Written by: TVM (firstname.lastname@example.org) & CJ Ames (email@example.com)
"PICK ME UP, PICK ME UP, I SAID, PICK ME UP BIOTCH" Joanna's ring tone began as she snatched the phone from her pocket.
"Hey dis be Jo who dis be?" Joanna asked as she flipped her phone open and put it to her ear.
"Dis be your girlfriend nut" Jessie giggled as both smiled. "I'm gonna ride the bus this morning, Sarah and Grace don't have to be on campus till noon so I'll see you at school?"
"You know you will JFine" Joanna said.
"OK, I'll meet you at the front door" Jessie said as they hung up. Looking back Joanna saw her landlord Ms. Parker coming towards her with a determined look on her face. "Morning Ms Parker."
"Don't morning me missy, you and your little friend Rose owe me for two months rent" She said, "I'm giving you a last warning."
"But Rose said she paid you" Joanna said in surprise.
"Well as usual she lied right to your face" Ms Parker said. "I don't care who you are, I'll toss your ass out in the street."
"Fine do it, not like I ain't been on the street before" Joanna said. "No one else will help why should you give a fuck."
"Honey, you know me, I'm all mouth and little action" Ms. Parker said, "But I'm serious, I have to have that money."
"I'll try to get it some how" Joanna said, "Times have been tough."
"I know sweety" Ms. Parker said, "When are you gonna dump that trouble maker you live with? She's dragging you down."
"I know and something I always wondered" Joanna said, "How can you go from being bitch to grandmother in 5 seconds?"
"Being married to a cranky old bastard for 45 years" Ms. Parker said as she pointed her finger at Joanna. "Don't ever get married."
"I don't plan on it" Joanna said as she suddenly knew were she could get the money from. "I think I can have your money by tonight."
"Well why don't you come by for dinner about 7" Ms. Parker said, "Mr. Parker likes to look at you anyway. With or without the money, can't have you starving regardless."
"Thank you" Joanna said with a smile.
"Don't even give me those eyes" Ms. Parker said as she walked off talking to herself. Joanna laughed and taking a deep breath she dialed the phone and almost hoped no one would answer. "Shady?"
"Joanna?" Shady asked as she picked up her cell.
"Who is it?" Katie asked from the passenger's seat as Shady mouthed to her who it was.
"Yeh" Joanna said as she tried to figure out how to ask her.
"What's wrong?" Shady asked as she pulled up to a red light. "Need a ride?"
"No, money" Joanna said bluntly.
"How much?" Shady asked without skipping a beat.
"It's a lot"
"How...much?" Shady asked more deliberately.
"About a thousand bucks" Joanna said.
"Ok" Shady said.
"Really? Just like that?" Joanna asked.
"Yeh, and no I don't want it back" Shady said. "I know how hard it is for you to ask."
"Yeh but after all that's happened..." Joanna said as she trailed off.
"I told you once Jo, I got your back..." Shady said as she gunned the engine and then with a smile towards Katie said into the phone, "What did Larry Flynt say in the movie?"
"Oh yeah I remember" Joanna said, "Alert the Georgia media, tell them the cavalry is on it's way."
A half hour later, Shady rolled into the parking amidst a cloud of dust and Katie's death grip on the dashboard. Joanna ran to pay Ms. Parker and then grabbed a ride to school. Katie had an early class as she rushed off and Joanna hopped out at the front door and didn't see Jessie anywhere as she took her usual seat on the bench in front of the building and looked around. Suddenly, out of thin air it appeared to Joanna, she saw a jet black Cadillac pull up right in front and park. Then getting out, Joanna stood as she tried to see the girls face and almost fainted when she realized it was her.
"JOANNA? JOANNA MARIE CHRISTIANSON?" The Voice screamed as Joanna stood. Joanna's jaw literally dropped and her back pack soon followed as she watched this girl come running across the parking lot. "It's really you."
"Brittany?" Joanna asked as Brittany bit her lip and smiled. "Brittany Erin Lang?"
"Hey baby" Brittany said as she stopped in front of her. "You gonna kiss me, hug me or try and hurt me?"
"All of the above" Joanna said as Brittany laughed and gladly welcomed her hug. "God I thought I'd never see you again."
"Yeh there for a while it seemed I'd never make it back here" Brittany said as she touched Joanna's face, "Damn I missed you, I been back a few days but you had moved out of the old building and I couldn't find you."
