Authors: Robin Alexander
Jill knew she was in trouble because she didn’t think twice about opening her mouth.
After they cleaned up after their Christmas dinner, Shawn said, “I’ve got to get something out of my car, I’ll be right back.” She raced out the door before Jill could reply. From her trunk, she retrieved the meticulously wrapped gift and tore up the stairs two at a time. Jill looked stunned when Shawn walked in with the huge present tucked under her arm and set it on the coffee table.
“What’s this?” Jill asked, looking a bit nervous.
“Open it and find out because it’s yours.”
“Shawn, that’s a big box.”
“Uh-huh, yeah,” Shawn said, unable to stand still. “Rip it open.”
Jill sat on the couch and released a breath before she started tearing at the paper. “It’s the train! It’s the freaking train!”
“I hope that we have a lifetime of Christmases together, and I’ll get to see that expression on your face on every one,” Shawn said as she sat next to Jill.
“My gift isn’t as spectacular as yours, but there’s meaning behind it.” Jill got up and took a small box from her bookshelf and placed it in Shawn’s hands.
Shawn opened it as Jill reclaimed her seat next to her. She stared at the silver watch pendant in her palm knowing that it was something that Jill had crafted with her own hands, which made it incredibly special. “I love it.”
“I was going to add a crack to the face to represent your watch, then I realized it would just look broken or scarred. So I came up with a new idea. There are twelve months in a year, same as twelve hours on a clock. The number one has a diamond on it because it represents January, which is the first time I saw you.”
“You’re wrong, this is far more spectacular than a train,” Shawn said before she kissed Jill. “I will always treasure this. Put it on me.”
Shawn placed the pendant in Jill’s hand, turned, and held her hair up. The skin of her neck tingled everywhere Jill touched. She closed her eyes, basking in the connection. “Are you ready to put the train together?”
Jill’s reply came in a whisper. “Not yet.”
“I can’t turn around. If I do, I’m afraid that I’ll try to take you further than you’re ready to go.” Shawn touched the pendant on her chest. “I’ve desired you since the day I first laid eyes on you.”
Jill ran a finger down Shawn’s back, then moved closer. “What makes you think I’m not ready to go anywhere you want to take me?”
They knocked half of the decorations off the tree in their haste to get to the bedroom. The shrunken head tree topper rolled into the room, and its glowing eyes watched as Shawn’s sweater, T-shirt, and bra went flying. “Wait, wait, wait,” Jill said as she untangled herself from Shawn’s arms and took a step back.
“Change your mind?” Shawn asked as she folded her arms over her chest.
“No, I just want to look at you a moment.” Jill bit her bottom lip as she circled Shawn. “Wow.”
Shawn laughed and grabbed Jill by the arm. “You’re making me self-conscious,” she said as she pushed her down onto the bed and crawled on top of her.
“You have no reason to be, you’re…” Jill moaned as one of Shawn’s thighs settled between hers.
Jill’s lips were tender and yielding, her hands felt hot against Shawn’s bare shoulders as she gripped them. Shawn kissed every bit of exposed skin as she unbuttoned Jill’s shirt. She reveled in every shudder, each sigh her attentions received. “I love bras that clasp in the front,” Shawn whispered as she released Jill’s. “So beautiful.”
Jill’s eyes closed as Shawn’s tongue teased her nipple, and she released a soft moan when her lips closed over it. Shawn was taking her slowly, steadily stoking the flame burning inside of her. Jill felt Shawn’s affection in each kiss and stroke; she longed to reciprocate.
The loose jeans Jill was wearing slipped easily down her hips and thighs. She squirmed away the minute they fell to the floor. She turned down the bed and sat on the edge of it. “Come here,” she said with a sultry smile. She stared unabashedly into Shawn’s eyes as she unfastened her jeans and slid them down her thighs.
Shawn clamped her teeth tightly together when Jill pulled her closer and kissed her stomach while running her fingers up the inside of her thighs. “Oh, Shawn,” Jill breathed against her skin when she reached her destination and felt the wetness there.
Her name on Jill’s lips and Jill’s fingers exploring her sent shivers down Shawn’s spine. Her legs stiffened as Jill slowly entered her. “Not yet,” Shawn said weakly and pushed Jill back.
“I want you right now.” Jill stuck her fingers into her mouth and closed her eyes when Shawn slipped her underwear off.
Shawn pushed her legs wide and sank down between them. The sight and taste of Jill was imprinted on her brain as she lost herself in heat and wetness. Jill wasn’t shy about expressing what she wanted, and it drove Shawn wild.
“Touch yourself while you do this to me, Shawn. That’s what I’m going to be thinking about,” she said breathlessly. “I can still taste you on my lips. Don’t make yourself come.”
