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General Disclaimer - This story includes: two women attempting to fall in love and failing miserably at times, bad language, uber characters, Shakespeare, Liza Minelli look-alikes, theatre myths, mentions of the Scottish Play, Jane Austen, characters with similarities to those owned by RenPic/Universal, heady seductions, big blue eyes, abdominal muscles, bad jokes, faulty locks and dirty tricks.
The uber copyright is mine, and Shakespeare is in the public domain, but essentially I'm borrowing archetypes from Xena: Warrior Princess and make no money from writing this story.
Borrowing something from one of my favourite authors, Nicola Griffith... Things expressed by my characters are their opinions, not necessarily mine. To automatically attribute anything written in a story directly back to the author is what Griffith refers to as "denial of the writers imagination." The words might be mine, or they might belong to someone I have seen or heard in my 24 years of life. I probably just made it up. Its fiction.
Dedicated to all the people out there who believe, as I do, in the amateur nature of uber fan fiction.
Suggestions, comments, please mail to email@example.com
Much Ado About Uber
The first of the corks popped, and the bubbly liquid flowed freely down Richards arm. He let out a raucous warning as the spray spurted across the small room, and people darted out of the way, squealing and laughing. He tapped a spoon impatiently against the bottle, drawing the attention of the gathering.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for coming. Im a man of few words..." a series of jeers followed, and Dick was forced to raise his voice over the growing din. "As I was saying, I dont have much to say, but I would just like to say that its difficult to argue with four curtain calls." He beamed. "We have a hit!"
A collective cheer welled up from the guests; cast, crew and their friends and family falling over each other to hug and kiss, the adrenaline of the show still rushing through their veins.
Laurie scooped up a glass from a tray and proceeded to drain the contents, the almost bitter liquid going straight to her head, making her feel deliciously giddy. She accepted enthusiastic hugs from Marie and several of the guys, everyone clapping her on the back and cheering enthusiastically.
Oh God, what a high.
She couldnt stop the grin from spreading over her features. Another glass of champagne minutes later just served to make the grin wider.
"I recommend you get out of that corset before you drink too much, girl." Steve joked, tousling her blonde hair. "Those stays will just keep pushing the bubbles upwards."
"Along with everything else you mean?" She laughed.
"Well, now that you mention it..." He looked down and admired openly, earning a swipe from the back of her hand. He trotted off, his chuckles echoing in Lauries ears. She laughed again, enjoying the camaraderie of the moment.
Across the room a tall, dark presence drew her attention, conversing with a thin, blonde woman holding a small paper notebook and smiling flirtatiously. The strange woman's black leather mini-skirt was riding dangerously high up her long legs.
Waylaying a passing stage hand, she whispered furiously in his ear. "Is that the same woman that Jennifer took home with her that time?"
His eyes were glazed with half drunken lust. "Uh huh. Gorgeous, hey?"
So thats the stuff theatre legends are made of?
"Not my type." She said, in what she hoped was a sardonic voice.
"Lucky for us." He returned, giving her a long teasing grin. She forced herself to smile, feeling a rock settling in her gut. Shoving him away with a playfulness she did not feel, she set down her second empty glass.
The blonde continued fingering the buttons at the top of Jens crisp white shirt. Laurie decided it would be easier to control her feelings with another glass, preferably of something stronger than champagne. She saw that Jen was downing something that looked like scotch.
Ahhh...Richard must have stashed a stocked bar around here somewhere.
She touched the shoulder of the waiter who was milling around, collecting an already mounting pile of empty glasses on a large tray. "Can you get me a vodka and cranberry juice, please?"
The waiter nodded and hurried off, balancing the tray expertly but precariously on one hand, picking up even more glasses with the other and adding them to his haul.
Laurie shook her head, winced, and decided Steve was right about the corset. She headed off through the throng towards the dressing room. A large area had been set aside in the foyer for the opening night after-party. She waded through the crowd, accepting congratulations and hugs left and right until her excitement began to be mixed with the unmistakable panicked feeling of claustrophobia.
Not quite as bad as being trapped in a cold, concrete stairwell, but definitely up there.
She cursed herself, not needing the image of a flirting Jennifer floating in front of her eyes.
No, she wasnt flirting. The blonde was flirting.
