"No Place Like It"

Disclaimer: None of these characters belong to me; I'm just borrowing them for a short period of time.
Show: Once and Again
Pairing: Jessie/Katie
Rating: PG
Author: Janine
Synopsis: Sequel to "About a Girl"
Email: jbslayer27@yahoo.com

| Ch 1-5 | Ch 6-10 | Ch 11-15 | Ch 16-20 | Ch 21-End |

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Part 11

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"Late as always," Dillon greeted grasping Katie�s hand and pulling her unceremoniously into the apartment. "Luckily for you, you manage to make it fashionable."

"Luck has nothing to do with it," Katie replied flinging her coat at the other woman with a wink. The apartment was filled with the sounds of voices, laughter and music. It sounded like a good party, she was almost sorry she had been late.

"Please," Dillon said rolling her eyes. "You still haven�t figured out how to set your watch properly," she said motioning for Katie to follow her into the other room.

"What is properly?" Katie asked in a faux philosophical tone, smiling as Dillon batted her on the arm. "What�s the party for anyway, I know it�s good to have me back in Chicago but�"

"Shut up. It�s not for you," Dillon replied. "It�s for me. It�s all about me, me, me," she continued whisking two glasses off of a nearby waiter�s tray and handing one to Katie. "Paid for by � not me," she went on cheerily. "Mr. Falk is now a very rich man thanks to me, it�s the least he could do."

"Any reason to throw a good party, right?" Katie asked laughing. Back in Spain Dillon had been the only person able to keep up with her, it amazed her that the other woman had seemingly been able to keep it up and hold on to her original liver.

"Ah, sarcasm, so nice to see you too, K," Dillon said leading her over to the kitchen where a congregation of people had gathered. "I�m bored of talking to you know, bug your lawyer," she finished dropping Katie off by Jessie�s side and fluttering away into the crowd.

"I�ve never been to one of her parties before," Jessie commented watching Dillon flutter off. "It doesn�t bring out the best side of her personality."

"Her personality has a best side?" Katie asked looking over at Jessie, thinking that there were no words in the English language to describe how utterly delectable the blonde looked. Dressed up, dressed down, barely dressed, whatever the occasion Jessie always looked great.

"Vicious," the man beside Jessie commented, drawing Katie�s attention over to him. "I like that in a woman," he continued extending his hand.

"Bryan Winters, Kathryn Singer," Jessie introduced as Katie grasped the man�s hand shaking firmly.

"Singer," he repeated before smiling. "Ah, the creator of Dillon�s fetish for mangos," he said causing Katie to look over at Jessie questioningly. The blonde merely shrugged, but before Katie could ask Bryan what he meant by that he continued talking. "It�s a pleasure to finally meet you."

Katie was about to delve into her grab bag of small talk, when a voice coming from somewhere in the apartment started calling the Bryan and he gracefully excused himself.

"So, you made it," Jessie commented popping a cherry into her mouth as she watched Bryan scurry off. She really wasn�t that sad to see him go, she�d had about all the small talk she could handle for the evening.

"As if I would turn down an opportunity to spend time with you," Katie replied looking over at Jessie to see her raise her eyebrow, no doubt because of her tardiness. "I haven�t figured out how to program my watch properly," she finally admitted shoving the offending object in front of Jessie.

"That�s so sad," Jessie said softly looking up at her clearly meaning it. Katie glared at her. "Let me see it," Jessie continued starting to feel bad for mocking her.

**

"Could I borrow her for a minute?" Dillon asked sidling up beside Katie, but looking at Jessie. "We need to retire to my bedroom to make mad, passionate love."

"Dillon!" said an older, slightly graying man as she rose from where he had been crouched behind the counter, a fresh bottle of wine in his hand.

"Heh," Dillon replied blushing uncomfortably. "Hey dad. I was joking of course�cause the coats are in my room," she continued with a smile, having recovered from the initial shock of seeing her father there.

"You really not to stop saying things like that before it gets back to Bart," he responded shaking his head at her before making his way back into the crowd. He loved the girl he really did, she was the apple of his eye and all of that, but she had a couple screws loose she did.

"Who�s Bart?" Katie asked smiling.

"Nobody," Dillon replied looking after her father.

"Bart Jenkins?" Jessie asked surprised. "Why would anything get back to Bart Jenkins?"

