Violence Warning/Disclaimer: This story depicts scenes of some violence, but not a lot and not yet.

Love/Sex Warning/Disclaimer: This story is about love and an explicit sexual relationship between two consenting adult women. If you are under 18 years of age, if lesbian relationships offend you or if this type of story is illegal in the state, province or country in which you live, please do not go any further. Go back to making cookies, go play with your toys or go visit the Disney site but do not read this story.

Standard Disclaimer: I really don't need a disclaimer because these gals belong to me. This is an Uber story so the physical appearance of the main characters will probably be very familiar to the reader. The main setting is Laguna Beach, California with a few trips to other localities. The names of some of the places depicted are real, although the actual settings may be embellished for the reader’s enjoyment. It is a present time love story.

Kudos: To my lover (who spent/spends many hours by herself while this was/is being written). Thanks to my friend and editor, Jeanne for catching little mistakes I otherwise would have let slip onto the pages you will be reading, thus keeping me from embarrassing myself and to my daughter, Nicole, for constant encouragement. Thanks to you for reading it and for liking Alex and Samantha enough to want to read a sequel!

Sedona Rain

by Carole Giorgio

Chapter 1

Alternative Paradise was celebrating its ‘a little over one month’ birthday and it certainly had turned into the place to be in Laguna. The Center had been buzzing with clientele since the doors first opened to the public, hardly giving Alex and Samantha a chance to think about anything else in their lives.

In a way that was a blessing, especially with the young blonde trying to surmount the hurdle of her father disowning her after he found out that she and the beautiful dark-haired executive, his long-time nemesis, were lovers.

Most of that fateful day had been laid to rest, with only a few loose ends to tie up before they could continue moving forward with their lives. Alex still intended to have a long heart-to-heart with Nikki about the part Cassandra had played in the horrid experience. But, she was having a difficult time getting together with her ex-lover; every time she called to talk, Nikki was out of town, or at least not answering her phone.

Samantha was not looking forward to the reunion of the two old flames, but she knew that to bring some closure to the nasty ordeal, the meeting was a necessary evil. When they first discussed involving the ex-girlfriend so they could truly understand the hatred Cassandra was carrying around for Alex, Samantha had balked at her lover going alone. She had wanted to be present. But Alex had, as delicately as possible, explained to Samantha that if they wanted all the grizzly details, such as what had happened to Cassie since that day and whether or not she was going to continue to be a problem in their lives, then Alex had to meet with her ‘ex’ alone. In an uncomfortable atmosphere Nikki would never open up and talk. Alex knew Nikki well enough to know there would be no civility if Samantha were present.

Today, all thoughts of the fiasco were tucked away in deep recesses to make room for the party Samantha thought would be a nice ‘thank you’ to the people who had contributed to making Alternative Paradise the success that it was well on its way to becoming -- the supporting patrons and the Center’s employees.

The vivacious blonde had insisted on balloons and a catered lunch for the customers and the staff to celebrate the acceptance that the small town had given the new and now thriving business. She had dubbed the affair a ‘No-Labor Day Party’, as today was the beginning of the popular holiday weekend.

The success of the establishment was unsurpassed in all of Laguna. Starting from the very first day there had been a waiting list for the extremely popular climbing wall, as well as people flocking to the martial arts classes, the esoteric lectures, and the large variety of new age and old school massages available. The doctors in the small beach town were delighted to be able to send their patients to a fully equipped physical therapy clinic where they didn’t have to worry as to whether the treatments were legitimate and whether or not the individuals treating the patients were licensed and experienced.

Within the first week the front desk had been bombarded with a constant stream of requests from parents whose children wanted to learn how to swim in the huge pool with the frolicking sea creatures. The demand became so great that Alex decided to go ahead and add a swimming program to the list of Center activities. She had never dreamed that the painted sea animals would cause such a boost in the popularity of the establishment, but she certainly was grateful for the enthusiasm of the customers. Her dream was definitely beginning to fulfill more than just her desire to help others, and her investors would be grinning all the way to the bank.

The same decorating and catering crews that had been used for the open house just 30-some days before were invited back to recreate their magic for this new celebration. The buffet table had been laid out in the exact location as the first along the west windows, showing off the magnificent seascape. There were, of course, ice sculptures – this time in the guise of small otters, and the fountain was a spinning dolphin with champagne punch constantly streaming from its mouth.

"I love balloons!" Samantha exclaimed when the decorating was almost completed.

"Come on Alex, help me decide where these extras can go," the small blonde begged with a come hither grin on her impish face.

"Hey, you know that’s your department. Us executive-types don’t go in much for the frilly stuff." She grabbed the excited towhead around the waist and spun her, then whispered. "You really know how to throw a party. Want to have a private one a little later tonight while the balloons are still flying, but the guests have all gone home?"

"Behave yourself -- someone will think we’re intimately involved." Sam giggled, giving the tall brunette a quick peck on the cheek then disengaging from the strong hands.

As Alex feigned pouting, her lover added, "But to answer your question, you got yourself a date! By the way have I told you lately how proud I am of you and your vision?"

"Well, maybe once or twice, but you can always repeat statements like that."

"Okay, then -- I’m really proud of you Alex. This little building full of fun mixed with pain is just what Laguna ordered. The people love this place."

"Yeah, they do seem to gravitate here don’t they? The only problem is we haven’t been able to take a weekend off in over a month. But, ya know, we’re going rectify that really soon. Now that we know the crew and I have people around I can trust . . . we’re going on a short vacation."

"Oh, Alex -- what fun! Where, when, who’s going to watch the Center?"

"Whoa, girl. Give me a little time to coordinate things."

"Then why did you tell me about it already?"

"To let you know that I haven’t forgotten about the important date that’s coming up soon." Alex smiled, took a balloon out of Samantha’s hand, and let it float to the ceiling. "Why don’t you just let some of these float around, adding a touch of color wherever they land?"

"What an uninhibited idea -- you sure it’s yours? Are you feeling okay?" The small blonde touched her hand to the taller woman’s forehead in a mocking gesture. "No, no fever," she laughed. "Actually, it’s a great idea, floating happiness, I’ll put long strings on them so the kids can grab one and take it home and maybe put some weights on a few for the little ones to reach." She changed the subject back to that of a vacation. "So, tell me Alex where and when?"

"Where and when what?" The quizzical eyebrow ascended as a tiny smile graced the executive’s face.

"You know exactly what I’m talking about. You can’t just drop a vacation thought and then go merrily on your way without giving me a least a crumb of a detail." Samantha’s eyes squinted in her most intimidating of looks. "Come on Alex, tell me something!" She pleaded.

"Tonight. I’ll tell you something tonight. Right now I’ve got a few clinic notes to dictate before this little affair of yours gets underway."

"Alex," the small blonde whined.

"Seriously, Samantha, Dr. Sona sent an entire family over here yesterday after a three-car collision and I’ve got evals to finalize."

Concern replaced the pout. "I hope no one was hurt too badly."

"No, nothing really serious, but a few of them will have some extended therapy to undergo. I’ll be in my office if you need me." She turned and headed down the hall with Samantha watching as she disappeared from sight.

"You got away with not telling me a damn thing," Samantha yelled at her lover’s disappearing form. She is so good at changing subjects when she doesn’t want to answer! Oh, well, I’ll get it out of her later tonight when I have the upper hand. Sam smiled knowing the effect she had on her dark angel and that Alex could deny her nothing.

Alex shook her head, smiling as she continued to walk toward her office, seemingly ignoring the scolding she was receiving from her golden girl. The 20th of September would be here before they knew it, and she had arrangements to solidify. This would be their first birthday celebration and Alex wanted to make Samantha’s 27th an affair to remember.

Originally Alex had wanted to whisk Samantha off to the Greek Isles where her fair-haired beauty could bask in the sun under ancient trees and gaze at the same evening sky as the illustrious Sappho had done in days long forgotten. She told the younger woman of a ‘female only’ cruise line where they could relax and be themselves for the entire trip. She was becoming almost as enthusiastic as Samantha and felt she had best check the itinerary of the cruise line before continuing. After checking the schedule on the Internet, she had to reluctantly inform Samantha that they had missed the yearly trip that that particular company made to the Mediterranean. As it turned out, the ship had sailed right around the time Samantha was falling from a climbing wall into eagerly awaiting arms.

