Author's Note: Hey reader people. Over the last few months, I've re-watched the entire series, including the reunion movie. Despite its more childish aspects, I enjoyed seeing it again. However, we all know the huge piece of the puzzle that was missing from that movie, and this story is my attempt to sort of make up for that. I also want to do more with these characters, and this is my trial run so to speak. It's something I thought up and wrote fairly quickly, just to get myself used to writing Jo and Blair. That said, constructive criticism makes me absurdly happy, non-constructive criticism has the opposite effect. Thanks for reading, and please do review.
Disclaimer: Don't own them. If I did, all the seasons would be on DVD already, and Nancy McKeon would somehow get roped into being in another reunion flick.
The simple truth was, Natalie Green never had a choice as to where her wedding would take place. From the moment she and Harper returned from the airfield, Blair's party planning instincts had taken over. The engagement news was barely out of Nat's mouth before Blair was insisting they have the wedding there, at the Inn. Seconds after offering congratulations, she was already talking catering and entertainment and seating arrangements. Whether they liked it or not, 75% of Natalie and Harper's nuptial arrangements were made within 2 hours of their engagement. Fortunately, Harper was the definition of easy-going, and Natalie had learned not to argue with Blair once the brilliant ideas started flowing.
So they'd left the reunion early, gotten their story in Pakistan, and before anyone knew what was happening, they were headed back to Peekskill, preparing to give the last single musketeer a proper sendoff.
It was the night before the wedding, and everyone was once again bunking down at The Little Inn. The rehearsal dinner was long over, and the bachelorette party had finally wound down. Natalie had enjoyed the latter event much more than the former, as had Dorothy. Dorothy's maid of honor duties aside, that party was the only aspect of this wedding that Blair hadn't butted into. With everything done until tomorrow, Natalie had gone off to Dorothy's and her room. (Blair nearly fainted at the idea of Nat and her soon-to-be-husband tempting fate the night before their wedding). Mrs. Garrett had retired before the others, though it was suspected that this had less to do with tiredness and more to do with the redhead's desire to stop hearing the same old stories about Beverly Ann's ex-husband. This was the subject Jo and Blair discussed now, sitting across from each other on the king-sized bed of Blair's hotel room.
"We can't let her give a toast," Jo laughed. "It'll start out well enough-"
"Will it?" Blair asked.
"-next thing you know, we'll be in the middle of a fifteen minute diatribe about Frank and his trollop of a wife."
"We'll just have to distract her," Blair stated, reaching for a glass of water on the nightstand. "Find someone who hasn't already heard everything."
Jo snorted. "Please. Who there hasn't already heard all about the rise and fall of the Stickle marriage?"
Eyes twinkling, Blair set her beverage aside, shrugging casually. "Harper hasn't met her yet."
"Come on, Blair. Super-hostess extraordinaire and you want to torture the guy like that? On his wedding day?"
"I suppose that would be cruel and unusual. I'll send Tad over."
"Ouch," said Jo, wincing dramatically. "He do something to piss you off?"
"Don't be absurd," Blair replied, a dreamy smile lighting her face. "Tad and I are perfectly perfect."
Jo rolled her eyes good-naturedly. "So I hear. Tootie said that between Nat and Harper getting engaged and you and Tad rekindling the romance, this place was a regular love shack."
"Dorothy's a hopeless romantic; she loved every minute of it."
The brunette rolled her eyes again. "Are we actually expected to stick with this Dorothy thing? Because I don't think I can handle that."
"I think she's basically accepted that Dorothy is a lost cause after more than a decade of Tootie. Still, it wouldn't kill you to put forth a little effort."
"Might," Jo argued, "and I'm not willing to risk it."
"You are indeed a true and selfless friend," Blair deadpanned. "Can you believe it? Natalie, finally tying the knot."
"No actually. I can't believe half of what happened here at Thanksgiving. I don't know if I want to."
