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Caution: Under Construction Chapter 1

 

 

Chapter 1

 

“God damn it! There’s never any fucking parking!” 

 

Sheridan Landers glanced at the clock on the dash, pulled an illegal U-turn and drove her black Corvette onto the sidewalk, making her own parking space. It was almost midnight and time for her to make a grand entrance into her usual haunt. 

 

She checked her hair one more time in the rear view mirror before grinning slyly at herself. “You look fierce, Sher...as usual.”

 

After crawling out of the low car, Sheridan  smoothed her hands down the ass of her tight-fitting Levi’s and shook each leg out, readying herself for another night of fun. Her boots thunked loudly in the stillness of the deserted streets as she approached the nondescript gray doors to the club. She self-consciously looked behind her as she took hold of the handle and, when she saw nobody watching, pulled open the door.

 

The dizzying throb of the bass-laden dance music caused her to blink rapidly and the thick wall of smoke that followed reminded her to light a cigarette. She jumped the three steps down into the club and stopped in front of the doorman, handing him a ten.

 

“Come on, Sher, you know I don’t take your money.”

 

“Just this once, Billy? Please?” She stuck out her lip and made puppy-dog eyes.

 

The bouncer ruffled up her hair, earning him a glare and a smack in the iron-like abs.

 

“Well then, I’ll have to tip really good tonight.”  Sheridan sauntered deeper into the club, stuffing the ten into her pocket. She stopped in front of the coatroom and leaned over the half-door. “Where’s my sugar, Sugar?”

 

The coatroom attendant, Verna, a well past middle-age woman, came out from the back and smiled a motherly smile. “You just like seeing an old lady blush, don’t you?”

 

“Well?” Sheridan puckered up and Verna placed her cheek on the young woman’s lips. “Thanks, Ma.”

 

“You be careful, okay?” Verna called after Sheridan.

 

The club was huge, by Brooklyn standards, and was the only gay disco in the borough that guaranteed a good crowd most nights. There was a large dance floor and a smaller raised stage area where they held drag and strip shows. Up several carpeted steps were two levels of lounge area, peppered with small platforms and tiny tables, which most people used for making out and doing drugs. There was a small patio off the second level, where they sold barbecued hot dogs and hamburgers for a buck in the summer.

 

Once she stepped into the large main room, Sheridan was in her element. Green eyes squinted and adjusted to the darkness. Tonight was Ladies Night, and she was bound to find a lady or two to her liking. Her hips started to move to the music as she scanned the crowds. Pounding beats and blinding strobe lights made her forget everything else; the only thing left on her mind at the moment was dancing. She pushed up the sleeves on her leather jacket and jumped up on the stage.

 

Sheridan was well aware of the many eyes focused on her as she moved to the music. There were plenty of women there and it was a sure bet she had either dated or at least sucked face with the majority of them. The attention drove her on and she danced for her admirers, but didn’t look at anyone; she had a look of determination on her face when she danced, a full concentration reserved for the release that only dancing gave her.

 

A small group of Sheridan’s friends gathered at the foot of the stage to wait for her to acknowledge them. They knew Sheridan went there with an agenda. First and foremost was getting rid of the day’s stresses, and once that was satisfied, the hunt for women began. 

 

Sheridan’s friends were a motley crew. Dawn, the car mechanic, stood five eight, was built like a Mack truck and sounded like the horn when she spoke—loud and obnoxious. Marie, missing her two front teeth as a result of being jumped in a gay-bashing incident, was short and squat. Her job in a pizzeria helped keep her that way. Sharon, the cop, was cocky as all get out but nowhere near as lucky with the women as she made herself out to be. She was a tall and lanky woman, but strong as an ox. In fact, they were all masculine women, since Sheridan couldn’t keep a feminine woman at arm’s length. It was just too much temptation for her.

