Written by: TVM (firstname.lastname@example.org) & CJ Ames (email@example.com)
** ** ** Meanwhile @ The Palace
"Morning Kevbo" Shady said as Kevin walked into the kitchen. Prompting her to get up as she held her fists up and her and Kevin pretended to slug it out.
"Ok, ok, you win, I heard how you fucked up that guy this weekend" Kevin said as he held his hands up. "Katie said you were begging him to hit you back."
"I don't really remember a lot of it, I just lost it when he hit Sarah" Shady said with a smile. "I used my goldberg spear on him too."
"Fear the spear" Kevin said in a menacing voice as both laughed.
"Hell yeh" Shady said as she flexed the mucles in her arm.
"Shady, girl you got some guns" Kevin said as Shady blushed.
"Not to big are they?" Shady asked as she looked.
"No they're not, it actually looks good on you" Kevin said as he poured himself a cup of coffee.
"Flattery like that only works if it comes from Katie" Shady said as she grinned at him.
"So I don't have a chance?"
"Nope, sorry" Shady said with a smug smile as she took her seat back at the counter. "I am one of those girls who likes being gay, I don't even have much interest in guys."
"That's interesting" Kevin said as he sat down opposite her at the counter. "Like none?"
"Never have really" Shady said. "I like girls, it's always been that way."
"I think Katie feels the same" Kevin said, "Don't get me wrong I'm glad she's happy and with you but I still wish she could have the oppurtunity to be a mom."
"Who says she can't?"
"Your heart does, Shady she loves you" Kevin said as Shady smiled.
"Yeh I know, me too" Shady said, "But that don't mean she can't have a baby, if she wants one. I'm totally open to that."
"Well good to hear, you could also adopt" Kevin said.
"See, it's not all bad" Shady said teasingly.
"I never said it was" Kevin said as he touched Shady's hand, "I'm not like Kyle, love is beautiful, no matter what form it comes in."
"I love that girl sooooo much" Shady said with honest eyes. "She's my world."
"And you are hers" Kevin said.
"And you are nothing like your brother" Shady said as she got up and hugged him around the neck. "You love Katie for who she is, and I am really starting like you."
"So maybe is there a chance?" Kevin asked as he grabbed Shady in a hug and lifted her off the floor as Mandy came through the kitchen door.
"Put me down you big charmer" Shady said in a fit of laughter as Kevin sat her down. "And no you don't have a chance."
"Already hitting on her huh Kevin?" Mandy asked with a flirty smile. "Why not flirt with someone you'd have a chance with?"
"Yeh, she's still delusional and thinks guys are hot" Shady said as she pushed Mandy forward into Kevin.
"You are one gorgeous hunk of man" Mandy said as Kevin blushed and she walked off.
"And you have a girlfriend slut" Shady said as Mandy pulled a soda out of the fridge and looked back.
"This is true, and she's my favorite person in this world" Mandy said, "But I can flirt, Kevin knows how I am by now."
"This is true" Kevin said with a charming smile towards Mandy, "And I never mind it either."
"See" Mandy said as she returned Kevin's smile and then looked at Shady as she went on. "And since when do you not like guys? You used to."
"I never really did" Shady admitted softly. "It's not my thing."
"Oh sure, I bet you'd just love a big stiffy in your face" Mandy said as she caught Shady off guard and smacked her ass cheek.
"You bitch" Shady said as she chased after Mandy until she was caught by Kevin and wrapped in his arms.
"Chill out, no need to ruin this morning with a fight" Kevin said calmly.
"I'm not mad" Shady said as Katie came to the door and spied the action with an interested smile. "I'm just gonna return the favor."
"I'm sure you've done her that way in the past" Kevin said as he backed Shady away and into Katie's arms.
"What the fuck..." Shady said as she tensed for a second when she felt a pair of arms slip around her waist firmly. Looking back and seeing Katie's smiling face she relaxed. Then looking back at Mandy and saying, "As for your comment, no I don't want a big stiffy, unlike you I like pussy."
"OH boy" Kevin said as he spit his coffee on the counter and the room erupted in laughter. "I didn't need to hear that."
"Tell us how you really feel Shay" Mandy said.
"Don't call me that"
"Don't call me that" Shady said as Katie wrapped her in her arms tighter. "I can't call you Amanda cause Zoe does, and you can't call me that cause Katie does. Same thing, I like when she calls me that."
"OH OK" Mandy said softly. "I see your point."
"What happened? Did someone kidnap both of the McCree sisters?" Kevin asked.
"No, we're in love" Shady said as she looked back at Katie.
"True" Mandy said.
"Very true" Katie said as she kissed Shady's cheek.
"I feel so lonely" Kevin said as everyone laughed and Mandy, Shady and Katie hugged him at the same time.
"What's going on?" Sam asked from the door, "Group hug? Lame."
"Yeh why?" Shady asked as Kevin rose from the counter and placed his cup in the sink.
"I've got work ladies" He said, "Don't claw each other to death without me?"
"Meow" Katie said as Kevin laughed and left the room. Shady approached her youngest sister and looked her in the eye and said, "I liked you better when you were getting laid."
"You heard me, when Jennifer was making your muff happy, you were cool" Shady said, "Now you act like Mom."
"No I don't" Sam said with a hurt look.
"Yes you do, you screwed the pooch on your friendship with Zoe and now she's with Mandy and you ran Jennifer off too" Shady snapped.
"Hey, Shay chill, you're hurting her feelings" Katie said as she surprised Sam with a hug.
"I didn't mean to make you cry Sam" Shady said as Sam hugged Katie.
