The Planning

Part 3

This chapter contains original lyrics written by me (Jourdyn Kelly), as well as an original character and business that are not in the actual soap opera. This fanfic is strictly my original story with elements of the show.

 

While I understand we all want happiness (aka Jasmin and Anni together), sometimes we must go through some pain to get there. I know that the story is not where we want it to be right now, but I've decided to write my own version.

 

Don't worry, I believe in happy endings. )

She was in a bad mood. It wasn’t uncommon for Anni to be in a bad mood, but she just couldn’t figure out why she was now. Why was she scowling at everyone? Why was she being grumpy? And, most importantly, why was she copping an attitude with the woman she loves? Jasmin was trying to be understanding, and give her space, but nothing seemed to help Anni’s mood.

 

“What the fuck?” Anni scrubbed her hands over her face in frustration. Hell, she was tired of frowning. Talking about the wedding didn’t help, drinking beer didn’t help. Even tuning everyone out by playing loud music through her headphones didn’t help. She didn’t want to be here in the apartment. She wanted to be out, maybe go to the club and just lose herself. Problem with that is Jasmin would want to go with her. As much as she loved Jasmin, that just didn’t sound appealing to her right now. And, that confused her even more. Jasmin was the only person she actually wanted to be around all the time. But ever since they agreed to have THE talk, Anni had slowly been pulling away. She felt herself doing it, but couldn’t do anything to stop it. Even now, Anni found herself hiding in the corner of her and Jasmin’s bedroom avoiding everyone and everything.

 

“Sweetie?”

 

So much for hiding out.

 

“In here,” Anni called out, unable to veil the frustration in her voice. She closed her eyes, and waited for Jasmin to find her.

 

The door opened slowly, and Jasmin poked her head around the corner. “There you are.”

 

“Here I am,” Anni muttered irritably. She watched helplessly as Jasmin closed her eyes, obviously needing a moment to rein in her own emotions. Anni knew Jasmin was getting close to her breaking point. She would do anything to be able to get out of this funk, and treat Jasmin the way she deserved to be treated. So, why the fuck can’t I, she wondered miserably.

 

“Sorry to bother you.” Jasmin’s voice picked up an edge that hadn’t been there earlier. Yep. Definitely getting to the end of her rope with me. “I’m going to have dinner with Katrin. You’re welcome to come if you want, but I’m pretty sure I know what your answer is going to be.”

 

Anni sighed heavily. “Sorry I’m being such a bitch.” It was an apology, but to anyone’s ears – including her own – it held little sincerity. “I think I just need to be alone for a while. Maybe I’ll go to Mauerwerk.”

 

Jasmin shut the door, facing Anni’s brooding form with her hands on her hips. “How is that being alone? Or, did you just mean without me?”

 

“It’s not like that, Jasmin.” She ran her hands through her hair, leaving it in complete disarray. “Man, I don’t know. Maybe.”

 

Jasmin stared at her long enough to make her start to feel uncomfortable. “So, we’re back to this? Are you unhappy with me again, Anni?”

 

“No! I’m not . . . it’s not . . . ” Her frustration was growing, but this time it was frustration at herself, and her inability to articulate what was going on inside her. “We’re not ‘back to this’. I promise.”

 

“I hope not,” Jasmin said softly. “Because I don’t know if I could handle that again. And, I’m certainly not able to handle the whole open relationship debacle again.”

 

Anni’s feet finally caught up with her brain, and she made her way to her beautiful fiancée. “That won’t happen again,” she vowed, taking Jasmin’s face in her hands. “Maybe I’m just overwhelmed?”

 

“With the wedding?”

 

Anni shrugged.

 

“Anni, you are the one who pressed me to set a date, who kept buying me magazines, and kept wanting to talk details,” Jasmin reminded, her voice tinged with exasperation.

 

“I know.”

 

“What’s the problem, then? Never mind,” she said quickly when she saw a flash of annoyance in Anni’s eyes. “I’m going to go. If you want to talk about this later, fine. As for now, I say we table the wedding talk until we figure everything else out.”

 

“What?” Belatedly, Anni realized that Jasmin had marched out of the room. She could hear her gathering her stuff to leave. It’s never a good idea to have Jasmin mad at you. But to be mad, and then leave, where anything could happen? She ran out of the room. “Wait! I don’t want to table the wedding talk!”

