Anni ran after Jasmin, staring dumbly at the door as it slammed behind her very angry girlfriend. Fiancée, Anni reminded herself.I hope.
“Anni?” Ayla walked out of the bathroom of the apartment they all shared. She loved sharing with Anni and Jasmin, but sometimes – like now – it could get uncomfortable. In fact, that has been happening a lot lately. “Is everything okay?”
Anni trudged her way to the couch, plopping down with a heavy sigh. “I don’t know. Jasmin is mad at me. Again.”
Ayla’s eyes softened with compassion. She knew the two women loved each other completely. She just didn’t understand why they were constantly bickering these days when it was supposed to be the happiest time for them. “Do you want to talk about it?”
“Man, I . . . all I did was ask her if she thought of a date for the wedding.” She sighed again, rubbing her hands over her face. “I don’t think she wants to get married anymore, Ayla.”
“That’s ridiculous. Jasmin loves you!”
“Maybe. But is that enough? Ever since Nik died, Jasmin has been distant.” Anni laid her head back on the couch, staring up at the ceiling. “I know she’s grieving, and I know how much he meant to her. Maybe she’s realizing that I’m not what she wants,” she said miserably.
“I don’t believe that for one second,” Ayla stated with conviction. “Look, Jasmin has been really busy the past few weeks. She has her job at MT, and she’s getting back into fashion, plus she still does shifts at Mauerwerk and Vereinsheim. Maybe she’s just stressed out.” She eyed Anni for a moment, contemplating on whether she should continue or not. Oh what the hell. It’s not like Anni holds back. Ever. “And, you did tell her she was being too clingy at one point.”
Anni glared at Ayla. “I know. But I didn’t mean I don’t still want to get married.”
“Well, perhaps she’s still upset with you for that. She was mourning Nik.”
“Yeah, I know. But, man, she wouldn’t let me do anything by myself!”
“Did you ever think she was possibly scared of losing you, too?” Ayla knew for a fact what Jasmin’s fears were. She had told Ayla as much after a few glasses of Prosecco after Anni had left for work in a particularly bad mood. ‘She doesn’t even want to be around me,’ Jasmin slurred. ‘How do I give her space when I’m afraid to lose her?’
“I get it, okay. We talked about it, and I thought we were good. But now . . . “
“Now the tables are turned,” Ayla finished quietly.
Am I being too clingy now, Anni brooded. When she had said that to Jasmin, Anni was feeling overwhelmed by the attention. Boxed in. Caged. Yet, the more space Jasmin gave her – and the more Jasmin’s mood changed – the more Anni regretted her hasty decision to say something. It was an odd situation to be in for Anni. She was so used to being on her own, being her own person, that she didn’t know how to always be a part of someone else. Even after a year, Anni found it difficult to come to terms with all of the rules being in a relationship held.
What she did know was that she had hurt the woman she loved, and now she was paying the price for that.
“I’m going to Mauerwerk, you coming?”
Ayla smiled indulgently at Anni’s petulance. “No. I have things to take care of, and then I’m meeting Tayfun.”
Anni shrugged, popping up from the couch. “Ciao.”
“You’re in a mood.” Sophie kept her tone even, hoping not to upset Jasmin even further.
“I’m fine,” Jasmin answered testily. Okay, so she was in a bad mood, but it was all Anni’s fault. Why was she so concerned about a wedding date now? Hadn’t she told Jasmin she was ‘too clingy’? Jasmin scoffed, receiving a bemused look from Sophie. Too clingy. I wonder if she thinks that now. Jasmin had made it a point to keep busy, and stay out of Anni’s way. She hated it, hated being distant from Anni, but she didn’t know what else to do.
“Clearly,” Sophie muttered. She stacked her papers together, readying her things to leave when she felt Jasmin’s hand on hers.
“I’m sorry. None of this is your fault, and I shouldn’t be taking it out on you.”
“Do you want to talk about it?”
Jasmin exhaled sharply. “I just don’t know where I stand with Anni anymore.”
“Jasmin, Anni loves you. You’re engaged.”
