Author: Marsha Hyatt
Archive: Anywhere is fine with me just let me know about it.
Rating Part I PG-13
Part II R Part III PG-13 Part IV R Part V R Angst Warning Part VI PG-13
Disclaimer: If I owned the character, besides Sara, I would be a lot richer and Kerry would be having a lot more fun.
Author's Notes: Thanks to all the feedback from my first effort. Thanks to Danie for all the great comments and editing. If you love it, hate it, whatever let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to read the preceding parts, the series is archived at Inclement Weather. Happy reading!
Too Many Cooks
Kerry Weavers Bedroom 7:15 am Wednesday Morning
Sara woke with a yawn and smiled as she turned to see Kerry snuggled safe in her arms. Things were finally right, finally she felt at peace and it was because of the love of this woman. Kerry softly dozed as Sara lightly traced her face with her good hand; love was not a word that either of them used lightly but after Monday night it was a word that lived in Sara's mind. Tuesday had been a day for just the two of them; Sara recovered from her hand injury and Kerry worked on paperwork from the hospital. They were tucked away from the world and as they burrowed into the cocoon they wrapped around themselves they relaxed in each other. Now with the morning here and a day of work ahead Sara knew that she needed to get moving but she didn't want to leave the warmth of Kerry's bed or body. Slowly she rolled away from Kerry as to not wake her and got out of bed. As Sara got dressed she watched Kerry sleep marveling at the strength she showed even when fully relaxed. The sheet tangled around her waist showed off her beautiful back and Sara had the urge to crawl back into bed and wake Kerry slowly. Tying up her running shoes she pushed that delicious thought to the side and finished dressing. Slowly kneeling on the bed she kissed Kerry on the forehead and whispered.
"I'll be back soon, I'm just going for a run.
A sleepy murmur of assent rumbled up to Sara as she made her way to the door and out of Kerry's home.
Sara paused at the bottom of the stoop and slowly started her stretch in the supriseingly mild November air; this was more like her home in Louisiana. Winters there were a mixture of cold, wet and humid and so far this winter in Chicago was following the same pattern, there had been some snow but not enough to be called winter. Sara had always used her runs as a time of reflection and a way to mentally prepare for her day, since she and Kerry had become involved the runs had taken a backseat to more pleasurable morning activities. Kerry's schedule sometimes included the overnight shift that put her home right as Sara was waking up and the choice of pushing her body by running or lying in bed with Kerry was an easy decision. Sara started out at a relatively easy pace this Thanksgiving eve morning tucking her injured hand into her fleece vest so as not to jostle it and further increase the throbbing that seemed to never abate. As she ran her mind replayed the trauma of the past few days; the fire at the restaurant, meeting both Sandy and Kim, cutting her thumb, questioning Kerry's love for her and her insecurities over their relationship. Sara's mind thought of Jen, the love of her life before Kerry, she was Sara's first and she believed at the time her last and only. The breakup of their relationship had almost killed Sara but in the end they emerged better friends than either of them had thought possible. Jen's family still considered Sara a part of their family and she was the godmother to two of Jen's nieces. In the years between the two loves of her life there had been others but none that measured up to these two women. In the three years since Sara had moved to Chicago she had virtually lived the life of a nun. She joked to her best friend that if it was possible to be a nun without being catholic and taking the vows she had found it, Sara had been the poster girl for celibacy until Kerry Weaver had walked into her life and changed all that. The farther into her thoughts she went the harder she ran before she realized she was halfway through the second turn through her normal three mile run of Kerry's neighborhood. She kept up the pace and as she neared Kerry's townhouse she slowed to cool down as she opened the door to the foyer she was assaulted by the smell of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee which meant one thing Kerry was awake and in the kitchen. Shedding her vest and sweatshirt clad in a sweaty T-shirt Sara made her way to the place where she and Kerry were on equal ground.
"Hey baby, how was your run?" Kerry asked as she handed Sara a mug of coffee, lightly kissing her as she drew close.
"Good, I did six miles. I was thinking and I lost track of my circuit."