"Who�s Bart Jenkins?" Katie asked again.

"Nobody," Dillon replied again picking up Katie�s drink and downing it.

"He takes care of the firms investments," Jessie said looking over at Katie, knowing that the woman would keep asking the same question until she got an answer.

"Why do we care about Bart?" Katie asked looking back over at Dillon.

"Because he�s my fucking finance alright," Dillon responded testily, glaring at both of them.

"Bart?!?" Jessie asked incredulously. "Bart Jenkins?"

"Yes, Bart, Bart Jenkins," Dillon replied leaning against the counter. "He�s not as dull as he looks," she muttered feeling the need to defend her soon to be husband. It was one thing for her to make fun of him, but another thing entire for two women she�d once hit on to do it. Bart was a great guy, you just had to get to know him.

"Which one is he?" Katie asked surveying the room. She had to get a look at his guy.

"Over there," Jessie said pointing over by the window. "With the bow tie."

"Oh my god," Katie exclaimed upon spotting the man in question. He was tall, which was good, and she had to admit rather good looking, but never in a million years would she have picked him out as the man to make Dillon settle down.

"I like the bow tie," Dillon grumbled good-naturedly smiling slightly a moment later.

"And here I thought you were saving yourself for me," Jessie replied resting her hand on Dillon�s shoulder and squeezing slightly.

Katie�s head whipped around at that as she eyed the quaint little scene before her. "You two dated?" she squeaked.

"We dated often," Dillon replied relaxed once more, and playful now that she was sure her father wasn�t anywhere around. "Sometimes multiple times on the same night � if you know what I mean, and I think that you do," she continued winking suggestively.

Katie looked aghast upon hearing this her attention flickering between Jessie who was biting her lip and Dillon who was looking lecherously thoughtful.

"Was that some kind of joke?" Katie asked looking back over at Jessie whose body had started to shake as she continued to bite her lip.

"Of course it was," Dillon replied looking over at Katie keenly. "Jessie knows I�m a scoundrel," she continued softly still eyeing Katie while thinking that the other woman used to have a sense of humour. "Hmmm," she exhaled a moment later. "Interesting."

"What is?" Jessie asked finally having gotten herself under control. Katie was adorable when she got agitated or upset.

"Nothing," Dillon said absently, her attention focused across the room. "I�ve gotta go rescue Bart, Bryan�s talking to him again," she and with that she fluttered off into the crowd again.

"So," Katie continued leaning against the counter. "You two never dated then?" she went on in what she hoped was a casual tone. She knew it had probably just been one of Dillon�s stupid jokes, but since the words had come out of the other woman�s mouth she�d felt panicky and slightly nauseous. She could safely say that she was not enjoying the feeling. Jealousy clearly didn�t suit her at all.

"I don�t know," Jessie replied honestly, watching Katie closely. She could tell that the other woman was trying to appear blas� but she was failing miserably, and Jessie wondered what could have been bothering her, if what she had said about never having been with Dillon was true. Lord knew that Katie had a past, so she surely shouldn�t have been getting uptight about hers � not that there was anything to get uptight about in this case.

"What do you mean you don�t know?" Katie asked looking over at her incredulously. "How can you not know?"

"We�ve been out," Jessie replied her back straightening slightly. "Whether they were dates, or friendly outings I�m not sure. She�s not the easiest person to read, you know, I mean she flirts with inanimate objects," she continued. "Not that it�s really your business," she added picking up her glass.

Katie looked over at her and sighed. "You�re right," she said softly, her gaze wandering around the kitchen restlessly as she tired to rein in her completely inappropriate feelings of resentment about the fact that Jessie and Dillon may have gone out. "It�s just�" she started to say, and then stopped knowing that what she was about to say would have stepped over all sorts of lines. Jessie was right, it was none of her business, they�d been broken up for years, and they weren�t even really together now. She had absolutely no right to be quizzing Jessie or to be laying her jealously on her, especially considering the fact that Jessie had been more than generous with not questioning her about her past. "You�re right," she repeated leaving them in an uncomfortable silence.

"I fixed your watch," Jessie said a moment later pushing the object back over to Katie.

"Thanks," the dirty blonde said, looking over at Jessie and smiling softly before fixing the watch back to her wrist.