"Jennifer dumped me ok" Sam said. "Said all I wanted her for was...you know."
"You liked her huh?" Katie asked as she looked down at Sam.
"Maybe, she was nice to me" Sam said, "She didn't make fun of me and hurt my feelings cause she could."
"Right, like you're so damn innocent" Shady asked as Mandy moved in front of her.
"Shady come on she's hurt over this thing with Jennifer, you always say you're tired of hurting the people you love" Mandy said. "Here's a chance to be a big sister for once and give her some real advice. You by far have more experience than both of us."
"I know that, I just wish you'd stop being so damn mean to everyone" Shady said as she looked at Sam. "Mom does that to hurt people Sam, and you can see how many people love her. Dad even gave up on her."
"That's your advice?"
"Nooo" Shady said softly, "Sam, invite Jennifer over to the house and let her hang out with us. She's more than welcome."
"I agree, I'll give her a chance, unless she starts that mouth again" Mandy said.
"She only said that stuff cause you and Zoe were attacking her" Sam spat back.
"You see" Katie said as she looked at Sam, "Stuff like that is why people say you're like your mom."
"What she said about Mandy was out of line" Katie said softly, "You really wanna hurt your sister like that?"
"She calls me a skank and whore"
"Not since you started dressing like a 14 year old I ain't" Mandy said. "You dress like the pretty girl that you are."
"You think I'm pretty?" Sam asked with a smile as Mandy hugged her and Katie shot a thumbs up to Shady.
"Yeh I do you little viper" Mandy said as her and Sam laughed. "Wanna ride with me today?"
"With you and Zoe?"
"Of course, but you know Zoe has shot gun" Mandy said as she put her arm around Sam's neck. "So no big drama over that?"
"I'm not like Mom, I can deal with that" Sam said.
"Well good lord what's happening in here?" Donald asked as he came though the door from the garage into the kitchen and smiled. "All three of my hellcat daughter's in one room and no fights?"
"You better thank me I'm a miracle worker" Katie said as Shady glared at her and Donald laughed.
"You didn't do this" Shady said with a smirk as Katie screamed and ran out of the kitchen with Shady chasing her.
** ** ** Meanwhile @ Book Lovers, after school
"Oh yeah you are so gonna get it" Joey said under her breath as she came into the store and saw a certain person bent over organizing some books. The girls long blond hair in a ponytail with a banana. Seeing that Judy was nowhere to be found at the moment she slowly snuck up behind the girl and gently grabbed her butt cheeks and smiled as she said, "Hey my CoCo."
"What the hell?" The Blonde said as she turned and Joey nearly fainted when she saw it wasn't Cori.
"M..M..M..Marissa?" Joey asked in a shock as Marissa grinned knowingly and said, "Do you always grope the help?"
"That is not funny" Joey said as she covered her face and blushed like she had never before.
"What's wrong?" Judy asked as she came running back into the store from the Alley.
"I thought she was Cori and..."
"She groped me Judy, I'm filing a lawsuit" Marissa said with a smirk.
"She did what?"
"I didn't grope you, I thought she was Cori and I grabbed her butt" Joey said as Judy laughed.
"Don't believe her Judy I think she knew it was me" Marissa said as her and Judy laughed.
"I did not, shut up" Joey said as she felt as if she wanted to faint. "What are you doing here again?"
"I volunteered yesterday to help Judy and Henry with the clean up" Marissa said with a shrug. "I got no one else that wants me around."
"Now I don't want you around either" Joey said as Marissa smiled.
"She's been a big help and I like having her around" Judy said, "And apparently you to do Joey."
"Funny" Joey said as Marissa fell back in the chair laughing.
"Could you please stop hitting on the help?" Judy asked as she hugged Joey, "My Assistant Manager."
"Well she's not complaining" Joey said.
"No because at least when you groped me I knew you'd stop if I asked" Marissa said.
"That's like the third time you've said something like that today" Judy said, "Is something wrong?"
"Alex Parks tried to rape her" Joey said softly. "It was all over school."
"Yeh he did" Marissa said as Judy pulled her to her feet and hugged her.
"You are welcome here anytime, Henry and I like you" Judy said, "If you just wanna come in and read you can."
"Thanks" Marissa said with a smile.
"And I'm sorry for what he did" Judy said as Henry came through the now doorway size hole in the wall between 'Book Lovers' and 'Step by Step'.
"You woman are so touchy feely" Henry said with a smile.
"If you only knew huh Joey?" Marissa asked as she laughed.
"Oh god I'll never live that down" Joey said as she walked off and sat down behind the counter.
"Judy wanna help me with this last load of bricks and I've got some concrete and two by fours in the car" Henry suggested as they disappeared back through the hole in the wall.
"I got you good" Marissa said as she walked over to the counter and grinned victoriously as she leaned on the counter.
"Go away you're fired" Joey said as Marissa laughed. "Never been that embarrassed in my life. I'm sorry for grabbing you like that."
"No big deal" Marissa said, "At least you don't hate me."
"Keep teasing me..."
"And you'll like me even more?" Marissa asked as Joey laughed and rolled her eyes.
"Yeh ok, maybe I would" Joey said, "You realize this means war?"
"Nah, I'll be good" Marissa said, "Don't wanna get you in trouble with your girlfriend."
"Yeh..." Joey said with a smile and realized she actually like Marissa's smile but before she could go on she saw Marissa look around and asked, "You ever thought about startin an internet cafe?"
"Like charge for internet access?" Joey asked.
"Yeh the place on Hubbard Street has that and they stay busy" Marissa said. "I think it would work here too."
