Under Her Spell 2

Disclaimer One: Any likeness or use of the characterizations of those in Xena: Warrior Princess do not belong to me but the MCA/Universal Pictures. Everything else including the story is mine!

Disclaimer Two: This story contains lesbian sex (uh huh, that’s what I said). If it is not for you don’t read cuz your eyes may burn. There is also use of harsh language, but dammit, don’t we all use it once in a while? Furthermore, be prepared for what is large amounts of violence, at least for one of my story’s. Oh, and one more thing. This is sort of a hurt/comfort piece—sort of.

Dedication: To Camille (Catt) my own little kitty, who Catt is affectionately named after, and thanks again to Steph. Oh yeah, throws a wink at Celine. I didn’t forget about you.

The love scenes were inspired by DeAngelo’s song How Does it Feel? For those who haven’t heard it or don’t like R&B, you don’t know what you’re missing.

Under Her Spell
(Part II)




Deciding to take Tara’s car, the other one was pulled into the garage. Now driving quietly on the highway, Tara discreetly glanced at her lover from the vantage point of the driver’s seat. ‘Something's up. I just know it, and she’s not going to say anything.’ She looked again and sighed, deciding to take the initiative.

"Red? You gonna tell me what’s wrong?" She studied the auburn haired woman, splitting her attention between the road, and watched the red head hang then look up.

’I didn’t want her to worry, but after all, there is nothing really to worry about is there?’

"Uh, it’s nothing really. Just ran into a guy I used to date a few years back. He always used to give me the creeps then, and he gave me the creeps today. Made me a little uneasy is all. No biggie."

Tara creased her brow, knowing instinctively that something was missing in the confession.

"He didn’t hurt you did he?" She asked with worry.

"No, no nothing like that. He was just strange and possessive."

"Okay, you sure? You know you can tell me anything, and you still seem a little unsettled."

"Na, I’m okay now. Just needed some extra curricular activity."

Tara could see her lover’s wiggling eyebrows even in the darkness of the car.

"Yeah, there is that. Glad I could make you feel better, even though I didn’t do any work."

"Ah, but you enjoyed every minute of it."

"Oh, hell yeah."

Gabrielle laughed as her good humor returned.

"Now, tell me what you really feel," she replied.

"I think I have a little fiend on my hands," came the darker voice mixed with mirth.

The younger woman peered through the semi-darkness.

"Hey! No you didn’t Ms. when do we get to use Larry!"

"Nuh, uh, I didn’t say that."

"Oh, yeah, must be that other woman I sleep with."

"You’re not one to talk. Weren’t you asking if a harness could be adjusted to fit you little Ms. Dainty?" Tara asked with a smirk.

"Uh. . . . I did say that didn’t I?"

"Unh, huh. Pervert."

Both laughing out right, Gabrielle reached over to slap an arm in the darkness. Tara hiccuped as the last vestiges of laughter dissipated.

"So, how did the book signing go?"

"Eh, it was fun actually. I got to meet the most interesting people."

"Baby, I think they think of you as the interesting one."

"But, yeah it’s still a big thing to be able to touch people’s lives like that."

"Mmm, must be great to share a talent like that with everybody."

"Yeah, it is. Sorta makes them a part of it too. It’s some feeling."

"Sounds like someone has just as big a heart as she does talent," Tara smiled into the statement.

"Ah, I think you’re a little bias, " Gabrielle said turning toward the window.

"You’re blushing right now aren’tcha?"

"Uh. . . . just a little," they young writer replied with squeaking voice, causing Tara to laugh again.

Tara bit her lip, trying to taper off the laughter when she felt green eyes glaring.

"Uh, we’re almost home," she said sweetly.

Turning onto their street, the brunette noticed two cars in the driveway.

"Well, well, looks like Lil has company. I’ll have to park on the street."

Gabrielle turned to look into her own driveway. "Catt?"

"Yeah, unless your sister has decided to expand her horizons already. You Howard women do work fast."

Tara guffawed at the mock glower and moved out of the way of the impending smack on the arm.

"Ugh," the writer said in exasperation, "will you ever learn to behave?"

"Nuh, uh. I’d be boring," Tara said with a toothy grin.

"Never. Let’s get out of the cold."

Caitlin kissed the forehead of the woman she was rocking, trying to soothe the pain that was there. The older woman heard a little whimper as Lil leaned into the kiss. The blonde’s elegant hands stroked dark curls, continuously. Lil sniffed and hiccuped as tears ebbed away. Lifting her head, she looked into gray eyes intently. Caitlin gazed back unblinkingly. Voice hoarse with tears, the brunette spoke, "Love you, so much." Her voice revealed the ache, the need to be with this woman. With slightly shaking hands, she traced sculpted features as if memorizing them.

"So beautiful. Unbelievable."

Traveling hands ended up around a graceful neck, caressing gently. Catt swallowed. She had never seen that look in another woman’s eyes concerning her, until now. A look of pure adoration, devotion, and need. It scared and exhilarated her at the same time. Not knowing what else to do, she tightened her embrace and hoped her eyes belayed the love she felt. Lil shuttered as she felt inexplicable need course through her body. She had to show this woman how much she was loved in one of the only ways she could understand, the physical. Soft, small hands moved from neck, over chin, to caress high cheek bones. The brunette watched red-tinted lips with hunger burning in her gaze.

Fingertips finally landed on moist lips, touching and tracing. The sensitive pads paused to learn every crease, every curve. They tingled as hot breath flowed over them from the partially opened mouth. Wanting to feel the heat inside, Lil pushed with her fingertips, hoping her lover’s mouth would open. She whimpered in frustration when it didn’t. Catt swallowed again. Her own body quivered at the little sounds coming from her lover’s throat. She felt thighs squeeze the outside of her own. Blue and gray gazed at each other with scorching intent. They needed this. Knowing that, red lips parted, permitting entry. The reaction was immediate as she tasted the sweet, salty tang of skin. Her breathing turned ragged, whooshing out over her lover’s hand.

Lil whimpered again, feeling the warm moistness enveloping her flesh and wondered if being inside this woman would feel like this. She cried out as the warm cavern began a sucking motion between catchy breaths. Catt’s hands bunched the material of her lover’s shirted back, hoping to gain some control before it was all lost. Gray eyes became heavy and hooded, and foreheads touched as breaths mingled. Lil could feel pressure building as well as arousal between her thighs and struggled to keep her hips still. She lost that battle as they undulated forward, experimentally, with a mind of their own. Catt moaned harshly at the sensual act. Control quickly became a thing of the past. Exquisite hands slid down to cup buttocks, urging her lover’s hips on.

They both moaned harshly as clothed hips meshed together, torturing but pleasing all at once. Lil’s finger came free of it’s moist prison, and she traced full lips with the wetness. She leaned in and flicked her tongue over waiting lips, loving the dark moan that resulted. Tongues met moistly outside of lips as hips sped up at the erotic act. Lips brushed and lifted once, twice before they settled into a hot kiss. Hungrily they drank from each other, knowing possibly that time was short and distance could make it shorter.

Small hands glided into blonde locks, deepening the embrace. They sipped and swallowed each moan and whimper. Larger hands dug into the clothed flesh of her lover’s behind, egging her on. The gyrations increased as kisses became uneven, and breathing became impossible. Lil moaned loud and long, causing them to miss hearing the car pull up outside. Bodies moved frantically against each other until they heard the jiggle of the door. Lil tore her mouth away and jumped from her lover’s lap like a shot, landing in the seat beside her. Caitlin blinked once then reached out for the woman. Lil slapped her hands away as the door opened. They both turned toward it with eyes wide and full of surprise as the other women strolled in.

Tara raised a dark eyebrow and suppressed a smirk. The tension in the room could be cut with a knife. That and the women’s swollen lips were big clues that they had definitely walked in on something. Her mouth quivered with the effort not to smile. Oblivious, Gabrielle walked in behind her lover.

"Hey you two. You have fun today?"

Tara covered her mouth as she choked back the laugh. Caitlin flushed, and Lil shot daggers of death toward her friend with a penetrating gaze. Unable to stop herself, she removed her hand and chuckled.

"Uh, I think they were about to before we came in."

Blue eyes widened as they looked into a lighter set of blue. Tara ducked as a pillow flew over her head, but she didn’t miss her lover’s playful slap on the arm. Gabrielle ‘tsked’ the taller woman then went to go sit near the other couple on the couch. She touched the red faced Caitlin on the arm.

"Don’t mind her. The blood just returned to her brain."

A fair brow shot up, and she turned to her former lover with a grin. Tara smiled back sheepishly.

"Uh, Touché?"

Two more pillows were hurled in her direction as she twisted her body to escape them.

"Damn okay, okay I give!"

She walked around the couch and sat heavily in the chair. Gabrielle smirked and winked at her sister.

"Sorry bout this. Should have called first."

Lil grinned back, finding her lover’s hand.

"It’s okay we were talking, and things got carried away."

Catt turned to look at the young woman indulgently. Gabrielle touched the blonde on the arm again to get her attention.

"Uh, I know we didn’t start off on the right foot, but is it okay if we give this another shot?"

The strawberry blonde smiled, and Caitlin was charmed. That damned grin was infectious, and she found herself smiling back.

"Bygones," the tall blonde replied.

"Good. Now, back to my original question without the innuendo," she scowled at Tara who stuck out her tongue in reply. "Behave you."

Lil answered, "Oh yeah, we had fun. You should have seen her. She loved the puppets, and she loved Catt."

Three sets of eyes centered on the blonde.

Tara chimed in, "Did she call you boo boo too?"

Caitlin raised an elegant brow at the woman. Lil smacked her lips.

"No dear, you’re her only boo boo. Don’t go getting jealous Big Blue."

Tara smiled goofily, causing her lover to roll her eyes. Caitlin chuckled softly, "Buuut, I did hear about another nickname."

Lil squeezed the hand she was holding then glared.

"Ah, you’ve discovered Sparky’s secret?" Gabrielle interjected.

"Sparky?!" Tara choked out laughing. "That’s your nickname? I’m loving this."

Lil pursed her lips, "You’re laughing, and you’re the one named after a bodily function?"

Caitlin hid her smile but decided to add her two cents, finally feeling comfortable around the crowd.

"I, for one, think it suits you."

Tara looked at the blonde through squinted eyes as Lil laughed beside her.

"Uh huh, I was right when I told you that this woman was rubbing off on you."

She pointed at the other brunette. Gabrielle glanced up in confusion, "When did you two find the time to talk?"

"Oh yeah, I didn’t get a chance to tell you. She dropped by the shop earlier today."

Lil looked over at her lover in surprise, trying to hide the stab of jealousy.

"Uh, I needed some advice about Jamie," the blonde said in her own defense.

"Oh, okay." The wisps of jealousy obliterated. She looked over at Tara, smiling and glad there were getting along. The tall brunette grinned back, including Caitlin in her gaze.

"Speaking of Jamie, where is that niece of mine?" Gabrielle asked.

"She conked out before we even left the library, so I put her to bed."

