It was four am.
Jo Polniaczeck had a lecture, two quizzes, and an extra long shift at Over Our Heads thanks to Natalie taking on more hours than she could handle at the cannery.
The 8 month old baby currently residing in a ridiculously expensive cradle, just ten feet away from her in the middle of the darkened room, could have cared less.
She could hear it coming, the barely discernable shifting, and breath bated, she waited for it.
It came, in the form of a tiny scream, cutting through the silence of the room.
Pushing up to her elbows, Jo blinked sleepily at the cradle and then at her roommate. The overly cushioned bed beside hers was hidden in a mountain of too fluffy blankets and pillows with little frills on the side. Somewhere in the midst of all that, was Blair Warner.
"Blair," she whispered, throat clogged with sleep. "Blair!"
The mountain of blankets moved.
Sitting up, Blair looked like a zombie, nearly teetering off her bed as she shuffled in the general direction of the baby.
"Sorry," she mumbled, finger waving absently in her direction before hair wrapped in loose rollers fell off her shoulders as she bent down over the crib.
Falling back onto her bed, Jo stared up at the ceiling and wondered grumpily if it would do any good to get mad.
It wasn't as if Blair had actually ASKED if she would mind being cooped up with a baby for three weeks while her mother went who knew where. And while Tootie and Natalie liked to complain, it was Jo, the eternally light sleeper, who bore the brunt of the inconvenience. Tootie and Natalie had learned to sleep through it.
Now, it was four am and she was awake, and the baby, who should have been able to sleep through the night by now, was missing it's mother, and crying in sporadic bursts, timing them just so Jo never actually got any sleep.
Jo secretly thought Bailey hated her.
Melodic humming slowly began, and Jo rested the side of her head on her elbow as she watched her roommate balance the baby in her arms, bobbing her gently in her arms as tiny shining eyes blinked at her from the little head resting on Blair's shoulder.
Without a word, Jo sighed dramatically and threw off her covers, padding her way to the changing table Blair had bought for the occasion, opening the drawer that had the ridiculously expensive diapers Blair insisted on buying ("They hold crap, Blair," Jo had snarled at the grocery store. "She's not pooping diamonds!"), and pulling one out.
Eternally crabby, Jo had gotten used to the routine. Spreading the diaper out, she wordlessly grabbed the baby powder and liberally shook it over it. She waited, trying to get beyond her sleepy blinking to glare properly, as she felt the shift of silk against her elbow, and moved aside with her powdered diaper, to allow Blair to work on Bailey's soiled one.
"That kid poops more than my dog did," she couldn’t help grunting, and got a mildly frosty look from Blair as a result.
Blair was good at this, which, quite frankly, surprised her. For a girl raised by nannies and a barrage of step fathers and boarding schools, Blair took an odd sense of pleasure in being able to take care of her baby sister. While she would complain for days on end about getting grease stains from Jo's scattered car parts on her expensive blouses, baby vomit and saliva produced not a word from her friend's perfectly lined lips.
Crossing her arms, Jo watched slender fingers as they nimbly deconstructed the diaper, and without nary a wrinkle of her nose at the smelly deposit, wrapped it tightly into a ball.
Baby Bailey produced a different side of Blair, softer glimpses that even now, seemed rare.
Eying her friend, Jo felt a moment of dangerously mushy warmth.
"Okay," Blair said, knocking her out of her groggy thoughts, in an uncharacteristically gritty voice, lifting up the baby's legs so Jo could slide in her prepared diaper.
Shaking her head to clear her thoughts, Jo obeyed, as Bailey watched her suspiciously, chubby hands pulled into fists.
Bailey's frequent visits had been an adjustment, but Jo would never complain. Blair had almost lost her baby sister to an abortion. It made sense she would feel such an intense connection when she was prepared to raise the baby herself in order to keep such a thing from happening.
"You're going to be a good mom," she found herself saying, unable to hide the wonder in her voice that the statement was actually true.
Blair paused briefly, taken by surprise. Jo found herself flushing under the unintended admission.
"I mean… you won't suck at it," she amended gruffly, and then reached for the newly pampered baby, an attempt at distraction. "Give her to me. Otherwise, we'll be here all night."
Bailey smelled of baby powder, and as Jo settled her against her chest, she expected her usual moment of struggle and wary glare. Curling into Jo's shoulder, the baby only babbled and sucked her thumb into her mouth, closing her eyes.
The intimate gesture of trust startled her.
Of course, Blair would catch the tentative fleeting expression of pleased relief, and of course, Blair would shoot her the cheesiest grin known to man.
"What?" she asked. She was trying to sound as annoyed as possible, but judging at the widening smile on her friend's face, she wasn't being very successful.
"Nothing," Blair said, looking infuriatingly smug. "I just think you won't be absolutely horrible at it yourself."
There was supposed to be a compliment in there somewhere.
"Yeah well," she began, shifting little Bailey in her arms. "Don’t get any ideas. We're not gonna be stay at home moms living on the same block taking our kids to softball in matching minivans."
Blair looked at her blankly. "Jo, on what planet would you be able to afford to live on the same block as I do?"
Sighing, Jo rolled her eyes and turned away, heading as quietly as she could to the crib, gingerly setting Bailey back in her crib. A brush of warmth pressing in lightly against her side revealed Blair joining her, staring lovingly down at her baby sister.
"I do want one," she said wistfully. "Not right away of course. When I find a suitable husband. With blonde hair."
Jo's brow furrowed in response. "Blonde?"
"Well of course. I want little blonde ringlets curling all over my baby's head. Like a cherub."
Jo snorted in response. "More like a kid from Children of the Corn."
Still, she told herself it was a welcome relief that Blair still possessed her standard vanity. Once in a while, her bleached blonde friend tended to throw her for a loop. Jo still wasn't quite over Blair deciding for a minute she would try lesbianism and that fiasco was over a year ago.
The memory lingered momentarily in Jo's mind, and suddenly her eyes on Blair's mouth, remembering the rather amorous conclusion of that little experiment, with Jo being a not altogether reluctant participant.
"What about you?" Feeling caught, Jo's eyes rose to meet Blair's. "When are you going to have your little grease monkeys?"
"Oh…" Jo hated when she felt this way. It was almost… bashful. In front of BLAIR. She waited to come to her senses. "I don't know."
"You do… want kids, don't you?"
"Of course!" she managed, reaching up to cover her ears when they felt warm. "I just… I don't know. I got a lot to do first. I mean… I want a career. I want to do something with my life."
