Carrie Ryan & K. Darblyne
"...When you're in the system, will you care that you are missing from the prophets that we are... I know it, cause you were once a Gone Street Poet..."
lot of thought and hard work had been put into Brownstone Recordings, right
down to the woman who sat as a sentry over the entire floor of offices.
No one could make a move without it escaping Ida’s keen eyes.
Brooke, in her infinite wisdom, had set it up that way.
It was a safety device of hers and had proven itself quite useful in
the earlier days of the company, when fame and rock star status still clung to
the owner/C.E.O. like a wet T-shirt. Not
a day went by that first year or so without Ida quietly but firmly preventing
some would-be groupie from disturbing her boss at work.
It had been so bad that Ida thought she was hired to do nothing but
work security like the old days, instead of keeping the daily operational
books and managing the office in her boss’ absence.
Over the last few years, Brooke’s alter ego as Loran had fallen by
the wayside and so had the number of groupies.
Ida finally had settled into her real job and her extra energy now was
used to act as a second mother to Brooke Gordon, her boss.
to her secret, Ida sat silently by as she watched first Sam, then a moment or
two later, Brooke come out of their respective offices and duck into the
executive area restroom at the far end of the hall. The smile on her face grew in proportion to her thought of
two adults in a room meant to accommodate only one. A knowing smile came to her face as Ida’s eyes went back to
her desk and the work that it contained.
sound of the elevator next to her office prompted Ida to raise her gaze from
the page of numbers before her. She
watched for a moment as a willowy, dark haired woman came into her view.
Immediately no threat registered in her head as C.C.’s familiar face
came poking into her open door.
yourself, C.C.” Ida looked up with a friendly smile and a little wave of her
pencil. “If you’re here to
eat lunch with Brooke, I think she’s…” she shifted in her chair, “kind
of busy right now.”
C.C. looked down the hall at the open door of her sister’s office,
then stepped into Ida’s door and leaned against the frame, crossing her arms
over her chest. “What do you
mean by ‘busy’ exactly, Ida?”
woman looked past C.C. and down the hall to the emerging forms coming from the
restroom. “Ask your sister.
I’ll let her be the one to tell you.”
gave Ida a moment of study before turning her attention back to the hallway.
“Hiya, Sam,” her eyes settled on her sister-in-law as she moved to
greet her with a hug. “What
have you two been up to?”
C.C.” Sam straightened her blouse before she exchanged the brief hug and
looked at her watch. Edging her
way toward her office, Sam averted her eyes from C.C.’s gaze.
“I…ah…I got some phone calls to make, C.C. I’ll let your sister tell you all about it.”
She looked over to her wife and smiled lovingly.
“I’ll be in my office if you need me, Brooke.”
Sam gave a little wave of her hand as she reached for the door to her
office and mumbled, “And I’m sure that you will.”
C.C. slowly looked over to her sister, “Brooke.” She embraced her sibling then stepped back.
With a hand resting on her hip, C.C. looked directly at her sister and
asked, “Are you going to tell me or do I get to guess?”
about we just let it drop,” Brooke’s eyes narrowed on her sister then
shifted to Ida and back again, “and go into my office.” She turned to head in that direction.
guess if you were a guy you could say that,” C.C. quipped with a smile as
her gaze settled on Brooke’s crotch for a brief second.
annoyed Brooke turned and started to walk away, “I can see you need another
class on anatomy, C.C. I don’t
have that appendage.”
at the effect it had, C.C. followed her sister down the hallway.
what are you doing here, Chase?” Brooke
gazed over her shoulder, “You never just show up without a reason.”
am I doing…nothing much. I just
wanted to see if you’d have lunch with me.”
C.C. wandered around Brooke’s office picking up things that were of
no interest to her. “I just
know how much you love…” her face took on a puzzled look as she played
with one particular object now in her hands.
“Is this a…”
it’s not my missing anatomy,” Brooke said dryly, not even bothering to
look up to see what it was. “It’s
an abstract hand making a statement.” She
kept shifting the papers that covered her desk as though she was looking for
something. “Spit it out, Chase,
what did you have in mind…for coming here today?”
Brooke quickly added to keep her sister’s mind in the right focus.
put the item back in its place and stuck her tongue out at it.
With a rather graceful turn, the willowy woman flicked her hair over
her shoulder and shook her head so as to settle her long brown mane.
“I know how much you love pizza, Sis.
I was thinking…double cheese with four blends on a cheese stuffed
crust.” Brown eyes became intense as they looked at Brooke, “What
do you say we split it like old times?”
The more that C.C. talked of cheese, the more Brooke’s eyes grew in size. By the time she was done, Brooke’s hand was settled over her lower abdomen and a pained expression masked the woman’s face. “Uh…C.C., stop it. You’re killing me.”
up for it or are you going to be a party pooper?” C.C. stared at her sister.
doubled over and sat down, willing the bloated feeling of constipation to only
be a passing fancy of her mind. “I’d
love to have some pizza right now
but…” Brooke winced at the thought of the pain, “I’m off of dairy for
a few more weeks.” She gave her
abdomen a soothing rub and then looked up to her sibling.
“Any other suggestions?”
take it you’re going to be a pooper, eh?”
C.C. scratched her head as she thought.
“Well, we could always go get a salad,” she giggled, “and try to
keep our girlish figures.” C.C.
picked up a paper that was on Brooke’s desk and let her eyes roam over it.
“Hey, maybe Sam would want to go with us.
I know you like her girlish figure.” She
tossed the sheet of paper back on the pile she’d gotten it from.
Brooke rubbed her abdomen again, “Yeah, that will work.
Hang on a second first and let me check with Sam.”
She reached over and buzzed her wife’s office on the speakerphone.
was a long pause before Sam answered her wife’s call somewhat reluctantly.
“Yes, Brooke. Tell me, where am I coming this time…the copy room?”
words caught Brooke by surprise and a higher than normal “Darlin’,”
turned into a cough as the blush of embarrassment registered on her face.
She shifted her eyes at the sound of a snicker to catch the raising
eyebrow on her sibling’s face as C.C. crossed her arms over her chest.
“Darlin’,” Brooke tried to remain calm, “C.C. wanted to know if
we’d like to join her for lunch.” She
looked over to her sister and smiled nervously as she listened for Sam’s
love to but I really have to get on these phone calls right now.