"You�re welcome," Jessie responded smiling back before lowering her gaze once more.

"You look nice," Katie continued glancing at Jessie nervously though she already knew she�d been forgiven for her early transgression.

"So do you," Jessie returned.

"You wanna go riffle through Dillon�s underwear drawer and raffle some off?" Katie asked her eyes focused on the countertop, looking up only when she heard Jessie started to laugh. "I was serious," she continued when Jessie continued to chuckle, shaking her head at her.

"I know," Jessie said sobering enough to speak, but still smiling. "That�s why it�s funny."

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Part 12

2003 � Jessie�s Attic

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Jessie heard a loud obnoxious banging at her door, then heard some feet stomping up the stairs before she saw Zo��s head pop up over the banister and saw the girl begin to march towards her phone in hand. She really hadn�t missed people bursting into her room when they were in Australia.

"I didn�t say you could come in," Jessie said glaring at the kid.

"Yeah, well I wouldn�t have if you�d just have picked up the phone like a normal person," Zo� said handing the offending object over the Jessie. "Some of us have work to do."

"Who is it?" Jessie asked already knowing the answer.

"It�s Wednesday night, who do you think it is?" Zo� asked rolling her eyes at Jessie and heading out of the attic.

"Hello," Jessie said into the receiver her tone bored. Zo� was right, whenever the phone rang in pulses on Wednesday night they all knew who it was. Katie. Only this Wednesday night, Katie�s call had come about three hours late and Jessie had decided not to pick up when her girlfriend apparently remembered her, however Zo� had other ideas.

"Try to contain your excitement, you don�t want to rupture anything," Katie replied sarcastically. "I�m not interrupting anything am I?" she asked surprised at Jessie�s lackluster response to her call.

"Just reading," Jessie replied in the same dull tone. She knew she was being unreasonable, and the truth was the moment she heard Katie�s voice her heart skipped a beat, but she couldn�t help feeling hurt that on one of the few opportunities they got to talk, Katie had put her off for whatever it was she had been doing with her new friends, in her new country, in her new best life ever.

"Must be a very good book," Katie replied slowly. "Listen I�m sorry I�m calling a bit late," she continued figuring that�s what must have been getting Jessie all riled up.

"Did you forget?" Jessie asked softly unable to help herself. This was the first time it had happened and Katie had apologized and she should�ve been happy to leave it at that, but she just couldn�t.

"No, never," Katie responded adamantly. "These calls, talking to you � it means as much to me as it means to you," she continued sighing.

"It�s just that you�ve got this whole new, exciting life that I�m not a part of, and�"

"I was at the library doing propositional calculus," Katie interjected. "New, but not particularly exciting," she continued sighing again. "I feel like I�m missing things with you too you know. The play, the camping trip �"

"I wasn�t trying to�" Jessie started to say. It hadn�t been her intention to make Katie feel bad for having a life that was the last thing she�d wanted to do.

"I know. I know that. It�s just � I don�t know what to say when you say stuff like that," Katie said dejectedly. "I love you, I think about you all the time, I mean they�ve started calling me J.Lo for Jessie lover," she continued shaking her head. "I just � you know," she went on sighing. "I don�t know."

"Yeah," Jessie said in a similar tone. "So what�s propositional calculus?"

"It�s this really retarded logic shit, where if Peter was in the shed or in the garden, P would equal S or something," Katie replied glad for the change of topic. When she talked to Jessie she hated it when they got into talking about how much it sucked to be separated because there was just nothing they could do about it. All she wanted to do was just hear about Jessie�s voice, and listening to her complain about Zo�, and find out what Karen was up to. She just wanted to hear her voice, just wanted to talk to her and concentrate on what they could do, what they did have, not what they�d lost. "I don�t get it. This guy Keith from the class was trying to help me out, but I�m officially a dumbass."

"I think your ass is cute," Jessie replied smiling.

"Really?" Katie asked playfully. "In that case, what�re you wearing?"

"Nothing," Jessie said.

"Really?" Katie asked her voice rising as her eyes popped open. She was suddenly glad she was alone in the room.

"Shorts and a tank top," Jessie replied smiling.

"Tease," Katie accused though when it was teasing like that she didn�t really mind.

"I�ll make it up to you," Jessie promised, referring to Katie�s impending return for Christmas.

