Touch

Disclaimer One: These characters are dangerously similar to those in Xena Warrior Princess but no infringement is intended. I am just borrowing them for a little while.

Disclaimer Two: There is consensual sex between women who love each other, a little mush or romance, if you want to call it that, and some emotion in this one.

Things are slowly getting back to normal between Tara and Gab, who try to hold on to that normalcy by celebrating the lover’s holiday just a little bit late. T is still dealing with her own growing guilt tied to infidelity and Gabrielle is trying to open up more. More or less, this is a relationship piece.

Dedications: This one as is all of them are dedicated to my favorite girl. I’ll also send this one out to my favorite list of crazy readers and bards. You know who you are. Gives a high-five to my great new beta reader, Sloane. Oh, and it goes out to those who were dying to hear more about T and G. I know it’s been a while for an R’ Place update. Thanks for being patient while I got lost in Perspectives. Just to play catch up, you all might want to re-read Full of Grace.

Touch

(Tenth Installment in R’ Place Series)

By

Minerva

Copyright Minerva 2000

*****************



The ever deceptive Hoosier sun extended its glowing fingers through the semi-closed Venetian blinds, casting long geometric shapes on the huddled forms in the huge bed. Tara squinted as a ray gleefully flicked back and forth across her face. She murmured defensively and tried to bury her face into the red gold hair of the woman tucked into her back to belly. Unfortunately, she opened silver-blue eyes and blinked rapidly. The damage had been done.

Groaning silently in protest, she refused to let the sunlight break her away from everything. Flexing her arm, she tightened her hold on Gabrielle and smiled at the small moan the action elicited. Carefully, the brunette pulled herself up on one elbow, giving her a view of the sleeping woman. ‘Look at her. She still looks so tired, but at least she slept through the night for the first time in a while.’ Tara closed her eyes and sighed, while sending up a silent prayer of thanks that her lover had--had a dreamless, screamless, and somewhat painless night. ‘She deserves it after all the shit that she went through. This doc seems to be helping her. The nightmares are few and far between, but they're still there to some degree. It seems like ages since she's slept through the night. She comes home sometimes cheerful, other times somber, but she's opening up. I know what that rat bastard said to her. How he made her feel. It's amazing that she carried that around as long as she did.’ Tara thought to herself. Opening baby blues, she peered down at her lover once more. Deciding not to wake her, Tara soaked in the warmth and reveled in the intimacy that watching the strawberry blonde brought to her.

Slowly, she removed the hand that had found a comfortable place caressing the abdominals hidden under the tank top, hopefully finding better things for the appendage to do. She pulled away strands of auburn hair that were caught by moist, parted lips and rolled them between her fingers as she watched lashes flutter against flushed cheeks. The brunette swallowed painfully. ‘So beautiful, and I almost lost it all.’ Tara shivered at the thought. She never wanted to know what that sort of emptiness felt like, but right now, she had never felt so thankful or so lucky. Her hand trembled as she dwelled on the almost. ‘Almost lost you in more ways than one, Red. So stupid.’

Accustomed guilt made her breath come out in a whoosh and her heart flutter. Feeling herself start to panic, she pushed the emotion back with the sheer force of her will. ‘No, I can’t think about this right now. It’s too much.’ Her jaw hardened and clenched with the force of containment, but the thoughts came anyway. ‘Sixteen days. Sixteen days since things have almost gotten back to normal. It’s been more than twice as long since I almost—‘ She couldn’t even bring herself to say the words internally. Bile rose in her throat just by remembering. ‘I can’t lose sight again. You’re what I want, baby. What I always wanted.’ Gentle hands traced from the top of the other woman’s shoulder down to a naked arm. ‘I know you don’t know what happened, but I’ll still make it up to you somehow,’ she vowed. The brunette prayed that it would be enough to atone and get the monkey off her back., but imperceptibly, the claws went in deeper, allowing the guilt to dissipate only to assuredly come back full force another day.

She leaned in and kissed the shoulder that she had been caressing moments before. Rays of sunshine hit her fully now as the sun rose higher in the sky, but the tired, slumbering woman in front of her seemed immune to its brightness. The mechanic absorbed the bright rays and in return, they made her restless. She suddenly wished for the metallic, oily smell of her garage, but knew the extended leave was necessary to get her life back into some semblance of order. The longer she lay, though, the more restless she grew While the warmth radiating off her lover’s body was tempting, her own body screamed for her to get up and get moving.

With the decision made, she gingerly removed herself from the bed, only getting a tiny mew of protest from its other occupant. Spying a rolled ball of socks nearby, she pulled them on and padded down the hall into the kitchen, straightening the shorts and t-shirt that had gone askew during the night. Still able to feel her lover’s ribs even after her mother’s visit and her cooking, Tara figured a hearty breakfast was in order. She smiled mentally going down the short list of things that she could cook. ‘Omelets, spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, and fried chicken.’ The smile turned into a chuckle as she wished that some of Gabrielle’s kitchen magic would rub off without her actually having to learn some of the complicated procedures. ‘Omelets it is then, along with toast, sausage, fruit, juice and that sugar water that she likes,’ she decided.

She paused in front of the refrigerator and pulled it open. Blue eyes blinked as they beheld the meager contents: baking soda, ketchup, cheese that had died and yogurt. Pursing her lips, she closed it again. "Well, I guess that I’ll be going shopping," she said to no one in particular. Glancing out of the window, the mechanic gauged the weather. Already knowing the sun was out, the condensation on the window telling her that it was as cold as it had been all winter even though it was well into February. Silver-blue glanced at the calendar hanging on the fridge with the help of magnets. Tomorrow, the twenty-first was circled to mark their first session together with Dr. White. Nervous butterflies fluttered in her stomach, making her clutch it to stop the busy movement. ‘God, I hate doctors,' she complained to herself. 'I especially hate the ones who play in your head, but if it will help us get through this, I’ll just consider my head ripe for shrinking.’

Active, curious eyes glanced at the calendar again, back tracking a little bit to count how long she had been off work. Her eyes came to a section with hearts instead of a date, and recognition hit her like a ton of bricks. "Oh shit!" Between all the ignoring, screaming and yelling, she and Gabrielle had been doing to each other, Valentine’s Day had passed them by quietly without so much as a whimper. Tara once more clutched at her stomach for an entirely different reason. She felt sick. She had always considered Valentine’s Day to be a special holiday for lovers, and it had a particularly special meaning now that she was actually in love for the first time in her life. "I fucked it up." Then she thought, ‘Well, honestly we both did by getting our wires so crossed that it led to arguments that only pushed us further apart.’

