Nurturing Souls by DS Bauden

nurturing souls

Disclaimer: This is my story, my characters, mine, mine ,mine!! They will, however, look a little familiar to a couple of women that we all love. I hope that you enjoy this Uber tale. Break out the cookies, this is a long one……….

Love/Sex Warning: Oh yeah, a little lovin’ never hurt anyone. But, if you don’t appreciate the love between two women, you may choose to read something else. If you are underage, please press the “save” key until a later date.

Violence: Nope

Nurturing Souls

By DS Bauden

The sun was beating down on the car transporting young Alicia to her new surroundings. The ride was a long one from the airport to her aunt’s ranch. It took her a long time to make the decision of leaving her home after her parents had passed away, but her aunt had offered and she took her up on it. Her Aunt Edna was a very loving woman in her own right. She had been a second mother to Ally, as she preferred to be called, since she could remember. Most of all, Edna was her friend.

Ally received the news of her parents’ car accident six weeks ago. The loss left her entirely empty and unknowing what to do with the rest of her life. She was a young nineteen and had just finished her first year of college. Her entire life was never filled with such pain as she felt now. A new start was in order, and hopefully, that life, would begin with her aunt on her ranch. She raked her hand through her long blonde hair, and felt completely numb as the car pulled into the main house driveway.

‘Here we go.’ She thought out loud to herself as the car came to a stop.

Ally saw her aunt racing down the drive to meet her niece with open arms.

“Ally! Ally! You made it!” She howled as she grabbed her niece in to a warm and full embrace. “I’m so glad you came.”

“Hi Eddi! I am so glad to see you too! I have missed you terribly.” She held on as the tears came to her eyes and flowed freely down her cheeks.

“Let me look at you, darlin.” She focused on the frail body in front of her. “Alicia, starving yourself won’t bring them back.” She whispered into her niece’s ear as she held the small woman in her arms again.

“I know Eddi, I just don’t have much of an appetite these days. Looks to me like you are doing well though.” She poked her plump aunt in her belly and smiled a brilliant smile, while wiping her tears away.

“There’s the girl I love. Let’s see if we can keep her around for awhile, shall we?”

“I’ll do my best. Where is Jack, I haven’t seen him in ages.”

“Oh honey, he isn’t here right now. He had some meeting to attend to in Phoenix. He should be here in a week or so. Don’t you worry, he’s excited to see you too.”

“Well good. We used to see each other all the time when he was working around Chicago, but since he moved out here with you, I think it has been four or five years since I have seen him.”

“Let’s get you settled in honey, and I’ll put on some tea. We can talk more in the kitchen ok?”

“Alright. I have my whole life in these bags, God, I just can’t believe this happened.”

“I know sweetie, I know…” She draped her arm around Ally as they walked towards the main house.

The main house was an old country house. The front door had an old brass knocker on the front and a thumb latch door handle. As soon as she grasped the handle, she was immediately flooded with memories of her childhood. Ally loved this house. She spent many summers here with her aunt, uncle, and cousin. Her Uncle John died a few years ago from a heart attack. He was training one of the horses and collapsed one afternoon. Edna was out in the back when she saw him go down. She ran to him, but he was already gone by the time she got there.

“God that seems like a long time ago.”

“I know Eddi; I miss Uncle John so much. You two were my second pair of parents. Now it’s just you and me.” She said as she grabbed onto her aunt’s hand as they shared a mug of tea.

“I swore that I would do anything to prevent that from happening again. I even hired a stable hand. Pretty nutty eh?”

“What? That is not nutty Eddi, you just want to be careful. I don’t blame you at all. You can never be too careful, believe me. I don’t think that I have felt so unnerved as I was the first time I drove somewhere after the accident.”

“God knows, honey, we have extra sets of eyes watching over us now.”

“Yeah we do. I can feel mom every once in awhile. I bet you can too.”

“Oh yes honey, my sister and I had a very close bond. I feel her around me almost every day. A part of me died that day…” Her voice trailed off as she felt emotions run through her body.

Ally sensing the distress in her aunt, leaned over and hugged her. The two women hung onto each other until their sobs ceased.

“Enough of this mushy stuff. You came here to be free of this sadness, and what do I do? I’m sorry hon.”

“Eddi, I came here to start over, I will never be free of that sorrow. It will just take some time to lessen that pain. I’m just going to take things day by day. That’s all I can do right now.”

“You are right dear. Now, let’s get you unpacked.”

“Ok, do I get my old room?”

“Actually dear, I had to give you the guest room. Syd is staying in your old room. I didn’t think that I would ever get you here on a permanent basis, so I gave it away when I hired Syd.”

“Who is Syd Eddi?”

“Syd is my stable hand. I will introduce you two later on. Right now, let’s turn that old guest room into something to your liking. I started making it more homey than it used to be, but I am sure that you can put your own touches on it.”

“It’ll be great Eddi, thank you for everything.”

“Aww, honey, I would walk through fire for you, you know that.”

“I love you too.”

*~*~*~*

The two continued unpacking Ally’s room and before long it looked quite comfortable and the two just looked at each other and smiled.

The color on the walls was a soft emerald, like Ally’s eyes, and had many old pictures on the walls. Some of them her aunt had painted of landscapes and whatnot. There were framed photographs along the windowsills showing the history of Ally’s life. Many were of her with her parents. Her favorite was the one of her with her mom and Eddi. They were sitting along the edge of the Grand Canyon. They both looked at that picture with such wonderful memories. The room was as done as Ally wanted it to be for the time. She would dig into the rest of the boxes later. She wanted to see her horse, Polka, before it got too dark.

“Eddi, I am going out to see Polka, I’ll be in later ok?”

“Ok hon, she will be happy to see you again. I know she loves you to ride her. Syd will be out there to help if you need any.”

“Alright Eddi, I’ll see you later.”

*~*~*~*

The stable was as she remembered it. Two stalls for the horses and a loft that she and Jack used to play in when they were younger. She saw an older man tending to field with Matty, Edna’s other horse.

“That must be Syd. I’ll go say hi after I find Polka. I can’t wait to ride her. Maybe it will take away some of this depression.” She said to herself.

She walked out into the corral where she expected to find Polka, but what she saw was nothing short of awesome.

There she was, long black hair flowing through the wind as she rode Polka across the field. She was amazing. Ally’s eyes could not break from the sight in front of her. The woman was wearing black jeans with a white shirt and black vest. Her body was slim and quite flexible as Ally was noticing as she flawlessly lead Polka through a number of jumps and a couple tricks in the saddle. She seemed a million miles away and as happy as one could be.

Her focus finally cleared and her heart skipped a beat as this mystery woman approached closer to her.

“Alicia I presume.”

‘God I never thought I would hear my name sound so incredible.’ She thought to herself about the woman’s accent.

“Hello? Anyone home?”

“Um, I’m sorry, yes I am Ally. I see that I don’t need to worry about Polka getting exercise while I’m away.”

“Nope. She is a great ride. Edna tells me she is yours. She is beautiful.”

“Yes she is. I miss her when I am away, but I guess that won’t be a problem anymore.”

“I guess not.”

“Do you mind if I ride her? I haven’t ridden her in ages.”

“Of course not. Just take it easy on her, we just did some drills and she may be a little tired. This heat doesn’t help much either.” She said as she wiped her forehead with her forearm. Ally couldn’t help but to stare. This woman had the most beautiful blue eyes she had ever seen.

“Are you alright?”

“Ye….yeah I am fine. Sorry.”

The woman slid almost seductively down from the horse and rose to her full height next to Ally’s smaller frame. She stood about 6 feet tall and was all but angelic to Ally. She felt very safe standing next to this woman and felt a closeness that she didn’t quite understand.

“She’s all yours.”

Ally mounted Polka and noticed that the stirrups needed to be adjusted before she found herself on the ground.

“Could you give me a hand?”

“Sure..” She reached under Ally’s boot to raise the stirrup on the left side, then walked around to the other side. She raised the other stirrup and held Ally’s calf as she led her foot into the stirrup. Ally felt a jolt of energy course through her body. She sat and waited for the surge to end and when she realized that it was over she turned to thank the woman, but she was gone.

‘Who are you? I didn’t even get her name. My God she is gorgeous.’

She shook her head of the thoughts raging through her mind and urged Polka into the field.

Ally rode Polka and a part of her childhood returned to her. She felt more comfortable and secure at this moment than she had in the last two months. She still remembered that phone call the day her parents were killed. She was still at the University of Illinois. She had only one week left for finals when her Aunt Edna called. It wasn’t unusual for her to call, but the circumstances were more than she was ready to bear.

*~*~*~*

“Hi Eddi! God I can’t even tell you how crazed I am right now with finals. I have four tests in the next week. I have just about exhausted myself entirely. Thank God this will be over in a few days…..” On the other end she could hear her aunt breathing heavy and knew then that there was something wrong.

“Eddi what’s wrong?” She could hear sobs at this point and just waited to hear her aunt’s voice.

“Ally……”

“Eddi, what is it?”

“Ally….I don’t know how to tell you this…..”

“Just tell me, whatever it is, I can take it.” ‘I hope’ She thought to herself.

“Honey, it’s your mom and dad…..” Was all that Ally heard. A wave of emotion crashed through her as her aunt told her that a drunk driver killed her parents the previous night. They were coming home from dinner, when a red Cadillac swerved into their lane causing them to drive over the median and into oncoming traffic. There was no hope for survival when the paramedics arrived.

“Wait……slow down Eddi….please…..” She sobbed. “Are you telling me….that my parents…….are dead?” All Ally could hear was her aunt crying on the other end of the phone. She knew then, that it was true.

“Ally, I am so sorry. There are no words that I can say that can lessen this pain any. I will be in Chicago in a couple of days to take care of….. arrangements for my sister and her husband….. I don’t want you to have to worry about……. anything. Oh Ally……I am so sorry.”

“Eddi, I don’t think I could handle this coming from anyone else…….I will finish with finals…….. and I’ll be home.” Her mask of strength was showing now. She had to be strong now……for someone.

*~*~*~*

The sobs wracking through Ally’s body were almost as strong as the ones she had at her parents’ funeral. It was too difficult to try and understand why her parents were taken so horribly. She just needed to let it out and try to make the best of her life, her new life now, with her aunt.

“Polka, I just can’t believe that they are gone. They were taken way too soon.” She nuzzled her horse and it seemed as though she knew what her owner was going through. She nuzzled her back and they shared a moment of solace.

The sun was setting and Ally hadn’t realized how long she had been outside. She walked Polka back into her stall and gave her a couple carrots. She said good-bye and made her way to the main house.

“Eddi? I’m back.” She called to her aunt.

“In here dear. I was just about to send a search party out for you. You are just in time for dinner. Have a seat.”

“Let me go wash up, and I’ll be right back.”

“Alright darlin’.”

Ally came back from washing up and took her place next to her aunt.

“Mm, dinner smells wonderful.”

“I can always count on you to compliment a meal, honey.”

“Hey it’s not my fault. I came by it honestly. I believe it was one of your traits that I developed.”

“Yes your mother and I were both cursed with healthy appetites. It is a good thing that you didn’t develop the tummy that I have though.” She said with a chuckle.

“Don’t think it won’t happen. If I didn’t work out, I would be right there with you. Besides, I like the way you look.”

“Dig in honey, it won’t be that great if it gets cold.”

“I will, I just need to grab a glass of milk.”

“Don’t get up hon, Syd is in the kitchen.”

Directing her request to the kitchen, “Hey Syd? Could you bring a glass of milk with you dear?” She saw a glimpse of an OK sign coming from the kitchen.

Ally took a bite of her food as her glass was placed in front of her. Not looking up she said, “Thank you Syd.”

“You’re welcome Alicia.” Came the sultry response.

Ally almost spit out what was in her mouth. “You’re Syd?”

“Yes, who were you expecting, Medusa?”

“I’m sorry, I guess I was just expecting a man….sorry. I know that name can go both ways, I just assumed. Please excuse my lame stereotyping.”

“You are forgiven.” She smiled at the eagerness of her housemate’s apologies.

Ally could hardly eat the rest of her food. She could not believe the woman she saw earlier was the same woman her aunt referred to as her stable hand. ‘My God!! I can’t even untie my tongue to ask for some salt!’

“Do you not like my cooking Alicia?”

“Um..no I umm.. it’s very good. You cooked this?”

“Mhhmmm, I have many skills.”

‘Oh I can see that.’ She thought to herself.

“So, how long have you been working for Eddi?”

“Well, I came aboard I think it was about 2 years ago. I came to the states about 6 years ago from Australia. My family had a sheep herding station there. My parents both passed away, and I sold the station to my older brother.”

“Why did you come to the states? Australia is a beautiful place.”

“Yes it is. I went to school there for a year and ended up in a relationship that brought me here. When that didn’t work out, I heard from some friends that your aunt here was looking for some help. It wasn’t sheep, but I knew alot about horses and stable work. I wanted to see what life might be like in the states, so I decided to stay. I love the work here, and Edna is wonderful lady.”

She ended her story just like that. When it appeared that no more of the story was going to be offered Ally chimed in.

“Well it seems as though Eddi appreciates your work here. This ranch must seem pretty homey to you. Do you miss home?”

“Sometimes, but like I said I like it here. Edna has been wonderful.”

Ally just studied the woman as she ate. She couldn’t be much older than she, maybe 25 or so. Ally’s appetite finally came back and she continued to eat everything on her plate, and what her aunt didn’t eat.

“I see it is a family trait.” Syd chuckled.

“You betcha!” Edna said with pride. “Anyone for some apple pie?”

“None for me thanks” Syd replied.

“Count me in Eddi. Do you have……..?”

“Whipped cream is coming too, don’t you worry.” She smiled at her niece and walked back into the kitchen.

“So, umm, Syd. Is that short for Sydney?”

“Yes, that is where I was born. I guess my parents liked the name.”

“It suits you.”

“Do you think so Alicia?” She smiled a very sexy smile at Ally.

“You can call me Ally.”

“I don’t think so. I rather like Alicia. It……suits you.” She smiled at Ally.

“Well I have never really been fond of my full name. It always meant that I was in trouble or something.”

“Well we will just have to fix that now, won’t we Alicia?”

Ally sat there with her mouth slightly open. She just didn’t know what to think about Syd. There was something about her that she just couldn’t let go of. There was a silent mystery that was building. She wanted to find out everything there was to know about her. ‘But why?’ Ally wondered.

“Thank you for dinner Sydney, it was very good.” Two can play at this game. Syd smiled at the younger girl’s use of her full name. ‘Do you know what kind of game that is being played here Alicia? I wonder…’ Syd’s thoughts rolled through her mind as Edna walked in with two plates of apple pie.

Syd couldn’t hold back a laugh at Ally’s child-like expression as the dessert was placed in front of her.

“Oooooo, Eddi this looks fabulous.”

“Dig in child.”

The rest of the meal was silent as Eddi and Ally ate their pie. Watching them eat this dessert was like watching Michelangelo paint the Vatican. Food, Syd was learning, was art to them. Never before had she seen two people ‘oooh’ and ‘aaah’ so much in her life. It made her smile in spite of it.

“If you two ladies, will excuse me. I have to get the horses ready for the night.”

“Sure Syd, and thanks again for a wonderful meal.”

“You’re welcome Edna. See you later Alicia.”

“Being that we live under the same roof, you can count on it.”

Syd beamed a large grin and left the room, leaving Ally just staring in her absence.

“Ally? Is there something wrong?”

“Eddi, God, why didn’t you warn me about Syd? She is nothing that I imagined. I really thought that “Syd” was the older gentleman outside in the fields.”

“Why would I warn you about Syd, she is nothing to be afraid of Ally. I really like her. She has done a great job, and she is really good company. Quite a head turner too. I guess it would have saved you some embarrassment though eh?”

“Exactly! She is very beautiful indeed. You would think that she would be doing something other than stable work though. Not that there is anything wrong with taking care of horses.”

“Alicia my goodness, since when do you have to be ugly to work in a stable?”

“God Eddi, I didn’t mean it like that. I mean Syd isn’t just pretty, she is drop dead gorgeous! She could be a model or an actor, you know? I didn’t mean anything by that.”

“I know you didn’t child, hell you are quite the head turner yourself, and as I recall, we were just talking about how much you resemble my younger self. So no offense is taken dear.” She nudged her niece as smiled.

“I’m gonna head outside and breathe in this air that I have missed so much. Montana is a far cry from the Windy City. It is so peaceful and clean here. I’ll see if I can help Syd with anything. That is, if she will accept any help from a city mouse like me.”

“I’m sure she will dear, go on now. I’ll clean up here, don’t you worry.”

“OK, Eddi, thanks for the pie, it was wonderful….and Eddi, thanks for bringing me here. I think I am going to love being here.”

“Bye now.” Edna smiled at her niece. ‘I do believe that something or someone, will make sure of that.’ She mused to herself.

*~*~*~*

“Need any help?”

Ally crept up on Syd and unknowingly started her out of deep thought.

“Oh, I’m sorry Syd, I can come back.”

“No, that’s alright Alicia. I just didn’t expect anyone to come out here. This is the part of the day that I love. Take a listen.”

Ally looked into the night’s sky and listened, but didn’t hear anything.

“What are we listening for? I don’t hear anything.”

“Exactly, all you hear are crickets, the wind, but that’s about it. It is so quiet this time of night. Sometimes I just sit out here or up in the loft and overlook the field. This place does remind me of home. Well, minus the sheep of course.”

Ally sat and listened to Sydney speak. She felt intoxicated from her voice. It was so soothing but yet powerful all in the same tones. She didn’t really notice that the taller woman had stopped talking, she just kept watch of her expressions.

“I seem to keep pulling you from your own thoughts, do I make you uncomfortable?” Syd inquired.

“No, I’m sorry, I just have a lot on my mind. I don’t mean to be rude, I should just leave you alone.”

“Alicia, wait…” Syd slowly held Ally’s arm. Both women felt the force of that touch.

“Edna told me what happened to your parents. I am truly sorry. No one should lose anyone they love to an accident like that.”

Ally felt the tears brimming her eyes. “Thank you. I guess you may know what it’s like to lose your parents.”