"Ah, oh well. Hey anybody want something warm to drink?" Smirking, she looked over at her sister and Catt. "Uh, maybe you two need something cold?"

"Oh God, Gab, you need to behave. Come on I’ll help you," Lil replied.

They disappeared into the kitchen, leaving Catt and Tara alone. The younger woman leaned back in her chair.

"So, how did it go?"

Caitlin sighed. "Well, we talked. You were right by the way. I felt like an ass suggesting she come with me. The closest thing we could come up with was me coming down on the weekends, for now anyway," the older woman said sadly. "I really don’t know what to do. My job has been my life for so long. I just need some time."

"Ah, that weekend thing is gonna be hard. It’s gonna bother you both after a while."

"I know, probably."

"Can I ask you a question?" Tara asked.


"Is she your life now?"

"Who, Lil?"

"Uh huh."

The blonde paused then said softly, "Yeah, she is."

"Then think about that as your commuting back and forth. Give it some time and really think about it."

The blonde smiled warmly. "You know, we make better friends than lovers."

"Yeah, we do don’t we. I think it’s because we’ve both changed."

"Yes, could be. Thanks for the advice, again."

"No sweat."

Gabrielle thumped her sister on the back lightly as they walked into the kitchen.

"I’m really sorry about earlier. I didn’t think—"

"Hey it’s okay. Ugh, just glad it didn’t go any further before you walked in."

"Oh my eyes would burn out!"

Lil smirked at her sister.

"Smart ass."

"Uh, huh. You two want soda or cocoa?"

"Cocoa will work, and thanks Gab."

"For what?"

"I really appreciate you two making friends. It means a lot ---you two mean a lot to me."

Pulling her younger sibling into a quick hug, she replied, "Tch, that’s what we’re here for silly. Now let me get this boiling and find the cocoa."

She found the container and shook it.


"What is it?"

"I’m all out. Soda it is then."

"Oh, that’s fine. Let’s get back. I know they’re in there talking about us."

"Yeah, my ears are tingling."

Steve didn’t remember going to sleep as he raised and pivoted to a sitting position on the couch. Her touched finger tips to his mildly throbbing temples and pushed himself up and smiled despite the pain. He had work to do. The blond man glanced at this watch. It was just past 8pm, and he was sure a florist was still open to start making arrangements to get Gabrielle back in his life. He fished out his credit card and picked up the silent phone off the floor, putting it back in its cradle. After a few seconds and finding the number in the phone book, he dialed. Making his voice as cheery as possible, he responded to the woman’s soft announcement of "florist."

"Hi, I was wondering if you could help me?"

"Sure sir if I can."

"I would like to make arrangements to deliver pink roses to my girlfriend everyday, starting in the morning."

"Yes, we can do that right over the phone if you have a credit card and her address."

"Yes, I do."

He smiled to himself, hearing the clapping in his head. Hanging up the phone, he headed straight for the living room closet. Before long, a small pile formed on the floor, and he sighed in exasperation. He had to find his camera. "Ah, there it is. You’re still so beautiful Gabrielle. I just want to look at you." He strolled into his bedroom, heading straight for the mirror. One by one he removed old pictures of some girl he just couldn’t remember. "Wait till you see how much I love you." After cleaning off the mirror, he stretched and yawned as tiredness settled in. Setting the camera on the nightstand, he removed his shoes and pants, leaving his t-shirt and boxers as he crawled into the bed. ‘That’s right we need to get some sleep. We have a woman to go see tomorrow.’

Lil hugged Jamie close as sleep slowly claimed her with her body still humming from the kiss she shared with her fair-haired lover. Things hadn’t gone exactly how she planned, but she knew Jamie and Catt would get along. That was one good thing. A word reverberated through her head. Weekends. She closed her eyes and sighed. ‘Maybe I shouldn’t settle and give her an ultimatum.’ She shook her head inwardly, knowing that would send the skittish woman running the other way. Weekends. Two days out of the week that should would get the chance to hold, to touch, to see her. It wasn’t enough. Her heart contracted with a burst of pain. It wasn’t enough, but it was all they had right now. ‘Maybe she’ll see that we are what’s important now.’ She hugged her daughter again and fell asleep knowing she would have to pack tomorrow.

Tara crawled into bed behind her lover, molding the smaller form into her body.

"Mmm, you feel good."

"So do you," Gabrielle replied.

There was silence for a moment as they both got comfortable.

"So," the petite woman started to say, "how do you think they’re doing?"

"Honestly? I don’t know. Caitlin told me that her job has been her life, and I imagine that’s hard to just let go and turn yourself over to someone emotionally instead."

"Yeah, probably, but you know Lil’s not gonna go anywhere. She’s in it for the long haul."

"Yeah, I gathered that."

She nussled into the red blonde silk.

"How are you doing? Still spooked by your ex?"

Gabrielle shook her head and exhaled.

"Ugh, we only went out three times. That does not a boyfriend make."

"Oh so you didn’t. . . "

"Oh hell no, ick! Not with him. I probably would have never gotten rid of him then."

"Okay Red, just wanna be sure. I don’t want you scared."

"No, I’m okay really. He doesn’t know where I live or anything, so I don’t think he could pop up here."

Tara stiffened but tried to hide it. ‘Was the guy that bad?’ She lay there listening to the deep breathing of her lover, worry etched in almost non-existent lines of her face. It would be a long time before she joined the other woman in slumber.

Caitlin ran her hands through her hair as she stared at the plane tickets. A couple more days, and she would be gone. She stared at the news on TV, not really seeing it. She could see Lil off, but unfortunately, the favor couldn’t be returned to her at the airport. The blonde swallowed. All she had to do was quit her job to be with the woman that had changed her life. That alone scared her. Lil made her feel so much. There was no way to control it. No way. Her job was the one thing she could control. Nothing but skill was involved. No feelings. No emotions. Was it worth it? Two days. That would be all they had together each week. Two days. Her heart, her body wanted to see the younger woman every day, but her head was trying vehemently to control the two. ‘Which one should you listen to?’ Her conscious asked, knowing either way there were emotional consequences.

The occupants were jerked awake by the ringing of the phone. Gabrielle peered at it, squinting in the dull sunlight. She then turned over and buried her head into warm, welcoming flesh.

"Phone," Tara whispered sleepily.

"Uh huh, so," her lover responded, causing a throaty chuckle.

Tara ignored the noise too, closing her eyes and hunching down into the covers.

Lil threw back the covers and glared at the still ringing phone, realizing that it hadn’t been picked up in the other room. Snatching it up, she said a crisp ‘hello.’

"Lil, is that you honey?"

The woman sat up quickly.

"Oh, hey mom. How goes it?"

Great sweetie. How’s my grandbaby?"

Lil chuckled, "Right here beside me snoring."

The older woman laughed, "I wish I had the chance to talk to her Christmas."

"I know Mom, and I’m sorry about that. I told you Gab had a house full, and we weren’t exactly at our best. That’s why I called you first thing the next day."

Lil knew her mother was rolling her eyes.

Honestly, when you two of you get together, and I bet Tara doesn’t help. I bet the three of you just find trouble," her mother said in mock sternness.

Lil chuckled again, "All I can say mom is that life is never boring around those two." Trying to change the subject, she added. "How’s Dad?"

"He’s fine, and I realize that you’re trying to change the subject." The smirk could be heard in her voice.

"Nuh uh, Mom, I wouldn’t dare. Do you want me to bring Jamie by when I get home?"

"What do you think? Of course I do!"

Laughing, her daughter replied, "Okay mom, will do."

"Hey, is your sister up?"

"I don’t think so. I think she would have answered the phone otherwise."

"Oh, okay tell her I called. I can’t wait to see you two. Missed you."

"Missed you too, Mom. See you late tomorrow afternoon."

Lil hung up the phone and sighed. ‘Ugh, home and parents. How long can I keep this secret with Catt coming to see me every weekend? Damn, this could get messy.’ She said to herself. Getting up, she padded to the bathroom as thoughts of a certain blonde filtered into her mind. They had one more day together, and she knew that they had to make it count.

Gabrielle groaned as the lanky form of her lover tried to untangle herself.

"Nooo," she said whining.

Tara chuckled, "I gotta go to work Red."

The strawberry blonde tried to hold on tightly. "Nuh uh, it gets cold when you leave."

A dark brow raised. "Uh, are you trying to say that you’re with me because I keep you warm?"

Sleepy green eyes looked up.

"Uh huh, that and the thing you do with your tongue."

Jade eyes opened wider as she saw the look in baby blue’s. She was in trouble.

"Uh. . . "

"Oh, no. You’re digging yourself a hole here," Tara said smirking.

"Uh,. . . I love you?" The smaller woman said meekly with puppy dog eyes, hoping cuteness would win out. It didn’t. Using her stronger body, Tara flipped her lover onto her back. Gabrielle looked up and swallowed. Raising both eye brows, she smiled sweetly.

"Uh, I love you a lot?"

Tara grinned wickedly, raised her hands dramatically, then dropped them, as fingers began to run over sensitive sides. The tiny woman squealed as she tried to buck the taller woman off her. She gasped and giggled uncontrollably.

"Hey. . .no. . . . fair!"

Small muscular legs kicked in the air as laughter shook her small frame. Tara laughed along, loving the sight of her lover at play.

"Oooo I give. I give!"

"Nuh uh, not till you say that I have many skills!"

The petite woman laughed at the exasperated look on her lover’s face. Tara growled and pounced again.

"Come on, not gonna stop till you say it."

"Aargh, you have many skills!"

Tara smiled as she took her hands away. She leaned in for a quick kiss. Gabrielle continued to giggle as she caught her breath. The brunette jumped up heading toward the closet. The smaller woman sat up watching the lanky form of her lover. Her eyes glinted with mischief.

She called out, "I still think the one with your tongue is the best---oof!"

She dived to the other side of the bed as a balled up t-shirt sailed by her head. Tara called back, "Smart ass!" The still laughing woman looked up at the knock on the door.

"Hey, you two decent in there?"

Gabrielle replied to her sister, "Nope, T’s naked come see!"

Lil opened the door and looked around the room, finally seeing the t-shirted and boxer clad brunette near the closet. She wagged her finger at her sister.

"It isn’t nice to lie. I’m telling mom."

Gabrielle shrunk back in mock horror.


Lil glanced over at Tara who shrugged.

"She’s in smart ass mode this morning."

The woman in question answered, "Uh huh, don’t you just love it?"

Lil rolled her eyes at Tara then glanced back at her sister.

"When you come down from whatever you’ve obviously been smoking, can you keep Jamie? I’m gonna go spend the day and uh," she coughed, " night with Catt."

Gabrielle beamed, "Ooooo, you want to borrow Larry? He hasn’t been used."

The brunette’s face colored a bright red, causing her sister to cackle happily. Tara walked over sitting on the edge of the bed.

"Behave you." She threw up her hands and smiled. "Oh, I’ve always wanted to say that to you."

Gabrielle scowled at her lover who just grinned back.

"Anyway, I don’t have any plans. Sure, I’d be happy to. Say when is Catt leaving?"

"The day after tomorrow."

