General Disclaimer: The characters of Janice Covington and Melinda Pappas belong to Universal Studios, MCA and Renaissance Pictures. Infringement of their rights is not intended. The author only has the girls for a short time, just She promises to put them back, sated and well rested.

Sexuality Disclaimer: This is an alternative fan fiction piece and so, is intended for those over the age of 18. DO NOT proceed if you are under age. It contains scenes of sexuality, some rather graphic. Alright! All of them are graphic! The author has written the story with the premise that these two women folk are madly, deeply, lustfully in love. Like most red blooded people in love, they tend to want to act on these feelings. Repeatedly, and with as much ardour as possible. So, if lesbian sex is against the law or if the idea of two passionate people who fall madly in love with each other and are totally committed to each other offends you, then, hey, this is NOT where you wanna be.

Language/Sexual Violence Alert: Yup, there is both. Hey, after all, we are talking Mad Dog Covington, right? She didn't grow up in a convent, ya know. And Xena's decendant is, well, Xena's decendant! There is a scene of sexual violence concerning our heroines. I feel it is essential to the plot line.

If you've ever watched "The Thin Man " series, circa 1940s, just try and think of Melinda in the Myrna Loy role.

Historical Disclaimer: I've taken a few liberties with the time line here. Some of the events concerning the obliteration of the Dutch have been clumped with the breach of the Maginot Line. I've tried to be historically accurate but blunders do occur.


 The Further Adventures of Jan & Mel

"The Grecian Affair"

by ArdentTly



Polis, Island of Cyprus. 1941


Harry Covington dusted off his hands and ran a trembling hand over his sweaty brow.

"Mel? Bring that light a little closer, will ya? There's a part on this scroll....I can't make it out."

Melvin Pappas motioned to the dealer and brought a flashlight over so that both men could peer quizzically at the papyrus once more.

Both men had been filled with such enthusiasm when they had first heard about the partial scroll. It had been rather nerve racking for Melvin as all of the usual skullduggery was just beyond him. Harry, of course, had simply waded in, sorted out fact from fantasy and then went for the jugular. Poor Mikaela had no chance when Covington began to dicker. Of course, the dealer had a history with Covington and knew just what to expect. Both parties had seemed pleased with their transactions. Only the two Americans had an inkling of just what they held in their hands.

Harry had danced a little jig when Mikaela had informed him, under duress of course, that the scroll he had sold them had been itself stolen from a site just a few miles outside Polis. A place called Aphrodite's Bath.

The talk had been flying around that a great find was in the area. Even the locals were close-mouthed about the significance of what the two men had found. Being able to decipher just a small bit of the piece of scroll sitting forlornly in the corner of a damp basement had been enough to start the fire's in both men's imagination. They'd been looking for evidence of the Xena Scrolls over the past few months, ever since Harry's latest site had coughed up mention of them in connection with Cyprus.

Both men had reputations to worry about and neither one wanted to be considered either a fool or a charlatan if at all possible.

Mind you, Mel thought sadly, poor Harry had put both reputation and life on the line many times in his quest for the Xena Scrolls. Many in their field considered him a laughingstalk because he was willing to go the extra mile, look into every lead and, yes, secure bits and pieces of lost antiquities on the black market. To Harry, the ends really did justify the means. He had spent his whole professional life looking for these scrolls and Mel was determined to help find them. They would clear the man's reputation and then they'd both be able to lie back on their laurels for a much needed rest. A normal existance seemed a world away.

Mel was under no illusion that the search for these scrolls was becoming an obsession for both of them. Goodness, it had already had a direct impact on his marriage. And Harry's wife had also decided that divorce was preferable to the rag tag existance of living in the field while their men had disappeared for days on end.

Deciding that neither one of them could really decipher the complete contents, Harry decided that what he needed was a good linguist. Someone who was unknown and could keep a secret.

"Harry, my good man. I have just the ticket. My daughter Melinda is just finishing up at University. She really is quite a whiz, you know. Seems to come by it naturally."

"Why Mel. You mean that sweet gangly little kid I saw you with about ten years ago? She must be, what, in her early twenties by now?"

"Yes. She is my pride and joy. Ever since Winifred left me, she's been my whole world. I really feel quite badly, leaving her on her own for so long, traipsing all over the world. Sometimes, Harry, I do believe I've sold my soul to the devil for these scrolls."

Harry looked at his friend and smiled weakly. He knew just what the man was talking about. His daughter Janice had been such an open and loving child. He hadn't wanted to miss a minute of her childhood and so had taken her on many of his excursions. Something had happened on one of them. He couldn't put his finger on it, but....well, Jan had changed. Their relationship had, too. She seemed so distrustful of him and others. Her whole personality had changed. Well, he could do something about it. As soon as he got back to the states, well, they were going to have a nice long talk. It really had been too long.

"Okay, Mel. Why don't we send her the piece we've found and put out feelers for the other parts? Hey, why don't you send our journal, too? I mean, I guess we've been secretive long enough. 'Cause if this pans out, both those girls of ours will be rolling in dough. Ya know, maybe the Archaeological Society will reinstate me, help me clear my name. It sure would be nice to be able to walk in the same circles again, ya know?"

"Harry, no one, absolutely no one, deserves it more than you do. I know that our private lives have suffered but, well, Harry, we can still make it up to our daughters. Janice must be the same age as Melinda. I think they'd like each other, don't you think?"

As the two men left the antique dealer's shop, neither one was aware they were being followed. By the time Melvin saw the danger, his friend Harry Covington was dead and he was driving way too fast in his car. He had just managed to mail off his parcel before the two men found his trail once again. He prayed that the package would get to Melinda in one piece. He also hoped he hadn't made a mistake that would send that rabid Brit and his side kick after Melinda and Janice.

He looked into his rear view mirror and cursed loudly as the other car began to gain on him. He swerved to the left and then back to the right. The roads were so narrow and winding that he just hoped he didn't meet any oncoming traffic.

Melvin Pappas had only one second to register the face of the truck driver as his vision was filled with the grill and his ears were filled with the grinding of metal and the breaking of glass. Then, thankfully, he knew no more.


Chapter One


City of Argos, Greece, 1942.

Janice Covington staggered back to her dingy room at the local flop house. Hey, what did she care: it was just a place to hang her hat and catch some sleep. It wasn't as if she'd be 'entertaining' anyone up there, she mused. Sex just wasn't right up there on the top of her list these days. Too many one night stands were beginning to take their toll.

She weaved her way past the beggars and street urchins, all with grubby hands held out for dinars. Most of the time Janice complied with their requests. Tonight, or was it tomorrow already?, she was just past caring.

The archaeologist stumbled into her room and sat heavily on the side of the bed. The half light the moon afforded did nothing to hide the depressing squalor that was Janice's life. She lived out of her duffle bag, cared little for the soiled clothing littering the dirty floor, and as long as the empty Scotch bottles kept out of the way they were left in peace.

She flopped back heavily onto the unkept bed. The room seemed to be spinning. Janice tried hard to focus on anything to keep her mind off the flip-flops her stomach was doing. Her eyesight centered on the ceiling fan. Whirring noisily overhead, it reminded her of something. Just on the tip of her tongue. She scrunched her eyes closed, trying to bring forth the slippery memory.

It had to do with a bar. Somewhere in Istanbul, early 1941. With a friend who wanted to be more. A friend by the name of Professor Henry Jones, Jr.


She sat at a table with her friend, drinking tepid local gut rot out of grubby glasses. Both people had their fedoras tipped back, barely keeping contact with the back of their heads; positively defying gravity. Jan wore her usual beat-up brown leather jacket. The one her Dad had given her many years ago. It had been a present for a job well done on a dig in Greece. She found herself smiling as she remembered how the attention had made her blush. It had only been her fourth dig and she was getting more confident in her skills as a budding archaelogist. Mind you, she certainly had the best teacher. He had insisted on many occasions that the love of history was in her genes.