Blair grinned prettily. "That's my Jo. Always wanting to save the world."
In her head, Jo knew she was being patronizing. Still, head hazy from all the damned domesticity, Jo only shrugged in response.
When Blair's fingers brushed against her cheek, she let them, ignoring her quickening heartbeat, and the way she sucked in her breath.
Suddenly her eyes were on Blair's mouth again.
"Can you two put that baby to bed so we can all get some SLEEP?!"
The crabby voice jolted her out of whatever the hell she was thinking, and Jo was glad for it.
Straightening, she coughed, and without another look at her roommate, snarled an appropriate comeback at Tootie, before burying herself in her sheets.
Wide awake, Jo listened as Blair cooed at Bailey one more time and then drifted to her bed.
She got crabby all over again.
She also decided that starting tomorrow she would suggest that Blair sleep in Mrs. Garret's room with Bailey, while she was away.
Jo had never done well when dealing with shrieky, hyper socialites.
They were a breed she had managed to avoid her entire professional career. Unless they were slumming, looking for a cheap thrill, not many rich debutants ever made their way into the darkened streets of Hells Kitchen, the Bronx…
Do-Gooder Joanne Jefferson, with her Bohemian partner, and Blair Warner were the only exceptions.
Of course, she had come to learn to tolerate Blair (more than tolerate, but who was nitpicking) after more than a decade of experience, and while she wasn't ever sure she could truly LIKE JoJo, considering the circumstances of their first meeting, she had proven to be a remarkable ally when it came to getting warrants and navigating the somewhat confusing legal system.
Still, at the moment, both women had fully assimilated into their group of shrieking harpies, and Jo, fighting a migraine and the urge to punch Cindy's lights out when she insisted on playing some stupid game with cotton balls, had grabbed a plate of pigs in the blanket (the only edible thing on the entire catering menu, and the only thing she could pronounce) and escaped to the terrace of the penthouse.
What the hell was Jo thinking, letting Blair host the baby shower here?
"Are those from inside?"
Ten feet away, settled comfortably astride the balcony railing, Maureen Johnson took a long drag from her cigarette, booted leg dangling over the edge.
Brow arching curiously, Jo offered up her plate. "When'd you sneak out?"
"Right around the time they started the game with the clothes pins," Maureen rasped, smoke drifting from her lips, head falling back against the wall she was resting against. Nodding in thanks, she grabbed a pig and popped it in her mouth with her free hand.
Joanne's partner's too red lipstick was a stark contrast to the pale complexion, and staring out somberly at the city, she seemed lost in contemplation.
Unable to fight the cop inside of her, Jo frowned at the lit cigarette in her hand. "You know, second hand smoke is bad for the baby."
She got rolling eyes in response. "You don't think Joanne's told me that? Everyday, she brings home another god-damned pamphlet. I told her to be glad it's not pot." Jo immediately winced. "And yeah, then she always makes that face." Maureen confirmed. Sighing, she immediately let the cigarette go. Jo watched as it fell to the city streets, fifty stories below. "I don't do it around Joanne. Besides, I'm quitting," Maureen announced, swinging her leg back over the balcony and planting both her booted feet on the safety of the terrace. "That was my last one."
"How iconic," Jo remarked.
"Fuck you," Maureen responded.
"Please," she drawled, elbows resting on the balcony. "One pretentious self-righteous Jo is more than enough for me."
This was, of course, an awkward conversation. Jo knew Maureen didn't like her. In her grief at the death of her friend Mimi, she had quickly associated Jo as one of the detectives who had arrested her in connection with a murder of a drug dealer. Jo had not been there at the time of the arrest, but had received a phone call from Joanne. Mimi had been released and Jo had driven her back to their squatter's palace personally, but Maureen had never forgiven her for "allowing" their dying friend to spend a night in jail.
Maureen and her friends had never trusted the police, and that was how Maureen saw her: nothing but a badge.
Jo didn't care. She didn't exactly think Maureen hung the moon either.
Still, the fast friendship between Blair and Jojo, and the miraculous reality that both couples had managed to stay together, insisted that they dwell in each other's orbit. At the moment, driven outside of her own home by a bunch of shallow pretentious vacuous ditzes (she wasn't being harsh, she was being honest), Jo was glad for the company.
"Shouldn't you be in there?" she asked, jerking her head in the direction of the party. Dark curls tumbling over her shoulders, swaying in the breeze, Maureen just looked at her. "It's your baby shower," Jo reminded her. "You should be in there with Joanne."
A cold smile floated on the other woman's face. "What, I'm not being the supportive, loving partner?"
"You think you are?"
"I'm here, aren't I?"
"You're on the balcony."
"I'm not the only one."
Jo sighed, irritated. "It's not my god-damned shower."
Maureen studied her intently. "Right." She said, in the way that Joanne said it, when she was trying to make a point. "But Joanne told me you've been trying for a while." A hot flush spread down Jo's body. Maureen's brow rose suggestively. "Sure you're doing it right?"
"Maureen, what the hell is your point?" she snapped, unable to fight the ache in her chest, and hating herself for it.
"You think it's easy for Princess Blair to watch Joanne get what she wanted so easily?"
Jo's eyes closed, and then shot open, glancing through the open windows to settle on her best friend and lover. Blair, ever the perfect hostess, laughed the loudest as Megan crawled along the plush carpet, scooping up cotton balls.
Jo exhaled unsteadily.
"Not so perfect, are you?" Jo knew Maureen had just barely resisted calling her a pig. Old habits died hard.
"Blair will get her baby," Jo answered, fists shoved into her pockets, suddenly too sad to be angry. "Allright?"
Maureen didn't look at her. Striking features studied the city below them, as intently as if she were reading a book. "I was thinking I was lucky." Jo blinked at the sudden change of conversation. "That's what I was doing out here." The voice ended with a wistful rasp.
Green eyes met her own vividly. "I got two friends in the grave and the ones I got left have one foot in it. Mark's dealing with Roger's relapse and I'm sitting on a fucking penthouse balcony with my wife, whose gonna have a baby."
A solid lump burned its way into Jo's throat, and she glanced away self consciously, coming forward. "Are you telling me you're having an unselfish moment, here?" Glancing at her, Maureen's mouth twitched. "Mark's the father," Jo said curiously, as gently as possible. "Right?"
Maureen nodded, her small smile affectionate. "Yeah. He's my ex."
"That's not weird for you?"
"I woke up one day and I was hopelessly in love with an anal, over-attentive control freak without a penis." Maureen looked at her. "After you experience that, weird isn't a problem anymore."