 

Suddenly a loud shriek pierced through the music and Sheridan felt her body lift off the ground as she was surrounded in a huge bear hug. Greg, her oldest friend and the poster child for queer stereotypes, twirled her around in circles. He stood six two and always dressed in the finest couture, right down to his shoes. They looked like a severely mismatched couple but when they danced together, it was the most amazing thing anyone had ever seen. They liked to brag that they were the only white people in the world who mastered the lambada. 

 

Sheridan loved dancing with Greg; it was like they had an unspoken connection. They fit together perfectly—except when he started voguing. She drew the line at voguing. Old dances die hard in Brooklyn, and that was one of them. The bus stop was another, and it wasn’t uncommon to see all the patrons in the club line dancing en masse to an old, crusty disco song. 

 

That was usually when Sheridan jumped off the stage for a bottle of water.

 

Keefer Gibson swung her long legs off the side of the bed and rubbed her hands over her face. She focused bleary eyes at the bedside clock and grimaced. Two a.m. Fabulous. 

 

Sighing, she stood up and let the blanket drop from her body onto the bed. She looked over her shoulder at the figure sprawled out and snoring on the bed. She rolled her eyes. 

 

Slipping out of the bedroom, Keefer closed the door silently behind her and padded into the den. As soon as she flipped on the light, she heard the clicking of toenails on the kitchen linoleum. Soon an unattractive mixed-breed dog appeared at her side with a well-chewed piece of rawhide in her mouth. “Looks like me and you again tonight, Fifi.”

 

Fifi wagged her bald tail rapidly and jumped up on the futon beside her mommy, turned around a few times, and then plopped herself down in a heap. 

 

“What’ll it be, hmm? News, infomercials, old movies, Nick at Nite?” Keefer flipped through the channels on the television, the dog in her lap more interested in chewing on her rawhide than looking at the screen. 

 

“Oh, look at this, Bob Vila.” Keefer pulled her feet up on the futon and watched the television with interest.

 

Keefer hadn’t always been up at all hours. This was a new development, only starting when Danni had moved in with her. Not accustomed to sharing her bed or her life with another, she started to have trouble sleeping. More and more, Keefer would escape to the den in the wee hours, sometimes falling asleep on the futon with her dog.

 

This didn’t go over big with Danni, who began to accuse Keefer of loving the dog more than her. The arguments should have upset Keefer, but they didn’t, and she found herself agreeing with Danni just to shut her up. This was also a new development. Keefer had never backed down from a fight in her life. Lately, she just didn’t care anymore.

 

Danni was Keefer’s first girlfriend and her first relationship. Keefer had been instantly drawn to the lanky redhead, and Danni was in lust with the tall brunette. When they met at a company picnic, they had both had a few too many and the night had flown by in a haze. Waking up the next afternoon with Danni had been shocking. Losing one’s virginity was supposed to be a wonderful experience, and Keefer couldn’t remember a thing. Events moved fast from that day forward and Keefer just went with the flow. She wasn’t happy with the way the relationship was, but having nothing to base it on gave her nothing to fight with. She believed Danni and her constant chant of, “You have to work hard to make a happy ending.”

 

Keefer wasn’t entirely convinced that she loved Danni anymore. She wasn’t sure if she ever had, but being in her mid thirties, she was afraid to be on her own. Oh, she liked being alone and she craved solitude, but she also liked having someone tell her that she cared about her, loved her. She knew that if she left Danni, there would be no one else in her life besides Fifi. She didn’t think relationships were worth the fight and she wasn’t the one-night-stand type. Sure, she liked sex...it was okay. Danni seemed attentive enough, making sure she was satisfied each time they made love, which was hardly at all anymore.... But the idea of having sex with anyone else, someone she didn’t know, made her cringe. Keefer was a private person. She didn’t like to share too much of herself with anyone. Getting naked in front of Danni was hard enough—exposing herself to a stranger was never going to happen.

