|We Heart It|
change, thank God. The girls were both in sweats and tank tops. A suit and tie would have been very out of place. As it was, I felt overdressed in a polo shirt and slacks. Jamie's eyes narrowed and she flipped up the hood of the black pullover she had put on when I came in. I tried to figure out what I might have said or done to offend her...
"Peter!" Beth greeted me with a kiss, pulling me in by the arm. "Thanks for coming." Her broad smile and her hair up in a sloppy ponytail, added to her pale arms that were usually hidden under blouse or blazer, drew me close behind her, pulling her into a reversed hug. It wasn't until my hands crossed on her belly that I realized there was someone else in the apartment.
That might have been it. I thought it was a rather innocent hug. It wasn't as though I was groping her, or rubbing myself on her, or anything untoward. In retrospect, I probably would have if Jamie hadn't appeared then.
"Peter," Jamie said formally, her reddish eyebrow arched. "I understand you hadn't taken notice of Beth before two weeks ago."
"Jamie!" Beth scolded, turning her back on the risotto she was stirring.
"What? I want to know." Her green eyes found mine again, cold and unforgiving.
"Um... I..." What could I say that she would believe? That she would understand?
"And why did Brian notice you?" Beth asked turning back to the stove. Her voice was colder than I was used to. Jamie didn't seem taken back by it, but she did lighten a little.
"Because I tripped him in the hall," she said without shame. "Did Beth fall into your tree?" Jamie asked, a smile twitching on her lips, as though she were fighting it.
"Something like that," I replied, seizing the opportunity to give part-truth, something they would understand. I had plans to talk to Beth about Sarah this weekend, but it wasn't something I would talk to her friend about.
The smile broke and Jamie laughed. "I knew she would climb that tree. There was no way she'd pass up the chance to see you in the buff. Ow!"
A wooden spoon cracked on Jamie's hand. I hadn't seen Beth leave the stove, and now only the swaying of her hair on her back showed she'd moved at all.
Jamie was still laughing, holding her reddened hand. "It's true! She talked about you all the time, you know."
A pot landed with a thump on the table between Jamie and I. "That is enough," Beth said as coldly as before. "Supper is ready." Her tone lightened a little and she smiled at me.
After supper, Jamie was washing the dishes as Beth led me through their apartment. She'd already started supper when I arrived, so I hadn't seen more than the kitchen and breakfast nook. It was a small apartment, so the tour was short. "And this is Jam and Bet," she said with a smile and flourish of her hand. I looked at the stuffed animals, not comprehending.
She sighed. "Jamie and Beth? They're Mini-us."
"Give up, Beth. He's not going to want that kind of teddy," Jamie called from the kitchen sink.
"Shut up!" Beth hollered back, turning pink.
"I think they're adorable," I told her picking up one of the white bears. "Where did you find them? This is Bet, right?" I asked, hoping I hadn't picked up Jamie's bear.
"Yep, that's Bet. We won them at the fair when we were thirteen. We traded and each kept the other's until we moved in together."
Jamie came in and hugged Beth from behind. "BFFs," she said, resting her chin on Beth's shoulder for a moment before opening one of the three closed doors. "This is my room. You no tour here." She gave me a scowl before closing the door.
I couldn't follow Jamie. She was hot and cold, and just when I adjusted to one, she was the other.
Beth smiled at me and led me to another of the doors, this one to her room. I stood at the threshold, looking around. The only girl's room I'd spent any amount of time in, was Sarah's. The girlfriends I'd had were never serious enough for me to notice their rooms, and most were so untidy, there was nothing to see but piles of clothing. Beth's room wasn't spotless, but except for a cardigan on one of the bedposts, all the clothes were put away. Most of what sat out were books or magazines. Her walls held nature posters and pictures from the lake.
"You can come in," she said, a little shyly, sitting on the edge of the bed. She suddenly blushed scarlet and made a quick move with her hand toward the pillow. I made a point to sit at the foot of the bed, although I was painfully curious what had embarrassed her.
I pointed to the picture on her nightstand. "Your parents?" I asked.
|We Heart It|
I nodded. "My Dad wasn't a fisherman either. Big surprise," I said rolling my eyes. "He wasn't really outdoorsy at all, and Mom only gardened. I imagine you could teach me a lot."
