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Copyright December 4, 1998 - February 14, 1999 by JLPeterson (Ruth2Naomi@aol.com)
HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY, DANA... I love you sweet.
Xena: Warrior Princess, Gabrielle and all other characters who have appeared in the syndicated series Xena: Warrior Princess, together with the names, titles and backstory are the sole copyright property of MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No copyright infringement was intended in the writing of this fan fiction. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author. This story cannot be sold or used for profit in any way. Copies of this story may be made for private use only and must include all disclaimers and copyright notices.
My heartfelt thanks to my beta readers M, N and S.
Incidental Tourist - Part IV
Incidental Tourist, Part Four:
talk turkey Informal.
To speak frankly and get down to the basic facts of a matter.
[After Turkey, from a confusion with the guinea fowl, once believed to have originated in Turkish territory.]
* * *
Jay could hear the conversation perfectly well. She made no moves or sounds as she sat in the backseat of the car. With the accidental murder of their intended hostage their entire scheme had fallen apart. "If the bitch hadn't been there..." She tensed, expecting to be struck again. The failed attempt was deemed all her fault and these men weren't sure what to do with her. They were furious. They were looking to take revenge - somehow. She could only imagine. Just a f--king whore. Ian's words came back to wound her again. She expected that, at least, she would be beaten and raped... Focus. Jay thought of Dee. They were supposed to get together later that morning. What will she think if Im not there? She almost whimpered aloud at the heartache she felt. The local decided that getting back to that beautiful young tourist alive - no matter what it took - was the single most important thing she could do.
The dark-haired woman rested her head against the back of the seat and attempted to inconspicuously scoot her blindfold up a little from her cheek. She was barely able to make out O'Neill's profile with one eye when he turned and caught her peeking.
"Goddamn bitch!" he yelled, reaching over to pull the blindfold down again while she backed herself as far away from him as she could. The loose shirt of Ian's was not completely buttoned up and he reached in to cup her exposed breast.
The result was mayhem, Jay squirmed and kicked and ended up moving the blindfold completely off her head.
"Knock it off back there!" Williams shouted over the grunts and yells behind him.
Before she was backhanded and choked into submission, she managed to get a good look at both her abductors and recognized she was at the Port of Los Angeles in the city of San Pedro. They were taking her to where they had planned to take Ian. Somewhere amongst the rusty seagoing freighters, the giant cranes and cargo containers stacked high as office buildings. Although she was once again blindfolded, she could tell they were maneuvering the car through narrow streets or alleys and then she felt the distinctive clatter of wooden planks beneath the wheels. After several more minutes, they stopped.
... ( http://www.sanpedro.com/ and http://www.portla.com/ ) ...
"She already knows what we look like," ONeill said to his accomplice as he removed the handcuffs only to refasten them on her wrists after a vertical rod of the metal bed-frame had been placed between them.
"I dont want her looking at me," Frank replied. Jay found out that their first names were really Stan and Frank. They hadnt mentioned last names at all, except for the newly dead Mr. McDonnell. They hadnt asked her name, only called her "bitch" or "whore".
Stan left the blindfold in place. Frank put his gun down on a card table top between two folding chairs and well away from the bed Jay was locked to.
He sat in one of the chairs, placing his hands on his knees while he waited for Stan to sit as well. When the shorter man finally sat himself down the chair creaked under his weight. He began to speak but halted when Frank raised his palm gesturing for him to stop.
"Swearing and calling the bitch names won't help," Frank said placing his hand back on his knee.
"It'd damn well make me feel better," the other grumbled as he glared at the blindfolded and gagged woman on the bed.
Jay lay quietly and listened. She wanted to conserve her energy for the right moment. She tried figure out when that moment might be. The handcuffs were linked around an upright bedpost with horizontal bars above and below where she was cuffed. She could feel the edge of the mattress close under her left side.
"Okay," Frank sighed.
"I say we torture her," Stan began, "...screw her and make her suffer... What the f--k are we gonna do now?"
Frank gave his head a small nod, "Let me think... The police will be looking for a man and a woman. Hopefully it won't be long before they find that gun of yours."
Stan looked from Jay to Frank.
"They'll find the whore's fingerprints," Frank continued, "probably be able to identify them and start looking for her soon after that...If we kill her, we'd need to make sure the body's not found-"
"Can't we just dump her in the bay?" Stan suggested, "You know, weighted down so she'll sink to the bottom."
