Anni closed the door of her and Jasmin’s room behind her, and whistled her way to the coffee pot.
“Whistling? Before coffee?” A very confused Ayla stared at Anni, her brows furrowed.
Anni shrugged. “Why not? I’m in a good mood.” She set about getting her coffee, and after a second thought, grabbed another cup for Jasmin.
“What has you in such a great mood?” Ayla smiled as she watched Anni prepare Jasmin’s coffee, and grab a yogurt out of the refrigerator. She couldn’t help but think how much Anni has changed since being with Jasmin. Even if the past couple of weeks had been a little strained between them. At least now it seems to be okay.
Anni grinned widely. “Jasmin is in there looking at bridal magazines,” she answered quietly.
“So, you’ve talked everything out? It’s all good now?”
Anni’s smile faltered. “No. I mean yes. I mean . . . Damn it.” She raked her hand through her short, dark hair, causing it to spike a bit. “We still need to talk. There are things she should know, and I’m sure I don’t know everything about her yet.”
“How have you been together for over a year now, and not have discussed the important things?”
“It’s not so easy, you know,” Anni grumbled, her good mood quickly deteriorating with this conversation.
“But you love each other. You should want to talk about all of that.” Ayla stood in front of Anni, blocking her path back to Jasmin’s room. “She deserves to know why you sometimes act the way you do.”
“How do I act?” Anni asked, offended. Though, she knew very well how much of an ass she had been to Jasmin in the past. “Look, I said it wasn’t easy, okay? Jasmin and I know we have to get everything out in the open, and we will. Doesn’t mean I really want to.”
“It’s Jasmin. You know she’ll listen without judgement no matter what you tell her.”
Anni blew out a breath. “Maybe.” She placed the coffee and yogurt on a tray, and made her way back to her and Jasmin’s room.
Jasmin looked up from the magazine she was flipping through, and smiled at Anni. “Hey.” Her eyes fell to the tray with coffee and yogurt. “For me?”
“Of course,” Anni grinned. “You need nourishment.”
“After what you did to me last night, I think I’m going to need more than yogurt,” Jasmin teased.
Anni smirked. “Complaining?”
“Absolutely not.” Jasmin accepted Anni’s sweet kiss and the yogurt. “Thank you.”
Anni gingerly climbed over Jasmin’s body, and settled back into bed. “So, find anything interesting?” She nodded at the bridal magazine in Jasmin’s lap.
“Maybe,” Jasmin smiled, handing Anni her coffee once she stopped wiggling around. “I take it you’re not going to wear a dress?”
Anni choked on the sip of coffee she just took. “Um, I could if that’s what you wanted,” she stuttered, wiping a drop of coffee from her chin.
Jasmin laughed softly. “I want you to be comfortable, sweetie. Even if it means wearing black,” she winked, and took a bite of her yogurt. “Mmm. Want some?”
“No, thank you.” She looked over Jasmin’s shoulder. “This is pretty.” She pointed to a strapless gown.
“Yeah?” Jasmin snapped the magazine shut. “You won’t know which one I choose.”
Jasmin glanced at her fiancée. “Do you really think we need to take any chances?”
Anni sighed heavily, guilt weighing on her. “Baby, I really am sorry for the way I’ve been acting.”
“That would be easier to take if this were the first time.” Jasmin set her yogurt and the magazine aside to turn to Anni. “Sweetie, I’m not saying that to be mean. It’s just that if we don’t sit down and talk about this, really talk, it’s going to keep happening.”
“Man, I know.” Anni’s frustration at her own inability to be open with Jasmin was beginning overwhelm her.
“I mean that for me, too.” Jasmin pushed Anni’s bangs aside. “There are things that we’ve both been . . . unwilling to talk about. If we’re going to spend our lives together, that needs to change.” She leaned in, brushing her lips to Anni’s. “Because, honestly, I don’t know how much more of this ‘hot and cold’ I can take.”
“We will talk. I promise.” Anni saw the disappointment in Jasmin’s eyes, and knew they should probably have that talk now. But she just couldn’t. Not yet. She reached over Jasmin, putting her coffee down. Then, she straddled her beautiful bride to be. “Jasmin, I promise. Let me prepare a little, okay?”
Jasmin studied Anni for a moment, looking for any sign of insincerity. Seeing none, she nodded. “Okay. Now kiss me.”
Anni gave her a toothy grin, and obliged.
“Thank you for coming with me today, Elena.” Jasmin sorted through dress after dress on the rack in front of her, while Elena did the same on a second rack.
“No problem. I guess it would be hard for you to make your own dress?” She pulled a dress out that caught her eye, and set it aside for Jasmin.