“Yes, but mine died of natural causes, and I didn’t lose them both at once. You on the other hand, have been dealt a whole lot more than I.”

The two women just sat and studied each other in silence. Both feeling a strange closeness to the other, but neither willing to admit that.

“So, um.” Ally started while wiping her tears away, when she felt Syd’s touch wipe a tear from her cheek. “Is there, um, anything that I can help you with out here?”

“That is sweet of you, but no, the horses have been watered and they are all set until 5 am.”

“My God that is early!”

“Well that’s what your aunt pays me to do.”

“Do you like it here? I mean you are all alone.”

“I like it very much. Alicia, I am not alone here. I have Edna, and now, I have you.” She winked at Ally and started back to the house.

Ally didn’t quite know what to make of that last comment, but she was willing to bet, she meant that she had someone else under her roof now.

“Sydney?” Ally called to her.

“Yes Alicia?”

“Thanks for listening, I mean letting me listen to nothing, I mean…….”

“You are welcome Alicia. Shall we go in and see what kind of mischief your aunt is getting into?”

“Sure.” They smiled at each other and walked back up to the house.

*~*~*~*

“Excellent, thanks Bill. I’ll see you in a couple days. Bye.”

Edna hung up the phone as the two women walked into the family room. They plopped themselves onto the couch and waited for her to speak.

“Well ladies, I’ll be leaving tomorrow.”

“What? Where are you going Eddi? I just got here.”

“Oh honey I will only be gone a week or so. There is some new equipment for the stables that my friend Bill told me about. They are holding an auction in Indiana. If I want to update any of my old equipment I have to get there no later than tomorrow night. I got to get my name in the hat.”

“Ahh, I see.”

“Come up and help me pack?”

Ally’s face lit up and then she looked over to Syd. “You coming?”

“No, I think I’ll just head up to my room and read before bed.”

“Are you sure? You can probably get Eddi to tell one of her famous stories about my childhood. She loves to embarrass me.”

“How can I turn that down?”

“Good, come on.” She smiled and unconsciously grabbed Syd’s hand and lead her to the stairs. She let go of it at the bottom of the staircase, both feeling the loss of contact, quietly preceded up the stairs to Edna’s room.

Syd and Ally sat on Edna’s bed and watched her rifle through her clothes to find the right ones to pack.

“Mustn’t look too trendy. Ranch owners should look rustic, don’t you think?”

Ally and Syd looked at each other and giggled.

“Eddi just wear whatever you damn well want. Who cares what other people think. Life is too short. You gotta live life…….”

“Well, when did you become so philosophical?”

“About six weeks ago……” Her voice trailed off and she dropped her head down.

Realizing what she said, Edna walked to the edge of the bed and put her hand on Ally’s shoulder. “You’ll make it through this little one. I will do whatever I can to make it easier for you.”

“I’m sorry Eddi, I didn’t mean for that to sound like that. I know you didn’t mean anything by that. I guess it’s going to be a sore spot for a while.”

“It will Alicia, but that only means how much your parents meant to you. That is not a bad thing. If it is of any comfort, whenever you need to talk, I’ll be here for you.”

“Thanks Syd, that means alot to me.”

“Sure, anytime.”

“So Syd, do you wanna hear about when Ally broke her leg falling out of the upstairs window?” Edna asked as she wiggled her eyebrows.

“What?? I don’t think I would miss this for anything.”

Ally quietly grumbled about the story that was about to start. Looking back now she can laugh about it, but at the time there was nothing funny about it.

*~*~*~*

“Jack hurry up! We are going to get caught!”

“Ally just keep quiet, mom is gonna hear you. Do you want to get out tonight or not?”

“Yeah, but damn, can’t we speed up the process?”

“Well, “Miss-I-can-do-things-faster-than-anyone” if you would help me instead of yap at me, we could be finished already.”

Edna stared at the air vent leading up to her son’s room. She heard voices that she assumed were Jack and her niece Ally. They were conspiring about something, but she was unsure what it was. She thought it would be a good idea to find out why they were still awake when it was past midnight.

“There, I think it will hold.” Jack said proudly of his handiwork.

“It had better, otherwise you’ll have to explain to Aunt Eddi what happened to me.”

“Ssshhh, tie this around you and I will lower you down.”

“Ok, but I am more than a little nervous about this.”

Jack had taken the liberty of taking all the linen off of his bed and tied the sheets together. The “rope” would get them out of the house and back into the house without waking anyone. Jack had some buddies that were going to meet up with him and Ally. Summer was the time to hang out and drink with your friends, and Ally being 13 , needed to learn just how cool summer could be. Her older cousin Jack, now 16, was just the guy that would teach her too.

“OK, Ally, just sit on the edge of the window and I will start to lower you down.”

“Are you sure you can hold me, Jack?”

“Come on Ally, you are just wasting time. We gotta go, now come on!”

“Ok, Ok.”

Ally sat on her knees in the window sill, she lowered herself so that she was holding herself up with just her hands. She felt the rope tighten around her and her body was slowly being lowered to the ground. She grabbed onto the rope and closed her eyes.

Jack was easily lowering his cousin to the ground when I knock came to his door.

Trying to sound sleepy he replied, “Who is it?”

“It’s your mother, who else do you think it is? Can I come in? I can’t find Ally, is she in with you?”

Sweat began to pour off of Jack as he decided what to do with the other end of his rope.

“She’s not in here mom.”

Edna opened the door and like a deer in the headlights, Jack froze in his place, except for one thing. He had let go of the rope causing Ally to fall the rest of the way down to the ground and breaking her leg.

“Well I said she wasn’t in here.” Jack coyly smiled at his mother who in turn pointed her finger at him and ran outside to tend to her niece.

*~*~*~*

“It took over two months for my leg to heal.” Ally remembering the pain, but laughing is spite of the memory.

All the women were holding their bellies as the laughter ripped through them.

“Oh I will never forget the look on Jack’s face when I walked in! He never expected me to enter. Haha!!! Oh my…I will never forget that as long as I live.”

“Me either…” Ally managed to get out through the laughter. The tears were rolling off of her face and she was grateful these tears were happy ones.

“Oh my goodness Alicia, you were a little spitfire weren’t you? My folks would have beat my ass if I had tried to break curfew like that.” Syd chimed in.

“She is still the same spitfire, so watch out Sydney!” Edna gave her a knowing look and Syd just smiled back at her.

“Well I see a whole lot of packing NOT getting done here, so I guess I should concentrate on the task at hand.”

“My pride thanks you.” Ally walked over to her aunt and kissed her cheek. “I think I am going to turn in. It’s been a long day.”

“Welcome home Ally. Sleep well little one.” Her aunt said.

“Thanks Eddi, good night Syd.”

“Good night Alicia. Good night Edna.” She said as she made her way down the hall and towards her room. She looked to the room next to hers and saw the light still on. She walked over to the doorway and peered in seeing Ally on her bed staring at a photo of her parents.

“Knock knock. Do you mind if I come in?”

“No, not at all. Please.” She patted the bed next to her.

Syd took a seat next to Ally. She looked over the younger woman’s shoulder to look at the photograph.

“You have your mother’s eyes.”

Stifling a sob, “She was beautiful. God I can’t believe that she is gone.”

“She isn’t gone Alicia. She is with you everyday. With every breath you take, she is there watching over you. They both are. I truly believe that.” Syd consoled her new friend as she rubbed her back.

Wiping her nose with a Kleenex, “I know it just hurts.”

“I know it does, but believe me, you are doing exactly what you need to do to let that hurt calm. If you didn’t cry, and left it all inside, it would eat you up into nothing. Believe me, I learned that lesson the hard way.”

“If you don’t mind me asking, how old were you when your parents passed away?”

“I was thirteen when my dad passed away, and I was just about seventeen when my mom died. They left me the sheep station and I ran that until my brother showed an interest in buying it from me. I sold it to him and came here after schooling for a year.”

“How did you handle their deaths at such a young age?”

“Well lets just say I became a very angry young girl. I got into a lot of trouble, hung out with the wrong people, the usual rebellion.”

“What snapped you out of it? When did you decide that you needed to change?”

“It happened before I came to the states. I was involved in a relationship that turned bad. I had to change my life once and for all, just so I could feel again. I was dead for a long time.”

“I’m sorry. Were you in love?”

“Let’s just say what I thought was love at the time, turned into something very hateful and hurtful. I won’t ever let myself feel for someone again. The loss is just too much.”

“You can’t mean that. To deprive yourself of love just because of one incident when you were younger? That is silly!!”

“I can’t go through that again. Giving yourself wholly to one person is just making yourself too vulnerable. To let someone know every kink in what makes you you, gives them that much more to use against you.”

“Sydney, that is not love. Love is something so much more than that.”

“Are you an expert at such a young age?”

“I’m not an expert, but I do know from watching my parents what love is. They loved each other so much, and anyone could see that, if they just watched them for a short period of time. And just a little FYI, I will be twenty in a couple months.” Ally said bitterly, more than expected.

“Excuse me, you appear younger. I’m sorry to have been presumptuous. I believe you when you spoke of your parents’ love. I can tell by your passionate description of them, that it must be true.”

“It is, well, it was. I’m sorry to have jumped into the defensive mode there.”

“It is completely understandable.” Watching Ally yawn, she spoke up, “I guess I should let you rest.”

“I’m not really tired, but you have to get up early.”

“Will you be alright?”

“Yeah, I’ll be fine. I mean its not my usual room, but I should be ok. Thanks for talking with me. It is nice to talk with someone that actually has an idea of what I am feeling.”

“You are welcome Alicia. Anytime you need to talk, let me know. I’ll be here for you.”

“Thanks Sydney. G’night mate.” She teased in her best Australian accent.

Sydney turned and chuckled, “G’night mate.”

Ally turned down her bedding and jumped inside the blankets. Tucking herself in she said a quiet prayer to her parents thanking them for giving her a home with Edna, and for Sydney. She closed her eyes and settled into a restless sleep.

*~*~*~*

Syd awoke to a new noise in the house. She checked her clock and it shined 2:37. ‘Must have been something outside.’ She thought to herself.

She lay back down and tried to settle herself back into sleep.

She heard the same noise again and decided that she wouldn’t get any sleep without figuring out what the noise was. She put on a shirt and some shorts and made her way towards the hall. She opened the door to the hallway and heard the sound louder, this time she could place it. Ally was crying. She approached her door and quietly listened. Ally was having nightmares. She quietly knocked on the door to see if she would answer. No response happened except for the continuing sound of crying.

Syd opened the door to find her suspicions were accurate. Ally was in her bed tossing and turning as she cried small sobs.

“No…..please……no.” Ally cried in her sleep.

Syd made her way to the bed and slowly started to stroke Ally’s hair. The small cries ceased and her new friend appeared to be sleeping more peaceful than before. She moved off the bed and into the hallway. With another glance at the sleeping form, she closed the door and returned to her room.

She stripped off her clothes and jumped back into bed. She welcomed sleep now that she knew that everything was alright.

*~*~*~*

Syd stirred in her sleep to smell a familiar yet foreign scent under her nose. She slowly opened her eyes to find a sleeping Ally in her arms. The clock shined 3:45, Ally must have walked in her sleep into the room she was familiar with. Syd enjoyed the feel of a warm body next to hers. It had been awhile since she shared a bed with anyone. Especially one as beautiful as Alicia.

‘I won’t wake her, she needs sleep. Hopefully she won’t be too embarrassed in the morning. If she knew that she spent the night in the arms of a naked woman, she might feel a little self conscious.’ Syd smiled as she thought to herself. She relished the feel of Ally in her arms, so yes, tomorrow indeed could wait. She closed her eyes and waited for the daylight to wake her.

*~*~*~*

Ally stretched out in her sleepy haze and yawned. She felt rested for the first time in several weeks. She slowly opened her eyes and to her surprise she found herself in her old room.

“Oh my God! How did I get in here? Great, just great. I can’t believe you Ally. This is the stupidest thing you have done in a long time. Stupid…stupid…” She trailed off as she tripped her way out of Syd’s room and back into her own.

“Shit. Now how am I going to explain this one? I wonder if Eddi knows. Time to face the embarrassing music….After a shower, I look like hell.” She said as she looked into the mirror above her dresser.

Ally bounded down the stairs to find her aunt reading the newspaper at the kitchen table.

“Mornin’ Eddi.”

“Almost good afternoon child. I was hoping to say good-bye before I left.”

“When is your flight?”

“I have to leave in a half hour. I left the name and number of the hotel I’ll be staying at in Indy by the phone in the family room, if you need anything. You two girls should be fine. I bought plenty of food and Syd can take care of the animals.”

“Alright Eddi. Is there anything I can do for you before you go?”

“Promise me that you will behave yourself while I am gone.”

‘She knows!!’ Her thoughts raced through her head while she thought of a reply.

“Who me?” Ally choked out while smiling a nervous grin.

“Ha! I know you better than you know yourself, just remember that. Just behave.” She chuckled at her niece’s remark. ‘Boy do I know you better than you know yourself. We’ll just see what happens while I’m gone.’

“Is that bacon I smell?”

“That’s my girl. We’ll fill you out yet.”

“I think you are right. With all of this homecooking, I don’t have a chance.”

“Come on child, eat up. I’m gonna go out to see if Syd needs anything before I leave.”

“Like a doorlock?” Ally whispered to herself as she prepared a sandwich.

“What hon?” Edna asked.

“Nothing Eddi, I am just hungry. I’ll meet you outside.”

“Alright hon. See you.”

“Bye.” Ally said as she took a mouthful of her bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich.

*~*~*~*

Finding Syd in the field with Polka, Edna signaled for her to come in. Syd saw the signal and made her way towards the stable.

“Hey there Edna, what can I do for you?”

“It’s what I can do for you Syd.”

“Hmm?” She shook her head at Edna not understanding what she meant.

“I just came out here to see if there was anything that you wanted before I left on my trip.”

“Oh, thanks, but I think that I have everything that I want.”

“I’m sure you do. OK then I will be back in about a week. As I told Ally, I left the number to the hotel next to the phone in the family room, should you girls need anything.”

“I think we will be fine, but thanks again for asking. Have a safe trip Edna.”

“Syd there is one thing I would like you to do for me.”

“Name it.”

“Please keep an eye on Ally. I thought I heard her crying last night.”

“I will Edna, I promise. She will be in good hands while you are away.”

“Thank you, I’m sure she will be.” Edna gave her a devilish smile and walked towards the main house.

“Now what did she mean by that?” Syd questioned.

*~*~*~*

Back inside Ally was washing off her plate as her aunt walked into the house.

“Well it looks as if everything is in order here. I am off to Indiana. Take care my dear. I will be home in about a week.”

“Don’t worry about me Eddi, I’ll be fine.” Ally replied in earnest.

“I know dear, just try to get yourself situated and make this your home.”

“You have made that very simple Eddi, thank you. I think I will tackle the rest of my boxes today. Have a safe trip okay?”

“Will do, honey. Come here.”

Edna pulled Ally in close for a hug. Ally needed to know that she was loved and that she would be missed.

*~*~*~*

Syd was in the stable tending to Matty and Polka when Ally walked in.

“Hey there Syd.” Trying to smile away her nervousness.

“So the little sleepwalker awakens.”

‘Oh shit.’ Ally thought. “Never one to pull a punch, eh Sydney?”

“Not when pride is on the line. Besides, no harm, no foul. Don’t worry about it. It was kind of nice to share a bed again. Maybe it has been too long since I shared myself with someone.”

“Well good, glad I could help….I think.”

“Your talk with me last night got me thinking. Maybe I was too young when all of my emotions were playing with me.” Syd stopped what she was doing to look into Ally’s eyes. “Maybe I should try and give my heart to someone. Maybe…I still don’t know.”

“Well just make sure that they are deserving of it. Don’t waste your time otherwise. If someone was to hurt you, I can’t promise that I wouldn’t do some damage to them.”

“Oh Alicia, I didn’t know you cared.” She drawled out sarcastically.

“You made me care Syd. You showed me enough of yourself in the last day or so, to know that your heart is gold. I just couldn’t stand to see someone walk over it without feeling.”

“Thanks Alicia that means alot to me.”

“You’re welcome Sydney.” She really liked the way that name dripped off her lips.

“What do you have planned for today?”

“I think I am going to tackle the rest of my boxes this afternoon. The sooner I get settled in, the sooner I will feel more at home. I hate living out of my suitcases.”

“That sounds like a good idea. Shall I leave Polka out of the stalls for you?”

“Yes, please. I would love a ride later on. Maybe you could ride Matty and come with me.”

“I’d like that. I’ll see you later.”

“Alright Syd, see you.”

Ally turned to walk towards the house and felt Syd’s eyes on her back. She turned around to see if her curiosity had been right and found the warmest set of eyes looking right back at her. She felt her stomach creep into her throat and managed a smile back towards Sydney. She returned the smile and went back to her work.

Ally went back into the house and started up the stairs. She walked past Sydney’s room and a blush crept up her neck as the memories of where she woke up came back to her. She shook off those feelings and went to the task at hand.

There were four boxes staring at her. She stared right back at them and finally gave in.

“Alright, let’s get this over with.” She said to the inanimate objects.

An hour passed by and Ally sat staring at her last box as her boom box blared out some old Prince tunes.

‘The beautiful ones you always seem to lose.’

“Isn’t that the truth.” She said to the CD player.

‘Do you want him, or do you want me? Cuz I want you! I said I want you!!’

Ally started screeching out the lust-filled lyrics as Sydney just watched and smiled to herself.

“Baby baby baby, I want you! Yes I do!!!” Ally was totally getting into the ending of the song when she felt eyes on her once again.

She turned around to see Sydney just giggling in the doorway.

“OH MY GOD!!! Don’t do that!”

“I’m sorry Alicia, I didn’t mean to frighten you. I just didn’t want to interrupt. I figured this was better than singing along with you and really freaking you out.” Syd tried to explain between her laughing fits.

“It’s ok. I just need to breathe. Let me turn this down.” Ally turned down the volume and made her way to the doorway.

“Well are you going to lurk in my doorway all day or do you want to come in?”

“Well actually, I was going to see what you wanted for dinner.”

“Dinner? Is it that late already?”