Frank thought about it and then spoke, "Hmmm...maybe...but let's take enough time to think it through before we do anything like that."
Jay briefly wondered just how many hours or days she would have. She tried to devise her escape plan. I need to wait until one of them leaves. If one leaves. Then I need to get the other one to come close enough to me so I can...what? Use my legs on him? Knee or kick the bastard. Damn blindfold. Damn.
She heard one of them stand, footfalls and the click of a guns hammer next to her head.
"If you scream or even speak," Frank pressed the barrel against her covered ear, "I'll hurt you. Understand?"
Jay carefully nodded yes. He eased the hammer back into place, removed the underwear from her mouth and tossed it to the foot of the bed.
"You're wanted for the murder of Ian McDonnell," he whispered where the gun's barrel had been pressed.
Frank placed two fingers at the base of her neck and drew them down between her breasts to where the shirt was buttoned. He slowly unfastened the remaining buttons.
"Stan," he commanded, "hold my gun on her."
* * *
Two hours later, Stan and Frank were sitting again in the folding chairs, with the gun and Jay's clutch bag on the table between them. Frank opened the bag and removed her wallet, quietly inspecting the contents. Stan yawned. Jay lay still bound to the bed but now only dressed in the blindfold and Ian's white shirt.
She imagined that Frank would leave at some point. Frank was the taller and stronger of the two. And he was restless. Stan was heavier, sluggish and less intelligent than his partner. Once alone with Stan she would need to draw him back to her. How can I lure him over without making him suspicious? He'd need to be close enough for a lightning fast and well placed knee, kick or combination. It would have to knock him out long enough for her to get out of the handcuffs and bind him. What if it's Stan who leaves? Jay played the different possibilities out in her imagination, visualizing with her mind's eye the movement of her body. She thought she would likely pull a muscle or two. It's a small price to pay compared to the alternative...
Although Jay didn't know it, it grew dark outside. The two men had assaulted her again but were now conversing as they sat in the chairs. They had nothing meaningful to say inasmuch as it could be helpful to her. She was exhausted and bruised but her body was pumping adrenaline. She had to be ready to jump into action just as soon as her moment arrived. About thirty minutes later, it did.
"Ill leave you with the gun," Frank said, rubbing the back of his neck, "I need to think about what to do. Step out for awhile, get something to eat."
Stan looked up at his partner, "You have a plan?"
"I dont know, maybe," Frank sighed and picked up the keys to the car, "Ill bring you back some food."
Jay heard the metallic door click shut followed by the sound of the cars engine turning over and retreating into the distance. Now its just you and me.
* * *
"C'mon, wake up honey," Denise carefully shook Dee who had fallen asleep on the living room couch.
"Jay?" The sleepy one started to sit up, "I think I'm going to-"
Denise quickly found the empty popcorn bag and held it up to Dee's mouth.
"My god! What did you eat? Drink? Yeeech! It's foul!"
The older cousin ran into the kitchen to avoid any sympathetic vomiting. She waited a minute after Dee seemed to have finished retching and filled a small glass with cold water.
Cautiously approaching the bent form on the couch, Denise ventured, "Are you done?"
The young woman made a tiny nod of yes.
"Here, " Denise said as she handed her cousin the glass, "try to sip on this."
While Dee took slow small swallows of water, her cousin surveyed the litter on the couch and floor. In addition to the otherwise empty popcorn bag, there were several other empty containers that once held potato chips, marinated artichoke hearts, Merlot, beer, Bailey's and sardines. A half-full bottle of Kahlua sat on the coffee table.
The tourist lifted her head with care and faced Denise.
"You look like shit," the older one remarked. Dee's eyes were red and puffy and her cheeks and chin were stained with the tracks of tears and God knows what else.
Dee opened her arms in a plea for a hug.
Denise wrapped her arms around her younger cousin's shoulders and pulled the miserable girl as close to her as she could stand.
"There, there," she comforted the quietly sobbing woman, "Why don't you go brush your teeth. You'll feel better."
They parted and Dee made her way drunkenly to the bathroom. The face in the mirror shocked her. She couldn't ever remember looking that pitiful. The young tourist barely made the few steps from the bathroom to her room. Within seconds of laying down on her couch-bed she was out.
* * *
Jay figured she might have as much as an hour but decided she had to make this work in a half-hour or less.
"Stan?" She could barely speak as her throat was parched and her neck bruised.
He said nothing in return.