Jo found herself smiling, despite herself. "You going back in there?"
There was only a moment's hesitation, before Maureen nodded, plucking another pig from the abandoned plate and popping it in her mouth.
"In a minute."
Maureen stepped away, hand on the handle, apparently steadying herself for the burst of hysterical coos.
"Jo." The drama queen looked remarkably sincere. "Good luck. You know… with that baby stuff."
The door opened, and upon hearing the squeals, Maureen's resolve wavered. Exchanging similar tortured smiles, Jo grinned as Maureen shrugged, taking in a deep breath, before flinging open the door wider, and heading back into Joanne's baby shower.
"Allright!" Jo heard above the noise. "Someone pass me one of those stupid lame clothespins."
Less than ten minutes after Jo had finally succeeded in escaping the 'shrieking harpies', as her lover had so lovingly put them, she had returned to the festivities, slipping in beside her with a pained but stoic expression.
Blair found it insufferably cute, which raised her spirits slightly.
Painting on a carefree smile and maintaining a charming disposition when one was feeling empty inside grew more difficult with time. Blair had gotten lazy and she blamed that on Jo.
It was difficult to be shallow when one's partner, soul-mate, or whatever Jo ended up becoming was so infuriatingly sweet and sincere and ... intense about everything.
It was Blair's curse, to be saddled with someone as earnest and chivalrous as Jo. Her little greasemonkey who, in high school, had thought nothing of stealing the school van had become a paradigm of virtue, a servant of her people, wandering through the muck and grime of Alphabet City and then coming home to complain about it all.
Blair didn't mind. To be perfectly honest, she had been relieved when Jo began to vent about her job without prodding. Jo had a history of internalizing things, it had been a thorn in their relationship years before they had introduced sex into the equation. As much as Blair tried to make herself believe she didn't mind feeling ignored, the painful truth was that, she did, in fact, mind it. Very much.
Especially when it came to Jo, who had always mattered more than anyone else in the world.
The fact that Jo was trying, had finally allowed herself to try, meant more to Blair than anything else ever had, because it was, after all, Jo, and the Jo she remembered would have rather chewed her own foot off than admit she needed Blair.
Needing Blair implied weakness, and that sort of stubbornness had led to the ultimate stupidity on Jo's part: she had married someone else.
Truthfully, Blair was still a little angry about that. She ignored that emotion, for the most part, because she knew she played a tiny (TINY) part in allowing that to happen. She had kept quiet after their forbidden kiss, all those years ago, dismissing it as a silly amorous moment of insanity. When she couldn't dismiss it anymore, Blair had kept it to herself, under the deluded notion that somehow, Jo would come to her senses on her own.
Of course, Jo hadn't. Jo had married Rick, and Blair, at the time infatuated with what she later realized to be a male version of Jo named Casey, had allowed it to happen.
They had wasted years, would still have wasted them, if Blair hadn't finally forced them both to confront the issue.
Blair found it ridiculously ironic that she was considered the dense one in the relationship.
Still, for all of Jo's faults, Blair found it obscenely hard for settle for anyone else. Not when she knew what she wanted. There had been a glimmer, with Casey, and for a while, after Jo had been married and Blair had been particularly delusional, she actually thought he might have been the one. Sure, he didn't want to marry her, but he had loved her, and in her weakness, the night Jo was married and more than likely consummating her love with Rick, she had given him her virginity.
Blair wouldn't consider it a mistake, but she did consider it rash. Casey had gotten sentimental and Blair had only been depressed. Casey wasn't Jo, no one was, really, and if Blair wasn't going to get what she wanted, she decided there was no point in settling.
Blair was eternally grateful that now, she didn't have to. She had Jo, and even if Blair still wasn't completely sure how it had happened, she knew better than to question her good fortune.
Which didn't mean it wasn't work at times. Since their coupling, Blair had discovered a side of Jo she had only glimpsed before: a jealous, insecure Jo, who somehow was always afraid. It was that Jo that would push her away, that Jo that got possessive under the oddest circumstances, that Jo who struggled the hardest with the very idea that Blair would meet a man and like him so much she would want to have his baby.
Jo had asked her once after they had gotten together, if she had been with another woman before her. Blair had made the mistake of being honest and saying yes.
Now, Blair couldn't even speak to an attractive woman without seeing a glint in Jo's eyes, and heaven forbid she actually make a compliment about another woman in Jo's presence.
She knew there would come a time when she would find the behavior infuriating, and at times she already did, and still, she found her crabby grumpy care bear charming even in her jealous tirades.
She was contemplating all of this at the end of this very long night, after pushing the very pregnant and grateful Joanne Jefferson and her crabby and tired lover Maureen out the door.
Jo had retreated early, energy sapped thanks to their energetic party guests, and Blair was left alone in their penthouse, to glance at baby banners and left over cheesy decorations of storks and diapers Megan had insisted on bringing over.
Blair stood in their penthouse and considered her life and what it had become.
A startling conclusion came to her, even as she pressed her hand to her flat stomach and knew there was no baby growing inside of her.
Everything wasn't perfect. Everything wasn't easy. She wasn't perfect. She wasn't easy.
But this was her life.
Blair was astonished to realize she could actually be fine with that.
It was past midnight, when Blair slipped into bed beside Jo, shifting on the long mattress, murmuring a casual loving 'Goodnight, Jo' and turning to flick off the lamp on her side, snuggling into the pillows.
It was ridiculously formal for someone like Blair. Jo normally couldn't keep her cuddly companion from suffocating her, snuggling into her neck and throwing her leg over Jo's, trapping her.
Jo had been completely uncomfortable with it at first - she had never been a cuddly kind of girl. Blair had known that, but as usual, ignored it, and what was forced restraint had become welcome habit. Not that she'd let Blair know.
Still, she had made a visible effort to be pleasant tonight... well, okay, as pleasant as Jo COULD be under the circumstances, and instead of a loving kiss and a flowery speech about how proud Blair was of her (after which Jo could have been suitably annoyed and only slightly receptive to Blair's little pecks against her neck), she had gotten a 'good night' and nothing else.
She reached over and clicked on her own little lamp.
There was a moment of silence, before her girlfriend shifted and living up on her elbows, looking at her through sleepy eyes. "Pardon?"
"That's it? I go through an evening of hell and it's just 'Good Night'?" Jo repeated.
Her lover stared at her as if she had grown another head.
"Jo? I have a very early meeting tomorrow."