I’m swamped and I’ve only got a few days to finish this PR tour for
Line of Fire. Sorry, C.C.”
There was a second or two of silence before the sound of Sam clearing
her throat came over the speaker. “Brooke,
I’ll take care of making that phone call while I’m at it for your first
appointment. You know the one
I’m talking about.”
yeah,” the C.E.O. grumbled, using her open hand to wash over her face,
“the quack. Okay.” She looked over to C.C. to see if the inquiring mind had
heard her comments. If she had,
C.C wasn’t letting it show as she busied herself looking at another sheet of
paper from the desk. “Can
I bring you back something for your lunch, Sam?”
really craving cheese right now, Brooke.
You’d better bring me back something with lots of cheese on it while
it still won’t be effecting me.”
herself to her fate, Brooke sighed out her question. “Pizza?”
sound of Sam’s girlish laughter came over the speaker.
“You know me so well. Thanks,
any time,” Brooke sounded defeated. “Anything
to drink with that slab of goat jam?”
large coffee. No, make that an
espresso... a big one. Something
tells me I’ll need that caffeine boost later this afternoon.”
loud groan coming from her sister caused C.C. to look directly at her.
Darlin’. I love you,”
love you, too. Be careful,
Chase,” the executive laid the handset in its cradle and got up from her
chair, “let’s go.”
C.C. rubbed her hands together as a devilish smile came to her face, “Pizza
“I’ve seen rabbits ingest fields of lettuce quicker than
you’re eating that salad, Brooke.” C.C.
picked up another slice of her four cheese pizza and shoved it into her mouth.
After a couple of chomps, she swallowed it and continued on at her
sister before taking another mouthful. “You
going to eat it or wait until it becomes petrified?”
dunno…” Brooke poked at the leaves of green and played hide-n-seek with a
crouton before putting her fork down on the table. “I guess I’m just not hungry.”
C.C. studied Brooke for a moment then took a drink. “Brooke,” she said putting the glass back down on the table, “that quack that you referred to back at the office…are you sick or something?”
Brooke shrugged, “She just put me on a restrictive diet for a few
weeks.” She picked up her fork
and took another stab at a green pepper while she tried to steer the
conversation away from herself. “So,
how’s your internship going?”
“No…not Sam,” Brooke continued to poke at her food, “the
“The quack?” C.C.
asked rather loudly, causing her sister to look at her menacingly.
“Would that be Donald or Daffy?”
Seeing the look that she was getting, C.C. knew that something was
going on. “Or is this a quack
of another source altogether?”
"Doctor,” Brooke mumbled, “quack, pain in my ass.” She looked across the table and glared at her sister. “You get it now?”
started laughing. “What’s the
matter, Sis…not enough energy to keep up with a twenty-one year old on a
not that,” Brooke took the napkin that was in her hand and slammed it down
onto the table. “C.C., It’s
nothing like that and you know it.”
and I’d rather not discuss it right now.”
Brooke brought the glass of water to her mouth and sipped at it.
“It’s nothing bad, so don’t worry.”
"Sure, wait until you’re on your death bed to tell me you got some terminal disease or something. Brooke, I thought we were close.”
swear C.C., I’m not sick and I’m not getting
sick.” Brooke picked up her
fork and started back into her salad. “I
just have to be careful of what I eat and drink for a few weeks.
I’m taking some medication and I have to stay away from dairy and
caffeine while I’m on it, that’s all.”
Mom know that you’re seeing a doctor?”
C.C. paused for a moment to see blue eyes averting hers at every turn.
“I bet she doesn’t,” she declared pulling out her cell phone and
tapping a single button in an effort to speed dial.
arms reached across the table and snatched the cell phone out of C.C.’s
hand. “Don’t,” she warned,
poking the end button and setting it down on the table.
“Jesus, C.C. if I tell you, will you keep it quiet?”
Brown eyes stared in shock at her sister. “You think I can’t keep a secret?” C.C. feigned a crushing pain to her chest. “Brooke, I know everything about you…about Loran…and I’ve never said a word to anyone.” She thought for a second, then quickly amended her words, “Well, except Sam.”
know,” Brooke fidgeted in her seat. “We
just didn’t want anyone to know yet. It’s
all kind of involved and there’s no guarantee that it will work.”
C.C. slid to the edge of her seat.
How?” She looked around
to see if anyone else was listening, then centered her gaze directly at her
sister. “Scoop, Brooke. You’re talking to an inquiring mind now.”
I know I can trust you.” Brooke
did her own quick survey of those around them and leaned in toward C.C.
“I’m just a…a little on edge because of the medication.”
She leaned in further and whispered,
“I’m taking hormone pills and my emotions are way out of whack.”
pills?” C.C. made a face.
“You want a sex change operation?”
Brooke’s voice boomed out loud enough to startle those at the tables near
by. She smiled at them
apologetically, then leveled her gaze back at C.C.
“Just listen to me, will you?”
“Okay,” C.C. said with her elbow resting on the table.
She propped her head on her hand, “Talk.”
and I want to have a baby.” Brooke
saw the bland look on her sister’s face and knew that she wasn’t getting
the picture just yet. “Sam
wants to have my baby. To make a long story short, C.C. I’m on hormone pills so
they can harvest the eggs from me. After
they do their little lab thing with the sperm, they impregnate Sam with my
baby.” Brooke got a silly grin
on her face at the thought, “I mean, our
baby.” She watched as the idea
slowly sunk into C.C.
The sibling sat back in her chair as she looked her sister in the eye. “You’re on fertilization pills?” C.C. burst out loud with a quick guffaw, then suddenly stopped and became serious. “Damn! I’m going to be an aunt.”
Chase, you’re going to be an aunt…eventually again.” Brooke waited to see her sister’s reaction.
eyes sparkled with delight as the words formed in her mouth, “Well, if I’m
going to be an aunt, I guess that will make you a real mother.”
Brooke sighed. “Sam too, you
know. She’ll be the one to
carry the child.”
that I can see. But you…”
C.C. chuckled. “Oh boy, this is going to be fun.”
dropped the fork that she was still holding in her hand.
“Why not me?”
Brooke.” C.C. settled into her
seat, fingering the last piece of her pizza.
“It’s just that I never thought of Loran as the parenting type.”
She flashed a smile at the woman across from her.