"Same to you" Joanna said as she felt her heart race. "I got tossed out of my ole place and had to find a new one. So now me and a girl named Rose are sharing a place. Which brings to mind a damn good question, why did you leave without saying goodbye the last time? I heard you got arrested in Nevada or something."
"Noooo" Brittany said, "My parents tracked me down and I had to leave in the middle of the night and you were out cold by then so I ran."
"You broke my heart when you left" Joanna said, "I'm serious, you did and it took me forever to get over you."
"Well I'm back to change all that" Brittany said as she kissed Joanna's lips softly. "MMMMMMMM brings back good memories."
"MMMMMM yeah....oh shit...no it doesn't" Joanna said as she suddenly remembered Jessie. "I have a new girlfriend."
"Yeh Jo and I got in between two of the hottest chicks in Chicago a few nights ago" Brittany said, "Don't mean I'm gonna change my life to try and break them up. Us leopards don't can't change their spots baby."
"Threesome? Are you shitting me?" Joanna asked.
"Hell no, my butt is still sore from the job this Sarah girl did on me" Brittany said. "And her girlfriend, is this fine looking bitch named Grace and oh my god that girl can work a pussy."
"Grace Manning and Sarah Grasser?" Joanna asked and noticed Brittany seemed shocked that she knew them.
"Yeh that's them" Brittany said, "How do you know them? From school?"
"Sarah and me got history and Grace....well that surprises me about her" Joanna said as she shook her head and made Brittany laugh. "Come to think of it, she's also my new girlfriends step-sister."
"Whoa, small fuckin world" Brittany said. "This new girl, she like threesomes?"
"I dunno, we've never slept together" Joanna said, "I'm trying to take it slow."
"Yeh right" Brittany said with a laugh, "She a dog or something?"
"Noooooooooo" Joanna laughed, "She's as hot as any girl I've ever met."
"The fantasies I bet you have about her"
"Shut up" Joanna said as Brittany grinned.
"If she's so hot, then let me share it with you" Brittany said as she slipped her hands across Joanna's stomach and seemed to be pleasantly surprised by the rippling abs she found under her finger tips. "Oh shit, you still got those abs, you know they kill me."
"I am not sharing my girlfriend with you" Joanna said as she backed away. "And stop before she shows up and thinks something is going on."
"You already kissed me, what more can we do in public?" Brittany asked. "Without getting arrested."
"You are bad, you were always bad" Joanna said as she squirmed away from Brittany's grasp again. "One of the reasons I'm glad you left."
"But baby, my bad side always made you moan like you were in pain" Brittany said as Joanna's eyes opened in surprise. "Yeh and you did that a few times too."
"Stop" Joanna said firmly as Brittany gave her a pooched lip look and backed away. "I'm with someone now who's not sex 24/7."
"Like I didn't love you?" Brittany asked. "You know as well as I do that's bull shit."
"Look, ok I come on all sexual but you saw the other side of me" Brittany said, "You know how good to you I was. You never left my bed unsatisfied and if you ever needed anything, you got it. Am I wrong?"
"You're the reason my parents hate me now" Joanna said accusingly. "Me spending all those nights in your bed made my mother crazy and my father hate me."
"Right" Brittany said, "I realize you're angry for me leaving, but don't you even try to lay your worthless parents problems on me and the way I treated you. I was good to you, I didn't cheat on you, I was in love with you. It's not my fault your parents couldn't handle it. And oh god don't even bring up your drunk father, what a piece of perverted shit he was."
"I dunno" Joanna said softly.
"You do remember the night they threw you out?"
"He fuckin tried to rape me" Brittany said as Joanna's face showed her shock. "Ok so I was flirting a little, I was doing it for you. That don't give him the right to force himself on me."
"I had no idea" Joanna said, "You never said anything."
"What was there to say?" Brittany asked, "You were hurting over your mom and dad and I didn't wanna add to it."
"Yeh...well a lot of what you said is true" Joanna said, "I'm sorry for saying it was your fault."
"And I'm sorry for leaving" Brittany said as she looked into Joanna's eyes. "Something about those eyes that kill me. If you asked me to run away with you I swear I would."
"I would have went with you" Joanna said, "When you left?"
"I didn't know that" Brittany said and then more firmly said, "I honestly did not know that."
