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Unknown Forces-Chapter1

“So, sis. What is so important that you needed me to come home straight from work?” Jennifer said as she flung her handbag onto the black leather couch on her way through to the kitchen where her sister, Kelsey, sat at the oak table. Kelsey looked at her nervously, worrying her thumbs with her forefingers. Whatever it was she needed to talk to her about, it was serious.


“Can you hang on a few minutes?” Kelsey replied, a tremor in her normally chipper voice. “I want to tell you and Riley together.”


“Riley?” Jennifer resisted the urge to roll her eyes. Could they not have one conversation without Riley being mentioned? “You’re still hanging around with her?” She could hear the whining in her tone and she checked herself. If she allowed it, she would end up having another argument about Riley, and she wasn’t going to have her day ruined by getting angry. She didn’t know why Riley got on her nerves so much, but she did, and it annoyed Jennifer how much space thoughts of Riley took up her in her brain.


“She’s my best friend. When are you going to stop dumping on her all the time?”


“I’m sorry,” she said as she sat in a chair to Kelsey’s right. She briefly touched Kelsey’s forearm that rested on the tabletop. “I just don’t understand how you can hang around with someone like that.”


“Someone like who?” Riley asked. Jennifer hadn’t heard her walk into the kitchen from the back door. She supposed she should feel bad for talking about her behind her back, but she just couldn’t muster the energy to feel guilty. Jennifer glared at Riley as she rounded the table.


“Oh, no one,” Kelsey said, waving her hand in the air, dismissing Jennifer’s comment. “Pull up a chair. I have some news for you both.”


Riley kissed Kelsey’s cheek, then sat to her left. “Hi, Jenny,” she said as she glanced in Jennifer’s direction.


Jennifer was in no mood to exchange pleasantries with Kelsey’s best friend. She shifted her gaze away from Riley and said to Kelsey, “So, what’s up?” She didn’t miss the hurt look that flashed over Riley’s face before it was quickly replaced with her trademark grin and hooded eyes. No one had the right to look that sexy. Jennifer was irked. No matter how much she hated Riley, she just couldn’t stop from finding her incredibly attractive, in that tall, dark-haired, and smooth-skin kind of way. She forced the errant thought away, focusing back on her sister.


Kelsey took a deep breath, her gaze glued to the table’s surface. “I haven’t had my period for a few months, so I took a pregnancy test. It was positive.”


“What? Who’s the father? You don’t even have a boyfriend.” Jennifer’s voice was louder than how she usually talked as she struggled to keep her shock in check. She didn’t ever expect her little sister to get knocked up by a random stranger. Kelsey could be somewhat naive at times, blindly following Riley around and getting into childish scrapes, but she would never be so irresponsible that she would get pregnant. Well, apparently, she was.


Kelsey looked up at Jennifer. “Do you remember when Riley and I went clubbing in London the other month?”


“That night was awesome,” Riley said.


“It was,” Kelsey agreed. She looked back to her sister. “Well, I hooked up with a guy in the back of the club and I guess the condom broke.”


Jennifer shot to her feet, knocking her chair over in the process, the loud clatter as it hit the floor making Kelsey flinch. “Are you fucking kidding me? Jesus Christ, Kelsey, you’re a bit old to be hooking up with guys in nightclubs.” Her head pounded as her pulse spiked. Things were hard enough for them both right now and having a baby would be a disaster.


“I’m twenty-seven. That’s hardly old.” Jennifer could see her trying to stay calm in the face of her tirade, her eyes blinking rapidly, her hands balled into fists. Kelsey took a steady breath, her eyes locking with Jennifer’s, and continued. “I made a mistake. It’s too late to worry about it now.”


Jennifer turned to glare at Riley and pointed a finger at her. “This is your fault, you know.” Riley’s eyebrows lifted and disappeared under her stylish fringe that slashed across her forehead, her ever-present grin vanishing.


“My fault? What did I do?”


“You’re always dragging her to clubs and bars, making her do stuff she doesn’t want to do.”


“She’s a grown-ass woman. I don’t make her do anything.” She folded her arms across her chest.


Jennifer placed her hands on the table, leaning over and getting in Riley’s face. “I’m just saying if she didn’t hang around with you she wouldn’t be in this situation.”


