With two long strides, Lisa Calltreaux stood next to the trainer and grabbed the long cane from him. He surrendered it easily and watched. "This is how you do it. Beat them! Beat them. " She began to strike maniacally at the elephant's side, slapping the cane repeatedly against its strong hide. " Close to the camera's microphone, Kate could be heard gasping in disbelief, stifling her breath. The camera shook more as she continued to record the event. "I. . .want. . .my. . .money." She struck again and again. Kate wondered why the elephant didn't fight back, perhaps too weak.

The camera moved to her immediate area outside the opened window. She tilted the camera down and her hand came into frame, reaching out for a crate. She placed the camera on top of the crate and dragged it under the window. Leaping onto the crate, she picked up the camera and continued to shoot the scene inside. Now she had an excellent vantage point of the elephant's legs and saw that they were shackled.

The camera tilted up again. Sweat beads appeared on Lisa's head. "Do I have to do everything?" she questioned as she continued the beating. "I lined up the buyers. I made the deals. I got you into the Reserve and now I have to do this? You're as useless as this piece of gray turd. At least I can make tens of thousands off of it. What are you three bringing me?" The beating didn't let up. As she ranted and raved at her partners, subordinates, conspirators, she rhythmically beat the elephant until finally it's big, thick legs, gave out and it knelt before her. "See!"

In the audio foreground, Kate whimpered as the elephant bellowed in pain in the background. The camera slowly moved across the downed elephant's body. It's skin sagged, loose and wrinkled around its bones. It's sunken eyes blinked, then closed, slowly opened again and looked at its captors, perhaps etching their faces in its mind forever. Just as the big mammal closed its eyes again, it glanced at the window and made contact with Kate and her camera. Barely audible, Kate said, "Don't worry, I'll help you. I'll help you."

Now, Kate stood with Jimiyu on one side of her, Serena on the other and Dafton beside the American chef. She bit her lip nervously. Jimiyu lowered his head, staring at his shoes. Dafton's eyes jumped from the final image on the screen to Jimiyu to Kate. The early conversation about animals in captivity made sense now to Serena. She glanced over at Kate, then pressed her hand against Kate's forearm, comforting her without being intrusive.

A gesture that Kate had almost begged for. She needed this touch. There had been no one there to comfort her through all of this. Her staff treated her with respect and with that respect came distance. Kate had nurtured the distance, thinking it best for a well run camp, but since that day she had longed for closeness. She ached to have someone hold her and tell her things would work out, that it wasn't her fault, that she had done the best she could. Serena's touch was doing all of these things, yet she suddenly pulled away.

Clearing her throat and straightening her posture, Kate took a deep breath, then reached and hit the stop button on the VCR. "Well, there you have it."

"What happened after this?" Dafton asked what was on Serena's mind.

"I got the elephants out. All of them. They were taken to the hospital, treated, and put back into the wild. The one you saw never recovered. But there were so many others before that. There was evidence of gazelles being stolen and sold, lions, leopards, baby giraffes, rhinos, many more elephants. She was trying to get them all--little by little, but she was going to empty this Park. Lisa and her pals were arrested and now, we wait for the trial. I no longer manage this Reserve. I'm allowed to continue my research here, but that's it. The day-to-day of running this place was pulled from me. I guess in a way that's good. I can concentrate on other things." Even as she spoke the last words, she knew they weren't true and the others knew this as well.

Kate ejected the tape and returned it to its place on the shelf. "I need. . .uh, excuse me."

She shuffled out of the tent and headed for her own, but stopped when she heard Serena call out to her. "Kate. Come to my tent. We can talk."

"I don't want to." Kate didn't turn around.

"Then we'll just sit." Serena offered softly.

Kate's shoulders fell. She didn't want to be alone again. "Okay," she whispered.

Serena moved quickly across the camp toward her tent. She held the flap open and waited for Kate who stood motionless in the center of their site. "Kate, c'mon."

Kate Chavez allowed Serena's sweet invitation to break down the barrier and she followed the voice to the tent. As she walked through, Serena lightly touched her arm again.

Inside, all her strength evaporated. "God. What did I do?" The tears which had been controlled during waking hours for so many months suddenly poured from her. Her body shook with anxiety, blame, guilt, failure, anger and hatred. Serena pulled her to her and held onto Kate as the taller woman clung to her. "All that was expected of me was to take care of them. To keep them out of harm's way. Instead, I delivered evil to them. I brought her here and kept allowing her to go back out there, to do more, to cause more pain, to torture more of them. I did that."

Serena felt the tears drop into her hair, felt the heavy breathing of the woman sobbing against her, tightened her hold in hopes of steadying the trembling body. Kate cried, sobbed, whimpered, and then cried some more.

"Come. Sit on the cot. She guided her to her small, uncomfortable cot and sat down next to her. Kate's head rested on Serena's shoulder while Serena gently stroked her dark hair and murmured soothing words. "You saved most of them. You helped them. If it weren't for you, she'd still be doing it. You put her out of business."

For over an hour Serena simply sat beside her, gently rubbing her thumb over Kate's hand which rested in her lap. Kate had drained herself of tears and coughed several times before sitting up. Her nose was red and eyes still moist. Mucus flowed from her nostrils and mingled with tears. She wiped the liquid away with the back of her hand, then wiped her hand on her pants. She stared at Serena whose name really suited her at the moment. She looked serene and at peace as if she had no where else in the world to be than beside her at that moment. Kate continued to look intently at her, then raised her hands to hold Serena's head between them. "Thank you."

Serena didn't give it a second's thought. She did what seemed the most logical and expected thing--she leaned forward and kissed Kate. She tenderly kissed her closed mouth and didn't break contact. Kate thought it was like a freeze-frame in a video production. Everything stopped. Their breathing, the noises of the wild. She waited for the image to fade to black, for that curtain to drop, and it did when she closed her eyes. Serena pecked gently at those lips and whispered, "You did everything right."

It was at that moment that the image became alive again. Kate opened her eyes and pulled away. "Uh, I'm sorry." She stood. "Hey. . .you know."

Serena smiled.

"I'm going to go on back to my tent."

"You can stay."

"Nah, I don't think so."

They were reliving the night of their first dinner again. Kate looked around nervously, half expecting to see the dozen pictures of Serena with that young man and other woman. The photos she had seen in the hotel room. The only photo in the tent was of another good looking man. Immediately she thought it must be a boyfriend she left in the States.