"So, Indy. Whatcha up to these days? Heard ya had some trouble with a religious artifact, some cup or something?"

Indiana Jones, archaeologist cum adventurer, rubbed a hand over his face. He puffed his lips out, expelling a stale mouthful of toxic fumes. They had been drinking since lunch that day, hoping that the intake of alcohol would get them past the awkward stage their friendship was going through. So far, it wasn't working.

"Yup. Can't really talk about it, though. Very hush-hush. You know them G Man types. Have their ears to the goddamn walls." He smirked and threw her a knowing look . Jan guffawed and leaned back in her chair, letting it tilt crazily, daring gravity to exert its hold on her.

Jan knew the type. Most of the campus back at New York University had run-ins with these Government Agents at one time or another. There was always something to march against. With the war just recently starting in Europe, there seemed more than enough fodder to fuel petty jealousies regarding race and religion. The National Guard had been called in on more than one occasion.

A few 'undercover' G Men had tried to look inconspicuous, trying to pass as seniors in an effort to quell the riots that seemed to happen on campus more often all the time. It amazed Jan that these idiots thought they could pull the wool over anyone's eyes. Their type always stood out. Like a damned sore thumb.

"Come on, Jones. Spill it." Jan brought her chair's front legs down with a crash and jabbed her friend in the ribs. She moved her chair closer, peered suspiciously around the bar and went on. "You find some secret weapon, or something? Hey, you know me - won't tell a soul. Scout's honour."

Professor Jones' hand shot up, indicating more libation was required at their table. A rather unsavory young man shuffled over to the table with another bottle of cheap Scotch. Neither Jan nor Indy seemed to register his presence. The man thumped the bottle down, sneered, and went back to cleaning glasses behind the bar. If you could call wiping a dirty cloth around an equally dirty glass, using spit as a cleaning agent, "cleaning", that is.

Indy had talked and talked about being chased through Venice, being shot at, stuff like that. He tried to make light of the trail that lead from his father's kidnapping to a hidden cave where, well, he didn't elaborate but Jan knew that whatever had happened, it seemed like a religious experience.

Jan smirked at the memory and carefully opened one eye, hoping the room would have ceased its orbit around her head. Nope. No such luck. She quickly shut it again and found herself back in the bar in Istanbul.

The man had hinted that everything he'd ever believed about the Crusades had all been just so much bunk. It had been hard for him to admit that his Dad had been right. And after all their work, his Dad's selfless dedication over the years, and neither one could even publish their findings. A whole bunch of G Men had filled numerous boxes of stuff from his Dad's place and had carted it away, without so much as a by your leave or a howdya do.

Jan knew all about the Government types. She was sure that damned Edgar Hoover was behind the smear campaign against her father. It seemed the more powerful Hitler got in Europe, the crazier things were getting elsewhere in the world. There seemed to a facist under every bed and paranoia in every head.

Personally, Janice could hardly wait to get into the war. She was a perfect candidate, too. No family to speak of, no one waiting for her with a light in the window and she was certainly in the best shape, despite her wanton nature and penchant for liquor. Besides, she had a great attitude: she wanted to kick some nazi ass - all the way to Berlin, if that's what it took.

The war was finally heating up to a boiling point while the rest of the world watched and waited as The Battle of France had ended badly. The French army, 101 divisions strong, were up against ten German Panzer divisions which were only held at bay by the Maginot Line.

The French army was a piecemeal collection of divisions and units, good, indifferent and just plain bad. The German airborne units had begun landing near The Hague and Leyden in Holland. The Dutch army suffered heavy losses as the German armourerd spearheads reached out to join hands with the German 22nd Airborne Division. The wholesale slaughter of Rotterdam effectively ended any Dutch resistance.

It seemed that the collective breath held by the rest of the world had been shockingly torn out from its chest. No one was under any further delusions as to just how far the funny guy with the mustache was willing to go.

Jan and Indiana had both talked at length about how things were going. Neither was surprised when Rotterdam fell, but with rumours leaking about concentration camps and the mass graves filled with innocent women and children, both knew that it was just a matter of time before they were either thrown out of the country or drafted as special agents.

Both Indy and Jan had found themselves working on a privately funded dig in the latter months of 1940. They were both happy to sign up. Istanbul was no Mediterranean tourist attraction but it sure beat sitting around twiddling their thumbs. They had met at the Archaeological Conference in Brussels and found they had a lot in common. Jones's father had been speaking on a subject near and dear to his heart: Christ's chalice.

They had both hit it off almost immediately, although Jones had wanted more than just friendship. Janice found herself being wooed by Indy and felt rather helpless to stop it. Hell, part of her revelled in the attention.

Now, months later, Indy was finally making his move and Jan found herself in this dingy bar, getting blind drunk, with a man she knew was going to take her to bed. Never having doubted the outcome in the first place, she was somewhat curious. A small niggling voice tried to warn her. Perhaps it was the booze. Perhaps it was simply the need to feel "something", anything. Whatever it was caused Jan to jam that voice deeply into the back of her mind.

Jan and Indy had made their way into his darkened room, stumbling over a chair, before finding themselves on the bed. Before Janice knew what was happening, he was kissing her, unbuttoning her shirt.

Her first impulse had been to knee him in the groin. Part of her was repulsed by his drunken fumblings. Another part was rather ambivalent, unsure of what she really wanted. She'd just gotten over an affair with a class mate back at college. It had ended badly. The woman had wanted, needed far more than Jan was willing to give her at that point in her life. All she had really wanted was The Xena Scrolls. Any of her previous encounters had left her feeling hollow and frustrated, as if she were at a lovely banquet but unable to taste the food before her.

Jan positively cringed, remembering the next morning. Neither one of them had been able to look the other in the eye. Jan had felt....nothing. She hadn't hated the experience but he hadn't been able to bring her to orgasm either.

He was a considerate lover. Even persistant. She'd had to forcefully roll away from him after he'd finished, feeling nothing but empty after the whole experience. Their blossoming friendship had suffered because of it: something Jan had always regretted.

A strange partial memory of another similar encounter tried to bob up to the surface. Whatever it was had made Janice very nauseous and anxious so she had flung the memory away. Her sudden melancholia had seemed to sober them both up.

Indy had tried to hold her close, speaking soothing words of comfort. While it may have made him feel better, Jan only wanted to completely erase the whole incident from her mind.

The constantly moving ceiling fan wobbled, bringing her back to the present. The room was spinning even faster as the feelings of self loathing washed over her. The memory of his hands, his mouth...on her.. ..made her stomach heave.

Jan had time to quickly lean over the side of the bed and grab the waste basket before the contents of her stomach emptied. Her hands shook as she wiped off her mouth and chin with her sleeve. The room was still rocking crazily back and forth, as if she were on board a ship. She moaned and grabbed the basket again.

Feeling a wee bit better, she lay back down on her back, placing the pillow over her face. It was that one drink of Ouzo after all the scotch that must have done it! She liked the Greek liquor but it sure hated her!


Chapter Two


It was well past noon when Jan dragged herself into the Greek Museum of Antiquities. Her complexion was pasty and her hair looked like she'd just dragged her fingers through it. No shower, no breakfast, just some tepid coffee. She hadn't even tried to light up one of her cheroots. The inside of her mouth felt like a camel had bathed in it and then shat copiously, just for good measure.

Professor Gertrude Ingersol came from behind her desk and gave the woman the once over. She tsked, her brows knitted in disapproval. The statuesque Swede pursed her lips.

"Dr. Covington! You are late, young lady. As the Curator of this museum , I must insist on punctuality. Just what the devil you've been up to, I won't bother to ask." She harrumphed. "You have a visitor. She's been here for over one hour. Won't go away. Says it is something to do with her father, a Dr. Melvin Pappas."

Jan rubbed a hand roughly over her face.