“I guess this will prove that you’re really not that person at
should know better than anybody that I’m not Loran. I never really was.”
right,” C.C. said, taking a small bit of her food. “I like this one much better.”
glad that you agree because if it’s a girl…” Brooke smiled wryly at her
sister, letting the suspense build.
going to name it after me?”
nodded her head, “Well, sort of. The
official name will be Chastity Loran…” she flashed a smile at C.C., “but
we’ll call her Chase for short.”
took a minute for the concept to register in C.C.’s mind.
Her thoughtful expression went from shock to ecstatic in only a few
seconds. She stuck her hand up in
the air and gave a loud holler, “Wahoo!
Finally a name sake and I don’t have to do any of the work.”
if it’s a boy,” Brooke teased her sister, “we’ll just call it Chuckie.”
immediately went down C.C.’s back. “Damn
it, Brooke, you’re raining on my parade. You know that name gives me the creeps.”
older sibling looked around rather nervously at the people seated near them.
“Yeah, well, calm down C.C., it might take a while to happen.”
can wait.” C.C. sat up
straighter in her seat as she picked up the half eaten crust of pizza in her
hand and looked over to her sister. “Eat
up, Momma,” she motioned to the salad in front of Brooke.
“You’ve got more than just yourself to be thinking of.”
stopped outside of Brooke’s office, knocking softly on the door.
When no response came, she gingerly opened the door and looked to see
if her wife was there. “Good,” she mumbled under her breath, “She’s not back
yet.” She gave the door a tug
and stepped back out into the hallway, bumping into Peter as she turned to
leave. “Oh, sorry.
I didn’t mean to…”
there, Toots.” Peter flashed a
smile at her. “Are you two,”
he motioned with his head toward Brooke’s door, “doing okay?”
I was…I was…” Sam looked at the man and sighed, letting her defenses
down. “Peter, can I be frank
but you can be Sam,” he chuckled. “I
knew a Frank once…didn’t like him.”
Getting no laughter in return from the woman, he turned serious.
“Come on into my office and have a seat.”
He walked several paces down the hall and held his door open waiting
for his friend and co-worker to join him.
Sam said as she entered his office, “I need you to do me a big favor.”
She paused, seeing him hold up a finger as he closed the door and
crossed the room to his desk.
he called into the office intercom, “Could you handle all my calls for a few
Peter. Just let me know when
you’re available again.”
won’t be too long. I
promise.” Peter turned to move
away from the microphone and then stopped abruptly.
“Ida…Let me know if a call comes through from Hawk Entertainment.
I need to talk to them myself.”
problem, Peter.” Ida’s voice
came through the speaker. “Tell
Sam that her lunch should be coming back with Brooke soon.”
eyed the nervous reaction his friend was having at the sound of Brooke’s
name. Sam twisted away from him
and started running her hand through her short blonde hair.
“Thanks, Ida. I’ll do that.” He
ended his conversation with the co-worker and walked over to Sam, resting his
hands on her shoulders, causing her to act startled.
“Okay, Toots, what’s up? Why
are you so jumpy?”
Sam sighed as she turned to look the man directly, “she’s driving me
crazy. I need a break.”
His face twisted with his confusion.
“What are you talking about?”
need you to help her get some of that energy out.” Sam watched as Peter’s face showed even more confusion.
“You don’t get it, do you?”
Sam hung her head and sighed, “I should have known better, you’re a
no need to be insulting, you know,” a perplexed Peter shot back at her.
“Slow down, Sam and maybe I’ll understand what you’re asking me
she’s…her…” Sam threw her hands up in exasperation. “I need some time to relax,” she looked at the man,
searching for some sign of his understanding.
working you too hard, is that it? You
want me to tell her she’s giving you too much with Line of Fire’s virgin
tour?” Peter looked over to see
Sam vigorously shaking her head.
single word seemed to reverberate in his head causing him to be more confused
than ever. “Sam…What the
hell’s going on then?”
took in a deep breath, then blurted it, “Peter, her hormones are out of
kilter.” She stared into his
eyes that were still full of confusion and laid it out plain and simple.
“Brooke’s turned into this sex fiend, nymphomaniac or something.”
Peter’s brow wrinkled with the thought, “Brooke?” Suddenly he shook his head to clear the images he was
viewing. “And…why are you
was the last time you had sex seventeen times in a single day?”
She leveled a glare in his direction.
Sam, I can’t remember the last time I had sex period,” his eyes got bigger
as he mumbled out his state of affairs.
why I need you to help me out here. I
thought that maybe you and Eddie could tire her out and give me a rest.”
She watched the man’s face turn pasty white with fear.
Sam put her hands on her hips and challenged him with her stance.
“Not that way, Peter,” she said through clenched teeth.
”Oh,” the man quickly became tight lipped as he turned and walked over to his desk.
sorry to lay this on you Petey, but I don’t know how long I can do this that
many times.” She watched as
he leaned on the desk, and looked back at her in awe.
“If you were me, you’d be asking the same thing that I am.”
She crossed the room and stood next to him, her hand coming to rest on
his arm. “Peter, as a friend,
please…one evening…two hours…” Sam’s eyes grew wild with
desperation, “five minutes, anything.”
She pulled out her punches and started batting her eyelashes, playing
on his sympathy, “For me?”
held out all of thirty seconds before he gave in to her plea.
“Okay, Sam, but you have to do something for me.”
she readily agreed. “What do
”I know that making love that often can be tiring you out. But Sam…” he paused to gain his courage, then continued on, “don’t let her know that it is becoming a chore for you. I’d hate for her to pick up on it, and you know that she would. Heck, some of the staff here already…” he wet his lips and swallowed hard, “may have.”
have? I thought…I…” Sam let
go of a breath in anguish. “I
guess I haven’t been thinking about anything but myself.”
around the water cooler has it that there is trouble in paradise with the way
you’ve been reacting lately. I
know that you’re exhausted Sam, but it would kill Brooke to think that you
two weren’t the perfect newlywed couple.”
know, Petey. I’d die without
her in my life.” Sam mustered
her strength and met his gaze. “Okay,
I’ll cut you a deal. You and
Eddie occupy her for the evening and I’ll be ready for her tonight,” Sam
gave him a subtle wink. “What
do you say?”
opened his mouth to speak but the sound of someone knocking on his office door
was heard instead. He looked at
the door wearily and called out, “Come in.”
me, Peter.” Brooke slowly
opened the door. “Ida said that
Sam was…” she spied her wife and held up the cardboard containers holding
and Expresso?” Peter looked at
the blonde next to him. “Sam,
she asked and I was hungry,” Sam protested.