Kate laughed nervously, unsure where to look. Finally she said, "New boyfriend, huh?"

"Him? No, that's my brother."

The filmmaker nodded. "Oh. Good-looking guy. How much younger is he?"

Serena lowered her eyes, then smiled up at Kate. "He's eleven years older."

"Wow, he looks great for his age. He looks like he's about nineteen or twenty." She sniffled, the residue of her emotional release still fresh.

"Yeah, old picture."

"So, thanks again. And I had a good day with you and the cheetahs, too. Ya know?"

"Me too, Kate."

Kate stepped out, then re-entered. "Um, Lisa was my lover. I got really suckered, huh? I was so sure she was a different person. I trusted her and she betrayed me. I let my guard down. I can't afford to do that again. I've seen first hand the damage done when I stop thinking with my head. You understand that, right?"

"Yes," then added, "I do."

* * * * *

Not only did Kate refuse to acknowledge the closeness they had shared in Serena's tent, but all steps they had taken towards a friendship no longer existed. Kate made it clear that she was off bounds. Serena was met with a glare, when she had reached out to caress Kate's shoulder as she served lunch one afternoon. She also got the look when she had, casually and without thinking, grasped Kate's arm as she made a point on some inconsequential subject one evening. Invitations to accompany Kate on explorations were nil. Even Dafton couldn't pull the filmmaker out of her shell. So it was surprising that Kate suggested a game of gin rummy days later.

While Jack wrote a letter to his parents, Victor stood on the edge of the camp smoking cigarette after cigarette and the usual foursome played cards. Kate was especially animated and laughed heartily, told several silly puns which only Serena understood and drank some of the wonderful wine Dafton had brought to the camp. A slight drizzle had begun and Jimiyu and Kate stared up at the sky.

"It is coming soon." Jimiyu stated.

"I've been smelling it for days. This first one's going to be big I think."

"No, no. It will start off easy. Two days, easy rain, then much rain."

"Maybe. Bet?"

"You are on," he tried to say with an American accent.

"Okay, if you win, I'll do all the repairs for a week."

"And if you win, Kate?" He paused, then asked hesitantly, "What do you want?"

Dafton sprayed the mouthful of wine onto everyone at the table. Serena tilted her head at Dafton, then turned to hear what Kate hoped to win.

Kate paused. She turned and looked Serena in the eyes and repeated the question slowly. "What do I want?" The answer was apparent. She turned to Jimiyu. "What I want you can't give. Only the chef can."

Dafton and Serena gasped in unison.

"I want Thanksgiving. Turkey, mashed potatoes with gravy, green beans, cranberry sauce and sweet potato pie for dessert." She laughed as she collected the cards and returned them to the box.

"But the bet is with me, not Serena."

"I don't know, then. I'll think of something. You know I will."

* * * * *

Serena couldn't sleep. She had been in bed for two hours, listening to the rain. That look had been unmistakable. Kate had flirted with her openly and then got up and went to bed. The woman was a mere fifteen feet away, in her tent, with a smirk on her face, knowing that she was driving Serena out of her mind. Serena had masturbated to orgasm four times in those two hours. And it still wasn't enough. She wanted Kate so badly. She sighed. "Argh! Kate Chavez. You're driving me nuts!" she said as she punched down her pillow. She turned and opened the drawer beside her cot and retrieved the slender, white vibrator. She bit her lower lip trying to decide. The best orgasm came when the vibrator's power was set at its highest speed. Unfortunately, this was noisy. However, the rain had picked up and drowned out most of the other night sounds. No one would hear and everyone had been asleep now for hours, anyway.

She jumped up and placed the vibrator under her pillow, then covered it with a blanket. She slid her hands under both and turned it on, slowly increasing the power. It was on the highest speed and she heard it well in the tent, but knew it wouldn't be heard outside of her small cloth room. Just in case, she ran outside and stood between her tent and Kate's and listened. Rain came down harder and she was sure that no one could hear anything coming from her tent. She had her ear against the side of it and couldn't hear a thing. She ran back in and just as she crawled back into bed, she glimpsed her reflection in the mirror. Her white t-shirt was damp from the rain and her nipples were visible. Rock hard and visible. The image excited her and she leapt into the cot. Ten minutes and a sexual fantasy later, she bucked hard, straining her neck and arching her back as she came. She was almost too weak to turn the toy off, but managed. She fell asleep with it in her hand.

* * * * *

The cloudbursts of the night before brought forth a sunny day that smelled of brand new life. The ground was soaked through, yet Serena was determined to run her usual two miles. She needed this time alone to gather her thoughts, fantasize, remember, talk to herself. She had been going for a run every morning since arriving at the camp. It was usually just dawn when she started out and by the time she returned, the African sun was beating down on the camp.

After her run, she showered and dressed, then moseyed over to the equipment tent to find her large Calphalon simmering pot. Rummaging through her boxes, Serena was searching for it when Kate entered carrying a boom microphone with a fuzzy covering over its head. Serena looked up from where she squatted and watched Kate unnoticed. The filmmaker looked gorgeous in blue chinos, a cobalt blue cotton shirt and her usual hiking boots. Serena swallowed hard, then turned away as Victor entered the tent.

Kate picked up where she had left off in her conversation with her aide. Outside, near the truck, they had been discussing Jimiyu's snoring. "So you're telling me you guys slept okay last night?"

"Good, Kate. I did anyway. It was quiet."

Serena stood, stepped between them and excused herself. She returned to get some utensils a moment later and heard more of their conversation.

"Well, I couldn't sleep it was so loud. Even the rain didn't drown it out. That incessant noise, like a. . . humming." Kate said while watching Serena's reaction.

Serena froze at her box of cookware and slowly turned to the conversation.

"One must do what one must do. Sometimes it can't be helped." Victor suggested.

"Luckily it lasted less than half an hour. "

"I've heard longer."

"Good thing there's only one in the tent. Imagine how it would be if there were two of them going at it." Kate arched her brows.

Victor and Kate laughed. Serena walked to the opening and stepped out just as Victor grabbed a box of film and headed for the SUV.

"Funny," she said with a sarcastic sneer.


"You're real funny."

"What I do?"

"The two of you. It's so childish."

Kate stared innocently at Serena, but Serena glared back. Just as Victor was returning to the tent, Kate said, "Friendly advice--take the batteries out." She smirked as Serena threw the pan to the ground and stalked to her tent.

"What's wrong with Serena?" Victor asked.

"Who knows. Who cares."