 

“Well, I do. At least for now. All it seems to be doing is making you cranky.” Jasmin’s gaze softened when Anni’s bottom lip poked out in a silly little pout. “Sorry, sweetie, but it’s true. We still have time, so we can take it a little slower until you figure out what’s going on.”

Jasmin’s phone beeped with an incoming text, and Anni watched with a mixture of amusement when she juggled the phone, and unfounded jealousy at wondering who was texting her. “That’s Katrin. I really need to go. She has some contacts in the fashion industry,” she explained distractedly. “We’re going to talk about strategy to get major buyers interested in Tussi Attack.”

 

“Well, you don’t need me there for that, anyway. Nothing I can contribute.” Anni tucked her hands into her pockets, rocking on her heels a bit.

 

“I don’t think that’s true, but okay. I’ll see you later.” Jasmin kissed Anni sweetly on the lips before walking away. Pausing at the door, she turned.

“Are you going out?”

 

Anni shrugged. “Don’t know.”

 

Jasmin gave her a small nod after a considerable pause, then slipped out the door without another word.

 

“Shit, Anni,” she berated herself and her actions. “That’s just fucking awesome.”

 

If she sat down and thought about it, she’d would have to wonder if she was jealous of Jasmin’s success with her Tussi Attack label. Even the thought was completely insane to her, so that’s why she never sat down to think of it. Anni’s own career had come to somewhat of a standstill. Perhaps she was just restless because of that. She’d been harsh with Jasmin at the beginning of their relationship, telling her she needed to grow up and get a career. Now those tables have turned. Jasmin was doing what she loved to do, while Anni stood behind a soundboard at Mauerwerk, or served drinks at Vereinsheim. She wanted Jasmin to be proud of her. There was no way that was going to happen, unless she could be proud of herself, first. With a heavy sigh, Anni grabbed her jacket and keys, and took off.

 

***

 

“Hey.” Jasmin set her purse in one of the empty chairs, sliding into the seat in front of Katrin with a sigh. “Sorry I’m late.”

 

Katrin checked her watch. “You’re right on time. I just got here myself. Would you like some prosecco?”

 

“Yes, please.” Jasmin winced inwardly at the anxiety in her voice.

 

Katrin signaled the waiter, tipping her glass to him. “Is everything alright?” she asked, turning her attention back to her daughter.

 

“Hmm?” Jasmin scanned the menu, not seeing anything that peaked her interest. She wasn’t very hungry. Whatever was going on with Anni was making her stomach churn, and Jasmin didn’t know what she was going to do about it. One thing she did know, she didn’t want to talk to Katrin about it. They weren’t there, yet. This newfound truce of theirs was fragile at best. After what happened with Kurt, and Katrin saying Anni wasn’t right for Jasmin, this was a subject she would rather avoid with her mother. “Yes. Yes, everything is fine. I’m just thinking about this idea of getting buyers to work with us.”

 

It wasn’t a complete lie, but it also wasn’t what was weighing her down at the moment. Anni was. It really wasn’t a good time for her to be distracted, especially with less than a month before they had a meeting with a major buyer. Jasmin immediately stopped that line of thinking, silently chastising herself for even thinking of Anni as a distraction. She shook her head, trying to clear it of negative thoughts.

 

“I think it will be good for your label,” Katrin said, breaking through Jasmin’s internal criticism. “Though, I still think you should do more high-end . . . ”

 

“Katrin. Tussi Attack is not about couture. Maybe I will expand later on, if the line starts to grow. But for now, this is what I want to do. Please respect that.”

 

Katrin sighed, taking a long sip from her glass. She was grateful when the waiter came back with a full bottle of prosecco settled in ice. She waited for him to refill her glass, and fill one for Jasmin before speaking again.

 

“I do respect that, Jasmin. I’m only trying to help.”

 

“And, you are by sharing your connections with me,” Jasmin readily agreed. “Just let me worry about the designs, okay?”

 

Katrin gave her a small shrug, and nodded. “Let’s talk about this buyer. They’re going to want a sample of all of your work. Will you be able to supply that?”

 

“Yes, of course. I can get help, if I need to.”

 

“From your friends? Jasmin, you need to start getting more serious about this. We’ll look into getting a factory to do bulk orders.”