She leaned backward until her back touched the cool surface of the refrigerator. ‘She deserves better than this. I have to do something.’ She stared at the phone from across the room, walked briskly to it, picked it up, and dialed the numbers to her bank. After getting the automated teller, the brunette punched in a series of numbers, waited a few minutes, and hung up the phone with a smile on her face. "She’s going to get Valentine’s Day, even if it is a little late." Tara looked down at her attire. ‘Guess I’ll have to go back to the bedroom and change first.’

After a while, the strawberry blonde started to miss the additional warmth and softness that she was sure was gone. She mumbled and rolled over. Sure enough, the bed was empty. Opening green eyes still foggy with sleep, she almost screeched as the sun hit her directly in the face. Gabrielle turned over immediately, shielding herself with a sigh. One hand reached over to touch the emptiness where her lover had been and glided across the clean sheet where she could feel the residual warmth that Tara had left. Unable to help herself, she moved over to the vacated side and buried her face in the still fragrant pillow. She smiled, breathing in the sweet scent. ‘I don’t know what I’d do without her. Even if I didn’t tell her that all the times when we argued, she’s been the glue that kept me from flying completely apart.’ Gabrielle had wanted to see her friends during all this, but felt she wasn’t ready to face Shannon and Wayne nor wanted them to see her like this. So, she had settled for phone calls and using Tara as her anchor. Pulling herself up to her elbows, she peered down at the pillow and leaned in to kiss where she figured Tara’s cheek would have been. By Gabrielle’s standards, Tara deserved that kiss and so much more. Every night, since her mother had left, the strawberry blonde was still plagued by nightmares that ended in her screaming, and every night, Tara had been there holding her, rocking her like a child, whispering comforting nonsense until the petite woman calmed down. However, last night had been different, but Tara was there too.

The brunette watched from the doorway as the younger woman cuddled her pillow. It was the sweetest thing she had seen in a while, besides the woman’s sleep-rumpled form, causing a grin to lighten her features. She righted herself and made her way into the room. "You know, the real thing is much better." Tara bit her lip in mirth as the younger woman squealed in surprise and ducked when the pillow came toward her head.

"Augh! Must you always walk like a cat?! You scared ten years onto my life," the redhead retorted in mock anger.

Tara’s grin got wider. "Good, that just means more time with you." Blue eyes crinkled with amusement and wonder as she watched joy chase its way across the other woman’s face, leaving her flushed. Now laying on her side, facing the door, the younger woman couldn’t hide the blush, so she bit her lip and let it come.

In a soft voice, she added, "Sometimes, you say things so sweet that I can’t believe that they’re about me."

Picking up the pillow, Tara made her way to the bed and sat down with a soft plop. Silver blue met jade green and Tara reveled in the electrical spark flowing between them. She leaned in closer to the source of the flame, letting it burn her like it had so many times before. "They’re about you alright. You make me say them just by being who you are. Don’t change baby."

Mesmirized by her voice and her nearness, Gabrielle reached up and automatically wound her hand in soft, inky tresses, urging the brunettes face toward hers. She tore her eyes away from sparkling blue to go to an even more delectable sight, full lips. "So sweet," she muttered before pulling Tara’s head down the rest of the way. Moist lips touched and clung, knowing they had found their match. Tongues met softly, reverently as if seeking to savor each touch. Gabrielle sighed in awe of the gentleness the other woman was displaying. It made her feel decidedly cherished. Reluctantly pulling away, Gabrielle smiled up at her lover. "Good morning to you too. Why didn’t you wake me?"

Tara pulled the hand that had formerly been in her hair into her own. "You looked so tired. I couldn’t bring myself to wake you. It’s been a while since you’ve slept through the night."

The younger woman squeezed the hand holding hers. She yawned for good measure. "I’m still tired, and I-I did dream. I just—"

"What? Oh God, I slept through it? Why didn’t you wake me? I told you that—"

"No, it wasn’t like that. You were there this time, in my dream. You were there, holding me, and it was like none of it happened."

Tara closed her eyes feeling old pain return. "I just wish I was really there. I’m sorry—"

"T, look at me." Blue eyes opened to greet her. "You were there. How do you think I survived it? Fought back? I did it for you, for us, and I understand that –that’s okay now. You’re here now too when I really need you, so don’t do this to yourself, not again."

Tara brought their entwined hands up to her mouth and kissed the smaller one. "I know. It’s just so hard. I hope your head shrinker can help me with this."

The redhead smiled softly at the other woman’s use of slang, knowing full well it was the nerves talking. Strategically, she decided not to comment on it but squeezed the larger hand in a gesture of comfort. Unable to hide it, Gabrielle yawned again.

The raven haired woman couldn’t help but notice. "Listen, why don’t you try to go back to sleep. I’m going to go out and pick up some groceries. Our cupboard is bare."

"Mmm, I think that I will, since I’m dreaming of you now. Hurry back. This bed gets cold real quick."

An infamous dark brow raised. "I swear all you want me for is my body."

Gabrielle batted her eyes coquettishly as she snuggled under the covers. "No, I, um, want you for your brain too."

Tara leaned in to kiss the woman on the forehead. "Mmm-hmm. I’m not gonna comment on that one. Let me get dressed, and I’ll be back as soon as I can."

Gabrielle rolled over to her lover’s side of the bed and closed her eyes. "Kay."
********

Tara made a quick stop at a branch of her local bank to withdraw from the ATM. Underway again, she looked at the dashboard as she turned onto the highway, hoping a jewelry store or Terre Haute’s meager excuse for a mall, at least, was open at 10:30 on a Sunday morning. Finally, getting to the mall, she drove around in the parking lot, seeing a few parked cars. "Please, please be open. I need to get her something that conveys how I feel about her." Far on the east side, blue eyes spied a group of three women going through the side entrance. She almost whooped in triumph. Tara parked the car as quickly as possible and made her way inside. One hurdle had been cleared, and she was setting herself up for the next one.

The inside of the mall smelled of popcorn and disinfectant, and she pulled her coat closer to her body instantly feeling the customary cold swirling out to meet her. It was quiet except for the occasional buzz of passerby’s. Workers in the vending area were huddled together laughing, having nothing better to do, and the recent pop phenomenon blared through the PA system. She took it all in and disregarded it as inconsequential.

