Jodie’s Story Pt. 02

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In part two we move forward as Jodie draws closer to Elaine and Imogen but there are other women on the horizon who show more than a passing interest in her. One is her boss, Vice Principal Graham and Jodie begins to feel herself being drawn back into the dating pool but there are still painful memories of Frankie lurking in the background as she contemplates taking the plunge.

Jodie had always felt drawn towards Vice Principal Kym Graham for various reasons, her sleeves rolled up approach was one of them along with her quirky sense of humour, innate curiosity and her willingness to go boldly where no woman had gone before. Just recently she’d approved a girls football team in opposition to the school sports teacher who thought it too dangerous for girls, and Kym’s classic response had been.

“If it’s too dangerous for girls why are you letting boys play?”

It had left John without a leg to stand on because they were all in the staffroom at the time when she publicly rebuked him. John stepped into her office at the end of the day to ‘discuss’ the issue and whilst neither party enlightened their colleagues as to what was said, it was obvious it hadn’t gone his way. He stormed into the teachers’ carpark in full view of teachers and a few students looking as if he’d been humiliated. A few days later the first girls ventured onto a football field and their enthusiasm knew no bounds. One of the parents, who worked for the local paper, turned up with a photographer a week or so later to take pictures for the paper. The picture on the back page shortly afterwards showed two girls passing the ball to each other.

The headline read: Local Heroes Take the Field and the article mentioned their school in glowing terms, and Kym’s stature at the school had risen. It was rumoured however that if John hadn’t been so intransigent that he might have been given the credit. As it was though, Kym was quoted in the article first with only one minor quip from John, the latter had just put in for a transfer and there were those who thought that maybe Kym had that outcome in mind after all.

Kym Graham, if nothing else, was hands on and capable of making tough decisions and yet Jodie had always found her approachable and despite the fact she’d dug her heels in over football, she was remarkably flexible. Jodie had welcomed her input on Paula’s extra-curricular lessons these last few days, although she’d certainly cautioned her against doing too much.

“At the end of the day you’ve got a full time job and you need time off after work.”

Jodie lowered her eyes to read the text from Imogen as she entered the carpark.

Imogen: Be a bit late getting to Elaine’s joint tonight, had to stop off to the solicitor’s, still here now but should be leaving in half an hour.

Jodie: No problem. Is Elaine home now?

The answer came back as she opened her car door.

Imogen: She is home. Feel free to drop in and wait, no pressure.

Jodie: No worries, I’ll do that. Thanks for the heads up.

She tossed her handbag and another bag onto the front seat and propped against the side of the car as she read her other messages. There was one from her mother, one from her auntie and two from her girlfriends.

“Admiring the view?”

“Huh?” Jodie glanced up as Kym’s voice intruded on her. The older woman was on the way to her car parked in the reserved space, “just checking on messages, you’ve got an early finish?”

“Dental appointment,” Kym came to a stop.

“Ouch,” she winced, “is it hurting?”

“No, it’s just a check up but I also need a quote on whitening.”

“Well I better not keep you then,” she replied.

“How’s it going with Paula?”

“It’s good,” she glanced at her phone, “Imogen just texted me to tell me she’ll be late tonight but it’s going well, hopefully I can bring her up to speed. She’s a bright kid.”

“Good,” she looked past her, “and how’s it going with Imogen?”

“Imogen?” Jodie’s eyes narrowed slightly.

“Yeah,” she smiled crookedly, “we both live in the real world, most of the time.”

“Um, it’s okay. To be honest I haven’t even thought about that for obvious reasons.”

“It must be hard,” Kym frowned, “well, harder than it is with guys. I always know how to handle guys, just flutter my eyelids and smile but with women there’s the issue of intimacy between two friends. Does it get hard to maintain friendships with straight women if you’ve developed feelings for them?”

Jodie hesitated before replying. Was Kym leading the conversation just to lead her into a trap or was she genuinely interested in sexual orientation in general?

“It can be but it’s a personal decision to keep a lid on it. I’m certainly more conscious of my own feelings towards girlfriends although there’s been a definite change now that Frankie is out of my life. She was super jealous, I couldn’t even go visit old friends without having to tell her all the intimate details. That has an impact on your outlook.”

“She sounds like,” Kym’s eyes poker oyna shifted.

