Impulse: Book Three: Full Steam Ahead by Mezzo

Impulse: Book Three: FULL STEAM AHEAD
by Mezzo

 Part 3 in the Impulse Series
INSTALLMENT ONE

The glass door slowly slid open as the tall sleek figure quietly entered the shower. A thick cloud of steam shrouded the bathroom leaving the air heavy with humidity. The dark haired woman closed in on her unsuspecting prey as the sound of the shower’s spray pounded against the shower floor. Long slender fingers glided across hot drenched skin and the petite blonde leaned back into long protective arms. The two wet hot bodies began to sway against each other and the shorter woman reached up behind her to bring the taller woman’s mouth down to kiss the expanse of her neck. She could feel her lover’s hand make its slow torturous journey down to her sopping wet center and long fingers begged for entrance.

Brrring, Brrring…Brrring, Brrring.

“No…No…No.” Not wanting to wake from her sleep induced fantasy, a hand groped at the offending sound wanting nothing more than to project it across the room. Slowly gaining consciousness, her body still tingled from the effects of her very provocative dream.

BRRING, BRRRING…

All right already. “Hello?” Brett’s voice answered in a sleepy haze.

“Hi sleepy head.” A low seductive voice answered on the other end.

“Uh…Who is this?” Still not quite awake, but well aware who was on the line. She would recognize the voice even if she were unconscious.

“You mean you don’t know?” The voice purred into the receiver.

“You know if my girlfriend finds out that you keep calling here, she’s going to be very upset.” Brett was still feeling very aroused from her dream and hearing her lover’s voice on the phone just amplified its effects.

“Really? If she was any kind of a girlfriend, she wouldn’t leave you all alone in that big bed by yourself this early in the morning.”

Victoria smiled thinking about the love of her life sprawled across the length of the bed. In the last month, Tori found that although Brett was a very petite woman, no bed was big enough for her. Tori would always wake up to find herself teetering precariously close to the edge of the bed with a very beautiful Brett pinning her in place almost fully on top of her.

“I’m sorry but I don’t remember mentioning I was alone.”

Tori snapped out of her reverie. The statement caused her to cringe in jealousy. Hesitantly she replied, “Really?…well maybe I should call you later?” Her voice sounding stilted.

Brett could hear the hurt in Tori’s voice and thought she had better do some damage control. And quick. Looking across the bed, she could not help but smile. There lying on Tori’s side of the bed was her furry friend.

********

They had been staying at Tori’s family estate in South Hampton for the last month. Tori had offered to help take care of her older brother Ian’s kids, while he and his wife took a much needed vacation in Colorado. Brett would visit with her grandparents, write, or teach once the Spring Semester started while Tori went to conquer the world at Hull Enterprises. In the evenings, they would entertain Tori’s nephew, Marcus and little baby Dominique Elizabeth. Brett had learned many things about Tori in the last month and if it was possible, had fallen even deeper in love with her. All the qualities that Brett loved about Tori seemed to have blossomed and she found herself drawn even more to the woman that had always captured her heart.

After the kids were asleep, they would spend quiet evenings together talking over a candlelit dinner or exploring each other in the privacy of Tori’s bedroom. Their lovemaking was very intense and often times lasted well into the morning. Brett had often worried that Tori would be unable to function properly at work but somehow their relationship supplied a vital energy to both of them. As the month dwindled down, they slowly but surely became more at ease with one another. Not that they ever really had a problem with that. As the days unfolded, the bond that they shared intensified. Their connection spilled over into their work, giving them much satisfaction and each supplied the other with the love and support they had craved for so many years.

The weekend before Ian and Pamela were due to return, Brett and Tori took the kids to the city to enjoy the sites and bring the kids to FAO Schwartz. Brett laughed as Tori left behind her corporate persona and morphed into a kid again. She jetted around like a child with little Marcus following playfully behind. She bought a wide array of toys for her niece and nephew, many of which the kids would not be able to enjoy for quite some time. She argued that Dominique Elizabeth and Marcus were just as brilliant as she was and would be using the toys in no time flat, although Brett suspected many of the play things were for her six-foot overgrown baby.

“Whatever you say honey….” Brett patronized Tori. “I can’t wait to see Pamela and Ian’s face when they see the miniature Harley Davidson Motorcycle you bought for Marcus. I’m sure that’s gonna go over really well.”

“Sweetie….You know how important family is to me. By getting this bike, I’m insuring that Marcus and I will spend much needed family time together when he gets older.” Tori had a big smile on her face.

“Oh really? And how does that work exactly?” Brett inquired.

“Well in the summers when he gets old enough, we can take our bikes out and I’ll show him the subtle art of cruising chicks. The girls dig motor bikes and I happen to have a Harley Davidson Heritage Road King Classic in Purple and Diamond Ice.” Tori wiggled her eyebrows and gave Brett a shit-eating grin.

“You most certainly will not.” Brett responded in outrage. “At least not if you want to continue seeing me. All your cruising days are over, Buddy. The only rides you are taking are with me. Do I make myself clear?” Brett’s hackles were up and Tori loved to get a rise out of her whenever she could.

“Is that so?” Tori stepped closer to Brett. Slowly she lifted her hand and ran her fingers across Brett’s lips. If they weren’t in the middle of the huge toy store, Tori would have given Brett a very thorough kissing.

Brett could feel her heartbeat pick up and swallowed, “Yeah, it is. I plan to keep you so satisfied, the thought of someone else kissing these lips won’t even enter your mind.” Brett reached up and traced her finger over the outline of Tori’s soft pink lips, down her chin, and stopped at the top button of the blouse that Tori was wearing.

Tori’s body screamed for attention as Brett turned the tables on her. Feeling a tug on her hand, she looked down to find Marcus waiting impatiently to get his playmate back.

Tori leaned over and whispered into Brett’s ear. “When we get home, I plan on collecting on that promise.”

Tori bent over, picked up her nephew, and ran off again leaving a very flustered Brett standing beside baby Dominique who was sleeping peacefully in the stroller.

******

Brett walked around the huge store going down memory lane. Her parents used to take them to FAO Schwartz when they were kids. They would come into the city and watch the Christmas Show at Radio City Music Hall, and then go to Rockefeller Center to go ice-skating. They would check out the windows at Saks and Tiffany’s and then head over to the toy store. Her favorite part of the store was the Barbie doll section. They had the largest collection on the planet starting with some very rare and expensive dolls. And of course the latest models.

Brett saw the life size keyboard. It was displayed on the floor so customers could step on it. She did a little tap dance on it and giggled. She took the escalator upstairs and pulled out her camera. She took a picture of the famous ball mechanism in the front of the store and the face of the clock. She turned and saw the various array of toys, and characters she had never seen before. So caught up in her musings over her childhood at the store, she did not see the two little boys careening toward her totally unattended.

“Hey watch out!” A man screamed trying to warn Brett of the impending accident.

Brett’s eyes snapped up as she saw the boys coming straight for her. She quickly pushed herself and Dominique out of the way, as the sales associate and the kids ran past and barreled into a display. Brett shook her head and gave the salesperson a sympathetic look.

“This must be a really wonderful place to work.” Brett said to the young man. His face riddled with fatigue and exasperation.

“Yeah right. If you’ll excuse me I have two boys I have to kill.” He ran over to the kids and quickly separated them.

“Where are your parents?” The kids pushed and shoved one another and again the man tried to position himself between them. The man looked at Brett and she quickly came to his aid.

“Is there anything I can do?” Brett offered. Seeing the man was losing the battle.

“I have to find their parents. Could you get one of the other associates to announce if anyone’s lost these lovely children?” The man rolled his eyes and Brett understood completely.

A few minutes later, an announcement came over the store P.A. system: “If anyone has lost two children please come to the Gundam Wing display on the second floor. That would be the display that is literally on the floor.”

Brett went back to the man and, just as she got there, a screeching voice carried across the area.

“Jonathan and Andrew!! How many times have I told you to behave yourself?” The woman gave her children a menacing look. “Wait till we get home and your father hears about this.” The woman turned to the man with an apologetic look. “I’m so sorry for the trouble. They can be quite a handful.”

The man looked at the woman and with as much of a smile as he could muster, he replied, “It’s quite alright ma’am. I see this everyday. Kids can’t help themselves. It’s like Disney World in here and they think it’s a big playground.”

He handed her children over and the kids slumped over to their mother knowing that they were in big trouble.

“Well thank you anyway. I think it’s time to go.” The woman took the boys’ hands and yanked them towards the escalator. They could hear the mother yelling at her kids all the way out the door.

Brett turned to leave and was stopped by the salesperson.

“Hey, thanks for helping me. I really appreciate it.” The man looked at Brett’s hand and saw she was not wearing a ring.

Man she’s gorgeous, too bad she has a kid. “Umm. I think I owe you for saving my life with those two.”

“It was nothing, really. You must see that type of thing all the time?” Brett turned her head in the direction of the departing woman and kids.

“Yeah, it doesn’t take much. A parent turns their head for a second and their kids go running off.” The man lowered his head and scuffed his shoe on the rug. “She really should be more careful, this being New York and all.”

“I know. I don’t know what I’d do if I lost my child. I’d probably go nuts.” Brett rocked the stroller a little and the man peered in to see the sleeping babe.

“Well you seem to be doing okay. She’s beautiful.” The man looked at Brett and there was a little twinkle in his eye.

Oh boy, I think I have an admirer. “Yes she is. She’s a real sweetie.”

“How old is she?” The man took in Brett’s long blond hair and shapely body.

“Umm, she’ll be three month’s on the 15th.” Brett looked at the man. He had wavy light brown hair and light brown eyes. He was slightly taller than Tori but in addition, he was too skinny for Brett’s liking. That is if she was interested in men. He had a nice smile and a very warm personality.

“Really? Well you look incredible for just delivering a baby a few months ago.” The man gave Brett an appreciative look and winked.

Brett almost rolled her eyes but controlled the urge. Instead, she gave him a polite smile. “Oh thanks. But she’s not mine. She’s my girlfriend’s niece. We stopped in here with her niece and nephew.”

The man not understanding the use of the word girlfriend continued. “Oh, well it’s a good day for it.” The man looked nervous and obviously had something he wanted to say. He held out his hand, “My name’s Peter.”

“It’s nice to meet you Peter. I’m Brett.” She returned the handshake and looked around hoping to find Tori coming to her rescue.

“Umm, I’m getting off in a little while. I don’t suppose, you would let me take you and your friend out to dinner? So I can thank you for saving my life.” Peter looked at Brett hopefully.

“Thanks, but I don’t think my friend…. that is my girlfriend would appreciate it.” Brett emphasized “girlfriend” that time and she could see understanding spread across the sales associate’s face.

“Oh, I see…well…ah…it was still really nice to meet you. Thanks again for coming to my rescue.”

“You’re very welcome and it was nice meeting you too.” Brett gave Peter one last smile and turned to search for her own missing companions.
INSTALLMENT TWO

A few minutes later Brett caught up with her two runaways and found Tori and Marcus sitting beside a huge plush Gund gorilla. It had black hair, blue eyes, and a goofy smile on its face. Tori’s eyes sparkled and met Brett’s as she approached.

Tori patted the carpeted floor beside her and motioned Brett to join them. “Does he remind you of anyone?”

“Yeah. You, you big lug.” Brett teased. She turned the stroller to face them and checked to make sure Dominique was still asleep. Tori peeked into the stroller as well and ran her hand over Dominique’s smooth forehead and soft fuzzy hair. Once Dominique was safely in place, Brett plopped down on the floor and crossed her legs. She took in the various animals and laughed at the one that Tori had her arm around.

“You know that’s exactly what I was thinking. You see… we are perfect for each other. Great minds think alike.” Tori lifted the Gorilla and offered it to Brett. Brett sat the Gorilla in front of her and ran her hand down its cool soft hair.

Tori watched as Brett caressed the Gorilla’s face and her heart warmed at Brett’s gentle touch. Tori took her hand and rubbed Brett’s back, wanting desperately to make some sort of contact with her lover. “Brett, I was going to tell you this later. But I guess now is just as good a time as any. I have to go to L.A. on Monday and I’ll be gone for about a week, possibly longer. Ian and Pamela are coming back on Monday also, so our time at the Hamptons is coming to a close.” She looked at Brett and they both shared a sad look.

Tori had really enjoyed being with Brett this past month and really didn’t want to see it end. They would be going back to their separate homes in the city. Tori had originally wanted to prolong the courtship process. Wining and dining Brett. However, their feelings for one another were undeniable and they had connected on every level. Tori knew that she would never want anyone else but Brett but she was not sure if Brett was ready for that kind of commitment with her. They had only been together a month and Tori did not want to rush Brett into anything she was not ready for.

Brett watched the faint lines of tension around Tori’s eyes and the small set in her jaw. She knew that the trip was going to be just as hard for Tori as it was for her. She thought about Tori going away and her heart hurt at the thought of it. She knew that Ian and Pamela would eventually return. But she couldn’t help but imagine what life would be like with Tori on a full time basis. In the last month, they had easily made the transition from estranged friends to intimate lovers and Brett felt she had finally found what she was looking for. With Ian and Pamela’s return, it meant that the fantasy was over and they would have to get back to their separate homes in the city. Brett sighed. She could feel her mood change from happiness to melancholy. How can I wake up and not see Tori’s face every morning or welcome her home every night? Brett instinctively moved closer to Tori’s side so their knees touched and put her hand on Tori’s thigh.

“Oh honey, I’m going to miss you terribly.” Brett’s eyes threatened to fill with tears and Tori could feel her own building.

“I know baby. I feel the same way.” Tori gave Brett’s hand a squeeze and took a quick look to make sure Marcus was okay. He was enjoying his new found stuffed friends and was quite entertained at the moment. Tori returned her attention back to her lover. “I’m sorry sweetie. Where was I?” Tori made a show of thinking very hard, scratching her head and placing her index finger on her lips in thought. Brett couldn’t help but fall for Tori when she displayed her playful side. “Ah yes. I got it. I was thinking, maybe I could buy this big guy here to keep you company while I’m gone. Only on a temporary basis, mind you. As soon as I get back, he’s outta there. Whaddya say? Could you use a little “monkey love” while I’m away?” Tori’s face lit up in a big smile and they both fell back on the floor in laughter. When they laughed themselves to tears and finally composed themselves, they sat back up. Tori turned to Brett and brought a hand up to caress her cheek. She was glad that she was able to make Brett laugh and waited for her fair-haired beauty to respond to her silly question.

“I guess if I can’t have the real thing, he’ll have to do.” Brett didn’t care who saw, she reached over and gave Tori a quick peck and buried herself in Tori’s arms.

“I love you.” Tori whispered in Brett’s ear and rubbed her back.

“I love you too. You don’t know how much this last month has meant to me.” Tori could hear Brett’s voice crack and could feel a lump grow in her throat.

“I know honey. It’s been a dream come true for me. When I get back, I think you and I need to have a little talk.” Tori pulled back a little and lifted Brett’s face to meet her own. She hoped her words were understood and Brett nodded her head when their eyes met. They knew that they would soon be making a scene so they unhappily released their embrace.

Marcus was busy playing with the large array of stuffed animals and was oblivious to the scene that his aunt and her girlfriend were making. His eyes were bright with wonder at all the life size stuffed animals that lay before him. He was laughing until a big elephant toppled over and pinned him on the floor.

Tori reached over and helped her nephew from his predicament. “Hey buddy, what’s up? The big bad elephant fall on you.”

She lifted the elephant and put it back in its standing position.

Marcus stood up. His face was red and his eyes were threatening to overflow. He stared at the elephant and scrunched up his face. “Ba efant.”

Tori and Brett looked at each other and snickered. Marcus’ face lit up when he heard his playmates laughing. Waddling over to them, he made himself comfortable and sat halfway on each of their laps, happy to be safe from the offending elephant.

After a few moments of playing with a few more toys, Tori turned to Brett and picked up Marcus. “What do you say we go and purchase this big guy then?” Tori winked at Brett and they shared a loving look. They both knew that they were too far gone to turn back now and neither wanted to even try.

“Sounds like a good idea. As it is, it will take us at least an hour to pay for everything you’ve picked out.” Brett teased Tori. The tall executive’s face filled with a very becoming blush and she shrugged her shoulders. Tori knew she had gone overboard but didn’t care. She knew how fragile life could be, how important it was to take advantage of the time one was given with the people you loved. She would spoil them if she wanted to and no one would tell her any different.

******

It had indeed taken a while for them to ring up their purchases and even longer to arrange for delivery. With all arrangements made, they were finally on their way out the door.

Just as they were out on the street, Tori heard Brett’s name being called.

“Honey I think that man’s trying to get your attention.” Tori pointed in the direction of the store.

They watched as Peter put on his coat running to catch up to them.

“Hey, you’re just leaving?” He looked down at Brett and nodded to Tori.

“Yeah. We bought a bunch of things. It took us awhile.” Brett responded sarcastically looking at Tori.

Tori saw Brett roll her eyes and she chose to ignore her lover.

“I’m Peter.” He held out his hand and Tori took it.

“I’m Tori.” She didn’t have a clue who this guy was. But Brett obviously knew him.

“Brett saved my life from a bunch of out of control kids. She was great.” He smiled appreciatively at Brett and Tori immediately noticed Peter’s interest in her.

Trying to control her jealousy, she smiled warmly at him. “Yeah that’s Brett. Always coming to someone’s rescue. She’s wonderful that way.” Tori gave Brett an appreciative look of her own and Brett immediately felt the blood rush to her face.

Peter could see the look of love on Brett’s face and knew he didn’t have a chance. Taking a quick look at Tori, he finally saw how stunning she was as well. Just my luck. I see two of the most beautiful women I have ever seen in my life today and they’re together.

“Yes I can see that. Well, don’t let me hold you up. You two have a great weekend.” He ran across the street when he saw a break in the traffic and waved one last time.

Tori turned to her partner and shook her head. “I can’t leave you alone for a minute. I turn my back and men are throwing themselves at you.” Tori knew that many found Brett irresistible. And who could blame them? Even the sometimes-stoic future CEO of Hull enterprises was not immune to the beautiful Brett Montgomery’s charms.

“Well that’s the hazards of the job, Miss Hull. You still want it?” Brett batted her eyes and resisted the urge to run her lips across the inviting red ones in front of her.

“Oh yeah. Consider the position permanently filled.” Tori on the other hand did not have the same control that Brett displayed. She bent down and happily kissed Brett in front of everyone on this busy Manhattan Street. Finally breaking away from their intense lip lock, Tori waved for Gibeau to bring the car around and they quickly got in. They placed Dominique and Marcus in their car seats and Gibeau placed the stroller in the trunk. They sank back into the plush leather seats, happy to be finally on their way home
INSTALLMENT THREE

Brett snapped out of her thoughts when she heard Tori clear her throat. She didn’t know how long she had Tori holding but it couldn’t have been that long.

“No, you don’t have to call back. That is really not necessary. I will just have to explain to Magilla that our time will soon be over. That my girlfriend will be coming back soon and then there will be no more room in my bed for him.” Tori had placed an old jersey of hers on him, making sure she sprayed him with her perfume before she left.

“Magilla? Who is…?” Tori’s face lit into a huge smile as she remembered her gift to Brett. You are such a goof ball Victoria Hull.

“Oh…… Magilla… Well you had better tell him to pack his bags. Because I’m certainly not going to share my side of the bed with him also. I can hardly keep from falling off as it is.” Tori snickered knowing Brett would not be happy with her last statement.