She stalked into the dressing room and slammed the door behind her. Unlacing the constrictive dress proved a difficult exercise. As the knots and bows were fumbled in her small fingers, she realised her hands were shaking.
Deep breaths, followed by a long drink of water, settled her down at least enough to rid herself of the outer layer of costume. She stared at herself in the mirror, hardly recognising her own face through the multiple layers of stage make-up. Taking a tissue, she swiped at her face, bit by bit removing the heavy foundation.
The corset flew across the room into a rapidly growing pile of clothes. She knew she should hang them all up to save costume the trouble of re-ironing everything, but she suddenly didnt much care.
Something perversely stubborn inside her made her loathe to apply her regular make-up over her freshly cleaned skin. She pictured the face of the flirtatious blonde with her red, sculpted mouth and high, heavily blushed cheekbones. She traced the lines of her own face.
Not bad. Could do with a little of whatever that blonde has and I don't.
Her green eyes were still bright, her cheeks still flushed with the exertion of the performance. She touched the curve of her chin lightly, her forehead creasing in welled up frustration.
It's all a little bland really.
She heard a light tap at the door.
Shoving away the makeup, she rustled around for her hairbrush. "Come on in."
Marie stuck her head around the door. "Are you sure? I can leave you alone for a bit to come down from it all if you like?"
Laurie smiled, surprising herself that she felt genuinely glad for the interruption. Casting her reflection one last baleful glare, she spun around on the makeup stool.
"No, come in. Please. I was just taking a breather, getting rid of some of this gunk."
"Yeah, heaps of the others are in the other room, chucking all their corsets in the corner, just like yours." She gestured to the garment that had obviously been cast roughly aside.
Laurie grimaced. "God awful thing. Its bloody horrible to wear, like breathing through a thick fog."
Laurie turned back around and began applying the smallest amount of her regular makeup to her cheeks. Marie watched silently, her foot fidgeting.
"Listen..." She started, hesitating.
"Hmmm?" Laurie had picked up an eye shadow, a gorgeous brown that she knew brought out her eyes.
It is a party after all. She chided herself.
"I was wondering if I could talk to you about something?" Marie continued.
Laurie heard the tone in her voice and stopped, turning swiftly around. "Sure, anything. Whats up?"
The agent took a deep breath, obviously not quite sure of her words, picking and choosing with as much tact as she could muster. "I saw you running out of the room just then."
Laurie flushed lightly and turned away. "I was feeling claustrophobic, I had to get out of there."
"Is that all?"
Laurie applied eyeliner shakily, looked at the results, and then wiped it off, re-doing it with more care. "Of course thats all. What else could there be?"
"Who?" Laurie feigned ignorance, not knowing the name but knowing exactly what Marie was getting at.
"The blonde? The one who was practically salivating all over Jennifer. That's her name."
"Why should I care?"
Too quickly. God dammit.
"I dont know. I cant understand it myself." Marie stood up and walked over, placing a hand on Lauries shoulder. "But you do care, dont you?"
"Shes an arrogant, self-centred cow."
"I dont fall for arrogant self-centred cows."
"Oh, like we all get to choose these things?"
"Marie, Im not in love with Jen." She stated flatly, slamming the brush down on the dressing table.
The agent stared, doubt in her eyes. Laurie could feel anger welling up inside her. Imagining the blonde. Imagining Jennifer leaving the party with her.
"If you dont do something about this, cut out this nonsense, shes going to walk out of here tonight with a luscious blonde on her arm that isnt you, and it will be your own fault."
Laurie snorted. "Anyone who leaves with that bimbo deserves what she gets."
Shaking her head, Marie had to try desperately hard not to smile. Intent on getting her lipstick just right, despite her trembling fingers, Laurie missed the almost-smirk that flashed across the dark haired womans face,
"OK. I understand. I'll mind my own business." Marie said, heading for the door. "Ill see you out there?"
"Yep, Ill just be five minutes. I want to get into something cooler. The heat in that room is stifling."
Without another word, the casting agent slipped from the room. She looked up when she emerged into the corridor, into Teds inquiring face.
She smiled broadly. "Oh yeah. Shes gone all right."
"Howd it go?" He smiled.