 

“We’re not there yet, Katrin. The orders aren’t that extensive, and I simply can’t afford the cost,” Jasmin argued. She drank down half of the bubbly liquid in her glass, hoping it would sooth her frayed nerves.

 

“It would be more cost effective for you to do bulk, instead of having to create each shirt by yourself.”

 

“I’m not by myself.”

 

“Jasmin. You plus three or four of your friends are not going to cut it if this buyer wants a large quantity.”

 

Jasmin had thought of that. But if the buyer wanted such a big order, they would have to pay at least a deposit upfront. That would give Jasmin the means to hire more people. Or, do as Katrin suggested and find a factory.

 

“We’ll see how everything goes, and what they want. It’ll be fine.”

 

“I hope you’re taking this seriously, Jasmin. I know you’re busy planning your wedding.” Katrin stopped abruptly when Jasmin’s fiery eyes glared at her. “That wasn’t meant to be a criticism, Jasmin,” she said quietly.

 

“Sorry.” Jasmin took a deep, cleansing breath, grateful when the waiter ambled back to their table to take their orders. An awkward silence remained once they were alone again. Anni’s mood was affecting Jasmin, and Jasmin’s mood was affecting dinner with her mother. She glanced up at Katrin. “I really am sorry. I’m just a little stressed with . . . everything that’s going on.”

 

“Well, we can just eat dinner, and save the strategizing for later if you would like,” Katrin suggested.

 

“No. I would like to hear more about this buyer you’ve contacted. Does it sound promising?”

 

Katrin regarded her for a moment before answering. “Yes, I think so. We’re going to start at the top,” she explained as she reached in her bag. Katrin brought out a portfolio, handing it to Jasmin. “If that doesn’t work, we’ll move on to the next.”

 

“Okay.” Jasmin studied the papers Katrin gave her. “Kiara Adler? That’s the name of the buyer?”

 

“Technically . . . ” Katrin hesitated, fiddling nervously with the charm hanging off her necklace.

 

“Katrin?”

 

“Just hear me out, yes?” She waited for Jasmin’s nod, then continued. “I told you we were starting at the top. Kiara is the CEO of Frida.”

 

“CEO? Katrin, Frida is the biggest fashion company around. What on earth makes you think they would be interested in Tussi Attack? And, do you really believe the CEO is going to want to waste their time with this?” Jasmin flipped through the pages, not really seeing the words. Katrin had said ‘start at the top’, but was she ready for Frida? Her designs were fun and hip, but were they good enough for a fashion icon like Frida? She just hoped they weren’t setting themselves up for a tremendous fail.

 

“Jasmin, Kiara is a former model, something you two have in common. From what I hear, she’s very focused on helping young designers make a name for themselves. She knows what it’s like to strive for something more, and the competition of the fashion world. I really do think we have a good chance at impressing her.” Katrin saw the doubt on Jasmin’s face. “You’re talented, Jasmin. Don’t doubt yourself. When we have that meeting with Ms. Adler, I want you to be confident. You deserve this.”

 

For the first time all night, Jasmin gave Katrin a genuine smile. “Thank you. We can do this.”

 

“You can.”

 

***

 

“Yo, Armin! I’m going to jump on the soundboard for tonight’s band.” Anni projected her voice enough for Armin to hear her over the crowd.

 

“You’re not supposed to be working tonight!” he shouted back, popping the top off a beer for a patron.

 

“So?” She didn’t feel the need to explain any further, and made her way to one of her favorite spots. When she was behind the soundboard, she felt at home. More at home than in front of the mic, she thought with a scowl. Anni would much rather be the person singing and writing the songs, but never felt good enough. She didn’t think people would get her music, or feel it as deeply as she felt it. Jasmin told her they would, but Jasmin loved her, so to Anni’s mind her opinion was biased.

 

“Hey, you the club’s sound engineer?”

 

Anni faced the newcomer with a cocky smirk. She had seen him checking her out as she walked past. Not in a million years, man. “Who wants to know?”

 

He was scruffy looking. Long, stringy hair and a goatee. With his leather jacket and pants, Anni could guess who he was, but was irritable enough to want to make things difficult.

 

“I’m the manager for the band,” he confirmed with a cocky grin of his own. He passed her his card. “Name’s Sans.”

 

Anni lifted a brow. “What are you lacking?”

