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It took everything she had to make herself leave Jade and drive back to New Orleans. She grew more and more angry with each passing mile, vowing to not only get Jade home, but also annihilate Lonna Tassin in the process. Pulling up in front of Jasmine’s house, their house now, she slammed out of the car and shoved her way into the house.
Hearing the front door slam shut, Jasmine ran out of the kitchen into the hall, all smiles, to greet April. Her good mood quickly deteriorated when she saw the look on April’s face, and it was quickly replaced with fear.
“Did you fine Jade? Is she ok?” Jasmine reached out and to grab April’s arm, but she pushed passed her. Ignoring Jasmine, April marched into the parlor and went straight for the liquor cabinet. Pouring herself a glass of bourbon, filling it almost to the top, she tried to calm down enough to tell Jasmine what happened. She tossed back almost half of it, and then slammed it down on the bar, liquid spilling onto her hand as it sloshed over the top.
Jasmine felt ice cold; fear like a dead weight in the pit of her stomach. Clearly, April’s trip hadn’t gone well and she was afraid to hear about it. Suspecting the worst, she started picturing Jade in the hospital, or worse, and couldn’t stop the tears quietly spilling down her face.
April heard a soft sob and spun around to find Jasmine in tears. Rushing over, she wrapped her arms around Jasmine and held her close.
“Jade’s alive and healthy. Don’t worry.”
Jasmine pulled away, brushing the tears from her eyes. “But not happy. You didn’t say happy, or safe.”
How did Jasmine get to know her so well in such a short time? Frowning, mad at herself for scaring Jasmine, she grabbed her hand and pulled her into the living room so they could sit down on the couch. She pulled Jasmine against her and told her everything.
When she finished, Jasmine leaped off the couch and tore out of the room. April rushed after her.
“Where are you going, Jasmine?” She followed her into the kitchen and saw her reach for the wall phone.
“Who are you calling?”
“The police. I want this bitch in handcuffs within the hour.”
April yanked the phone out of Jasmine’s hands. “If you call the police, Jade will be the bitch in handcuffs, not Tassin. Please, Jasmine, let’s sit down and try to talk this over. Better yet, I’m calling your uncle and asking him to come over.” April dialed as she spoke. As she listened to the phone ring, she faced Jasmine and held out a hand. Jasmine accepted it and she pulled her against her side, hugging her tight.
John answered on the fourth ring and April gave him a quick summary of her trip to Baton Rouge. John hung up, promising to be there within the next ten minutes. Keeping her arm around Jasmine, she walked them both back to the living room and sat down to wait for John. She and Jasmine didn’t speak; Jasmine just sat, leaning against April while April kept her arms around her.
It wasn’t long before she heard a car outside. She started to unravel herself from Jasmine to go answer the door, but barely made it up off the couch before John came striding into the room.
He sank into the nearest chair and April retook her place beside Jasmine, pulling her back into her arms. The three of them just stared at each other, lost in their own thoughts, none of them sure as to where to start.
John was the first to break the silence. “The ball’s next week. It was always her favorite event of the year.”
Jasmine jumped up. “She’s not dead, damn it! She’s an hour and a half away with that…that…” but she couldn’t seem to finish. April reached up and tried to pull Jasmine back onto the couch, but Jasmine brushed her off and started pacing around the room, glaring at her uncle.
Watching, April decided she felt a little better seeing Jasmine mad, rather than tears. Jasmine fired up was a lot closer to normal than seeing her cry. She watched her pace for a while, John staring at the floor, and her mine raced, trying to find a solution to Jade’s problem.
“What ball is that, John?” At this point, April was just trying to break some of the tension that seemed to be squeezing all the air out of the room.
“The Halloween costume ball at the social club. The club is one of the oldest in the country. Most of the prominent families of this city have belonged to it since before the Civil War. Every year, at Halloween, they throw a party that’s kind of a cross between a costume party and the old fashioned ball’s they used to have back in the nineteenth and early twentieth century.”
“You mean women wearing dresses with corsets and guys in bad white wigs?”
John laughed. “Yes, something like that.”
“How big of a social event is this ball?”
“Well, it’s one of the most popular events in the city every year, and you can always count on the fact that the who’s who of the city will attend. These days, the club sells tickets as a community fund raiser, and all the proceeds go to several select charities.”
