Is She, Isn't She? Ch. 03

byHarmonyHaze©

"Quit it, Shim!" Jeanie snapped.

Ashley's eyes flew open this time at Jeanie's impudence – the girl had a mouth on her that could incite World War Three! Tasha's eyes blazed and she shoved Jeanie in the chest again hard, then grabbed her with a hand around her throat, knuckles bending visibly as she squeezed.

"You'd better apologise, whore, before I give you a black fuckin' eye ...!"

"Get—off me!" Jeanie brought her right arm, the arm that was holding the glass of water, back and struck. Her head was tilted back by Tasha's hands, so she didn't really have a good view – not that one could tell, that she wasn't aiming. She brought her arm whipping around her head, to get Tasha to let go of her, and the glass hit Tasha square in the chin and broke with an ugly sound. Tasha let go of Jeanie at once and fell off to one side, clutching her lower face.

Dark blood began trickling through her fingers, dripping in long, frightening strands.

Jeanie's eyes widened as she witnessed what she'd done. Shouts began ringing out as other people around the bar began noticing it too. Several people ran to Tasha and helped her stand up. Security ran from the door. Gus the security guard gripped Jeanie by the shoulder, a little roughly.

"What the hell, Jeanie? You're in a lot of trouble," he grunted down to her.

Ashley unfroze herself, with effort, and darted for the bar. She arrived back with a bar towel in her hands. Hoards of people were now swarming all over Tasha, and the cries of "call an ambulance!" had gone up. Ashley couldn't even get to her.

Jeanie stood there with wide eyes, blood all over her own hand. She'd cut herself when she'd hit Tasha, on the broken glass – not that she looked like she realised. Ashley approached her, reached down and grabbed Jeanie's hand, wrapping it in the bar towel and applying pressure.

"You can let go of her, Gus, she's obviously not going anywhere!" she snapped at the burly man, disliking, for some reason, the way his fat fingers were digging into Jeanie's shoulder hard enough to leave marks.

Jeanie was like a robot.

"Oh Jeanie!" Ashley groaned, gazing at her, concern written all over her face.

Jeanie swallowed hard, face continuing to pale.

"The police are on their way," Cordelia, the other security guard, came over and had a word to Gus.

"Police?" all remaining colour rapidly drained out of Jeanie's face. "Oh my God!" she started panicking, as her breathing threw itself out, and she began taking deep, panicked breaths. "Oh my God, I, I can't do this, I can't be arrested, I ... I just can't, I can't ..."

"Jeanie, just calm down," Ashley held tightly onto her bleeding hand. "Just breathe, it's going to be okay, alright?"

"Oh my God," Jeanie was rapidly becoming a mess. "I can't afford a lawyer! My parents are going to kill me! I can't ring them, I can't, they'll be so upset, what do I tell them, I ...?!" she had started to shake slightly.

"We don't have to ring your parents, Jeanie, you're an adult now, they don't have to find out," Ashley talked her down, voice slow and clear. "It's going to be okay!"

She shot a look over her shoulder at Tasha. The ambulance had arrived already – close-to-hand around the pubs and clubs on a Saturday night. They were fussing over the injured girl and Ashley could barely see her.

Ashley felt completely guilty, standing there with Jeanie like that when she'd been making out with Tasha all night – but Tasha was being looked after, she reasoned, and Jeanie had nobody, and now Jeanie was in trouble, and scared. Ashley just couldn't leave to deal with this alone.

Also close-to-hand on a Saturday night were the police, who walked in and gripped Jeanie, once she'd been identified by Gus and Cordelia, by the upper arm.

"You're coming with us, Miss Gershaw," one stern-looking cop told her.

Jeanie was as pale as pale could be. "What's going to happen to me?" she asked, voice frightened.

"You've just assaulted someone. We're taking you in and we'll be filing charges," the officer answered gruffly. "You'll be thrown into lockup for the night."

"Can I come with her?" Ashley demanded, as the officer began leading a shell-shocked Jeanie away, whilst simultaneously droning on about her rights.

"Jeanette Gershaw, you are being arrested for assault, if you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed to you by the state ..."

"Who are you?" his partner demanded Ashley.

"I'm her ... friend," Ashley replied.

"I'm sorry," the policeman began to turn away from her.

"I'm her girlfriend!" Ashley amended quickly.

"Sorry, madam," the officer refused.