Tara decided to look at the independent jewelers first but passed by their stands without much success. Everything looked penny ante and cheap. Sighing in exasperation, she decided to follow where window shopping led her. Peeping into every jewelry store, she even mustered enough civility to smile at the curious eyes that looked back at her from the inside. Getting to the last one in a long row, she stood outside and groaned in disappointment. Despite the name, Ingrid and Ida’s, there was nothing that even remotely caught her eye. She stood in front of store window and stared blankly, not seeing at all. ‘Damn it, I knew that I couldn’t make this turn out the way I wanted, especially at the last minute. I just wanted to make this day special for her, to give her something to remember until the next Valentine’s Day where I’ll top this one.’ She ran a hand through her bangs, feeling hopeless. ‘Ah, I can’t do anything right.’ The tall woman was snapped out of her self-pity trek by movement in the store. Soft brown eyes looked back at her from inside the window display. The older woman inside straightened the gold chains on display but looked up to smile into blue. She waved her hand, beckoning Tara to come inside. Feeling it was her last choice, the mechanic went in and was rewarded with an even bigger smile from the elderly clerk. She towered over the stooping woman but felt endeared nonetheless by the white-haired lady who's gentle brown eyes refused to brake contact.

"Let me guess. You’re here for a gift, but you can’t find anything you think your friend would like?"

Tara arched a brow upon hearing the clear, self-assured voice from the old woman, but she answered anyway, not wanting to be rude. "Yeah, that’s about the long and short of it."

"Mmm, do you know what you’re looking for?"

She walked deeper into the store. "Sort of. I mean, I want to get her something that shows that she has my heart and promises that I’ll take care of hers." Tara hung her head to hide the blush and get away from the woman’s frank scrutiny. She looked up again to see the elderly woman grinning fully and holding out her hand.

"I’m Ingrid, and I think that I can help you."

Tara smiled hesitantly and pumped the offered hand in a firm handshake. "I’m Tara. Thank you, but I don’t have a lot of money to spend—"

The clerk waved nonchalantly with her hands. "Don’t worry about that. I was about to put up sale signs. We have them often on the weekends. Follow me." Ingrid led the younger woman to a case that held gold locket pendants and diamond accented hearts that were attached to the most elegant of gold chains.

"Um, Miss-Ingrid, I don’t think that I can afford these."

"Their fifty percent off, and the highest price is about two-fifty."

Tara looked down at the jewelry and crinkled her brow. Each piece looked as though it cost hundred’s more than that.

Noticing the look of hesitation, the clerk stepped in. "Why don’t you take a look and tell me if something jumps out at you?"

Blue eyes scanned the velvet case inside the glass until she came to a heart pendant surrounded by small diamonds with a larger one in the middle. The piece, looking impossibly delicate and fragile, glittered in the harsh fluorescent lighting. ‘Fragile, that’s what her heart is right now, but she’s still so beautiful inside. And, she’s gentled my heart. Almost makes it feel weightless at times. It’s perfect, but it looks so expensive.’ Her eyes glowed with subdued excitement, and in a child like voice, she asked, "Can I see this one right here?" She tapped a long finger against the glass.

The clerk bent over to remove the velvet case. "Nice choice. It caught your eye right away, huh?" With older, wrinkled fingers, she handed off the piece.

Tara looked up, her excitement growing. "I don’t know. It just fits somehow. How much?"

Ingrid quickly pulled the tag off the dangling necklace. "It’ll be two forty six and some change with tax." The older woman was rewarded with a toothy smile from her customer.

"I’ll take it. Will it be extra to wrap this up?"

Brown eyes twinkled in amusement. "No, I’ll throw it in for free."

"Great," Tara couldn’t hide the excitement in her voice. ‘I hope she likes this.’ "I’m paying with cash." Her thoughts continued to turn as she gave the clerk the money. ‘I should get her some flowers with what I have left over. I know she’ll like that.’ Two more hurdles had been successfully jumped. Tara smiled at the clerk one last time before turning to leave with her purchase. "Thanks ma’am I really appreciate this."

Ingrid grinned back with warm affection. "I’m sure your woman will too." The older woman watched as the brunette left the store and jumped a little when a familiar hand encased her shoulder.

"Sorry Idgie, didn’t mean to scare you. What are you smiling about?"

Ingrid looked up at the tall imposing woman that still made her heart melt after thirty years. "Just made a good sale, Ida love, to a very nice woman who wanted to show her heart."

"Mmm, how much of a sale was it this time?" The taller woman tried to hide the grin, knowing her lover’s romantic heart.

"I told her fifty percent , but it was more like seventy. She deserved it though." Brown eyes looked up into gray. "You’re not too upset are you?"

The taller woman bent down and placed a kiss on the other woman’s temple. "I could never be mad at someone who follows her heart."
**************

Feeling giddy and looking forward to the promising day, Tara made it to Kroger in record time. She flashed a brilliant smile at the florist inside the store, making the man fumble with her order that consisted of a dozen roses in as many colors as possible. Gathering himself in the face of such a beautiful woman, the florist finally found his voice. "You know, each color represents a different feeling like a different kind of love?"

Cocking her head to the side, she answered, "I know. You don’t have anyone that makes you feel that way?"

The man’s smile was big and expressive. "Yes, I do for twenty years now."

Paying for the bouquet, Tara added, "Make sure you tell her that." Giving him a wink, she left and rushed her way through the isles. Blue eyes rolled at the length of the check out lines. ‘That’s why there was nobody at the mall.’ The brunette picked up a magazine and thumbed through it. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the next line moving a bit quicker. She put the magazine back into the dispenser and moved her cart to the next lane.

Her breathing stopped as she studied what looked to be the familiar back of the petite blonde in front of her. Her heart roared in her ears and breathing returned high pitched and ragged. Tara whimpered in panic and felt her throat constrict.

Suddenly shaking hands, open and closed into fists as blue eyes darted around in an attempt to look anywhere but in front of her. ‘Oh God, please don’t let it be her! I can’t even remember her name.’ Her mind screamed. The guilt came back tenfold, crushing her shoulders, making her sweat and go deathly pale. The lithe body started to ache from the neck down. She knew Terre Haute was small but not this small. ‘I gotta get out. Can’t deal with this right now!’ Her mind screamed Tara gripped her chest, trying to press her thumping heart deeper into her aching chest cavity. ‘Please don’t see me.’ Guilt and fear ate away at her insides, shooting acid and bile up into her throat. The urge to throw up was overwhelming. At this moment in time, Tara understood what a drowning victim felt like.

’Have to get away.’ Finally, her sluggish brain obeyed, but the jerkiness of her body caused her to bang the cart into the bottom of the metal counter. The brunette backed away in panic as the blonde started to turn. ‘No, no, no!’ The blonde head turned, and brown eyes studied her in confusion. "Ms.? Are you okay?"

Tara looked at the woman wide-eyed and fearful. Eyes were brown where they should have been green, and the face was much older. Shame, embarrassment, and a little relief mingled with the heavy weight of guilt, causing the color to come back to her face in a red splash. Tara blinked in an attempt to moisten dry eyes. ‘This is killing me.’ "Um, thought you were somebody else," she croaked. As quickly as she got the words out, she spun on her heels, cart and all, to head for another lane, hoping to outrun the myriad of emotions snapping at her heels. Still nervous, hands shaking, she almost threw the money at the young cashier, but the feelings followed her out to the car. After throwing everything into the backseat, Tara folded her body into the front. She took deep breaths in an attempt to improve shallow breathing, and it was enough to let the tears come. The brunette cried out before slumping forward in the seat and laying her head on the steering wheel. Hands held onto the wheel in a white knuckled grip.