Brett practically glowed hearing that Tori and she would be sharing a bed. She was afraid that once they returned to the city they would be spending many nights at their own homes. “Excuse me Miss Hull… Are you saying I hog the bed? I thought I explained this to you already?” Brett knew she had a habit of squirming around when she slept. She couldn’t help it if Tori’s body was like a magnet to her.

“Honey, I don’t think your excuse of protecting me from the ‘Boogie Monster’ is going to work anymore.” Tori really didn’t mind Brett snuggling up to her. There was no better feeling in the world than having the love of your life sleeping in your arms or on top of you, as most often was the case.

“Well how ’bout ‘I’m doing my service to the world’?” Brett replied.

“Your ‘service to the world’? How is you sleeping on top of me at night provide a service to the world?” Tori loved how her little writer could always put a spin on things. Brett would have made a great lawyer like the rest of her family.

“Well are you or are you not, a top executive and a future CEO of an international company?” Brett inquired.

“Miss Montgomery… I don’t see what you are getting at?” Tori smiled and turned her chair to look out of the window of her L.A. office. She had noticed how different the atmosphere was in L.A. and how different the weather was. She couldn’t wait till she was back on the east coast. She was a New Yorker at heart and liked the idea of four seasons. It didn’t hurt that the woman she loved with all her heart lived there as well. An image of Brett’s face filled her head and a warm ache pounded in her chest. She loved everything about Brett and thought she was so adorable when she was in a playful mood.

“I’m going to have to ask you to answer the question with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’, Miss Hull.” Brett snapped at Tori leaving no room for argument.

“But I don’t see why…….” Brett interrupted Tori before she could finish her thought.

“‘Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury……….. let it be known that Miss Victoria Hull is a hostile witness.'” Brett stifled a laugh when she heard Tori sigh on the other end.

“Miss Hull……. I’m going to ask you again, are you or are you not a top executive of an international company.” Brett repeated.

“Yes.” Tori answered simply then muttered under her breath. “This is irrelevant.” Just loud enough so Brett could her hear.

“Did you say something?” Brett asked. Knowing full well what Tori had said.

“No.”

“Well good…The point I am trying to make is…” Brett heard Tori say “Finally” on the other end.

Brett chose to ignore the comment, continuing even louder. “The point I am trying to make is…that since you are responsible for helping to run an international company that provides many jobs for people around the world, it is my duty to insure that you do not get cold in the middle of the night. I take my job very seriously and do not take kindly to people who make light of what I am trying to do.”

Tori pressed the mute button, fell forward onto her desk and laughed when she heard Brett’s excuse. She is too adorable.

“I see.” Tori replied releasing the mute button and tried her best to hide her amusement. “That is very noble of you. I must bring you up in the next board meeting. I’m sure everyone will be grateful to you for providing such a service to the company. I think your father will be especially pleased to know that……… since he’s on the board.” Tori heard Brett choke back a laugh when Tori mentioned her father.

“Oh that won’t be necessary. I have never been much for recognition. What I do, I do for the betterment of my soul and out of duty to the world.” Brett loved joking around with Tori. She never had to hide her feelings or put on an act. They had an easy affinity with each other. For as long as Brett could remember, they always possessed an unmistakable bond when they were children. For the past few years, she had been without this connection and she felt so blessed to be back where she knew she would always belong.

“Well I’m impressed. So if you are not too busy helping the world, do you think you would like to meet me at the airport tonight?” Tori had missed Brett terribly in the last week and had not gotten much sleep. During her time away, Tori had often found herself staring at the ceiling pondering how she had gotten so used to having Brett with her every night. Brett was now so deeply imbedded in her soul that any distance between them left her feeling empty without her.

“You’re coming home? I thought you weren’t coming home for another week?” Brett was so excited. She had not seen Tori for almost two weeks and was just about to go out of her mind with loneliness. The trip was only supposed to be for a week but then had to be extended indefinitely.

“Yeah I’m coming home. I finished up early and couldn’t stand to be away from you for another day. So what do you say? Do you want to meet me at the airport? I can have Gibeau pick you up before he comes to get me?” Tori’s heart picked up in anticipation of seeing Brett. All she wanted to do was scoop Brett up and hold her in her arms for as long as time allowed.

“Oh honey I’d love to but I have a book signing tonight at Doubleday on Fifth Ave. It is from 5 to 7p.m. . What time does your flight come in Sweetie?” Brett was disappointed that she could not meet Tori. Her book had hit the Bestseller List again and her publicist wanted to take advantage of this.

“I’m arriving at 6:oo. I could meet you there or we could meet some place for dinner?” Tori desperately wanted to see Brett. She would wait for Brett for hours if she had to. Ooh I could get my book signed. Looking over at the hard cover that sat on top of her desk, Tori reached over and ran her thumb over the picture of Brett on the back cover.

“Oh baby wild horses couldn’t keep me away from you. I was just dreaming about you before you called. For my own well being, I need to see you.” Brett’s voice oozed desire and it raced through the phone lines straight to Tori’s heart meeting the passion that Tori had for Brett.

“I need to see you too. I haven’t been able to sleep a wink since we’ve been apart and my body is humming with need for you. I want you so bad, I could almost taste you.” Tori’s words were making Brett’s body throb. If she didn’t have to get up soon she would take matters into her own hands. Brett turned to her side and pulled her legs up trying to get closer to the sound of Tori’s voice. If she could, she would climb through the line and fall into Victoria’s arms.

“Oh baby, you better try and take a nap on the flight home. Cause you won’t be getting much sleep tonight.” Brett loved being able to share her most wanton desires with Tori. Her relationship with Jenna always focused primarily on Jenna’s needs and, not necessarily, on what Brett wanted. When she was with Tori, she felt so pampered and loved. Tori allowed Brett to explore to her heart’s content. Yet at the same time, she attentively showered Brett with an endless barrage of sensations until the writer felt completely satisfied. Their lovemaking was truly a give and take leaving their souls lovingly entwined in one another.

“I’ll try honey. But you’ve got me so worked up, I don’t know if sleep is going to even be possible at this point. I love you so much I can’t wait to see you. I guess I’ll just have to find a way to survive for a few more hours.” Tori softly relayed.

“I love you too, like no one else in the world. I can’t wait to see you too. I’m kind of glad I have a book signing though. I’d probably go crazy counting the minutes. I’ll see you soon love.” Brett’s voice was like a soft spring breeze that swept through Tori’s heart.

She held on to the receiver until she heard Brett hang up. She had thought about Brett constantly in the past two weeks and had come to many decisions. She couldn’t wait to get home and put her plans into action. Every one of her plans had one important element: Brett Montgomery. A smile came to her face as she thought about the evening that lay ahead.
INSTALLMENT FOUR

Brett had signed so many books that her hand was starting to cramp up. She tried her best to give her fans as much attention as possible. She felt it was an honor to have her work recognized by so many. Their support and input had helped her get through some very rough times and she always reminded herself to not take them for granted.

It was close to 7:00 and time had gone by so quickly she didn’t realize it was almost time to finish and, most importantly, see Tori. With just a few more people in line, she was unaware of the blue eyes that were staring intently at her.

Getting something in her eye as the last person approached, without looking she held up her hand to give her a minute and bent down to get her eye drops out of her purse.

“I’m sorry. Sometimes my eyes get so dry at these signings with all the heat of the people and the air stirring around. Just give me a second.” Brett tilted her head back and placed the drops in her eyes. So involved in her task she didn’t notice the person who was standing in front of her.

“Ooh what a relief. I can’t tell you how good that feels.” She placed the drops back in her purse and got comfortable.

“Alright, thanks for your patience. Now how do you …Oh God.” Brett looked up and all the color in her face washed away. Brett sat back into her chair stunned.

“Hello Brett. It’s good to see you. You’re looking well.” Brett’s ex-girlfriend, Jenna Carlisle stood in front of her. They hadn’t seen each other in over four years and to say it wasn’t long enough for Brett was an understatement. The last time they were together was when Brett lay in Jenna’s arms beaten and unconscious.

Brett knew that Jenna had been released from the mental hospital two years ago. All reports of Jenna’s illness stated that her therapy had gone well. She was released with orders to continue her therapy sessions outside of the hospital. The doctors had informed Brett that there was nothing to worry about. Jenna was well on her way to recovery and would be able to lead a normal life.

“What are you doing here?” Brett said nervously, looking around to see if anyone was in the immediate vicinity.

“I’ve been following your career and have read all of your books. I got a list of your signing dates off the Internet and wanted to see you when you got to where I lived.” Jenna smiled. Brett didn’t return the gesture.

“I didn’t recall seeing Michigan on the list?” Brett figured Jenna had flown to New York purposely for this.

“No it wasn’t. I don’t live there anymore. I was offered a position in New York and live here now.” Jenna waited to see what Brett’s reaction was going to be.

“I see. Well, I wish you well. I really better be going.” Brett stood up and hurriedly gathered her things. She was about to step out from behind the table when Jenna stopped her.

“Get your hands off me.” Brett demanded. After her experience with Jenna, Brett enrolled in self-defense classes. She made a promise to herself to never feel vulnerable again.

Jenna released Brett’s arm and quickly stepped back not wanting to make Brett feel threatened.

“Wait Brett. I’m sorry I came here. It’s just I’ve had a lot of time to think about what I’ve done to you and I’ll forever be grateful to you for everything you’ve done for me. My life would be so different from what it is today if it wasn’t for you. I just wanted to come and thank you.”

“You don’t have to thank me. Excuse me.” Brett just wanted to get away.

“Please Brett. I know you hate me. But I really need to say what I have to say to you. Please?” Jenna looked at Brett and had a desperate look on her face.

Brett motioned with her hand for Jenna to continue. Brett’s face was emotionless. However, inside she just wanted to run.

“You’re the only person that ever took the time to help me. The only person that ever showed me what unconditional love was.” Jenna looked down at the floor and paused to get her thoughts in focus. “You see there isn’t a day that passes, that I don’t think about what I did to you. No matter what happens, I can never truly forgive myself for that.” Jenna stood there as tears cascaded down her face. The past four years had been a struggle. The demons that had haunted her tortured her every waking moment and crept into her nightmares as well. After many years of therapy and self-introspection, she found the love that she was seeking inside herself. Brett had offered her love and she came to understand that if someone as wonderful as Brett could love her, she must have had something in her that was worth loving.

“Your love, Brett, showed me the way to my salvation and I will always be indebted to you. I know you can never forgive me. I just wanted to at least tell you how grateful I am. You were always such a special person, Brett. It kills me to think that I may have taken that light away from you through my actions. I never wanted that to happen. I take full responsibility for everything I’ve done. It took me a long time to realize that just because people have hurt me does not give me the right to cause another pain. Thank you… Thank you for everything.” Jenna waited to see if Brett had anything to say. When she did not, Jenna picked up her book and was about to turn away when Brett stopped her.

“So you never told me how you wanted me to sign your book?” Brett gave Jenna a smile. It was not a big one but it was more than Jenna had expected.

“Well, ‘Fuck off, bitch!’ would probably be the most fitting.” Jenna gave Brett a quirky smile and the two bridged another obstacle in their recovery.

“That’s awfully tempting. But I think I can do a little better than that.” Brett reached out her hand to receive the book and thought for a moment. Opening the front cover, she wrote what she thought would finally put this nightmare to rest.

******
Jenna,

It’s hard to understand what fate has in store.
Especially when life’s tragedies are cast upon us.
Often times it is those who offer us the greatest struggle
That end up being our greatest teachers.
Don’t look upon the past with regret. Nor look to the future with anger or fear
See that which you have experienced and know you are better prepared for what lies ahead.

Many times, I have wished that I had never met you. Many hours I have spent wishing you harm.
However, after I allowed myself to feel the anger, I found I could let go of the pain.
Because of you, I have found the strength, the courage, and perseverance that lie within me and, more importantly, the
acceptance that only love of self can provide.

I now wish only good for those around me and though many may never understand my actions, only I know what I have gained.
Be Well. Be Happy. Be kind to yourself so you can be kind to others. And never lift a hand in anger to another soul again.

Brett

*****
Brett offered the book back to Jenna. Jenna opened the cover and read Brett’s inscription. Tears immediately came to her eyes. Never in her life did she expect to read the words that were presented to her.

“I don’t know what to say. Your capacity to forgive is astounding. I hope you have found happiness Brett. I truly do. I know I’m probably the last one you’d ever turn to but if you ever need anything, or you need a friend, know that I’ll always be there for you.” Jenna handed Brett a piece of paper with her work and home number, and address written on it.

“Thank you Jenna. Take care of yourself.” Brett offered Jenna her hand and Jenna took it.

No matter what happened, Jenna would always love Brett. She had the most beautiful woman in her life at one time and knew with all certainty that she had done nothing to deserve her.

Bringing Brett’s hand to her lips, she gentle kissed it. “Goodbye Brett. Maybe in time you and I might be friends again?”

“Goodbye, Jenna.” Brett responded without answering her question. Although Brett was willing to put this situation behind her, she wasn’t quite willing to have a relationship with Jenna anytime soon. She was only human after all.

Jenna looked at Brett in understanding and then turned to leave but her departure quickly halted. There in her path stood a very daunting Victoria Hull.
INSTALLMENT FIVE

Victoria raised an eyebrow and set her jaw. She had walked in just after Jenna had approached Brett. Waiting to see if there would be any trouble, she stood to the side so she could observe unseen but still close enough if Jenna tried anything. Victoria’s anger was very palatable; it was rolling off of her in controlled waves. She knew that Brett would not want her to take retaliation on Jenna and would want her to be as understanding as she was. For Brett she would do anything, overcome anything. Even her anger. However, she would not stand back and allow Jenna to come between Brett and her again.

Jenna looked up at the face that looked familiar to her. And yet it was different. The eyes jogged her memory. A laugh escaped Jenna’s mouth as she remembered who was standing before her.

“Victoria Hull isn’t it?” Jenna said with a mixture of hesitation and ambivalence.

“Yes, yes I am.” Victoria just stood there not wanting to say too much; afraid her anger would escape her.

Brett watched the exchange and knew she would have to defuse the situation. Walking past Jenna, Brett took her place beside Tori.

“Hi sweetie.” Brett reached up and pulled Tori down for a kiss knowing that Tori would relax once she felt Brett’s presence.

“Hi love. I’m just saying hello to Miss Carlisle. This is quite a surprise. What brings you here?” Victoria gave Jenna a no nonsense look. Unlike Jenna’s behavior years ago, Tori was the epitome of sophistication. She did not treat Brett as if she was a piece of property or mark her territory but gave Brett the respect she deserved. Brett had worked hard for her independence and Victoria was very proud of her.

“I came to congratulate Brett on her success and thank her for all that she had done for me. I’m not here to make a scene. I think Brett and I have been able to set aside some of the pain that we’ve experienced. That’s really all that I came here to do.” Jenna appraised the two women and, with a slight flash of anger in her eyes, she looked back at Tori. “Although, I must say it doesn’t surprise me to see you here in the least.” Jenna said, knowing that years ago Brett and Victoria had a strong attraction to each other. Many fights had ensued between Brett and Jenna because of her inability to control her jealousy of Victoria.

Tori did not take the bait and ignored Jenna’s comment. “Yes…..well Brett has made quite a name for herself. What she’s been able to do these past years is nothing short of remarkable. It’s amazing what she has been able to achieve, especially when faced with such adversity. She’s one of the strongest people I know.” Pride painted all across Victoria’s face. Unable to stop, Victoria embraced Brett and placed a gentle kiss on the top of her head.

Brett’s eyes glistened with tears of joy. Tori always made her feel so wonderful and her love surrounded her like a warm cocoon. The two lovers stared lovingly into each other’s eyes conveying all the love and respect they had for one another.

“Honey…… Jenna works and lives here in the city now.” Brett gave Tori a look of reassurance that said everything was okay.

“I see. Well I hope everything works out for you. For being such a large city, it can really feel like a small town. So I’m sure we’ll run into you again.” Victoria released Brett and took her hand. “Well love, are you ready to go?” Tori looked around the bookstore to make sure there weren’t any more fans waiting to have their books signed.

“Yeah, I just have to say goodbye to the store manager and my publicist. I’ll be right back.” Brett stretched up and gave Tori a kiss on the cheek.

Tori smiled and watched Brett walk towards a group of people talking. A look of adoration was plainly visible on her face as she took in Brett’s lilting gait. Her heart fluttered as she took in every curve and nuance of her partner. Victoria Hull was in love and there was just no denying that the little writer had totally captured her heart and soul. With a happy sigh, Tori resigned her self to her destiny and happily accepted her fate. Brett could do whatever she wanted to her and she would happily comply like a happy puppy. Tori had visions of falling to the floor and Brett rubbing her tummy. Ooh, she could scratch my tummy anytime, any place, anywhere. …….Ruff…. Snapping out of her daydream Tori remembered she was not alone. Turning towards Jenna, the happy smile on Tori’s face quickly disappeared replaced with a look that would disintegrate lead.

“Miss Carlisle, I can’t say that I’m pleased to see you. Brett recently informed me of what you did to her and believe me when I tell you…….. I am not as forgiving as Brett. She told me that you had received help and recovered from your problems. But I’m not so easily convinced. I don’t like you. And I certainly don’t trust you. Brett is the most precious person in the world to me. If I hear that you’ve bothered her in any way, I promise you…..you will live to regret it because I will make sure every second of your life is agony. I’m not the same person you met years ago and I will not walk away again. If you hurt her, you will pay this time.” Tori got right up in Jenna’s face to make sure her words were heard. “Make no mistake; I am a very powerful woman. Whatever you did to Brett will not even be a scratch compared to what you’ll have when I’m through. I hope I’ve made myself clear Miss Carlisle. Because unlike Brett …..I don’t believe in second chances.” Victoria allowed her dark side to surface. And a chill went up Jenna’s spine.

“Like I said I’m not here to cause any trouble. I truly just wanted to thank Brett for all that she has done for me. Although I’m pretty sure that Brett would not be too pleased to hear you talk like this…..” Jenna gave Victoria a smug look, and Tori turned when she heard Brett’s voice behind her.

“I’m sorry. But what wouldn’t I be pleased about?” Brett had heard the end tail of their conversation and knew it wasn’t friendly by the look on Tori’s face.

‘Why you little….’ “I was just informing Miss Carlisle that I would be watching her. I’m not as forgiving as you are my love and I was just warning her to be very careful. I know this might upset you, sweetheart, but I wanted to make myself very clear.” Tori saw the look of surprise on Jenna’s face. Weren’t expecting that now were you? You will not come between us. I promise you that. Tori gave Jenna a look that told her not to mess with her. “I’m not the same person I used to be back then, Jenna. Step out of line and you’ll truly see how different I am.” Tori gave Jenna a menacing look and this time the math teacher stepped back in fear.

“I see… Well I think we’ve sufficiently covered that subject and everyone has reached an understanding. Jenna….I’m glad you came here today. As Tori said, I’m sure we’ll see each other again. Take care.” Brett turned and looked up at her lover. “I believe you promised me dinner, love…….”

“I believe I did.” Tori took Brett’s hand and turned to go to the door, without as much as a goodbye to Jenna.

