Disclaimer: The characters presented in this story are property of MCA/Universal and RenPic. I have taken borrowed them for my own deviant purposes. This is a work of fiction and it’s mine, mine, mine. You (whomever you are) may not alter, reproduce or post without my expressed permission.

Subtext: Oh yeah, you betcha.

Sex: ditto

Violence: Nope. Unless you count the abuse of one souvenir ashtray.

Author’s Notes: This is what I like to term an uber-uber. I was thinking one day (stay with me here) what would Janice Covington fantasize about? Well this is what I came up with. Think of this as a Janice daydream.

Special thanks to my beta readers. Your generosity astounds me. Thanks for making this a better story.

Comments are always welcome but nothing mean or demon spawnish because I’ll just delete those.

Okay, let the games begin.

Copyright © December 1998 by C.L. Bactad

Southern Comfort

by: C.L. Bactad

Listen to the Audio Version by Bongo Bear or Download mp3



She was tall, dark and Southern. The second I saw her walk into my office I knew she was trouble. No, not the small nickel and dime type of trouble that you can walk away from with nothing more than a wrinkle on your nicely creased chinos. No, her kind of trouble could topple civilizations. It was the worst of the best kind and it was spelled s-e-x. You could see it in those long legs she teased me with through the slit in her milky white skirt. Yeah, it was there all right. It rolled off of her like the smoke of a Cuban cigar, sensual, hazy and hypnotic. Just the way I liked it. I was in danger, serious I-should-run-to-papa danger. I kept on my thin leather jacket, just in case I needed to make a quick exit.

"Have a seat Miss Pappas," I said, hoping to keep my voice neutral, but still it echoed in my head as if I was standing in a tunnel. My throat became dry as she glided across the floor and sat in a worn leather high back chair. Oh what a lucky chair it was. Her elegant six-foot frame graced the leather like a soft caress. She sat with proper posture and her white purse tucked neatly between folded hands. A high rent dame that’s for sure. Not exactly my type but then again, Miss Pappas could be anybody’s type.

The distinctive click of a streetcar on the street outside brought me back to reality. On my radio Billie Holiday sang softly about "Easy Love". ‘Isn’t that the truth,’ I thought to myself as I glanced at sharp blue eyes. I had to turn from her so I could get my bearings. I looked at the calendar on the wall under the pretense of checking the date. Yup, it was December 15, 1944 no change there. Smooth Jan. For Chrissakes, I was Janice Covington P.I., self-proclaimed wolf of San Francisco. I’ve been known to partake in stiff drinks, Cuban cigars and women. No doubt about it; I was as queer as they come with the experience to back it up. Yet, here I was, all steamed up like some catholic schoolgirl. Not good but not necessarily bad. It all depends on your perspective and my perspective was focused on painted lips.

I took a deep breath and moved over to the window, pulling back the heavy drapes, I looked out onto the emerging San Francisco skyline. A mass of steel and concrete during the day but a beautiful city at night. The jagged skyline could take your breath away, but all I could think of was the high cheekbones of Miss Pappas. My hands, shaking from the heat coming off that woman, searched my tailored brown trousers for a lighter. I turned again toward my desk while carefully avoiding a glimpse of a crossed thigh. "Mind if I smoke Miss Pappas?" I asked rhetorically. I held up a cigar with no desire to be proper. I wanted a smoke.

If a woman smoking a cigar surprised her, she didn’t show it. "Oh please call me Mel. As for the cigar, this is your office Miss Covington. I don’t mind at all. Why my daddy used to smoke cigars. May I ask what brand that is?"

Her voice tinged with that southern mix of coyness and sensuality wove a powerful spell around me. All I wanted to do was kneel in front of her and beg her to speak my name one more time. She was looking at me expecting an answer to a question I promptly forgot. Her blue eyes melted me into a puddle of leather and tough girl attitude. Mel Pappas had me hook, line and sinker. And I was willing to sink as low as she wanted me to go.

"Miss Covington...are you all right?"

Her question jolted me back to reality. "Uh, yeah I’m fine," I said as I ran a shaky hand through my blonde locks. "Did you ask me a question?"