“I’m just starting with fashion again. It’s too much pressure,” Jasmin answered distractedly. “I have enough of that without having to worry about
designing and making my own wedding dress.”
Elena stopped rummaging through a sea of white and sequins, and looked over her shoulder at Jasmin. “Are you and Anni still having problems?”
“No. I mean yes. Damn it, I don’t know.” She pushed at the gowns in frustration. “I’m trying so hard to be patient, but Anni keeps avoiding the things we need to talk about.”
“Maybe she scared,” Elena offered sympathetically. “Anni doesn’t strike me as the type that opens up easily.”
“She’s not,” Jasmin agreed. “But this is me, Elena. She should trust me and feel comfortable opening up to me.”
“Jasmin, I know you’ve been together for a year, but if you think about it, this is still new to Anni.”
Jasmin glanced at Elena. “Whose side are you on anyway?”
“Both!” Elena laughed. “I’m trying to help you both because I think your relationship is one for the ages.”
A slow smile formed on Jasmin’s lips. “One for the ages?”
“Epic,” Elena confirmed with a nod and a smile. “I’d like to think that Dominik and I would have been epic, too.”
Tears caused both women’s eyes to shine as a silent moment passed between them. Then Jasmin pulled Elena into her arms, hugging her tightly.
“Of course you would have been.” She pulled back slightly, looking Elena in the eye. “He found you in London when it seemed impossible. It was meant to be.”
Elena gave her a watery smile. “Come on. This is your day. Let’s find you the perfect dress!” She pushed Jasmin back to her side. “And, as for Anni, just give her the time she needs. She’s already confessed to needing to open up more. That’s a step in the right direction, at least.”
Jasmin contemplated Elena’s words, idly running her hands over the different textures of the dresses. When her fingertips touched a satiny, smooth surface, she stopped. Jasmin’s eyes widened as she pulled out the dress, and held it up.
“This is it,” she whispered.
Elena turned at Jasmin’s quietly spoken words. “Oh! It’s perfect! Go try it on!”
Jasmin beamed as she headed to the fitting room.
Anni sat on the bed, aimlessly strumming her guitar. It had been a few days since she and Jasmin agreed they needed to talk. Of course, Anni has been avoiding it like the plague, and she could see Jasmin’s patience wearing thin.
Wish I could just write a song explaining everything, Anni thought glumly. Then quickly discarded that thought. That would be one depressing song.
Anni looked up abruptly as her fiancée came into the room, her arms full of bags. She set her guitar aside, and got up to help.
“Hey. Need help?”
“Nope.” Jasmin turned her back to Anni. “You’re not allowed to touch this, or look at it.”
Anni smirked, getting on her tiptoes to look over Jasmin’s shoulder. “Why? What is it?”
“You know perfectly well what it is, now get back.” Jasmin pushed Anni back with her butt.
“Mmm. Do you think using your ass is going to deter me?” Anni placed her hands on Jasmin’s hips, pulling her into her. “That just makes me want more.”
“You’re such a fiend,” Jasmin chuckled. “Will you get back?”
“Come on, baby. Just a peek?”
“No. And, if I find out you stole a peek when I’m not here, there will be hell to pay.”
“Oh yeah? Will you punish me?” Anni smiled sexily.
“Mmhmm. I’ll wait until our wedding night to have sex with you again.” Jasmin pushed away from a slack-jawed Anni, and hung the dress up in the closet.
“You’re kidding, right?”
Jasmin smiled sweetly. “Do you want to test me?”
“No! No, baby, I don’t. I won’t look at it. I promise!” Anni knew she sounded pathetic, but she was too worried that Jasmin meant what she said.
The wedding was months away. There’s no way she could go without sex with Jasmin for that long. “In fact, why don’t you come over here and occupy me so that I don’t get tempted.”
Jasmin laughed as Anni tugged her close. “Is this all you think about?”
“It’s hard not to think about it when I’m with you.” Anni wrapped her arms around Jasmin’s waist. “You’re incredibly sexy, and I’m lucky to have you.”
“What’s gotten into you?”
Jasmin was torn about Anni’s attitude. On the one hand, she was happy that Anni had been more attentive, and wanted to spend more time with her. On the other hand, Jasmin was scared that things would turn around again, and Anni would feel ‘trapped’. Jasmin just didn’t know if she could
go through ‘cold’ Anni, again.
“What do you mean?” Anni squeezed Jasmin, rocking back and forth. “Have I ever made you think I don’t want you?” Jasmin lifted a brow, and Anni smiled sheepishly. “I’ve never not wanted you, Jasmin. It’s just . . . “
“It’s just?” Jasmin could see the internal struggle Anni was going through inside. It broke Jasmin’s heart that Anni couldn’t just open up to her. But, knowing her own struggle, Jasmin was sensitive to how hard it was. “Hey.” Jasmin lifted Anni’s chin until they were eye to eye. “We don’t have to talk now. If I recall, you had something else in mind.” Jasmin smiled, and kissed Anni thoroughly.