“No, it’s not, but I need to prepare for it.”

“Wow, Syd, you don’t need to cook for me. I can just whip something up.”

“That scares me. You whipping something up, that is.”

“I can cook, I’ll have you know.”

“Well that may be true, but tonight I was planning some spaghetti if you are game.”

“Ooh that sounds great. Do you need help?”

“Yes, you can show up at the table at around six. I put Polka and Matty back in for now. Maybe we can get that ride after dinner. So, I’ll see you in about two hours. Cool?”

“Cool. Thanks. And Syd?”

“Yeah?”

“I am sorry about coming into your room last night. I must have just gone there out of habit.”

“Don’t worry about it Ally. It was nice. See you later.”

“Ok, see you.”

‘Nice? Wow, definitely not the answer I thought she would give. Maybe she is…..no way. The way she looks, she could have anyone she wanted. Why would she look twice at me. Way too much baggage.’ Ally argued to herself.

Ally finished putting away the last of her things as she checked the clock, it showed 5:30.

“Good, I have a half hour to clean up and head downstairs for chow.” Ally said as she made her way into the bathroom.

*~*~*~*

The stove was eliciting smells that were wafting up the stairs. Ally’s nose discovered the smells instantly. Her stomach chimed in soon after and she made her way down the stairs to see if there was anything she could do to help with dinner.

The sight she found took her breath away. The table was dressed with candles ready to be ignited and the fresh flowers in the vase were a really nice touch she thought. ‘Boy it is almost like a “date”.’ She giggled to herself.

The wine was being chilled off to the side of the dishes and her maitre d’ was still standing at the stove watching the sauce simmer.

“Syd?”

“Oh Alicia, I didn’t hear you come in. You startled me.”

“Yeah well, paybacks are a bitch. And believe me, I still owe you after the singing thing.”

“Ooh I love a challenge. Sit down, dinner is just about ready.”

Ally smiled and took her seat at the table watching Syd’s form in the kitchen taking ladles full of the sauce into a bowl and setting it down on the table. She watched Syd walk back into the kitchen and opened the oven and took out what appeared to be garlic bread. She grabbed the baking sheet and accidentally touched a part of it without her potholders.

“Shit! Ow!! I can’t believe I did that.”

Ally was out of her chair and immediately ran cold water from the faucet. She took hold of Sydney’s finger and let the cold water run over her burned skin.

“Thanks.” Syd said as she looked into loving eyes.

“You’re welcome.” Ally replied as she took Syd’s finger and began to blow onto the injured digit.

Syd just watched this woman do what came so naturally to her. ‘God, would you take care of me like this forever?’ She thought to herself. Ally looked into her eyes as she was blowing on Syd’s finger and a jolt of desire washed over her. She seemed to hear the question floating through Syd’s mind. The bond that was forming was something that both women were accepting with open arms. The closeness that they felt was so natural that trying to fight it, was useless, and extremely futile.

“Better?” Ally asked sincerely.

“Much, thank you. You have such a warm touch. Very nurturing, thank you.”

“Thanks, one of the many traits my mom passed down to me.”

“Remind me to say a prayer of thanks to her.”

“You just did.”

“I guess so. They say when the living think of the dead, the dead can hear their thoughts. Maybe they are right.”

“I think so. Are you well enough to eat?”

“Absolutely, have a seat. The pasta and sauce are on the table. I’ll get the bread, and I’ll be right in.”

“Oh no, I see what happens to you when you handle bread. I’ll get it. You go sit down. You’ve done all the cooking, the least I can do is bring in the bread.”

“You win, I’ll go sit.”

Ally put the bread into the basket that Syd had prepared, and made her way to the table.

“Syd, this is so nice of you. The table looks wonderful. If I didn’t know better, I would think that you were trying to wine and dine me.”

“Heaven forbid.” She smiled innocently. “Glad you like it. I just wanted it to feel cozy for you. You know, like home.”

“Thanks Syd, that is sweet.”

The two ate in relative silence. The only sounds were coming from the stereo in the other room. Pachelbel’s Canon and other baroque music was coming from the speakers. Ally’s ears picked up the music and she complimented Syd’s choice of dining music.

“I really love this music. Great choice.”

“Thanks, I have always loved Baroque music. I am glad that you agree.”

“I love Pachelbel, especially the music from the Rhapsody on a Theme from Paganini. I absolutely love that piece. You know they used that in the movie ‘Somewhere in Time’?”

“Yes, I love that movie!! God, I can’t tell you how many times I have seen that film. It is about soulmates finding each other after a lifetime. God it breaks my heart and heals it all in the same motion. I’m just glad the ending was the way it was, I don’t think I would have liked it otherwise.”

“I totally agree!! I still watch it when I am feeling down.”

“Why? Doesn’t it add to your depression?”

“Not really, because the way I look at it, as bad as things are, God, I couldn’t imagine the other half of my soul coming into my life, and then having to watch them disappear into nothing. They had it much worse than me, so I guess it makes me look at my problems from a different viewpoint. It’s just not that bad, you know? You can’t take things so seriously.”

“Wow, that is something to think about.”

“I wonder if Eddi has that film. I would love to watch it with someone that loved it as much as I do.”

“Well if she does, count me in. I’m a sucker for that film.”

“Note to self: Find ‘Somewhere in Time’.” Ally said as she winked at Sydney.

They giggled as they finished their dinner and the entire bottle of wine. Soft conversation mixed with the wine and dinner was a perfect mixture for a perfect meal.

“Thanks Sydney, this was wonderful.”

“My pleasure. I enjoyed your company. I like you Alicia, I am glad that you came here to stay.”

“I like you too Sydney. I had the best meal and conversation I have had in a very long time. Thank you.”

Syd smiled and started to clear the table. Ally stood and began helping with the chore.

“How about you dry while I wash?” Ally said to Sydney.

“Sure, thanks.”

Ally handed dishes to Syd who was just watching Ally’s hands in the soapy water. Her mind filled with desirable thoughts involving Ally and a hot tub. She mentally kicked herself as she dropped one of the plates handed to her.

“Hello?? Earth to Sydney? Where were you?”

“That might be a better question for later.” She said with a devilish smile.

“Uh oh, I smell trouble.”

“Nothing but the best, coming from me.” Syd said as she cracked the towel against Ally’s butt.

“Hey!!!!! You better cut that out or you’ll be in for a fight you won’t win!!”

“Oooooohh, I sense another challenge. Come and get me Alicia, if you can catch me!” She said as she cracked the towel and landing it with a ‘thwack’ against Ally’s thigh.

“You are a dead woman!! You had better run, cuz when I catch up with you, you are gonna wish you didn’t start this!!” Ally yelled at the retreating form. She picked up the pieces of the broken dish, thankfully it broke cleanly into two parts. She grabbed a towel and dipped it into the water. ‘She is gonna be sorry she waged war with me.’ She smiled evilly to herself as her body became alert to the hunt that was on.

“Come out, come out wherever you are!” She teased.

“Aliiiiciiaaaaa, come and get meeeeee.” Syd taunted back at her.

‘She is toast.” Ally laughed as she looked behind the door leading to the living room. She slowly walked over to the stereo and turned off the music. Syd smiled inwardly at Ally’s attempt to track her.

Syd tried to move quietly from room to room following Ally at a safe distance behind the younger woman. She decided that play time was about to begin. She quickened her pace so she was just a few feet away from Ally, when she was surprised by Ally turning suddenly and lashing the towel at her. Unfortunately for Syd it landed squarely on her upper thigh towards her behind.

“Ow!!”

“I told you, I will not lose this fight! I grew up with Jack in this house, and we spent a good majority of our childhood doing just this.” Ally laughed out.

“Oh yeah? I had an older brother too, missy.”

Syd whipped her towel only to have Ally grab it in mid air.

“Ha! I told you. You may be older, but I have more experience with this type of warfare. Do you give or do I need to teach you another lesson?”

“More experience huh? How much experience? I bet Jack didn’t teach you this…” Syd said as she grabbed Ally’s body and playfully tossed her to the floor pinning her arms above her head.

Ally just looked into Syd’s eyes and found the home she had been looking for all of her life. She just continued to stare as Sydney’s expression changed from playfulness to something more fervent. Ally wanted this badly, but Sydney overwhelmed with emotion, let her go and retreated into the other room without another word.

“Sydney?” Ally’s voice chased after her. She got up and went after Sydney.

“Hey. Are you alright?” Ally said as she gently touched Sydney’s arm.

“Please don’t.” Was all Syd could muster.

“Did I do something wrong?”

“No Alicia, it is nothing you did. I think I need to go outside for awhile. Please excuse me.” Syd said as if asking permission. Ally stepped aside and let her go. She watched as the door closed and wondered what had happened that she missed. ‘Did she pick up on my feelings? Great, maybe she isn’t attracted to me. Maybe she doesn’t like me like that. Damn I would have bet money after the dinner she prepared. God, I can’t believe that I am having these feelings. I have never looked at another woman this way, and now that I have, it has gotten me into trouble. Shit!! God what she must think of me!’ She scolded herself for not thinking about Syd’s feelings. She contemplated going after her, but resisted the temptation.

“If she wanted you out there, she would have invited you to come initially. Stay put missy.” Smiling at the name she used on herself. “Nope can’t do that.” She fought with herself and lost. Before she knew it she was outside looking for Sydney.

Ally walked into the stable only to find Matty and Polka looking at her in wonder.

“Hi girls, you seen a tall beautiful brunette in here tonight?” She asked the horses only to get no reply. Well, she got some chewing of carrots that she fed them, but that was all. “Great, if I was out here and not wanting to be found, where would I go?” Ally looked around and decided that the loft would be a sure shot. It was rather dark up there so she walked back to the house and found an old lantern.

She took the lantern and headed back towards the stable. She lit the lantern and slowly crept up the ladder to the loft. Sitting with her legs draped over the edge of the window was her runaway.

“Do I need a secret handshake or can anyone play up here?” Ally said trying to lighten the mood.

“Sure come on over. Look at this sky, it is just remarkable.” Ally walked over to the window and watched the remainder of color leave the sky.

“Wow, I forgot how beautiful things were up here. I don’t get colors like that in Chicago. There is alot, actually, that I didn’t get in Chicago.” Ally thought that Sydney might catch the subtle hint thrown in her direction.

“Alicia, I am sorry for earlier, I don’t know what came over me.”

“What do you mean? We were just having some fun. No harm, no foul, to quote a friend of mine.” Ally said as she nudged Syd hoping to make her smile.

“You really amaze me Alicia.” Ally took in the woman’s words with a questioning stare.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean most women that I have encountered would have just let me sit out here and dwell on about what almost happened tonight.”

“So I wasn’t wrong about those feelings, you feel them too.” It was more of a statement then a question.

“Yes I do. I just don’t know what to do about them. Ally did you know that I was attracted to women?”

“No I didn’t. I just felt an overwhelming attraction to you and a familiarity that was only getting stronger. Syd I know we just met, but I swear that I have known you all of my life.”

“Alicia, I will not deny my attraction to you, but I also told you how afraid I am of giving myself to anyone. I know its something that I need to do, I just don’t know if I can do it yet. Please forgive me.”

“There is nothing to forgive Sydney. I am sorry if I made you feel uncomfortable in any way. Friends?” Ally said as she held out her hand to be shaken.

Syd looked up at Ally’s gesture and stood. She gently pulled the smaller woman into her arms. Ally graciously went into them like a moth to a flame. ‘Home, I am definitely home.’ Was all that was going through the minds of both women. The embrace was so warm and so gentle that neither woman wanted to be the one the end the contact. The caresses and the closeness came to an end when Ally felt Syd’s body stiffen.

“What’s wrong Sydney? Talk to me.”

“I need to know something.”

“Anything.” Ally felt Syd’s stare down to her core. Whatever she needed to know, Ally knew that the truth would be the only way to answer that question.

“I….need to know………” Sydney’s voice trailed off as Ally watched her face come closer and closer until all she could feel was Sydney’s breath against her mouth.

“Ask me Sydney………” Ally almost pleaded with her taller companion.

“Kiss me….Alicia……please…..I need to know..”

Sydney almost didn’t finish her statement as she felt the softest lips touch hers for the first time. The kiss was so gentle and soft she could have stayed there forever. Ally never felt the kiss of another woman. She never expected the softness she received from Sydney. It was incredible. The two women sunk deeper into the kiss, and only when Sydney pulled away did it end.

“I’m sorry Alicia, I don’t mean to tease you like this. It isn’t fair of me. I just needed to know. I couldn’t go through the thinking and the not knowing what your lips felt like on mine.”

Feeling a little hurt by her admission, “And what did I feel like? Did I fulfill your curiosity? Is that all that was? A need for knowledge? Well know this. I will not be played with, either you want this or you don’t. I don’t think I can handle any mind games right now, okay?”

“I’m sorry Alicia, I didn’t mean to hurt you.”

“That’s always the case isn’t it? Good night Sydney.” Ally spun on her heel, climbed down the ladder, and headed back to the house. Syd just sat there feeling horrible and stared into the night sky.

*~*~*~*

Ally didn’t realize what time it was, she just ran into her room and slammed the door and locked it. It was only around 9:00. She wasn’t tired she just needed to get away from Sydney. She laid on her bed with her face pressed into her pillow and just cried. She cried for what could have been, she cried for the loss of her parents, but most of all she cried for the friendship that would suffer the biggest blow.

“Why…why do I feel so much for her? I just met her for God sake. God why does this always have to be so friggin’ difficult?” She trailed off as the sobs turned to weeping. The weeping soon ended and her emotionally exhausted body finally let sleep claim her.

Ally awoke to find her lights on as well as her clothing. Sleep clouded her sight momentarily then she rubbed her eyes to try and focus on her room. “The guest room. She even has my room.” She scanned her room looking at the progress she had made earlier, and only then did she notice a small piece of paper sticking from under her door.

She crept off her bed to examine the note. It was from Sydney.

*~*~*~*

Dearest Alicia,

How can I fully apologize for putting you through what I did this evening? I mean how could you not pick up on my attraction to you. I mean, look at the dinner we shared. It could have easily been a date. You hit the nail on the head when you suggested that I was trying to wine and dine you. Alicia, I don’t know if I can remember having such a wonderful time as I did with you tonight. You are a beautiful woman and if you let me get to know you better, my fears may leave me. I know I don’t deserve such a chance, but I am asking you as humbly as I can to please find it in your heart to forgive me.

It’s been so long since I have known the warmth of affection that I guess I freaked out. What I guess I am trying to say, is that I am sorry. I’m sorry for using you, essentially that is what I did. I did nothing less than that. I feel awful for the fact that you trusted me and I completely let you down. I tried to have my cake and eat it too, I guess. I shouldn’t have played with your emotions like I did. You admitted your feelings to me and that couldn’t have been an easy thing for you. I mean, I don’t know much about your past, but I am willing to bet that you have never kissed a woman before. I probably scared that notion from your head as well, and for that, again, I am sorry.

I would love to try and start over, if there is the slightest chance that this may happen I will accept any punishment you deem fit for my behavior. I was wrong for treating you like that and I am sorry. It’s no wonder that I haven’t been with anyone for so long, it’s probably a good thing for them.

Anyway, I just wanted to say how sorry I am for what I did. If you want to talk about it later, just come in my room, I’m sure I will be up.

With much regret,
Sydney

*~*~*~*

‘Well what do you know?’ She thought to herself, ‘Maybe we can salvage a friendship after all.’

Ally unlocked her door and made her way towards the light coming from her old room. She peeked in the doorway and saw such a heartwarming sight. Sydney had fallen asleep with her arms around a stuffed panda. Her eyes had salt marks on them, telling Ally that she cried herself to sleep. Ally’s heart once again reached out towards the older woman. She walked in to pull the covers over her friend when Sydney stirred slightly and whispered, “Thank you.” And gave Ally’s arm a warm caress.

“We’ll talk tomorrow. Sleep now.” Ally said as she kissed the top of Syd’s head and shut out her light. She slowly turned to close the door and the blue eyes of Sydney watching her with disbelief caught her own eyes.

“What is it Syd?”

“Your kindness, you just amaze me is all. Even after what I did, you still came and tucked me in. I don’t deserve you.”

“No one knows what I deserve, except for me. Try and get some sleep and we’ll talk in the morning. Jack should be home tomorrow, at least I think that is what his message said.”

“Alright Alicia, thank you. G’night mate.”

Chuckling at their little inside joke she replied in her best Aussie accent, “G’night mate.” She whispered back and quietly closed the door after receiving a wink and smile from Sydney.

*~*~*~*

Ally woke up around 10 o’clock and in her own bed. She was very thankful that her subconscious didn’t betray her. She made her way to the bathroom and grabbed her toothbrush and jumped into the shower.

‘The beautiful ones you always seem to lose’ Prince chimed through her head again and reminded her of the conversation ahead.

“God why does everything need to be so goddamned complicated? All I ask is that I get a good friend out of this. Syd seems like she is a good person. I don’t get any bad vibes from her. Well other than she likes to tease me mercilessly. I could see myself getting quite attached really. I just need to channel my desire for her into our friendship, I can do that. I have no choice…….” She said to her mirrored reflection.

Ally opened the bathroom door only to have her nostrils flare with hunger at the delicious smells coming from the kitchen.

‘God does she always cook like this?’ Ally mused to herself.

She went into her room and put on some clothes. She raked a comb through her long locks and headed downstairs. Much to her surprise Syd was nowhere to be found, instead she found Jack seated at the table with one of his friends.

“Jack!! You made it!”

“Hey Squirt! Wow look at you, you have grown up beautifully Ally.” Jack said as she dove in for a hug. “I guess the squirt thing still applies though, huh?” She jabbed him in the gut at his dig at her height.

“I’m not a squirt, I am vertically challenged. I’m sorry, you must think we are terribly rude, I am Alicia, Ally for short.” She said as she turned her head to notice the handsome face smiling at her.

Standing to his full height, Peter outstretched his hand. “Hi, I’m Peter, Pete for short.”

“Short? I think not.” Ally said as she noticed his tall muscular build in front of her.

“Yeah, I get that alot. Once I reached six foot two, my dad said he would disown me if I didn’t play basketball.”