Mel smiled, and if I were a different type of girl, I would have considered swooning. She pushed herself up from the chair and walked toward me. Closer, she came until I could almost feel the rising of her chest and get a taste of her sublime scent. Ah her perfume. Its light musky flavor wrapped around me and made rational thought dance out the window. She took my hand, the one that held the cigar, and brought it up close to her chest. I tried to avert my eyes but that blue silk blouse she wore only accentuated her flawless figure. She looked at me, her eyebrow raised and she smiled again. Oh god, at that moment I knew I was busted. With a gentle squeeze she released my hand. I tried to act nonchalant but her touch was like sirens going off in my head. My body was gearing up for a 5-alarm fire. I gulped hard. "It’s an Arturo Fuentes Cuban robusto," she said as she made her way back to the leather chair.

I swore she took some scandalous delight in the way I watched her retreating form. The Southerner must have felt my eyes on her because she paused, and straightened out her skirt, making sure to run her hands slowly over her hips. I do believe that this Southern Lady had seduction on her mind. Or at least I hoped so, but then that had its own complications. Something that I’ve had my fair share of.

I cleared my throat thinking that it would work to clear my mind too. "Yeah," I smiled. "I order ‘em special from a place called Joe’s down the street. Joe knocks off a dime or so ‘cuz I helped him out a few years back. One advantage of being a P.I.," I rattled on out of nervousness.

Mel smiled and pushed up her glasses. Yeah, the broad wore glasses like some sort of academic type. They didn’t make her look bookish though. For me, it just added to her charm. "Indeed," she drawled. "I would imagine you would get quite a few perks." My eyebrows shot up to my hairline but she continued on. "Daddy, may he rest in peace, used to smoke that same cigar. I do believe those were his favorites. Of course, I never could stand the smell."

"Oh," I said. I tried to keep the disappointment out of my voice. I really needed a cigar right now. I started to place it back into my humidor.

"Oh no, please light it. My daddy died not too long ago and well, I do miss him."

Her blue eyes took on a sad glint and all I wanted to do was wrap my arms around her. Instead, I looked away. Not too long ago I lost my own father and the sentiment hit too close to home. Time for a distraction.

I flipped open my metal lighter and brought the flame up to the tobacco. Lighting a cigar is like a ritual: first clip the end just right so the smoke hits your tongue in all the proper spots, then toast the end evenly to get an even smoke. Last, you bring the tip to your lips and gently place it in your teeth, inhaling when it’s lit with the flame. I took the smoke in like a benediction and through the blue haze of my exhale; I took a moment to study my southern visitor. I was astonished by my conclusion. I wanted Mel Pappas. I wanted her forever and I wanted her for spite. She was beautiful. The kind of girl you wanted on your arm to say, ‘See I told you so. Look at me all you narrow minded pricks. This is my girl. So take your puritan morality and stuff it up your ass because I got my religion. And she has blue eyes and hands that turn me into liquid. She’s my Southern Comfort. I want to drink her in, let her burn her way down my throat and spread her warmth all over.’

Yeah, I like it with a kick and, behind that proper posture and academic persona, Mel looked like she could launch me over the Golden Gate Bridge. That made me hot. Damn hot. Only problem: she was a client and it’s bad mojo to get involved with a client. It was a rule I never considered breaking--high tuned libido or not.

I probably should have been worried about the way the dark-haired woman was affecting me. I was no stranger to instant attraction. I’ve had my share. I’m not the most gorgeous thing out there but I do all right, and women seem to go for the green eyes and my disarming smile, or so it’s been described. Let’s just say I’ve never had problems finding help to warm the sheets. However, I didn’t feel so disarming at the moment. Melinda was like gravity to me, proven, sure and undeniable. I noticed that her lips were moving but the sound wasn’t reaching my ears. Oh yeah, I was mesmerized. Why did she have to be so damn beautiful?

"Miss Covington," I finally heard her say. Shit, I was caught again. "Miss Covington are you sure you’re all right?"

I shook my head. "Yeah, I had a long day. I’m sorry. Why don’t you call me Janice?" I cleared my throat- I seemed to be doing a lot of that lately--and tried to appear intelligent. I did have a business to run after all. "How can I help you Miss Pappas?"

"Please call me Mel, Janice."

"Okay...Mel. Why do you need a private investigator?"