Greece and the Isle of Lesbos were a definite future pilgrimage, but that now left Alex with a blank canvas to work on as to what to do for this year’s celebration. As luck would have it, Gary Black had e-mailed her again, reiterating that he was ready to put some of his expansion plans to work and would like her to come to Sedona to go over them with him. Realizing that she could incorporate business with a mini-vacation, she took him up on the offer to stay at his resort while they were there, with the stipulation that he would loan them a Jeep for a few days to explore the territory around the mystic town. More than willingly he agreed to all her demands and Alex set into motion planning for the trip. Now that she had everything blueprinted in her mind she thought it time to begin getting Samantha excited without spilling the entire surprise.

Alex glanced at the gold plaque on her office door: Alexis Dorian, Physical Therapist/Owner. It should read: Alex, lover of Samantha. It seemed that everything in her life now seemed to take a back seat to the imp of a woman would appeared one night on a stretch of white sand and turned her world upside down.

She opened the door and breathed in the salt air filtering through the open louvers. Gazing out at her private view of the Pacific, she drifted off in thought to the plans she had for her lover’s birthday. First she had called her mom and asked if she had any press releases or speaking engagements around the 20th of September. Aurora told her she wouldn’t be needing the plane until November, when she had a lecture tour starting, but that she expected to see the two young women before they took off, after all they had to pass La Jolla on the way to the airport.

After talking to her mom, Alex called and informed the maintenance people in San Diego that she would be taking the Cessna up on the 21st and for them to have it inspected and gassed before they arrived. Initially trepidation about flying with Samantha in the plane had set her stomach to tumbling. She had not soloed for at least six months, but flying had always been like second nature to Alex, so she bid the negative thoughts to retreat to wherever it was they came from and refocused on planning a trip that would surely become a precious memory. A commotion outside her door made her glance at her watch. The party would be underway shortly so she needed to get started on the dictation while she was still in the mood. There was no way she was going to work over this holiday weekend, and she surely didn’t want reports staring her in the face first thing Tuesday morning.

Sitting down at her desk, the executive picked up the first chart and began dictating, "This 28-year-old patient was involved in a automobile collision on . . ."


For approximately an hour and a half, the party had been going in full swing when the fair-haired hostess decided that she had not seen her partner in far too long. Dodging patrons and crew Sam made her way slowly to Alex’s office in hopes of rescuing her from paperwork drudgery.

Unfortunately, meeting up with Alex was not going to be as easy a task as she had anticipated. Every few steps someone wanted to congratulate her on the success of either the business or the party.


Kim Johanson had arrived from Seattle two weeks earlier to begin setting up the biofeedback station. The tall woman, with soft gray eyes and prematurely graying hair, had been having some technical problems with a few of the machines. She had sent them back and just received the new equipment via UPS this morning. Time was fast approaching the deadline for opening up her section of the Center. Clients had already signed up for treatments and lessons and today seemed as good a day as any to try to get everything completed. Her only problem as she tried getting everything arranged was that she needed an extra pair of hands to set the replacement equipment into position and get it tested. Glancing out of the bio-room into the hall she spotted Samantha heading toward the western side of the building.

"Hey Sam, could I borrow you for a few minutes?"

"Ah, sure, I guess so," came the reluctant reply, followed by a small grin to hide her disappointment at being deterred once again while on her way to get Alex. "What kind of help do you need?"

The mild-mannered neurobiofeedback therapist ushered Samantha into her two-room wonderland. "I need a ‘guinea pig’ for a few minutes to test a few of the machines that have just arrived. I know you’re in the middle of a party. I promise not to keep you too long. It’s just that I’m leaving town tonight and won’t be back until Tuesday when the first clients are supposed to be here bright and early."

"Uh, huh."

"If I don’t get the machines set up now . . . well . . . it would just be a lot easier if you could play ‘patient’ for a minute or two."

"Sure, the party’s going strong without me and Alex is tucked away in her office doing the Goddess knows what by this time."

Equipment that looked like something out of Dr. Frankenstein’s laboratory caught Samantha’s eye. There were headsets and monitors scattered throughout the room, as well as EMG, EEG, and EKG machines.

"You know, Kim, we never have talked about exactly what it is you do with all this stuff. I know Alex is familiar with some of it, but this . . ." she picked up one of the hand held galvanic skin response monitoring devices for use at home, turning it over in her hands, " . . . what does this do?"

"That’s used to help monitor stress levels. You rest two fingers on those plates there and it helps you learn to increase the temperature in your hands, it’s called ‘hand warming’ biofeedback. It’s helpful for reducing headaches as well as tension and muscle relaxation."

"Hum, interesting."

The older woman came over and put her hands around Samantha’s. "Feel the coolness of my hands?"

"Ah, yeah."

"Well, if I had, say a migraine, my hands might even be cooler than this. Initially, until I could learn to control my body temperature on my own, I would use one of these machines to let me know when I was succeeding."

"So all this stuff is for tension, stress and headaches?"

"No, Samantha, there are many uses for biofeedback. I’ll be seeing clients with ADD/ADHD, hypertension, anxiety disorder, depression, insomnia, fibromyalgia as well as those with chronic and migraine headaches. Then there is the ability to increase your memory, help with reaching peak performance levels, and goal oriented functions as well. It’s a field that we’ve hardly begun to tap. But . . . I’m rambling. You asked a simple question and I began a lecture, sorry."

"Hey, that’s okay. I should know a little about all the disciplines we offer here at the Center. That way if I’m doing some PR work, at least I’ll sound as if I know what I’m talking about. Actually, I should probably spend a little time in here with you when you’re first getting started, before it gets so busy you don’t have time to fill me in."

"That would be great, Sam, anytime you want, my doors are always open." She turned to the nearest machine and began explaining, "Now, here’s one of the programs I need to check out today. Why don’t you sit down here and let me check your temperature, pulse, heart rate and respiration. The way they throw things around delivering them, I don’t want to try it out on a patient and . . ."

" . . . Fry their brains?" The small blonde laughed as she stared at the wires and accessories. "But a guinea pig can be replaced?"

"No. I’d never do anything that I thought would hurt you." Kim smiled back at the small woman sitting uneasily in the chair. She found herself thinking that Alex sure found herself a winner this time and if the dark-haired executive was ever stupid enough to mess . . . Thoughts like that will lose you friends . . . she reprimanded herself. Bringing her thoughts back to the present situation, she concluded . . . "Besides, Alex would kill me, if anything happened to you while you were in my care!"

Samantha was extremely patient with the new clinician, but each time they finished checking out one piece of equipment, Kim would find something else that was a necessity to examine. Finally they had inspected every piece of new machinery, and it all passed the therapist’s scrutiny. Along the way Samantha had received a few mini lessons and she came away more informed about and a bit more comfortable with the field of biofeedback.

In the process the blonde also learned a little more about Kim, what she had studied after graduating from USC, and why she had chosen her field. They skirted around the personal but never really delved into the solitary life of the gentlewoman who healed with thought. A fleeting image of pairing Kim up with Angel crossed Samantha’s mind, but was quickly dismissed; she liked the quiet woman, which was more than she could say for Angel.

Samantha’s mind wandered as Kim fooled around fixing this control and monitoring that one, until everything was running smoothly and to perfection. Sam thought back on how she had gotten to know Angel a little better in the month or so the clinic had been operating and had always tried her damnedest to be cordial to the petite brunette. It just seemed that Angel turned into a different person whenever Alex walked into a room. From Samantha’s observation, the small olive-skinned woman would be handling a situation with ease until the tall executive showed up, at which time Angel would find some excuse to get Alex involved in the treatment or whatever it was she was busy doing. The ‘I need your help’ charade was enough to turn Samantha’s stomach and it didn’t do much for her Irish temper, either. The green-eyed monster that slept close to Samantha’s heart still pinched her every time Angel went anywhere near her Alex. Sam wasn’t proud of the jealous streak that had attached itself to her personality since she had fallen in love with Alex; it was a characteristic she had never had to deal with before, and she hated the way it made her feel. The small woman was working diligently on vanquishing the little monster, but was finding it an extremely difficult chore. In the meantime, Sam kept on hoping that her instincts were wrong and that Angel would actually turn out to be the friend she was giving lip-service to being.