"Stan?" She tried again, "do you think I could have a drink of water or whatever you've got?"
He said nothing and remained seated.
Jay was just about to try something else when she heard his chair scrape against the concrete floor. He poured a small amount of water from a bottle into a plastic cup. During the previous hours Jay had estimated the distance from the bed to their chairs by counting footsteps. She figured he would need to be standing alongside the bed near her waist in order for her kick to be successful. With a earnest prayer she closed her eyes behind the blindfold and concentrated on the click of his shoes on the floor.
Apart from the loud crash and the pain in her hamstring muscles she wouldn't have known that she had made the kick. She stilled. There were no sounds except the pounding of her heart. Quickly she worked the blindfold off and looked to Stan. He lay on the floor unconscious with a combination of drool and blood starting to flow from his open mouth. She moved off the bed, hardly noticing the cold concrete under her bare feet.
Mustering her strength and ignoring the pain in her thigh, she dragged the bed closer to Stans body. Jay stretched out her leg and managed to get her right foot into Stans pants pocket. She felt the keys there and breathed a very quick sigh of relief. Closing her eyes she focused on grabbing the keys with her toes. She managed to pull them out of his pocket. She dragged the bed closer until she was able to push the keys with her feet and knees up near her head. Jay twisted to lay her body face down on the floor. She needed just a few more inches to pick up the keys with her teeth.
The handcuffs were already pulled hard against the lower bar. She took a deep breath and stretched her arms. The muscles burned at the strain. She came back up with the keys securely in her mouth. Bringing them up to her left hand she found the correct key and unlocked the cuffs.
Free from the restraints Jay was a blur of motion in the small windowless room. She buttoned her shirt back up, found her underwear and then put Ians slacks back on. Fortunately they were a good fit for her, only a little long. Jay didnt know why she bothered but she allowed a second to see if Stan was still alive. He was. She put her keys, which Frank had left on the table, in her pocket along with Stan's. The tall woman picked up her wallet and then relieved Stan of his. She was about to step outside when she thought to take the gun. Jays heart jumped at the sound of an approaching car. Oh shit! Please, no!
She grabbed the gun and cracked the door open. There was no sign of the car.
Carefully she stepped outside avoiding the circle of light that a single lamp on the side of building cast on the ground. She squinted to make out the oncoming black Ford Crown Victoria that Frank was driving. It pulled up to a stop at the door and in the dim light Jay took a split second to memorize the license plate number. Then she ran. She ran as fast as her body would go. Not once did she look back. She knew it would be only moments before Frank would be out trying to track her down.
Once Jay got her bearings she headed as directly as she could for Ports O' Call Village. She knew the restaurants there would be open and full of people on a Saturday night.
"Miss?" the hostess asked with a look of complete shock, "Can I help you, miss?"
Jay headed for the telephones and called for a cab. Then she found the darkest corner of the restaurants waiting lounge. She saw the hostess whispering to a man in a business suit who then walked over to address her.
"Should we call the police for you?"
"No...no thank you," she replied, the pale blue of her eyes visible in the shadows.
The man freed his eyes from hers and noticed the bruise on her cheekbone as well as the cut on her lower lip. He saw that her hair was disheveled, she wore a mans clothes and her feet were bare.
"My boyfriend and I got into a fight," Jay offered as explanation for her wounds and apparel.
"Can I bring you something to drink, coffee or"
"Water. A glass of water would be great, thanks."
The man went back to the hostess and then disappeared into the bar. When a waitress came into the lounge with a glass of water, the woman wasnt there.
While Frank was inquiring about his purported girlfriend, Jay was slipping into the back seat of her taxi.
* * *
"Quick turn into that lot!" Jay yelled to the cabdriver just as he'd made the turn onto Flores. She had caught a glimpse Frank's black Ford up the street. Damn that man! He must have recalled the address on my drivers license. Damn.
Fortunately the cabby responded without question and swung immediately into the parking lot of a small strip of retail stores.
The taxi pulled back out onto Santa Monica Boulevard heading west. Several blocks down it pulled up to the Ramada Inn.
As Jay approached the hotel's registration desk in her men's clothing and bare feet, she took a moment to count her blessings. I'm alive. I've got my wallet - and Stan's - ha!
The female clerk eyed her suspiciously.
"Hi...I need a room for tonight," Jay stated with nonchalance about her appearance.
The clerk pursed her lips, "Hmmm...I'm sorry but we're full up tonight. Convention."