“And….?”

“I sucked at basketball and he forgave me.”

“Mighty nice of him. Who is responsible for the incredible aromas wafting through this house? It can’t be Jack, I have never seen him pick up anything close to resembling a pan.” Jack raised his brow at his cousin and she immediately was taken off guard, “No way! You can cook now too? It has been a long time.”

“Yes it has Squirt, what has it been like 4 years?”

“Yeah something crazy like that. How have you been cous’? I was so sad to hear about Aunt Donna and Uncle Tom. I was in the Orient when I got the news, I’m sorry I didn’t make it to the funeral.”

“It’s alright Jack, I totally understand. It was so unexpected, but I know you were here in spirit, and I did receive your flowers and card. Thank you by the way. It helped more than you know.”

“Sure Squirt, I just wish there was something more that I could have done.”

“You did plenty thanks for caring.”

“I would do just about anything for you Ally, you were the sister I never had.”

“Right back atcha Jack. I never knew how lonely life was until the only family I knew, was taken away from me. I sometimes wonder if it would have been different if I had any siblings, you know? Would I be the person that I am now, that kind of stuff. Oh my… listen to me ramble on. Pete, I am so sorry.”

“Please don’t apologize, you had something horrible happen in your life, far be it for me to tell you not to talk about it in my presence.”

“Jack, have I told you that you have great taste in friends?” Ally looked directly at Pete as she finished her statement of fact.

“Yeah, at least this time you didn’t have to break your leg to meet them.”

“What?” Pete asked not getting the joke.

“Long story, ask my mom when she gets back.” Jack laughed at Peter.

“Make sure that I am far away when she tells that story again. I already had to sit through it as she told it in front of Syd.”

“Oh so you’ve met Syd, what do you think of her? I think she is great. What a looker she is too.”

“Christ Jack, you sound so much like your mother.”

“And that’s a bad thing, why?”

“No, not at all, just making an observation.”

“Ah, so are you hungry squirt, I think I made a little too much breakfast. You think you can help me out?”

“You do remember who you are talking to right?” She gave him an evil stare and grabbed a plate from the table and ran into the kitchen for some grub.

Ally loaded her plate with eggs and bacon and bagels with jelly. She grabbed a glass of orange juice for good measure and made her way back to the table. Peter just watched in awe as this tiny woman packed a meal fit for an army into her small frame.

“Where do you put it?”

“In here.” She laughed as she patted her full tummy.

“Would have fooled me. You look like you eat like a bird.”

“See looks can be deceiving. Don’t always trust your eyes, you might see things that aren’t there.”

“I’ll try and remember that.” Peter responded with a hint of a grin.

“Good, so how long are you here for?” She asked while staring at his deep brown eyes.

“Only till the end of the week. Jack and I are partners, and we both have to head back to Phoenix to finish up our latest deal. They gave us a week to play while they made up their minds about our offer.”

“You tycoons, what will I do with the lot of you?”

Jack and Peter just shrugged and chuckled as they made their way to the stable. Syd was out there brushing down Matty when she spotted the trio coming towards her.

“Morning Alicia.” Sydney greeted.

“Mornin’ Sydney. Jack is home. Have you met Peter, Jack’s partner?”

“Yes, Peter has been here before. We chatted awhile when you were asleep.”

“Ah, sorry.”

“No worries. How did you sleep?”

“Like a baby. I didn’t seem to wander last night either, so it was a bonus when I woke up in my own bed this morning.”

“I can imagine it was quite a relief.” She smiled despite the disappointment she felt. She was almost hoping that she would have stumbled back into her room again. It would have been nice to have held her as she slept.

“Well, I would have hated interrupting your sleep again.” Syd nodded at her reply and continued brushing down Matty.

“So how did you sleep? Were you able to fall asleep after I left?” She was genuinely concerned.

“Yes, I did finally. It gave me a chance to really think about what happened last night. I figured out…….” She was cut off by Jack jumping into their conversation.

“So what’s up girls? Hey Ally, Pete wants a lesson. You think you can give him some fine points on riding?”

“Um, sure Jack. I would love to.” She smiled at Jack’s retreating form. Turning back to Sydney, “We will finish our conversation later. I promise.” She stroked Syd’s arm and took Matty’s bridle and lead her into the stable.

*~*~*~*

Ally walked into the stable as Pete was marveling the size of Polka.

“Alright Pete, here is your first lesson, ready?” She smiled.

“You know, I have never stood next to a horse before, damn they are a big animal.”

“How else could they hold us silly boy?” She teased.

“Yeah well, I was just saying. It’s just weird seeing them so close.”

“Alright, put your foot in the stirrup and climb aboard Matty. She is very gentle, so don’t worry.” She reassured him.

Peter did as instructed and found the other stirrup and put his foot into it.

“Ok, step one hold the reigns at all times. If you want to turn left, pull slightly towards the left and she will turn. Same as for the right.” She instructed as she climbed onto Polka.

“Ok, now what about walking, running, and whatnot?”

“Ok, to get her moving, just squeeze your legs around her belly. Like this…” She demonstrated the action with Polka. He did as she said and they were slowly making their way out to the fields.

“Ok, now if you want to speed things up, just squeeze your legs a couple times and she will start to quicken her pace.” She showed him her movements as she nudged her legs against Polka a few times until they were off into a slow canter. Pete did the same and caught up to Ally.

“Ok, my biggest question. How do you stop?”

Giggling, “Just pull on the reigns, but not too hard, you don’t want to hurt her neck. Let’s go out there for awhile, there is a beautiful pond down there I haven’t seen since I was a kid. I will lead the way so don’t worry.”

“Lead on!” He nudged his legs against Matty and they were off.

Sydney just watched as the two figures disappeared from sight.

*~*~*~*

Jack crept up on Syd and spooked her.

“Hey there!! Anything I can help you with?”

“Jesus Jack!! You scared the shit out of me!!”

Laughing, “I’m sorry Syd, you just looked kind of out there. Are you alright?”

“Yes, I am fine. You want to help you say?”

“Sure, I need to do something. Pete and Ally won’t be back for a bit and I’m sure you could use the help.”

“Well, since you were kind enough to scare me to death, you could help me shovel out the stalls.” She smiled evilly as she handed him a shovel.

“Me and my big mouth.”

“You said it, not me.”

The two headed back into the stalls and began their glamorous chore.

“Man, I haven’t seen Ally in so long, by God she has grown up nicely. She is beautiful.”

“Yes she is.” Syd said not wanting to elaborate on the incredible lithe body that Ally had, or the intoxicating fragrance her body elicited, or the way her eyes made her heart melt, or especially the feel of her lips…….

“Syd? Syd?” Jack said snapping his fingers in front of her face.

“Wh…what? Did you say something?”

“Yeah, I asked you how Ally had seemed to you. Is she doing alright?”

“Oh, sorry. Well, her first night here she did some crying in her sleep but I think with a little help from her family and friends, she will be fine. I have to say considering the cards she has been dealt, she is doing incredibly well. I don’t think I would be as together as she is. She is an incredible young woman.”

“Yes, she is. I think Pete thinks so too. I couldn’t shut him up in the stables. God it’s like school again, him asking me to ask her for a riding lesson. Jeez, how old are we?” He chuckled to himself, Syd was not amused.

“So, how long are you home for?” Wanting to end Pete’s stay here.

“Well it depends on the firm we are waiting on. We have an offer on the table, and as soon as they make a decision, we have to go back to Phoenix to either pick up the pieces, or sign contracts and such.”

“Oh, I see. Well let’s just hope that it works out for everybody.” Including herself into that equation.

“Yes, let’s.” He replied.

Syd watched as Jack cleaned most of the stalls and headed back towards the corral. They looked out into the fields and saw Ally and Peter walking their horses back from their ride. They seemed very relaxed and were laughing and talking as they entered the corral.

“Hi kids!” Pete shouted to them.

“Hey there.” Jack replied. “How was your ride?”

“It was gorgeous! Ally took us down to the old pond behind those trees, you been there Jack?” Pete said as he was pointing towards the direction of the pond.

“Of course I have dumbass, I lived here, remember? I think I got laid for the first time down there. Hey Ally, remember we went down there with some of my friends and just drank ourselves into oblivion.”

“Ah, the good old days.” She said rolling her eyes, remembering the lecture she got from her aunt and uncle about responsibility.

“Seems to me you brought me there to play spin the bottle with your buds cuz one of them made a bet with you that he would kiss me.”

“Haha that’s right! Steve I think it was. Man, that was a lifetime ago. Any bottles down there today Ally?? Hmmm?” He said while wiggling his eyebrows.

“God Jack!” She said as she felt a blush creeping up her neck as she peeked over at Peter’s smiling face.

“Well if that’s not a guilty smile I don’t know what is.” Jack replied.

“For your information there were NO bottles where we were!!” She defended hoping to clean the grimace off of Sydney’s face.

When she couldn’t handle the frustration anymore Syd made excuses to leave and walked towards the tool shed. Ally eyed her closely to see if she was angry. She couldn’t pin point the emotion tugging on Syd’s face.

‘Is she jealous?’ She thought to herself. The thought of Sydney jealous of Peter made her smile inwardly. ‘This boy doesn’t hold a candle to you, my blue eyed Aussie.’ She looked up at Jack and Peter who were still talking about Jack’s good ole days at the pond. She rolled her eyes at them and they finally realized that maybe this should be talked about in different company.

“Men.” She said almost in disgust. “Don’t you think about anything else?”

When no answer was offered she shook her head and just glared at them. “Well? I am waiting for an answer.”

The two guys just looked at each other and just smiled at Ally.

“Oh nevermind.” She laughed with them.

“Hey Jack we should probably check our email to see what’s going on in Phoenix.” Pete chimed in.

“Yeah , I guess you’re right. We’ll be back later.” Jack said.

“Ok boys, see you later on. Don’t work too hard.” Ally teased.

“Hey Ally, thanks for the lesson, I had a wonderful time. Perhaps we can do that again before I leave.”

“Sure Pete, anytime.”

Pete leaned over and kissed her cheek. She smiled a shy smile and turned to go find Syd when her eyes locked with the raven haired woman. Ally smiled at her. When she got no response she approached her.

“Hey.”

“Hey yourself.”

“What’s wrong? Is there something bothering you?”

“No, not at all? Is Romeo staying for dinner?” She asked sarcastically.

“Romeo? Oh you mean Peter? Sydney, my God, are you jealous?”

“And what if I am?”

“Then I think you need to rethink our relationship. I thought you said that you couldn’t have this yet. Which means that I am free to do as I please.”

“Well if you like that sort of thing, by all means, have at it.” Syd said bitterly as she walked off in a huff back into the shed. Ally wasn’t going to have this conversation end like that so she followed her into the shed. As she walked in Syd was holding her side in pain.

“Syd? What is it? You look like someone stabbed you or something.”

“I jabbed my ribs earlier when I was fixing the front gate. I must have bruised them. I guess shoveling out the stalls wasn’t the smartest of chores to do today.”

“Let me see.” Ally said sincerely.

“Oh sure, now you want to see me naked.” She laughed as the pain shot up her side.

“I’m serious Sydney! Come on, lift up your shirt.” She commanded gently.

Ally let out a startled gasp. “Oh my God Sydney. We should have you looked at.”

“You are looking at it right now.” She teased back.

Ally gently touched the bruised area and felt Sydney flinch at her touch. She watched as the muscles contracted down Sydney’s strong abdomen.

“I’m sorry did that hurt?” She felt horrible.

“No, it didn’t, you tickled me. Come on doc, just kiss it and make it better. It’s not that bad.” She joked.

Ally not wanting to disappoint her patient, thought she would see how far she could take this. She gently touched the area again and felt her body moving closer to Sydney’s. She closed her eyes and gently kissed the bruise under Sydney’s ribcage. Sydney’s eyes widened with surprise. A tingling sensation ran through her body.

“Oh Alicia, please. You don’t know what you are doing to me.”

Ally kissed her again and let her tongue slowly circle the injured area. She wanted to devour every inch of this incredible woman. She needed her so badly. Her heart was screaming inside, beating so fast and so full. She felt Syd’s body reacting to the stimulation.

“Oh…please……Alicia……please…” Ally not hearing her pleas, wandered with her kisses and started blazing a trail over her stomach. Sydney grabbed Ally’s head and pulled her into a heated, passionate kiss. Ally felt her soul grasping at her other half. Their tongues entwined in a powerful dance of desire. Unquenchable passion was surging through them when Sydney’s defenses came back to haunt her again.

Sydney pulled away holding Ally’s head in her hands. “I… I can’t do this. I’m so sorry Alicia.” She whispered her name as the tears raced down her face. She tugged her shirt back down and ran out of the shed leaving Ally alone with her head shaking from side to side not understanding what just happened.

*~*~*~*

Ally found Jack and Pete in the family room talking between themselves when she entered the house. They noticed her entrance and smiled.

“Well Squirt, it looks like we have fly out tonight. There seems to be a mix-up in our contacts that we have to clear up. So unfortunately our visit will be cut short.” Jack sadly.

“Oh no Jack. I’m so sorry that you have to leave. What time is your flight?”

“We gotta head out in about an hour or so to leave for the airport. I will be back in a couple weeks though, I promise. Mom would have my head if I didn’t come and spend some time with her as well. I know she was getting pretty lonely out here, but when Syd came along, I think she really came out of her funk. I am so glad that you will be here for her too. I know she was really excited that you took her up on her offer.”

“You know Jack, after mom and dad died, I didn’t know my ass from a hole in the ground. When Eddi talked to me at their funeral and let me know where my home could be, I knew I had someplace special to go. I wouldn’t leave her now for anything. Although, it would be nice to actually spend time with her now that I am here.” She said sarcastically.

“When is she getting back?”

“She said in a week or so, so I shouldn’t be alone long, don’t worry.”

“I’m not worried Ally, you have Syd here, and you seem to like her so…..”

“Yeah, I do, she is very nice. I like her alot. I’m glad Eddi found her.” She said while wondering where Syd had run off to.

“Alright you, Pete and I have some stuff we have to take care of before we go, so if you’ll excuse us, we have to become boring again.” He said ruffling her hair.

“Alright, hey did you guys see Syd? I thought she came in here.” She tried to be nonchalant with her question.

“Umm..I think I saw her go upstairs a little while ago.” Pete chimed in.

“Ok, thanks guys. I’ll see you before you head out.”

“Alright Squirt.” Jack smiled at his cousin.

*~*~*~*

Ally walked up the stairs and headed towards her room. She noticed Syd’s door closed and decided to keep walking. She just didn’t get her. ‘Why would she come on to me like that if she didn’t feel something? I will not play these games anymore, it’s just too damn confusing. Next time, if there is a next time, I will wait for her to make the first move.’ She said as she walked into her room and jumped on her bed.

She cleaned up her clothes that were on the floor and made her bed. She tried to keep herself busy so she wouldn’t think about Syd in the next room. Thoughts flooded to her mind from this afternoon. The softness of the kiss they shared. The power in the lips she was being kissed by. The desire that was building in her center was overwhelming. She shook her head of those thoughts, well, at least she tried to.

Ally decided that there was no more cleaning that could be done at the moment and wandered over to Syd’s room. She hesitated, then knocked on the door.

“Syd?” She waited patiently for a reply……….Nothing.

She knocked again and slowly opened the door. She looked in to find Syd asleep with the same panda tucked under her arms. The sight made Ally’s heart swell, but she knew this time to keep her distance. She quietly turned around and closed her door. ‘I’m still mad at you Sydney. I may have pushed a little too much today, but I don’t think I deserved that.’ Ally walked down the stairs to see if Jack and Pete needed a ride to the airport.

“That’s ok Squirt, I called a cab. They should be here any minute.”

Pete walked up to Ally and held out his hand. “It was a pleasure meeting you Ally. I hope to see you again sometime.”

“Aw thanks Pete, I hope so too. Maybe we can get that encore lesson the next time you come up.” She reached up and hugged Peter around his neck and he kissed her cheek as she pulled away. “Such the gentleman.” She smiled.

“Who? Him? I think we need to talk Ally.” Jack said as Pete elbowed him in the gut. The cab driver announced his arrival with a honk of his horn.

“Hey!! You are ruining my rep with your cousin here man!” Pete joked.

“Don’t worry, your reputation will be left unscathed, I promise.” She reassured her departing guest. “Call me when you get to Phoenix, so I know you made it safe and sound, Ok?”

“Of course Squirt, I promise.” Jack said as he knew the depth of her request. He leaned down and hugged Ally as they said their good-byes.

“Bye!!” Ally shouted at them as the car drove away. She waved her last good-bye and closed the front door.

It was close to dinner time and Syd still hadn’t come down. “I guess I’ll take a look at the horses to make sure they are fed and watered.”

She walked outside and took to her chores without hesitation. It looked like it may storm tonight, so she made sure everyone was inside for the night. It was kind of nice taking care of Matty and Polka. It reminded her of her childhood summers spent here with her family. Her aunt and uncle taught her how to care for the horses and she loved every minute she had with them, especially Polka.

Ally’s stomach reminded her that she still needed to eat dinner. She double checked the windows and doors in case of a storm, and headed back to the house. ‘I’m sure Syd is awake by now. I’ll see what she wants to do for dinner.’ She thought to herself.

She walked into the house to find it still quiet. She checked the family room and Syd was no where to be found. She poked her head into the kitchen and noticed that nothing had moved in there either. That could only mean that Syd was still asleep.

“I guess I’ll see if she wants dinner at all.” She said as she walked up the stairs. As she reached the top of the stairs she heard the shower running.

“Well at least she is awake now. I’ll just wait for her to come out and see if she wants to eat. That is if she even wants to see me. Hell I should be the one that is angry, she walked away AGAIN, and here I am. God, I must be stupid…….or whipped, one of the two.” She spoke softly. ‘My money is on the latter.’ Her mind chimed in. “Thanks alot, you’re a big help.” She walked into her room, turned on her CD Player, and waited for Syd to return from her shower.