 

She knew Danni hated that about Keefer.  She said it drove her crazy that Keefer was so quiet...especially in bed. She would beg Keefer to make some sort of sound to let her know she was doing something right. It took forever for Keefer to reach orgasm, and Danni had adjusted their lovemaking, always tending to Keefer first. If Keefer made love to Danni first, she’d be too tired to see that Keefer reached her orgasm. Keefer knew that her inhibition drove Danni a little crazy. They also never made love with the lights on and never anywhere but in the bed. Nothing out of the ordinary, and no unusual positions. She couldn’t let Danni look into her eyes and watch her come either; she always covered her face as if embarrassed by her orgasm. It had taken a whole year, the entire time they were together, before Danni was able to coax Keefer to straddle her face, and that had only lasted a few minutes before Keefer scooted down and said she was too tired. She suspected that Danni was losing interest in their relationship.

 

Sheridan leaned both elbows on the bar as she waited her turn. The area was pretty crowded, at least three people deep, but the crowd had parted for her. After many winning smiles, kisses on the lips, and firm handshakes, she propped her foot up on the railing and leaned forward to kiss the bartender. Dawn elbowed her in the ribs and nodded in the direction of the doorway. Green eyes followed and spotted what had captured Dawn’s attention. A good-looking Hispanic woman stood in the doorway scanning the room. Sheridan smirked to herself; having a new toy to play with always made her night.

 

“You gonna go for it, Sher?” Dawn’s deep voice resounded in her ear.

 

“Maybe.” She shrugged, but her cocky grin told a different story.

 

“Shit, Sher! Why don’t you leave anything for the rest of us?” Marie complained half-heartedly. She would never have the nerve to go up to any good-looking woman and they all knew it.

 

“Yeah, like you have half a chance, stud,” Sharon teased. She rolled her eyes and fixed the collar of her jacket.

 

Sheridan chuckled quietly and swiped her water off the bar, leaving a five in its place. She slipped through the crowd of women and made her way toward the door and the cute Hispanic woman.

 

“You fuckers are so busy arguing, you let Sheridan get there first.” Dawn’s voice sounded behind her as Sheridan laughed out loud.

 

Sheridan drank down a few gulps of the cold water, enjoying the shiver when the water made a cool path traveling down inside her overheated body. She felt her nipples harden against her white T-shirt and she smirked to herself at the sensation. Sheridan propped herself against the large doorway and waited for the Hispanic woman to catch her stare. Once the brown eyes turned in her direction, she blatantly ran her gaze the length of the woman’s body, letting her know she liked what she saw. When the woman began to blush, Sheridan crossed her arms over her chest and cocked her head, a charming little smile on her face.

 

“So, tell me, are you here alone or are you waiting for someone?”

 

“Alone...and you?”

 

“Oh, I was just waiting for you to get here.”

 

The woman blushed again and smiled.

 

Ha! Sheridan turned her head slightly and winked at her friends. This evening was going to end on a high note.

 

Keefer looked up at the doorway when she heard the heavy footsteps making their way toward the den. She knew what to expect and she sighed in anticipation.

 

“I knew I’d find you and that dog in here. Keef, it’s four o’clock in the morning! You have to be up for work in a few hours!”

 

“Thanks Dan, I had no idea,” she replied sarcastically.

 

“What’s up with you, anyway? Why don’t you sleep anymore? Is it me?”

 

Keefer shrugged, never taking her eyes from the TV.

 

“Fine, be like that.” Danni turned to leave the room, but spun around again. “Let me just tell you one thing, this has got to stop. We hardly see one another during the day and now you run away from me at night. You’re my girlfriend and you belong in bed next to me. Are you even listening to me?”

 

“Yes, I’m listening to you.” Keefer gave Danni a withering look.

 

“Would it help if I let the dog sleep in the bed with us? If that’s what would make you happy, then okay, I give in.”

 

“That’s not the problem.” 

 

She sleeps with me anyway, and you have no fucking clue, Keefer thought.

 

“Well, figure it out, Keef. I’m tired of sleeping by myself.”

 

Danni stormed out of the room and slammed the door behind her. Blue eyes fixed on the closed door as Keefer waited to hear the bedroom door slam too. Once that was done, she laid her head back on the futon and rubbed her face with her hands. “What the hell am I supposed to do?” 