Marie chuckled softly. "Clockwork."
"Time to check on phase two."
"You know Ted, I would never have guessed you were so devious."
"Hey, Im not doing anything. They already love each other, all we need to do is put the right bugs in their ears, their own stubbornness will do the rest for us."
"What if it doesnt? What if were just making it worse?"
"Well..." Ted paused, as if he hadnt actually considered that possibility. "I guess well know that we tried."
Ted and Marie emerged back out to the party, under the watchful gaze of Jen, whod been worried first about Laurie racing out, then gradually more suspicious as the blonde woman was followed closely by Marie and Ted.
Her perception was heightened by her need to look at anything except the overbearing reporter who was fetching her drink after drink. Her wits were already beginning to feel a bit addled. Fielding line after lascivious line, she was having a hard time coming up with a suitably aloof answer.
"So, how long do you think youll have to stick around here?" Sally whispered, running a long fingernail down the back of Jens neck, sending an involuntary shiver down her left side. She looked up and practically cursed. Laurie had chosen that exact moment to walk back in, her eyes piercing and cold as Jen watched her appraising the situation she thought she saw.
Looking back at her companion, trying to see things through Laurie's eyes, she had to admit that it didnt look good. If she was sitting down the blonde would probably be sitting on her lap, she was standing that close.
"Id like to stay for a while." Jen replied.
Why the hell cant I just tell her to fuck off? Jen shut off her conscience with swig of her drink. The blonde woman nodded in approval.
Across the room Ted was watching every move that Jen made, noting even her obvious discomfort whenever Sally moved in for the kill. He caught Sallys eye as Jen reached over for something to eat. The woman winked at him, and he smiled back.
This woman is a great sport.
And she has great legs.
Ted slapped himself back into reality, and nodded sheepishly to Sally. He could see her reveling in his appraising gaze.
Conceited too. Ugh. What did Jen ever see in her?
But, nevertheless, phase two was almost complete.
Jen isn't performing very well though, he thought, anxiously. He hadnt expected Sally to have to push her so far before Jen told her where to go, loudly and succinctly. But Laurie had seen the blonde moving in for the kill, he knew that. The look on her face had been magnificent, the picture of barely controlled jealousy. All that was left was for Jen to come to her senses.
Come on Jen, dont let me down. Give your libido the back seat, just this once. Or else you dont deserve her.
He glanced over at Marie, who threw him a troubled look from her post. Laurie was sucking down something very large, and very red. He shuddered to think what was in it. He only hoped the plan could be pulled off before the targets fell down comatose.
Then he heard it.
"Just, please, get the hell off me!" A long, slithering touch had snaked down Jen's body, caressing her breast in front of everyone.
Jen threw Sallys hands away from her body with a dark look. She glanced over at Laurie who was involved in an animated conversation with Richard and two of the directors friends. They all turned around to look at her at the sound of her raised voice.
Shed had enough.
Sally backed off, not even the trace of a blush appearing as everyone in the room stared, but at the same time tried not to stare. Jen marveled at her.
She even manages to make a strategic retreat look seductive.
Grabbing her glass and throwing back the amber liquid, Jen straightened her shirt and walked a few paces away. Sally sat down nonchalantly on a nearby vacant stool, and Jen watched her collect three men and two women in a matter of seconds, beckoning them with dark eyes towards her corner of the room.
Tractor beams. Jen had more Voyager flashbacks.
"I hope this wont reflect on our review." She threw back over at the blonde sarcastically, knowing full well Sally was impervious to any assault.
"No, your Beatrice was amazing." A sickly sweet smile flashed over perfect teeth.
"Yeah, she is...was. Look..." She stumbled, never wanting to vacate a room more in her life. "Im just going for some air."
"Suit yourself." Sally waved her off with a flick of one perfectly manicured hand. The first of her new suitors had arrived anyway.
Jen shook her head, turning her back on the display.
She scanned the room, honing in on Teds friendly, supportive face. He beckoned her over, and shoved a tall glass of iced water in her hands lifted from a nearby buffet table.
"You look like you could use this."
"Thanks." She drank deeply of the soothing liquid as the party began to mill again, conversation moving swiftly on after the entertainment had concluded. Lowering the glass, she licked her lips and sighed. "I really do need some air."