 

“Huh?”

 

“Never mind. I figured it out for myself,” she muttered. “Yeah, I’m the engineer.”

 

“You good?”

 

“Been offered gigs on tours, so yeah.”

 

Sans checked her out again, letting his eyes wander relentlessly. He nodded once, then walked away.

 

Anni shook her head. People are weird. Just then, a piece of paper landed on her board. A glance told her it was a phone number, and with a flick of a finger, she sent it flying to the floor. Nope, not interested. The thought surprised her a little. Even after she started dating Jasmin she was flattered when other women would show her attention. Sometimes it got her in trouble, and maybe that’s the reason she has learned to ignore it. She had made a few mistakes early on in her and Jasmin’s relationship. She snorted quietly. “You’re still making mistakes,” Anni corrected herself with a terse grumble.

 

Anni was beginning to regret not just going out to a club and getting plastered. At least then she wouldn’t have to deal with her thoughts. No, just more women throwing themselves at you, and you being too much of a drunken idiot to ignore it. Shit. Now even her internal dialogue was pissing her off. Enough thinking for tonight, she decided as David jumped on stage to announce the band. Just block it all out, then go home, and try not to be a dick to your fiancée.

 

***

 

It was 3am by the time Anni got back to the apartment. She was in so much trouble. But she had to put equipment away, then she helped out the band. Of course, that lead to talking and having a few beers. She should have called Jasmin to let her know where she was, or at least sent a text. But each time she took out her phone to do so, she realized that Jasmin hadn’t called or texted her. Maybe it was childish – okay, it was extremely childish – but if Jasmin didn’t care enough to find out where she was, Anni didn’t see why she had to volunteer the information.

 

“Lame,” she whispered in the dark, empty room. She blew out a disheartened breath that ruffled the bangs out of her eyes. “Time to face the music.”

 

Anni shuffled to the bedroom door, quietly letting herself in. Perhaps Jasmin would be asleep they wouldn’t have to argue tonight. Yeah, and perhaps pigs could fly. But as she closed the door behind her, Jasmin didn’t stir. Feeling a bit lucky, Anni undressed, forgoing pajamas. It would be really nice to get into bed and feel Jasmin’s naked skin against hers. With that thought, she gently slid into bed.

 

It was a bit of a shock to feel fabric between them, knowing that lately Jasmin had taken to sleeping in the nude. It was more ‘convenient’ she had said, and Anni had no complaints at all. Tonight was different. Not only was Jasmin clothed, she lay rigidly facing away from Anni. Undeterred, Anni scooted close to Jasmin, and draped an arm across her hip. She buried her nose in Jasmin’s hair, inhaling the sweet scent that was uniquely Jasmin. Her hand found its way beneath Jasmin’s shirt, and Anni smiled, loving how soft Jasmin’s skin was.

 

Jasmin felt Anni jump when she caught her wandering hand. “Go to sleep, it’s late.”

 

“I thought you were sleeping.” Anni’s soft words were colored with embarrassment at being caught, and shame at being such a coward.

 

“I can sleep now that you’re home.”

 

“Baby, I’m sorry. I should have called . . . ”

 

“Goodnight, Anni.”

 

Fuck.

 

***

 

Jasmin watched the soft rise and fall of Anni’s chest as she slept soundly. A single tear rolled down her cheek. She truly loved Anni, but just didn’t know if she had the strength to go through this again. It shattered her heart to think of never being with Anni again, but it also crushed her soul not knowing if she could trust her completely. Where had she been last night? Why didn’t she call or text? Was it because she was with someone else? Is that why Anni hadn’t wanted to go out with her?

 

Oh, Anni. If you would just talk to me.” Jasmin’s quiet plea hung in the air, taking her breath away. It seemed so simple to her. Talk, get everything out in the open, and let it go. She just didn’t think Anni was capable of that. When another tear fell, Jasmin turned her back on her partner.

 

“Jasmin?” Anni’s eyes opened to see Jasmin staring out the window. Her brain was fuzzy from the beers she consumed, but she was far from being hung-over. She knew perfectly well that she had screwed up. Jasmin’s rebuff last night made that very clear.

 

“Do you need something for your head?” Jasmin asked without turning around.

 

“No, I’m fine.”

 

“Good. Maybe you should take a shower and brush your teeth. You smell like beer.”