"Please, I'd settle for just a bed and shower," the strange dark-haired woman gave the hotel registration clerk such an imploring stare that it almost brought tears to both of their eyes.
"Ah, okay," the woman broke dropped her focus down to her computer's display and said, "yes, um, it turns out we do have a single."
* * *
The tall woman stepped into the shower. She closed her eyes to fully experience the flow of hot water down her body, from the crown of her head to the tips of her toes. The soles of her feet were blistered and scratched. The heel of her right foot, where it had impacted with Stans jaw, was bruised. Jay reached touch her cheek and found it sensitive to the pressure.
After thoroughly lathering her hair she moved the suds over her entire body. She did it again and again until the little hotel bottle of shampoo was empty. God how I wish I could wash my soul clean. To be able to rinse my past down the drain with this water. When she felt her body was as clean as she could possibly get it, she stepped out of the shower and dried off.
Jay settled into the bed, deciding that clothes were tomorrow's first priority. She turned on the television, and recalling that it was a Saturday night, switched to KTLA, Channel 5. Dee's favorite TV show was just ending. Jay wished she had gotten Denise's telephone number. She would have called directory assistance by she didn't know the cousin's last name. Just as well. I can't tell her this over the phone.
That thought was interrupted by a voice on TV, "Tonight's leading headline story: Ian McDonnell, the founder and CEO of Quest Information Systems was found murdered in his Bel Air hotel room early this afternoon and there are no suspects in custody at this time." Jay's pulse rate soared and, as she glanced at Ian's clothes on a nearby chair, blood and heat rose to her face.
She turned off the television immediately after the news story. It had not provided her with any additional information on the murder case. It was essentially a tribute to the deceased software mogul who was considered a man of high esteem and integrity.
* * *
The morning's light was unbearable.
Eventually the young tourist got herself and the living room cleaned up. Dee moved as if her head were made of thin glass that could be so easily broken. She couldn't bring herself to say a word, sure the sound would feel like a bell clanging in her skull. She tidied up in silence. Although the shower and clean clothes greatly improved her appearance, the signs of a night spent crying would not wash away so easily. She ate some plain toast, took some aspirin and drank a little coffee. Finally she spoke.
"I have to find Jay," Dee said to her cousin who sat at the kitchen table across from her.
Denise looked up from her Sunday newspaper, "What?"
"Ooh... Can you, um, whisper, maybe?"
"What?" Denise whispered with both eyebrows raised.
"I have to find Jay."
"How on earth do you expect to do that?" The older one asked incredulously and tried to keep her voice from rising.
After a long moment the tourist spoke, "I'll look up her phone number."
"What's her last name?" Denise asked as she quietly got up from the table to fetch the telephone book.
"Smith? You've got to be kidding!" Dee chuckled, "So what's, ah, her real first name?"
"Promise you won't laugh." Dee said somberly.
Just Dee's comment made Denise start to grin. She shook it off. "Promise."
Denise turned on her heel and walked out of the kitchen and into her room. Dee heard her laughter through the wall. Her older cousin returned barely able to keep her giggling under control.
"I'm sorry honey, I know this is a serious matter for you...but 'Jane Smith' - you've gotta give me a break."
Dee dragged the telephone white pages over to her. This is a phone book? It weighs a ton! Carefully she opened up the phone book and eventually found where the "J Smith's" began.
"Oh my God," her eyes bulged, "there must be hundreds of them!"
"And that's if she's even listed," Denise supplied, adding to the young woman's despair.
Dee closed the book and dropped her head to rest on top of it.
She softly asked the picture of walking fingers on the cover "Where are you?"
Lifting her head back up, she addressed her cousin, "Maybe I can ask the bartender guy she knows and the skaters over at the beach? Maybe they know something?"
"Dee, you are really grabbing at straws..."
The younger one put her elbows on the table and her chin in the palms of her hands.
"I'm desperate Denise. Something must have happened. I know she wouldn't just dump me like this. She couldn't - I can't believe she'd do this on purpose."
The older cousin placed a hand on the distraught woman's shoulder, "C'mon Dee, let's take a walk over to the beach."
* * *
Sunday morning Jay donned her too-familiar outfit as if it were carrying some deadly virus. She planned to see if her apartment were accessible now. Although still barefoot and sensitive to the rough pavement, she hurried the mile back to the street where she lived. She had become accustomed to wary looks so she gave the people who stared no regard. Jay looked up the street and was relieved to not see the black Ford. Nonetheless, she figured it best not to assume that the car's absence meant no one was waiting for her.