With that, Blair offered her a tiny smile, and then flopped back on the bed, turning her back to her.
Something was definitely wrong.
"Tough," she found herself snapping. "You're not sleeping until you tell me what's going on."
"I don't know what you're talking about," Blair muttered from her side of the bed.
"Right. Usually, I can't get you to shut up about a party."
"Then consider this a blessing in disguise, Jo."
"It's about the baby, isn't it?"
There was a small, discernable hitch of Blair's breath. "What baby?"
"Exactly." Blair didn't move. Biting her bottom lip, Jo closed her eyes, unsure what to do now that she had exposed the open wound. "Hey." Reaching forward, she tentatively squeezed a silky shoulder. "We're gonna get there. You have to believe that."
The anger was gone now, replaced with gentle concern, and it must have been that, that finally caused her lover to turn over, cheek half buried into her pillow as she stared at her with somber eyes.
Blair looked beautiful at night, big brown eyes luminous and sparking in the moonlight.
"I do," she finally admitted, a breathless sigh. "I just... I don't want to talk about it now."
Blair had once told Jo she was like a dog with a bone when she had something on her mind. "Why not?"
Blair regarded her. "Because that seems to be all we talk about," she heard finally. Jo frowned in reaction. "Because ever since we decided we were going to make this happen that's... all we've focused on."
It wasn't what she was expecting to hear. She had been expecting a retread on their usual fights about the baby they were trying to make: Jo not wanting to know the identity of the donor, Blair insisting on knowing, afraid they'd wind up with a serial killer, not even wanting to consider adoption until they were absolutely sure-
Blair was right. Jo was like a dog with a bone. A bulldog.
"You think we've become obsessed with it."
Blair didn't respond immediately. Curling further into the pillow, she sighed, and regarded her lover.
"Do you know what I realized tonight," she began suddenly, voice soft with reverence for the darkness of the night, "As I saw JoJo getting that bassinet and breast pump and ... everything else?"
Blair smiled. "That as much as I want a baby - I'm happy just being with you." Reaching forward, Blair laid a soft hand on her cheek, tracing the skin gently. "I never wanted this to be something we had to prove to ourselves. And I never wanted this to be something you think I needed to be happy. You make me happy. Admittedly, you also make me furious, but after more than 15 years, I've learned to cope."
It was a rather calm statement coming from someone like Blair, who had presented the idea of a baby to her months ago like she was asking for them to invest in a new stock portfolio.
Back then it had seemed so easy, to look through the binder Jojo had put together for them and plan for a baby like they could plan for a retirement plan. Jo had always been one for causes, and after the initial shock that she was actually considering having a baby with Blair Warner of all people had passed, she had lobbied hard for it. She had caught a glimpse of their future, tripping over baby toys and fighting with Blair because a baby didn't need three hundred dollar booties, and she had craved it.
That was before months of arguments about donors and fertility tests and failed pregnancy sticks and the unspoken fear that maybe, just maybe, Jo would never be able to feel a life growing inside Blair, because newly discovered ovarian cysts had never figured in Jo's plans.
Blair had always been obsessed with being perfect, and the idea that something was so wrong inside of her she could actually be incapable of carrying a baby wasn't something that neither could actually entertain.
It would be just like Blair not to admit defeat, but rather, declare she was just fine with not having a baby at all.
Years ago, Jo would see this and just get angry, because it was inherently selfish, and just so... BLAIR to quit rather than really try, no matter what the consequences.
But this was the present, and Jo had learned she loved Blair, faulty flaws and all. God knew, Blair loved to point out she had a few of her own.
Looking into the heartbreaking expression that was Blair trying to be blasé about something she so obviously still wanted, Jo didn't have the heart to get angry.
"How about we take a break from all the baby talk," she finally compromised, managing as sweet a smile as she could, as Blair's face betrayed a barely noticeable expression of relief. "And focus on the important thing."
A perfectly shaped brow rose suggestively. "And that is?"
"The fact that I spent my afternoon in the company of the most annoying women on the planet, and I haven't been thanked properly for it."
Blair's grin grew wider, mock sympathy flirting across her features. "Oh poor Jo," she gasped dramatically. "The horrors!"
"Damn right, the horrors!" she snorted. "I had to put a string around Joanne's stomach and guess her damned stomach size, Blair!"
"No!" Blair's breath sucked in sympathetically.
"I had to play Baby Bingo!"
That actually got a laugh, a beautiful one that made Jo smile in return, as Blair leaned over and curled her fingers over Jo's cheek, looking into her face lovingly.
"What can I do to make it up to you?"
Jo had a few ideas, but before she could voice them, Blair's mouth had already descended, and was pressing against hers lovingly.
Sighing into the kiss, Jo didn't protest.
It was a start.
"Is the tape recorder really necessary?" Blair asked, elbows leaning on the table, chin resting on her entwined fingers as she watched her old friend Natalie Green fiddle with her equipment.
"Um- excuse me, whose interviewing who here?" Natalie groused, fussing with the little tape she slid into the open compartment.
Watching her with a bemused expression, Blair offered her a teasing grin. "Whose interviewing <i>whom</i>," she corrected. "And Joanne isn't here yet, so technically, the interview hasn't even started. Honestly, aren’t you supposed to be a journalist?"
"And a damned good one," Natalie snorted. "Too wrapped up in the details to worry about a stupid thing like grammar. That's what editors are for."
"I'm sure your editor will be thrilled to hear that."
"He's madly in love with me. Just the fact that I brought him up will make his year."
Who would have thought their Natalie would grow up to be such a heartbreaker? Head shaking in silent mirth, Blair reached for her teacup, reaching for the kettle of hot water left behind by the waiter. "So, are you ever going to pick one of these poor guys or do you enjoy stringing them along?"
"Oh, give me a break, Miss 'Play the Field'." Blair rolled her eyes, but didn't argue the nickname. She had, after all, dated more boys in high school than Natalie, Tootie and Jo combined, even if they factored in their years at Langley. "Besides, now that you and Jo have decided you'd rather drive each other crazy than worry about the male population, someone has to pick up the slack."
Yes, Blair would agree that the male gender had suffered a loss when she had opted to remove herself from the dating pool. Jo, on the other hand… she considered taking her away from them grounds for sainthood. They didn't know how to properly appreciate a Grumpy Barbarian anyhow.
"Point taken," Blair managed, taking a sip of her tea and wincing. Too bitter. Reaching for the pack of sugar, she arched a brow. "But that's not going in your article."