 

Anni winced. “Will you look at me, please?”

 

“I don’t think I want to right now,” Jasmin responded after a noticeable delay.

 

“I should have called, I know that.” Anni hesitated, allowing Jasmin to agree or yell at her. When she said nothing, Anni’s heart began to pound. She could handle the yelling. What she couldn’t handle was the silence. “I went to Mauerwerk . . . ”

 

“I’m going to start some coffee,” Jasmin interrupted abruptly. “If you want something to eat, you should hurry. I have to get to the shop early.”

 

Anni jumped out of bed, completely oblivious to the fact that she was naked. “Jasmin! Wait, please!” She reached out to put a hand on the door. “Just give me two minutes before you walk out on me. Two minutes,” she repeated when Jasmin’s hand remained on the door handle. Finally it dropped away, and Jasmin crossed her arms over her chest.

 

“Can you please put something on?”

 

Anni frowned, glancing down at herself. A slight blush crept up her cheeks, but she shrugged it off. “It’s nothing you haven’t seen up close and very personal before.”

 

Jasmin narrowed her eyes. “Do you want to talk, or . . . ”

 

“Or! I’ll take ‘or’. Every time, baby, I’ll take ‘or’.”

 

Jasmin shook her head sadly. “You asked for two minutes,” she reminded Anni.

 

“Right.” Anni let out a long, breathy sigh. “Look, I went to Mauerwerk, and I worked the board for the talent. Then afterward, I helped Armin clean up, put equipment away, and all that shit. The band was still there, so I thought I’d give them a hand.” Anni took a breath. “They bought me a few beers to say thank you, and we talked. Then I came home. I swear, Jasmin, that’s everything.”

 

“Is it that terrible being around me that you’d rather talk to strangers until 3 am?”

 

Anni leaned back, bumping her head a few times on the door that was holding her up. “That’s not what I said, Jasmin.”

 

“Did you really have to say the words?” Jasmin shot back. “What’s that saying about actions being louder than words?”

 

“That’s not fair! You didn’t call me or text me, either!”

 

“I was home!”

 

“But you obviously didn’t care where I was.”

 

Jasmin stared at Anni incredulously. “Is that what you thought? I was scared to text you, Anni.”

 

The revelation made Anni frown. “Why?”

 

“Why? Because I’m fucking petrified that you’re going to tell me how clingy I’m being, and that you need your goddamn freedom. Again!”

 

Anni’s jaw dropped. Fuck, she had really left a huge, angry scar on Jasmin’s heart. Would it ever heal? Would Jasmin ever be able to trust her fully? She risked a step towards Jasmin, hoping there would be no retreat. Encouraged when Jasmin stood steady, Anni took another step.

 

“I thought you were too pissed off at me to care,” she confessed to Jasmin softly.

 

“I was pissed off,” Jasmin admitted. “But, Anni, that doesn’t mean I don’t care. I will always care.”

 

“Jasmin.” Her hand was shaking as she timidly brought it to Jasmin’s face. “I’m sorry that I stayed out so late. It’s just . . . ”

 

“It’s just you had someone you wanted to be talking to,” Jasmin finished softly.

 

“No! We were talking shop, talking touring and stuff. With you, things have to be deep.”

 

“That’s not true at all,” Jasmin argued. “We talk about everything.”

 

“But you want more. And, damn it, I just don’t think it’s necessary,” Anni shot back.

 

Jasmin removed Anni’s hand from her cheek. “If you really don’t think it’s necessary, then we have a problem.”

 

“Man, why does it always have to be difficult with you?”

 

Jasmin’s eyes widened slightly. She had made it a point not to pressure Anni into talking. Ever since they agreed it was essential, she could feel Anni pulling away. So, Jasmin decided to let Anni prepare – as Anni asked. All Jasmin wanted was for it to happen before their wedding. She didn’t feel that was too much to ask.

 

“I didn’t mean that,” Anni backtracked quickly.

 

“Yes, you did.”

 

“No. Look, Jasmin, maybe I just need to get away for a while,” she said carefully. Anni didn’t want Jasmin to think this was like before. That she was running away, or unhappy with Jasmin. That wasn’t the case at all. Talking about her past was something Anni never did. She was about to open herself up to Jasmin as never before. Surely Jasmin could understand her hesitation. Right? She risked looking up to gauge Jasmin’s reaction. It wasn’t good.