"Well, I’m actually here to retain your services for a later date."


"Why yes," she said. "I’ll be traveling to New York to retrieve a family heirloom. I need someone to accompany me for... security reasons. The heirloom is quite valuable."

"Hmmm." I moved around my desk to sit in my worn chair, which acted as my bed on some occasions. Now, I felt more in control. She came to me right? This gentlewoman from the South needed me. This intrigued me. I leaned back and rested my wingtips on my desk. I took a moment to enjoy her slight look of pity at my Yankee upbringing. "Before we go on Mel, can I ask you why you chose me? I mean I’m an investigator not a security guard. People don’t usually hire me for muscle, although, I can take care of myself...and you if I needed to. What’s your angle here?" She may be a looker but I still had a brain that was suspicious by nature.

"Angle?" A sculpted eyebrow rose as she said the word.

I nodded and took a slow drag off my stogie. I took time to run my hand through my hair, which was a bit longer than I would have liked. I wondered if Mel preferred blondes. "Yeah, an angle. If you wanted some security dope I could give ya ten names that would cost a lot less than me." There was only silence, which worried me even more. This dame was playing a game and I don’t play that. "I gotta tell ya I’m a bit surprised you’re here myself."

"Do tell," she drawled in such a way that made me have to shift in my chair.

"Well, you walk in here and don’t even bat a pretty eyelash that I’m a woman. Most time people come in here and do an about face when they find out that "J. Covington" has tits." Mel gasped, as was expected from a Southern lady. I quickly apologized and corrected myself. "Sorry, I mean breasts. Of course, I think they’re a buncha misguided idiots, but that’s besides the point."

"Which is?"

I smiled. "My point is, you stayed."

"Would you have preferred I left?"

My wingtips hit the floor. "No!" Damn. I hope I didn’t look too desperate. "I uh...well, this tells me one of two things. Someone musta recommended me, or you’re a very open-minded woman."

"Why I’m open to all sorts of things," she said. With the ease of somebody totally in control, she uncrossed her legs, shifted then crossed the opposite leg. All the while keeping her hem at the appropriate length, but showing enough to make me want to get a better look. "Can we talk about my case now? Or are you rejectin’ me?"

I was taken aback by her change in manner but I had learned to roll with the punches a long time ago. Even Pop couldn’t protect me from all the shit. Perhaps I had read Mel wrong. I contemplated her question but I already knew the answer. As sure as I was that there was no Santa Claus, I could never reject Melinda Pappas. That sort of pissed me off. "Lemme hear the details," I replied all business like.

Mel pushed up her glasses once again, drawing me to her pale blue irises. Okay, time to get a grip Jan, I thought to myself. She fidgeted a bit then proceeded to answer me. "It’s an artifact really."

"A what?"

"An artifact from Ancient Greece. Older’n most people could imagine."

"An artifact? You mean the type of thing that those archeologist types root for in some far off desert?"

"You say that with some disdain."

I shrugged. "Nah," I snorted. "Just sounds too dirty for me." I finally took of my leather jacket. I guessed it was okay to get comfortable.

"Forgive me for being forward, but you look like the type of woman who might uh...enjoy a touch of dirt," Melinda drawled with an annoyingly innocent face.

I fought the urge to replace my leather jacket. Okay, so maybe I’m not completely versed in the art of seduction but I can recognize a double entendre...and that was as double as they come. Suddenly, I remembered how dry my mouth was. Placing my cigar in the souvenir ashtray with the painted on hula girl that said, "welcome to Maui," I moved to my feet. "Can I offer you a drink Mel?’

The dark-haired beauty checked her watch. Then she took off her glasses and I promptly lost the ability to breathe. "I s’pose a drink wouldn’t hurt none."

"Well, that depends on what you drink," I joked. I always had a lot of success with that particular line. It worked and she showed me her smile. If I were better at words I could do it justice, but I’m not so I’ll just say, ‘It was like heaven descended to earth.’ What was that rule about clients? I really couldn’t remember. "What’ll you have then?"

"What do you have in mind Janice?" She smiled again...or it could have been a smirk. It was hard to tell as my eyes glazed over.

"I’m...I’m having a bourbon, but I’ve got just about anything in here. My pop used to say never trust anybody without a fully stocked liquor cabinet."

