"I do know how ya feel, Jan. I guess I need some cuddlin, too. Can we walk to this place or what? I'm just about done in. That plane trip yesterday just about killed me, Jan. I don't even know what time it is, let alone what day. I didn't get as much sleep as I'd have liked to last night, Jan. I was up thinking...about ...us."

Jan mentally kicked her can as hard as she could. She slapped her forehead and a stream of expletives came rushing out.

"Son of a bitch,goddamn stupid fuckin hardass dumb unfeeling moron!" And with that, she hailed a foot taxi and gently settled a very startled Melinda Pappas into it before joining her. Jan tugged her hat down hard on her head and fumed. Her hands clenched and unclenched. She positively seethed! Mel valiantly tried not to stare at this surprising outburse but only managed to pick up her jaw and snap it closed.

Finally, after about ten minutes, Jan tried to apologize. After a few attempts, she just looked at Mel with such sorrowful eyes that Mel did the only thing she could think of. She kissed her. Passionately. Deeply.

Neither one was aware that they were being followed out of town. They only had eyes for each other.



Chapter Seven


Janice Covington yelled for the runner to stop. She helped Mel out of the buggy and both women dusted themselves off. As Janice was digging deeply in her pants pockets for some change, Mel opened her purse and took out an American twenty dollar bill.

"I hope this is alright? I don't have any...what do ya call them? Anyway, I hope it's enough." She thrust the crumpled bill into the man's hand and smiled.

The man smiled at both women, showing a decidedly sad collection of neglected teeth. He babbled almost incoherently in Greek and bowed several times.

Jan wore a frown as she watched the ped taxi slowly disappear down the dusty road.

"I coulda paid him, Melinda. You didn't have to do that." She pursed her lips together and avoided Mel's eyes.

"I'm, I'm sorry, Jan. I didn't think you'd mind." she said, as Jan turned away from her.

She walked over and placed her hands on Jan's upper back. Jan didn't turn around, not trusting her temper. She could take care of herself! No one had to pay her way! She could have come up with something to give that guy.

True, she had almost exhausted her supply of dinars paying for lunch. She didn't want Mel to know she was almost living hand to mouth. All of her salary from the Museum went into archaeological tools. And information about possible sites dealing with scrolls.

She had become almost obsessed with finding the Xena Scrolls. Her Dad had talked endlessly about them ever since Jan could remember. Other than cigars and booze, Janice didn't have much need for anything else.

She knew the others at the Museum looked upon her as something of a joke. While part of her cared deeply about how she was being perceived, the rest of her knew they could all shove it: she had a genuine nose for finding productive digs. They could laugh all they wanted to, but when the shinola hit the fan, she was the one that always came through. She supposed she was being taken advantage of, not being paid the salary she deserved. She might do something about it, now that had someone she wanted to spend her money on.

Jan placed one of her hands over her shoulder and waited until it was taken up by Mel. She sighed and turned to face her beautiful companion.

"I'm sorry. I guess I've been something of an inconsiderate asshole today, huh? I know that flight took alot out of ya. It'll probably be at least another day before you start to feel normal again. Hell, you've almost passed out once already. Dragging you all over the place! Geez. I don't know what I was thinking, Mel. Forgive me?" She brought the woman's hand up to her lips and began placing soft little kisses on it.

Mel cupped the woman's face and smiled. There was so much to say. Where should she begin?

"I'm the one who should be sorry, Jan. I'm just a silly old weak pampered South Carolinan who thought she could handle some adventure in her life. I've been foolish to think I could. My Daddy always had me surrounded by the best of everything. I went to the best boarding schools, then the best prep school and finally the best finishing school. I never ever had to do anything by myself. On my own. Never had to test how strong I could be. The only thing I ever excelled at was the triathelon. I didn't even have to try hard at that either. It just came natural to me.

I guess I'm just a selfish woman, Jan. I can't help it if I come from a wealthy family. Please let me DO things for ya. I want to help you any way I can. I don't want to live a miserable and worthless life anymore. Can ya understand?"

She looked pleadingly into the eyes of the woman she loved. Yes, loved. With all of her heart and soul. She didn't know why or how it had come about. She had looked for her Knight in Shining Armour all of her life, feeling the need to fulfill the wishes others had for her.

That a knight had actually come into her life was deeply appreciated. When the knight's visor had been lifted and Joan of Arc had peered out at her, it had shaken Mel to the core. Everything she had ever perceived about herself had to be thrown out the window. She had no form of reference. Nothing in her past had prepared her for how she was feeling right now.

"I...I love you, Janice Covington. I know it's sudden. I also know I can't live without you. I want you the way a man wants a woman. I want to feel you, to smell you, to touch you. All I know for certain, Jan, is that I love you and I'll die if you don't feel the same way." A tear slowly fell from her eye.

Jan felt a lump form in her throat. Everything Mel had said was a mirror for everything she herself had been feeling. It was almost too good to be true! This woman felt love for her and wanted her. Jan's heart was filled to almost bursting.

"Oh, God but I love you, too!" She pulled Mel to her and they both began kissing, mumbling words of love and devotion in amongst short breaths of air.

Neither one noticed the faint sound of a car's motor. Or the door slamming. They did notice the click of a revolver. And Jan certainly noticed it when Mel's hair was yanked back and the woman was shoved to her knees in the dirt. Yes, she noticed that, alright.

A short, beady-eyed man leaned against the car and snickered. He was a swarthy man of mediteranean heritage and both women recognized him as the maniacal driver they'd seen in the market place at lunch.

The man who held the revolver had eyes of grey steel. He stood almost 6 feet tall, had light brown hair, medium build and moved with the grace of a predator. His jaw was clenched tightly and he seemed to positively ooze venom.

He pulled Mel's hair back so that she was looking up at him. He darted his gaze over towards Janice and sneered. In a clipped proper British accent, he goaded both women, knowing he held the upper hand.

"I never picked you for being one of those, Miss Pappas. Rather had ideas about you for myself." He poked her cleavage with the barrel of the gun. He ran the revolver down between Mel's breasts and then trailed it up under her chin. He drew her mouth open with the gun and placed the barrel inside.

Mel shook with fear and tried very hard not to cry. Tears began falling anyway. Jan looked ready to spring at the man and tear his throat out with her bare hands.

"You have your hands on these, did you? You like this sweet mouth, huh? I've got plans for both of them. Might let you watch, though. Then it'll be your turn. You want to fuck like a man, you've gotta take it like a man. I'm sure that between the two of us men, we can teach you, huh, Dimetrios? You like that?"

He backhanded Mel with one hand and leveled the gun at Jan with the other. Dimetrios laughed evilly and cupped his genitals through his filthy pants. He opened his mouth and stuck out what was left of a tongue. Jan cringed at the horrible sight.

"Make you want to vomit, doesn't he? Lost his tongue working for the Germans. Guess he talked too much." He laughed and spared the driver a dirty look.

"Now he works for me. I'll have to punish him today. Didn't drive very well at the market place. Did you, Dimetrios? No, you missed them with the fucking car! You worthless piece of shit! Get over here!"

The poor driver shuffled over to where his master stood and looked down at Mel, cowering in the sand, blood dripping from her cut lip. He fondled himself and made some whimpering sounds, deep in his throat.

"No, no, no. Not yet, my....friend. We'll see about later. Give me your hand!" Before Dimetrios could even form a coherent thought, his hand was being crushed in one of the man's iron fists. He brought the driver's hand before the gun and shot it. The driver screamed piteously, clutching his bleeding hand to his chest.

Jan's eyes went wide with fear. She realized at that moment that she was dealing with one man who was insane and another who was both insane and a ruthless killer. There was no sign, no hint of sanity that Jan could see when she looked into his eyes. Nothing but rage. An all consuming rage that made the veins in his forehead pulse and throb. She knew that unless she did something within the next few minutes, both she and Mel would be raped and that they would be begging for death long before this man was through with them.

She launched herself at the man, knocking the driver onto Mel. Mel grabbed him and pushed his face into the hot sand. She began beating him on the back of the head and shoulders, trying not to cry and scream at the same time. She finally removed one of her shoes and hit him over the head. Hard. He lay still but Mel continued her assault.

Suddenly noticing the blood on her hands and high heel, Mel dropped her shoe and sat looking dazed.

Jan had her hands full, trying to keep the gun out of her face and the man's other hand out of her eyes. They rolled around, scrapping like two tom cats spitting and clawing at each other. The man's superior strength and size finally came into play and he was soon straddling Janice's stomach, revolver pointing into her face.

"So, you like it rough, eh? I'm gonna make you beg, you bitch!" He wiped one hand over his face and it came away with blood. He smirked and wiped it off on the front of Jan's shirt. He then ripped her shirt open and tore at the brassiere before him.

Jan just lay there, biding her time. She slowly got her breathing under control and felt her second wind coming on. She was in great shape and she knew it. All she needed was an opening.