Experienced fingers began unhooking Samantha from the machine they were testing, jogging the blonde from her thoughts of the occasionally irritating Italian.

Out of the corner of her eye, Kim glanced at the face of her watch. "Damn, Sam. I’ve kept you in here over an hour. I’m sorry." As quickly as possible the therapist unhooked the rest of the leads, fumbling with the wires and blushing. "The time just flew by. I didn’t mean to keep you away from your party so long."

"That’s okay, Kim. There’s only so much small talk I can participate in at these functions, after a while it tends to become repetitious and boring. Helping you out was actually fun and more than just a little informative. I’m glad you pulled me into your lair."

"So, you felt like a fly caught in the web, huh?" The soft-spoken woman smiled down at Samantha. "I hope it didn’t resemble a torture chamber too closely." If the experience was at least a little on the pleasant side, maybe she’ll stop into my ‘lair’ for a visit occasionally. That smile of hers could have turned Mr. Hyde into a decent person.

Samantha blushed at the thought that perhaps she had offended the gentlewoman standing in front of her by off-handedly referring to her office as a lair and web. She felt the need to rectify the insinuation. "No . . . I didn’t mean to imply . . ."

"It’s okay, Samantha, I was only kidding back with you," Kim quickly interjected, not wanting the blonde to steer clear of her part of the Center in the future.

"Oh . . . okay . . . I didn’t want to hurt your feelings . . . I was only fooling around and . . ." Change the subject, stupid! "So, are you ready for your clients to come beating down the doors now?"

"Yes, I think I am. I’m going to rearrange a few things but other than that I’ll be open for business Tuesday morning. Thanks again, Samantha. You had better get back to your guests." She leaned over and gave the smaller woman a ‘thank you’ hug and peck on the cheek.

Sam was beginning to take notice that all of Alex’s friends were on the tall side. She had never thought of herself as being of subnormal stature, but every time she got around any of Alex’s buddies, she managed to come away feeling vertically challenged.

She smiled at the mild-mannered clinician. Having her come down from Seattle to join the ranks at Alternative Paradise had been a good business decision and perhaps a good social one as well. She and Kim were going to have to spend some time comparing their opinion of Washington State with each other; it would be nice to talk about ‘home’ with another native.

"See you later, Kim. If I don’t see you before you leave, have a good weekend."

"Will do, you, too. Tell Alex I’ll see her Tuesday."

"Okay, I’ll tell her." Once again she headed in the direction of Alex’s office, thinking to herself that maybe now she could finally reach her initial destination and find her reclusive lover.


The dark-haired executive was sitting with her chair turned away from her desk and toward the ocean, when Samantha quietly opened the door. Through the window’s reflection she spotted the small blonde as the door quietly opened, but the executive gave no acknowledgement that she was aware of the entrance. Feeling totally confident that Alex had not heard her enter, Samantha stealthily approached the huge desk, the carpet muffling her footsteps. She crept around the side of the desk and reached out her hand to touch Alex’s shoulder.

Deft fingers almost closed around Samantha’s before the blonde screamed and jumped back in surprise, losing her footing and toppling to the floor.

"Well, I almost gotcha," the small woman squealed from an awkward sitting position, "I was this close." She demonstrated the proximity with her fingers, holding thumb and forefinger within a breath’s width of each other.

"You were only that close, because I let you get that close," Alex smiled, kneeling beside her fallen angel. "I’ve been missing you, sitting here all alone with nothing but these reports to keep me company." The dark beauty leaned closer to the face she adored and planted a kiss on eagerly awaiting lips. "You taste marvelous."

"Ditto. You know, I started after you almost two hours ago, that party outside your door has been going pretty much on its own without either of us," Samantha confessed.

"So, what took you so long to get here, dare I ask?" She arched and accusatory brow.

"It’s a long story, I’ll tell you later."

"Okay, then, maybe we should venture out and join your little party in progress."

"No hurry," Samantha replied as she reached out her arms, tempting the kneeling form before her to bridge the distance between their bodies.

Never needing to be invited twice, Alex closed the gap between her lover and herself, drawing the small frame close and inhaling the fragrance of Shalimar. "I’ve missed you today," Alex professed as she showered her lover with tender kisses.

Sans further discussion the two bodies reclined, padded by a soft, thick Oriental rug surrounding the desk.

"This room hasn’t been initiated yet." Sparkling blue eyes stared down into emerald green, a devilish smile spreading quickly on the executive’s face. Swift fingers found refuge under a soft silk blouse, exploring even softer skin that had begun to ripple with bumps elicited by the welcomed gentle touch.

"Hmmm. That is way too enticing." The smaller woman snuggled into her lover’s arms, then whispered into her ear. "Tell you what . . . how about a rain check . . . say five minutes after everyone is gone. I’m a little door shy after the near fiasco in the garage with the workman walking in on us."

"This is not a public office, but I guess you’re right, after all, you didn’t bother to lock the door on the way in."

"I didn’t lock the door?" her green eyes twinkled as she pushed up on the taller woman. "I was coming in to check on you, not to be seduced. I didn’t have door locking on my mind."

"Too bad for you . . . now you’ll have to wait . . . unless . . ." Bringing herself to a straddling position above the small blonde she attempted one last sensuous tease to coax Samantha into abandoning her desire to rejoin the party in progress. One strong hand found it’s way between her lover’s legs as she pushed down, rotating her fingers to encompass the whole of Samantha’s passion.

"By the Gods Alex . . ." A shiver ran through Samantha’s body, love bumps reforming on the pale skin of her exposed abdomen. "To Tartarus with the . . ."

A knock broke the concentration of the pair, with a voice following the knock – "Alex are you in there?"

Alex jumped up from her position, reached down and pulled Samantha up to stand beside her.

"I told you we’d get caught," Samantha whispered.

Alex turned to the door, "Um, Kim?"


Quickly straightening their outfits the lover’s grinned at each other and shook their heads.

"Come on in." Alex called out.

The door opened and an amused look immediately crossed the face of the executive’s old schoolmate when she spotted the two women standing awkwardly next to the desk. "Still trapping women in offices, huh Alex?" She glanced over at the disheveled blonde, "Looks like I’m on a roll of disturbing whatever it is you are attempting to accomplish today, Sam."

"Is that so?" Alex chimed in.

"Yeah, I held her up a little bit ago, getting her to help me set up a few of the new machines. What I wanted to tell you was that I’m getting ready to leave. I’ll be back Tuesday morning. I guess I should have stuck with letting Samantha deliver that message, because it looks like I may have interrupted an ‘important’ discussion here." Kim made the facetious statement as she cast a whimsical look in the direction of the small blonde, who was still adjusting her clothing. "By the way, don’t you two know there’s a party going on outside this door?" Shaking a disbelieving head, she grinned broadly at the women who looked like small children, who had gotten caught with their hands in the cookie jar.

"Of course we do," Alex started to answer. "Samantha had a problem with her . . ."

"Yeah, right . . . do you think I just fell off the turnip wagon Alexis? I went through four years of college with you, remember? Besides look at the color of your accomplice’s face."

Crimson skin greeted the eyes of her lover as Alex gazed into guilty eyes. "You would never make a business spy, Samantha, you are much to easy to read."

The three friends laughed at the thought of someone other than Kim having been the one at the door, and the jest of the conversation that would have followed had that been the case.

Alex took full responsibility for the compromising position, but assured her friend she would do it all over again, given the same situation. They laughed and talked shop for a few more minutes then the lovers walked with Kim as far as the buffet table. Kim explained that she was traveling a short distance up the coast to visit another buddy from school for the long weekend. She wanted to get out of town before the traffic started getting bad. Samantha told her to be careful and to watch out for all the ‘crazies’ on the road. Alex dittoed the sentiment and the clinician took leave of her friends.

