Is She, Isn't She? Ch. 03byHarmonyHaze©
Author's note: This story has a plot and a decent amount of build-up, so if you're looking for a QF, you've come to the wrong place.
Also, it may be wise to read parts one and two before you continue with three.
Obviously, don't reprint without the author's permission, and any similarities between the characters and people/events of real life are, of course, purely coincidental.
Ashley glided triumphantly back over to the table with her friends, and sat down. She was wet through and through, clothes sticking rigidly and uncomfortably over every inch of her body, and her skin and face were hot.
Tansy, Meredith, Claire and Chantelle all looked at their sexy blonde friend expectantly.
"Did you talk?" Claire asked her.
"No," Ashley flicked wet pieces of hair behind her ear, taking a long draught of her now-warm orange juice.
"You screwed her again?" Chantelle asked, impressed, catching on right away. "Ash, you're a god!"
"Gees, she must be really screwed up!" Tansy sounded shocked. "Seems she can't resist you Ash – but then, why is she pushing you away at the same time? I so would not like to be her at the moment! She's acting like a schizophrenic!"
"What did you expect though, Ash?" Meredith turned to ask the blonde, voice serious.
"How do you mean?" Ashley queried back, calmly.
"I mean, what did you think was going to happen, with Jeanie?" Meredith repeated. "She's straight – or always believed herself to be straight. Then you come into her life, and introduce her to all these new thoughts and feelings. Don't you think, don't you all think, that it's only natural for Jeanie to go through a period of internal conflict? Is it really so shocking that she slept with a guy? Yes, under normal circumstances, we would and should be furious on Ash's behalf. But I think, in the context of Jeanie's straight sexual history, and the experimentation she's going through with Ash at the moment, that her sleeping with another man is totally and completely understandable, and was to be predicted, and expected. I could have told you that she'd probably do that, Ash," she added sympathetically now to Ashley. "I know you were angry and hurt, but this is not a cut-and-dry thing, that Jeanie's going through right now."
"It's still wrong," Ashley retorted flatly. "And her behaviour after the event was still wrong. It was as if she was cheating on me. I mean, we had something going on."
"You weren't official though," Meredith reminded her.
"No, we'd never had "the talk"," Ashley acknowledged. "I can't help the way I feel, Mez, I'm angry!" her voice got slightly more defensive. "I know what you're saying, I hear you, you've got a point but you weren't there when Jeanie and I were together – it was ... intense. There was something obviously there, and then she ran riot with some random testosterone factory. I mean, even if she's dealing with personal issues – that's not the point!"
"The point is, that she wouldn't or couldn't have done something like that if she truly loved you?" Meredith raised her eyebrows.
Damn Meredith and her embarrassing perceptiveness to hell! "Yes, Meredith, I suppose so!" Ashley was forced to admit, a scowl sitting on her pretty features. "The issue wasn't so much her internal conflict! I know she must have been dealing with confusion since meeting me! The issue is, if she really cared for me, she would have been thinking about me before she made a decision like that; she would have thought about hurting me. Which she didn't. Because she didn't care."
"Bitch," agreed Tansy.
"Because," Ashley continued, "she doesn't care about me. She was just using me so that she could experiment. And I'm furious."
"And rightly so," Tansy slotted in.
"My God!" Claire sounded shocked. "She looks like a drowned rat!"
Ashley lifted green eyes to the bar. Jeanie had come back in, and she looked terrible. Her skin was pale with the cold, her hair was a dank mess, makeup running in the rain and clothes like gladwrap all over her sexy curves – at least they were back on. Her dark eyes were glittering with hurt, confusion and fury as she fixed them for a second on Ashley, then looked back down on her mobile phone, texting someone.
Tony came in to work the night shift, and Jeanie walked over and had a word to him. He nodded his consent and put a hand on her shoulder.
"Did she just quit?" Claire gaped.
Ashley's heart seemed to stand still in her chest. Despite everything, despite her anger and rage at Jeanie, the blonde didn't think she could bear the thought of the younger girl disappearing into the night. She suddenly had an almost blinding urge to run up to the bar and talk to the soaked, sad and sorry brunette, but she forced herself to remain seated, turmoil raging within her.
The thunderstorm continued outside, and Jeanie was pouring herself a water at the bar. She sipped it, and hung back while Tony and Bella took over serving all the customers.
"She wouldn't quit, she's too stubborn," Ashley found herself saying, a trifle desperately.
"Wish she would just take off," Tansy muttered.