"Coffee. I need coffee." she groaned.

Professor Ingersol buzzed the secretary who breezed in with the utmost efficiency.

Miss Judith Carmichael was a woman of medium height, mediuim build, a rather horsey face and British through and through. She was a no nonsense kind of woman who was never seen in the company of anyone but Professor Ingersol. The rumours alone helped keep Jan from being the total subject of everyone's conversation at the rumour mill.

Miss Carmichael placed a hot cup of java on the professors desk and arched an eyebrow at the miserable state Dr. Covington was in. The woman pursed her lips and gave Janice a very undignified glare.

"I say, Professor, just look what the cat dragged in. Really! Do clean yourself up, dear. Why, you wouldn't want your visitor to think you....common, now would you, Dr. Covington?" Jan could tell that Miss Carmichael was just getting warmed up.

"Okay, okay. You can call off the goon squad, Trudie. I get the picture. Is did say she? the waiting room or in my office?" Jan paused only long enough to give Miss Carmichael one of her more willful glares.

The professor took Jan by the elbow and led her back into the front hall. She pointed the woman in the direction of her own office and gave her behind a push. Jan arched an eyebrow at the woman but continued on, stopping by the water fountain and splashed cold water into her face. She slicked the hair off her face, steadied her shoulders and walked into her office.

A tall woman stood by the window, seemingly lost in thought. Jan blinked her eyes and noted a few things about her visitor. The woman must be nearly 6 foot, she thought. Broad shoulders, slim waist, dark straight hair pulled severely off her face. She cleared her throat, making the other woman jump in surprise.

Melinda Pappas quickly turned around, her hand over her mouth, trying to quell a surprised squeak. Jan noted the horn rimmed glasses and the rather matronly hair style. Nice taste in clothing, I suppose, she thought. Rather bookish looking. Probably a stuffy old maid ,she thought, uncharitably.

"What can I do ya for?", said Jan as she tried to look busy, shuffling papers around her desk.

"Ah, are you Dr. Covington? Dr. Janice Covington?" the woman drawled in a southern accent.

Boy, thought Jan, looking up as she took a seat, this morning just gets better and better. What the hell does she want? Doesn't look like a bill collector. Clothes are too nice for that.

"Yeah, I'm her. What's it to ya? Hey, whatever you heard, I wasn't there, I don't know nothin and the cheque's in the mail. Pick your choice."

Mel looked at the archaeologist. Surely this couldn't possibly be the one her Daddy had mentioned in his journal. This boorish woman? Why, she was a Yankie without any manners at all! Even though she hadn't even been offered a chair, Mel dragged one away from the wall and priggishly sat down.

Janice went over to her desk and plopped herself in the chair behind it. She shrugged off her leather jacket and let it slide over the back of the chair. She reached over and opened a drawer. After sticking one of her foul smelling cheroots into her mouth, she lit a match.

Mel harrumphed in her direction, hoping the woman would take the hint and not smoke in her presence. Why, it was just too much! She'd never met anyone as uncouth as this Janice Covington was. Ever! And she'd gone to the University of South Carolina, too! There had been all sorts of unsavory characters there but none like this....this woman! Why, she didn't act like any woman she'd ever seen.

Jan began puffing on her cigar, filling the room with acrid smoke. Her eyes twinkled as she dared the other woman to say one word. Just one. She'd put the uppity broad in her place right off the bat. This was her office, goddamn it! If she wanted to smoke, then she'd damned well smoke!

Mel's face began to take on a decidedly greenish hue. She flapped her hands in front of her face in an effort to wave the offensive smoke away. It was a lost cause. She quickly stood up, causing her chair to fall backwards, crashing to the floor. She wobbled, one hand reaching out for something to hang onto. Finding nothing, she began to fall forward, her eyes rolling into the back of her head.

Jan found herself racing around the desk and catching the fainting woman just before her face hit the wooden object before her. She slowly lowered the woman to the floor. Mighty solid, she thought, for such a slim package. She noted the soft perfume and sweet scent of shampoo wafting up from the woman below her. She brushed a wisp of hair off the woman's face and began fanning her with her open hand.

Geez, she thought. Keeled right over. Not that hot in here. Musta been my damned cigar. Where before she had felt superior to this strange prim woman, now she felt guilty and somewhat protective of her.

Slowly, Mel Pappas opened her eyes. She blinked slowly a couple of times and shook her head. She noted the close proximity of the other woman, the concern plainly on her face. My, she isn't at all what I thought. She's worried 'bout me. Strangely, this comforted the southern belle. She'd always been able to rely on the kindness of strangers. And none were stranger than this Janice Covington.

Mel's subconscious was busy gathering information, storing it up for later inspection. The woman was short, yes, but not abnormally so. Her hair was the colour of light honey, falling straight past her shoulders. Her sea green eyes, although concerned, were soft and little laugh lines were making their presence known at the corners. And while the archaeologist wore rather mannish clothing, there was a feminine side to her. All in all, a complicated puzzle, thought Mel.

Jan helped her up into a semi sitting position, patting her hand. She looked so comfortable, squatting there, perched on her heels. Mel glanced at the muscles that were taut under Dr. Covington's slacks. For some reason, all of this input was making her feel rather hot. She supposed she was feeling the after effects of the long plane trip, not to mention the smoke inhalation.

She shook her head again to clear it and sat up.

"My word. I'm sorry, Dr. Covington, I don't know why I did that."

Jan looked sheepishly over at the remains of her cheroot, lying in the corner where she'd thrown it. She went over and opened a window. After stubbing the cigar out, she tossed it through the window. She turned and took a deep breath.

"Um, gee, I guess we kinda started off on the wrong foot, huh?" She stuck out her hand and helped the southerner to her feet. She picked up the fallen chair and helped Mel settle herself in it. She held out her hand, "Hi. I'm Janice Covington. And you are....?"

"Why, I'm Melinda Pappas. I thought I'd already introduced myself. How very rude of me. I do apologize. My Daddy knew yours. They were both working together on some scrolls. Had been for a few years." She paused, a small tear running down her cheek.

She cleared her throat and continued. "He, ah, died in an auto accident on the island of Cyprus last month. Right out of the blue. Died instantly, thank the Lord. Didn't suffer any."

Jan bent over and took the woman's hand back into her own. She noticed how warm and soft it was.

"Hey, I'm sorry. Geez, I'm such a jerk sometimes. My condolences. My Dad died just recently, too. Heart attack. I really miss him, so I know how ya must feel." Hadn't Harry died on the island of Cyprus, too?

"Well, Dr. Covington. That's one of the reasons I'm here" she drawled. "I was goin through some of Daddy's papers and came upon this unopened package. It was sittin rather forlornly in the back of his desk."

Mel reached into her purse and pulled out a beaten up package about the size of a book. Without another word, she pressed it into Janice's hand. She looked worried. Jan noted this and wondered why.

The archaeologist sat down on the corner of her desk and peeled the brown paper off the partially opened package. It was from Dr. M. Pappas, dated nearly two months ago, originating from Polis, Cyprus.

Her eyes opened wide. She snorted and looked up into Mel's eyes. A small smile formed on her lips. Then it grew bigger and seemed to encompass her whole face. Even her eyes sparkled.

"Goddamn! You know what this is? It's his journal. I mean, their journal! Hey, lookit this. The last entry says they found part of a scroll. Neither one could decipher it. Hmm. Wonder where..." She jumped up, knocking Mel to the floor.

There, inside the back of the journal, was an ancient looking piece of shrivelled up papyrus, wrapped in a shroud of muslin.

Mel found herself, once again, on the floor in front of Dr. Covington.

"Why, I never!" she stammered.

Jan, nose deep into the journal, spouted off her usual retort without thinking.

"Yeah, well, I could tell. You should do it more often. Repeatedly. Does wonders for the skin."