Jenna stood there watching as Brett and Tori walked hand in hand to the door. Jenna could feel her anger rise but used techniques that she had learned to control her temper. A part of her was seething with anger at Victoria Hull. Something about Victoria Hull always got to her. Maybe it was because Brett loved her so. Taking a few cleansing breaths, Jenna tried to get back some control as she had learned to do in therapy. Okay, so Brett is with Victoria. It still doesn’t mean I can’t try and win her back. I’ve changed; I know I can make her happy. If she could just give me another chance. She purposely did not tell Brett that she had gotten a position at Columbia University where Brett also taught. She did not want to scare Brett away before she had a chance to win her back.
INSTALLMENT SIX

Tori watched in wonder as Brett writhed in ecstasy. Brett moaned with every taste and every sip, lost in the sensation of every texture and nuance of the feast before her. Tori stared entranced as Brett enthusiastically enjoyed her appetizer and dipped again into the sauce. Tori thought for sure that Brett would reach a climax right there in the restaurant. Watching Brett eat was a lesson in pure unrestrained bliss. Tori licked her lips as Brett let out another satisfying moan, savoring yet another morsel that saw its end on Brett’s tongue. At the moment, Tori wished she was one of the very lucky Thai spring rolls. Reaching across the table Tori took Brett’s hand in her own trying to relieve the pressure that was building in her lower extremity any way she could.

“Baby, I can’t tell you what watching you eat does to me. I’ve missed you so much. You’re driving me mad.” She lifted Brett’s hand to her lips and tenderly kissed it.

“I’m sorry honey. I’m making a veritable pig of myself. I’m just so famished. I haven’t eaten all day and didn’t get a chance to grab a bite before the book signing. Not to mention how much I adore Thai food.” Brett gazed into Tori’s deep blue eyes lost in the sensation of the love that radiated there. The feel of Tori’s lips against her hand was successfully distracting her from her plate.

“Honey… you really shouldn’t skip meals if you can. I guess I’m going to have to make sure my sweetie gets at least three square meals a day. Can’t have you withering away to nothing, now can I?” Tori leaned over and whispered into Brett’s ear. “I love you and this beautiful body. I have a personal stake in making sure you are happy and healthy. I plan to spend the rest of my life ensuring that happens.” Tori ran her hand across Brett’s thigh under the table and then gave Brett a smile that sent warm soothing vibrations straight to Brett’s soul.

“I love you.” Brett whispered in return.

So wrapped up in the moment, they didn’t notice the other patrons in the restaurant staring at them. Although the two sat in the back of the restaurant, their connection still reverberated throughout the place. No one could ignore the energy that the two gave off whenever they were together. Though Tori and Brett tried to be discreet, no one could deny that the two women were very much involved.

“I love you too little one. I have spent way too many years to experience my life without you. And now that we’re together, I plan to cherish every moment. I love you so very much Brett.” Brett blushed and lowered her head feeling like a schoolgirl in love.

Tori smiled and lifted Brett’s face to meet hers. “I thank my lucky star everyday for having brought you back to me. And I will never take you for granted. You are very, very, very, special to me. You do know that don’t you?” Tori ran her thumb across Brett’s cheek.

“I do. I feel the same way, Tori. What you and I share is so incredible, I sometimes can’t believe how truly blessed I am. You have this way of making me feel so very loved. And the emotions you are able to bring up in me are so intense. I thought I’d experienced every part of myself, until you came back and showed me I hadn’t even scratched the surface. I want to spend the rest of my life taking care of you and ensuring that you are well loved, also.” Brett reached under the table and placed her hand over Tori’s. The two knew that they both wanted to go home and enjoy their connection. The waiter brought their entrees to the table interrupting the moment.

“Ooh this looks great.” Brett’s eyes grew wider as the rest of the meal was placed before them. They had ordered Pad Thai Noodles, Chicken Satay, Shrimp Masaman, with an extra helping of Jasmine scented white rice.

“Yes it does.” Thai food happened to be one of Tori’s favorites as well. The waiter laid out clean plates for them and asked if they needed anything else. Tori looked at Brett and pointed to her glass. Brett gave her a nod.

“We’ll have two more Thai ice teas, ice water, and can you bring us an extra dish of peanut sauce?” The waiter nodded to Tori and went off to fill her request.

Tori picked up the serving spoon and placed some white rice on each of their plates. Placing the bowl down, she picked up the spoon for the Shrimp Masaman and placed a serving on top of their rice, making sure that enough coconut curry was on it. She then placed a healthy portion of the Pad Thai on their plates squeezing a little lemon juice on top. She then placed a skewer of chicken satay on the side of Brett’s plate with a dollop of peanut sauce.

“Mmm, this is just great, Honey. The girls and I used go to Chinatown to this wonderful Thai restaurant down there although we haven’t found the time to go down there lately.” Brett inhaled the aroma of the food through her nose and smiled happily. “Mmmm…. Thank you for bringing me here. I’ve been craving Thai food for the longest time.” Brett took a bite of rice and shrimp. Taking the time to slowly taste her meal, she allowed a big satisfied smile to come to her face in satisfaction adding to that a very happy moan.

“You’re very welcome. I have to admit. I did it for me as much as for you. I’m addicted to this stuff. When I worked at the firm, I used to order Thai all the time.” Tori took a bite of the rice and shrimp and let out a pleasurable sigh. Taking her napkin, she wiped the corners of her mouth and finished swallowing. “Uh, that’s good. I would love to learn how to cook a few these dishes. Mainly to find out what spices they use that have me craving for it in the middle of the night.” Tori picked up her skewer and took a bite enjoying the combination of peanut sauce and chicken. The waiter came over and brought them their drinks just as Tori took another bite. Brett nodded and thanked the waiter. Looking back at Tori as the waiter left, Brett had to suppress an urge to lean over and lick the drop of sauce that was on Tori’s lips. Luckily, Tori quickly licked it off. However, it did nothing to squelch the flames that were growing in Brett’s belly with her actions.

They hadn’t been together in over two weeks and they both teetered on the edge of desire for each other. Even when they had seen each other everyday, they always enjoyed a healthy dose of one another at some point during the day. Often times more than once.

“So how was your trip?” Brett tried to get her mind away from her thoughts of her eating companion. Well, long enough to get through dinner and safely back to Tori’s penthouse.

“It went well. I met quite a few of the employees in the L.A. office and got a good feel for how operations are running there. Of course I had a week full of my brother, Senor Don Juan.” Tori shook her head thinking of her little brother.

Brett laughed. “How is Stephan? You just have to love him. He really cracks me up whenever I see him.”

Stephan was twenty-eight years old and a very good looking young man. He was a combination of both his parents. With his sandy blonde hair and blue green eyes and a dimply smile that went on for days, he was a hit with all the women and he knew it. Tori often wondered if he might have been adopted. He was so different from the rest of his siblings. Though one never knew whom Stephan would show up with next, you could not help but be drawn to him. Just like their youngest sister Jessica, Stephan could charm the pants off you. Literally.

“Oh Stephan’s ..well…Stephan. What can I say? He’s not with that girl he was with at Thanksgiving anymore. And I don’t even think he knows who he’s with at the moment. Although while I was at the L.A. house, I accidentally walked in on a very pretty blonde while I was there.” Tori said nonchalantly.

“When you say walked in on? What do you mean exactly?” Brett had a jealous streak a mile long when it came to Tori and Tori knew it. It wasn’t a fatal attraction kind of thing. Just a healthy dose of possessiveness between partners.

“It wasn’t a big deal. I wasn’t quite awake one morning and decided a nice swim would wake me up. So I slipped into my suit, went to the pool, and dove right in. When I got out to dry off, I found Stephan’s friend spread out on the chaise, obviously not a believer in my propensity to wear a bathing suit.” Tori smirked knowing Brett was more than a little ticked at the girl she had never met.

“Really. Some people. You have got to wonder where they were raised.” Brett’s face was starting to turn a shade or two and Tori could have sworn she saw a bit of steam escape from Brett’s ears. If Brett’s eyes weren’t already green they most certainly would have been now.

“Oh I don’t know. If I had the opportunity to have met her parents, I might have congratulated them.” Tori you are so bad. She knew she was pushing Brett’s patience but she could not pass up the opportunity to get back at Brett for her stunt this morning with the gorilla. I’m not alone indeed. Hah…

“Oh really? Why would you want to do that?” Brett was now squirming in her seat. They had not said that they were seeing one another exclusively. But it was most definitely implied.

Tori could see the slight clench in Brett’s jaw and knew she was skating on thin ice.

“Well they obviously gave their daughter wonderful genes. She had the most perfect…” Tori made a cupping gesture with her hands.

“Excuse me!” Brett said in outrage. Looking around for the waiter, she motioned for the check.

Tori got the waiter’s attention and waved him off.

“I’m ready to leave, Tori.” Brett stated. A furrow made its way to her brow when she saw the waiter quickly run into the kitchen not wanting to be in the middle of an impending argument.

Tori leaned over and whispered in Brett’s ear. “I’m sorry honey. I didn’t mean to make you mad. You know there is no one for me but you.”

Tori brushed her lips across Brett’s cheek and took her hand in hers. “She has nothing on you. Actually, I was going to give your parents a call as soon as I had the chance.”

Brett turned and gave Tori a questioning look.

“I was going to thank them for giving you a body that blows me away every time I’m near it. Every time I think about it, taste it, see it, and feel it rub against mine.” Tori could feel the heat that was radiating from Brett and knew her words were having a definite effect.

Brett swallowed as her lower extremity kicked in.

“Is that so?” Brett bit her lip and slit her eyes as she looked at Tori.

“Yes it is. So you had better eat up. Cause you, my love, are going to need your strength tonight.” Tori released Brett’s hand and reached under the table. She slowly ran her hand up Brett’s thigh.

“Am I forgiven?” Tori said in a whisper. She felt Brett twitch a little and knew the little writer was feeling amorous.

“You know if you weren’t so irresistible, I’d leave your butt right here.” Brett smiled but raised an eyebrow at Tori.

“Now honey, don’t be like that. I was just getting back at you for this morning.” Tori gave her her best puppy dog look.

“This morning? What did I do?” Brett had a shocked look on her face.

“Oh I seem to remember someone implying that they weren’t alone in bed when I called.” Tori dared Brett to deny it.

The look on Brett’s face changed from shock, to outrage, and then to guilt.

“Okay, I guess we’re even then. But you had better not do that again. At least not tonight, if you know what’s good for you?”

“Oh, I don’t think we’re quite even yet.” This time Tori raised an accusing eyebrow at Brett.

“Why? What have I done now?” Brett really did not know where Tori was going with this.

“Well, I told Stephan about us and he informed me that you have something to tell me about you and him. You wouldn’t know what he’s talking about would you?” Tori knew that Brett and Stephan had attended the prom together but she was not through stirring Brett up yet. She had asked Stephan if anything happened between them and he informed her that he had a crush on Brett. Who wouldn’t? However, after spending the night with her at the prom, he realized that she had a thing for Tori because she kept asking about her. They still had a great time together but there was nothing romantic about it. Tori had apologized to her brother. She hoped Brett’s interest in her had not spoiled his prom. He laughed.

“Are you kidding? Tori, at the time, Brett was one of the most popular girls in school. She was and is a real babe. I cannot tell you what it did for my reputation, when everyone found out I was taking her to the prom. I was the envy of every guy in school. Besides Brett is one of the sweetest people I have ever met. Although she may have had a thing for you, she was still a lot of fun as a date for the prom. After I had told her everything about you, she promised to stop asking about you and then we spent the rest of the night dancing and goofing around. I can see why you are in love with her. Way to go Sis. You’re a chip off the old block.” Stephan smiled when Tori rolled her eyes at his comment. He knew that he and his sister were more alike than she would ever admit. He heard all the stories about his sister and knew she broke as many hearts as he had. Especially when there was a rumor that Tori played both sides of the fence.

Brett’s face turned red. What did that little shit tell his sister? I am going to ring his neck the next time I see him.

“Honey, I don’t know what you’re getting at?” Brett gave Tori her most innocent look.

“So you’re telling me, you’re not the one my brother lost his virtue to?” Tori wanted to collapse on the floor with laughter as the look of absolute outrage covered Brett’s face.

“Is that what that little shit told you? I thought Stephan and I were friends. I cannot believe him. What is his number? I’m going to call him right this minute and give him a piece of my mind.” Brett pulled out her phone from her purse and waited for Tori to give her the number.

Tori reached over and took the phone out of Brett’s hands and set it on the table.

“Tori, I really want to call him? I can’t tell you how mad that makes me.” Brett was fuming and Tori knew she had really done it this time.

Tori placed a finger on Brett lips, so she could speak. “First of all Brett, you’re in no position to call anyone little considering your size.” Tori this time let her laughter come with the look of indignation and anger that was so evident on her mate’s gorgeous features.

Brett sighed in absolute frustration.

“Secondly and most importantly, I think I got you again.” Tori said when she got control of her laughter.

“Damn it. That’s it.” Brett reached into her purse and threw some money on the table. She grabbed her coat and phone, and walked out of the restaurant.

Tori just sat there and bit her lip. I think I went too far this time. So now I know there’s a limit to her patience. She motioned the waiter to bring over the bill and he quickly wrapped up the food. Once everything was taken care of she grabbed her things and went to search for her lover. At least she hoped Brett was still her lover. Victoria…. for someone whose supposed to be so damn smart, you can be a real idiot sometimes. She stepped out of the restaurant on 10th street and looked to her left and right. Brett was nowhere in sight. Damn.
INSTALLMENT SEVEN

Brett had left the restaurant and, as luck would have it, found a cab waiting right outside the doors. Her nerves were raw. With Jenna showing up at the book signing and Tori’s insistence on playing games with her, she had had enough for one night. She knew that Tori was just having fun as they always had. But she just wasn’t in the mood. She hadn’t seen her in two weeks and she just wanted to be with Tori. “Was that really so hard to understand?” Brett wondered on her way back to her apartment. Maybe the whole Jenna thing unearthed her insecurities again.

She directed the cab to her apartment address and by the time the cab left her at her doorstep, she was beyond wiped out. Taking her keys out, she opened the front door then took the elevator to the sixth floor. Luckily, no one was home. She kicked off her shoes and went to the kitchen to grab a bottle of Evian. Brett looked at the clock; it was 9:45pm.

“Great. Just great. All you could think about for the past two week was Tori and look at how you’re spending your Friday night.” Brett went into the living room, turned on the television, and flicked through the channels.

“Providence? Ooh that actor has pretty eyes. You aren’t my Tori, but you’re pretty just the same.” Brett thought about what she had said and tears came to her eyes.

“You just totally overreacted. Tori was just playing with you and you just went ballistic. Why would she want to be with you? You’ve got more baggage than American Airlines.” Brett swiped at her tears totally pissed off at herself.

Just then, her cell phone rang. Reaching over, she retrieved the phone from her purse. Looking at the caller id, she saw that it was the woman of her thoughts.

“Hello?”

Tori could hear Brett sniffle and knew she was crying. “Honey….it’s Tori.”

“Yeah?” Brett replied, unable to say anymore for fear of balling her eyes out and losing all composure.

“I was worried and I didn’t know where you went.” Tori felt like crap and wanted to crawl under a rock for making Brett feel so bad.

“I’m okay. I just came home.” Brett’s voice sounded so quiet that Tori could barely hear her.

“Look Brett. I’m sorry I pushed you too far. I didn’t mean to make you mad. I really didn’t. I sometimes forget that we aren’t kids anymore and we can’t always kid around like we used to. I know you must be upset with seeing Jenna and I certainly didn’t help matters. I’m sorry.” Tori waited for Brett to say something and when she didn’t Tori figured Brett was still mad. “Okay, well I guess I’ll let you get some rest. I’ll give you a call sometime this weekend.” Tori lowered her head feeling totally dejected. She was about to hang up when she heard Brett’s voice.

“Tori? Tori are you still there?” Brett didn’t want to spend another night alone.

“Yeah. I’m here.” Tori did not like the way Brett’s voice sounded and wanted desperately to be with her.

“Where are you?” Brett said trying to suppress a sob.

“I’m downstairs. Gibeau was parked across the street and said he saw you jump into a cab. I figured you came home. If you weren’t here I was going to go to the Grove next. I know that you and the girls usually go there on Friday night.” Tori hoped that Brett would invite her up. She really didn’t want to leave things the way they were.

“Do you want to come up?” Brett asked hesitantly, not wanting to hear Tori’s rejection.

“Yeah baby, I do.” Tori heard the door buzz and quickly opened it. She waited for the elevator and impatiently ran her fingers through her hair. Tori wanted nothing more than to take Brett in her arms and beg for forgiveness.

The elevator announced its arrival and as soon as the doors open, Tori jumped in. She pressed the sixth floor several times and made a mental note to get a faster elevator installed in Brett’s building. The elevator door barely opened to the sixth floor when Tori squeezed through and hurriedly ran to Brett’s apartment door. She rang the buzzer and waited for Brett to come.

As soon as the door opened, Tori threw her coat and purse down then scooped Brett up in her arms and bombarded her with as many kisses as she could possibly muster.

“Oh baby I’m sorry. I’m an idiot. There’s no other way to describe me. I love you, baby. Please….Please forgive me?” Tori backed Brett into the couch in the living room and they fell onto the couch with Tori on top of her.

“Oh honey, there’s nothing to forgive. I’m the one who overreacted.” Brett’s hands pulled at Tori’s blouse that was tucked in her jeans. All she wanted was to feel Tori’s skin on hers. She hated fighting with Tori. It was as if a part of her was being ripped away a piece at a time.

“I shouldn’t have said those things. It was stupid and childish. I promise. I’ll never pick on you again.” Tori continued to shower Brett with kisses.

“No honey, I love the way we are with each other. It’s just….. it’s just today was a little too much. I’m a little off. I think everything just got to me, especially seeing Jenna after all this time. I wouldn’t change a single thing about you. Please forgive me? I’m so afraid you’re going to get tired of me and all my problems.” Brett’s tears escaped once again and an overwhelming pain came over her.

“No Baby. Never. I’m in this for the long haul. I told Jenna tonight that I’m not walking away this time and I meant it. You and I have so much living to do and I plan to experience every moment with you. That means the good and the bad. You’re stuck with me. Remember when you asked me to fight for us?” Brett looked deeply into Tori’s eyes and nodded. “Well I was just confused and thought you asked me to fight with you. I’ll try my best to rectify that. I can be a little dense at times.” Tori tried to lighten up the mood. They were both running on empty.

“Tori?”

“Yeah sweetie?” Tori ran her hand through Brett hair and down her face.

“This isn’t how I imagined tonight would be.” Brett looked a little worn and Tori knew she needed to pamper Brett a bit.

“I know honey. Why don’t you stay here and I’ll take care of everything.” Tori made sure Brett was comfortable. She made a phone call to Gibeau to tell him that they would be staying at Brett’s tonight and that she wouldn’t need him for the rest of the night. She asked that he bring up the luggage that were in the trunk. She waited for Gibeau and he brought her bags to Brett’s room. Gibeau and Brett talked while Tori prepared things in Brett’s bedroom. She went to Brett’s dresser drawers and looked through her sleepwear. She was very pleased with what she saw there. Ooh I’m gonna have to keep this drawer in mind. She pulled out a very sexy mint green negligee. Then went to Brett’s bathroom and drew a bath for the both of them. Pouring in a capful of honeysuckle and rose hips, she checked to make sure the temperature was just right. She then turned down the bed. It was a beautiful canopy bed with an intricate gold Egyptian pattern on the bedspread. She lit a few candles and went to her bags. She took out a bag from a boutique that she found in Los Angeles. She had bought a few items that she thought Brett might enjoy. And a few for herself. She smiled remembering the look on the clerk’s face when Tori asked what her size was. She had in her hands a leather bustierre that she thought would look amazing on Brett. The clerk was around the same body frame that Brett was and wanted to make sure she was getting the right size. The clerk blushed, obviously taken by Tori’s beauty and more than willing to model the item for her if she wanted. You’re such a bad girl when you want to be. Getting back to the task at hand, she took out a bottle of Kama Sutra Vanilla Crème massage oil and placed it on the nightstand next to the bed. Not wanting to reveal all of her goodies, she tucked the bag out of sight on her side of the bed. She turned on Brett’s stereo receiver and turned the radio station to CD 101.9. A soft soprano sax filled the air and Tori smiled. Perfect. Looking around the room, she checked to make sure everything was set. Once everything met her approval, she went back into the living room.