She shot Mel a sideways glance, checking to see she was alright. Mel shook her head to clear it and looked into Janice's eyes. The woman instinctively knew to go along with whatever the archaeologist had in mind.

"Yeah, you're a big man, huh? Make you feel good to beat on two women?" She tried to make him lose control of his temper and make a mistake.

"Oh, don't you worry. Beating on women never made any difference to me. Doesn't make me hot, if that's what you mean. Just a means to an end, bitch. Now, where is that journal?! I'm getting alot of boodle for that and I will have it. One way or another. So, make it easy on yourself and cough it up."

Mel tried to pretend she was unconscious. She stuck the journal under the body of the driver and pushed it deep into the sand. She had to get that horrible man's attention off of Jan. She harboured no illusions as to what their fate would be. She had a wonderful imagination, thank you very much!

She began moaning, holding her head. She peeked through her fingers with one eye and began moaning louder.

"Wakey, wakey, Miss Pappas! If you know what's good for your friend, you'll get her to tell me where that damned journal is. Now!"

When an answer wasn't immediately forthcoming, he pistol wiped Jan and stood up. Thinking he'd knocked the woman out, he turned his back on Janice and slowly made his way over to where Mel lay. He kicked her with his boot. He reached down and began pawing at her breasts. Getting no reaction, he snarled and slapped her hard across the face.

He was just pulling his foot back to administer another painful blow when he has jumped from behind. The air was knocked out of his lungs and he dropped the gun. Jan was filled with a rage that made her vision cloud over with red. Watching him manhandle her sweet Melinda made something snap in Janice.

It was as if she could see herself at one end of a very long, dark tunnel. The noise of pure rage roared in her ears. Suddenly, she was surrounded with a bright light and watched in horror as she saw a young teenager trying to fend off the amorous advances of a dig member. She wanted to shout, to pummel the man, to save this small and defenseless girl but her feet were rooted to the ground. She was helpless herself.

A moan escaped her lips as she saw the leer on the man's face as he forced the girl down in the dirt. She didn't want to watch! Tried to turn her head away! She wasn't sure how she knew, but somehow she had seen it all before. How? When?

Silent tears streamed down her face as she watched the girl being forced to perform oral sex on the monster before her. She wanted to wail at the world! Punish them for allowing this despicable man to perpetrate such horrors upon one so innocent.

Finally, as the man finished raping the young girl, he pushed himself off and Jan noticed the blood and the look on her face. The look of self loathing, and broken spirit seemed to rend the archaeologists heart! Why was she seeing this? Why was she delegated to being a bystander when she could help?! It wasn't fair! She should have stopped him! Should have been strong enough to push him away and call out for help!

Jan saw the scene before her change. It was after the incident. The girl hadn't told anyone, had just kept it to herself, hoping to heal quickly without notice. Her attitude changed and she became more aggressive but withdrawn with her feelings. She adapted a swagger and began building body muscle. No one would ever take advantage of her again.

Jan was glad that the girl had become a survivor but she was saddened by the change in the girls outlook on life. So many dreams lost. She had built a solid wall, brick by brick, to keep every emotion in and everything else out.

Suddenly, the air around her was charged with electricity and her vision cleared. She saw him attacking someone else! Saw him pawing at another defenseless woman! She was determined NOT to let it happen again! She wouldn't let it!

She roared into his face as her hands found purchase around his throat. He frantically tried to beat the woman off, raining blow after blow on Jan's face and chest. Jan's shirt and brassiere lay in tatters around her elbows as she lay over him. To a casual observer, it was almost like the embrace of a lover. One glance at the man's purpling face would negate that idea immediately.

The man reached up and tried to force her head to the side. She countered with a well placed knee to the groin. He gasped in pain and surprise. Jan never once relinquished her hold on his throat. She raised her knee again and felt all of the strength leave the body beneath her.

She didn't hear Mel come beside her. Didn't feel the woman's hands take hold of her shoulders and try to wrench her away from her prey. She had only one thing on her mind and that was to slowly choke out the life of the man who would have raped and tortured her Melinda! She settled her mind on doing just that.

Mel saw the look of pure hate on Jan's face. It scared her to see the woman's face twisted with hatred and malice. She knew what Jan wanted to do. She knew she had to stop it. Somehow. She had to make Jan hear her, know that she understood and wouldn't judge her.

Jan was suddently aware of a voice, far away, speaking directly into her ear. It was a soft voice, full of love and understanding. It tickled her ear. It held a promise of forgiveness. She felt the strength slowly leaving her shoulders, her forearms and finally her hands. She became aware of someone draping themselves over her, holding her close. Her vision began to clear and a weak moan escaped her lips.

Mel positioned herself to the side of Janice and began kissing her cheek and neck. She rubbed the woman's shoulders and pushed Janice's sweaty hair out of her face. All the while, she was crooning soft words of love and comfort.

Mel slowly brought her hands down around those of Jan's and carefully pried them off the bruised and bleeding throat of their assailant.

"Come on now, Janice. It's over. It's all over, now. You've won. You've saved us. Come back to me, Jan. I need you so much. Don't leave me now."

Jan looked over at her friend as if just waking from a dream. She looked down at her hands, tightly interwoven with those of Mel's. She looked at the man beneath her in horror. As if watching the whole episode at a theatre, Jan saw what she had almost done. That she was capable of such violence wasn't a surprise. That she could kill someone in cold blood in front of someone she loved was.

The images of the girl she'd seen being brutalized and raped came rushing back into her consciousness. It hit her like a ten ton load! The was something familiar about that girl. She'd looked like....like ME!!

Jan swayed and grabbed onto Mel as the truth hit her - hard. She couldn't hide from it anymore. It had ruined every relationship she had ever tried to have. She would have to get over it if she wanted a life with Melinda Pappas. And right now that was the most important thing , her only lifeline to a future with any happiness in it.

She stood up shakily, sweat pouring off her in rivers. She absently pulled the remains of her clothing off and let them fall to the ground. Mel placed her two hands on the woman's waist and slowly stood up beside her. She took Jan in a full, warm embrace, hugging her until it hurt.

Soon both women were holding each other and sobbing uncontrollably. Heavy sobs wracked Jan's body, the enormity of their whole situation falling squarely on her broad, but non-the-less very human shoulders. She wept hot angry tears. Tears of humilation and of an innocence lost.

"Melinda, I gotta tell you something. Its not...gonna be easy. I....just need..." Jan sobbed uncontrollably and clutched Mel closer to her.

Mel's heart broke. What could have reduced this strong and vibrant woman to this kind of misery? What ever it was, they'd get through it, they'd weather the storms together.

"Janice, please, you're scarin me. What's wrong? Come on, Jan. You know you can tell me anything. Right? Come on, sugar. It can't be as bad as all that, now, can it?" She tipped Jan's chin up and gave it a little chuck. She smiled reassuringly and gave the woman a little hug.

Jan sat heavily in the dirt. She ran a filthy hand through her hair and scrubbed her face once, and then once again. Where to start?

"When I was fifteen, my Dad and I were working on a dig in China. There were quite a few problems with the diggers understanding any English. Dad, well, he tried to get me to mingle with them, get the Chinese workers to feel more comfortable around us foreigners. I was always a quick study when it came to picking up languages. I thought it was a good idea, too." She paused and then went on.

"Well, I guess some of the workers we brought from the good ole US of A didn't like the idea of a young white girl mixin with the yellow heathens. There was this one guy, I don't even remember his name, he was, well, really persistant in telling me what devils those workers were. He kept at me, tried to turn my mind against what I knew was right. He tried to get some of em thrown off the dig. He was tryin to isolate me, Mel, get me to depend on him for my very thoughts.

I was a real impressionable teenager, okay? My Dad was always busy, always putting a dig before me. I knew he loved me, I could see it every time he looked into my eyes." She wiped her hand across her runny nose and angrily smeared the tears off her face.

"One night the guy told me he had proof that the Chinese workers were committin terrible crimes. They were having human sacrifices and wanted me to be next. Part of me didn't believe a word of it, Mel. Another part wanted to believe that this guy, this man who was my own father's age, wouldn't lie to me. That he was telling the truth.

I went with him behind one of the temples, him all excited about what he'd found." She laughed depreciatingly. "Yeah, what he found was a stupid young girl and he raped her. He raped me! He made me....do things, Mel. He hit me, he put his....in my mouth! He made me wanna die! He took my very soul, Mel! He made me hate myself. Made me doubt myself. My relationship with my Dad...was never quite the same. If this man had lied to me, wouldn't my Dad do the same thing? Could I trust anyone ever again?"

Hot tears ran down both womens' faces and Mel hugged her friend tightly. She felt her heart breaking. Why couldn't she have been there? She went on some digs with her own Daddy. Why hadn't their paths crossed before? It just wasn't fair!!

"I became so hard and unemotional - not trusting anyone, least of all myself. I threw myself into work. Didn't care where I lived, whether I ate well or not. Shit, I..took anyone to bed. I wanted to know if I could feel anything. If someone could really love me. What a laugh! They tried, they honestly did. But I didn't find what I wanted. It was just mindless sex. That's all it was, Mel. Fucking. I felt nothing. I felt....hollow.

