaning over the sink to watch.
“Maybe towards the end, but she did it every time, no matter what. Happy tears, angry, sad, she left. Couldn’t stand to see me cry, or just didn’t know how to handle so much emotion on display.” Ronnie took another peek, watched the women talk and the subtle movements of their heads.
They watched as Ashley pulled herself together and visibly calmed down as she and JJ talked. The two women outside continued to chat, their body language calm and comfortable.
“So this little scheme really was fucked up to begin with.” Margaret stated. “JJ is completely different with this girl. I keep expecting her to make a move on her, but nothing happens!”
Ronnie sighed feeling guilty, which was relatively new for her. “Yes it was. I was so sure I could make JJ change her mind. Seeing them together now, I don’t know how I could have ever hoped to succeed. My ego’s been getting the better of me lately.”
Margaret moved away from the window with a disappointed huff. “They’re just talking. How boring.” She shook her hair over a slim shoulder and gave Ronnie a sharp look. “Have you really been exposing Owen to this drama?”
“Not intentionally. He does ask about JJ, they were very close. I had no idea he’d called her, but it does make sense.” Veronica turned away from the window, arms folded across her chest in an
echo of JJs stance earlier that morning. “He often turned to her for answers or for comfort if I’d disciplined him. She’s right, though. He is a good boy with the potential to be just as good a man. I’ve lost focus with that.”
“Well, then you know what you gotta do when you get home. Put your big girl mama panties on and be more attuned.” Margaret opened the fridge and let out an excited coo. “Bitch was holding out on me.” She bent into the fridge and brought out a beer. “You want one? She’s got a full six pack.”
“Yes she does, but no thanks.” Veronica peeked out the window again, a delicate eyebrow rising. A tiny prick of jealousy shot through her at the sight of JJ kissing another woman before her more critical eye realized the picture they made. It was sweetly romantic and casino firmaları showed the
depth of their feelings for one another.
Ashley had turned to face JJ, her arms wrapped loosely around JJs waist. JJ stood in the circle of her arms, hands cupping Ashley’s cheeks as they kissed. Their body language was relaxed, neither one moving to turn the kiss into something more. They were kissing to enjoy the kiss, to enjoy each other. It reminded Veronica of the way her husband used to kiss her. He’d always
been so gentle with her, tender and careful. She missed that, she realized, watching Ashley duck her head so JJ could kiss her forehead.
Veronica turned away again, slightly melancholy about what was missing in her own life. Shaking her head, rich red hair swirling like it did in shampoo commercials, Ronnie began to figure out how to make a socially graceful exit. She didn’t want to cause anymore upset.
JJ held Ashley’s hand when they walked back into the house and returned to the living room, something the blonde was grateful for. It didn’t feel condescending or belittling, like she needed to be led in and presented as the current girlfriend. Instead it felt like a normal gesture, a small and subtle show of affection and partnership.
They exited the hallway to find the brunette lounging in the armchair sipping from a beer.
“Seriously, Margaret? Helping yourself to my beer now? Is nothing sacred?” JJ’s tone was clearly playful, but her words had the tall woman looking contrite.
“You know me, JJ. I can’t stand anything sacred, despite all that time at a Catholic boarding school.” Margaret shrugged and took another sip.
Needing to keep a relaxed atmosphere, Ashley led JJ to the couch and sat, noticing the spread of photos on the coffee table for the first time. JJ stayed upright for a moment, looking back into the kitchen for Veronica. Ashley didn’t notice the redhead joining them, engrossed in the mix of
black and white and color shots. JJ hadn’t been kidding. There was so much skin on display, the top most photo depicting the three women in the room intimately entangled. She didn’t have time to completely identify whose limb was whose before Veronica spoke.
“I believe Margaret and I have taken too much of your time today, JJ. I would like to apologize for overstepping boundaries I didn’t want to see. Ashley, we’re strangers to one another right now, but I hope that will change given time.” the statuesque redhead inclined her head slightly
towards Ashley, who, after a second of mental blankness, nodded.
“I think a blank slate would be best for us all. Start fresh and with a positive attitude. I’m not going to lie, I’m familiar with your work, your fame. I’d love to get to know the real Veronica Blunt.” Ashley stood as she spoke, leaving JJ’s side to offer Veronica a truce handshake.
Surprise showed clearly in ridiculously green eyes when, after a warm handshake, Ashley pulled Veronica down for a hug. “I was raised to hug friends, no matter what issues might be between us.”
“Killing ’em with kindness right there.” Margaret quipped, her long legs dangling over the arm of the chair.
JJ playfully ruffled Margaret’s hair, fluffing the long brown tresses. “Half the time they never see it until she’s back in good graces.”
Margaret slapped JJ’s hands away one handed, the other still clutching the beer bottle. “Not the hair, not the hair! Shit, do you have any idea how long it took to do my hair this morning?”
“Nope. Can’t say I care all that much either.” JJ skipped away as Margaret rose from the chair and scurried down the hall to the bathroom to assess the damage. Ashley and Veronica couldn’t help but giggle at the profanity echoing down the hall as Margaret re-tamed her hair.
“If you’re really gonna head out, then I’ll get my goodbye out of the way.” JJ joined Ronnie and Ashley, giving the redhead a quick hug. “Thank you for talking, and for looking at things from my side. Fresh start, girlie.” JJ patted Veronica’s arm before stepping back to Ashley’s side.