*~*~*~*

Syd awoke from her nap more refreshed than she expected. Her ribs were hurting less than before, so for that, she was grateful. Her mind wandered back to the tool shed where she experienced the most incredible feeling she had ever felt. Her body ached for that contact again. She could feel the moisture building between her legs. Her eyes welled with tears longing to love Ally the way she wanted to be loved. Something kept her at a distance and she didn’t know what. She knew her other half was outside right at this moment, but fear of hurt, rejection, and commitment, stopped her from finding her. She wiped the tears from her eyes and cursed the throbbing in her core. Her body knew what she needed, but she was too stubborn to accept it.

‘There’s more than one way to skin a cat.’ She mused as she headed off to the shower.

The water beat down on her body as she let her emotions leave one by one. The tears returned and she welcomed the cleansing. Maybe this way, she would clear herself of whatever it was that was keeping her from her destiny. The tears slowed and she became more aware of her desire for Ally. Their kiss this afternoon was incredible. The feel of this woman’s lips and tongue on her torso was orgasmic. The loss that she felt without her touch, was continual. As she reminisced about their meeting this afternoon, she found her hand roaming down her soapy body to fulfill a need that was overwhelming. Small, slow circles turned into fast, hard exploration. She braced her body against the wall of the shower as she released her frustration and longing in a matter of moments. Her thoughts of Ally were endless. How it was her that she wanted to feel loving her body. As her breathing came back to normal, she rinsed her shampooed hair, and washed the soapy water down the drain.

She stepped out of the shower to hear the faint sound of music. She felt her heartrate increase as she knew that Ally was only a room away. ‘God, I wonder if she heard me. Oh well, nothing I can do about it now. If she knows, she knows.’ She looked at her reflection through the steam on the mirror. “You can do this Sydney. You know this is right. Just let it go. Be happy for once in your life.” She reprimanded herself. She continued to dry off and geared up for another encounter with Ally. Being that they lived under the same roof, she knew if was inevitable.

*~*~*~*

Ally heard the shower turn off and a smile crept to the corners of her mouth. She knew that Syd would have to talk to her, and maybe after her shower, she would like to do it over dinner. This time, no physical contact.

The bathroom door opened and Syd walked out in her robe and long wet hair dangling off to one side. Ally walked out into the hall and gasped an audible gulp as she saw the sight in front of her. ‘My God she is beautiful.’ Was all she could think.

“Hello Alicia.” She managed to get out.

“Hi Syd. Um, I know you probably don’t want to see me right now, but I was wondering if you wanted to do anything for dinner. I mean its no big deal, but if you wanted, I could cook something, or we could order something out.” She rambled through her nervousness.

“Well, actually I am kind of hungry. I do have to go out and tend to my duties, since I kind of abandoned my job this afternoon.”

“Oh, don’t worry about that. I took care of it for you.” She said proudly.

“You did?” She said in almost a whisper. She couldn’t believe this woman in front of her. ‘I am a fool.’ She decided in her mind. “Thank you Alicia. That was very nice of you. And very unexpected, you didn’t have to do that.”

“I know, I just figured, well… It was kind of my fault what happened today, and I do feel kinda bad for what I did.”

‘Now she is APOLOGIZING for what I DID.’ Her eyebrows rose into her forehead as she listened to Ally take her blame from her.

“Wait a minute Alicia. What happened today was NOT your fault. Know that right now.”

“Syd…” Ally tried to get a word in…as usual.

“No Alicia, I shouldn’t have responded the way I did. Ok, maybe you coaxed me a little, but I shouldn’t have run out on you again. It was very childish of me and I am sorry.” The words came out faster than she could stop them.

“It’s understandable. I know your position on this, and I pushed, so for that, I too am sorry.”

The two seemed to come to an understanding, but that still left dinner plans up in the air. Syd told Ally to wait for her in the family room. She would get dressed and come down shortly. Ally agreed and made her way down the stairs. Syd closed the door to her room and leaned against the door while exhaling a sigh.

“She is too much. I have to do something before I lose this one for good. Take a deep breath Sydney, you will be just fine.” She coached herself.

She grabbed a pair of jeans and a baby blue polo shirt. Her eyes locked with the ones in her mirror and she decided that tonight she would make the biggest decision of her life. That scared the shit out of her, but it was now or never. She knew Ally wouldn’t wait forever. She took a deep breath, and made her way down to the family room, to meet with her dinner guest.

*~*~*~*

Ally waited patiently on the sofa for Syd to return. She was nervously chewing the inside of her cheek. She didn’t know what to expect from this woman. ‘On one hand she was incredibly beautiful, sexy, an amazing kisser, and oozed sensuality. On the other hand, she is the most frustrating woman that I have ever met. I don’t think that I have ever been as sexually crazed as I have been in the last two days.’ She mused to herself.

Shaking her head clear of her thoughts, she noticed that Syd was making her way down the stairs. She was smiling at Ally as she entered the family room.

“Hey there.” She greeted.

“Hey yourself.” She retorted.

“Have you decided anything for dinner? Or did you want some input?”

“Well, I really was waiting for you, before I made a final decision.”

“Well, I had a thought. Are you game enough to trust me?” She asked through a raised eyebrow.

“Well given our track record, I ‘m not sure I feel comfortable answering that question.”

“Alicia, I know that I have given you no reason to trust me in any way, but I truly think that you will enjoy my idea.”

“And if I don’t?”

“Then you can tar and feather me if you like.” She oozed with sarcasm.

“Well, how can I pass up an offer like that?”

“Good, give me a few minutes to prepare something, and I’ll meet you in the stable.”

“In the stable? Syd it looks like its going to storm.”

“All the better Alicia. I will show you what living in the country is all about, my little city mouse.”

“Your little city mouse? Are we getting a little possessive “my little country mouse”?

“Well, let’s just say that I have gotten used to having you around.” She nudged Ally as she walked into the kitchen.

“Alright Sydney, I’ll meet you there, but if I hate whatever you have planned, don’t think that I won’t keep you to your word.”

“Ha!! I don’t doubt that!!!!!” She yelled from the kitchen.

Ally smiled and wondered what she was up to. She turned and went outside to meet Syd at the stable. “I don’t like this one bit. Just look at this sky, we are going to get soaked. She had better not be jerking me around this time. I swear to everything Holy that I will kick her square…. in….” Ally paused to gasp in surprise at Sydney’s arrival.

Syd was carrying a large picnic basket and a blanket in her arms.

“Are you game? I thought it would be nice to ride out to that pond that has everyone oooing and ahhing and have our dinner out there. What do you think?”

“I think we are going to get drenched.” She crossed her arms and started tapping her foot on the ground.

“Alicia, I have seen you eat. We won’t be out there long enough for the rain to even think about hitting us. Come on, it will be fun. We can take Matty and Polka. If it does rain there is plenty of canopy out there under those trees. Will you have dinner with me Alicia?” She asked showing Ally her puppy dog baby blues.

“Oh my God, you are SO not fair. Let’s go Miss “I-Can-Get-Anything-I-Want-With-A-Bat-Of-My-Eye” Syd laughed at her as she walked towards the stalls.

Syd climbed on Matty and took the basket from Ally. She in turn gave the blanket to Ally and then coaxed the horses out towards the field. The ride was quiet as both women contemplated conversation. They wanted to talk about the feelings that they had for each other, but were unsure where that would lead. Settling for a quiet ride worked for them both.

Ally led Syd to the pond and Syd couldn’t believe that she had never made it down here before.

“This is absolutely beautiful Alicia. I can’t believe I never found this place. I could have filled so many nights here. You can get lost by looking at this landscape. I can see why you spent time here.” Syd said in awe.

“Mm I know. I spent alot of my summer nights here. I would just sit at the edge of the water and just think. I would write sometimes or just veg out. I love it here. Over there, by that large rock, is where the “infamous” game of spin the bottle happened.”

Syd smiled at her memory and wondered what Ally was like when she was a teenager.

“I bet you had a ton of boyfriends when you were in high school, no?”

“Actually, no. I was kind of a loner in high school. A geek for lack of a better word. I had a few close friends, but I pretty much kept to myself. I would cut loose when I came out here though. I guess I felt much more comfortable here than with the people in my school. People are really hard in Chicago. They aren’t the nicest of people. It’s really hard to admit that too, since I have lived there pretty much my whole life. People are really hard hearted so to speak. I just see such a difference in people out here. Much more willing to help out others, and that kind of thing. God, I am rambling, I am sorry.” She apologized.

“Oh please don’t apologize. I love listening to you talk. I bet you tell a great story. You have such a cute accent.”

“I have an accent? You are the one from ‘down unda’!” She kidded her Aussie friend.

“Yeah well, to me you have as much of an accent as I have to you.”

“Well I guess looking at it like that, it’s true. This is great Syd. You are right; this was a good idea. Thank you.”

“It’s the least I can do Alicia. I feel really bad about this afternoon. I shouldn’t have left you like that. I am sorry.”

“Syd, that is in the past now. Let’s just start over and enjoy what we have now, ok?”

“All right. Let’s eat. I didn’t really have too much to work with, so I got some sandwiches together and some salad. I thought the wine would be a nice touch as well.”

“You thought right. This is really great.”

“I’m glad you like it.”

The two ate in comfortable silence, occasionally looking into each other’s eyes and smiling. Syd’s mind was racing; time was running out as the sky turned darker with the storm’s approach. They ate on the blanket-covered ground and lay back watching the cloud movement with wineglasses in hand.

“Do you ever wonder what comes after life Syd? I mean, what do you think happens to us after we die?”

“I think about it every once in awhile actually. If there wasn’t life after death, don’t you think that this would all be a waste? I really believe that in living this life, we learn, our souls learn that is. We take all of that knowledge with us through our lives. After we die, our soul takes on another form and we start a new life, but with the same soul. Have you ever heard of people referring to others as being an old soul?”

“Yeah, I have. Is that what they are meaning by that. Someone that has had a few lives with the same soul?”

“Well, I personally think that is what they mean by that. I mean there is such a huge world out here. We couldn’t possibly cover it all in one lifetime. I think we are given a chance to explore it all, but not necessarily as the same physical presence. Now, don’t laugh at me, cuz I really believe this.”

“Ok, I promise not to laugh.”

“I really think that you and I were lovers in a past life.”

“What?”

“I mean it Alicia. I have only known you a few days, literally. But I also feel closer to you than I have anyone in my life, well outside of my family. I don’t understand it, but I don’t want to fight it anymore either. Alicia, after my childish tantrum this afternoon, I finally decided to stop being immature about my feelings. I need to look at the person who is willing to give me her heart, and know that she won’t take mine and break it. That person is you Alicia; I want to give you my heart. I know I have no right to ask that of you, but I want you to have it, that is, if you still want it.”

Ally’s mouth went dry; she couldn’t believe what she was hearing. Her heart wanted to believe what Syd was saying, but her mind kept thinking it was too good to be true. She downed the last of the wine, dropped her glass in the basket, and turned to leave. She ran to Polka and mounted her ride back to the stable. With a last look at Syd’s dumbfounded face, she urged Polka back to the house. Syd grabbed the picnic items, jumped onto Matty, and chased after her heart. She chased Ally back to the stables and saw her heading back towards the house. She led Matty into the stable and ran after Ally. Ally turned around when she heard urgent footsteps behind her. She saw Sydney running towards her and decided to face her fears once and for all.

“Sydney, I really want to believe you, but I just can’t play these games anymore. I have tried twice, unsuccessfully I might add, to show you I could love you, but you ran. Who is to say that you won’t do that to me again? I have way too much going on in my life right now. I just can’t handle anymore heartache. I’m sorry, I just can’t set myself up for that again.” She said as the tears started to well in her eyes. She started to walk away as the rain started to fall.

Syd reached out in desperation to stop Ally from walking away from her. She leaned forward catching Ally’s arm. Ally turned around and fell to one knee.

“Alicia, please…”

Crying, she pleaded, “Dammit, Sydney, I can’t do this. Please, just let me go.”

“I’m sorry Alicia, I can’t do that.” She pulled herself closer to Ally and held her face in her hands. She wiped away the raindrops that were falling against her cheeks as she leaned forward to meet the lips she so desperately wanted to feel again.

Ally’s mind was racing with confusion. Her body, feeling the heat that was building inside, released a moan as the contact deepened. Syd gently sucked on Ally’s bottom lip and felt soft hands stroking her face. Ally was crying, but her tears were filled with an extreme happiness that consumed her entire being. The kiss was very tender and was filled with gentle strokes of their exploring tongues, tasting every ounce that they were willing to share. Unwilling to break the contact, Syd gently lay Ally down on the wet grass and continued their passionate baptism. The rain started coming down harder, but Syd and Ally were oblivious to it all. Syd moved her kisses down Ally’s neck and shoulder. Nipping and biting as she made her way down her soon-to-be lover’s body, Syd heard Ally’s sounds of desire and want.

“What do you want Alicia?” She purred into Ally’s ear causing a shockwave of electricity to shoot between her legs.

“You, Sydney, I want you, please. I need you to touch me, feel me, taste me, you inside of me, I want it all.”

“And you will have it Alicia, I promise.” She swore, “I will give you everything that I am and more.”

The two women lay on the wet ground ignoring the weather and relishing the feel of the other’s body. Slowly Syd raised Ally’s shirt over her head and gently removed her bra. She knelt in front of Ally and pulled off her own shirt to reveal herself to her new lover. Ally just watched in awe as this woman continued to prove once again that she was absolutely beautiful in every way.

Their bodies slowly moved with the rhythm of their breathing. Syd kneaded the round, fullness of Ally’s breasts, gently rubbing her thumbs over the nipples. Ally’s back arched in response and knew that she needed more. Syd lowered her head to capture one of the nipples in her mouth. Slowly circling her nipple with her tongue, Syd made sure that Ally knew the depths of her desires. Syd brought Ally’s breast almost completely into her mouth and felt Ally’s hand pulling her head closer.

“God, Sydney, you feel so incredible. Uhngh” Ally moaned as her head slowly rocked from side to side.

The rain slowly poured on their almost naked forms, as the rest of their clothing was tossed to the side. Ally grabbed Sydney’s butt and slowly massaged the muscles moving above her. Syd’s body was grinding into Ally’s center and the passion that was building, was almost blinding. The feel of Ally’s naked skin against hers was the most amazing thing Syd had ever experienced. Ally’s body responded to Syd’s every touch, every kiss, every breath exhaled against it. She wanted Ally more than she wanted anything in her life before. She gently moved her hand down to Ally’s lower abdomen and kissed the skin beneath her fingers. Ally and Syd locked eyes knowing the act that was about to play out.

Sydney adjusted her body between Ally’s legs and took a deep breath. She inhaled the sensual scent coming from Ally and wanted nothing more than to lose herself there. Ally grabbed handfuls of grass as Syd’s tongue gently touched her clitoris. A surge of desire poured out of her and into Sydney with one touch of Syd’s tongue.

“Oh my God Ally, you taste so good.” She whispered to Ally as she briefly looked up into the electric stare of her partner.

Syd moved her tongue in small gentle circles against the tender flesh beneath her. She held onto Ally’s hips as she felt them begin to grind against her mouth. Her mission was clear now. She wanted to make Ally become nothing less than a weak, breathless, beautifully satisfied woman.

Ally’s couldn’t keep her eyes open long enough to catch more than small glimpses of the woman bringing her to ecstasy. Her body was alive with every stroke of Syd’s tongue against her. She felt her thoughts going numb as the pressure building inside of her was almost too much for her to bear.

Syd’s tongue moved faster as she felt the closeness of Ally’s orgasm. She braced herself against Ally’s body and felt the beginning of Ally’s release.

“Oh my…Godddd…. Sydney…yessss ” Ally moaned.

Thrusting her hips faster and faster, Ally felt her body fall slave to the intense touch of her lover. As her release left her body, Ally felt a wholeness she had never known before to exist. Sydney rode wave after wave of unbidden passion and desire. The feeling that she had inside of her, proved to be one that she could get used to very easily. Ally’s body slowly recovered from her climax and her breathing once again became normal. Syd climbed up the spent form of Ally and gently lay on top of her with both elbows resting on either side of Ally’s head. Looking up into loving blue eyes, Ally spoke to her in almost a whisper.

“Oh my God. Sydney, that was incredible. I have never known such pleasure in my life.”

“Good, I’m glad that I could make you feel like that. I hope that you will give me an opportunity to do that more often.” She said as she caressed one side of Ally’s face.

“Just try and watch me stop you. Not gonna happen.” She smiled and kissed Sydney tenderly on her lips.

It was still pouring on them, and Sydney felt a shiver run through Ally’s body.

“It’s time we went in an got you into a hot shower before you catch your death out here.”

“Only if you join me.” She said raising an eyebrow on Sydney’s face.

“Well, how can I refuse such an offer?”

“You can’t, it’s not an offer, it’s a demand. I will not take no for an answer either, missy.” Syd laughed at the mischievous face shown by Ally and knew that this night was only just beginning.

With Jack, Pete, and Edna away, the two loved the privacy they were given to explore their newfound love. They collected their clothing from the piles strewn on the lawn, and made a quick run into the house. The brisk air from the air conditioning made their skin crawl with goosebumps.

“Damn, it’s cold in here. I’ll race you to the shower.” Sydney taunted.

“Well I don’t know, your legs are so much longer than…” Ally stopped as she raced up the stairs knowing full well that retribution would be in order for her cheating.

“You are so dead, do you hear me Alicia? You are mine.” She yelled as she reached the top of the steps. She looked around the bathroom only to have Ally jump from behind her.

“Yah!!” Ally surprised.

“Ahhh!” Sydney screamed.

“Gotcha!” Ally smiled in victory.

“That’s what you think. I’ll show you whose got who.” She said as she picked up Ally and threw her into the shower. Ally put up a fight and kicked and screamed the whole way, laughing in between gasps of air limited to her. Sydney turned on the water and watched as Ally’s eyes became huge as the cold water slowly changed to a warmer temperature.

“Come here my little Aussie. I’d like to show you something.” She said as she wiggled her eyebrows at Sydney.

“Coming my dear.” She smiled back as she entered the shower and drew the curtain closed.

Ally wasted no time as she grabbed Sydney’s head and pulled her into a deep passionate kiss. The water gently cascaded down both very aroused women. Ally broke the kiss and whispered into Syd’s ear.