“A bitch?” Jodie grinned, “it’s all right to say it, she is a bitch. Sleeping with her was the best decision I made because it confirmed my sexuality, and leaving her was the second best decision because now I’m free to see other women.”

“Are you seeing other women right now?”

“Not yet,” she pocketed her phone, “but I’m in no rush.”

“I know the feeling,” Kym replied, “I’ve just broken up with Michael. We were just treading water in the end, he’s happy in his house and I love my place but it sounds similar to your situation. It was a big move on my part, well for both of us but letting go was also a good thing,” she glanced at her phone for a moment.

“Although I will admit that I’m curious and on that intriguing end, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Curious?” Jodie opened her door a little wider.

“Curious as in curious,” Kym winked and then turning on her heel, walked away.

Curious? Jodie stared after the older woman. Kym? Curious? A slight giddiness moved through her as she slid behind the wheel. Kym was considered a stylish dresser. This afternoon she wore a pale beige blouse tucked into a dark brown, three-quarter length skirt. They were clothes she’d worn at least once a week and Jodie swallowed as she watched Kym fluff her hair back. The collar had been folded upwards and she allowed the fantasy to continue for a few seconds before reality intruded on her.

“Don’t even go there,” she murmured.

Kym backed out of the parking bay and tooted the horn. Jodie followed suit a few moments later and caught up to her at the front gate.

Was Kym flirting with her?

She suspected that Kym was looking at her in the rear view mirror as she reached the road and then the Vice Principal was accelerating away leaving Jodie still sitting there and when she finally did inch forward she had to brake suddenly as a car cruised past. The driver blasted her on the horn and she winced.

“Focus for fuck’s sake.”

***

Jodie stared at the house as she mentally prepared herself. Imogen’s car wasn’t parked in the drive or the street, which meant she hadn’t arrived yet. Should she just wait out here in the street or go inside? Her eyes flickered to a man dressed in shorts. She’d noticed him first when she pulled into the drive prior to backing out again to park on the street, he’d worn a tank top then, now he’d taken it off to expose his six-pack torso to the late afternoon sun as he trimmed a hedge.

As if sensing her attention he turned to look at her and she felt a slight uneasiness at his clumsy flirting. A moment later she grabbed her things and exited the car. She could feel his eyes on her as she rounded the front of the car and proceeded up the drive to the house, it was a familiar sensation, that one of being mentally undressed. You got used to it eventually, but it was still eerie.

She pressed the doorbell and heard the chime a moment later, she glanced briefly over her shoulder as she waited for Elaine to reach the door. The man had gone around to the other side of the hedge in order to get a better view of the newest occupant.

The door was opened and she turned back to find herself looking at Elaine. She was wearing a light brown, patterned dress that fell to her ankles and for a few seconds she looked past Jodie at the man trimming the hedge.

“Hiya,” Jodie ventured, “she just sent me a text, how long will she be?”

“She’s on her way, she just texted me,” she unlocked the flywire door, “come in.”

“Thanks, I didn’t feel like sitting out there getting mentally undressed.”

“Oh, him?” Elaine chuckled, “Davo’s young, dumb and full of cum, but just don’t engage him any conversation. I mentioned something about the weather when I first moved in here,” she stepped back, “and within five minutes we went from weather to football and then refugees flooding into the country.”

“That’s quite a leap.”

“It is,” she closed the door behind them, “it’s his mother’s house, apparently but she moved in with her boyfriend and let it out to him at a cheaper rate.”

“I live with my mum again.”

“Well there’s nothing wrong with that idea,” Elaine smiled as she led her upstairs to her kitchen, “I’d move back in with mum as well but it’s not fair on her, I know she’d lose interest in all her other activities and become a full time granny and babysitter. She needs a full social calendar and I need to focus on raising a child and working.”

Jodie nodded as she glanced in the direction of the living room. She could hear the television from here and Elaine gestured to a seat by the kitchen bench.

“Take a seat. Imogen shouldn’t be long, she’s selling the house because her ex has washed his hands of it.”

“Was it a messy divorce?” Jodie eyed the flowers on the kitchen table, “I thought it was mutual?”

“It was but he’s a lazy shit. It used to drive me up the bloody wall every time I walked into their house. canlı poker oyna He’d be sitting watching sports on the idiot box and she was doing housework or looking after Paula. He certainly helped out if she asked, but it’s the fact she had to actually ask that used to piss me off,” she started filling the kettle.

