Is She, Isn't She?

byHarmonyHaze©

"You remembered!" Ashley smiled back.

"I might not be so cerebral tomorrow," Jeanie sighed, getting the bottle and pouring into a glass. "I've got to back up tonight with a day shift. I'll be a zombie, and I'm sure I won't remember anything."

"I'm sure you'll be fine," Ashley assured her, going to hand the money over. "Oh! I almost forgot!" she remembered she was supposed to be buying Meredith a drink also. "A gin and tonic as well, please."

"Are you going to have a big one tonight?" Jeanie asked jokingly.

"Not too big," answered Ashley. Last thing she wanted to do was get too tipsy and do something silly in front of Jeanie on the first night of meeting her.

"That's very responsible of you," Jeanie grinned. "There you are."

Ashley paid her again, left her a generous tip and walked off. She was impressed with Jeanie's friendly, easy-going manner. It made her even more attractive. Everything about her was attractive.

She got back to the table, and Meredith was sitting there with tears in her eyes.

"Mez, what's the matter?" Ashley asked, alarmed.

"It's just ... I was thinking about Julia ..." Meredith sniffed hard.

"Oh shit," sighed Ashley. "Do you want to go, hun?"

"No no, I'm alright," Meredith insisted, but half-an-hour and another drink later, and the only thing she could talk about, in an increasingly miserable voice, was Julia. Ashley was sober, bored, didn't feel like dancing, and had had enough.

"Meredith!" she cut her friend off. "I'm feeling kind of tired, it's the end of the week -- I think I might just head. Do you want to pool a cab with me? We'll just say goodbye to the other girls."

"You're leaving me already?" Jeanie's voice said from right behind them.

Ashley turned, and Jeanie stood there, a tall column of glasses in her arms, obviously on a glass run.

"Yes, we're tired," Ashley smiled and shrugged. "But it was really good to meet you, Jeanie. We'll see you again really soon!"

"Oh good," laughed Jeanie. "Have a safe trip home!"

"She's lovely!" Meredith told Ashley when they got outdoors. "But seriously Ashley. I'm really quite hurt and confused about Julia right now, and hypothetically, the same thing could happen to you with this one, so just be careful, okay? That is if you do decide to do anything."

"I haven't decided anything yet Mez, and I appreciate the advice," Ashley told her gently. "Come on, this cab's ours ..."

***

Of course, Ashley had decided to do something. She was so attracted to Jeanie, she knew she would always wonder and regret it if she didn't get to know her better, at least. If she came up against the brick-wall of heterosexuality, she could always walk away again very quickly, but you never knew unless you tried. And she planned on trying. Very hard, to get into Jeanie's pants. Ashley was twenty-eight, going on twenty-nine. She was sure she had some things to teach Jeanie. If Jeanie had any inch of bi-curiosity whatsoever (and from her experience, most girls did), Ashley was sexy, smart and confident enough to feel sure that she could use it to her advantage.

Knowing that Jeanie had the day-shift the next day, Ashley decided to go for a walk and get a drink from Bolton's. She often went for walks during the weekends for fitness anyway, so she ponytailed her long blonde hair, wore a tight grey exercise shirt and black running shorts, and off she went.

It took her about half-an-hour on foot to get from her front door to Bolton's. It was a stiflingly hot day. The sun beat down from clear blue skies. By the time Ashley reached the bar, she had worked up a sweat, and her normally pale cheeks were pink. She pushed through the front doors, swigging from her water bottle, and approached the bar.

"Hey Ashley!" called Bella, a short little elf of a girl with a glossy brown pixie cut. She was the only other female bartender at Bolton's.

"Hi Bella," Ashley returned, continuing to the bar. Bella was collecting glasses, which meant that Jeanie should be right where Ashley had left her last night.

Indeed she was, in the corner of the bar, sneaking a look at her mobile phone while at work. Her glossy dark hair shielded half her face as she cast it down, thumbing through text messages and whatever else, which was why she didn't notice Ashley's approach. Ashley leant her forearms casually across the black surface of the bar.

"Busted!" she teased.

Jeanie's head snapped up. "Oh! Damn it!" she laughed. "Hi, Ashley, how are you?"

"I'm impressed, actually, that you remember my name," Ashley commented, inwardly very pleased with this fact indeed -- obviously, she had made some sort of impression on Jeanie, enough for the girl to remember her name out of the hundreds of faces she must have seen in the past fortnight at her new job, at least.