"Well, I was surprised too, when we found out Natalie was juggling men, but-"
"No, no, no," the brunette refuted. "I can buy Nat having two guys stashed away, that I have no problem with. The fact that you guys decided to choose between them using some ridiculous combination of The Dating Game and the Mr. America pageant…"
"Oh for goodness sake Jo, it was Harper and Robert's idea-"
"Really? Because it sounded so unbelievably brilliant, picking a life-partner based on their ability to purchase footwear. I just assumed it had to be one of yours."
"Well, that category was my idea."
"I know Blair. Believe me, I know."
The blonde made a dismissive hand gesture. "You're just upset that you missed all the fun."
She was actually, and of course Blair would know that. Didn't mean Jo had to say it out loud. "I'm sorry, Blair. I tried getting the Captain to get the bad guys to work around my social schedule, but somehow that didn't fly."
"Would it help if I made a donation of some kind? Perhaps Warner Industries could build a doughnut shop next to the police station."
"Doughnut jokes, always with the doughnut jokes. Can't anyone come up with something new?"
A knock at the door forestalled any response Blair might have given. Seconds later, Jamie and Tisha entered the luxurious hotel room. Like the older women, both wore pajamas.
"Hey," Jo greeted. "What're you guys doing here? You should be in bed."
Tisha shrugged innocently. Jamie casually crossed her arms over her chest. It was Jamie who responded to her mother's query. "We just wanted to see what was going on around here."
Blair translated this. "Nat and Dorothy instructed them to spy on Harper's bachelor party, make sure the boys behaved themselves."
"Great," Jo muttered. "Not only did Tootie pass the snoop gene on to her kid, she's also passed it on to mine." Any sting her words might've had was negated by the affectionate smile Jo offered both girls.
"It's a pretty lame party," Jamie stated. "Totally boring."
"Good," replied Blair. "That's exactly how bachelor parties were meant to be."
"Was Nat's party boring?" Jamie asked.
"Not if Mom pulled off half of what I heard her planning," Tisha replied before the older women could speak.
"All right ladies, the party's over," Blair stated. "I think you can stop sulking now."
"It's not fair we didn't get to go," Tisha replied, plopping down next to the blonde.
"Apparently you can't stop sulking now." Shaking her head, Blair draped an arm over Tisha's shoulders.
"You're one to talk." As her daughter came to stand next to her, Jo went into her long-neglected Blair Warner impression. "Oh, woe is me; Moe didn't invite me to the cotillion. Oh no, Larry hasn't called to comment on my gorgeousness today. Gasp, Curly's starting to suspect that I'm not a natural blonde." While the girls chuckled, Jo returned her voice to its natural state. "Not that it'd take Curly very long to figure that one out."
"First of all, under what circumstances would I ever associate with men named Moe, Larry, or Curly? Secondly, blonde jokes, Jo? All this time, and still the best you have to offer are these ridiculous insinuations about my hair? And thirdly, I resent you spreading lies about me to the children."
"Hey," Jamie groused, annoyed with being referred to as a child.
"Hey," Jo parroted. "You spread lies to my kid every chance you get. And then you wonder why we only see each other once in a blue moon."
Blair went on as if neither of them had spoken. "My hair always has and always will be beautifully, naturally blonde."
Jo smirked. After the Thanksgiving reunion, Blair had called to fill her in on the good, the bad, and the ugly. Her relief at learning Tad wasn't cheating on her had been mixed with absolute horror and embarrassment at the way she'd chased after him, falsely accusing a complete stranger of being his mistress. She'd also been horrified and embarrassed by something else, something she actually seemed to think worse than misjudging her husband and making a fool of herself. "Sure Blair, blonde." Covering her mouth, Jo faked a cough. "Gray," she choked out, not bothering to hide her laughter.
"All right, enough of this blasphemy. You girls go on to bed and ignore Jo here. What passes for her mind is clearly being lost to senility."
"If my brain survived getting caught in the twenty gallons of hairspray you went through on a daily basis, I think it's pretty much safe." Now it was Jo who'd become the target of laughter. "What?" she asked, eyes narrowed as the other three shared a conspiratorial look.