“I’m not sure I’d have been able to metaphorically step into your shoes if we’d done this over a computer. Thank you for tolerating my selfish ambush. Both of you.” Bright green eyes bounced to them both, Ronnie looking extremely contrite.
“It’s already forgiven. Fresh start, new page for all of us. We’ll focus on moving forward.” Ashley gave the supermodel a smile. She knew she’d never forget this incident but holding it against Veronica wouldn’t serve any purpose.
Margaret eventually returned and after another quick round of hugs and farewells JJ finally shut the door behind them.
Sliding the deadbolt home JJ laid her head against the door and exhaled slowly, eyes closed. Ashley gave her a side hug, dropping a kiss on her shoulder.
“Fucking finally. I need another smoke. You okay? Really and truly?” JJ asked, turning her head to see Ashley.
“I think so. It’ll take me a bit to really absorb it all, güvenilir casino but her accepting it’s time to move on helps. I wouldn’t be able to stay sane if she was constantly trying to butt in and steal you away.” Ashley squeezed JJ, shuddering at the thought.
They went outside together and JJ smoked while Ashley sat with her back against the house, far too quiet for JJ’s liking.
“Would you rather skip our plans for tonight and stay in?” JJ asked around a mouthful of smoke.
Ashley looked up and hesitated. “Kind of.” It seemed like she wanted to say more but she clamped her mouth shut and blushed instead.
“What? I can tell you have more to say.” JJ prompted, flicking ash from the filter and dropping it into the butt can.
“I’m really not in the mood for hanging out with the girls, not after today. But if we stay in, well, certain activities will be limited so I don’t really know which to do.” Ashley half explained, that blush still giving her cheeks an adorable pink color while she studied her hands.
The cryptic answer intrigued JJ who sat next to the blushing blonde. “And what activities would be limited? What’s the reason for the limitation?”
Ashley let out a sigh. “I got my period this morning.”
Understanding instantly, JJ wrapped an arm around Ashley. “Great. We can still cuddle on the couch and stuff ourselves stupid with popcorn watching cheesy movies. Or maybe we could walk around the neighborhood and see how many dogs we get to pet. I’ll make you dinner too.”
She pulled her girlfriend in close and kissed blonde curls. “We’ve already established there’s more to our relationship than sex. I’m never gonna get upset because we have to wait a few days, or because you’re not in the mood.”
Ashley leaned into JJ and rested a hand on JJ’s thigh. “Okay.”
Once they were inside JJ sent a text to the girls explaining they needed a rain check. Everyone wished them well and Chloe reminded JJ they had plans for the rest of the week and expected perfect attendance.
Then they did exactly as JJ had suggested and binge watched as many corny and sappy movies as they could. Half way through ‘The Holiday’ JJ made dinner, insisting Ashley remain curled up and half asleep in a cozy pile of blankets while she worked.
“I need to watch you next time. Lasagna has never tasted this good. I call dibs on the secret ingredient.” Ashley spoke through her mouthful of food, plate balanced on her blanket covered knees.
“‘There is no secret ingredient’.” JJ gave Ashley a goofy look from the other end of the couch.
“I don’t care what movie you just quoted. Teach me the ways of the lasagna.” Ashley swallowed and scraped her fork through the sauce and cheese dribbles on her plate.
“There’s some breadsticks and a salad too. I remembered to seed the tomatoes before I put them in. You should try it.” JJ stabbed a chunk of cucumber and some lettuce, holding them up for emphasis.
Ashley shook her head and kicked off the blankets. “I need more saucy pasta deliciousness.”
JJ bit her tongue to keep from turning that comment into a dirty joke. It would have been bad. “I’m glad you’re enjoying it.”
Ashley returned with another heap of pasta, balancing the plate with one hand while she
re-cocooned herself with blankets. “I’m enjoying it too much. We’ll definitely need to take that walk later. This is not a Coach approved portion, but whatever.”
They let their dinner settle before taking a walk through the neighborhood. As they walked Ashley shared some of her memories growing up after JJ had left. JJ listened, asking questions and laughing at the surprising wildness of her girlfriend. She never would have guessed Ashley
had a rebellious streak, much less that it was a mile wide.
The rest of the summer passed far too quickly and before the girls knew it, the school year loomed ahead for Ashley. She was equally eager and disappointed. While she was looking forward to returning, seeing her friends, resuming track, and starting new classes Ashley wasn’t
ready to leave JJ. It felt like she’d just gotten her back, just begun to know the older girl again.
Not to mention the sex. Not having a partner had never really bothered her before, always taking need into her own hands. Now, Ashley wasn’t thrilled to think about all the nights she would be spending sleeping alone in a small twin bed, Lisa just across the way.
With dorms opening up the first week of August and classes starting the following week, Ashley found herself packing the second to last Saturday of July. As she folded clothing and stuffed her second duffel Ashley went over her list of things to do her last week at home. Monday was the
oil change and tire rotation on her car. She had already scheduled an appointment with the garage to come in after her work shift. Tuesday was pretty open, but she had a lunch date with her mother. Wednesday was the last day of work and a dental appointment. Thursday JJ had
asked her to keep open in the evening, but hadn’t shared any further details. Friday Ashley planned to spend cleaning her room one last time and completing any last minute packing. Saturday morning was the drive up to school and getting situated in another new dorm.
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