Disclaimer: Mine, mine, mine. Okay they look familiar but there are many women who look like that right? Yeah don’t we wish.

Language: Plenty of it and it’s not all good.

Sex: Woowho, is there ever. If you are under eighteen please move on, if you’re not skip over it if you like or dwell awhile. Whatever suits ya.

Violence/sex/drugs/crime/grit/hurt/comfort- it’s all in there, so stay away if you are offended or too young, whatever that may be.

Thanks to: My beta Dawn who is soooo patient with me, and my soulmate Dee, who hasn’t thrown my laptop out of the window yet.

For comments or questions mail me at: Bohemia125@aol.com 

Part 3

By: Morrig AKA Piti-pup


Splashes of green, yellow, shades of orange and red blurred down slashing hills, mountain peaks dark in the distance beckoned. The dark grey overhead announced to the morning a fitful day brewing in the skies, it mirrored the storm broiling beneath ice blue eyes. Don’t let me feel Holy Virgin, not now, not when it will hurt so badly.

The phone ringing had woken her, a hysterical Eddie shouting through the mouthpiece about some newspaper article on the front page of the Daily News. "You got to get out Zee! They’re gonna come for you…you’ve got a few hours before they find your place man, and you know how they get when it’s one of their own. Man they’ll kill you before you get to the precinct…no one is gonna believe you didn’t fight them Zee. Please Zee…please."

"Eddie…take care of everything while I’m gone, you fail, I fail. Got it?"

She had slammed the phone down, remembering afterwards that an angel slept near her peacefully. Better not wake her, she won’t handle this well I just know it. Fuck.

Her subscription to the newspaper waited at the foot of the apartment door, folded and bound by a rubber band. She opened it walking to the kitchen, naked and cold, she greeted the bottle of Glenlivet. There it was in black and white, her death sentence, permission granted for every police officer in the city to shoot first and ask questions later as sanctioned by the media. The golden liquor poured a stream of fire down her throat and into her guts, numbness waited at the boundaries. Taking soft steps, the feel of polished wood under her feet, the soft light of early morning in New England, setting a quiet scene in her bedroom, she crept closer to the posted bed.

Golden hair spread over a white pillow, the satin sheets around the woman reminiscent of wings, a chill ran down Magali’s spine. I have seen you like this before Casey, in my dreams, countless images of you…my respite from the dark. Lightly reaching out she stroked a few strands away from the woman’s face, she stirred, warm fingers held onto her hand and placed it onto a sleeping chest. It ends here, before beginning, before I can hurt you. Magali tore her hand away, the chill of the absence painful and searing.

Recoiling from the bed, averting the angel sleeping there, Magali turned away. Hurriedly she set about packing some clothes for an extended trip, nothing fancy, just warm and comfortable. They will find me eventually, and when they do…She fastened the shoulder holster, dropped the heavy gun into its sheath, and pulled a blue parka over her tall frame. Shoulders straightened she took one last look at the vision gracing her sheets, I didn’t do it Casey, I hope you believe that. Leashing Devi, she crossed herself and closed the apartment door. Please God, don’t let her care about me. I won’t survive the hurt in those eyes.

Magali turned on the volume of the sound system to deafening, Devi stuck her head out the window tasting the mountain air as it pushed her ears back. The black Jeep raced the curves of the Palisades Parkway, winding through hills, and running alongside the Hudson River headed north. One single shining tear rebelliously ran down a bronze cheek, down a neck and into the collar of a dark green knit sweater.

Doesn’t mean much

Doesn’t mean anything at all

The life I’ve left behind me is a cruel world

Across the last line, from where I can’t return

Where every step I took in faith, betrayed me

"She didn’t do this Jesse, I know she didn’t."

"Don’t fool yourself Casey, Zee is capable of more than you know."

She was flustered, rearranging her clothes, pulling articles on in the frozen absence of Magali. "I don’t feel her that way, it’s not her. Maybe life made her a monster, but she’s not…I can feel it." She wanted to cry, lash out at someone, anyone. Her hands touched the cool sheets as she bent to look for her jeans under the bed. Arms that had held her in the early hours, strong and gentle, burning traces of them still on her skin. "Where did she go Jesse? You have to know, tell me," she pleaded kneeling on the floor.

Jesse fought with her hair, more to keep her from answering the frustrated woman than for her own appearance. "I don’t know Casey. Jesus get a grip, you’ve known her for all of two days? Spent what, maybe 20 hours with her in total?"

"you don’t understand Jesse, I’ve never felt the way I do around her. I just need a chance, just one chance to know. Is it real?"

The darker woman sat on the edge of the bed, contemplating her hands. God, she cares for her, I don’t think anyone ever has. But she’s dead…there’s no turning from this. If it were me, would I want to know, before it gets away from me completely? Better to have it once than never I guess. "Guillermo." The blonde stood before her tucking the flannel shirt into her jeans. "What did you say?"

"Guillermo, her father. He would know. He owns a chain of restaurants, La Copa, he spends his mornings at one of them in mid-town." The change in Casey’s face was nearly magical. Hope. "We have to go see him Jesse."

La Copa was a typical New York Spanish restaurant. Red tablecloths, covered in clear plastic, and small paper maps of Cuba as place mats graced the small square tables. A crowd of regulars sat on stools arranged by a long counter, they laughed loudly as they flirted with the snug clad waitress serving coffee. A small altar over the entrance displayed the patron saint, flowers and candles surrounding her. Behind the counter a set up of tin pans holding various meals steamed, filling the air with the spiced scent of Hispanic food. Guillermo, his dark suit impeccable, greying hair slicked back, sat at a back table. He held the paper in front of his plate of eggs and blood sausage, reading the article on the cover he sucked on his teeth. Sloppy, very sloppy.

The chimes over the door rang, and Guillermo looked up to see his niece step through the door followed by a pretty, smaller woman. Taking a sip of his Café con leche he waved her over. "Jesse! How nice to see you this morning, you haven’t stopped by here in oh…I don’t know, since Magali was doing time right?" He said it so casually that Casey nearly forgot who he was talking about. This is her father? Magali huh. "Sit down, sit down. Introduce me to your friend." Jesse sat across from him, and pulled out a chair for Casey to sit by her. "You want breakfast girls?…Oye Susana! Traime dos desayunos mas! Apurate chica!"

