#Leah'sHouse – November 8, 2016

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Vasquez furrows her eyebrows, struggling to keep up as Leah gets going again. "I-... wh-... it's too ear-... I'm not-... of-..." she tries, before giving up and waiting for a better moment to strike. "I'm-... I'm only two weeks along, Leah." she says, unable to help a small grin at the woman's amusing inability to contain her stream of conciousness for even a moment. "None of those things are really... relevant just yet.

Pregnancy tends to take a while, you know?" she says, before deciding to address the other part that was mentioned somewhere there in the middle. "I, uh... I don't really think there is a bachelorette party. I don't-... it's not really my thing." she explains with an apologetic shrug.

Leah frowns, leaning back slightly as she studies Vasquez. "Not really your-... This is a once in a lifetime ordeal!" she says before scrunching up her nose and shrugging, "...At least hopefully it is." She winces as soon as the words leave her mouth and she puts up a hand defensively, "I didn't mean that like-.... You know what I mean. Of course this is going to be a once in a lifetime ordeal for you! I just meant-... you

know, in general. Some people-... Oh my god! My cousin? She has been married three times in seven years! That's, like, a one-marriage-every-two-years average! And there's always a big party and bachelorette party and-... gifts, and-... a whole-...." she trails off as she realizes she's rambling once again and simply sucks in an exhausted breath, "....and you don't really need to be hearing all of this right now." She

gives another bright smile and shrugs her shoulders, "What I'm saying is: You and Jason are perfect for each other and you're never going to get another opportunity for a bachelorette party, Chief! You owe it to yourself to let loose with some friends and have a good time before you take this leap into a lifetime committment! Celebrate!" she encourages. "I'll tell you what... You give me one week and I'll have the whole

thing taken care of!"

Vasquez ' expression changes a couple of times as she tries to keep up. Leah narrowly avoids a scowl as she backpedals. The final suggestion gives her pause, as she hesitates. "I... I appreciate the offer, but I'm not really sure if-... I'm not a... party person." she says, her gaze moving briefly to the window before she grunts and adds, almost in a mutter: "...and... I don't really think I have enough friends for something

like that."

Leah's frown makes a brief reappearance before she shakes her head. "Psh! What are you talking about? Of course you have enough friends! You have-...... there's, ummm-...." she furrows her brow and lowers her gaze. "I know I've seen you talking with Ilyna!" she exclaims, snapping her attention back to Vasquez. "And-... Uhh-..... I think I heard you yelling at Victoria once..." she says in almost a mutter, "What about Kim?" she

asks, tilting her head to the side, "...Or-... Or Tess or whatever her name is-..." she corrects, giving a quick shake of her head, "I heard that her and you and Jason go pretty far back...? And there's me! Hey, it doesn't need to be huge! Just a handful of us. We can pick up some food. Watch a movie. You know. Celebrate. It will be fun! We could even do it right here if you want." she offers with a gesture to her

humble living room. "In case it's not obvious by now, I'm not taking no as an answer..." she adds as a sort of playful threat, accompanied by a snicker.

Vasquez lets out a long sigh, her gaze wandering across the room for a while before she gives a brief, slightly reluctant nod. "I-... fine, but... something small, alright?" she requests, looking back to Leah. There's a subtle hint of a smile in her eyes, hidden under the surface expression of exasperation.

Leah's big bright smile grows, extending to her eyes as she raises her eyebrows as she reaches out and grasps Vasquez' hands. "Great! Perfect! Oh, shit..." she exclaims, releasing her grip on the woman, "I have so much work to do!" she continues, lowering her gaze to the ground as everything she needs to do begins running through her head. "There's this awesome burger place in town! I wonder if they cater..." she muses aloud. "Do

you like burgers?" she suddenly asks, leveling her attention back on Vasquez before seemingly deciding on the answer on her own and rolling her eyes in a 'Duh!' moment, "What am I talking about? Of course you like burgers! Everyone likes burgers! But they're kiiiiiiinda greasey. Is that gonna be a problem? Are greasey burgers bad for the baby!?" she cocks her head to the side, examining Vasquez as if she was the one

who asked it. "We have to ask Halisi. Halisi! She would kill us if we didn't invite her to our bachelorette party! If you ask me, she works waaaay too much and could use some time off to unwind. I'll call her right away and tell her to make some time!" She bites down hard, giving a big smile as her eyes widen, "This is gonna be so fun!"