"Yeh if we could afford the computers" Joey said, "Judy's barely stayin in business now."
"Yeh she told me" Marissa said as she seemed to be deep in thought. "Can I use your phone?"
"Sure, no 900 calls though" Joey said.
"Why do I need them?" Marissa asked as she dialed the phone. "I got happy hands Joey here."
"You're gonna get it" Joey said as Marissa laughed.
"Daddy? Hi" Marissa said, "Think you could give my friends a good deal on some computers, you know the ones you bought in Japan? Or whatever country it was. Really? Yeh their my friends. No, they're not like that. Daddy I'm serious, Joey Larue is the assistant Manager and I just wanna help."
"What are you doing?" Joey mouthed as she watched Marissa start bouncing around excitedly.
"Thank you, daddy, I'll tell them" Marissa said as she hung up the phone and seemed almost breathless with excitement. "He said you could have those computers. He like bought them in the far east for practically nothing. He's not sure what condition they're in but if you pick them up you can have them."
"For nothing?" Joey asked.
"Yeh, he just wants them out of his warehouse but we gotta pick them up tonight" Marissa said, "I'm not promising they will work or anything but it's worth a trip right?"
"What's going on now?" Judy asked as she came through the hole in the wall.
"Marissa just may have helped you get out of this hole" Joey said.
"I got you some computers and me and Joey talked about setting up an internet cafe in here" Marissa said, "What do you say? It'll work I know it will."
"I can't afford..."
"The computers are free" Marissa said, "My dad is dying to get rid of them. Says they're just taking up room and if we pick them up we can have them."
"WOW that's generous" Judy said.
"Yeh he's like that" Marissa said with a smile. "I see why people love him so much."
"Well young lady you are working awfully hard to make a good impression" Judy said with a smile.
"Just trying to help" Marissa said. "I can't promise you they'll be in perfect condition or anything though."
"How many computers do you think we'd need to start?"
"Maybe 5 or 10?" Marissa said as she pointed at the sofa and chairs and said, "Right here we could put them on some tables or so and then put some at that table in the back..."
"Ok, you're hired" Judy said as Marissa gave her a confused look.
"Managing the internet cafe, your idea and you got the computers" Judy said, "You work out the details and let me know what I need to do."
"Internet access" Marissa said, "Phone company? Might need a package deal. I'm not sure."
"Ok, I'll give them a call" Judy said.
"And tables" Marissa said. "Maybe it would be better to have them all in one place?"
"Well we could do that at first until it takes off and then make other plans when we see what kinda of an effect it has on business" Judy said as Henry came back through the door/hole and Judy filled him on the plans with Marissa.
"Why didn't we ever think of that?" Henry asked.
"Cause the cute blond is the brains of the outfit" Joey said as Marissa flashed her a smile and offered her a high five. One which Joey gladly accepted as the two slapped hands.
"We do need to go and pick up those computers though" Marissa said, "I'll go cause you'll need..."
"Duh blondy" Joey said as she cut her off, "No, we'll roll up in there and ask for them without you."
"Mean to me one second and calling me cute the next second" Marissa said. "I think we got something going here."
"Joey" Judy said as Joey blushed. "What about the other blond in your life?"
"What Cori don't know..." Joey said as she broke up in a fit of giggles.
"Come on class clown I'll give ya a ride" Henry said and looking to Judy went on. "Can you make sure everything is locked up next door?"
"Of course and don't be long" Judy said with a kiss to the cheek.
"AWWWWWWWWW" Joey and Marissa said at the same time and looked at each other and started laughing.
35 minutes later...
"That's it the big one" Marissa said, pointing to the large building in front of them now. "Let's go and talk to Kellua, he's the guard, he knows me and then we can go on in, I hope."
"Need me to go with you?" Joey asked.
"Yeh he's kind of a perv" Marissa said as her and Joey got out and walked up to the guards post.
"Marissa you fine lookin thing you, what happened baby doll?" Kellua asked. "You look awful."
"Whatever..." Marissa said with a hurt look in her eyes.
"No she doesn't" Joey said, "She looks just fine and you're a jerk for saying that to her."
"Ouch touchy a lot are we?" He asked with a smirk as he turned back to Marissa and asked. "I'd still hit it, you gonna gimme that chance?"
"Look my dad said he had some computers that we can get..."
"Yeh yeh, we'll get to that..." He said as he stepped closer and touched her face as she smacked his hand away and Joey noted she looked awfully uncomfortable.
"Why don't you keep your hands to yourself" Joey said as she pulled Marissa back by the hand to in front of her.
"What are you her girlfriend?" Kellua asked, "You sure act jealous enough to be."
"What do you think?" Joey asked and realized she was still holding Marissa's hand.
"She is my girlfriend" Marissa said as she turned her back to Kellua and ran her fingers through Joey's hair and signaled with her eyes to help. "Right sweety."
"Of course" Joey said as she wrapped Marissa in her arms and they pressed their cheeks together as both looked at Kellua. "You need to stop being disgusting to my girl."
"What did I say that was disgusting?"
"See our friend in the car?" Joey asked as she pointed to Henry. "The Black guy? Karate expert, he'll make you wish you'd never opened your mouth. So can we please get in or whatever before you get hurt?"
"Oops" He said as he opened the main door and let them in.
"Talk about being a perverted jerk" Joey said as the door closed behind them.
"Yeh he is, you didn't have to do that I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have done anything" Marissa said.
"Yeh well...that shit is not funny" Joey said. "Maybe we can be friends, I don't see any reason why not. Just come and hang out with me at Book Lovers."
"Not like I have a choice, Judy hired me" Marissa said with a smile.