"I won't say anything," Blair declared in her most magnanimous voice. "I could go there, of course I could. But it would be cruel and disrespectful, and I refuse to sink to your level." Jamie and Tisha smirked. "Not to mention that it would be far too easy."
That left the almost-teenagers. Jamie looked at her mother, looked at Tisha. "You tell her."
"Duh, she's less likely to punish you."
"Oh." Tisha shifted on the bed until she was positioned slightly behind Blair. "No offense Aunt Jo, but Mom's shown me some old photo albums and-"
"Your hair was ridiculous Jo. All those perms…" Blair made a face, shuddering theatrically.
"So much for not going there," Jo grumbled. Shaking her head, she gave Jamie a gentle push on the arm. "All right kid. Colorblind or not, Blair did have a point earlier."
"Of course I did. What was I right about?"
"What's that saying about a broken clock still being right twice a day? Anyway, off to bed with you two, we have to be up early tomorrow."
"Oh yes," Blair agreed. "We'll need to get our hair done, and of course our nails, and makeup-"
"Are you sure I have to go?" Jamie whined, disgusted by the looks of excitement on Blair and Tisha's faces.
"Yes you have to go, yes you have to wear a dress, no, sneakers do not go with the dress."
Blair beamed. "So what if it took twenty years, she's finally seen the light."
"Come on, it'll be fun to dress up." At her daughter's scowl of disbelief, Jo dropped the façade and let her shoulders slump. "You and I can be miserable together. They say misery causes stronger bonding."
"Well that certainly explains why our friendship has been so strong and long-lasting. Eight years living with you, I don't know how I survived that much hardship." Turning her attention to the kids, Blair clapped her hands and made shooing motions. "That said, you two really must get out of here. As Jo pointed out, tomorrow is a big day and we don't want to miss out on any beauty sleep."
The girls protested. Natalie and Dorothy were right, watching these two go at it was far more entertaining than whatever high-dollar band Blair had booked for the reception. Surprisingly, it was even better than watching Harper and Robert fall over themselves in their attempts to win Natalie's heart.
"No buts," Jo said firmly. "Remember what Blair said about beauty sleep? How do you expect her to get the fifteen hours she needs to look human if you two keep yakking it up in here?"
"You just always need to have the last word don't you?" Blair sighed, giving Tisha a final squeeze. "How utterly juvenile." Winking at Dorothy's daughter, she added, "Fifteen hours. It'll take at least that long for us to get Jo into a respectable state for the wedding."
Grinning, Tisha offered the woman in question a final goodbye, while Jamie exchanged hushed words with Blair. Jo couldn't help her smile of bemusement. When it came to the four musketeers and their children, Tisha was closest to Natalie. It made sense, Tootie and Nat being such good friends. And, despite the fact that they had virtually nothing in common, Jo's own daughter had bonded most strongly with Blair. If someone had told her that first semester at Eastland that she'd wind up best friends with Blair Warner, that her kid would look forward to seeing and speaking with the blonde, Jo would've said they were nuts. If they'd persisted in their claims, she probably would've decked them. Amazing what could change in a decade or two.
"Hey you." Jamie was moving towards the door, and beauty sleep or not, Jo wasn't having that yet. "Forget something?"
"Mom," Jamie groaned, dragging the word out.
"Jamie," Jo replied, parroting her daughter. "Get your butt over here."
Heaving a deep sigh, Jamie went back to her mother. Groaning aside, she smiled when Jo hugged and kissed her, changing her expression as quickly as possible. "Happy, Mom?"
"Ecstatic," Jo confirmed. "Goodnight guys."
"Pleasant dreams ladies."
The kids gone, Blair turned her attention back to Jo, a fond smile on her face. "Ah Jo. Jo, Jo, Jo…"
Eyebrows raised, Jo regarded her friend suspiciously. "What Blair? What, what, what?"
"Oh, don't sound so paranoid. I was just thinking, do you remember that woman who wrote the book about Eastland, the one we filmed those interviews with?"
"Yes," Jo said warily. "She said those tapes would stay private."