As though the universe was answering Tansy's request, right at that moment, the front doors of the bar opened and Kendra, Remonda and Gerty appeared, all damp themselves from the rain, slinking into Bolton's with lips curled and expressions distasteful. They all wore hostile looks as they glowered around at the place.
"What's up their goats?" Chantelle noticed.
"Those are Jeanie's Moronic Flatmates," Ashley revealed.
The three approached the bar, sticking absurdly close together. Ashley rolled her eyes. She could sense their blatant homophobia a mile away and it irritated the hell out of her. It seemed that every time she ran into the Moronic Flatmates, they were doing something that made her want to smack them out.
This time, they were there to collect Jeanie. Jeanie nodded swiftly at them when she saw them come in, relief all over her face. She retrieved her bag from the staff cupboard, exited the serving area and walked purposefully over to the group.
"Thank fucking Christ you're here," she said as she reached them, voice agitated, within earshot of the girls' table. "I've had enough of fucking carpet-munchers this afternoon to last a lifetime."
"Oh no, she just didn't ...!" Tansy and Claire were furious.
Chantelle jumped to her feet. "What did you just say?" she growled loudly in Jeanie's direction.
Jeanie rounded on her with eyes blazing, and gave her the finger.
"Really dignified, Jeanie," Ashley turned in her chair and remarked casually, green eyes gleaming.
"Go screw yourself, Ashley!" Jeanie spat.
"Why? Because you're not going to anymore?" Ashley mocked.
Jeanie paled in front of her friends. "Let's just get out of here," she turned and muttered to them, quickly.
"Hey Jeans, isn't that your uni pal?" Gerty squinted at Ashley with something resembling recognition.
"No, she's a lesbo dyke!" Jeanie returned with venom. "Please, I want to go, I'm sick!"
"Don't fucking touch her, dyke!" Kendra had noticed Chantelle's aggressive stance, and her voice rang out over the top of Jeanie's. "My brother's in a gang, don't fuck with us!"
"Ken, c'mon, please!" Jeanie begged her, grabbing her pal's arm and beginning to drag her for the door.
"That's it, bitches, walk—away!" Chantelle narrowed her eyes at them.
"Follow—us out," Kendra mocked her tone, even as she was being pulled for the door by Jeanie, "and you'll see what happens!"
Ashley wouldn't put it past girls like Kendra and Remonda to enjoy a bit of a fistfight, even though Ashley found the idea of women fighting reprehensible, and ugly to boot.
"Chantelle, please, just let them go," the blonde reached out a hand now and tugged on the bottom of Chantelle's blouse, trying to get the fiery butch to sit down. "Please, for me?"
Chantelle complied, breathing hard through her nose. Meanwhile, Jeanie dragged a laughing Kendra out the door and into the storm, Gerty and Remonda tailing them closely.
"How dare she!" Claire sounded disgusted. "Disgusting little homophobic hypocrite! I think we should complain to Tony about her, that display was ridiculous. If she hasn't quit or been fired already, she soon will be!"
"Guys, don't," Ashley turned to the front, sighing. "I just had sex with her outside, and then walked away from her – pretty coldly. She's angry at me – that's what all that was about."
"That does not excuse it!" Tansy growled.
"Her remarks were way out of line!" agreed Claire.
"Well – out-of-line they may have been, but we know she's not usually like that, and I caused that latest display," Ashley sipped at her orange juice again calmly. "Besides," she noted. "I wouldn't be surprised if she quit after this – that's if she hasn't already. I mean, I think she's too stubborn, but it's a possibility ..."
"I'm getting another drink, I'm going to ask Tony," Chantelle stood up.
"Please don't mention her comments," Ashley pleaded.
"Ash, what is wrong with you? Do you still like her? Why are you protecting her?" Tansy wanted to know, voice irritable.
"Tans, I'm not protecting her! I taught her a harsh lesson outside and she reacted accordingly. I wounded her pride – pretty badly, I would imagine, and it was a bitter pill for her to swallow. Now she's acting out against me. And you guys for supporting me. I provoked her – and I want you to leave her alone. She's had a pretty terrible afternoon, with you guys all telling her off on my behalf, Bella being cold to her behind the bar, me ..." she trailed off.
Tansy was watching her through narrowed, suspicious eyes, and Claire and Meredith shared looks with each other.
"I think you are going to way too much trouble to look after the brat, for someone who is supposed to be over her," Tansy put to her now. "She deserves to be reported!"