"Unfortunately" Joey said as she stuck her tongue. Marissa grinning and blushing.
** ** ** Meanwhile @ the Palace
"This is where Shady lives?" Brittany asked in wonder as she looked at the huge house coming into full view as they came up the drive in her Cadillac.
"Yep, this is the Palace" Joanna said with a smile as Brittany stopped and turned the car off. Watching Joanna get out and run to the lawn and look up as she screamed. "WHORE!"
"What are you doing?" Brittany asked as Joanna pointed to the window and saw both Shady and Katie looking out as Joanna flipped them off.
"GET DOWN HERE BITCHES" Joanna said as Shady flipped her off in return and both her and Katie disappeared back into the house.
"What are you doing in this neighborhood?" Shady asked as she appeared on the front porch with Katie following.
"We're slummin'" Joanna said as she hugged Shady. "I'm leavin town Shady, I wanted to say bye."
"For where?" Shady asked, "I thought your problem..."
"It is" Joanna said, "Me and Britt are heading south."
"You're leaving?" Katie asked with a hurt look as she noticed Brittany pulling a box out of the trunk of her cadillac. "Just as we were getting back to being friends."
"I got an oppurtunity to make a name for myself" Joanna said, "I'm an author now."
"Sure you are" Shady said with a smirk. "And I'm gonna go straight tommorrow."
"Seriously" Brittany said as she joined Joanna on the porch and now held the box in her hand and taking the top of she said proudly, "Look."
"OH shit" Shady said as she saw the book with Joanna's name in the bi-line. "WOW, I'm impressed."
"Thought you would be" Joanna said with a proud smile. "Come to my book signing?"
"You know it" Shady said as Joanna got a knowing look in her eye as she leaned forward and kissed Shady's lips softly. Katie's bottom lip dropped as she watched her girlfriends lips fall in time with Joanna's for a long moment, even thinking she saw each massage the others tongue for a moment. "Oh damn."
"I have always wanted to do that" Joanna said as Shady matched her smile. "Damn girl you are a good kisser."
"Looks like it" Brittany giggled.
"God, you too" Shady said, "Why the hell didn't you do that a year ago, slut?"
"I have no idea"
"Excuse the fuck out of me" Katie said with a glare towards her two friends. "You realize that was my girlfriend you kissed like that?"
"Lick my bald muff" Joanna said as she stepped in front of a shocked Katie and kissed her in much the same way she had Shady. Lips falling in time with Katie's as she licked the girls upper lip and found Katie instinctively responding as she clutched at Joanna's shirt. Their tongues meeting in a dance of rhythmic soothing sensations. The shock wearing off as Katie realized who she was kissing and felt herself getting lost in Joanna for a long moment. Not wanting the kiss to end just yet. Joanna pulled away as Katie leaned forward slightly and opened her eyes with a dazed look on her face. Smiling as she saw Joanna smiling. "You will always be the one who got away Katie Singer. I was in love with you."
"Me too Jo" Katie said with a huge smile. "We just never got the chance to dance."
"And who's fault is that?"
"Mine" Katie said raising her hand as Joanna smiled and hugged her.
"You're happy with Shady, that's good enough for me..."
"And I am the one you will dance with" Brittany said as Joanna looked back and smiled at her.
"You're right" Joanna said, "You are my girl now. You're not mad?"
"I like watching you trade spit with other girls" Brittany giggled.
"Anybody else you wanna kiss?" Shady asked as Joanna smiled at her.
"Nope" Joanna said, "You two are just like my all time favorite people."
"So what part of the world are you headed to?" Shady asked.
"August Dimitri, my co-writer said we could bunk with him for a while..."
"We were down there last weekend" Katie said in amazement. "Grace and Sarah invited us. And Shady beat up Grace's drunk dad."
"You did?" Brittany asked in shock, laughing as Shady smiled and did a Hulk Hogan 'Statue of Liberty' pose.
"I seen this girl fight, she's bad ass" Joanna said with a giggle. "So you guys might wanna come down some weekend when we find a place of our own?"
"Hell yeah" Shady said as she hugged Joanna, "You my girl Jo, always got your back, you need anything right now?"
"No, we're good Shady" Joanna said as she touched Shady's face. "August shared his bonus with us for getting the book done early. That's why we're moving."
"You sure?" Shady asked as Joanna smiled and hugged her.
"Positive, you my girl too" Joanna said as she looked to Katie and said, "You take care of her, she's tough but she's been hurt so much, she deserves to be loved."
"Now you're gonna make me cry" Shady said as Joanna smiled.
"I will, she's not hurting anymore" Katie said as she wrapped her arms around Shady from behind and rested her chin on the girls shoulder.
"Make you cry huh?" Joanna asked as Shady pushed her away playfully. "How about I love you huh? Cause I do, no ones ever cared about me this much, other than Britt."
"You know I do too" Shady said as she wiped away a few tears and smiled. "I just have trouble saying it."
"Not so much anymore" Katie said softly. "Therapy has changed her sooo much. We actually have some peaceful nights here at the Palace now."
"Must be drugs huh Shady?" Joanna asked with a laugh. "Gotcha doped up huh?"
"I'll show you doped up" Shady said as she chased a laughing Joanna across the yard.
"Seriously, come down really soon?" Brittany asked Katie. "I don't want Joanna to lose touch with the people she loves."
"She loves you now" Katie said as Joanna screamed in laughter as Shady tackled her to the grass and started tickling her.
"I know" Brittany said as she smiled and went running across the yard and jumped into the middle of the melee as she got Shady off of a laughing Joanna. Joanna then pulling Brittany to her feet as Shady chased both of them back towards the car. Shady surprising Joanna with a hug as she grabbed her again by the drivers side door.