“Besides, I could use the extra caffeine, you know.”
She rolled her eyes in Peter’s direction.
“Call it a preconception craving.”
She turned her attention toward her spouse.
“Back so soon, Hon? Did
you have a good lunch with C.C.?”
it was…okay.” Brooke’s face
was painted with a shy smile. She
walked over to Sam and gave her a chaste kiss on the cheek.
“Your lunch will be getting cold, Darlin’.” She handed the containers over to Sam as she mumbled her
apologies, “I’m sorry for disturbing you.”
not…” Sam started to say but didn’t get a chance to finish before Brooke
silently walked out of the room and closed the door. Shocked by her wife’s behavior she turned and looked at
Peter. “What the hell is up
with her now?”
shrugged at the startled look he was getting.
“Hey, I might be her ex-band mate and her friend, but she’s your
wife. I don’t know all her
The sound of a soft knock came again to Peter’s door and it was met with voices joined in unison, “Come in.” They both turned their attention to the door as it opened, revealing Ida’s form.
sorry, Sam…Peter,” she looked from one to the other.
okay, Ida. I was just going to go
eat my lunch.” Sam held up her
meal as she started for the door.
stepped into the room. “A
couple of the girls in accounting were apparently gossiping in the break room.
I think they were speculating about…” Ida wrung her hands as she
considered how to broach the subject, “about your relationship with Brooke
right now. I don’t know exactly
what was said but Brooke’s entire demeanor changed after she overheard
that, Sam froze in mid step. “What?”
She turned to look back at Peter.
“Great, just what I need, office gossip meets the raging hormones.”
Sam took in a deep breath and walked into the hall.
turned from her voice mail at the sound of the knock on her office door to see
her wife leaning reluctantly into the open doorway. Not ready to talk, she looked away, seemingly intent on
hearing the captured voice.
you don’t want to be disturbed, I’ll…” Sam paused, seeing the subtle
shake of the C.E.O.’s head, as Brooke kept jotting something down on a piece
of paper. “Can I come in?”
A nod confirmed her wishes and Sam did so, biding her time until the
last message ended. Sam
formulated her words as she watched Brooke make a few notations in her date
book, then place the receiver on its cradle. “Is there anything you might want me to be doing?
I mean…ah…this afternoon.” Sam
ventured closer to the desk, letting her fingers walk around the edge of it
until she was standing next to Brooke’s chair.
keep looking through those new T-shirt designs.”
meant,” Sam leaned down and whispered into Brooke’s ear, “I meant that
to be on a more personal level.”
C.E.O flipped her date book closed and looked up into green eyes for a quick
second before looking away. “I…I
need to leave the office for a while.”
She pushed her chair back and stood up.
“I’ll be at the newspaper office looking over some copy and layouts
that need my approval for an upcoming ad campaign.”
abruptness of her wife startled Sam, “Well, yeah…you could do that.”
Thank you, God.
“Yeah, right. I’ll…just
look over those T-shirts and wait for you to come back.”
can call me if anything comes up.” Brooke
gathered a few papers from her desk and shoved them into her open brief case.
“Tell Peter to have Hawk Entertainment call my cellphone if they call
in. I’m looking at a local band to sign.”
Sam’s interest piqued, “Is it someone that we’ve
came Brooke’s one word answer as it was quickly replaced by the sound of her
brief case snapping shut.
Sam became very quiet. “I’ll…I’ll
be in my office if you need anything.”
She watched as Brooke headed for the door without even a gesture of a
kiss in her passing. “You have
your cell with you, right? I know
how forgetful you are sometimes.”
reached into her jacket pocket and nodded when her fingers traced over the
familiar outline of the communication device.
She withdrew her hand from her coat and reached for the doorknob,
stopping when she heard her name.
Dark hair swirled off of her shoulder as she turned her head to reveal the
annoyance that was etched into her face.
stared at her for a moment, not sure of what to do or say.
That gossip must have been some
humdinger. You seem…God, please
just let it be the hormones again. “Nothing…forget
intensity of blue eyes softened a little as her mouth started to engage again,
“I’ll see you later, Sam.” She
started walking through the doorway and into the hall.
love you.” Sam held her breath
as she waited for a reply.
squared her shoulders and looked back at her wife. “Love you too, Sam.”
The words were uttered in a tight-lipped fashion before she closed the
door and her booted footsteps could be heard walking down the hall.
those hormones,” Sam spun around on her heel and looked out the window with
its boardwalk view. “I never
know what mood is going to strike her next.”
She stood there for a long moment, letting her own mood settle down.
She looked over at the empty chair and sighed, “Oh well, T-shirts
here I come.” Determined to get
some work done, she headed back to her own office.
came out of her meeting with the Newspaper’s Advertising Representative more
concerned than when she went in. She
thought about his excuse for the royal screw up and it made her wonder if he
wasn’t right with his comment: that eventually the new people would know
what they were doing. Is that me? Am I a new
person to this whole concept of love and marriage…and…. Her thoughts raced to Sam and the baby-to-be.
What if that office gossip is right?
She set her jaw and pushed the thoughts from her mind.
long legs of the C.E.O. ate up the distance to her SUV in a few seconds time.
With a click of the remote and a jerk of the handle she was seated behind the
wheel, staring off into space.
what if they aren’t?” She mumbled, seeing her future turning on end.
“I need help and fast.” She
slipped her hand into her jacket pocket and pulled out her phone.
Eager for answers, she hit the speed dial button and punched in the
number from her memory. “Twenty-one…there
that should do it.” She held
the cellphone up to her ear and listened for the familiar greeting on the
Dedmon, Assistant D.A., how can I help you?”
Randi, didn’t anybody tell you that you don’t Miranda a dead man, Sis?”
Brooke’s teasing masked her nervousness.
har, har…funny, Brooke. What’s
up? Did you get nabbed for
Brooke tried to steady her voice. “I
was just out running a few errands and thought I’d give you a call.”
Randi’s skepticism was more then evident.
“Listen Brooke, you never call me at work unless it’s for
something. Now what is it?”
it,” Brooke spit the words out through clenched teeth.