Ashley cursed as the two cops escorted Jeanie from the premises and out into the night. Now, the blonde was trapped in the bar with no car (she'd been drinking and had arrived there by cab anyway), and Jeanie was gone...

A few other officers were around gathering witness reports, and Ashley could see Tony giving them security footage of the incident already. Tasha had been taken away by the ambulance.

Ashley made a beeline for the bar and asked for a large water, tipping her head back and practically skulling the whole thing. She wasn't very drunk, she'd been too busy making out with Tasha all night to drink much, but she needed to sober up, get home, collect her car, then drive to the police station to find Jeanie ...

***


"Yes, I'm posting bail for Jeanette Elisabeth Gershaw!" Ashley was tired. It was almost two in the morning, and this paper-pushing admin-cop was annoying her.

"Just making sure you got the correct name, Miss James," the cop said, checking Ashley's ID. "Sign here."

Ashley irritably scribbled her name, straightened up and waited. Eighteen hundred dollars. Apparently, the police were trying to make a statement about drunken fights in pubs and clubs by posting ridiculously high bail amounts for those who got themselves locked up on the weekends for minor incidents.

Ashley massaged her temples. Jeanie had been confined in the place for over two hours. She was probably petrified. She'd already gleaned from the cop at the admin desk that the young brunette had used her One-Phone-Call to ring Kendra, or one of the other Moronic Flatmates – probably to see if her pals could spot her the money for bail. However, of course, being a Saturday night, Kendra was out at whichever club, drinking a lot of alcohol, raising hell, and thereby unreachable on her mobile phone.

The police station was busy (it was a Saturday night). Drunk people, druggies, lowlifes and all sorts of trash were being dragged through the doors by stern-faced officers. Was it too much to hope that Jeanie had been thrown into a separate lock-up from all the rest? Probably. Ashley's skin crawled at the thought of her Jeanie locked up in a small cell with all those cretins.

An officer rounded the corner and Jeanie was in tow, her skin still pale, eyes still traumatised.

"Here's your lift," the officer told Jeanie, indicating Ashley. "We'll be in touch. Here are your affects." He handed Jeanie a plastic box containing her mobile phone and wallet.

Jeanie was standing there as though she was in a trance, and didn't even look like she was going to move. Ashley put her hand in the small of the brunette's back, and began to steer her for the door, muttering the words, "Come on, Jeanie, let's get you out of here!"

"Did you post my bail?" Jeanie wanted to know immediately, as soon they stepped outside, as they quickly crossed the carpark together.

"No, I contacted your parents and they posted it," Ashley told her. "Yes, I posted it!" she amended quickly, at the outright panic that suddenly flashed across Jeanie's face. "Sorry, darling, that was cruel, I ... I'm just so tired and stressed ... I wanted to get you out of that place, I hated thinking of you in there," Ashley massaged her temple again as though she had a headache, and beeped her car open.

Jeanie silently climbed into the front seat without a word.

"Where would you like to go?" Ashley asked Jeanie, getting in beside her. "I want to take you back to my place, make you something to eat, get you something to drink? A good stiff drink, I think, will make you feel better. But I ... I can take you home, if that's where you'd like to go. I really want to keep you with me though ... I really want to look after you, Jeanie," Ashley looked across at the younger girl anxiously.

Jeanie wasn't looking at her, she was staring moodily out the car window. "Keep me with you then, Ash," she murmured softly.

"You know you don't have anything to worry about, right baby?" Ashley put the car into gear, and began driving. "I mean, the police said they had legal rights to keep you in lockup for the night because of the disturbance, and because they're in the middle of a crackdown campaign on alcohol-related violence ..."

"That's fucked! I'm not even drunk, I've been drinking water all night!"

"Did you take a breathalyser?"

"Yes, as soon as I got there, it showed them I was negative! I don't know why they have to use me as one of their goddamn poster girls for their bloody crackdown campaign, I mean, just because I was in a club ...!"

"You did ... also, get involved in a ... serious physical altercation, in a club, Jeanie," Ashley reminded her. "Anyway, we got sidetracked! Tasha and the police won't be pressing charges. You still needed to post bail to get out of jail for the night ... otherwise you would have had to stay there 'til morning, but ... nothing will happen. You were technically arrested but you won't get a record."

"How do... how do you know that?"

"Well – once the police see the security footage, they'll see that Tasha instigated the violence, and that you acted in self-defence – surely that's what you told them?"

"Yes that's what I told them! It's the truth!"