"Tansy, we've already put her through enough of an ordeal this afternoon, between the five of us, don't you think?" Ashley refused to back down.
"I'm going," Chantelle broke in gruffly. "And I won't say anything. I'll punch the little blighter myself the next time I see her for talking that shit!" and she turned and stalked over to the bar.
The girls were silent until she came back. Chantelle flopped back down into her chair, new drink on the table.
"Tones said she went home sick!" she reported. "Said that she got caught in the rain, and suddenly felt all dizzy and faint like she was going to throw up. Called her friends to pick her up."
"Where's her car?" Ashley wanted to know, surprisedly.
"Maybe she's having work done to it?" shrugged Chantelle.
Suddenly, Ashley's phone in her cream handbag started shrilling out its message tone.
"Ooh!" Claire suddenly leant forwards in her chair, interestedly. "Can it be?"
"Ten bucks says it is!" Chantelle snorted, as Ashley started rummaging about in her bag for her phone.
For some reason, the blonde's heart seemed to be standing slightly still. Her fingers found her phone; she flicked it open and held it to her face.
"It's from her," she confirmed.
"Damn ya all for not taking my bet!" Chantelle grinned around the table.
"It's pretty bitchy," Ashley raised her eyes and revealed to the rest of the girls. "'What the fuck was that outside? How dare you do that to me, I can't believe you, you're a stupid bitch and I never want to see you again, what I did with you was a complete mistake' – 'complete' in capital letters," she added for the benefit of her pals. "'I'm disgusted with myself. You and your dyke friends can all go to hell, don't bother writing back, I won't read it'." She grinned at her friends and her thumbs began working as she immediately started texting back.
"What are you doing, Ash?" Meredith stared.
"'Now that ... you've had ... your little tantrum,'" Ashley read out loud to her friends as she typed, "do you ... want to ... come over ... to my place ... tonight ... and we'll talk about it?'"
"Why bother Ash? She just said she wouldn't read it," Chantelle jeered.
"As if she won't though!" Claire threw in, scoffing.
"God, what's wrong with me!" Ashley suddenly groaned, aloud. "Why do I find her big, nasty, childish rant so adorable? She's so annoying! I'm so annoyed, with myself right now!"
"You'll be even more annoyed if she sticks to her word and doesn't respond to your text," Tansy inserted dryly, but was cut off by the piping sounds of Ashley's mobile.
Ashley grabbed at her phone in a mad fever of celebration – before her heart plummeted into a nosedive. It was from Fleur, one of her bank friends. "Get lost, Fleur!" she muttered under her breath, throwing her phone back down on the table frustratedly, not even bothering to read it.
Claire and Chantelle both started chuckling with amusement at Ashley's behaviour.
"Yeah yeah guys, laugh it up!" Ashley muttered sullenly.
Her phone went off again.
"Please be Jeanie!" Ashley begged, not realising that she'd muttered that one aloud as well. She flicked open her phone, and read. There was silence while she did so.
"Well?" Claire looked as though she was on the edge of her seat. "It's sad that we're spending all afternoon living through you, Ash, but come on! We are, so don't leave us in the dark!"
"Unless the message is too private for you to share of course, Ashley," considerate Meredith gave Claire a stern, reminding look.
Ashley began reading aloud in a calm voice, trying not to let her sense of victory shine through. "'Fine, but you're not fucking me! This is just a talk, and if you have any intentions of screwing, you can rack off! What time?'"
Chantelle, Meredith and Claire all wore enormous grins on their faces.
"She's wrapped around your little finger, Ash," Claire laughed. "How weak was she! She couldn't help herself – didn't even last five minutes!"
"Do you seriously want to be with someone who is unsure they want to be with you, Ash?" Tansy was more sober about the whole situation.
"Sounds like she's becoming surer," Ashley returned, voice practical. "By the time this whole business is through, maybe she will be sure."
"Or maybe she'll use you for a few months, a few years even, at the most – then rack off, find a bloke and marry," Tansy was brutal. "That would break you, Ashley. I think she's too much of a risk, myself."
"Hm," Tansy's words caused the beautiful blonde to ponder, as she texted Jeanie back, 'an hour and a half, sweetie'.
"'Sweetie'?" Claire peeked over her shoulder. "Oh Ashley!" she groaned. "She was certainly not so sweet tonight! She was anything but!"
"You don't need her Ashley," Tansy reminded her. "You are so gorgeously hot, you could get any girl you wanted – just pick a nice, gay girl, someone you can trust to stick around for you. You deserve only the best, you deserve to be happy."