“Do I have to have a reason to call my older sister?
Christ, if I’m that much of a nuisance, Randi, I won’t bother.”
She pulled the cell phone away from her hand and poked her thumb down
onto the end button in the first strike of a one-two punch, the steering wheel
took the latter as her free hand slammed into it.
“FUCK!” She tossed the
phone onto the passenger’s seat and closed her eyes.
wasn’t but a few seconds before the cell phone sent its reply chirping into
the silence of the vehicle. The
catchy beat repeated itself over and over until finally Brooke grabbed the
phone and stopped it with a barked out greeting of her own. “Brooke Gordon, here.”
that any way to answer a phone? Better
not let Mom hear you or she’ll send you back to charm school.”
Brooke pulled the phone from her ear and stared into it.
me, Terri. What’s up, Sis?
You can tell the doctor.”
Ter.” Brooke grimaced, “I’m
just having a shitty day.”
wrong at your office? Did one of
your bands get caught in the tabloids again?”
took in a breath and tried to relax. “Sorry,
wrong on all accounts, Sis. Besides,
I don’t really want to talk about it. So what’s up with you, calling me in the middle of a busy
work day for us both?”
just having such a good time today…I had to call someone.
I tried Randi but her line was busy, so you were my next choice.
God, I love these hormone rushes that this pregnancy’s giving me.”
caught herself starting to growl at the mention of the word ‘hormone’.
figured that I’d better enjoy it while I can…the good rush that is.
Hey, is that a growl that I hear?
Sounds like someone’s being a grumpy bear today.
Did you get your period?”
Brooke snapped at the phone.
on, Brooke…I remember how much you always enjoyed that time of the month.”
of ‘time of the month’…do you have a due date yet?” Brooke hoped Terri
would take the bait and get off her case.
like it’s going to be around July for this little bundle of mine to make an
appearance. You can never be too
sure with the first one though. Don’t
worry, Brooke, it’s not going to be anywhere around your birthday.
You get that all to yourself.”
should hope so, the beginning of June is a whole month away from July.”
you know, that’s just a little too early for the stork to drop in for a
delivery.” The sound of
Terri’s laughter filled the airwaves for a short time before a very audible
gasp was heard on the other end. “Damn!
What time do you have, Brooke?”
eyes searched the dashboard for her digital read out clock.
“It’s a couple of minutes past three, Ter.”
think I just missed my time slot at the pediatric clinic.
I’d better get going. Later,
Brooke. Hope you’re feeling better the next time we talk.”
Terri.” Brooke ended the
conversation feeling even worse than before.
She closed her eyes to the pain and tried to regroup her feelings.
didn’t take but a moment longer for the cell phone to start chirping away at
her again. She touched the button
and said her name, “Brooke Gordon.”
did you do…call Mom the moment you hung up on me?”
Terri called me,” Brooke sighed. “I’m…I’m
sorry about earlier, Randi. I
just seem to be a bother to everyone lately.”
you’re never a bother to me.” There
was a moment of hesitation on the line before Randi’s well-toned voice came
to life. “Well, maybe when you
were younger, but not now. What’s
struggle in Brooke’s mind was nowhere won when she made a decision to tell
her sister what was going on. “Dammit,
if you’re driving you’d better pull over now.
Talk to me.”
not driving, Randi,” came Brooke’s chastised reply. “You and Brian have been married a long time.
Did anybody ever talk shit about the two of you?”
What do you mean by shit?”
what it sounds like, shit.” Brooke’s
voice was stronger than before.
this shit because of you and Sam being lesbians or is this like normal shit?
I thought that gay thing never bothered you.”
grumbled for a few seconds as she sorted out the particulars in her mind.
“Uhm, I guess normal shit.”
shit, huh?” Randi paused to
clear her throat. “You mean
like when Brian and I had to move our wedding date up by six months?
That kind of normal shit, Sis?”
Brooke sounded perturbed. “I
mean when the bitches in your office are saying that your wife is tired of
having sex with you kind of normal shit.”
She listened to the slow intake of breath coming from Randi’s end.
gossip,” the older sibling’s voice sounded ominous. “That explains a few things.
Did you ever think that they do it just because there is nothing better
to do in their lives than to talk about someone else?”
There was a second or two of static coming over the phone before
Randi’s voice was heard again. “Heck, if I listened to office gossip, I’d be naive
enough to believe that I got my job because I gave the D.A. a blow job in his
office during my interview. Brooke,
you and I both know that I didn’t.”
Brooke mumbled out half-heartedly. “But
it doesn’t help when Sam kind of acts like she’s tired of me already or
that being around me is a burden.”
Wait a minute. What did you say? Are
we talking about the same Sam here…the girl that worshiped you as an idol?
Rock idol that is,” Randi amended her words.
the word came out in a whispered hush.
Sis, very possible,” Brooke snorted. “I
can call her into my office and she automatically assumes that I want to have
sex right then and there. She
starts…sighing and asks me if I want her on the desk or what.”
makes you think she’s tired of having sex with you? Maybe it’s her time of the month. Did you think of that?”
me, Randi, it’s not her time of the month.
I just wished she had said something to me instead of having to hear it
from every other person in the damn building.
I couldn’t take it anymore. I
just had to get out of there.”
did you ever think that she’s afraid of disappointing you…and possibly
losing you? You know, I’m not
sure that Brain and I could work in the same office together.”
was a moment of silence, leaving each woman to her own thoughts.
Randi said hesitantly. “Maybe
they just want to start some trouble for you.
Maybe they’re trying to make your marriage more like their own,”
Randi smirked. “Or maybe one of
them wants you for herself?”
that’s not funny.”
know, but it is a reason.” The
sound of a sigh came from the receiver, “Brooke, marriage is a funny thing.
There are no days off from it. You
have to keep working at it to make it a success.
By working at it I mean keeping the lines of communication open between
you and Sam. Have you asked her
about this or are you just going off on a tangent of your own with nothing but
office gossip as your source of facts?
I haven’t asked Sam. Didn’t
you hear me?” Brooke’s
annoyance with the whole situation was beginning to show in her voice.