Blair blinked in surprise. "They did, at least as far as I know. Why?" Then it dawned on her. Scooting closer to Jo, Blair nearly bubbled with excitement. "You talked about me, didn't you?"
"Of course not! Why would I waste my breath, not to mention her tape-"
"You talked about me! What did you say? Did you go on and on about all the countless ways that knowing me has bettered your life?"
"You're unbelievable, do you know that?"
"Well of course I do. The question is, did you help spread the news to the rest of the world?"
"Rest of the world? Blair, did we not just establish that…never mind." Her best friend was an egomaniac; Jo had learned to live with that. "Look, I'm going to regret asking, but did you have a point in bringing up those interviews? Blair?"
It took Blair a moment to respond. She was busy wondering what it would take to get her hands on that footage Obviously she'd need to keep it from Jo. No sense in the brunette knowing Blair had spoken positively about her, on camera no less.. Making a mental note to look into it after the wedding, she returned to the original topic. "Well, Tootie told me-"
"Tootie?" Jo repeated, a joyful smirk on her lips. "Now who's not trying?"
"Stop interrupting. Now, Tootie told me some of what she said in her interview."
That caught Jo's attention. Unconsciously, she leaned forward on the bed. "Yeah?"
"Indeed. She spoke about us, about Mrs. Garrett. About her belief that no matter who else came into or out of our lives, the five of us would always be in touch, always be together. And now look at us. Twenty years later, here we all are. Back in Peekskill. Nat and Tootie are still nosy as ever, Mrs. Garrett's as wonderful as always, and you and I are still at each other's throats, locked in an endless game of one-upmanship. Isn't that sweet?"
Jo didn't even need to think about it, though she waited a few moments before answering. "I suppose it is." Twenty years and she was still dealing with Nat and Tootie's crazy schemes, still going to Mrs. G for advice, even if that meant e-mailing her from across the ocean rather than walking across the hall. Still bickering with Blair every time they came within a mile of each other. Jo grinned. She wouldn't have it any other way.
"Tootie also said that all of us would still be living together."
Jo's smile dimmed. "Did she."
"Our whole little group, not to mention our husbands and children. All together, all still living in Mrs. Garrett's attic."
"Okay, now we've gone from very sweet to very sad and very pathetic."
Blair laughed, all the while thinking of how big the hotel really was. Tootie was in the process of settling things in L.A. so she could move back to New York. No reason she couldn't stay here. Perhaps Jo and Rick could be persuaded to give up their brownstone. Natalie and Mrs. Garrett were such jet-setters, but even they would have to settle down eventually. She and Tad could leave Park Avenue and-
"I'm not moving in with you again. It'd be like a bad sitcom. Or a bad homicide case."
"As if I'd ever want to relive the horrors of cohabitating with you."
"Right back at you, Blondie. So what brought this on? I haven't even thought of those interviews in years."
Blair fidgeted just slightly, hoping the other woman wouldn't notice. "Oh you know. Nostalgia, sentimentality. I was looking at the kids and it just sort of popped into my mind, everything Tootie said to me."
Jo nodded. "So. Did you talk about me?"
"In your interview."
Blair waved dismissively. "Ha, all the amazing things I've done over the years, who can recall one little interview that nobody ever saw? If I did mention you, it was only to share my plight, shed light on the terrible strain that came from living with such a barbarian."
Blair listened to Jo's characteristically sharp retort, but her mind had drifted. She was still thinking about those interviews, her own in particular. Of how she'd expressed her desire for a good, solid family, above all else. Of how she and Tad had drifted apart until it was nearly too late.
"Yo, Earth to Blair. You still with me here?"
Jo wore a teasing grin. Blair didn't return the expression. For the first time in hours, she was the picture of seriousness. "Jamie's such a good kid. You're great with her."
Taken aback, Jo could only blink in surprise. "Uh, thanks Blair. I like to think she's turning out all right, despite my influence."