Jesse smiled, following protocol she would not turn her uncle down, however her stomach turned at the sight of him. He was untouchable, hiding behind a façade of legitimacy, using his daughter to do all the dirty work, and counting on her silence to keep him a free man while she paid for everything. "Thank you tio, I appreciate it. This is Casey, she’s my partner on the job, and a friend." He stuck out a hand for Casey to take, and shook it firmly. "Nice to meet you Casey. Welcome to La Copa, you stop by whenever you want alright?" Casey grinned, taking the cue from Jesse that being polite was extremely important.

He looked back and forth between the two women, knowing petitioners like he knew a good cup of coffee. "So, what can I do for you Jesse?"

Susana came over balancing two hot plates of eggs, sausage and toast. Then brushing back her bleached blonde hair rushed away. "Te triago el café ahora." They sat in silence, waiting for the promised cups of café con leche. When she was gone, the conversation resumed, at a lower pitch. "I need to find Magali tio." He took a bite of his eggs, and lit a cigar, looking suspiciously at Casey. "And what makes you think I know where she is," he asked blowing musky smoke over the table. "Tio, Casey is her friend…you know…and I know that Magali is going back. Let her be happy for just a few days." A look of understanding crossed his wrinkled features. "So, you’re fucking my kid huh?" He shrugged, "she’ll get plenty of pussy inside Jesse, she always does." He laughed, choking on some of the smoke he covered his mouth and turned his head away, a smile prominent on his face.

Casey could feel the blood rushing to her head, his words scratching her raw. He doesn’t even care that’s she’s being hunted like an animal. "No tio, you don’t understand. Magali, she…it’s not like that tio." He raised an eyebrow, a direct link with his formidable daughter. "No eh? What’s so different now Jesse?" She had been trying to avoid stating the obvious, especially in front of Casey who was looking more distraught then before. "Magali won’t make it to prison this time tio, you know that. If she’s lucky enough to get caught and live…what do you think is going to happen inside, with the guards? Even then…God tio, it’s the death penalty now, not time, no more time." Casey leaned closer to the aging man, whispering a plea into his eyes. "Please, I care for your daughter very much. Don’t let her die thinking she was alone."

Guillermo looked into his coffee for a long time, almost approaching some kind of sympathy. "I know…she’s as dead now as ever." The image did not last, and as he took another pull from his cigar he motioned Susana back over. "Traime un papel, y una pluma anda." The waitress searched the counter for a pen and scurried over, depositing the pen and paper on the table and returning to the counter all in silence. Guillermo wrote on the scrap, covered it with his palm and pushed it across the table into Jesse’s hand. Looking at Casey briefly he picked up his newspaper, and opening it he hid behind the spread of articles. "Go…and give her a good fuck." Meeting over.

They didn’t bother to finish the food, instead they thanked him quietly and left the restaurant. Casey’s legs shook beneath her as she walked. Until she had heard Jesse’s heart wrenching speech she had not thought of the full implications of the situation or the article. No wonder she left, she knows all of that…everything that’s going to happen. She’s not trying to get away. God, she’s just giving herself time.

Casey stuck her hands in the pockets of her jeans, fighting off the cold from inside as much as outside. Her hand gripped at a foreign object, a crumpled paper that was not there before. She pulled it out and smoothed it over. There in neat handwriting she recognized the signed letter Z. Casey, I’m sorry you had to wake up in the middle of this. I have to go, but I’ll be thinking about you. Follow Jesse’s advice and stay away, I know she’s told you as much. There’s nothing but trouble for you here, it’s not worth the lay. Hey practice your pool, your angles are off. Zee "Jesse? How far away is she?"

Two more days Casey, just two more and you can go. Dark emerald eyes contemplated the cracks in a white ceiling, making shapes out of the lines and chips of falling paint. Laid out on the pillow by her head a black velvet shirt stained the blue cotton sheets of her bed. A television sitting on a crate towards the end of the futon murmured the evening news, a few cartons of open Chinese food rested on it’s top. Books and papers were spread around her, anatomy charts and statistics. Her back ached from reading hunched over her texts, mid-terms were a bitch. Try as she might she was unable to focus, intent on wondering what her Black Velvet was doing. Have they found her? What if she’s…

They had left the restaurant and gone their separate ways. Jesse went home to sleep and Casey to class. The small piece of paper with Guillermo’s writing had displayed an email address and directions to some unnamed place. It had taken her four hours of waiting at the school library to get a chance at a computer, and another half of an hour to get an e-mail address of her own. Nights of checking her mailbox and finding it empty had worn on her, the weeks passed agonizingly slow. Then it had appeared amidst messages of porno sites and ‘work from home’ advertisements. "Come. I’ll be waiting. Bring dog biscuits. Must be losing my mind, Zee." It took Jesse the calling in of a few favors from their supervisors to get her the few days of Thanksgiving vacation off, school would be out for the week, and she could not stop thanking her partner enough.

The phone rang a few times before she decided to answer, a scratchy voice jerking her away from her thoughts. "Casey baby, it’s mom." Oh yeah, like I wouldn’t know that voice. "Hi mom, how have you been?" A rough cough then, "same shit as always. Your sister got a new boy, Clifford got suspended from school, and they are about to turn my cable off! I need your help baby." When don’t you? "What is it mom?" Another cough, "Russell landed his butt in jail and they won’t let him go till I got some bail. Do you have any you can spare?" She rolled her eyes. Russell her oldest brother had a flair for getting into trouble at the wrong time, always when there was some other crises to deal with. "I swear these damn kids ain’t the same since you left baby, they need you here to look after them."

"Mom, we’ve been over this before. There’s no medical school near enough to you. Have you requested a shift in your schedule yet?"

"Hell, Martin won’t change my shift to day time, says he needs me at the register at night. They’re suppose to open a super-Walmart in Goshen, that’s the rumor anyway. Maybe I can switch over then."

It was the same conversation every time she called, an argument for Casey to return home and help raise her younger siblings. I did that long enough. "What did he do? Ahhaa…Mom…mom…how much do you need?" Mentioning money always seemed to end the sales pitch. "A thousand ought to cover it baby." Damn, that’ll wipe me out. Just enough gas money to… "Fine, I’ll send it Western Union in the morning. I have to study mom, don’t mean to cut you off…but…"

"That’s your problem Casey, always thinking about yourself. That’s why these damn kids are in trouble all the time now. I’ll be waiting for that money, send it real early. I have to see the doctor about these chest pains in the mornin’. Night now baby…Hey you rotten little…" Click. "Good night mom."