Jan angrily wiped at her tears and pushed Mel away from her. She looked deeply in the woman's eyes, as if the answers to her torment could be found there.

"After starting every day off with a blistering hangover, things just seemed to gather steam. My life was just getting out of control, like some mindless beast, taking me deeper and deeper into an alcoholic haze. I didn't mean to snap at you when we first met. I..I could feel something between us even then."

Mel nodded with understanding. She'd felt it, too.

"Being somewhat of a control freak, I found it hard to wrap my mind around the fact that my life was out of control. Literally. I didn't like the feeling. Not at all. Then I met you. You...saved me, Melinda. You...loved me. ME! Someone who couldn't even love herself."

She barked a mean laugh, leaning her elbows on her crossed knees. She hung her head low and sniffed. The sand beneath her was wet with tears.

She looked hesitantly up into Mel's tear-stained face and saw with amazement, the look of total acceptance, of love. How could she be so lucky to have this woman in her life?

Mel's face was wreathed in smiles. She was crying and laughing at the same time. She slowly brought her lips down on those of her friend for a reassuring kiss and gently began massaging Jan's back and shoulders.

"Janice. I'm so sorry that had to happen to you. I wish I could make it all disappear - to never have happened at all. I can't. All I can say is I love you, Jan. I love the you you have become. If it took some animal to make you the strong imposing woman I see before me, then in a way, I'd like to thank him. He gave you strength, Jan. He made you the person you are today. And I happen to love that person. With all of her warts!"

Jan laughed and wiped her face again.

"Gee. I never looked at it like that before. I guess...I have done a lot of things anybody else wouldn't have even tried. I've always felt...driven...in my work, in my life. I never thought much about what I had gained, only what I'd lost. But I can get over this, Mel. I finally admitted the whole thing to myself when I saw that bastard attacking you. I wanted to...to..kill him! To make him pay for hurting me, for hurting you! He became the same guy who raped me. I wanted to fight him and win, Mel, like I couldn't do before."

"I saw the look on your face. I knew what you wanted to do to that...man. I couldn't let you, don't you see? I'd have lost you for sure, Janice. I just know it! You'd never have come back to me whole. I was so scared!" She sniffed and brought her sleeve up to her nose.

"I'm a mess! Just look at me! My blouse is ruined, my skirt is ripped, my nylons! Well, they are just in tatters!" The enormity of what just about happened to them hit her and she broke down and cried. Jan held her close and hugged her tight. Mel's hands went around her friend and rubbed her back. The fact that her friend had no brassiere straps suddenly dawned on Mel and her face went crimson. She suddenly noticed that her hands were sticky with drying blood. A strangled look came over her face and she thought she would pass out.

Jan saw the look on the woman's face. She carefully lowered her to the ground and went looking for her hat. The driver began moaning, trying to regain consciousness. Jan slowly sauntered over to where the man lay and grabbed him by the hair. She then administered a lovely right cross to the man's temple. He was out cold. Good thing as she was losing whatever patience she had with the two of them.

She dragged him over to where the other man lay. She found some rope in their car and proceeded to tie both men securely.

On her way back to the car, she noticed part of the journal sticking out of the sand. She retreived it and began looking for her hat.

She finally located her fedora and quickly made her way back to her friend. She began fanning the woman, brushing her hair from her face. She decided to loosen some of Mel's clothing. The swell of the woman's breasts made her hands tremble. Then she noticed Mel's bloody hands. She searched for the woman's hanky and ran down to the edge of the water.

After she had cleaned the woman up Mel's eyes fluttered open and she smiled weakly up at her heroine. She slowly captured one of Jan's hands and brought it to her lips.

"You do that well, you know? Kiss, I mean. Those lips were just made for kissing." Jan leaned over and proceeded to take advantage of another private demonstration in the art of kissing.

"Can you get up, Mel? Look, there is a lean-to near the lake. It's just a bit further. Come on, now. You can do it. Upsie daisie!" She hauled her friend up and wrapped her arm around Mel's waist. The southerner walked crookedly until she lost her other high heel. Things seemed to go a bit better from then on.

Soon they were greeted by a nice cool breeze. Covington lowered Mel down onto the scrub grass under the lean to and headed towards the water. She dipped her hat into it and brought it back. One look at the water and Mel had her hands grabbing for the hat. She splashed the contents onto her hot and sweaty face and chest, sighing with relief. Jan went back twice more before the colour began to come back into Mel's face.

Jan arched an eyebrow and smirked at her reclining friend. She looks magnificent when she's wet, she thought. A strange feeling of deja vu washed over her.

"Why Janice Covington! You look like a goose just walked over your grave. Whatever are you gawkin at?"

Jan shook off the strange feeling. "Ah, well, see, its like this. You're soaked. Um, your blouse is...well, I can see your...um....breasts."

"And that is cause for smirkin, is it? I wouldn't be smirkin too much, Janice Covington. After all, I am wearing a blouse whereas you, well, you aren't wearing anything above your waist." Mel sat primly, trying to pull her clothes neatly around her.

Jan threw herself down in the grass beside Mel and started to laugh. It started slowly but soon was almost on the verge of hysterics. Mel knew it for the stress release mechanism it was. She was glad. It had been quite a scary sight: seeing Jan strangling the life out of some worthless snake. My, she thought, just thinkin 'bout him makes me wish I'd have laid my hands on him, too! Put his hands on my Janice!? I don't think so!

Jan noticed the haughty look come into Mel's face and drew her head back. What had she done? Did Mel think she was laughing at her?

"Melinda, I'm not laughing at you. I would never do that. Never. I wouldn't hurt you for...anything."

Mel noticed an insecure expression come into Jan's face. Her mind also registered that Jan's nipples were getting....hard. She tried hard not to stare, really she did. She gulped once and found absolutely no saliva was to be found in her mouth. She tried again and succeeded in swallowing a bit of the lump that was forming in the back of her throat.

Jan's forehead scrunched at the sight. Did she have a spider on her, or something? She brought her hand up and brushed absently at her chest. This made Mel's eyes open even wider! Then it dawned on Janice: she was being ogled by Mel. The look she was misinterpretting was desire!

"You like my breasts, Melinda? I like yours, too. Its okay. I don't mind if you want to look at them. Hell, the last person who'd even seen my breasts, let alone touch them, was the guy I told you about. Went by the name of Indiana Jones. Nice guy, terrible lay. I mean, I guess he was an okay lover. Hey, what do I know? No man has ever made me, you know, have an orgasm."

She paused, and then feeling rather bold, took Mel's hand and placed it on one of her breasts.

"Don't you dare faint on me, Mel! I have alot planned for tonight and I will not be doing it alone! So, pack it up already. Right?"

Mel smiled weakly and wiped her forehead with her other hand. She eased herself closer to Jan and silently asked permission to peruse the flesh before her.

"Sure! Go ahead. I'm not goin anywhere. But just remember, I get my turn, too."

Mel's hand stroked every piece of bared flesh before her, noticing how Jan's breathing changed when she applied some pressure to the tips of her nipples.

"I don't know what I'm doing, Janice. I feel...strange. But I feel good, too. I..I think I'm a little bit scared."

"Let's just take it slow. I'm gonna kiss you, Mel. You're driving me...slowly...out..of..my.....mind."

Mel found her mouth smothered by her soon -to -be lover's. Her hands seemed to move all by themselves, bringing a moan from both women. Jan reached up slowly and pulled down Mel's brassiere straps. Her blouse soon followed. Although Mel was loathed to stop her handywork, she quickly saw the benefits in doing so.

"I'm not going to make you...do anything...you're not ready for, Mel. I won't ask for anything you aren't will to give me. Ever. I love you." Mel just slowly nodded and she smiled.

Jan eased the catch off at the back of the brassiere and soon Mel's beautiful breasts were freed from their confinement. Covington had never felt anything so soft, so inviting. She didn't want to scare Mel off, but she had to touch the inviting flesh before her. After bringing her shaking hands up a couple of times, she found them covered by Mel's as she placed them both on her own breasts.

"If your gonna touch them, Jan, touch them. But don't tease me. I don't think I could stand it right now, in the state I'm in." She elicited another moan from Janice as she drew in the woman's lower lip. Mel captured the woman's tongue and slowly sucked it into her mouth.

Jan slowly lowered Mel down onto the grass and began thrusting her tongue in and out of the woman's wanton mouth. She then trailed soft kisses from her mouth down to the swell of her breasts. She paused once, and seeing Mel's head thrown back in passion's embrace, pressed her lips to one nipple, glorifying in its shape and texture.

"I don't know what your're doing, Jan but I am lovin every minute of it! Oh, my! It feels so good."

Jan slowly pulled at the woman's nipple, drawing it deeply into her hot mouth and then releasing it, only to begin again. Mel felt a pulling at her very core, causing her hips to slowly rock.