"I wondered what was taking you so long." Kerry said as she moved closer to Sara and nuzzled her neck lightly kissing before tracing her pulse with her tongue.
"Hmmm...looks like someone woke up happy this morning." Sara giggled.
"Well how else am I supposed to wake up when my night was so good." Kerry smiled as she drew Sara into a slow sweet good morning kiss. "What time is Tim arriving?" She asked not removing her lips from Sara's, sliding her hand down to cup the Lycra clad cheek.
"He's picking up the orders and then coming here, so probably about eleven. Maybe noon if I call him and tell him to take his time. When is Abby showing up?" Was Sara's answer and question both answered and asked in a choked voice as she reacted to Kerry and her wandering hand.
"I told her noon," she said as she broke off her kiss, removed her hand and started to walk away.
"Hey! Where the hell so you think you're going?" Sara asked as Kerry paused in the doorway slowly opening her emerald green robe revealing a nude form beneath.
"I think you have a phone call to make, don't you?" Kerry said in the softest version of her Chief voice a smile playing on her lips.
"Yes Ma'am." Sara said her eyes moving over the naked body. "I think I do."
Even though it threw Sara's prep schedule totally off for the day she wouldn't have traded the morning in bed with Kerry for anything. The tenderness they showed seemed to cement a level of intimacy that had been brewing for the last few days. When the bell rang at 11:45 Sara buzzed the intercom not quite dressed, hair still wet, Kerry still in the shower.
"Hello, Weaver residence."
"Hey Sara, its Abby."
"Hey Abby I'll be right down, give me a couple of minutes, okay?
"Sure take your time." Sara heard the dry delivery of the statement and the laugh that followed and knew that they had been busted. Sara and Abby had become friends after she and Kerry had started dating. When Abby had started drinking again, Sara had been one of the people who had gotten her back into AA along with John and Kerry. There were times that Abby and Sara confided in each other over the relationships they were in and the difficulties that resulted. Sara opened the front door and was greeted by a grinning Abby Lockhart.
"Not one word," Sara warned trying to keep the self satisfied smile off her face, "I mean it Abby. Kerry will kill us both."
"Who me?" Abby said innocently before bursting into a fit of laughter, Sara couldn't help she joined in.
"What's so funny?" Kerry asked as she came down stair her hair still wet from the shower.
"Nothing, just something made Abby laugh and she got me tickled." Sara said finally getting her laughter under control. Sara was surprised when Kerry slipped her arm around her waist and kissed her before turning to Abby inviting her into the kitchen to get things ready for Sara and Tim. Sara found herself watching Kerry as she walked away wondering where this new level of public affection had come from. Kerry's staff knew she was out but it was the rare occasion that Kerry held her hand in the ER or touched Sara. While it bothered her a bit she understood Kerry's position, Sara would no more kiss Kerry in front of her staff even all of them knew about their relationship.
"Hey! A little help here." Tim called from his car as he removed crates and bags of produce and supplies.
"Tim, hey slacker!" Sara said as she went to help him unload the bags and get them into the kitchen.
As Sara and Tim settled into the routine that made them work so well together at the Oaks, Kerry and Abby provided support for the little tasks that got overlooked in the planning of a big party. All through the afternoon Tim and Abby skated around the attraction that they had for each other. The biggest surprise for Sara was that Kerry was so affectionate to her touching, teasing and kissing her all within plain view of Abby and Tim. At one point Sara went into Kerry's walk-in pantry and Kerry followed, when they appeared five minutes later flushed and their clothes mussed Sara knew that she would never hear the end of it from Tim and Abby. For Kerry's part she continued to have the Cheshire cat grin she had worn all day. By 6:30 that evening the turkeys were brined and ready to go in the oven, the Turducken, a Louisiana specialty, was trussed and all the side dished were made. After the kitchen was cleaned and prepped for the morning, four very tired cooks went into the living room to rest for a few minutes while plans for dinner were discussed. Kerry and Sara sat down on the couch and once again Sara was surprised at the feel of Kerry's arm as it moved around her shoulders and pulled her into an embrace.