The last part was said jokingly, but Blair still felt the need to refute it. Jamie was a wonderful child, the grand theft incident notwithstanding. "More like because of your influence. I only hope…"
"What?" Jo asked, gesturing for Blair to continue. "Blair, I'm not in the mood for charades."
Now was as good a time as any. Blair leaned forward slightly, excitement bleeding into her voice. "You'll have to promise to keep this between us. I've been positively dying to tell the others, but tomorrow is Natalie's day, and-"
Theatrically, Jo rested a palm over her heart. "Blair Warner giving up the spotlight?" Jo pretended to get up.
"What in the world are you doing?"
"Raising the alarm, telling everyone to get the fallout shelters ready."
"Just because I choose to relinquish attention to my dear, dear friend, does not necessarily mean that we should start preparing for some apocalyptic disaster."
"Would you like to hear this or not? I've only told one other person you know. You should be honored."
"Oh excuse me. I'm honored, I'm not worthy, I beg your not-so-humble forgiveness. Now spill your guts already."
"Well, as you know, Tad and I have been…trying lately.
"Operation Fertilization, yeah, I know."
"Operation Fertilization?" Blair repeated, utterly mortified.
"That was Natalie's title," Jo hastily explained. "You know how she is. Headlines were always her weak point, even in high school."
"So it would appear." Making another mental note to speak to Natalie about that, Blair continued on with her announcement. "Anyway, we haven't been trying very long, but you know me. I always was extraordinarily talented, great at achieving my goals quickly."
"If you start rambling on about your remarkable talents in the bedroom, I'm leaving."
"Right, of course. The point is, Tad and I are expecting. I'm in a family way, in a delicate condition, with child-"
"He knocked you up, I get it. Can't say I'm entirely surprised."
The blonde's megawatt smile dimmed just slightly. "You knew?"
Jo shrugged, a huge grin gracing her own features. "Suspected. You've made it a point to avoid alcohol, seems like you might've gained a few pounds-"
"I have not! I'm not nearly far enough along for that! I demand an apology from you!"
"Tad is going to have a fun time when the mood swings kick in. You want to know how else I knew?"
"No, I want you to apologize for being even more rude and insensitive than usual."
"Every so often, you'd have this really dopey smile on your face. Dopier than usual I mean." Before Blair could start yelling, Jo placed a hand on her arm, squeezing gently. "When I was pregnant with Jamie, I remember feeling like some kind of celebrity reject, because every time I looked up, Rick would be snapping pictures of me."
"I recall that," Blair said tightly. "Rick seemed rather upset when you threw his camera out the window."
Jo shrugged. "He got over it. Anyway, he always used to tell me how beautiful I looked, said I was glowing. Rick's such a sap. But looking at those pictures, he was kind of right. Even when I first found out, I had this stupid, dopey smile on my face, eerily similar to the stupid, dopey smile I've seen you with ever since we got here."
Clasping her friend's hand, Blair's expression cleared. The scowl was gone, replaced by another brilliant smile. "Jo, that is just about the sweetest thing you've ever said to me!"
Letting herself be pulled into a warm hug, Jo spoke quietly and sincerely. "Congratulations, Blair. I couldn't be happier for you."
"Thank you, Jo."
Smirking against the blonde's shoulder, Jo couldn't help teasing her a bit. "Although I am a little freaked out. The Warner genes continuing into the next generation? Miniature versions of you? I used to have nightmares about that."
Blair didn't laugh.
Noting the reaction, feeling her friend tighten up, Jo pulled away from the hug, instantly concerned. "Hey, I didn't mean anything by that. I would never-"
"No, you don't need to apologize," said Blair, giving the other woman's hand a reassuring squeeze. "I just…"
Jo waited for Blair to continue, only to be met with silence. "We back to charades again?" Jo asked, trying to lighten a suddenly heavy mood.
Sighing, Blair let go of Jo's hand, looking her best friend dead in the eye. "Jo, do you think that I'll be a good mother?"
A pause. Then, "Is this a trick question?"
"Blair…you're good at everything. I mean, at least you think you are. Why doubt yourself about this?"