"I was in such a panic to get out of town that I just left at the first oppurtunity" Brittany said as Joanna got ready to respond when Brittany went on and said in a rush, "Look I gotta run and grab some stuff, so how about meeting for dinner tonight?"
"I'd like that" Joanna said.
"Meet too, say McKinley's down by the bridge?" Brittany asked as she kissed her fingers and pressed them to Joanna's lips and saw to her relieve that Joanna smiled. "I promise, it'll be different this time."
** ** ** Meanwhile @ Sammler-Manning Manor
"Morning mom" Sarah said coming into the kitchen and hugging Lily. "How's Mom?"
"She's fine" Lily said kissing her forehead, "You know you're the person who asks me that the most?"
"Cause I love you" Sarah said as Cori came into the room and stopped by the counter. "What's wrong with her?"
"She's mad at me, cause I made her girlfriend go home last night" Lily said as Sarah moved around the counter and hugged Cori from behind, watching her refuse to smile until Sarah blew a rasberry on her cheek.
"She just wanted to watch the rest of the movie" Cori said. "It's not like we were doing anything."
"Cori Tyler I said 9 and I mean 9" Lily said, "And you knew that when the movie came on."
"Yeh I heard that rule" Sarah said, "Come on Cori you can't stay mad."
"Mornin dad" Cori said cheerfully as Rick stopped to kiss her forehead and then to Sarah's surprise kissed hers too.
"She's still mad about last night" Sarah said to Rick, "Mom made her girlfriend go home, mean ole Mommy."
"Sarah" Lily said giving her a warning look as Sarah laughed.
"Why is it you call her mom and I'm not dad?" Rick asked with a smirk.
"Ok dad" Sarah said as her and Cori giggled. "Oh yeah, that reminds me did Grace tell you?"
"Bout what?" Rick asked as Lily sat two glasses of milk in front of Sarah and Cori.
"The letter my dad sent me or rather the one he left for me" Sarah said as she told the whole story in almost one breath as Rick, Lily and Cori listened intently. "And when Grace gets down here we gotta ask you guys a favor."
"Mornin" Grace said as she came through the entrance to the kitchen and was met by Sarah with a hug.
"Mornin to you too" Sarah said and then kissing Grace softly as Grace gave her a weird look and both looked to see Lily and Rick watchin them. "What? I'm not allowed to kiss the girl I love?"
"What did you say?" Lily asked as Sarah froze.
"I said I love her" Sarah said as Lily smiled.
"I've never heard you say it aloud before" Lily commented as Sarah looked back at Grace.
"It's true" Sarah said as she smiled at Grace.
"Yep" Grace said as she looked at her Mom and then Rick and wrapped her arms around Sarah's waist from behind. "She sure does."
"And you?" Rick asked pointedly.
"Oh god, yesss" Grace said and not believing she'd forgot to mention that part as Sarah laughed. "She's everything to me. She's my blue eyes. I'm in love."
"What's wrong honey?" Rick asked as all attention turned to Lily and realized she was crying.
"My babies in love" Lily said as Sarah and Grace tried to hide their giggles as Sarah said into Grace's ear, "Mood swing."
"Anyway, mother" Grace said trying to get Lily's attention, "I think we found Sarah's father."
"She mentioned that" Rick said.
"So we need to go to florida to find him" Sarah said.
"We?" Lily asked.
"Yes Mom, we" Grace said, "Meaning me and Sarah."
"Why do you have to go with her?" Rick asked.
"Because she's my rock" Sarah said as Grace hugged her tighter. "I won't go without her."
"I need to do this Mom" Grace said as she rested her chin on Sarah's shoulder, "She needs me to be there."
"You can make the hotel reservations and call us every fifteen minutes" Sarah said as she smiled at Lily, "I need her by my side for this."
"Then go" Rick said as he took the cup of coffee Lily handed to him.
"Rick Sammler" Lily said in a protesting voice.
"Lily, it's obvious this is very important to not only Sarah but to Grace too" Rick reasoned, "Why not give them our blessing and make the arrangements ourselves and set down the ground rules."
"That sounds fair" Sarah said as she looked at Grace, "Right?"
"Yeh" Grace replied as Sarah grinned. "And we think we know where he lives, we looked him up on the internet."
"What did he say when you called?" Rick asked as he sipped on his coffee.
"I didn't" Sarah said as she took a deep breath. "I don't know what to say, so I'm just gonna go and see what happens."
