Jenny Reed balanced the small bag of groceries on one arm as she worked the lock to the apartment door with her free hand. The twenty-four-year-old nurse had gone out two hours earlier to see a movie with a co-worker, only to have her cancel at the last minute. So, rather than go alone, she'd stopped at the market for munchies and planned to crash on the couch and watch some old movies on AMC.
"Just as well," Jenny thought as she stepped into the semi-dark apartment and clicked on the closest light, "after three double shifts this week I really wasn't in that much of a mood to go out anyway."
The five foot six brunette dropped the brown bag on the kitchen countertop and sat on one of the tall stools pushed up against it. She took a deep breath and looked around the apartment.
"I really love this place," she reminded herself as she started to unpack the bag. "I was so lucky to see Diane's advertisement."
Diane was Diane Bennett, her roommate and also a nurse. Jenny had seen the posting for a roommate on the hospital's intercity bulletin board and had immediately called about it. It seemed too good to be true and she was ecstatic when she found that it was.
Jenny worked at Saint Clara's over in the Financial District, whereas Diane was at Metro Hospital down by the waterfront. The apartment was almost equidistant from both.
It seemed that Diane had a falling out with her previous roommate and was looking for someone quick to help with the rent, which was already past due. She wasn't so desperate however, she'd said on the phone, to rent out the vacant half of the apartment without meeting Jenny first. They had agreed to have Jenny come over after her shift and see if they hit it off.
Five minutes after Jenny walked through the door, it was as if they'd known each other for years. That they were both in the same profession played a big factor, plus the fact that they were only two years apart in age with Diane being the older. By the time they'd finished the dinner that the blond had scrounged together, they had worked out all of the details except how soon Jenny could move in.
Jenny was curious as to why Diane and her previous roommate had parted company so abruptly, but wasn't about to be so impolite as to ask. It there was something she should know, the short-haired brunette figured she'd find out soon enough. After two months of sharing the place, Jenny concluded that the problem must've been with the old roommate because she and Diane were getting along better every day.
"I really shouldn't be eating any of this stuff," the slim girl told herself as she looked over the tasty treasures she'd brought home, "but what the hell, I'll just do another half hour on the treadmill."
She'd just poured herself a tall glass of milk to go with the chocolate chip cookies she'd opened when a sudden noise caught her attention. A noise from the back of the apartment.
Diane had told her she was going out on a date, so Jenny hadn't called out when she came through the door. The noise had come from the direction of Diane's bedroom, giving the brunette a good idea what caused it.
Just in case she was wrong, she reached behind the counter and grabbed the baseball bat they kept there. Jenny had grown up with four older brothers and wasn't the type to run every time something went bump in the night.
Cautiously, she moved across the living room, guiding her way by the streetlight coming in the open windows. When she got to the bedroom door, it was slightly ajar. Holding the bat firmly, she pushed it open just enough to look in.
"I was right," Jenny grinned as she brought the bat down. "Looks like they decided on indoor sports instead."
In the dim light, Jenny could just about make out the nude form of her blond-haired roommate. She was sure Diane would've said hello if she'd seen her, except that her mouth was filled at the moment by her date's cock. He was equally nude and stretched out across the bed.
From the look of rapture on his face, Jenny figured that Diane was about to make his night. Sure enough, the black bearded young man let out an even louder groan than the one which had first caught Jenny's attention.
A moment later, Diane pulled her mouth from his cock. Quick enough to keep from swallowing his load, but not fast enough to keep it from splashing across her face.
It must've been a while since Diane's date had last climaxed, Jenny thought, because the result of this one was certainly abundant. At least that was her professional opinion.
Quietly backing away from the bedroom door, Jenny decided to head back out and take in that movie after all. No sense in embarrassing Diane by letting her know she had seen her. Things like that happened when you shared an apartment, so why rock the boat if you didn't have to.
So much in a rush to leave, Jenny forgot all about her snack on the countertop until it was too late to do anything about it. When she came home again a few hours later, she found it all cleaned up.
It was a rare Saturday morning when both nurses were off, but the next morning happened to be one of them. Even though she had awakened a half hour before, Jenny waited until she was sure Diane's overnight guest had left before she got out of bed and headed for the kitchen. When she opened the door to her bedroom, the smell of freshly cooked ham and eggs filled the air.