"That's just it though! I'm not good with kids. I even told Mrs. Garrett as much."
Jo frowned in confusion. "You talked to Mrs. G about this? I thought you said only me and Tad knew?"
Oops. She'd decided to be the cool aunt and not tell Jamie's parents about the little jail incident at Thanksgiving. Maybe that hadn't been the best course of action. Backpedaling, Blair quickly explained, "Oh you are, Mrs. Garrett doesn't know yet. But you remember what it was like when we were younger. All of us talking to her about our fears, our hopes and dreams for the future."
"Yeah, I remember. I just always thought your biggest fear was that Clairol would stop selling your color blonde."
"Again with the blonde jokes. I'm going through an emotional crisis and you're still making blonde jokes." Exasperated, Blair threw her hands in the air.
"I'm sorry," Jo said honestly. "Force of habit. Why would you think you wouldn't be a good mother?"
"Because! I've got no real experience with kids, I-"
"What would you call Bailey?" Jo asked, referring to Blair's much younger kid sister. "You used to take care of her an awful lot."
"That hardly counts," Blair answered dismissively. "Yes, Bailey's grown into a perfectly lovely young girl, but she was never really my responsibility. I'd watch her for a few hours every now and again, then hand her back off to Mother. And that's another thing. I know she tried harder with Bailey, but when I was a kid, Mother wasn't really my mother. She was my best friend. We'd go to Broadway together, to Paris or London or Italy."
"Sounds like a miserable childhood," Jo quipped.
"What I mean is, we'd do things together, but we didn't act like mother and daughter. When I was younger, she was always jetting off to someplace or other. Sometimes I feel like I have more memories of the nanny than I do of my own mother. If she wasn't off traveling, then I was away at school. The closest Mother ever came to helping me with my homework was when we'd have contests to see who could max out Daddy's credit cards the fastest."
"This was considered homework?"
"Got it. Look Blair, you're mom loves you, and I'm sure she did her best. Look at my mother. She loved me to death, and I felt the same way, but she was never around either. Wasn't her fault, she had to work so many hours to keep us going, but still."
"Yes, and you ended up in a gang of delinquent Neanderthals. No offense."
"None taken. Yeah, I made some mistakes, and so did Ma. But I still turned out all right, and Jamie sees her grandmother every chance she gets."
"But what about divorce? Don't get me wrong," Blair added, "Tad and I are fine now but…we almost weren't. We almost screwed it up before we even had the pressures of children. You and I both know what it's like to grow up in a broken home."
"First off, as I've stated several times, it was incredibly idiotic of you to think that Tad would ever cheat."
"Yes, I suppose it was. After all, anyone other than me would be considered a step down."
"Right," Jo muttered, thinking of the day before Blair's wedding. After offering her condolences to Tad (he was after all spending the remainder of his life with Blair), Jo promised the man that if he ever hurt Blair in any way, she, Jo, would come after him with everything she had. When Tad pointed out that she was merely a rookie fresh from the Police Academy, Jo pointed out that she knew quite a few influential people in the Bronx, who would be only too happy to do her a favor. After threatening Blair's fiancé, Jo was sufficiently satisfied that her friend would be in good hands.
Returning to the task at hand, Jo focused on talking some sense into Blair. Not that that usually worked very well. "Second, Tad loves you, and you love him. So you had a rough patch, who doesn't? You guys are way too smart to let something like that tear you up. Just because both our parents divorced, doesn't mean we have to end up like that. Remember that camera of Rick's I tossed out the window? Well let me tell you, there've been times when Rick and I wanted to toss each other out the window. But we didn't do it, and do you know why?"
"Because cops don't last in prison?"
"No Blair. We both know I could hold my own on the inside."
"Because the fall from the window might kill you, and I'm Jamie's guardian if something does happen to you and Rick, and you said that you would literally die before giving me control of your child?"
"Partly yes. Mostly, it's because Rick and I wanted to make it work, so we did. If you and Tad want to make it work, then the marriage will be just fine."