"I don't like that one bit" Lily said. "What if he turns out to be a loser?"
"Lily" Rick said as he gave her a look.
"Well I'm sorry, it worries me" Lily responded. "They could be walking into something."
"Mom, no it's not" Sarah said as Grace thought how natural it had became to hear Sarah call Lily Mom by now. "We looked up the address on the net and he lives on Marco Island in a place called Naples, it's supposed to be these like 5 and 10 million dollar homes. So I'm guessing he's got money or at least lives with someone who does."
"I really have a good feeling about this" Grace said as she kissed Sarah's neck softly. "Don't you?"
"Yeh I do" Sarah said.
"Speaking of, what's his name?" Rick asked as he opened the paper and pulled out the comics and offering them to Cori, who had been silently listening to the whole conversation.
"Jeffrey K. Santzler" Grace said as Rick's eyes opened as if he had just thought of something. Cori saw it too as she took the comics and sat down beside him.
"Jeff Santzler?" Rick asked.
"Jeffrey K. Santzler, but yeh I guess his friends call him that" Sarah said as Rick jumped up and said as he left the room, "Wait right here girls, don't go nowhere."
"HAAAAA Marmaduke got into the refrigerator again" Cori laughed as all attention turned to her and she looked confused as to what the attention was for. Pointing to the paper as she said, "What? He did. Look."
"She's not getting better she's getting goofier" Sarah said as Cori gave her a dirty look and said, "Bite me Marsha."
"What?" Sarah asked as her and Grace started to laugh. "Poor Cori don't even know my name now."
"I do too" Cori said as she blushed when she noticed Sarah's teasing smile. "You're still Marsha."
"Here it is" Rick said as he came back into the room and turned attention back to him as he handed Sarah a CD and said, "That could be your father."
"Jeff Santzler, Piano by Moonlight" Sarah read from the cd cover that featured a handsome guy with long black hair in a ponytail. Sitting at a piano as he looked back with a smile.
"Didn't your Dad say in the letter that Jeffrey was a piano player?" Grace said as Sarah thought back and started jumping around in excitement. Then showing Grace the CD and saying proudly, "My Dad's famous."
"How can you be sure?" Lily asked.
"How many Jeffrey Santzler's can they be?" Sarah asked as she hugged Lily and said, "We looked it up, and there's only one from what we could find. Stop worrying about me so much. This is gonna be good...Mommy."
"Here's to Sarah finding her real father" Rick said raising his cup of coffee, "Then maybe we can get rid of her."
"I'm gonna kill you" Sarah said as she ran towards Rick and Grace joined in on the attack as Rick laughed.
** ** ** Meanwhile @ Upton Sinclaire, in the Auditorium
"What happened to you this morning?" Joanna asked as she fell in step with Jessie as both came out of different classes after the last period of the day. "I was gonna meet you by the door and you never showed."
"I'm sorry, the stupid bus was like a half hour late and by the time I got here you were gone" Jessie said.
"It's ok, not your fault" Joanna said, "You know who I ran into this morning?"
"No who?" Jessie asked as everyone began to file into the auditorium.
"Brittany Lang, one of my old friends" Joanna said as Jessie took her hand and smiled.
"One who I've never heard of" Jessie said and trying to look jealous as Joanna laughed.
"Yeh you remember a while back when we saw her at Sarah's building on Mulberry Road?" Joanna said, "The day we saw your mom and August at Dr. Rosenfeld's office."
"Oh yeah" Jessie said, "You said she was a trouble maker, right?"
"Yeh she is at that" Joanna said as it suddenly came to her about Brittany's story of how she did Sarah and Grace, "OH shit and you won't believe what she was doing at Grace and Sarah's that day."
"She was at Sarah's?" Jessie asked as they joined the crowd and filed into the auditorium.
"Yeh" Joanna said with a knowing smile as Jessie pulled her aside into a corner.
"What was she doing there?"
"A threesome" Joanna said into Jessie's ear.
"With Grace Manning?" Jessie asked. "And Sarah? Sarah Grasser?"
"That's what she told me this morning" Joanna said.
"Yeh I think someone is pulling your chain" Jessie said, "I can't see Sarah and Grace doing that after Sarah's history with threesomes."
"Students, students, please" The Voice from the stage said as Joanna and Jessie settled into their seats but watched virtually everyone else go on about their own business without as much as a passing glance to the voice of a man now center stage. "KNOCK IT OFF."