She wove her fingers through the blond tresses and arched into Jan's hot mouth.

"Oh God!" she said, as she felt a hot tongue caressing her nipple. Her pleasure increased as she felt fingers starting to pull at her other nipple. They massaged and kneaded her willing flesh as Jan made love to her breasts.

Jan was laying fully on top of her lover and was subconsciously thrusting her hips into Mel's pelvis. One leg naturally came between Mel's and the contact felt wonderful.

Mel saw lights in front of her eyes. She grabbed Jan's buttocks and pulled the woman's knee hard against her pubic bone.

She emersed herself in the emotions that washed over her. The two moved in tandem, both panting with exertion.

"Oh God, oh God, ooooh God!" Mel moaned as she felt the earth fall out from beneath her. Wave after wave of ecstasy washed over her as she clutched Janice's face to her. She kissed her long and hard, trying to show Janice just how much she loved her, how happy she had just made her.

"I never knew...it could...be so....intense!" She punctuated each other word with a deep kiss.

Jan looked lovingly into Mel's face. "I love you so much. I hope you are as happy as I am, Mel, because right now, I am fuckin ecstatic!"

She rolled over onto her back, bringing a very surprised southerner with her. Mel placed one hand on her lover's breast, enjoying the effect it was having on the woman.

"Can I...I mean, do you mind...if I......?" Mel trailed off, looking rather embarrassed.

Jan held one of her breasts up, offering it to Mel. "Touch me, Mel. Put your mouth on me. I need to feel you."

Without further ado, Melinda Pappas, prim and proper upper class southerner, swooped down and lavished her full attention on the breasts before her.

Jan arched her back in response, moaning and grabbing handfuls of the grass beneath them. Her breath came in raggedly. She needed to feel Mel moving within her and she needed it NOW! She dragged one of her lover's hands down under the waistband of her pants and into her underwear.

Mel gasped as her hand was enveloped in a hot, wet furnace. She stopped sucking on Jan's nipples and looked into her lover's eyes. Mel's eyes were wide with wonder. It all felt so right, so perfectly right. Even in her most vivid fantasies she had never dared to hope that their first time would feel so wonderful.

Jan began pressing Mel's hand against her clitoris. Her legs fell open and she held her breath. She let it out as a low moan as she felt a finger push its way threw the outer folds of her sex.

Mel unzipped her lover's pants and tried to pull the pants down to the woman's knees. She was in a quandary: she was NOT going to remove her one hand from Jan but she needed both hands to get the woman's pants down.

Just when her frustration level had risen alarmingly, Jan swore and yanked her own pants down. She lay back, propping herself up with her elbows. She began thrusting her pelvis forward, silently urging Mel on with her exploration.

Mel couldn't find the words to describe what she was feeling. Never had she felt such softness, such liquid fire. Soon her finger was slick and she watched with wonder as it eased in and out of Janice's vagina.

She slowly inserted another finger and Janice's hips rose off the ground. Jan grunted and threw her head back as Mel increased her thrusts.

"Oh yeah, oh yeah. Oooh, faster....harder....yeah, like that...." Jan moaned.

Mel didn't know why but she suddenly had an urge to taste Jan. To put her mouth...down there.

Jan's eyes flew open as she felt the hot mouth envelop her clitoris. She looked down and their eyes locked. They both felt an overwhelming sense of coming home. A strong sense of deja vu washed over them both and they embraced the feelings totally.

Jan felt as if she were flying. She had never felt so good, so happy than right now. She had to re-evaluate that feeling as the muscles in her abdomin began to shudder and the walls of her vagina started to contract.

She threw her head back and bellowed out her release. Mel, not knowing when to stop, kept pumping, kept sucking and licking for all she was worth.

Another wave of ecstacy washed over Jan, making her see stars. Her throat was dry and hoarse from her first orgasm but she still managed a scream as she came again.

As she collapsed onto the grass, she made a feeble attempt at making her lover stop. Mel was enjoying her new found skills too much for that. She withdrew her fingers and plunged her tongue deep into Jan. She pushed her lover's knees up and positioned her hands over the woman's breasts, kneading them, pulling at the nipples.

Jan was breathless. She needed...oxygen! She wanted Melinda to stop....don't ...stop! Don't stop!! her mind screamed at her as yet another wave of orgasm began building.

Just as she was reaching its pinnacle and falling down the other side, Jan's world fell away and her eyes rolled up into her head.

As Jan fainted, Mel looked up in surprise. She sat up and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. My, she thought. Did I do that? And I was the one who was gonna swoon!

She caressed Jan's cheek and made herself comfortable beside her in the shade. She brought her clothing to the water and rinsed it as best she could, then hung them on branches to dry.

She noticed the journal and began reading it from cover to cover. There were entries she'd missed, sentences that started to make more sense, the second time around. A smile began playing at the corners of her lips and soon she was grinning with new insight as to who was behind it all.



Chapter Eight


It was early evening when Jan rolled over and opened her eyes. She looked up and tried to focus on the olive tree above her. Her vision cleared as Mel's beautiful face leaned over her and smiled.

"Well, sleepy head. You done takin your nap? Musta worn you out, huh?"

"What? No, no. I guess I was a little tired, that's all." Jan started feeling quite defensive as the truth of what had really happened struck her like a two-by-four. It all came rushing back to her. They had made love! Glorious love! She had brought the woman she loved to absolute ecstasy . She swallowed deeply. Mel had brought her to orgasm...three times? THREE FUCKIN TIMES!!!

"Melinda! You...you made me pass out? From making love to me?! You...you're wonderful!!" She sat up and hugged the woman to her. Mel's eyes went wide with shock.

"Yes, I guess I did. I may have more skills than I thought I did." She paused and tipped Jan's chin up.

"Why are you laughin and cryin at the same time? Did I hurt you in some way? Was I too forcefull in my lovin? Did I...." Her words were cut off as Jan kissed her hard.

"No, no! You did everything right! Don't you see? I'm not an unfeeling bitch! I CAN feel! I've never had an orgasm so powerful and you made me have THREE?! My God, woman! I'm so happy I could just bust!"

"Oookaay. Then I guess I did something good, huh? Why Jan, I knew ya weren't an ice princess. I knew there was just so much passion locked away in ya. Any fool could see that if "he'd" have looked. I think you were right about this Illinois man. He was a lousy lover, not even givin ya what ya needed. Hmmm. I guess that means I'm better than him, huh? Can't say I've ever been better than a man at anything. Gee, I kinda like this new feeling. Makes me feel strong and....kinda invincible."

"Hey, don't let it go straight to your head. I mean, I still get a rematch, right?" She began unbuttoning some of Mel's blouse again, giving the woman a knowing smirk. "And his name was Indiana." She leaned over for a kiss but Mel's hand stopped her.

"Now Jan. Please. Can't you control your passion for just a little minute or two? Now, stop! Please. While you were....sleepin, I took the opportunity to look over the journal again. I think I know who is behind this attack. At least, I think so."

"Geez! Hey, wait here while I go check on those two guys, will ya? Be right back!" Before Mel could say a word, her companion was off and running. She smiled knowingly. Janice was in for a surpise. Yessiree!

Jan hurried over to where she had tied the men up. They were gone! She spun in circles, trying to locate some evidence of their escape. She found some torn grass and disturbed sand and dirt and followed it over to their car.

There they were, safely ensconced in the back seat, sitting cheek to jowl. How had...Only one answer came to Jan's mind. She tried hard to fathom how one little girl from South Carolina could have dragged around not one but two guys, weighing at least 160 lbs each. Try as she might, she just couldn't do it.

She checked their restraints and after a satisfying yank, peered under the eye lids of both men. Yup, they were still out cold. She then checked the car for any other information and found another revolver and some papers, all wrapped up in some cloth under the dash.

She sat at the wheel and tried to get a handle on where the owners would have hidden anything else.

Jan checked every nook and cranny and came up with a British passport for one Alan Carmichael. Well, now that part of the puzzle made some sense. An evelope full of US money was also hidden under the front bench seat. She poked it into her back pocket.

"Lets see. Hmmm. Where would I hide a set of keys?"

She jumped as Mel peered at her from the passenger side.

"Ya all right, sugar? I started to worry after ya didn't come right back. You like my surprise?" A coy smile was Jan's response.

"Just how did you manhandle these two palookas into this car by yerself, Mel? I mean, you're in good shape but, gee, didn't know my girlfriend was an Amazon!"

Mel blushed deeply, not minding the comparison at all, since it was coming from such gorgeous mouth.

"Amazon, huh? Well, I told ya I was on the triathelon team, didn't I? Well, I WAS supposed to be in the Olympics. Woulda been, too, if it weren't for that nasty Hitler fella. He ruined everything. Mind you, I still like to keep in shape. Keep up my skills, ya know?"

"Oh yeah. And what skills they are! Come here, you!"

She beckoned her into the Desoto and greeted her with a very passionate kiss. Mel reached into the back seat and brought out an old shirt.