"Can you write that down, laminate it and mail it to me?" Katie asked. "I�m going to hold you to that."

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Part 13

2014 � A Week Later

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"You�re hands are shaking," Jessie said softly bringing her own hands up to cover Katie�s in an attempt to still them. The fact was Katie�s body was just acting out how she was feeling, but the reaction still surprised her. It had never occurred to her that twelve years after losing her virginity, and who knew how many lovers later, that Katie�s hands could still shake with uncertainty like they had all those years ago.

"Yeah," Katie breathed out looking over at Jessie. "I keep trying to make them stop, but it�s not working so well," she continued her gaze dropping down, as she laughed softly. "I mean, Christ," she went on her eyes focusing on her hands, which were still twitching slightly even though cupped within Jessie�s.

"Blasphemer," Jessie whispered playfully bringing her lips to Katie�s softly, trapping their hands between their bodies.

"You were saying?" Katie asked softly, her hands finally still once more.

Feeling Katie�s hands still, Jessie stepped back slightly, letting go of the other woman�s hands letting her own fall to Katie�s waist. With her hands now free Katie rested them on Jessie�s shoulders, and then slowly drew them down over her arms before finally placing her hand on Jessie�s chest covering her heart, her eyes slowly shutting as a soft smile spread across her face.

"How can�" Jessie started to say, studying Katie�s face reverent as the other woman slowly opened her eyes revealing her sparkling green orbs to Jessie.

"How can what?" she whispered her gaze dropping down to Jessie�s as she bit her bottom lip softly.

"How can you look at me like you�ve never done this before?" Jessie asked her eyes focused on Katie�s lips too, wanting to free her lip from where it was ensnared by Katie�s teeth, and kiss away any thoughts that might have been in the other woman�s head.

"Because it feels like it," Katie replied simply. "I just look at you�touch you�and it�s like the most amazing thing ever," she continued her hand moving from over Jessie�s heart to the top button of her shirt.

"Katie," Jessie breathed out softly swallowing hard as Katie�s eyes captured hers, locking their eyes together.

"Yes," Katie asked her hands deftly unbuttoning Jessie�s shirt even as her eyes never for a second strayed from Jessie�s.

"I want you to make love to me," Jessie said lifting her hand up to cover Katie�s once more and dragging it under her now open shirt, placing it on her breast as she had done so many years ago. "Right. Now," she continued holding Katie�s gaze, her need painfully evident in her shinning eyes.

Katie stared a Jessie for a moment longer, the feelings of love she felt for this woman threatening to overwhelm her with the power of it all. Then she opened her mouth, shutting it just as quickly when she realized that nothing she could say could possibly be good enough, could possibly express the depth of her emotion. So she leaned forward, touching her lips to Jessie�s softly at first and then with an increasing passion, as she began to move her hand, pushing the material of Jessie�s bra up impatiently and massaging her breast.

Jessie tugged at Katie�s shirt, struggling to yank the material out of the waistband of her skirt as Katie began to pull her shirt off, only stopping to let Katie remove the garment once she had freed Katie�s shirt and was a decent way into the process of removing it.

Katie barely had time to drop Jessie�s shirt to the ground before the blonde was yanking hers over the top of her head, but she certainly wasn�t complaining about it as she felt Jessie�s hand slip up underneath her skirt as the blonde ran her hands up her thighs, bunching the skirt at Katie�s waist. Leaning into Jessie�s touch as their lips crashed against each other desperately again and again, Katie moaned into Jessie�s mouth as the blondes hand came to caress the moist material of her panties at the apex of her thighs.

"Oh god," Katie groaned wrenching her lips away from Jessie�s as her hands fumbled with the blonde�s bra, finally unclasping it and ripping it off of her body impatiently. Then her lips returned to Jessie�s as her hands made their way up Jessie�s torso, and the blonde tugged her skirt down past her waist letting it fall to the ground.

Stepping out of her skirt as it had landed, Katie moved forward and continued to do so until the end of her bed halted Jessie�s legs and they could move no further. Simply holding Jessie close for a moment Katie then slowly dropped to her knees, her eyes holding Jessie�s as she moved down, and as she extended her tongue licking a path from the top of Jessie�s pants to her belly button, dipping her tongue inside before placing a soft kiss over the now wet flesh.