’Is it gonna feel like this every time I think that I see her? Every time I think about it?’ Fisted hands clenched tighter. ‘I-I can’t do this. It’s going to eat me up inside until there’s nothing left to give her. Oh God, I have to tell her, but not now. Not after all she’s been through. It would kill her, kill us, but I have to tell her.’ She cried out again feeling her heart and soul torn in different directions. ‘I wish that I had somebody to talk to.’ She raised her head and wiped at the tears. ‘There’s Shannon and Wayne, but they were loyal friends to her before me. Jake, but I don’t need him coming down on me. I can’t take anymore.’

Pushing trembling hands through her hair, a dim light came on. ‘Maybe this doctor can help. I have to believe that and try my damndest to make it up to her in the meanwhile.’ Blue eyes glanced toward the wrapped gift in the seat. The words fragile and delicate turned over in her brain. ‘It would destroy her. I have to wait. The doctor will help.’ She leaned back in the seat until her back touched the cushy material. Unzipping her coat, she wiped at her drying face with her t-shirt. Now sitting back, she closed her eyes and hoped that she wasn’t rationalizing, hoped she wasn’t being selfish, and hoped that Terre Haute was a little bigger than it seemed. She sniffled and sat in the parking lot for a few more long minutes before putting the key in the ignition. Somehow, she had put swirling emotions on the back burner because it was time to go home and try to atone.
**********

The empty room was filled with a silent moan. He was there again, snarling at her, touching her, scaring her She wanted to scream but couldn’t find her voice. All words and sounds came out in a dry choke. His imposing body stood in front of her in giant-like repose while she grew smaller and smaller. The strawberry blonde cringed as his laughter rang out. Suddenly, strong arms engulfed her and moist lips kissed her brow in a calming gesture. Green eyes turned to peer into silver-blue orbs that held promises of safety and love. She believed them and in return, got lost in them. Finally, turning back to the snarling man, she saw him shrink before her eyes. His booming laughter was reduced to mouse squeaks and the paralyzing fear left her. In the same empty room, the sleeping blonde smiled, whispered, and burrowed further into the familiar smell.

Breakfast tray in hand with expensive extras, Tara stood at the door watching and feeling torn between wanting to stay and wanting to run. The debate was settled for her upon hearing her name whispered from her lover’s lips in sleep. It became that simple. ‘I stay and fight for her regardless of what happens. I’ll make this late Valentine’s Day memorable and count on keeping the rest that way.’ It was time to swallow the guilt and think about the woman in the bed.

Walking in, Tara sat the tray down on the floor by the bed after removing a red rose from the wrapped bouquet. As quietly and with as less movement as possible, she crawled up on the bed, knees first. After getting as close to the back of the sleeping woman as possible, Tara leaned over her, allowing long, black hair to caress them both. With the rose, she traced an uncovered arm down to the woman’s finger tips, loving the small moan and waiting for green eyes to open. Biting her lip, the mechanic smiled when they fluttered open and bent to a delicate ear. In a low husky voice, she began to sing, My funny Valentine, sweet comic Valentine. You make me smile with my heart.

Fully awake now, Gabrielle’s breath came out in a whoosh as tiny shivers crept their way down her spine at the sound of the other woman’s voice. She turned over on her back and looked up into gentle, loving blue as the woman sang another verse. ‘God, what she does to me.’ Warmth strummed through her body with each note, filling her to the hilt and spilling out through her eyes. Her only hope was that the brunette could feel the love shining in her eyes because for the moment her throat constricted with a well of emotion, leaving her mute. ‘So sweet, and she’s all for me.’ Unable to speak, she just simply smiled a smile that lit up her entire face.

As she sung on, Tara saw the surprised joy light the strawberry blonde’s features, and in return it turned on a calming light inside her chest. Please stay little Valentine. Each day, Valentine. Stay. Drawing the last note out, she finished the song and trailed the rose across cheeks to under the redhead’s nose, allowing her to inhale its fragrance. The flower’s journey stopped at the hollow between collar bones, where it was finally laid aside.

Closing emerald eyes, Gabrielle tried to catch the breath that had left her. Her heart pumped furiously in her chest. Opening them, she reached up with a shaking hand to trace chiseled features, wallowing in their softness. Never had she felt so humbled, so cherished. It was overwhelming to know that she was loved like that. Green eyes glistened with unshed tears, Gabrielle took a deep breath and ended it with a sigh, feeling her heart reluctantly slow down. She swallowed, hoping her voice had returned. "T, why—"

The brunette smiled, now knowing that the redhead, herself, had forgotten the past holiday. "Happy Valentine’s Day, baby."

Green eyes went wide with recognition, and Gabrielle pulled herself up to a sitting position.

"Oh Gosh, I completely forgot!"

Now laying down beside the other woman, she nodded her head in agreement. "I know. I did too, and it wasn’t until I was looking at the calendar that I saw it. I-I wanted to do something for you even though it’s a little late." Her voice hitched and her eyes shined with hesitancy.

Feeling her lover’s plight, Gabrielle took a wandering hand in her own. "You did. The song was so beautiful. Made me feel all warm and liquid inside."

Tara brought the smaller hand to her mouth for a kiss. "I’m glad. I usually don’t sing unless something really moves me, but loving you does that for me." Unable to help herself, she smiled feeling totally charmed as the auburn head ducked to hide a blush and muffle the girlish giggle that came free. Wanting to keep causing that look, Tara disengaged her hand to turn over and pick up the bouquet resting on the tray on the floor. "Um, I got some other things for you."

Gabrielle’s head shot up. "Aww, T, you didn’t have to. I didn’t get you anything—"

Bringing the flowers up, she set them in an unsuspecting lap. "You got me everything I needed. You came back to me, and I just want to show you how grateful I am." Tara watched as the redhead fingered and sniffed perfect petals. "I got different colors to symbolize what I feel for you: passion, purity, friendship, and so on." Her voice was soft and thick with emotion.

Gabrielle felt her heart fill to the bursting point as she looked deep into darkened blue. "You love me like that?" She felt herself swell with wonder and a little fear, to be responsible for such feelings was an awesome task.

The dark head hung. Looking up again, she replied, "Sometimes, I feel so much for you that I don’t know how to describe it. It’s like there’s no name for it." She glanced at her partner through inquisitive blue. "You know what I mean?"