 

Fifi stood up, stretched, and licked Keefer’s chin. Keefer smiled and shook her head. “I’m hungry, Fifi, how about you?”

 

“Last call for alcohol!”

 

“Mmph.” Sheridan tore her mouth away from Maritza’s lips and dug into her pocket. “Want a last drink?”

 

“Sure.” The woman attempted to smooth out her shirt and got up from Sheridan's lap. “Water?” she asked as she took the money.

 

Sheridan nodded and leaned back against the wall. Turning to the left, she looked in the mirrored paneling and shook her head. 

 

What is it with red lipstick these days? She tried to wipe it off her mouth but it was not going anywhere. And what do they make it out of, anyway?

 

“Whew, Sher, she’s a hot one! I thought for a second you guys were gonna fuck right here!” Marie slapped her friend on the back.

 

“Hey, I have some class,” Sheridan said, laughing. “I’m cutting out as soon as Maritz gets back. See you guys tomorrow?”

 

“Yeah, sure thing,” Dawn winked. “Have fun, Sher. You’re gonna have a hard time explaining that face to the guys in the morning.”

 

“Don’t remind me,” she groaned. “What the fuck is in lipstick anyway?”

 

“Who the hell knows? You could probably take it off with paint remover,” Marie joked.

 

“Yeah...like I want that on my lips. Thanks, guys.” Sheridan waved as they took off and smiled as Maritza stood in front of her.

 

“Wanna come home with me, Sheridan?” she asked coyly.

 

“Why the fuck not?”

 

Keefer jumped suddenly and her newspaper went flying all over the place. The homeless man who had awakened her in a highly unpleasant manner continued to blow his trumpet, oblivious to the ugly glare he was receiving. While trying to get her heartbeat back to normal, she glanced around the crowded subway car and found a few sympathetic faces pointed her way. Gathering her paper, Keefer stood abruptly, startling the people around her. They recovered quickly and dove for her abandoned seat.  Keefer squeezed her way toward the door and followed the throng of people up the stairs and out onto the street. She wore a scowl as she stopped at the coffee cart for her morning cup. She was tired, cranky, and had too much on her mind.

 

She took long strides to her office building, stopping only momentarily, as she did every morning, to hand her newspaper to the homeless man who daily begged for change on the corner.

 

“Hey, tall lady, why the long face?” he asked with a toothless smile.

 

Keefer frowned as she turned to look at the dirty man. 

 

You think you got problems. Snap out of it, she told herself.

 

 “Just thinking bad thoughts.” She offered him a big smile in return.

 

“Oh, now there’s a beautiful face,” he grinned. “Thank you, ma’am.” He held up the paper and bowed his head.

 

“Welcome.” She turned and entered the skyscraper.

 

“Daily News, fifty cents!” she heard him shout as the door closed.

 

Once in her office upstairs, she closed the door. She could expect at least a few hours of quiet now that she was in a private office. When she first started her job, they forced her to go out on site to inspect and her superiors were always watching her. Now, she didn’t have to go anywhere and it was just her and research and paperwork...no people. 

 

Keefer winced when the phone rang. So much for quiet.

 

Sheridan pulled her car into a spot in front of Landers and Sons Construction Company. She turned off the ignition and leaned her head on the steering wheel. A yawn threatened to swallow her face, and the tears that sprang to her eyes from the action made her squeeze her eyes shut. She heard footsteps crunching on the gravel walkway and sighed. It was bound to be her brother Steven...always cheerful, always smiling. 

 

Bite me, she thought with a closed eye roll when he knocked on the window.

 

“C’mon, Sher, the old man is waiting for you.”

 

Sheridan opened the door and her brother watched in amusement as she literally rolled out of the low car and sat on the ground. “Coffee. Much coffee. Now,” she grumbled.

 

“Well, what the hell do you expect? If you didn’t run around ’til all hours, you wouldn’t be in this condition.” Steven mimicked their father.