Mel's face grew very hot and flushed as it turned a glowing colour of red. She began sputtering, trying to think of something searing, something cutting, to say to this, this, damned Yankie!

Jan noticed a funny noise and gazed up from the journal, and then down to the floor.

"What're ya doin down there? Didn't faint again, didja? Pretty frail, huh? Maybe you'd better go back home and leave this with me. I'll handle it just fine." She reached down again and tried to untangle the woman's legs from the chair. The more she tried, the more flustered Mel became. She tried to brush Jan's hands away from her legs and pull down her rapidly rising skirt at the same time. To any onlooker, it was a toss up as to whether they were both trying to pull the skirt up or down.

Dr. Ingersol chose that moment to come into the office. One eyebrow arched up, a smirk played on her lips.

"Um, Janice. I'm not interrupting I?"

Chapter Three


Jan jumped back off the woman sprawled on the floor as if her hands were on fire. Her face and upper chest were beet red. She rubbed her hands together and put them guiltily behind her back.

"Um. Um. No. No, of course not. No. I was, um, just helping Miss Pappas off the floor. She, ah, fainted. Didn't you?"

Mel Pappas took in the scene in front of her. She wasn't sure if she should be embarrassed, shocked or angry. Why, she thought, would this woman look so guilty. Almost like a child caught doin somethin bad. Or wicked. She brushed herself off and stumbled to her feet.

"Why yes. I'm afraid the plane ride was a bit...arduous. I find it awfully close in here, what with the cigar smoke and all."

"You didn't smoke one of your smelly cigar things, did you Janice? I mean, really! No wonder the woman fainted dead away." She tsked a few times and shook her head.

Jan tipped her chin down, arching one expressive eyebrow. "You wanted something, Trudie?"

Gertrude Ingersol chuckled softly and took Jan by the elbow.

"Why, my dear. What would I possibly *want* from you?" She paused, giving Jan enough time to try and fill in the blanks. Really, thought Trudie. Janice Covington was truly the most dense but loveable fool that ever walked the earth. She had been sending signals her way for months now. She had even started to flirt shamelessly with the woman. Never a peep out of her. She seemed totally oblivious to Trudie's overtures.

Ah well, thought Trudie. The hunt is half the fun, is it not? She chuckled again. Some rather graphic images were starting to invade her thoughts at that very moment. She pushed them away, deciding to peruse them later, in the privacy of her bedroom. With Judith. She smiled as she envisioned the long night ahead of her.

"Actually, dear, I am here to see what I can do for *you*. You two have been in here for almost one hour. It is getting on to the lunch hour. I have dismissed Mrs. Carmichael from her duties this afternoon. It is really much too hot to continue, don't you agree."

Mel noticed that Dr. Ingersol couldn't seem to refrain from touching Janice. A hand placed here, a finger tip touching there. It was very disturbing. She found herself getting rather upset with the woman. Now why, she mused, would I be feelin that way?

Mel was a rather naive woman, cloistered by her father at home and then at boarding school and university. Her mother had left she and her father to their own devices, preferring to live in the family home in Winston-Salem. Traipsing all over the world on 'digs' had rapidly gotten tiresome for the woman. She was a proper southern lady of good standing so, of course, divorce had been quite out of the question.

Mel had only gotten a brief letter of condolence from her mother. She had not even bothered to attend the man's funeral.

However, all that been said, she could see 'something' was going on here. She wasn't sure, but she believed something of a 'sexual' nature was being bandied about. Why, the woman was almost throwing herself at Dr. Covington! The shameless hussy!

Jan wasn't totally oblivious to Trudie's arduous overtures. She was, after all, a woman of the world. She'd seen and done pretty much everything. Her rather shallow encounters with other women had been, well, pretty basic. Simply unadulterated sexual release.

She was becoming more aware of being the type who preferred the company of other women inclusively. She certainly wasn't addle-minded enough to be bothered about it. A few of her friends at University had been 'that way', after all so she had had ample opportunity to revel in her own difference and come to an understanding with herself. She felt very comfortable with who and what she was. To her way of thinking, her passionate nature was a plus not a negative. That no one had been able to fill the empty void that was in her heart only made her sad. She had always believed the Greek myth of everyone having another half of their soul. She just hadn't found hers.

Her studies were becoming much more interesting, taking up all of her time and energy, and she had begun to think she'd never find her other half.


Jan chose to ignore these advances, preferring to keep their working relationship just that. It wasn't that she found the willowy blonde unattractive. She just wasn't her type. Brashness aside, Janice was woefully uneducated in matters of the heart. She knew how to sweet-talk the ladies but maintaining a seemed beyond her ken.

Her Dad had brought her up as a tomboy, preferring to hide the girl's feminine side, lest she become an object of desire on his numerous digs. A dig, after all, was usually populated by the great unwashed. A rougher bunch existed nowhere else on earth. Janice had always had an easy side to her nature; always made friends quickly. She couldn't remember when that had changed.

"Would you ladies like to join me for some lunch? I know of a lovely restaurant, just around the corner. We could all go together, yes?"

Mel wasn't sure just why, but she had no intention of being trapped at a table with this predatory woman. The way she hungrily looked at Janice was positively scandalous!

"Uh, Dr. Covington? I thought we had decided we had some things to talk over? I mean, we do have some papers to discuss, do we not?" She arched one eyebrow at Janice, hoping the woman would take the hint.

Jan, ever quick on body language, picked up on it easily.

"Why, sure. That's right. Sorry, Trudie, we got some business to go over. Maybe another time, huh?"

And with that, Jan took Mel's elbow and they hurridly left her office, leaving a rather disgruntled, sexually frustrated Swede behind.

Trudie tapped her foot thoughtfully. She would bide her time. She wasn't sure why Judith had made the bet, but she was sure up to the task. Her mind was already plotting out the many scenarios she might require to get the petite blonde into her bed. Both arms folded over her breasts, she stalked back to her own office, all thoughts of lunch abandoned. Maybe Judith hadn't gone for the day....



Chapter Four


"Well, that went well. Ah geez! I forgot to get the journal! Fer cryin out..."

Mel put both hands on Jan's shoulders and moved her over to a bench. She pushed the woman into it and smoothed her own cloths.

"Now, Dr. Covington. I shall go back and retrieve the journal. After all, I was the one that forgot it. Besides, you don't want that...woman...gettin her hooks back into you, do ya?" Jan looked a little panic striken. "No, I didn't think so. My word. What is that woman's problem? You'd think she's never been turned down or somethin."

"Actually," Jan smirked, "she does have a reputation for getting anything and anyone she wants."

"Well." Mel paused, her hands fidgetting. "Do know...want her that way? I mean, if I'm in the way, please just say....." Jan waved her hands frantically.

"Nope. No way. Do not wanna go there. She's nice, sure. Even pretty. Well, beautiful, actually. But no, she is just not my type."

"Oh. So you've..." She looked away. Somehow, the whole idea of Janice Covington being sexually attractive to other women made her...well, both excited and...jealous. Now where the samhill did that come from, she wondered?

"I just don't like pushy broads, okay? Why, I've been called an ice princess more times that I can count. Lets just change the subject, shall we? This is getting down right strange. Even for me."

Mel patted the woman's shoulder and turned on her heel, heading back the way they had come. She pushed her horn rims back onto her nose, dusted off her two piece suit and prepared to do battle. Just let that hussy try something with me, she thought! Why, I'll knock her into next Tuesday!

She said these two sentences over and over again as she tried to work her courage up. She snuck down the hall and was almost passed Dr. Ingersol's office when she heard two women talking.

"Now Judith. Please. We can't call this off now." A funny rustling could be heard. "A bet is a bet, after all. And I do intend on winning it. That Janice Covington will be mine, and by the end of the week. You mark my words." A low moan rumbled from someone's throat. "My trouble has been that I haven't pressed the issue enough. I've been too easy on her. I don't know what her connection to that rather large amazon woman is, but it shall not deter me. Now that I have seen the way she looks at that Miss Pappas, well, it is just a matter of time."