“My ex was a bit like that too,” she replied, “Frankie was never a girlie girl, which used to annoy me as well because it’s not like housework is only for one person.”

“Oh,” Elaine turned around slowly, “are you? Sorry, I’m not being insensitive or condescending.”

“You’re not and I don’t announce it, so don’t apologise,” Jodie replied.

“Well I’ll be buggered,” she put the kettle on the charging stand and flicked the button, “you learn something new every day.”

“So, what was your ex like?” Jodie asked her.

“Gary was a nutter,” she pulled a wry grin, “it was cute when we first met because he was a bit of a rebel but then he developed a long term grudge against the walls. It was only a matter of time before he missed the wall and hit me instead.”

“Frankie was never like that,” she replied.

“Well, women are different although having said that it must happen.”

“No doubt although I’ve never heard stories about violent women but with Frankie it was more of a control thing. She always wanted to know the gory details about my girlfriends, it was exhausting and maybe that’s why she did it, to discourage me from maintaining relationships.”

“Nasty,” Elaine pursed her lips, “that’s what’d put me off getting involved with a woman, I can see how it could happen and I love my girlfriends but it doesn’t mean I want to,” she glanced over as her daughter stepped into the kitchen, “you know.”

She inclined her head.

“What is it, sweetie?”

“Can I have some cordial?”

“You sure can,” she turned and opened the fridge, “orange, blackberry or tropical?”

“Blackberry.”

“Blackberry it is,” she lifted the bottle out.

Jodie smiled at Keira and was rewarded with a smile in return.

The conversation couldn’t continue because Keira wanted to tell Jodie and her mother all about her best friend Angela, who had just been given a tortoise as a pet and could she get one too? Because then their tortoises could be best friends too.

Imogen turned up as Elaine was trying to explain that a pet tortoise might not be a good idea and so Jodie retreated with Imogen and Paula to the living room.

“I’m really sorry about this,” Imogen apologised.

“It’s not a problem, really,” she reassured her, “I was just having a conversation with your sister and it’s not like I’m in a great rush to get home,” she eyed the door.

“Okay,” she rose slowly, “um, I’ll just go see Elaine.”

“No worries,” Jodie smiled.

Keira came into the room a minute or so later and more out of habit, she included Keira as part of the informal class. As it turned out this was a wise decision because they shared a common bond that was quite similar to that of their mothers. The lesson continued for forty five minutes and when Jodie commented on the bond, both Elaine and Imogen smiled.

“It’s been that way for a few years now,” Elaine remarked, “but since Paula’s diagnosis it’s become a lot stronger, it’s almost as if Keira is giving her strength to continue in some weird way.”

“I gotta get going soon,” Jodie glanced at her phone.

“Why not stay for dinner?” Elaine glanced at the pot on the hob, “there’s plenty there.”

“I um,” she hesitated.

“And Ilona is downstairs too, it’s not like you have to spend all your time up here,” Imogen cut in.

“Okay, thanks,” Jodie pushed a lock of hair over her head, “but I do need to go to the toilet.”

“Through there, the first door on the right,” Elaine pointed, “the bathroom is next door.”

By the time Jodie returned from the bathroom Imogen had retired to the living room whilst Elaine prepared the gravy. The kitchen was located at the top of the stairs with a small dining area off to one side, which overlooked the staircase and the entry. The kitchen looked a little cramped though, it had two benches arranged in a U-shape with the oven forming the link between the two benches, but there was plenty of storage space above and below the benches.

“If you want to help me out then the plates are in the cupboard behind me,” Elaine glanced over her shoulder, “we’ll eat in the living room though.”

“Sure,” she leaned over to open the cupboard door.

“So what made you decide to become a teacher?” Elaine asked her a minute or so later.

“It was my second choice,” Jodie replied.

“What was your first choice?”

“Art,” she moved around to the other side of the bench to the cutlery drawer, “but the prospect of being a poor, struggling artist didn’t appeal to me and teaching is one of those jobs you can take overseas.”

“You can do the same with art too,” Elaine glanced at her.

“Yeah, but I find it’s less pressure internet casino when I’m not drawing for money, it’s almost as if the need to make money out of my art short circuits my creativity.”