"Yes, well – once Tasha sees it too, she'll realise she doesn't have a leg to stand on, and she won't press be able to charges – nor will the police. So you're going to be okay, baby, okay? You've got nothing to worry about." She was using a soothing voice with the stressed brunette. "Nothing to worry about at all. Okay? It's all just going to go away."

Jeanie continued staring out the window, as Ashley drove into the building's carpark and parked the car once more. Both women climbed out and slammed their respective doors. When walking to the lift, Jeanie walked with her arms folded and her head down. Ashley cast worried green eyes on her.

"It's going to be alright, darling," she told her again, as they got into the lift. Ashley put her arm around Jeanie's waist and planted a kiss on her shoulder. Jeanie just stood there as though she didn't notice, as though she was still shell-shocked.

The lift doors opened and Ashley's fingers trailed down Jeanie's arm, until they reached her hand. The blonde gently took Jeanie's fingers within her own, and took her down the carpeted hall to her apartment. Jeanie merely trailed along, still like a robot. She appeared to be slightly dazed. What had happened, her fight with Tasha and the brutal way it had ended in blood, had shaken her up, badly.

Ashley let them into her apartment and to the kitchen. She sat Jeanie at the island bar, and went straight to the liquor cabinet. "I don't have any vodka – I know that's your favourite baby but ... I have some scotch? It should do the trick?"

"Hm," Jeanie's shoulders were slumped and she barely looked up.

"On the rocks, or with coke?" Ashley took the bottle out and unscrewed it.

Jeanie just shrugged. Ashley poured a generous amount into a glass with some ice and put it on the counter in front of Jeanie. Then she went back into the kitchen, and began rummaging about in her pot cupboard.

Jeanie managed to rouse herself slightly when she noticed Ashley taking all manner of things from the big, cold fridge.

"What are you doing?" she asked, as though just noticing.

"I'm making you something to eat," Ashley replied simply, beginning to chop some capsicum on the chopping board.

"It's like, two thirty in the morning!" Jeanie noted, surprisedly.

"Yes, but you look like you could use a hot meal. You've had a big night. It'll make you feel better."

Jeanie's head went down again and she grimaced. "I'll pay you back every cent of the bail," she muttered upsettedly now.

"You don't have to," Ashley returned.

"Yes I do have to!" Jeanie retorted swiftly, some of the fire coming back into her voice.

"Alright, don't get worked up," Ashley soothed as she chopped some bacon. "If it'll make you feel better, you can do whatever you like, okay? But I don't care about the money, it's not important to me. You don't owe me anything. I honestly didn't mean to make you feel as though you owed me. The only thing I could think of was ... getting you out of that place."

"I appreciate the loan," Jeanie muttered to the countertop.

"Interest free!" Ashley smiled wanly at her, after having thrown everything into the pot with some eggs for an omelette, then walked around the end of the island bar and got down on her haunches, taking Jeanie's hands gently in her own. "Jeanie? Are you seriously okay? Tell me how you're feeling, I'm worried."

Jeanie's eyes immediately filled with tears. She held them at bay and looked immensely frustrated with herself. "I'm sorry, Ashie!" she fought out. "I'm sorry I interrupted you with your girlfriend and ruined your night. It was selfish of me."

"I ... Jeanie ... she's not my girlfriend," Ashley corrected her. "She was an ex-girlfriend. You know, we're alone now. We can have that talk you wanted to have in the bar," she prompted gently.

"No!" Jeanie screwed her face up distastefully and shook her head.

Ashley sighed, and held Jeanie's hands in hers, gently stroking the tops of them with her thumbs in what she hoped was a calming way. Jeanie was uptight and tense, worried, still frightened over her (potential) legal woes, traumatised from her time spent in lockup and the experience of being in trouble with the police, not to mention the bar fight – not to mention the endless and draining questions she must have been asking herself about her sexuality since meeting Ashley.

The blonde considered, that she'd only really known Jeanie for a couple of months. That wasn't a very long time. It wasn't a very long time at all. It seemed as though she'd known Jeanie for a lot longer – but she hadn't. Ashley swallowed hard.

"Jeanie," she said now, softly. "I ... I think I've got to apologise for the other afternoon, in the alleyway? For walking away from you?"

"I'm okay with that," Jeanie refused to look at her. "You don't need to apologise."

"No really, I think I do," Ashley said firmly, green eyes trying unsuccessfully to capture much darker ones. "I ... Jeanie, I don't know how to say this." She sighed, blinking confusedly as she tried to find words. "I didn't give you much time to ... get used to the idea of maybe ..."