“Show me what to do. I have never done this before.”

“Alright Alicia, we will make this lesson one that you’ll remember for a long time.” She purred back into Ally’s ear, causing a stream of goosebumps down her body.

Sydney reached up and took one of Ally’s hands and gently placed it on one of her breasts. She held onto Ally’s hand as they tenderly rubbed against the nipple with their fingers. Sydney’s body reacted to the stimuli of their shared movements. She exhaled a deep sigh as the desire built between her legs once again. Ally’s movements became more confident as she rolled the nipple with her thumb and forefinger. Syd welcomed the feel she was receiving and let out a small moan. She felt Ally’s mouth move lower to take her full breast into her mouth. Her tongue circled over the nipple causing Syd’s breath to become more and more ragged.

“Yeah, I think you’ve got it, oooh right there. God that feels good.” Syd gasped out.

“Mmm. I like this.” Ally purred.

Ally took her newfound courage and slowly moved her hand between Sydney’s legs. The wetness she found increased her desire to explore this woman pressed against her. The water was beating down on Ally’s head almost stroking her to take the next step. She slowly moved her fingers around until she found a very sensitive spot on Sydney. Her body shuddered as she felt the touch of her novice lover. Ally pushed Sydney against the wall as she increased the speed of her finger’s movements. Under the spray of the showerhead, Sydney felt her body begin to quiver as her release started to build inside of her.

“Oh Alicia, God, you have no idea what you are doing to me.”

“Oh yes I do, Sydney, yes I do.” She smiled inwardly knowing that she was the cause of her lover’s shivering.

“You are very good at this.”

“Yeah, well, I am self taught if you know what I mean.”

Sydney smiled at Ally knowing exactly what she meant thinking back to a few hours earlier in this same shower.

Ally quickened her movements as Sydney’s breath became labored and her body stiffened with excitement. The feel of Syd’s tender flesh was swollen and slippery with arousal. Ally couldn’t believe that she was making love to woman, let alone a woman like Sydney. Her body was completely on fire with every sound that Sydney made. Her sultry, deep voice humming into her ear was music Pachelbel himself would have been proud of. Sydney reached down to touch Ally’s passion, when she felt herself go over the edge.

“Oh Alicia! My God…that’s it right…. Oh…. There…. uunnngh” Syd cried as her orgasm raced through her core.

Ally pressed Sydney harder against the wall as she felt herself crest with her lover. Their legs slowly gave out and they melted down the shower walls and into to the base of the tub. Sydney wrapped her arms around the smaller framed woman as their spasms slowly left their bodies. As their breathing reached its normal pace, they found themselves increasing their holds on each other. The sound of their heartbeats under the running water was all that could be heard.

“Alicia, that was beautiful. I have never experienced such an overwhelming moment in my life. I can’t believe that I was willing to throw all of this away because of my fears. Can you forgive me for being such a child?”

“Sydney, you don’t have to apologize, this is all that I need to know that you are for real. Just don’t get up and run this time.” She said as she tightened her hold on Sydney.

“I promise, I will never leave you again.” Sydney said as she kissed Ally pledging her love.

With that admission, Ally knew that Sydney would be there for her forever.

The next few days were spent getting to know each other in between their marathon love making sessions. The days were spent talking and laughing about their lives and people in their past. They took many walks and rode tandem on Polka to ensure snuggle time. Their nights were filled with passion and unspoken love. Sydney was teaching Ally everything she wanted to know and more about what makes a woman scream for more. Ally showed Syd a few things too. Their hearts had found their home and weren’t moving anytime soon.

*~*~*~*

Edna walked in the door after five days spent with dirty old farmers and ranch owners. She was relieved to be home. She was even more relieved when she let her eyes roam over the two sleeping forms cuddled up on the couch. Ally had her body nestled against Syd’s longer frame and rested her head against her strong shoulder. Syd’s arms were wrapped around her young love as she held her close before falling asleep against her will.

Edna quietly crept up the stairs and placed her luggage in her room. She passed Syd’s room and noticed her room was completely clean and her bed was neatly made. She scratched her head as she walked further into Ally’s room, when her lips turned upwards into a large smile. The sheets on the bed were strewn all over the place. Two sizes of clothing were found in various places around the room, leaving a trail back to the bed. Her heart raced with excitement for she knew that her niece would be well loved and taken care of. She picked up the picture from the Grand Canyon and smiled as she looked into the sky.

“She’s going to be just fine Donna, I promise. She has someone to watch over her now, while you look down from up there. She misses you Donna, but don’t you worry. Between Syd and me, she is going to be loved and cared for until the day she leaves this place. And when that day comes, she’ll have you, with your arms wide open for her to be cradled in once more. She’s gonna be just fine.” She said with tear filled eyes as she held the photograph close to her heart.

She placed the picture back on the windowsill and smiled to herself. She turned around to head back downstairs. With dinner approaching, she needed to get into the kitchen. With the looks of this place, she was going to have a couple of starving women on her hands. And that was just fine with her.

 

Part 2

“You are in such trouble when I catch you Alicia.” Sydney growled.

“Yeah, well, you have to catch me first.” Ally teased and ran towards the house.

Sydney was doing her best to wash down the horses. This, of course, involved a large, pressurized hose. Ally watched her friend tend to the horses, while she slowly approached her without being noticed. Initially her intent was to scare her lover, but once she saw the unattended hose, she lost all sense of control.

After dousing Sydney unmercifully, Ally ran to the main house to seek the safety of Eddi, her aunt and best friend. She found Eddi asleep in her rocking chair in the family room.

“Damn, now where can I hide?”

“Oh no you don’t. You aren’t getting away this time little missy.”

“Now Sydney, you know I was only fooling around.” She held her hands out in front of her and stuttered as she found herself backing away from a drenched, mildly agitated woman.

“Fooling around eh? Just what does “fooling around” entail? You sneaking up on me, you grabbing a hose and soaking my skin, and then you laugh and run inside to look for cover?” She playfully stalked and growled.

Ally just swallowed hard, not knowing what her Aussie lover had planned for her revenge. “Umm, yes?” She winced.

Ally found herself being backed into the entertainment unit while Sydney drew nearer with every tick of the grandfather clock in the corner of the room. Sydney’s breath tickled Ally’s ear as she bent down to give a warning.

“Paybacks are truly a bitch my dear Alicia. And believe me when I tell you, I always get my revenge.” Sydney purred.

Ally found herself short of breath and completely at a loss for words, which was very rare for the young honey haired woman. She looked into the most challenging blue eyes she had ever seen, and knew she was no match for the tall raven-haired woman staring down at her. She just had to wait until her time had come. It was very exhilarating to her senses. Sydney, she discovered, was a very creative person. ‘I wonder if everything she does is as imaginative as the things she does in bed.’ Her thoughts sent shudders throughout her body, and her movements were not lost by Sydney.

“What’s the matter Alicia? Cat got your tongue? Hmm?” She smiled and gracefully exited the room leaving a slackjawed Ally resting her body against the entertainment center.

“My God, what that woman does to me. Christ.” She wiped her brow and made her way into the bathroom to wash her face and calm her nerves.

*~*~*~*

A couple of months had passed since the two women had met. Ally had arrived to her Aunt Eddi’s ranch after losing both of her parents in a tragic car accident. Her aunt had graciously opened her home and her arms to her niece. Living alone in Chicago with the emptiness that evolved around her, was not a life that Ally wanted. Her aunt’s offer came as an answered silent prayer.

*~*~*~*

The funeral went as well as to be expected. Most of Ally’s family had attended the wake the previous night and attended the funeral procession the following day. Everyone gave their condolences to Ally not wishing to trade places with her for anything in the world. To lose both of her parents the way that she did, they half expected her to whither away herself. These people didn’t know the strength inside this young woman. Neither did Ally at this time in her life.

Her Aunt Edna arrived a week before the traditional formalities had begun. She had arranged the burial for her sister Donna and her husband Tom. She knew that Ally wouldn’t know how to handle the arrangements by herself. Hell, she didn’t even know what she was doing. How often do you have to plan such an event? Hopefully, this was one of the last times she would have to do it. Burying her own husband was hard enough, but now her sister was taken away, along with her husband. It was very surreal to her. ‘It’s not nearly as hard on me as it is on her.’ She thought to herself as she watched her niece hugging and talking with estranged family members.

The day was almost over, and most of the guests had left Ally’s home. The after gathering was nicely catered, and the mood was as light as it was going to get on such a tragic day. Ally just wished away her migraine as she forced herself to meet the sorrowful stares she received for the duration of the day. Eddi walked up to her when she thought she had had enough.

“How are you honey? Do you want to call it a day? I can take care of the clean up down here.”

“No Eddi, I will help. It’s the least I can do. You planned everything while I did nothing.”

“Nothing? Oh honey, you were finishing your schooling and had to move back here for the summer. You had plenty to do yourself. These things have a way of timing themselves very badly. Not that there will ever be a good time for this.” She trailed off and found herself embracing a sobbing, scared little girl.

“Oh Eddi…what am I going to do now? I have lost almost everything in a blink of an eye.” She sobbed into her aunt’s shoulder.

“I know sweetie, I know. We just need to take things day by day. It’s all we can do. But we have to keep going. Your mom would want that for you. I know she would have.” She said as she cradled Ally’s shaking body. ” You want some tea?”

“Yeah…I think it may help my head…it’s just pounding…”

“Alright kiddo, go sit down at the table, and I will bring two mugs with me. I gotta let out the last of our guests and I’ll be in. We can talk if you want to. Or we can just stare, cry, scream, or whatever your lil heart desires. Okay?” She kissed the top of Ally’s head.

“Thanks Eddi, I love you so much. Thanks for being here for me.”

“Oh sweetie, there is no other place that I would be right now. Now scoot, I’ll be in there in a couple of minutes.”

“Alright Eddi, I’m just gonna say goodnight to Tracey.” She said as she watched her aunt go into the foyer of the house.

Ally’s best friend Tracey Miller came in from the front room and embraced Ally in a hug. “God hon, I’m so sorry. I wish there was more that I could do for you.”

“Thanks Trace, I know. I just can’t believe that this happened. You know, two weeks ago I was just talking with mom about summer plans and I how much I couldn’t wait to see her when I got home.” Ally pushed back a sob.

“I know honey, I know….” Tracey kept Ally in her arms until the fair-haired woman pulled away. Tracey looked from her deep brown eyes into sad green ones and felt her heart break for her childhood friend.

“I’ll be alright Trace. Eddi’s with me, you can go home if you want. I’m just gonna go to bed. I have the worst friggin headache.”

“Well that’s not surprising. Take care of yourself Ally. I love you, you know.” She winked at Ally.

“I love you too Trace. Thanks for being here for me.”

“What are friends for?” She questioned as she ran her fingers through her mass of curly blond hair.

“Well you are the best friend in the world. Good night.” Ally hugged her friend again, kissed her cheek and watched her walk towards the front door.

She padded her way to the dining room table and sat down.

Ally’s eyes roamed the room she was in. Every shelf on the bookcase had at least one picture of her or her parents. She scanned down to the rolltop desk and found a gift she had made her mother when she was ten. It was a picture frame that had “My Favorite Mom” etched into it, with a picture of her and her mother in it. ‘Like I had more than one.’ She said to no one. ‘Now I don’t even have one…’ She stopped and put her head in her hands and continued to weep.

Edna made it back with the promised beverages and sat down next to Ally. She let her hand stroke Ally’s back as she watched her swollen green-eyed niece down the healing liquid.

“Ally, I want to ask you something, and you don’t have to answer until you are ready, okay?”

“What’s wrong Eddi?”

“Nothing Ally, I just want to ask you something.”

“Okay Eddi, shoot.”

“I want you to consider something for me.” She said as she took one of Ally’s hands in her own.

“Alright…”

“I would really love it…if you came out to live with me…in Montana. I know it’s far away from your friends and your school, but you make friends like bees make honey, and well, we got schools up in Montana as well.”

Ally’s face wrinkled up and she again began to cry.

“Oh honey, I’m sorry. I should have waited to ask you that later on, I am so sorry.”

Sniffling, “No Eddi, don’t be sorry. I am just so thankful to have someone in my life like you. Thank you so much for that. Please let me think on it though. I have so much here; it would be such a huge change for me. I just don’t know if I am ready for more change. Is that okay? Can I answer you in awhile? I mean, I won’t take forever, I just need some time to really think it over.”

“Of course sweetheart, take all the time you need. I’m not leaving for at least a week, so please, just think it over, and let me know. I just would hate to think of you in Chicago, by yourself. I mean, I know you have school and your friends, but this house, well, I know how many memories you have here. I just want you to be happy honey.”

“I know Eddi, and I love you for it. Thank you.”

“You are welcome, sweetie, and I love you back.”

*~*~*~*

Ally was awoken from her reverie by a questioning stare.

“I’m sorry did you say something?”

“Yes Alicia, I asked if you were okay. You looked like you were a million miles away.”

“I was actually, I’m okay though, don’t you worry.”

“When it comes to you, I worry. Just reflex, get used to it.” Syd smiled and opened her arms to Ally.

Ally buried herself in Syd’s strong embrace. She loved when her partner let her guard down and was just Sydney, loving, nurturing, and warm. But there was something in her that couldn’t keep that wall from building back up. Ally wished she knew what it would take.

The last couple months had been wonderful. She had met someone that truly felt like the other half of her soul. There was trepidation behind the azure blues of her lover though. Sometimes she would find Sydney lost in thought. She looked frightened sometimes, but when asked, she always had something to say about it. Ally just let her think she was off the hook, when actually it saddened her to know she wasn’t trusted enough to be let in on her secret.

Sydney didn’t trust anyone she thought to herself. Sure she had friends that she spoke of, and she would go out from time to time with them as well, but the only one with her full trust was Eddi. Ally was almost jealous of their relationship. They would have long talks that sometimes went deep into the night. Ally had tried many a night to stay awake with them, but sleep usually found her halfway through. Time and time again, she found herself in Syd’s arms being carried up to their room to bed.

Ally knew from the beginning that it would be an uphill battle to gain the trust of Sydney Thompson. It was, however, a fight that she had no intention of losing. The time it took for her just to give Syd a compliment and not have her read too much into, was exhausting. ‘She must have been really hurt at one time. I just wish she would talk about it, maybe it would help her. She’s got to know I would never do anything that would hurt her.’ She mused as she pulled out of Syd’s arms.

“So, what do you want for dinner? I think I should cook.” She smiled up at her lover.

“If you think that cooking dinner is going to get you off the hook, you’ve got another thing coming.” Syd smirked as she put her hands on her hips.

“Sydney, I am sorry about the hose thing, really. Please forgive me.”

“Oh I forgive you my little city mouse, but I will have my revenge. Mark my words.”

“Revenge on what? What the hell did I miss?” Eddi walked into the kitchen to find the heated discussion.

“Hey Edna, well it looks like your innocent little niece here likes to play with water.” Edna peered over to look at a very amused Ally. She then looked back to Syd who looked as though she was waging war inside her head.

“Now look here girlies, if anything gets broken, I will put the hose on ya both! Just calm yourselves, Christ Almighty, a girl takes a nap for five minutes and all hell breaks loose….”She trailed off as she went to the fridge to get some juice.

“I swear to God, I don’t know what gets into you girls.” She said as she drank the juice from the container. She swallowed the liquid and looked into the stare of the two women.

“What? It’s not like either of you will ever drink out of this!” She said as she showed the prune juice to her niece and Sydney. “Can I help it if I like to be regular? Hell you should try it, you may get rid of some of that hostility!!” She smiled at them. ” Then again, I didn’t get sprayed with that hose either.”

“Hey! Who’s side are you on?” Ally whined.

“The dry one. Now what are you making for dinner? This girl is hungry!”

Ally just rolled her eyes and began opening cabinets looking for some ideas for dinner for her two best girls.

*~*~*~*

The fall semester came and Ally had decided that she would enroll for the spring semester. Edna and Sydney had been very supportive of her decision and agreed that she may need some more time to get used to everything that has changed in her life. Starting a new school, in a new area, sharing a new home, with a new partner, and without her parents, was a little much for Ally to swallow at once. She was taking the days one by one and deciding that she needed it that way.

Thoughts of her parents were very frequent and mostly came at night through her dreams. Many a night did Sydney wake to Ally thrashing about trying to fight off the demons in her head and in her heart while she slept. Sydney would always wrap her larger frame around Ally and instantly she found the tiny woman relaxing in her embrace. Ally would always thank her in the morning for performing the exorcism, which she so lovingly called her bouts with the nightmares.

*~*~*~*

Ally really wanted Syd to come to Chicago to see her home before it was sold. The house had been on the market for about a month or so. It was a hard decision for Ally to make, but it made sense. She was in no financial shape to maintain her parents’ home, so she gave in and called the family lawyer and then a Realtor. Her parents had left her quite a bit of money, but she wanted to use it for schooling to work on her journalism degree. Her cousin Jack had given her some tips on some stocks and mutual funds for investing, but she was scared to death of the stock market. It just didn’t make sense to her. So for now her savings account had a little bulge in it.

Ally’s mind was alive at dinner; she was in the defensive mode. After she showered Sydney unmercifully with the hose, she was waiting for the turnabout. It was bound to happen sooner or later, she just wished it was sooner, then it would be over with. She decided that she would ask Sydney to come to Chicago with her tonight. ‘I think she would really love to see it. I think Eddi could handle things for a week. Hmm, maybe I’ll ask Eddi first just to make sure.’ She thought to herself.

“You are awfully quiet Alicia. Are you alright?” Syd questioned her unusually quiet partner.

“Yeah Syd, I am fine. Please stop worrying, really, I am okay.” She looked at Syd with eyes that betrayed her truth. She had black puffy circles under her usually vibrant green eyes, which made Syd wish peaceful dreams for her every single night.

“Alicia, I will always worry about you. As long as I breathe, I will worry.”

“Hey take it while you can sweetie, it’s hard to find someone that will do your worrying for you.” Her aunt interjected.

Smiling, “I guess you are right. Thanks Sydney, it means the world to me to know you care so much.”

“I do care for you Ally, very much. I think I always will.” She said as she gently stroked the inside of Ally’s wrist with her thumb.