Gibeau had left and Brett rested against the arm of the couch well on her way to falling asleep when Tori returned.

Squatting down next to the couch, Tori caressed Brett’s cheek.

“Hey sweetie, everything’s all ready.” Brett’s eyes fluttered open and sleepily connected with Tori’s gaze.

“Ooh, I’m sorry. I think I fell asleep for a second.” Brett went to stand up but was stopped in mid motion.

“I know. Why don’t you put your arms around my neck and leave everything up to me.” Tori leaned over from her position and placed her arms around Brett’s back and knees.

She easily lifted Brett off the couch and carried her down the hall and into Brett’s room. Once inside, she kicked the door to the bedroom closed and carried Brett to the waiting tub.

Brett took in the suds and the candles. She inhaled the scents that filled the room and turned her head so she could give Tori a very grateful kiss.

“Thank you baby. This is just what I needed.” Brett nuzzled Tori’s neck and planted soft kisses on Tori’s collarbone.

“Don’t thank me yet. I haven’t even started.” Tori kissed Brett’s cheek and then captured sweet lips again. “Okay here we go.” She bent over and carefully sat Brett on the side of the tub and went to work on her clothes. She lifted Brett’s fleece sweater over her head and unbuttoned her wool pants. She slipped Brett’s socks off and quickly removed her undergarments. She took a moment to take an appreciative gander over Brett’s beautiful body.

She guided Brett over the edge of the tub and waited until Brett was securely in it. Tori happily commenced in her task of pampering Brett. Gathering Brett’s hair, she twisted it and put it up with a clip. Reaching over, she picked up a loofah sponge, dipped it into the water and lathered it up. She lifted one of Brett’s legs, gave it her full attention starting with her toes, and worked her way up to a glistening thigh. She did the same to Brett’s other leg and proceeded to Brett’s fertile valley. Not wanting to linger too long, she decided to return when the valley wasn’t submerged in water. Tori brought the sponge up the furrowed plains of Brett’s stomach and continued up Brett’s majestic mountains. When Tori’s tour was over, she bathed Brett’s mouth with her own.

Brett’s body was on fire by the time Tori was finished. No one ever made her feel the way this tall sable haired beauty did. She liberally showered her with an abundance of affection and left her feeling very loved from the inside out. Brett felt the day’s affects leave her now lost in the moment and sensations that Tori was inciting in her.

Tori placed the sponge on the side of the tub and then took her own clothes off. She made sure she had Brett’s full attention as she slowly finished the job that Brett had started out on the couch. Starting with the top button, she opened it and worked her way down making sure that Brett’s eyes followed along. She unbuttoned her shirtsleeves and let the blouse slide over her shoulders and onto the floor. Next, she unbuttoned her jeans and slowly lowered the zipper. Brett’s eyes locked with the motion of her hands and the steam in the tub rose a degree. Tori stepped out of her jeans and picked up the items on the floor. She purposely turned to bend over and gave Brett an eyeful of her rear attributes. Tori had a strong slender back and perfect waist. Every muscle was well defined but not to the point of being overly so. Tori was the perfect combination of fitness and femininity and looked amazing with and without clothes. She was wearing a black lace bra and under garments, that accented her perfect curves. Slightly translucent, Brett could see the outline of Tori’s areolas and the perfectly shaved V beneath her panties when she turned back around. Brett inched her way closer to the edge of the tub and watched as Tori lifted her foot and placed it on the edge of the tub, then bent over and rolled her stockings off one leg at a time. When she was through, she stood up, removed her bra, and slid off her panties. Tori had no inhibitions when it came to her body. Like everything else in her life, she took care of it. She wasn’t fanatical about what she ate. She tended to enjoy a large variety of foods. However, she knew she needed to combat her eating habits with a good exercise regimen.

She stood in front of the tub and waited for Brett’s eyes to meet her own. She was very flattered by the appreciative look that Brett had on her face. When Brett’s eyes finished their perusal, she smiled when they finally met her own.

“Do you like?” Tori asked in a low sensual tone.

Brett licked her lips and gripped the edge of the tub trying desperately to keep from jumping out of the tub and claiming Tori right that second. “Yes very much. You are magnificent.”

“Thank you, I like how you look at me.” Tori watched as Brett took another appreciative glance and licked her lips.

“Why don’t you come and join me?” Brett held her hand up for Tori to take; watching as long well toned legs stepped forward towards the tub.

“I’d like that.” Tori took Brett offered hand and climbed in behind her. Settling back into the tub, she pulled Brett back against her. She brought her hand around Brett’s body and cupped Brett’s perky breasts. Brett moaned in ecstasy. Her body was already so aroused and the contact with Tori’s hands shot a wave of instantaneous pleasure straight to Brett’s groin area. She arched back into the touch and felt Tori’s hot mouth sink into her neck. With insistent hands and a hungry mouth, Brett was lost in intense arousal.

“Oh, honey.” Brett had never known such bliss.

One of Tori’s hands slid further down Brett’s body and gently opened Brett’s legs. Her fingers gently coaxed Brett’s center and caressed Brett’s labia between her fingers. She worked Brett’s opening and center for a long moment lovingly carrying Brett over the edge.

“Mmm…Oh…” Brett was so aroused that her climax was not far away.

“Come for me Baby.” Tori whispered into Brett’s ear. She knew Brett liked it when she gave her gentle coaxing.

“Mmm…yeah. Mmm, oh yeah Tori.” Brett’s body swayed in the water sending little waves splashing around the tub.

“You feel so good, and the way you move. You are so hot.” This was all Brett needed to send her crashing against the shores of her climax.

“Oh Tori, yes, yes, yes… OH YESSSSSSSSSS. Hhhhhh…” Brett arched up almost completely out of the water and then collapsed against Tori, limp and sated.

Tori held Brett, contented to stay there for as long as Brett needed. She lovingly caressed Brett’s belly and kissed her head and neck, allowing her to savor every wave of her release.

Brett languished in the feeling of Tori surrounding her. The safety she found in her arms was heavenly. She sank back even deeper into Tori’s embrace and happily surrendered to the feeling that lay there.

“You know love if you’re as good at your job as you are at making love, I feel sorry for your competitors. You are magnificent.” Brett ran her hand down Tori’s expansive leg.

“Why thank you. I aim to please.” Tori nestled into the curve of Brett’s neck and lovingly nipped at it.

“Mmm…You do, so completely. You’re like nothing else on this planet.” Brett turned her head to the side and captured Tori’s probing lips and ran her tongue over every surface of Tori’s mouth.

“Well after two weeks of not being together, it’s understandable. I’m just as turned on by you my love.” Brett turned and straddled Tori’s hips. She was happy that the tub was oversized so they could fully enjoy each other. After many minutes of exploration, Tori knew it was time to move to the next phase.

“As much as I’d love to stay here with you, I’m afraid we’re going to shrivel up. What do you say we get out of here so I can pamper you a little more?” Brett turned and looked into Tori’s warm inviting eyes.

“Okay. Why don’t we move this to the shower and quickly wash off?” Tori stood up and water cascaded down the length of her heated body.

Brett stood up also and leaned in to give Tori a warm embrace.

“I missed you. I hate being away from you.” Brett nuzzled into Tori’s chest and Tori wrapped her arms around Brett’s shoulders.

“I missed you too. I don’t know how I was able to function these past years without you. I’m absolutely hopeless without you now.” Tori kissed the top of Brett’s head and ran her hands down Brett’s back. “Come on before we catch a cold standing here.”

She led Brett to the shower and they quickly washed off. Well not that quickly. Brett took the opportunity to soap up a few of Tori’s hard to reach places. And a few not so hard to reach places. Actually, she didn’t miss a spot. Once they were squeaky clean and fully inspected, they made their way to the bed.

“Come on.” Tori patted the bed motioning Brett to lie down. “Lay on your tummy. I’ll give you a massage.”

“Honey, you must be tired. I’m alright. We can just relax and fall asleep in each other’s arms.” Brett appreciated everything that Tori did but she didn’t want to take advantage of her.

“Stop. Are you denying me the pleasure of running my hands over every inch of this beautiful body?” Tori wiggled her eyebrows and gave Brett a pleading look.

“Honey, I just don’t want to take advantage of you. I’d like to enjoy you a little also.” Brett ran a finger across the top of the towel that Tori was wearing.

“Well you did. What do you call what you just did in that shower?” Tori inquired. She looked in the direction of the shower and she began to blush. I didn’t know I could actually bend over that far.

“I call that a beginning.” Brett smirked.

“If that’s a beginning, I’m in trouble.” Tori pulled Brett on to her lap and gently kissed her while she laid her down onto the bed.

Lost in the sensation of Tori’s lips, she didn’t notice Tori slip off her towel. Pulling away, she settled Brett on the bed. She then leaned over and retrieved her massage oil. She motioned Brett to turn over and waited patiently for Brett to get comfortable.

“You know you are very smooth. I didn’t even feel you take my towel off. Talk about being in trouble. You’re lethal.”

“I try. Now come on. Turn over.” Tori waited for Brett to settle down and climbed on top of Brett’s haunches. Kneeling back, she settled her weight evenly on her calves and the back of Brett’s thigh.

She poured a little of the oil in her hands and rubbed them together making sure the oil warmed a little from the heat from her hands. She leaned over, took both thumbs, and worked a knot that she felt at the top of Brett’s neck. Gently she worked out the kink, until she felt it release. Moving down, she massaged Brett’s shoulders licking and kissing her way across Brett’s neck, blades, and down her spine. With gentle pressure she adjusted Brett’s back as she felt gentle pops travel down the length of Brett’s vertebrae. She massaged Brett’s arms and with her thumb and fingers, she lovingly massaged Brett’s hands and fingers. She sat up and put her weight on one knee. Cupping Brett’s buttocks, she worked the fleshy body parts and lovingly nuzzled them before she moved to Brett’s thighs. She got off the bed and massaged Brett’s thighs and calves. Temptation too great, she saw the effect she was having on Brett and couldn’t help but sample a bit of her work. Running her hands across the bed on each side of Brett’s body, she lifted Brett’s hips up a little to gain better access and dipped down for a quick taste.

“Oh Tori.” Brett’s body bucked at the contact of Tori’s mouth on her center. She pushed back a little wanting Tori to consume her.

Tori released Brett, though she was far from over. She loved how Brett tasted and the affect that her touches had on her. Brett was so sensual and so responsive to her exploration, Tori wanted nothing more than to be lost in her. Devouring every ounce of ambrosia that Brett offered her. Brett let out a sigh of frustration when Tori pulled away.

“I know honey. I’ll come back real soon. I promise.” She got back up off the bed and continued down Brett’s thighs, calves, and then her feet. She lifted one of Brett’s feet and massaged every inch, eliciting a laugh from her partner.

Brett turned over when she couldn’t take anymore. Her feet were very ticklish and Tori knew it.

“Okay, now the fun part.” Tori gave Brett a very seductive look and Brett stopped laughing immediately.

“What do you have in mind?” Brett’s body was already burning from Tori’s touch. Anymore and she was sure she would spontaneously combust.

Tori pulled Brett’s body down the bed leaving her legs dangling off the bed. Tori spread Brett’s legs and stepped between them. Her pelvis met Brett’s center and Tori began to sway her hips sensually against Brett’s hot need.

“You know Brett, while I was in L.A. I picked up a few things.” Tori continued her dance against Brett. She had never felt so turned on in her whole life.

“Really? What might those things be?” Brett sat up and captured one of Tori’s nipples between her teeth.

Tori saw stars from the effect of Brett’s mouth on her.

“Well, why don’t you have a look?” Tori waited for Brett to release her hostage.

Brett gave her an excited, yet inquisitive look. Tori walked around to the right side of the bed picked up the bag that she had hidden there and walked back. She winked at Brett and placed the bag beside her on the bed.

Brett dipped into the bag excitedly as she took in the various toys.

“Oh yeah…you are just too good to be true.” Brett pulled Tori’s head down for an earth-rocking kiss, searing both of them right to the core.

Tori swayed trying to keep her balance as she shook her head to get back her equilibrium.

“You keep kissing me like that and I’ll give you an unlimited credit card to Toys R’ Us. What you do to me.” Tori bent over to whisper in Brett’s ear. “So my little minx, you see anything that you like?”

A coy smile came to Brett’s face and with a twinkle in her eye she looked at her lover.

“Oh I see a little something I might like.” Brett looked into the bag again. “Well maybe not so little.” Brett licked her lips and her eyes widened in anticipation of what Tori had in mind for the rest of the night.

“So where would you like to start?” Tori waited for Brett to take the lead. She wanted Brett to enjoy their exploration of each other, giving her a safe environment to experience all of her desires.

“How ’bout right here?” Brett laid back and brought Tori down on top of her.

They spent the next hours savoring their connection leaving no desire unturned. Tori’s bag of goodies lay empty on the floor and various items lay scattered around the bed. As the first flickers of light began to filter through the blinds, the two lovers finally succumbed to exhaustion. Sated and satisfied, the two would not wake until the sun was well into the sky.
INSTALLMENT EIGHT

Tori woke to find the bed empty. Looking around, she saw it was 11:15am. Ugh, when was the last time I slept this late. Tori swallowed. Her mouth felt like a whole cotton field had taken residence in it. She swung a leg out from under the covers and stretched out. She spread both arms out and let out a satisfied sigh. Whew, oh boy. Tori looked around the room trying to listen for any signs of where Brett might be. There weren’t any. With a little protest she got out of bed deciding a quick shower might be a good idea. Going to her bags, she grabbed a fresh pair of jeans, a long sleeve crew, undies, and a pull over v neck sweater. Going to the bathroom she took a long look in the mirror and remembered the night she had with Brett. A blush came to her face. You are one lucky woman. Brett had proven to be quite a quick study and Tori was astounded by Brett’s stamina. Looking closer in the mirror, Tori saw a rather large love bite on her shoulder. Oh well, at least it won’t be seen by the general public. Tori felt a tingle on her back and turned around. Oh man, I’m really gonna have to talk to Brett about this. There were two distinct nail marks on Tori’s back. Not that she minded really. She loved how intense they got while in the heat of passion, but Brett would surely have to be careful during the summer months. Tori had a black bikini that she knew Brett would love on her and couldn’t wait to see the beautiful blonde’s face when she walked out wearing it. She hopped into the shower allowing the spray to hit her in the face. Without warning, Jenna Carlisle’s face popped up in her head. Anger started to brew in Tori’s belly at the thought of the woman. The thought of Jenna running around freely after what she did to Brett made her crazy. She cherished Brett. She could not imagine hurting a hair on her head, much less, laying a hand on her. Tori turned the water temperature up and thought about what to do about the situation.

“Alright Jenna. What are you up to?” Tori thought of every possible scenario and only one was acceptable in her mind.

“She could really be on the way to recovery and just wanted to thank Brett for giving her a chance at a new life. Or she’s still a psycho bitch that wants to get Brett back.” Tori could feel a headache coming on.

“No way. She’s with me and that’s it. I won’t stand back and let you near her.” Tori slammed her hands against the shower wall and placed her forehead against it.

“Okay. What to do….” Tori had learned to deal with people that stood in her way or threatened the people that she loved. Her approach to things was to take an offensive position. That way she could control the situation. Not the other way. She finished rinsing off and decided to act right away.

Tori dried off and wrapped a towel around her. She went to her purse and grabbed her cell phone. She scrolled through the memory and found the number that she was looking for.

Setting her phone to automatically dial the number, she waited for an answer.

“Wilkes Detective Agency.” A low pleasant voice answered.

“Hey Sam. It’s Victoria Hull.” Tori had Samuel Wilkes on her payroll for awhile. She had found his services invaluable especially in her business dealings. She found it very helpful to know as much about the people you dealt with. Tori kept Sam very busy. If there was information out there, he would find it.

“Hey Tori! What’s going on? Finally decided to accept my offer to go out with me for a romantic evening?” Sam was a good-looking man. Tall, perfect brown hair, brown eyes, and a well-trimmed mustache. He was constantly flirting with Tori and had a great sense of humor.

“Sorry to disappoint. But I’m officially off the market.” Tori liked how that sounded. She sometimes had to pinch herself. She couldn’t believe that she actually shared a life with the woman she had spent years dreaming of.

“No way! When did this happen?” Sam was floored. In all the years he had known her, she never once mentioned a significant other.

“Just recently actually. Listen…. I need you to do something for me.” Tori was anxious to get the investigation started.

“Sure. Who’s the lucky person this time?” Sam loved working with Tori. She had a fascinating life and loved to live vicariously through her. She was an international figure and the circles she traveled in were very interesting. Many would be surprised at how savvy and street smart Tori was.

“I want all the information you can get on a Jenna Carlisle. She was a professor at University of Michigan and is now working here in the city. I want everything on her. Medical records. Family history. Work experience. Everything. And I want it as soon as possible.”

Sam could tell from Tori’s voice that this was an important one. He could feel the tension through the telephone and knew he would have to pull out all the stops on this one.

“Okay, I’ll get right on it. I’ll call you as soon as I get any info. Don’t worry Tori. You know if it’s out there, I’ll get it.” Sam really cared for Tori. If they could not be romantically involved, he wanted her as a friend. They had gotten along right from the start. It was as if they had known each other for years.

“Thanks, I know you will. Well I had better go. Take care. And if there’s anything you need, just let me know.” Tori felt relieved knowing steps were being taken to find out what Jenna Carlisle was up to. She would not take a chance on losing Brett or something happening to her.

“Will do. You have a good weekend.”

“Yeah. You too.” Tori hung up, got dressed, and went to find her girl.

*******
Tori walked into the kitchen and was met with a host of delicious scents.

Brett was sitting on the kitchen counter talking to Lauren, Adrian, and Alexi. A look of concern was on each of their faces.

When Tori walked in, all heads immediately turned to meet her.

“Hey everyone. What’s going on? Someone die?” Tori sauntered over to Brett on the counter and immediately wrapped her arms around in her. Brett bent down and gave Tori a very welcoming kiss.

The girls looked on as the two heated up the room. They had all been there through the whole Jenna ordeal. They had watched Brett keep her heart guarded the past few years, never allowing anyone to get too close. They had tried to get Brett to give love another chance but to no avail. There were a number of short-lived flings but nothing to write home about…..until now.

“Good morning……” Tori looked at the clock on the wall and realized her mistake. “Make that afternoon. I missed you when I woke up.” Tori inched even closer to Brett and buried her face in Brett’s chest.