"Um, Janice? I don't mind you runnin around without a shirt on but, well, those men are gonna be comin around soon and I really don't like the idea of them gawking at you. I wanted to rip that man's eyes out when he was pawin ya like that! Why the unmitigated nerve of the man! Has he no shame? No manners whatsoever? Why, I never!"

Jan reached over and they began smooching. "Now, Melinda, you can't very well say that anymore, can you? I mean, yes you have and believe me, we will again." She snickered and kissed Mel again. "I've always wanted to 'do it' in a car! Mind you, the back seat would be more comfortable, doncha think?"

Mel plopped herself closer on the front seat and giggled, somewhat reminiscent of her days at high school. Actually, she felt like she was going on her first date. That part of her life had been woefully neglected and she was determined to make up for lost time. All sorts of risque images played around in her mind, augmenting her fertile imagination. Her pulse quickened just trying to sort through which one to try first.

Jan gave her companion a quizzical look and ran her fingers down Mel's cheek to her full lips. "Whatcha thinkin 'bout? You regret anything...we did?"

"Why Janice Covington! The only thing I regret is not doin it sooner. Plus the fact that we've got some unwanted chaperones with us. My goodness, woman. I have all sorts of plans for us. For the very near future, in fact."

"You kinda had this weird look on yer face, so I sort a..." She was silenced with a kiss.

pulled out her father's journal and read a few passages.

"Now look here, Jan." She ran through a couple of entries, wetting her finger each time she turned a page.

"Well, this here entry talks about some sort of run in with someone at the Museum here in Greece. Someone with the initials "J.C.". Do ya have...."

She was interrupted with a gasp from Jan. Her hands gripped the steering wheel and her knuckles turned white.

She grabbed the shirt Mel had given her and hastily put it on.

"Come on, sweetie. We've got an appointment. And we're just about too late as it is."

She rummaged around under the dash, behind the stuff in the glove compartment and then finally, she checked under the visor. Yup, the keys were there.

The car started right off the bat and the two women sped back to the city of Argos as Jan explained her suspicions to her partner.


Jan dragged 'Alan' along the side of the building, using his own revolver as an incentive to be a good boy. She had bound and gagged both men even tighter before they could wake up. She pushed the driver into the trunk of the Desoto and locked the car up.

She had no delusions as to what this 'Alan' would do to them, should he break free. They quietly made their way to the museum, pausing just outside the curator's door. It sounded like the good Professor Ingersol was 'entertaining'. Both women smirked at the muffled sounds.

Alan Carmichael cursed the day he'd ever gotten into business with his sister. He'd wanted to get out long before this. He figured all he had to do was knock off two old fellows, steal a journal and he'd be rolling in the money they'd get from selling some scrolls. It amazed him just what fools would pay good money for. Dumb scrolls!

And these two damned women! He couldn't get over it. Overpowered by two undermuscled females! And perverts at that! It had made his stomach turn when he first came upon them...kissing. One was fondling the other. That should have been me doing that, he thought. That short bitch had no right to put her hands anywhere near Miss Pappas. After all, he had spent the whole long trip cultivating her, pumping her for information and priming her for some fun afterwards. It just wasn't fair!

Jan twisted the man's arm when he stopped and glared at her. She poked him hard with the barrel. His cold dead eyes made her wish she'd gotten rid of him for good and buried the body down by the river. Mel wouldn't have understood that, though. She was much too tenderhearted for that. Jan knew they both had differing viewpoints on letting the punishment fit the crime.

Covington kicked open the door and dragged her captive in behind her. Mel brought up the rear. She wouldn't touch the other gun so Jan had it tucked into the back of her pants.

All three sets of eyes took in the scene before them. The two women were naked. Trudie Ingersoll was lying on her back while Judith pumped into her with something she had strapped to her waist. Their tongues were intertwined and both sets of hands were very busy. They both looked up in surprise, Trudie letting out a yelp when she recognized who it was.

"Why, Janice. Ah, what....um...what are you doing here at this time of night?" She tried to blazen her way out of her current predicament, trying to salvage whatever dignity she had left. It was a losing cause, given the fact that Judith had continued her thrusting, never breaking rhythm for a moment.

Janice threw Alan down onto a nearby chair and positioned Mel behind him. She brought the revolver up and scratched the end of her chin with the barrel.

"Ya know, Trudie? I've been meaning to talk to you about that. I think I've been putting way too much overtime in at work. Don't you? Mind you, my time has been spent productively and for the museum, while your overtime has been spent....um, working over a hot secretary, shall we say?"

She motioned with the revolver and an audible squishing noise was heard as Judith withdrew from her lover. She glared over at Jan and then pierced her brother's eyes with a deadly look.

"I see you can't do anything right, Alan." She removed the strap-on. "A simple 'accident' was supposed to happen to these two. You managed to fuck that up nicely, didn't you. Let two flimsy women get the better of you? Well, you know what they say: never send a man in to do a job when a woman can do it better."

Alan's face went beet red and he struggled with his restraints. Mel pushed down on his shoulders and gripped them hard. The man winced with pain and stopped struggling.

"You are gonna tell me what the hell's going on right now, lady. I use the term lightly in your case, by the way. We have the journal so don't bother trying to lie about killing my father and Dr. Pappas. We know you were stealing artifacts from their sites. Who was the fence? You'd better answer me or you're gonna find I am nobody to fuck with." Jan's face contorted into an evil sneer. It gave Mel goose bumps just watching her lover in action.

Jan picked up the phone and rang up the local police station. Having spent quite a few nights in jail sleeping off a bender, she was well acquainted with the Captain.

She kept the revolver pointed at Judith Carmichael and threw the women their clothes.

As she hung up the phone, she causually mentioned they'd be entertaining some more guests any time now.

Judith's eyes never left those of her brother's. She was starting to look quite unbalanced.

Professor Ingersol watched the whole horrid mess unfold before her with absolute shock. She'd been used! She had trusted this woman, had shared intimacies and words of love. Was it all a lie?!

After she got dressed she turned to her secretary with a hard look in her eye.

"You made that bet with me over Janice just to get her out of the way. Didn't you? Answer me!"

Trudie slapped the woman, hard.

"How could you? Why? I thought you...loved me. Did you want this job as my secretary just so you could steal from me? Did you fuck me Judith, when I thought we were making love? Did you lie about that, too?!"

Judith hung her head with shame. Her brother looked on with disgust.

"I'm sorry, Trudie. I meant every word of the things I said to you. I do love you. I'm sorry I used you. I suspect I love wealth and power more. We were supposed to have this little job all wrapped up by the end of the month. I tried not to hurt you. No one would have been the wiser and I would have been a very rich woman. I would have sent for you. We would have been together."

Trudie slapped the woman again and ran into the bathroom crying.

Mel felt very badly for the Curator. After all, she had given her heart to someone and had it stomped on by an uncaring and devious woman. Betrayal was something Melinda Pappas could just not abide.

She gave Jan a look and followed Trudie into the bathroom.

Covington motioned for the secretary to grab a seat. She wasn't going anywhere until the police arrived.

Alan had finally pushed the gag from his mouth and was screaming abuse at his sister. The louder and more descriptive his assault became, the quieter Judith got.

"I am no pervert, Alan! I can't help the way I feel anymore than you can help being a total asshole! Now do shut up!"

Alan lurched to his feet and launched himself at the woman. Jan was so surprised at their outbursts that she was taken totally off guard.

She ducked her gun as Alan tried to wriggle out of the ropes around his wrists. The two combatants clawed and snapped at each other, neither one managing to get a firm hold on the neck of the other.

Just as Alan managed to free one hand, Judith snaked her hand down to her garter belt and withdrew a stiletto. She plunged it deep in the man's side several times.

As he lay limp on top of her, she pushed her way up and took a few menacing steps towards Jan.

"You don't want to do that, Judith. Trust me. You don't want to get me mad. Just take a look at the neck on your brother. I did that and I wasn't even carrying at the time. So don't...fuck..with..me!"

Judith Carmichael decided she had nothing to lose. She knew what the Greek government did to people who stole their priceless artifacts. And she'd done such a good job of it, too. She had amassed quite a fortune. Too bad she'd had to secret it under the upholstery of her car. She loved her Desoto and had had it shipped from her home in Chicago as soon as she had put enough money away. Now all that meant nothing if she couldn't get past the little bitch before her. Being almost six feet in height and weighing in at 160, she was sure she could take her easily, gun or no gun. She was determined to try.

Just as Judith was getting that look to her eye and Jan was bringing up the barrel of her gun, both were startled as a figure streaked by them.

Mel had caught only the last part of Jan's comment and had watched in horror as such rage had played across the face of Judith. She was in motion before she was even aware of her own intent.

Judith was knocked backwards and both she and Mel fought for any sort of leverage. Mel had removed her jacket while in the bathroom with Trudie and had rolled her sleeves up because of the heat.

Her nice silk blouse was now ripped at the seams and her skirt was slit up the side as Judith tried in vain to use her stiletto any way she could.