Vasquez blinks several times, immediately wondering if she may have just made a big mistake. "I-... well-... ye-... right, but-... I-... okay. Right. I'm... sure you'll figure that out. Just-... small." she repeats, empathizing the last word. She seems about to say something else, but stops as Tara reappears in the doorway, peeking into the room curiously. She smirks slightly and looks back to Leah. "I've-... I think I've

taken up enough of your time." she says, and after a moment's consideration she adds: "Thank you. It's good to... talk to someone."

Leah gives a snicker but nods. "Small. Of course." she agrees, seeming to shed a small amount of her previous excitement as she calms down. She gives a shake of her head as Vasquez thanks her. "Don't mention it, Chief. And... likewise. Sometimes it just-..." she shrugs her shoulders, "...feels good to know that there's someone out there who knows what you're dealing with... Understands what you're going through, ya know?" She

offers a warm, friendly smile. "Feel free to drop by and chat me up anytime. Or just for a cup of coffee or whatever. Me and Tara don't get many visitors out here." she says with a glance to the woman in the doorway.

Vasquez nods, slight smile remaining. "You know, I... just might take you up on that." she says before standing up. She turns her attention to Tara for a moment. "Maybe we'll talk another time. Make sure you tell me if this one doesn't treat you right." she says with a nod towards Leah, her tone about as lighthearted as Vasquez can manage.

Leah scrunches up her nose with a look of mock offense. "Heyyy~ I think we get along just fine!" she says defensively, though quite clearly she's not being very serious. She stands from the couch and follows behind Vasquez to escort her to the door, smile still on her face. "But I'd like that, Chief." she says, though something suddenly occurs to her and she brings her hand up to her forehead, "Oh! And congratulations~" she

sings, "On account of the whole-..." she gestures towards Vasquez' belly, "...you know... Baby thing. I can't believe I almost forgot to congratulate you! If creating another living, breathing, thinking, feeling being doesn't deserve a 'congratulation', then what does, right?" she asks. "....So yeah. Congrats!" she repeats.

Vasquez offers a slightly awkward smile, nodding again as she instinctively reaches for her belly, glancing down for a moment as well. "I-... thank you. It's... a big deal, yeah." she says, not finding any more eloquent words. Her smile remains, but there's a hint of nervousness as she nods again. "I'll get going. We'll talk another time." With that, she starts heading for the door.

Tara furrows her eyebrows slightly at Vasquez' words, and then glances to Leah. She doesn't offer a response, instead just stepping aside as Vasquez passes.

Leah nods once more and continues to escort Vasquez to the door. She taps and swipes at the panel to open it for her and then steps aside as the chill begins to squeeze inside. "Stay warm out there, Chief." she advises, already beginning to shivver given her current attire.

Vasquez gives one last nod before zipping up her jacket and exiting back out into the cold, a brief shiver before heading off to the car.

Tara watches Vasquez leave, turning to Leah only when the door closes, awaiting a comment.

Leah closes the door once Vasquez starts towards her car and wraps her arms around herself, giving an exaggerated shivver as she looks to Tara. "Freeeeeezing." she says. As she realizes Tara is awaiting an explanation, she gives a brief shrug. "She just wanted to talk." she says, "Buuuuut she also gave me permission to throw her a bachelorette party! Here!" She gives a quick gesture around the room before realizing Tara may not

know what that means. "A-... uhh... She's getting married! So we're going to have a celebration with her for it!"

Tara listens in silence at first, but towards the end her eyes widen as she stares at Leah. "There's going to be a wedding?" she asks, sounding unusually enthusiastic.

Leah gives a quick chuckle but nods her head. "Yeah. My boss and-... my-... uhh-... other boss! They're getting married in a couple weeks." she explains. "We were invited sooooo~ we're going to have to go and pick out something to wear." She suddenly frowns, scrunching up her nose as she realizes she just made the assumption that Tara would want to go. "I mean-.... if you wantto go, of course. You don't have to go. It's your

choice. I just-..." she shrugs her shoulders, "...thought it might be fun."

Tara nods several times, a tenative smile on her face. "Yes. I want to go, I do."

Leah lets out a noise not too unlike a 'squee' as she approaches Tara and grabs at her hands. "On your next day off then!" she decides, "We can go out and find something to wear. Besides, I think maybe it's about time you got some of your own clothes." She offers a bright smile, "Not that I mind you borrowing mine!" she clarifies, "But you should have your own stuff."

Tara nods, a little hesitant, but excited at the prospect nonetheless. "Okay."

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Linda Vasquez
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