"I don't know about y'all but I really don't think I could eat right now." Sara said. "If I see anymore food tonight I think I may give up cooking altogether. Who's crazy idea was this anyway?" she laughed as she turned to Kerry.
"I think it was yours, honey. Something about a Walker Family tradition" Kerry smiled "Now it's ours." She whispered into Sara's ear as she softly kissed her cheek.
Tim and Abby were debating Chicago pizza Vs New York Pizza, New York being Tim's hometown.
"I can't believe that you buy this loaf of bread with toppings as pizza." Tim said with an edge to his voice. "I bet they don't even know what real mozzarella and mortadella is in this cow town."
"Oh right Tim, there were never Italians in Chicago," came Abby's sarcastic reply. "I will show you Chicago pizza that will have you seeing God at the first bite."
Sara and Kerry were oblivious to the culinary debate that raged, at the sound of their names they came out of their revellire.
"So do you want to join us?" Abby asked with a glint in her eye.
"For what?" Sara asked.
"Pizza." Tim replied.
"Pizza, you hate Chicago pizza. What made you change your mind?"
"Sara have you been listening to anything we have said in the last ten minutes?"
Sara felt the color rise in her face, "sorry I missed what y'all said."
"I'm gonna teach this philistine about Chicago pizza," Abby giggled as she caught Sara's eye letting her know that nothing had gotten past her, "I'm taking him to Lou Malnati's in Lincolnwood. Do you want to come?"
Sara started to speak; however Kerry piped in. "You know I think we'll pass. I know that I'm beyond tired, I don't know about Sara?"
"Yeah, I don't think I can move." She said wanting to stay in and spend the rest of the night with Kerry.
"Okay then we'll go alone," Tim smiled. He and Abby made their way to the foyer gathering their things to leave. Sara started to rise from the couch as Kerry pulled her back and softly brushed her lips over Sara's slowly deepening the kiss, teasing and delighting. As Sara pulled back from her lover she gazed into the eyes that seemed to change colors with her moods.
"What's come over you today?"
"Nothing, I just want you to know what you mean to me." She whispered. "I love you."
Those words never failed to rob Sara of breath and produce a clutch in her heart.
"I love you, too."
With that simple statement she raised her eyes to catch Abby and Tim witnessing the scene. She lowered her lips back to Kerry's and delicately kissed her.
"I'm gonna walk Abby and Tim out, Ill be right back." Sara whispered brushing her thumb over Kerry's cheekbone and cupping her face. Sara walked Abby and Tim to the door giving both of them a hug, Abby held the hug just a fraction longer and whispered into Sara's ear "take care of her...don't let her chief face scare you. She loves you."
"I love her too, Abby" Sara said as she released the hug. "Tim, take care of her, okay?"
"Yes Mama Bear I will make sure she gets home safely." He grinned as they walked down the stoop.
Sara walked back into the den and stopped in the doorway leaning against the archway watching Kerry. Kerry raised her arm and bent it back extending her hand in Sara's direction. She walked toward the proffered hand and took it as she walked around the couch and back into the warmth of Kerry's embrace.
"I had fun today," Sara said as she snuggled into Kerry. "I really think Tim and Abby are cute together, they had a great time."
"Yeah, Abby can really dish it out. There are times at the desk when I'll overhear her with one of the doctors and I have to leave before I lose it. She is the best nurse we have had since Carol left."
"I am looking forward to seeing everyone tomorrow, it's been a while since I have been into the ER when I wasn't a patient." she giggled.
"How's the thumb?"
"It's fine, still throbs a little but I expected that."
The two women lapsed into a comfortable silence that filled the room. With the bulk of the prep done for tomorrow they could relax and take the evening easy. Kerry tightened her hold around Sara and was about to suggest a light dinner and bed when the chime rang cutting her off.
"Who could that be?"
"I'll go." Sara said extracting her self from Kerry's embrace.
"No you have been working all day, I'll get it." Kerry walked to the door and after turning on the light and seeing a woman on her steps she opened the door.