She smiled brightly, taking the picture frame back. "I'd really like that. Hikes? We can start with the parks in the city, lots to see there. Do you know there are over fifty species of birds that migrate through this region?"
I didn't, of course. A bird was a bird. Blackbird. Bluebird. They sounded different, but I couldn't tell you how. "I would like that, too. Saturday?" I said beaming, remembering her suggestion that we kiss every Saturday.
She remembered, too, and giggled. "Yes, and I can drive to the Point," she said with a smirk, reminding me that she liked to drive my car. I hadn't been to the Point since I was kid. It was a nature reserve inside the city.
"That would be perfect. You can tell me about trees and birds, and I can tell you about Sarah."
She took a deep breath, closing her eyes and sighing quietly. "That would be very nice."
"Are you that upset about it? She isn't my ex-girlfriend or anything." I started to worry that I'd pushed too hard at lunch yesterday. The only thing stopping me from telling her then was the need to return to the office. I wanted to have hours to myself after opening that box of memories. Maybe now? "She was my-"
Beth put her fingers to my lips. "Saturday. Obviously, it's difficult for you to talk about. I want you to have time to tell me everything. Don't do it twice."
I nodded, grateful. "Very difficult. Thank you."
She leaned forward and kissed me, her hand running down my arm to the plush fabric of Bet, still tucked in my elbow. Beth laughed. "Are you planning to take her home?"
I laughed, too. "I don't know. Jam might get lonely without her."
"No, she won't. You can take her home!" Jamie shouted through the thin wall. Beth slapped the wall with her palm and I heard Jamie laugh on the other side.
"Thin walls," I muttered unnecessarily.
"Yes," Beth agreed, rolling her eyes. "So kiss me really loud, okay?" she whispered with a grin.
She didn't have to ask me twice. Bet fell to the floor as my arms reached for Beth's sides, wanting to feel how thin the lycra of her shirt was. She giggled and fell back onto her pillow, causing me to topple atop her.
It took all my restraint to keep my hand over her shirt. It helped to put it on her hip, over the bulky fabric of her sweats. I made sure to leave some smacking kisses on her neck for Jamie's benefit, but when Beth moaned quietly, I couldn't stop. I licked and kissed all the way to her ear, feeling her moving subtly beneath me. Her thigh shifted a little against mine, her breasts rose with her breath against my arm, her chin tipped up exposing more beautiful white skin that begged to be kissed as well.
It all stopped abruptly when my hand slipped, sliding under her pillow. I braced myself, careful not to fall on her, but a buzzing came from beneath her head.
|We Heart It|
The door of the room burst open and Jamie was pulling my arm. "Come," she ordered. Looking back at Beth, I saw her face down in her pillow. I longed to comfort her, but Jamie pulled harder. "Trust me," she hissed.
I did. She had known Beth a lot longer than I had. She dropped my hand in the living room, pulling Jam from the mantle. "Give me five minutes," she said, opening Beth's door again.
Once she was gone, I had time to put together what had happened, to figure out what the buzzing had been, why she had been embarrassed. If she knew some of the fantasies I'd had... a simple vibrator was nothing. I used the washroom, the third door in the apartment, and emerged to find Beth, holding Bet. Jam was back on the mantle. She clutched the little bear like a child, tucking it under her chin, hugging it.
I came forward cautiously, reaching for the bear first. "Did Bet and Jam have a talk?" I asked, praying I didn't sound patronizing.
Beth smiled and then laughed, relaxing her grip on the stuffed bear. "Yes. Yes, they did. Bet is a silly bear, getting worked up over little things." She looked at the bear fondly and then at me. "I'm sorry I told you to get out. I don't actually want you to go." Her dark eyes were rimmed in red.
"I don't really want to go," I murmured, kissing her again, softly. "But I probably should." It was getting late and we both had work in the morning. I plucked the white bear from her elbow.
Her mouth opened into an 'O', but she didn't say anything.
"Do you mind?" I asked.
|We Heart It|
She bit her lip and shook her head.
"I'll make sure you get Bet back soon," I promised. "I'm sure Jam will miss her."
"Damn right!" Jaime yelled.
We both chuckled at that.
When I got home I opened the door to Sarah's room. Mom had packed away most of her things, but the bed was still there, with her teddy bear resting on the pillow. It was brown, but matched Bet in size. I made sure both were sitting on Beth's desk in the morning.