Jasmine casino siteleri was getting angry. What the hell was April doing making small talk about some stupid party?
“So, really, every important person in town attends, right? Politicians, the D.A., members of the city’s wealthiest families, people like that?”
“Yes.” John studied April’s face and would swear he could see the wheels starting to turn. He remained silent, though, letting her work through her thoughts. He glanced over at Jasmine, who was staring at April looking as if she was ready to spit nails. He saw Jasmine start to cross the room, so he held out a hand, silently asking her to stop. Jasmine turned her glare on him, instead, but he held a finger to his lips and pointed at April. He saw Jasmine look back at April, noticed that she had caught on, and let out a quiet sigh, settling back in his chair.
The trick would be proving that Lonna had set Jade up. April had known people like Lonna her whole life. They were arrogant and self centered, more in love with themselves than anyone, or anything else, on the planet. Eventually, it made them stupid. Give a fool enough rope and sooner or later, he ends up hanging himself, or herself, as the case may be.
“I’ve got an idea,” she announced.
That night she and Jasmine lay in bed, Jasmine asleep in her arms. She’d tried to get something started, thinking that making love might help Jasmine burn off some of her tension, but she just wasn’t interested. She felt relieved when Jasmine had at least let her hold her. She was afraid Jasmine might have been too angry to let her, but that hadn’t been the case, thank God.
She went over her plan again in her head. The three of them had stayed up late into the night, working out the kinks. So late, that John was spending the night in one of the many rooms. Jasmine had offered him one near their own room, but John had given her a knowing smile and headed for the other side of the house.
John seemed ok with the fact that she and Jasmine were a couple now, even happy about it, and that had been a relief too. Everything would change, though, if her plan failed. If she didn’t get Jade home, safe, keep her out of prison, then April had no doubt that John’s opinion of her would completely dissolve. She was afraid her and Jasmine wouldn’t survive it either. That terrified her as much as thinking that she wouldn’t be able to protect Jade, to get her away from Lonna.
Restless, she slipped out of bed, careful not to wake Jasmine. Tip toeing out of the room, she went back downstairs and poured herself another drink. She walked through the doors that opened out onto the wrap around porch and plunked down on the porch swing. Pushing with her foot, she slowly rocked back and forth, sipping on her glass of Jack and staring out across the expansive yard.
Jasmine woke up and instantly knew, without rolling over, that April was gone. A little panicky, she jumped out of bed and went down to the kitchen. Finding it empty, her sense of panic increased, afraid that April had left. Walking though the house, she saw the open French doors that led to the side porch. Getting closer to the doorway, she could hear the creak of the porch swing. Taking a hesitant step outside, she almost sighed with relief as she saw April on the swing.
Feeling someone approach, April looked up, yanking herself out of her trance, and smiled as she spotted Jasmine standing nervously at the edge of the swing. She patted the empty space beside her and Jasmine quickly took it, pulling her legs up under her and curling against her side. She wrapped her arm around Jasmine’s shoulders and pulled her in close. The fact that Jasmine had come looking for her made her insanely happy, for some reason.
“I’m sorry,” Jasmine whispered.
“For not being in the mood earlier.”
She laughed. She couldn’t help it. “Oh, angel, don’t ever apologize to me for that. There’s no need for it. Besides, if you feel like you have to, then we have a problem.”
April looked down into Jasmine’s face and those beautiful green eyes that she’d swear she could see sparkle, even here in the dark. Leaning over, she brushed her lips over Jasmine’s.
“I should be apologizing. I screwed up today.”
“By not throwing Jade over my shoulder and bringing her home.”
“No! You did the right thing, the best thing. Jade was right. If you had brought her home, she would have been met by the police and dragged off to jail. Lonna wouldn’t have wasted any time turning her in. No, you did the right thing, walking away. Now Lonna doesn’t know that we know the whole truth, and we have room to take the proper steps, and do it right, not rushed.”
April sucked in a breath, fighting back tears. Jasmine had no idea how much it helped to hear her say what she said. She felt Jasmine lay her arm over her stomach and pull her a little closer.
Jasmine could feel all the tension in April and knew there was something else wrong. “What is it?” canlı casino she asked, tugging on April’s body as she asked.
“I don’t even know what this bitch looks like, yet I can’t get the image out of my head of her with Jade. Of her…” April couldn’t make herself finish.