“I’m sorry. I thought I would let you sleep in while I rustled up something to eat. We kind of got into a discussion about Jenna’s appearance last night.” Brett looked at Lauren and her friends and hoped that their discussion was over. They were concerned and begging Brett to be careful. Brett had explained that Jenna just wanted to thank her. They weren’t buying it. It was Adrian and Alexi that found Brett after Jenna had lost control and had beaten her unconscious. They would never forget the scene they found that day and would do anything to protect Brett even from herself.

“Tori, what do you think about Jenna? Brett said you were there.” Tori turned around to face the girls but stayed between Brett’s legs. Brett sat behind her on the counter wrapped her arms around Tori’s neck. Tori reached up, placed her hand across Brett’s arms, and thought about the question they presented to her.

“Well I can’t say I was too cordial to the woman. I pretty much told her to watch her step or I’d make her life miserable.” Tori’s face showed no humor and Brett could feel the tension rolling off her.

“Honey, please. I think we’re making way too much of this.” Brett didn’t want to deal with this again. She had spent too many years dealing with the aftermath and just wanted to put it all behind her: to finally find a bit of happiness.

“What? How can you say that? Baby, I wasn’t there when all of this happened and believe me if I was, Jenna Carlisle would be no more. I know you’ve forgiven her and you think she’s turned her life around, but there’s something about her that’s bothering me.” Tori was now shaking and her nerves were on overload. She turned around again and looked at Brett with a furrowed brow.

“I can’t lose you Brett. I have spent too many years denying my love for you and then too many years away because I thought you were with her. I won’t lose you. And I won’t stand idly by while that woman is running around out there free.” Brett had never seen Tori like this. This was definitely a side that she had not seen before. And though she knew Tori would never hurt her, she was certainly scared for anyone that got in her way.

“Baby please. I… we’re together. Isn’t that enough? She can’t hurt us if we’re together. She’s my past and I just want to forget about it.” Tears were rolling down Brett’s face and Tori’s heart broke knowing they were there.

Lauren, Adrian, and Alexi watched in wonder. Brett had always been so headstrong and no one could ever convince her otherwise. But just as Tori was wrapped around Brett’s finger, Tori had the same affect on Brett. They made a beautiful couple and they were all so happy to see them finally come home to each other.

Tori cupped Brett’s face and kissed her tears away. “I love you honey and you’re right. She’s never ever going to come between us… Never.” Tori pulled Brett closer to her and they kissed tenderly. Tori released the kiss after a few moments and licked her lips. Taking Brett’s face in her hands, she looked directly into Brett’s eyes. “Honey, I understand why you’d want to forget everything that has happened. But we can never forget our past. We can only look to the future and be better prepared. Wiser for it.”

Brett leaned down towards Tori and they kissed again. Tori placed loving kisses all over Brett’s face then continued. “Honey, you wouldn’t write a book without doing you’re research. And I certainly wouldn’t walk into a court room or a business negotiation without having all the information. So why go through life like that? All I’m saying is let’s find out as much about what Jenna’s up to and deal with her that way. If she’s telling the truth, then great. No harm no foul. But if she’s up to something then we can prepare ahead of time and we’ll be ready.” Tori looked into somber green eyes and gave her another tender kiss. “If it were me that Jenna had hurt and all of sudden she shows up after what… four years? Don’t you think you would be just a little concerned?” Brett leaned her forehead against Tori’s and nodded affirmatively. Tori lifted Brett’s chin so she could get a better look at Brett’s face. “We’ve finally found our way back to each other. I want to spend the rest of my life with you. You can’t ask me to let this go. Please honey. I can’t lose you. Not now.” This time Tori turned on the water works and Brett was helpless to fight.

“Okay baby. We’ll do whatever you want. I love you too and this…us…we’re the most important thing here. I can do anything as long as you’re at my side.”

“Always. I’m not going anywhere.” Tori gave Brett a gentle smile and lost herself in Brett’s verdant eyes.

Brett wrapped both her arms and legs around Tori and they kissed with abandon forgetting everything and everyone around them.

Lauren cleared her throat to get their attention and had to clear it a couple more times before the two remembered they weren’t alone.

Brett was the first to pull away slightly embarrassed that she had lost herself in the moment. “I’m sorry. Tori has a way of distracting me.”

The girls laughed, knowing this statement was all too true.

Adrian, being the clown of the bunch, couldn’t help but put in her two cents. “Hey… can we see that again? I don’t think Brett got her tongue all the way down Tori’s throat.”

Alexi swatted Adrian across the head. “Cut that out!!”

“What? Hey maybe you should try kissing me like that. I think I have a little of last nights dinner caught down there.”
Adrian pointed to the base of her neck.

“You are sick!!” Alexi gave Adrian a dirty look.

“Hey. You weren’t complaining last night. When we got home and heard Brett and Tori going at it, you were all over me like peanut butter on bread. ‘Deeper baby…deeper. Yeah right there…Yeah, yeah that’s it.'” Adrian didn’t notice the Italian stallion rise in anger. She’d soon be down for the count if she didn’t cut it out.

“And you two….. What the hell were you doing to Brett last night? If there are two things I’m sure of, it’s that Brett’s found religion and she certainly likes what you do to her.” Adrian was on a roll and there was no stopping her when she got started.

“And how would you know that?” Brett was as red as a tomato from embarrassment and anger.

“Well do the phrases ‘Oh God’ and ‘what you do to me’ ring a bell?” Tori and Adrian both gave each other a high five and fell on the floor laughing as Alexi and Brett fumed. Lauren just shook her head in amused observation.

“Miss Hull!” Tori quickly looked up and immediately wiped the smirk off her face. She knew Brett was perturbed having their sex life advertised.

“Huh…Uh…Yes dear?” Tori got up quickly and went to Brett.

“You find Adrian’s antics amusing?” Brett gave Tori a questioning look.

“No ma’am. Not at all.” Tori gave Brett a kiss on the cheek and gave Brett her best puppy dog eyes.

“Unbelievable. Tori…. you are so whipped.” Adrian had a sarcastic look on her face.

“Hey buddy…. I may be whipped, but at least I’m getting some tonight.” Tori nodded her head in the direction of Alexi.

Alexi was sitting back in her chair with her arms crossed looking very upset. She slowly got up from the table and left the room.

Adrian’s shoulders slumped. “Um… I think I have some kissing up to do.”

Tori made a smooching sound and Adrian gave her a ‘get lost’ look and left the kitchen.

“Well that was fun.” Lauren stood up to check on brunch. Turning the bacon over, she put the fork down and looked at Tori and Brett seriously.

“So what are we going to do about Jenna? I know mom and dad are going to flip when they find out she’s back.” Lauren went over to where the two were and leaned against the counter beside them.

“Well, I’m not going lie to you. I called an investigator this morning and he’s going to get me all the information on our friend, Miss Carlisle.” Tori looked up at Brett apologetically. “I know I should have discussed this with you first baby. I’m sorry.” Tori kissed Brett trying to avoid any further arguments.

“Honey, you know how I hate it when people make decisions for me. I understand why you are doing this. All I ask is that you keep me informed. Please, I have a right to know what’s going on.” Brett had a pleading look on her face telling Tori that there was no compromising on this point.

“I promise honey. From now on, what I know, you know, okay?” Tori smiled and gave Brett a wink.

“Oh how I love this face. How can I possibly be mad at you? What do you think sis? Doesn’t Tori have the most adorable face?” Brett turned Tori’s face towards Lauren and squeezed Tori’s cheeks together.

“Um… yeah Brett, you did alright for yourself. She is definitely not hard on the eyes. And that tush. You sure work those jeans. Mmm. Mmm. Mmm.” Lauren shook her head appreciatively.

“Uh, Lauren? Is there something you want to tell me? You don’t play for our team now, do you?” Tori released Brett and stood in front of Lauren. She ran her hand down the side of Lauren’s face and watched a blush follow where her hand was traveling. “….cause I wouldn’t be opposed to taking on both Montgomery sisters.” Lauren gulped and both Brett and Lauren stared at Tori confused.

Tori on the other hand started laughing again uncontrollably.

“Oh my goodness!! You should see the look on both of your faces. I wish I had a camera.” Tori was holding her sides.

Brett just gave Lauren a perturbed look. “You see? You see what I have to put up with? She does this to me all the time.”

The two just looked on as Tori fell into a chair still laughing uncontrollably.

“You two are just so easy. Lauren, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to do that to you. Your sister is just about all I can handle as it is. I’m sure the two of you would put me in an early grave.” Tori started to laugh again. “Oo wee, that’s good. I haven’t laughed like that in a long time.” Tori wiped the tears from her eyes and tried to get her breathing back to normal.

“I’m glad we could amuse you.” Lauren went over to Tori and straddled the amused woman’s lap. “But I was hoping you were serious. I’ve had an itchin’ for you for the longest time and was hoping you’d scratch it.” She ran her fingers slowly down Tori’s lips, down her chest, and leaned in to purr in Tori’s ear. “Grrr.”

Tori sat there stunned. Lauren had dark hair and green eyes. She was very attractive also and Tori’s body involuntarily reacted. She looked at Brett and gave her a pleading look. In a voice that could barely be heard, she said, “Help me…”

“Ooh sis, I’m with you.” Brett got off the counter and went around the back of Tori’s chair. She blew into Tori’s other ear and ran her hand down Tori’s chest from behind.

“I don’t mind sharing as long as I can watch.” Brett winked at her sister and mouthed a “thank you” that could not be seen by Tori.

Lauren winked and tried to suppress a laugh.

Tori on the other hand was outraged. She quickly stood up and almost dumping Lauren on her keester,
“I can’t believe you two. Wait until I tell your parents what kind of girls you’ve grown up to be. I’m gonna tell. You’re in trouble now…..” Tori stomped out of the room and did her best impression of a nine-year-old.

“Oh sis I owe you one.” Lauren and Brett watched as the brooding executive stormed off and the two sisters gave each other a high five laughing their asses off. When they finally got themselves together, they finished preparing brunch.

“So, things are going well?” Lauren bumped Brett with her hip and then wrapped her sister in an embrace.

Lauren adored her sister and they had become very close throughout the years especially after Brett’s time in the hospital.

“Yeah, you know. I look back at all these years and I wonder how I survived.” Brett looked up at her sister and a happy look came to her face. “I’ve never felt anything like this. I know it sounds cliché, but I truly think I’ve found the other half of my soul. Tori is so amazing. She’s loving, caring, and considerate. Not to mention drop dead gorgeous. And I can really see myself with her for the rest of my life.” Brett let out a sigh of contentment and gave her sister a smile. “I love her.”

Lauren gave Brett a big hug and started to cry. “Oh Brett. When you were lying in that hospital bed, fighting for your life, I prayed that you’d come back to us and find someone who would love you the way you deserved to be loved. When I see you and Tori together, it just makes me so happy. I love you little sister and I wish you and Tori all the happiness the world can offer.” Brett started to cry also and the two were gushing for quite a while.

“Look at us…. You’d think we were a bunch of hopeless romantics or something.” Brett wiped away her tears, then handed her sister a tissue.

“You know, I never believed in that sort of thing until I saw you and Tori together. For the first time in my life, I can almost believe there’s someone out there for me.” Lauren blew her nose, washed her hands, and retrieved a glass of water for the both of them.

“Oh sweetie, there is. I just know it. Not just because you’re my sister. But because you’re an amazing woman. You’re going to make someone very happy someday and they’re going to be very lucky indeed.” Brett scooped out the oatmeal and placed the bacon on a plate.

“Thanks. I sure hope so. Wherever he is, I wish he would get here already.” Lauren squeezed Brett’s arm and proceeded to scramble the eggs for omelets.

Brett took out a plate of chilled fruits and placed it on the table.

“Well, I’m gonna go find my sweetie. I’m sure I’m going to have to smooth over some ruffled feathers.” Brett left the kitchen and went to find Tori.
INSTALLMENT NINE

Brett went to her room and watched in disbelief. Tori was sitting against the headboard with her legs crossed at the ankles on the bed having a very deep conversation with none other than Brett’s stuffed animal, Magilla Gorilla. It had been a present from her to keep Brett company when she was away on business.

“I know it’s hard to give her up but I guess I’ll have to.” The Gorilla was propped up to the left of Tori facing her.

“She’s very special but I just can’t continue to share her with you and now Lauren wants in on the action. A girl’s got to draw the line somewhere.” The gorilla had a goofy look on its face and Brett had to stifle a laugh not wanting to interrupt the conversation.

“What was that? Oh….. you think she’s worth fighting for and won’t give up so easily?” Tori leaned in to listen to the stuffed gorilla, squinting her eyes as she listened intently.

“Oh I would agree. But it’s obvious that I’m not enough for her.” Tori looked up to see Brett standing at the door.

“I want to be the only one in her bed for the rest of our lives. I want to wake up every morning looking into those beautiful green eyes. I love her.” Tori looked directly at Brett when she said this.

Brett crossed the room to the bed and picked up Magilla. “Sorry Buddy. This bed isn’t big enough for the three of us. You’ll have to go swing in someone else’s tree.” She tossed the gorilla behind her and it landed lifelessly on a chair.

“Oh sweetie. You’re the only person I want to keep me warm at night and wake up beside me every morning. I love you. You’re everything I’ve ever dreamed of and you’re absolutely all I’ll ever want.” Brett climbed on to the bed and straddled Tori’s hips.

Tori lifted her arms and placed her hands behind the writer’s head and back. She pulled Brett’s face down to meet hers and they shared a very passionate kiss. Tori turned and rolled them over, placing Brett gently on the bed, taking her place on top of Brett. She moved her hips from side to side to get comfortable between Brett’s legs and propped her elbows on each side of Brett’s head. She ran her right hand over Brett’s forehead, through her hair, and over her scalp. Lowering herself down, she linked her hand with Brett’s above their heads and kissed along a slender neck and soft cheek. They could feel the heat rise up high between them.

“I love you. ” Their eyes met and the passion burned intensely. Hands started to journey up and down the length of their bodies and hot heated breaths co-mingled with kisses.

“Tori?” Brett said breathlessly.

“Yeah, baby?” Tori was lost in the scent of Brett’s perfume and the taste of her skin.

“Oh honey, take me.” Brett arched her back and drove her center hard against Tori’s jean covered thigh.

KNOCK! KNOCK!

“Ugh…” The two looked at the closed door in frustration.

“YEAH!” Both responded at the same time.

“Hey guys….. come on. I’m hungry.” Lauren opened the door and smirked at the two on the bed. “Don’t you two ever come up for air?”

Tori flopped over on her back on the bed. She placed her arm over her forehead and blew out a long sigh. She closed her eyes and tried to calm her racing heart.

Brett turned on her side to face the door and leaned her head against her hand. She laid the flat of her hand on Tori’s tummy and rubbed it in a circular motion. This action seemed to calm them both and their breathing slowly came back to normal.

“We’ll be right there, sis.” Brett gave Lauren a small smile and Lauren nodded her head in understanding.

“Come on before the food gets cold.”

“Okay.”

Lauren turned and went to retrieve her other two missing roommates.

“Hey, you alright?” Brett pushed back Tori’s hair with her finger and tucked a few strands behind Tori’s ear.

Tori’s eyes fluttered as she luxuriated in the feel of Brett’s hands running through her hair.

“Yeah.” Brett lowered her head and they kissed again.

“Mmm…I can never seem to get enough of you.”

“I know what you mean.” The two kissed again but tried to control themselves. They knew that Lauren was waiting for them.

“Come on before we get started again.” Tori patted Brett on the bum and motioned her to get up. With more than a little sexual frustration, they made their way into the dining room leaving their passion for later.
INSTALLMENT TEN

The girls shared a very enjoyable meal and talked about the goings on in their lives. They hardly ever had the chance to sit down and shoot the breeze.

“So what are your plans today?” Lauren turned to her sister.

“I don’t know. I wasn’t expecting Tori to come back until next week so I really didn’t have any plans.” Brett looked over at her lover. “Honey is there anything you wanted to do?” Brett lifted a piece of bacon and bit into it.

Taking a sip of orange juice, Tori thought about the possibilities.

“Well, I’d like to go home and unpack my things, check my messages, and see if there’s anything pressing that needs my attention. Once that’s through, I’m all yours.” Tori picked up a slice of cantaloupe and bit into it. She held up her fork offering the rest to Brett. Brett leaned over and took the offered fruit. Tori watched as some juice glistened on Brett’s lips, leaned over, and kissed her. The two were at it again and the other girls rolled their eyes.

“Excuse me?” Lauren had never seen two people go at it as often as these two did. She was happy for them but it did nothing for her libido or her love life or lack there of.

“Uh…um.. sorry.” Tori sneaked in another quick kiss and pointed at Brett’s lips.

“Brett had a bit of fruit juice on her lip and I was helping to clean it up.” Brett smiled and they gave each other another sickeningly sweet look.

“Right.” Lauren looked to Adrian and Alexi and they all rolled their eyes. “So, do you think you’d like to go shopping with us? We’re thinking of going into New Jersey and going mall hopping. There’s Garden State Mall, Riverside, Paramus Park, Willow Brook, Jersey Gardens, and a whole bunch of others. On the other hand, we could go to Harriman’s Woodbury Commons, Palisades Centre, or Short Hills. What do you say? We haven’t hung out together in ages.” The girls had lived together for the last four years and since Tori’s reappearance, they hadn’t seen much of Brett. They all loved Tori and wanted to spend some time with her as well.

“Well I’m cool with that if you are honey.” Tori took Brett’s hand and brought it to her lips. “If you want to come over to my place and hang out until I finish what I have to do then I can go. If you want to get started right a way then you and Brett can go without me. I’m sure I can come up with something to keep me occupied.” Tori kissed Brett’s hand again, telling her she would understand either way.

Brett looked at the other girls. “I’d love to go shopping but it’s up to you. You haven’t seen Tori’s place. You’d just love it. There’s a ton of things to keep us busy while Tori’s doing her errands. But it’s entirely up to you.” Brett blushed when she felt Tori nipping at each of her knuckles. She’s trying to kill me. Please give me strength…

“Ooh, I’d love to see Tori’s place!! I heard it’s amazing.” Adrian hopped up and down in her chair and looked at Alexi. “Mommy, can we go? Please? Please, can we go?” Adrian gave Alexi a pleading look.

“You are hopeless. What’s gotten you so wound up today?” Alexi reached over and patted Adrian on the head. “I’m cool with going over there. How ’bout you Lauren?”

“Sounds like a plan. Let’s clean this up and get started.” They all got up, helped clear up the dishes, and put away the food.

As they say, “many hands make light work”, within 20 minutes everything was cleaned up, and they were out the door.

*******

They took a cab over to the Penthouse and the girls watched in wonder as they took in the very exclusive building.

They took the Penthouse elevator up and Adrian, of course, hit every floor making the thirty-eight flight ride very tedious.

“What’s your problem today?” Alexi was just about ready to give it to Adrian.

“I’ve always wanted to do that. I’m sorry.” As the doors opened on to every floor, everyone waited patiently and shook their heads.

“It’s not like anyone else is waiting to use this elevator. It’s just for the penthouse. Right?” Adrian looked at Tori and Tori just nodded and chuckled. Tori wasn’t upset. It had been years since she was able to hang out with her childhood friends and found it was very comforting to be home, surrounded by people she trusted.

“Yeah it’s just for my place. I’m glad you can get it out of your system.” She reached out and pulled Brett back against her as she leaned against the back of the elevator. Thirty-five… Thirty-six…Thirty-seven… finally…

“Hey.. I thought there were Thirty-eight floors? Why’d we get off on Thirty- seven?” Adrian questioned. She was thinking so hard, she didn’t even notice the Penthouse that lay before her.