Dafton, who had been reading a mystery novel looked up from the paperback and toward Serena's tent. He then slowly turned and stared at Kate. He shook his head, then walked over to the tent and called out in a whisper, "Serena, love? Are you all right?"

"Not now, Dafton. Please."

Dafton glared at Kate who fully understood his reprimand. She rolled her eyes, then slowly walked over to stand next to him. The two stood eyeball to eyeball until Kate finally turned away.

She didn't ring the cowbell, didn't announce her intrusion, she just walked in. "Hey, look. I'm sorry."

Serena was seated on the edge of her cot, eyes focused on nothing, tear stains making identical tracks on either side of her nose.

"Okay?" Kate shifted from one foot to the other. "Okay?" She waited, glancing around nervously.

Serena slowly tilted her head up to face her. "Why do you have to be like that? Why do you do it? I'm stumped here. One day, you're nice and friendly, the next, you make fun of me. For your information, my arms were sore last night. I was getting some of the aches and pains out. But I don't have to explain myself to you."

"I'm sorry. Look, it's like this. I'm not being gruff for the sake of it. This is a different land, a different culture. You can't behave like you're in New York City or Chicago or LA. This is nowhereland Kenya."

"So to teach me your lesson for the day, you use sarcasm, insult and ridicule? Don't you think I know where I am? I know it's different."

"Victor didn't even know what I was talking about."

You know, Kate you spend so much time with the animals, understand their motives, their needs, all of that." Serena's index finger poked in the air, punctuating each phrase. "You completely get their nature, but when it comes to human beings, you don't have a clue."

"Jeez. Lighten up. I was kidding."

"Like I said, not funny." Serena stood, walked passed her and out the tent. Kate followed and headed to the Bravada.

"Victor, Jack. Come on let's go." She said as she stomped to the truck. Serena stood beside Dafton who put a fatherly arm around her. As Kate passed Jimiyu, he whispered something to her in Swahili. It was loud enough for Dafton and Serena to hear, but Serena didn't understand.

When they were all in Kate tore out of the camp, burning rubber.

"Dafton, what did Jimmy say to her?"

"Umm, let's see. I reckon the translation would be. . .." He lifted his head to the sky and thought. "Umm, he told her that if she chooses to remain in hiding, then she must refrain from lighting a fire."

* * * * *

Whatever feelings Kate possessed, she kept to herself. Serena just couldn't understand why it was always hot or cold with the filmmaker. She had finally come to the realization that what she thought might have occurred between the two would not come to pass. Now, Serena concentrated on producing a quality cooking show and working on the manuscript for her new book. She could still enjoy Kenya, working with Dafton, learning as much as she could from the team about life on the Reserve. She had tried for weeks to be the woman's friend, but Kate blocked her at every turn. Serena had reached the point where Kate's opinion mattered little. She seldom asked her to taste their concoctions, never inquired if Kate wanted second or third helpings of a meal, barely glanced up when Kate would return from the grasslands with a smile on her face. Serena didn't want to be the butt of anymore jokes, the snickering innuendo, the pathetic girl who waited for compliments. Kate was her own woman. So was she.

A week before the most torrential of rains began, a freelance crew of two came out to the camp from Nairobi. Both were American and were making good livings in Kenya helping out on various nature films. Albert was a typical geek editor with stringy black hair and a habit of biting on any writing utensil he could find--sharpies, pencils, pens, highlighters. He wore the same black jeans and t-shirt day in and day out. He didn't seem to notice the beauty of the land around him choosing to spend every day and night at the editing machine, running film and video back and forth through the system. Despite his lack of interest in the real world of the Park Reserve, he was able to turn the beautiful footage shot by Kate into a lush, coherent work. Individually, every frame could have been a postcard; together, the images made up a heart-wrenching story of animals' fights for survival in a land often without mercy.

Then there was the other freelancer, Rachel. She was the sound person and arrived at the camp equipped with reel-to-reel machines and other sound devices. She would be adding music, ambient and animal sound to the footage. She would also add the more man-made sounds of an SUV traveling across the rugged ground, coming to a halt, the door opening and closing. When the product was complete, every sound would appear to have been made in real-time on site. Rachel was a 'pro,' according to Kate who raved about her endlessly.

She was five-eight, thin and looked to be about thirty-five, but it was hard to tell. She had spent most of her life out in the sun and her face was weather-beaten and very freckled. Her hair, strawberry blonde was always pulled back in a ponytail. She oozed sexuality, but only when Kate was around. And Kate's attraction to that sexuality was evident.

In the days that the freelancers worked at the camp, Kate stayed close by, watching over their work as any director would. But there was more to it. Serena sensed it every time she walked in the tent and saw them working. Albert was non-existent. It was all Kate and Rachel. They stood close, touched often. Serena knew she was jealous, but couldn't control it. She whined to Dafton that Kate was acting like a lioness trying to get the attention of a new sexual companion. "She might as well be rubbing her scent all over her," she complained.

The day the freelancers finished their work, Serena was happy to see them go and eagerly helped them pack their truck. She was left flat-footed and in shock when Kate announced she was going into Nairobi, too. And Serena didn't miss the meaningful looks exchanged between Kate and Rachel. She stood in the middle of the camp and watched her leave. Dafton waved goodbye as did Serena, but Serena raged inside. She knew what the Nairobi visit was all about.

Two days later, Kate was a different person, relaxed, even casual in her interactions.

The rains came hard most days. And those days when it was sunny, there would be intermittent showers. It was a strange time of year for those living on the Reserve. Work stopped, there was a strong feeling of cabin fever even though there were miles of open space, afternoon naps dragged on into the evening, and in the wee hours of morning, each tent's lantern's burned as occupants read or wrote letters or worked on small, personal projects.

* * * * *

"I'm going to shoot some footage of the cheetahs." Kate stepped out of her tent and announced. "Anyone wanna come?"

The only two around camp at the time were Dafton and Serena. Kate's aides had gone to the city to pick up supplies and wouldn't be back until the next day. The two chefs looked up from their work and shook their heads. "Sure?" Kate asked again, looking directly at Serena.

"I'm sure I don't want to go. Thanks." Serena's voice trailed off as she answered.

Kate shrugged and departed.

"So this is how you're handling it?" Dafton peered over his sunglasses.

"Yes, this is how I'm handling it."

"I already know how you feel about her and I think she fancies you."

"Yeah, I can tell she does--the insults, ignoring me, going off with Rachel. All signs of really liking someone."