“I said I had to get out
of there for a while.”
so you left and you’re thinking about it. Let the steam settle before
you talk to her. Don’t go into this with your mind set on a conjecture
that she’s tired of you,” Randi smirked. “Sis, marriages aren’t
all hot sex and good times. Brian and I have had our little dry spells
too. I’ll be the first one to tell you that if you want to stay
married…you learn that compromise is one of the small things that keep it
together and working.” Randi paused to let her words settle into her
sister’s head before adding more. “You’re going down a path as a
couple…with two minds, two bodies and two plans that are coming together
slowly as one. You have to work
at that becoming one spirit, more than just in the bedroom.”
know that, Randi.” Brooke took
in a breath and let it go. “I
haven’t…” she stopped and started over again.
“I’ve been taking some…uh…vitamins lately and I guess I’m
just edgy,” she mumbled out. “I
can’t have any caffeine and my favorite fast food binds me up like…like an
overflowing dam with no flood gate.” Her
voice became almost a whisper, “I guess it kind of…uhm…plays with all of
your hormones, too.”
with your hormones,” Randi repeated with a questioning tone.
“Brooke, what are you talking about?
No vitamin plays with your hormones.
The only thing that does that is…”
silence was all that could be heard on Brooke’s side of the receiver.
“I guess it kind of…ah…makes me feel a little…uhm…horny
what the hell are you taking…fertility pills?”
voice made the grown woman cringe. “Uhm…well…”
she rubbed her temple and lowered her chin to her chest.
sounds just the way I was when we were trying to have Julie.
Oh God, tell me now. Are
you trying to get pregnant?”
I’m not trying to get pregnant, not really.”
Brooke tried to make out the muffled reply that her sister uttered but
about that, Brooke. One of my
clerks interrupted me,” Randi let out a breath.
“Whew! Well thank God you’re not pregnant. You hand me scared there for a minute.”
straightened up in her seat as the hackles on her neck rose.
“Don’t you think I could have a kid if I wanted to?”
sure that you could. I just
don’t think we could handle all of your mood swings.
Have you talked to Terri lately, one minute she’s up, the next hour
she’s crying her eyes out. She
called me earlier today and thought that Rick was losing interest in her.
She damn near balled her eyes out on the phone until I had to leave for
a court date.”
She called me right after I hung up with you and said that she was
having a wonderful day.”
what I mean? And you…Miss
Intense-In-What-You’re-Doing, I could just see you being pregnant.
Your swings would be second to none and ten times as bad.”
a lot,” Brooke retorted defensively.
the truth. I know you, Brooke.
I’ve lived with you, remember?
Brooke muttered under her breath.
always one hundred percent into whatever you do. I’d reconsider the source of that gossip.
For what it’s worth, Brooke…knowing this…this vitamin story of
yours, I’d reconsider taking any more unless you really need to.”
Brooke fumbled for words.
hey,” Randi cut her off. “If
you have too, enjoy the ah…” she cleared her throat, “horny times.
Consider it a blessing for later on.”
The sound of Randi’s laughter filtered in over the cell phone, “You
know, when I got married a wise old woman told me a secret and I think she may
have been right.”
secret?” Brooke looked at the
told me that if you put a jelly bean in a pickle jar every time that you
consummate your marital union during your first year, it will take you the
rest of your married life to empty it in the same manner.”
don’t tell me that.”
you want to know who told me that?” Randi teased her sister.
Brooke pulled the phone away from her ear as it started to hum.
great grandmother…the one on Mom’s side.”
kidding. I hate to do this, Randi,
but I’ve gotta go. There’s a
call I’ve been waiting on and I think that’s them trying to get through
okay, kid. That’s what big
sisters are for. I’m just glad
that I could help.”
Brooke sighed, “I’m sorry about earlier.”
know. Take care, Brooke and
I’ll be here if you need me.”
Ran.” Brooke waited for her
line to go dead before punching the talk button on her phone.
Gordon,” her voice came out with an air of authority. Her smile broadened as she listened to the voice on the other
end. “Ah…yes, I’ve been
waiting for your call, Ms. Hawk.”
sound of leather slapping against leather split through the air as Brooke’s
jacket met her office furniture. “I’ll
kill the whole damn lot of them,” Brooke cursed as she slammed her briefcase
onto the wood of her desktop. She
grabbed the phone on her desk from its cradle and punched in the office number
that she desired.
Boss Lady, what can I do for you this afternoon?”
everyone from Accounting, Contracts, Ida, Sam and yourself into the conference
room in three minutes. I’ve got
a few things that we need to take care of.”
minutes? You’ve got to be
kidding. It will take me five
minutes just to find them all.”
minutes, Peter. Anyone who’s
not there is suspended for a week without pay.”
rolled her tongue around her teeth as she thought for a few seconds.
“Can’t handle it? Okay,
you get Contracts and Accounting, I’ll take care of the rest.
That should make it easier for you to meet my time goal.
Three minutes, Peter. Get
didn’t wait for a reply. She
pushed down on the speakerphone pad and punched in the next set of numbers.
Brooke kept her tone as neutral as she could.
“I need you and Ida to meet me in the conference room in three
and Ida? Something up?”
but I’ll explain it in there.”
I’ll stop by Ida’s office and tell her.
We’ll be there in just a few seconds.”
Brooke let her finger hover above the disconnect button for a few
seconds before letting her gut feelings take over her being.
took in a breath and calmed herself. “I
love you, Darlin’.” The shy
giggle that she heard over the speakerphone told her that Sam was smiling.
Sam sighed, “I love you too.”
employee that filed into the conference room noticed the C.E.O. standing off
to one corner. Brooke wore the
stoic mask of a poker player as she kept one eye on the clock above the door
and the other on the seats that were quickly filling up.
It was funny how fast some people could move when their jobs were on
the line. With only fifteen
seconds of time left to her mandated deadline, only one chair remained empty.
The din of conversation ceased as the boss’s blue eyes roamed over
each face. She saved the faceless
space of the unfilled chair for last before raising her gaze to the clock one
last time. The final sweep of the
dial had only five seconds left to mark when the voice inside of Brooke’s
head started to count them down. Four, three, two, one…
things first,” Brooke looked at her employees.
Boss,” the man came sliding in the door just as the second hand of the clock
came to its mark. He smiled
sheepishly and took the only seat left, across from Sam and Ida, near the head
of the conference table.
cocked her head to the side as she watched the man take his seat.
“I asked you last week to prepare a proposal for that local band.