"Okay." Alex began turning back to Samantha, "You dragged me out here, guess it’s time to go socialize." Giving her lover’s hand a slight squeeze, the dark-haired executive put on her best professional smile and demeanor, left her partner’s side and began to mingle.


Finally, the time had come to disengage the smile that had been pasted on her face for the last few hours. What was supposed to have concluded at dusk had extended into early evening. Some people never know when to call it a day – the thought had been roaming though her mind since the sun had disappeared into the ocean. It had been an interesting party, but enough was enough. Constant smiling had led to an aching jaw and a pounding head. After shutting of the lights and locking the doors, she took a minute to rub her temples to try to dispel a little of the nagging pain that was turning into a constant throb. Samantha was on the second floor making sure it was void of guests and turning out lights up there. They had agreed to meet in the apartment. It had been a long afternoon and she was definitely looking forward to a quiet evening alone with the small blonde.

The ride up in the silent elevator was a blessing after the noise of the afternoon. Upon exiting she set the security system. We won’t be going anywhere this evening; I don’t intend to move from this area of the apartment. The aroma of vanilla tantalized her nostrils as she walked through to the living room. Flickering light signaled that candles were definitely the origin of the sweet fragrance, while soft jazz spoke soothingly to her ears. Thank the Goddess, she read my mind. Candles, music and Samantha -- now all I need to do is find Samantha.

"If you had turned right instead of left coming in the door you would have found me," a voice came from behind her.

Alex turned to see the love of her life carrying two glasses full of a dark red liquid.

"Merlot to soothe the savage beast?"

"Are you calling me a beast?" Alex grinned.

"If the fur fits," Samantha giggled, handing Alex a glass.

After taking a sip the dark-haired woman put her arm around the small frame of her lover. "I love the atmosphere up here at the top of our world. What more could I ask for? I have candlelight, soft music, good wine and you. I do consider myself quite lucky, you know?"

"I was hoping you’d feel that way. Maybe you would even consider picking up where we left off hours ago downstairs in your office. Do you think that would be possible?" Sea green eyes sparkled in the flickering light as a smile danced across her lips.

"Your wish is my command." Alex took the glass from the petite blonde standing beside her and placed both goblets on the small coffee table. As she pulled Samantha close and leaned down, two small fingers traced the outline of her lips.

"Before we go any further . . ."


"You made me walk around the entire day after telling me we were going on a vacation and then left me hanging without a clue as to where or when. It’s bartering time." Irish eyes twinkled as the imp came out to play.

"So what are the stakes and what do I get if I play?" Alex wanted to know.

The small woman practically danced around the taller, making up the rules as she spoke. "I ask a question. If you answer to my satisfaction, I take off a piece of clothing. If not – you do."

Alex picked up her glass of wine and plopped down on the couch. "And . . . you get to say whether or not the question was answered appropriately?"

"Uh, huh."


"Because it’s my game."

"I see. Okay . . . ask away." Alex silently counted the amount of apparel and accessories Samantha had on and realized too late that she only had about five articles of clothing to discard whereas Samantha had somewhere in the range of nine. Feeling she was getting the short end of the deal she started to protest but was quickly stopped with the first question.

"So, when are we going on this mini-vacation?"

"I thought we would leave here early in the morning on Friday the 17th."

Smiling blue eyes met green as she challenged Samantha to say she was unsatisfied with the answer. The blonde sat down on the floor and removed one of her sneakers before asking the next question.

"Okay, number two, where are we going?"

"La Jolla to spend some time with my folks." Alex stared at Sam arching a brow, "Next article of clothing."

Another shoe was discarded and placed by its mate.

Samantha thought for a minute. " For how long and what will we do there?"

"One question, one answer, one piece of clothing. No cheating Samantha." Alex grinned at the younger woman who was beginning to think she was not going to get any unsuitable responses from her lover.

Starting to answer the question, Alex tripped over the amount of time they would be spending at her parent’s house, she began by almost saying four, caught herself and blurted out, "About, um, ten days."

"Oh, no." Samantha shook her head. "Something was fishy about the beginning of that answer. I’m not convinced you’re telling the truth. Off with something Alex."

One leather sandal joined the pair of sneakers by the side of the couch.

"Now – how many days? And I don’t have to undress for this one, you need to answer it right."

"You can’t just expect me to answer everything . . ." Alex snapped her fingers, "That quickly, Samantha. I have to have time to think."

"Thinking leads to untruths," the small blonde chuckled.

"Truthfully, Samantha, I figure on about 10 days, that includes two weekends. It takes a while to count the days in my head."

"It’s that difficult a chore?" came the sarcastic reply.

"Ask the next question." Alex was beginning to tire of this game. She hadn’t planned on spending the rest of the evening divulging bits and pieces of what she had in store for the week of Samantha’s birthday.

"What will we do down there for 10 days?" Alex could hear the excitement in her lover’s lilting voice.

"Let’s see, visit, sight see, visit, shop, visit, go to Sea World. Did I say visit?"

A smile flashed across the small blonde’s face. She strutted over to the couch and proceeded to straddle Alex’s lap.

With faces almost touching and her energy level increasing she leaned toward the dark woman'’ face. "That sounds like a marvelous vacation, Alex. Who’s gonna mind the store?"

"Didn’t you forget to do something after that last question, little lady?"

"Oh, yeah." Standing only long enough to strip off the sports socks, followed by the white muslin culottes, Sam reclaimed her seat on Alex’s lap.

"There, that’s enough for another question," Samantha smiled.

"Well, I have a therapist friend who will fill in for me in the clinic. You know, do the evaluations and cover as therapist in charge. Angel knows most of the patients we now have and can carry on quite well for a week, I’m sure. And, I already talked to Kim about staying at the apartment. She agreed to open in the morning and lock up at night. She even volunteered to kitty sit. Consequently, Rainbow won’t have to be alone or put into a kennel. So . . . there you have it. What’s my prize?"

Mellifluous soft jazz filled the dimly lit room as Samantha slowly removed the silk blouse covering her sleeveless shirt. She had yet to move from Alex’s lap. The older woman could tell Samantha was enjoying tantalizing her with near nakedness. Alex could feel the heat from her lover’s legs penetrating her own shorts. There was no way she was going to sit here without totally undressing the nymph before her. She wrapped her arms around the slender body; long fingers found their way into bikini pants as each of Alex’s hands cupped a round, firm buttock simultaneously. She drew her lover closer.

Samantha moaned. Her eyes hazed as she went to that place where only Alex could take her. Her dark angel reached from behind, one muscular arm stretching to its length, moving between the buttocks and continuing toward to the front of her lover’s body, searching and finding the soft wet center that ached to be explored. Samantha buried her face in Alex’s shoulder and gently bit the skin at the base of her lover’s neck then nibbled her way up to Alex’s chin, continuing up to eagerly awaiting lips.

Without breaking the passion of the kiss, Alex rose from the couch, small arms encircling her neck and legs wrapping around her waist. She practically floated into the bedroom with her precious bundle in her arms. Promises of deeds to be done were whispered into the well-formed ear at mouth level. All thoughts of any moments beyond the ones they were now living were erased or placed in limbo for safe keeping. "I love you, Samantha." Alex crooned as she placed her lover on the bed and joined her. "It’s been quite a busy day. The long weekend will not go to waste – that I can guarantee."


Cursing the inner alarm that had never learned to differentiate between weekday, weekend, or holiday, Alex awoke as the first rays of light entered the bedroom. She knew the naked beauty beside her would sleep a good two hours more if left undisturbed and even though the thought of awakening her with kisses was more than tempting, she had no intention of spoiling Samantha’s days off. The small blonde fought with herself each workday morning to rise and did her damnedest to shine. The early morning to late night routine they had found themselves falling into was not an easy one for Samantha, but she seldom complained as she struggled to keep pace with the seasoned executive who was used to early mornings, late nights and little sleep.