“Yes, and I’m ‘clingy’ and ‘can’t do things on my own’,” Jasmin quoted bitterly.
“I don’t think she meant . . . “
“She meant every word!” Jasmin interrupted heatedly. “She can’t go to parties, or do whatever else she wants to do because I’m ‘always there’! What in the hell does she want? Shouldn’t a couple want to go out together? Unless there are things she does that she doesn’t want me to know about!” Jasmin’s heart constricted as she thought about those things.
“Anni would never do anything to hurt you, Jasmin,” Sophie told her softly.
Jasmin lifted her eyes to Sophie’s, the hurt clearly evident. She already has.
“I need to get to Mauerwerk.” Jasmin stood abruptly.
“I thought you were off today?” The sudden change of subject confused Sophie, but she knew Jasmin well enough to just go along with it.
“One of the girls called in sick, so I’m going to fill in. It’s not like I have a girlfriend that wants to spend time with me anyway,” she groused.
“Fiancée,” Sophie corrected gently.
“Hmm. I’ll see you later. Come by tonight, and I’ll buy you a drink.” Jasmin didn’t wait for an answer. She just needed to get out in the fresh air. Hopefully the walk to the club would help clear her head.
Anni laughed at the woman’s joke. She had been standing at the sound board when the petite, red head walked up to her, and started chatting her up about music. Anni could tell that the red head – What was her name again? – was beginning to flirt with her, but she wasn’t interested. She had one woman on her mind, and in her heart. That was Jasmin. Just the thought of her fiancée made her smile, her heart stutter, and her belly clinch.
The small red head must have taken Anni’s smile as an invitation, and placed a hand on her arm. “So . . . “
Anni’s eyes widened, and she shook the woman’s hand off immediately when she saw Jasmin staring at her. The hurt and anger clearly visible in her eyes.
“Jasmin! What are you doing here?” Anni tried smiling at her beautiful lover, but it wasn’t returned. Perhaps asking what she was doing there while being flirted with was not a good idea. Shit.
“Interrupting, apparently,” Jasmin answered icily.
“You’re not interrupting anything,” Anni reassured her quickly. She noted Jasmin’s disbelief, and blew out a breath. “I’m with you, Jasmin.”
“That’s never stopped you before.”
Anni winced remembering earlier in their relationship when she had been scared and stupid, and ended up kissing a couple of different women. She had never been sorrier, or felt such disgust with herself than at those moments of weakness. “I would never do that again, Jasmin,” Anni vowed quietly.
Jasmin raised an eyebrow, unsure of whether to believe Anni or not. She was feeling extremely vulnerable and uncertain about their relationship at the moment. She had tried to be the perfect girlfriend for Anni, but after Dominik died the fear of losing Anni became overwhelming. She clung to Anni as though they were spending their last days together. Yes, she had been clingy, but why couldn’t Anni understand why? “Yes, well, Armin called and asked me to come in, so I have to go get ready. Sorry to cramp your style.” With that, Jasmin stormed off angrily.
“Jasmin!” Anni started after her, only to be stopped by the small woman stepping in front of her. “Fuck.”
“Could I buy you a drink?”
“No. I’m engaged,” Anni told her fiercely.
“To her?” The red head gestured with her head in the general direction Jasmin ran off in. “That has to be a drag. She didn’t seem to be very happy.” She stepped closer. “Neither do you.”
“Back off. Jasmin is perfect!” As Anni said the words, she knew they were true. Jasmin was perfect – for her. Sure, they both had their imperfections, but they complemented each other completely. What the hell was I thinking, telling her she was too clingy? Especially after she had just lost Dominik. “I have to go.”
“But I thought we were getting to know each other,” the woman whined, grating on Anni’s nerves.
“No, we were talking about music. That’s all it was for me.” She looked at her coldly. “I don’t even remember your name. Now, excuse me.”
Anni took off up the stairs, hoping to catch Jasmin before she started working.