"She's like a young lad. She teases you for a reaction."

"Let's cook, all right? I don't want to talk about it. Ever. All right?" Serena turned back to the small food preparation counter and diced tomatoes.

* * * * *

They had been working on several dishes and the day moved quickly. They were able to lose themselves in cooking since they were the only ones at the camp and didn't have to slap hungry hands stealing ingredients nor get distracted by stories of bravery around wild animals. The only break Serena and Dafton took was when she spilled an extremely spicy and colorful piri-piri sauce on her apron. While she went to retrieve a new one, Dafton quickly rinsed the soiled apron and hung it to dry.

The food they had prepared were complicated stews that both agreed would be more flavorful the next day. They had also made a beef jerky which they would let cure all week. Dinner was a mix of leftovers and a promise of a spectacular meal the next evening. That night, Kate retired early to her tent, leaving Dafton and Serena sitting at the table talking over her loud music.

"Daf, I've been meaning to talk to you about Jimmy."


"He really loves your cooking."

"Well, you know what they say, the way to a man's heart. . ."

"Does he know you're gay?"

"Do you know he is?"

"What?" Serena couldn't have hid her surprise if she tried.

"Yes, mate. He's quite the homosexual."

"No way. Are you sure? Kate made it clear to me that homosexuality is really frowned down upon by Kenyans."

"Well, I'm gay, and Jimiyu and Victor are both queer. The only straight person in this camp is Jack."

"No way!"

"Yes, I'm telling you."

"How do you know? Are Jimmy and Victor lovers?"

"No. Jimiyu and I are lovers, however."

"No way! When did that happen?"

"The second week. He came on strong after the second night, but I played hard to get."

"And Kate has no idea?"

"Lovey, Kate doesn't see what she doesn't want to see." Dafton leaned back, stretched his legs out, crossed his legs, and smiled. "She seems to be blind to everything and everyone around her."

"I really don't believe you. I need some kind of proof."

Raising an eyebrow, Dafton smiled. "Proof? A description of birthmarks? The name he calls me in bed? The name I call his little friend?"


"Sorry." He put his hand over his heart in apology and shook his head, then added, "It is so NOT little."

"Dafton, Jesus!"

"Oh, Serena. Somebody at this camp needs to have sex. What kind of example would we be to the animals, eh?"

Suddenly, a downpour of rain came from out of nowhere, opening up the skies and soaking the two before they could even run to their tents for shelter. At her tent, Serena called out from the opened flap, yelling over the rain to Dafton who stood in the opening of his own tent. "Dafton, you're being careful. I don't want you to get hurt. You're still healing from Duncan."

"Don't worry about me. I'm doing fine."

"He might be. . ."

"He's not experimenting or curious or even lonely. He knows what he wants. Goodnight."

"'night," she yelled across the camp.

* * * * *

By the time Serena returned from her run, Kate had already left for the day. While both chefs, examined the jerky they had made, and returned the stew to the burner to simmer for a few hours, Serena grilled Dafton about Jimiyu. She wanted details, explanations, histories. After hearing it all, she couldn't believe that Kate was so in the dark about what was going on at her camp. But then, Dafton and Jimmy had been an item for about four months and it hadn't registered on her radar screen either.

"What's that noise?" Serena looked up from her book.

"It's coming from the tent."

"Sounds like the fax machine."

They both walked over to the tent and saw that indeed a fax was coming through. Serena picked up the first page. It was from Kate's agent and the cover page read: "I have some good news and some bad news. Good news is on the second page, bad on the third. You choose which one to read first."

"Agents," she added as an afterthought.

"Take the bad news first."

"Okay, it's coming out."

They waited, then Serena whipped it out of the tray just as the last centimeter was completed.

"'Bad News' it says. She read quickly to herself, then aloud. "'Lisa Calltreaux has filed a suit against Kate in the States for defamation of character. Two, the videotape was sent to an expert who confirmed that it had not been doctored, however Calltreaux is trying to get the contents withheld from trial. Some Kenyan law about taping people without their consent.' According to Kate's attorney even if the tape is withheld, Kate's testimony will be the nail in Calltreaux's coffin. They'll probably get a deposition soon, and she'll be the major witness for the plaintiffs. Things still look good, just complicated.'"

"And the good news?"

Serena picked up the second sheet. "Kate's been nominated for an Emmy award for Best Documentary." Serena's eyes traveled down the page. "And it seems I've been nominated as well for Best Educational/Informational series. Wow."


"Thanks, I can't wait to tell Kate."

* * * * *

It was about three-thirty in the afternoon and Serena decided to relax in her cot, read a little and take a short nap. The stews were on low heat and they would be perfect for dinner in a couple of hours. She stretched out in bed and read for a few minutes before she nodded off.

Around five o'clock, Jimiyu, Victor, and Jack had returned to the camp and they unloaded supplies into the equipment tent. Jimiyu handed Dafton a long, slender box which Dafton immediately tore open. Inside were a long wooden spoon and fork made of cherrywood. "My grandmother made these for my mother when she married. I went to see her yesterday and told her about you. She gave me these to give to you."

"They're beautiful."

"She says that they have fed our family many years and she hopes that they will keep me well fed." He said with a smile.

Dafton reached out and took his hand. "Thank you. Thank h. . ."

A shrill scream pierced the overall quiet of the camp. A second scream followed and the men all turned to Serena's tent. Jack and Victor both ran to their tents and grabbed their guns. Jimiyu held his arm out to stop Dafton from venturing further as he crept toward the tent, expecting to pounce on Lisa Calltreaux or one of her goons.

A few feet from the entrance, Jimiyu was practically bowled over when Serena came charging out. Her screams were blood curdling and her face was bright red. "Help me! Help me!"

Jimiyu grabbed her, but she twisted out of his arms. "What is wrong?"

"My god, help me." Serena turned in circles in the middle of the open area. She pulled at her clothing and screamed louder. She pulled the sleeves of her shirt up to her elbows and stared at her arms in disbelief, letting out another scream. "Oh, my god!"

Jimiyu ran to her again and tried to pull her to him, but she escaped his grasp. She pinched her face and then screamed. She pinched her arm, then her body froze as she watched something just under her skin slither up her arm. Then she saw movement elsewhere on her arm. She lifted her shirt and saw the skin on her abdomen crawl. "Oh!" She screamed again, just as the Bravada pulled into camp.

Kate jumped out of the SUV. "What's happening?" she asked as she ran to Serena.

