"Jesse, wait!" Kate cried, running out of Barley's Restaurant. "Wait, Jesse! Please!"
"Forget it Kate", Jesse yelled angrily over her shoulder. "I have nothing to say to you."
Kate caught up, grabbing Jesse's arm, tugging her to a stop. "Look, I'm sorry", she said. "I know what I did was wrong, but..."
"I said forget it!" Jesse snapped. She whirled around to face the other woman, sparks shooting from her green eyes. "Kate, I always knew you were somewhat nuts, but this was absolutely crazy! How could you? Are you trying to ruin my life on purpose? Or do you somehow get your kicks from hurting me?"
"Jesse...listen. I just went a little overboard. I couldn't stand sitting in there, watching you hit on some other chick." Kate dragged her hand through her short blond hair, sighing in frustration.
"She was not just 'some other chick' Kate! She was my date! The first serious date I have had in the past 6 months since we've been apart. And you ruined it! You pissed her off right well and good. I doubt, after that little show you just put on in there that she will ever be interested in seeing me again." Jesse sighed. "Kate, it's been six months. I have moved on. So have you. Or did you think I haven't heard about you and Rachel?" Jesse stabbed her finger back towards the restaurant, where Kate's newest girlfriend could be seen exiting the front door. "What do you care? Why?!" she yelled.
Kate flinched. "I know, you're right. I really shouldn't have done that", she muttered. "But please...let me explain. I...well; I guess I still have feelings for you..." Kate let her words fall off; obviously hoping Jesse would pick up her hint. Kate's gray eyes looked at Jesse pleadingly, falling back on her sure-fire poor-puppy-dog look that had always softened Jesse's heart before.
But not this time. Suddenly Jesse just didn't care anymore. She and Kate had had a tumultuous rocky relationship to begin with, and it had just gotten uglier over time. What started out as a hot fling had turned into a strange sadistic thing, and 6 months ago Jesse had called it quits. Jesse knew that Kate didn't love her, and while Jesse was never really in love with Kate, she had invested a lot into the relationship emotionally. Kate always seemed to be able to twist Jesse up inside and usually did so with a cruel abandon. Jesse was done.
"Whatever", Jesse snarled. "Just stay away from me, okay?"
Jesse turned around and stomped off through the parking lot, shaking with anger. She hit the unlock button on her keychain, and slid in behind the wheel of her truck. She breathed deeply a few times, trying to calm her nerves down. Nerves! The nerve of that...that bitch! Jesse looked out the windshield and saw Kate walking back to the restaurant door, where Rachel was waiting with a seriously pissed look on her face. Jesse almost got out of the truck to run Kate down and expose her so-called "feelings" to Rachel, and hopefully causing Kate some of the same grief.
Easy girl....breathe slow. Jesse told herself. There was nothing to be gained from a showdown with Kate. Though it was good to know now that she had no feelings left for Kate. Jesse had thought that was the case, but sometimes you just never know. Now Jesse knew for sure that she didn't give a shit about Kate any longer.
The bad thing was Kate had just ruined her first shot at some sexual relief since they had called it quits. Jesse was by nature a pretty sexually active woman, but the past six months had been spent nursing her bruised heart, and sex had not been on the top of the priority list. But now that Jesse had moved on, as it were, she was ready to get back on that horse again. Tina was a nice enough girl, pretty, and sweet. This had been their first real date, and Jesse had hoped that it might lead to a few more dates, with the possibility of getting laid sometime in the near future.
I need to get out of this town, Jesse thought. I need space. I need...air.
The thought of 'air' reminded Jesse of the crisp, clean air of her mountain home. That's it! She thought triumphantly! A short vacation in the mountains seemed like just the ticket, a perfect place to get away from all her problems.
Jesse drove home, quickly planning out what she needed to do to get ready to go. She was due some time off of work, and it's not as if there was much of anything going on there anyways. Thanks again to Kate. Jesse turned her mind from that track, knowing she would only get more upset if she allowed herself to think about what Kate had done to her life.
Jesse picked up her cell phone and dialed her assistant Heather.
"Heather, hi, it's Jess".
"Hey Jess, what's up?" Heather chirped. Heather was a great assistant, but one of those overly perky types. Sometimes she tended to rub Jesse the wrong way, but usually Jesse could ignore the worst of the nauseating perkiness.