She had bought the cabin two years after getting out of prison. It was a small cabin of logs, reminded her of the Abraham Lincoln story, and she had filed all the papers with her dead brothers name. The cabin was well hidden by surrounding trees at the end of a long dirt road, to its side a small lake with a new pier rippled calmly.

Incredible what money can do. It had one large room with a fireplace and shelves for books, old country furniture and a bear rug graced the floor. A small country kitchen in the back, and an old fashioned bathroom complete with a four-legged tub finished the first floor. Up top a loft provided space enough for a captains bed and not much else. She had added small luxuries to the place, a satellite hook up for the TV she never watched, a surround sound system and a hot tub in the back of the cabin with a small shack as a steam room.

Magali pulled on the mouth of the scotch bottle, wincing at the taste. Damn liquor store with no Glenlivet, have to settle for this blended crap. She sat back on the cushions of the multi-colored cloth sofa, legs spread open, a gun laying on her stomach. She regarded the stones that made up the fireplace, music playing softly in the background, she sang along with it. "The winter here’s cold and bitter, it’s chilled us to the bone…I haven’t seen the sun for weeks, too long too far from home…I feel just like I’m sinking, and I claw for solid ground…I’m pulled down by the undertow, I never thought I could feel so low…and ohhh darkness I feel like letting go." Abruptly she flung the bottle into the firepit, the glass shattering and surprising Devi who ran up the stairs and into the loft. Fuck…you are pathetic Zee, you know that? Two more days, just two more…Why are you pulling her into this stupid…cause you fuck up everything you touch, don’t you? But…Better clean up before she gets here. She tugged on the white T-shirt she had been wearing for three days, the green boxers hanging from her. Going into town for laundry was risky with two miles of open road where her Jeep could be spotted. They had to have radioed out my plate number by now…well, at least these troopers will actually try to catch me first.

She sat by the lake, feet dangling over the pier, the gun that never left her side poking out of the back of her jeans. Murky water coiled under her construction boots. She stuck her hands under her arms looking for warmth in the material of the thick, navy blue sweater she wore. Her Ray-Bans reflected the surrounding hills, and she bit down on her lower lip. Small sounds made her jump, her hearing concentrated on the gravel lining the road. Morning had drifted in like molasses, dark and brooding. A night of waiting making her restless. Devi ran the length of the pier, a long branch dangling from her mouth, she dropped it in front of her mistress who promptly picked it up and threw it. The dog ceased the chase, preferring instead to lay its wide head down on Magali’s lap and stretch out. She rubbed her behind the ears, and looking over the mirrored expanse, waited.

Please let this piece of crap make it down this road, please, please. Casey had learned quickly the shape of the old white Chevrolets shocks, it bounced heavily on any dip or hole. The thruway up had been easy, with it’s smooth asphalt and straight paths, but now this dirt road in the middle of no where was wrecking her neck. It was Jesse’s car, and the woman had lamented its absence, but willingly let her borrow it. Now they were all involved, all at risk. Being caught with Magali brought charges with it, and using Jesse’s car put all three women into a compromising position.

She caught sight of the tall dark form standing at the end of a pier, one hand in her pocket the other behind her back. A bright smile greeted her under whipping black hair, making her heart leap. There was something in Zee’s step that made her different, a weariness not seen there previously. Black Velvet. She had barely stepped out of the car to stand, when authoritative arms caught her by the waist and surrounded her in an overwhelming embrace, a warm breath of seeming relief brushing the skin of her neck. "God am I glad to see you." Smooth Magali, real smooth.

"I never thought that road would end." Good come back there Casey.

Magali leaned into the backseat and pulled out a small duffle bag, in the same motion happily claimed the huge bag of dog biscuits laid out next to it. A bang and scratching on metal revealed the presence of Devi on the hood of the car, pushing her nose against the windshield. "Here girl, look what Casey got ya. But ya’ can’t have it all in one day Devi", she said ripping the bag open and tossing the dog a cookie and chuckling. It felt good to laugh. Casey saw herself in the lenses of the sunglasses Magali wore, and subconsciously she reached up and pulled them away from the weary face. Cerulean eyes bore into her, past Casey’s reserves and she melted at the sorrow she saw dwelling in the blue depths. Magali caught the expression. Shit, she’s gonna cry, I don’t get it. I must look awful. "Come on, let me show you the cabin", she put her best smile forward and the smaller woman’s features relaxed. That’s it Casey, I’ve been through this before, let me carry the burden of this madness. Just your presence makes me feel safe, it’s all I need, dear saint for you to shine in all this darkness.

The day subsided, letting in the night and covering the cabin in darkness. Magali piled a few logs in the fireplace and lit up the kindling with a long match. "It gets cold up here," she said rubbing her arms. Pouring two wineglasses halfway full with Chablis, she handed Casey one and sat down on the bear rug. Casey looked down at her from the sofa, cradling the glass in her hands. "I know…I grew up not too far from here…about forty minutes away in Walden." Magali arched an eyebrow at the mention of the small town. "And no we are not all related, that’s just a nasty local rumor." It was a deep laugh, not loud nor outright, but one that grumbled deeply in a chest. She has the best laugh. Her dark hair fell over her shoulder, she leaned on an elbow, her legs crossed with bare feet tucked under her knees. "Tell me about what it was like to grow up there", she asked, expectation clear on her features.

It was like telling a child a story, and watching their reaction in their eyes and lips. Cerulean eyes widened when she told her about her siblings, and how they fought in the grass after dinner. "My dad left when I was young, he never let my mom finish school, cause…well…she had me. So she went to work at Walmart, at night, and…" She took care of her younger brothers and sister, everyday home from school, do chores, cook, yell, act like mom. Her grades had been good, schools had offered her scholarships, but she settled on a local state school in New Paltz.

By the time she had finished her Bachelors, her sister was in high school with a mind of her own, and so she had applied to Cornell in New York City. Silently Magali listened, nodding here and there, smiling at the funny parts, like when she was locked out of her room by an angry little sister the night before an exam. Or when her brother got drunk for the first time and threw up all over her bed in the middle of the night, and told her all about how he lost he virginity. "Like I really wanted to know, but boy was I pissed at him poor kid."