Jasmin took a shaky breath, trying to calm her roiling stomach. Seeing Anni talking to that woman had brought back those rocky times in their relationship. She could have lost Anni forever. She could have never looked into those big, soulful brown eyes again. That thought alone brought tears to Jasmin’s eyes. She swiped angrily at her cheeks, catching the tears before they fell completely. Tying her apron around her waist, she walked downstairs, determined to get through this shift with some dignity. She just hoped Anni didn’t flaunt that fucking red head in her face.
Anni checked the storage room, the bathroom and even the elevator without any luck. Standing beside the elevator now brought back more memories for her. One was not particularly good, but oh there were memories that made her blood boil with arousal. She and Jasmin had abandoned all inhibitions here, and Anni wanted that back again. The only way to do that, was to beg Jasmin to forgive her for her recent stupidity. She’s forgiven you before, I just hope she has it in her to do it again.
Anni pushed away from the wall, trotting downstairs. Jasmin should be behind the bar by now, which means she would be a captive audience. She stopped in her tracks when she saw Jasmin smiling sweetly at a customer. Normally, that wouldn’t have cause Anni to feel any sort of jealousy. It was just how Jasmin was. Sweet. However, the way the customer was looking at Jasmin, as though she wanted to devour her, made Anni’s blood boil for a totally different reason now.
She watched as the tall, blonde woman’s eyes raked over Jasmin’s backside as she turned away. When Jasmin turned back, the woman would leer at her. God. Is this how Jasmin feels when she sees other women talking to me? Anni felt sick to her stomach, and angry beyond reason. In her heart of hearts, she knew Jasmin would never hurt her like that. But what if she wants to get back at me for everything I’ve done? Anni shook off that thought, even while believing she might deserve it.
“How about giving me your number?”
Anni’s stomach dropped when she heard the question as she walked closer.
Jasmin’s eyes darted to Anni. She had felt her presence before seeing her, and had hoped the flirtatious woman at the bar would go away. I should agree and see how Anni likes it, she thought bitterly. But Jasmin knew she could never do that. She loved Anni too much. Besides, it just wasn’t her style.
“I’m seeing someone,” Jasmin answered with a smile.
“That’s okay with me. I can be discreet.”
Unable to take it anymore, Anni marched up to the bar, purposefully bumping the tall woman, and making her spill her drink. “The lady said she’s seeing someone.”
“What’s it to you?” The woman asked with an annoyed expression, and began dabbing her sleeve with a napkin.
“I’m that someone,” Anni scowled.
The woman eyed Anni, then turned back to Jasmin, slipping a card out of her pocket and sliding it across the bar. “If you ever want a real woman, give me a call.”
Jasmin picked up the card, and Anni’s heart began to ache. With a radiant smile, the beautiful brunette ripped the card in half, and slid it back to the woman. “Anni is a real woman. That’ll be 7,50 for the drink.”
Anni beamed proudly. Take that, bitch, she thought, giving her fiancée a loving smile. She couldn’t help the gloating grin when the woman slapped money down on the bar and walked off with an unintelligible grumble.
“This doesn’t fix anything,” Jasmin warned when they were alone – or as alone as they could be at a club.
“I know,” Anni agreed. “Only I can do that. We need to talk, baby.”
Jasmin could feel the tears prickling in her eyes, and closed them for a moment to gain control. “Well, I’m here for a few hours, so it’s going to have to wait.”
Anni nodded. “Look, about before with that, um . . . “ Anni paused, taking a breath. “I wasn’t flirting. Nothing was happening. She came up to me . . . “
“I don’t really want to know,” Jasmin interrupted.
“But you need to,” Anni insisted. “She walked up and began talking to me about music. It was all very innocent.” Anni shuffled her feet, stalling. “Until she asked if she could buy me a drink.”
“Was that before or after she put her hands on you?” Jasmin crossed her arms in front of her, waiting for Anni’s answer.
“Um.” She put her hands on me? Anni honestly didn’t remember that, or think anything of it. Her mind had been preoccupied with thoughts of Jasmin, and she was truly just being polite.
“Exactly.” Jasmin turned from Anni, walking off to serve another customer.