"I'm going to be taking about a week off. I'll be up in my cabin, so I'll be pretty incommunicado. You think you can hold down the fort for me at work?" Jesse asked.
"Sure, no problem" Heather piped. "Have a good time. You certainly deserve a vacation".
"Thanks Heather. I'll try to touch base once in a while", Jess said. "Talk to you later."
"Bye Jess," Heather said. Jesse ended the call, just in time as she was pulling up to the house. She parked her truck and jogged up the steps, opening the front door.
Wasting no time, Jesse flew through the house, throwing essential items and clothing in a large suitcase. She had no plans to wait around until tomorrow morning. If she did, she would probably just sit in front of the TV, stewing about Kate and the pot of shit her life had become recently. No, staying home tonight was definitely out. Jesse was going to hit the road tonight. It was only 7pm. With the lighter traffic at night, Jess was sure she could be in her mountain retreat by midnight or so.
Barely thirty minutes later, Jesse was ready to hit the road. Only one more thing to check on. Jess dug through the junk drawer in the kitchen until she found the number she was looking for. Picking up her phone once again, Jess dialed.
"Rural Retreat Cabin rentals, this is Charlotte, can I help you?" the voice on the other end said slowly. Jesse got the feeling that Charlotte was very bored at her job.
"This is Jesse Cunningham. I'm wondering if Mountain Magic is available this week?"
"Are you looking for a rental cabin then Miss? For how long do you want to stay?"
Jesse sighed. "No ma'am, I'm not looking to rent. I am an owner. I own Mountain Magic, and sub-let to Rural Retreats. I would like to visit my cabin, but need to make sure there are no boarders at this time". Sometimes it got on Jesse's nerves that she had to go through this, but the Rural Retreat folks paid her nicely for letting complete strangers stay in her cabin. The extra money sure helped, and it's not as if Jesse went there frequently.
"Mountain Majesty, you said?" Charlotte drawled into the phone. "Let me check".
"No wait!" Jesse cried, but Charlotte had placed her on hold already. Jesse fumed silently at the delay. You'd think a huge money-making machine like Rural Retreats could afford some decent help, she thought.
Charlotte came back on the line after a minute. "Ma'am, Mountain Majesty is booked for two weeks. I'm sorry."
"Well, I need to know about Mountain MAGIC", Jesse sniped, stressing the confused word. "M-A-G-I-C". Probably not the best play to treat this woman like an idiot, but damn Jesse was on edge tonight.
"Hmpf...one sec", Charlotte huffed into the phone. Jesse sighed once again. God, sometimes it just wasn't worth it.
Jesse waited, impatiently pacing around the room. She caught sight of herself in the mirror, and stopped to look at the image. Light green eyes looked back at her, framed by a sweep of lashes that one ex had called 'sexy as hell'. Creamy soft-looking skin that Jesse considered her best feature, which stretched nicely over the fine bone structure Jess had inherited from her mother. A small straight nose and full lips. Red hair the color of burnished copper framed her face, cut short, but still full and thick. Jesse ran her hand down her side, looking at her tall, athletic body and strong well-developed shoulders. Kate had always said Jesse looked like one of those Olympic volleyball pros. She let her hand drift up her flat abdomen to cup a firm medium sized breast. She turned sideways in the mirror, admiring her narrow hips and long legs with hard muscles. Jesse smiled smugly at herself, knowing that she looked good, and had worked hard for this body.
Jesse was overall pleased with her appearance, though vain she was not. Jesse knew she was not a typical "beautiful" woman, as she tended to look more masculine than feminine, but she was aware of the innate sexuality she exuded. It was this particular mix of feminine and masculine that attracted most of the women she had been with. The androgynous part of her appeal went much deeper than clothing and outside appearances however. Her inner strength and grounding gave her girlfriends that comforting protectiveness that they would usually only get from a man. This was one of the reasons Jesse usually found herself with women that were either bisexual, or just entering into the world of lesbianism; she had masculine appeal that other women found familiar.
"Mountain Magic", Charlotte said, startling Jesse out of her appraisal of herself, "is currently unoccupied." Jesse could hear the animosity in the woman's voice, but figured it was way too late to play nice now.
"Great", Jesse said. "Show it occupied for the next week, please". Jesse didn't bother with the niceties of thank you and goodbye and fuck you so very much. She just hung up and headed out the door.