Magali heard a grumble of a hungry stomach, looked down at herself and then at the grinning woman on the sofa. "Forgot to eat." Eat, oh shit, food, when did I eat last? She’s got to be starving. Magali rose from the rug evenly, talking over her shoulder. "I have something in here I’m sure", she said with a slight hesitation, opening the refrigerator. "Want a steak or something?" Please say steak, cause I can’t make anything else.

"Uhmm, sure. Want me to do that?"

Magali pulled out the meat and slapped it onto a pan, "Nah, I got it." I’m gonna burn this, she thought poking at the steak with a fork. Affectionate fingers covered her own, and stole the fork away.

"Let me show you a trick…first you…"

Magali didn’t hear a word the smaller woman spoke, idly she wandered back to the fire, content to have Casey do the cooking. Her mind drifted to the memory of a tall slender boy, cooking over a dirty white stovetop. "Magali man, you can’t cook for shit. Let me do this and get out of the kitchen before ya set sompin on fire." Jorge had recently cut his hair, the bumps from the razor clear on his neck, he was proud. She had sold that nickle bag she found to a neighbor for an inflated price, and had bought two more bags to sell. It took a few weeks, but the word had spread and she was buying larger amounts in no time at all. Her beautiful brother, he could have been a girl, wore a baseball cap to hide his long tresses that fell in curls. People kept asking him what gender he was, and he had gotten into a few fights about it on the block. Magali usually showed up in time to have her knuckles bloodied, and receive a few bruises in turn.

"Magali! Did you get me my fuckin’ Bacardi?" Her mother, shored up in her darkened bedroom tended to yell everything. Laura had been a painter, living off her husbands racketeering. Secure that nothing would happen, nothing would change, and she would raise her children and paint in comfort. She and Guillermo had met at the Paladium on a big band night, and he had swept her off her feet with his mysterious charm and allure. When Federal agents showed up at their house to drag him away, she had fought them. In the chaos, her hands were broken and she never picked up a brush again. She couldn’t find work and their savings had dwindled, forcing the family into a poor section of the city. The children ate two meals at school, and she survived on beer. When the summer fell, and school was out, the two free meals disappeared along with the classes.

Magalis new found enterprise bought food, clothes, rum, and haircuts. No one in the house complained, no one questioned, no one judged her. She did what none of them had the spine to do. When she bought the gun and not one of the boys teased Jorge, and the women in the building stopped criticizing Laura, they made her a hero. To Jorge, she was his inspiration, his everything. She noticed the missing weed, the missing money, and all night binges too late. When she found his crack pipe and confronted him, he left the apartment and didn’t return. Why do I need to think about this now, She asked herself, the clatter of plates reminding her she had company after a long span of solitude.

The fire on her warmed the fabric on her chest, settled a soft glow along her bronze features. Casey had finished preparing the steak, added a few thickly cut fries, and settled by the dark woman’s side on the rug. Magali had absently picked at the meal, taking small bites and swallowing slowly, as if it hurt to eat.

Maybe I can get her to talk, just a little. "You don’t like it?"

"Huh?" She shook her head, "no it’s great. I’m just not that hungry."

"Oh. So what have you been doing up here", she asked through a yawn.

Magali put the plate down for Devi to finish, and gulped down the remains of her wineglass. "Here, I’ll show you", she said grabbing a small container full of pebbles by the fireplace. She opened the lid, poured out some of the contents into her hand, then flung them into the fire. Angry sparks flew, dark and bright shades of purple and blue, red and green colored the flames. "Wow." Powerful arms drew Casey in to lean against a strong chest, wrapped in the safety of Magali’s arms. She could feel the tautness of her belly against her back, her chin resting on her shoulder, the steady breathing of the dark woman comforting her. Casey let out a breath, and settled her hands to either side of her body, finding each had it’s own thigh to rest on. The color in the flames, and the heat on her face caused her eyelids to grow heavy. "Thank you for being here", softly whispered in her ear was the last sound she heard as she drifted off to sleep.

This is one strange bed, Casey thought waking hours later. Green eyes fluttered open, small dying flames close by lit the sharp features of the woman she was laying on. Dark against the dark fur of the bear rug, her arms steadfast around Casey’s waist she slumbered. Oh my God. I’m laying on top of the most dangerous woman in New York City, and she’s asleep! I wonder… Gradually she tilted her head, her lips grazing the side of the sleeping woman’s neck. Dark velvet moved slightly, a low humm issued from her chest. Trying a tender nip at the skin, the sound grew louder, breathed through slightly opened lips. Bronze arms tightened around her, and an easy sway underneath her granted permission to proceed. Magali’s hand traced the middle of her back, fingers and palm slid under the hem of the purple turtleneck she wore, a touch of worship. The Saint sought the crimson lips that had burned her, hoping to feel the sensation anew, her hips taking on a life of their own.

The material that covered Casey’s torso was being removed, fingertips shooting electric currents through her, the heat from the dying fire acute against her naked skin. She reached down and pulled at the heavy sweater her dark velvet wore, only to find she had been pushed onto her knees, and the sweater was being flung away. "Give yourself to me Casey." Hungry lips touched her creamy collarbone, traced a line down her chest to her belly, agile fingers working the latch on her back free. Black Velvet caressed her torso with the back of her hand, leaving fingers to deliberately unfasten the button of her jeans. The zipper lowered. "Yes." A greedy mouth licked at the edge of her triangle, Casey leaned on the bent over back running fingers through dark hair.

One powerful arm curled around her, maneuvering her onto her back, strong hands removing the last shreds of clothing safeguarding her body. She could feel the course hair of the rug beneath her. Warm lips engulfed her breast, licking at the pink nipple, a firm hand caressed the other, stark against her pale skin. Tenderly Magali pulled her Saint upright once more, then dragged her down to worship her from underneath. Legs tangled, slippery triangles connected, and a rhythm began. Saint over Black Velvet. Casey felt her grab on to her wrists, her arms pulled to cross behind her back, she was forced to arch, exposing her neck to Magali’s tender bites. The position threw her off momentarily, the sensations running through her body stalling any movement, "don’t stop", a husky voice pleaded. Black Velvet.