"My memory operates under the "you-win-some, you-lose-some" system. Sometimes I remember people right away, other times it's a struggle," Jeanie slipped her mobile back into her pocket. "I can't remember what you drink though, I'm sorry. Was it vodka coke? No, that doesn't sound right ..."

"I just want an orange juice today, I was just out on my walk," Ashley told her. "I go walking every weekend and it's a non-alcoholic event."

"Fair enough!" laughed Jeanie, starting to fix her the orange juice.

"Tired, after last night?" Ashley asked her.

"A little," Jeanie admitted. "We didn't get out of here until late last night. Your friend is quite a character, by the way." She added, almost as an afterthought.

"Which friend?" Ashley enquired pleasantly.

"Green cap," Jeanie answered, a cute frown furrowing her brow as she remembered details. "Can't think of her name. Um, very deep voice ..."

"Chantelle," Ashley deadpanned. She'd forgotten that she'd left Chantelle in Bolton's the previous night. True to her word, she was sure Chantelle had started to turn her heat onto Jeanie already. "Why? What did she say to you? She likes to stir, Chantelle."

"Hm, I can tell! She um, had company ... she was making out with another girl, and when I came by on my glass run to grab their empties, she turned and told me that she wanted to kiss me like that, and that I didn't know what I was missing and all this. I think she was just drunk," she laughed nervously.

"No, Chantelle is usually like that," Ashley corrected.

"Erk," Jeanie laughed again. "It was quite ... off-putting. Nothing I can't handle though, I'm sure it was all in good fun. Let's make the straight girl sweat, right? It's probably some sort of test because I'm new, and I can deal with it. I've been hazed worse at uni!"

"Tell me about that!" Ashley goaded, sipping from her orange juice. The bar was very quiet on a Saturday afternoon, and Jeanie didn't have any other customers to serve, or anything else to do. In fact, she'd been wearing a bored expression when Ashley had come in, and now looked as though she was appreciating having someone to talk with.

"Well, it was very embarrassing but not in a particularly degrading way, I don't think -- it involved a lot of alcohol and ... well, that's all I really remember, really. Apparently, it was an ordeal!"

Ashley laughed. "Obviously you passed."

"That was the main thing," agreed Jeanie. "Did you go to uni?"

"No, sadly! I work at a bank, and the training was all in-house," Ashley explained.

"I see! You must be good with numbers, unlike me. I dropped maths in high school."

"I do okay. If ever you need some numbers crunched, it would be my pleasure. Doing addition and other arithmetic in my spare time helps me, I believe, stay professionally current. Sort of. On one lone level." They were both laughing together again.

They kept chatting, and kept laughing. Jeanie was outgoing and fun, and Ashley was quick-witted and good-natured, and it was rapidly apparent that they were perfectly situated to become friends. After she finished her orange juice though, not wanting to rush things or overplay her hand, Ashley bid Jeanie farewell. She was pleased to see an immediate flash of disappointment in Jeanie's eyes.

"It was nice to see you again," the dark-haired girl said sincerely. "It was good to have a quick chat!"

"It was nice to see you again too, Jeanie," Ashley told her. "I'll see you around pretty soon, I'm sure. Enjoy the rest of your shift."

***

From then on, Ashley and Jeanie quickly built up a rapport, which quickly turned into the semblance of a friendship. They were both bright, and their dialogue bounced. It was very apparent to Ashley that Jeanie enjoyed her company immensely. Her eyes brightened whenever she saw her. Ashley came back often just on her own for "walks", citing a new fitness regime. She'd always have an orange juice and a chat to Jeanie. Ashley found herself liking Jeanie more and more. Sometimes, when she visited, Jeanie was busy at the bar, so Ashley would choose a quiet table, drink her juice and read from a packed book until Jeanie was free, then would re-approach the bar to return her glass, or to have another drink -- any excuse to chat to her.

It got to the point where Jeanie would join Ashley at a table if she was allocated her break when Ashley happened to be there, and the two women never ran out of things to talk about, and did some more laughing.

Ashley flirted with Jeanie, as subtly and as often as she could. During one particular conversation, where Jeanie was describing a boy she was no longer friends with because he tried to kiss her once and now it was just too awkward, Ashley smiled and told Jeanie she was gorgeous, and the poor guy probably hadn't been able to help himself. Jeanie had smiled with genuine pleasure at Ashley's compliment, and had returned it in a rush with "It takes one to know one, Ashley!", accompanying it with a brilliant smile.

Jeanie was a chatterbox, bright and chirpy. Ashley enjoyed listening to her witty speech. Ashley was more composed, stronger; her sense of humour was dryer. She didn't talk as much, preferring to ask Jeanie questions.

