I would just like to thank Tall Poppy for helping me edit my story. If there are any mistakes they are mine. If some characters are familiar it's cuz they're the characters from my story 'Worth It Completely.' Enjoy!
Marie Garcia was finishing her report as she glanced up at her window to take a break, looking at the setting sun. She leaned back in her chair, her elbow on the armrest; her forefinger tracing her lips as she thought again of how she came to be there. Looking at Marie you could definitely see from her long dark brown hair, almond eyes, and brown skin that she was most definitely not an American. Still, some mistook her for being Spanish or Mexican and were always surprised when told she was actually Asian.
It had been a year since she left her country to move to Denver, U.S.A. Growing up, she never would have imagined she could do such a thing, considering she was born and raised in a very strict and conservative society - a culture where the women only got to leave the house when they were married off and not before then.
Her reason for leaving was to be with the woman she loved. A woman she thought felt the same way about her. Her move to Denver was supposed to have been a wonderful surprise for Jasmine, but Marie ended up being surprised... no, make that shocked & devastated. Her heart twinged at the thought of Jasmine... Jasmine Ward. Even after things went bad, Marie decided to forge ahead and accept the overseas job that had been offered to her. It would give her a chance to live a life of independence away from her restrictive family and upbringing and most of all to be herself... a woman attracted to other women. Although there were women like her in her country, it was most definitely still not accepted and was frowned upon.
It all started with the two women meeting online in a chat room. Marie was hesitant to connect at first since she had never done anything remotely like it before. For reasons she could not for the life of her explain, she took to Jasmine right away. All she knew was that she felt very calm and comfortable with her. They were both career women - Marie was a loans officer at a local bank in her country while Jasmine, although British by birth, was working as a doctor in Denver. She had studied in the US and decided to stay and work there, electing not to return to London.
They chatted innocently at first but as the weeks went by, they realized that they had a lot in common. Both women were single... they had both had their share of boyfriends and although both had been attracted to women in the past, neither had done anything about it. Each had an experience where they had a female friend come on to them but were afraid to pursue it despite their attraction for fear of how their personal and professional lives would be affected. Although Marie had dated men in the past, she had never felt so attracted to anyone that she wanted to share everything with them. She was still a virgin and at some point had begun to believe that she must actually be as frigid as past dates had described her. That thought was blown apart when she met Jasmine in cyberspace.
When they moved from the chat room to e-mail, Marie was the first one to send her picture then Jasmine followed after a while. Both definitely liked what they saw and slowly their conversations turned flirty...then seductive...then sexual. As the months went by, they progressed to other means of communicating, moving from e-mail to text messages and voice calls to video calls. All of their messages or calls started with the two women sharing their thoughts and visions of how they wanted to be with each other and ended with them coming together. They had explosive phone sex which left them both satisfied but wanting so much more.
They had been corresponding for close on a year when Marie thought of applying for a job in Denver so that they could finally be together and be each other's first time with another woman... to be able to finally do to each other what they had imagined so many times. She didn't tell Jasmine her plans since she wanted to surprise her, so when her application was approved she couldn't wait to tell her the news when they had their next scheduled video call.
The moment the call started, Marie felt that something was off with Jasmine - her attitude and demeanor spoke volumes even if she said nothing. Finally, Marie could no longer handle the tension and asked her point-blank what was wrong. Jasmine couldn't even look her in the eyes as she said, "Baby, I don't want to say this...this is so hard for me...but it would never work with us. What we have is a long-distance virtual relationship. I think we should both move on and be with someone that we can actually be with...I mean physically." Marie could feel her heart thumping so hard and fast. It clenched so tight and hurt so much she thought it would literally break into pieces. With effort she kept calm, looking at Jasmine and in a soft voice asked, "Why don't you just tell me what's really going on? You and I have discussed visiting each other so that's not the problem. At least give me that."
"Ummm...Tracy is back here in Denver...and I...ummm...want to see if...." Jasmine said hesitantly. Marie closed her eyes from the intense pain she felt with those words and hearing that name. Tracy was the friend who had come onto Jasmine a long time before, but she hadn't done anything to pursue it despite her attraction, fearing the reaction of her family and friends. "You want to see if things could finally work out between you." She finished for Jasmine.