Jay made her way stealthily up the street on the side opposite her apartment complex. She searched out every nook and cranny amongst the cars and in the yards for anyone hiding there or resembling Frank or Stan. Now opposite her front gate, she pulled her keys from her pocket and dashed across the street. Quickly she unlocked the gate and disappeared inside the building.
"She's back," Stan said to Frank as he spotted her through the binoculars. Frank got out of the car and walked down the street while Stan was to wait for a closer parking space.
Frank worked skillfully to dismantle the knob on the security gate and disengage the lock.
He walked down the corridor to the last door, number 105, Jay's unit. Since she had taken the one gun with her, Frank had picked up another weapon before returning to her home with Stan. He now reached under his coat and drew his gun. Slowly he turned the knob, and, as expected, it was locked. He stood a couple paces from the door and let fly with a powerful and well-placed kick.
The door held. The sound nearly gave Jay a heart attack. Fast as she could she removed the bedroom's sliding glass windowpane and dropped down to the concrete patio ten feet below. With the grace and speed of an alley cat, she cleared the brick walls and fences until reaching the sidewalk on the street one block west of hers. From there Jay ran down the road and into the nearest restaurant, one of Janis Joplin fame called Barneys Beanery. She telephoned for a taxi.
While she waited for the cab to arrive she thanked God that she'd installed a head duty deadbolt. She sent up a second praise when her taxi arrived in only a couple minutes.
Jay headed for the one place she knew shed be safe from Frank and Stan but with that comfort she also knew shed have to tell Dee what had happened. Time to talk turkey.
* * *
The local stepped out of the taxi and onto the sidewalk in front of Denise's home. Uncertain of the reception she would get from Dee, she walked slowly up to the front door. Well, here goes.
Jay thought she shouldn't have been surprised that nobody was home, but she was anyway. She considered leaving a note but didn't have anything to write with. The tall woman started walking to the nearest place where she could buy a pen.
About an hour later Jay returned with pen and paper. Dee and her cousin were still out. The local started the note and crumpled it up. I'll just wait...
The dark-haired woman found she couldn't stay still, especially as tightly wound up as she was today. After sitting and fidgeting on the doorstep for another hour, Jay stood and decided to take another walk. This time in search of a restroom. She headed for her favorite bar.
"Jay!" Bill called out to her just as she was leaving.
"Bill!" Jay replied waving her hand in a "hello-goodbye" motion. She planned to go directly back to Denise's.
"WAIT!" Bill yelled back to her. She stopped and gave him a quizzical look.
The local took a fast walk up to the counter, "What?"
"You know that young woman you where in here with the other day?"
"Yes?" Jay asked with anticipation.
Bill noticed the bruise and cut lip.
"She was in here earlier today with another woman asking after you."
"How long ago?"
"Oh, it must be several hours ago now," he replied while also acknowledging a summons from a customer down the bar.
"What did you tell her?"
"Well... not much Jay," he paused, "hell, I hardly know more than your first name."
"Do me a favor?"
"Sure, " Bill grinned.
"Tell her I'll meet her at Denise's if she comes back," Jay instructed, "and, thanks."
Bill wanted to ask the Mai-Tai drinking skater what her last name was but she practically disappeared on the word "thanks."
Jay strolled down the boardwalk, searching for Dee and Denise but, wherever she inquired, she was at least an hour behind.
* * *
"Its... its amazing," Dee started, "...and depressing."
She and her older cousin ambled back to Denises apartment. The hours spent walking and inquiring were evident by the slowness of their steps and the shadow of sadness on their faces.
The young tourist shook her head in disbelief.
"No one seems to know any more about her than that her first name is Jay, she's good looking... Gorgeous is more like it... she skates like a pro and her favorite drink around here is a Mai Tai. Humph. And yet they ALL know her."
Denise put her arm across Dees back and gave her shoulder a sympathetic squeeze, drawing the younger one a little closer. She kept her eyes downcast to avoid seeing the despair in her cousins eyes. She couldn't think of anything to say that would bring some speck of hope into Dees heart.
"Want to get an early dinner?" Denise thought it might be best to change the subject altogether and she knew food was usually a good distraction when Dee was concerned.
"Please... I cant eat," Dees face paled at the recollection of her last meal, "...not right now anyway."
