DISCLAIMER: Dick Clair and Jenna McMahon created "The Facts of Life" fictional characters borrowed for this fan fiction. Lala wrote the song, "You Give Good Love," which, by request, is included in this fan fiction. The author of this fan fiction does not profit, in any way, from the story and that all creative rights to the characters and titles belong to their original creator(s).
AUTHOR'S NOTES: I had to break this writing challenge submission into several chapters, because it was growing into a massive piece.
Going to the Chapel?
The Devil is in the Details
Several days later, Blair huddled at the dining room table with her wedding planner as they poured over Blair's extremely large wedding book; the one she started when she was a mere child. When Jo first saw the book, her eyes nearly popped out of her head. It was then the smart detective told Blair to find a wedding planner and the impatient brunette put all the wedding plans in her blonde partner's capable hands. The only stipulation Jo made was she did not want to wear a wedding dress, because she felt twice was enough. Blair gave Jo two choices; either her dress blues or a woman's tuxedo. Secretly, Blair was hoping Jo would choose the woman's tuxedo, because she loved how Jo looked in one.
"Blair, why can't I wear a nice black pant suit?" Jo complained.
"Because this is our wedding," Blair answered.
"But Blair…," Jo whined, "…my dress blues are so stiff."
Blair grinned, "Then it is the woman's tuxedo."
"A TUX? I ain't a guy," Jo exclaimed.
Blair slid her arms around Jo's neck and purred in her ear, "I know that. I just like the cut of your jib…," she kissed Jo's ear, "…sailor."
Today, as Blair and the wedding planner went over the thousands of details for Blair's ultimate wedding, Jo wisely opted to meet her 'best man' for lunch at the local microbrewery restaurant.
"So? How is the 'groom-to-be'?" Natalie asked as she slipped her iPad back into her bag.
Jo glared and growled, "Please tell me ya didn't just blog everyone about our lunch."
Natalie rolled her eyes, "Jo, Jo, Jo, my blog is not for the mundane everyday occurrences like our lunch."
"Good," Jo took a swig of her beer.
"I Twitter those," Natalie laughed as Jo nearly spit out her mouthful of beer.
"Since you and I are having lunch here, I'm guessing your fiancé is home with the wedding planner again," Natalie teased.
"You guessed it," Jo sighed.
"Jo, I have to tell you, I honestly didn't think you'd take the plunge. I figured you and I were soul mates when it came to…, "Natalie swallowed hard, "…marriage."
"Yeah, but you ain't dating Blair Warner either," Jo smiled.
"True," Natalie paused in thought, "I always wondered what dating Blair Warner was like."
Jo glared at Natalie and nearly scared the perky reporter to death.
"Whoa!" Natalie held both hands up in surrender, "I'm straight, remember?"
"Yeah?" Jo menacingly leaned towards Natalie, "So was Blair…at one time."
"Hardly," Natalie laughed and playfully pushed Jo away.
"What?" Jo growled.
"I've known Blair Warner since Eastland School for Girls was Eastlake School for Girls. She was so into girls back then…she just didn't realize it," Natalie laughed.
"Blair 'My ideal mate is Prince Charles' Warner?" Jo asked.
"I guess it's a good thing too or she would've hooked up with Cindy instead of you," Natalie teased.
"Gimme a break!" Jo exclaimed.
"It's true! Before you roared onto the Eastland campus, Cindy was the resident…," Natalie paused, trying to find the most politically correct word to use, "…tomboy."
"Cindy? The model?" Jo asked, completely incredulous.
"Yep! One and the same!" Natalie brightly smiled.
"Have ya guys heard from those three?" Jo asked.
"Let's see…Nancy and Roger are still married, amazingly. Rumor has it; he is a stray dog…if you know what I mean? They have two kids and since the economic downturn, they now live in a modest house in the suburbs. Nancy never became a psychologist, because she got pregnant again, soon after the first one was born. Cindy retired from modeling at the ripe old age of twenty-eight," Natalie rolled her eyes.
"What's she doing now? Holed up in some mansion reliving the 'good old days?'" Jo laughed.