She stepped off and immediately walked into Alexi. Alexi was standing there stunned as well as Lauren. Adrian on the other hand was perturbed at Alexi for blocking her way.

“Sweetie…. why are you just standing there? You know if those doors had closed I would have been right between them.”

Alexi put her hand over Adrian’s mouth and stepped aside, allowing Adrian to see Tori’s home.

“Holy smokes.” Adrian’s jaw fell open and she looked around stunned.

“You live here?” Adrian walked forward and looked out the big windows, down one hallway to the right and then the hall to the left. She turned around and saw the balcony then realized why they stopped on the thirty-seventh floor. Tori’s penthouse occupied both the thirty-seventh and thirty-eighth floors. Once the elevator doors closed, they could hear the elevator proceed up to the final floor and open above them.

“Yes, I do. Come on in. Make yourselves comfortable.” Tori held out a hand and motioned them in. “Brett, honey, you know where everything is. Why don’t you give everyone the grand tour and I’ll get all my stuff put away.”

“Okay sweetie. You sure you don’t need any help with your luggage?” Brett wrapped her arms around Tori’s waist and twinkled her eyes.

“Uh… I think I can manage…. although the offer is very tempting.” Tori wrapped her arms tighter around Brett’s shoulders and kissed her tenderly.

“I yi, yi. Can you two please give it a break? I swear you two are going to morph into one body soon.” Lauren pulled at her sister’s arm. “Come on, show us the rest of this place. It looks like it’s going to take an hour at least.” Brett shrugged her shoulders and blew Tori another kiss.

Tori stood there with a smile on her face as she watched her lover lead the group in the direction of the kitchen.

Tori called for the elevator again, stepped back into it and pushed P2. The elevator opened to the second floor and she grabbed her rolling luggage and carry on. She went down the balcony towards the master bedroom.
INSTALLMENT ELEVEN

After unpacking and checking her messages, she went to see how the girls were doing. Descending the spiral staircase, she could hear laughter coming from the kitchen. She made her way down the hall and peeked in to see what the ruckus about. There in the middle of the women was none other than Maggie.

“I should have known. I bet you haven’t even seen any other room but the kitchen.” Everyone turned to see Tori standing at the entrance of the kitchen.

“Well there you are. What? You’re away for over two weeks and you don’t even have the decency to give me a proper greeting. I thought I raised you better than that.” Maggie gave Tori a reprimanding look. Fortunately, Tori knew it was all show. They both adored each other. “Get over here and stop your gawking.” Maggie put her hands on her hips and tapped her foot impatiently against the granite floor.

Tori hung her head and went over to Maggie. “I’d have said hello if I knew you were here. You’re supposed to be at the Hamptons this weekend.” Tori bent down and lifted Maggie off the floor. She planted a big wet kiss on Maggie’s cheek and exuberantly swung her around until they were both dizzy.

“Put me down you brat!!” Maggie tried to push against Tori’s shoulders, but the tall pest was too strong.

Tori laughed along with everyone else. She slowly lowered Maggie down to the floor and Tori held a protective arm around Maggie until she got her bearings. They both closed their eyes until they felt the room stop spinning.

Once it had, Maggie shook a finger at Tori and gave her a menacing look.

“You know, you are going to be the death of me. You may be all grown up, but you’re still not too old for me to spank your behind or send you to your room without dinner.” They all looked on as Tori and Maggie butted heads.

“Oh Mags, I was just giving you a proper hello. I guess when you get old, you can’t help but be forgetful and a bit confused.” Tori put her arm around Maggie’s shoulder. “Don’t worry. I’ll take care of you even when you start drooling and babbling.” Maggie at that moment hauled off and slapped Tori on the tuckus.

“Ouch, why’d you do that? You know, not only are you getting older, you’re getting grumpier too.” Tori rubbed her bum and pouted.

“I’ll give you grumpier.” Maggie balled her hand up in a fist and shook it at Tori.

“Oh stop. You know you love me.” Tori went over and gave Maggie a big hug. This time she gently kissed Maggie on the top of her head. “I missed you too.”

“I guess I missed you as well. But you’re still a brat.” Maggie returned the hug and then turned to their guests.

“I see you’ve brought the rest of my girls home. We were just catching up.” Just then, Gibeau and his fiancée came into the room.

“Alicia…. Gibeau…..how are you?” Gibeau went straight to Tori and this time it was he that swung Tori around.

“Thank you. I don’t know what to say.” Gibeau humbly kissed Tori on the cheek and Alicia came to stand in front of them.

“Thank you Miss Hull. I don’t know how we’ll ever repay you.” Alicia had worked for the Hull family for a few years and Gibeau and Alicia had fallen madly in love. They had just announced their engagement. Tori had offered to pay for the wedding and bought an additional condominium in the building so that they would have privacy when they got married. She thought that this would be better for the newlyweds instead of living with Gaston and Maggie in the staff quarters.

“You don’t owe me a thing. I love this big guy like a brother and anything I can do to insure a smooth start to your new lives is my pleasure.” Tori gave them each a heartfelt smile and saw the happiness in their eyes. She loved taking care of the people she loved. It gave life more meaning. In Tori’s mind, it was easy to make money. However, giving to others was much more satisfying.

“Well as soon as I can, I’ll pay you back. I promise.” Gibeau had seen the Hull’s give generously throughout the years and didn’t want to take advantage of them. They never once allowed their wealth to keep them from their humanity. Gibeau had seen many things throughout the years and was thankful and honored to work for such a fine family. He did everything he could to make sure their lives ran smoothly in his own way: making sure every precaution was taken to ensure that they got to where they needed to be, safely and on time.

“Please don’t insult me. After everything you, your mom and dad have done for us throughout the years, I owe you so much more than this. Please let me do this..” A hush filled the room and all eyes waited for Gibeau’s response.

Gibeau let out a sigh and took Tori in his arms. “Thank you. I love you like a sister also. I always have. I have just one condition though….”

Tori squinted her eyes and waited for Gibeau to name his condition.

“I’ll accept …only if you stand up on the altar with me as my best woman,…urh.. I mean.., well.. you know what I mean.” Gibeau held out his hand to shake.

Tori shook Gibeau hand. “It would be an honor.” Tori turned to look at everyone in the room and saw tears rolling down their cheeks. Maggie went to Tori and wrapped her arms around her.

“You know for being such a brat, you’re not so bad.” Maggie kissed Tori on the cheek and held Tori’s face in her hands. “Thank you. You’ve made me so very proud. I love you.” Tori leaned down and hugged Maggie. Maggie had been there when Tori’s mother had passed and did everything she could to nurture Tori throughout the years.

“I love you too. Besides, I bought the condominium so you wouldn’t be bothering them all the time. You watch me like a hawk as it is. ………Ouch.” Maggie pinched Tori on the butt and Tori pouted again.

“I take back everything I said except the part about being a brat. You are definitely a big bona fide brat.”

Maggie went to the oven and pulled out a steaming baking dish. Tori snuck up behind her and looked over her shoulder. She looked around the room and winked at her friends.

“Hey that wouldn’t be peach cobbler I smell now would it?” Maggie jumped, startled by Tori behind her. Tori licked her lips and rubbed her tummy.

“See I told you, you loved me.” Tori wiggled her eyes and rubbed her hands together. When she was younger, every time Tori did something good, Maggie would make her peach cobbler and top it off with vanilla ice cream.

“Child… you are always under foot. Why don’t you sit over there with everyone else and outta my way?” Maggie pushed the big nuisance aside and placed the dish on the counter.

“Anyone besides Tori for peach cobbler?” A resounding ‘yes’ filled the room and a big smile covered Maggie’s face. Little by little all her kids were coming back to her. She had watched them all grow up. In time, they had all left home and began new lives. She had missed them all terribly and was happy to see them resume their friendships after all this time.

“Okay everyone grab a bowl while it’s still warm.” They all gathered around and scooped out the sumptuous treat.

Maggie grabbed a bowl, ladled out a big helping of cobbler, and topped it off with a gigantic scoop of vanilla ice cream. She went over to Tori who was still pouting at the kitchen table. Maggie kissed Tori on the top of her head and placed the bowl in front of her. She tilted Tori’s chin up to look at her and smiled.

“You’ll always be my little girl. I love you, Sprout.” Tori put her arms around Maggie’s waist and sank into her comforting arms.

“I love you too. You’re the best.” Tori smiled and looked down at her bowl.

“Is this for me?” Tori’s eyes sparkled and then widened as they looked back up at Maggie.

“Yes. Now eat up while it’s still warm.” Maggie patted Tori on the back and went back to see how the other girls were doing.

Brett went over to Tori who was digging into her dessert with gusto.

“That was very generous of you.” Brett combed her finger through Tori’s hair. Tori looked up to see the sun shining along the contour of Brett’s face. She took Brett’s bowl out of her hands and placed it onto the table in front of her. She slid her chair back and pulled Brett onto her lap. She scooped up another spoonful and offered it to Brett. Brett’s mouth opened and the scrumptious feast disappeared. Brett let out a satisfying moan and went to grab a napkin but was stopped by Tori’s lips. Tori sensually licked the crumbs off around Brett’s mouth and tasted the sweet peach confection on Brett’s lips. Brett’s tongue entered Tori’s mouth and the two enjoyed each other’s kiss forgetting the dessert in front of them and the other occupants of the room.

Everyone pulled up a chair and did their best to ignore the two lovers by digging into their dessert. Maggie thought it was time they were interrupted before it got anymore embarrassing for everyone involved.

Luckily, before she did, Brett and Tori disconnected from their lip lock.

“Mmm. You know I’ve always loved Maggie’s cobbler, but you are definitely a tasty new ingredient.” Tori whispered into Brett’s ear so no one could her. “I love how you taste.” Heat rushed to Brett’s face and she adjusted her position on Tori’s lap.

Brett bowed her head and whispered into Tori’s ear. “You are so bad.”

“I know. But when I’m bad, I’m oh so good. As soon as we get back tonight, I plan to show you just how bad I can be.” Tori reached over and pulled the bowl closer to them. She took another spoonful and offered it to Brett. This time Brett motioned Tori to take a bite. Brett was tempted to have a repeat performance of their last kiss but thought better of it.

They finished their desserts making good work of the whole pan. They all helped clean up and Tori showed them the gym.

“Ooh a pool!!! Can we go swimming?” Adrian ran to the edge of the pool and looked like she wanted to jump in clothes and all.

Tori crossed her arms and laughed at Adrian’s antics.

“Hey, I thought you wanted to go shopping?” Alexi yelled at Adrian.

“We don’t even have our suits.” Lauren stated.

“I have suits for everyone if you want to get in.” Tori pointed to the bathroom.

“Really? Aw come on. Just a short swim…. please?” Adrian looked at the rest of her friends and they all agreed.

“What do you have planned tomorrow? I know the malls are closed in Paramus but Harriman is open. We can go tomorrow. Get an early start. We can hang out here, rent a movie. I have a fully stocked bar and playroom on the other side of the Penthouse.”

“No way. What a place. I like it Tori. I like it a lot!!” Adrian said buzzng around like a happy bee.

“I have to agree. Where did you find it? Better yet, how can you afford it?” Lauren looked at Brett and then Tori. This place was gorgeous but had to have cost millions of dollars. This was prime New York property.

“Well I was just in the right place at the right time. And as far as being able to afford it, well I make a very healthy living.”

“Please make yourself at home and feel free to let loose.” Tori showed them the entrance to the spa and told them where they could find everything.

Adrian, Lauren and Alexi went to the spa and found a bathroom, sauna, and Jacuzzi. There was a wall of closets that held fresh towels and held various bathing suits, trunks, and terrycloth robes.

Tori took Brett’s hand and led her to the living room. They picked out music and it filtered throughout the Penthouse.

“Hey you okay?” Tori stopped and held Brett.

“Yeah. Why do ask?” Brett looked at Tori and saw the faint worry lines around her eyes.

“I just want to make sure that this was what you wanted to do. Is this okay? I mean hanging out here?” Tori wanted Brett to start thinking of the Penthouse as her home as well. She was finding it harder and harder to spend time away from Brett and was starting to feel uncomfortable about them having separate apartments.

“I’m fine. I just don’t want you to feel like we’re invading your space.” Brett gave her a guilty look.

“Honey, I love these gals. What is the use of having a place like this if you don’t have people to share it with? This is exactly how I envisioned using this place. My home is your home. And our friends and family will always be welcome here.” Tori’s face showed nothing but sincerity and Brett felt Tori’s generosity warm her heart.

“How’d I get so lucky to share my life with you? You don’t know how you make me feel?” Brett tightened her hold around Tori’s waist and they just stood there enjoying the security they found there.

“Hey I’ve got the perfect suit for you. Care to model it for me?” Tori wiggled her eyebrows.

“I’d love to. If you wear something especially enticing for me.” Brett’s heart pounded at the thought of seeing Tori in her bathing suit.

“Baby I’d love to. But unfortunately I can’t.” Brett gave Tori a disappointed look.

“Why?” Brett stuck out her lips and scrunched up face.

“Well….I don’t think we need to give the girls anymore ammo do we?” Tori had a smirk on her face and watched as Brett looked at her very confused.

“Tori,… what are you talking about?”

She took Brett’s hand and they climbed the stairs to the master bedroom. Once inside the room, Tori shut the door and turned to look at Brett. Tori lifted her shirt off and Brett smiled, thinking Tori wanted to continue where they left off earlier.

Brett stepped forward to take Tori in her arms but was halted when Tori’s hand went up to stop her. She turned around and Brett’s eyes widened in horror, followed by tears that immediately started to pool.

“Oh my gosh!! Oh baby I’m so sorry!! Honey, look what I’ve done to you!!!” Brett was frantic. She had never hurt a fly and she was in total despair for causing the nail marks on Tori’s back.

“Hey, hey, it’s okay. We just got a little carried away. It’s no big deal.” Tori turned around and tried to calm Brett.

“We didn’t do anything! I was the one who got all rough and ready.” Brett looked at Tori’s chest and then her eyes caught sight of the love bite on Tori’s shoulder.

“Oh no! Oh baby. What’s wrong with me?!!” Brett’s tears started again as her finger traced the mark on Tori’s shoulder. She stretched up and planted gentle kisses on the mark, nipping and licking at the bruise, trying to heal it with her love and her touch. She took Tori’s hand and led her to the bed. She had her sit beside her while she showered the same treatment to the marks on Tori’s back.

Tori had never felt anything so tender and erotic. She felt electrical pulses tingle up and down her spine. At the same time embers began to flare in her belly into a blazing fire. Tori laid back and Brett laid on top of her. Hungry mouths fought feverishly over the other as the two lovers lost themselves once again in their passion.
INSTALLMENT TWELVE

The two lay spent across the bed lazily enjoying the afterglow of their lovemaking. They lay naked in each other’s arms while the love struck executive ran her hand across the smooth skin of the enamored writer’s soft heated skin.

“We really need to get back downstairs or we’ll never hear the end of it.” Tori softly caressed Brett’s head with her lips.

Brett propped up a little and looked into Tori’s azure eyes. “I’m still sorry about the bruises. I’ll cut my nails and try not to bite so hard.” Brett blushed as a grin came to Tori’s beautiful face. A rosy tinge colored Tori’s skin and sweat dampened her hair. Brett had never seen anything so sensual as the woman that lay beside her.

“Baby please. I don’t want you to change a thing. I love how you move against me when we make love. I especially enjoy how you show me, in your actions and your words, how much you love me. No one has ever made me feel as cherished as you do.” Tori stretched up and kissed Brett on the nose and pulled her even tighter against her.

“We just have to make sure the love bites are in areas where only you and I can see them.” Tori rolled Brett over and gave Brett an example of just where she thought a good place would be.

“Oh baby. I see what you mean.” Brett arched her back as Tori nipped at a very hidden yet sensitive area.

Tori looked down at her work and a very satisfied smile came to her face.

Brett inspected Tori’s handy work; well made lip work and guided Tori back up to her waiting mouth.

“Mmm… I see what you mean. I think we’re going to have to practice though.” Brett scooted further down the bed and wrapped her legs around Tori’s waist.

“So, where’s this bathing suit you want me to model for you?” Tori pulled Brett’s legs up and even tighter around her and lifted Brett up. She carefully got off the bed and carried Brett over to one of the dressers. She pulled out a lime green suit that had straps that would hook behind Brett’s neck and crisscross over her chest showing quite a bit of cleavage and a nice view of Brett’s well muscled abdomen. The bottom of the suit was cut high and would nicely compliment Brett’s scrumptious bottom.

“Here you go. I’ll just wait over here while you try it on.” Tori went over to the bed and waited in anticipation.

Brett looked at the suit and blushed at the lack of material. Oh well I’ll try anything once.

“I’ll be right back honey.” Brett went to the bathroom and quickly changed into the suit. Looking into the mirror, she was surprised that the suit was quite attractive on her. She would never have picked it out herself but liked it a lot. She adjusted the suit a little and took one last look. Here we go. Brett opened the bathroom door and stepped out into the bedroom. It was now 3:30 and the sun was shining brightly into the room. Beams of sunlight hit Brett’s body just right and accentuated all of her voluptuous curves.

Tori gripped on to the bed and watched as the petite blonde-haired woman overloaded every one of her senses. Tori got up off the bed and walked around Brett like a panther about to leap on its prey.

“Ooh baby, I knew when I saw this suit in L. A. that it would be perfect on you. But not in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine you working it like you are. Baby you look…you look amazingly beautiful.” Tori scooped Brett up and showered her with kisses. “I am the luckiest woman in the world.” Tori led Brett to the bed and bent down and kissed her.

“Do you like it?” Tori asked.

“I do. I’ve never thought of buying a suit like this. I especially like how it makes you react.” Brett gave Tori a very seductive look and leaned back on her arms to give Tori another look.

Tori licked her lips and took a deep swallow. “You keep that up and we’re never going to make it downstairs.”

“And your point would be…..?” Brett turned up the heat as she watched Tori’s lip quiver.

Tori knew she wanted nothing more than to ravish Brett over and over again but that would be very rude to her guests.

“You just don’t play fair. I’ll be right back.” Tori went to her drawers and picked out a black one piece Speedo. She quickly went into the bathroom and changed into her suit. She looked into the mirror and made sure her scratch marks were covered. An image of Brett in her suit came to Tori again and she let out a deep breath. I think a swim could do me some good. Cool me off a little. Maybe a few laps. Yeah that should burn off some steam. Tori always had a healthy sexual appetite but Brett was wreaking havoc with her libido. Okay mind over matter. That’s it. Imagine Brett with a big old parka on….. or fur coat with nothing on underneath. You are hopeless. Absolutely hopeless.

Brett knocked on the door.

“Honey are you okay? What’s taking so long?”

“Nothing sweetie. I’ll be right out.” Tori threw some water on her face and took another deep breath.

She opened the door and was glad that Brett had found a robe and put it on.

“Everything okay?” Brett felt Tori’s forehead, concerned at the flush she found there.

“Honey….are you sick? You look like you’re sweating. Do you have a fever?” They hadn’t gotten much sleep and Brett thought Tori might have caught something.

“No, I’m fine. I just can’t explain the effect you have on me.” Tori grabbed a robe for herself and took Brett’s hand.

“It’s a good effect, I hope?” They continued to walk towards the gym as they talked.

“Oh yeah. Let’s just say……we are definitely still at the honeymoon stage. I can’t seem to get enough of you.” Brett stopped and tugged on Tori’s arm to get her attention.