"That's what you call an attention getter" He said as everyone looked to the stage. "Now set down and SHUT UP!"
"Looks like we got another Trachtenbooger" Joanna said as her and Jessie began to giggle.
"I'd like to introduce myself personally, my name is Larry K. Bird" The Man said, "As of this morning I am the new Principal of Upton Sinclaire High School."
"BIG BIRD!" One of the football players hollered from the upper deck as the crowd erupted in laughter.
"Yes, yes very cute, but not original" Principal Bird said with an amused look on his face. "How about, Larry Legend or French Lick Larry? Or ask me about how the Pacers are doing?"
"THEY SUCK!" The Voice said from the upper deck.
"Fair enough" He said, "Now I love a good heckler as much as anyone but we really must get on with this, so please settle down."
"Ok now" He said as the crowd settled down. "Your former Principal was dismissed for actions unbecoming of a high school administrator."
"BYE, BYE, BOOGER" The Voice screamed as the crowd erupted again in laughter.
"I can see that most of you are glad to have this man removed" Princpal Bird commented, bringing the crowds attention back to him. "I can assure my tenure as your Principal will be vastly different than his. I make you this promise from this day forward, I will work my hardest and so will my staff to make your time on these grounds the most rewarding we can."
"WE WANT OUR BOGGER BACK" The Voice screamed, "AT LEAST HE WAS A GOOF."
"Ok so you want me to be more entertaining huh?" He asked with a smile as he pulled up a stool and sat down in front of the microphone. "Here's one, A dog walks into a bar, looking mad as all get up and tells the bartender. I'm looking for the guy who shot my paw."
"BOOOOOOOO" Came the unified resposnse to his less than stellar opening joke.
"OK, OK, that was just an ice breaker" Principal Bird said, "Try this one, what's green and brown, has four legs, weighs 800 pounds and if it falls out of a tree and lands on you, it'll kill you?"
"BOOGER'S WIFE" The Voice said as Principal Bird laughed along with the crowd. "BABY GOT BACK!"
"Nooooo" Principal Bird said after composing himself and said, "A piano."
"Huh?" Everyone seemed to say at the same time as he repeated the joke and slowly many of the students started to laugh at the joke.
"OK, OK, I really must get on with this" Principal Bird said, "We'll be here all day if you get me telling jokes. So I wanna open the floor for questions but serious ones only please."
Jessie felt her hand shoot up immedaitely as did a few others and Principal Bird picked the one closest to him, a girl asking about the food in the cafeteria. The next question came from a young boy in front of Jessie asking if the 'Gay Straight Alliance' would be recieving faculty support. To which Principal Bird commited to as he pointed to Jessie and she stood.
"First, since no one else has said so I will, welcome to Upton Sinclaire" Jessie said as Principal Bird seemed to be touched by her welcoming words. "My question is....well with the last Principal, my girl...ummm, my girlfriend was expelled for no other reason than she was gay. Is this gonna be your policy and on the same subject, what is the school's policy on in school violence?"
"Thank you very much for the kinds words" Principal Bird said, "And Ms. Sammler is it?"
"Yes" Jessie said as he took the microphone and walked off the stage and came up the steps towards Jessie's seat and stopped by her and Joanna's row and sat down on the steps. "This young lady just took a big risk by asking this question, and I want to thank for you having the courage to stand up for yourself and the rest of the students of this school who consider themselves gay. It's very important to me that my students feel comfortable in expressing their emotions honestly. Now to answer your question, I can assure you that sexual discrimination will never be considered as a motive for disciplinary action."
"Well thank you" He said as most of the crowd applauded. "Now as for the violence policy. The school board agrees with me that we should take a case by case approach with this issue. Now this may change, so I cannot promise you anything further on this matter."
"Thanks" Jessie said as Principal Bird smiled and ran back down the steps.
"I like him already" Joanna said into Jessie's ear.
"Me too" Jessie said as she smiled at her girlfriend and saw Joanna nervously check her watch. "What's wrong?"
"Hey is it ok if I bounce a little early?" Joanna commented.
"Hold on I'll go with you" Jessie said as she started to grab her back pack and felt Joanna take her hand and say, "Nah, I gotta catch the bus and do some stuff down home tonight. Rose is being a bitch and it's just a lot of stuff. So ok if I see you tommorrow?"