On Alex’s mind right now was the invitation she needed to extend to her lover to attend a Labor Day party at Angel’s on Sunday. She knew the two were barely on speaking terms when not negotiating business, but she felt that schmoozing with the personable Italian would be good for the morale of everyone involved, including Samantha. She hated watching the way the small blonde reacted to the olive-skinned brunette. Angel was the only person in the Center who did not honestly receive Samantha’s charm and friendship.

Perhaps if they did something special together today it would be easier to introduce the invitation later on this evening. Maybe after dinner and a movie the proposition would be more palatable. Alex wasn’t sure, but she felt if she handled the offer delicately, Samantha would have no recourse but to agree to the outing.

Gently she untangled herself from the caring arms that had surrounded her throughout her dreams. A kiss placed on the Sam’s forehead elicited a slight smile on the slumbering woman’s face as Alex rolled quietly out of bed and tiptoed into the bathroom. She turned to watch as her sleeping beauty grabbed the pillow with the essence of Obsession permeating it and curled up in a tight ball, hiding her eyelids from the penetrating rays of the morning sun.

Rainbow scurried into the bathroom for her ritual rub, and the dark-haired woman picked the kitten up to keep her from leaving the bathroom and pouncing on the bed. It wouldn’t do to have you be the cause of the princess awakening too early, not that a small creature like you could awaken Our sleeping princess. Alex chuckled inwardly as she reminisced over the old fairytale about a princess who could not sleep on even a mountain of mattresses if there was a pea under the very last of them. That certainly was not true in Samantha’s case. Alex had never seen anyone who could fall asleep as quickly and as deeply as Sam could – as well as being able to accomplish the feat under almost any circumstances.

The kitten she held, though having grown since the night she was found, could still curl up and rest safely in the palm of one of Alex’s large, strong hands. She held Rainbow up to her face and nestled her nose in the soft midnight-colored fur. "You’re almost as spoiled as your Mommy, do you know that?" She whispered to the fur-baby as she rubbed eagerly awaiting ears. "Come on, let’s go feed you and brew me some tea."


Cascading light filled the entire room and began to slowly drench the apartment in eye squinting brightness, as early morning found its way to maturation. The sound of the air conditioner kicking on as the temperature continued to rise with the sun broke the silence of the room. Last night’s newspaper lay strewn across the floor in front of the couch as Alex consumed section after section. Searching the room for something useful to do, she reached for one of her "how-to" books. She had put it aside weeks ago when Samantha came into her life, and up until this very moment she had not found the time to return to what used to be one of her more time consuming pastimes.

The flush of the toilet sounded like an alarm in the quiet apartment. The dark beauty smiled, knowing how Samantha loved to sneak up on her. Alex placed the book on her face in a mock gesture of having fallen back to sleep while reading and waited for her prankster to appear.

Almost silent movements could be heard breaching the space between the bedroom and the living room as the recently awakened blonde tiptoed toward the couch.

Samantha’s fragrance betrayed her close proximity to the ‘tall drink of water’ stretched out on the oversized couch. Without batting an eyelid, Alex allowed the book to be gently pried from her hands, but she could not control the involuntary appearance of love bumps beginning to cover her body as sweet breath tickled the hair follicles on the side of her face near her ear. Just as Samantha was about to place a kiss on the perfectly formed lobe, Alex changed her head positioning and caught the lips squarely with her own, her hands coming to rest on either side of her angel’s face.

"Good morning, princess," she mumbled.

"I thought you were sleeping," Samantha replied, surprise in her voice.

"Shows what thought did." Long arms helped position the smaller body on top of her own. "Glad you finally decided to join the land of the living; I thought you were going to sleep right through this gorgeous day."

"Alex, it’s only 9:30! It’s still early enough to go out for breakfast."

"Oh, but then I’d have to share you with the rest of the world and I have no intention of doing that today. If you’re hungry, I’ll cook – consider yourself a love-hostage."


"Pancakes it is. But I, unlike the restaurant, will give you the total expense of your meal before you even receive it."

"And what would be the cost of a pancake breakfast this lovely morning?"

Dazzling blue eyes glistened as they bore deeply into sea-green pools, "Ah, let me think. The cost of breakfast . . . don’t want to scare the customer away." She smiled seductively, her legs intertwining with those of the body that lay atop of her as she turned the two of them to lay side-by-side on the couch. "I know you must be starving so . . . nourishment for the body and then nourishment for the heart. You consume my food and I, in turn, get to devour you." A questioning look threw the finality of the agreement back to Samantha.

"Sounds like a fair enough price," the blonde smiled impishly. "Yeah, I’ll sell my body for a pancake breakfast."

"By the Goddess you’re easy," Alex chuckled as they sealed the agreement with a kiss.


Breakfast strips, juice, and many pancakes later it was decided that the day would be spent only in the company of each other. Samantha suggested a picnic on the beach, and since they both wanted to take advantage of the sun, Alex agreed to postpone Samantha’s paying for breakfast until later in the evening.

The mess from the morning meal didn’t take long to clean up, but Samantha found it difficult to concentrate on lunch with breakfast still digesting in her stomach. Alex made herself busy after changing into her bathing suit by rummaging through one of the storage rooms and some unpacked boxes. Her quest did not leave her empty handed. Grinning broadly she waltzed back into the kitchen and deposited a picnic basket on the counter.

"I knew this old thing would come in handy one day. Mom, rotic that she is, insisted I take it when I left home to remind me of the beach picnics we used to have when I was little. I’ve carted it from place to place and this is the first time it’s ever been put to use."

Samantha stared blankly at her lover, "Did you call your mom a ‘Rotic’?"

"Yep, that’s what I said," her full lips curling into a teasing smile.

"Okay, I’ll bite. What in the name of Hades does ‘Rotic’ mean?"

"Oh, but that is so easy, Bard of mine, I would have thought you clever enough to figure it out."

"Well, I’m not, so would you please educate me?" Samantha hated to feel stupid, she blushed when she felt stupid, and she could feel the red beginning to spread from the base of her neck up into her face.

Alex stepped closer and let one arm drape over a small shoulder, her free hand tilting Samantha’s face toward hers. "Rotic, my Destiny, is romantic sans the ‘man’." She bent down and kissed Samantha’s soft, partially opened lips, "And I believe you are one, also," she mumbled, her lips barely leaving Sam’s.

"That is so your mother!" Samantha pulled away laughing. "She coined that term didn’t she?"

"I couldn’t tell you for certain, but I do know she’s the first person I ever heard use it."

"Well, I’ll be sure to thank her for the basket and for the new word when we go down to visit." She began gathering the ingredients she had already finished with and started putting them in the basket. "I won’t be but a few more minutes."

"Take your time, I’ve got a couple things to take down first," Alex informed Samantha as she opened the freezer and pulled out a package of batteries. She kissed the small blonde on the cheek and exited toward the elevator where she had left the rest of the treasures she had unearthed while looking for the basket.

Alex called to Sam as she re-entered the apartment minutes later. "You just about ready to Rock ‘N Roll?"

A bikini clad Samantha came traipsing out of the bedroom, towels in hand.

"No need for those, Honey, I’ve got everything but the picnic basket already down on the beach.

Alex spotted the wine skin lying beside the basket and chided her lover, "So, is it your plan to get me intoxicated and then seduce me?"

"Gee, do I need to get you intoxicated to do that?" The small blonde grinned. "I must confess, Alex, it’s been ages since I’ve put together a picnic lunch and of course this one was made a little more difficult because nothing really sparked my appetite with us just having eaten."

"I’m sure whatever you decided on will be more than adequate by the time we’re hungry," Alex assured, her hand reaching the handle of the basket before Samantha’s. "I’ll get this. You ready?"

"Couldn’t be any readier."

Alex threw the wine skin over her shoulder, took the basket in one hand, and let her other arm drape over her lover’s shoulder. "Shall we go have fun?"

"By all means."

Samantha’s breath caught in her throat, as she left the air conditioned building for the heated atmosphere the Santa Ana had brought to the California coast. "I didn’t realize it was so warm out here – this is great swimming weather."