Understanding perfectly, Gabrielle nodded her head. She had been feeling the indescribable since the night they met. "Yeah, I do. I don’t know what I did to deserve you, but I pray that I’m living up to it because I sure as hell don’t want to lose you." She took out a yellow rose and lifted it to the brunette’s face, allowing it to kiss perfect skin and trace over sculptured cheek bones. "You bring out things in me that I didn’t even know was there, and you make everything so. . . intense. Loving you is an experience that I will never tire from. Do you understand what I mean?"

'I guess that's why she's the writer,' Tara smiled to herself. "Perfectly. I’ve never been one to go for flowers, romance or anything I thought would make me soft, but I know that it makes you happy and that makes me stronger. It took me a while to realize that, but I’m glad I did. So, I really do understand where you’re coming from."

For what seemed like the longest time, they lapsed into a comfortable silence that was punctuated by a long gaze. It was interrupted when Tara took a deep breath and realized that there was still the matter of food. "Um, there’s some other things. I made breakfast for you." Reaching down, she quickly put the jewelry box in her pocket and brought the tray up for inspection.

Gabrielle looked at the food in delight. "What no fried chicken?" She asked with a smirk.

"Oh har, har, smart ass. I can make four other things, and you get the omelet. I put a little cheese in there and made you some coffee too. I want you to eat the toast and sausage before it gets cold. We still need to fatten you up."

Feeling totally cherished and endeared, Gabrielle added, "Always looking out for me, huh?"

Not looking away from expressive green, Tara answered with one word. "Always."

After putting the roses in a water filled pitcher she brought from the kitchen, Tara sat quietly with an enigmatic smile, watching the redhead eat with renewed hunger. The slight weight of the jewelry box in her pocket served as a constant reminder. She couldn’t wait to see her face because she knew that Gabrielle thought the flowers were it. The giddy feeling made the mechanic want to clap her hands or even do a jig, but instead, she just sat there and watched.

Gabrielle moaned in delight as the fluffy egg almost melted on her tongue. With her mouth half full, she interjected, "Mmm, thisf is good, butf you’re notf eating?"

Tara grinned in an attempt to hide the chuckle. Her lover was cute in whatever she did. "Nah, I’m okay. If I get hungry, I’ll fix something later. Just wanted to make sure you were taken care of."

The redhead smiled as she chewed on a piece of sausage. "Mm, okay. Mmm, good."

Tara waited until there was a small piece of omelet left before fishing in her pocket. Gabrielle speared it with a fork and proceeded to bring it up to her waiting mouth.

"Gabrielle, I have one last thing for you." Not saying anymore, she just opened the wrapped box to reveal the necklace.

Curious green eyes turned to the other woman as the sound of her name, and the writer plopped the egg in her mouth before looking down into her partner's large hands. Gabrielle's fork fell from nerveless hands as did the piece of egg from her open mouth. With a bemused expression, Tara saw the same piece of food fall back on the plate. Both sets of eyes fell upon the same sight. Feeling a little embarrassed and overwhelmed emotionally, Gabrielle snorted down at the soggy piece of food. A dark brow shot up, and green eyes shining with unshed tears and mirth raised to meet blue. Just as undignified as it was a second ago, Gabrielle snorted again, loudly, followed by a hiccup and a peel of laughter. Unable to help herself, Tara quirked her lips and allowed her own laughter to come. Calming down a little she remarked, "Guess I should have known not to mix anything with food concerning you. Glad I didn’t hide it in the eggs."

The tray and plate in Gabrielle's lap began to rattle as she started chuckling harder. Pale blue met green again, and Tara felt uncontainable laughter bubble up. The laughter roared for several minutes until someone finally looked away. Giggles escaped as they both tried vehemently not to look at each other. After a few more minutes, it died completely but the mood remained. Tara was the first to speak. "Okay, okay, as I was saying before I was interrupted. . ." She peered at her lover suspiciously. " . . I got this for you too. Um, it sort of reminded me of you, of us." She glanced up looking for understanding and a little latitude. With a nod, she got it. "Uh, you know how you like to seem tough, but inside you’re really fragile? This reminded me of you. It’s made out of diamonds and gold. Not cheap stuff. It’s sturdy and looks like it could stand up to anything, but if it’s not taken care of, it could break. Do you understand what I’m saying."

Feeling tears prickle her eyes, Gabrielle nodded and felt them fall. ‘God, she’s so beautiful inside, and I don’t think she even knows it.’

A little shocked by the tears, Tara touched gentle fingertips to her lover’s cheeks to wipe them away. ‘Oh, don’t cry, baby. I didn’t mean to make you cry."

Gabrielle grasped the older woman’s hand around the wrist to keep it there. "I-I can’t help it. You make me so ha-happy," she hiccuped.

Feeling a little relieved, Tara smiled. "I’m glad, Red. Can I put it on you?"

Letting go of her lover’s hand, the petite woman turned around and lifted red-gold off the back of her neck. With slightly shaky hands, Tara fastened it and planted a kiss at the nape of Gabrielle’s neck. She grinned at the answering shiver. "Turn around. Let me see." Through admittedly jaded eyes, Tara gazed upon the most beautiful sight. She fingered the pendant the let fingers trail up to the redhead’s determined chin and over quivering lips. "I love you, Gabrielle."

The writer bit her lip upon hearing her favorite three words, all the better since it ended with her name. Finally, it seemed that some normalcy had returned in the form of their easy chemistry and camaraderie, and for that she was thankful. Gabrielle smiled up into azure eyes. "How does it look?"

Not hesitating, Tara answered, "Perfect. Just like I thought I would. Do you wanna see?"

"You have to ask? Of course I do?"

Tara grinned as she rose from the bed. "Well, hold your horses, and I’ll get you a mirror." After rustling around the room a few minutes, Tara pulled out a hand held mirror. Sitting back down on the bed, she handed it over and watched the other woman’s reaction. The fingers of a small hand touched and traced the heart shape. "Oh my, it is beautiful." Concern suddenly colored her features. "You didn’t pay---"

Tara shook her head and held up her hand, not even letting the other woman finish the sentence. "Don’t even go there because it doesn’t even matter."

Auburn brows drew together and her hand dropped to her lap. "I’m sorry. It’s just that I worry. I don’t want you to spend all your money on me."

Tara grabbed the hand up from the woman’s lap and beckoned green eyes with her own. "Look at me. I wanted to get you something nice, and money doesn’t matter. Besides, I caught in on sale. The sweetest old woman sold it to me. I stumbled into a jewelry store, Ingrid and Ida’s, I think it was called. She was weird but sweet."

"Oh, I know that place those two have been together for over thirty years. Do you think we’ll be together that long?"

This time dark brows came together in confusion. "You mean that shop is run by lesbians?" ‘That explains that weird smile she gave me when I mentioned that the gift was for my girlfriend.’