"Ugh, sure you can’t stay just one more day? Don’t you want to see her off at the airport? When do your classes start anyway?"

"Not till next week, but I need to go to late registration."

"Aww, come on. I know you can probably do that over the phone. Stay with us one more day. Come on."

Lil stared at her sister then at Tara who looked at her hopefully.

"Well--- I guess I could. One day wouldn’t hurt. Oh, I almost forgot. Mom called. She says hi to you both and wishes for us to stay out of trouble."

Gabrielle moaned, "Oh how sweet. She doesn’t know T well enough. That girl is a magnet. We can’t go out without something happening."

"Hey! You help."

The little woman made a kissing noise at her lover.

"It’s okay baby. I still love you. Now, get up and out. You’re going to be late."

"Okay, okay," she headed toward the shower.

Steve sat patiently in the rental car with binoculars hanging around his neck. He calmly attached the zoom lens to his camera and checked the film. ‘You get to see the joy on her face when she learns how much she means to us. Trust me,’ the disembodied voice whispered. Her grinned and moved the gold locks from his boyish face. His brows drew together, seeing the two cars in his Gabrielle’s driveway. ‘Too many friends,’ he thought. ‘All she needs is me. She won’t need them anymore.’ He whistled as he reclined the seat to get more comfortable.

Looking at his watch, he sighed. ‘Not long now.’ The blonde haired man jumped up when a tall, dark woman came out the door, heading for the car parked in front. He briskly appraised her tall, lanky form and dismissed her as no one of consequence.

Gabrielle sipped her juice and peered at her sister over the rim.


Sitting the cup down, she answered, "I meant to ask how are things between you and Catt?"

Lil hung her head a little but just enough for her astute sister to notice.

Let’s just say it didn’t go how I wanted. We’re gonna do the weekend thing. It will have to be enough for now."

The older woman covered her sister’s hand.

"Hey, it’s better than nothing, and it may be all she can give right now. Hang in there. You’ll both be where you want to be given some time."

"God, I hope you’re right. I need her so much."

"I know. Boy, do I know."

Lil gave her sister a small smile.

"I’m glad you talked me into staying an extra day. I would love to see her off at the airport."

"Uh huh, I know."

"Mmm, well Ms. Know it all. What else do you know?"

"Oh, a little of this and a little of that. You know me."

"Yeah, I do."

They both looked up in acknowledgement of the ringing doorbell. Gabrielle frowned slightly. "I wonder who that is this early?" She smirked. "Probably your little kitty."

"Nuh uh, I doubt it."

"Well, let me get the door. Be right back."

The petite woman pulled the door open and frowned outright at the delivery boy standing on her doorstep.

"Uh, can I help you?"

"Yeah, Gabrielle Howard?"
br>"Yeah," she said confused.

"These are for you."

Gabrielle stared down at the pink roses not noticing the teenager waiting for a tip. He hummed impatiently and walked back toward his van when nothing was forthcoming. The strawberry blonde smiled slowly, knowing the roses were from Tara. She took out the card to read. The bouquet fell from her shaking fingers as she grasped the small piece of paper. Scanning it again, she looked around frantically, panic showing in her features. He knew. He had found her, and with just a sentence, he had wiggled his way back into her life.

I knew it then and I know now. We belong together. I won’t let you go. ----Steve

She tore the card into small pieces, letting them scatter in the cold wind and looked down at the flowers in disgust. Picking them up, she heard Lil approaching.

"Hey, who was it?"

Gabrielle cleared her throat, hoping her voice wasn’t shaking like her insides.

"Uh, delivery guy with flowers. He got the wrong address."

Lil glanced at her sister, sensing something was wrong almost instantly by the way she was avoiding eye contact.

"Uh, okay. You sure?"

"Dammit! Isn’t that what I said?!"

’Okay something is definitely wrong, but I don’t know what. Strange.’ "Calm down. It was just a question."

The older sister rubbed the bridge of her nose and blew an exasperated breath into the air.

"Look, sorry. Why don’t you give those to Catt? I’m sure she’ll love them. I’m going for a shower."

Shoving the flowers in her sister’s hand, she walked away without another word. Blinking rapidly, Lil stared at her back. "Wonder what put her in such a shitty mood?" Closing the still open door, Lil headed back to her room.

Steve almost jumped with glee as his lens clicked, catching the beatific smile on Gabrielle’s face. ‘See told you she would like them.’ He watched on as the flowers fell to the pavement along with the torn up card. Anger quick and seething boiled through his blood. How dare she reject his gift! He continued to observe as she gave the roses to the other woman. He hit the steering wheel with a fisted hand, not feeling the pain. ‘Calm down. The floral shop made a mistake with the card. They must have. There is no way she would reject us. No way!’

The man rubbed his temples at the dull ache. He bit down on his lip drawing blood, trying to detract from the pain. ‘Yes, yes, that must be it.’ He picked up his cell phone to call the florist, promising himself that he would make sure the woman that took his information was fired for making the mistake.

Gabrielle stood under the shower head, steeling herself against the ice cold blast in an attempt to ease the panic and fear from her veins. It worked for the most part. Able to think again, her mind intervened. ‘It was just flowers, but he does know where I live. Still, given enough time, he’ll figure out that I’m not interested. He has to. This is my problem. My past. I can’t worry T with it. This will pass. I just have to wait it out.’ She shivered as she turned the knobs, stopping the flow of ice. Feeling that her head was clear, she exited the stall to get dressed and apologize to Lil, telling her something. Anything.

Lil opened the door to her bedroom and smiled affectionately at her daughter tangled up and playing in the covers.

"Hey you!"

The little girl squealed at the sight of her mother, making the woman laugh.

"You ready for bath time? How’d you like to take a bath with mommy?"

Jamie squealed some more as if she understood.

"Good girl, let me call your new friend first to wish her a good morning."

Lil sat on the bed near her daughter, who immediately stared using her back as a ladder. Picking up the phone, she looked over her shoulder and grinned into the eyes so much like her own as she dialed a familiar number by heart. After three rings, the phone was answered.

"Hello?" Catt said groggily.

Lil beamed welcoming the warmth that spread through her at the sound of that voice.

"Mmm, you sound sexy in the morning."

There was a light chuckle, "And you sound sexy all day long. Wish you stayed with me last night, seeing as though you’re leaving pretty soon."

Lil smirked into the receiver. "I’m not going anywhere. I’m all yours, and I’m even gonna see you off at the airport."

The blonde shot up out of her bed surprised. "Oh, really." Her voice deepened becoming huskier. "When can you come over?"

The younger woman bit her lip at the rush of arousal that flooded her body. "Uh, as soon as I get Jamie situated. Gab is going to keep her for me."

Feeling disappointment simmer through her, Catt replied, "Oh, she’s not coming?"

"No, did you want her to? I thought we could spend the day alone together go to lunch and dinner later, but she’ll be there to give you a kiss at the airport."

"Oh, okay that’ll work."

Jamie chose that moment to be heard.

"Ma brrrr!"

Lil giggled, making Catt grin.

"I suppose that’s her now vying for attention?"

"Oh yeah, she’s crawling all over me!"

"Brrrrrr!" The little girl said in response to being talked about."

"You want to talk to her? I bet she’ll recognize your voice."

"Uh, sure put her on."

Lil picked up her squiggly child, placing her on her lap. She put the phone to the small ear and rolled her eyes when the toddler tried to lick the phone. Caitlin waited until she heard someone breathing to speak.

"Hey J. How are you sweetie?"

The girl turned her head to look at the phone as if wondering where the voice was coming from. Catt repeated herself. The child’s eyes widened, recognizing the voice.


The blonde laughed. She could get hooked on this kid. She really could. Lil took the now wet phone back, laughing herself.

"See, told you. She’s mommy’s smart girl."

"Aww, you two make quiet a pair."

Lil bit her lip again and smiled.

"No, it’s the three of us now."

There was a brief silence.

"Yes, it is," the blonde executive replied with a voice full of emotion.

"Hey one more thing before I go give the little terror a bath."

"Sure, what’s up?" She said after clearing her throat.

"I love you."

The lump returned, taking the older woman’s breath away.

"God," she whispered softly, away from the phone. Bringing it back to her ear, she said louder, "Love you too. I’ll see you later."

"Okay, bye."

Lil stared at the flat toned phone goofily. She loved throwing this woman off guard, knowing she was the only one who could. With a quirky smile on her lips, Caitlin shook her head as she hung up the phone. ‘She does that on purpose.’

Tara moved her lover’s car from the garage to the street in front of her shop just in case she actually got some work today. She sighed as she walked back into the quiet garage, heading to the office. She had a feeling that it was going to be another slow day, having already called her employees to tell them not to bother coming in. Just then and there, she decided to do a little cleaning up and knock off early to go be with two of her favorite women, Red and Jamie.

The tall woman smiled to herself. She loved watching the two of them together, knowing that her lover would make an excellent mother. She shook raven locks, accepting that this was something that had been shooting across her mind for awhile. Nothing would be more perfect than for them to complete their family with a child. Hands filtered through hair to get the back of her neck, scratching. She blew out a puff of air.

It was scary, as hell, and represented a lot of responsibility. Would she be able to maintain the shop everyday and raise a baby? There was no way she was going to put the bulk of responsibility on her lover, just because she was home a lot. She had a dream, a career, she loved also. The thing was to decide which was more important to them both, and if they had room in their lives right now. Her thoughts strayed to Jamie, knowing that she was the reason for this reverie. ‘Look at Lil virtually doing it all by herself, and she's raising a great kid.' Tara leaned back in her chair and propped her feet up as she watched people walk by. It was all too much to think about without some advice from someone unbiased. Leaning forward, she picked up the phone and dialed her brother’s number. After a couple of rings, he answered.


"Hey Jakie, what’s happening?"

"Oh, nothing sis, just laying around the house relaxing before the show tonight. What’s up with you?"

"Bored as hell. It’s been slow for the past few days, and it’s giving me a lot of time to think let me tell you."

One of her brother’s dark brows raised. ‘Uh oh, something is up.’

"Hey, you okay? You and Red aren’t fighting are you? You two seemed fine when we moved you in."

"Whoa, no, no, everything’s fine there. It’s just that Lil is leaving in a couple of days and---"

"Ah, and so is Jamie?"

"Uh, damn you’re quick. How did you know?"

"I’ve seen you around her. I can see you love that kid."

Tara smiled into the phone and her voice softened, "Yeah, I do. I haven’t been around children in a long time. I miss it."

Jake's other eyebrow shot up.

"T? What’s going on here?" He said worriedly.

There was a few seconds of silence.

"Uh, well, I’ve been thinking maybe somewhere down the line of having children of my own. I mean I’m not getting any younger, and Red has been hinting at it," she said nervously with a slightly shaking voice. "I think she is the one I want to start a family with," Tara said quickly.

She swallowed and waited. Where he had been standing before, Jake plopped down on the couch.

"Whoa, me an Uncle Jake? I wonder. Have you really talked to Red about this?"

"Well, not really anything concrete, but the issue has come up. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean right away. We just discovered each other, so I’m talking possibly a year down the road."