The rocking claimed her, utterly seduced by the dark woman she lay over. Muscles reacting of their own accord, hands ached to touch the moving figure that controlled her. Magali measured her breaths, tuned out the rest of world making it only the sacred creature sliding against her. Dear Saint. She released Casey’s hands, and they found their way to her shoulders, agile hands pressing down on them. Magali pushed her arm onto the small woman’s back, keeping a hand on her head she turned her body. Black Velvet over Saint. Casey gasped, the darker woman over her suddenly, pushing her full length into her, a sheen of sweat covering a bronze chest. Nails scraped at a tattooed back, the smaller woman clawed her arms, and she was nearly lifted by the sudden rise of wanting hips. Purposefully, but reluctantly Magali slowed her movements, and explored the arched neck with ravenous lips. Deliberately she ceased moving. Licking at Casey’s lips, she touched them tentatively running the metal ball on her tongue tenderly teasing, announcing her intentions.

Tracing the metal down the center of her saint’s body, biting the skin aggressively every few spaces, she held Casey’s hands in her own. The holy protested, wordlessly urging Magali on. The feel of the woman’s tresses brushing her pale skin adding to the yearning of what was to come. Magali craved her, could taste her before her lips touched, claiming the woman fully with mouth and tongue. A moan tore itself from Casey’s throat on the contact, a pressing tongue rubbing at her bud, something warm rubbing against the sensitive area over it, filling her with the sensation of two lovers while holding only one. One of her hands freed from the powerful grasp holding it and allowed her to tangle her fingers in dark hair, pulling Magali closer. A probing finger found her entrance, slowly entered, shooting heat up from in between her legs.

The hunger grew, leaving not a trace of Casey’s being untouched, burning, needing. She couldn’t slow her breathing, words were impossible to form, thought incoherent. Waves crashed against her, sent her reeling skyward, dropping, then her skin was covered by a new warmth. Her Black Velvet covered her. A slickness, not of her own, rubbed against her center, Magali’s hands clutched her shoulders, teeth bore down on her neck. "Please…let me taste you," as if carried on a sun warmed breeze the words brushed by Magali’s ear. The world turned, and Casey leaned down to kiss perspiring skin under her, to taste every inch of exposed flesh. Her hands roamed over moving subtle muscles, taking in every curve and dip of the primitive creature writhing under her. She followed a lean line down to a dark patch. Black Velvet. Caressing the dark arousal with lips, she let her tongue roam, teasing with slow motions.

Feeling strong thighs beneath her forearms start to shake and rise, she eased away. A deep-throated moan rang through the air, and Casey bit her lip forcing her to stay her own needs to taste more of the honey offered her. A bead of sweat trickled down between bronze heaving breasts golden in the firelight. Bearing down she kissed inner thighs, savoring the reactions. "Turn over for me." Magali complied, laying flat on her stomach, her head resting on her arms. Casey turned her attention to the back of Magali’s legs, drawing lines along the muscled impressions she found with light fingers. Dark patterns drew her to the sinewy back splayed before her, tentative fingers exploring silky moisture. She licked at the lines, bit down on broad shoulders, the length of her body against the hard physique and soft skin. Magali twisted, unable to wait any longer, she met the lips that tortured her furiously. Bruising kisses hard but not painful expressed what was needed, and Casey returned to drinking her black velvet in.

Magali gripped the sides of her head, lifting herself off the ground. In one engulfing moment a raging inferno began and ripped through her, causing her to collapse and grab for the smaller woman. She pulled Casey up the length of her body, red petals tenderly tasting their way to starved lips. Damning both women to an ancient calling, a passionate kiss echoed through time.

The flames had died, glowing embers burned fitfully, small sparks struggling for survival. Two bodies lay content enmeshed in a lingering wave of heat, bronze tangled with cream. A dawning sun, red and angry found it’s way out from behind a foreboding horizon. Black Velvet and Saint, the sinner and the sacred became one. Music that had played unheard in the background pierced the silence caressing the sleeping women.

I want to come over, to hell with the consequence

You told me you loved me

That’s all I believe

I want to come over

It’s a need I can’t explain

I want to come over

To see you…to see you again

A white ashen log broke apart in the fireplace, the soft snap bringing Magali into sudden consciousness. The smooth handle of her gun rested in her palm, found in the wavering moments before sleep through years of habit. Golden hair covered her mid-section, a sleeping Casey curled by her side with one arm draped around her thigh. She took a deep breath, picturing in her mind the events of the evening. I shouldn’t have done this…shit Zero, what the fuck were you thinking? She’s put herself in danger and you let her. You can’t give her anything, your time here is almost up…ah fuck listen to you. She probably just wanted a good fuck with some bad ass…right? Right. She lifted the woman away from her as gently as possible, Casey groaned and turned. Finding a throw she covered the sleeping woman, and padded off to the bathroom gun in hand.

It was cold on the floor without Magali, the fire at her feet dead. A compact body pushed at her back and twisted. It was warm and silky and it pressed a cold wet nose to her neck. "Devi!" She received a generous lick across her cheek, and wrapping her arms around the dog’s neck she pulled Devi into the crook of her body. The animal’s heat filtered through the throw and warmed her skin. "Now I know why she keeps you around", she said chuckling. Sounds of running water alerted Casey to Magali’s whereabouts, and she unexpectedly felt the need for a bath.

Magali lay in the tub immersed in warm water, her head leaning against the end, hair slicked back. She had her eyes closed, but Casey could see the tension in the hand that hung over the side holding a gleaming handgun. One blue eye watched her approach, vigilante and welcoming. "Mind if I join you?"

She comes in here naked and asks me if I mind? "Sure, come on in the water’s fine."

Casey slipped in carefully, the tub was big enough to accommodate both of them, and the feel of skin once more arousing.

"Do you always have that gun with you?"

Both blue eyes opened and gazed at her, "always." She doesn’t belong here Zee, make her go home. "So what time are you leaving Casey?"

She swallowed the lump that had suddenly formed in her throat. "I wasn’t planning on leaving today. Unless you want me to?" Deep down you knew this.

The darker woman sat up looking at her with cold eyes, "why’d you come Casey, you hardly know me? You don’t want to know me."

Casey let water run through the fingers of her cupped hand, she lowered her head and whispered, "I’ve known you for a long time Zee, I just never knew your name."

Dark brows crossed, perplexed Magali began to ask for an explanation but was deterred by fingers pressed to her lips.

"Six months ago you helped me, and since then I’ve had this vision of you in my mind. I can’t shake it, no matter what anyone says Zee."