"Actually…," Natalie arched one eyebrow at Jo, "She was always a smart one. She invested well and was able to start her own fashion magazine. She and her partner run it."
"Partner?" Jo asked.
"Yep…just like you and Blair," Natalie smugly smiled.
Jo whistled through her teeth.
"Classy Jo, very classy. One would never know you're an Eastland and Langley alumni," Natalie chided.
Jo chose to ignore Natalie's ribbing, "Hey, what about Sue Ann?"
"She currently owns and runs a successful fashion magazine," Natalie answered as she reached into her bag.
Before Jo could respond, Natalie held up her hand, silently asking Jo to wait a minute while she answered her iPhone.
"Yes, she's right here. We're having lunch," Natalie smiled at Jo, who was motioning to know the caller's name. "No, it doesn't look like she's going to run, but you never know with her."
Jo shot Natalie a death glare for her last comment.
"Dorothy says hi," Natalie said.
Jo waved and took a sip of her beer. She grimaced, because the beer had warmed to room temperature and signaled for the server to come over. When the bubbly young girl arrived, Jo ordered a Scotch, then motioned to Natalie, who motioned she wanted another glass of red wine, so Jo added it to her order. Always the reporter, Natalie caught the look the server gave Jo. Realizing Jo was, as usual, clueless of the young girl's flirting, Natalie shook her head.
As the server was leaving, Natalie quipped, "Blair hit you with a large clue-by-four, huh?"
"Wha?" Jo stared at Natalie as if the reporter sprouted another head.
"Jo, you are the most clueless lesbian I know," Natalie laughed.
"Am not! And NO, she didn't," Jo defensively growled.
"Sure, sure," Natalie continued to laugh.
Jo gave Natalie her best look of indignation, but the young woman continued laughing.
In hopes of shutting up her friend, Jo confessed, "Actually, it was Tootie."
Natalie instantly stopped laughing and asked, "What?"
"It was during the chaos of preparing for Mrs. G's wedding. Tootie was singing some song…," Jo began her story…
Dorothy was a flurry of motion, trying to get everything together for Mrs. Garrett's last minute impromptu wedding.
"So many things to do and not enough time to do it," Tootie muttered as she continued her preparations for Mrs. Garrett's wedding.
The young woman could feel herself beginning to lose it, so she did what she always did before a performance; she stopped and took several cleansing breaths. Once again, this helped ground her so she could continue her frantic pace. She began singing a song that had been stuck in her head. Jo was walking towards the stairs when she heard Tootie singing downstairs. She stopped, leaned against the wall, and listened to Tootie:
"I found out, what I've been missing, always on the run, I've been looking for someone…"
The lyrics began niggling at Jo, but she did not know why.
"Now you're here, like you've been before, and you know just what I need
It took some time for me to see, that you give good love to me baby
So good, take this heart mine into your hands, you give good love to me
Never too much, baby you give good love…"
As Jo listened to the song, she began reminiscing about all the times Blair was there for her. She swallowed the large lump in her throat.
"Never stopping, I was always searching, for that perfect love, the kind that girls like me dream of…"
Jo slumped against the wall and slid down into a seated position as her heart slammed her brain with a large clue-by-four. Finally, after several long years, her trip down that river in Egypt ended. She deeply sighed, but she did not know whether this new revelation was a good thing or a bad thing, a very bad thing. She knew just because she finally came to terms with her true feelings for her longtime roommate, did not mean they would ride off into the sunset together. As far as she knew, Blair was as straight as an arrow. Tears began to roll down her cheeks and she rested her forehead against her knees.
"This is an odd place to sit," Blair whispered in Jo's ear.
Jo's head shot up and she stared into Blair's eyes. The warmth exuding from those doe brown eyes warmed Jo to the core. At that moment, all she wanted to do was kiss her beautiful roommate. Jo's defenses kicked into overdrive and anger quickly replaced those warm fuzzy feelings.
"Gimme a break! Can't a person sit where they want in this house and be left in peace?" Jo snapped.
"Okay Jo, I was just teasing you. I'll leave you alone," Blair said, hurt evident in her voice.
