There was a gap in the stream of people, allowing Sam to see a strikingly beautiful woman walking towards them. She was wearing stylish clothing and her dark, wavy hair bounced in time with her long, graceful strides. The blonde couldnt help but be impressed. She looks like she just stepped off the cover of a fashion magazine. Sam squared her shoulders and sucked in her gut. This ought to be interesting.
Tina! Andi smiled. What a surprise. I didnt think this was your kind of event.
A shrug. Things change.
So I see. Brown eyes shifted to Sam. Hello. Im Andi.
Hi. Steadfastly meeting the gaze, the musician moved closer to Tina and wrapped a hand around her bicep. Im Sam. And shes mine.
There was a moment of uncomfortable silence before Andi nodded, acknowledging both the greeting and the possessive stance. Youre a lucky woman.
I know. The couple replied in unison, looked at each other, and grinned at their like-mindedness.
Honey, Sam explained, I think she was talking to ME.
Oh Tina blushed and shuffled her feet. Honey?
Andi watched her ex-lover. Shes blushing... incredible. Evidently, keeping my feelings to myself wasnt the best plan. I was afraid she wasnt ready and Id scare her away. But I ended up losing her anyhow. Well, Ill let you get back to your shopping. Im glad I got a chance to see you and say Merry Christmas. She stepped forward, kissed Tina on the cheek and whispered something to her. Then, taking off rapidly in the opposite direction, she was gone.
Without a word, the accountant suddenly sprang into motion, heading for the parking garage.
Tina wait. Sam hurried to catch up.
Lets go home, Tina, clearly rattled from the encounter, implored. Please.
Home it is.
They walked to the garage and rode the elevator to the third level where they had prearranged to park.
Im over here. Sam pointed to the left. Ill follow you. Quickly throwing her shopping bag in the rear of the SUV, she got behind the wheel and trailed Tinas car the short distance to Bayshore Palms. She used her new remote at the gate, impatiently having to wait for it to close after the BMW before being able to open it again. When she pulled into the empty space next to the silver car, her partner was already pacing back and forth in front of the elevator.
Sam jogged over and they went up to the condo. As soon as they got inside, the blonde put her arms around Tina. Its all right.
Im sorry. The taller woman reciprocated the hug.
Theres no reason for you to be sorry. How about we sit on the couch and talk a little bit?
I could use a beer. Would you like one?
Neither of them moved.
Umm T? Youre going to have to let go of me so I can get it for you.
I I dont ever want to let you go. Tina loosened her grasp just enough to duck her head for a kiss. Ever.
I like it when you think that way. Especially when you tell me. Sam smiled and backed out of the embrace before they could kiss again, knowing where that would lead. And right now, more than anything, we need to talk. She turned on the lamp by the couch. Why dont you take off your shoes and relax while I get the beers?
Tina took the advice and was sitting with her feet propped on the coffee table when Sam returned to join her. They were quiet for a few minutes, sorting their thoughts while they sipped their drinks.
Sam spoke first. Shes very beautiful.
I guess so. I it never occurred to me that wed run into her.
Its a small world. Im sure youll meet an ex or two of mine somewhere along the line.
I dont think Ill like that.
It can be an awkward situation, but, if all else fails, you can always give them that glare of yours.
Besides, I dont have anyone from my past quite as stunning for you to meet.
I never loved her.
I know. Sam gently brushed the trace of lipstick from Tinas cheek. Shes in love with you, though.
She told me shes glad Im happy and umm she misses me.
Of course she does. Sam had been extremely curious as to what Andi had whispered and was pleased that Tina had shared the information without being asked. Do you miss her?
I care about her. Id like for her to be happy, too.
Shell have to get over you first. Everybody has to find their own way in their own time.
Tina put her drink on the end table. Cmere. She gathered the blonde into her arms. It may have taken me a while, but I found what I want.
Are you sure? Insecurity crept into Sams voice. I mean youre so gorgeous, its a given that people beautiful people will flirt with you want you. I dont know how to compete with that.
Im VERY sure. And there is nobody for you to compete against. With one look one word one touch youre in here, Tina tapped her chest, hugging my heart.
An enormous smile lit up Sams face. Really?
Really. Tina smiled back, delighted her words had helped ease the womans doubts. I need to tell her stuff like this more often. Pulling the bottom of the polo shirt out of the waistband of Sams jeans, she slid a hand underneath. It doesnt hurt that you have an incredibly sexy little body, too. Soft with curves. Her hand cupped a full breast. For me youre just right.
The combination of compliments and gentle caresses had turned Sam a rosy shade of pink. You certainly know how to flatter a girl.
Im going to hold you to that.
Good. I like it when you hold me.
So do I.
Several minutes of contented snuggling passed.
Im sorry if Ive been acting jealous. Its not the most endearing of traits. The problem is, anything involving you seems to send my emotions into override.
I understand the feeling. The thought of losing you...
Theres NO chance of that.
I get a pain in my stomach just thinking about it.
Ill never leave you. Sam kissed Tina tenderly. I promise.
Blue eyes became moist with tears. What if something bad happens?
We can find a way to get through anything.
I umm Ive been having nightmares again.
Sam was immediately worried. About the accident?
Kind of. Tina took and released a shaky deep breath. But its not Steven. It I lose you.
That WONT happen. Not if I have anything to say about it.
Steven and I said wed always stick together. I told him I loved him.
I bet youve never told anybody that since then. Sam considered carefully how to respond. She decided that, as difficult as it might be, she had to be realistic. We cant anticipate everything life has in store for us. If, as unlikely as it is, something happened, Id fight till the end to stay with you. And, no matter what, even if I was physically gone Id be in your heart forever.
I need you. I dont know what Id do
Promise me you wouldnt run away again and close yourself off from everyone
I cant promise that.
What about Joshua?
Yes. If something happened to me, hed need you to help him deal with it. Almost as much as youd need him.
I dont think Id be much help.
Just being there for him would be enough. Sam used her thumb to wipe the tear trickling down Tinas cheek. Not that we have to be bothered with such thoughts, because were going to grow very old together.
I hope so.
For now, our main objective should be to get you a dream catcher.
The Native American thing?
Yeah. You hang it by the bed. It filters out bad dreams and lets the good ones through.
Does it work?
Its worth giving it a shot, dont you think?
Ill pick one up tomorrow. But for tonight I think Ill hold you and see if I can keep all the bad dreams away.
I like that idea.
Well, it will take both of us to make it work.
What do I have to do?
You have to believe that I love you that Ill protect you and Ill never leave you. Can you do that?
Tina looked into Sams eyes, seeing only love and devotion shining back at her. How can I NOT believe it? Yes.
That night Tina slept peacefully, wrapped securely in Sams arms. The next morning, she told the blonde not to buy her a dream catcher.
She already had one.
To be continued