"Hmm, you know what sis? I say think about it some more and talk it over with Red. Then go for it. I’m behind you."

"You think? The only thing is that I wanna be there for my child everyday. I won’t do her like mom did us. She comes first not after my job not anything."

"Yeah, it’s a good thing I had you growing up. I don’t know what I would have done otherwise. You really have been thinking about this."

"Oh yeah, I don’t want my kid to grow up like we did you know? I was worried before with everything going on in the world. Why bring a kid in it, but after watching Lil with Jamie, I’m convinced with the right home and love it could turn out alright."

"Mmm, you know what I say to that sis? Go talk to that woman of yours."

Tara smirked, "Yeah, I was thinking about closing up early anyway. Thanks Jake."

"No problem sis. You listen to my problems and support me on whatever. It’s the least I can do."

Tara grinned into the receiver. "Yeah, speaking of which, how are things going?"

"Oh, what can I say? I’m hot again. With the new year comes a whole bunch of curious people, so I’m booked up. So far so good."

"Uh, huh, should have known you would start packing them in again sooner or later. You know if you still want to go back to school---"

"I know that you’ll help me out. It’s still heavy on my mind. I haven’t forgotten about it."

"Good for you."

"Yep, thanks for supporting me. Oh yeah, and thanks for introducing me into your little clique. Shannon and Wayne are something else. We’ve been hanging out a lot, and they come to most of my shows."

Tara laughed, "I knew those nuts would like you. I’m glad you guys are becoming friends."

"It’s nice to have the right friends for once, not backstabbing gossips."

"Yeah, tell me about it."

Tara looked up at the jingle of the doors as a potential customer walked through.

"Hey Jakie, I’m gonna have to let you go. Looks like I may have a customer."

"Okay, T listen, call me and let me know what happens."

"Okay I will."

Hanging up the phone, she gave the man a small smile.

"Can I help you sir?"

The sandy haired man turned to the woman.

"Na, just looking. Always wanted to see a Harley up close and personal. You got some I can look at?"

Tara rolled her eyes heavenward. 'Great a non-potential customer.' "Sure."

After a long boring hour, the man finally left. The brunette sighed in relief. She drove her lover's car back in the garage, locked up, and put the closed sign on the door. Home is where she needed to be.

Gabrielle took a deep breath to steady herself then walked out of the bedroom, heading for the living room. She could hear the sounds of play between the little girl and her mother. The older woman had already though of an excuse for her behavior that even sounded lame to her ears. It was simple. She was upset that the flowers weren't from Tara. Yep, lame it was. Gabrielle made it into the living room and smiled down at her animated niece, who was clapping along with the song on TV.

"Hey punkin. You ready to spend the day with Auntie Gabby?"


"Uh huh we're going to have some fun together. " Lil looked on at the exchange, smiling. Gabrielle glanced up at her sister with what she hoped was a sheepish expression.

"Listen Lil, I didn't mean to take my mood out on you earlier. It's just that I was a little disappointed that the flowers weren't from T."

Lil's eyes raked over her sister's expression. It was a likely story that didn't really make sense, but it was obvious that she wasn't going to tell what was going on. Biting her lip, Lil nodded and smiled tremulously.

"Okay Gab, if you say so."

"Thanks, I appreciate this."

Trying desperately to change the subject, the older woman examined her sister's appearance. She took in the black slacks, beige sweater, and her countenance that seemed to glow. The look was understated and casual, and it fit her perfectly.

"Oooo, you look nice. All made up. Love the new lipstick. It looks good on you."

"You think so? I thought I would do some experimenting with the color." 'Nice move Gab, changing the subject.'

"Well, trust me you look good. So, what do you guys have planned?"

"Oh, I 'm gonna go pick her up, and we're gonna have lunch at the same restaurant as our first date."

"Oh, fancy. How romantic."

"Mmm hmm, then we're gonna go to a matinee. Anna and the King is still playing, and I've been dying to see it. Then back to her hotel for some chit chat and dinner later. After that, who knows." Lil wiggled her eyebrows suggestively.

"Ah, sounds like a full day. Lucky you, and I bet it's going to be a full night." She raised a russet eyebrow and smirked. "Sure you don't want Larry?"

Lil smiled wickedly, "I'll call and let you know if I need to come pick him up."

Her older sister's mouth snapped shut as she glared. "God, I just some weird pics in my head." She shook her head. "Eww, I don't want pics of you like that rattling around in my brain." She shook it harder.

The brunette lightly slapped her sister on the shoulder as the both laughed. Jamie looked up at the two women and began giggling too, making them laugh harder. After a minute or so, Lil's mirth tapered. "Okay sis, I'm gonna get out of here." She wrote down a number on a nearby piece of paper. "Here is the number to the hotel just in case something happens."

"Okay, okay get out of here will you. We'll be fine. See you tomorrow."

The brunette bent to kiss her daughter and wave bye. In return, Jamie raised a chubby hand and wave it into the air, slowly, trying to mimic her mother. Lil grinned, "That's my smart girl." Slinging a small bag over her shoulder, she blew a kiss and was out the door. The flowers were forgotten.

Steve sighed and watched as another woman left the house. 'I wonder if she's alone now or if she'll come outside soon?' He studied the other brunette with the same dismissive eyes. His jaw worked with mounting impatience as he scanned the outside of the house for further activity. The blond man's heart fluttered when he saw a curtain move to the side. He snapped up the binoculars quickly hoping to get a peek. He wasn't disappointed. His breathing hitched as his heart thudded pleasurably against his ribcage. Red gold hair gleamed in the mid-afternoon sun, taking his breath away. He saw painted lips form into a smile and felt lightheaded, knowing she was smiling at him. Only for him. Just as suddenly as she appeared, she retreated. 'So beautiful. All for us.'

Steve made a contented murmur in agreement with the voice. 'We have to see more. Go to her.' "Yes, yes," he said aloud. Grabbing his camera, he got out of the car and ran across the quiet street. The man scanned the perimeter for nosey neighbors. Then, ducking low, he ran briskly to the side of the house and breathed a sigh of relief to see the curtains pulled back, giving him a clear look inside.

Gabrielle returned to the living room after disposing of the roses in a garbage bag. Sitting on the couch, she giggled and clapped along with the little girl bouncing in her lap. She loved spending time alone with Jamie, especially now that they were leaving soon. Calling before breakfast, their mother had a fit when Lil told her that they were staying an extra day. She hadn't let her oldest daughter get a word in inch wise when she told her that she convinced her younger sister to stay. She shook off those thoughts. Looking at the child did remind her of Lil, but the dark hair and blue eyes made her think of another brunette also. 'This is what her child would look like if she decides to have children,' she said to herself. 'She would make a great mother. We would make even greater parents. God, we need to talk about this T.'

Thinking of her lover brought up feelings of guilt. She had promised not to lie again, but this wasn't a lie really. 'It was just a way of protecting her from one particularly nasty chapter in my life. She knows about it, but there is no reason for her to get involved in something that's not even relevant.' The strawberry blonde refused to admit to herself that simply having someone to talk to about this would go a long way in alleviating her growing fear.

She leaned her head against the back of the couch and scrunched her brow. The hairs on the back of her neck prickled, causing chills to curl down her spine. It was like someone was watching. She glanced up toward the uncovered window as a precaution. Seeing nothing, her wariness persisted. Keeping her eye on the window, she turned the TV down and tried to quiet Jamie, in hopes she could hear if someone was out there.

Steve tried to control his breathing as it came deep and heavy. He didn't want her to see so soon. He looked down at his camera and checked the film again. She was so beautiful. Her had to get a few more shots. She seemed so natural with that baby, who he could only assume belonged to one of the dark haired women. 'That could be our baby. Our family.' He closed his eyes envisioning a pregnant Gabrielle, round, soft, and vulnerable. Another picture came. It was one of Gabrielle holding a tiny blonde capped head to her breasts in an attempt to nurse his son. Her cut off a whimper as arousal shot through his blood, making him hard and thick.

Opening his eyes, he tried to shake off the mental picture and regain control. The man scooched over to get a better positioning, wincing a little at the pain of his arousal. Raising himself to his knees, he peered just over the window sill. Positioning his camera, he snapped freely, shuddering constantly as his engorged penis refused to deflate. 'She will be ours soon, and she'll welcome us in every way.' His mouth opened in a silent moan as he continued to snap picture after picture.

Gabrielle cocked her head to the side, thinking she heard a tiny click. She waited for the noise again, but it didn't come. Scolding herself mentally, the writer tried to rid herself of the paranoia. 'He's not here. He's not here,' she told herself over and over again. Looking down at the playful toddler, she tried to shake off the eerie feeling by rejoining the play. After a few minutes, her even temper returned, but no enough for her not to jump at the sound of a car outside. Getting up and placing Jamie on her hip, she went to look out the front window. A slow smile spread its way across her face upon seeing the form of her lover unfold herself from the driver's seat of her car.

"Look Jamie, boo boo's coming."

The little girl squealed and smiled, showing pink gums and two small teeth. Opening the door, Gabrielle grinned at the dark woman.

"What are you doing home?"

Tara bent to give a quick kiss to her lover before responding. "Oh, I don't know. I got bored so I decided to come home and play?" She smiled toothily as she ruffled Jamie's hair

"Why by all means, come in and play!"

"Why yes ma'am!"

"Boo boo!" Jamie almost screamed in delight.

Tara took the little girl from her lover's arms and swung her around as she entered further into the house. The two of them ended up in front of the TV, their favorite place together. Gabrielle sat on the couch behind them watching, loving, smiling as Tara clapped and sung along with the Sesame Street theme.

Heat and pain shot through Steve's head and the anger sifted through his veins. His erection was forgotten. She had kissed her. The voice screamed in his head, feeling the betrayal. His hands sunk and dug through the soft, cold earth. Was it their baby? He had seen it on TV. The perversion of it. Sick and unnatural. Leaving him had confused her. she seduced her at her weakest moment. Bile rose from his belly to his throat, filling his mouth with sour acid. Where he was smiling before, he could feel the hard set of his chin as his teeth ground against each other. The grinding added to the throbbing pain in his head, making dull spots appear before his eyes. He growled inwardly.

The sound slowly forced its way outward turning into a viscous animal snarl of pain, of betrayal. Hands dug and dug into the soft earth, overturning worms and weeds. The sound in his head was deep, throaty, and evil. 'Take her. Make her ours in every way. We must do what we need to do. She belongs to us. We must think.' A quiet calm settled over him. He knew what he had to do now. Extracting his hands from the soil, he gathered his belongings. Crawling to the edge of the house past the window, he straightened and walked slowly to his car.

Caitlin opened the door to the restaurant, letting Lil pass first. The cool blonde was as chivalrous and courteous as the next person, but as she stood back and watched the woman proceed her, she admitted to herself a selfish reason for doing it all. She simply liked watching the young woman glide across the room. It was everything. It was the soft foot falls that belayed an economy of motion as well as infinite patience. It was the gentle sway of curvy hips that arced through the air from one side to the other, creating a seductive dance. It was the swing of round, muscular yet delicate shoulders that signified confidence and presence of mind. It was the bounce of chestnut curls that released a rich, sweet scent she had yet to identify at each step and turn. It was all this individually, in combination, and more that made Caitlin crave this woman, need this woman, give into this woman.

