Authors: Kate Owen
Tags: #F/F romance, contemporary
"JD, you wound me."
"Actually, I'm glad you’re here. Courtney Higgins needs to get some extra workouts from you today."
"What did Maggie get her to do now?"
Mike snorted and then laughed. "Oh, that's all? Jules, don't be such a hard ass."
Jules took the note out of her pocket and slid it over to him. His eyes moved rapidly across the paper and he laughed out loud. "Oh, Jules, another one of my girls has fallen for you."
"That would be the part you focused on," Jules muttered, while Gen tried to hide her laughter.
"Well, that and Delapois. Hilarious." Mike grinned then sobered and nodded. "Yeah this isn't appropriate. I mean I don't really care what they say about you, Jules, but Genevieve here is a lady."
Jules rolled her eyes. "Yes, I know."
"I would have paid to see your reaction, Jules."
"It was very controlled anger," Gen explained.
Jules shrugged off the compliment. "So, Mike, we're going to handle this in-house."
"Your call, JD. After all, according to Courtney, you are one hot piece of ass." Mike stood and walked out the door.
Gen laughed. "He's refreshing."
"He is that," Jules said as she finished her Dr. Pepper.
"I'll see you tonight at six, if not before." Gen touched Jules' shoulder in parting.
"Right, tonight." Jules grabbed one of her water bottles from the fridge and headed back to her classroom.
Jules watched her team do their weight training, nodding as she kept track of everybody. Her phone vibrated in her pocket and she pulled it out glancing down at the text from an unknown number.
Pad Thai ok? How spicy? -G
Jules texted back that pad Thai was fine and "Spicy 4" was where she usually landed. She saved Gen's number in her phone and looked up to see Mike rolling his eyes and cracking an imaginary whip. She went over to one of the rowing machines and began to work off her excess energy. She had been in the zone for twenty minutes when she heard a gasp. She looked to her left, and saw Courtney standing there gazing at her. "Shit, double shit, balls," she muttered so low that no one else heard. She jumped off the rowing machine and pulled on a windbreaker.
Mike jogged over. "Higgins, you just won yourself five more rounds of running the bleachers. I'd recommend you get started."
Courtney nodded. "Yes, coach." She ran to the bleachers and started running up.
Mike took Jules aside. "Really JD, you have to stop being eye candy for all these girls."
"Yeah, and I'm the only one who has that problem, Mike. Need I remind you of the basketball players who miss shots because they're looking at you."
Mike shook his head. "Don't you wish they'd quit?"
"Maybe we should just agree to get disgustingly fat so they don't want us anymore."
Jules arched an eyebrow at Mike. "Um, have you seen Gen? I'm not going to risk her not wanting me anymore."
"Good point. So that is something, now? 'Cause earlier you weren't sure."
"I think so, I mean, I think it's developing."
"Wow, you are lucky you look like you look. You have zero game."
"You really should meet my friend Beth, you two have a lot in common."
"Sapping my confidence, you're both really good at it."
Mike shrugged. "She straight?"
"And she's cute?"
Jules shrugged. "I was into her all through college."
"That means she's hot. You have great taste. Sure, introduce us." Mike grinned at Jules as she laughed at him. "So, you want to go for a beer?"
"Actually, I have plans."
"Oh, two nights in a row ... wow, you lesbians are so predictable."
"Shut up, we're trying to figure out the story behind all the stuff from Auntie's safe."
"Only you would use a mystery as a way to land a girl."
"Yeah, well, I guess it's working. She's not spending the evening with you, Mike, is she?"
Jules drove home after practice. Before she got in the shower she checked her phone and saw a text from Gen.
Okay if I bring Belle?
Jules replied that it was fine, and Samson would love the company. She took a quick shower, and changed into jeans and a tight white v-neck T-shirt with gray chucks. She went downstairs at 5:55, put her iPod in the dock in the living room for some background noise, and sat on the couch drinking a beer and waiting for Gen to show up. She sang along to the Dollyrots and realized she should change the music. She got up, shut off the iPod and went to the cabinet, taking out her auntie's Nancy Sinatra on vinyl. "Better," she muttered to herself as she went to the turntable and started the record. "Old school is a good way to go. Old school, but not too obvious. Deano is for another day."