Melinda stood stock still, face becoming crimson. My word! What did she call me? Amazon woman!? I've got a mind to tear some of that blonde hair right out by the roots! How dare she!? She stopped breathing as her mind registered the last statement. As she was preparing to enter Dr. Ingersol's office, she heard some rather strange noises.

She peeked around the door frame just in time to see the good Dr. Ingersol french kissing Miss Carmichael. The woman's right breast was exposed and was being...fondled! She gulped rather audibly and quickly retreated down the way she had come.

"Um, Janice? I mean, Dr. Covington? I, well, I can't go back in there. She was, I mean, they were, um, well....". she stammered.

"What? Spit it out, woman. What did you see? Geez, you gonna faint again?" She walked over to the southerner and peered into her face. The woman was decidedly flush and a little white around the gills. Must have been something! Wonder what she saw, fer cryin out loud?

"Well. How do I put this delicately? She was...well...kissing that secretary of hers. Miss Carmichael. On the mouth. Hard. With her tongue. I believe they call it french kissin. And I think she was....well....caressin her secretary's bare breast! My word. I never.."

"Oh. Is that all. Hmff. And I thought you saw somethin exciting." It was her turn to push the woman into the bench. "You stay here and I'll go around back, climb in through the window and get the package. Okay?"

Mel nodded mutely. What ever did she mean, "somethin exciting"? Just how much more excitin did she want things to be? After all, she'd almost swooned as it was. She began fanning her face with her hand, reaching into her purse and digging for a hankie. She dabbed at her nose, trying to hold the images of what the two women had been doing at bay. The more she tried, the harder it became. She found the soft silky feel of her nylons to be torture at that particular moment. She tried to cross her gams, then uncross them in an effort to ease the contact from between her legs.

She moved the hankie down to her breasts and absently wiped the light sheen of sweat away. Her nipples felt extra sensitive against her silk blouse. She could feel them hardening. She was ever so grateful that she had decided to wear her suit jacket. My word, she thought. How terribly embarrassing! What the samhill was going on? She had never felt these feelings before. Whether it was from the sight of two women kissing so passionately or the idea that Janice might want her in...that way...she wasn't sure. The whole episode had sent tingles down...there. She felt very confused. She fanned herself harder.

Once Jan was out of sight, she leaned against the brick wall and ran a shakey hand over her face. My God! she thought. Was that woman trying to kill her!?! Her hand found its way down into the front of her pants. Yup. She was aroused, all right. Having such a visual picture painted of two women making out by someone Jan was finding extremely attractive, made clear thought a thing of the past.

She could feel the heat on her hand, the moisture soaking her underwear. This was neither the time or the place! Come on, Covington! Get a grip! Go in there, get the damned journal and try to keep your hands to yourself! Fer cryin out loud! What makes you think that she even has any feelings for you? Ya just met her! She probably thinks those two women where disgusting perverts.

Jan had been very sure her whole life of the things she did not want. She was also sure of the things she did want. Finding that special person to spend the rest of her life with was getting so...damned frustrating! Why was she feeling this way now? And with her? She hadn't felt any passion for a long time. Curiosity, yes. She'd always found members of the opposite sex to be too hard to figure out. It seemed all they had on their mind was sex. No romance. She inwardly slapped her own forehead, recognizing the same foible in herself. When had she actively stopped looking, anyway?

She rubbed her hand on the back of her pants and shook her head, freeing it from some very realistic visuals. She then proceeded to climb into the museum.

After a few minutes, Jan sauntered over to the bench, brushing dirt and leaves off her jacket. She now sported her fedora. Looking every inch the dashing adventurer, she held out a hand to Mel Pappas and they made their way off the museum grounds.

Mel found herself glancing intermittenly out of the corner of her eye at her new acquaintance. She cleared her throat all the way through lunch, keeping her hand over the top of her bossom.

Jan thought the woman looked a bit peaked. She ordered a large lunch, hoping it might perk the woman up.

"My goodness, Dr. Covington! How do you ever manage to keep your figure? Why, I swear. I'd be as big as a house if I ate all that you do."

"You know, I'd appreciate it if ya called me Janice. Or even Jan. Okay? My Dad was Dr. Covington, not me. And yeah, I guess I do have a healthy appetite, don't I?" Janice wore a rather satisfied look on her face, as if her gargantuan appetite were something to boast about.

"Well, I should say so! I'll call ya Jan if you'll call me Mel. I don't really like Melinda very much. My mother used to call me that whenever she was upset with me. Which was usually all the time. Gives me goose flesh just thinkin 'bout it." She shivered visibly.

An easy companionship was developing between the two women. Both could feel it. They found themselves smiling more, feeling more at ease.

Lunch was soon over and Janice brought out the journal. She handed it across to Mel. It was more hers, she thought, it had been her father's. Jan had known that her Dad had been on a couple of digs with Dr. Pappas, sure. Had known they both had a kean interest in the Xena Scrolls. She hadn't, however, known that they had been working together just recently. She wondered why the men had felt the need to keep it secret.

Mel took the journal from Jan's hand. She held it reverantly on her lap. A single tear dropped from her eye and her chin quivered. She pressed her lips tightly together, determined not to cry. She saw her new friend as being someone embarrassed by leaky eyes. She squared her shoulders and took a deep shuddering breath.

"My Daddy was workin in Greece and Cyprus with your father, Jan. I've read the journal and it seems to me that they were becoming good friends. Most of the entries are full of excitement for the things they had found. As far as I can tell, Jan, well, it seems to me..." The southerner found it hard to engage her friends' eyes. Not knowing the woman made her hesitant about what she was going to say.

"Hey. Mel, just spill it, okay? What, you found out they were drug smugglers or something?" Mel saw it for what it was: an attempt at humour in an effort to ease the woman. Well, she thought, thinking about her rather staid father being a smuggler of any kind, it was working. She found the corner of her mouth lifting in a half grin.

Jan wasn't quite sure why, but just seeing the look on Mel's face right now made her feel a sense of deja vu. How could that be? They had never met before today. Although, thinking back, she was certain she'd heard her Dad talk about Pappas' daughter on one occasion or another. Her left eyebrow rose, thinking about destiny, of all things. She wasn't sure why she felt so comfortable around the tall southerner, but she did. Almost as if they'd known each other before. Or forever.

That easiness didn't happen very often. In fact, Jan had stopped having a lot of friends when she was a teenager, preferring to hide in books or emmerse herself totally in the dig at hand. It made for a very lonely existance. She told herself that it didn't matter. It did. She could only fool herself for so long. Meaningless sex could only take you so far.

She snapped back to the present and wondered how long Mel had been talking. The woman was a veritable chatter box! Strangely, she found this affectation endearing rather than bothersome.

"....surprising they both died in Cyprus, don't you think? You don't think there's a connection with their deaths, do ya?" she drawled fearfully.

Jan reached over and took the woman's hands in her own. Mel had been clutching the journal so hard that her knuckles were white.

Another tear fell from Mel's eye. With one look, Jan could see that it was taking a momentous amount of courage for the woman to keep it all together. So many emotions swirled up from the depths of Jan's soul. She wanted nothing more than to comfort this poor woman. To ease her suffering and make the pain go away. Her face suddenly felt hot. Her ears burned a bright red.

Suddenly, images of her holding the woman and kissing all of her tears away appeared, unbidden, to Jan's mind. But Mel was wearing different clothing and had a sword and scabbard on her back. Her hands shook and she cleared her throat. She dropped the woman's hands and sat back heavily in her chair. She blinked a few times and tried to steady her breathing. What the hell?! flashed through her mind in great big letters.

Getting the attentions of a beautiful woman had never been one of her problems. She knew by instinct which ones were receptive. This one was coming across as being very receptive, but.....she wasn't too sure the beauty across from her was certain of her own...needs.