The blonde licked ruby lips, hoping to retrieve the taste of the brunette still on them. She closed her eyes, remembering kisses of welcome that had turned to fire as their lips met, having already been hungry in self-imposed absence. She still tasted the whimper as tongues danced and lips devoured. As well as, feel smaller hands than her own tracing over her sensitive scalp. Abruptly, she was yanked from her reverie. Gray eyes looked around for the disruption then smiled when she saw it.

"You coming or are you gonna stare all day?" Lil asked with dark brows raised over violet eyes.

Stormy orbs gleamed wickedly as a slow smile formed. "I can do both," she replied as they walked further into the restaurant, removing their coats.

Strings had been pulled, so the couple received their usual table. After being seated, Lil busied herself, trying to ignore the intensity in the gray gaze. The depth in them made her feel naked, exposed, and wanting. Finally, she looked up into the storm, swirling with emotion. Catt gave her lover a small smile at her acknowledgement of her and began to speak.

"I'm feeling. . . . rather intense today. I don't mean to rattle you."

Blue met gray as Lil took the larger hand in her own.

"It's not that completely. What I mean is that I didn't want to get lost in them. Do you understand?"

Catt shook her head.

The younger woman sighed, "Uh, when you look at me like that. I can't control the way I act. I cant control anything not even my body. It throws me off when we're in public. I'm not sure I want people to see what you do to me."

The older woman was silent for a moment. Eyes looked downward onto the table. Looking up again, she spied the waiter coming towards them. As he reached the table, she replied to her lover's comment.

"Let them see. Let them be jealous. I won't hide you, and I feel too much for you to keep it inside. . ."

The waiter tried to turn a deaf ear the conversation but failed. Her looked from one woman to the other, feeling like an intruder. He turned to leave but heard a velvet voice command him.

"No, stay. Give us just a moment."

He glanced at the women confused. Neither one had looked his way, so he was unsure of where the command came. Staying in his spot, he continued to observe. The blonde's other hand covered their already entwined ones, and their gaze never broke. Her could feel the electricity surrounding the women. It teased him; caressed him; and almost aroused him. He could see it now, the blonde was about to speak, and he listened to see if the voice was familiar.

Caitlin traced her lover's wrist with the pad of her thumb, cherishing the pedal soft skin. If it was possible, Lil watched gray eyes become more luminous. They beckoned her. Biting her lip, she waited for the sentence started so long ago to be finished. Finally, it was.

"I love you, and you know what that means coming from me."

"Unable to speak, deep blue flashed in acknowledgement. It was enough for her. Caitlin turned toward the waiter, who looked remarkably flustered. He peered down at her.

"Uh, w-would you like to know the s-specials ma'am?"

Catt glanced quickly at Lil, noticing the woman's attempt to hide a smile. She followed suite, thinking the young man would bust a gasket if she did smile.

With the arch of an eyebrow, the older woman asked, "May I?"


"I think we'll be ordering light. How about grill chicken Caesar salad with the dressing on the side, lightly toasted Tucson bread, Cobb salad with dressing on it, and a bottle of white zin."

"I-Is that all ma'am?"

The blonde smiled at her lover. "Was that correct?"

Lil grinned back, "To the T."

"Then yes, that will be all."

The waiter nodded. "Thank you ma'am," and walked away.

"You really shouldn't unnerve the help Caitlin." Lil said, amusement shining in her eyes.

"Just trying to make a point. I think he'll be alright with an extra tip." The older woman paused to spread the napkin over her lap. "Well, here we are where we started."

"Yes, it is."

"Do you want to know something?"


Catt smiled sexily. "I knew then, the first time here that you were going to cause a change in me."

Lil ducked her head, unsuccessfully hiding the blush. She cleared her throat and replied, "Tara and Gab told me so many things about you, but I just couldn't believe it. I felt so much then that I could only see and hear you."

"I know the feeling, believe me. I had never had anyone react that way to me before. So honest. You didn't even try to hide it. It took my breath away. It still does."

Lil studied the other woman in silence, watching as she brought the water glass to her lips.

"Catt? Can I ask you something?"

"Yes, go ahead."

"When did you know. . . I mean uh how you felt about me?"

Gray eyes flashed back at her over the water glass. She sat the glass down with a muffled thud.

"That day in my hotel room when we almost made love I suspected, but it was when you held me while I slept that I knew. I think it's why I couldn't keep my hands off you at the club."

Lil blushed again, reliving the sights, sounds, and smells of the only time they made love. "God, it was so intense. I felt like I was being torn apart and re-made."

Caitlin nodded with eyes that darkened with lusty memory.

"I don't think you're far from the truth. We we're both re-made that day. Re-made to fit and belong to each other."

Lil squeezed the hand under hers in agreement and understanding then removed it as the waiter returned with their meals.

He wanted to blow out the breath he had been holding when he noticed they weren't talking, but sweat broke out on his upper lip regardless as the energy around them seemed to double. Positioning their plates and pouring the wine, he left the table with a new understanding. The intensity of love between women was an entity by itself.

The lunch was full of secret smiles, touches under the table and laughter as Lil related some of the antics of her daughter to her lover. They talked about themselves and argued differing views in art, music, and literature. Hour after hour had passed before Lil excused herself and headed for the bathroom. Caitlin waited a few short moments and followed. Lil washed her hands and stared into the mirror, making sure her lipstick was still decent. Deciding it wasn't, she pulled out the tube and applied some more. Her mind wondered to Jamie, causing a smile to form, and she wondered if she should call to check up on her. Caught in her own reverie, she barely heard the door swing open. Looking up surprised, her face glowed with a smile, realizing who it was.

"Do you want me to wait for you or…?"

Caitlin shook her head no and moved slowly forward. Still not catching on, Lil continued to apply her lipstick until the form of the tall blonde stopped behind her. The brunette glanced in the mirror to get a look at the other woman's face. Her hand immediately stopped it's task when she realized gray was focused totally on her lips. She pressed her lips together and reached for some paper with a suddenly shaky hand to dabble. The eyes never left her. Her insides began to sweat with the effort to stay aloof. Although, she didn't know why she was putting forth the effort in the first place. Perhaps, she just enjoyed the game of cat and mouse.

Her heart slammed against her chest, making her breathing slightly jittery. Her own eyes went to the red lips of the other woman in reaction, and she almost moaned out loud seeing them wet and slightly parted. The syrupy tendrils of arousal moved slowly up her spine, giving her gooseflesh. She licked her lips self-consciously and watched the gray track the movement of her tongue. The woman was so close she could feel the increasing body heat and the imprint of breasts on her back. It was slowly but surely becoming overwhelming. Trying to break the spell, she spoke.

"Um, okay I'm done. We can----"

She initiated the motion to walk away. Long arms wrapped around her waist from behind, imprisoning her against the woman's body. Lil whimpered as the damn of arousal broke and flowed through her body like warm slush. Caitlin cherished the whimper and smiled in triumph. She DID so love this game of cat and mouse. Watching her fight it tokenly and then give in whole-heartedly. It was intoxicating as well as arousing. She could feel her blood heating to a slow boil, moving from the simmer it had been in all day. She had watched her, wanting to touch her; wanting to hold her; and wanting to hear her. She knew this wasn't the most appropriate place but to hell with it. To hell with it all. She had to taste. She had to touch.

The air in the bathroom became heavy and dark with sexual tension, and the start of uneven breathing. Molding her body perfectly to the one in front of her, Catt leaned in and purred throatily like a jungle cat in the obliging ear. She felt the shiver and heard the breathing catch and increase in the chest of her lover. The blonde woman went on, licking the ridges of said ear and breathing hotly to cool the moist trail. She kissed it and then whispered huskily, "Do you have any idea what you do to me? Watching you makes me ache."

Each syllable and the meaning behind each word, shot to Lil's groin, making it swell and moisten. A little sound of need exited her throat, and hands that were positioned on the counter top before, now moved to cover the larger hands around her waist. Her breathing became slow and ragged. She licked her lips and tried to speak. "We can't do this here. Someone will see."

A sexy growl was the only reply.

Lil whimpered at the sound then cried out at another flick of the tongue. "Oh God, please."

"Please what? This?"

One elegant hand disengaged itself from around the brunette's waist only to cup her hidden mound in the palm of it.

"God!" Lil cried out in earnest, trying to control hips that immediately began to grind against the stimulation with a mind of their own.

Caitlin welcomed the rush of arousal that pooled thick between her legs, leaving her swollen, throbbing, and making her own breathing hitch and accelerate.

"Tell me you don't want this. Tell me you don't need this," she said breathlessly.

One strangled word was her answer. "Please!" It was enough to take as an admission. With one hand firmly in place in her crotch but using the other, Catt turned the younger woman around to face her. Smaller hands grabbed hold on shoulders to steady herself, while the free larger hand roved up and down her back. Both heavy lidded and glassy with need, blue stared into gray. With only a microsecond of hesitation, lips crushed against each other, releasing twin moans of gratification. Tongues plundered and fought then moved in synchronicity. The buried hand flexed and caressed causing the younger woman's hips to jerk and renew their wild movement. Lil groaned raggedly and gave up trying to steady her shaky legs.

So caught up in each other, they didn't hear the loud laughter as two women entered the bathroom. There was a loud gasp and an 'oh my God.' Not deterred, Catt slowly ended the kiss and flexed her hand once more for propriety's sake. Lil shivered and whimpered hotly into her lover's neck. She was beyond embarrassment only knee deep in want, in need. Looking up into gray again, she traced a cheek to swollen lips that smiled back at her.

"Let's go," the brunette whispered.

Caitlin nodded. With their arms wrapped around each other for support, they made their way out the bathroom door. Lil grinned wickedly at the gaped mouth women. "Excuse us," she said, making their mouths hang open even more. Kissing an ear, Caitlin remarked, "You my dear are the naughty one." Her voice lowered acknowledging the arousal she knew still flowed between them. "Come with me to my room. We need to finish this."

Lil smiled slowly, sexily. "Yes. Now."

Throwing some bills on the table and grabbing their coats, they were out the door, thanking the Gods that Caitlin had moved to a nearby hotel in town.

Tara closed the door quietly and made her way back to the living room.

"She's down for the count."

"Well, I think the both of us pretty much wore her out," Gabrielle replied.

Tara sat her lanky form on the floor and eased her back to the couch. Looking over her shoulder, she gestured with her head. "C'mere Red." Spreading her legs, she made room for the petite woman. Gabrielle scooted and shifted to make herself comfortable. After she stopped moving, she felt long arms envelope her. She sighed contentedly and leaned back into the offered shoulder.

"I wish we could do this more often. I love it when you come home early, and I enjoy spending the day with you just as much as the night."

Tara settled her chin on top of the red-gold head and squeezed the woman in her arms slightly. "I wish I could too, Red. Who knows, with it being slow like this, I may be coming home early a lot."