"Good morning," Diane said with a wide smile as Jenny walked into the kitchen. "Your timing is perfect, breakfast is just about ready."
The bathrobe-clad brunette looked down at the table to see coffee and orange juice already waiting for her. She was also glad to see there were only two place settings.
"You didn't have to go to all this trouble," Jenny said as she pulled up a stool. "All I really wanted was some cereal and toast."
"Toast will be up in another minute," the pajama clad blond smiled. "It's the least I can do after chasing you out of the apartment last night. I found the snack you made and Jason thought he saw someone look in on us for a second, even if I didn't notice."
"Well, you were a little occupied at the time," Jenny smiled as she took a sip of her juice.
"Nevertheless, breakfast is the least I could do," Diane said as she emptied the contents of the frying pan into each of their plates. "And it'll give us a chance to have a little talk. One that maybe we should've had when you first moved in."
"Okay," Jenny replied as she tasted the eggs. "These are delicious by the way."
"Thank you," Diane said as she sat down opposite Jenny. "There's no way to ask this other than straight out, so I'll just ask. I hope you're not considering moving out after last night."
"What?" Jenny asked, putting her fork with an uneaten piece of egg back on her plate. "What would give you a silly idea like that?"
"Well it's just that we never really discussed how we were going to handle each other's sex life. Overnight guests and such." Diane said, a small look of worry evident on her face. "I was a little afraid that it might've bothered you."
"Why would you think that?" Jenny asked. "It's not like either one of us imagined the other was living a life of celibacy."
"Hardly that," Diane laughed, "but to be honest, that was the reason my last roommate packed up and left."
The older girl could tell that statement surprised Jenny.
"Maybe I should explain that a little more before you imagine I was having wild orgies in the living room," Diane said as she paused to sip her coffee.
Jenny popped the egg on her fork into her mouth, figuring that continuing to eat was the best way to show she wasn't upset with Diane.
"At first, when she moved in a little over a year ago, Lisa Marie and I got along really great. Almost as well as you and I." she began with a broad smile. "Lisa was a librarian over at Saint Matthew's College and about six weeks before you moved in, she began to get really involved with this conservative Christian group. Now I'm not the most liberal person in the world on some things and I like to think that I get along with most religions, but these people made Pat Robinson look like Bill Clinton."
Jenny continued to listen silently, sipping her coffee.
"The next thing I know, Lisa is lecturing me about my lifestyle, calling me a whore and telling me that I was going to burn in hell," Diane continued. "Finally I couldn't take it anymore and told her to mind her own goddamn business. The next morning she packed her bags and stormed out."
"Well," Jenny smiled, "You won't have to worry about me trying to invoke the wrath of the prophets down on you. I'm a firm believer in everyone living their own life however they want."
"You don't know how happy I am to hear that," Diane said with obvious relief. "I'd hate to lose you as a roomie or a friend. I thought when you saw Jason and I..."
"Well to be honest," Jenny interrupted, "that wasn't the first time I walked in on you and someone."
Diane's expression turned to curiosity.
"It was, I think, maybe the second week after I moved in," Jenny explained. "I stopped by to pick up a change of uniform because I was going to work an extra shift. When I opened the door, I saw you and a rather muscular black man somewhat occupied on the couch. I wouldn't have ever even mentioned it except to show that neither that or last night bothered me."
Diane actually blushed at the thought that Jenny had seen her with Martin Rogers, one of the new interns at Metro. He'd given her a lift home after a long day and she'd invited him up for coffee. One thing led to another and they found themselves doing the nasty on the living room couch.
"We definitely should work out a system for this," Diane said as her color returned to normal.
"Simple solutions are usually the best," Jenny suggested. "I think if we just keep it confined to our own rooms it'll work out just fine."
"Sounds like a good idea," Diane replied.
"Then I guess we should finish eating this before it gets too cold," Jenny said, "unless there's something else you want to talk about."
Jenny was sure Diane was going to say something for a moment, the blond had that sort of look on her face. Instead she suddenly turned her head at the sound of the toast popping up in the toaster.
"I'll get that," she said instead.
Thinking the discussion now over, Jenny went back to her breakfast, glad that they had worked everything out.