Shawn was on the verge, hit by a barrage of sensations, her own fingers between her legs, Jill beneath her mouth, and her words were tearing her apart. She’d wanted to bring Jill to the point of ecstasy slowly, but her own body wouldn’t allow it. Jill’s hands were in her hair guiding her, making it clear exactly where she wanted attention.
Shawn’s fingers were wet when they clasped Jill’s thigh when she could no longer control her hips. Knowing how aroused Shawn was pushed Jill to that last step to the edge. Her back cleared the bed as the waves of an intense orgasm took control of her.
“Oh! You’re up already, I’m in trouble,” Shawn rasped as Jill pulled her up and forced her onto her back. Jill’s face hovered close to Shawn’s as her hand moved between her legs. Shawn slipped her hand between Jill’s legs. “Together…I’m close.”
“I can’t take the direct contact—yes,” Jill breathed out when Shawn cupped her. She pressed down on Shawn’s thigh and rode her while she stroked Shawn at the same time.
“Don’t close your eyes.” Shawn shuddered against Jill’s touch. “Just…”
Jill swallowed hard as she watched Shawn. It broke her concentration and forestalled another orgasm that was steadily building. Jill’s fingers covered Shawn’s clit, and she gasped when Shawn moaned. Shawn’s gaze became unfocused for a second before her eyes closed, and she threw her head back. Her cry was Jill’s undoing.
Shawn drank greedily from the glass of water Jill handed her and fell back against the headboard with a sigh. Perhaps it was because neither of them had sex for a while, but Shawn found Jill to be just as insatiable as she was. They took breaks, talked about going to sleep, then they were back at it again.
“Do you think Theo’s powder has some sort of aphrodisiac in it?”
“No, sweetie, I think that’s all us.” Jill ran a finger along Shawn’s jaw. “I could very easily have you again.” She pursed her lips and cocked her head. “What did you go see her for?”
“Confidence. I wanted to be able to ask you out.”
Jill’s brow furrowed. “Did she make you eat or drink something?”
“No, she poured powder all over my head and beat my face with a feather while I chanted, ‘I’m a confident woman.’ Then I confidently left in a hurry because whatever she poured on my head set in my hair like cement.”
“Did it work?”
Shawn smiled. “Yes, it did.”
“I’m gonna ask her tomorrow what was really in the powder we ate.”
Shawn pulled Jill into her arms and kissed the top of her head. “This feeling isn’t going to wear off. If anything, it’ll grow stronger, I’m sure of it.”
Vera propped her hand in her chin and gazed at Shawn with a smile when they met for lunch. “You look happy.”
“I’ve had the most amazing two days. I brought her the tree on Christmas Eve, and we’ve been together ever since. She’s exactly like my dream—she is the dream.”
“Just go slow and—”
“I can’t…I don’t want to.” Shawn folded her arms. “My heart is pounding just thinking about her.”
“If I were in this situation, what advice would you give me?”
Shawn shook her head. “I don’t wanna do this. Please, don’t drag me back to earth. I know this is the woman I’m going to fall in love with.” She smiled. “Besides, I’ve got the voodoo in my corner.”
“What? Did you really have the old lady cast a spell on her?” Vera asked with a laugh as she grabbed a breadstick from the basket between them and bit into it.
Shawn chuckled, too. “No, she gave me some powder to sprinkle on Jill’s food. It’s supposed to make her mine forever.”
Vera was smiling and chewing, then stopped. She swallowed with a gulp. “Are you serious?”
“Yes, it was in an amber vial with a cork in the top, very
“Did you put it on her food?” Vera practically screamed.
Shawn looked around, then nodded. “I put it in the pancake batter, so we both ate it.”
“Okay, okay okay…” Vera pointed at Shawn with the breadstick. “You don’t see anything wrong with this?”
Shawn picked up her fork and poked at her salad. “Yes and no—you know what, no.”
“Oh, girl, you are so wrapped up in what you want. Personally, I don’t believe in potions, but there’s no telling what you two ingested. You could’ve poisoned the woman you think you might fall in love with, not to mention yourself.”
“I don’t think Theo would give me something that would be a danger to anyone.”
“Do you believe in love potions?”
Shawn pursed her lips as she thought. “I want to.”
“Let’s just say for the sake of conversation what Theo gave you was real. Things are going great with Jill, that’s wonderful, but what if she’s really a bitch in hiding? What if she’s all the things you didn’t like about former lovers times ten, and this so-called potion welds you to her for life?”
“Are we talking figuratively or literally?”
Vera slammed her breadstick on the table. “Shawn, you’re an intelligent woman, stop playing dumb.”
Shawn was getting aggravated. Jill had voiced similar concerns. She didn’t care what was in the powder, what she felt for Jill was real. “Well…this conversation is dumb. You don’t believe in potions, so it makes this discussion moot.”