"Thanks Tans, I love you," Ashley smiled at her, and rose. "Jeanie, the little brat, is the only one I can really think about at the moment though. Goodnight girls! I'll let you all know how it goes."
"Good luck!" Meredith wished her on her way out.
"She'll need it," Ashley heard Tansy say pessimistically, as Ashley headed for the doors. "I can't see this ending well, to tell you the truth."
Ashley grimaced at the bad omen as she headed back out into the storm.
Jeanie was late – but the girl was sulking, so that was to be expected. Ashley was showered, dressed in a soft, long white skirt and blue spaghetti top showing off her toned, bronzed arms. Her washed hair was still wet, and out to dry. She relaxed on the couch and sipped a tea, while flicking through a magazine as she waited for Jeanie. She was quite calm, considering.
The intercom buzzed and Ashley checked her watch. Jeanie was twenty minutes late. She marched to the door, buzzed the girl inside the building, and waited again.
There was a strong knocking sound at the door – Jeanie was letting Ashley know that she was very angry with her, with her aggressive knocking. Ashley didn't care. She pulled open the door and Jeanie stood there, freshly showered as well, in jeans and a purple top, hair pulled back, fringe straightened.
"You're late," Ashley made her voice toneless. "Anyone would think you're not interested, Jeanie."
That immediately put Jeanie on the back foot, and the brunette simply stared at the blonde, not knowing what to say. Ashley stepped out of the frame of the door, and held it open for Jeanie. Jeanie slowly walked through and into Ashley's apartment.
Ashley closed the door behind her, and went down the hall to where the kitchen adjoined the living room. Jeanie followed, brow furrowed. Ashley stood next to the dining table, and faced Jeanie, raising her eyebrows at her questioningly, obviously indicating that she expected Jeanie to start proceedings.
"This afternoon was ... bullshit, Ashley," Jeanie finally began, but her voice wasn't strong.
"How do you mean hun? As in, it was all make-believe? You can pretend it didn't happen if you really want to, if you can't handle it," Ashley was calm.
"That's not what I meant," Jeanie declared. "I meant that ... the way you just walked off ... I mean, I never did that to you! Not right after we ... you know."
"You're too homophobic to even say it!" Ashley mocked with a roll of her bright green eyes.
"I am not!" Jeanie glared. "I never walked off and left you right after sex. I don't ... I just don't ...!" her face worked as she was overcome with confusion and angst, and Ashley watched her. The young brunette was certainly acting as though she cared. She was acting as though she cared a great deal. She was acting very hurt indeed by Ashley's actions.
"I mean, I slept with that guy but you didn't need to get so mean about it afterwards!" Jeanie accused Ashley now. "You knew I'd always been straight!" starting to use past tense, that was good. "You and I weren't an official anything! It's not like I cheated on you!"
"Firstly, don't tell me I was "mean about it afterwards", after your trashy stripper sex," Ashley said, voice cold. "I wasn't. I put my anger on the shelf and made sure you were safe."
"Hooray! I almost wish you'd left me there!" Jeanie exploded. "Your actions afterwards were ..."
"What about your actions, Jeanie?" Ashley cut her off. "You slept with me, twice, then said it was nothing. You used me, to experiment. Don't tell me I "got to have sex too" again because that isn't the point. It may have been your point, but it wasn't mine."
"I didn't use you!" Jeanie's voice was angry. "It was consensual sex!"
"Consensual sex that we both had whilst nursing conflicting agendas, obviously!" Ashley snapped.
"That sort of thing happens every single day, with all kinds of couples!"
"How is that relevant? I'm not talking about "all kinds of couples". I'm talking about you and I, Jeanie, and how poor your behaviour was."
"I don't have to listen to this!"
"No, you don't! There's the door!"
"Look, I don't want to fight with you, Ash, but ... this afternoon! What the hell? I mean, seriously!"
"What's the problem, Jeanie? We appear to have had consensual sex again. What of it?"
"You just walked off!"
"You told me you'd never do anything to hurt me!" it was a furious accusation.
"That was before you asked for it by hurting me! I may have walked away from you physically this afternoon to prove a point, Jeanie, but you walked away from me emotionally the morning after you screwed that meathead. I'm angry, that you used me, and didn't care about my feelings – if you'd cared, you would have thought about me before you had sex with that guy. You would have given me a conversation first! I can think of ten ways you could have handled the situation with more class, Jeanie, but instead you just went on your merry way and screwed the stripper, because, you didn't care."