“Goddamn it,” Anni muttered. She rooted her ass on the stool, and waited for Jasmin to come back her way.
After a few minutes of delaying, Jasmin wandered back Anni’s way. “Are you going to drink something?”
Jasmin nodded, grabbing a beer and sliding in front of Anni. She had to admit that her lover looked extremely depressed, and Jasmin’s heart softened. “Were you interested in her?”
Anni’s eyes popped up, widening with disbelief. “No! Of course not!” She sighed. “Look, I know I screwed up before, but I’ve changed, Jasmin. You changed me. For the better,” she added hastily when she saw Jasmin’s dazzling brown eyes narrow. “I’ve learned my lesson, baby. I can’t hurt you like that again. I won’t.”
“But you can hurt me with your words instead?”
“Do you really want to have this conversation now? When we can be interrupted at any time?”
As if proving her point, another customer beckoned Jasmin. With a heavy sigh Jasmin agreed to postpone the chat until later.
Anni was picking at the label of her beer by the time Jasmin made it back to her.
“Were you interested?” she asked Jasmin timidly.
Jasmin frowned. “Interested?”
“In the woman that was hitting on you,” Anni explained.
Jasmin barked out a mirthless laugh. “No. However, it was flattering.”
Anni scowled, flicking the lid of her beer with annoyance. “I see.”
“Do you? You know, I’ve never been hit on by another woman? Well, at least outside of the gay club we once went to,” she clarified. “I think of it as a rite of passage. If I can get approached by a woman outside of a gay bar, I must be doing this lesbian thing right,” she smirked.
Anni finally cracked a smile, realizing that Jasmin was teasing her. “You’re definitely doing the ‘lesbian thing’ right.” She wiggled her eyebrows suggestively.
Jasmin snickered, then sobered when she thought of the problems they still needed to work out. “Want another one?” she asked, gesturing towards Anni’s empty beer bottle.
“Nah. Maybe a bottle of water?”
Jasmin nodded, taking a water from the refrigerated case, opening it for Anni.
Their eyes met as Anni looked up, and they both felt the connection. Never taking her eyes off of Jasmin’s, Anni reached over and stroked a finger across the back of Jasmin’s hand.
Jasmin shivered as much from the contact as from the way Anni was looking at her. She had been so hurt by Anni’s accusation that Jasmin was suffocating her, that they hadn’t been intimate in the past couple of weeks. She had to admit she missed Anni terribly.
“Can you take a break?” Anni asked huskily.
Jasmin shook her head. “I just started working.” Anni looked so completely crestfallen that Jasmin couldn’t deny her anymore. “Armin, I need to, um, get a few things,” she called over her shoulder. She gave Anni a small smile, and walked away with a nervous Anni following close behind.
Upstairs, Anni rushed around Jasmin and pulled her into what she thought of as “their” elevator. All of the images that flooded Anni before, came back in a rush. She shut the door, immediately pressing the STOP button. Now that they were here, and alone, Anni felt a bit insecure. Jasmin hadn’t been very receptive to Anni’s advances recently, not that she blamed her. After telling Jasmin she was feeling smothered, what did she expect the reaction to be?
Jasmin saw the unsure look in Anni’s eyes. It wasn’t something she was used to. Anni was normally extremely confident, especially when it came to intimacy. Well, it’s up to me, then.
Jasmin lifted her hand to Anni’s face. “It’s been a long time,” she said quietly.
Anni nodded and swallowed hard.
“You should know, it’s not going to be slow and gentle.” Jasmin stepped closer.
Anni’s dark eyes turned almost black with desire. “Well,” she began, clearing her throat when her voice cracked, “you are supposed to be getting a few ‘things’. So, come and get me.”
There’s my self-assured Anni. Jasmin’s smile was fierce as she turned them both, and pushed Anni against the wall. “Hmm, this seems familiar,” she purred, then kissed Anni passionately.
Anni moaned when Jasmin’s tongue slipped between her lips, and tangled with hers. Her legs buckled as Jasmin’s hands found their way to her breasts and squeezed hard. “Jasmin.” It came out as a plea.