As they walked toward the beach, Alex was carefully watching her lover’s face to see what Samantha’s expression would be when she spotted the scene that Alex had so carefully laid out on the shore below. The dark-haired beauty was by no means disappointed. Samantha’s face began to beam when she first caught glimpse of the ‘rotic’ setting her lover had mapped out on the deserted stretch of sand.

Along with the picnic basket, Alex had unearthed, a portable CD player, whose batteries had long ago died and she had quickly replenished, a beach umbrella, and a couple beach chaises. She had gone into the bedroom and brought down Samantha’s journal and pen. It had come to her attention that Sam had not been writing in it as often as she had before the incident with her father had occurred, and Alex was hoping that today might be a turning point in getting her to write again.

Samantha looked up at her lover, a mist covering her sea-green eyes, "Oh, Alex this is so special."

"I’m glad you like it, Honey. Even Mother Nature seems to have gone out of her way to paint us a picture perfect day."

A few miles up the beach the atmosphere was one of parties and crowds, but here on their own small stretch of paradise, the tone was that of quiet relaxation.

Alex put the basket down and the two headed for the sea. Scorching sand was replaced by cool wet as the lover’s began entering the welcoming water that was lapping at their feet. Exceedingly warm winds had heated even the cool Pacific to a tepid temperature, making it a marvelous day to re-acquaint themselves with the mer.

The busy weeks they had just left behind them had allowed little time for the luxury of basking in the sun, by the time most evenings rolled around, the duo had been too exhausted to take even a leisurely stroll down the shoreline. They more often than not opted to spend those precious twilight moments wrapped in each other’s arms on something soft and comfortable.

The water was welcoming and warm, but still cooler than the air. As they swam Alex’s mind digressed to the past couple weeks.

She had kept the promise she had made to herself to return to her exercise regime, using the gym mostly on nights when Samantha was taking her Tae Kwon Do lessons. On nights when the perky blonde didn’t have class, the ritual had become one of the two of them practicing together. Any time they shared only intensified the still growing relationship.

The climbing wall had become another duo attraction in the after clinic hours. It seemed as though the martial arts lessons were increasing the smaller woman’s agility, and soon she was almost able to keep up with Alex as her increased flexibility allowed her to scurry from grip to grip, making small quick moves as opposed to her lover’s longer more calculated advances.

Samantha closed her eyes while swimming beside her lover and brought back the carefully planned scene Alex had set before her on the beach. One of the first articles to catch her eye had been her journal, which her lover had strategically placed in the middle of the blanket. Samantha’s mind drifted back to the day Cassandra had instigated all the trouble between her and her father. That night when she had thought about relieving some of her grief into her writings she had, for the first time in years, been unable to put down on paper any of her intense feelings. Even now she was still having a difficult time trying to understand how one human being could harbor so much hate for another. There was a see-saw in her mind’s eye with Cassandra on one end and her father on the other. Samantha was puzzled by the two of them and trying to understand their hatred had turned her flow of creativity to stone.

She tried her best not to bombard Alex with her loss, but the destruction had gone deeper than anyone looking at or talking to the vivacious blonde would ever realize.

Samantha was sure that even Alex thought it strange that she was taking the separation so well, but she didn’t know how else to handle it, except to act like she wasn’t being torn apart inside. Losing the love of her father because of her love for Alex made her physically ill at times and to make matters worse she hadn’t spoken to her mother since the incident.

The only glimmer of light on the situation, other than Samantha having Alex to lean on, had to be the fact that her sister, Sally, had turned out to be more of an anchor for her sister than anyone ever would have given the young woman credit for being. Sally called Samantha weekly and kept the disowned daughter up-to-date on affairs of the family. Ironically, the split between father and daughter had brought the sisters closer together.

The small blonde opened her eyes to find the love of her life floating close by, also drifting on her back and staring into the vastness of the blue above them, totally lost in her own world of thought. A gentle touch on the arm brought the dark-haired beauty back to the present and the two frolicked together for a while longer in the liquid playground.

They were searching the ocean before them for a large swell to ride when Alex noticed that the pale skin on the top of Samantha’s shoulders had begun to redden. She insisted they retreat from the water to the safety of the umbrella. Neither of the women wanted the entire weekend ruined by easily avoided sunburn. Catching a final wave they rode it out to its destination and proceeded inland, hand-in-hand back to the blanket and protective shade.

When they reached their small beach haven, Alex lavishly spread sunscreen on pink shoulders that were already becoming tender. Samantha, in turn, insisted on putting a small amount of the lotion on the already tanning body of her lover. Then the two of them stretched horizontally on the blanket to bask in the warmth of old Sol. Alex suggested that the small blonde lay within the realm of shadow, while she languished in the sun’s rays, a bronze hue appearing on her tall, slender form. One long, muscular arm found its way across the smaller body beside it and before they had even realized they were the two women fell into a light sleep.

Samantha awoke, when her body sensed the absence of weight across her waist. She quickly spotted the tall figure rhythmically swaying to a beat of her own, oblivious to eyes lovingly watching her. Sam sat up cross-legged on the blanket as the unseasonable warmth of the sea breeze countered the chilling thoughts that had begun floating through her mind. She had been dreaming before the subconscious reality of Alex not being by her side had awakened her. Her dream had been of the conflict that had been waged on this very beach a little over a month ago. Now she found herself lost in the chaos of opposing emotions as she picked up the small black ledger with the silver unicorn embossed on the cover and her favorite pen. It had been weeks since she had tried to put onto paper the confusion and thoughts of despair lurking in the hidden recesses of her mind.

With the assistance of nature’s gentle roar, soft New Age music coming from the CD player, and the combination of sun, sand and sea, her pent up creativity slowly began to seep out into her consciousness. She sat quietly, her verdant eyes misting again as she took in the beauty surrounding her. Love was an arm’s length from her, practicing the graceful movements of an ancient Oriental discipline. The wind was embracing her with a warm hug and the sea was singing to her soul. The chip of ice that had been firmly lodged in a corner of her heart since that day so many weeks before suddenly began to melt, and the thoughts of the poet began to once again flow from her mind, through the pen, and onto the stark white paper. Copious words – words that had been locked in a dark closet since that fateful day, rushed from her mind to the pen in her hand as she began filling page after page of the small ledger. Time stood still, allowing the young bard to vent via the only vehicle she had ever been able to use.

A soft touch of a hand on her shoulder, as Alex knelt down beside her brought the fair-haired beauty back to the here and now.

"Earth to Samantha." Alex smiled down getting her lover’s attention. "I know this is your line but . . . I’m starving. Are you ready to eat?"

The small blonde looked up into azure pools, "Of course I’m ready to eat. I was just sitting here waiting for an invitation."

"Uh, huh," came the incredulous reply. "Just like you always do."


The remainder of the afternoon had disappeared before they had realized it. Alex had suggested playing some beach games. Samantha sat waiting on the blanket while Alex ran back up to the apartment. Within minutes she came scrambling back down the stairs, a Frisbee in one hand, Rainbow in the other. She put the small black fur-baby down on the blanket and watched as the kitten hopped onto the sand and began digging holes. The two women watched with amusement as the tiny animal wore herself out and then scurried onto the blanket, under the protection and shadow of the large umbrella. Exhaustion overcame Rainbow and she slept, while her mistresses played child-like games on the beach. Content as only a day on the beach can make a person, the consensus of the two lovers was to not re-enter the water but instead to go rent some videos, have a nice relaxing bath and a leisurely dinner and then to kick back and watch movies.

The decision had made Samantha one happy lady as she had been raised on films, movie stars, and live theater. When she and her sister were younger, Sheila would take them to the early bird show on Friday after school, before their dad arrived home. As they got older, one night a week was always ‘girl’s night out’ at the cinema or at a live performance. Movie and theater going were the only events Don permitted his wife to attend alone with the girls, other than occasional shopping trips. While Samantha was still in high school, her father had decided to treat the three Riley women to a long weekend in New York City. Don was attending a sales seminar and figured it would be the ideal time for ‘the girls’ to take in their first Broadway play. Her mother had ordered the tickets ahead of time and mother and daughters were able to attend one of the earlier performances of what turned out to be one of the longest running shows on Broadway. Samantha still smiled when she thought about the unforgettable memory of walking into the Winter Garden Theater to see her all time favorite musical – ‘Cats’.