Kelsey stood, placing her hands out in front of the two dueling women. “Guys, stop. This is no one’s fault but my own.” She glowered at Jennifer. “Riley doesn’t make me do anything I don’t want to. Now, if you can stop bickering for five minutes, I haven’t finished.” She looked from one to the other.


Jennifer righted her fallen chair and sat back down. She used all the willpower she had to not look at Riley’s smug face. No doubt Riley would have loved seeing Kelsey berate Jennifer. She folded her arms and waited for Kelsey to continue.


Kelsey drew in another breath. “After thinking it over for a few days, I have decided I’m going to raise the baby by myself.” She glanced at Jennifer. “I’ll obviously need your help with this, what with Mum and Dad being gone.”


Jennifer rubbed her dry eyes, thinking of how they would work around this new development. Bringing a baby into their family wasn’t something she thought would happen for years to come. Neither one of them were ready to become parents; they barely scraped by as it was. But Kelsey looked determined. “If that’s your decision, of course I’ll be there for you. However, unless you want your baby frequenting lesbian bars and acting like a teenager, I fail to see how Riley is going to be of any use.” She’d gone too far. That was a low blow, even for her. Jennifer never could hold her tongue when she was around her. There was just something about Riley that made her mouth move before she thought things through.


Riley jumped up, placing her hands on her hips. Her cheeks were deep red, her body vibrating. “Fuck you, Jen. You know nothing about me, you stuck-up little bitch.” She looked at Kelsey. “I’ll call you later.” She stormed from the kitchen and out the back door, slamming it behind her.


For a few seconds, Jennifer felt bad about her words. Riley was under her skin, had been for the past few years, and the only way Jennifer could get her out of her thoughts was to hurt her. It worked every time. Her shoulders sagged, and she rolled her eyes. If only Riley would stop coming around all the time, she might be able to get this stupid grudge under control.


“You went way too far this time,” Kelsey admonished. “You need to get off your high horse and learn to get on with her.” Kelsey shook her head. “What is your problem anyway? You know she’s always looked up to you? I always thought she had a crush on you growing up.”


Jennifer snorted. “Yeah, right. She takes great delight in tormenting me.” The thought of Riley having a crush on her sent her pulse racing. The possibility of something happening between them scared the shit out of her. Jennifer had never thought she could be attracted to another woman, it simply never crossed her mind, but something about Riley Blake that captivated her. And she had been on her mind a lot lately. One thing she knew for sure was that Riley hated her, and Jennifer wasn’t too fond of her, either. That didn’t stop her stomach twisting with excitement at the thought of them together. She quickly quashed the idea. But who wouldn’t be a little excited at having Riley all to themselves? She was gorgeous. Heat suffused her cheeks.


“That’s just because she could see how easily she could wind you up. She’s told me loads of times how much she admired you for looking out for me after Mum and Dad died. You really stepped up for me back then and it’s something I will never forget.”


“You’re my baby sister. Of course I was going to look after you. I wasn’t about to let social services split us up.” She took Kelsey’s hand over the table, entwining their fingers.


“You gave up your life for me.”


“It was worth it.” She shrugged, smiling.


Their parents had died in a freak boating accident when Kelsey was eleven. Jennifer was sixteen and had to leave school to get a job and help take care of her sister. With financial help from their aunt they had managed to stay together, and both still lived in their childhood home.


“I think that’s why Riley likes you so much. She never had anyone growing up, apart from her crappy dad, and the way you stepped up for me kind of made her jealous.”


“Well, we’re all adults now and she needs to start acting like it.” Jennifer hated that Riley had never fully grown up. Living in a home with no rules, Riley had always done her own thing. Staying out late, partying. As she got older, she added hooking up with random women to the list of activities Jennifer disliked about her. She hadn’t changed one bit in the seventeen years Jennifer had known her. It didn’t help matters she was jealous of the women who got to be with her, and of Riley being able to do what she wanted.


“You’re never going to get on with her, are you?” Kelsey asked, a frown marring her pretty features.


Jennifer shook her head. “I’m sorry. She just rubs me the wrong way.” Not wanting to talk, or think, about Riley Blake any longer, she changed the subject. “Now, what about this baby?” She had spent years examining her feelings for Riley and it drove her insane. Nothing was ever going to happen between them; she wasn’t sure she even wanted it to. She had more important things to worry about now her sister was pregnant.


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