"Uh...Hi, I'm looking for Sara Walker. I called her home phone and got her machine the message said that if she wasn't there she might be at this phone number, well, the phone number that corresponds to this address. Is she here?"
Kerry looked at the woman at her door she didn't recognize her, about Sara's height, warm brown eyes, not tan but not pale, a nice body and an open face. Kerry stared at this woman for one uncomfortable second too long. "And you are?"
Oh I'm sorry, my name is Jennifer Comeaux."
When Kerry went to her door Sara closed her eyes and leaned back into the couch suddenly very tired, it had been a long day with the work for the party. She looked forward to the night alone knowing that the next day was going to be a whirlwind of cooking and friends. She fought against the urge to sleep wanting to be awake when Kerry returned, somewhere in her fuzzy brain a familiar voice was making it's way to her conscious. Then it hit her as she heard the disembodied voice say the name: Jennifer Comeaux. She was instantly awake and off the couch.
"Jen?!" Sara called as she came skidding into the foyer pulling the woman into a bear hug spinning her around as they both laughed.
"Hey Darlin' Surprise!" Jen said in a shout as she hugged Sara and spun.
Kerry moved out of the way watching the scene before her slightly stunned. This was Jennifer Comeaux, Sara's first love, and she was here in Chicago she was supposed to be in New Orleans at her law practice. What was she doing here? Kerry couldn't process all the questions and emotions that were flooding her brain. In that instant her wall that had protected her all the years slid into place, she would deal with what ever came out of this surprise.
"What are you doing here?" Sara asked as she put Jen down.
"I wasn't supposed to be but Mom needed my help to move."
"Move? Your Mom and Dad moved?"
"Yeah, Halliburton moved them to Chicago, actually they live in Glencoe. Dad broke his leg two weeks ago on duck hunt in Cameron at his camp and Mom needed the help."
"Oh my god is he alright?"
"Yeah, he's fine. The orthopedist at Lafayette Memorial said that he might need therapy when the cast comes off."
"I can help you find a good therapist." Kerry said in a small voice.
Sara turned to meet Kerry's eyes and saw the questions that were just under the surface of her gaze. Stepping over to her, Sara pulled Kerry close to her and kissed her cheek.
"Jennifer, I'd like you to meet Dr. Kerry Weaver. Kerry is my girlfriend."
The statement made Kerry smile and it alleviated her initial fears. Jen offered her hand to Kerry and shook it.
"It's great to finally meet you Dr. Weaver, I have heard so much about you. I was about to think Sara was never gonna settle down and find someone." Jen smiled.
"Please call me Kerry." She said.
Sara blushed "Well, I am settled and happy so there." She said as she stuck her tongue out at Jen. "Do you have time to stay and visit?"
"Yeah I told Mom I was coming to see you."
Sara, still holding Kerry by the shoulders, led the way into the den and as Kerry sat down on the couch, Jen sat in the leather wing chair opposite. Sara started to sit and then remembered her manners.
"Can I get you something to drink? I think I have some Abita in the fridge."
"Oh that would be great."
"Kerry, do you want a Macallan?"
"Yes that sounds wonderful." Kerry said as Sara leaned down and kissed her lightly.
"I'll be right back " Kerry watched Sara walk out to the kitchen and as she turned back she met Jen watching her.
"I'm sorry I barged in here, but I really wanted to see Sara. We haven't talked in about three weeks and she knew nothing about this trip I just wanted to surprise her."
"It's fine," Kerry lied, "we were just sitting here trying to figure out what to do with the rest of the night."
"So how is County?" Jen asked.
Kerry was momentarily stunned, and then she remembered that Jen was Sara's closest friend. "It's good, hectic as usual, but I love it."
The two women lapsed into an uncomfortable silence both wanting to ask the questions that each were thinking, neither knowing how. Jen broke the silence.
"I was glad to hear that Sara is happy. You know you're a big part of that."
"I hope she's happy I know she makes me happy."