Coming onto straight women was never an option for Jan. Setting yourself up for bad feelings not to mention bad press got to be too time consuming. She didn't need the aggravation. If anyone was going to make the first move, it was going to have to be the woman across from her.

Mel was feeling something as well. The mere contact of the woman's hands on her own made her feel quite heady. She could hear the blood rushing through her ears, her skin feeling extra sensitive. There was something there, she thought. She could still feel the positive energy flowing from where Jan had touched her. Her eyes grew wide and it seemed as if her heart just completely stopped beating.

Both women sat in silence, finding interesting things about the table cloth. Or their shoes. Anything that allowed them to hide the fact that they were becoming very attracted to each other.

The bill came and Janice snatched it up quickly, jumping to her feet. She fumbled around in her pants' pocket, then threw some crumpled bills on the table and waited until Melinda got the hint and rose to meet her at the entrance. Jan stood aside and beckoned the woman through. Mel didn't know why but she felt rather giddy at the chivalrous behavior. She felt herself blushing again.



Chapter Five


The wind was starting to pick up as they made their way into town. Jan was trying hard to avoid Mel's queries regarding her lodgings. She had never been bothered before; had never cared where she lay her head. Somehow, now it mattered.

They wandered into the bazzar and soon found themselves surrounded by mobs of merchants, all vying for their undivided attention. Each seller felt the need to push forward, to stick his face directly in the path of the rapidly retreating foreigners.

Jan, who had been in Argos for at least a month, was used to the pushy behavior they were now experiencing. Mel Pappas, however, was still suffering from her bumpy plane ride. She found her head was positively swimming. She tried to fan herself as the smells from the bazzar began to assault her senses. She felt her knees begin to buckle and then Jan had put her two strong arms around her waist and was yelling in Greek.

The crowd slowly parted in front of them, startled faces looking in wonder at the foreign blonde woman who spoke perfect Greek.

Jan dragged and half carried her friend over to a cafe that didn't look like a fumigator needed to visit. She noted the fine bone structure and the play of muscles, both hidden under the woman's two piece suit. She found herself wondering what the woman would look like with her hair down. Long, dark tresses flowing down the middle of her back. Blowing behind her in the wind. Her body moving sensuously beneath her. The two of them riding over the countryside on a beautiful golden mare....

She blinked twice. In her daze, she had cradled the woman's head against her breast while softly caressing her hand.

Mel felt safe. She felt secure. She felt loved. She wanted to stay just where she was - forever. She had closed her eyes and was subconsciously licking her lower lip. Her heart beat had risen and her breath was coming in shallow and quick.

She looked up from her inclined position into the most amazingly soft green eyes. They held her spellbound; she felt herself falling into their depths. She moved her face closer, wanting to taste the lips before her, to drown herself in their softness.

Jan felt her world begin to narrow until only the vision of this beautiful dark haired woman was before her. She saw the stunning colour of blue staring deeply at her. She noted the wetting of her lower lip. The half lidded eyes beckoned to her. When Mel parted her lips and moved closer, Jan thought she would simply die. Oh, how she wanted to taste the proffered lips! To drink in their sweet nectar.

A loud bang brought the two women to their senses, both jumping in alarm. A black town car careemed around the corner, narrowly missing a food stand. This caused a crowd of irate merchants to hurl food as it went by. Jan grabbed Mel and they jumped out of the way. Mel took a hand up as they gazed after the Desoto.

Jan and Mel found themselves laughing, watching the antics of the driver as he tried to peer over the steering wheel. The man must have been all of five foot in height, judging by the amount of head seen over the wheel. His eyes were wide, his mouth pulled back into a toothy grimace. Then Mel caught sight of the man sitting in the back seat. Why was his face so familiar? Hadn't she seen him on the plane? She vaguely remembered him asking a lot of questions. She couldn't remember what, though. She absent-mindedly put it out of her mind.

Jan hailed a ped taxi and they both jumped in. She sat back and went over in her mind just what had happened in the bazaar.

"Ah, Mel, maybe we should get you to your hotel? Where ya stayin?" Neither woman tried to remove their hands which were tightly clutched together.

Mel looked at the woman. She felt rather embarrassed to be caught off guard like this, but she had neglected to secure a hotel suite before leaving Jacksonville, South Carolina. How could she explain to her new friend that she had simply jumped on the next available flight going to Greece, not really knowing why.

It amazed Mel when she stopped to think about it. As soon as she had found the journal, she had felt an overwhelming urge to She hadn't known, not really, that Dr. Covington would be here. That Jan would be here, she corrected herself. The truth flashed into her brain at that moment. She *had* known the woman would be here. Somehow, she just knew they would meet.

"I don't, well....I neglected to get myself a room, Jan. I know it's rather rude of me to impose, but could we go to your hotel?"

"! I'm getting the place fumigated. Yeah, not fit for human habitation." Jan noted the sheen of perspiration on Mel's forehead and made a hasty decision. She hoped she wouldn't regret it. They had almost kissed. She could still feel the woman's breath on her cheek. She'd take her to a nice hotel and...well, see what happened next. She hoped the woman knew the type of signals she was giving her and wouldn't hold it against her if she was wrong. Having this woman look at her with eyes of pity or shame would surely kill her.

The ped taxi began to slow down and Jan noticed that Mel had fallen asleep. Just as she was moving to get out, Mel's head fell onto her shoulder and the woman naturally nestled close, trying to get comfortable. The hair pins had fallen out, letting the ebony tresses flow down around the woman's shoulders. Janice removed the glasses and slid them into Mel's breast pocket. She fought the overwhelming urge to kiss the woman - hard and deeply.

Jan gently shook the woman awake and helped her into the hotel.

After fighting briefly with the hotel manager about the 'no luggagae, no room' policy, Jan thrust her fist into the man's face and went on about the man's doubtful parentage, all in perfect Greek. It had the desired effect and Jan grabbed the key, wiping her forehead. The woman was almost dead weight because of her fatigue.

As they made their way down the darkened hallway, Jan was very aware of the other woman's close proximity. Of her vulnerability. Of her own desires. She quickly put the key in the door and helped the woman to the bed. Mel stretched languidly and lay back on the bed. She smiled gratefully.

"I'm sorry, Jan. I just can't keep my eyes open. Will I see you tomorrow?"

"Oh. Yeah. Sure thing, Mel. You rest up and come by my office for a late breakfast. Okay? And Mel? You look alot more...attractive...with your hair down. Now you lock this door behind me. If it's not my voice, don't open it, right?" Jan clicked her tongue and gently closed the door. She waiting until she heard the bolt being thrown.

As she walked back down to the street, she was never more aware of just how lonely her life had become. She decided that a nice long walk back to her hovel would both refresh her and clear her mind from its whirling thoughts.


Chapter Six

Jan looked up from her desk as Miss Carmichael ushered Mel into her office. She walked up to the southerner and took her hand.

"Well, Mel, you look far more rested this morning. I hope you slept well." She offered the woman a chair and pushed the buzzer, asking for some coffee.

"Why, thank ya kindly, Jan. Yes, I did. I came straight here on one of those...what did ya call it?...ped taxi? Yes. I haven't had time to have anything to eat. I know I'm a tad early, but, well, I got hungry. Coffee would be nice, as long as it's not that..that Greek stuff."

Jan found it hard not to smile at Mel's pronounciations. The word Greek came our Grik. And the word tad seemed to grow extra vowels when it came out of the woman's mouth.

Mel prattled on, unaware of Jan's wandering eye. Janice couldn't help but notice the little things the woman had done to herself, making herself more presentable. For instance, the casual remark she'd made about Mel's hair, how she would look more attractive with it down, seemed to have done the trick for the woman wore it straight down the middle of her back.