Magali’s blurred thoughts of a puzzle formed, and she began to fit them together. That first night I saw you with Jesse, I thought I knew you, I just couldn’t place your face. You were the one…in the hallway with that asshole…

She had been in a foul mood, fighting with Eddie all day over miscounted money. Her father insisting that she had been growing soft, that his end was near and she would have to take complete control. It was her birthday, although no one knew it other than her father, and she had started drinking the minute she had woken up. Spending the day around piles of cocaine and weed smoking acquaintances she had had her fill of it all. Some idiot had pointed a gun at her, and she had to make an example of him without killing the poor son of a bitch in broad daylight on the sidewalk. When night fell, intoxicated and furious she had taken a trip down to 14th Street, to a bi-leveled club named the Clit Club.

A large room filled with artificial fog and blinking lights, another with just a bar and some benches gave the place a sense of normality. Through a door and down a series of steps was a labyrinth of hallways. "Hey Zee! You got any blow!" One line had bathrooms, others lead to a pool room where porn played on sets strategically placed on walls and in corners. The entire place lit by red bulbs, a sinister shade mixing with dark figures and the stench of alcohol.

It was filled with smoke, of all varieties and she found a few people she knew who were into the drug scene. She’d brought enough weed and coke to get a party of ten jumping, and she shared, in the mood to start a little havoc. There were more blondes than she could keep track of, but there had been one in particular who came into her view in brief glimpses. Red hair in the dim light above the bar, she sat with another woman, smiling and talking animatedly. Amid trips to the bathroom for a line or two of coke and the bar, she glanced at them dancing, leaning close, sharing a drink of white liquid.

Her heart was out of control, it pounded in her chest, sweat dripped down her back. She had stripped down to a tank top, exposing the shoulder holster and a fading bruise on her arm from her latest car accident. The leather pants she wore clung to her, showing off every movement she made. She had drank too much she knew, taking too many intoxicants for too many hours. She stood in line for the bathroom, her group of followers milling around, laughing and yelling, making a nuisance of themselves. The blonde brushed past her down to the end of the hallway, into a dark corner, her companion pulling her through the crowd.

Magali was shoved and shoved back, keeping her eyes on the occupied corner, knowing what usually happened there, she could not look away. The blonde was being kissed, pulled and groped. She’s enjoying that? The blonde smiled pushing away from her aggressive companion, a stout hand raised and fell across her cheek snapping her head sideways. Abruptly the struggle began, movements ingrained into Magali’s subconscious producing a taste of bile to rise to her mouth. "She said no, you dumb bitch!" By the time her disciples had noticed her absence on line, she was covered in red blood, staining her tank top and arms, she had not bothered to use the gun. She recalled little after that, only that she had been dragged away half unconscious from the drugs, alcohol, and adrenaline. That was Casey.

At first the attack had made her panic with its brutality. She couldn’t muster the strength to scream as she watched the dark woman batter at her offender, it was reminiscent of vengeance. Through the gore and the blows the beauty before her shone through, whether it was the few drinks she had drunk or the fact that she realized she was being defended, or protected she did not know. That had never happened before. No one had ever stepped up to keep her safe, to defend her or protect her. It had always been her own role, in a small way towards her siblings. Yet here was this stranger, doing the unheard of in a town that did not recognize heroes. In that brief space of time something happened, a brief feeling of deja vu, it escaped with the crowd that pushed her away from the scene. "You didn’t see shit you hear", a masculine woman yelled at her as she dragged the semi-lucid woman further towards the exit.

Casey witnessed the process of recollection on Magali’s face, and she could swear the woman was flushed. "I was stoned."

Casey smiled, "I know. I watched you take trips to the bathroom all night long."

Magali leaned close, capturing her lips, eager to taste the woman all over again. Splash! Four legs and a tail trampled the women in the water, licking faces in a frenzy of wet fur and muscles. "Devi you little.." Magali’s scolding of the rambunctious dog was interrupted by a flurry of licks and head butting. Casey couldn’t control the fit of laughter at the sight of the animal rendering the woman helpless with its loving strength. Water rose over the brim of the tub and splashed out onto the floor in gushing waves, covering the tiles and running out the bathroom door. Then the attack was over, and Devi was running out shaking water off her body, a naked Magali running after her. "Come here you little bitch, I swear to God you better not be on the bed! Devviii!"

Left alone in the near empty tub Casey washed off under a clean stream of water. The sounds of running and jumping permeated the wooden walls and started her laughter anew. She dried off with a heavy black cotton towel she found draped over a bar near the door, mistakenly kicking something metallic that banged against the tub. Stooping to pick it up she froze when she realized what it was. The .45 had been discarded where Magali’s hand had hung over the side. It was cold and heavy, and fully loaded. She watched the light of the sun streaming through the window reflect off it’s surface, the mother of pearl in it’s handle misty and luminescent. It was beautiful and cruel, and her pulse quickened with the feel of it.

"Hey Cas…" Magali froze at the sight, where her voice had been full of mirth, it went dead and icy. "Put that down Casey."

She saw it in her eyes, the questioning, the regret. "I…I just kicked it by mistake…I didn’t think…" She offered the gun handle first, as she had seen done in the movies countless times. Deft fingers snatched at it, and Magali stomped away in the grey bathrobe she had thrown on. Her wet hair clinging to her face and neck, she wiped at the gun’s surface with a corner of the robe. Casey followed her into the kitchen area, wrapping the towel around her, unsure of what to say or what she had done wrong.

"Hey, I’m sorry…I just picked it up, it wasn’t…I mean I wasn’t going to do anything with it. I was just lookin…"

The woman didn’t look at her, she leaned over the sink, dark head bowed, gun resting under her hand. "Do you know what would happen if they found you here, found your prints on this?"

"I know I could be in trouble, but no one has charged you yet Zee, you’re not exactly a fugitive, just a…"

"A suspect", she finished. "With my reputation who would beli…how do you know I didn’t do it huh?"

"You didn’t, did you." The statement was hopeful and hushed in small tones.

"No", she replied looking her in the eyes, her chin slightly lifted. She believes me?

Casey stepped closer, weary of the tension in the woman’s face and shoulders, wrapped her arms around the waist of the taller figure. "Why are you up here Zee, hiding when you know you’re innocent?"

"I’m my father’s daughter Casey, with my record, my reputation, I don’t stand a chance…I’m not sure I want one. I’m tired…I ruin people Casey…and…I’ll ruin you too. You shouldn’t be here." I can not believe I’m saying this, what is it with this woman that makes it so easy to talk to her?