"Sure if that's what you want" Jessie said as Joanna grabbed her book bag and slipped out of the auditoruim undetected. Stopping in the hallway and leaning against the wall, she felt supreme confusion come over her. The past weekends events with Stephanie, Jessie and the pictures flowed into her mind and she felt a huge twinge of jealousy still at what she thought was a violation of her trust. Although she'd never tell Jessie that. She had tried as hard as she could to get it out of her mind, but to this point it just wasn't happening. Shaking her head and trying to erase the thoughts she squated down and leaned back as she closed her eyes and then let her mind wonder to this morning and Brittany. She suddenly felt those old feelings coming back as hard as she fought against them. She didn't wanna meet Brittany for dinner tonight, but she didn't wanna break a promise to her either. Hearing foot steps and thinking, almost hoping it was Jessie, she looked up and saw Joey. Smiling, as always, she asked, "What's got you so upset? Need to talk?"
"Nothing" Joanna said, "It's just life, you know me Joey, I'm not very stable."
"Duh, I can see, you're dating Jessie" Joey said as Joanna laughed and shook her head.
"Yeh I'm pretty lucky I guess" Joanna said in a less than convincing voice Joey thought. Picking her backpack up, Joanna said in a rush, before heading off down the hall. "I gotta meet someone. See ya Jo."
"Tell Jessie I said hi" Joey said in a giggle as Joanna spun around and flipped her off. The crowd now beginning to file out of the auditorium.
"Hey Jessie" Joey said a moment later. "You just missed Joanna she seemed upset."
"Really?" Jessie asked.
"Yeh said she had to meet someone and I naturally assumed it was you" Joey said and then with a teasing grin asked, "You can tell me, she's got a secret lover ain't she?"
"I hope so" Jessie said as her and Joey laughed. "You interested?"
"I have someone in my life" Joey said pointedly. "So as much as the invite is nice, I'll pass."
"You know what, me too" Jessie said with a smile.
** ** ** Meanwhile, a few hours later @ Book Lovers
"Is Judy in" A Voice said from the door as Henry looked up.
"She'll be right back, can I help you?" Henry asked.
"My names August Dimitri, and I really need to talk to Judy it's about a business matter" August said.
"Oh that's no problem" Henry said, "As of this morning I'm her new business partner. Her former partner and her had a falling out."
"Really?" August asked and seemingly in shock.
"I sure am"
"Well that will make things a lot easier, I'm assuming Jake Manning is the now ex-partner?"
"Yeh the bastard is gone for good" Judy said as she came in from the back. "Good to see you again August."
"Same to you" He said, "And I have news that may make your day, my new novel is going to press this week. If everything goes smoothly with the editing."
"Oh my god, I had no idea you were even finished" Judy said as she hugged him.
"Well it wouldn't have been if not for Karen's daughter, Jessie, she brought her girlfriend with her the past two weekends and the girl is a fountain of great ideas" August said as Henry seemed stunned as he asked, "You're dating Karen Davies?"
"Yeh, that's her name..."
"So you're the one she dumped me for?" Henry asked rather coldly.
"I had no idea Karen had another boyfriend until Jessie informed me" August said apologetically. "I would never intentionally try to destroy a relationship for my own gain I assure you."
"Ok, calm down" Judy said standing between August and Henry. "The first one of you to start acting like Jake Manning is gonna get my boot in their..."
"It's ok Judy" Henry said softly as he put his hands on her shoulders and they smiled at each other. "Karen made her choices and she has to live her life, right or wrong, I can't live it for her. If this is what she wants, I'll wish you two good luck."
"Well thank you" August said as he shook Henry's hand. "I hope we can all be civil to one another during this process."
"What process is that?" Henry asked.
"Well that's why I'm here to explain" August said as he looked at Judy, "You were so good to me with my first novel, I want to give you the oppurtunity to have the first signing of my new book."
"What ya say...partner?" Judy asked Henry as both smiled and nodded yes and Judy said to August. "You have no idea how bad we need this."
"So times are tough?" August asked.
"Yeh you could say that" Judy said, "Henry is my savior with his ideas and more importantly his money. That's all that's keeping us afloat right now. Jake and his antics pretty much ruined our client base and it's hard to even get people to come back in now."
"You looking for another investor?" August asked.
"Not really" Henry said, "Judy and I argue enough over the things we're trying to do. Add another opinion and we'd burn the building down."