Jesse got in her truck and hit the road, thrilled to be on the way. A good 4 or 5 hour drive would clear her head, help wash the last dregs of anger from her system, and put her in the right frame of mind to enjoy a long week of nothing. No responsibilities, no crazy ex-girlfriends, no harassing phone calls from the bank, no worries. Just her and the mountains. Blessed peace and quiet, clean air, and beautiful vistas from her back deck.
Jesse made good time out of the city, but hit some nasty rain as she headed into the countryside. Belatedly, Jesse thought she should have checked the weather before she left. Oh well, she was on her way now, and there was no way she was turning back.
As Jesse drove closer to the foothills of the mountains, the rain began changing first to sleet, then to snow. Jesse didn't worry overmuch, as her truck was four-wheel drive, but she chafed at having to slow down and drive carefully around the curving mountain roads. The weather continued to deteriorate as Jesse got higher up into the mountains, until it was damn near a blizzard.
Fuck, Jesse thought. Really should've checked on the weather. Jesse made the turn onto the gravel road that wound its way up and around what she had always considered her mountain. Just a few more miles to go m'girl. The road, even on a good clear day was difficult to navigate, and damn near impossible in the driving snow, but Jesse was more than capable. Her truck was a good one, and she knew these roads forwards and backwards. Even so, Jesse was shaking with strain by the time she came up to the last hill before her cabin.
Jesse slowed down and looked hard at the road in front of her. After having curved and wound up the mountain at a somewhat steep but easily drivable grade thus far, the road suddenly pitched up a severely steep grade for a good quarter mile before finally leveling off just at the cabin entrance. Jesse could see in the glow of her headlights that the snow and sleet had made this particular hill too icy to drive up, even in her 4x4.
"Goddammit!!" Jesse yelled. She was tired by now, and wanted nothing more than a warm fire and her comfy pj's. This last obstacle was almost too much to take. Jesse felt tears of frustration starting to build, but managed to take a breath and keep them at bay. Nothing to it girl, she told herself. Just a half-mile hike. You've done it hundreds of times.
This was true. Jesse had grown up in these mountains, and knew the trails and roads like the back of her hand. She had hiked, camped and played along this very road. She knew it wasn't very far up the hill, and she could easily hump her suitcase that far. She could come back tomorrow for the groceries and other items in the truck. For the moment, she just wanted to get to the cabin and crash.
Sighing heavily, Jesse pulled her suitcase out of the jump seat and opened her truck door to the blizzard. The icy wind snatched her breath away, stunning her for a moment beside the truck. Catching her breath, and steeling herself for a grueling hike up the side of the mountain, Jesse stomped off through the snow. It was hard going at first, but soon her strong leg muscles warmed up and Jesse made good progress up the mountain.
It seemed to take a freezing forever, but finally Jesse could see the porch light of Mountain Magic up ahead. Jesse laughed to herself, thinking of the stupid names all the cabins in these mountains got. Honeymoon Heights, Bear Naked, Panoramic Pleasures, so on and so forth. It seemed like the rental companies attributed sexual personalities to these small rustic structures, hoping folk would be willing to pay the same amount for deprivation as they would for comfort and ease in a pricey hotel. Whatever floats their boats, Jesse shrugged. At least mine doesn't have a stupid idiotic quasi-sexual name. In fact, Jesse had picked out the name herself, referencing the magic and peace she always found when looking out over the gorgeous mountain scenery.
Jesse stomped up onto the front porch of the little log cabin, noting with pleasure that the previous tenant had left some firewood by the front door. That was great, since she now did not have to go looking in the dark in a blizzard for wood to burn. But she would need some kindling. Jesse dropped her suitcase off by the front door, shivering with cold, and turned into the heavily wooded side yard to find some twigs and small branches. It took some hard looking, as the snow had covered most of the ground litter, but Jesse was able to find some uncovered patches of ground near the cabin walls and under the back deck. She considered checking the garage to see if any more firewood had been left inside, but passed it by, leaving that chore for in the morning. Cradling her precious kindling to her chest, Jesse worked her way back around the cabin's porch, numb with fatigue and cold, and dropped her collection of twigs by the firewood. Picking up her suitcase, Jesse turned and punched in the lock box code on the front door.