Serena's arms flailed out, pushing both Jimiyu and Kate away. "Get away. I've got it. I've got it. I'm going to die!" She screamed out, her eyes bulging, beads of sweat covering her forehead.

Kate looked down at Serena's arms and saw the movement as well. She made a request of Jimiyu in Swahili, then turned back to Serena. "I'm going to help you. You need to calm down."

Serena didn't understand. She lifted her pants leg and saw movement under the skin of her leg. She began to gasp and pant.

Jimiyu came running back holding a vial and a syringe. Kate grabbed Serena and held her tight as she dragged her toward her own tent.

"Hii hapa." Jimiyu offered the medicine to Kate.

"Ahsante," she thanked Jimiyu, then turned to Serena who was still struggling to free herself from Kate. "Unahitaji kupiga shindano." She shook her head, realizing that as often happened when she was unnerved, she spoke Swahili. She repeated herself in English. "I’m going to give you an injection." Then to Jimiyu and the others, "Jimmy fill the syringe. Jack, get me that big jar of Vaseline and some clean cloths." "You," she said, looking at Dafton, "stay outta the way." Victor held the flap of Kate's tent open for her as she pulled the still screaming Serena inside.

"Jimmy, c'mon gimme the needle."

"Hii hapa. Here it is, Mama." He said, following Kate into the tent. Kate lowered Serena to a small cot, then grabbed the syringe from Jimmy.

"Okay, okay. It'll be better in a few minutes."

"I've got it. I've got it. I'm going to die," Serena screamed as she tried pushing Kate away.

"No you're not. Stop squirming. I need to give you this shot."

"It's sleeping sickness. I see them. They've taken over my body. We can't get them out." Serena screamed out hysterically.

"Victor, Jimmy, hold her arms down. Jack get in here and hold her legs for me. " Kate commanded.

As the three men held her down, Kate jerked down Serena’s pants and jabbed the needle into Serena’s hip. Once the shot was in, the men let go, but had to grab her again, when the flailing started. "Get away from me. All of you. Get away."

"Somebody go get the big first-aid kit. Hurry."

Jack let go of Serena's arms and ran out. He returned a few moments later with the big metal box. Kate rummaged through it quickly, pulling out another vial and another syringe. She pierced the vial with the needle and filled it. The men squeezed Serena's arms and legs, trying to stabilize her. "This will relax you." Kate poked the second syringe full of medication into Serena’s other hip. She paused for a moment, looking down at the young woman’s round bottom, then sighed and pulled up her pants. This did not go unnoticed by the three men trying valiantly to hold onto the squirming, nearly hysterical woman.

"No, I don't want it," she whimpered.

"You don't have a choice," she whispered to Serena. Kate looked up at her aides and said, "Grab a couple of sheets from the top drawer," she pointed at her makeshift bureau, "then put them over the top of the bed. Cover it completely." The men quickly covered it and tucked the corners between the mattress and the ground.

"It is ready."

Kate again dragged Serena across the room and stretched her out on the sheets. "You guys go on and have dinner. I've got it under control here."

"I have sleeping sickness. They're going to eat into my brain. Then they'll kill me."

"That's not true. Ssh."

Slowly, Serena began to calm down and she looked at her arm. The skin still slithered and crawled. She was repulsed and turned away. "How long do I have?"

Kate grabbed the cloths and Vaseline from Jack. "Only the Fates have that answer. But this isn't gonna kill you," Kate answered as she stroked Serena's hair. "You'll be fine by morning."

The cowbell rang out. "Who is it?"

"Dafton. Is Serena all right?"

"Yeah, she'll be fine. Did she go near the mango trees?"

"No. She never does. Neither one of us. . .uh-oh."

"What?" Kate demanded. "What?" she asked again impatiently.

"Yesterday, she spilt sauce all over her apron. I rinsed it and wasn't thinking and threw it on a branch to dry. On the mango tree. Today after it dried again after the rain, I gave it to her. Nothing happened to me, though.

"Go look in her tent and tell me if you see the apron."

She waited and a minute later he called out that it was on her cot.

"You guys need to put on some protection, go in there, strip the cot. Get rid of all of it.

"Okay," Dafton replied trying to be as helpful as possible. "We'll do that."

Kate popped the lid on the Vaseline and began to rub it into Serena's skin. She started with her hand, putting on a thick coating. She soon realized that she would need to strip her down in order to administer aid to her and get rid of the parasites. She pulled Serena to a sitting position and slowly unbuttoned her shirt. She wasn't wearing a bra and Kate could see the parasites traveling over her chest. She pulled each arm out of the sleeves and dropped the shirt in a pail near the bed. Kate lowered Serena back onto the bed, lifted her ass and pulled her pants and underwear down, around her ankles and off. She dropped those clothes into the pail as well. Returning to Serena's hands, she began to coat her with Vaseline. Her hands, her forearms, upper arms, shoulders across her chest, bypassing her breasts, to her waist, abdomen, down her legs, not looking at the triangle of fur between them. She rubbed the ointment on her calves, her ankles and her feet, then worked her way back up the other side. Finally, the only section of her front left to do were her breasts. She stuck her hand in the jar again and coated Serena’s breasts with the viscous lubricant, then began massaging it in. She felt their firmness and in spite of the medical treatment she was administering, she found herself getting turned on. Especially when she dabbed Vaseline on Serena's nipples and watched as they hardened under her fingers. She looked away, but continued the coating. Serena moaned softly and opened her eyes, making eye contact with Kate. Almost immediately, they closed again and she drifted back to sleep. Kate's hands traveled down Serena's body, returning to areas that already had a Vaseline coating, finding spots she missed. She slowly spread Serena's legs, and rubbed the lubricant onto her inner thighs. She tried to respect Serena and not look at what was so close. She moved to the side of the sleeping woman and gently turned her on her side. Kate covered her shoulders and back with the Vaseline, then moved down to her ass. It would have made more sense to just smear the Vaseline on and get it over with, but Kate found herself kneading Serena's strong ass and squeezing the flesh. Kate felt herself become wet and immediately felt shame. She moved down Serena's legs quickly, covering each one, then made sure that the soles of her feet and each toe were covered as well.

Kate returned Serena to her back and then began to rid her of the parasites. The pentamidine mix she had injected into Serena would kill most of them, but what she wanted to do was get them out of her body as quickly as possible. Often, the parasites would die, but their scraps could confuse the body. The immune system would turn on the dead parasites and wreak havoc. By giving her the shot, then suffocating them with the Vaseline, then squeezing the skin to push them out, Serena would be back to normal in a few hours.