"How about a silent partner?" August asked, "Meaning me, I have some extra money with the last novel and the advance on this one upcoming."
"Silent meaning?" Henry asked.
"Meaning you and Judy run the store without any interference from me" August said, "I really do wanna help."
"We could use the money" Judy said softly as she hugged Henry. "What do you think?"
"It's the best offer we've had" Henry said as he spotted Katie entering the shop with Shady behind her. "But it still maybe too little to late, the man who owns the building is acting like he doesn't wanna renew our lease for next year."
"Mr. Dimitri?" Katie asked as she came through the door with Shady behind her.
"Katie Singer?" August asked as she hugged him. "Good to see you, well you've certainly blossomed into a beautiful young lady."
"Hey Mr. D" Shady said from behind Katie.
"Shady McCree" August said with a smile. "This is the most frustrating student I've ever had, so much potential."
"Still is" Katie said playfully as she looked at Shady and both laughed.
"It's me, it's me, it's Joey...Larue" Joey said from the door as Katie laughed and said, "That doesn't even make sense."
"Most of her jokes don't" Judy said as Joey pretended to be hurt. "But she's a life saver anyway."
"That I am" Joey said as she noticed Shady, "What are you doing here?"
"Hanging with Katie and she wanted to say hi to some of her friends why?" Shady said and going on before Joey could answer and asked, "Can I talk to you? Outside?"
"Hey" Katie said as she wrapped Shady's arms around her and said, "She's mine now, you can't have her back."
"She wishes she could get with this" Joey said as she smacked her butt.
"You see what I have to put up with?" Shady asked as she took Katie's hand and pulled her along as Joey followed them outside.
"Ok what?" Joey asked as they walked down the street a few feet.
"Did I hear Henry say something about the owner of this building being a prick or something about the lease?"
"Yeh" Joey said in confusion, "He came into the store and jumped on Judy and me about the rent being late and said he's not gonna renew the lease or whatever it's called. He's trying to make her move."
"That's what I thought" Shady said as she flipped open her phone and dialed it and then saying as the other person picked up, "Joey?"
"What?" Joey asked in confusion as Shady motioned for her to be quiet.
"Can you do me a favor?" Shady asked into the phone, "Of course, handsome."
"Who's she talking too?" Joey asked Katie.
"Batman" Katie said with a giggle that served to only confuse Joey even more.
"See my friend works for this place downtown called Book Lovers..." Shady said before listening for a second and then going on, "...yeh, that's the place...yeh, it's about the lease."
"I wonder if she'd let me talk to Robin?" Joey asked a moment later as her and Katie began laughing. "He's cute."
"True" Katie said.
"Well thing is he made her cry..." Shady said as Joey and Katie stopped laughing long enough to resume their eaves dropping. "...yeh, will you? Thank you Joey, you my hero. Bye."
"You know I'm just about tired of you flirting with Batman" Katie said as Shady looked confused and realized she was referring to the Joey on the phone. "And you hung up before Joey could talk to Robin."
"Shut up" Joey said giggling.
"I told you already, you are the only one I have eyes for" Shady said as she kissed Katie softly. Making Joey's eyes widen as she turned away. Not sure how to feel about it at the moment.
"Better be" Katie said as both noticed Joey had turned away.
"I'm sorry Jo..." Shady started as Joey turned back and said, "No, no, we're through, you and her are fine. I'm ok. Just took me by surprise."
"Yeh me too" Katie said as she leaned into Shady. "I'm hoping we can all still be friends."
"Of course" Joey said as if it were a silly question. "I'm happy for you Shady."
"Thank you" Shady said as she touched Joey's hand. "I just took care of your friends problem by the way."
"The lease?" Joey asked, again feeling confused.
"Yep" Shady said with a proud smile.
"How can you know that?" Joey asked.
"Trust me" Shady said as she kissed Katie's cheek and Joey shrugged her shoulders and led the group back inside.
** ** ** Meanwhile @ Sammler-Manning Manor, in jessie's bedroom
"Hey it's Jessie, I'm out being important" The Answering Machine played as it clicked on, "So leave a name and number, I'll holla back."
"Hey, Jess, just wanted to hear your voice" Stephanie said from the other end of the line. "Ok, I know that was lame. Anyway if you got a minute call me when you get in, k? Bye."
To be Continued....