"No, that’s going in my novel," Natalie grinned sagely, pointing a pen in her direction. "It's classic. The princess and the pauper."
Ah yes, the ever present lesbian romance novel Natalie kept threatening to write. "I really think Jo might kill you if you ever go through with that."
"After I make my million, it's worth the risk," Natalie sighed.
"Well, don't say I didn't warn you."
Arching her neck, Natalie glanced around the crowded café. "Where is Joanne? She's late. That's not like her."
"Actually, that's where you're wrong," Blair informed her, swirling her sugar into her tea. "Joanne is currently eight months pregnant, and as a result, is now nothing more than a surge of hormones, and hot flashes. It's rather amazing she agreed to this at all. I'm of the opinion she needs to start her maternity leave early before she completely wrecks her career, but I think her partner might murder me if she's forced to deal with Joanne and her mood swings all day as well as night."
"You know… I'm still a little surprised Joanne has managed to get this far without you and Jo following in her footsteps." Brown eyes rising, Blair looked upon a suddenly serious face.
"I just mean it's been a while. I called Jo on the phone last week to tell her I was coming into town again, and she said she was at the doctor's office with you. That was all I could get out of her."
Blair sighed, suddenly annoyed at her friends perceptive nature. "What are you asking, Natalie?"
"You know what I'm asking. I know you two are trying. What's the problem?"
The question, despite the fact that Blair had been expecting it, brought a sudden headache. "Why do you want to know?" she snapped, a little meaner than she intended to sound. "A little human interest story to bookend your feature?"
Natalie hesitated, and after a moment reached for the tape recorder and shut it off. "I'm asking you as a friend, Blair. I'm just concerned, that's all."
The irony was, Blair knew Natalie was being honest. She was concerned. Like a good friend should have been.
It didn't make the ill feeling inside of her any easier to swallow down.
"I'm fine. Really," she added, when Natalie didn't look convinced. "The doctor found some cysts. My period has always been irregular and they're not any thing to really be concerned about. The doctor is confident they can be dissolved with medication and surgery isn't an option just yet… but…"
"But it's giving you trouble," Natalie breathed, eyes darkening in concern. "I'm sorry, Blair."
Blair wasn't in the mood for sympathy. It made it too easy to feel despair. "I've come to terms with it. Jo is struggling but we've decided to take a break from baby-making for now, and I think it's for the best."
"But… that doesn't mean … never, right?"
Blair gave her a weary look. "Have you ever known Jo to give up on anything if her heart's into it?"
"Good point," Natalie agreed, exhaling. "The girl is a sucker for her causes. Honestly, Blair, I have no idea how you two put up with each other. And the fact that it's willingly!"
No kidding. Sometimes Blair was in awe of that herself. "She has her good moments," she allowed. "But for goodness' sake please don't tell her that. She's enough of a self righteous jerk as it is."
"What's the sex like?"
In the midst of a sip of tea, Blair suddenly choked, burning her tongue. "What?" she managed, reaching for her napkin.
"Oh, come on! I waited nearly a year to ask! What's the sex like?"
"Natalie, you're insane if you think I’m going to tell you what Jo is like in bed."
"Here's something I've always wanted to know. How do you know when you're finished?"
Blair blinked. "Pardon?"
"Well… I mean there's multiple orgasms… and such. Do you just go in turns? How do you know when to stop?"
Glancing around at the café, Blair was absolutely mortified. "Natalie! For goodness' sake!"
"Oh, come on!"
"I'm not having this discussion with you!"
"Because it's weird!"
"Fine…" Natalie huffed, crossing her arms. Blair blinked, suspicious that the argument was won so quickly. "So have you been with other women besides Jo?"
"Oh, my God."
"What? It's a different question!"
"I'm not going to stop asking until you answer one of those questions. You might as well just pick the lesser of two evils."
Natalie did have a point there. Sighing, Blair pressed a napkin to her scalded tongue. "Yes, I have been with other women before Jo."
"I knew it!" Face brightening, Natalie leaned forward, looking like a kid in a candy store. "How many? When? You're such a lesbian!"
"Oh, Good God."
"Oh, come on! Just give me a name!"
Exactly why, did she ever think it was a good idea, that Jo had actually let Natalie know about them?
The situation still seemed surreal, and it had been nearly a year. This was Natalie, one of her oldest friends, practically a sister. She had been there when Blair and Jo had only been friends, when this… relationship had been simply unspoken. To speak about it now…
It seemed awkward but freeing.
Biting her bottom lip, Blair considered the moment. "Promise you won't tell Jo?" she asked finally. Natalie's head whipped up and down so fast she seemed to mimic a bobble head. "About three years ago, Joanne and I went to celebrate a case she had won. She wanted to go to a lesbian bar, and I had already been to one, thanks to my little embarrassment at Langley…"
Natalie sucked in her breath. "You hooked up with a random New York Lesbian?"
Blair hesitated. "Not exactly…"
Natalie blinked, until the meaning sunk in. "You and Joanne?!"
"It was just one night! We had had a little too much to drink, and the atmosphere was so… freeing…"
"You had a one-night-stand with Joanne Jefferson?!" Natalie hissed, eyes growing wide as saucers. "Oh, Jo would die!"
"And that's exactly why we're not telling her," Blair said immediately. "It meant absolutely nothing – casual sex between friends. We didn't even try to date. The situation seemed almost incestuous. I don't even think about it now. Obviously JoJo and I have moved on. But you know Jo-"
"It would make her head explode," Natalie breathed. "Can I ask you a favor?"
"If you ever tell her, can I be there?"
Blair clucked her tongue, torn between laughing at the sincere expression on Natalie's face, and wanting to pour the contents of her teapot all over her gossipy friend's head.
Thankfully, she was saved from having to do either when she spotted a familiar head of dark curls waddling in their direction.
"Speak of the devil," Natalie grinned, glancing back to see the focus of Blair's attention. "The ex-lover."
"Natalie," Blair warned, smile faltering at the look on Joanne's face as she ambled toward her. "JoJo?"
"Umm… hi," Joanne managed. "I know I just got here, but I think we need to go."
"Go?" Natalie blinked. "Go where?"
"The hospital," Joanne snapped. "I think my water just broke."
In the midst of tightening the harness that held her holster and pulling on her jacket, Jo hesitated only a moment as she viewed the uniformed officer coming toward her.
"I'm on my way out, Bruiser," she muttered, grabbing her keys. "I gotta meet a witness at 3."
"You got a call coming in."