Sitting up, Jasmine pulled the glass out of April’s hand and set in on the porch. She wrapped both her arms around April and pulled her down against her, guiding April’s head to rest on her chest as she stretched both of them out, so they were lying across the seat of the swing. She kissed the top of April’s head.
“I know, cher, I know. I can’t help but think the same things, but you’re not to blame. No one’s to blame except that…that…bitch, Lonna Tassin. And you and I, love, are going to see to it that she pays for it. With everything she’s got and then some.”
April heard the steel conviction in Jasmine’s voice and felt reassured. Sinking into Jasmine, she closed her eyes. She tried to remember the last time somebody held her and promised her everything would be all right, and came up blank.
“Don’t let go, Jasmine. Not tonight.”
“I won’t, I promise. Not ever.” She held April in her arms and they both fell asleep in the porch swing.
It was Devil’s Night. Tomorrow was the Halloween Ball and, quite possibly, their one and only chance to get Jade out of trouble and back home. April was stretched out on the leather sofa in Jasmine’s room. She’d started a fire in the hearth and was lying there watching the flames flicker. It was the end of October and she was amazed at how warm it still was. There was just a little dampness in the air tonight, just enough of a slight chill to warrant a small fire, but nowhere near as cold as it could be back home. She could remember Halloween’s when it had snowed.
Staring into the fire, she listened to Jasmine bustling around the room. She was getting their costumes together for tomorrow night and had already modeled one of the ones she was thinking of wearing.
April grabbed the back of the sofa and pulled herself up a little, curious as to what Jasmine was doing, as she’d been listing to the rustling of clothes for the last five minutes. Peeking over the top, she saw Jasmine standing in the doorway of her closet, fusing with two sets of costumes. She was wearing a half-slip in an eggshell color and a matching pair of silk French cut panties. That’s why April had retreated to the sofa, in an effort to keep her hands to herself.
“I thought you had already decided on a costume?”
“These are for you.”
“Oh.” Watching the way the silk panties moved over Jasmine’s firm, round little ass, April decided it was best to lay back down.
Jasmine was watching April out of the corner of her eye and smiled as April shook her head and disappeared behind the sofa again.
“Depending on which one I choose, I might have to change my costume again.”
“Which one did you choose,” April’s voice drifted over the couch and across the room.
“Well, since you’re obviously not going to do it…” Jasmine couldn’t suppress the tiny grin.
“Oh, ok. What are my options?” Again, April stayed stretched out on the couch.
“Zorro, or The Phantom of the Opera.” Jasmine watched April’s head pop back up over the top of the couch and tried not to laugh. It made her think of that game at the arcade where all those little groundhogs jumped up and you had to try and hit them with this big mallet.
“I thought this was some old fashioned ball. I figured I’d just wear a tux, or something.”
“No, silly. It’s a little more modern than that.” Jasmine reached for the hangers the two outfits sat on and pulled them out of the closet. Walking about half way towards the couch, she held them up so neither one dragged on the floor, and let April have a look.
On a huff, April stood up and walked over to inspect the costumes. She was paying more attention to the masks than anything else. If she was hidden well enough, she could move around during the party with a relative amount of freedom.
“There’s hats for both of these costumes, aren’t there?”
Jasmine nodded yes and gestured towards the bed where both hats sat. April stood, quietly debating, when a breeze drifted through the partially opened balcony doors, causing Jasmine’s slip to ripple over her. She watched Jasmine’s nipples perk up at the cool air and, even though she held a sleeve of each costume in each hand, her eyes were riveted to Jasmine’s chest.
Jasmine hadn’t noticed that April’s attention had been diverted and gave an impatient “humph”. Her arms were getting tired.
“Pick one already.”
“Uh, yeah. Ok. Uh, how about Zorro?” At this point, Jasmine could have been suggesting a pig costume and April would have said yes.
“Fine.” Jasmine turned around and went to hang the costumes back in the closet. She hung the Zorro outfit on the hook inside the closet door and started fussing with it.
“Actually, this works out good because I think I’d rather kaçak casino wear my Spanish peasant costume. It’s not as bulky and cumbersome as the fancy ball gown.”
Jasmine chatted away, but April had stopped listening a while ago. Walking over to the closet, she gently pulled Jasmine away and turned her around so they were facing each other. She wrapped her arms around her waist, holding her close, and started to slowly twirl them around the room.