"But Jo, children require so much from you. So much of everything. I don't know if I can…I want to, but I don't…"
Blair gazed helplessly at her friend. Taking a breath, Jo prayed for patience, wondering why she hadn't paid more attention to that stupid communication seminar at work. "So, let me see if I got this. You're happy about the baby?"
"Of course!" Blair said, nodding emphatically.
"But you're also afraid that you don't know enough about how normal mothers act to be a normal mother. And you're also worried about what'll happen if you and Tad eventually split."
"Yes, though admittedly you've helped me feel a lot better about those things."
Hey, maybe that stupid seminar had paid off after all. "Good, so what else is there?"
"It's just…you'll think it's foolish."
"Probably. Tell me anyway."
"Well, I love Tad, and I love the idea of having a child with him. But as you've been known to point out, I am a rather selfish person."
Closing her eyes, Jo mentally kicked herself. Releasing a sigh, she once again clasped her friend's hand. "Listen. I know that over the years, on occasion, I might have insinuated that you were kind of selfish."
"Insinuated?" Blair repeated challengingly. "Kind of selfish?"
"All right, so I called you a stuck up, selfish snob, incapable of caring about anyone other than yourself."
Blair nodded, moving on to question another part of Jo's statement. "Over the years, on occasion?"
"Fine, every day for at least two years. It tapered off after we started Langley."
"Tapered off yes. You still said it at least twice a week until you moved out."
"Well I was wrong, Blair!" Jo exclaimed, frustrated and ashamed by her past behavior. Forcing calm, she caught and held Blair's gaze before continuing. "I was wrong," she repeated in a softer voice. "You're definitely spoiled, and you're definitely self absorbed. But…"
"But what?" Blair demanded, full of barely-restrained anticipation. "What?"
"You're really going to make me say this aren't you? All this wedding mush, all this nostalgia mush, everything we already talked about, and you're really going to make me say this."
"Absolutely. Carry on."
Steeling herself, Jo took another deep breath, then did as instructed. "You've got a huge heart, Blair. And much as I may sometimes forget this, you're not selfish, not really. Remember how much time you spent with Nat after her father died?"
"That was nothing. We were all family; we all tried to help Natalie feel better."
"What about Langley graduation, when you got onstage and gave my speech instead of yours?"
Blair shrugged. "Not a huge hardship, it wasn't that bad of a speech."
"Buying the Center, helping all those needy people?"
"I told you back then, it was an opportunity to have you working for me, how could I pass that up?"
"You're milking this. You're intentionally torturing me with this."
"I am not. But I'm still unsure about my mothering capabilities."
She was milking this, she was so milking this. Searching her memory, Jo finally hit on something that might just work. "What about a couple of years ago. When Jamie had that thing with her appendix?"
"I remember," Blair replied softly. She remembered that day very clearly. Jo calling to say that Jamie had been rushed to the hospital, that the girl was undergoing an emergency appendectomy. Blair had never heard Jo so obviously frightened, not before or since.
"Rick was out of town, working some gig or another." Jo swallowed audibly, trying to maintain control. "And I was so damn scared, my little girl under that knife. And you just dropped everything, including that huge important meeting-"
"It wasn't that huge," Blair tried to argue.
"It was huge," Jo refuted. "I remember because you blabbed to me about it for weeks beforehand."
That was true. They might not see enough of each other, but between e-mail and cell phones, they certainly kept in touch. Seeing how bright Jo's eyes had gotten, Blair suddenly found that their roles were reversed. Suddenly she was the one trying to offer comfort. "Jo…"
"I knew it was a routine procedure, but-"
"But it was still your child. Under a knife."
"Right. And you dropped everything and came there and sat with me, kept me from going off on the hospital staff."
"Tried to," Blair corrected, a smile tugging at her lips.
"Tried to," Jo confirmed, matching the blonde's expression. "Regardless, you kept me okay until it was over. And when Jamie woke up and Rick was still fighting the airlines to get home, you were still there. You stuck around until Jamie and I were both okay again."
"Of course I did, you needed me. Where else would I be at a time like that?