"Why was that?"

"I’m not sure," I laughed. I was pleased when she laughed too. I moved over to the simple cabinet by the window. I took two glasses and flashed, what I hoped to be, a disarming smile at Melinda. She returned the smile and cocked her head to one side as if she were studying me. "What?" I asked slightly uncomfortable by the frank stare.

"How old are you Janice?"

Well that was a new one. I shrugged my shoulders. What could it hurt to answer? "Twenty-six. Why?"

"I was just wondering. You’re an intriguing combination Janice...beautiful but gruff, harsh but soft." I was rendered speechless but she continued, "Do you have any Southern Comfort?" I must have looked surprised because she quickly added, "I am from the south."

"Of course." I pulled out a half empty bottle. "Pops used to drink this all the time."

"And did your daddy smoke the same cigars you do?" I nodded yes. Melinda smiled as I handed her a Southern Comfort, neat. "Well I can find no fault in a man who drank Southern Comfort and smoked those fine cigars. Let alone a man who brought up such an...interestin’ daughter."

I swaggered to the edge of my desk and sat on the edge. I struck my most dashing pose while I cradled my glass between trembling hands. "You find me interesting?"

A sleek, perfectly plucked eyebrow rose in a seductive motion that captivated me. Never before had I wanted to kiss an eyebrow, but as sure as Joltin’Joe Dimaggio was the ‘Yankee Clipper’, I wanted to kiss that eyebrow. "Janice," she spoke my name. "I find you more than interesting. You were right earlier."

"Excuse me?"

"Someone did recommend you to me."

"Really? Who?"

Melinda took a drink, a small sip really, then stood and moved over to the window. She didn’t answer my question, but simply stared out into the San Francisco night. I waited and watched. I made a note of the way her jet-black hair was pulled neatly up. How her long neck came to meet broad shoulders and the way the blue silk of her blouse caressed them. I wanted to remember the white of her skirt hugging the full hips and the defined calf muscle, which appeared from the slit in that very same skirt. I was either damn horny or fallin’ for a woman I didn’t even know. I hoped to hell that it was the latter because having someone like Mel around for longer than a roll in the hay can’t be bad. No, not bad at all.

The Southerner cleared her throat and turned around to face me. Her eyes had taken on a stony glint that brought out my long subdued compassionate side. "Do you remember a man named Richard Williamson?"

I felt my eyebrows furrow, as they often did when I was thinking. I remembered the guy. Good lookin’, as far as guys went. He’d hired me to locate a person. Long lost relative or something. Easy job and he paid good money.

"Yeah, I remember him. About a month ago, he hired me for a small job. He’s the one who recommended me?"

"Yes, he’s my...fiance˘."

Shit! What a fucking moron I was. Of course, she was engaged. Of-fuckin-course. I was just glad she told me before I made a bigger fool out of myself. Yeah, I was disappointed. Here I was about to embark on some fairy tale fantasy where the beautiful princess and me ride off into the sunset. How was I to know the princess already picked out a frog? I tried to comfort myself by thinking that Richard (and he probably went by Dick) wasn’t good enough for Mel. No, not like me. A ‘a beautiful but gruff’ woman P.I. who barely managed to scrape by. I took a drink, embracing the warm liquid and its dulling effect. "Really," I spoke with practiced ease. "He’s your fiance?"

"Yes, we’ve been engaged for some time now-"

Okay, I didn’t want to hear about how she was gonna play Suzy homemaker and devote her life to her gentleman husband with her greatest hope being that she would one day bear his children. Nope, didn’t want to go there. I wanted to keep some of the fantasy intact. "Tell me about the job."

She looked surprised. "The job?"

"Yeah, the one you wanna hire me for." I made a big show of checking my watch. The night had lost its magic and now all I wanted to do was go down to Duval’s, have a drink and practice the art of self-pity.

"Yes, you’re quite right you must forgive me for ramblin’ on like that...Janice are you in a hurry?"

I shook my head. "I’ve got a...date tonight is all." Did I just see a flicker of disappointment in those blue eyes? Why was I always such a damn optimist? I checked my watch again. "I’ve got to go in a bit but let’s go through the basics of your case."