“Interesting way of putting it, so what kind of art do you do?”

“Portraits for the most part,” she counted out the forks and knives.

“I’d like to see your art,” Elaine reached over and took out two sets of novelty cutlery, “first rule here is remembering these,” she placed them on the bench, “they like their Frozen cutlery, I can get them to eat Brussels sprouts as long as they have their Frozen forks.”

“Thank God for Elsa then,” Jodie grinned.

Elaine chuckled at that and Jodie retreated to the other side of the bench whilst Elaine stirred the gravy. The next few minutes were spent checking her social media updates and recent news, Elaine glanced down at her phone as she started serving up the food.

“I’ll send you a friend request after dinner,” she spoke up.

“Sure, my work is always posted there first but I’ve got a separate website as well.”

“I’ll check it out,” Elaine nodded, “what’s the traffic like?”

“To be honest I don’t even check it,” she winced, “it’s a site for artists to post their work and you can comment on it. I’ve got nearly eight hundred followers so far but I’ve never compared my list of followers to other lists.”

Imogen stepped into the kitchen at that point and Elaine nodded at her.

“We’re entertaining an artist tonight, sissy.”

“An artist?” Imogen’s eyes widened slightly.

“Yeah,” she picked up her phone and tapped the screen, “I do portraits,” she opened the gallery and scrolled down to her latest drawing, “that’s the latest one.”

“Wow,” Imogen squinted at it, “she looks as if she could jump off the page.”

“That’s my mum,” she replied, “I had an old photograph as a reference.”

“What do you charge for a portrait?” Imogen asked her.

“We’re in discussions about that very thing,” Elaine stared at the phone, “but she’s right, it looks almost three dimensional.”

It was a statement that stayed with Jodie for the rest of the night and as she settled into bed she found herself reliving the last few hours. It had felt more than a little weird to be sitting with two women who’d been complete strangers a couple of weeks ago whilst her best friend was sitting downstairs. Ilona hadn’t even blinked when Jodie came downstairs sometime before nine.

“Hey, you,” she grinned, “come down for a bit of peace and quiet?”

“Yeah,” she clutched the strap of her handbag, “I’ve, um, I’ve got to get back home.”

“No worries, when’re you back here?”

“Next week.”

“Okay, but if you want to drop in before her next session feel free, there’s usually someone around, we’ll be out for part of the weekend but nothing’s set in stone just yet.”

“Okay,” she nodded at Julie, “I’ll be seeing you both soon.”

Was she falling for Elaine or was it Imogen and if so, was that a good idea?

She recalled her conversation with Kym earlier that day. The older woman seemed almost casual about the thought of getting involved with a student’s mother. Technically it was frowned upon but nobody ever lost their job over it.

Am I falling for Imogen or is it Elaine?

Jodie stared at the ceiling as she contemplated the answer.

The truth be told she couldn’t answer the question and eventually she drifted off to sleep only to wake up a few hours later with the distinct impression that Elaine had been sitting watching her sleeping.

What am I doing?

***

Jodie glanced over at the woman next to her as the instructor led them through their exercises for the session. She’d joined the aerobics class more out of a sense of needing to fill in three hours a day than any need to lose weight and then there were the women. There were gay women in the class but they were all in relationships or out of her orbit. She definitely didn’t fancy Randy Mandy who almost seemed to wear her sexual exploits on her belt.

The woman next to her however was attractive although Christine had never come across as being gay or even curious. She was a purchaser for a major chain store that sold quality women’s clothing. The latter description had rolled off her tongue like a well-rehearsed script, which sounded almost snobbish although Jodie was wary of taking someone at face value. Too often one could hide a plethora of baggage behind a mundane comment.

An enthusiastic command from their instructor caused her to turn back to the front and Christine grinned as she murmured.

“And in case you’re wondering it’s all about me.”

It was a familiar jibe. Their instructor, Mark was openly gay and whilst that provided some degree of comfort to many of his female clientèle he was very camp, often openly mocking himself as he strutted around in front of them. There were some who thought that perhaps he was just acting out a part and that at some point he might pay attention to them.

“Thanks for the reminder,” Jodie exhaled.

“And stretch, ladies,” Mark called out, “stretch those beautiful bodies, I want to see you reaching for the stars,” he paused, “what’s the matter, Gertie Gumdrops, did your star explode?”

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