Gabrielle rolled her eyes. "Leave it to you to get fixated on that one thing, love. You gonna answer my question?"

Tara leaned in and brushed surprised lips with her own. "Oh, I heard you, and yes, I can see us together that long and even longer." Full lips split into a grin, "We’ll be eighty years old, and I’ll still be chasing you trying to get under your skirt." Large frisky hands took hold of ticklish sides, causing the redhead to squeal.

Gabrielle slapped playfully at the brunette’s hands. "Aaargh, I can’t breath. Stop it! You wench!" The hands stopped and the redhead looked up into her lover’s face when she heard a growl. "Um, you beautiful wench?" Slowly, fingers crept up her side, poised for an impending attack. "You beautiful, sexy wench?" She glanced into blue, hopefully. The fingers attacked her full force, making her scream in laughter.

Tara worked her hands with an evil little smile on her face. She was enjoying herself. It had been so long since they wallowed in their playful side, and she hadn’t heard Gabrielle laugh like that in quite a while. It was refreshing, knowing that she could help bring this out of the younger woman. She tickled and tickled until she saw tears stream out of closed eyes. The brunette finished the session with a light caress across the other woman’s abdomen, which afforded her the enjoyment of seeing muscles jump at her touch.

Gabrielle fell back to the bed, heaving in breaths. She giggled for the last time before saying. "I’ll get you for that you. . .you woman!" That alone earned her another chuckle from the tickler.

Tara laid back down beside the shallow breathing woman and propped herself up on her elbows. "So, are you having a good time, Red?"

Finally catching her breath, she sighed and said, "Oh yeah, it seems like it’s been forever since we were able to play and laugh. I’m happy, and I think Dr. White will consider it a big breakthrough for the both of us."

Tara hung her head, feeling a little nervousness return. "I’m glad your enjoying this, but I’m a little nervous about tomorrow. I don’t like doctors, especially the one’s that do what she does."

Gabrielle’s petite form turned over to face her lover. She reached out a hand and captured a lock of ebony hair. "I know you are. I could sense it. I mean, I was nervous the first time I went, but once you meet her and get it over with, it will go a lot easier. Trust me." She leaned in, making their foreheads touch. "What do you think she’s going to do? Suck out your brain and wash it clean?" She asked with a smirk.

Tara gave her a mock glare. "Noo. She doesn’t have one of those couches like they do on TV does she?"

Making her face as serious as possible, Gabrielle replied, "No, but she makes you sit in this circle that looks sort of like a pentagram, and—"

Blue eyes narrowed to slits. Knowing her chain was being jerked, Tara decided on a little payback. Giving a little growl, she palmed the rounded flesh of one of the strawberry blonde’s buttocks. After giving it a good squeeze, the mechanic smiled ferally as she smacked it.

"Owww, shit!" Gabrielle rubbed the affected body part and scowled at the chuckling woman in front of her.

Tara pulled her t-shirt up to hide her face as she continued to laugh. She giggled harder as smaller hands tried to uncover her face. After a minute, it stopped and she peaked out from under the shirt to see green eyes smiling at her. "What’s so funny, Red?"

"Oh, nothing, just enjoying the view."

Tara looked down to see the bottom of her breasts revealed from under the shirt. She glanced back up with a lecherous grin. "Pervert."

"Hey! I'm not the one that goes around grabbing women's asses!"

Tara pursed her lips. "I only grab your ass, sweetie," she said in a saccharine sweet voice. "Listen, are we staying in bed all day? I got nothing against it, but I just wanted to ask."

Gabrielle's smile was slow and sexy. "Oh yeah, we are. Glad you don't have a problem with it. Consider this time. . .a prelude."

Two ebony brows raised. "Oh, really. In that case, let me go hop in the shower. I smell like the mall." She pulled the offending t-shirt away from her body. "Care to join me?"

The sexy smile got bigger as busy fingers followed an imaginary line down flat abs. "I'll think about it. Let me go put these dishes up, and I'll definitely think about it."
*************

Standing in front of the sink, Gabrielle rinsed breakfast dishes as she looked out the window. Green eyes did not really see anything because they were turned inward trying to deal with all the excited emotion within. 'She's so good to me. She stuck with me when I know that I was treating her like shit I couldn't ask for anyone better. The doctor told me to try and talk to her, open up to her a little bit everyday. It was hard telling her the vicious things he said about us. You were so wrong, Steve. She wants me, loves me, and I don't see that stopping anytime soon. I won, and I'm going to keep on winning as long as she's with me.'

Gabrielle fingered the new pendant with a free, wet hand. 'It's all coming back now, this thing we have between us. It was slow going at first, but I feel it. It's here now. I see it when I look in her eyes, when she touches me. We can play, talk, and laugh. I'm so happy to have that back.' She picked up a drying towel and moved over toward the cabinets with the dishes. 'God, what she did today. It was such a surprise. I don't even know how to describe how it felt. She wanted to make this one day special for me, for us, but I think she did that and more. I've never known her to be so eloquent, so gentle. I always said she didn't talk much, but when she does, she makes it go straight to the heart.'

I love her so much for it, and I wish there was some way I could repay her for today. But, I know she doesn't like jewelry or big presents. She's a woman of action. Sometimes it's the physical that she understands more. The physical. I can love her, touch her, show her.'
Gabrielle threw the drying towel in the sink and left the rest of the dishes on the counter before heading back to the bedroom. The tank top and shorts disappeared in short order, finding a place on the floor. Naked, she walked to the dresser to look for something that they should have used a long time ago.

Tara let the warm water sluice over her body, matting her hair to her back. For the first time in a while she felt lighter. The heavy feeling of guilt was still there, but the knowledge that it wasn't going to be her secret anymore, lessened the load. She knew that she was going to have to fight for her when the times come. 'I think that I'm ready.' Lost in her own thoughts, she didn't hear the bathroom door open. It was not until cool air hit her body as the shower door was slid open that the brunette's attention was diverted. A smile tugged at her lips. "So, you decided to join me after all?" Tara turned to look at her lover through the steam. The smile fell and her breath caught as darkened green eyes did a frank sweep of her slick body. Those eyes finally met hers and what she saw in them made her quiver. Tara swallowed and her voice cracked. "Re-d?"