Three times over the next month, Diane had overnight guests. True to their agreement, she made sure all her more boisterous activities were confined to the bedroom. Jenny even had her own boyfriend over one night, just to show Diane that she wasn't being judgmental in not having had him over before.
Normally, if she was going to sleep with Mark Kelly, she preferred it to be at his apartment. They had a pretty casual relationship and they both liked it that way. Neither was looking for anything more than occasional company. Just someone to go out with now and then and keep overly helpful relatives from constantly trying to fix them up.
By not having him stay over at her own apartment, Jenny felt she had greater control over their relationship. She explained this to Diane after his first, and so far only, sleepover. She said she understood, but Jenny didn't think she really did.
The days turned to weeks and the two of them went on with their lives. Jenny was home alone one afternoon cleaning the apartment and decided to reorganize the hall closet to try and squeeze a little more out of a rapidly shrinking storage space.
Pulling a shoebox from the back of the top shelf, Jenny lost her grip on it and dropped it to the floor. The box had been full of cards and letters, as well as a ripped envelope of photographs. A few of the pictures tumbled out and as Jenny picked them up, she could see they were of a tropical island.
Months before, contrary to what she had originally told Diane, Jenny had been very concerned after she had walked in on Diane and Martin Rogers. Concerned enough to call a close friend who also worked at Metro and ask her to lunch with the intention of finding out more about her new roommate.
Cynthia McKay had known Jenny since Nursing School and was more than happy to answer her questions. She assured her that Diane was a really good person and she had nothing to worry about.
"That's good to hear," Jenny had said, relieved that she wouldn't have to move out of that great apartment. "I was afraid for a moment that I had moved in with some kind of wild woman."
"If I didn't know the whole story, I might've thought the same thing," Cynthia replied. "Maybe I should fill you in."
Jenny leaned forward, now even more curious about her new roommate.
"Evidently, Diane met someone last year. Someone she fell head over heels for. No one ever met the guy, but it was obvious to anyone who knew her that she was deeply in love. They even went away together to some romantic resort down in the Caribbean."
Jenny was greatly surprised to learn that Diane ever had a serious relationship. From what she'd seen and heard so far, she would've guessed that the length of her average relationship could've been measured in days if not hours.
"Something happened during that vacation," Cynthia continued. "I can only assume they had a break up and from the way Diane acted when she came back to work, I'd have to say it was a bad one."
"Poor Diane," Jenny said, feeling genuinely sorry for her.
"After that, she just started having a lot of purely physical relationships, never letting anyone get too close," Cynthia concluded.
Holding the box in her hands, Jenny knew all of these were from that broken relationship. Of course there was no question of her looking at any of the cards or letters. That would be too much of an invasion of Diane's privacy. The pictures, on the other hand, were something else. The envelope was already torn open and most of them were loose.
It was a small ethical dilemma and Jenny was so curious about what Mr. Wrong looked like that her moral compass failed. It would take more will power that she possessed at that moment to put the pictures back without at least taking a little peak.
Giving in to the curiosity that was consuming her, Jenny took the envelope and moved to the living room couch. Sitting down, she took three dozen photos from it and began to flip through them.
"It certainly was a beautiful island," Jenny said to herself as she went through the first few images.
They were the type of pictures people normally took on vacations. The ocean view, buildings in the resort, various other guests. From what she could see, it was the kind of place Jenny wished she could afford to go to.
More pics showed Diane at the beach and to Jenny's surprise, it was a nude beach. Like all the other people in the picture, Diane was totally naked.
"I wish I had the nerve to do that," Jenny thought as she looked at a close up of Diane. "Then again, if I had a body as good as hers, the nerve would probably come a lot easier."
In truth, it was a flimsy excuse. Jenny might've had a few unwanted pounds, but she was far from having a body that would look awkward on a beach, nude or otherwise.
"Hmm, no pictures of Mr. Wrong so far," the brunette noted. "I guess he was too bashful to be photographed in the buff. But he made sure he got plenty of pictures of Diane."
So intent on finding a picture of Diane's boyfriend, Jenny hadn't noticed that there hadn't been any men in any of the photographs. The reason for that suddenly became apparent.
"Oh my God!" Jenny exclaimed when she turned to the next picture.