"I’m sorry I’ve taken too much of your time as it is. I show up unannounced and after hours and ..." She paused and tossed me a look that I couldn’t quite identify. The dark Southerner took a drink, a real one this time, almost draining the whole glass. She walked toward me stopping a few feet away. "I’m actually flying back home tonight. I’ll send you the information and you can call me if you’d be willin’ to accept the job. I won’t be needin’ your services for at least a month so you’ve got time to decide properly."

"‘Services?’" That sounds so very interesting," I smirked expecting her to blush. She didn’t and that surprised me.

Instead, Mel smiled and downed the rest of her drink. "Tell me Janice, do you flirt with all your clients...or just me?"

Whoa! Where the hell did that come from? Jesus, if this woman didn’t have my brain running in circles. "I...I uh," I stuttered. Just how in the heck was a girl supposed to answer that? I too downed my drink and shook my head as it burned down my throat. "Just you."

I’m not really sure how it came to pass that her lips were on mine but I did remember the sound of breaking glass. It had been in my hand one moment and gone the next. Probably because I needed that hand to grip the edge of my desk. I gripped so hard that I knew my knuckles had to be white. Melinda Pappas was kissing me. And it felt so good. I wanted to hold her; to grab her ass and pull her into me but all I could think of was a mirage in a desert. I had been so thirsty for so long I wanted to make sure it was real before I made a move toward it.

There was softness, a soft tug at skin and then her moan. This was happening. I had emerged from my desert. My hands left the desk and I gripped her waist pulling her closer, toward me. Yet, she pushed away. She broke the kiss and I felt the air hit my moistened lips. She collapsed against me, her dark head resting on my shoulder. I could hear the ragged breathing and smell the scent of her shampoo. ‘Please,’ I begged silently. Don’t let this go away. I was about to wrap my arms around her when she abruptly straightened and looked into my eyes. There was sadness there, I was sure of it, but there was also that smoky dimming of desire. She wanted me as much as I needed her.

"I’m so sorry Janice," I heard her mumble as she started to turn away. My hand shot out and with an iron grip I latched on to her forearm. She looked at me, at first surprised then excited. I shook my head no. This was gonna happen.

"I’m not sorry Mel." I pulled her into me again and this time my mouth was demanding the things she had promised when she walked in through that door. I tasted her. My tongue ran over red lips and past perfect teeth. Inside was where I wanted to be. It was the kind of kiss that ruined you for other women. Nothing could compare to that moment, to that slip of time. You knew that if nothing else, you would always have that kiss.

I flipped us around so she was up against my desk. My hands ran over the silk of her shirt and my body burned at its cool texture. Down past curved hips, and down the length of a long leg until I reached the hem of her skirt. My fingers flexed as I fought the urge to rip the material away from her body, but I wanted to prolong this sweetest agony; to endure the mystery of her flesh so it would only last longer. I slipped under her skirt and moaned at the heat of her skin. I ran my hands up, my forearms lifting the material she wore, until they cupped her ass. Then with brute strength, I lifted her up onto the hard surface of my wooden desk.

"Oh my," she gasped into my mouth.

As my hands glided over the top of her thighs, I pressed myself between her legs. The rough wool of my trousers brushed against the softness of her inner thigh. "Spread your legs for me sweetheart," I whispered into her ear. It was met with a sigh and a shudder and Melinda opened herself to me. I gripped the outside of her legs and lifted. The Southerner took the cue and wrapped them around my waist. I pushed my hips forward and this time I moaned.

I felt shaky hands gripping my shoulders and her head went back as an offering. I reached around and undid her hair, marveling how the silken strands fell into my open hands. I kissed her neck. Not the gentle kiss, of an unsure lover. I kissed her as if I had done it a thousand times before. I possessed her now and I intended to take her, to make her understand that I was no longer willing to be without her. She didn’t seem to mind. It wasn’t until later that I realized that it was she who had possessed me.

She gripped my head, pulling me from her neck and moved me back to her lips. She was so urgent that I let her have what she wanted. I moved my hips into her again and she moved to meet me. "Sweet Jesus," she murmured "Undress me Janice, I don’t think I can stand to be in these clothes one minute longer."