'She wants it already. I can feel it, see it.' The strawberry blonde thought to herself. She took a step forward until their bodies were almost touching, and the temperature in the shower changed from hot to scorching. The air hung heavy and crackled with energy. Taking one hand from behind her back, she reached out to touch. Full lips were first. The writer traced from the outline to the soft flesh within, and her stomach twisted in pleasure when a large tongue snaked out to lick a fingertip. Her breath hitched and turned slightly ragged, but she took another step forward, promoting contact. The enclosed shower echoed with twin moans as semi-erect nipples met and scraped tantalizingly. The lone finger trailed down to the older woman's graceful neck. Tara lifted her head back, letting the water splash against her forehead. The hot water had nothing on the burning her lover's touch caused. The brunette whimpered when the finger then the hand caressed the swell of her breasts. Tara braced her hands on the sides of the shower, and tried to lean back to force greater contact. She cried out when she got it as now fully erect nipples rubbed. "Oh, God, Red," she husked.

Gabrielle watched on loving the display. Even with the wet hair, the flushed skin, and breathy moans, something was missing, and she wanted it all in order to give it back. "Look at me." Tara moaned instead. "I said look at me." The dark head lifted slowly as if the owner were drugged, and the petite woman wound her free hand in ebony hair to keep it upright. Pale blue glinted from under hooded lids, sparkling with the beginnings of need. Once she had her lover's attention, Gabrielle spoke her mind in a throaty whisper. "I need you to do something for me."

Tara knew who had the upper hand and replied breathlessly, "Anything."

"Mmm, good. Say my name."

The mechanic's voice deep and thick as she did what she was told. "G-gabrielle."

The strawberry blonde felt shivers assault her spine. It had been what she was looking for. Where there was a dull thud before, her body awakened with raging arousal. Moisture pooled between her legs, having nothing to do with the water, and her stomach throbbed and knotted in ecstatic waves. "Say it again," she said huskily.

Again, Tara obliged. "Gabrielle."

The younger woman whimpered. It was time to use her growing arousal to feed her lover's, to make her burn, and ache until release was the singular goal She pulled the brunette down toward her and without warning covered the other woman's lips with her own. With a hot tongue, Gabrielle traced and played with her lover's fuller bottom lip, and in sensual precision, she flicked and sucked, flicked and sucked until the mechanic's mouth opened on a moan, allowing her inside wet heat.

Tara was on fire. Everywhere ached and burned, and she had barely been touched. It had been the sensual play of words and a playful caress that left her wanting. As tongues met moistly, she felt her insides clench in pleasure and an answering pulse between her legs. Hot water sprinkled down her back while hot wetness spilled down her thighs. Tongues slithered and dueled for position, and Tara groaned as hers found its placed, being sucked in the other woman's mouth. The kiss went on becoming ferocious, uneven and frantic. The brunette mewed, feeling that she couldn't taste enough or get deep enough. Winding both hands in damp hair, she changed the angle allowing her to sweep her tongue deep. A few seconds later, she whimpered in protest, when she felt the other woman pull back only to cry out as a fiery mouth attached itself to her neck. The little woman was relentless, sucking and nipping until the ebony covered head lolled forward. All too soon, the sizzling source of heat moved away going downward.

Gabrielle reveled in the taste of salty, sweet skin. The way it felt in her mouth, the texture was like the softest of silk, but she wanted more. An eager tongue traveled to the valley in between full breast. Not wasting time or energy, with the pink tip of her tongue, Gabrielle flicked a diamond hard nipple while plucking the other with deft fingers, loving the cry that followed.

"Unngh, feels---" Tara felt the touch reverberate all the way to her dripping center. With each flick, the nodule hidden between slick lips twitched in pleasure. Large hand found purchase once again in damp red-gold strands, urging her, pushing her to deliver more.

Opening her mouth wide, Gabrielle slowly sucked the nipple between her teeth into the warm cavern of her mouth. She moaned, feeling the flesh get impossibly more erect. Addicted, she sucked harder, swirling her tongue around the throbbing tissue. The word, 'exquisite,' rattled through her brain. The taste of her made the strawberry blonde's head swim. She moved from one breast to the other giving them equal treatment. The sounds coming from the taller woman made her lover hungrier, wetter, and pushed her to do more. Wrenching her mouth away, the writer spoke in heated whispers. "Do you know how wet you make me? How much you make me want you?"

Tara reeled loving the sexy game they were playing. She wanted more. Her body demanded it, so she had no choice but to play her role. On shaky legs, and trembling thighs she stood tall, letting the syrupy consistency of arousal pump through her blood. She fought the urge to rub her aching sex against something preferably Gabrielle, and answered, "Tell me. Show me." Narrowed blue eyes glinted with anticipation as she watched on.

With her unfettered hand, Gabrielle traced it down her body, palming a breast and caressing the jumping muscles of her abdomen until she finally came to her goal Making sure azure was locked with emerald green, she dipped two fingers between her legs. She moaned as skilled fingers contacted hypersensitive nether lips and resisted the urge to close her eyes mesmerized by the almost painful look on her lover's face. Circling the dripping opening, she drew from the abundant wetness.

Tara watched on, heaving breath into her burning lungs. It was useless. Each breath remained ragged. She whimpered in reaction to the sensuous moan, wishing it was her hand, her mouth, her tongue. Hungry eyes followed the fingers from their wet nest, and she licked dry lips in silent anticipation. Feeling impish, instead of offering the dripping fingers to her lover as she originally planned, Gabrielle painted her own pink nipples with it and almost smiled at the answering agonizing groan. She held up the breast with the same hand Tara didn't need to be told twice. Swooping down she give the ripe flesh a thorough lick before sucking it deep into her mouth. Gabrielle cried out as pleasure exploded through her body, gathering force between her legs. "Oh yeah, suck it." Renewed wetness replaced what her fingers took away. This was the heat she had missed, the intensity that had been lacking. It was back full force. Devastating, Scorching, and unforgiving. She welcomed it with open arms and baited breath.

'The taste of her. . .I can't get enough.' Tara whimpered in disappointment as the essence of her lover started to fade. She pulled on plump nipples with her teeth and flicked them with the tip of her tongue in an attempt to get it all. 'So wet. She makes me so wet.' She could feel it dripping down her thighs. Her center pulsed and throbbed with raw need, making her press trembling thighs together for relief. She stopped her ministrations, feeling overwhelmed and helpless. Glancing up with needful eyes, Tara raggedly spoke the one word that would ensure a release from this torture, "Please."

Power made her body hum. To know that she could reduce this woman to begging left her ravenous. With predatory eyes, she studied the flush, lithe body. "Mine." Tara simple nodded. "Good. Turn around and hold on to the bar in front of you." She smiled as her lover's body shook in impatience. Stepping to the side and reaching up, she adjusted the shower head to the right. Wanting both hands free, Gabrielle sat Larry in the now empty soap tray. Moving back up behind the her lover, she molded her body to her back, feeling the answering moan more than hearing it. Eager hands reached around to palm full breast, pinching and pulling taut nipples between thumb and forefinger while she branded the brunette's muscular back with her own erect points of flesh. It felt so good to touch her like this, feel her like this that she had to tell her. "God, baby I love them. Love you tits."