"Why don't you head on out the back door? Ill make sure no one follows you."
Jen got his point, and laughed weakly. "No, I dont think shell be coming for me again. That wasnt exactly subtle, was it?"
He shrugged. "Forget about it. Nothing about Sally is subtle either."
"You got that right." She clapped him affectionately on the shoulder before making her escape. Ted watched her leave with a mixture of pride and amusement.
So I do know you well after all, you old war horse!
His eyes roamed back across the room, meeting their target squarely. Sally winked at him again, sipping on her tall, fruity drink and flirting outrageously with the shows producer.
After Jen's exit, Laurie stood alone, staring at the coquettish blonde woman with barely concealed disdain.
Marie leant over and whispered in her ear. "I wonder how anyone can just throw away their dignity like that?"
"She thinks shes regaining her dignity by not reacting." Laurie replied, still intrigued at what she had just witnessed, impressed in spite of herself at Jennifer's restraint.
Catching Sallys eye, she stared the woman down, trying to throw off the nauseating feeling the woman produced in the pit of her stomach.
Or maybe Ive just had too much to drink.
"Laurie, get your wits about you girl, shes coming over." Marie hissed, before beating a path to the nearest bunch of guys who were laughing about some rigging mishap during the first act. Cursing Marie silently for running off, Laurie held her ground, greeting the taller woman with faultless civility.
Aggh, Marie, you can be such a flake sometimes!
Face to face, Laurie realised that she liked the woman even less up close than she had from a distance, if that was possible.
Sally smiled with what could have been mistaken for genuine sincerity. "I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your performance. Youll be getting a rave review from me in the morning."
"Shouldnt you be running off to write it?" Laurie did not even try to keep the acidic sting from her voice.
"Oh, I just gave the basics to my assistant after the show, hes off scribbling madly right now I should hope. Im having a night off from the pressure of the 4 am deadline."
"I see. " She sipped her coke, trying to look thoughtful, yet vaguely disinterested. She knew the look was working by the impressed stare she received in return.
Ive never been so happy to be an actress in my life.
Sally reach over and picked up a small canapé from the refreshment table. She popped the savoury into her mouth, completely aware that the majority of the people at the table were watching the sensual movement of her lips.
Nausea welled up inside Laurie again. She fought it off.
Sally took a deep breath as if to say something, then stopped, staring intently into the deep green of Lauries eyes.
"What?" Laurie snapped, dangerously close to breaking and running for the nearest exit.
"Can I give you some advice Lauren? I can call you Lauren cant I?"
Call me anything you like bitch, you don't scare me. She steeled herself.
"I dont think Im particularly interested in your brand of advice."
Sallys face grew slightly determined, and she took Laurie by the arm, leading her away from the crowd of people who were obviously attempting to eavesdrop on their conversation around the crowded buffet.
"I think youll be interested in what I have to say."
Icy green met translucent brown.
"Go on then. Im listening."
"I adore Jennifer, really I do. Shes a fabulous person and we get along really well."
"So I saw." Laurie retorted dryly. Sally smiled slightly at the comment, but continued on smoothly, as if shed never heard it.
"So it annoys me when I try to be...nice to her, and she spends the entire evening talking about you."
"Bullshit." The comment flew out before she could stop it, and her icy demeanour plummeting a few important notches. With her face suddenly flushed and hot, she drank from her glass and said nothing more.
"Well, in any case, I like a good challenge. So my advice to you is to get started on whatever it is you intend to do to keep her from me, because I promise you, Ive only just begun."
Lauries hackles rose to the saccharine level of Sallys challenge, and her embarrassment disappeared.
"Oh, I find the direct method works best. You know, approaching her as a human being rather than as a piece of carcass you can dig your pathetic claws into."
The look on Sallys face was almost gleeful. "So the pup does have some bite after all! I thought youd left all that in the room when you kicked off your costume."
Laurie sat her glass down on the nearby table, turned, and trained her gaze directly into the eyes of the woman she was beginning to hate.
"I dont have any interest in sinking to your level. If you want Jen, go for it. But I think she already made her intentions clear to you. If youll excuse me, I have more important things to do than continue this conversation."
The door was only ten strides away. At least eight too many. She almost panicked and ran.