The question of Ashley's sexuality never came up. Ashley just assumed that Jeanie knew she was gay from the company Jeanie had seen her keep, and the bar she chose to hang out. Jeanie chatted occasionally about past trysts with previous lovers, flings or boyfriends, but their conversation never dwelt on them for long -- Ashley never mentioned past dates.

"Are you flexing the ruler yet?" Tansy asked Ashley over the phone one night when they were catching up on the events of the week, about three weeks after their first meeting with Jeanie.

"Pardon?" Ashley asked.

"Ashley, everyone knows. Bella's told people, and girls we know have seen you -- you're spending a lot of time with Jeanie lately, during the day when none of us are around! You sneak! You never mentioned anything!"

"There was nothing to mention! We've just been talking when I go up there on my walks."

"And?" prompted Tansy.

"And what?" Ashley twined the cord of the old telephone around her finger.

"Are you flexing the ruler yet?" Tansy laughed. "Are you bending her straightness? Any hint that she could be bi?"

"I haven't really pursued that with her," Ashley returned unwillingly.

"Are you planning to? You are, aren't you? As if you don't have an ulterior motive for this friendly "friendship" with a dish like that!"

There was an embarrassed pause on Ashley's end of the line.

Tansy just chuckled. "Well," she said, "are you coming out with us tonight? Because I was talking to Bella and apparently your sweetheart will be working."

"Yes, I'm going to be there, and she's not my sweetheart." There was a pause. "Yet," Ashley finished.

"Ah, so you do have plans to nab her! You must have some evidence, or hope, or both, that she swings both ways -- otherwise I'm sure you would have ditched it by now?"

"We're friends," Ashley said stoutly. "It's only been three weeks or so but she's really fun to talk to."

"Yeah, like talking is all you want to do with her."

"Well ... that's beside the point right now! We get on so well, she's ..." Ashley faded off, realising how lovesick she could be in danger of sounding.

Typically, Tansy picked up on it right away. "You sound like you could fall for her. It sounds like it might be a slippery slope from here, Ash, with all your "getting on so well"," she teased.

"It's just a friendship, Tansy, really. I'm just ... I don't know what will happen. I like her, yes. But nothing has happened. I don't want to put a move on her yet, I don't want to scare her away. It's not like we socialise out of work. Like, I visit the bar -- and we chat, and sometimes she spends her breaks with me, having a chat ..."

"Sounds like she likes you. Apparently, she won't go near anyone else in the place. I mean, Bella says she's polite and friendly with all the customers and banters with them and so forth. She's really popular, they all love her. But you're the only one she spends her breaks with! If you're not around, and she gets her break, Bella says she scampers for the nearest door!"

"We'll see how we go," Ashley said, not wanting to get her hopes up too much, but feeling a warm flush of pleasure at Tansy's words.

"Right, so I guess then that this is going to be a case of the Tortoise and the Hare?" Tansy put to her next.

"What?" Ashley frowned laughingly over the phone. "What do you mean?"

"Well, word of your progress with Little Miss Hot-stuff has, obviously, reached Chantelle, who is very irritated that you've slipped in under the radar like that -- apparently, she wants Jeanie bad, has been bragging to everyone about how she's going to make her scream -- the usual, when she finds a target. Apparently, Chantelle is going to go after her hammer and tongs tonight when we get there, to try to win some ground back. She's going for the wham-bam approach, you're going for the slower, more subtle strategy, sounds like. So she's the hare and you're the tortoise. Should make for an amusing show this evening, at any rate."

"I don't think Jeanie digs Chantelle," Ashley's voice turned firm.

"Then you have nothing to worry about, do you?" Tansy sounded as though she was smirking on the other end of the line. "See you at seven! Mez is driving. Don't be late down, I want to get my drink on!"

Ashley was slightly irritated at Tansy's last words as she hung up the phone. She didn't particularly want Chantelle to hit on Jeanie -- she felt possessive, she realised. She knew that already she was developing very real feelings for Jeanie. She thought about her all the time. She wanted her all the time.

Grumpily, she pulled into a pink shirt and hipster jeans for the evening. As usual, she tied her long blonde hair up, and surveyed herself in the mirror.

She was beautiful. Her body was sexy, curved and toned. Women hit on her all the time, but Ashley was fussy and rarely settled for the easiest option. Although maybe this was a bit ridiculous -- Jeanie was the hardest option, surely, that she could have gone for? Jeanie had given her no indication that she was interested in girls in the slightest. Their connection had been purely verbal and platonic, and in none of their conversations had Jeanie ever indicated even the slightest curiosity. And Vin Diesel was on her keychain. That wasn't a very good sign.