“If you hadn’t noticed, I feel the same way.” Brett had a sympathetic look on her face.

“I know baby. If we didn’t have guests believe me, I’d be content to never leave the bedroom. But they’re probably wondering where we went by now.” Tori brought Brett’s hand to her lips. “Lauren especially wanted to hang out with us and I don’t want to hurt her feelings.” Tori hoped Brett agreed.

“Okay love……last one in is a rotten egg.” Brett ran down the hall leaving a perplexed lover behind.

She went into the kitchen and found Maggie preparing a feast.

“What’s all this?” Maggie had prepared salads and hotdogs, hamburgers, and potato chips.

“Oh just a little something for my girls. I hardly ever get a chance to pull together a proper meal with you always out of town and Stephan and Jessica across the country.” Tori wrapped her arms around Maggie and kissed the top of her head.

“Things sure have changed haven’t they? I’m sorry Mags. I didn’t realize you missed the old days as much as I did.” Tori gave Maggie a very apologetic expression.

“Well it’s not your fault. You all had to grow up sometime. It’s just when you were small, there was always someone running into the kitchen wanting a drink or a snack. We had so many kids from the neighborhood running in and out. You can’t blame an old lady for missing her babies.” A tear came to Maggie’s eyes. She was a real softy at heart. She had always wanted to have a large family and fate only gave her one child. She had fulfilled her desire to have many children by adopting the neighborhood kids as her own.

“We all feel the same way Maggie. I don’t know what I’d do without you. You have been there throughout my whole life. I promise, if I have my way, we’ll have a house full again. You just wait and see. Then you’ll be complaining that I’m working you too hard.”

Maggie shook her head. “Well I’d rather too much work than not enough. It isn’t good to sit around all day. Here… help me take this inside.” Maggie handed her a tray of drinks and she carried a tray of food. As soon as the girls saw them enter the gym, they rushed over and took the tray out of their hands.

“Is there anything else?” Alexi inquired.

“There are a couple more trays…..” Maggie answered.

Brett and Alexi went to the kitchen and Maggie motioned the other girls to stay in the pool.

“Can’t have you tracking water all over, now can I?” Maggie gave them a stern look.

“Why don’t you ask Gaston, Gibeau, and Alicia to join us.” Tori asked Maggie.

“I’ll see what they’re doing. These old bones could use a swim.” Maggie never complained but Tori knew that she wasn’t as spry as she pretended to be.

“I told you I’d get a masseuse in here for you. The one I know is really good. He’ll have you feeling better in no time. I did mention to you he’s unbelievably gorgeous. That fact in and of itself is enough to get your blood flowing.” Tori winked at Maggie and her ears perked up.

“Oh yeah…. really? Really good-looking?” Maggie could still appreciate the finer things in life.

“Really, really, really good-looking. When he comes, I’ll make sure Gaston isn’t home.” Maggie’s face lit up and Tori had to laugh at her old nanny’s enthusiasm.

“Okay, it’s a deal. You don’t have to twist my arm.”

“Hey come on. The water’s great. Come join us….” Adrian screamed from the pool and did a shallow dive.

“Alright, I’ll go see what the old man’s doing. It can’t hurt for him to be surrounded by all these beautiful women. And I’ll see what the lovebirds are doing as well.” Maggie turned to leave and then stopped.

“If I bring Gaston down here, then I get to reap the benefits later. If you know what I mean…….” Maggie wiggled her eyebrows and Tori grimaced.

“Ugh Maggie…..way too much information.” Tori grimaced.

“Ah you young kids. You think you’re the only ones who can get up to know good. When I was a young woman…” Maggie continued.

At that point Tori put her fingers in her ears and started singing “La. La. La. La. La.” Maggie just rolled her eyes and left the gym in search of the rest of her family
INSTALLMENT THIRTEEN

They had taken full advantage of the spa soaking in the Jacuzzi, steaming in the sauna, and lounging around the pool. The penthouse had a beautiful view of the city and the sun had begun to set. They all took showers and headed to the living room where Tori made a fire. They each fixed themselves a drink and told stories, catching up on old high school and college tales, and filling each other in on what they had done in the past few years.

“I’m serious. On a dare, Alexi streaked across campus with Brett and me chasing after her. You should’ve seen her hiding behind tree after tree in all her glory.” Adrian kissed Alexi on the cheek as she told the story. Alexi still blushed after all these years.

“So many people had heard about it that Alexi actually made it onto the college paper. ‘Authorities were called to the University of Michigan last night when it was reported a college student was parading on campus naked. No names have been found as of yet. If you have any information as to whom the assailant may be, please contact the campus security immediately.'” Alexi slid down lower in her sit, wanting to be anywhere but there.

“I can’t believe it. Dear sweet Alexi, an exhibitionist. It’s the quiet ones you have to watch out for.” Tori shook her head in disbelief as the rest laughed at Alexi’s embarrassment.

“Okay, wise guy, what’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done?” Alexi asked Tori wanting desperately to get the attention away from her.

“Pff, how much time do you have? …….. After I left home, I swear I was out to ruin the Hull name in my first year at college. You don’t even want to know what I did while I was in Europe. There’s a bar in Austria that I’m not even allowed to enter anymore. That’s how bad I was.” Tori laughed remembering her escapades although at the time they weren’t all that funny.

“Ooh tell us that one!! It sounds interesting.” Adrian went over to the bar and refilled everyone’s drink.

“I ….ah…I don’t think so. I wouldn’t want to insult Brett.” Brett sat straight up from her position between Tori’s legs.

“What do mean? How bad can it be?” Brett cocked her head to the side and stared at Tori inquisitively.

“I just think it’s in poor taste to talk about ….well….you know?” Tori hoped Brett would get her drift.

“Oh you mean it involves another……?” Brett waited for Tori to fill in the blanks.

“……woman.” Tori supplied.

“Honey, I know you haven’t been locked away in some closet all these years. I can handle it.” Brett sat back confidently.

“Oh really? So much has changed in 24 hours.” Tori let a smug look grace her face.

“That’s entirely different.” Brett huffed.

Tori rolled her eyes and looked at her friends knowing that Brett was deluding herself.

Oh heck why not. “Care to explain what’s different?” Tori knew from past and, more importantly, recent experience that Brett was not someone to toy with.

“Well that girl was just the other day and we were seeing each other at the time, right?” Tori nodded her head in affirmation. “And this story was years ago. You and I weren’t involved back then. Therefore, what claims do have? To get jealous over something that happened in the past would be ludicrous.” Brett folded her arms and waited for Tori to argue.

Lauren jumped in. “What…. girl the other day?”

Tori immediately shot Lauren a look that told her to drop it. “Okay… forget I asked.” Lauren picked up her drink and listened as Brett and Tori resolved their discussion.

“Well, I can’t argue with that logic. Now can I?” Tori looked at her friends for guidance.

They all shook their head and Lauren put her two cents in again. “It’s useless Tori. Don’t even try. Brett won’t let go of the subject until she’s finally won.”

Tori knew the truth of this statement and motioned Brett to lean back against her. Against her better judgment, she began telling her story.

“I was attending Cambridge at the time. It was my senior year. A bunch of us decided to go to Innsbruck, Austria between semesters and go skiing.” Tori took a sip of her wine, set it back down on her leg, and ran a finger over the rim of the glass.

“There were eight of us and we all piled into two rooms because everything else was booked. The trails were great. The powder was incredible. It was sunny. Not too cold. You didn’t even have to wear a coat. Anyway….we stayed in this chateau at the base of the mountain and every night we would eat in the pub. The owner was this big burly Austrian guy. He looked like Paul Bunyan and he stood a good foot above me.”

Tori took another sip and thought about the trip. “Anyway, I was a bit of a swinger back then and wasn’t opposed to sowing a few oats. There was this waitress who waited on us every night. If we came for lunch, she would wait on us. If I stopped in for a hot chocolate, she popped out of nowhere. My friends started to notice and told me to give her a whirl. She was beautiful, long blond hair, blue eyes. A real St.Pauly’s girl.”

Tori peaked over Brett’s shoulder to gauge how she was doing. Tori placed her glass on the coffee table and wrapped her arms securely around her lover. “She had nothing on you believe me.”

Brett rewarded Tori with a tender kiss and responded, “Good answer baby.”

Tori kissed her again and then winked. “Where were we……?”

“You were talking about the St. Pauly’s girl.” Brett said with a little tinge of agitation in her voice.

Lauren rolled her eyes at her sister. As adorable as Brett was, she could be a real hand full. Fortunately, Tori could wind her way through the little mood bumps that Brett threw her way.

“Ah yes, …….well….the only thing was everywhere she went this ugly ass dog kept following her. I’m talking ugly. He was about yae high.” Tori held her hand about three feet off the ground.

“And about this wide.” She held her hand about a foot and a half apart in front of her and Brett. “He had black matted hair, globs of drool coming out his mouth, and his eyes were all bloodshot. He had this big leather collar on and it had this bell on it.” Tori illustrated the thickness of the collar and the bell. Each was about two inches wide.

“Well, I thought he was there to protect her if one of the customers tried to harass her. She’d come and take our order every time and this stupid dog would patiently sit beside her until she was through. Back and forth, back and forth, her and this dog would go. You would think it would be against health codes to have the mongrel in the establishment. But I guess it wasn’t. Well, after a few days, I was used to seeing the dog. I found out that the waitress’ name was Frieda. She would take our orders, wink, and leave. Always making sure I had extras of everything…” Brett rolled her eyes, but to her credit she kept any comments to herself.

“One night my buddies nudged me into making a play for the girl. And…. well before the meal was through, she handed me a note.”

Brett whispered, “Of course.”

“Hey, you’re the one who said I could tell the story.” Tori kissed Brett’s check and pulled her closer to her.

“I know. Keep going.” Brett let out a sigh and did her best to grin and bare her predicament.

“The note said she would meet me in my room in 20 minutes. At the time, I thought I was hot shit and all my friends whistled and cheered me on as I made my way across the pub to the room. When I got to the room, the door was slightly ajar and I looked down the hall to see if anyone was in sight. I slowly opened the door and found Frieda ready and eager to go, already naked under the sheets. In hindsight, it was a good thing I didn’t have time to take off my clothes.” Tori looked at her friends. Adrian sat in front of the fire while Lauren and Alexi lounged on the couch with their feet up on the table. All eyes were pinned on her, eager to here what was going to happen next.

“Frieda flung the sheets off her and motioned me to come to her. I wasn’t but a foot away when she yanked me onto the bed and begged me to satisfy her.” Brett squirmed and took a long sip of her beer.

“I was like ‘hey…what’s the rush? My friends aren’t going to come back here for hours.'”

“‘No’,” she says. “‘We must hurry. I have got to get back as soon as I can to finish job.'” Tori did her best German accent.

“She pulls me down and begs me to,…..you know?” Tori looked at her friends and they all nodded in understanding. Brett of course tried to not think too hard about what Tori was suggesting. She was asking her to play chess. Yeah that’s it, chess. Hmm what do I want to get tomorrow at the outlet mall? Brett… you had to go and ask her to tell this stor. Idiot!!

“Well being young and stupid, I complied. While I’m working away, I hear this bell. I lifted my head to look around the room and I asked Frieda if she heard anything. She says, “‘No. Keep going.’ So, like a moron, I do.”

Brett turned around and patted Tori on the cheek. “Poor baby.” Tori knew she was being sarcastic and chose to ignore her. Brett resumed her position while Tori continued.

“After a minute or so, I hear the bell again. But I don’t stop because Frieda’s really getting into it. She starts to moan softly and the bell ringing now starts to come closer. I pinpoint the sound as coming from the hall. Frieda starts to get louder and all of sudden I hear howling. I’m like, ‘It’s the damn dog. He’s outside the door.’ ” Everyone’s face forms a questioning look and they stare at Tori confused.

“Wait it gets better!” Tori motioned to her friends to be patient and picked up where she left off.

“Frieda starts bucking away and gets louder and louder and the dog keeps howling and howling. The two of them get so loud that I try to cover Frieda’s mouth to hush her up. The two of them sounded like a damned German opera.”

The girls were laughing hysterically at this turn of events and even Brett had tears in her eyes. Tori couldn’t help but laugh also and shook her head in embarrassment. She had done some really stupid things and this was definitely one of them.

After they composed themselves, Adrian inched closer dying to know what else had happened and was the first to speak. “So what happened next? Don’t keep us waiting!”

Lauren decided it was safer to sit on floor. In case, she fell off the couch in laughter. She leaned her back against the couch and draped her arm over Alexi’s leg. Adrian enjoyed the story and moved closer to get a better seat. She took a seat next to Tori and Brett at the other end of the couch.

“Well this continued for a few more moments and I can’t tell you how relieved I was when Frieda finally reached her climax. She was so loud, you’d think fire trucks were coming to the chateau the way that damn dog kept howling. I got off the bed and was on my way to scare the dog away when the door to the room flung open. I almost shit in my pants. Standing there with steam coming out his ears was Paul Bunyan himself. He looked past me at the bed and then gave me this menacing look. He started yelling all these German profanities and unfortunately I speak German pretty well so I understood every word of what he was saying.” Tori looked at her friends, lifted her hands and shrugged her shoulders.

“Oh no don’t tell me.” Adrian was about to bust a gut.

“He said Frieda was his wife and I was an American. You fill in the blanks. He told me to get out of his hotel and to not show my face in there again. It turns out Frieda had her own way of welcoming their guests and I wasn’t the first guest who was caught with Frieda. Paul Bunyan had gotten the dog not to protect Frieda, but to watch her. The dog wasn’t so stupid after all. He was trained to fetch his master every time Frieda was up to no good.” Brett turned around and buried her face in Tori’s chest trying to stifle her laughter but was failing miserably.

“Oh baby, that’s got to be the most pathetic story I have ever heard. Bah……” Brett lost it again, as well as every one else and Tori wondered what possessed her to tell this story in the first place.

“Well there’s more.” Tori couldn’t help but laugh also. It was good to be able to share her story with her friends. They loved her no matter what and it felt good.

“Oh please, I don’t think I can take any more. Whew,….. that’s a good one.” Adrian held her side and the rest were pretty much doing the same.

Tori gave everyone a few more moments and forged on.

“Well I grabbed my things and went to the pub to tell my friends what had happened. They all had the same reaction you did. I told them I would call them in the morning once I found a place to stay. As luck would have it, there wasn’t a room in sight. Everything was booked and I had two more days to go until we were supposed to leave. It was also at that moment that the sky opened up and dumped a ton of snow down on the ground. Leaving the airport a mess and grounding all the planes. There I was with no room and no way of getting out of Innsbruck.”

Brett looked at Tori concerned. “Honey, what did you do?”

Tori cupped Brett’s face and kissed her tenderly touched by Brett’s concern, even if the event took place years ago.

“I spent my days skiing and hanging out at the ski lodge. And at night I slept in the car we had rented. I put on all of my sweaters and turned on the heat every few hours.” All of the girls looked at Tori and they looked very concerned.

“I learned a very valuable lesson back then.” Tori said to her friends.

“Oh yeah? What’s that?” Alexi asked.

“Oh I know:…. never sleep with a married woman.” Adrian answered.

“Well that’s pretty obvious. But that’s not it.” Tori replied.

“Oh I got it…..” Lauren offered. “Beware of bells ringing in your ears. It’s not always tenitus.” Lauren laughed at her own joke.

“No silly. What about you Brett. Care to guess what I learned from this escapade?”

Brett scratched her chin. After a moment, a thought came to her.

“Oh I know. …..Always check the weather report. Cause you never know when you have to leave the country in a hurry.” Brett looked at Tori and waited for her response.

“Smart girl!! ….Every morning I look at the weather report to see what the weather is going be like.” The girls all laughed enjoying Tori’s story very much and happy to have their friend back. It had been too long.

Tori looked at the clock. It was now 9:30pm. “Well girls….what do you want to do now?”

“Where’s this playroom you were telling us about?” Adrian got up and stretched her back.

“It’s down that hall to the left.” Tori directed Adrian, whose eyes immediately lit up.

“Ooh, cool. Can I go see?” Adrian stood up feeling a little tipsy.

“Sure, why don’t we all go?” Tori patted Brett on the thigh and Brett reluctantly left her comfortable position wrapped in long arms and legs.

“Does anybody want some more wine? I can open another bottle or maybe something else. Brandy, Cognac, Tequila? Ooh we can make kamikazes or Margaritas.” Tori watched as Brett stretched her petite form. Her T-Shirt raised up and her belly button was too tempting to pass up. Tori sat up and pulled Brett to stand between her legs and she nuzzled the delicate dip.

“Baby, stop that. It tickles.” Brett bent over and whispered into Tori’s ear. “Actually it’s turning me on and right now is not a good time, love.” Brett tilted Tori’s face to hers and hoped she understood.

Tori pouted as if her favorite toy was taken away and nodded her head.

“Wine sounds good. What other vintage do you have?” Alexi asked.

“Why don’t we go to the kitchen? The wine closet is very well stocked. Come on. Is anybody hungry? We can raid the fridge.” Tori got up and straightened her clothes.

Brett stood to the side and waited for Tori to work out the kinks that had set in from sitting in position too long. When she was done, she took Brett’s hand.

“Don’t think I forgot where we were. I plan on ravishing you later.” Tori whispered in Brett’s ear.

“I’m counting on it.” Brett said in return. They shared a tender kiss and proceeded to the kitchen.
INSTALLMENT FOURTEEN

The five women raided the refrigerator and threw together some snacks. With beer flowing and wine chilling, they took full advantage of the game room.

“So you’re saying the people who owned this place before had all these games set up for their kids?” Adrian lined up her shot and aimed for the corner pocket.

“Yeah. Ooh almost. Just a little to the left next time.” Tori went around the table and looked for an opening. “Six ball, center pocket.” With precision and finesse, Tori pulled the stick back and sliced through the cue ball hitting the six, spinning it obediently into the center pocket.

Brett, Lauren, and Alexi were playing Bart Simpson’s arcade game chasing clowns with vacuum cleaners and a skateboard, laughing while the big bad clown cornered Alexi and was beating the stuffing out of her.

“Come on!! Fight!!” Lauren screamed.

“You think it’s so easy. This guy ‘s creaming my ass.” Alexi frantically pushed every button to no avail.

“Oh no!!” Brett threw her hand over her mouth as Marge Simpson lost her life to the big bad clown.

“Enough…. I’m gonna play a pinball machine. Ooh…. Arnold and the Terminator, ‘I’ll be back’.” Alexi went to the pinball machine and put in a token that Tori had given them. The tokens were just like in the arcade. Only engraved on them was T&B’s Amusements. When asked what T&B stood for, Tori got all embarrassed.

“Hey what does T&B stand for?” Adrian asked.

“Well…” Tori scratched her head. She didn’t know how Brett would react.

“I had them made and the guy asked if I wanted them inscribed so I told him to put T&B’s Amusements. It’s no big deal.” Tori supplied.

“Yeah, but that doesn’t answer the question.” Alexi answered back.

“It stands for Tori and Brett.” The usually stoic executive answered rather quickly.

“What was that? I didn’t quite get that.” Lauren came over and questioned again.

Brett put her arms around Tori and was overwhelmed again. Tori was slowly but surely offering up all her dreams to her in little gestures everyday.

Tori held Brett and looked her in the eye. “It stands for Tori and Brett. I hope you don’t mind baby. It just seemed like the natural thing to do.” Brett threw her arms around Tori’s neck and they kissed very passionately.