 

“I can’t believe you’re doing this again.” Jasmin’s words were spoken so softly that Anni almost didn’t hear them.

 

“I told you, it’s not like before.”

 

“They asked you to go on tour with them, didn’t they?” Jasmin asked, referring to the band Anni had spent the night talking to.

 

“Are you going to tell me not to go again?” Anni asked, not bothering to deny that the opportunity had presented itself.

 

Jasmin scoffed, shaking her head. “I knew you still blamed me for that. I never asked you not to go on tour with Nessi.”

 

“You weren’t exactly supportive, either.” She knew she was creating an argument. It was like word vomit. Anni couldn’t shut up, even knowing it was damaging what she wanted the most. A life and future with Jasmin. If only she could tell her everything else that was in her brain. But it felt like there was something blocking the words that needed to come out, as the damaging words were able to seep out.

 

“I was completely supportive,” Jasmin retorted. “You came back. I told you to go, but you came back.”

 

“You were miserable. How could I leave with you crying?” Shut up, shut up, shut up! What the fuck is wrong with you? Anni’s heart was begging her to stop screwing up.

 

“Of course I was miserable! My girlfriend tells me she’s going to be away for six months, am I supposed to be happy? The difference between us, Anni,” Jasmin lowered her voice dangerously. “I was actually going to miss you. If you’re still blaming me for that, you didn’t decide not to go for me. You did it because you felt guilty.”

 

Anni didn’t know what to say to that. Was Jasmin right? Had she felt guilty for agreeing to go on tour without talking to her girlfriend about it first? She didn’t want to think about that. Fuck, she didn’t want to think about anything right now.

 

“I had nothing to feel guilty about,” she responded defiantly. “I don’t want to talk about that now.”

 

“You don’t want to talk about anything,” Jasmin spat. She was getting angrier by the second, and that was not good for either of them. “You never want to talk about anything.”

 

Anni sighed dramatically. She walked away, grabbing her black shirt and slipping it on. “I think you were right.”

 

“Finally,” Jasmin muttered. “About what?”

 

“We should table the wedding talk for now.” Inside Anni was screaming at herself not to do this. She was fucking up so bad, but didn’t know how to be the person Jasmin needed her to be. She wasn’t the talking type. She didn’t want to be that vulnerable. Not even to Jasmin. And, if she were completely honest with herself, she had convinced herself she needed this gig to feel better about herself. Her life was at a standstill. No, she amended silently. It was just her career that was at an impasse. Her life had actually been perfect. Jasmin was perfect. It made what she was saying and doing even worse.

 

Jasmin studied Anni with tears filling her eyes. Yes, she had suggested postponing the planning, but just for a couple of weeks. “How long will you be gone?” she asked quietly.

 

“I didn’t say I was going.”

 

“How long, Anni?” Jasmin knew Anni wanted to go. She knew Anni was feeling restless when it came to her work. Jasmin had tried to get her to write more music, but Anni had told her she was done with that. She seemed . . . lost. Jasmin wanted nothing more than to support whatever Anni wanted to do. But she wasn’t strong enough to do this again.

 

“Few weeks,” Anni shrugged. “I don’t have to stay the entire tour. I think I just want to put what I’ve worked so hard for to use.”

 

Jasmin nodded slightly. Her heart was breaking. It was about to shatter. With shaking hands, Jasmin slipped the ring Anni gave her off of her finger.

 

“What are you doing?” Anni asked incredulously.

 

“You go and do what you need to do, Anni. Figure out what you want.”

 

“I want you.” She refused to take the ring from Jasmin. And, she sure as hell wasn’t taking hers off, even if Jasmin asked for it.

 

“It shouldn’t be this difficult, Anni. You get overwhelmed, and you search for a way out. Or, you become agitated which stresses both of us out. I’m tired of being scared that I’m being too clingy for you, or pushing you into something you’re not ready for.” Jasmin paused, taking a deep breath. “Find out what it is you need. If it really is me, then we’ll see if we can work this out.”

 

“You’re breaking up with me?”

 

“I’m setting you free,” Jasmin amended. “You have nothing pressuring you one way or another. If you don’t want to talk, to genuinely know me and let me understand you, I’m not sure how this would work anyway. We keep going in circles, Anni. It’s not healthy. And, it hurts too much.”