The relief Anni felt made her feel guilty. She made a vow to herself to talk to Jasmin before it was too late. She had almost lost Jasmin too many times in the year they’ve been together. Anni remembered the time she had stupidly proposed an open relationship. The consequences of that were devastating, and Anni couldn’t think of that time without intense regret. She didn’t think she’d ever regret anything more in her life, and she’d be damned if she would lose Jasmin now, so close to their wedding.
“Soon,” Anni whispered against Jasmin’s lips.
“I’ll wait,” Jasmin whispered back.
Anni guided Jasmin back to the bed, blindly pushing her guitar off onto the floor. She gently nudged Jasmin down, then lay on top of her. It felt so reminiscent of their first time together, that Anni horrifyingly felt tears threaten. She hated getting emotional, but it seemed to happen all too often when she was with Jasmin.
“You know you can let go with me,” Jasmin said quietly. “You don’t have to be so strong all the time. Who can you be you with if not me?”
“How did you?”
“The same way you know when I’m upset,” Jasmin answered. “It’s a good thing to have someone in your life that knows you, and lets you . . . just be.”
“I know. But, sweetie, you’re still holding back. If our marriage is going to work . . . “
“I have to try harder,” Anni admitted.
“As I’ve said before, we both do.” Jasmin cupped Anni’s cheek in her palm. “But right now, let’s just be together.”
Anni smiled brightly with relief and arousal. “Best. Plan. Ever.” She leaned down and kissed Jasmin sweetly, yet passionately, wanting to show her how much Jasmin really meant to her. Anni knew a successful relationship was more than just sex. Even if it was amazing sex. She loved Jasmin with all of her heart, and she would do anything to show her. Even open her deepest wounds.
“Let it go for now, sweetie. Make love to me.”
Anni did as she was asked. She let the past go, and held on to her future with everything she had.
Jasmin looked up from her sketch, frowning when Katrin walked in. Their relationship was still strained after the whole Kurt fiasco, but Jasmin had to admit that Katrin had been trying hard to repair the damage. Whether Jasmin was ready to accept the effort was a different story.
“Katrin. What are you doing here?” Jasmin felt a stab of guilt when she saw a flash of pain in Katrin’s eyes. Why should I feel guilty when she tried to break me and Anni up?
“I heard you found your dress,” Katrin answered almost meekly. “I had hoped we could go together for that.”
Jasmin laughed shortly. “You tried to get me to leave Anni and go back to Kurt! Now you want to go shopping for a wedding dress with me?”
“I was desperate, Jasmin. I needed the work.”
“More than you needed a daughter. A happy daughter?”
Jasmin studied Katrin, looking for any hint of deceitfulness. Seeing none, her heart thawed a little. Just a little. “Fine. But we’re still not at the point where we can go shopping together for my wedding with Anni.”
Katrin raised her hands in surrender. “Fair enough. Can I at least see what you’re working on? I heard you’re getting back into fashion.”
Jasmin couldn’t help but wonder what Katrin’s angle was. Did she want something? Need something? Obviously she was checking up on her. It broke her heart that she had such thoughts about her mother.
“I am,” she answered cautiously. “I enjoy writing about fashion, but Anni helped me see that creating it was in my blood.” She made it a point to credit Anni for Jasmin’s recent interest in getting back into fashion.
“Good. I’m glad she did.” Katrin took a tentative step forward. “May I sit down?”
Jasmin hesitated, contemplated telling her no. “Sure.”
“Jasmin,” she began as she sat down. “I really do apologize for how I acted when Kurt was here.”
“You said that already.”
“I know. But I . . . I want to be a part of your life again.”
“My life includes Anni, Katrin. We’re getting married.”
“Yes, I know.” Katrin sighed heavily. “What I said before, about Kurt being what’s best for you? I was wrong. You and Anni have had your ups and downs, like all couples, but she is who is best for you.”
“Why the change of heart, Katrin?” Between her mother’s and Anni’s complete turnarounds, Jasmin’s head was spinning.
“I’m your mother.” Katrin paused when Jasmin let out an unladylike snort. “I deserve that. Jasmin, please? I’m trying to make up for my mistakes. Let me?”
Mistakes. How many mistakes did Jasmin have to forgive from the people she loves? She sighed inwardly. It was her weakness, and possibly her strength. Forgiveness. If she hadn’t forgiven Anni for the open relationship shit, they wouldn’t be planning a wedding now. And, if Anni hadn’t forgiven Jasmin for her transgressions during that time . . . Jasmin shivered at the thought. That was not a time she was proud of. She’d rather forget. And, forgive.