“Me too.”

“Well with that established, can I have some more of those potatoes? Ally you outdid yourself. I love AuGratin, they are my favorite.”

“Thanks Eddi, eat up. Sorry for the mushy stuff.” She said smiling.

“Not to worry, it makes me sleep better knowing you have someone in your life like Syd. I knew it was going to happen when I saw the first looks you two gave each other. It was priceless. It was loooove at first sight. Ally could barely eat and Syd kept staring at her during dinner.” The two just looked at each other and blushed at their memories Edna was reliving.

“It was quite the entertainment. I knew once I left for Indiana, I would come home to some kind of news. I am glad that I wasn’t disappointed. Syd was just what you needed Ally, and I think the same goes for you my dear.” She simply stated while pointing her finger at Syd.

“Whaa… I…. Wasn…” Sydney started sputtering and looked at Edna with her eyebrows high into her bangs.

“Yes you were and you did, so enough out of you.” She waved her fork at Syd, while Ally just marveled at how well her aunt could work Sydney. ‘God, I don’t think there is another person on this planet who could get away with half the stuff Eddi does with her.’

“Hey there, we lost you again…” Syd said breaking Ally away from her thoughts.

“I was just thinking is all.”

“UH OH.” Edna and Sydney said in unison then laughed.

“Cut that out!! The both of you!! You know…oh nevermind, I will never win against you both.” She said exasperatedly through a smile.

The two women just hi-fived each other and grinned stupidly at Ally, who in turn just rolled her eyes and continued to eat her delicious meal.

*~*~*~*

“Hey Eddi, can I ask you something?” Ally walked in to Edna’s room as she got ready for bed.

“Sure hon, what do you need.”

“Well it’s not a need really. Well, it’s more of a want kind of thing. I was ahhh.. just wondering if.. well if it won’t be too much trouble….” Her aunt was patiently waiting for her request and interrupted her ramblings.

“Good God girl, I’m not getting any younger here! Just ask me.” Ally just smiled and reproached her aunt.

“Eddi I was wondering if I could take Syd to Chicago with me while I tried to pack the rest of the house up.”

Edna sat and pondered the question for a moment and realized this may be a good thing for both of them.

“It will only be for a week or so I swear. I won’t take her from her chores too long. Do you think we could?”

“I think it’s a wonderful idea Ally. I think it might do you some good to go back there for a bit. Syd tells me you haven’t been sleeping all that well. Maybe you need to go there. Have you asked her yet?”

“No not yet, I was waiting to hear what you thought, and she is your employee after all so I wanted to make sure that it would be OK. I just would hate it if I took her from you while you needed her…”

“My goodness girl, you can talk at the speed of light. I am surprised I can understand you at all when you get going like that.” She chuckled to her niece.

“I’m sorry Eddi, I am just really excited about this. I really want to go and take her with me. I would love for Tracey to meet her too.”

“Oh yeah, how is Tracey doing?”

“She is doing well, I talked with her last night actually and she really wants me to come and see her while I’m home….umm….visiting… anyway, she said to say hi to you.”

“God how long have you two known each other now, ten years? Fifteen?”

“We have been friends since I was five. I have really missed her this summer. We usually sat poolside all summer or just hung out on the roof of her house and stuff. I missed that…” She trailed off and her aunt took her hand and squeezed it.

“Does she know about you and Syd?”

“Oh my God Eddi, she was the one that told me I was gay.”

“What?”

“Yeah, about two years ago she told me that I was going to get fed up with not getting what I wanted from men. Then she said to make sure that dinner plans, on me of course, were arranged when I figured it out. I guess a “I told you so” kind of celebration.” She giggled.

“That girl is too much. So how did she take the news about you two?”

“Oh please, my ears are still ringing. She is very happy for us though, and she can’t wait to meet her.”

“Who can’t wait to meet who?” Syd poked her head into Edna’s room. “I was wondering what was keeping you.” She said looking at the two women standing close together in a deep conversation. ” Alright, what’s up you two? You look as though you are conspiring against someone. It’s not me is it? Cuz I can outrun you both.”

The two women started laughing and Ally wrapped herself around Syd’s waist. “No Hon, we aren’t conspiring, I promise.” She reassured.

“That’s a relief, I can’t be too sure around you two.” She turned herself to look at a smiling Ally in her arms. “Are you ready for bed sweetheart?”

“Mmm, yes I am. Good night Eddi, we’ll see you in the morning.” Ally reached towards her aunt and gently squeezed her arm.

“Good night you two.” The two were just out of the doorway when Edna’s voice picked up a bit. “And could you keep it down tonight? I almost called an old friend to keep me company last night.” Ally couldn’t keep the blush from flooding her entire body and Syd could do nothing but wink and smile at Edna as she closed her door.

“Oh my God, I never thought she would hear us!!” A completely embarrassed Ally spouted.

“Alicia, you could wake the next county if you wanted to.” She wiggled her eyebrows. “Not that I’m complaining, I rather enjoy your vocal skills, amongst your other ones.”

“Good answer mate.” They laughed as they walked arm in arm into their room and closed the door for good measure.

Ally walked to the bed and folded down the blankets and fluffed Syd’s pillow as she has done every night for the last two months. She tossed her socks into the hamper and got under the sheets. Syd followed suit and assumed her position while Ally immediately snuggled into Syd’s shoulder. It was a routine that the two women weren’t willing to break anytime soon.

“Syd…”

“Yeah baby?”

“I need to ask you something.”

“Do I need to get up?”

“Oh no, nothing like that.”

“OK, then ask me. Ow!” She giggled at Ally’s small jab to her ribcage.

“OK, well, lately I have been thinking.”

“So, I have noticed. Is anything wrong?” Syd asked curiously.

“No honey, just listen, please.” She paused and took a deep breath. “I really want to go back to Chicago.” Sydney’s body stiffened and she sat up to look at Ally, willing the tears away from her eyes.

“Chicago? Wait Ally, what are you saying? We just started something really great here. Do you really want to leave now?” Ally sensing a little bit of a misunderstanding gently pressed her fingers to Syd’s lips.

“Sshhh. You didn’t let me finish honey. I need to finish packing up the house and I wanted you to come with me. That’s all, I swear.”

Relief swept through Sydney like a tornado and she thought she was going to pass out from the sensation of it all.

“Sydney? Are you OK? You look as pale as a ghost.” Ally said as she felt Syd’s forehead and wiped away a thin layer of perspiration from her brow. ‘God she really hurt you didn’t she? I hope we never meet, I won’t be responsible for my actions.’ Ally thought to herself.

“I..Uh…I… would love to go with you. I need to ask Edna if it’s all right though. She does depend on me to tend to the horses.”

“She said it would be a great idea. So…. What do you think, next week all right with you?”

“Sounds great to me. I think I need a vacation anyhow.” She smiled.

“Thanks Sydney you don’t know how much this means to me. I can’t wait for you to see the house. And, I can’t wait for you to meet Tracey. You guys are going to get along great. I can’t wait!! Thank you, I really mean that.”

“Honey, I am excited too. I have never been to Chicago.”

“Well we don’t really live in Chicago; we live in the suburbs about 30 miles or so north of the city. But we can go down there if you want. It’s going to be quite a different scene from here. It’s much louder and so much more is going on all the time. I don’t really miss that part of it.”

“Is your school near there?”

“No, I went to the University of Illinois, which was in Champaign. That’s about 3 hours from my house. It’s kind of in the middle of Illinois.” She had a sad expression on her face as she spoke of school.

“You miss it already don’t you?”

“Am I that transparent?”

“Like glass baby.” Syd slowly sunk back to the bed dragging along with her a saddened teary-eyed Alicia. She kissed the top of her head and began to stroke her hair down her back.

“I’m sorry Syd.”

“For what?”

“I am always crying it seems lately.”

“Honey it’s okay, really. I am glad that I can be of some comfort to you. You know how much I care about you. When you are sad, I am sad. I will do what I can to make sure that beautiful face carries a smile whenever possible.”

“You are so good to me Sydney.” ‘How did she ever leave you?’ She thought to herself.

Ally turned to face her partner and gently kissed her lips. Syd returned the gesture and slowly deepened the kiss. Ally found herself opening her mouth in offering to Syd and was rewarded with a hot tongue probing her mouth. The two stayed like this for a long moment and then pulled back to stare into each other’s eyes while soft hands caressed smooth facial features. They were breathing heavily and soon found sleep to be an option for much later.

“God baby, you make me so crazy.” Syd purred into Ally’s ear.

As shivers went throughout Ally’s body she found herself pulling at her shirt to free herself of any obstacle keeping her away from Syd’s bare skin. ‘Just another advantage of Syd sleeping naked, not much to take off.’ She mused to herself. Syd helped Ally with her shirt and her underpants followed shortly afterwards.

“I still don’t understand why you dress at all for bed. I never let you keep anything on anyway.”

“I’m slowly seeing your point.” She giggled as she pulled Syd on top of her.

Syd slowly steered her thigh between Ally’s and both moaned at the contact that was made. Ally’s wetness was no mystery to Syd who relished the fact that she was the cause of the excitement. Ally raked Syd’s back with her fingernails as she felt the larger woman’s tongue leave a blazing trail from her ear to her breasts. Syd latched on to one of Ally’s erect nipples and began to gently nip at the tip. Ally arched into the touch and began stroking Syd’s long dark hair.

“God sweetheart you feel so good.”

“Good, so do you. You taste incredible,” She said with a smile.

Syd brought one of her hands to the other nipple and began to tease it as she continued to suckle the other. Syd slowly began to grind her thigh into Ally’s sex. Ally’s moans grew louder and her body began to rock against Syd’s thigh. Syd could feel her younger companion’s desire building as she slowly moved up Ally’s body and gently purred into Ally’s ear.

“You know what sweetheart?” She said as she licked her earlobe.

“What baby? Tell me….” Ally panted in response.

“Paybacks are truly a bitch.” She smiled and gently rolled over to her side of the bed leaving a thoroughly aroused and confused Ally to her musings.

“Whaa…you can’t be serious?” She managed to squeak out.

“Good night Alicia, sweet dreams.” She feigned sleep waiting for the explosion she knew was coming, trying desperately not to let out the laugh that was raging within her.

“Sydney Elizabeth Thompson, you aren’t going to just leave me like this are you?!?!” She was completely beside herself.

“Like what honey?” She had to control her voice before she broke out into laughter.

“OH…MY GOD. This is about the hose isn’t it? You are going to let me sit here and stew in my totally “I WANT YOU NOW” state because of the hose, am I right?”

“Uh huh…that’s right.” She couldn’t control the giggle that leaked from her lips.

“Oh no you don’t. You can’t raise my heart rate like this and just roll over knowing that I won’t be able to sleep for at least a week…” Ally stopped as she heard Sydney’s laughter betray her every whim. “You are laughing at me, aren’t you?”

Trying to regain her composure, “Yyyes… As a matter of fact…I am…” the fits of laughter continued and slowly she turned over to see bright green fire looking down at her. ‘Uh oh, I’m in trouble.’ Syd thought to herself.

“Now Alicia, you know you had it coming. I told you I always get my revenge…and I did.” She tried to be stern as she spoke with a grin.

“You feel better honey?” Ally purred as she slowly maneuvered Syd to her back.

“Yeah, I guess I do, thanks for asking.”

“Oh I’m not asking…I’m telling…you feel better” She climbed on top of Sydney and straddled her midsection. Her wetness was spreading over Syd’s stomach and the woman underneath couldn’t control her erratic breathing once she felt it.

“Oh yeah, you feel much better baby.” Ally said as she ground herself faster into Syd’s strong abdomen. “Oh yeah…much better. Uungh” Syd couldn’t help but grab the sides of Ally’s hips and move her own body into her lover.

“Oh no, you wanted your fun, now I want mine. You can just sit there and watch.” Ally sternly looked down at Syd’s face that changed from confusion to passionate desire as she watched Ally move her fingers over her clit and began moving her fingers in a strong circular motion.

Syd licked her lips as she watched her lover writhe above her in ecstasy. She could tell that Ally was close and wanted so much to take her. Her senses were on overload giving her the strength to flip Ally over onto her back and thrust two fingers deep inside of her. Ally’s protests turned into moans of pleasure. Syd continued to thrust into her lover as she moved southward to taste the sweet nectar waiting for her. She glided her tongue over Ally’s clit creating another wave of building excitement from Ally.

“Oh baby, God… you feel so incredible. I’m so close…ungh” Ally panted out.

“Mmm….. Let it go baby…that’s it…” Syd managed to get out while trying to keep rhythm with Ally.

She felt the younger woman’s fingers grasping at her hair and knew she was almost there. Syd sucked at the swollen nub and gently nipped at its tip sending Ally over the edge of reality and directly to the clouds. Syd stayed where she was and absorbed all of Ally’s body spasms. Ally’s body began to calm as she caressed the head still nestled between her thighs.

“Ah…. Revenge is a beautiful thing. Don’t you agree Sydney?” Ally kidded as her breathing reached its normal pace again.

“Oh yeah…. There’s nothing like it.” Sydney agreed and just smiled up at her lover. She climbed up her partner’s body and cradled Ally in her strong arms.

“Now my sweet Aussie, what is your pleasure? You know I will give you whatever you want.” She said as she nipped Sydney’s neck below her ear.

Sydney shuddered and felt her body move into Ally’s in a subtle sensuous movement.

“I think I know what you need.” She traced a circle around Syd’s nipple. “How’s this? Do you like this?”

“Oh Alicia, you feel so good.”

“You know I will never tire of your voice cooing my name like that. Did I ever tell you how sexy your accent is?”

“I keep telling you I do not have an accent.” She giggled and nipped against Ally’s neck sending shivers down the young woman’s back.

Ally moved her fingers around Syd’s bellybutton and playfully inserted one of her fingertips inside. “You know, if I dipped somewhere else, I know it would be much wetter, what do you think?”

“I think you should test out your theory on that.”

“Don’t mind if I do.” Ally slowly moved her hand through the soft dark curly hair above Sydney’s passion. She lightly traced her lips without quite touching her desire.

“God Alicia, please, don’t tease. I need to feel you inside.”

“I will take you Sydney, don’t worry about that.” With that Ally slowly moved through Syd’s river of desire and reveled in the feel of her lover. She gently brushed against Syd’s clit causing her to jump from the contact.

“Ohhh, we are a bit excited now, aren’t we?”

“Mmmmm, God you are such a quick study.”

“I had a wonderfully patient teacher. You feel like silk under my fingers Syd. I love when you get this excited.”

“Only for you…ungh…please…”

“What do you want Syd?”

Ally’s movements were making speech almost impossible for Sydney. She rubbed Syd’s clit in slow sensuous movements keeping in time with her body’s movements. She played with the outside of her entry and gently dipped one finger into the dark wetness.

“Is this what you want Sydney?”

“Oh yes…God yes…. More…” Syd panted out.

Ally shifted her own body so that she was completely above Syd and staring down at her writhing lover. She plunged another finger inside Syd and was rewarded with a low growl from within her lover. She knew what Sydney needed and what Ally herself wanted more than anything right now.

“I need to taste you Syd. I want to feel you release into my mouth.”

Ally thrust her fingers deep into Syd as she lowered her mouth to feast on her lover. She stroked Syd’s clit fast and with purpose. She lapped and lapped and felt the stiffening of her lover above her.

“Oh God Ally…. I’m…ooohhhhhhhh!!!!!” She panted as her release shrieked through her body.

Ally grabbed the back of Syd’s hips to ride out the greatest feeling she had ever known. She opened her eyes to look at Sydney only to find the precious blues staring right back at her in the throes of passion. Ally knew right then and there that the feelings she had for Sydney were a love deeper than any fairy tale she had ever read. To watch her lover’s desire in her eyes sent chills throughout her body and she knew that Syd loved her, even though the “L” word had never come up.

“Allllyyyy…I…unghhhh!!!”

Ally felt the last of Sydney’s tremors cease as her name was being called out again and again. She slowly withdrew her fingers as a whimper of protest left Sydney’s mouth. Ally moved up her lover’s body to kiss her with a passion and a tenderness that only Syd could evoke from her. The two just cuddled and kissed themselves into a peaceful loving sleep.

Down the hall and in her room, Edna just threw her pillow over her head, again.

*~*~*~*

The sun always came up earlier for Ally than she’d like. This morning was nicer than most though. She knew that in just hours, she would be back in Chicago, and in the house that she grew up in. She couldn’t wait to show Syd her home. She was excited for Tracey to meet the love of her life as well. The only thing that would be missing would be her dad and mom. She knew going back was going to be hard, but she was also hoping that in some way, it would help her with her demons. She was just grateful that she had someone like Sydney that understood all of what she was feeling and still wanted to go through that with her.

Sydney was looking forward to this trip. Her mind was reeling from so many emotions. She was terrified at her feelings for Alicia. In the same breath she was so happy and tingly whenever she and Ally were around each other. The problem was that she was being brought back to a time in her life when she was the most vulnerable, and that scared the living shit out of her.

*~*~*~*

“Come on love, come to the States with me. You will love Montana. Please, just think about it Syd, for me. You know how much I love you. Let me erase of all your painful memories from here. We will be so happy together.” Sharon pleaded.

“My entire life is here babe. I grew up here. My family’s station is here, you know how much that means to me. It’s the only thing I have left of my family, well other than Tim, I don’t know if I can just up and leave it.”

“That’s what I would be doing though hon. School isn’t for me, you know that. I can’t stay here; it’s just not me. The States is my home; I need to go back there. I would really love it if you would come with me. I guess it’s a test of our love if you follow suit. After everything I have done for you, I can’t believe that you wouldn’t come with me.”

“Don’t doubt my love for you babe, you know I love you. I would do anything for you, you know that. This is just a huge step for me. Let me talk with my brother about the sheep station. If he gives me a proposal for it that I can live with, I will take you up on your offer. I promise.”

“Oh love, you don’t know how happy that makes me. I just know you’ll make the right decision.”

‘I hope so.’ Sydney thought as she hugged her lover.

*~*~*~*

“So Timmy, do you really want it? I mean is this something that you know you really want? I mean I know you know how to run it, you basically showed me everything I needed to know. I just want to make sure that this is something that you want for your life, your future.” Syd said to her brother.