She sat back down on the couch and hummed along to "Hard Hearted Hannah" as she tossed the frisbee again. She glanced at the clock. It was only 6: 06, not time to worry yet.
She kept tossing the frisbee and a few minutes later the doorbell rang.
Jules opened the door and saw Gen loaded down with paper bags and trying to manage the leash that was yanking her wrist around. Jules grinned and took all the bags. "Hi, let me get those."
"Thanks, I didn't really think this through."
"I just didn't want her to feel neglected two nights in a row. I hope she doesn't have an accident."
"Gen, this house is more than a hundred and fifty years old. Even if she had an accident, you think it would really be the first time it ever happened?"
Gen laughed as she let Belle off her leash. "I suppose not. Are you really this laid back about everything?"
"How does that happen?"
"I don't know." Jules glanced toward the kitchen. "Samson, come."
Samson lumbered into the living room and saw the puppy. He immediately started jumping around trying to get her to play. She took one look at Samson and hid behind Gen's legs.
Samson sat immediately and Jules set the food on the sofa table so she could get down on the floor with her dog. She reached her hand out to Belle, keeping a hand on Samson's collar to hold him in position, and Belle, smelling the remnants of the Thai food on Jules' hand, came forward and started licking Jules' fingers. Jules brought her hand close to Samson, and Belle followed. She started investigating the comically larger dog, and went into a play bow. Jules let go of Samson's collar and told him, "Okay, Sam," and he broke the sit and started to play with the puppy.
"Okay, you're a math teacher, an Olympic athlete, an amazing cook, some kind of genius, and a dog whisperer. You're starting to sound too good to be true, Jules."
"Oh, trust me I have plenty of bad qualities too." Jules stood up and leaned against the wall with a rakish grin.
"Oh? Like what?"
"Why would I tell you mine, I haven't found any of yours."
"I told you I can't cook."
"You found one already, too. I'm clueless, remember."
Gen laughed. "Yes, vividly, but you didn't reveal that one, I just noticed it."
"Fair enough. Here's one, I'm pop culturally stupid to the point that I never know the names of actors or bands and I'm always asking the people I'm with. 'Who sings this, it's kinda good,' or 'what else was she in, she looks familiar.' It annoys the crap out of people. Oh, and I'm a movie talker. You know, 'Don't go in there!' or 'Why is she doing that?' or the favorite of most of my friends, 'Oh, of course!' when I think I have it figured out. Does that work for you?"
Gen laughed. "For now, but that is still kind of endearing."
"So was, 'I can't cook.' My thing, according to those nearest and dearest to me, gets old."
"I still feel cheated."
"Well, I guess you will get more of my faults later. If you're desperate to find them, ask Mike, or Angie, I'm sure she'll tell you plenty."
Gen cringed. "I'll just have to find them on my own."
"Good choice. I'm starving, you ready to eat this food?"
"What can I get you to drink?"
"Sure, red or white?"
Jules went to the kitchen and pulled the pinot grigio from the fridge and brought it out with a glass and a beer for her. Gen had put the pad Thai on the plates Jules had already put out and was sitting down. "Thanks," she said when Jules handed her the wine.
"So, what's in the journal?" Gen asked.
"Oh, I don't know; I haven't looked at it yet. You asked me to wait, after all."
Gen nodded. "So, it could be French, it could be codes."
"It could be a map to buried treasure."
"Probably not," Gen replied shaking her head
"No, but that would be cool."
Gen smiled. "So, you were going to tell my why your gaydar is so pathetically bad."
"See, there's another fault, tragic gaydar." Jules pointed at Gen with her chopsticks, punctuating her point.
"I think that still falls under the heading of clueless, Jules. So, tell me the story."
"Well, technically, I promised to explain. It's not really a story. First things first, everyone has some made up thing they look for to be a tipoff. Whatever BS things people use, the tried and true way to tell is to see if she's interested in girls. And there are times when I'm fairly sure a girl is gay because of something superficial, but with girls like you, I always default to straight."
"That's not fair. Do you want all lesbians to be like you?"