"I..you know...love you" Shady said as Joanna smiled and hugged her back. "And you better be prepared to have some visitors soon. And me and Katie are moving into the pool house soon so you guys can visit us too."
"Deal" Joanna said.
"Call me when you hit town to let me know you got there ok" Shady said. A few moments of tear filled goodbyes and promises to stay in touch and making plans for the 'required' visits and Joanna and Brittany pulled reluctantly away from the palace and into their new lives. Finding the main highway a few minutes later as darkness began to fall on the windy city. Joanna lowered the passneger's side window and hung her head out as she looked up at the stars and felt free for the first time her life. The girl she loved by her side and leaving the city she had almost come to hate. A fresh start was exactly what she wanted and the person she wanted with her was Brittany.
"You ready for this?" Brittany asked from the driver's seat as she pulled onto the side of the road just as they reached the sign they were looking for. "We might not make it back here baby."
"Like I give a fuck about this city" Joanna said, "Nothing left here to care about really."
"What about Jessie?" Brittany asked as she got out and met Joanna at the front of the car and joined hands with Joanna.
"Her, Katie and Shady are the only people I'm gonna miss at all" Joanna said as she hugged Brittany. "I've got the most important thing in my life in my arms now."
"Keep saying that" Brittany said softly as she wrapped her arms tighter around Joanna, "I love hearing that, Joanna Marie."
"PICK ME UP, PICK ME UP, PICK ME BIOTCH" Joanna's ring tone sounded.
"Dis be Jo who dis be?" Joanna asked after fishing her phone out of her jacket. Not thinking to check the caller i.d.
"This is your father you little shit" Joanna heard the voice slur from the other end.
"It's Frank, my drunk father" Joanna mouthed to Brittany.
"I heard you got some money" Frank slurred in a barely understandable voice.
"Yeh, I'm an author now too, my friend got me to help him write a novel" Joanna said proudly and wanting her father to be drawn into her plan, "And now I'm gonna be rolling in dead presidents. New car and new house and..."
"I'm coming by and you're gonna give me some" Frank slurred as Joanna smiled and felt her plan working perfectly. "Raising your whoring ass should be worth about two third's of what you got, maybe all of it."
"You're a drunk piece of shit and you ain't getting nothing" Joanna said as Brittany smiled. "I'm gonna spend every penny of it on my girl, yeh remember Brittany, Dad?"
"You are not gonna spend anything on that teasing whore" Frank slurred as Joanna heard some things crashing to the ground as she thought the old drunk was trying to get to his feet.
"Holding her in my arms right now" Joanna said proudly. "You can't hurt me anymore you old pervert. I'm legally free to do whatever the hell I want and it'll be a cold day in hell before you or that controlling bitch of a mother of mine get a penny from me."
"This is Brittany, Frank" Brittany said as she took the phone and then her voice rising to a blood curdling pitch as she screamed directly into the reciever, "FUCK YOU!"
"Ya hear that dad?" Joanna asked as she heard some muffled sounds on the other end of the phone as if someone had fallen and suddenly someone else picked up the phone.
"What did you do to your father?" The Female voice asked in a panic.
"Veronica, whats up bitch, I'm sorry I mean Mommy" Joanna said.
"Your father is holding his ear like someone shot him" Veronica said. "What happened you little cunt?"
"You had me you nasty controlling whore" Joanna said in a barely controlled rage as Brittany hugged her and touched her face to calm her the best she could.
"I love you with all my heart Joanna Marie" Brittany said as she kissed Joanna softly, "Calm down it's ok."
"I love you too Britt" Joanna said softly as both smiled.
"Oh god that is sickening" Veronica spat as she over heard the display on the phone. "We should have stuck your ass in that sexual reorientation center when your father suggested it. Instead of kicking you out. At least by now you'd be normal again."
"Yeh like being gay is the worst thing that happened to me, being raised by you two worthless parasites was far worse" Joanna said. "The only purpose you two serve on this earth is to give the cockroaches someone to look down on."
"Was a good one" Brittany giggled.
"That's it, I'm coming to get you and you will come with me and that money you have will be spent on what your father and I think it should go to" Veronica spat.
"Emancipated minor, mother dear" Joanna said. "You can't touch me."
"We need that money you little whore" Veronica spat, "We're about to lose everything we own, please? Your father is disabled now and can't work."
"Good news Mom" Joanna said, "You made my day with that. I am so glad you two are in such a shithole. Have fun, cause I'm not giving you ONE FUCKIN PENNY, WHORE."
"YOU WILL TOO" Veronica screamed, "I'll beat it out of you."
"You'll regret you ever said that" Joanna said as she hung up the phone and waited a moment before she pressed three keys and smiled as she heard the voice on the other end. "Hey handsome."
"Joanna?" Joey asked.
"Shady said to call you if you I have any trouble" Joanna said.
"You know it" Joey said.
"Take care of something for me?" Joanna asked, "My mom is threatening me again, can you..."
"On my way" Joey said, "They won't bother you again."
"I always had a crush on you" Joanna said with a wry smile. As Brittany leaned close to the phone and said, "Hey batman."
"I got work to do" Joey said, "Call me back after and flirt then ok?"
"Yeh I'll holla" Joanna said as she closed the phone and as Brittany watched. Joanna stepped on to the deserted highway and waited for the phone to ring again. Checking the number to make sure it was who she thought it was, she smiled, her worthless parents she noted mentally. Screaming in a rage after the third or fourth ring, she smashed the cell phone to the ground as hard as she could. Shattering it all over the four lanes southbound. Then flipping the phone off with both hands, she screamed, "FUCK YOU FOR NOT LOVING ME YOU PIECES OF SHIT. I HOPE HE KILLS YOUR ASS. FUCK YOU, I HATE YOU."