"You can’t ruin me Zee, we make our own decisions, and you are not what you seem to be. If you were, you wouldn’t have come to my rescue that night at the club." She squeezed the waist, bronze arms circling her body.

"You don’t know what I’ve done…things I can never change." Guilt, it hung heavy off her voice, soul felt and tumultuous.

"You don’t like what you do, do you?" I know that look in your eyes Zee, like an animal trapped in a cage, but it can’t leave because it thinks it won’t survive outside it. I saw that look in my own face. There was silence, as if the words were cornered in fear, screaming to be brought to life. Casey broke the spell, the conversation had grown profound and Magali was unwilling to go any further.

"Do you still want me to go Zee?"

"I think…I need you to stay." Against my better judgement and every gut instinct I have.

There was nothing left in the refrigerator and Casey had remembered passing a Price Chopper on her way to the cabin. Magali had insisted she take the cellular, not trusting the capabilities of Jesse’s old car to the desolate country roads, after Casey spent ten minutes convincing the woman to stay. It took her an hour to pile the cart up with things she thought Magali could cook on her own, and some things she would cook for her and leave frozen. Halfway back the phone rang once then subsided before it began to ring again, the code Magali had said she would use.


"Where are you?"

"Halfway there."

"Hurry up will ya."

The Chevy jumped its way down the driveway, jarring the groceries loose. From the top of the jeep a sleeping Devi opened her eyes and watched the car sputter off. The hood of the jeep was raised. Magali sat on the ground, her back against the low front of the vehicle, her jeans dusty, and her forearms stained with oil and grease. The denim shirt she wore, untucked, with sleeves rolled up, showed similar smudges. Her hands, just as grimy, cradled a plain covered book on her lap. "Need help", she asked under blue lenses.

"No I got it. What are you doing?"

"Changing the oil." She replied with a comical smirk.

"Nooo, I meant what are you reading?" She lifted a package laden with fruits and a head of lettuce poking out from the top.

"Uhmm..Rassalas." She replied looking at the cover.

"Oh, Samuel Johnson. I read that in school." She went inside the cabin, deposited the bag and went out for another.

"I never finished." Magali had her head stuck under the Jeep, fiddling with some bolt.

"The book? You must have failed that class." She chuckled returning to the cabin.

Magali watched her go back and forth, she traced the words on the books cover, the letter’s in gold. "School Casey, I never finished."

"Ohh, well lot’s of people drop out of college." Casey heard the low sound of her laugh, and after dropping the last bag on the kitchen counter, she walked out onto the small porch. "What’s so funny", she asked hands in her jean pockets, Magali’s parka hanging loosely over the plain T-shirt she wore.

"High School, I never finished High School!" Magali was rolling on the ground, an excited Devi jumping off the roof of the jeep and rolling with her mistress.

"You’re both going to need another bath you know." She deadpanned and went back in.

Magali followed her advice and took another bath, then changed into a pair of black silk boxers and a hooded sweatshirt, with the words "Pot head" emblazoned over a flower-pot. Appropriately a small cigarette dangled from her lips, twisted end forming a small bud like shape. She lit the tip and leaned back, legs bent at the knees, on the cushioned sofa. The acrid sweet smell floated to the kitchen, where Casey was stirring and dumping ingredients into a bubbling stew. "What do you have over there Zee?"

She took another pull, specks of ashes falling onto her sweatshirt. "Weed, ya want some?"

"No thanks, I’ll fall asleep." Into the boiling mixture went some cut carrots.

Magali shrugged, "it’ll help me eat better."

Casey padded over and lightly nudged the broad shoulder. "Are you trying to say something about my cooking?"

"Huh? No, no. I just don’t eat very much, and well…that’s a hell of a smell you have brewing over there." The smaller woman sat at her feet, wiggled her way onto her lap, and laid her head on the hard surface of the woman’s stomach. "How come you never finished?"

Magali was half way through the joint, and she coughed at the question. "I was busy…and I…spent some time in a place where there wasn’t any school." Casey snuggled against her, feeling the warmth of the long legs around her. "You mean prison. Jesse told me." She put the joint out on an ashtray laying on the arm of the sofa, shooed a curious Devi away from it and exhaled. "She tell you why I was there too?" The warmth was putting Casey to sleep, doggedly she kept her eyes open.

Must have taken some of that smoke in without realizing it. "Yes."

Magali leaned over and planted a soft kiss on the golden head, breathing in the scent of the woman on her lap.

"I think dinner is ready, want some?" Casey’s question was met with an enthusiastic nod of a dark head, and beaming blue eyes.

She’s stoned! Must be air tight in here or she’s easy. Magali thought as she fed Casey another spoonful of the thick stew, and received a spoonful herself. They ate out of one bowl, sitting across from each other on the bear rug, an anxious Devi close by. Magali had started another fire, and the memory of the previous night clutched at her chest. It had been spontaneous, lustful, an act of pure need, and it seemed wrong. Something was stirring in a small place, guarded with years of distance and doubt, a small light flickered in the wind. They finished the bowl, and Magali gave it over to Devi to clean. Casey laid in her lap, her eyes narrow, her breathing slowed. Magali watched, holding back the weight that threatened to drown her, wanting nothing more than to relish the moment. She can see right through me, past all of this, what I have been, what I could have been. But it’s too late.

Spend all your time waiting, for that second chance

For a break that would make it okay

There’s always some reason to feel not good enough

And it’s hard at the end of the day

I need some distraction, beautiful release

Memories seep from my veins

It may be empty, weightless and maybe

I’ll find some peace tonight

In the arms of an Angel

Fly away from here

Flannel sheets enveloped her, trapping the heat of her body in their folds but something was missing. Her clothes had been removed and she had been put into the captain’s bed atop the loft. The soft glow from a scented candle threw shadows across the slanted ceiling, and a breeze from the open window waved the translucent curtains, a heavy scent of cinnamon in the air. A full moon shone through the window. Clear and close enough to touch in the northern sky. Does she ever sleep? Barefoot and in nothing but her T-shirt and string underwear, rubbing her eyes she wavered groggily to the window to look for the Jeep. The view through the pane was breath taking. A black midnight sky glowing in moonlight, reflected off the lake’s water and covered the small expanse of firmament allowed by the surrounding hills. A long arm stretched out towards the water, a dark shadow sitting on the end of the pier barely moved, head stooped over an acoustic guitar dull in the night,

They were the sounds of raindrops being plucked from the air, the strong vibrations of a waterfall humming from Magali’s fingers, quick and precise. Chords filled with the melancholy of the ages, the passion of a new lover, rang in dulcet tones on the precarious wind. Fire and ice resonated. Casey covered her mouth, unwilling to disturb the vulnerability she saw in the exposed figure sitting in the dark. She recognized the intonation of the tones, flamenco in its purest form, improvised from the heart, dictated by the soul. Tears burst forth silently from her eyes, ran down her cheeks and through the lines of her hand. Casey’s lament for a wasted life interrupted by the crunch of gravel and two bright headlights coming slowly down the road.