"Baby, I'm...." and before Jasmine could say anything more, Marie lifted her palm to the screen to stop her. "Please...please don't call me that...you don't have the right to call me that anymore. I'm no longer your baby...I don't think I ever was." Taking a deep calming breath, she prayed to all that's holy that she wouldn't break before she finished. "I... I really wish you all the best. Goodbye, Jasmine." She ended the call as tears started to run down her face.
Marie's thoughts were broken by knocking on her office door. Coming back to the present, she was surprised to find wetness on her cheeks. She quickly wiped the tears away as she answered, "Yes? Come in." She turned towards the door which opened to reveal her boss, Toni Stevens.
"Hey Marie! It's quitting time. You about ready to join me in our other job? Liz is waiting for us...says it's a slow night at the bar and with our combined beauties it might encourage both the women and men to enter the place!" Toni said with a smile. "Hey, you alright?" she asked, noticing the telltale redness of Marie's eyes.
"Oh! I'm fine...thanks for asking. Well, we can't have Liz waiting now especially with her being pregnant and all. Just let me shut off my computer and get my things." Marie stood up from her chair and packed up. "What about Laurel? Will she be joining us? With her around we would be like the femme fatale trio!" Marie said with a big smile on her face.
"You know Marie you're very pretty but when you smile it makes you beautiful. Just keep smiling and be happy alright?" Toni encouraged Marie. "As for Laurel, my beautiful baby, she'll join us as soon as she's done with her client. Now let's haul ass shall we?"
It was a slow Tuesday morning at work as Marie looked at the e-mail message sent to her by Jasmine just a few minutes before. It wasn't the first time that Jasmine had sent her an e-mail. In the previous six months she had sent numerous messages asking how she was and if they could talk. Marie ignored every one, wondering what on earth they possibly had to talk about. And if Jasmine wanted to be friends...well tough cookie! Marie couldn't think of them being 'just friends' after everything they had shared over the course of the one year they were corresponding. How could she go from explicit talks of caressing, touching, kissing, and making each other come to "how's the weather" and "how's your day coming along?"
The e-mail was simple: "Hey there...I know we didn't end things right and it was all my fault...You could probably just ignore this message along with the others I've sent you these past months...But if you could please, please talk to me...It wouldn't take that long I promise you...And you don't have to say anything...I would just like to say what I have to say and that would be it if you prefer. Jasmine."
Marie took a deep breath and without really understanding why, she replied to Jasmine's email. "I'm ok to talk now." It wasn't even ten minutes later when an alert popped up for a new mail. "Hey! Hi! Do you still use the same user name?" Jasmine replied. "Yes." was all that Marie could write, already half regretting her actions.
Marie felt like she was going to have an asthma attack. She couldn't breathe properly while waiting for Jasmine to go online. Her whole body felt like it was shaking. She started taking deep calming breaths as Jasmine did just that and started the video call. Both their breaths hitched at the same time when they saw each other on the screen for the first time in a year. "Ummm... Hi... Thank you for allowing me this.... You look great... Your hair is longer ... It...ummm... It suits you." Jasmine stumbled on her words as she was rendered breathless by the sight of Marie on the screen. 'God! She looks so gorgeous with her long dark hair falling just below her grogeous breasts. Her full lips still look like a perfect bow' she thought to herself.
"You don't look so bad yourself." Marie replied. 'Dammit! You haven't seen or spoken to her in a year and that's all you have to say to her?!' She scolded herself. 'God! Her curly hair surrounding her face is so beautiful! She's still so beautiful!' She thought.
"I called your office once a few months back and they told me you had quit and didn't know where you went... Don't worry though I said I was a client." Jasmine quickly said, seeing the panic in Marie's eyes, but misreading the cause. "You moved to a different bank? Sorry...You don't have to answer that... I've no right to ask." Jasmine apologized.