Jesse sighed with anticipated pleasure as she swung the front door open, stepping into the little entrance area. She noted with annoyance that the previous occupant had left the lights on, and thought she might call Rural Retreats, so that they might call on the last folk to stay here and give them a good dressing down about wasting resources. Jesse turned back to the front door, letting it swing shut, and she threw the deadbolt home. She pivoted on the spot, thinking of heading into the bathroom for a long hot shower, but froze in place instead.
There's something about staring down the barrel of a gun that will do funny things to a person's insides. Jesse felt those slick sensations in her belly now as her mind whirled emptily.
"Who the fuck are you, and what the fuck are you doing here", a voice yelled. Jesse managed to lift her eyes past the gun, and saw a small petite brunette holding the gun. The girl was shaking, from fear Jesse thought, though her face looked serious enough. Jesse took a deep breath, trying to calm her system down. The adrenaline was now pumping through her veins, making her jumpy, but Jesse knew she had to stay still and calm to keep this woman from blowing her brains out. Obviously, the woman thought she was an intruder. Jesse was aggravated at the apparent lack of competence of fuck-you-very-much Charlotte, but having just locked herself in with a crazy lady with a gun, flying into a cursing rage about dumb reservation bitches would probably not be the best course of action.
Jesse slowly put her suitcase down on the floor. "My name is Jesse", she said quietly. "I am not going to hurt you. Please, put that gun down. "
The other woman let the gun drop, so that now it was pointed somewhere in the region of Jesse's thighs, but did not release her grip on it. "Well, that answers only one of my questions", the woman said caustically. "What are you doing here, sneaking around in the middle of the night?"
"I own this cabin", Jesse explained with a bit of sarcasm in her voice. "I could ask the same of you. However, I will explain that while I do own the cabin, I don't live here. I lease it out to Rural Retreats, and they pay me for letting other folks rent it. I think we can safely assume that there has been a reservation mix-up. Please, put the gun away, and let's figure out what to do about this". Jesse tried to keep her voice calm and slow, knowing that her throaty southern timbre could have a relaxing calming effect on people. As she spoke, Jesse could see the other woman relaxing, and watched as her chest heaved with a deep breath. The brunette studied Jesse for a second, then shrugged and let the gun drop down to her side.
"Well, I would say so", the brunette replied. She took another deep breath, seeming to try and release some tension. Now that Jesse no longer had a gun pointed at her head, she could take a second and really look at the woman in front of her.
She was shorter than Jesse; say maybe 5'5" to Jesse's own 5'9". She had long dark brown hair, slightly wavy, that hung down past her shoulders. She was slim, but Jesse could see that she had plenty of curves. In fact, those curves were pretty visible in the thin white t-shirt and short gym shorts the woman was wearing; obviously pajamas of some type. Her body was nice, a perfect blend of slim and curve. But when Jesse allowed her gaze to wander up to the brunette's face, she was arrested by the woman's eyes. Startling blue, framed by long dark lashes, her eyes seemed to capture Jesse's own and not let go.
Those bright blue eyes were studying her now. A small smile of amusement curved the woman's lips, and Jesse flushed, embarrassed that she had been caught checking the other woman out.
"My name is Cat. Are you alone?" she asked, looking past Jesse out the window.
"Yeah, just me. My truck wouldn't make it up the hill and I had to walk the last half mile," Jesse explained. "I'm frozen through, so if it's okay with you, I'm going to go stand by the fire while we hash this out?"
"OH!" Cat exclaimed. "Of course, I'm so sorry!" She quickly turned and walked back through the living room, laying the gun down on a side table as she passed. Now that the fear had passed, the surge of adrenaline seemed to be coursing its way out of Cat's body by means of her mouth.
"You just really gave me such a scare. If I had heard a car pull up it wouldn't have been so bad, but all I could hear was someone walking around the cabin, and the steps were definitely not from an animal or anything...all I could think of was how far away I was from civilization, and what if I was hurt, or if someone tried to rape me...my friend Susan had told me that I should bring protection with me since I would be so isolated out here, but I had never actually thought I would need it...I never thought I might actually have to shoot anybody....."Cat trailed off as she realized she was babbling.
Jesse followed behind her, trying not to see the little half-globes of ass cheek that kept flashing from under Cat's shorts with every step she took. Cat stopped by the fireplace and turned around to look at Jesse with a questioning look on her face. Jesse ripped her eyes up from Cat's backside just in time.