Jasmin smiled against Anni’s lips, trailing her hands down Anni’s stomach. Unbuttoning the button, Jasmin slipped her hand inside Anni’s pants, dipping lower until she found the copious amount of wetness that awaited her. “I love how wet you get for me,” Jasmin groaned.
“Inside, baby. I need to feel you,” Anni begged. She was used to being the aggressor, but it was times like this, when Jasmin took control, that drove her nearly insane.
Jasmin obliged, plunging two fingers inside her lover, and bringing her thigh up between Anni’s legs to provide a more powerful thrust.
Anni gripped onto Jasmin’s ponytail with one hand, as the other squeezed Jasmin’s ass, bringing her even closer. “I’ve missed you,” she panted heavily. She knew, after the couple of weeks apart, she wouldn’t last long. Even so, she fought to hold off her orgasm. She wanted to prolong the feeling of Jasmin buried inside her for as long as she could.
“I’ve missed you, too.” Jasmin tilted her head to allow Anni access to her neck. Feeling Anni’s lips pressed against her skin spurred her on even more, and her thrusts became faster. “Let go, baby.”
“Not yet,” Anni managed. She talked a good game, but the need for release was quickly taking over her resolve to delay the inevitable.
Jasmin chuckled lightly, then moaned when Anni bit down on the sensitive area between her neck and shoulder. “We’ll have longer when we get home,” she promised. “For now, you need to let go.”
Anni looked into Jasmin’s eyes, amazed that she still had coherent thoughts. “Promise?”
Jasmin instinctively knew that Anni feared their relationship was becoming irreparable. She had had the same fear herself. But Jasmin knew deep inside that there was no one else in the world for her other than Anni. They had been through so much. They would get through this as well.
With Jasmin’s declaration hanging in the air, Anni groaned loudly as the orgasm ripped through her body. Jasmin thrust deeper, feeling Anni shudder and tighten around her fingers. The sound of Anni’s pleasure coupled with the feel of Anni’s release flowing into Jasmin’s hand led to her own powerful orgasm.
Anni swallowed Jasmin’s cry of pleasure, holding her tightly as Jasmin’s body continued to tremble. They stayed like that for a moment before Jasmin broke away, needing to catch her breath.
“You okay?” Anni whispered.
“Perfect,” came the breathless reply.
“Yes, you are.”
Jasmin lifted her head, expecting to see laughter in Anni’s eyes. What she saw, floored her. There was no teasing, no laughter. Undisguised sincerity and love stared back at her. She kissed Anni tenderly.
“I’m not even close to perfect,” she said softly. “But we can be perfect for each other if we work at it.”
“And, we will,” Anni promised. “I made a mistake, Jasmin. I know we have a lot to talk about. My insecurities, yours.”
Jasmin pulled back slightly. “You have insecurities?”
“Of course I do.”
“What have I done to make you feel insecure?” Jasmin was genuinely curious. She had thought she was being too attentive, and that’s what the problem was. Anni couldn’t be insecure about Jasmin’s feelings. Not after everything that happened with Kurt right before their year anniversary. Jasmin had made it perfectly clear that Anni was the one she loved. The one she wanted to be with for the rest of her life.
“That’s something we need to talk about when we have more time.”
Jasmin agreed, removing her hand from Anni’s pants. “I should get back.”
Jasmin started to back away, but was stopped by Anni’s hand on her arm.
“Are we going to be okay?” Anni asked hesitantly. She wanted desperately for Jasmin to be excited about marrying her again. The planning had come to a halt with the tragedy of Nik’s passing, and Anni’s temporary stupidity. It was time for them both to remember what’s important. Their love for each other.
Jasmin searched Anni’s eyes. Love, fear, hope. Oddly enough, it was the fear that made Jasmin more secure. If Anni was afraid of losing what they have, she must really care. Knowing that renewed Jasmin’s desire to marry the beautiful woman in front of her. “Yes, baby. We’ll be okay.”
Anni took Jasmin in her arms, holding her tightly. “I love you.”
“I love you, too.”