Jessie looked down at the top of Katie�s head, her breath coming erratically now that Katie had released her eyes. She could feel Katie�s hands on her moving against her stomach and was painfully aware of the moment the button to her pants popped free. Then her breathing hitched again she saw Katie�s head begin to move down as she felt her zipper lower.

"You," Jessie breathed out licentiously as Katie grinned up at her while tugging down her pants. "Get back up here," she continued gasping as Katie decided to kiss her way up, stopping along the way to lavish attention on her stomach and then to each of her breasts, before finally making her way back to her lips.

"Jessie," Katie whispered, her voice low and husky as she felt Jessie�s hands slip under the waistband of her underwear. "What do you say," she continued lowering Jessie down onto the bed and draping her body over hers. "No more foreplay?"

Jessie smiled drawing her hand up behind Katie�s neck and bringing the woman�s lips back down to hers. "No more foreplay," she agreed before fixing it so that neither of them could say anything more.

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Part 14

2004 � March

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"Hey," Jessie said smiling into thin air as she leaned back against the headboard of her bed at Northwestern.

"Oh god," her roommate declared dramatically, motioning to the three other people who were lounging in her room. "It�s the girlfriend," she continued forebodingly, knowing who inevitably had to be on the other end of the phone when Jessie said �hey� like that and smiled like that.

"Later."

"Out."

"Call me."

The three others said upon hearing this, following Jessie�s roommate Kristy out of the room.

"I hate each and every one of you with a fiery passion," Jessie called after them. Her behavior whenever Katie happened to be mentioned was a running joke on the floor.

"Everyone run away again?" Katie asked smiling at Jessie�s outburst.

"Yes," Jessie replied crankily. "Bastards."

"You know you love them," Katie said laughing.

"This is a surprise," Jessie continued Katie�s laugh drawing her thoughts away from her dumbass friends. "I wasn�t expecting to hear from you for another couple days."

"Yeah," Katie said her tone more somber now that Jessie had brought them around to the real reason for her call. "You know that professor I told you about? The art one with Sideshow Bob hair?" she asked.

"Know of him, yeah," Jessie said remembering Katie�s references to him.

"Well, I finally got around to showing him some of my stuff two weeks ago," Katie replied. "He didn�t say much at the time," she continued slowly, "but it turned out that he liked what he saw."

"Of course he did," Jessie responded smiling proudly. "You�re brilliant."

"Humph," Katie exhaled softly, "not quite. But he does think I show promise," she continued feeling her heart start to beat faster in chest as she approached the point of no return. "A couple days ago, he ah stopped me after class," she went on taking a deep breath. "He � he said he knows these people, and after seeing my paintings he talked to them."

"People?" Jessie asked a feeling of trepidation beginning to creep into her though she didn�t know why. "Art people?"

"Yeah," Katie responded. "Every summer there�s this apprenticeship program in Palermo, Italy, where each of the students that takes part gets a show to present the work they�ve done before hand, and then for the rest of the summer they work with the professional artists and come back a year later for another show," she said softly. "It�s an amazing opportunity."

Jessie was quiet for a moment as the implications of Katie�s statement began to sink in with her.

"Are you asking me, or telling me?" she asked finally, her voice revealing nothing.

"Telling you," Katie replied softly, after a moment of silence. "I�m going."

"That�s what I thought," Jessie said closing her eyes. She didn�t see how Katie could not go, this program, it was what she always wanted, it was a chance for her to breakthrough. At nineteen. It would have been insanity for her not to accept the offer.

"Do you not want me to go?" Katie asked, not sure what she had expected to hear from Jessie, just knowing that this wasn�t it.

"I do," Jessie said softly, almost inaudibly. "I want you to be happy," she continued in an equally soft tone. "I want you to be able to do what you love."

"Then why did that sound like a eulogy?" Katie asked her voice almost as soft as Jessie�s.

Jessie was quiet for a moment following Katie�s question, one of her hands rubbing her eyes trying to hold back the tears stinging her eyes as the other hand held the phone. Two years, if Katie joined this program it would mean that they wouldn�t see each other for any significant amount of time for two years. Seven hundred and twenty eight days, probably more.

