Page last updated: January 1, 2005

Chapter 5

"Delivery for Blair Warner," the delivery guy called out.

He was carrying a large box, though it didn't appear to be too heavy.

"Ooo, I wonder who it's from," Natalie inquired eagerly.

"Uh, Motorbikes 'R Us, Incorporated," the young man read off from the label on the box.

Tootie frowned.

"Are you sure that's not for Jo Polniaczek?" Tootie questioned.

"Well, it says Blair Warner," the boy repeated.

"Blair!" Natalie called out.

Blair came into the dining room with Jo attached to her left wrist. She looked at the box, and her eyes lit up.

"Oh, good, it's here," she said, as she took the box from the man and set it on a table. "Thank you," she said in dismissal and the guy left.

"I thought you already got all the stuff you bought last week," Jo commented.

"Oh, I did. This is something else," she said cryptically, then turned to the brunette. "Here, you open it."

"Why me?" Jo asked suspiciously.

"Just open it," Blair encouraged.

Jo hesitantly reached into her pocket for the little knife she kept there and sliced open the top of the box. She pulled back the flaps, and cautiously looked inside. As she dug through the Styrofoam, her hand hit something hard, and she pulled the object out of the box.

It was a jet-black motorcycle helmet with the name "Jo" airbrushed on the back in white letters. Jo stared at it in confusion.

"What the hell is this?"

Blair grinned.

"It's a helmet, stupid." She reached into the box and pulled out a second helmet, but this one was a sparkling gold and had "Blair" written on the back in silver. "While you were taking a shower the other morning, I snuck into our room and found one of those biker magazines you're always reading. There was an ad circled for the helmet, so I figured it was the one you wanted. Now, we don't have to worry about getting ourselves killed on your bike," Blair said cheerfully.

Jo turned the helmet over in her hand. It was exactly what she'd wanted. She'd seen the ad in her motorcycle magazine every month for over a year, but she'd never had the money to buy one. They were over a hundred and twenty bucks each.

"I can't accept this, Blair," Jo said, as she replaced the helmet in the box, and Blair's face fell. "It's too much."

"But we need helmets, Jo. Aren't these the right kind?"

"No, they're perfect. They're just... I can't afford to pay you..." Jo started.

"Consider it a gift," Blair said quickly.

"No!" Jo said harshly and everyone jumped. "Just return it. I'll get one for myself when I've saved up enough money."

"But Jo..."

"I said no," Jo said with finality.

If she could have, she would have walked away, but all she could do was stand there and avoid everyone's gaze. It was bad enough that everyone knew she was poor. But then to have Blair go and give her charity... It was just like Blair to not care how she treated others.

"I don't understand you Jo. I go out of my way to do something nice for you, and you just throw it back in my face," Blair said, as she angrily put both helmets back in the box and closed the flaps over them again.

"Yeah, Jo. It isn't safe for you to be riding around without a helmet," Natalie agreed.

"You could always pay her back in installments," Tootie added.

"No, it was a gift. I wouldn't expect you to pay me for a Christmas present, so I won't take any money for this either," Blair argued.

Jo realized she'd reacted badly to the whole situation. If she'd given something to Blair, she would have wanted her to just accept it and not make a big deal out of it.

"All right, all right. Quit yer yappin'," Jo said irritably.

She opened the box again and dragged out the black helmet. She put it on and flipped up the tinted visor.

"How's it look?" she asked in resignation.

Blair grinned and pulled out the gold helmet to put it on, too. Her visor was clear, so she just looked at her friends through the hard plastic.

"You're just a couple of motorcycle mamas!" Natalie said enthusiastically.

"Are you going to try them out now?" Tootie asked.

Jo looked over at Blair. They both still had some homework to do, but a short ride wouldn't put them too far behind.

"What do ya say?" Jo asked.

"Huh?" Blair asked, her voice muffled by the helmet, which also made it hard to hear.

Jo reached out and flipped up her visor.

"I asked if you wanna go for a ride," Jo reiterated impatiently.

Blair grinned.

"Well, that was sort of the reason I bought the helmets in the first place," Blair replied condescendingly.

Jo rolled her eyes.

"Come on, then," she said and headed out the door.

They went through their usual routine of switching the string so that their right wrists were tied together, and then they were off.

Jo had originally intended to only drive around the block a few times, but instead she kept going rather than turning to complete the circuit. As much as she wanted to end the torture of having Blair so close to her, she wanted just as much to keep it going. It felt so good, and she couldn't stop herself from indulging in the guilt-ridden pleasure. If Blair ever found out she was deriving sexual enjoyment from her presence, she'd hate her.

As the ride continued, it didn't take long for Blair to realize she was in way over her head. She'd managed to manipulate the situation so that she could be close to Jo again, but the thought of Jo finding out about her attraction and not returning it just made her feel nauseous.

She squeezed Jo a little tighter in unconscious fear of losing the girl's friendship. It wasn't that she thought Jo wouldn't like her anymore because she was attracted to her. Jo seemed to be pretty cool about things like that as long as people were honest. But if Jo realized she'd been using their bike rides to be close to Jo without her permission, she'd feel betrayed, and rightly so. Blair knew she had to figure something out soon, or Jo would never forgive her.

Jo gripped the handlebars of her bike a little harder. When Blair's hand had pulled Jo more firmly against Blair's body, she'd just wanted to melt into the embrace, and her reaction scared her. If she wasn't careful, she was going to end up revealing her attraction to Blair, and then that would be the end of their friendship. There was no way Blair would understand. But one way or another, she had to figure out what to do, or Blair would never forgive her.

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