After what seemed like an eternity she finally reached it, making a beeline for the outer exit when she was out of sight of the party, her long flowing black dress whipping around her heels as she picked up her pace to a jog, and then an all out run.
I hate confrontations like that. Hate hate HATE!
The rear exit was unlocked. She slammed open the door and rushed out into the freezing night, her shoulders immediately feeling the chill, shocking the first tears from her eyes that already threatened to burst.
Convulsing, she crouched to the ground, feeling dirty and absurdly cleansed, all at once.
I said my piece, and then I ran like a fucking scared rabbit...
It terrified her that she cared at all what the revolting blonde woman thought about her hasty exit.
Startled, she felt long arms wrap around her shoulders, pulling her to her feet. After a brief second of confusion, she recognised the presence with all her being. A voice crooned softly at her. The sound cut her consciousness like a sharpened knife, and she whirled around, gaining the momentum she needed from the sudden movement to step back out of reach.
The face she expected to see stared back at her.
Jen held up her hands, a desperate gesture for peace. "Laurie, what the hell happened?"
Ted watched Laurie stride towards the exit, distress burning from every pore. Panicked, he ran up to Sally, pulling the woman around to face him.
"What the hell did you say to her? You were supposed to just give her a gentle push, not shove her off a cliff!"
"What does it matter? Shes going out there isnt she?"
Ted looked at her amused face and frowned angrily. "I thought you said you were willing to help us, because you cared about Jen."
"Thats right, I care about Jen, and if that simpering little idiot isnt prepared to even deal with her own feelings then what good to Jen is she?" Sally half laughed, half snarled.
"I get the horrible feeling you just enjoyed that. Immensely." Ted mourned. Laurie, I'm so sorry to put you through that.
"It was your game Teddy boy, but the rules were up for negotiation. Whats wrong with a little fun between friends?"
"Im not your friend. And neither is Jen, obviously."
"Oh wake up Ted! Jealousy like that is like fire. You play with it and its going to get out of control. Someone was bound to get hurt, you were just too stupid to see it. There was nothing I could have said differently that would have changed things." She snapped angrily.
"Maybe not, but you didnt have to go out of your way to make it worse."
"You think that was bad? I tell you Ted, youve got a lot to learn about women."
"No, not all women. Just you."
A knowing smile, a small shrug, and Sally was gone. Within seconds shed surrounded herself once again with a group of people, all of whom suddenly looked as fake in his eyes as the woman standing at their centre.
He sighed, throwing a look of helplessness over to a scowling Marie.
Phase three completed.
Not quite according to plan, he sighed wearily, but it's too late now.
"Please, Jen, just leave me alone." Laurie shrank back, shivering uncontrollably.
"I dont think I can do that."
"Youre the last person in the world I want to see right now, so please, just go away!"
Jen felt her heart being wrenched from her chest and spat back at her, but she couldnt move. Her feet stayed glued to the spot she was standing on, arms held out helplessly. "The last person...?"
"I just..." The sentence was cut short by a fresh burst of sobs, wrung so painfully from her that it almost knocked Laurie off her feet. Frustration welled inside and she beat it down, hammering her mind into submission.
Oh God, dont do this to me, not in front of her!
Unable to stop herself, Jen bent down and touched the golden hair that was strewn down Lauries back, desperately wanting to pull the smaller woman into her arms.
The touch was so light Laurie was sure she was imagining it, but she felt Jens presence get closer. Her mind screamed for her to back away, her body longed for the comfort of arms around her.
Tense and unsure, she allowed Jen to gently wrap her in an embrace, still shuddering from the touch.
Jen took a step forward, wrapped the smaller woman in her arms, and waited. Lauries sobs continued to worsen, as she spilled out weeks of anger and irritation into the night and Jen's shoulder, the car park around them echoing with the sound of her wrenched cries.
Not moving, just holding and watching, the tall woman waited her out. Eventually the crying lessened, and then faded away, leaving Laurie looking weak and vulnerable. Suddenly, when the crying had almost stopped, Laurie wrenched her body away sharply from the embrace, backing off until she felt the wall behind her. She slid down and crouched on the pavement near the door shed burst through.
Jen didnt move, just stood and stared, mourning the loss of the small woman from her arms.