Since moving to Laguna Sam could only remember going to the movies once and that was with Suz. She had not been to a live performance in over a year and she missed the forms of entertainment that had sustained her through her childhood. Several times she had hinted that going to a movie might be a nice evening out, but Alex always supplied her with one excuse or another. Her partner’s favorite reason for avoiding the movie theaters was that she liked silence when she watched a film and didn’t want to have to deal with other people, laughing, talking, or making eating sounds. Sam had to agree that some of the extraneous sounds in a dark theater could be quite distracting, but that would have never stopped her from going.

For most couples going to a movie was part of the courting process, but tonight was the first time for the two lovers and Samantha was delighted. Alex got a kick out of watching the blonde’s exuberance as the small woman stood in front of the rows of covers, carefully choosing which films she wanted to see first and changing her mind with every two or three picks. As much as Samantha had hated not going to the movies, the plus side turned out to be that all the new releases at the video store were pictures neither of the women had seen.

Since they had until Tuesday to return their choices, Samantha cajoled and pleaded until they ended up getting four. There was no way the dark-haired woman was going to tell Samantha four were too many because she intended for them to spend most of Sunday at Angel’s. Perhaps giving in to two "chick flicks", a horror story, and a thriller would put her in enough good light that getting Sam to agree to the party would not be too difficult.

It was decided that dinner would be pizza, salad, and Dos Equis. Alex phoned in the order from the video store, knowing full well it would take Samantha an eternity to make up her mind deciding which four she wanted to see.

Finally, with pizza, beer, and videos in hand, the two women returned to the warehouse.

"I’ll make some popcorn later when we get hungry again, it’ll be fun." Samantha smiled on the ride up to the penthouse.

"Hungry again! We haven’t even eaten the pizza yet, what makes you think we’ll be hungry, again?" Of course she already knew the answer, but the tall brunette could not help but tease.

"No one can sit through more than one movie without wanting popcorn."

"Who sits through more than one movie at a time?"

"Ever heard of a ‘double feature’?"

"Ah, I think I remember reading about those in an old flick magazine." Alex did her best to keep a solemn face.

"Either you’re pulling my leg, Alexis Dorian, or your mothers raised you funny. Everyone’s been to a double feature at least once."

"Funny, ha ha, or funny queer?"

"Alex!" Samantha walked into the living room and placed the videos on the VCR.

Alex plopped the pizza next to the oven and the beer into the fridge. She walked over and tickled the small blonde. "What? Queer? You have a problem with the word Queer?"

"It’s just such . . . Alex . . . I can’t talk when you . . ."

"Samantha, it’s just a word like any other. I kind of think it sets us apart from the rest of the sheep. And have you ever looked it up?"

"No, I can’t say that I have. Okay, Ms. Smarty, I’m sure you have or you wouldn’t have asked, so . . ."

"Okay. Well you know the obvious definition so we can disregard that one." She stood in front of her lover looking down into soft green eyes, as she draped an arm over each small shoulder. "The positive synonyms are eccentric, unconventional, and even obsessed. I resemble all those, how about you?"

She smiled and kissed Samantha on the cheek. "I am unquestionably eccentric, you can ask anyone who has known me for more than a day. Unconventional – I would say we both resemble that one and . . . obsessed . . ."

Alex leaned slowly down until her lips caressed her lover’s ear. One adroit finger, barely touching her lover’s skin, ran the contour of the angelic face before her as she whispered softly, "I definitely have my obsession."

Samantha found her knees beginning to buckle as Alex continued seducing her with words and deeds. Long, sinewy fingers traveled down her neck while an experienced tongue traced the outer edges of her ear that tasted ever so slightly of salt. The dark woman continued whispering words of adoration into her lover’s ear, her breath evoking love bumps which quickly covered the length of the small frame she was caressing with her voice.

"Yes, my Destiny," Alex began her assertion, "I am most assuredly ‘mildly insane, touched, absorbed or interested to an extreme or unreasonable degree’ in my obsession and we both know who that is."

The kiss became passionate as long and short fingers vied with each other to be the first to remove the beach robe from the body in front of them. Bathing suits quickly went the same route as the robes. Dinner, bath, movies, beer . . . all were forgotten as four legs lost the will to remain erect and two bodies found the floor. Consumed with a hunger that could only be quenched by the touch, the taste, and the feel of each other, the lovers, true to the definition of the five-letter-word that began with "Q", found themselves obsessed with each other.


With the urgency of immediate desire spent, they remained intertwined and totally content to linger there forever, that is until a small gurgling sound emanated from Samantha’s stomach.

She giggled as the sound reproduced itself, only louder.

"I guess it’s time to feed the monster and watch a movie," she apologetically announced.

Alex watched as the smaller woman stood and stretched, her naked form highlighted by the lunar illumination cascading into the room. From where Alex now sat Samantha appeared superimposed onto the ocean, a sea-nymph glimmering in the moonlight, dancing on the water – truly a vision to behold.

The fantasy was extinguished when the small blonde, chilled from leaving the warmth of her lover’s arms, went in search of a nightshirt.

When Samantha re-entered the living room, on her way to the kitchen, Alex asked if she could lend a hand. Rising to her full height from her position on the floor, the dark woman shook off the unusual illusion still remaining in her mind’s eye . . . Samantha’s imagination must be rubbing off on me – sea-nymphs, please Alex!

"Here, Samantha, let me help you," she repeated the suggestion and started toward the kitchen, also.

"No, I can warm the pizza," Sam countered, rejecting the offer of assistance. "But, you might want to grab a nightshirt and cover that body of yours so I can concentrate on the movies we rented." She winked at the dark-haired beauty now standing just a few feet from her.

"And if I chose to remain like this," Alex spun slowly, the magnet of temptation challenging the smaller woman to a re-enactment of the past hour.

Samantha closed her eyes and slowly shook her head, continuing toward the kitchen. "No, Alex. It’s show-time and I mean movie show-time, not Alex show-and-touch-time. You can have a repeat a little later, but right now my stomach is insisting on sustenance."

"Well, if you’re going to be a party pooper . . ."

"Nightshirt, my darling, then you can put the movie in if you want, and get it past all those damn previews and commercials, please."

Ten minutes later they were sitting in front of the television, eating and watching the first of the films Samantha had picked out.

The pizza box was soon empty, as were a few bottles of beer. Night was beginning to seep into early morning as the lover’s snuggled, partially reclining on the comfortable sofa with Samantha snuggled between Alex’s strong, muscular legs, her back to the taller woman, and her head resting cozily on her lover’s chest. Rainbow had made a nest for herself on the pillow that had been thrown on the floor next to the couch, and the little family of three was all tucked in for the evening.

As the credits began to roll, signifying the conclusion the first movie, true to her word, Samantha insisted it was popcorn time. She pleaded with Alex to sit through "just one more" when the lanky brunette had wearily suggested they call it a morning and go to bed.

In actuality, Alex knew she would never make it through a second film, she had barely made it through the first. Her parents had probably never taken her to a ‘double feature’ because neither the girl she had been nor the woman she had become was in the least bit interested in movies; physical activities had always been far more appealing and her views on the subject had not altered through time. She would rather be on the volleyball court or in a martial arts competition than sitting quietly in a dark room with people play acting on the screen. But for Samantha, she would try her damnedest to stay awake.

As the second film began, it was Alex’s turn to get comfortable. They traded positions and Sam extended the recliner at the end of the sofa to enable her to stretch out her legs, allowing ample room for Alex’s head to rest in the welcoming lap. Caressing fingers gently massaged the scalp under thick dark hair, occasionally extending to the taller woman’s neck and shoulders. Within minutes Alex drifted off, stirring only when Samantha fidgeted. She had been in a rather long stretch of sleep when suddenly the small blonde jerked and let out a gasp.

"What? What’s wrong? Did you hear something?" Alex panicked in reaction to Samantha’s utterance and quick movement.