"So take a message," she groused. Jesus – what was the deal with some of these guys?
"She said it was important. Some kind of emergency."
Pausing, Jo got exactly two words from that: 'she' and 'emergency'.
Sucking in her breath, she glanced at the ringing line and grabbed a hold of it, bringing it up to her ear. "Blair? What's wrong?"
"It's not Blair."
The voice, distant but familiar, confused her. "Who is this?"
"It's Maureen Johnson."
Twenty minutes later, Jo found herself jogging up the stairs of a crappy looking building in Alphabet City.
Nose wrinkling at the smell, Jo raced up the stairs, hand inside her jacket, resting on the butt of her gun just in case.
To her right, a door slid open, and she discovered a brunette bursting from it, grabbing hold of her wrist and pulling her in to an equally crappy looking loft.
"What the hell are you doing calling me at the precinct?!" Jo burst, yanking her arm away and rubbing at her wrist. "It's not a pager!"
"I panicked!" Maureen snapped. "Okay? I’m sorry! But I needed help and you're the only one I thought to call."
The other woman did seem nervous. Her eyes were wide and she was nearly panting, as she pushed her curls out of her face and glared at her. Behind her, Jo caught sight of a blonde haired young man wearing round glasses, holding what appeared to be a bundle in his arms.
"What about Joanne?" Jo managed, trying to keep hold of her temper.
"She's not picking up her cell phone and Steve told me she's in an appointment. Then I tried your girlfriend but her assistant said the same thing!"
"So what's the problem?"
"This! This is the problem!" Without preamble, Maureen grabbed hold of her hand again and dragged her across the room to the blonde guy. "Mark? Show her!"
"Hi," he managed, and lifted up the blanket. Jo found herself looking at a olive-skinned tiny newborn baby, in the middle of a yawn, kicking up bare feet at her.
"That's a baby."
"No shit, Sherlock!" Maureen snapped her.
"Well, what the hell do you want me to do with a baby?!"
"I FOUND IT!" Maureen shrieked, which had the unfortunate side of effect of making the baby shriek right back. "I was putting up fliers for my next performance when I heard something crying in a dumpster. At first I thought it was a cat or something but when I opened the door-"
"You found … a baby," Jo sighed, eyes glued to little brown eyes that blinked at her, then closed again, mouth widening to let out a little baby scream. "This kid can't be more than a few days old."
"Yeah well… help!" Maureen said, fingers digging into Jo's arm, making her wince. "I mean, I read all the books but … this could be anybody's!"
"Maureen, calm down," Mark said, hopping up and down in a ridiculous manner, obviously trying to calm the screeching baby down. "Your friend's here now…"
"We're not friends," Maureen and Jo both snapped in unison.
"… okay," Mark said, flashing a quick nervous smile. "But I'll bet she'll know what to do."
Did she really? Abandoned babies were, tragically, not a new thing, but Jo had never actually run into one herself. "Shit," she breathed. "Allright, look, I know a social worker. I've had to call her a few times when I've brought in some people who had kids. I can give her a call and… I don't know… we'll find something for her. In the meantime… she needs food."
"Got it," Mark said, suddenly handing the baby to her. Too startled to argue, Jo curled the bundle to her, suddenly unnerved.
"Yeah, Mark and I found some stuff at the good will for when Joanne… you know…" Maureen flushed, her smile almost a nervous tick. "Mark wanted to have some stuff over here just in case."
Suddenly suspicious, Jo glanced at them both. "In case of what?"
"In case they ever want to drop the baby off," Mark answered, voice stronger now, tone obviously annoyed at Jo's own doubt. "I know it's not technically my kid, but I want to spent time with him. Or her. They won't tell me what it is."
"That's because Joanne refuses to know," Maureen snapped, just as annoyed. "She's convinced I peeked during the sonogram, and of course I didn't. What the hell is her problem anyway? The one time I don't do anything!"
"Do you got a phone?" Jo interrupted, suddenly losing her patience. "I gotta call this girl-"
"Right. Sorry. Officer."
Rolling her eyes, Jo curled her fingers around the bundle in her arms, ready to head in the direction Mark was pointing when she heard a buzzing at her hip. Cursing, she shifted the baby as well as she could, as she checked the number.
"It's Blair," she said, to nobody in particular. "I gotta call her."
"What about the baby?"
"It's 911!" Jo snapped. "That could mean she's broken a nail or she's been kidnapped. Give me a sec."
Handing the baby off to Maureen, she strode quickly to the phone, dialing the number. "Marie? Hey. I got the page, what's the-" Blinking, she sucked in her breath. "Shit. I'm on my way."
Slamming down the phone, she pointed at Maureen. "Let's go."
"What?!" Maureen squeaked. "I didn't do anything wrong!"
"For once," Jo snorted. "Your girl is in the hospital. Let's go."
Driving with a newborn without a carseat was considered a crime, but in this instance, Jo made the exception.
Still, it was the ride from hell, with Maureen in the front seat, screeching at her to go faster, and Mark, in the backseat, clutching onto the baby (who in Jo's head she had already named Harley) and carrying a stupid old camera he insisted on bringing, snapping at her to slow down.
Jo decided she didn't like JoJo or her friends.
Thankfully, being a cop did have its perks, and she didn't have to worry about proper parking when she pulled into the emergency room. She barely had time to park the car and pull the flashing lights off the hood before Maureen flung open the car door and ran for the entrance. Opening the rear door, Jo suddenly got an armful of baby before Mark wheezed, "I hate hospitals" and took off in Maureen's direction.
"You're welcome," she called out, to no one in particular. "I'm a fucking chauffer now. Great."
The baby Harley blinked up at her, teeny lips forming a spit bubble that suddenly popped.
"Yeah," Jo breathed. "We gotta figure out what to do with you."
Heading into the emergency room, Jo caught sight of the dark curls and blonde hair and glasses, standing in front of Blair and what looked to be like Natalie. Maureen barely glanced at her before running in the other direction, presumably to be with Joanne.
"Hi guys," she managed, coming up, suddenly breathless. "What's the deal?"
"She's fine," Blair said immediately. "They thought her water had broken, but it turns out that it was just her amniotic sac springing a leak. False alarm. The leak has sealed itself and there's still plenty of fluid for the baby."
Shifting the baby in her arms, Jo glanced at Natalie and Mark, who was now filming the events. "They can do that?"
"Apparently so," Blair agreed, and then glanced down at Jo's arms. "What are you doing with a Latino baby?"
Hanging up the phone, Jo let out a tired breath, leaning against the stark white wall where the payphone hung.