Within the hour, her group of five friends were walking through the doors at Bolton's. Chantelle's eyes were flashing with the thrill of the hunt already beneath her green baseball cap. Ashley had been friends with her for years and knew that look all too well. She watched it, trying not to get too annoyed.

They all approached the bar.

"No orange juice tonight, Jeanie," Ashley smiled at her.

"Right, a semi sav blanc?" Jeanie grinned.

She quickly fixed everyone their drinks, but Ashley didn't have time to talk to Jeanie -- the other girls were monopolising all of her attention with small talk. They carried their glasses over to the table nearest to the bar, but Chantelle, who was obviously planning on having a big one, had barely touched her seat before she was up again, having drained her entire bourbon in just about one hit. She prowled back towards the bar and leant against it.

"Hey, sexy!" she barked at Jeanie.

"You rang?" Jeanie turned and smiled politely.

"Another, make it a double."

"Coming up."

"Has anyone told you that you look delicious tonight?" Chantelle looked her up and down. "Absolutely eatable."

"Ha ha!" Jeanie's lips quirked and just the faintest trace of colour appeared in her cheeks at Chantelle's sexual innuendo. "No, you're the first. Here's your bourbon."

"Cheers, darling," Chantelle took it from her and joined her friends.

Their table was the closest to the bar, which had allowed them all to hear Chantelle's conversation with Jeanie. As a result, they were all shooting looks at Ashley now to see how she was reacting to Chantelle's deliberate flirt. In response, Ashley schooled her features into a calm, composed and relaxed mask, despite her agitation and annoyance at Chantelle's actions.

"Having a big one tonight, Chantelle?" Claire asked now amusedly.

"Yep!" Chantelle grunted shamelessly in return, eyes never leaving Jeanie.

Now Ashley was downright angry at the butch's blatant behaviour, then remembered that she hadn't exactly said no when they'd "challenged" each other some weeks ago. She took a long gulp of her drink frustratedly.

"You too, Ash?" Claire turned laughing eyes onto her.

"Maybe, I haven't let my hair down for a while," Ashley responded with dignity.

They changed topic, talked about other things. Ashley noticed that Chantelle's eyes never strayed from Jeanie for more than a minute at a time, and she was putting all her bourbons away to a safer place. It appeared that Tansy was correct when she'd told Ashley that Chantelle was planning on upping the ante in her pursuit of Jeanie.

Still, although she couldn't deny she was annoyed, Ashley wasn't too worried. Jeanie had been polite but distant to Chantelle since meeting her -- was on much more intimate terms with Ashley, and was merely polite yet distant with the butcher woman. If anyone female was going to succeed with the pretty bargirl, Ashley was fairly confident it would be her. Her mood became quite breezy.

She continued to believe this until things reached a head during the night, around one hour later. Chantelle had had quite a few drinks by this stage, although she could hold her alcohol like a horse. She wasn't slurring, or stumbling. Her eyes, if anything, were even brighter and more alert. She stood up from the table, cutting whatever Claire was saying right off.

"Where are you going?" Tansy asked her.

"I'll be back!" Chantelle joked, waggling her eyebrows at them. She turned and strode over to the bar with that prowling walk she had.

The other four girls all watched silently. Chantelle leaned against the bar, on the side closest to the girls' table, and waited. Sure enough, since Bella's designated serving area was on the opposite side of the bar, Jeanie appeared after a few minutes.

"Chantelle?" she asked her, grinning. "Don't tell me, another double? Aren't you feeling it yet? You're a machine, woman!"

"Okay, now seriously, dolly girl, level with me." Chantelle's eyes captured Jeanie's and didn't look away. "Haven't you ever wondered what nasty sex with a woman would be like?"

"Uh, Chantelle, I don't think this is an appropriate conversation to be having while I'm at work, or at any other time really ..." Jeanie pursed her lips together.

"No, look at me!" Chantelle's voice turned slightly commanding, and Jeanie suddenly couldn't turn her neck for some reason. Ashley thought irritably that Chantelle had that effect on a lot of people.

"Have you ever wondered, baby?" Chantelle asked again, voice crooning.

"No," Jeanie said at once, a bit too quickly, cheeks starting to discolour slightly.

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byHarmonyHaze© 83 comments/ 387759 views/ 440 favorites

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