Mel stopped mid sentence when she noticed Jan staring at her. Well actually, she was staring at her...breast area. Mel's face grew red and hot. Her hand snaked its way up over her suddenly heaving bossom.

Jan, having been caught red handed, merely arched an eyebrow and gave the woman a quirky grin.

"You can't blame me for looking, Mel. You are a very desirous woman, after all."

Mel opened her mouth and then closed it again with a snap. She felt decidely flustered. She withdrew her hanky and blotted her temples.

"My. Is it gettin hot in here? Wouldja open that winda, Jan? I can't...can't seem to...breath"

Covington jumped up, knocking her hat off the desk as she went to open the window.

"You aren't gonna...swoon again, are ya? I guess we'd better get some food into you. Right now."

She bend down to retrieve her hat at the same time Mel did, narrowly missing each other but allowing eyes to lock and breath to intermingle. Janice rose slowly, dusting her fedora off, her eyes never leaving those of Mel's.

Feeling a little more bold, she leaned in, watching closely for any adverse reaction. Mel held her breath and then slowly released it. Jan leaned in a bit more and...

The door opened and in walked a rather surly looking Judith Carmichael. Well, Judith thought, so the rumours were true. This woman could put the moves on someone faster than the speed of sound. At this rate, she'd be into the southerners panties by nightfall. She'd have to get Alan to do something about that little prospect.

Her brother hadn't been able to locate the damned journal on the airplane and he and that assinine driver had lost them last night as they took off in a ped taxi. The fool! Couldn't they do anything right?!

She cautiously moved towards the desk under the guise of putting the coffee down. She checked every inch, trying to locate the journal. Her hand moved down to open one of the drawers as both women seemed oblivious to her movements.

"Janice, I was wonde....Judith. Miss Carmichael? Is there something..."

Professor Ingersol walked through the open door and glanced suspiciously at her secretary's strange movements behind Dr. Covington's desk.

Jan's head shot up and she caught Judith's malevolent look before she could turn away and get things under control.

"I was looking for...that document I sent in this morning for you to sign, Dr. Covington. Did you...manage to get it signed?" A slight tone of sarcasm could be heard under her otherwise innocuous words.

Jan set her jaw, her mind working on what was really going on. Judith knew the document had been signed as she herself had put it into the woman's hands just an hour ago. And the look on Trudy's face...indicated they 'knew' each other on a more personal level. She filed away that interesting piece of information along with some of the other mismatched pieces of the puzzle.

Jan merely smiled at the woman and helped Mel to her feet.

She turned, hat in hand, and beckoned Mel to precede here through the door.

"I'm taking the day off, okay? I'm going Miss Pappas here the..sights. Can't have her get the wrong impression about Greek hospitality, can we? Especially after almost getting run down in the bazaar yesterday, hmm?" She directed the last comment Judith's way, giving her an open challenge to contradict her.

Heaven help this stupid woman if she's behind that...'accident', Jan mused, hands clenched into fists. She smiled tightly to Trudy and they both left.

"Come on, Mel. We're going to my place for a minute. I've got to pick up something and then we can get a bite to eat. Okay?"

Mel was quiet as she fell into step with the archaeologist. She wasn't too sure what had gone on in Jan's office, but she couldn't ignore the tension that was in the air. Confident that Janice would fill her in as to exactly what was going on, she merely nodded.

Both women blinked rapidly as they exited the cool somewhat darkened interior of the museum into the full glare and heat of the sun.

Jan took Mel's hand as she lead her away from the museum, down through the bazaar once again, towards her room. Mel felt the warmth and smoothness of the woman's hand. Funny how they felt somehow familiar and gentle, irrespective of the callused palms and fingers.

"Come on, Mel. It's this way." She slowly began removing her hand from the southerners and noticed that Mel was somewhat reluctant do release her hand. A look passed between the women and Mel smiled.

Jan winked and grabbed her hand once again. Mel felt a giddiness overtake her. Every other passionate moment in her life, whether it was a kiss or a beau's errant hand wandering over her breast, paled in comparison to what she was feeling, right now with Jan.

She'd spent the wee early hours of the morning trying to sort out her feelings for the woman. What had seemed rather boorish at first, began to take on a different light when looked at from another angle.

She knew what Jan was feeling. She recognised the look of lust in the woman's eyes. She'd had to be honest with herself regarding her own feelings about this...matter. Everytime Jan looked at her, touched her, spoke her name, Mel felt a chord plucked within her. She could no longer deny the mounting attraction she was feeling for the woman.

She had decided that, although she didn't know *why* it felt natural, she was going to go with this feeling. She had found her dreams invaded with images of the two of them together. She had been wearing a black dress made of leather and Jan had been in some sort of skimpy outfit, looking very alluring. They had kissed, had caressed each other to such heights of passion and then had made slow wonderous love on the leafy floor of some unnamed forest.

Mel had awakened after a brief six hours of sleep totally refreshed and at ease with her burgeoning feelings.

As Jan led her friend to where she had rooms, Mel was struck with the squalor and the overpowering stench. There seemed to be some sort of animal paddock at the rear of the building. How Jan could stand it was an indication of her stalwart personality.

They stumbled up some rickety stairs and made their way to a battered door.

Jan placed a well aimed kick at her door and it popped open. She held it for Mel and closed it securely behind them, placing the back of a chair under the knob.

"Keys don't work. Um, I usually just jam a chair under the door knob on the this side. Works like a charm." she said sheepishly.

Jan slowly made her way across the darkened minefield that had been her home for a lonely month until she reached the other side of the room. She felt along the wall until she located the window and pulled back the dreary curtains. Not much more than rags, really, simply nailed to the top of the window. Funny how Janice had never noticed that before.

Mel wasn't really aware of anything other than how the light was filtering through Jan's hair. It was only 11:00 in the morning but already a breeze was starting to blow. The stale air from the room began to dissipate, albeit much too slowly for the southerner.

Jan turned to say something off handed to her friend. Whatever it had been died on her lips as she found her eyes locked onto those of Melinda Pappas.

"You were gonna...I mean, in your office....weren't you?" Mel stuttered.

"Yeah, I guess I was. Gonna. You know, kiss ya." Both women inched closer to each other, slowly being trapped in the orbit of a stronger force.

"Well, are ya? Still gonna, I mean. Kiss me?" Mel almost gasped at herself. How totally brazen of her! She could barely conrol the raging lust that coursed through her veins.

Jan slowly eased her jacket off, letting it drop to the floor. Her hat soon followed. When Mel was right before her, Jan placed one hand on the woman's cheek and withdrew Mel's glasses with the other. She looked up into the bluest eyes she had ever seen. The glasses seemed to find their way into a jacket pocket.

Mel bent over and gently placed her lips over Jan's. The kiss was sweet and so very nice. They kissed again, finding this one full of promise, full of passion. Jan reached up and pulled herfingers through the woman's thick dark hair, letting it cascade down over her shoulders. Never once did their lips part for more than a quick breath of much needed air.

Jan felt a funny sensation which reminded her of how she'd woken up that morning. The room as spinning and she felt Very disoriented but suddenly very happy.

With much reluctance, they broke their kiss but still held each other's embrace. Jan's hands were softly placed around Mel's waist and they caressed her, ever so softly, trying to memorize every curve she could feel.

Mel's hands were caught up in the golden hair before her. They caressed the tangles away and gently moved from neck to shoulder and back again.

Jan moved in once more and captured the southerner's lips, smothering them with her own. She sucked in the woman's lower lip, pulling back before claiming them again. A ragged moan emitted from Mel's throat. She had never experienced such bliss! It was all encompassing! It all felt so right! It also began to feel so hot!

She pulled herself away from the sensuous lips just as Jan was beginning to let her questing tongue seek entrance into Mel's mouth.