"I can�t do this anymore," Jessie said softly, her heart constricting painfully as the words left her lips. "I can�t take being with you and never seeing you. It�s like a part of me is always missing whenever you�re not around," she continued the words coming to her unbidden now and rushing out of her mouth. "I feel like a shadow, like an empty box. I � Katie�" she went on her voice trailing off as she got lost in thought, in feeling.

"You�re�" Katie said quietly almost hollowly. "You�re breaking up with me?" she asked her voice, small and exposed.

"It�s not that simple," Jessie said beseechingly.

"What�s not so simple?" Katie asked her voice filled with hurt. "You don�t want to be with me anymore. What�s not so simple about that?"

"I want to be with you," Jessie stated firmly. "I always want to be with you. I just never am," she continued her voice raising. "We�re never together, and wanting you every moment of every day, and never having you with me is killing me. It�s�"

"What? You think that it�s easy for me? Being away from you all the time? Do you think that it�s fun for me hear your voice and want nothing more than to be able to hold your hand but know that I can�t because you�re a billon fucking miles away?" Katie interjected, hot tears streaming down her face. She couldn�t believe this was happening. "What am I supposed to do Jessie? Tell me what I�m suppose to do! My parents made me come here, but now that I am here I can�t not go. I mean, do you have any idea how rare an opportunity this is?"

"No," Jessie said softly. "But I can imagine. And that�s the problem exactly. I can�t tell you what to do, because there�s nothing that you can do. Or I can do. Or anyone can do," she continued shaking her head. "Everything is pushing us apart, and we�ve been clinging together until our fingers bled, but I can�t do it anymore. It hurts," she went on her voice cracking as the tears escaped her eyes and streamed down her face. "Being with you hurts."

"I�ll tell them no," Katie said, delirious at the idea that she and Jessie could actually be breaking up. "I�ll come back for the summer."

"You can�t," Jessie said sniffing and rubbing at her eyes. "My god, I couldn�t ask you to," she continued thinking about the amazing opportunity Katie was being offered. "I wouldn�t let you," she went on knowing without a doubt that if Katie tried anything so idiotic she�d hog tie her and send her back to Europe express mail.

"I don�t want to lose you," Katie replied her voice hoarse as she struggled to control her tears.

"You already have," Jessie responded softly, her voice hollow as she stared at the ceiling unthinkingly. "You have to go, and I have to let you," she continued squeezing her eyes shut tightly as she struggled to hold on to the thin grasp she had on her emotions. "Go to Italy, paint � live," she finished, the last word coming out choked.

"I never," Katie started her voice sounding as strained as Jessie�s. "I didn�t � this is�"

"I know," Jessie responded beginning to lose the rest of her control.

"Billie," Katie whispered into the receiver softly.

"Don�t," Jessie said screwing her eyes shut tightly, clamping down the urge to just break down that moment.

"Jessie," Katie said again, not having any idea what she would afterwards but not able to let the other girl go just yet.

"Don�t," Jessie repeated again. "Please, I couldn�t stand it."

"Can I see you?" Katie asked desperately, clutching onto the phone like a lifeline.

"When?" Jessie asked laughing darkly. "I mean that�s the whole point isn�t it?" she continued her voice somber once more.

"I guess it is," Katie agreed. "Yeah."

==========================================

Part 15

2014 � Jessie�s Apartment

-------------------------------------

Grace threw her bag down on Jessie�s couch then turned to face her husband who was grumbling from his position behind her.

"I�m pretty sure Jessie didn�t give us that key so that we could just invite ourselves over for breakfast whenever we wanted," Eli started rooted just inside the doorway. "We should�"

"We�re already here, so the damage is done," Grace said sighing. "Besides it�d hardly be a surprise breakfast if we called her and had her buy groceries before hand," she continued shaking her head at him.

"I�m just saying�" Eli started knowing that Jessie wouldn�t find this to be one of those fun surprises.

"Can you put the stuff in the kitchen, I�m going to go get her up," Grace said already heading down the hallway to the bedroom ignoring Eli�s grumbles.

**

"Surprise!" Grace called smiling flinging Jessie�s bedroom door open, stopping dead in her tracks the moment she stepped in the room. Jessie�s sheets were strewn all over the floor, while Jessie herself stood off to the side of the room near the open bathroom door in a towel that just barely covered the essentials rubbing her hair dry, while a very naked woman laid sprawled out on her stomach on Jessie�s bed, a towel thrown loosely over her waist barely covering her posterior end from Grace�s view. "Oh. My. God," Grace ground out staring at Jessie wide eyed as her stepsister simply blinked at her.