"It's ok, Jo" Brittany said as she pulled a crying Joanna back to the side of the road and hugged her. "I love you Joanna Marie Christianson, I love you with all my heart my girl, fuck them, I love you and I will never do you that way. Are you listening?"
"Yeh I am" Joanna said as she felt her spirit soar as the last link to her parents seemed to be broken after the smashing of her cell phone. "They can't reach me anymore, I'm yours now."
"Yesss!" Brittany said as she kissed her softly on the lips. "The most beautiful words in this world."
"Leaving Chicago" Joanna read from the sign above the car as she hugged Brittany and both looked up. "I'm glad to be doing what it says."
"Me too" Brittany said as she pulled Joanna along to the car.
** ** ** Meanwhile @ Sammler-Manning Manor, late night
"Belly monster man" Marley said as she tugged on Rick's pants leg and looked up at him as he stood at the counter.
"My name is Rick" Rick said gently as Marley giggled and said, "I'm sorry Mr. Rick, I forgot."
"That's ok what do you need?" Rick asked as he squated down to meet her.
"Can I have cookie fore I go to bed?" She asked as Rick picked her up and sat her on the counter and said, "Better hurry, if Lily catches you she'll get both of us."
"SHHHHHHH" Marley said as she snuck over to the cookie jar and took one out and stuffed in her mouth as Lily came up the steps from the basement.
"Oh no she caught you" Rick said as Marley turned and tried to look innocent with the cookie poking the sides of her cheeks out.
"Young lady what are you eating?" Lily asked.
"Nuffin" Marley said as Rick covered his mouth to keep from laughing.
"Looks like to me you got a cookie in your mouth" Lily said as Marley pulled it out and showed it to her.
"You caught me, I sorry" Marley said as Lily hugged her.
"Sweety you can have a cookie anytime you want" Lily said as Marley smiled and asked, "Really? Mommy said I was bad sometimes and she said no."
"You can have a cookie anytime you want one" Lily said softly as she picked her up, "You ready for bed?"
"Wait, wait" Marley said as she looked back and reached for Rick. He came around the counter and took her in his arms as she kissed his chin and hugged him and said, "Night pretend Daddy."
"Night Mar Bear" He said as she grinned and reached back for Lily.
"Mom you bringing Marley down?" Cori asked as she appeared at the top of the steps. "Anyone seen Joey?"
"Yeh on my way and no not since this morning" Lily said.
"She called and said she'd be at the store late" Rick said as Cori's smile disappeared.
"No fun having a girlfriend I never get to see" Cori said with a sad look in her eyes.
"Honey, Joey does make an effort to see you it's just that everything going on with Book Lovers she's been busy, it'll calm down" Lily said.
"What's wrong mate?" Passion asked Cori as she came to the top of the steps. "Someone steal your best friend?"
"Nope you're my best friend" Cori said as Passion grinned and hugged her. "Joey."
"I miss her too" Passion said as Lily seemed confused.
"How did you know she missed Joey did she tell you?" Lily asked.
"Didn't have to" Passion said, "I know what she's thinkin most of the time."
"Mom, she reads my mind" Cori said with a giggle. "Make her stop."
"Well it's bed time, so no more mind reading tonight" Lily said as Cori and Passion laughed.
"Night Pash" Rick said with a kiss to the forehead and then kissing Cori's too, "Night my Cori."
"I'm off to bed, you coming up after you tuck Cori in?" Rick asked Lily as Cori gave him a dirty look and chased after him and hugged him.
"I don't care if you are mean to me" Cori said with an adoring smile. "I still love ya Dad."
"I love you too" Rick said as he pushed her towards the door.
"I'll be on up" Lily said as Rick circled around the corner and headed down the hall and up the stairs towards the bedroom. Stopping at the top as he saw Jessie and Stephanie totally lost in each other as they kissed by the door to the garage apartment. "Ahem."
"Oh what, oh night dad" Jessie said as Stephanie tried not to laugh.
"Jessie I don't wanna see that again" Rick said as Jessie looked at him in confusion.
"I thought you didn't care if I dated a girl" Jessie asked.
"I thought that too, when did this change?" Stephanie asked.
"My feelings about that have not changed" Rick said.
"Then what's the problem, all we did was kiss" Jessie said.
"I don't wanna see you kissing anyone that way" Rick said as Stephanie covered her mouth to keep from laughing.
"Dad, grow up" Jessie said. "It's not like we were sleeping together" Jessie said and hoping she was keeping a straight face.
"Taebo?" Stephanie asked as Jessie pushed her and tried not to laugh as Rick looked confused.
"Mr. Sammler, I'm sorry it won't happen again" Stephanie said as she looked at Rick. "I seriously do love her. I don't wanna do anything to make you think you need to run me off."
"No one's running you off" Rick said as he kissed Jessie's forehead and pushed Steph's hair in her face as she laughed. "Night and cool it you two."
"Yes dad" Stephanie and Jessie said in unison in an innocent voice. Looking back he gave them a warning look and turned into his bedroom a few moments later. Jessie waited only a second before she kissed Stephanie's lips and asked, "Taebo tonight?"
"I wish I could" Stephanie said as Jessie frowned. "Jess..."
"Hey Mom" Jessie said as Lily came to the top of the steps and walked over to the twosome.