Did you turn it into Contracts this morning?”
did,” Peter said with a nod. “Bright
and early this morning.”
blue eyes gazed to the young woman wearing glasses in the rear of the room,
“did you receive that said proposal?”
we did.” She straightened her
glasses on her face, “We looked it over briefly but haven’t had the time
to review it formally for…”
The words thundered out of Brooke’s mouth.
“You haven’t even looked at it to see that I reviewed it myself
after Peter completed it.”
The employee fidgeted in her seat as she watched the C.E.O. turn to the
dry erase board in the front of the room and write out a figure on it.
eyes focused on the bright red until she could see it for what it was,
$400,000.00 of her company’s money.
She turned to address the room full of employees. “Let me explain
something to you. The music
business is all about timing for both the talent and record company.
They want to be stars and we want to catch them at just the right
moment so that we can make a profit without investing too much capital on
them.” She looked around the
room to make sure everyone was following her.
“I’ve been following the rise of a local, three piece, all girl
band for some time now. I spoke
to a representative from Hawk Entertainment about 30 minutes ago.”
She saw the look of anticipation in all of their eyes.
“It seems that the proposal that I personally promised she would have
in her hands by noon today didn’t make its way there.”
She turned and stared directly at the bespectacled woman at the far end
of the conference table. “Linda,
would you care to explain why to me?”
The woman’s voices sounded strained. “I…ah…I
didn’t have time to research the band’s track record or to check for any
other existing contracts under any of the other labels.”
She leaned forward in her chair and her voice took on a defensive tone.
“It takes a little time to find out that kind of information, you
Brooke met the woman’s gaze, “are you listening to me?”
A dark eyebrow arched high on her forehead.
“It was reviewed and approved by me, the C.E.O.
All you had to do was get it typed up on the company letterhead and
have a courier deliver it with the check that was already approved and waiting
for you in Accounting.”
came to the head of the conference table and leaned on it, letting her fingers
spread out on the highly polished wood. “Now,
let me ask you again, why wasn’t it done?”
was busy.” Linda stated trying
to lessen the coldness of her boss’s icy blue stare. “I had some other things that I was working on…digging
for more information.”
mouth quirked into frown. “But
there were no other existing contracts. Peter
and I had already done your job for you on this one.” She saw Linda’s mouth open in challenge.
right,” Brooke pointed a finger at the woman.
“You didn’t see that memo on the proposal.” She turned to her office manager and fired off an order.
“Ida, make sure that we have all intra-departmental memos on
fluorescent colored stationary from now on.
I wouldn’t want another mistake like this to send us into near
ruin…” Brooke’s icy cold glare settled back on Linda, “professionally
Peter sat up in his chair.
Sam looked around the room full of questioning faces and then to her wife.
rasping whispers of speculation flew around the room for a moment until Brooke
turned the focus of her employees back to her.
“I can see that you haven’t hit all
of the others yet, Linda. I guess
it takes you just as long to do your work as it does to be running your mouth
off about my personal life with my wife.”
Slack-jawed, Sam turned to stare at the woman.
anger was evident in Brooke’s demeanor as her fist struck the wood table
with a loud thud. “Do you have any
fucking idea how much money you just cost me because you were too busy
sticking your nose in where it doesn’t belong instead of doing your job?”
The C.E.O.’s nostrils flared with each breath that she took as she
stared the woman down.
like four hundred thousand to me,” Peter mumbled out without realizing it.
gaze snapped over to the man, “Wrong. Four
hundred thousand is what another recording company offered to Hawk
Entertainment to sign the group with them after our offer of three hundred
thousand. I had to double the
offer and promise to have the contract in their hands by five today.”
Brooke looked up to the clock on the wall.
“It’s now four.”
shit!” Linda squeezed her eyes shut in anguish. “I’ll get right on that,” she started to get up from
Brooke snapped. “Sit down.”
C.E.O turned her gaze to her trusted office manager. “Ida, will you please get that folder from Linda’s desk?
See that the numbers are adjusted to reflect the new offer when you
type it up on the company letterhead. I’ll
have Accounting void that first check and cut us a new one.”
pushed her chair away from the table, “’I’m on it, Boss.”
if you’d please,” Brooke turned to a bookish looking woman with an open
denim shirt over a faded tank top.
Boss.” The woman pushed off her
chair and jumped into action as if her very life depended on it.
be ready for that check in fifteen,” Ida called over her shoulder as she
headed out the conference room door.
was gaining on Ida as she neared the doorway.
“Ten, that’s all I need and I’ll arrange for the messenger.”
you.” The sincere smile on
Brooke’s face reflected her trust in the people that she had called upon.
Brooke turned back to the matter at hand, the stoic mask once again slipped
into place. “Linda, your gossip
about our sex life not only cost me a headache and a piss poor attitude, but
it also cost this company five hundred thousand dollars more than what was
already agreed upon. That's half
of a million dollars your mouth has cost me today. What do you possibly have to say for yourself?”
woman sat there for a moment before dropping her chin and mumbling out,
huh?” Brooke shook her head.
“One word from you and that’s supposed to change everything?”
yeah.” Linda saw the raised
eyebrow on Brooke’s forehead and felt compelled at the challenge.
“It was too good to pass up. I
mean…we’ve never had a reason to talk about you until Sam came along.
Hey, this was concrete, not like all the speculations in the years
past,” she tried to justify her actions.
I hope it was worth the extra five hundred thousand that it cost me.”
Brooke leaned back onto the table and let her gaze roam around the
room. “Now, listen up,
everyone. I don’t like hearing
anyone talk about my wife.” Her
eyes narrowed, looking more like ice filled slits than anything.
“I don’t like being upset about anything dealing with my personal
life or our life together as a couple. I
won’t tolerate it now or in the future.”
so is this where you tell me I’m fired?”
Linda crossed her arms over her chest and glared at her employer.
you honestly believe I should keep you after you cost me a total of over three
quarters of a million dollars?” Brooke
pushed herself off of the table and looked around the room. “Would you keep
someone employed if they cost you that much money?” Her gaze settled on Sam for a long moment before turning her
gaze back to Linda. “I suggest
that you take the next week off without pay.
I’ll set up a meeting with a review board and…”
board?” Linda interrupted her
boss. “And who is going to be
on it…all of your pets? I might
as well quit now and save you the trouble,” the woman stood up and started
for the door.