“You know, I think tomorrow will be the first time we’ve ever actually danced together.”
“It’s our first time together in public, too,” Jasmine said softly as she rested her hands on April’s upper arms, just below her shoulders, and leaned back a little so she could see April’s face. She and Jade had been out to the community for years, but she could never tell just how open April was about being a lesbian. Part of her was afraid that April would be uncomfortable being a couple, openly in public, and was worried that it would strain their new relationship.
“Good. I’m going to enjoy making it quite clear that Jasmine Dupree is officially off the market,” April said with a grin. She felt Jasmine relax in her arms and knew she had guessed right at the cause of some of her tension. Jasmine rested her head against April’s shoulder and they continued to waltz around the room.
After a few minutes of comfortable silence, Jasmine spoke up. “I think I’m getting dizzy, cher.”
“Ah. That’s all part of my devious plot to get you into bed.”
Jasmine leaned back again and made April stand still. “Don’t you think we have too much to do tonight to have time for another distraction?”
The two of them, plus John, had been busy all week getting organized for tomorrow night, but she and Jasmine had still found time to take a few breaks. April smiled at the memories. Sometimes it had been sweet and slow, either making love here in Jasmine’s bedroom, or on the couch downstairs, or even one time one the porch swing. Other times things had been really heated; quick, hungry couplings that had taken place on the floor and other assorted pieces of furniture. April remembered one time when they’d crawled on top of the kitchen counter and had devoured each other. The thought had her smile turning into a wicked grin.
“One more distraction shouldn’t hurt,” and she leaned down to steal a kiss, but Jasmine pulled her head back to avoid it. She tried to pull free of April’s arms, but she wouldn’t let go.
“April,” she chastised. “We have a lot more to do.”
“You bet we do,” and tried again to steal another kiss, but Jasmine wouldn’t let her.
“Come on, angle, have mercy. You’re driving me insane prancing around the room in this outfit.”
Jasmine felt herself getting irritated. “This isn’t some ‘outfit’, April. It’s my underwear, and I’m trying to get ready for tomorrow. You should be doing the same.” Again she tried to pull away, but couldn’t.
“It certainly is ‘some outfit’, Jasmine, and it’s driving me nuts.” She tried to nuzzle Jasmine’s neck, but was again refused. Giving an exasperated moan, she let go long enough to grab Jasmine’s hand and pulled her towards the full-length mirror that sat in its own frame beside the balcony doors.
Standing a few steps back from it, April pulled Jasmine around in front of her and wrapped her arms around her waist again, so that they were both facing the mirror. April leaned forward so she could whisper, and nibble, in Jasmine’s ear.
“Take a good look at yourself, Jasmine, and tell me how I’m suppose to ignore that.”
Teasing Jasmine’s ear with her teeth and tongue, she glanced at the mirror and watched Jasmine study herself. She couldn’t help but chuckle as she watched Jasmine’s face in the mirror. She looked like some kid trying to give her homework serious attention.
One of April’s hands drifted down to rest on the top of Jasmine’s thigh, then began to gently caress her leg, occasionally drifting towards the inside of her thigh, but not lingering for long.
“Look at how beautiful you are, angel, all slim and toned. You’ve got an athlete’s body, and you’re skins so soft.” Her hand drifted over Jasmine’s hip. “And you’ve got curves in all the best places.”
That same hand came up to brush some of Jasmine’s hair back, exposing her neck. April bent her head to nipple on it.
“And your hair. It’s this deep, vibrant red, all soft and curly.” She buried her face in it and inhaled.
“Mmmm. It smells so good, too. Like gardenias, and something else.”
“Lilacs,” Jasmine whispered.
“Ummm. Lilacs. Well, that explains the other day.”
April smiled against Jasmine’s curls. She had her undivided attention now. “Well, the other day I was in the yard, and walked past one of your lilac bushes. I got incredibly horny, for some reason. Now I know why.” Jasmine chuckled and April enjoyed the feel of Jasmine’s body gently vibrating against her.
She went back to nibbling on Jasmine’s ear, her eyes meeting Jasmine’s in the mirror. “And your eyes. They’re so green. They sparkle like emeralds. I love watching them turn all dark when you get fired up, or watch them turn smoky when you’re turned on. I could lose entire days, in those eyes, and never even notice.”
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