"Uh. My. Goodness. I, ah. Well. That was....lovely. I mean, yes...lovely." She leaned in and hungrily kissed the lips before her. Before Janice knew what was happening, it was her mouth that was being invaded, being probed, being ravished. Her hands moved up and gently cupped Mel's breasts. Her fingers moved under the jacket and began squeezing the hardening nipples.

"Oh my God!" cried Mel as she shrugged out of her jacket. Her neck was immediately covered in wet kisses and nips as Jan made her way down to the base of her throat.

Mel's eyes were wild. Her breath was coming in gasps. Her hands tightening around Jan's shoulders and she forcefully pushed the woman away. She drew in a deep breath.

"Oh my, Jan. We'd better....stop. I don't want this...."

"Oh fuck." she said, removing her hands. "What am I...I'm, I'm sorry. What the hell am I doing? Of course you don't want this. I'm such a.." Mel looked at her friends reddened face and finished off what she was trying to say.

"No! No, Jan. That is not what I was gonna say, now. I want you. My word. I do. I can feel it in my bones. Janice Covington, you are positively addictive! Even with that longshoreman's mouth!"

" Yeah, I know. I have some pretty colourful language." Jan took Mel's hands in her own and pressed them to her lips.

"Why did you stop? If you want this as much as I do, why?" Jan began moving into Mel's arms once again, trying to pick up where they had left off.

"Janice! Please? Stop. I don't want our first time to be rushed. Shabby. Awkward. I have so many complicated feelings washing over me right now. None of which has anything to do with how I feel about I just don't wanna rush this. Okay?"

Jan didn't say anything. She didn't move a muscle. Her brain, however, was working overtime. Sure, she thought, this was no place to make love. With the cruddy scotch bottles all over the floor. The smell of sweat and urine wafting through the hallway. She glanced over at her bed. It lay rumpled and sad looking. Hardly a place she wanted this beautiful woman to lay her head down on.

"Coming on too fast, huh? A bit overpowering, right? Gee. I'm really sorry, Mel. I never thought. I mean, I did think but then...well, yeah, yer right. I guess maybe I got my signals wrong. Maybe if I get cleaned up abit...and not here in this hole, that's for sure." She dropped her hands and slowly twisted her own shirttails. She snorted rather self-depreciatively and backed up a step. And then another.

Jan's mind positively screamed! How could she have possibly misinterpreted Mel's body language? It had felt so..right!

Jan had never felt more ashamed of herself in her whole life. A half-formed image of someone, a teenage, tried to poke its way to the front of her mind. Strong emotions of self loathing and unworthiness washed over Janice and she began to look quite panic-stricken.

Melinda Pappas, southern bell from a high class family, a family with money and position suddenly felt lower than a snake's belly. She threw her hand up over her mouth and gasped. Tears began running down her face as she slowly advanced on the rapidly retreating woman before her.

"Oh, no! Jan, please. I didn't mean it...that way! I...I." she stammered, trying to find the right words to fix things.

"I'm not gonna say I wouldn't notice the..condition this room is in. I'm not gonna say I wouldn't be offended by the horrid smells. I am saying that I want you, yes want you badly, Janice Covington, but I want you to be surrounded by all the beauty I think you deserve. I want to surround you with softness and light. I want to with you. But in a soft, clean, *large* bed." Mel finished her plea with a gentle smile playing on her lips.

Mel hardly recognized her own voice. She sounded so...brazen, erotic! Her hands trembled and she willed them down to her sides.

Jan blinked once and then once again. She pushed the strange image from her mind. This beautiful woman wanted her! Making love all night long. Oh, she could and would do better than that! And all the beauty 'she' deserved?! Hell, Jan didn't think she deserved the beauty in front of her let alone a big, clean beautiful bed, to boot.

In one bright shining moment, Jan saw her discomfort for what it was: a silly matter of pride. That it might possibly cost her the love of this fine woman struck her to the very core. She saw clearly that Mel meant no disrespect to her. She only disliked the surroundings. And as Jan herself had pointed out, she hadn't picked this room out because she liked it. Hell, she even kept the lights out so she wouldn't have to look at it! She wasn't happy about her surroundings. She never cared a lick before today. Well, suddenly it mattered. A whole hell of a lot.

She swallowed her hurt pride and slowly bent over and picked up Mel's disgarded jacket. Jan rifled through some books and came up with a few rather crumpled bills. Counting quickly, she paused for only a moment before showing the complete amount into her pants' pocket. She dusted Mel's jacket off and placed it around the woman's shoulders. She smiled and stroked Mel's cheek. She pulled the woman's hand towards the door and bent over, snatching up her own coat as they left the dingy room.

They made their way through the busy market square, managing to avoid even the most persistant hawker. Just as Jan was making a bee line for a reputable hotel, she noticed a familiar face. She couldn't quite place the man. Certain that it would come to her sooner or later, she put it out of her mind. She did, after all, have other 'pressing' things on her mind.

Speaking in rapid Greek, she ordered a tall cold drink for Mel and chose a demitasse for herself. She solicitously wiped off the proffered chair for her lady friend and they both settled down in a comfortable silence.

Funny how she now thought of Mel Pappas. It was almost as if she were now courting her. Well, hell! That is exactly what she was doing. This was going to take some strategy, she thought. Being on the other end of some pretty smooth talkers, Jan had managed to pick up some rather romantic moves. She intended on wooing and winning the gorgeous Melinda. Her eyebrow arched unnoticed as she thought of all the posibilities.

"Why, Jan. What in the world would make you drink such an awfully distasteful thing? It must be at least 100 degrees in the shade, after all!" Mel tried to fan herself by fluffing her jacket a little. She blew an errant hair out of her face. Now she wished her hair were back up in the bun she usually wore.

Jan removed her fedora and fanned the air around her friend's face. Watching Mel's blouse moving back and forth, showing tantilizing pieces of glorious flesh, was driving her insane! She took a deep pull of her Greek coffee and jumped in surprise.

"Yeoww!" She quickly placed the small cup down on the table and pushed herself away.

"Jeez! I just burned my goddamned lip! Fer crying out loud!" A string of expletives came rushing out of Jan's mouth. They were quickly silenced as soft fingers were placed over them. Mel leaned over and stroked the scalded lips before her.

"Oh, no. We can't have those...luscious...lips of yours damaged now, can we?" Mel's pupils were very large and her cheeks flushed.

Jan's tongue snaked out from between her lips and slowly sucked Mel's two digits into her hot mouth. The world seemed to stop spinning at that moment. The movement of air ceased and everyone, everything around them, faded away.

Mel's face lost all colour and she looked ready to fall face first into the table. Jan quickly removed the woman's fingers and began slapping the back of Mel's hand.

"Mel. Melinda, honey? Come on back to me, Mel. Come on, can't have you fainting right here now, can we?"

Mel realized she hadn't been breathing and took a deep gasp. She shook her head and blinked rapidly. The only coherent thought she had was that she liked it when Jan called her Melinda.

"My goodness, Janice! I do believe I'm gonna leave a puddle behind me when I can get off this chair! I never...I mean, just...take my...breath...away." She trailed off mindlessly. Various images of Jan kissing her, probing her mouth with that tongue! came to mind.

The surroundings spun dizzily once more. Mel slowly expelled her breath and looked across at the person who was becoming the most important thing in her life. She had never, ever felt like this. This was what the poets talked about. This

Jan stood up, bring her friend up with her.

"Come on. Lets get out of here. I know this great place out by the lake. We can check out...the journal. The view is really breathtaking. I think you'll like it."

"I'm sure to, Jan." She dug her shakey hands back into her purse and brought out the journal. Funny how its importance seemed to have dwindled, just within the past thirty-six hours.

"Look Mel. I guess you know how I feel. I want you so bad I can taste it. I know you wanna wait...for the right time. I need to be alone with you, alright? I won't...well, try anything you don't want. Okay?"

She clenched the muscles in her jaw tightly. "If you knew how hard it was for me NOT to kiss you right now...."

Part 2 (Conclusion)

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