Jean ended the kiss and pulled away with a sigh, “I don’t know what I’m going to do. He has pictures of me with his girlfriend almost sitting on my face that he is going to take to the news stations. It’ll be all over the news by tomorrow morning and I will be the laughing stock of the town, not to mention that I will probably be asked to resign.”
“I can’t figure out how he knew you went to the bar unless he’d been following you,” Ashley wondered.
“I agree,” Mary chimed in. “And we need to know where we’re going.”
“To my house,” Jean requested. She looked around to see where they were, and then gave Jackie instructions, “Turn left on Cumberland Boulevard, go down to Cemetery Road, take a right and go six houses down on the right.”
“Okay,” Jackie replied and began watching for Cumberland.
“I think you should call the district attorney and tell her that this guy was stalking you,” Mary suggested.
Ashley continued, “I know you don’t want to have to explain to her how this happened, but John Garrett needs to be arrested. He had to have stalked you to have found out about you going to the bar. He handcuffed a public official to a bed. That has got to get him at least five years.” Ashley looked into Jean’s terrified eyes, “Five years that he will not be able to hurt or neglect a very pretty five year old. Five years for the little girl’s mother to get her life together and maybe even get away from this area.
Jean sighed heavily and nodded, “You’re right.” She looked at the time on her phone. It was almost midnight. “I will have to file a police report first. I need to do that right away. Hopefully that son of a bitch didn’t think to go back to the room and wipe his prints off of the door or the bed frame.”
They pulled into Jean’s drive. Ashley expected her to live in something like a mansion so she was surprised that Jean’s home, although very beautiful, was also relatively modest. Jackie followed the circle drive around to the front door.
“After you get in the house,” Jackie told Jean, “We’ll go back and get your car.”
Jean looked at Ashley, “Will you stay here with me?”
“Sure,” Ashley responded and got out of the car.
Jean got out on her side and walked around to Ashley, and then they walked to the front door together. Jean unlocked the door. The alarm went off and Jean quickly turned it off. She handed the keys to Ashley, “Give those to Mary. I’ll go to the police station when they get back.”
Ashley nodded and took the keys to Mary, “You guys be careful. John Garrett may still be there waiting for someone to try to get Jean’s car. Let me know right away if you have any trouble from him.”
“Okay,” Mary took from Ashley and looked up at her, “Are you going to be okay?”
“Yeah, I’m going to be fine. I’m not so sure about her though. She has got to be flipping out right now.”
Mary nodded, “I know I would be.” Jackie tugged on Mary’s coat. Mary looked over at her, and then back to Ashley, “We need to go so we can get back.”
“Okay, see you in a few,” Ashley replied and stepped away from the car.
When Ashley opened the door, she found Jean on the floor in front of her couch, sitting with her knees drawn up to her chest, crying. Ashley bent down in front of her. She titled Jean’s chin so she would look at her, “Let’s get you changed. You should probably put on something more conservative before you go down to the police station.”
Jean looked down at her short, black leather vest and tight jeans. Ashley was right. She definitely couldn’t go down to the police station like this. She nodded and took Ashley’s hands and let her pull her up to her feet. “This way,” Jean replied and held onto Ashley’s hand as she led her to her bedroom.
Ashley stood in the doorway of the bedroom while Jean pulled out black, pleated slacks and a black turtleneck sweater from her closet. Jean started unbuttoning her vest and Ashley turned to look out into the hall leading from the living room to the bedroom. “Why are you turning away?” Jean asked, “You’ve seen me naked before.”
Looking over her shoulder, Ashley gave Jean’s ample breasts a quick look, and then looked back to the hall, “I’m making sure I don’t get tempted to throw you on the bed and have my way with you.” Ashley looked over her shoulder again, her eyes locking with Jean’s, “The temptation would be too great if I were to watch you undress.”
Jean smiled, really smiled for the first time in weeks, “I’m glad to know that you still find me exciting.”
Ashley grinned, but didn’t look back at Jean, “Yes. You’re very exciting, but you need to get dressed. We have business to take care of and we don’t need distractions. Mary and Jackie will be back soon.” Ashley’s phone buzzed. “See, there they are now.”
Stepping out of the room, Ashley answered the phone, “Hey, where you all at?”
“We’re at the hotel,” Mary told her, “And John Garrett is watching the judge’s car. What does she want us to do?”
Ashley stepped back into the room just as Jean was pulling on her slacks. “He’s watching your car. Do you want them to try to go ahead and get it?”
Jean stood and let out a long sigh. She shook her head, “No, I’m afraid he’ll just follow them back here.”
“Do you want them to come back here?”
“No, ask them if they can wait there and watch him for a little while longer. I’m going to go ahead and call the police chief and have him send someone over there to deal with John.” Jean pulled her cell phone out of the jeans she had just taken off and started dialing.
“Can you guys hang out there and watch him for a little while?”
“I guess,” Mary answered a bit uncertainly, “What’s she going to do?”
“She’s going to go ahead and call the police. They’ll send someone over.”
“Let me make sure that’s okay with Jackie,” Mary said.
Ashley could hear them talking in the background. She knew that Jackie had to be at work really early. She hoped she could hang out for a little while longer.
“She said we’ll wait until you tell us otherwise.”
“Okay,” Ashley walked back into Jean’s room. “Call if he leaves or anything else changes.”
“Got it,” Mary assured her and hung up.