Kate began her work. She started at Serena's hands and gently squeezed about an inch at a time, working slowly and methodically. The thin, creamy worm was pushed out and she wiped it away with a cloth, then moved to the next inch. She worked throughout the night, prodding Serena's body, pushing against the skin, pinching the dead parasites out. Serena was as limp as a ragdoll and it was easy to maneuver her to inspect every bit of skin where the parasites might have hidden.

Several times Serena awoken and cried. "I don't want to die. Please save me." Kate, held Serena tightly and whispered calming words into her ear. "It's okay. You're going to be fine. You're going to make it. 'No matter how long the night, the day will come.' That's an African proverb. It's true, Serena. Ssh. This will be over soon. You're going to be fine."

Barely opening her eyes, Serena groaned, then through a cloud of exhaustion and delirium said, "You said my name. You've never said my name before."

Kate was astonished. Surely she had said her name prior to now, but she really couldn't think of a time.

"You said my name." Serena burrowed against Kate's shoulder and whimpered, then fell asleep again.

By morning, Kate was exhausted. Her own clothes were covered with Vaseline stains from where she had wiped her hands or held Serena's body against her. Her fingers hurt and she stopped to rub them. When she stopped, Serena awakened.

"Uh. . ." she said as she opened her eyes. "What's going. . .where am I?"

"You're in my tent. How do you feel?" Kate poured a cup of hot tea and started to hand it to her.

"Serena raised to her elbow, but slipped back onto the sheet. "Ow." She tried again and the same thing happened. "What is this?"


"Why do I have Vaseline all over me?" Serena peered under the sheet. "And why am I naked? What were you doing to me?

"You had an accident and freaked out."

"What kind of accident?"

"What do you remember about yesterday?" Kate asked as she sat the teacup on the ground.

Serena managed to sit up, strategically weaving the sheet around her body to cover private parts. She put her hand on her forehead, massaging her greasy temples and thought for a few moments before looking up. She glanced down at her arms and her crossed legs. "I had worms in my body. Under my skin. Parasites, right?" Lifting the sheet, she stared at her stomach trying to detect the frightening movement from yesterday. "The worms from the mango trees?"

*Now* you remember the tree. Last night you were screaming bloody murder about having sleeping sickness.

Serena whispered. "You took care of me? Are they all gone? Are they out of me?"

"Yep. It was an all night job. I'm beat, but you're clean. There're probably a couple dead ones lurking, but you are no longer playing host to thousands of those fuckers."


"Look in that bucket."

Serena bent to where Kate had pointed. She squinted, too afraid to fully examine the contents. She saw what appeared to be hundreds and hundreds of quarter inch pieces of string in the bucket. "That was in me?"


"How'd you get them out?"

Kate sat cross-legged in front of Serena and took her hand as she explained the procedure. "First, I gave you a drug mixture, the root of which *is* used for sleeping sickness." Kate smiled and continued, "which by the way, you *don't* have. Then, you were bouncing off the walls, so I gave you a sedative. Next, I put the Vaseline on you to suffocate the parasites. They need your pores to breathe, so I cut off their oxygen supply. Then, I squeezed and pinched. . ."

"Hold it a sec. You totally skipped over the part about my clothes. I'm completely naked, here."

"Obviously, I stripped you to put the Vaseline on."

Serena smiled. "So?"


"Did you, I don't know. . .like what you saw?"


"Well? I do remember some things."

"I was acting as a healthcare professional. You were ill. I was not looking at you that way."

"Not even a tiny bit."

"Well, I. . .absolutely not."

Serena nodded. "It's okay if you did. I would have checked you out, too. Unless, you found me repulsive?"

Kate squeezed her hand and shook her head. "You are beautiful." Immediately, Kate was embarrassed by her revelation. "As beautiful as one can be bright red and with worms sliding out of her body, ya know?"

"Will you help me up and maybe could you get some clothes for me and maybe you could help me wash?" Serena inquired in an innocent, yet flirtatious voice.

"I'll get your clothes, but I think you can wash yourself."

Serena reached under the sheet. "My god, I have Vaseline everywhere and I mean *everywhere.* Knowing where Serena had just slipped her hand sent Kate's stomach skipping. She wanted to touch her there and other places so badly.

Standing quickly, she said, "I'll go get your clothes."

* * * * *

The men were all relieved to see Serena back in good form. Dafton apologized repeatedly, kicking himself for being so careless. Serena remembered bits and pieces of that night, but most of it was a blur. The one positive outcome was that Kate's interaction with her was so very different. Kate had become attentive, interested, quick to offer assistance and let Serena know that her contribution to the camp was appreciated. Kate was also a runner, but she normally ran at sunset. Never had she invited Serena to join her, but recently she had changed her schedule and the two ran together each morning, sometimes chatting, sometimes just listening to the sound of their shoes hitting the soil. Mostly Kate talked about her commitment to the animals, how she felt responsible for their well-being and that this was her purpose in life.

More times than not, Serena accompanied the group or traveled only with Kate to the grasslands to watch the animals migrate to a land heavy with grain, fruit and other animals. Serena always waited for the invitation and Kate usually offered it just moments before departure. Then, she'd have to wait for Serena to grab her camera, watercolors, and make a trip to the bush to use the restroom.

This particular afternoon, Serena and Kate arrived at the location to view the cheetahs. They immediately spotted the family Kate had been researching, though Diego the feistiest of the cubs was missing. Days earlier, Kate had watched him clumsily attack a baboon, sinking his fangs into its neck and crushing it. She had stared at him with the fascination of a researcher, taking notes about his very first kill. Perhaps he was off on a solitary hunt.

The two women set up their 'work stations.' Kate retrieved a still camera from the truck along with a tripod and quickly set it up. She pulled out the videocamera suitcase and checked the battery, sound and tape. Serena meanwhile removed a TV tray from the truck and placed her watercolor paints and water on the table, five brushes of various sizes and then set up an easel and stool. For the rest of the afternoon, they worked in virtual silence only acknowledging the scene before them with an occasional "aah," or "wow." Kate walked to the truck for more 35 millimeter film and passed behind Serena. She glanced at the watercolor of the cheetah family and was amazed at how she had captured each cheetah's personality.

Serena could feel Kate's eyes on her and her body warmed with that unseen gaze. She stretched her neck, moving from side to side relaxing her neck and shoulder muscles.