In it, a still nude Diane was in the arms of a tall, equally nude brunette. Their lips were locked together in a kiss that Jenny was sure any guy would've died for. The passion of their embrace was evident even in the two-dimensional photo. Sorting back through the previous dozen images, Jenny realized that the woman was also in most of them as well.
Standing with Diane at the airport. Seated next to her at dinner or at the bar. Further in the pile was another photograph of the two in very revealing evening dresses. Diane was standing behind the brunette with her arms wrapped around her. The joy on her face lit up the picture. This picture had a few lines written on the back. Allison - San Cristobal - Scarlett's Cove.
"Her boyfriend was a girlfriend!" Jenny said, stating aloud what was obvious from the photographs.
Jenny sat there in silence after that, looking at the photos over and over. Looking at a close-up of Diane's former lover, Jenny suddenly realized that there was a more than superficial resemblance between the girl and herself. Both had the same hair color although Jenny had cut hers short after high school and never let it grow back. Their builds were also pretty close, yet she didn't seem to be bothered by those extra pounds that Jenny always seemed to be so aware of.
Moving on to a photo of the two of them topless, Jenny thought that even their breasts were similar, even though the woman in the photograph had much larger nipples.
"Did the fact that I look like Allison have anything to do with Diane being so eager for me to move in?" the young twenty-four-year-old asked herself as she remembered how enthusiastic Diane had been about her moving in when they first met.
At the time, Diane had given the reason as the already overdue rent. Now, with these pictures in front of her, Jenny was beginning to wonder.
Mentally she rehashed the last few months, searching for some sign that Diane had any intent in her other than someone to share the rent. Coming up with none, she finally decided she was just being foolish.
The chimes of the clock reminded her that the subject of her musings was due home in less than half an hour. She carefully put the photographs back as she found them and put the box and all its contents back in the closet. Then, as quick as she could, she moved everything she had taken out of the closet back as well.
"Jenny, I'm home!" Diane called out as she usually did when she walked in the door twenty minutes later, bags of Chinese take-out in her hands.
Jenny had just made it back to the couch as she heard the door being opened. Grabbing a magazine off the coffee table, she tried to act relaxed as Diane backed into the room.
"Is something wrong?" Diane asked as she took note of the strange look on her roommate's face.
"What could be wrong?" Jenny said.
"Nothing I guess," Diane replied. "Well anyway, I hope you're hungry cause I have a ton of food." she added as she dropped two large bags on the coffee table. "I stopped by Madame Cheng's and she kept piling different dishes into the bag. Half the stuff I didn't even order, but she kept telling me I'd love it."
Ever since Madame Cheng had spent some time at Metro Hospital under Diane's care, the older woman had practically adopted the young nurse. It was now impossible for Diane to order the simplest of meals and not walk out with at least a half dozen entrees.
"I'll get the plates," Jenny said as she jumped off the sofa and stepped into the kitchen, leaving Diane to unpack the collection of small white containers.
"Let's eat at the coffee table," Diane said. "I just want to stretch out and watch a movie. It's been one of those days."
"Any channel in particular?" Jenny asked since she was the closest to the remote as she laid out two settings on the table.
"No, just turn on any movie station, something should be coming on in the next ten minutes," Diane replied, knowing that most of them started a new movie at the top of the hour. "If it's not something we like then we'll just surf them all."
One of the benefits of Diane's rather relaxed sexual mores was that while they only paid for basic cable, their box carried every station available. It was amazing how grateful the young technician who had done the installation had been when Diane had given him a quick blowjob.
The two girls curled up on opposite ends of the couch and began to feast on various Chinese delicacies and soda. They watched the last minutes of the movie that was just ending, then an ad for the next film appeared on the screen.
"Oh, I love this one," Diane said as she took a bite of shrimp, covered in lobster sauce. "I haven't seen it in a long time."
Jenny had never seen the film but knew what it was about. It had created a small stir when it had originally appeared in the theatres. It was the first film by a major studio to deal with the subject of lesbianism and bisexuality in professional women's sports. The basic storyline was about a young runner who drifts into an affair with an older athlete.
Any other time, Jenny wouldn't have cared what film they watched. God knows she had picked some real winners that Diane never complained about. But right now, a film about bisexuality was the last thing she needed. Still, she couldn't exactly tell Diane to pick another film without explaining why.