Jan felt so helpless. She couldn't get off a clear shot without hitting Mel. She wiped her forehead and threw her fedora down in disgust as sweat ran into her eyes. Just one little opening. Just one!

As she watched in horror, Judith flipped the southerner over and pressed her lower body between Mel's legs. Both women had their hands wrapped around the knife and were grunting with the effort.

Jan watched with fascination as Mel's biceps bulged and split what was left of her silk shirt. Mel's eyes had gone a frosty cerulean blue. The woman pulsed with strength and power.

My God, thought Janice. The woman was a veritable Goddess!

Judith laughed as she inched the blade ever closer to Mel's right eye. The veins stood out in her neck and her face was beginning to purple with the strain.

Just as Judith was leaning over her blade, Mel let one arm go and held both of the woman's wrists above her face. She smiled and Judith felt in her very bones that this was one very deceptively dangerous person. She gulped and tried harder to free one of her hands.

With the strength she didn't know she possessed, Mel pushed the woman forward into a kneeling position and sat up. Never once did her eyes leave those of Judith's.

Janice's mouth was as open as it could ever be. The revolver dangled in her hand by her side, all but forgotten. Melinda was...magnificent!

"Now, see here, Judith. You are not gonna win. Don't show me any more disrespect and I might not thrash the livin daylights out of ya."

All the strength in Judith's body simply up and left her at that moment. Seeing her supposed prey so calm and icy was very unnerving. Making this woman NOT MAD was paramount in her mind at that very moment.

Mel quietly and expertly disarmed the woman and dragged them both to their feet. She picked the stiletto up by the blade and threw it at the door just as two uniformed policemen came through the entrance.

A strangled cry emitted from Judith's throat and she fell to her knees and sobbed. Jan went over to the Captain and explained to him what had been going on. Apparently, he was running a case on stolen antiquities and was sure they had the ring leaders in that very room.

Mel waited until Jan was through with her briefing. She caught the woman's eye and motioned to the bathroom. Trudie stood by the door, a broken woman. Both women could see that the Curator was still deeply in love with Judith Carmichael. Tears streamed down the woman's face and she slowly made her way over to where Judith crouched. Trudie lifted the woman's face and they fell into each others arms. For them, nothing would ever be the same again. Perhaps they would make their way back to each other. Trudie was willing to try.

Jan looked at Mel and they both prepared themselves for a lengthy stay at police headquarters, filling out their statements.


It had been along day and was looking like an even longer night awaited them. Jan fetched Mel's jacket and they both watched as the two women were taken away. Neither spared Alan Carmichael's body a second glance.

"Oh, geez! Hey Charalambous! I've got another one for ya. He's tied up in the back of my car. Hey, catch! Just remember to give the keys back, okay?"

She turned and went back to join Mel at the museum's entrance. Mel's eyes had lost their strange intense blue colour. She looked tired and Jan decided on the spot to some how fanegle their way out of their 'debriefing' at police headquarters.

She reached up and gave her lover a quick kiss. "Be right back, love."

Some rather colourful Greek phrases were bandied about, turning the surrounding air quite blue. None of the other policemen had ever heard such language coming from their Captain. It seemed the woman could bring out the 'best' in anyone.

Just as Jan was sure she was gonna get her lights punched out, Mel joined them at the car.

"Um, Captain, sir? I'm just a little ole gal from South Carolina and I've been without sleep for over 48 hours now. My goodness, I haven't even got a hotel room! I've been in such a hurry to help Dr. Covington here with her plan to catch these nasty artifact thieves, that, well, I just don't know......" Her complexion went very pale and her eyes began rolling up into her head. Jan quickly lowered her to the grass and wrapped the woman's jacket around her.

"Ah, geez! Look you asshole! This poor woman has fainted at least four times now! She's been almost run over by a car, attacked by two lunatics who threatened her with rape and torture and now this!?! You know she has connections with the US Consulate? One phone call from her and boy, are you guys will be out on a limb!"

Mel peeked through her long eyelashes as she watched Jan blazen her way through things. My, that woman can sure tell a fib, she thought. I'll have to watch out for that. But we do make a good couple.

Finally the Captain gave in and Jan helped poor Miss Pappas into the car. Just as Jan was getting behind the wheel, Charalambous reached over and shoved a piece of paper into her hand. She nodded curtly and they drove off.

They were a few minutes down the road when Jan opened the note. Inside was the address of a good hotel in the better part of the city. As she poked the paper into her back pocket, Jan felt the wad of money and grinned.

Jan whooped and hollared, scaring a few donkeys that were grazing at the side of the road.

"What is it, Janice? Did they find the other man who was in cahoots with them?"

"No, no. Actually, you remember something about a bed? A big, beautiful, clean bed in particular? Well, sweetie, you got it. That performance shoulda got you nominated for an Academy Award! You were fuckin fantastic, woman!!" She reached over and kissed Mel passionately, almost driving into the ditch.

"Oh, Janice! You are a hopeless romantic. You've gotta let me get a bite to eat first. And a nice long bath. I feel like a camel ran over me!"

"Nah. Camels leave bumps and broken bones. Here, see this scar on my right shoulder? Hey, can I help it if some guy pushed me in front of a herd of the beasties? Now that is story worth telling, believe you me!"

Meljust looked at Jan, not knowing whether to believe her or not. She was beginning to understand that anyone who underestimated this vibtrant woman, did so at their own peril.

"Mind you, sweetheart, that's nothing compared to being thrown out of a plane without a parachute. Or trying to stay alive in a row boat in the middle of a hurricane! Well, I could tell ya some stories that would curl yer hair. I remember this one time...."

Chapter Nine


It was way past midnight when they got to the other side of Argos - the resort side. The night was clear and the moon was full. After taking the night clerk aside and flashing some money, Jan went over to where Mel was sitting and helped her slowly ascend the stairs to their room. Jan opened the door and groaned.

There were two double beds in the room. A nice bath in the corner, but two beds. She turned around to go back down for a different room when Mel stopped her.

"Never mind, darlin. I don't care. We'll only be using the one bed anyway. And that nice big bath really makes up for it, don't ya think? Come on. You draw the bath while I see about gettin us somethin from the kitchen."

She turned on her bare feet and strode purposefully out of the room. Jan sighed and plunked herself down on the bed closest to the bath. This wasn't supposed to happen! Can't they get one break? She got up wearily and turned on both taps. Steam rose from the bath and it was all she could do not to just lie back and go to sleep.

Well, maybe she could just lie back for a moment. She looked across at the other bed, wishing it would somehow attach itself to the one she was on.

Jan sat up quickly. "That's it! Fer crying out loud, Covington! Get with it before she gets back!"

Mel made it to the top stair and made her way to the door of their room. She bumped it with her elbow.

"Janice? It's me, honey. Come on now, open the door, will ya? This tray is gettin heavy."

The door was slowly opened and Mel was greeted with the site of a lovely full hot bath and the most enormous bed she had ever seen. She put the tray down at the table and turned to ask how Jan had done it. Her mouth fell open as Jan closed the door and came towards her.

She was naked. Just as naked as the day she was born! A blush rose in Mel's face and she covered her mouth with both hands.

"Oh my. Oh my goodness!"

"Goodness had nothing to do with it." Jan drawled in her great imitation of Mae West. "Why doncha come up and see me some time? Rraar!"

She did a bump and grind as she made her way towards Mel and for once, the southerner was left speechless. What could she say?

Jan drew her face down for a deep kiss, pressing her body against Mel's and thrusting her pelvis forward.

Mel moaned and wrapped her arms around her vivacious friend. As the kisses deepend, both women were aware that if they didn't stop now, they weren't going to eat or wash off the days' grime.

They broke apart reluctantly and went hand in hand towards the huge bed. Jan proceeded to help her lover off with her clothes, which in turn was cause for more kissing and fondling. Soon, Mel was naked. She stood rather self-consciously before Jan, trying not to blush and failing miserably.

"My God! Your a...goddam Goddess, Mel! Look at you! No wonder you were picked to be in the Olympics. Look at those biceps! Geez, remind me not to get you mad! Wow!! Betcher really good at arm wrestling, huh?"

She grabbed Mel by the elbow and turned the woman a couple of times, checking every inch of bared flesh.

"And not one nick on you. How'd you take that knife away from Carmichael? And you threw it with such prescision, too." She shook her head in wonder.

Meljust responded with a little shy smile. The phrase 'I have many skills' planted itself in her mind.

She let Jan lead her to the bath and they both sank into its warm embrace. Jan hopped up and retrieved the tray of food and set in on the floor beside the old fashioned clawed bathtub.

"Hey, now we can get both out of the way, right?"

"My word, Jan. You are...incorridgeable!"

"Hey, don't forget insatiable, too." She waggled her eyebrows and leered at Mel.

"Uh huh. And that's why you passed out this afternoon?" Mel chuckled but gasped as two fingers pressed into her sides.

"Arrgh! Stop it, Janice! Please! I'm...I'm ticklish! Oh please, Jan. I'm sorry, I'm sorry!"