“Okay, well, let’s get really stupid. What if it makes her—and you—some…horny beasts that can’t stop doing it?”
Shawn flashed a saucy grin. “I’m totally good with that.”
Vera shrugged. “Yeah, I would be, too. I should go see Theo.”
’? It’s time for a
’. Come see Theo,” Rene read as she stood in the window. She whirled around when Jill actually giggled. “You’ve been humming. You went out and got the really good coffee with the whipped cream on top.” Rene narrowed her eyes. “The last time you did that—you had sex!”
“I did, hours of it. This was the most awesome Christmas ever.”
“Oh,” Rene said with a dreamy-eyed sigh. “You’re falling in love.”
“Well, not yet, but I could.” Jill smiled at a customer as he walked through the door. While Rene waited on him, Jill stared at Shawn’s watch. Her head swam with thoughts of Shawn, and it made her dizzy. She was completely smitten. Shawn’s entrance into her life did feel like magic. She felt as though some external force was at work. The watch fell from her grasp onto the pad as she considered the powder that she’d slipped into their food. After a life of hard knocks, she didn’t have faith in much, especially not potions, powders, or even Theo’s abilities, yet she was starting to believe in love again.
“Rene, I need to talk to Theo about something,” Jill said as she tucked the watch into a drawer and locked it. “I’ll be right back.”
Rene nodded as she continued to assist the customer.
Jill jogged across the street, and when she entered Theo’s store, she found it empty and quiet. “Theo?” A muffled cry met her ear as she moved past the counter. “Where are you?”
“In the back. Oh, thank God.”
Jill followed the sound of Theo’s voice and found her lying at the bottom of the stairs surrounded by cardboard boxes scattered on the floor. “What happened?” she asked as she knelt down next to her.
“Marie! She shoved me down the stairs. I’ve been lying here for an hour.”
“Oh, Theo,” Jill said sadly and inhaled sharply. “Your foot’s on backward!”
“Which is why I’m still on the floor!”
Jill pulled her phone from her pocket. “I’m gonna call for help, don’t move.”
Theo frowned up at her. “That was a joke, right?”
Jill paid her no mind as she spoke to the 911 operator. “They’re on the way. I’m not supposed to try to move you. Are you in pain? Why didn’t you call me?”
“I’m fine as long as I don’t breathe, and I’m fresh outta spells to make my phone fly over from the counter, fool.”
Jill took her jacket off and laid it over Theo. “It makes me sick to know you’ve been lying here all this time,” she said as she gazed at Theo’s backward foot. “I’m gonna throw up.”
“Child, if you do that on me, I really will make a horn grow out of
forehead. Go find a trash can.”
Jill sat on the floor. “I’m just gonna focus on my breathing for a moment. That makes the nausea go away.”
Theo stared at Jill as she closed her eyes and pressed her fingers to her temples. “You ever break a bone?”
“My arm when I was ten and my jaw when I was twenty-four.”
“Bit an ass that was too hard?” Theo asked and tried to grin.
Jill’s eyes remained closed. “Someone who didn’t appreciate being dumped punched me.”
“You ain’t no good at picking women, are you?”
Jill blinked and gazed at Theo. “I totally suck in that department.” She threw her hands up and let them fall into her lap. “And here I am, picking another one. What the hell am I doing?”
“Ticket 1207 chose you, baby.”
Jill jumped when someone opened the front door and announced that he was part of the rescue team. “They must’ve been at the coffee shop. Back here,” she yelled.
Jill held Theo’s hand as the medics packaged her for transport. Big tears rolled down her cheeks when Theo screamed while they splinted her leg and foot. Theo shed a few tears of her own, but that didn’t stop her from making a few threats.
“Boy! You twist my foot like that again, and I’ll put something on you that’ll make your nuts look like pecans!”
Jill smiled at the paramedic. “The horn she gave me went away after a day or two, and it was really only a nub.”
Rene rushed in looking frazzled. “What’s going on?”
“Theo fell,” Jill explained.
“Bullshit! Marie shoved me down the stairs,” Theo ground out with a grimace.
The medic Theo had just insulted stopped what he was doing and gazed at her with alarm. “Ma’am, I thought you said you fell down the stairs. Someone pushed you?”
“My aunt shoved me,” Theo rasped.
The paramedic turned to his partner. “We need to call this in as an assault.”
“There’s only one problem, Marie’s dead.” Jill smiled. “The police are gonna have one hell of a time trying to get the cuffs on her.”
“You’re telling me there’s a dead woman upstairs?” the medic asked as he grabbed his radio off his hip.
“Oh, she’s all over the place,” Rene added. “That’s why Theo has to wear a chicken foot. She’s a very mean ghost.”