"Grace," Jessie said slowly, just as surprised to see her stepsister as Grace was to have walked in on the scene she walked in on.

"I�m so sorry," Grace muttered backing out of the room. "I�ll just be," she continued jerking her thumb towards the living room. "I�ll just leave you two too�whatever," she went on before closing the door and heading back down the hall.

"What�s going on?" Katie asked raising her head sleepily, blinking at the blurry form that was Jessie. She thought she heard voices, and really hoped that they weren�t in her head.

"Grace is here," Jessie said her attention still on her now closed bedroom door.

"What?" Katie asked flipping over then drawing her legs up to cover her chest when she realized she was naked, and then yanking the towel in front of her to try and cover anything else that might have been visible.

"Oh don�t bother with that," Jessie said smirking. "She�s gone. And she saw you in all your glory," she continued flinging her wet hair towel at Katie.

"What�gone where�my glory�" Katie said plucking the towel off of her head and looking over at Jessie.

"You should probably put some clothes on," Jessie said ripping off the towel she had around her body as she stepped into closet. "She�s waiting for us in the living room."

**

"�with a naked woman ON the bed. Naked," Grace said emphatically gesturing to Eli.

"Yeah," Eli responded, happy that Jessie finally seemed to be getting some. He was secure enough with himself to admit that his sister was rather foxy, and her complete lack of a love life over the years was really a disservice to humankind as far as he was concerned. "That�s kind of what she does," he continued earning a hearty slap from a flustered Grace.

Eli laughed for a moment grabbing her hands and stopping her from beating him before sensing another presence in the room and turning around. Looking up, he saw his sister dressed in pair of faded jeans and a form fitting white t-shirt, and a woman with impossibly long legs in shorts and a tank top. A woman who kind of looked like�

"Katie?" Grace asked stepping forward to get a better look at the woman beside Jessie. Katie Singer? Grace thought to herself. Had they entered the Twilight zone? Oh hell, that meant she�d just seen Katie Singer naked. On Jessie�s bed. When did they get back together? Geez, she had a nice tan. Jessie was so going to get the third degree hell for telling her that Katie was back in town? Were those the shorts she�d left there?

"Yeah," Katie said shifting uncomfortably under Grace�s gaze, wondering what the hell the woman could have been thinking to get an expression like that on her face. "Congratulations," she continued waving at Grace�s stomach. Not the most tactful approach, but she wasn�t too concerned with tact at that particular moment, she just wanted to not fell completely and utterly uncomfortable.

"Yeah, to you too," Grace muttered her eyes flickering between Katie and Jessie, then back towards the bedroom before she realized what had come out of her mouth turned beet red, stepping back once more. It had been fun to tease Jessie about her love life, but not so much so now that she had actually walked in on it.

"Hey," Eli greeted feeling the need to say something, but not sure what would be appropriate under the circumstances. What did one say to woman who had left said sister an emotional wreck and socially retarded her for years as a result of their abrupt break-up, only to emerge ten years later from that same sisters bedroom after having apparently been naked on her bed?

"Hey," Katie replied nodding and smiling at him before her eyes drifted over to Jessie helplessly. This was not how she had planned on spending her morning. Jessie, bed and possibly whipped cream was how she had planned on spending her morning. Was Grace looking at her?

Jessie eyes shifted away from Katie, not quite knowing what to say either, her gaze finally migrating over to the kitchen counter where she could make a pile of have unpacked groceries.

"You know, this really isn�t what the key was for," she commented scowling over at her brother. Nothing returned her to a state of equilibrium like picking on her brother.

"I told you," Eli said triumphantly rounding to face Grace who glared him back into silence within seconds.

"Did you really see me naked?" Katie blurted out unable to stand the brief glances Grace was shooting at her.

Grace blinked then opened her mouth only to shut it and blink some more as she flashed back to the bedroom. Really, Katie had beautiful skin.

"Right," Eli said breaking the uncomfortable silence that had formed. "So, ah � we were going to make pancakes."

=====================================

Comments? Yes please, pretty, pretty please :) jbslayer27@yahoo.com

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