"Hey, when you're right, you're right! But, and I do mean but, it aint over til the fat lady sings. And I have it on good authority that she aint singing any time soon. I got a rematch comin to me and then, look out!" And with that, Mel's mouth was forced open as food was shoveled in.

"I think you're gonna need all of the strength you can muster, woman. I intend on having my way with you - repeatedly. So you'd better eat up."

Neither woman knew just how fast a whole plate could disappear so quickly, but neither complained. They each took turns washing the others' body and hair. When they were finally done, they both rose together and padded over to the fresh towels. Jan bent to her task of drying every inch, every nook and cranny, of Mel's skin. This prompted more kissing and caressing. By the time it was Jan's turn, both women were in such a fevered state that the bed linen should have caught fire.

Mel placed her fingers on Jan's hips and gently pushed her down in the middle of the very large, soft bed. Then she turned and shut off the lights. She found two safety candles and lit them, placing them on the night stand. The room was bathed in soft light and shadows.

As Mel walked towards the bed, Jan watched the play of muscles beneath the olive skin. She propped herself up on her elbows and watched as a predatory look came over her lover's usually demure contenance. A shiver ran up her spine and she held her breath in anticipation.

Mel voiced a low growl from the back of her throat and crept upon the bed on her hands and knees. She swept her hair back onto her shoulders and a mischievious smile turned up the corners of her mouth.

"I am goin to make you mine, Janice Covington. You will belong to me, body and soul. And I am going to make you scream my name so many times, you will have lost count."

Mel said this so seriously, so calmly that for a second, Jan felt a tinge of fear. She had seen something like this look when Mel had locked eyes with Judith Carmichael. It was scarey. Jan swallowed a few times and cleared her throat.

"Um, Melinda? Ah.....Mel?"

Her ankles were grabbed and she was pulled down towards a very randy-looking southerner. The smile on Mel's face changed and she purred, "Gotcha, caughtcha, now I'm gonna eatcha!"

Jan reached down and pulled the woman to her. Their lips met and as the kiss deepend, both women moaned as Mel lay fully on top of her lover.

"Why do I have the sudden urge to flop around like a fish?" Jan made a funny fish face and her lips were once again smothered by those of Mel's.

Mel had never felt so...in charge. She felt strong and capable of carrying the whole sorry world on her shoulders without even breaking a sweat. Janice just seemed to bring out some previously hidden machismo in her. She mentally chuckled at the thought.

She had never considered herself to be anything but a shy and demure woman of fine breeding. Many had held all these atributes against her, for one reason or another. Mel had never felt at ease within the confines of what others had wanted her to be.

Her mother would forever see her the eternal debutant; a genteel southerner who came from the best South Carolinan stock. It was a hard image to live up to.

Her father, God rest his soul, had seen more in his daughter and had encouraged her to be both physically as well as academically sound. He had always told her that physical prowess was in her genes. She had often queried this but the man had been rather recalcitrant- always telling her that the truth might stunt her growth.

Now she pondered his true meaning. Perhaps the strength and power she was feeling now would have made her egotistical and too proud had she felt it before. She could feel the energy and control flowing through her veins even now, as she looked down at her bard.

Now where the samhill had that come from? And what was a bard?

"Jan," her lips being captured again,"what's", Jan's tongue coming in to play, "a bard?"

Jan removed her tongue from Mel's sea shell-like ear. "HUH? What's a...what? And why are you asking me this NOW! Could we talk about this later?"

"Oh, Jan. I'm sorry. Forget I asked ya." A funny look passed over Mel's eyes and then she lowered her mouth to one of Jan's luscious nipples.

Jan ran her fingers through her lover's ebony hair and lost herself in the moment. She was surprised that Mel was taking the initiative in their love making. She, herself, had always thought she'd be the go-getter, the one in charge. Funny how she had no problem giving up control over her body to this magnificent woman. It just felt right. She supposed it was because she trusted Mel. Completely. Without any reservations.

Mel began lavishing the same attention on the other nipple and was surprised when Jan flipped them over and gazed down into her eyes.

"I think there was some talk earlier of a rematch?" She chuckled quietly and gave Mel an evil looking grin.

She forced both her hips between Mel's legs and, pressing both their bellies together, seductively tongued the woman's two hardening nipples.

Mel wrapped her legs around Jan's hips and placed her hands on the woman's firm buttocks. She raised her head and looked down at Jan. The sight made her groin clench and she felt her inner thighs slicken.

Jan pressed her lower abdomen firmly against Mel's pelvis and began rhythmically moving her hips. She threw her head back, getting her hair out of her face, and captured Mel's lower lip, pulling it into her mouth. She then dragged her own lower lip slowly and seductively up the side of Mel's face and placed kisses on both of the woman's eyelids.

"I love you, Melinda Pappas. And you have already made me yours, heart, body and soul. Will you entrust me with the same?"

"Oh Lord, Janice. I love you so much! You had all that and more the first time I saw ya. I just didn't know it. I think I was too busy faintin." Mel shot her a lazy grin and batted her eyes at her lover.

Jan increased her thrusts and was pleased when Mel's eyes closed once again and her lover was lost in the throws of passion.

Covington reached down and slowly inserted a finger into the opening of Mel's vagina. A deep moan greeted her actions.

"Have you ever...been...penetrated before, Mel? I don't want to hurt you."

Mel opened her eyes and said rather sheepishly, "Uh, well, my hymen was broken during the Olympic trials. I, uh, tripped going over a hurdle. It was kinda painful for a few days, but that's all. So, no I haven't been but I think it'll be alright. Pain-wise, I mean. And Janice? I really wantcha to, so please, penetrate me. I need to feel you...there."

"Why do you always say 'down there'? I mean, didn't your Mom have any pet name for your vagina? She didn't just refer to it as genitals, did she?"

"Why yes she did. Genitalia, to be exact. Um, Janice? Can we talk about this later? I'd really like ya to...."

"Oh yeah. Sorry. Genitalia? No pet names, huh? Okay, where was I?"

Melinda grabbed Janice's finger and pressed it deeply within her.

"Ohh, right about there, I think." Mel moaned and felt a slight burning sensation.

Mel began rocking her hips against both Jan's taut stomach and her probing finger.

"Oh, my. Oh, Lord. Ohhh, Janice! Couldja, couldja, maybe put in another...finger?"

Jan granted the request and moved her thumb over Mel's clitoris, making small circles.

Both women increased their thrusts and, at times, Jan totally withdrew her fingers before plunging them deeply inside. She increased the pressure on Mel's clit and felt the woman's hands dig into her shoulders.

Looking at Mel's face lost in passion, Jan quickly brought their mouths together again and probed the woman's mouth with her tongue. She thrust the questing muscle in and out and began pinching one of Mel's nipples.

Too many sensations assaulted Mel and she felt overwhelmed by them all. Her hips banged against Jan's hand and her buttocks clenched spasmodically.

Jan felt the woman's stomach muscles ripple and then her fingers were held in a strong grip as wave after wave of orgasm fell on the southerner.

Mel uttered a strangled cry, her breath caught in her throat. Her body went rigid as her arms pushed Jan away and her legs pulled the woman in.

Jan felt like a rag doll, seeing and feeling Mel's superior strength in all of its glory.

The tendons stood out in relief on the southerners neck, her jaw clenched tightly. As the spasms began to lessen, she lowered her buttocks back down onto the bed.

Jan scooted down so that her shoulders were between Mel's legs. She draped the woman's legs over her shoulders and began to feast on Mel's nether regions.

She wanted to know all of Melinda - inside and out. She she found the scent of her lover definitely to her liking. It was both pungent and sweet. A faint scent of lilacs was noted as Jan licked at the woman's slick inner thighs.

Mel groaned with the contact, her breath still rapid as she felt the last of her orgasm leave her. The hard tip of her clitoris became ultra sensitive as Jan rubbed it with the flat of her tongue.

Jan slowly licked the full length of her outer lips and then quickly darted her tongue into her opening. She placed her hand under the woman's buttocks and tipped her pelvis up.

As she bent to her task, Jan felt her own core throb and pulse as if filled with molten lava. Moisture slowly dripped down between her legs and she tried to find something hard to rock against. She snaked one of her hands down and rubbed her clitoris.

Suddenly, she felt herself being drawn up and lifted as Mel reversed her so that she could have access to Jan's vagina. Both women set about ravishing the flesh before them.

Jan took handfuls of the woman's lovely firm globes. She gasped in surprise and delight as Mel ran her tongue over her anus. Noting the response, Mel began a rhythmic licking, from clitoris back to anus.

The woman's buttocks bobbed up and down and Jan was finding it difficult to concentrate on her task. She thrust two fingers back into Mel's sopping vagina and focused her attention on the woman's clit.

Mel couldn't believe it as another, stronger orgasm began to build within her. She threw her head back and groaned out Janice's name. She wrapped her arms around Jan's middle and held on as wave after wave of impending orgasm gathered speed.