Jo grabbed Blair's wrist and pulled her back down, "I'm sorry. I'm just a bit…"
"On edge?" Blair volunteered.
"Yeah," Jo mumbled.
"Why?" Blair asked.
Jo internally debated whether she should take a chance with her heart. She spent most of her life guarding it and repressing her emotions, so Jo knew a bad reaction from Blair would probably destroy her. As Jo stared into the deeply concerned brown eyes staring at her, she decided and pointed in the direction of downstairs. Blair arched an eyebrow at Jo, confused by her distraught friend's response, but soon understood what Jo was referring to when she heard Tootie singing. The young performer was into her third encore performance of the same song. Blair listened to the song's lyrics.
"Tootie really likes that song," Blair smiled.
"Yeah," Jo weakly smiled.
Blair looked at her strangely sad friend slumped against the wall and wondered what could be making her so unhappy. As if a light bulb suddenly went on in her head, Blair's eyes widened. When sad green eyes saw the shock in doe brown ones, Jo closed her eyes and prepared for the explosion.
"The feelings are mutual," Blair whispered in Jo's ear, sending shivers down the brunette's spine.
Jo's eyes flew open, "Huh?" she managed through her shock.
Blair smiled and brushed Jo's cheek. Jo intensely studied Blair's face, looking for any signs of deception, but found only warmth and genuine affection. Tears rolled down Jo's cheeks.
"Really?" Jo squeaked.
Before Blair could respond, Natalie quickly rounded the corner and nearly fell on her two friends.
"HEY! What are you two doing there?" Natalie asked as she quickly averted the collision.
"Jo hurt her ankle," Blair smoothly offered.
Natalie pulled her compact disc player headphones off, "What?"
"Jo hurt her ankle," Blair repeated.
"You okay Jo?" Natalie asked, truly concerned for her friend.
"Yeah, it's better now," Jo rubbed her left ankle and stood up.
"Come on Jo, we should get some ice on it," Blair lightly supported Jo by one arm.
Jo pretended to limp on her injured right ankle and the two young women headed downstairs. As Natalie watched her two friends walk away, she shook her head.
"Oy! If you're going to lie, at least keep it consistent," Natalie mused aloud after her two friends were out of earshot.
She pulled her headphones back on and continued down the hallway.
Natalie bit into her fried zucchini stick and smiled at Jo. The two friends roared with laughter. Jo downed the rest of her drink and ordered another.
"I guess we never shoulda underestimated ya," Jo laughed.
Natalie raised her glass to Jo, nodded, and took a sip.
"Hey, since I'm the best man," Natalie laughed, "I have to figure out what to do for your bachelor party."
"Nat, I really don't want one," Jo said.
"You have to! It's tradition!" Natalie exclaimed.
"Nat, I don't wanna sit and watch a bunch of guys stripping," Jo groused.
"I do," Natalie wickedly grinned.
"Well, I don't and it's my bachelor party," Jo smugly answered.
Jo laughed at Natalie's pouting.
"And…," Jo wondered, "How come Blair gets a bridal shower and I get a bachelor party? I ain't a guy."
"I know that, but you're the…," Natalie paused, trying to find the right word, "uh, butch one."
The nasty glare Natalie received immediately told her she failed to find the right word. She sighed and waited for Jo to rip into her.
"Why does everyone think I'm either a guy or the butch one?" Jo complained.
Natalie stared at Jo, incredulous that her friend asked that question. She wondered if Jo was being serious. The look on Jo's face told Natalie her friend was dead serious.
"Jo, as for people thinking you're a guy, they're blind, but the butch thing, uh, it's because you are the stereotypical butch lesbian," Natalie stated.
"Huh?" Jo warningly arched one eyebrow.
Natalie smiled and chuckled, trying to defuse Jo's anger, "It's the truth."
Jo considered what Natalie told her and after several tense minutes for Natalie, Jo finally smiled and playfully punched Natalie in the arm.
"What a femme," Natalie teased and rubbed where Jo playfully hit her.
Lunch quickly turned into dinner, so Jo called home.