"I was worried about her when she came to Chicago, that prick that she worked for made her life hell, Sara would call me and rant about him. We finally named him Tall Hat No Dick. I visited her about two years ago and when I met him I almost let that slip." Jen laughed, "When Sara told me about the investors who wanted her for the restaurant I was thrilled for her, she had a hard road but she deserves all the success she can have she's a fantastic chef and a great woman."
"Yes she is we are having a party tomorrow for the staffs of her restaurant and the ER."
"Ah, the annual Walker Thanksgiving Blowout, the tradition continues." Jen smirked "Did Sara tell you about the first time she brought me home."
"A little, she said that you took her home to meet your family and it went so well that she decided to take you with her when she went to her parents."
"She left out the fact that she picked that trip to come out to her Mom and Dad, with me in tow." Jen laughed, "that was a fun thanksgiving."
"Where did you and Sara meet? I know that you were at LSU together." Kerry asked.
"The first time I saw Sara was in a business ethics course I was the TA for. She had just graduated from culinary school in Vermont. She had come out at school and when she returned she didn't want to return to her hometown, she found a job and was working at a restaurant in Baton Rouge. She was working for her B. A. in business and I was in Law school, she had a presence about her that made people instantly like her."
"I see that now with her staff, they really love her."
"One day after a class she came up the front of the lecture hall and asked me a question and I was gone." Jen smiled. "She was so cute, she had to go to work right after class so she was in her checks and clogs wearing a 10% is not enough: Recruit, Recruit, Recruit T-shirt. She still looks the same as she did then, except her hair is grayer. Does she still obsess about that?" Jen laughed.
Kerry smiled "Oh yeah, about every two weeks I have to talk her out of coloring it, I love it gray."
"She was newly out and so very scared about everything, I never saw her at any of the Gay and Lesbian Student functions. Then one day she appeared at a meeting to plan a party for the campus wide Mardi Gras and I was on the committee."
"Is that when you asked her out?"
"Yeah I couldn't help myself, we went out and then it got deeper very fast. Once she got over the initial reaction from people she was fine. I had been out since High School so I was past that stage." Jen looked straight at Kerry, "man we had some fights about that; holding hands in public, acknowledging our relationship around people who weren't our close friends."
Kerry hearing this was lost in the memory of Kim and the pain she had caused her when they were together.
"My parents, despite their strict catholic background, dealt very well with my coming out. I have 9 brothers and sisters; " Jen giggled "a typical Cajun catholic family. My family, like Sara's is very close and very steeped in the church so when she came out it was hard for them to understand they thought they had done something wrong."
"I `m sure, my parents were missionaries and I couldn't even fathom beginning to tell them about Sara, it must have been hard for them to grasp."
"Oh man was it, have you met them?"
"Yes, about 2 months ago. Sara and I had been seeing each other for seven months when her parents came to visit. I can see that they love her and I was a little hesitant about meeting them, but Sara really wanted them to meet me and so I did."
Jen sat forward "How did that go?"
"Polite is the word that springs to mind. " Kerry smiled.
Jen let loose with a laugh that filled the room, "oh man that is priceless. Polite! That is her parents to a T, be nice at all costs." Jen was still laughing when Sara returned with the drinks.
"What's so funny?"
"I was telling Jen about when I met your Mother and Dad."
"Picture this Jen," Sara said as she handed Jen her beer and took her seat next to Kerry handing her the tumbler of scotch. "Mom and Dad are sitting in the restaurant having dinner. I told them Kerry was going to join us and they seemed fine about it, or as fine as Miles and Claire get about meeting my girlfriends. Kerry gets there and all of a sudden you would have thought that it was a debutante tea, Mom became little miss polite and Dad just smiled." Sara turned to Kerry and smiled "Kerry was great though she tried to engage them and took everything that was shot her way. I never told you this," Sara said taking her hand, "when went home that night both Mom and Daddy said they could see how much we were in love."
"You should feel honored Kerry," Jen said taking a long pull off her beer, "that's tantamount to Claire giving you her Grammies wedding ring and Miles telling you it's okay for y'all to get married."
Both women smiled as they caught each other's eyes, the fact that they had found each other still surprised them. They tried not to question the journey but what came at the end of the road.