I do on my time with my company is my business. What bullshit you talk about on my time is also my
business.” Brooke’s long legs
crossed the distance to the door and she turned to meet Linda face to face.
“Do you want to do this now? They’re
all assembled. They can all have
a say, your friends included,” Brooke offered.
guess that first amendment about free speech doesn’t apply here, huh?”
Linda straightened up to her full five foot nine height.
has nothing to do with free speech, Linda.
What you did was slander and the time you spent gossiping over that
damn water cooler is what cost this company money.”
Brooke rose in stature to meet the challenge. “Now, do you want to review this today or next week?”
was a moment of charged air between them as one gaze pinned the other.
“Never. I’m out of
here. Go find another one of your
family or friends to work for you.”
filled the doorway with her presence as Linda tried to get past her.
“Oh no, you don’t get out of it that easy.
Peter,” she called out, “Get my attorney on the speaker phone.”
glanced over to Peter as he punched in the numbers on the phone, then to Sam
and she shook her head. “This
isn’t a debtor’s prison the last time I checked.”
She leveled her gaze back at her boss.
“You can’t keep me here.”
Peter tried for his boss’s attention, “I’ve got your lawyer on the
phone.” He pressed the button
and placed the call on speaker, then proceeded to hang up the receiver.
C.E.O. spoke loud enough for her voice to carry to the phone, “Hey, it’s
Brooke here and I need a quick question answered.”
Brooke. Let me hear it.”
have a woman who, while being employed by this company, was given a contract
to get out this morning but, because of her need to gossip rather than work,
she cost me a total of eight hundred thousand dollars in renegotiations by not
doing her job.”
you looking to recoup that, Brooke?”
C.E.O. toyed with the idea for a moment.
“Something like that.”
she quit? That could give us all
kinds of avenues for litigation. We
could sue and try to recoup in that venue.
Just give me the word and I could get my investigators on it right
away, see what we can dig up on her.”
turned to Linda and asked her point blank, “Okay Linda, it’s your call.
What’s it going to be?”
heart filled with panic at the sight of blue eyes staring at her again.
Out of reflex she gulped as she tried to calm her jangled nerves.
Resigning herself to her fate, she nodded a time or two before letting
her chin hang down to her chest in regret.
“Forget the review board. Just
tell me what you want, Brooke.”
of all…I want you to apologize to Sam for sticking your nose where it
didn’t belong.” Blue eyes
shifted to green with a look of sorrow. A
second later Brooke was looking back at the employee in front of her.
“Then,” Brooke sighed, “we’ll discuss how you’re going to
help me reclaim my other five hundred thousand.”
nestled into the pile of pillows on the king size bed and leisurely flipped
through the pages of her book. It
felt good to finally enjoy reading for reading sake, instead of memorizing
every word for fear of failure. She
closed the book and leaned over toward the nightstand, filing the novel away
for another night’s reading pleasure.
back on the bed, she caught Brooke coming out of the bathroom with a
terrycloth robe wrapped around her. By
the look of her lover’s wet hair, Sam figured the robe was being used more
to dry the tall woman’s body than for modesty’s sake.
Sam watched patiently for her reward and wasn’t disappointed. The
terrycloth robe momentarily gaped open revealing cleavage one time, a bit of
thigh the next. Each step brought
her lover closer to their bed and an even better view.
Sam knew what it felt like to have her libido thrust into gear.
Whoa! What a rush.
So this is what a sports car feels like going from zero to sixty in
three point two seconds. The
coy smile on her face slowly turned into a look of concern as Sam watched the
tall woman stop at the bed, falling face down on the mattress next to her.
you like a back rub, Brooke?” Sam’s
hand gently ran over the cloth covered, broad shoulders.
“It might help to get all that tension from today out of you,” she
offered her wife.
Sam, but thanks for offering,” Brooke’s words were muffled by her pillow.
“I’m too tired.” She shifted her weight onto one hip and turned her head to
face her wife. “Besides, I’m
not as tense as I was earlier today.”
that’s good to hear.”
was Linda’s apology,” Brooke mustered a smile.
“Thanks for being such a diplomat with her.”
looked up to the ceiling and sighed. “I
didn’t really know what to say afterward, except to acknowledge it.”
wasn’t much left to say, Darlin’,” Brooke yawned. “Speaking of acknowledging things…remind me to thank
Peter and Eddie. That was a lot
of fun playing with them tonight, even if I did have to let Eddie play the
drums for most of the jamming session.”
Brooke ran her thumb over the calluses on her fingertips.
“I guess I’d better bone up on my guitar playing for the next time
we…” She covered her mouth to hold back another escaping yawn, “Sorry.
Before we get to jamming together.”
was a lot of fun watching you play and sing tonight. You take on a whole different look behind that electric
guitar.” Sam’s smile grew
bigger as she replayed her wife’s image in her head.
Good thing you played the drums
as Loran. I don’t
think I could have handled how sexy you look as a guitarist.
Sam felt a warm rush come over her.
“I think it…ah…even relaxed me.”
yeah?” Brooke looked over to her wife.
Sam winked, then turned onto her side facing Brooke. “Care to help me relax even more?” She whispered,
brushing her cheek against her wife’s, then kissing the soft, clean skin.
Brooke purred at Sam’s touch. “I
really don’t think I can…right now. I’m
just so…” she buried a yawn into her pillow, “so tired.”
okay, Hon, you just rest.” Sam
put a piece of stray hair back into place behind Brooke’s ear. She admired
the woman’s features as Brooke lay there with her eyes closed.
“Hey, did I tell you I made that appointment with Dr. Dennison for
us? We’re all set with your
first ultrasound for the end of the week. She wants to start keeping an eye on that crop of yours.”
waited for a response from her wife, but there wasn’t any.
Instead, the soft sound of the woman’s rhythmic breathing was all
that she heard. Damn,
she’s asleep already. Sam
reached down and pulled the comforter up over them both, tucking it around the
other side of Brooke, then snuggled in as close as she could next to her wife.
Petey,” Sam mumbled out. “I know my secret is safe with you.”
She thought about that for a moment as an image of Brooke’s mother
came into her mind. Hmm…and
you too, Mom, if it’s only that we’re trying to get pregnant.
young woman strained to half-open her eyes, allowing Brooke’s likeness to
fill her head before following her wife into slumber.
Song Lyrics from this week's installment by Steve Brown.