"If you were a truly selfish person?" Jo asked, letting the answer hang between them for a moment. "Blair, I know I said it at the time, but-"
Blair silenced the brunette by pulling her into another hug. "No thanks necessary. Not then, not now."
Nodding against Blair's shoulder, Jo held the embrace a few seconds longer, buying time to compose herself. Finally, she pulled back, meeting Blair's eyes again. "Blair, when this kid shows up, he or she is going to have the best of everything. And whether you believe this or not right now, that includes having a truly wonderful mother." A pause. Jo solicitously looked away while Blair rid her eyes of a few tears. Blair's hormones must've been contagious, since Jo herself seemed to be having trouble with her emotions. "So…you okay now?"
"You know, I think I am. Thank you, Jo."
"No thanks necessary. Can we move on before I choke on the schmaltz?"
"Momentarily. There is just one more little favor I'd like to ask of you."
"Blair, it's late, I'm tired, I just delivered a speech worthy of a Hallmark commercial-"
"More like an Oscar. Nevertheless, I would like to impose on you just one more time before we search out our wayward husbands."
"Of course you would. Fine Blair, what is it?"
"Well, as you said, my child will have access to the best of everything, and I'd like for him or her to be surrounded by the best people as well."
"So put the kid in a playgroup for children of billionaires."
"That's already in the works. I'd like you to be my child's godmother."
Jo blinked in surprise, hoping her mouth wasn't hanging open. "Godmother, you're serious?"
"If you're willing."
"I…yeah I'm willing. Of course I'm willing, but you've never been much of a God person."
"Exactly," Blair shrugged. "That's part of your job."
"Blair, you know I'm not exactly Miss Religion myself."
Another shrug. "More so than Tad or I. Anyway, that aspect doesn't really concern me. Asking you to do this is sort of an act of selfishness on my part." That declaration made her eyes twinkle.
"You?" Jo asked with a grin. "Selfish? I don't believe it."
"Difficult to comprehend I know. However, the duty of godmother would require a certain level of involvement in his or her life."
"I gathered that. Guess that means we'd need to see each other more often."
"Yes, I suppose so. As I said, selfish motivations."
"I love you too. And I'd love to have a certain amount of influence over your kid."
"You know, now that I think about it, perhaps Natalie-"
"Natalie is Tisha's godmother."
"She's always been able to multitask."
"I can finally get revenge for all those stories you keep telling Jamie."
"Those stories are glimpses of our past. I'm giving Jamie the gift of knowing who her mother used to be."
"And me the gift of getting grilled on every stupid thing I ever did as a teenager."
"Don't be ridiculous, I don't just throw those stories out willy-nilly."
"Aunt Jo's first lesson to future Warner-Warner child: don't say 'willy-nilly.'"
"I have carefully mapped out which tales of your teenage years to relate, and on which occasions to relate them."
"Mapped out? You've mapped this out?"
"Naturally. When Jamie discovers the joys and sorrows of the opposite sex-"
"Don't use the words 'Jamie' and 'sex' in the same sentence."
"When she finds her first real boyfriend and you two are at each other's throats because you think she's moving too fast and getting too serious, I'll tell Jamie about the time you ran off at sixteen and nearly became a Navy wife."
"It'll show her that her mother was young once too. Young and in love, and capable of making mistakes. And when the two of you are arguing over Jamie's career choices, I'll tell her about the time you almost became a nun."
"You going to tell her about the part where I slugged you? Because let me tell you, that was probably my favorite part of that whole episode."
"And when Jamie-"
"How long have you had this master plan?" Jo interrupted. "This schedule dictating when you're going to spill all my secrets to my kid?"
Blair thought about it. "Remember when we had lunch and you told me you were pregnant?"
"Remember how I was busy with work for several weeks afterward, how we barely talked?"
Jo blinked, stared at her friend, then got up and moved towards the door.
"Hey! Where are you going?"
"Where do you think? I've got a very long, very interesting, very embarrassing schedule to make out. I'll have to hustle if I want to have all your best moments mapped and ready when the kid gets here."