As the film went on, Jenny found herself studying her roommate more than what was on the television screen. She kept recalling the pictures of Diane and her ex-girlfriend, finding it impossible to get them out of her mind. More so when the two main characters in the movie began to become intimate. In her mind's eye, Jenny replaced the two actresses with Diane and Allison. A visualization of all the things the photographs didn't show.
A few days later, Jenny was working a noon to eight shift at Saint Clara's when she noticed the nurse's station was low on a few non-medical supplies. Since it was a slow evening and there were two others at the station, she decided to stretch her legs and go to the supply closet herself. The normal practice was to send one of the junior nurses.
The supply closet itself was something of a misleading description as it was actually a large L-shaped room at the far end of the floor. The supplies the nurse's station needed were in the back of the room and Jenny had to use the small stepladder kept there to reach them. Since they were scattered on different shelves, it took a few minutes to gather them all.
As she got off the ladder, Jenny heard voices from the front of the supply room. It was pretty unusual to have more than one person in the locked room on the day shift, and almost unheard of at night. Then she remembered rumors about the empty room sometimes being used as a place for nocturnal trysts. Her curiosity piqued, Jenny quietly moved down to where the L shaped room bent. A set of shelves extended a few feet beyond that so she could see who it was and what they might be doing, and at the same time stay hidden from their view.
Jenny felt a little disappointment when she saw that the new arrivals were Doris Blake, the nursing supervisor on the day shift and Kathy Young, a recent addition to the staff. It was pretty obvious to Jenny that Kathy was about to get one of Doris's legendary lectures. Talks that the shift supervisor preferred to give in private. Having twice been on the receiving end of those lectures when she had first started at Saint Clara's, Jenny certainly didn't envy the younger girl.
Still, she was curious as to what exactly the twenty-one year old had done to merit a lecture and moved a little closer to hear what Doris was saying. It turned out to be nothing like Jenny could ever have imagined.
" ... you actually fucked him," Jenny heard the forty-one year old redhead say, unable to believe the words coming out of the senior nurse's mouth.
"You knew I had something going with Doctor Richards and you still took him to your bed," Doris went on, her voice filled with a touch of anger.
Thomas Richards was a senior member of the hospital staff. A good looking man in his early fifties, Jenny remembered, with a nice sense of humor, Then she also remembered that he was quite married as well. Evidently he didn't take that seriously either.
"It didn't take much to get him there," Kathy was now saying, "so maybe you should be rethinking your relationship with him. From what I've heard, I'm not the first one either."
Jenny was shocked to discover that both women were sleeping with the good doctor. They were such different women, she thought as she compared the both of them. Obviously, Dr. Richards was one of those men who tried to screw anything in a skirt.
Aside from the difference in their ages, Doris was a slightly heavyset woman. Her most noticeable feature, as Jenny heard a few of the men on the floor comment many times, were a pair of 38DD breasts. Kathy on the other hand, was a tall, slim, small-breasted black girl with light coffee skin.
"I trusted you," Doris was saying, leading the eavesdropping Jenny to wonder why the older woman would share such a secret with a girl half her age. "I can't believe I trusted you..."
Kathy remained silent, letting Doris continue.
" ... and I can't believe that I went to bed with you too. That I even licked your pussy. I must've been drunk out of my mind."
"What did she say?" Jenny asked herself, sure that she'd heard it wrong.
"Oh you weren't that drunk," Kathy said with a knowing smile, "and you didn't seem to have a complaint while you were doing it. In fact, you seemed to pretty much enjoy it."
Now it was Doris's turn to stand silent as she didn't seem to be able to contest Kathy's claim. Something that Kathy already knew. A very close friend from school had spent time on Doris's floor a year before. She had given her a first hand account of both the older woman's insatiable preference for cunnilingus and the way she always acted if it had been her first time afterwards.
"Tell you what," Kathy said as she moved even closer to Doris. "Why don't you just forget about Doctor Richards. After spending a night with him, I can honestly say you wouldn't be missing much. Since our shift is almost over, what say we go back to my apartment and I'll give you a nice all over massage. In fact, this time I'll even go down on you. I'm sure you'd like that."