Denise unlocked the apartment door and her cousin headed directly for the bathroom.
It was approaching 5 oclock and the evening looked to be a long one for them both.
* * *
Despite her impatience to see Dee again, Jay concluded she'd have better luck just going back to the apartment and waiting for them to return rather than attempting to catch up with elusive pair.
She walked back up the sidewalk to the front door step, turned back to face the street and sat down. Jay pulled up her knees, wrapped her arms around them and set her chin on top, to wait.
The voice she heard instantly brought her back up on her feet.
"Do you have anything for an upset stomach?" Dee cracked the bathroom door open and asked her cousin.
Denise and Dee both looked to the door at the sound of the loud knock.
The young woman hurried to the door reaching it at the same time as her cousin.
"Dee?" Jay called out through the closed door.
Immediately recognizing Jay's voice, the young woman opened the door wide.
"Dee?" This time Jay's question sounded more like "Are you okay?"
Dee's face had turned white and her mouth was hanging open.
"Oh God!" the tourist screamed as she grabbed Jay's arm and pulled her into the room.
Dee was on the verge of tears. She released the taller woman's arm and began to bring her hand up to Jay's bruised cheek. The local intercepted it and brought it to her lips, kissing it tenderly as her eyes found their home in the smaller woman's hazel ones.
Denise uncomfortably rocked onto her heels as she watched the scene, "Well, I, ah, guess I, " and she decided something in the kitchen needed attention.
While Jay kissed her lover's hand, Dee ran a finger gently across the split on Jay's lower lip. The shorter woman placed her free hand behind the taller one's neck and pulled her close. In turn Jay moved her right hand to circle Dee's back. She lowered the hand she had held to her mouth and allowed their lips to brush lightly against each other.
Dee drew her lips lovingly across Jay's bruised cheek to her ear.
"Where have you been?" she whispered tenderly.
Jay lightly licked the earlobe she found next to her mouth, "It's a long story."
Dee pulled back enough to take the local's hand in hers and lead her into the guest's room.
As she closed the door behind her the tourist brought the dark-haired woman next to her again, embracing her tightly and resting her head against Jay's chest.
"I was so worried about you."
Jay sprinkled small kisses on the top of the blonde's head, pausing long enough to say "I love you, Dee."
The young woman felt her body relax in Jay's arms. For a few minutes they stood there wrapped in warmth and in silence, relishing the security they found there.
As much as they wanted to get lost in a passionate kiss, Jay's cut lip suggested they wait. Besides there was a whole shitload of history and events the tall woman had explain.
The local guided Dee over to the couch and they sat. Dee searched Jay's face for answers.
"How did those," she gestured to the bruise and cut," happen?"
For a woman who prided herself on confidence, Jay was more nervous than she'd ever been. Her throat was dry and, God I'm trembling...
"Please," Dee encouraged, " I love you, Jay. There's nothing you can say that will change that." The young woman felt the slight quivering as she took both of Jay's hands into hers. She gave them a small gentle squeeze.
"I, ah..," Jay swallowed, "I have something I have to confess to you..."
Dee looked at her. Serious, attentive, open.
"I don't cook."
Dee grimaced and nearly struck the already-injured woman, "Damn you Jay!"
"I'm sorry!," the local pulled back to a safer distance, "I had to do something to break the tension - God, it's so thick in between us I can't even see you!" She shook her head and apologized again as she came closer.
"And it's true. I don't cook."
"Jay you are avoiding the issue. You know it. I know it. So stop it," Dee even surprised herself with how mature she sounded just then.
"I used to be a call girl," the tall woman informed the couch cushion between them, afraid to witness the disgust she imagined she'd see in her lover's eyes.
The young woman was not shocked at this admission. Her brief disagreements with Denise about whether or not Jay was a madam had somehow prepared her for something like this. Something Jay might have been hiding from her.
"How long ago?" the tourist spoke back to the same couch cushion, not ready to force Jay's eyes to hers.
The tall woman took a deep breath and let it out heavily, "Until Friday."
What hit Dee emotionally she didn't know. She collapsed onto Jay's lap crying, sobbing with abandon. She wrapped her arms around Jay's waist and instinctively the local began to stroke the blond locks with one hand, the fingers of her other hand resting on Dee's outer shoulder. She freely let the young woman cry her tears of sorrow, joy, whatever their source, until the shaking and sniffling stopped.
Dee finally raised her head and offered a small smile, "I look a mess, huh?"