 

Anni was scared shitless. Which pissed her off. And, of course, being pissed off made Anni speak without thinking about the things she was saying, or how hurtful they might be. She was hurting, and her response was to punish the one she thought was causing the pain. Unfortunately, she was blaming Jasmin for the shit pile she created herself.

 

“So, I’m free to do whatever or whomever I want on tour?” she asked bitterly.

 

“That right there? That’s proof enough that you’re not ready for this relationship to go further.” Jasmin pushed past her, pausing with her hand on the door handle. “I love you. More than you will ever know. I will miss you. Good luck on tour. I hope you find what you need.”

 

***

 

Anni’s duffle bag sat next to the front door, its owner sitting quietly at the table pen in hand. Jasmin left hours ago, leaving Anni alone. As much as she thought that’s what she wanted, the moment Jasmin walked out Anni felt as though a part of her heart was missing. Since she refused to take the ring back, Jasmin had carefully laid it on the dresser. The delicate and loving manner in which Jasmin touched the ring one last time before leaving, gave Anni hope. Perhaps when Anni got back, she would be better equipped to . . . her thought process stopped abruptly. Shit. Forget being ‘better equipped’. Hopefully when she came back she’d be a fucking adult, and have an adult relationship without fucking it up.

 

She pushed those thoughts aside, concentrating on the other words flowing from her soul. It seemed, lately, that all of the songs she writes are for Jasmin. It was her way of letting out all of the feelings. It just wasn’t enough. Not for Jasmin. Jasmin needed to know everything. Deep down, Anni understood that. And, of course she wanted to know all of Jasmin. Damn it, why couldn’t she find the words to say that to her . . . her what? What is Jasmin to her now? Not knowing made her eyes fill with unshed tears as she put pen to paper once again, and continued writing.

 

You think that I don’t love you

You think that I don’t care

You think that I don’t think of you

Every time that I’m not there.

That couldn’t be further from the truth.

How could you think I don’t love you?

I think about you, dream about you.

That couldn’t be further from the truth.

 

Attitudes change, but the love remains

The harsh words and slam of the door,

It doesn’t mean I don’t love you anymore.

Space is all we need sometimes, time apart.

It doesn’t mean I don’t think of you, darling.

It doesn’t mean I don’t care.

That couldn’t be further from the truth.

 

Maybe, baby, we say things we don’t mean,

And, things aren’t as perfect as it seems.

But I do love you, I know it’s hard to believe.

Please trust in me, without you I couldn’t live.

You think I don’t want you, that there’s someone new.

Well, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

No, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

 

Anni read over the words after she finished, wiping a tear from her cheek. She knew she should share it with Jasmin, but was afraid it wouldn’t matter. Nothing would matter until she could open up completely to the woman she loved with all her heart.

 

She heard keys jingle from outside the door, and spun around when it opened, hoping to find Jasmin. The disappointment ran deep as Ayla came in, almost tripping over Anni’s bag.

 

“What in the world?” Ayla glanced at the bag, then up at Anni. “Going somewhere?”

 

“Away for a while. Got a gig.”

 

Dark eyebrows lifted in surprise. “Really? What about planning the wedding?”

 

White, hot pain shot through Anni’s heart. As always, she hid it behind indifference and arrogance. “What about it? Jasmin isn’t putting her career on hold for the wedding. Why should I?”

 

It was snarky, and the words made her feel even worse. Especially seeing the hurt look on Ayla’s face.

 

“Okay. How long will you be gone?” Ayla asked cautiously.

 

Anni shrugged. “Don’t know. Why all the questions?”

 

“Look, I don’t know what your problem is, but the attitude is unappreciated. I was just wondering if you were going to be here to help Jasmin, that’s all.” Ayla passed Anni, giving her a look, on the way to the refrigerator.

 

Anni frowned as she watched Ayla take a bottle of water from the fridge, opening it to take a long drink. She figured she had done enough to help Jasmin. Right out of her life. “Help her with what?”

 

Ayla capped the bottle, turning her attention back to the grumpy Anni. “She has that big meeting coming up with a major fashion store or something. She’s going to have to have samples of all of her work, so we’re going to help her out. I just thought you’d want to be there, too.”

