A rocky month had passed when Jean called Ashley and demanded, “What the hell were you doing talking to a reporter about our sex life?”
“I didn’t,” Ashley protested, “Why on earth would you think I talked to someone about our sex life?”
“Because I just got an email from Raymond saying there’s an interview on an online news page where you were quoted saying that you liked it that I was loose because it made me easier to get into.”
“What!” Ashley gasped, “I would never tell someone something like that.”
“Well, it’s your voice in the interview”
Jean gave Ashley the link for the online interview. Ashley listened to the recording of her voice in horror, “I didn’t say that, I swear, Jean.”
“You need watch what you say to people and who you talk to,” Jean spat and hung up.
“Christ!” Ashley growled. The local news and paparazzi had already put a strain on Ashley and Jean’s relationship with their continued presence, now this. Ashley knew that Jean was getting harassed in court on a regular basis, and that the Judicial Conduct Committee was going to review her case, so she had been in a horrible mood for the past two weeks. This could be the last straw. Ashley could only pray that Jean doesn’t give up on their relationship.
“What’s going on?” Mary asked.
“Did you just hear that interview?”
“Pieces of it,” Mary admitted.
Ashley pointed at her laptop on the kitchen table, “There’s a supposed interview with me saying that I like it that Jean’s loose and easy to get into,” Ashley spat. “Jean got the link from Raymond Blair in an email.”
Ashley clicked the link for the recording to play again, “Listen to this. It sounds like my voice, but I have never talked to these people.”
Mary listened to the recording, “It’s definitely your voice.”
Listening to the recording again, Ashley stated, “I recognize that woman whose asking the question’s voice, but I can’t place it.”
“Whoever put this together knew what they were doing because it’s almost seamless. You can’t even tell that it was pieced together. No wonder Jean is so pissed,” Mary surmised.
“Jeans!” Ashley cried, “That’s where I talked to that woman. I was buying jeans at the mall. This woman came up to me and asked me if I liked my jeans tight. I thought she was a sales person. I said that I liked my jeans loose because they were easier to get into.” She grabbed her phone and called Raymond.
“That’s amazing that someone can take a handful of words that you say and make it into something totally different,” Mary shook her head.
“Raymond,” Ashley said when he picked up, “I know where I talked to the reporter in the interview.”
“You actually gave an interview to a reporter?” Raymond asked, stunned.
“No, the woman came up to me in the mall. I was shopping for jeans. She started a conversation with me about how I liked my jeans, and I thought she was a sales person. She even took me to where the loose fit jeans were.”
“Do you remember what store you were in?” Raymond asked.
“Kendall’s in the mall,” Ashley said, “It was on Saturday.”
“I’ll get with the online news carrier and see if we can get this retracted. Don’t talk to anyone else out in public unless you know them,” Raymond instructed.
* * *
It took over a week for Raymond to hunt the reporter down and make her recant the story. Jean still hadn’t called her to apologize for yelling at her. Ashley hadn’t tried to call her either; she surmised that both of them were still too angry to talk to each other.
Mary watched Ashley mope around the apartment for an hour after the story broke about the reporter lying, and that the ACLU was filing a case against her for fabricating the story. It was Friday night and Ashley was becoming more agitated by the minute.
“Would you just call her already?” Mary demanded.
“No!” Ashley snapped, “She needs to call me and apologize. She should have known I would never say something so stupid to a reporter.”
“Honey, she is just as stressed as you are, more so. She’s got the Judicial Conduct Committee breathing down her neck trying to get her to quit her job. And, the shit the reporters are making up could keep her from getting another job or clients if she goes into private practice,” Mary reasoned.
“I know that,” Ashley said and flopped down on the couch, “That’s what’s making me so mad. She knows I know how hard things have been. She should have known that I would never intentionally bring more attention to us than was necessary.”
“I know,” Mary agreed sitting down next to Ashley and pulling her into a hug, “I know. I just don’t know how to help you with this.”
Ashley hugged her back, “I think I need a drink. Do we have any beer left?”
“Of course,” Mary replied, “I’ll get us both one.”
The front door of the apartment opened and Jackie came in with a dozen red roses. “Special delivery,” she said.
“Oh Baby, you are so sweet,” Mary gushed and started to take the flowers.
Jackie pulled them back, “They’re not for you.”
“What?” Mary asked stunned.
Smiling, Jackie handed them to Ashley who had just taken a drink of her beer. She looked up at Jackie. “For me?”
“Yes, I was asked to deliver them to you,” Jackie explained, the grin never leaving her face.
Ashley sat her beer on the table and took the flowers. She took out the card tucked in the bouquet. It read, “I’m so sorry for being such a bitch. Please forgive me. Jean.”
Ashley looked up and saw Jean standing by the open front door. She tried not to smile, but she was having a hard time. She was so happy to see Jean, but she didn’t want to give that away yet. She moved past Jackie and went to Jean. “I tried to tell you.”
“I know, and I am so sorry I was so stupid. I was letting the stress get to me, and I wasn’t thinking clearly,” Jean said. She stuffed her hands in her jean pockets. “I know that’s not really an excuse for being such a bitch toward you, but I hope you’ll forgive me anyway.”
“The flowers are a good start,” Ashley replied putting her nose to the flowers and sniffing.
“What else can I do to make it up to you?” Jean asked, taking one hand out of her pocket and pushing a blonde strand out of Ashley’s eyes.
“I’m thinking maybe a punishment session,” Ashley whispered.
Jean’s head shot up to look at Jackie and Mary, who were pretending to not be paying attention. “What did you have in mind?” Jean whispered back.
“I have some handcuffs and feathers I’d like to try out,” Ashley whispered and leaned in close to Jean.
“But you hate to be tickled,” Jean said.
“And so do you,” Ashley leaned up to Jean’s ear and told her, “I want to handcuff you to the bed and tickle you until you come.” Then she licked Jean’s ear.
“That is just evil,” Jean replied with a half grin.
“It’s the least of what you deserve after not believing me and making me angry at you.”
Jean wrapped her arms around Ashley. “I’m so sorry. I was so stupid. I’ve missed you so much.”
“I missed you too,” Ashley leaned up to kiss Jean on the lips.
“So, you want to sneak off to my house and have make-up sex?”
“Oh, yes,” Ashley responded. “Yes, I want to have lots of make-up sex, all night, all day tomorrow, maybe even for the rest of our lives.”
“Plan on having a lot of arguments with me?” Jean asked pulling Ashley more tightly into her arms.
“I certainly hope so,” Ashley grinned. “It’ll give me excuses to punish you”
“You don’t need an excuse to punish me,” Jean whispered in Ashley’s ear. “You know I like it rough. You’re the only woman I’ve ever met who didn’t judge me for that.”
“Who am I to judge you when I like it just as much,” Ashley agreed.
“You ready to come over?” Jean asked.
“Yes,” Ashley answered and turned to get go get her purse. “I’m going to Jean’s.”
“Good,” Mary said, “I thought you two were going to do it right there in the door way, and I’m not sure me and Jackie are ready for all that.”
Ashley laughed and grabbed her purse off the kitchen table. “I won’t be home until Sunday.”
Jean and Ashley hurried downstairs to Jean’s car. When they were inside, Jean turned to Ashley, “Were you serious about us being together for the rest of our lives?”
“Yes,” Ashley stated. “I don’t want to be with anyone else.”
Cupping Ashley’s face, Jean kissed her deeply. She pulled back and stroked Ashley’s cheeks with her thumbs. “I think it might be too soon to ask you to marry me, but if I did, what would you say?”
Ashley looked into Jean’s eyes, “I’d say yes.”
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