Turning on her booted heel, she headed down the hallway, flashing Mark and Natalie, at the moment deep in conversation, a polite smile as she passed and heading toward Blair.
Sitting upright in the plastic chair, Blair held the little blue bundle in her arms, cooing in encouragement as she held the bottle that had been provided to them by the nurses to the baby's mouth.
The sight caused Jo to falter, a hidden smile inching on her face as she watched Blair carefully shift her weight, saw little booties kicking up in reaction, heard the sound of a baby gurgle.
"What'd the foster lady say?" Blair asked, without looking up, as Jo finally settled down beside her, throwing an arm across the back of Blair's chair.
"She can probably find a home for her tomorrow but right now trying to place a newborn for the night is virtually impossible."
Concerned brown eyes glanced up at her. "So what does that mean?"
Jo hesitated, unsure how to word it. "She asked if we could take her for the night, Blair."
Blair stayed silent. "What about the hospital?"
"This isn't a county hospital. We'd have to drive it over to the Bronx and there's no telling if they'd even take the kid at this point."
"And did you agree?" Blair asked. "A newborn is a lot of work, Jo."
Jo swallowed, watching her quietly.
It wasn't a fair favor to ask, really. But it wasn't as if Jo could explain to her friend that Blair and Jo were that at moment oversaturated with all things babies and to ask them to bring a newborn home for the night was like a slap to the face.
Blair frowned, and glanced down at the baby, sucking on the bottle. "Take the baby."
"I need to call Marie at the office, and arrange for a delivery from FAO Schwartz. Take the baby."
There were sometimes perks to having a millionaire girlfriend.
"Hold her upright, Jo! Like a football!"
"Oh, like you know how to hold a football," Jo growled, glaring up at Blair as she arranged the baby so that she rested in the crook of her elbow.
"And hold the bottle at an angle. You're going to get bubbles in it!"
"I'm not a complete moron, okay Blair? I got it!"
"Blair!" She stopped just short of shouting. "I got it. Make your call."
Blair glanced at her suspiciously, but opened her cellphone, walking towards the emergency exit in order to make her call.
Breathing in unsteadily, Jo glanced down at Harley. "What are we gonna do with you, hey buddy?"
She didn't notice Mark was filming her until Natalie plopped down beside her, flipping open a notepad. "Detective Polniaczek. I have some questions."
Rolling her eyes, Jo resisted the urge to punch out her friend.
It was four am.
Jo had an appearance in court tomorrow. She had a twelve hour shift and she had slept little more than two hours.
The 5 day old baby, currently swaddled and lying in a ridiculously expensive cradle that had been assembled and delivered by FAO Schwartz's finest, only ten feet away, could have probably cared less.
Curled into Blair, arm thrown over Blair's hip and nose buried in her lover's blonde nape, Jo heard it first, a teeny little stutter that sounded like a mini engine starting, before it became a full on wail.
For a teeny little person, Harley had a real set of pipes.
She stirred, grimacing as she fought her sleepiness, but Blair was already moving, edging out from her embrace to murmur a sleepy, "I got it."
Bringing her knees into her chest, Jo blinked sleepily, watching as Blair pulled on her robe and knotted it quickly, heading for the baby, blonde strands falling over her shoulder as she reached down and began to hum softly.
In the darkened shadows of the night, her lover looked like some sort of designer angel, infinitely careful with their precious charge.
Propping up on her elbow to stare at the sight, Jo experienced the oddest sense of déjà vu.
She blinked, suddenly emotional, and in an effort to distract herself, she pushed off the bed and headed for the kitchen. "I'll get the formula."
By herself in the kitchen, staring at the microwave, Jo pressed her palm against her mouth, and wondered exactly what she had gotten them both into.
When she came back into the bedroom, she discovered Blair with the baby on the changing table, carefully wiping around the shriveled umbilical chord and wrapping it with gauze.
"I got the bottle," Jo said, feeling suddenly useless.
"Did you test it?" Blair asked quietly, without even looking.
Consequently, she couldn't see the amazing glare Jo sent her way. "Yes, I tested it!" She snarled, lip curling in her mimic.
"Oh, don't be so grumpy. I had to ask."
"Because you'd assume I'd forget?"
"Because it's been a long time since we've taken care of a baby, a newborn is a lot of work, and I assumed <b>I'd</b> forget."
Oh. Flushing, Jo crossed her arms, watching as the baby was once again swaddled, and picked up.
Settling in the chair across the bed, Blair once again began to hum, taking the bottle from Jo and trying to entice the baby to drink.
"Did Maureen really find her in a dumpster?" Blair asked, a few moments later.
Sinking down on the bed, watching her lover and their charge, she nodded. "Yeah. We're lucky as hell she found her when she did. I can't imagine a lot of people would take the time to look. Even if she did think it was a cat at first."
"Well, I guess Maureen does have her qualities," Blair managed begrudgingly, shooting Jo a smile. "And she does show moments of good taste."
"She called you, didn't she?"
Good point. Jo smiled indulgently. "Well to be fair, I was third on the call sheet."
"Well, if it helps honey, you're always first on mine."
"Well," Jo chuckled. "That makes up for everything then."
The tone was joking, and it felt right with the mood, quietly tense, as the baby gurgled and sucked in another mouthful of formula.
"She is a precious little thing, isn't she?" Blair asked, after a moment.
Rising from the mattress, Jo glanced down at the baby in Blair's arms, then at her lover. "Beautiful."
Blair's smile tightened and her eyes locked with Jo's.
Both women glanced away.
The next morning, Jo was in a grumpy mood. Citing an early meeting, Blair had left her with the baby and ten thousand instructions about the baby; the most important being to call her immediately after the social worker arrived.
Not that Jo was expecting Blair to get mushy about a baby that had only been in their care for one night, but at least Jo cared enough to give the kid a name.
It didn't matter if Blair hated it and had nearly gone pale the first time Jo slipped and called the baby 'Harley' in front of her.
The penthouse buzzer was unabashedly obnoxious, and Jo gave it a sincere glare when the baby in her arms whined in complaint.
"Yeah, I know how you feel," she told Harley, heading for the doorway. "I hate that thing, too."
Shifting the weight of the baby, she wrapped her fingers around the doorknob and pulled. A dark-haired woman with a kind, harried smile came rushing in immediately. "Sorry, I’m late!" said Kate, coming in. "I had a case erupt this morning."
"And that takes precedence over an abandoned newborn?"