"Well, what are you waiting for?" Laurie hissed, hurt still flaming in her breast. "Go back inside and find the blonde bimbo. Take her home and fuck her senseless. Thats your style isnt it?" Laurie rose to her feet with sudden energy, whipping her head around, eyes flaring. "I had to be polite to her in there but I dont have to be polite to you!"
"What? What did she say to you?" Jen winced.
Oh God, I know just what Sally is capable of...
"Thats not important." Laurie threw back, pacing around with small steps, rubbing her bare shoulders which were beginning to really feel the chill in the air.
"Obviously it is, other wise you wouldnt be out here crying about it." Jen retorted, smarting from Laurie's vicious tone.
Laurie took a step forward, then another, and another. Finally she stood in front of Jen, and arms length away, anger still blazing in her face. "Thats just like you. Assume that Im crying over you. Completely egotistical bullshit. Maybe the bimbo does deserve you."
"What is your problem?" Jen lashed out. "Everything that happens to you, to us, is me being up myself, me doing something you dont like, me being a bitch. You havent stopped attacking me long enough to ask what the hell I might be thinking!"
"Thats because you keep shifting the blame for everything on to everyone else!" Laurie retorted, anger flushing her cheeks.
"So Im a bitch because Im honest and I tell other people when theyve screwed up?"
"No, youre a bitch because you dont see how things you say hurt other peoples feelings. You dont care how people feel, as long as you get your job done. You make fun. You tease. You just dont see!" She ran a hand roughly through her long hair, shoving it behind her ears.
Jen struggled to keep her voice from rising. "And you jump to completely irrational conclusions without hearing anyone elses explanation! Sometimes people cant explain things just the way you like...sometimes..." she struggled, cursing herself. Pacing, Jen waved her arms around in the air for effect. "Sometimes you just make people feel like they havent got anything intelligent to say at all."
They stopped, out of breath, each one looking around the car park, wondering if everyone in the production could hear them screaming at each other.
Laurie was the first to speak, her wavering voice coming out quieter than even she expected. "I wonder..."
She halted, looking up at Jen who raised her head in shock at the softness of her voice.
"What?" Jen asked, her voice searching.
Laurie found herself desperately longing to smooth back the tendrils of dark hair that had fallen into Jen's face, escaping from an unruly ponytail. Anger warred with...
What? What am I feeling?
"You wonder what?" Jen insisted.
Laurie took a deep breath, no longer even caring what she was saying, just wanting to reach out and make sense to this woman. "I wonder if well ever stop fighting long enough to see what the hell is really going on here?"
Jens eyes widened in surprise. She lifted her head up fully, trying to keep her own voice steady. "I dont know."
Gingerly, she moved in closer, frightened that Laurie would push her away again.
Laurie saw the gesture and half-smiled, the idea of being in Jens arms again eclipsing all thought.
"Theres still a lot of things..." She explained.
Jen nodded. "I know."
"I mean, youre a woman." Laurie said, a look of helplessness crossing her face.
They both stared, and then Jen laughed. "Well, yes, last time I looked."
Laurie stamped her foot and turned, flailing for once for the right way to describe the way she felt. "I told you, I have always been ready to fall in love with whoever it is that I fall in love with, regardless of who they are. I'm bisexual I think. I've been fighting it, I don't know why. I don't really even know how I feel about anything anymore." She looked up at Jen with weary eyes. "I thought you said you couldnt deal with that?"
To Jen, the answer to that seemed almost ridiculously simple. "Of course I can deal with that. As long as that person is me."
The small woman couldnt help but chuckle. "Oh, all right, that seems fair."
Jen stepped closer. "But seriously...I can understand why you'd be scared of what I said. I don't think I even knew what I was saying. I was nervous, you were just sort of saying the opposite to everything I said..."
Laurie nodded, looking guilty. "I know."
Jen held out a hand, and Laurie took it, liking the feeling of the warmth that flowed into her skin from the touch, however small. "As stupid as it sounds, I kind of mean that though, that as long as it's me you...like...that it doesn't matter to me what you think you are. What you label yourself doesn't matter a bit to me."
"It doesnt sound stupid." Laurie felt the turbulence inside her beginning to dissipate. "It sounds honest."