The strawberry blonde frowned in concern. "Is it that bad? Aren't you going to start hurting financially after a while?"

"Maybe, but we go through this lull every year. It picks up eventually though. So, I'm not too worried. It's winter right now, but at the start of Spring things will pick up."

"Jesus, T. That's months away."

"I know baby, but I actually meant during February."

"Oh, okay, but I still can't help but worry about you."

"I know baby."

There was a few minutes of semi-silence filled only with quiet murmurs and sighs. Tara pursed her lips. 'I should bring up the subject now. It's the perfect time. No distractions.'

"Hey Red? Can I ask you something?"

"You know you can ask me anything."

"I've had time to do a lot of thinking lately. With Jamie here, I've been wondering. How do you feel about having kids? I mean really having them?"

Gabrielle's heart leapt then thudded quickly. She turned around and tried to look into sky blue. Unsuccessful, she changed her position, and ended up straddling the other woman. Now facing her lover, blue eyes looked down nervously.

"T, look at me." She tilted her head upward with a finger under the chin, and blue eyes stared back warily. "Are you trying to tell me that you're ready?"

The dark head nodded silently with eyes full of hope. Gabrielle laughed softly.

"You know this is kinda funny because I've been thinking about that too." Soft moss green eyes stared back at her.

"Oh my God, you're kidding?"

"Nuh uh. I guess with Jamie here for such a long time. It stirred up some feelings." She blew out a breath, disturbing her bangs. "What I'm trying to say is. . . that I would love to have a baby with you."

Tara wanted to dance a jig, but she settled for a cheek splitting toothy smile instead. Gabrielle traced the beautiful features with small, gentle hands.

"I would love to have a child if she's as beautiful as you inside and out."

Hands followed the path of the impending blush. The brunette shook her head.

"No, you are the beautiful one. So beautiful. Here," she touched her heart, "you helped to make me into the person I am now, and I love you so much for it."

Gabrielle bit her lip against the grin she could feel forming. "I only did what you let me. You let me into your heart, and you've shown me so much. I had no idea my life was so empty."

Gazes held and lips descended, whispering across each other as if revealing and telling secrets. Foreheads touched as the kisses ended.

"Mmm, we have so much to talk about Red."

"Yes, we do."

Steve stared at himself in the mirror. He studied his naked form, overlooking the glassy, maniacal eyes. "I can give her what she needs. Only me," he said aloud. He picked up the now dry, newly developed pictures and one by one placed them in front of the mirror. Pictures of Gabrielle smiling, clapping, dancing, and laughing with the baby. He studied each one. His confidence growing with each glance. Remembering his vision, his penis began to grow also. He moaned as he let the vision over take him. She would love only him. She would come to only him at night so that they could make child after child. He was young, strong, and knew he could give her what she needed.

His erection elongated as he envisioned a naked Gabrielle under him, calling out his name, taking in his seed.

Idle hands became active as they stroked erect flesh. He groaned louder. His hips jerking as they gained momentum. Short minutes later his body tensed, and he screamed as the pleasure in his loins mingled with the sudden throbbing in his head. His seed spewed over the pictures, leaving them soggy, sticky. Hands moved from his groin to grab his head. Pain shot through it, making him feel faint.

Louder and stronger than ever, the voice shouted, 'We will wait. We will watch. We will take or we will kill!' The man fell to the floor. A high pitched whine escaped his lips that quickly turned into peels of laughter. Finally, falling over the edge into dark oblivion.

Tara carried the sleeping Jamie into their bedroom, depositing her snuggled behind her drowsy Aunt. They had talked until the wee hours of the morning, agreeing on the time table of at least a year and a half. This would give Tara time to train a part time manager for her shop, to save money, do some research into how, and decide which of them would carry the child. Smiling to herself, she got into bed behind her two favorite females, including them both in her embrace. Gabrielle murmured and covered the hand with her own.

"Mmm, you think she'll be okay sandwiched between us like this?" She asked groggily.

"Oh yeah, she should be fine. Neither one of us are big movers."

"Okay, if you says so. Love you. . . Mom."

Tara could hear the smile in her lover's voice and chuckled. "Love you too." She reached over to set the alarm to ring in a few hours then found her spot wrapped around them both. Somewhere in between dusk and dawn, they both fell asleep.

Lil opened one eye to look around the unfamiliar room. Momentarily, she forgot where she was until she tried to stretch that is. She felt a long, lanky body molded to her from behind. She grinned and opened the other eye, squinting in the dull sunlight, coming from the curtains. The grin widened, feeling the warm even breath of her lover caress her ears and throat. She wiggled her body experimentally. It ached pleasurably and hummed at being filled and touched so thoroughly. Her stomach clenched in delight as the woman behind her whimpered and held her tighter. Still, slowly, she was able to turn, facing her. With her heart in her eyes, Lil studied the relaxed features of her lover.

She took in the moistly parted lips and the sleep flushed skin. Never had she seen her looked more vulnerable. With just one night, she had gotten used to being held and waking up next to the woman she loved.

She closed her eyes, hoping she could bare their weekend agreement. Opening them, she raised gentle hands and began to lightly touch the skin that lay in front of her. Catt moaned lightly as her eyes fluttered open. Gray met blue, sinking into each other. Caitlin ran her hands through dark curls and kissed the shiny forehead. 'She is so beautiful, and all mine. Thank you for giving her to me. I will never let her go,' Catt prayed in thanks to whatever deity was listening.

"Morning, Sparky. Been up long?" She asked in a sleep roughened voice.

Lil smiled, "No, just watching you sleep. This is our first time you know."

"I know. It's the first time for me period. I've never slept with a woman in my arms before. You made it feel right."

Lil's smile trembled sadly, "As long as I'm the only woman from now on. I know you've been with a lot of them, but---"

Long, tapered fingers covered her mouth.

"You are the only one that counted. The only one that will ever be. I know because I feel it right here," she covered her heart.

Two heads leaned in for a kiss. Lips brushed softly and clung. Naked skin touched and slid.

"Mmm, so sweet. You say the sweetest things."

Drawing back, Catt smirked, "What can I say? You bring it out in me."

"Love you."

"Love y—"

The phone rung piercing their moment and the surrounding quiet.

"Ohhh, don't answer that, please." Lil asked pleadingly.

"I have to sweetie. What if it's about Jamie? It's awfully early to be a normal call."

"Oh God, you're right. Hurry."

Caitlin reached over to pick the phone up from it's cradle. Lil waited and listened. She leaned in a little to see if she recognized the voice. When she didn't, she moved back not wanting to intrude. It wasn't about Jamie. Some guy named John was on the line. She heard things like 'we need you' and 'next flight out.' She watched as Catt diverted the interest from her asking them if someone named 'Jill' could handle things and that she was just going to be here one more day. She swallowed as she thought she heard the inevitable 'orders from the big boss,' and by the look of Catt's face, Lil knew she had lost the battle. The brunette swallowed down the sudden sense of loss.

Caitlin set the phone in the cradle softly.


The younger woman flinched.

"You have to go back today don't you?" She asked trying to stop the impending sob.

"Sparky, I—"

"No! It's not enough time! Can't you call them back?" Tears ran freely out the corners of deep blue.

The older woman's heart stopped. She had never seen a look of such anguish on the other woman's face, except when she told her to get out. Her heart started again triple time. 'I'm hurting her, and I just realized how much.' The emotions ran rampant inside her, making her feel uncontrolled like she was flying apart at the seams. She had to get away from this. This feeling. Closing her eyes, she steeled herself against the look in blue eyes, and whispered, "I'll be back this weekend. I promise."

She saw the younger woman visibly flinch the second time. Lil tried to swallow the lump in her throat. 'I have to be strong. We can make this work.' She blinked, and when lashes raised again, Lil was completely taken back by the dullness in them. She chose to ignore it.

"Okay, it's better than nothing. When do you have to leave?" The brunette asked steadily.

"In about four hours. John said he checked and the next flight is at noon. That means I actually have two hours to pack and get to the airport. Dammit, I still have to return the rental."

Galvanized into action, Lil answered, "Leave it. I'll take care of that."

She displayed a smile that was shaky at best before leaning over to cover soft lips with her own. A harsh whimper was torn from the younger woman's throat that ate away at Caitlin's soul. Lips clung for a moment before the kiss ended. With the same dull eyes, Lil looked into gray. "Listen, you start packing. I'll go home and get Jamie, so that we can take you to the airport."

"Sweetie, you don't have to---"

"No, but I want to. Give me this."

The blonde nodded her ascent, and the brunette got up to pad naked into the bathroom. The air was heavy with words that hadn't been said and feelings that weren't revealed.

Lil drove back to her sister's with a quiet mind and a raging heart. It hurt so bad, but if this is what she had to do to make this work. She would gladly do anything. Anything. The good thing was that they would see each other this weekend in her own apartment in her own bed. No more hotels, and maybe she could spend some quality time getting to know Jamie. Yes, that was a good thing.

Caitlin threw the clothes angrily around the room. 'You're a self-centered bitch Caitlin. Just like your mother. You don't deserve her. You just keep hurting her.' She shook her head. 'No, I love her, and I will find some way to prove it. I will fix this.' Hefting the large suitcase on the bed, she filled it with the balled up items of clothing. She had to get ready to go.

Steve was an early riser, especially this morning. He had plans to carry out. He watched the familiar house in silence with his binoculars, camera, and a new addition. He had the last item hidden carefully in his jacket. Lights were on, so he assumed the dark haired pervert would be leaving soon. He giggled gleefully, knowing he would be waiting to take what he wanted, what he needed. Steve frowned as another car drove up near the house. The other brunette got out. He had forgotten about her. His breathing deepened in panic. He had to do this today. They told him so. What was he going to do. 'We must calm down and watch. You will see.' "Yes, you are right." He waited patiently for the flower delivery boy. He was going to do the delivering himself today.

Lil rushed in, scaring the other brunette sitting at the table sipping coffee.

"Gees, Lil scare a couple years off me why don't you!"

Tara looked down, making sure there were no coffee stains on her t-shirt.

"Oh, hey I'm sorry. I gotta get Jamie. Catt has to leave in a few hours, and we are taking her to the airport."

"Huh, I thought you two were leaving on the same day?"

"Yeah, someone from her company called. Apparently, she's needed right away."

Sky blue met violet. Tara saw it. The wild, hurt look swimming in her eyes. This was tearing the younger woman apart.

"Hey," she said softly, "it's gonna be okay. Just be patient."

Tara reached out grabbing a shaking hand. Lil sobbed and nodded.

"I know, but it's so hard."

She wiped the dripping tears with the back of her other hand.

"Just hang in there."

She gave the other woman a watery smile.

"I am. I really have no choice in the matter." She squeezed the hand holding hers. "I'd better get ready. Thanks."

"Anytime, you know that. Oh, she's in our bedroom, just go on in. Red, is dead to the world."

Lil laughed lightly. "Okay, see you later tonight Big Blue."

Lil walked into the bedroom to find an irate blonde with a very active child, crawling all over her. The younger woman laughed. "Well, I see she got to you early."