Fire shot from her front and back and it only served to make the one between her legs burn brighter and hotter. Tara wanted to rub against something, almost anything at this point. Her hips jerked forward with each tug. Gabrielle could feel her lover's hips undulating forward, knowing the woman couldn't take much more, she gave firm breasts one last squeeze before stepping back and dropping her hands around her lover's slim waist. She used the leverage to kneel down in the slippery shower. Once there, Gabrielle let go and husked out loud enough for the other woman to hear, "Spread them for me." Thighs parted with infinite ease. She kissed the cheek closest to her face and dipped her face between parted legs to inhale. The musky smell of arousal mingled with the unique smell of Tara greeted her, making her mouth water, her heart throb and sex flutter .

With both hands, Gabrielle parted fleshy globes and her tongue wasted no time in finding a home between wet folds. Hips jumped forward as their owner growled in delight and relief while the busy pink member lapped from one opening to the next. The petite woman paused over the puckered orifice and heard the loud intake of breath, and licked it gently then more forcefully as the moans came. Wanting to be thorough Gabrielle returned to the flushed coral opening and slurped at the juices spilling from it. It wasn't enough. She had to have more. Curling her tongue, she speared deep inside her lover and whimpered at the taste, the feel, and the answering scream. Gabrielle's head bobbed with the in and out motion and she freed a hand to reach around past silky black hair to the neglected ball of nerves. Using two fingers, she pressed and rubbed, her own arousal threatening to rage out of control. The redhead clamped her thighs shut, relishing the tremors that traveled all the way to the back of her thighs. Hoping that was enough for now.

Tara's head rolled forward, resting on the cool tile as the water glanced off her right shoulder. Her throat felt raw and thick from screaming, but the pleasure bursting inside her made it all worth it. Her lover's tongue felt a like hot, wet brand against the taller woman's center, punishing it and riding it for all it was worth. The combined pleasure radiating from her clitoris made the mechanic dizzy, and she bucked her hips, striving to increase each one. Words both sexual and vulgar fell from her lips in an attempt to urge things on, "Unghh, fuck yes!"

Retracting her tongue, Gabrielle circled three fingers around her lover's opening while keeping relentless pressure on the erect flesh in front. Feeling bold and naughty, she asked in as clear a voice as she could muster, "Tell me which one you want . . this?" Unceremoniously, she submerged the digits deep inside, curling them to get to the point high and slick, and again the shower stall was filled with moans. Gabrielle continued to whimper at the feel of throbbing, hot flesh surrounding her fingers. She rested her head against Tara's upper thigh as she pumped slow and deep, enjoying the way her lover's hips thrust back to meet each stroke.

"Yeah, baby, harder!" the brunette begged.

The petite woman's inner walls clenched and spasmed in empathy, but reluctantly, wanting her lover to feel the pleasure of both, she pulled out.

Tara almost cried in protest and tried vehemently to retain the fingers by contracting her inner muscles. She had felt so full, and had felt Gabrielle so deep inside that her inner walls now clenched helplessly at the unforgiving air. A minute ago, she had felt ecstasy winding through her belly and shooting out her fingers. Now, there was emptiness. Having no recourse, the taller woman concentrated on the delicious pressure at her front, only to sob aloud when that too disappeared.

Hearing the helpless sob, Gabrielle made shushing sounds as she reached for the vibrator. Silence followed as she brought it to her mouth for a thorough licking. After switching it on to the medium setting, which resulted in a quiet hum, the redhead again parted ample cheeks as far as one hand would allow her. It was enough. She brought Larry up to her lover's exposed vulva and massaged the wet opening. Hoping that the older woman kept track of their earlier conversation, Gabrielle simply asked, "Or this?" Then plunged the well-lubricated toy a third of the way in.

"Oh fuck, yes, deeper."

Gabrielle pulled out to the tip and plunged in again, going deeper. The resulting whimper was like music to her ears. Knowing that after all the torture she had endure, her lover needed a quick release, Gabrielle dipped into firm cheeks with her tongue, searching for the puckered prize. A surprised yelp let her know that she found it. She tongued it with quick firm strokes as she moved the vibrating toy slowly in and out. Jerky thrusts and trembling thighs alerted her to the inevitable, and she increased the speed.

Tara couldn't stop it. The moaning, the thrusting. Lightening shot up her back with each thrust, each lick. She shamelessly tried to open her legs wider but the shower constricted her. So, instead, she bent her knees and settled for promoting harder thrusts, extending the streaks of electricity down the back her thighs. It was too hot, and the raven-haired woman was beyond too wet to sustain the pumping pleasure.

Like all great orgasms, she felt it coming from far away, gathering force until it made a strategic attack from all sides, leaving her open, raw, and aching. In a moment of poised perfection, dark hair streamed Tara's back as she whipped her head backward and time stood still as a final scream reverberated. "Oh, baby, YEAH!" Her body went limp then quivered as pleasure seized her muscles. A white-knuckled grip on the bar in front of her was the only thing that kept the mechanic upright.

Having removed her tongue from its dark home, Gabrielle watched her lover's display in awe. Feeling her own need reach the acute almost painful level, the writer remained coherent enough to admire perfection. She aided it by slowing the accessory to a hesitant hum, drawing the orgasm out until all the other woman could do was whimper and convulse. After a long minute, the redhead stopped the vibrations all together and slowly removed the toy from its moist nest, getting a hoarse groan as a reward. Hungry, needy green eyes peered at the slick toy. Whimpering, she licked it clean, and, needing more, she lapped at the juices between the other woman's unsteady legs. Now that her lover was satiated, Gabrielle's own need became paramount. She gingerly climbed to her feet and leaned against Tara's sweat-soaked back, and turned off the water. After a moment that seemed to span an eternity, Gabrielle heard what sounded like a contented sigh. She continued to wait patiently until she finally heard a scratchy voice, "Red? Baby? I love you." Gabrielle moaned breathlessly and whispered the words back while rubbing her aching body against her lover.

Tara stilled felt like she was floating in the highest level of heaven, but she was on earth enough to hear a tiny whimper of need. Gathering herself, she motioned to the woman on her back that she was about to turn around. Now looking down into burning green eyes, Tara reached for small, fisted hands and brought one to her mouth, placing a gentle kiss on it. Without a word, she led them out of the shower and back into the bedroom where she brought her lover to the release they both craved.

Coming full circle, Tara found herself in the same position that she had been in that morning with the late afternoon sun peaking through the blinds. Sighing, she scratched the naked abs under her hand and smiled at the resulting moan. For the time being, the heaviness was gone. Through touch, she had found solace and contentment. Through this woman's touch she had found everything.
***********************



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