"Like I don't?" Jay grinned back and then pulled Dee into her arms.
"Is that what made you quit?" the tourist asked, suspecting that the injuries had something to do with Jay's decision.
"Yes," the local started, "and no."
"After I dropped you off here on Friday," Jay paused, "I didn't feel the same. I don't feel the same Dee. I could hardly bring myself to go to work... I only want to be with you."
Dee nodded with understanding. She was well aware that her lover was having a very hard time expressing her emotions. "I love you Jay."
The words were a soothing balm to Jay. She closed her eyes and attempted to circle the young woman with her heart, "I love you too... Like I've never loved anyone before."
Dee moved to capture Jay's attention. She looked her directly in the eyes and asked, "Why?"
"Why?" Jay didn't expect such a question.
"Why do you love me?"
The local's heart felt like it would burst but no words found their way to her lips.
Finally Jay managed to answer.
"I hope these words don't come out all screwed up. You mean so much to me I want you to know my heart and not have it distorted by my poor attempts to reveal it to you."
"Don't worry Jay, " Dee reassured her, "I'll hear your heart speaking."
The tall woman smiled down at her and continued.
"When I was your age I was a little bit like you. I had a world of possibilities ahead of me. I'd graduated from high school, had been awarded a scholarship and was preparing to start classes at the university in fall. I was on summer vacation -like you now. I would have been better off to go to What Cheer," Jay laughed at that last comment. After a beat she sighed and resumed her tale.
"Anyway, I met this guy and I thought I was in love with him," Jay stopped, suddenly feeling insecure again. You really do love me, dont you? This isn't just an infatuation for you, is it?
Dee gave Jay's hands a sympathetic squeeze.
"He was quite, I mean, a lot, older than I was. I was so impressed with him. He had done so many things in his life."
The tourist found she could say almost the same things about Jay. She was so impressed with her. Where is she leading me with this?
"I'd never made love before and was, really, really, naïve about that. Hard to believe huh?" Jay laughed at herself once again.
The young woman just shook her head at Jay's self-deprecation. C'mon Jay, you can get through this.
"No, not hard to believe at all Jay," Dee reassured her.
"Well, we went out one night, to a 'party' at his friend's place. There was one other couple at this so-called party. We had a few drinks together and then they left..."
Now Jay really struggled to continue. She began to wonder why she started this story in the first place, wishing she could retract it somehow.
"Were you drunk?" Dee sensed she was losing Jay and brought her back with this.
"Tipsy, not really drunk, a little fuzzy though."
"He wanted to make love to me," Jay gulped, "and I told him I didn't have any contraception..."
"Did he force himself on you?"
Jay turned her head away in shame, "No. He said he'd had a vasectomy."
"And he'd left town without a trace by the time I knew I was pregnant."
"Oh Jay!" Dee wrapped herself around the tall woman who still refused to make eye contact.
"I was so gullible, Dee," Jay spoke softly into the light colored hair, "I'd never been lied to before. Little kid lies growing up, yeah, but not like this."
Tears welled up in Jay's eyes and overflowed down her cheeks. She felt the pain again but today she wasn't alone. Oh God Dee you bring such comfort to me.
"My plans for my future, well," she made a crooked grin, "they changed a lot."
Dee continued to hold onto Jay tightly, massaging some of the tense muscles in the tall woman's back.
"I didn't go to the university, forfeited the scholarship, gave the baby up for adoption," any softness left Jay's face, "and I learned to hate."
"Oh Jay," the young woman felt the change in Jay's body and whispered, "I understand."
Do you Dee? I hope you do.
The dark-haired woman shook her head and continued with her story.
"After that I didn't care so much anymore. I started taking contraceptives right away. I trusted no one. I didn't expect anyone to trust me either. I kept my distance from everyone," Jay paused and kissed Dee's head, "until you."
"I tried modeling, but without the proper background I only got offers from...well, I really didn't want to be a porn model or actress. Then I picked up this guy in a hotel bar...he, uh, picked me up really. Paid me a surprising amount of money... Anyway, that's how I got started as a call girl." A f--king whore according to Ian. Oh god, I still have to explain that!
"Jay?" the young woman unwrapped herself from her lover, "I think I can understand why you haven't let anyone close to you, but, " she smiled at the local, "you still haven't told me why you love me."
END of Incidental Tourist Part Four.
CONTINUED in Incidental Tourist Part Five.
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