"Hell, no, I wouldn't want to date a girl like me." At Gen's arched eyebrow she laughed nervously. "What I meant was, jock girls are not really my type."
"But, while it's not fair, it is self-preservation, Gen. With girls I'm very attracted to, if I tried to figure out if she is gay or straight my gaydar goes into wishful thinking mode."
"I think I was making it painfully obvious I was interested."
"See, that goes back to the real way to tell if a girl is gay: expressing interest in another girl, right? The problem is, lots of straight girls love flirting with me. It happens ALL the time. Go out to a straight bar in the quarter with me sometime. Mike takes me because I'm the best wingman for him. They all come over to flirt with me and then they hook up with him to prove they're straight."
"Okay, that doesn't make any sense."
"I didn't say all straight girls flirt with me. I'm not that arrogant, or deluded. What I meant was a certain kind of straight girl always flirts with me."
"Oh, what kind is that?"
"The needy, damaged messes."
Gen arched an eyebrow. "Are you saying I'm a needy, damaged mess for being attracted to you?"
"Not if you're not straight, Gen. These are the girls who rabidly flirt with me but don't actually want me. Those girls are looking for an ego boost, and me returning their interest is the safest validation they can get. They get to reject me on the spot once I return their attention. Also, Mike thinks I remind them of the boys they wanted to date in high school but didn't get to."
"Oh, cher, I never said it was sane, remember they are needy, damaged messes. I'm just saying that it happens so much that I don't trust flirting to mean interest."
"How do you remind them of men. I mean, yeah, you're on the butch side, but you don't look like a man."
"No, I don't look like a man, what I look like is a fifteen year old preppy boy with boobs. I'm the soccer-captain-class-president that was super nice to them but never wanted to date them when they were sophomores, minus the Y chromosome ... and other things."
Gen laughed. "Well, it works on you."
Jules smirked. "Thanks."
"And that's why you're such a hit with the girls at work."
"Ugh, that is so tiring, and yeah, probably. You are just extremely lucky you teach at an all-girls school. You'd have way too many hot for teacher situations from guys at a co-ed school with your whole sexy librarian thing." Jules realized what she'd said and blushed taking a long pull on her beer to shut herself up.
Gen blushed. "Thank you. So, how does this turn into bad gaydar?"
Jules swallowed her drink. "Between not trusting 'wishful thinking mode' and the mixed signals I've always gotten from straight girls, unless I meet a girl at a gay bar, see her actively making out with a woman, or am introduced to her by a mutual friend who's told me she's gay, I figure she's straight."
"Still sounds like a flimsy story, but I'll let it slide." Gen smiled and took another bite of her pad Thai.
They finished their dinner talking about students they had in common, and their own families. Once Jules had taken the plates, Gen turned to her. "How about that tour?"
"As you wish." Jules gave her a warm smile and stood, leading the way. "You've already seen the living room, dining room and kitchen." She opened a door and pointed into it, it was empty except for a rowing machine, treadmill, bowflex, and a TV. "Sitting room, when it was Auntie's house. I haven't decided what to do with it yet, so I just stuck my workout equipment in here for now."
"You didn't keep it as a sitting room?"
"No, I sit just fine in the living room." Jules lead her down a hallway. "Utility room, downstairs powder room, storage closet, and stairs." She motioned for Gen to precede her up the stairs; Gen smiled at the gesture. Once they'd reached the top of the staircase, Jules touched Gen's shoulder lightly to stop her and they turned toward a door.
"Guest room," Jules said opening the door and showing Gen the old daybed in the room. They kept walking down the hall. "Upstairs bathroom," she said opening another door to a very sterile looking bathroom. She opened the next door. "Guest room, again." They kept walking and Jules stopped next to a door and placed her hand on the door but did not open it. "Extra room, currently housing a bunch of my crap I haven't figured out where to put yet."
"What kind of crap?"
Jules blushed. "All kinds. It also has some of Auntie's papers and stuff I haven't gone through yet. I went through a lot as I got rid of furniture, but there are still plenty of family things in there too. It is an absolute pit and my mother would lecture me to death if I let a guest see it."