Gabrielle glared back. "Unh huh." She grabbed for Jamie who giggled and squirmed in her hold. "What are you doing here so early?"

"Um, Catt has to leave today. Somebody high up in her office called." Her head hung.

"Hey, you okay?"

"I will be. It's just gonna take some time. I came to get Jamie, and we're going to take her to the airport in Indianapolis. I was thinking maybe we'd stay, and do some looking around. I need to get my mind off things."

"Okay, no problem. So, you're still not leaving until tomorrow then?"

"Yeah, I guess a make a go of it mid-morning or so."

"Okay." Gabrielle moved the giggling toddler toward her mother. "Here, take your bundle of joy."

"Agoo, ma!" She said happily, causing her mother to smile and her aunt to laugh.

"Yes, Auntie loves you too. She would love you even more if you would go to your mother so that I could get some sleep."

"Ga!" She said to her mother, who scooped her up in waiting arms. Lil kissed her on the side of the head. "Hey there honey. Did you have fun last night?"


The brunette laughed as she headed toward the door, leaving Gabrielle shaking her head and burrowing into the covers.

Minutes later, Tara walked into the bedroom and pulled the covers back.


The other woman laughed softly.

"Come on, Red. I don't get a good bye kiss?"

Green eyes looked up.

"Are your lips warm?"

"Uh huh, just had some of your coffee, so they taste good too."

"Oh? Mmm. C'mere."

Tara leaned in and was greeted with a little growl as the smaller woman sucked in her bottom lip. Her eyes crossed, and she could feel her body start to melt. She jumped when a busy little tongue began to trace it. Gabrielle pulled back with a plop and smacked her lips.

"Mmm, I think I need another taste."

Giving the other woman just enough time for a breath, the younger woman licked and lightly kissed waiting lips. Tara let a breath out in a whimper, making the strawberry blonde smile into the kiss. Finally, pulling back slightly, she chuckled at the sight. The older woman's eyes were closed and breath came quickly from her open mouth. Gabrielle leaned in again, kissing her on the cheek.

"You were right. Mmm, amaretto."

Blue eyes opened slowly. "You like doing this to me don't you?" She asked huskily.

She was rewarded with a dazzling smile for an answer.

Tara smiled slowly, saucily. "Remember paybacks my dear. I might be home early, and I'll drive your car back just in case you need it."

With that, she left the room and was out the door, leaving a grinning strawberry blonde behind.

Steve watched with barely concealed excitement as the tall, dark haired woman exited the house and folded herself into one of the cars. "Perverted bitch," he whispered under his breath. "It's okay I'll make her right again." One down, and one more to go.

Lil grabbed the baby bag, hoisting it over one shoulder and had Jamie safely wrapped in the other arm. She moved silently through the house, not wanting to disturb her sleeping sister. As she neared the living room, she heard a familiar voice. "See you later Lil!"

"Okay, " she called back with a smile and made her way out the door.

Steve laughed throatily as the other woman left with the baby in tow. "It's just you and me now Gabrielle. Not long now." 'Yes, she will be ours soon. One way or the other.' He joined in with the laughter in his head, welcoming the mind numbing pain. They were in charge now. He reached deep into his inside pocket, pulling out the gleaming instrument, tracing it idly with a finger. 'Her heart will be ours.'

The car was somewhat silent with only the gurgling of the toddler and the slight hum of the music. Finally, Lil could take it no more.

"Do you know what they're calling you back for?"

Caitlin glanced at her lover surprised that she asked. "Yes, we are in danger of losing a multi-million dollar account that I procured for the firm a few years ago. They think I'm the only one who can fix it."

"Mmm, I can understand that. I'm sure you'll convince them. Something tells me you're a force to be reckoned with."

Catt laughed. "Maybe so. We will see."

"There's a McDonald's up ahead. Do you want to stop for some coffee or something? Luckily, I had time to feed Jamie before we left, but I'm kinda hungry."

"Okay, sure I could use some coffee and a little food. Had a late night, you know."

Lil bit her lip and grinned. Once to the window, she ordered a couple of hash browns, two sausage biscuits, coffees, and a small orange juice. On the highway again, Lil turned slightly to Catt, "Can you give her this juice? You'll have to watch her though to make sure she doesn't choke on the straw."

Caitlin put down the coffee she was sipping, having already eaten. "Sure."

Turning around to the toddler, she was rewarded with a toothy grin that she couldn't help to return. "Here you go J. You want some juice?"

The little girl reached for the cup.

"I'll take that as a yes."

She leaned forward some more to get closer, and watched carefully as the little girl sucked the juice through the small straw. Lil observed in the mirror.

"She really likes you, you know. I hope you two get the chance to really know each other. I think we'd both like that."

"I'd like that. Maybe we could go out . . . I mean the three of us one weekend."

"I don't know. It would be hard. Her dad gets her two weekends a month usually. We just worked something out over Christmas, since he was out of town anyway."


There was an awkward silence again.

"Lil, I know this isn't the best situation, but it's all I can give right now." 'All you're willing to give,' her inner voice whispered. She mentally shook her head. "Listen, please try to understand. It won't be like this forever. I promise." 'Yeah, just until you push her completely away.'

"I am. I'm trying, but you have to realize how hard this is for me too. It took so much out of me to come back to you, and now it feels like I'm losing you again. It just hurts. Give me some time okay?"

She looked into the blue eyes of the toddler, so much like her mother's.

"Okay." 'Idiot.'

Lil turned to look at her lover as they pulled into the airport parking lot.

"Why don't you get your bags and go on in? I'll get Jamie and be there in just a few minutes."


Caitlin got out and hefted one bag over her shoulder then went around to the trunk to get the two suitcases. A man on the curb was nice enough to rent her a cart to attach the luggage and push easily. With a look back, making sure her lover was indeed making progress, she entered the busy airport.

Lil kissed her daughter's head before unbuckling the car seat. "Come on sweetheart, we have to go say bye to Catt." She bit her lip, trying to hold in the sob. Balancing the little girl on her hip, she walked through the doors. She saw the beautiful blonde waiting near a nearby ticket booth.

"Hey , you long time no see," the blonde said smiling.

Lil didn't try to hide her own grin. "Mmm, so whatcha doing up here?"

"Oh, I have to exchange the ticket for an earlier flight. They're getting ready to board in fifteen minutes."

"Oh, so soon?" Lil asked disappointment coloring her voice.

"Yes, sorry. I thought we'd have more time."

The conversation was interrupted by the clerk saying Caitlin's name. She gave her the ticket and told her to hurry. The blonde grabbed her carry on luggage in one hand, wrapped the two females in the other and ushered them toward the gate. Finally, getting there in the back of a somewhat long line, they stopped. Caitlin turned to the younger woman. "I guess we'd better say our byes here."

Gray gazed into the sad blue. The little girl seemed to have taken on her mother's somber mood. She was quiet.

"Okay," Lil answered.

Caitlin engulfed them both in a hug. Pulling back slightly, she looked down at her lover and glanced around at the crowd. Not caring, she leaned in for a soft kiss. Her heart contracted at the whimper she swallowed. She deepened the contact, refusing to end it. Lips clung. Lil was the one that finally stepped back, wiping at the tears forming in her eyes. "You need to hurry. Their waiting."

The blonde turned around to see that the line had thinned considerably. Kissing her again quickly, she whispered, "I love you," trying to ignore the spasm of her heart at the tears falling unchecked. Bending down, she ruffled the small curly, dark head and kissed Jamie on the cheek. "Love you both."

With one last smile, she turned and disappeared out into the airfield.

"Love you too," she said as she licked the tears from the sides of her mouth.

Gabrielle stretched and headed for the kitchen. She definitely needed a caffeine fix, especially since she needed to get some work done today. She groaned groggily and headed for the ringing doorbell instead. Not bothering to look into the peephole, she jerked the door open. Her heart stopped and into her stomach. Steve grinned back at her holding the pink roses. Frozen to the spot, her eyes raked over him, noting the glazed look in his eyes. Blood thundered in her ears, and she didn't even try to hide the panic she was sure was showing on her face. His smile got bigger, and he started to giggle like a school boy. Handing her the flowers, he spoke.

"You know you belong to me not her. She can't give you what you need."

Her brain jump started. He had been here all along, watching. The realization galvanized her into action. She tried to push the door closed and screamed when a strong hand reached out beating her to it, swinging the it open instead. Turning quickly, she headed toward the phone by the couch. Her feet moved as if they were in water, slow and clumsy. Sheer terror fueled her heart, beating out of her chest. The breath burned in her lungs. She seemed like she had been running forever, never getting any closer. Like the dream where the devil chases you, she could hear his breathing in her ear as well as his steps closing in. Diving for the small in table, she hit the floor face down instead. Pain made her cry out, and she felt the wet, stickiness of blood come from her nose. A vice like grip held her ankle. She kicked out, trying to release it.

His grip got tighter, and she felt the delicate bones of her ankle grind and throb. She kicked on, finally connecting with soft flesh. He growled in pain. Suddenly, she felt whip like burns on the backs of her legs and heard the whooshing of something moving through the air with force. He reared his arm back and continued to whip her with the roses. He licked his bloodied lips with joy upon seeing the bloody welts starting to form on the soft flesh. Gabrielle jerked her legs upward, trying to escape the pain. She whimpered as it continued and increased in intensity. She felt the lanky, muscular body moving upward, covering her. He had gotten the leeway he needed. Straddling her hips, he threw the roses to the side and wrapped both hands in red-gold hair. She struggled, bucking her hips like a wild horse and screaming all the while. The screaming was too much he couldn't concentrate. Pulling her head back, he slammed it once, twice, three times to the floor until she was quite.

'She's ours now.'

Gabrielle could feel the radiating pain burst throughout her head as well as the rough carpet under her. Her head felt heavy. She moaned and made a move to touch it, coming away with a hand sprinkled with blood. She whimpered as she opened her eyes to look around. 'This had to be a dream. A really bad dream.' It wasn't she saw him sitting on the couch as she laid against the wall. 'How could have I had been so wrong? I saw it in his eyes at the bookstore, the lack of connection to reality. Now, no one knows. God, please don't let Tara come home early. Take me if you have to, but please leave her be. It's my fault. My fault!' She told herself. She moved cautiously, trying not to draw attention. She could see him sitting there, mumbling to himself.

'We should take her now. Not wait for the dark haired one. But, we must possess her and get the stench of that woman off her. Fill her with our seed, our baby.' Steve rocked back and forth, letting the pain take over. With the pain came the voices with instructions and knowledge. They always knew what to do. 'If she resists, use the weapon. Use it to give her what she needs to get what we want. Her heart.' He laughed. "Yes, yes." Turning his head, he looked over the still form, but saw the green eyes flash.

"I know you're awake. Don't try to trick me."

Gabrielle swallowed. The man was insane that much was sure. She was probably going to die today that was a possibility, but she didn't want to revel in his madness. Therefore, she remained quiet.

"Why did you leave me? She seduced you didn't she? She knew you were vulnerable without me, and she seduced you. Didn't she!?" He screamed.