Samantha looked down into blinking, sleep filled eyes – eyes that had widened with alarm as the abruptly awakened sleeper started to get up.

"Down girl!" Samantha grinned at her disheveled lover. "You’ve been asleep, haven’t you? I thought the idea was to watch the film together? This is a horror movie and . . ."

"I’m sorry, Honey, I just got so damn comfortable lying here with you rubbing my head . . ."

"It’s okay, Alex, the movie’s not that good anyway. Come on it’s really late, let’s go to bed."

"Are you sure, I’ll try to stay wake until the end if you want to watch it."

"Nah, I’d rather snuggle than get scared." She nudged a now hesitant Alex, who was displaying a guilty conscious, to get up.

Great, now you’ve done it . . . up until this point there was every indication that she would go along with whatever you had planned for tomorrow – rather today, but now . . . now you went and fell asleep when you were supposed to be watching a movie with her! "Just great," she mumbled almost inaudibly.

"Did you say something, Alex?"

"I said . . . you’re just great for not getting mad at me for falling asleep."

"Don’t be silly. It’s just a stupid movie. At least you were there for something to hold onto." Samantha threw a loving glance in Alex’s direction as she carted the popcorn bowl and glasses into the kitchen. "You go ahead in, I’ll be right there."

"Okay, I’ll turn off the TV and VCR."

Normally Alex would have had no problem staying awake, but the combination of sun, ocean, fun and making love, topped off with food and beer, and followed by nestling and a massage – who wouldn’t have fallen asleep? She came out of the bathroom just as Samantha entered the bedroom. Sam hadn’t noticed the slogan on Alex’s nightshirt earlier in the evening when she had first put it on, but it now struck her as rather humorous.

"I don’t believe you’re wearing a shirt that states, ‘I Don’t Do Mornings’." The small blonde burst into laughter.

"Is that ever the wrong shirt for you! You need one that states, ‘I Don’t Do Nights’. The one you have on ought to be my shirt!"

"You know," Alex replied, taking the shirt off and carrying it over to her lover. "You are absolutely right."

Night had always been Sam’s favorite part of the day and now, standing in their bedroom with a stark-naked Alex bewitching her, an oversized T-shirt dangling from the long outstretched arm, that thought rang truer than ever before. If there was anything on the young blonde’s mind as she ran her eyes leisurely down the full length of her lover’s voluptuous body, it certainly wasn’t sleep.

Ignoring the proffered piece of clothing, she stepped closer to the tall beauty and trailed her fingers down the well-defined muscles of the extended arm.

Alex dropped the nightshirt and bent to grasp the hem of Samantha’s shirt as she pulled it up over the smaller woman’s head. She drew Samantha close to her and nuzzled her face into the golden crown, taking in the sweet fragrance that was typically Samantha.

Never losing touch they walked over to the bed, and for the second time that day, or rather the first time that morning, lost themselves in a world of sense, touch, passion and love. Speed was a word that belonged in this world about as much as sleep did. Alex made love to Samantha, who in turn made love to Alex, who reciprocated yet another time before totally exhausting her lover. Tears of joy ran down the smaller woman’s face as she searched for the words to express her feelings. "By the Gods Alex, I love you," was probably the first complete sentence Samantha had uttered in over an hour.

"I love you too, my Destiny." Alex retorted as she kissed away the happy tears and rolled onto her back, giving Samantha room to get into her favorite position.

"Alex, you make me feel marvelous. I wonder if everyone who’s in love feels this way."

"Speaking of other people . . ." Alex interjected, quickly changing the subject, " . . . how would you like to go to a party tomorr. . . today?"

"What kind of party?"

"A Labor Day party, remember . . . the holiday?"

"Right. Who’s giving the party?

"Angel, she figured Sunday would be better than Monday so people wouldn’t be going to work with hangovers, she . . ."

"When did she ask you, Alex?"

"Oh, Samantha . . . she invited Us on Friday, while you were busy putting up decorations."

"And you waited until Sunday morning to discuss it with me?"

"You know, I could have sworn we just finished making love and now . . ."

"Alex, why didn’t you ask me sooner?"

The taller woman sighed, a slight grimace forming on her face. "Because, Samantha, I was afraid of having This conversation. Look, I didn’t know how to say no, so I kind of promised we’d make an appearance. She even invited Marcy and her friend up from San Diego. I know you don’t really like Angel, but . . ."

"If you know that, then why did you accept?"

"Because I think it would be good for you and Angel to associate with each other outside the Center for a change. Tell you what, if you’re not having fun after . . . oh, after an hour, then we’ll thank Angel for inviting us and leave."

"Alex . . ."

"Come on Samantha, be a sport. What’s an hour? I sat through two movies tonight for you."

"No, actually you didn’t. You sat through one and perhaps half of another."

"But . . . I was willing to sit through both of them." Alex gave her a pouting look, her blue eyes taking on a sad puppy-like appearance.

"Well . . . I will admit you’ve done you damnedest to do everything right up to this point today so I would have no recourse . . ."

"That’s not fair, Samantha." Alex objected. "This entire day was not built around asking you that question." But she smiled realizing that part of what her angel was saying was absolutely true. A lifetime of dealing with Sam was not going to be easy, but it would always be interesting.

The lunar light captured the sparkle in green eyes as Samantha smiled up at her lover. "Okay, Alex . . . one hour and if I’m miserable . . . we leave . . . deal?"


Alex squeezed Samantha tight, a sigh of relief whistling through her pursed lips.

"Oh, come on – it wasn’t that difficult, now was it?"

"No, I confess, I was too anxious to ask earlier, I didn’t want to argue with you, but waiting only made it more complex as the day went on." Azure eyes stared up at the ceiling. "You know, Samantha, I’ve never before had the least bit of turmoil when I wanted to, or thought I should do something. This is probably the first time I’ve ever felt as though I am not totally in control of my life . . . I don’t mean that in a bad way, just that things feel really different when you stop and consider someone else’s feelings all the time."

"I’m sorry if I made asking about going to the party a chore, Alex. I’ll try to give her a second . . ."

Alex looked down and tenderly tilted Samantha’s face so their eyes would meet. "It’s just that all of my life, even when I thought I was in love with someone, if there was something I wanted to do – what they wanted always came second. With you my priorities are reversed." She kissed Sam gently, "I love you more than you know."

"I love you, too, Alex. Today was fabulous." She paused trying to gather her thoughts before speaking again. "You know… the wall that stands between my dad and me has actually been years in the making. I never wanted to face that before. Cassie’s little episode only hastened a situation that was well on its way to happening, and our love was merely the last brick to be mortared into place. I haven’t wanted to face that or to even talk about it and you’ve given me the space I’ve needed to heal. You don’t know how much I appreciate that, Alex."

The dark woman started to speak but Samantha gently hushed her. "I actually did some writing today, thanks to your taking my journal down to the beach. I need to thank you for that." Her eyes teared as she thought about the release she had felt when some of her thoughts became viewable. She swallowed the lump that had suddenly appeared in her throat.

Alex wiped away a tear as it trickled down the angelic face. "You don’t have to thank me, Samantha, I . . ."

"Yes . . . yes I do, Alex. I’ve never had to face a pain like the one Cassandra set into motion. Not that I wouldn’t have had to face it sooner or later, but she forced the situation to an untimely eruption."

Alex started to place her fingers on Samantha’s mouth to quiet the words that brought tears, and to stop the pain from spewing forth from lips that had just seconds ago been speaking of their day in the sun and evening of fun.

Samantha grasped the strong, yet gentle hand of her lover and kissed it. "No, Alex. I need to say this. None of what I’m saying negates one second of the time we spent together today. Actually, it intensifies it. I’ve never had anyone to share my truly intimate feelings with before, my writing has always been my solace – now I have you, as well."

She buried her head deep in her lover’s chest. A barely audible, "I love you, my hero," escaped from her lips.

"I love you, too, Samantha. We have a busy day ahead of us; I think some sleep would do us both a lot of good." She tenderly kissed the top of her lover’s head. "Sweet dreams, Samantha."

"Sweet dreams to you, too, Alex."

End of Chapter 1


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