Jeanie's eyes whipped around and landed threateningly on Ashley's, and Ashley faltered, then recanted.

"What I mean is, I didn't give you much time to think about what we did together, you and I. I didn't appreciate how big a deal it must have been for you. Just because it comes easily to me ... I mean, it's been over a decade since I had to go through what you ... might be going through now, so I forgot how hard, how emotionally exhausting it can be."

"I don't know what you're talking about," Jeanie averted her eyes again, and her voice was sullen.

"What I'm trying to say, Jeanie, is that I'm sorry for pushing you, for not giving you more time. I started off with the grand idea that I was going to give you plenty of space, and sort of ... guide you ... into this, if you wanted this. But I ... I guess I got so caught up in wanting you, I ... was so determined to have you, for my own, that I was only thinking of myself ... I've been too impatient with you. I wasn't thinking about your feelings. I was only thinking of mine."

"Your feelings?" Jeanie asked carefully, still not watching her.

"You probably don't think I have any, given my behaviour over the last few weeks," Ashley shook her head. "Believe me, Jeanie, I do. I have a lot of feelings, and most of them ... most of them are for you."

Jeanie didn't say anything.

"But you knew that," Ashley continued steadily. "I need to apologise to you for not thinking of you first, for not putting your feelings ahead of my own. That's not how you treat someone you truly care about. I didn't realise what I was doing while I was doing it – I just realised it then, and I'm ashamed, and I hope you can forgive me." She gently kissed the backs of Jeanie's fingers – attached to hands that had suddenly tensed into tight balls. "I didn't give you much time at all," the blonde's voice was sad. "I ... I really care about you, Jeanie. Very much." She kissed the backs of the brunette's hands again, then straightened up, walked away from a silent Jeanie and back into the kitchen.

She could feel Jeanie's eyes on her back as she threw some salt into the stove.

"If you truly cared about me," the brunette finally said now, carefully, as though she was testing some waters, "you would have thought about me before you hooked back up with your butch ex."

Ashley liked the jealousy and crankiness she heard in Jeanie's voice. "Jealous, baby?" she questioned softly, still with her back to the younger woman while she cooked.

"I was repeating your words from earlier."

"I know that, I recognised them. Were you jealous?"

"I simply got to see what a hypocrite you were!" Jeanie's voice had hardened.

"There's nothing hypocritical about it, I thought you and I were done. But listen, Jeanie, you are right on one level – this is exactly what you did to me! You slept with me, then you slept with someone else. You need to come to terms with your feelings for me. If you're feeling angry, jealous and possessive because I hooked up with someone else, then there's a conversation we need to have, isn't there?"

Jeanie abruptly, tellingly, fell silent again. Ashley was inwardly very tense. Jeanie had come to the bar to talk to her – now it looked as though the gorgeous brunette had changed her mind, had clamped her lips shut and wasn't prepared to say a thing.

"Well, maybe later. Whenever you're ready," Ashley swallowed out, determined to be patient. "How's your hand, at any rate? Did they get someone to take a look at it for you?"

"Yeah," Jeanie replied unwillingly. "It's just a scratch."

"It bled a lot."

"Not enough for a scar or stitches. I could have told them that. The amount of times I've cut my hands on broken glass at work ..."

"Hazard of the trade, right?" Ashley flipped the omelette.

"Hm," Jeanie returned glumly.

Silence fell between them again. Ashley stole a look over her shoulder. Jeanie was sitting there dejectedly, body slumped and turned away from Ashley, arms wrapped around her stomach, eyes still stressed and traumatised, peering around everywhere. She was not relaxed, she held herself tensely. She'd drained her alcohol.

Ashley put the omelette on a plate and slid it in front of Jeanie with some cutlery. "Eat," she told the brunette. "You want some salt and pepper?"

Jeanie still sat there, unmoving, face wincing. Ashley went rummaging around in the cupboard, looking for the salt and pepper shakers. Jeanie put her head in her hands. Ashley turned and frowned when she looked at the brunette.

"What's up?" the older woman asked, concerned.

"I'm sorry Ash, I can't do this," Jeanie suddenly, abruptly sat up, slid off her chair, and shot down the hall. For what seemed like the millionth time, Ashley's front door slammed closed as Jeanie disappeared out into the night.

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byHarmonyHaze© 201 comments/ 260214 views/ 275 favorites

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