"Ummm... you're right I don't have to...." before Marie could finish her sentence, the door to her office burst open and Toni announced in a loud jovial voice, "Hey Marie! My sister just called to say that she just came from the Denver Health Hospital and has some good news! So you, me and Laurel are invited for dinner at her house tonight! Oh! She also said not to take Arapahoe Road since there's construction going on and to take County Line Road instead." With that, she grinned and swept out again. As the door closed, both women sat, frozen, one feeling dread, the other feeling disbelief at what she had heard.
"Dammit!" Marie whispered and closed her eyes, rubbing her forehead trying to erase the headache that was beginning to develop. She hoped against hope that Jasmine hadn't heard Toni clearly.
"Where are you exactly, Marie? And please don't tell me you're somewhere in your country because so far as I know there is only one Denver Health Hospital and that's where I work. And if I'm not mistaken," she said a little drily, "Arapahoe and County Line road are also in Denver!" Jasmine's voice raised just a bit brought on by both excitement and disbelief that Marie could be in the same country not to mention the same city as her.
Seeing no other way out, Marie opened her eyes and looked at Jasmine. "As you've clearly heard and figured out, I'm in Denver just like you, Jasmine." Marie sighed.
"Oh my God! Oh God! How? When?" Jasmine spouted off. "Please... Please Marie... I know I don't have any right to ask... but could we please see each other?" She pleaded.
Marie shook her head. "You're forgetting something... or should I say someone?"
"What? Who am I forgetting here?" Jasmine asked.
"Tracy. Your girlfriend? I don't want you to do to her what you did to me." Marie replied somewhat angrily.
"Wait... Hold on... Tracy and I aren't together... look it's something I would rather talk to you about face to face, OK? Even if it's just for coffee... In fact if you want, it will give you the chance to throw the coffee in my face." Jasmine told Marie not caring how stupid her idea actually sounded.
After a few seconds of hesitation, Marie agreed but refused to make it easy for Jasmine. "Alright. Fine. Coffee it is. Meet me at Stella's Coffee House in thirty minutes. It's across from where I work."
"OK. Stella's Coffee House. Thirty minutes." Jasmine repeated before they both ended the call.
'Oh God! Oh God!' Jasmine was saying over and over in her head as she sat cradling her coffee in her hands, hoping the heat from the mug would warm up her cold and numb hands. She chose a table that had privacy yet could be seen upon entering the coffee shop.
'Oh God! Oh God!' Marie was saying over and over in her head as she stood just outside the coffee shop. Both arms were wrapped around her stomach trying to control the butterflies running amock inside. 'It's now or never! Probably good to have closure. It will help me to move on.' Marie thought to herself, trying to give herself the courage to enter the coffee shop. Her breath hitched as she saw Jasmine sitting at the corner table. She would always recognize those curls. She had always imagined her fingers buried inside those curls holding her head as they kissed.
Jasmine, engrossed in her thoughts, was looking down at her coffee cup, too involved in her head to realize that Marie was already standing beside the table. "Ummm... Is this seat taken?" Marie asked, making Jasmine jump up a bit from the sound of her voice right next to her.
As Jasmine raised her eyes to finally look at Marie for the first time in person, she felt as if she was in Heaven seeing her sweet angel's face. She had many endearments for Marie when they were still together but the one that she had always called her was 'sweet angel'. She had dreamt of this so many nights and now that the moment had finally arrived, she couldn't even for the life of her say anything. She shook her head sharply to try and clear the fog. "Uh... Yes... I mean.... No... It's for you." She stuttered as she held onto her coffee mug for dear life.
Sitting down across from Jasmine, she clasped her hands together in front of her on the table to try and stop them shaking. Marie again took deep calming breaths. Seeing Jasmine's face for the first time had literally made her knees all weak and trembling. It was either sit down or fall flat on her feet in front of the woman. The pictures and videos didn't do her justice.
"So... ummm... God! Now that you're in front of me I don't even know what to say!" Jasmine confessed.
"Let's start with Tracy." Marie supplied.