Suddenly, Kate's hands were on her shoulders. "Achy?"

"Umm. Just stretching." She lowered her head and allowed Kate more access to her neck. "That feels good."

"You're pretty tight. How's this?"

Goosebumps popped up all over Serena's arms. "Ummm."

Without thinking, Kate bent and kissed Serena's neck and a moment later, Serena had turned in her stool and pulled Kate down to kiss her lips. Whatever distance they had tried to put between each other was now lost. Serena's mouth opened, her tongue sliding out to touch Kate's lips and when Kate's mouth opened, their tongues met. The kiss deepened. The chemistry they tried to pretend didn't exist, bounced between them. Kate's hands moved from Serena's shoulders to her arms, down her arms, then back up to her shoulders. Serena didn't break away as she stood and was pulled into an embrace. Minutes passed and Serena thought she would shatter with pent up excitement. She could hear birds and animals near. She could smell the ripeness of the land. She could feel the sun beating down on her. But those senses were overshadowed by this kiss. This kiss. This kiss was what she had longed for and living this life in Africa under the Kenyan sky wasn't all that meaningful without it.


Serena broke away, but Kate leaned in an gently nibbled Serena's lip, then kissed her deeply again.


This time it was Kate who pulled back and smiled. She drew a deep breath. "I've wanted to do that for a while. Okay, out of my system. I think we can go back to our work now, don't you?"

"Not a chance." Serena kissed her again and again and again that afternoon.

It was well into evening before they made it back to camp. On their return, Dafton immediately gave Serena a knowing snicker and a raised eyebrow when his hypothesis was proven as he watched Serena turn crimson.

"Another fax came for you. It's about Lisa Calltreaux."

Kate was well aware of the bad news received in the fax almost two weeks earlier and had talked to each member of the camp about strategy. In the end, Kate decided that she would let her attorney handle the legalities of the situation.

This new communique from the attorney told her all the legalese she needed to know. She was to come into Nairobi on Friday and give a videotaped deposition just so they'd have it on file. The trial would start shortly thereafter.

* * * * *

Three days later, Dafton, Serena, Jimiyu and Kate were packing up the Expedition and Victor and Jack, the Bravada. Since they all needed to be in town for various reasons, they had decided to break camp and relax in the city for a few days.

Dafton was sitting behind the wheel of the truck, Jimiyu in the passenger's seat and Kate, wearing a white t-shirt, a plaid flannel shirt over it, khakis and a baseball cap that said, "UCLA" was settling down in the back while Serena threw the last of their bags into the truck's storage area.

"All set," she said and lifted a leg into the big truck and pulled herself up.

"Good. Then we're ready to move out."

"Ah, shoot. Let me just make one pit stop." Serena jumped from the Bravada.

"God, Serena. The loo again? C'mon mate."

"Sorry." Serena ran back into her tent grabbed a roll of toilet paper and ran into the bush.

"What's with her and the bathroom, anyway? I don't think she's ever left this camp without stopping to pee. She must have the weakest bladder on earth."

"Dafton looked in his rearview mirror at Kate. "You're not serious? You know why. She has told you?"

"No. Told me what?"

"Certainly she's told you about her family?"

"No, she's never mentioned her family. Except for the picture of her brother in her tent."

"Serena always stops off because she's afraid of what will happen if she doesn't."

"Hey, Dafton. Wanna try being more cryptic? I'm real close to understanding ya." She leaned forward. "What do you mean?"

Dafton quickly glanced in the direction of Serena before continuing rapidly. "When she was about ten years, her family took holiday. It was to be the last large family outing before her brother graduated university. He had been offered a position in California and they were in Chicago. They drove to Disney World and on their return Serena had to take a leak. You know how the kiddies are. Her mum had asked if she had to go just a bit earlier at the hotel and she said no. As soon as they started on the parkway, Serena had to go desperately. Her dad pulled over and straight away she ran off into the woods not too far from the car. Her brother was in the passenger's seat, mum in the back with Serena. So while she's off taking care of her need, this other car, trying to make better time by driving on the shoulder plows into her family's car. The driver walked away with a few cuts and bruises. Her mum and dad were killed instantly. Her brother, Matt was left in critical condition in hospital for several days. Now, he's in a home. Nurses turn him every two hours, he takes his meals through a tube. The poor girl's certain that if she can avoid a urinary emergency, everyone will be safe."

"Oh my God. I had no idea. She never said a word."

"Really? She told me probably the third day after we met." Dafton turned to look at Kate. For some reason, when it came to Serena, he felt a special defensiveness and a need to protect. He loved her like a sister. In their interactions, he made sure Kate knew this. He added, "But then I asked."

Kate crossed her arms and glared at him just as Serena came running back and jumped into the truck. "Okay, let's get this show on the road," she said as she slammed the door. Kate and Jimiyu were silent. Dafton started the SUV and put it in reverse, backing out of the camp. There was a definite change in mood in the truck. "What's up? What's wrong with everybody?" Serena inquired.

"Nothin'." Kate answered as the four rode into Nairobi.

* * * * *

In Nairobi, Victor and Jack quickly parted company after dropping the truck off at the repair shop. Jimiyu and Dafton said their good-byes to the two women as they pulled their bags from the back of the truck. The women drove to the Norfolk Hotel and checked into a room with two beds. They vowed that since they had to be in the City, they would pamper themselves at the hotel. If they could line up massages, they would, room service, or meals in the restaurant, morning coffee on the terrace. And in between, Kate would give her two depositions. One was scheduled for later that day and the other, just before noon on Saturday.

Serena wished Kate luck and asked once more if she wanted her to accompany her to the lawyer's office. Kate shook her head and started for the door with Serena following behind her.

"I'll be thinking of you. You look great."

Kate brushed her hand across her dress slacks, ironing out an invisible wrinkle. Then she pulled on the collar of her silk blouse and straightened it. "Thanks, Serena. I'll need good thoughts."

Serena reached up and kissed her on the cheek. "See you soon. I'll make appointments for massages."

As soon as the door closed, Serena smiled and ran to the bed. "A bed! A real bed. That I can bounce on." She stretched out in it. "I can turn. Left, now right. I can roll over two full turns. Ah, bed! Tell me, how long has it been?" She laced her fingers behind her head and smiled. Suddenly, she jumped up and ran to the bathroom.

"And a bathtub. Not a shower. An endless supply of hot water not dependent on the sun. Yes! Yes! Yes!"