"In bed, both of you go" Lily said as Jessie and Stephanie laughed and held on to each other protectively.
"We're just saying goodnight" Stephanie said.
"Mom, I asked her to Taebo with me tonight and she wouldn't" Jessie said as Stephanie's lip dropped at her girlfriends boldness. "Tell her it's important. She's just being lazy."
"I have to agree with Jessie on this Stephanie" Lily said as Stephanie covered her mouth and shook her head in agreement. "You're not gonna keep that body by being lazy young lady. Trust me."
"I say we should taebo at least two or three times a day" Jessie said as Stephanie started laughing as she fell against the wall.
"Now Jessie that is little much, you don't wanna wear her out" Lily said as Stephanie laughed harder and finally said, "It's ok, Lily...I seriously don't mind..."
"Yeh she used to be in to this other guy, but now I think I've converted her right Steph?" Jessie asked as Stephanie shook with laughter.
"Jessie, you are so right, I'm in love with...Taebo now" Stephanie said, barely able to speak from laughing so hard.
"I fail to see the humor in this" Lily said as Jessie kissed her cheek to distract her and said, "Love you Mom."
"I know I'm missing something young lady" Lily said as she hugged Jessie, "But I am too tired to try and figure out the word play you teenagers use these days. I love you too, night girls."
"Night" Jessie said.
"Night Lily" Stephanie said as she tried to control her giggles until Lily had disappeared into the bedroom.
"Ohmigod you are gonna get us branded" Stephanie said as Jessie smiled like a cat that ate the bird.
"Am I good or what?" Jessie asked as Stephanie caressed her cheek and kissed her. "You make it so much fun being your girlfriend."
"Yes, me and Kyle the dickhead used to fuck with people but oh lord you are a master with the wordplay" Stephanie said in a quiet voice, "You basically told her we were doing a certain thing."
"Yeh and you heard her, at least once a day" Jessie said with a devious grin. "I haven't had my once today."
"Jessie, I love you, but I seriously can't tonight" Stephanie said. "I have to study, I got a huge test tommorrow."
"Mmmmm-hmmm I know" Jessie said with a smile as she kissed her. "But if you get 5 minutes..."
"Tommorrow night, I'm yours, just let me pass this test, ok?" Stephanie asked.
"I love you Stephanie Lynn Dimitri" Jessie said softly. "Anything you want."
** ** ** Meanwhile @ Casa De August, West Lafayette, Indiana
"You sure they will still be up?" Brittany asked as they pulled up into the driveway.
"Yeh he's almost always up late" Joanna said as Brittany turned the car off and both got out, "I just hope he meant what he said about me and you crashing for a few days."
"One way to find out" Brittany said as she took Joanna's hand.
"Correction my love" Joanna said with a wicked grin. "When do I ever do anything the normal way?"
"Oh boy" Brittany said as Joanna flashed her a wicked smile and turned towards the house and screamed, "WAKE UP!"
"Joanna Marie" Brittany said as she blushed and watched the living room lights come on and to her relief she saw August come out of the house with a shocked look on his face.
"What's up ole man?" Joanna asked as August smiled as he walked down the porch steps.
"Get over here and gimme a hug" He said as Joanna smiled and gladly hugged him as Brittany watched with a smile. "Didn't expect you this soon."
"I hope it's ok" Joanna said, "I just wanted to see you guys again."
"You are always welcome here" August said as he hugged her again and felt Joanna hold onto him as Karen came out of the house.
"Hey girl" Joanna said as she ran up the steps and hugged Karen.
"Well this is a nice surprise" Karen said as she hugged her back. "August said he paid you a visit."
"I missed you guys" Joanna said, "Can I call you Karen now?"
"Call me whatever you like I'm just glad to see you again" Karen said as Joanna hugged her again.
"Sweetheart, this is Brittany" August said with an arm around Brittany's shoulder as she smiled nervously.
"Welcome" Karen said in confusion.
"This is the girl I was in love with before Jessie and...it's a long story but Jessie's happy and so am I" Joanna said with her arm around Karen. "Jessie is happy right?"
"Still floating on thin air" August said. "I'm glad things turned out so well, partner."
"I like the sound of that" Joanna said, "Just so you know, we have no other place to be, me and britt are both free finally. Help us find a place down here?"
"Ohmigod, seriously?" Karen asked in shock.
"Yeh I cut my ties with my worthless Mom and dad about an hour ago and smashed my cell phone on the highway, literally" Joanna said. "And now I just wanna be as far away from that place as possible."
"I'm positive we can find something close by or hell you can just move in here" August said as Joanna laughed.
"You'd drive me crazy" Joanna said as her and August punched at each other playfully. "You won't listen to the smarter member of this team. You know I'm the brains of the outfit."
"Yeh that's why your head echos" August said as he and Joanna laughed.
"Oh lord in heaven, help me now" Karen said as she rolled her eyes. "I'm not sure I can take much more of this."
"How do you think I feel, she's my girlfriend?" Brittany asked as August watched Karen never flinch as she laughed.
"Well I was just putting a late supper on" Karen said, "You guys are staying, so it'll be ready in a little while."
"Can I help?" Brittany offered nervously. "I like cooking, if I'm not in the way that is."
"Well sure, I don't see why not" Karen said as Brittany smiled and followed her inside.
"Some girlfriend you got there" August said.
"You have no idea" Joanna said. "So umm can you help us with getting enrolled in school and stuff down here?"
"Yeh I think so" August said. "Then after school we start working on the new novel."
"Any ideas?" Joanna asked.
"Horatio Nelson Jackson" August said mysteriously.