Magali did not move, a gleam by her side disclosed the weapon she carried. The Sedan stopped near the pier, shining it’s cruel light on Magali’s form, the guitar hanging from one hand, the other pointing a gun at a slender male figure. Casey watched the scene unfold, contradictory to what she had been observing just a few minutes before. The man’s features were hidden by his stance, a long trench coat covered his body mid way to his ankles, he held his arms outstretched. Magali laid the instrument down on the wood of the pier, searched the man with her free hand, gun close to his head. Casey couldn’t make out the soundless words exchanged, the possibility of their meaning showing in the sudden slope of broad shoulders, and an understanding nod. Magali withdrew her weapon, and the man extended a hand in a shake, then walked back to the car. The headlights turned, illuminating the surrounding trees, and faded back down the road, a pair of colorless eyes tracking its departure.

Casey retreated back to the bed, curled up in a fetal position, a sleeping Devi protesting the movement. Her back facing the entrance to the room, she listened as Magali ascended the steps, removed her clothing and slipped in under the sheets bare skinned. "Everything alright Zee", she tempered the question.

"Yeah…you saw huh? Just a message from my lawyer." She patted her thigh.

Casey remained still. "What did they have to say?"

A long inhalation of breath. "I have to turn myself in for questioning, they’re coming down hard on my fathers business. Time to distract their attention." She shrugged.

Casey turned over laying her head on a strong shoulder, an arm naturally embraced her. Fear gripping at her core, "when?"

"Two days…you’ll have to leave before me, tomorrow. " A finality colored her words.

"Zee you can get out of this, I know you have to have a good lawyer…don’t you?"

The timber of her voice vibrated against Casey’s ear, shaking her with Magali’s laugh. "You mean us Mafiosi huh?"

Casey slapped her midsection lightly, producing an "umph" out of the woman.

"Zee it’s not funny", she said exasperated.

"If you don’t laugh you cry." And her laughter continued.

"Ohh you…" Casey used her advantage to tickle the dark woman’s side, taking the momentum to straddle the chuckling figure. "You can get out of this and then…you could stop…go back to school…" The blonde smiled in hopeful serenity.

Magali’s expression changed, a frown shaped her lips, and she played with the navel ring dangling from Casey, eyes down cast. "You don’t understand Casey…I can’t stop."

Casey pushed down on her shoulders leaning close to Magali and planted a soft kiss on crimson lips. "Why not?"

"When I started this…I was young and stupid…all I wanted was to get my brother a fuckin’ hair cut…then Efrain needed shoes, he was growing so damn fast…and I was sick of eating rice and eggs." Casey stuck out a tongue at the envisioned meal.

"And I thought tuna casserole was bad."

"Yeah well…there was this kid on the block, his brother got hit by a car and the clinic doctors said he would never walk again. But his mother thought if she got a second opinion, some therapy…maybe there was hope you know? So I put the kid to work with me…paid him as much as I could, and…there was always someone else. Someone who was hungry…or couldn’t find a job, too proud to ask for help, or their damn case was taking to long and they were being evicted…it just grew. Pretty soon I had the whole damn neighborhood making money. Now those kids that came up with me…they have families…and nothing better to do."

Casey shifted, Magali was talking, as if she wasn’t there, as if the words that had been trapped came tumbling forth into the light.

"Did you know that 75% of all hispanic students in New York City never make it to the twelfth grade? What do these people do in a business center like New York, clean offices? There are just sooo many spots available. It gets worse…remember that hurricane that hit Santo Domingo? We sent enough money out there to raise an entire town, get doctors in, medical supplies, build a school aannd a hospital. All that damn FEMA red tape, and people were being poisoned by drinking water. Then there’s all that other money that filters down to Cuba, people there have a half a pound of rice for a five person family unit! And this fuckin’ country has been boycotting medicine, for kids who are dying there." She continued to ramble, each sentence making her angrier and agitated, her voice rising slowly. "Let’s not even talk about South America!"

Casey grew silent, reached inward and felt the weight of a world pressed on powerful, young shoulders. Abruptly Magali stopped, she could have been a politician speaking at the Democratic convention. "I’m sorry Casey…I didn’t mean to load this off on you…I…but do you see? Why I can’t stop? It’s all very complicated."

The blond shuffled off her seat, sat cross-legged next to the long physique, golden in the candle light. "What about all those people who die from what you peddle?" She twiddled her fingers.

Fuck, here it comes. "No one holds a gun to their head Casey, no one forces them to get high, or play the numbers racket. It’s no different than someone drinking themselves to death, or taking too many prescription drugs. Does anyone blame the liqour store owner, or the pharmacist? No, they pay taxes. They do it because they want to, they come to me, I don’t go looking for them." Magali turned away, unable to face the judgement she knew would be mirrored in sea green eyes. I’m in bed with a revolutionary.

A gentle touch of lips on her bare back surprised her, the bolt of emotion overwhelming, shattered her last thread of reserve, and Magali broke. Fuck…not in front of her, not now…

"Zee?" Casey held the tense body, brushing her lips tenderly across warm golden skin. When her lips met Magali’s she tasted the salt there in the drop of a tear.

Caresses quickened, roamed over soft skin bathed in the light of a flickering flame. Tears and sweat, shift of flannel and the sound of women’s voices mingled in the dark. Bronze hands explored curves and channels, lips close by in pursuit. Gold and raven, sweet and bitter. No words exchanged, silent souls spoke through contact unbroken. Shaking and rising, holding on to the edges of a sheer cliff, both fell willingly. Ecstasy ripped through one, then the other, the world loomed overhead forboding, a promise to tear them apart. Legs tangled, hands clasped they rode the crest of the night, reveling in the moment that would soon be lost.

Continued in Part 4


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