“A ghost,” the medic said slowly with a nod. “Gotcha.”
“Don’t put her in a psych ward, she’s not crazy,” Jill said worriedly.
Theo squeezed Jill’s hand. “Now listen to me, baby jackass. My keys are in the drawer next to the register. I need you to lock up. Rene, fetch my purse, baby, it’s under the cabinet there.” She smiled when Jill kissed her cheek. “I’m
’ be just fine now, don’t you worry.” The next comment was directed to the medics. “You
’ get my broken-up ass to the hospital today or what?”
Jill followed as the medics pushed the stretcher through the store. “Who do you need me to call? Do you want me to come with you?”
“No, baby, just lock up my store before some fool comes in here and gets ahold of something that’ll make a tail grow out they ass. Boy! Why don’t you just run into every damn thing in here? You better be glad you got me tied down to this thing, or I’d shrink
Jill and Rene watched as the medics loaded Theo into the ambulance. Jill sighed as she walked over to the register and locked it. “Poor Theo.”
“We should write something on her sign,” Rene said as she pulled it from the window. “Something crazy like she does.”
Jill thought for a moment. “Chicken foot is an epic fail, and I broke my tail.”
“It did its job. She didn’t die, did she? Think of something better.”
“Closed due to injury. Shop anywhere else while I’m out, and I’ll give you gout.”
“That does sound like Theo,” Rene said with a nod.
“Just say that she’s closed due to illness and will reopen soon.”
With a backpack slung over her shoulder, Shawn knocked on the door behind the jewelry store. Jill opened it with a smile, and instead of walking in, Shawn simply stared at her. “Did you freeze to the ground?” Jill asked with a laugh.
“I’ve been waiting all day for this moment,” Shawn said as she leaned in and kissed her. “I missed you.”
“What’s going on with us?” Jill asked dreamily.
“Whatever it is, I’m rolling with it.”
Jill took Shawn by the hand and dragged her inside. “Theo fell today and broke her ankle. I went to ask about the powder and found her. She had surgery this afternoon. Oh, Shawn, you should’ve seen it, her foot was turned the wrong way. I have no idea how you fix something like that. I called the hospital, and they put her daughter on the phone. She had to have pins and plates put into her leg.”
“I’m so sorry to hear that.”
“She was very lucky,” Jill said as she opened the door to her apartment. “She has a lot of bruises, but her ankle was the only thing broken. I guess the chicken foot was off-duty.”
Shawn took off her shoes and set them by the door. “What?”
“That foot she wears around her neck is supposed to protect her from Marie—her dead aunt who haunts her—but it didn’t work today. Theo could’ve been killed.”
Shawn pulled a very frazzled Jill into her arms and held her tightly. “I know finding Theo that way was upsetting. Is that what has you so troubled?”
Jill closed her eyes and basked in Shawn’s embrace. She’d forgotten how soothing it was to simply be held after a distressing day. “It was like going back to reality this morning after our magical time together. Theo’s talisman didn’t protect her, and I worried that the powder…I’m so stupid.”
“No, you’re not.” Shawn nuzzled the side of Jill’s neck. “I’ve dealt with fears today, too, but when I got here and you opened that door and I saw that ‘I’m so happy to see you’ look, I knew my worries were a waste of time.”
“I am so happy to see you, to be in your arms.” Jill pulled back and gazed at Shawn. “I made lasagna for dinner. I want to feed you, rub your back, hear all about your day. I want to do this every night.”
Shawn took her hand and kissed it. “I’m all for making that wish come true.”
Theo’s store remained closed for a few days, but on Sunday, there was a sign in the window announcing a sale. Shawn had stepped onto the balcony with a cup of coffee and watched as two women entered the store. “Jill! Theo’s open!”
The laundry that Jill was carrying to the washroom fell onto the living room floor. “Let’s go!”
Both of them put on their shoes and raced down the stairs. They went through the jewelry store, and Shawn jogged in place as Jill locked up the shop. Together, they ran inside the voodoo shop expecting to see Theo, but another woman was ringing up purchases at the register. As soon as the customers departed, Jill and Shawn approached the woman hand in hand.
“I’m Jill, better known as jackass, and this is Shawn. We’re from across the street, and we were hoping to see Theo in here today.”
“Momma’s on house arrest. I’m Sharon, we spoke on the phone,” she said with a smile. “Thank you so much for coming to her rescue.”
Jill shook her hand. “And thank you for all the updates. So she’s confined to her bed?”
“Girl, we can barely keep her in the house. My sister Candace is on patrol now. Momma will get on those crutches and try to sneak out, that’s why we had to put bells on them. Moss doesn’t grow on that woman. She’d be up here right now if she could. And bad mood, whew! She’s fussing at us all, even the grandbabies.”