“Oh that is so sweet. Do you want me to engrave our names on an arcade token baby?” Adrian turned to Alexi jokingly. Though they were making light of the gesture, they each knew how significant it really was. Tori meant to share her life with Brett and they couldn’t be happier.

Lauren watched as her little sister glowed with unbridled happiness. She said a little prayer and thanked whoever was listening for bringing her sister back. She hadn’t seen Brett this happy in years and if Tori’s face was anything to go by, the female Hull hadn’t been this happy either.

“Alright, who’s up for ping pong? I’ll play the both of you.” Adrian pointed at Lauren and Alexi. She had played on the team in Michigan and could hold her own against the two.

“Okay, but not too rough. You always get all carried away. I hate it when you spike the ball at my head.” Alexi warned.

“Spike the ball at your head? Are we playing Ping Pong or Volleyball?” Lauren was confused. She was definitely not the athletic type.

“Volleyball, ping pong, they’re all the same to her. She goes after her opponents the same way: viciously.” Alexi pointed a finger at Adrian, again telling her to control herself.

“Yes baby, I’ll be good. Now are we going to play or talk?” Adrian got into position and an evil grin came to her face.

“Oh no, we’re in trouble.” Alexi buckled down and waited for the assault and Lauren stood there in fear for her life.

Tori and Brett laughed at their antics and went over to the couch to watch the show.

“That was very sweet of you.” Although there was a whole couch for Brett to sit on, she chose Tori’s lap.

Tori shrugged her shoulders and tried to hide her nervousness.

“It’s nothing really. You know honey? This is a pretty large sofa. You don’t have to sit on my lap.” Tori offered jokingly. She was nervous that she might be pressuring Brett. She wanted so desperately to share every aspect of her life with Brett but didn’t want to rush her. She hoped that a little humor could keep her from revealing her feelings too soon.

“Well I’m just doing my job.” Brett smirked with an adorable twinkle in her eyes.

“Oh really? I see this is part of making sure I don’t get sick at night.” Tori ran her fingers through Brett’s bangs and kissed her sweetly on the lips.

“No, this is to make sure you don’t get hit by a stray ping pong ball. Many emergencies have been documented about ping-pong ball accidents. Why just the other day…” Brett was unable to finish her thought. Tori unable to control her passion for Brett captured her lips and kissed her senselessly. There was just something about Brett that touched Tori straight to the core. She loved her like nothing else in the world. When the kiss finally ended, the two were breathless and overheated.

“Whew, I guess you’re happy with my job performance?” Brett fanned herself trying to calm her beating heart.

“Very. I give you the highest recommendation.” Tori nipped down the length of Brett’s neck and ran her tongue along her collarbone. There was no denying the passion that was churning between them.

“You’d think they’d notice if we escaped upstairs?” Brett’s center was throbbing and Tori’s mouth was doing wonderful things to her.

“Yeah, I think so.” Tori stopped her nipping and looked around. She picked up the remote to the stereo that was beside her and turned on the system. She found a smooth jazz station and put the remote down. Luther Vandross’ version of “If Only for One Night” was playing.

“Dance with me?” Tori whispered into Brett’s ear.

Brett got up and held her hand out for Tori to take. With just the lights from above the tables, the glow of the games, and the firelight, the two impassionados danced in front of the fireplace at the far end of the room. The two were lost in each other as the music carried them away. Tori hummed in Brett’s ear with her low dulcet tones and the younger Montgomery buried her face in the brunette’s chest.

“I love you Brett.” Tori kissed the top of Brett’s hair feeling the soft silkiness tickle her nose. “I haven’t felt this at peace or this contented in years.”

“I know baby. Neither have I. Not since we were kids have I felt this safe and this loved. I feel like I’ve finally come home.” Brett wrapped her arms tightly around Tori’s waist.

“You have baby.” Tori lifted Brett’s face to meet her. “While I was in L.A., I made some decisions. Please understand I don’t want to rush you. I know that we’ve only been seeing each other for a little over a month. But I hate not having you here with me. We tend to spend all our free time together as it is and, well… either you or I have to wake up really early if we’re at each other’s place. I just think if we lived together it would make things a lot easier.” Tori wanted this so badly she had thought of nothing else while she was away.

“Yes…” Brett quickly answered.

“You don’t have to give me an answer right away. You can think about it. You know talk it over with the girls.” Tori’s mind was reeling. What else could she say to convince Brett that this was the right thing to do?

“Honey, I agree. I’d be happy to move in with you.” Brett watched as Tori worked herself in a tizzy, lost in her thoughts.

“If this place doesn’t suit you…We can… did you say yes?” The light finally came on and relief washed over Tori like an ocean wave. Tori picked Brett up and swung her around. “You said yes… Oh honey you’ll see…..you’re going to love this place. We can make the library into an office if the office doesn’t meet your approval. If you don’t like the master bedroom, we can redecorate. If you want to keep your bed, that’s cool with me. There’s a whole…” Brett placed her hand over Tori’s mouth.

“Shh… baby… take a breath, love. You’re going to work yourself up. I love this place just the way it is. I can work my stuff in slowly. We don’t have to decide tonight. I just want to savor the fact that you and I are together. Can we do that?” Brett ran the palm of her hand over Tori’s chest hoping to calm her pounding heart.

“Okay baby. Ooh yeah…my girl’s going to live with me.” Tori tilted her head down and captured Brett’s mouth again.
INSTALLMENT FIFTEEN
“That’s it. No more. You’re crazy.” Lauren threw the paddle down and threw her hands up in surrender.

“I told you she was nuts.” Alexi did the same.

“Aw, come on. One more game…. Hey guys….. come over here and play with me.” Adrian yelled over at Tori and Brett.

Tori and Brett looked up and shook their heads.

“Come on Tori. Brett? You used to be pretty good in school. Please?” Adrian looked like a cocker spaniel at that moment.

“I’ve had a little too much to drink. I’m afraid I’ll break my neck.” Responded Tori. Turning to Brett, “Why don’t you play, honey? I’d be glad to watch you run around.” Tori winked and gave her a very sexy grin.

“I bet you would.” Brett sat up and yelled back at Adrian, “Okay, I think it’s time someone gave you a run for your money. Ten bucks best two out of three.” Brett defiantly stood there.

“Put your money where your mouth is and make it twenty.” Adrian shot back.

“Okay. Deal.” With a coyness Brett whispered to Tori, “I’ll try to make this quick, sweetie. We have some celebrating to do.” Brett stretched up and the two savored another toe-curling kiss.

“We sure do.” Tori’s hands slowly descended Brett’s back stopping at her well-shaped buttocks. Tori’s hands cupped the perfectly formed cheeks and gave them a proper groping. She pulled Brett closer to her and their bodies rubbed against each other in painful need. They shared one last kiss as Tori sent Brett on her way.

Brett walked over to the table, her legs a little wobbly from the alcohol and mainly the sensations that Tori had stirred in her. She picked up a paddle and made a show of testing all of them. She twirled them in her hand and flipped it in the air. She took a few swings and hopped up on the balls of her feet trying to get the blood flowing in other areas, besides her libido.

“Are we going to play or what?” Adrian through her hands up in frustration.

“Don’t rush me. Do not rush me. I’ll start when I’m good and ready.” Brett turned and winked at her other companions. She knew Adrian wasn’t the most patient person in the world and was successfully psyching her out.

“Oh for Pete’s sake! Come on!!” Adrian shook her head when Brett bent over and stretched her hamstrings giving Tori a very nice view of her derriere.

“Nice baby!! You can stretch all night for me. Work it.” Tori licked her lips and Brett thanked her.

“Ugh, don’t you two ever let up.” Adrian lifted one leg and rested it on the table.

“I’m a lover not a fighter. Don’t hate me cause I’m beautiful.” Brett laughed as Adrian put her finger in her mouth to gag.

“Tori… how do you put up with this girl?” Adrian looked at Tori in sympathy.

“Like she said. She’s a lover and a damn good one if I do say so myself.” Lauren and Alexi sat down next to Tori and watched as Adrian got more and more worked up.

“Thank you baby.” Brett winked.

“You’re welcome, snookums.” Tori blew Brett a kiss.

“I think I’m gonna be sick.” Adrian grabbed her tummy.

“Alright. I think I’m ready.” Brett got into position.

“Finally. You’re almost as slow as Alexi.” Adrian glanced at her lover.

“Hey, what did I do?” Alexi slumped down into the couch and Lauren put her arm around her.

“It’s okay baby. Let’s watch the crazy lady get her tail whooped.” Alexi nodded affirmatively.

“Yeah!! Whoop her butt, Brett!” Alexi stuck her tongue out at Adrian.

“Okay…. Woops!! One second…..” Brett held up her finger.

“What NOW?” Adrian was starting to consider forfeiting. Yeah right not in this lifetime.

“It’s customary to get the Queen’s favor before a match. I must collect mine.” Brett snickered and ran over to Tori. She straddled her lap and laid a big old “smackarooni” on her.

“Whew hoo!!!! Camelot would still be around if you were queen. You inspire me.” Brett licked her lips before she went back to the table.

“Go get her, tiger!!” Tori encouraged as she slapped Brett on the butt. Brett gave Tori a winning smile and nodded her head.

“Okay. Prepare to be beaten shamelessly,” Brett swayed from side to side waiting for the serve.

Adrian served it over and they allowed the volley to go over three times until war began. On the fourth volley, Brett cocked back and ripped through the ball. She reached across the table and slammed the ball cross the table. Adrian dove for the ball but came up short as the ball blew past her and bounced several times across the floor.

“I think that makes it my serve?” Brett gave Adrian a tongue in cheek look and waited as Adrian went to retrieve the ball.

The other girls did high fives amongst themselves.

“That’s ma’ girl!!” Tori whistled and Brett curtseyed.

“Alright. She just got lucky.” Adrian tossed Brett the ball and she quickly served. The ball hit the paddle, bounced once on Brett’s side and with lightning speed, flew over to Adrian’s side. The ball looked as if it would go out so Adrian let it pass. As luck would have it, the ball dropped at the last second and nicked the side of the table leaving it impossible to put it back into play.

“Unbelievable. Lucky shot.” Adrian gave Brett a look of disbelief.

“Skill sweetie…Pure skill.” Brett sauntered back into position and served again.

This time Adrian returned the volley and Brett shot back a long volley pushing Adrian away from the table. Brett kept pushing Adrian back and to the right, positioning her victim for the kill. Adrian shot back her return and before she could do anything about it, Brett reached over and slammed the ball in the opposite direction. Adrian, attempting to lunge for the ball, came up short.

“Yessss!” Brett pumped her fist in the air and did a happy dance.

Adrian of course was getting frustrated. This was her game and she was losing.

Brett continued to play well, not turning down the heat for a second. Adrian, though she was behind at the beginning, came up with some good volleys and took the second game. It was the last point of the third and the deciding point. Brett was ahead by one and needed this point to finish off her frustrated opponent. Adrian was sweating. Her nerves on edge. The room was silent as all eyes waited for Brett to serve. Brett cleared her throat and, before another second passed, the ball was in play. Adrian slammed the ball hard with her forehand and Brett slid to the left to return it. The ball landed to Adrian’s left and she returned it trying to pull off a passing shot. Brett prepared for the move and dove toward the ball sending it back towards the middle.
Quickly getting back to center, Brett anticipated Adrian’s next shot and lobbed the ball up in the air slowing the ball down. The ball took a high bounce and Brett knew that Adrian would slam it full force back at her. She watched the swing and, with grace and precision, she hit the ball back with just the right amount of power. The ball tapped the tape of the net …….and dropped shallowly on the other side. The bounce wasn’t even higher than the net itself. Adrian tried to scoop the ball up. But the ball just hit the net and dropped back onto her side.

Brett jumped into the air and Adrian fell on the floor in defeat. It had been a good match and everyone enjoyed it very much. Brett walked over to Adrian on the floor and held out her hand. Brett helped her up and the two shook hands.

“Good game squirt. You really had me going. Hey…. why didn’t you play for the team in school?” Adrian inquired.

“I was too busy with the Debate team and the Thespian Club.” Brett wiped her brow with the back of her wrist.

Adrian reached into her pocket and pulled out a twenty. “There you go. Best twenty I’ve ever lost. We have to play again sometime.” Adrian put her arm around Brett as they went over to the girls on the couch.

It was now 12:30am and the girls were feeling no pain. Tori’s eyes were a little glassy and Lauren was sprawled out on the couch three sheets to the wind. Alexi was making “googolly eyes” at Adrian as they approached.

“I think you three are a little toasted.” Adrian said as Lauren tried to sit up but failed miserably.

“I beg to differ. Burrp…Excuse me. We’re a lot toasted.” Lauren smacked her lips and looked at them through squinty eyes.

“Yeah, we’re a lot toasted. Hey you’re looking awfully cute.” Alexi motioned Adrian to come closer.

Tori scrubbed her face with her hands and then looked at her lover. “You were incredible. I’ve never seen ping pong played so well. Come to mama…..” Tori held open her arms and Brett immediately sank into them.

They kissed for a moment and Brett could tell that Tori was feeling very frisky.

“So ladies…….what do you want to do now? You’re welcome to pass out here. You can have your pick of guestrooms on the second floor. There are fresh towels and I can get you a nightshirt or shorts and T-shirts. Which ever you prefer. Ooh….. we could have a slumber party!!! Like we used to when we were kids. What do you say?” Tori belched and shook the cobwebs out. “Sorry.”

Brett patted Tori’s face and stood up. “Adrian and I will go raid your drawers and be right back.” Brett looked at Lauren and Alexi to see if they wanted to stay. It was obvious they weren’t going too far. “Alright…. we’ll be right back.” Brett gave Tori a quick kiss.

“Hey don’t be too long.” Tori pulled Brett back down on her lap and they kissed passionately.

“Ooh…..okay….hold that thought.” Brett got off Tori’s lap and the two ping- pong players left the room.

Tori watched the sway of Brett’s hips and let out a sigh.

“You’re really crazy about her aren’t you?” Tori turned to Lauren who had tears in her eyes.

“Hey, what’s wrong? Why are you crying?” Tori took Lauren in her arms and rubbed her back.

“Yeah, what’s going on? This is supposed to be a party.” Alexi moved closer and wrapped her arms around Lauren from behind.

“I’m not sad. I’m happy. Tori, I can’t tell you how grateful I am that you love Brett like you do. Ask Alexi? She was there when Jenna lost it. Her and Adrian found Brett at the apartment. They got to her just in time.” Lauren wiped her tears and Alexi started to cry also.

“That fucking bitch!! I’m not a violent person but I hate that woman! I’ve never hated anyone as much as I hate her.” Alexi’s face was serious and her eyes were filled with equal portions of sadness and anger.

“I know. I promise you no one’s ever gonna hurt our girl again.” The three sat there holding each other and Tori thought she should lighten up the mood. “I know that Brett hasn’t had a chance to tell you ….but I asked her to move in with me tonight.” Tori’s face lit up and the girls immediately sat up.

“What? No way? What did she say?” Lauren and Alexi excitedly stared at Tori.

“Why don’t you ask her?” Tori pointed to Brett at the door and the girls quickly got up and stumbled toward her.

“Whoa. What are you two up to?” Brett held up her hands. Ready to catch them if they fell over.

“Tori said she asked you to move in. What did you say?” Lauren put her arm around her sister and Brett helped her back to the couch. Adrian grabbed Alexi and listened for Brett’s response. This was news to her as well.

Brett placed Lauren back down on the couch and Alexi and Adrian shared the big chair. She took her favorite place on Tori’s lap and gave her a light peck. “I said.. yes.” Four girls screamed and a group hug formed. Tori held her head as the room began to spin.

“We’re so happy for you two!! Of course we’re going to miss you as a roommate. But we’re just so happy.” They screamed again and Tori thought her head would explode.

“Whoa…. can you scream a little lower?” Tori wrapped her arms around Brett and laid her head on her shoulder.

“Oh baby… have you had too much to drink?” Brett rubbed Tori’s neck.

“No, I’m not drunk.” Tori pouted.

“Ah huh… I know baby.” Brett patted Tori’s head and planted baby kisses on her forehead.

A happy look came to Tori’s face and she let out a sigh. Brett could always make her feel better.

“I think this calls for a celebration.” Adrian went to the refrigerator retrieved a bottle, popped open the bottle of champagne and passed around glasses to everyone.

When they all received a glass of bubbly, Adrian offered a toast. “To good friends and love. May they always flow in abundance.”

“Here, here.” Glasses clinked around the group and the bottle was soon emptied with a few more following it.

*******
They had moved the party into the living room, and by three o’clock, Alexi and Adrian were passed out on the sofa, and Lauren was conked out on the chair and ottoman.

Brett was sprawled over Tori on the other couch, while blue eyed Victoria gazed into the glowing flame of fire. She twirled a strand of Brett’s hair between her fingers and thought about how different her life was from a few short months ago. She had left behind a life that didn’t hold much promise and returned to a life surrounded by her friends and the woman she loved more than life itself. She looked down at Brett’s angelic face and a tear came to her eye as she thought about how happy Brett made her. They were going to live together. Tori smiled remembering something she had gotten while she was in L.A.

Soon, baby, soon.

Brett looked up at Tori with sleepy eyes at that moment. “Did you say something, love?” Brett stretched up and kissed Tori on the lips.

“Ah …..yeah. I was just thinking….. I should go get blankets for everyone. Then we can go upstairs to bed. I’ll be right back.” Tori slid out from under Brett and stood up.

“You want me to help you?” Brett mumbled.

“No, I can handle it.” Tori bent over and kissed Brett on the cheek.

“Hurry back.” Brett replied sleepily.

*******

A few minutes later, Tori came back with pillows, blankets, a bottle of Tylenol, glasses, and a pitcher of water. She covered her friends up and placed the water and Tylenol on the living room table for when they woke up. She then went over to Brett. Bending over, she slid her arms behind Brett’s shoulders and legs. She carried her precious new roommate up to their room and laid her across their bed.

Brett woke to find beautiful blue eyes lovingly gazing at her.

“Baby…why don’t you get out of these clothes. You’ll sleep better.” Brett sleepily unbuttoned her jeans and slid out of them. She lifted her t-shirt over her head and took off her bra and panties. She got under the blankets and watched Tori do the same. Tori went to the bathroom and a few minutes later returned with a couple of Tylenol in hand and a glass of water.

“Here sweetie. Take these.” She handed Brett the Tylenol and the glass. “You’ll thank me in the morning.” Tori waited for Brett to finish with the glass and placed it on the nightstand beside her.

“Thanks. What would I do without you?” Brett turned to her side and waited for Tori to get in beside her. Tori slid into soft flannel sheets and fluffed up the pillows. She held her arms open and Brett quickly took her place along the right side of Tori’s body.

“Ah!! Heaven.” Brett nestled in the crook of Tori’s arm and sank into a peaceful slumber.

“Yes it is.” Tori would soon follow her. “Sweet dreams, love.” Brett mumbled an incoherent response and soon her breathing evened out.

Tori wrapped her arms protectively around Brett, kissed her on the forehead, and said a short prayer of thanks. Brett was going to share her life and another piece fell into place. Looking forward to the future for the first time in a long very long time, Tori took a deep contented breath before she allowed sleep to finally take her. They would be facing life together and, as they say in the business: “All clear and ‘full steam ahead’.”
THE END
Continued in Book 4 Moving On

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