 

Anni’s heart sank even further. Jasmin never mentioned the big meeting. Of course, she had told Anni about strategizing with Katrin. What had happened between last night and now? She slumped down in her chair when she realized she hadn’t bothered to ask Jasmin how her dinner with her mother went. Anni didn’t even think about it. Shit. Jasmin’s career really was taking off. She didn’t need someone like Anni interfering with that success.

 

Anni needed to be Jasmin’s equal. She couldn’t justify the things she had said to Jasmin before about having no goals in life. Not when Anni herself turned out to be the big disappointment.

 

“Yeah, well, I’m sure she has all the help she needs from you gals. I’ve gotta get going.” Anni stood, folding the paper and slipping it in her pocket before shouldering her bag. “Will you tell Jasmin . . . ” she clamped her mouth shut. If Ayla knew Jasmin had broken up with Anni, it would make it real. Anni refused to believe that. “Never mind. I’ll call her later. See you in a few weeks. Take care.”

 

Anni glanced at her and Jasmin’s bedroom. There was no reason for her to leave today. She could stay and work things out with Jasmin. Then again, Jasmin had made it clear that Anni needed to grow up. She hadn’t said those exact words, but the intent was unmistakable. With that in mind, there was no reason to stay here. She would grow up. She would show Jasmin she knew how to be in a relationship without freaking out when things got deep. Anni had to believe that. She had to believe that when she got back, she would be able to convince Jasmin they belonged together. God, she hoped she would finally learn how to communicate what she’s really feeling without letting the anger control her words. That hope and belief were the only things that carried her out the door.

 

***

 

“Jasmin?” Sophie and Katrin looked at each other, then back at Jasmin. It was the third time they had called out to her without a response. “Jasmin!”

 

Jasmin blinked. “Huh?”

 

“What’s going on? You’re like a million miles away.” Sophie placed a hand on Jasmin’s shoulder, squeezing gently. “Everything okay?”

 

Jasmin’s eyes tracked over to Katrin who was watching her intently. “Yeah, I’m fine. This meeting with Ms. Adler is all a little overwhelming.” It was as good an excuse as any, so she went with it. Perhaps if Katrin wasn’t there, Jasmin would have been able to confide in Sophie. But that wasn’t the case. “I just want to impress her.”

 

“Well, it is a bit daunting,” Sophie agreed, sending a slightly disapproving look to Katrin.

 

“Nonsense,” Katrin interrupted. “You have to go big to get anything done in this business.” She came forward, standing somewhat in front of

Sophie now. “You can’t be afraid, Jasmin. You have to show Kiara Adler that you belong in this business. If you meet with her feeling apprehensive and overwhelmed, it’s going to show. She’ll think you’re not ready.”

 

“I don’t know that I am, Katrin.”

 

“You are.” Katrin gestured to Jasmin’s open laptop. “Your designs are getting great reviews. The only reason you aren’t selling more now is

because you’re not exposed enough. Frida can help with that. Kiara Adler is your ticket to Frida. Be yourself, and know that what you’re doing is worth it.”

 

Katrin had never been one to hand out compliments or advice. Not when it came to Jasmin. It was hard to reconcile this Katrin with the ruthless, sell-your-daughter’s-happiness-for-business, Katrin from a few months ago. She wished she knew which one was real. Damn it! She was so sick of people changing in the blink of an eye. It was giving her whiplash.

 

“You’re right, Katrin.” Her tone sounded defeated. Hell, she felt defeated. Jasmin wished that she could just crawl into bed, throw the blankets over her head, and curl up. In Anni’s arms. The instinctive thought almost brought Jasmin to her knees. The last words she had said to Anni, besides ‘I love you’ – which weren’t returned – were ‘I hope you find what you need’. God how she wished she could be what Anni needed. She was so afraid to go home and find that Anni had left. But Jasmin already knew she was gone. She felt the anguish in her soul like a debilitating punch to the gut.

 

“Good.” Katrin patted Jasmin on the shoulder, oblivious to her daughter’s inner turmoil.

 

Jasmin caught Sophie’s eye over Katrin’s shoulder. She shook her head at the questioning look, mouthing ‘later’. Right now, she had to concentrate on this upcoming meeting.

 

To be continued ...

Read from the beginning by starting with Committed

The Planning (Interrupted) is a small, sad interlude.

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