Ashley looked for Jean, but she wasn’t in the bedroom. She walked further in the room and saw her leaning against her vanity in the bathroom. Her head was hunched over and the phone was pressed to her ear. Ashley could see the tears falling off her cheeks and nose. She stepped into the bathroom and got some toilet paper off the roll and handed it to Jean. Jean looked up with red eyes and tearing flowing down her cheeks making a complete mess of her mascara.
“I know, Perry,” Jean spoke into the phone, “I messed up, but I really need your help.” Wiping her face, Jean turned and looked at the mess of her face in the mirror, and then turned back around to look at Ashley.
“Yes, he’s still at the hotel,” Jean told Perry Wilson, the city police chief, “He’s waiting for me to come back to get my car. I’m sure he’s extremely pissed off that I was able to get out of the hotel room.” Jean nodded at whatever Perry was saying, “Exactly, I think he thinks I’ll come back and try to negotiate with him so he won’t go to the news with the pictures of me and the woman.” She listened again, “I don’t know. He could have already sent them to the news stations and told them to air them if they didn’t hear from him.”
Ashley took Jean’s free arm and rubbed it gently. Jean leaned into her, needing her support. Perry was laying out what he was going to do and what he wanted Jean to do. Jean was nodding to everything he was saying, “So do you want me to tell my friends to leave when your guys get there and have someone take me later to get my car?” She nodded some more, and then replied, “Okay, that’s what we’ll do, and then I’ll be down to your office first thing tomorrow morning. Thanks Perry. I’ll owe you big time for this.” Jean let out a small laugh. “I have no doubt you’ll collect on it at an inconvenient time.”
She closed her phone and dropped her head. Ashley slipped her arm around her and pulled Jean into her arms. The sobs started quietly and slowly got stronger until Jean was clinging to Ashley.
“Now what?” Ashley asked after Jean’s crying finally subsided.
“Have your friends come back and get you,” Jean responded, “Perry is going to have my car towed to the police station. I’ll call my sister and have her take me down there.”
“Does your sister know about...,” Ashley blushed, “You’re, um...”
Jean chuckled at Ashley’s embarrassment, “My sister doesn’t know everything about my lifestyle, but she does know that I like to have sex with women. And, she is okay with that.”
Ashley breathed a sigh of relief. It was too weird to think about Jean telling her family about the things they had done together, “Cool.”
“Call your friends,” Jean said as she wandered slowly down the hall, “I’m going to find my bourbon.”
Ashley called Mary. She explained to Mary what was happening and Mary told her they would be right there to get her. Ashley followed Jean to a room that was clearly her home office. The walls were painted dark orange and trimmed in dark wood. The curtains were a mixture of cream and beige with light green leaf prints. Jean was standing at in front of a bar at on the wall opposite of the windows. She held up a tumbler of bourbon in it for Ashley.
“Been quite a night, hasn’t it?” Jean observed.
Ashley took the glass from her and sipped the excellent bourbon, “Yes, it has.”
“Let’s go sit in the living room and wait for your friends,” Jean sighed.
Ashley fell into step behind Jean. The living room was painted a medium shade of blue-green with gold trim. The couch, loveseat and recliner were light brown leather. The end tables and coffee tables were made with highly polished pine wood tables.
The fireplace had a beautiful mantel that looked like it had been hand carved. Ashley went to it and ran her hand across the smooth wood. Jean said, “A friend of my father’s is a carpenter. He made that mantel for me.”
“It’s really beautiful.”
Thank you,” Jean ran her hand across the designs like Ashley had. “My father’s going to kill me when he finds out about my stupidity.”
Ashley took Jean’s hands and gave them a gentle squeeze, “There’s no way you could have known that woman was setting you up for John Garrett.”
“I’m usually more careful when picking up a woman,” Jean explained, letting go of Ashley’s hands. “And I don’t usually take a woman to a hotel until after I’ve been with her a few times at the bar.”
Jean looked into Ashley’s eyes briefly, and then turned away, “I was just… well, I just wasn’t being careful.”
“Well,” Ashley moved to sit down on the couch, “What’s done is done. Now, the best thing you can do is try to keep the media from making too big of a deal of everything.”
Jean sat down on the loveseat across the coffee table from Ashley. “I know. A lot is going to depend on whether or not he has already sent those pictures to the news stations.”
Ashley nodded, “Even if he has, I think you might be able to put a spin on the story making it sound like he forced you into that situation.”
“Well, that depends on what the woman says about what happened,” Jean looked down at her hands, “I basically forced myself on her at the bar. If she goes to the news with that story, I’m screwed.”
There was a knock at the door. “That should be Mary and Jackie,” Ashley said and got up. She looked out the peep hole in the door to make sure it really was Mary and Jackie before opening the door. She opened the door, stepped back and let them in the house.
“The police arrived not long after we talked to you. John Garrett took off as soon as he saw the squad cars,” Mary reported.
Jean dropped her head into her hands, “Christ, this is going to be so bad.”
Ashley went to Jean and knelt down next to her. She took her hands, “I’m so sorry this happening, Jean. We have to get going, but you know how to reach me if you need me.”
“Thank you, Ashley,” Jean replied looking into her eyes, “I really appreciate you being there for me tonight.”
Ashley smiled, stood, and joined Mary and Jackie as they left the house.
Jean downed the last of her bourbon and said, “Lord, what have I gotten myself into?”