I did as she asked. And I knew that I had to be in love because one couldn’t be so perfect without the benefit of that blinding emotion. For me, she had become the most beautiful creature on the planet. I didn’t question how it could have been so--how I could have fallen in love in a span of twenty minutes. I suppose stranger things have probably happened but I doubt they felt as wonderful as this.

Mel reached for the buttons of my cotton shirt. I watched in awe as her delicate fingers undid each one. I tried not to think of how her hands undid the buttons on Dick’s shirt, but I was already jealous. I kissed her again to erase him, to bring us back to this moment. All that mattered was this moment. All that mattered was that for now, Mel was with me.

With a frustrated growl I pushed her hands away and I struggled out of my shirt. This was necessity now; I had to have her. Right now. She felt it too because her hands were everywhere, tracing a searing and torturous path on my helpless body. I reached behind her and with a swiping motion cleared the clutter from my desk. The Hawaiian ashtray flew across the room and landed with a thud onto the carpeted floor. Mel jumped but her lips parted in anticipation. She knew what was going to happen.

I leaned close so I could whisper into her ear. "I’m going to make love to you Melinda Pappas." I heard her whimper something unintelligible before I gently laid her onto the desk. "And you’re going to like it...I want you to scream. I want to hear what I’m doing to you."

"Dear Lord...do it Janice," she rasped.

I pushed her legs up so she was spread wide to me. "You are the most gorgeous thing that ever happened to me," I moaned. Then I knelt before her as if in worship and placed my lips there. Against the flesh of heat and liquid that drives a woman insane in both taking and giving. I can’t describe how she tasted, as I was lost in the moment to feel. The feel of her against my tongue, around my fingers as I moved them in and out, the feel of the floor against my knees, of her hands tangling themselves in my hair and the feel of her climax. She gripped me with hands and legs and pulled me in as if she wanted to engulf me. She screamed and it pounded against my ears, "Janice," she moaned as her hips collapsed to the hard surface of the desk. I scrambled up to lie upon her. She wrapped herself around me and I clung to her too. I wanted her to remember this. I wanted her to miss this so she would return to me.

We laid like that for a while. I rested my head on her chest as she ran her fingers up and down my arm. "Um, Janice," she spoke and I tensed. It was the start of a goodbye. "Janice I need to go."

I pushed myself up and nodded my head. "Yeah, sure. This desk isn’t too comfortable," I laughed but inside I felt as if I was being ripped to shreds.

The Southerner smiled and I helped her gather her clothes. I was just buttoning my shirt when she turned to face me, now fully dressed. Her hair was a mess and her cheeks were still flushed. She looked as if she’d just been fucked and damn if I didn’t want her more. "What about your date Janice?" Her voice sounded tight.


"Shit Mel... I never had a date."

"You didn’t?" She asked with that drawl I was sure she did just for me.

I smiled and shook my head. "No."

Mel straightened out her shoulders and ran a gloved hand down the length of her skirt. Her blue eyes skimmed the floor before they came to meet mine. She was nervous. I realized what this was. This was it. The long, awkward pause before the good-bye. Jesus, I never thought about this in the past. I just dressed, kissed them goodnight and left. No talk of tomorrow. I never realized what an ass I was until now. Melinda was about to do the same to me.

"Janice I-"

No way in hell was I gonna listen to the empty promises and reassurances. "It’s been fun Mel." Her blue eyes flickered for a moment. There was something there I had not seen before but I could only hope it was hurt. Sure, walk away Mel. Go back to you fiancé and your privileged life. You’ve had your walk on the wild side. Who gives a shit if my soul is lying at your feet?

Broad shoulders rose with a deep breath, then she sighed. She put on those academic glasses and grabbed her coat. She turned away from me and I wanted to move. I wanted to run and hold her, to make her stay. But I didn’t. I simply sat on my desk and casually lit another cigar. How does one stop herself from making mistakes when it’s the only thing that’s ever come easy? "Janice, I’ll send you the details of the job," she spoke, her back still to me.

"Yeah, whatever."

The Southerner turned her head so that I only got a glimpse of her profile. "It was more than fun Janice...it was perfect." She said sadly before she quickly opened the door and left.

Stunned, a cigar between my fingers, I sat on the edge of my desk. I heard the banging of the outside door and I realized that Melinda Pappas had left the building.

The End


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