“Jia.” She looks over and sees her girlfriend staring at her. She’s leaning against her as they watch some silly romantic comedy Carly had laying around. Since arriving in San Francisco she’s shuttled back and forth between Jillian and Carly’s places depending on the needs of the moment. She can’t have the people under her in the gang come to Carly’s place. Her college roommate’s willing to let her stay here as long as she needs but she’ll lose it if she sees people like that around. She barely held it together when they went looking for Jillian.
On the other hand, she can’t let her girlfriend see Jillian’s place or the people she’s spending her days with. She’s told her enough that she has a general idea what’s going on but not enough that she has to feel guilty about it. She’s still a cop and if she knew what her girlfriend did two nights ago she’d probably storm out of this apartment and never look back.
“I really like your head. Can I rub it?” Jia can’t help but laugh. She was so nervous about Cassie seeing her bald. She doesn’t like how she looks without hair. She needed to do something drastic though, both to fit in with the type of people in the Delux Gang but also to make it more likely she wouldn’t be recognized by any members of the gang who saw her take them on in Napa when she attacked their favorite bar in the area. She wouldn’t send a picture of herself to Cassie for the first two weeks she was here but when she finally did the girl was nothing but positive. She’s teased her about it but that’s the worst of it.
“No you can not rub my head. Not unless you’re about to let me do something else.”
Cassie smiles. From this angle Jia has a nice view. She tries not to stare though she’s pretty sure the girl wouldn’t mind. Cassie pulls herself up and gives Jia a long kiss. When she settles back down and lays her head back on Jia’s shoulder she says, “We’ll see how the night goes.”
They lay together until the movie’s almost over. It’s nearly six. Jia’s phone buzzes and she grabs it off the side table. She has a text message from Darin reporting that there aren’t any issues today in her territory. Someone from the Five Tails was caught by another member of the Delux Gang but they seem to be staying clear of her areas. She sends a response back and looks away from her phone to find Cassie paying more attention to her than the movie. “What’s up?”
“Don’t worry about it. Just something with my project here. It’s all good.”
Cassie’s eyes don’t look away. “You’re not going to tell me about this project are you?”
Looking at the movie, she feels Cassie reach down and grab her hand. She takes a deep breath and squeezes back. “Not if I don’t have to. I have certain protections as a vigilante that you don’t. If I told you everything I don’t think you’d be able to stay out of it and I need you to stay out of it.”
“Are you sure? I can help. I’m good backup if it comes to that.”
“That’s sweet but I’m not letting you get hurt. This is my thing, my family’s thing. I need to take care of it and I need to know I’m not putting you in danger by doing so. Is that okay?”
Cassie takes her hand and kisses it. “Not completely but I appreciate you wanting to keep me safe so I’ll live with it. Can we go get some dinner? I’m getting really hungry.”
“Why don’t we order in?” Darin’s text puts her at ease but there’s a part of her still worried about retaliation. If they’re seen together Cassie could be in danger too.
Looking Jia up and down with eyes that narrow, Cassie’s smile slips. “I mean, I guess but we did that last night. I was thinking we could see the city. I don’t get over here very often.” Jia looks down, trying to think of an excuse. Nothing comes to mind. “Jia.” She looks up at Cassie. Their eyes meet for a moment but she breaks contact. “How bad is this stuff you’re involved in? I’m not accusing you of anything but I need to know that at least.”
Closing her eyes she says, “Bad. I don’t have a choice though. My brother’s life’s in danger and the girl who’s having his baby is in even more danger. I have to do this and if I do it right, it’s going to do a lot more good than bad.”
“That’s not an answer.”
“I know, but if I fully answer there’s a good chance you won’t want to see me anymore and I don’t want to lose you. Can you please just trust me?”
She meets Cassie’s eyes again and holds her gaze. Cassie blinks first, looking away. “Fine. Will you promise to tell me about if after it’s done?”
Jia nods. “I can do that if you want me to. I’m not sure it’s a good idea but I’ll leave that up to you.”
Standing from the couch, Cassie doesn’t look at her but starts walking back toward the guest bedroom. “I’m going to lay down until dinner gets here. Go ahead and order something.” Jia starts pulling up her phone to find something. She has to fight back tears. This was supposed to be a fun weekend but she seems to be ruining it. Stopping in the doorway, Cassie clears her throat. “After you order, you can join me if you want to.” Dread turning to relief, the search for dinner suddenly becomes a lot more urgent.