And still Jan would not stop. She removed her fingers and lay them against the woman's anus. The puckered flesh throbbed in response and Jan slowly pushed one finger just past the ring of muscle.

"Ah, ah, ah, oh God! Janice, Jaaaaniiiiccceeee!" Mel's body thrust forward, bringing both of them right off the bed. Her knees locked as her back arched up. Her second orgasm increased in intensity and totally overwhelmed the woman.

And then, suddenly, it was over; Mel collapsed back down on the bed, her eyes rolling back into her head, arms laying useless by her side.

Jan moved to face her lover and saw that she had indeed fainted. After what Mel had been through that day, it came as no surprise. Jan gathered the woman into her arms and pulled a sheet over them both.

Covington propped herself up with a cushion and nestled Mel's head into the crook of her arm. A thought came to mind. What was a bard? Is that what Mel had asked? She frowned as a memory tried to surface. Something her father had told her. About the Xena Scrolls. Something about a companion.

She reached over to the night stand and brought over the journal, careful not to awaken her lover.

The candles had burned low and a soft glow bathed Jan's profile as she started to read the journal. Her lips moved every so often and she snorted every now and again as she read.

Mel mumbled incoherantly and then lay still. Jan caressed the woman's cheek, wondering how someone so special could find her as equally engaging.

One of the entries went into some detail and Jan ran her finger down the page. There, right there. In the very strong penmanship Melvin Pappas had written Xena: Warrior Princess and Gabrielle: Bard from Potedeia. Bard. She skimmed down to the end of the page and then saw the descriptions of both women, in detail.

Her eyes widened as she read of the most beautiful blue eyes and hair of the darkest ebony. The physical attributes were listed and they might as well have put a picture of Mel beside the discription.

The bard, this Gabrielle, was described as being of small stature, with blue-green eyes reminiscent of the sea. She had hair the colour of Minoan honey. Although the warrior was described as being very skilled in the ways of battle, the bard was assessed as being a great orator and one who was very practiced in the ways of the staff. Apparently, she'd been something of a moderator with a gift of the gab.

Jan snorted. Well, so we know Mel is probably one of Xena's ancestors. But me? I don't think so. It kinda sounded like she might be related to the 'orator'. Kinda made her sound rather mouthy. Kinda irritating.

Flipping through the journal, Jan came upon a new entry. It was in Mel's strong looping and precise handwriting. "Have deciphered the small section of Xena Scroll. Alludes to an ancient site near Kition. Have racked my brains and perused the books at museum. Kition, aka Kittim, Chittim or Citium. Believed to have been one of the oldest cities in the world. Founded by one of the great grandsons of Noah. Greater part of northern sector of Larnaca is built on the ruins of this ancient city. Should be where we begin to look. Jan should be pleased. I can't wait to tell her the next piece of the puzzle should be within our grasp. She has made me so happy."

She settled down closer to Mel's very inviting body and set the journal aside. Lying there in the woman's arms, it felt like home. Everything felt so right. Like their meeting had been preordained somehow. Strange, thought Jan. She should be jumping for joy. Not only had Mel deciphered the scroll but she had pinpointed the possibility of the resting place of either the other part of their scroll or, dare she dream, the rest of the Xena Scrolls. However, instead of waking her lover and whooping for joy, Jan only looked upon it as being the icing for the cake. She had finally found the other half of her soul. She felt at peace. She felt loved. This last thought buzzed around her brain fleetingly as she drifted off to sleep.

Some time during the night, Mel woke up and found herself being used as a human pillow. She ran her fingers up and down Jan's back and was rewarded with a nuzzle and then a deep kiss. They made slow passionate love until dawn and fell back into an easy sleep, locked in each others' arms.




Greece - 1943

Mel took a genteel sip of her demitasse and looked over across the table at the woman who had become everything to her. She hooked a finger into the top crease of the newspaper and slowly drew it down until Jan's face was visible.

"Hon, it's just about 8:00 and we're gonna be late if we don't get a move on soon."

Jan mumbled her response and stuck a cheroot between her teeth. The sun beat down on both of them as they sat on the patio of their new home. Just one of the many perks of being the new Curator of the Greek Museum of Antiquities. She'd wanted the job of Director but the head office in Athens had its own ideas on who should fill that spot.

Poor Gertrude Ingersol had been sent home in shame for her part in what was being called "The Grecian Affair". Jan felt badly for the woman as she had only followed her heart. She snorted. Yup, love is certainly blind. Deaf and dumb, too, if Mel and she were any indication.

Judith Carmichael was looking at a hefty stay in one of Greece's better prisons. That is, until she could get herself extradicted back to the States. Jan didn't hold out much hope for that as Judith and her brother Alan had virtually stripped some of the lesser known digs of their treasures and had them all sold on the black market. Heaven only knew where they would end up now. Jan only prayed that none of them were part of the illusive Xena Scroll collection.

It had only taken the prison warden three days to get further information on where their warehouse was and who had been the fence.

No information was ever found as to what she did with the money. Jan had always wondered why the woman had felt the need to have her take care of the Desoto. She made that very clear. She was never to sell it and could use it to her heart's desire. She was to keep up its prestine condition and keep it in good running order until Judith was available to pick it up herself. The chances of that were anywhere between slim and none. Short of a prison break, Jan knew that Miss Carmichael was in for the long haul.

She grabbed her fedora and dropped the paper on the table. She was just about to light up her cigar when a warning eyebrow shot up from her partner.

Jan sighed. Giving up her cigars full time was proving a very real challenge. While Mel knew breaking her of the habit was probably too much to ask for, at least Jan could limit the where's and the how much's. Besides, Mel rather liked the combination of cigar tobacco and leather that just seemed to be...Jan. As long as she didn't light the damned things up.

My word! thought Mel. I'm starting to curse just like Jan. Mind you, Jan was also picking up things from Mel. Like table manners and common courtesies. Mel had smoothed quite a few feathers when she had accepted the roll of Curator's Assistant. After Jan's co-workers got past her gruff anti-social exterior, they were rewarded with a fun-loving and personable Janice Covington.

Jan was becoming somewhat of a celebrity these days what with the new find on the Island of Cyprus. The scroll that Mel had easily deciphered had produced further information on some rather prodigous digs. One of which had ceded up six magnificent scrolls that could be attributed to Xena and her bard, Gabrielle.

After they were authenticated, Jan began some deep research on the bard's background. She was slowly getting a better picture of who the woman had really been. She had a team of geniologists putting together a family tree of the two ancients.

Mel took Jan's hand as they made their way down the cobbled driveway to the Desoto. It's black paint job positively gleemed in the sunlight. Mel thought it looked like a large and dangerous beetle. Jan laughed at the description but also secretly admitted it sometimes gave her the creeps.

Jan gleefully rubbed her hands together with anticipation. She had received her notification to report for duty in the European Theater. She'd have to go through basic training for six weeks and then probably be shipped out ASAP. Mel wasn't too pleased about it but she also knew that it was something that Jan just had to do. She was just sorry that she wouldn't be able to follow her. It had been quite embarrasing to be told she had flat feet! Mel wiped a small tear that threatened to fall. That was a good two months away. Why, the war could even be over by that time. No use worrying about it now.

Today was the day the new Director was coming in from the States and Jan wanted everything to be in place and running smoothly before she had to leave for basic training.

The new Director was an American woman by the name of Hudson Callisto. Strange first name, Jan mused. She just hoped this one could rein in her libido.

She'd heard the woman was something of a task master. Well, she could deal with that: sounded like the type of woman Janice was. She was blonde, too, but stood closer to Mel's height than her own.

Funny how she and Mel turned out to be descendants of Xena and Gabrielle. Jan wondered just how many others were out there.

She knew she was just barely scratching the top of the iceberg when it came to how many scrolls were still hidden, waiting patiently to be found. What other mysteries were to be found made Jan's mouth water.

There had been some talk of a new dig being found. All as a result of the last Xena Scroll. Jan took pride in her abilities to locate decent finds/digs. She was finally starting to bring some respectability to the name Covington. She was determined to clear her father's name. She and Mel had dedicated the new wing of the museum in their honour. It was to be known as Pappas-Covington Research Wing for the Further Studies of the Xena Scrolls. Rather a mouthful but both women could see no way around it. And since it was Mel's money that funded it, she pretty much had total say in it.

Jan looked across at the woman sitting beside her in the car. Melinda gazed lovingly back at her. They both leaned in and kissed tenderly. Herdsmen and their donkeys yowled their displeasure as the Desoto narrowly missed them.

"Just like old times, Jan. Maybe I should get my licence and drive us in to work?"

"Hey, I like to drive. Besides, gotta make myself useful around here, don't I?"

"Oh, I'm sure I can find a lot of uses for ya, sugar. About tonight......I thought we'd......" Mel whispered some very naughty ideas into her very receptive partner's ear as the car weaved from one side of the road to the other.

Laughter could be heard as they sped off down the road to a bright future. One that was sure to be filled with its share of adventure and love.


The End

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