Katrin’s eyes widened. “Really?”
“Yes,” Jasmin nodded. “But if you question my relationship with Anni again, I won’t be so forgiving next time.”
Katrin smiled genuinely for the first time since arriving to see Jasmin. “I promise, my focus is now helping you plan your wedding with Anni.”
“You’ll never guess who visited me today,” Jasmin announced as she breezed into the apartment.
Anni looked up from her computer, and smiled. “Hello to you, too.”
“Hi, sweetie.” Jasmin bent down and brushed her lips across Anni’s. “How was your day?”
Anni shrugged. “Same. A shift at Mauerwerk, and now I’m working on some music. So, who came to visit you?”
Jasmin stood behind Anni, peering over her shoulder. “Anything I can listen to?”
Anni closed the laptop. “Nope.” She pulled Jasmin around until Jasmin was sitting on her lap. “Visit?” She asked as she nuzzled Jasmin’s neck.
“Hmm? Oh. Um. I can’t think when you do that.” Even as she said the words, she tilted her head to give Anni better access. “Katrin.”
Anni’s caresses ceased suddenly. Kissing Jasmin’s neck while talking about her mother was not something Anni found desirable. “Let me guess, she wants you to break up with me, and go find Kurt?”
“Actually, she apologized.”
Anni’s eyebrows raised with surprise. “No way!”
“Yes. She also said that she was wrong about Kurt. And, you.” Jasmin kissed Anni.
“Mmm. Do that again.”
Jasmin laughed softly, and did as she was asked.
“So, she was wrong about me?” Anni asked after she was thoroughly kissed.
“Mmhmm. She actually said you are good for me.”
“Well, I could have told her that,” Anni said cockily with a slap to Jasmin’s ass. She smirked when Jasmin yelped. “Why the complete about-face?”
Jasmin shrugged. “She said she wanted to apologize for her mistakes and be there for me. She wants to help plan the wedding.”
“Wow. How do you feel about that?”
“Wary,” Jasmin admitted. “But it would be nice to have a relationship with my mother again.”
Anni rubbed Jasmin’s back. “I can understand that. But, baby, I don’t want her to hurt you again.”
Jasmin grinned, taking Anni’s face in her hands. “You’re so sweet,” she said, then gave her a noisy smack on the lips. “I don’t want that either, and I let her know that.”
“Good. I’m behind whatever you want one-hundred percent, baby.”
“Thank you. Now for the important stuff . . . “ Jasmin gave Anni a serious look.
Anni stiffened involuntarily. Does she really want to have that talk now? “Okaaay.”
Jasmin paused for dramatic effect. “I’m . . . starving. What are we eating?”
Anni laughed with relief. “Whatever you want. My treat.”
“Ooo. I’m thinking . . . “
“Just remember,” Anni interrupted with a finger to Jasmin’s lips, “that I’m not a rock star. Yet.”
“You are in my eyes,” Jasmin told her as she batted her eyelashes.
“Sounds good. Let’s go.”
Jasmin awoke to Anni tossing and turning, mumbling as her head thrashed back and forth on her pillow.
“Sweetie?” Alarmed, Jasmin tentatively touched Anni’s shoulder. Anni had never had a nightmare like this before. “Anni? Sweetie, wake up.”
“Anni!” Jasmin risked being hit by Anni’s flailing arms, and positioned herself close to Anni’s side. She wrapped her arms around her now crying fiancée, knowing full well this probably wasn’t the best course of action. She just didn’t know what else to do. “Anni, please wake up.”
Anni struggled in Jasmin’s embrace, still mumbling unintelligible words. Eventually, Jasmin felt Anni begin to relax, and she loosened her hold slightly.
“Hmm?” she muttered, then turned and burrowed into Jasmin’s side.
Jasmin contemplated waking Anni up, but she seemed so peaceful at the moment, that she just didn’t have the heart.
“Oh, sweetie. Whatever it is that you need to talk about is taking its toll on you.” She pulled Anni closer. Maybe I should tell her she doesn’t need . . . Jasmin stopped that line of thinking. Both of their pasts were like a wedge between them. As long as they kept the truth from each other, the bigger the wedge would get. Jasmin wasn’t willing to risk her future with Anni because of the past. “We’ll get through this, I promise,” she whispered close to Anni’s ear. Even as she said the words, she shivered at the thought of bringing her own past back up. We’ll get through this, she vowed silently, and kissed Anni on the top of the head.
To be continued ...
Read from the beginning by starting with Committed
The Planning (Interrupted) is a small, sad interlude.