"She stripped down quickly, turned the water on and filled the tub and poured in complimentary bath salts. She slid in and smiled as her body was covered with fragrant water.

* * * * *

Kate had left the hotel at twelve-thirty. It was now six-thirty and she hadn't returned. Serena had taken an hour's long bath, browsed the nearby shops, walked over to the open market and purchased some pottery and baskets, then returned to their hotel room. She took a long shower, napped for an hour, stared out at the skyline from the terrace, and wondered what was taking so long.

Finally, the door opened and Serena jumped up, flinging the door open fully.

"I was just about to call out the search party."

"Urgh. You wouldn't believe it. I'm about to collapse." She said as she stepped in and moved across the room. "It was pure hell."

"What happened?" Serena closed the door.

Kate kicked off her shoes. "Well, first. . ." She sighed. "I was in this uncomfortable monkey suit all day."

Serena laughed and helped her out of her jacket.

"Thanks. Second, you wouldn't believe the questions and the insinuations from Lisa's lawyer. They were trying to paint a real nasty picture." Kate unzipped her skirt un-self consciously, and let it fall to the floor, then slid the pantyhose down her hips and legs. Serena licked her lips and closed her eyes for a brief moment to regain her composure. Kate didn't seem to notice as she sat on the bed.

"What do you mean?"

"Her lawyer claimed that I was a woman scorned and with a vendetta. Let me tell you, in Kenya, they practically vomit at the thought of lesbianism. So this guy is trying to portray me as this deranged pervert who was pissed off after being dumped by her."


"Questions like, 'Ms Chavez, is it true that you and Ms. Calltreaux, a woman in your employ at your camp entered into an unnatural relationship?' Easy answer. No. There was nothing unnatural about it, but I just said, no. 'Ms. Chavez isn't it true that when Ms. Calltreaux, your hire attempted to end the relationship you threatened her with a promise to get even?' No. 'When Ms. Calltreaux believed she was alone, that you were in fact following or rather stalking her?' No, I was observing her actions because I didn't trust her. 'Ah-hah, you believed that she would divulge your sexual affair?' No, I believed I'd catch her poaching wildlife, which I did, sir. Then I asked him if he might want to ask some questions about the crimes she's being charged with. That's when he told me that he was asking the questions, blah-blah-blah."

"Jeez. How did you keep your cool?"

"I lost it a few times. I'm just whipped, Serena. At least I don't have to go back tomorrow. They have all they need from me." Kate began unbuttoning her top and Serena's breath caught in her throat. She watched as Kate's blouse slid off her back and onto the bed. Now Kate was in her panties and bra. "I need a shower. Tell me you booked a massage?"

"I did. . ." Serena's voice cracked and Kate looked up and grinned at her. She tried again after clearing her throat. "I did, but I'm afraid you missed the appointment."

"Shit. I knew it."

"I. . .I could give you one, if you like. I'm not a professional, but not bad."

Kate nodded. "It's a deal. Let me clean the Kenyan judicial system off my body and I'll be right back.

With Kate in the shower, Serena busied herself trying to set a mood. She turned on the light, turned it off, turned on a lamp with a dimmer, lowered the illumination. She repositioned the vertical blinds to darken the room. Serena searched her purse for a cinnamon tic tac and popped it in her mouth. Checking her short hair in the mirror, she ran her fingers through it. She took several deep breaths, telling herself that it was just a massage. She walked to the bed and pulled down the coverlet, blanket and sheet. She practically skipped to the vanity area just outside the bathroom and picked up a container of baby powder and the bottle of Cool Water she kept. Back at the bed, she spritzed the sheets and placed the powder on the table. More deep breathing. The shower was turned off. Serena gulped. Five minutes later, Kate returned. Blinking, Serena tried to feign composure. Kate had entered the room with the towel wrapped around her waist, her breasts bare. She grinned again at Serena who stood enthralled.

"Gonna give me that massage? Nice lighting."

"Huh? Yeah. Huh?"

Kate stepped in front of her, gently touching her arm as she passed and stretched out on the bed. "Ready."

"Yeah, ready." Serena licked her lips again and sat delicately beside Kate on the edge of the bed. She placed some baby powder in her hands and rubbed them together, then began work on Kate's shoulders.

"Umm. That's the exact spot." Kate purred into her pillow.

Serena was starting to perspire. She pumped more powder into her hands and spread it on Kate's back.

"That feels good and smells good."

Serena pressed into Kate's flesh, feeling the hard muscles loosen and relax under her.

"You're not saying anything."

Serena pressed into her lower back and wondered how she might suggest losing the towel.

"Serena? Serena?"


"You all right?"

"Yeah, perfectly fine." Her hands were shaking.

"If your hands hurt, you can stop."

"No, no. It's just the position I'm in. It's a little hard to. . ."

"Why don't you straddle me?"

Serena whimpered and Kate laughed.

"No, this is. . .that's okay." She responded hesitantly.

"C'mon. It'll make it easier."

Serena paused to consider it. God, how she wanted to, but if she did, she wouldn't be able to hide what her body was feeling. She knew how wet she was. Serena's thin pants were soaked through. Well, she wanted Kate and this way, Kate wouldn't have to wonder how much. "Okay," she whispered.

Straddling Kate's lower back, she didn't dare put her weight down. She hovered over her, but Kate lifted her ass slightly and contact was made. Serena let out one low moan as she continued her massage. She finally relaxed and pushed on her muscles with earnest. Kate moaned beneath her and Serena sweated. Neither woman said anything. The room was totally silent save Serena's breathing that was shallow and rapid and Kate's that was long and sensual.

The massage was so relaxing that Kate fell asleep and with that, Serena calmed as well. She slowly pulled the towel further down, exposing Kate's rear and kneaded her cheeks. It was divine, touching her. For twenty minutes, she lost herself in the feel of Kate's flesh and nearly jumped when Kate awoke and asked, "Why didn't you ever tell me about your family? About what happened to your brother and parents?"

"Uh. . .what? How did you find out?" Serena was motionless. Her hands rested on Kate's butt. "Dafton told you."

"Yeah. Why didn't you?"

"It's kind of a downer. I figured you were already ticked about me being here, I didn't want to come across as more of a burden than I was."

"But, that's important stuff. You should have told me."

Serena, unaware began to gently glide her hands across Kate's rear. She didn't even notice when goosebumps appeared. "I'm sorry. There was never a good time."

"When I asked you about your brother, that would have been a good time."

Continued - Part 3 (Final)


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