"Ken burns, one of my favorite directors, did a movie about him" August said, "He's the first guy to drive across the United States."
"A movie?" Joanna asked.
"Great movie" August said. "Adventure, western themes, what do you think?."
"Could be a lot of fun, we could do something like what we did with Frisco" Joanna said, "Little side adventures with this Horatio guy?"
"My thoughts exactly, my idea worm" August said as Joanna smiled.
"We could like detail the whole trip" Joanna said, "Use that movie as a guide and just fill in some of the missing days with stuff?"
"He had a wife, a co-driver, real character himself and a little pet dog too" August said. "Lots of story material."
"Yeh, you seriously need me?" Joanna asked as August smiled and put his arm around her neck.
"I wouldn't wanna do it by myself again" August said, "You made it fun."
"Oh so I'm the comic relief?" Joanna asked.
"Nope" August said as he kissed her forehead, "You're my writing partner just like the bi-line says."
"Keep saying that I'm gonna get a big head" Joanna said as August laughed.
** ** ** Meanwhile, back @ Book Lovers
"I know I'm not an expert at computers, but why won't this damn thing connect to the internet?" Marissa asked in a frustrated voice.
"I dunno we did everything the book said to do" Joey said taking a deep breath as her and Marissa exchanged frustrated grins and laughed.
"Ladies shall we call it a night?" Henry asked from the hole/doorway.
"Nooo, please just gimme a few more minutes I can fix this" Marissa said as she popped up another screen and her eyes popped open as she quickly typed in a few things. Joey watching as Marissa then made a few mouse clicks and reopened the browser and said in a steadingly rising voice, "we gOT INTERNET ACCESS BABY."
"You did it" Joey said as she hugged her neck excitedly as Judy came running from the same direction that Henry had come. "She did it Judy, girl got skills on the computer."
"We have internet access boss" Marissa said as she showed Judy proudly. "A couple of more hours and we can have all of these set up and online I bet."
"Marissa honey it's 10:30 and you got school tommorrow" Judy said. "Tommorrow is a new day and they'll still be here."
"OK" She said as she got up and stretched. "Can someone give me a ride home?"
"Yeh right blondie" Joey giggled as she pushed Marissa playfully. "You're walking."
"After all I did?" Marissa asked as she pushed Joey back, "Bite me Larue, you suck."
"Keep flirting with me and I just might" Joey said as Marissa blushed and pushed her again as Joey giggled and started to wrestle with her.
"Marissa where do you live?" Henry asked.
"Over by the McCree's place, half hour drive at least" Marissa said as she stopped for a moment and looked back at Henry. Now seeing Joey stumble over some books and fall into her and both tumbling to the floor laughing out loud.
"OWWWWWWW you bitch" Marissa screamed as her and Joey laughed. "You've groped me and now you're going for assualt."
"Can't keep my hands off you" Joey said as she got to her feet and pulled Marissa to her feet and froze for a long moment as their eyes met for a second before both looked away and acted as if nothing happened. "How about you just crash with me tonight? If it's ok with you."
"Sleepover?" Marissa asked.
"Yeh it'll save Judy a long trip, is that ok?" Joey asked.
"Yeh I'd like that, girlfriend" Marissa said as Joey blushed.
"Girlfriend?" Judy asked as Joey explained exactly what happened earlier at the warehouse.
"Yeh it was innocent" Marissa said. "Joey's just too nice to see anyone get taken advantage of."
"Especially when they're a cute blond, hey Joey?" Henry asked as Joey grinned and offered no reply. "And now you're inviting her over for the night? Should Cori be jealous?"
"Oh god shut up" Joey said, "I like her she's a lot different than people said she was."
"Thanks Joey" Marissa said with a smile. "No reason for Cori to be jealous either. Besides I'm kinda of seeing someone."
"Well I'll get the car and be on around" Henry said as he exited through the front door with Judy.
"Seeing someone huh?" Joey asked Marissa as they stepped outside.
"Kind of, he's a big sweetheart and he listens when we talk like he cares what I have to say" Marissa said, "I like that."
"Who? I won't tell" Joey asked honestly.
"Derrrick...Seavers?" Marissa asked as Joey started to laugh.
"What's so funny?"
"You know he's gay right?" Joey asked as Marissa's bottom lip dropped and Joey realized she was clueless about that. "He like announced it at the pep rally...oh shit..I'm sorry."
"Forget it, I deserved that" Marissa said, "Was my wake-up call. Besides what are the chances that I'd pick the one guy in school that's not only a sweetheart but also gay?"
"You know what?" Joey said, "You are not that bad. Everyone makes mistakes, sometimes a lot of them."
"The queen..." Marissa said as she pointed to herself. "The queen is right here."
"Ok, so you got a past of being....not good to people" Joey said as she linked her arm with Marissa's. "Not one person you ever wronged could be mad at you after tonight and what you did for Judy."
"I just want someone to be my friend" Marissa said with a hurt look.
"Yeh and you found three" Joey said softly, "I like the real you."
"Well I am a cute blond eh?" Marissa asked with a flip of her hair.
"MMMMMMM oh yeah" Joey said in a sultry voice as both laughed.
"This isn't gonna cause problems with your girlfriend is it?"
"No, she's very understanding and she'd like you" Joey said. "Besides, I'm only flirting, it's not like me and you are gonna fall madly in love."
"Why the hell not?" Marissa asked with a smirk. "I'm the cute blond remember? You are the cute brunette who can't keep her hands off me, right?"
"Grrrrr" Joey said as she pawed Marissa's bare arm as both laughed and Marissa pulled away and backed up as she said, "You want this cute blond you gotta come and get her."