Getting up, he walked toward he menacingly, stopping just in front. She whimpered as she tried to move. Her head was so heavy.

"Answer me!"

She watched in horror as his leg moved back. Then she knew nothing but blackness.

Lil felt as though she had been driving around for hours, going into store after store in an attempt to ease her mind. In actuality, only an hour or so had passed. She turned up the radio as another love song filtered through the airways and peered through the mirror at Jamie who was steadily nodding off. She scowled as the song was interrupted by a news report.

We are interrupting this broadcast for a breaking news report. Flight 281 Delta Airlines has crashed near the Akron area in Ohio. I repeat. Flight 281, Delta Airlines, heading for Philadelphia, Atlantic City, and New York has crashed. No one appears to have survived, although rescue crews are still working. We will be updating the public when further information is available. We now return to the Jake and Jimmy Show.

Lil felt ice enter her veins, numbing her to the outside world. 'It had to be a mistake. It had to be. Wasn't that her flight? I can't lose her this way.' "Oh, God no, " she cried as the pain flashed through like wildfire, taking her senses. The road was a blur. She pulled over, sucking in lung fulls of air as her body was racked with wrenching sobs.

"Ohgodohgodohgod," it was too much. Her hands shook over the steering wheel. She leaned her head against it and tried to think. Gabrielle would know what to do. I have to get back there. Sniffing for a few minutes, she steeled herself against the pain and drove on with a sleeping Jamie oblivious to the turmoil of her mother.

Tara winced as she picked up a particularly heavy tool. She couldn't complain too much. She finally had work today, and it was bound to keep her busy for the bulk of the day. 'Well, so much for going home early and exacting some payback,' she murmured to herself, 'but there's always the night.' She smiled toothily and began to whistle as she thought about last night.

They were going to be a family. She couldn't believe it. She had to call and tell Jake soon. With her thoughts about babies, her mind turned to Lil , Jamie, and Catt. 'God, I hope it works out for them. They've been through too much for it to fall apart now.' She sighed. 'I'm sure gonna miss little bit. We'll have to go pay them a visit every once in a while.'

Caitlin blew out a breath, disturbing the immaculate bangs. She hated bus stations, but she needed to get back quickly, not wanting to go here and there for the next plane. With one bold move, things had changed. She smiled remembering the strangled sound of Perry's voice when she asked if their were executive positions open in Chicago. 'Yes, and why,' he had asked. She answered that she wanted to be transferred effective immediately. She could hear him choking as he started to beg. "It's finale Perry. Do this as a favor. I need this," she had said softly.

The older man heard something in her voice he hadn't before a pleading note, letting him know she was human after all. He knew it was either this or lose one of his best. "Alright, Jill will have to handle the Dorfmans. I'll set up a meeting with Tim in a couple of days. I'm sure he'll be glad to have you, but you know you may not get that position you wanted for a while."

"I don't care. Something more important came up."

With that, she had hung up the phone and changed her life. She would give up her condo and change her life just for her, just to be with her. It was the dull look in the blue eyes that did it. She couldn't hurt her anymore. She had to learn to accept that this woman was her weakness and her strength. Hearing the announcement over the loud speaker, she grabbed her things and headed for the proper gate. "Three more hours baby. Boy, are you going to be surprised."

Gabrielle slowly opened her eyes. The pain was intense. She wanted to cry. She slowly moved her aching head and fought against the darkness. She saw him standing there not far away, waiting. He walked over to her.

"I've been waiting for you. I mean to make you mine. One way or the other."

He reached down and pulled her up. She cried out in pain and swallowed down the nausea. Pinning her against the wall, he removed the robe, leaving her clad in a t-shirt. She winced on the inside, and her psyche screamed at the invasion sure to come. 'Don't let him touch what doesn't belong to him. Don't let him make something beautiful you learned to share with Tara into a nightmare!' Her conscious screamed. Her body listened. With adrenaline induced strength, she kicked her legs and swung her hands outward, hoping to connect with flesh and hoping to get away.

He growled as some of the punches connected. She was fighting. 'Show her. Take her!' Banging her against the wall with one hand, he pulled out the large, sharp blade, showing it to her. Arousal pooled in his blood. Gabrielle whimpered and felt the fight slowly leave her. He laughed and spit in her face. "You're mine!"

Stepping back, he spun her around to face the wall, holding the knife to her throat. Assuming that she was scared stiff, he unbuttoned his pants with one hand then twist and tore her panties with the same one. His erection thickened at the urging of the voices. 'We have her now.' Gabrielle swallowed as the blade sliced lightly into her skin. Panic flared through her at the feel of her underwear being removed. Her hands trembled against the wall. Fear made tears fall, stinging the cuts on her face with the saltiness, and bile rose in her throat at the feel of his engorged penis in the small of her back. She cried out in pain, in fear, not wanting to give in. Pictures flashed through her mind, pictures of Tara, Lil, and Jamie. They would find her like this. Violated, lifeless, bloody.

She was sure he meant to kill her now. There would be no children. She wouldn't feel the strong arms around her anymore. She wouldn't feel her anymore. She cried out again. This time in anger. He was taking her away from everything she loved, everything she cherished. The anger boiled through her blood, replacing the fear and the pain. She couldn't let this happen. She just couldn't. Reaching down deep in the well of reserves, in her soul, she raised her hand and wrapped it around the blade at her throat. Grasping it, she felt it cut through layers of skin.

She didn't notice the burn or the drip of blood. She heard a gasp and felt his grip loosen, and with her other arm, she elbowed him deep into the stomach. Hearing a dramatic oof, she got a better grip on the knife and yanked it away. He stumbled back, giving her the room to turn around. Anger grew, seething through her body and making her shake.

She studied him for a second. Still seeing the glazed look in his eyes, she saw something else. Fear. He stumbled back. Gabrielle followed. The knife loomed above her head menacingly. He would take nothing from her today, and he wouldn't ever again. Blood roared in her ears and her mind continued to flash pictures of the ones she loved. In slow motion as if time was teetering to a stop, the knife plunged suddenly, ending up in the middle of his chest. She felt the blade pass through bone and mash into organs. The strawberry blonde did not hear the scream reverberating against the walls. All she saw was him falling onto the floor, grasping at his chest.

She watched on detached as the life drained from his body. His last broken murmur was, "We… mine." Time righted itself as the lifeless eyes stared toward the ceiling. Gabrielle could feel the tears coming again. Backing up, her back stopped against the wall, and she slid to the floor. Her body throbbed with one pain after another, but a calm settled over her. She had won. She had protected what was hers. The tears still came, and she was so tired. She pillowed her head into her arms crossed over legs and allowed the sobs to rack her battered body.

The back of Tara's neck tingled, and a chill settled over her spine, taking her breath away. She shook her head in an effort to clear it, but the feeling wouldn't go away. Something was wrong. She felt it. She grabbed the phone on the garage wall and dialed her home number. It rang and rang until the voice mail picked up. Wiping her hands, she grabbed her keys from the peg and locked the door. The sense of foreboding increased. Jumping into her car, she sped off in the direction of home.

Lil turned onto her sister's street. The numbness went all the way to her fingertips. She had heard the announcement again. It was true. She was gone. Just like that. She had to pull over twice to throw up after the second announcement. Now, pulling into her sister's driveway, she felt nothing except numb. She detached her still sleeping daughter from the car seat and headed into the house. Opening the door, the sharp smell of copper hit her nose. She scrunched it up and looked down. Blood. Lots of it littered the carpet. Scanning the room, she spotted the bloody face of a woman looking up at her. 'No, it can't be. It couldn't be Gabrielle.' Softly the woman said her name. Thrust into action, she ran over to the woman, kneeling down, touching her.

"Oh, God Gabs, what happened here." A bloody hand pointed toward the dead man on the floor. Lil covered her mouth and stared at the knife sticking out of his chest. She turned back to her sister, seeing the so much blood. "Are you alright, Gab? Gab? Talk to me!"

Green eyes looked up at her and a smile formed despite it all. "No, I'm bleeding all over the place. Can you call the police and an ambulance please. My hands. . ." she said softly.

Lil nodded and hugged her now awake and whimpering daughter to her. Her hands shook as fresh tears fell from her eyes. This was too much. Catt's gone and Gabrielle is hurt. Her mind threatened to shut down completely, but the woman on the floor needed her. The girl clinging to her needed her. She swallowed and dialed 911.

Tara pulled up to ambulance and police cars surrounding their house. Panic flared through her body making her jittery. She jumped out of the car and ran for the door. A burly cop stopped her. "Let me the fuck go! I live here! Gabrielle! Where are you baby!?"

The small woman peered around the EMT trying to stop the blood flow from her hands.

"In here," she called out as loud as she could.

It was loud enough. Tara broke away from the man and ran in. She scanned the room and saw Lil first, rocking Jamie, trying to quiet her. Blue connected with blue, and Tara noted the completely desolate look in eyes darker than her own. 'Oh, God, what has happened?' She said to herself. She heard a familiar voice again, small and weak, and saw a battered face peek from around a man's legs. "Over here, T."

Long legs followed the voice, then stopped short when she saw the battered face. Anger thick and sour bleed through her. She swallowed it down for the moment, kneeling in front of her lover. She touched her face with gentle hands. "Baby, are you okay? Who did this to you?"

"Calm down, T. I'm fine. It's over." She pointed with a shaky finger. "He did this."

Tara turned her head and couldn't control the gasp that came for her mouth. Police surrounded the body, taking notes.

"It's that guy. The one that gave me the creeps."

"Oh god baby, why?"

Tears fell from the green eyes. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you. I thought I could handle it. He seemed so harmless."

Tara leaned in and kissed an unbruised spot on her lover's forehead.

"Shh, it's okay now. Everything will be okay." Bile rose in her throat as guilt took over the anger. She wasn't here to protect her. She wasn't here. Tara vaguely heard the front door open again, but she did hear Lil's scream. She turned and found her in Catt's embrace. She looked back at Gabrielle for understanding. The other woman looked just as confused.

Lil sucked in a breath and hiccuped. "They said. . . you. . . the plane crashed."

"Shhh, I know I just heard. I got here as soon as I could. Took the bus. I'm so sorry, and you know if I'd known I would have called."

"What. . .what are you doing here?"

Catt smiled. "I now work in Chicago."

Lil screamed again as the tears flowed freely. Caitlin held them both close, soothing the simpering child. She looked around the room. "What the hell happened here?"

Hours later, the four women remained at the hospital. Three in the waiting room and one in a bed, staying overnight. By that time, they had all exchanged stories. It was a day that could have turned into great tragedy, but ended with four women closer together than ever. Lil sighed and took her hand from her lover's. She placed a hand on Tara's shoulder. "I'm gonna go call mom and tell her what happened before she hears it on the news. I need to call Mrs. Tibidault too. I need to know how Jamie is doing."

Tara nodded and Catt watched her walk away. They looked at each other. "God, what a day," the blonde whispered.

Tara shook her head. "Tell me about it."

Shew, I know a lot happens. Let me know what you think. I can be reached at Minerva.

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