Kate paused, fingers on the edge of the blanket cocooned around the baby in Jo's arms. "Well, I left her in good hands. It wasn't exactly the kosher way to do it, but I’m confident in my methods."
"Yeah, right," Jo growled, but her hold tightened on the baby. "So did you find a place for her?"
Kate bit her bottom lip, glancing around the penthouse. "This is impressive."
"It's Blair's," Jo groused, "Not mine. Answer the question."
"I believe I did, yes."
Despite the fact that Jo knew better, she found herself tightening her arms around the newborn in response.
"You’ve checked out the home, right? I don’t want Harley left with some crazy person who's only taking in a kid for the income."
"You must not have very much faith in how I do my job." Kate paused briefly. "Harley?"
"I used to be a social worker, Kate. I know how these things can happen."
"I know. You've told me. Repeatedly." Kate glanced at her clipboard. "Well, Jo – the thing with abandoned babies is that immediately they become wards of the court. Obviously we can try to track the mother down and we will, but it's highly unlikely that we'll be able to find the mother, and it's very rare that we can actually find a foster family who is willing to put in the time it takes to rear a newborn. In a case like this…"
"Well, you already have everything. I mean, you yourself said you bought all the supplies last night."
"I didn't, Blair did."
Kate checked her clipboard. "Blair Warner, from Warner Textile Industries."
"It's a name, not a title."
"God, you're grumpy. Okay, look Jo, here's the deal. My agencies got a call from some very high profile lawyers this morning about this baby."
Jo blinked, surprised by the news. "Why?"
"There was an inquiry as to how to begin proceedings to formally declare this …" Kate glanced around the penthouse. "Home…" she settled for, "a foster home for the child with the intent to adopt."
"Naturally, I was a little surprised, particularly when I heard the name Warner."
"You're surprised," Jo breathed. She glanced down at baby Harley, who had decided to yawn, nuzzling into Jo's chest in a phantom search for milk. "Wait… what does that mean?"
"Well…" Kate shrugged. "Normally I would pitch a fit about anyone to circumvent the system because these things take time, but considering the special circumstances and the fact that it's the Warner name…" Arms crossed, and Kate pursed her lips. "Jo, did you put your girlfriend up to this? You can't just buy off the system."
Straightening, Jo glared at her colleague. "What the hell does that mean?"
"What I mean is that oh so generous grant that came from the Warner Foundation that is," she glanced down at the notebook, "-'in no way meant to sway the decision of the court'. Seriously?"
That did sound like Blair.
Still, Jo's head was swimming, and trying to take a moment to catch a breath, she turned away from Kate, staring down at little Harley. "… Let me get this straight. Blair had her lawyers call you and tell you she wants to figure out how to adopt Harley?"
"Oh, right…" Referencing the clipboard again, Kate began to read, "Ms. Warner would also like it stressed that under no circumstances will the child be named Harley or any other automotive company name. She is a baby, not a billboard." Kate glanced up. "You really had no idea?"
"Do I look like I had any idea?" she sputtered. She tightened her hold on Harley, heart hammering in her chest. "Wait… so does… does that mean we get to… I mean… she's… she's ours?"
"That's my decision," Kate snapped, shoulders straightening. "And then it's the decision of the judge. Look, Jo, you know I'm open minded, but the fact is that it appears Ms. Warner didn't even discuss-"
"She didn't have to," Jo flatly told her. "She knew I wanted to do this or she wouldn't have done it."
"So she's psychic?"
"No, she's just known me for fifteen years."
Kate sighed. "I see." Dropping the clipboard on a nearby counter, Kate came forward, hands on her hips. "Okay, off the record, here's the deal. There are a lot worse places I could put a kid in than the Warner Penthouse. I also am familiar enough with you to trust that you would take care of this child, and if you say Ms. Warner is capable-"
"Then I'll believe you," Kate continued, eyes narrowing at the interruption. "But expect to have some opposition to this. I'll work on this case and I will push for the adoption, and there is an ninety-eight percent chance it'll go through, because Warner has her lawyers on this and they're the best in the country. But you're a gay couple and there are some people who would rather-"
"Rather what? Give the kid no one cares about to the system? Leave it in a dumpster?"
Kate's mouth closed, and she nodded, getting the point. "Okay, Detective Polniaczek," she said, throwing her arms up in surrender. "I'm on your side. I'm recommending this household for fostering and, assuming you play by the rules," she enunciated, "adoption. Also, I agree with Blair. I hate the name Harley," she added.
As far as dream babies went, Harley didn't look like a cherub. She had brown skin, and big dark eyes, and what little hair there was on the delicately soft head was dark brown.
She was still possibly the most beautiful thing Jo had seen. Swaddled together in the crib, the little nose crinkled and the little mouth yawned.
Heart full, Jo smiled, reaching down to softly stroke the downy soft cheek.
The door creaked open behind her, and as Jo turned, she caught sight of her lover, knees bending to place her briefcase on the floor, eyeing Jo hesitantly.
"Are you going to kill me?" she asked, as quietly as she could.
Jo stared at her, toying with the idea of keeping Blair in suspense. "Come here."
Warily, Blair came forward, heels sinking into the carpet.
Reaching for her hand, Jo pulled Blair into her side, and brushed her knuckles against Blair's temple. "You are completely insane, you know that?"
"Look, Jo, I know it was rash, but I just had the idea early this morning, and if I didn't act on it then she might be lost in the system and then how would we-"
"I didn't say it was a bad thing, Blair."
Blair's mouth shut, but her eyes were still wide. "It's not?"
Breathing out, Jo finally allowed a small grin.
Blair blinked. "So… you're not going to kill me?"
"No," Jo finally answered. "I'm not going to kill you. I am gonna kiss you though."
And she did, leaning forward and pressing her lips firmly against Blair's, feeling her partner's mouth open immediately in invitation.
Kissing her thoroughly, Jo released her when she felt the shiver of passion run down her spine, and when Blair reached up and delicately traced Jo's lips with her finger, Jo smiled against it.
Sighing uneasily, Blair looked down at the baby. "Do you think we're ready for this?"
"We've been ready for months."
"We didn't even get to have a baby shower."
"I'd rather buy the stuff myself, anyhow."
"On your salary?" A beat, then, "This is going to be a lot of work."
"We can handle it. We'll consider it practice. For the ones to come."
"Jo, we just got this one. Let's see how we take to no sleep and no sex before you start turning us into two old women in the shoe."
"Well… you know how it is. You take the good. You take the bad. You take them both and-"