 

Sheridan glanced up through her dark sunglasses and eyed the tall, muscular man. Yep, he was smiling and cheerful. She took the extended hand and allowed him to lift her off the ground and onto her feet. Dusting off her ass, she sighed, which turned into a yawn, and she had to lean on the car with the force of it.

 

“Was she worth it?” he teased.

 

“Yeah.” Sheridan started toward the door of the office.

 

“You know, you’re going to have to explain that stain all around your mouth better than the last time.”

 

 Sheridan chuckled. “I thought the pistachio nut thing worked just fine.”

 

Steve opened the door and gestured for his sister to enter first. She half snorted at the action and smacked him on the shoulder as she entered the office.

 

“Hiya, Sher!”

 

“Hey, Pop.” She made a beeline for the large coffee urn and seriously contemplated sticking her face under the spigot. She grabbed the biggest mug and dumped in sugar, milk, and then coffee.

 

“You are so weird, Sher,” her brother snorted and rolled his eyes.

 

“It’s the lazy way; no stirring required. I figured you’d know all the lazy ways out, Stevie-boy.”

 

“I hate it when you call me that, shrimp toast.”

 

“Eat me, you whiner.”

 

“Okay, that’s about enough from you two.” Mr. Landers shook his finger, signaling the end of the argument. “Sher, I have some good news for you.”

 

“What is it?” she asked, carefully sipping the hot liquid.

 

“I hired a new secretary, so you don’t have to help me out here anymore.”

 

Sheridan put down her coffee, hopped onto and over the desk, and wrapped her father in a bear hug. “You fucking rock, Pop!”

 

The large man chuckled. “I don’t see what you can possibly like about working with those guys.” He shook his head in amusement as his daughter hopped back over the desk. “They’re just pigs.”

 

“We get along,” she grinned. “Can I start working today? I have my hard hat in the car.”

 

“Sure, go on.” He sat down in his chair. “Oh, and hon, I don’t think that color lipstick suits you,” he teased.

 

“Uh...yeah. Thanks,” Sheridan stuttered, hating when her father caught her off guard. “I’ll remember that next time.”

 

“Yeah, be more choosy about whose tongue you suck on,” Steve yelled as she opened the door.

 

“Bite me, Stevie-boy. Love ya, Pop.”

 

Keefer threw her pen across the room. “Damn!” It wasn’t the call she wanted. It seemed the man scheduled for on-site inspections that week had called in that morning with a broken ankle. 

 

The idiot probably fell out of his own shoe. 

 

Keefer would have to fill in for him all week, something she absolutely hated to do, especially in a monkey suit and heels. 

 

So much for peace and quiet, she scowled to herself. She picked up the paper with the job lists on it and frowned even more furiously. 

 

Queens? I should have stayed in bed. I’d have had the whole house to myself. 

 

Now she was even crankier than she was before she walked in. Not owning a car or having the desire to do so, Keefer was going to have to take cabs and/or the subway to these sites. Even though it was spring, the trains were stuffy and the cabs were intolerable with the thick partitions and the safety windows.

 

Shit! She tossed the paper in the direction she’d tossed the pen and narrowed her eyes when it floated slowly down to the desk. She leaned back in her chair and sipped her coffee, stewing at her bad luck. Reaching for the evil paper that she had been glaring at, she looked it over again and sighed. “At least tomorrow I’ll be dressed more appropriately for this construction site.” Just as she was about to get up, the phone rang.

 

“Keefer Gibson.”

 

“Hiya, Keef, it’s me.”

 

“Yeah, Danni, what?”

 

“You ran out of here so quickly this morning, I never got the chance to tell you that I won’t be home ’til at least after midnight tonight.”

 

“Yeah, well, whatever.”

 

“Don’t you want to know where I’ll be?” Danni asked with irritation in her voice.

 

“Actually, no. I’ll see you tomorrow.” Before Danni had the chance to reply, Keefer hung up the phone and walked out of her office.

 

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