"That's what I told you. Its what I like to be." Jen answered.
"Sometimes brutally honest. Except with how you're feeling."
The admonishment this time was gentle, and Jen nodded, grimly. "Sometimes. I guess I should really watch that."
"Yeah well, you gave me a lot to think about too."
Laurie took Jens other hand, pulling her close into a hug. They stood, together, for a long time, before Jen pulled away slightly, and looked down at the woman she held in her arms.
"Just for the record..." She scratched a nervous toe around in the dirt. "Ive never slept with Sally."
Lauries eyes shot wide open. "Get out of here! That story is practically legend!"
"Yeah, it was supposed to be. The guys kept hassling me about getting a woman, so I had this friend over at the Herald, Sally, and I asked her if she wouldnt mind doing me a favour. She didnt care. So I got my world record seduction, she got her reputation as being cheap and available strengthened even more, as well as the added bonus and notoriety of being bisexual, and the rest is history."
"Why didnt you ever tell them the truth? What about believing in honesty!" She wagged a finger at Jens nervous face.
"You think any of them would have believed me? And especially after tonight, she was all over me like a bad smell."
"I noticed." Laurie dropped her head, so Jen wouldnt see the hurt that flashed in her eyes again.
Jen pulled her closer, savouring the smell of her golden hair. "I dont suppose youd believe me if I said I have absolutely no idea what was up with that?"
Laurie didnt answer, just snuggled closer into the chest that still felt so alien, yet comforting all at once.
"Hmmm?" Came the muffled reply.
"Look at me."
Slowly, tear stained features appeared, as the smaller woman lifted up her head to look into sincere blue eyes. As soon as her lips came into view Jen bent down and claimed them with her own, a soft full kiss that Laurie thought seemed all too short. As Jen pulled away, she laughed at the blonde womans sighs of protest.
"I didnt want to go overboard with the first kiss." Jen whispered.
"After all we've been through, you're worried about moderation?" Laurie laughed softly, slipping her hand behind Jen's neck to pull her closer and claim her lips again.
They sighed, pulling away to draw in deep breaths of relief.
"So..." Laurie smiled, taking Jen's hand and leading her towards the door. "Do you think we're ready to face that party again?"
"I think maybe." She allowed herself to pulled back inside, the warmer air feeling heavenly on cold skin.
"You know, Marie came in to my dressing room earlier, trying to convince me that I was in love with you." Laurie mumbled into Jen's shoulder as the ambled slowly back down the corridor. "I basically told her she was nuts."
Jen lifted her head, laughing softly. "That's funny, Ted did the same to me the other...wait a minute!"
Laurie looked up into Jen's face. The dark haired woman was staring off down the corridor, her face a mixture of rage and barely constrained laughter.
"What?" She demanded. "What's going on?"
Jen exploded, giggles winning out over her desire to strangle her assistant. "That son of bitch." She shook her head. "They set us up. All night they've both been whispering about something. Ted was the one who put it in my head to come out here."
Laurie's eyes widened in shock. "Marie? Coming into my dressing room...?"
Jen nodded. "She was planting a bug in your ear. Making you think about it."
"I don't believe it." Laurie stated. She thought about all the comments Marie had dropped, fitting the pieces together slowly. "How long do you think they've been working on this?"
"Does it matter?" Jen recovered from her hysterics and turned to face her, taking Laurie's hands into her own. "Saved us figuring it out in our own time I guess." She kissed her gently on the forehead, rocking back and forwards on her heels.
Laurie still stood there, shaking her head in disbelief. "Well, I suppose we should be grateful!"
"Yeah I suppose we should." Jen replied, leaning down to kiss her again, harder this time. She savoured the taste of juice and alcohol that lingered there from something Laurie had drunk.
The smaller woman opened her eyes. "OK, so we'll tell them how grateful we are." She smiled wickedly. "After we kick their butts."
Jen nodded swiftly. "Agreed. First we kill him. Then we hug him."
After another lingering kiss, they turned and walked determinedly back towards the sound of celebration.
Postscript - This ending is dedicated to all the people who wrote and complained to me about the sad ending of my last story. Is this soppy enough for you? It's way too soppy for my liking, but, anything to keep the readership happy <g>.
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