"Ok...First of all, Tracy is not my girlfriend... She never was... I...We...tried but I should have remembered how she was...she was chaotic...over-dramatic...too negative...And before we even got started we were done." Jasmine explained. "Look...Ba...Marie...I'm really, really sorry...I never meant to hurt you...I made a mistake...Please...please forgive me? If you want you could still throw this coffee in my face...I deserve it." She pushed her coffee towards Marie as she said this.
Bringing her gaze from the cup to Jasmine's face, Marie pushed the coffee back towards her saying, "You forget I'm not built that way. I've already forgiven you but I'm not likely to forget. "
"I don't expect you to...I just hope that in time you will be able to." Jasmine said softly. "Could I... Could I ask how long you've been in Denver? She asked Marie.
"I've been living and working here for a year now. I arrived May of last year." She replied looking at Jasmine to see if she would realize what the time-frame meant.
"May?... A year? How long before you knew you were going to be living here?" Jasmine asked dreading the answer.
"I knew the day we had our last video call. I was going to surprise you with the news and I ended up being the one surprised...and not in a good way..." Marie's eyes teared up as she said this.
"Oh God! You must really hate me and I don't blame you at all." Jasmine whispered her eyes welling up as well.
"I don't. Not anymore. You wanted someone else and you were honest about it. I can give you that." Marie said as she made a show of looking at her watch to signal that she needed to be going. "I'm actually glad we did this... I was really hesitant at first but now I feel like a weight has been lifted from me. I have to get back to the office." Standing up from the table she looked at Jasmine. "I wish you all the best, Jasmine." When Jasmine called out to her, she stopped and turned around.
"Wait... Marie... Can't we at least be friends?" Jasmine asked. 'Dammit! That was definitely not what I wanted to ask!' Jasmine thought, wanting to kick herself. She wanted so much to give them another try, especially now that they were both in the same city.
Marie closed her eyes for a few seconds before looking at Jasmine and asking, "Do you actually believe that after what we had we could just be friends, Jasmine?" Shaking her head she continued, "Let's just leave it like this. It's better this way." She turned and left the coffee shop before she changed her mind and ended up losing her heart again.
Marie was back at her office but didn't know how she was able to get through the day. It felt like she was running on auto-pilot finishing all the paperworks for the clients whose loans would be released for the month. Her mind was still replaying the scene in the coffee shop like a movie in her head.
'Friends? She wants us to be FRIENDS?!' She thought angrily. 'If she had asked if we could give it another try I might have given in! Friends?!' Her fingers flew fast and hard on the keyboard as her thoughts swirled around her head. She didn't notice her office door had opened and that Toni was standing by the entrance looking at her.
"Hey you! What did that keyboard ever do to you?" Toni asked, trying to lighten the mood of the smaller woman.
"Good Lord! You startled me!" Marie exclaimed with a hand on her heart. "I'm sorry I didn't hear you knock. Is there something you needed, Toni?" She asked her boss.
Toni sat on the chair in front of Marie's desk and looked at her, contemplating what she was going to say without being too intrusive. She could definitely feel and see that something was affecting the woman who was not only her loans officer but someone she considered a friend.
When she first met Marie, there was a certain sadness about her that made her appear aloof and detached from other people. She was a good and hard worker but didn't seem to have anything outside of work. It took several invites from Toni to go to the bar she and her sister Liz owned before Marie finally agreed. Thankfully with her sister's persistence and no-nonsense attitude, they were eventually able to break down the wall that the smaller woman had encased herself in.
"Marie, I know that you and I have been working together for a year now. In that time I have come to think of you not only as someone working for me, but also as a friend...A good friend. If there is something or someone bothering or upsetting you I just wanted you to know that I am here for you, alright?" She said softly but firmly.
And with those words Marie just broke down and told Toni everything that had happened to her from before she came over to Denver up to her having coffee with the woman who had broken her heart a year before. When she was done telling her story both women had tears in their eyes.
"I'm so sorry, Marie. But you still pushed through with coming over here despite what happened?" Toni asked incredulously.
"I know it sounds stupid but I was already accepted for the job. Didn't want to lose out on the opportunity. Besides I figured that Denver was a big place that there wasn't much chance that we would bump into each other." The smaller woman replied slightly shaking her head.