“Syd, when you took over the station, I wasn’t really happy about not being a part of it. It’s the last thing mom and dad had together. It was always apart of our family; Dad, Mom, and Bi…” Tim paused at his own words.

“You know you can say his name Tim. It won’t bother me, unless it bothers you to say it. I really hope that it’s not the case though. He was a good kid Tim. Unfortunately he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. If anyone should be silenced from saying his name, it should be me. I know what the courts said, but it doesn’t take away the fact that I was a part of what happened to him. I can now say that I have forgiven myself. But that is only because you forgave me too. So for the hundredth time, thank you for that. I would hate going through life without my older brother. I know that you will be a great foreman to the station too. Please know Tim, that I never thought you had any desire to have it, otherwise you KNOW that I would have shared it with you. It would have been great to run it with you. I just figured since you didn’t say anything, that you were okay with it. I’m so sorry.”

“Aw sis, don’t apologize. I am just happy you thought of me before you sold it to some Joe off the street. Consider it sold, to the best and highest bidder. About Billy, I do forgive you. Sometimes it is still hard to hear his name though. He’ll be around though, I’m sure of it. Mom and dad too. I think I will be surrounded by them everyday that I am there.”

“I think so too Tim.” Syd paused as she rose from her chair to look out to the fields of her backyard. “The only thing that I hate about this deal, is the fact that I am going to be leaving now. I will miss you. We have finally come together you and I. I am so sorry for all the years that we didn’t speak. I just didn’t understand death and why it happened. I didn’t want to get it. You saw what I became; I was a monster that didn’t know what love really was. God, and after Billy and mom died, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to live at all. I am out of that hell now, and I finally know the value of family and loved ones. You are all the family I have left now. Well, besides Sharon that is. I love her with all my heart Tim. She believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. Even after everything that has happened in my life, she is willing to take a chance on me. I just don’t want to disappoint her in any way. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for her.”

“I know, but…”

“But?”

“Yeah but…. But why couldn’t you have fallen for a woman who lived on this side of the planet?” They shared a smile and embraced each other. “I will miss you too sis, I love you ya big softy…God she has you so whipped doesn’t she?”

“Yeah well, love makes you do the strangest of things Timmy. Let’s call dad’s lawyer and legalize all of this eh?”

“You betcha.”

*~*~*~*

“Alright sweetheart I’ll see you when you get home. Don’t work so hard. I love you.”

“I love you too Syd, I should be done with this project hopefully in about four hours or so. I will be home as soon as I am done here, I promise.”

“OK Shar, take care hon.” Syd said as she hung up the phone.

“You too. Bye.” Sharon said as she placed the receiver in the cradle on her desk.

The tall red head sitting across from her smiled wide as she approached Sharon like a hunter searching out prey for its meal.

“We got four hours then. You are mine until that time runs out then.” She said as she straddled Sharon’s lap.

“Oh yeah baby, we got a loooong time. I can do a lot to you in four hours. What’cha got on under that skirt baby?” Sharon said as she grabbed Tina’s naked ass from under her skirt.

“You’d know better than anyone. Oooh yeah, I like that.” Tina cooed into Sharon’s ear.

*~*~*~*

“My poor workaholic, I think I will bring her a little picnic. She will be so surprised to see me. God I can’t wait to see the expression on her face.” Syd excitedly said as she packed up some dinner for her lover. She threw in a bottle of wine for good measure, and made her way out the door.

*~*~*~*

“Oh God…yes…right there…ungh” Tina panted from on top of the desk. Sharon had her head buried in between Tina’s thighs trying hard to keep up with the writhing body above her.

“Yeah baby…. I can feel how close you are…come on baby…. Come for me.” Sharon coaxed as she thrusted her fingers deep inside her. “I love the way you sound, God, I love you Tina…. Ungh…” Sharon said as she felt herself slipping over the edge of the precipice.

The two women found a rhythm between them and began to thrust their bodies for all that they were worth.

“Yes…yes…yes!!!” Tina shouted.

“Yesssss Tina…. Oh God! Yes!

The two were oblivious to Sharon’s door opening with Syd walking in. Her smile soon changed to a fierce angry howl.

“NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!” Syd shouted out as she witnessed the hugest betrayal of her life. Her heart was breaking into a thousand pieces and there was nothing she could do about it.

The two women climaxed just as Syd walked in and couldn’t stop their bodies until it was too late. Sharon tried to move from underneath Tina, but couldn’t coax her body to move.

“Syd…. Syd wait.” Sharon panted.

“What Sharon, is this where you say this isn’t what it looks like? Too fucking bad that won’t work in this case. Who’s your whore? Nice to meet you I am Sydney Thompson, Sharon’s girlfriend.”

Tina saw the six foot, black haired woman approach her and began to get very nervous. She wasn’t sure what she had planned.

“So Sharon, aren’t you going to introduce us? We do have so much in common don’t we?”

“Tina.”

“Ahhh Tina. Well at least I know what name to shout out when I break your fucking head open!”

“Syd, No!!!” Sharon shouted.

“Oh sticking up for your new fling Sharon? Too fucking bad. I gave up everything for you, and this is what I get in return? You Bitch!!! You took me halfway around the world just to spit in my face? Fuck Sharon, you couldn’t have done that in Australia?”

“Oh Syd, you act as if this never happens.” Sharon said very desensitized.

“It doesn’t happen to me.”

“I’m sorry you feel that way, because frankly Syd, it’s happening to you, right now.”

Syd spit at Sharon and grabbed Tina’s head by her hair.

“Give me one reason I shouldn’t beat the shit out of you right now?” Syd threatened.

“It wasn’t my idea, it was Sharon’s.” Tina pleaded.

“Oh you see Sharon; your little puta can’t even take responsibility for her own affairs. How old are ya darlin? Eighteen, nineteen? Robbing the cradle don’t you think Sharon? God you are pathetic.”

“Oh Syd, just look at us. You are the pathetic one. You are so gullible. Someone tells you that they love you, and you leave yourself open for things like this. I saw what you were in school; I knew what you had done. I knew that I could have you if I made you believe that I loved the person you were. All of your baggage was nothing more than an invitation to have my cake and eat it too. I had more than just Tina here, and I always had a beauty like you on my arm wherever we went. Everytime I came home I had someone waiting for me in my bed. What a beautiful relationship.” Sharon smugly said as she nonchalantly slid into her chair and crossed her naked legs.

“So everything was just a lie? So I was just a pretty plaything with a fucked up life, that you took control over? So I was just a hood ornament for you, a Goddamn trophy? You fucking cu….no, I won’t say it.” Syd let go of Tina’s hair and less than gently patted her head. “I will just leave you to your pet. Don’t come home tonight if you know what is good for you. I will be gone by the morning. Don’t come looking for me either, I don’t want to be found by you.” Syd smiled as she warned. She kicked over the bag of food and slammed the door to Sharon’s office as she left.

*~*~*~*

“Sweetheart? Are you packed?” Ally broke Syd of her reverie.

“Hmm? I’m sorry Hon, what did you say?” Syd asked.

“Sydney are you alright? It looked like you were out of it when I walked in.” Ally walked over to Syd and placed a hand on Sydney’s arm. She felt her flinch under her touch and slowly pulled away.

“I’m sorry Alicia, I didn’t mean to…”

“Sydney, I know you are bothered by something, I just hope that one day you will feel that you can trust me enough to talk about it.” Ally said comfortingly as she picked up the rest of her bags and went downstairs.

‘So do I love, so do I.’ Ally thought to herself as she wrapped her arms around herself for comfort.

*~*~*~*

The flight into Chicago was a quiet ride. Ally sat next to a very quiet Sydney on the airplane. They exited into Chicago’s O’Hare Airport and immediately Ally felt exuberated at being home again. Sydney remained quiet, other than basic small talk with Ally, as they waited for their luggage. Ally was really worried about Sydney since she hadn’t said much since they left Edna in Montana.

“Syd, honey, are you sure that everything is alright? You haven’t said more than two words since we boarded the plane.”

“Of course Alicia, I am fine.” She lied as she thought about the last time she was inside an airplane.

Syd was on her way from Sydney to the USA with her love Sharon Harris. This was supposed to be the next step towards her eternal happiness with her partner. Too bad Sharon’s extracurricular love life took precedence over a longtime commitment. Syd shivered at the thought of Sharon and what she sacrificed for her. She swore she wouldn’t let this bother her relationship with Ally, but right now it was all too familiar. Sydney knew that Ally was going to ask her soon about what was bothering her. She just had to build up the strength to share the pain that she had never voiced to another person other than Sharon. Least of all one that she was completely in love with. She knew that she loved Ally, but every fiber in her being was scared to death of sharing that information with her lover. Once she did that, she would be setting herself up for heartbreak. She couldn’t handle that kind of pain ever again.

“There’s Tracey Syd, come on!! ” Ally said excitedly as she saw her longtime friend waving from the arrival drive up.

“Tracey!!!” Ally screamed with joy as she embraced her friend.

“Hey girlfriend!! God I have missed you. Let me look at you.” She said as she outstretched their entwined arms and looked at her jovial friend. “And who do we have here?” She asked, as she looked Sydney up and down in appreciation.

“Tracey Miller meet the love of my life, Sydney Thompson. Sydney this is Tracey.” Ally introduced.

“Hello Tracey, Alicia has spoken so highly of you. It is a pleasure to finally meet you.” Syd said politely as she outstretched her hand. Tracey shook it and marveled in the strength she felt within it.

“Right back atcha. It is a pleasure to meet the woman that has stolen the heart of my best friend. I can see why she finally switched teams.” She wiggled her eyebrows and nudged Ally as she batted away Ally’s poking finger. Syd smiled courteously and shifted uncomfortably.

“Shall we get going? We don’t want to fall into traffic on I90, the tollway is a bitch this time of day if we don’t get moving.” Tracey explained as she started putting their bags into her trunk of her car.

“Oh God, I don’t miss the traffic around here, that’s for sure. Yeah let’s go.” Ally agreed and took Sydney’s hand and both got into the car. Syd took the backseat as Ally took the front.

“So how was the flight?” Tracey inquired.

“It wasn’t too bad actually, thank God, I hate flying. I’m sure Syd’s hands are still sore from the landing.”

“I think the blood has finally returned, don’t worry about it hon.” Syd smiled and patted her lover’s shoulder from the backseat.

Tracey and Ally chuckled at Syd’s agreement of Ally’s dislike of flying. They made small talk until they reached the end of Ally’s street and Ally could feel her nerves set in like a stampede of horses over her body. The sweat beaded on her brow and without words Syd reached her hand over the seat and next to the window to softly caress Ally’s shoulder. She moved to the edge of her seat to reach Ally’s ear to whisper to her.

“You are gonna be great sweetheart, I’m right here for you. If you want to cry, it’s OK, my shoulder will be right here for you.” Syd comforted while Tracey tried not to overhear the sweet reassurances between Ally and her new lover. Ally’s reached up and squeezed Syd’s hand in thanks and was never so grateful to have someone in her life like Sydney, as she was right now. She felt a wave of warmth swept through her as they entered her driveway. She instantly felt her parents with her and hoped they would stay with her until her stay was over.

“Wow Alicia, your home is beautiful. You never mentioned how expansive the landscape was. God it reminds me of home. This is just gorgeous.”

“Thanks sweetheart, yeah, mom loved this house and it took dad almost ten years to realize what he had. He didn’t want to move here, but mom loved the area. It’s very private and quiet. A lot like Eddi’s except we don’t have horses. We have a pool though, I think you’ll enjoy your stay here. Wink wink.” Ally joked as Tracey put the car in park in front of the garage. Syd smiled and stepped out of the car and took a deep breath and was pleased that their travels were over for now.

Syd looked over the two story Victorian house and was in awe of its beauty. They all grabbed the bags from the luggage and after Ally found her key to the house, they entered her childhood home.

“Smells musty, I’m going to open some windows as soon as we get our bags upstairs.” Ally said while walking towards the stairs.

Syd noticed her lover’s slow glances around the quiet home and watched her facial expression change from indifference to a complete sadness as she walked up the steps.

“Hey Sydney, I gotta get back to work. I think she’s gonna need you right about now. Tell her I’ll be back later on tonight, okay?” Tracey said.

“Sure Tracey, I think it’ll take a bit of getting used to for her to be here without her parents. I’ll let her know you’ll be back.” She responded.

“Thanks for being here for her Syd, she’s very lucky.”

“I’m the lucky one, Tracey.” Syd corrected.

“Alright then. I’ll see you later. It was great to meet you. You have a great accent, did you know that?” Tracey smiled.

Syd rolled her eyes and smiled. “I don’t have an accent, you do!! What is it with you women?” Syd and Tracey laughed as Syd walked Tracey to the door.

After she led Tracey out, she walked upstairs and tried to guess which room Ally would have gone to. There were several rooms upstairs to choose from. She sat and listened to see if she could hear where Ally had gone. She listened closely and found Ally in what she assumed was her parents’ bedroom. She was sitting on their bed holding a picture of her parents that she took from the nighttable. She just stared at it while stroking their faces with her finger.

“Hey.” Syd softly spoke.

“Hey.” Ally pushed out before she let the tears loose that she had been holding in since she walked into the house.

“Hey, come here.” Syd put her arms around Ally’s shoulders and pulled her to an embrace. Syd felt Ally’s sobs wrack her body and held onto her and decided that she would stay like this until Ally needed otherwise.

“God I miss them so much Sydney.” Ally sobbed.

“I know honey, I know. Shhh I’m here, I gotcha. Let it all out baby, I’m right here.” Sydney soothed.

“I’m so glad you’re here Sydney, God I love you.” Ally said before she could stop herself. She felt Sydney’s heartrate increase rapidly but said nothing.

“I know you do….” Syd said continuing to console her lover. She knew that Ally heard her gasp at the revelation of Ally’s love for her. It’s not like she didn’t know, it just hit hard hearing it for the first time. She wasn’t sure if she ever wanted to hear anyone say that to her ever again. If love meant the treatment that she got from Sharon, than she wanted no part of it. She found herself in a very bad situation emotionally. She wanted to run away, but she knew that Ally needed her more than ever right now. So for Ally, she endured.

*~*~*~*

An hour or so later Ally had finished giving Sydney the nickel tour of her home. Syd was amazed at the size of the house and why Ally hadn’t mentioned before that her family was wealthy.

“My father was a Psychologist and he had money. I mean I’m only twenty years old, well I will be in a week or so. I never thought of myself as wealthy because I didn’t earn a substantial living. Hopefully my journalism degree will change that, and with the money they left me, I may have a chance at finding out what making a good living is all about.” Ally explained.

“I have no doubt of your writing talent. Um, back up a sec, did you say you would be turning twenty in a week.?” Syd questioned.

“Yeah September twenty-first. I’ll be twenty, almost legal.” She smiled and nudged Sydney.

“Like I was worried. Well fair is fair, I will be twenty-five in April.”

“You know, I never asked you how old you were. I guess it really didn’t matter to me, but now that I know, I should have guessed that we were close in age. You don’t look a day over twenty-four.” Ally said playfully.

“Oh thank you, may I take that as a compliment?” She retorted.

“You can do whatever it is that you like.”

“Oh really? Anything?”

“Should I be afraid now?” Ally said as she backed up a few steps as Sydney prowled closer to her.

“Oh, definitely, be very afraid Alicia.” Sydney purred as she swept Ally into a soaring kiss that knocked Ally’s knees from under her. Syd caught Ally and held her tightly until their kiss tapered off.

“That was incredible. God, did you learn that from somewhere?”

Chuckling, “I’m glad that you liked that. You kiss quite lovely yourself.”

“Oh thank you my dear.” She said bowing to her partner.

They moved upstairs and began to unpack some of their things. The window in Ally’s room had been opened and Sydney took the opportunity to look out into their backyard. She took in a breath of fall air coming in from the screen and exhaled softly.

“You know, one of these days, I think I will take you home to Sydney. I think you’d love it there. It’s very quiet, much like the ranch, but my God, it is gorgeous.” Syd turned to look at Ally’s loving gaze.

“You miss home don’t you?” Ally asked softly.

“Mmhmm, very much. I haven’t been home in what….six years? You would love my brother Tim, he is such a clown. I thought that he would decline my offer of the sheep station when I was deciding to leave Australia, but he didn’t. He was excited to have a part of my family in his life.” Sydney paused but Ally just waited and listened. Sydney rarely spoke of her past and she wasn’t going to butt in now.

“He says that things are going well and I would be happy with the way he was running things. I’m sure I would be. He taught me everything I needed to know, well everything that my dad didn’t.” She smiled. “Anyway, when Shar….when I decided to leave home I never thought I would miss it so much. So I can understand why you miss home so much.” She still had a hard time even speaking Sharon’s name. Ally didn’t miss the slip and she hoped there would be more of them on their vacation together. Hopefully this trip would open up Sydney to Ally and she would finally understand the pain in the older woman’s heart. “It’s the part of you that is the most you. Does that make any sense? I mean just being here for little over an hour, I see so much of you in this house.”

“Really? You can see that just from being here?”

“Oh yeah. The warmth of the decor of your bedroom is so you. The openness and brightness of your reading room is unmistakably you. There are just so many little things I see in this house that are you.”

“Wow, you are really incredible Sydney. I truly mean that.” She said almost telling her how much she loved her again. She decided that a hug would suffice for now. She walked up to Sydney and wrapped her arms around the taller woman’s body.

“Mmm I like it here. I like you here too.” Syd said as she ran her fingers through Ally’s silky golden hair. She ran her hand up and down Ally’s back unconsciously and Ally let out a moan of content bringing a smile to Syd’s lips.

“It’s still pretty warm and musty in here don’t you think?” Syd nodded and released Ally’s hold.

Ally walked through the living room, dining room, family room, kitchen, study, and sunroom opening every window imaginable, letting in as much air into the stuffy old house as possible.

Ally found Syd sitting on the leather sofa in the family room in deep thought. She didn’t want to pry but she really wanted Sydney to open up to her. ‘Soon, I hope.’ Ally thought to herself.

“So Syd, when did Tracey say that she would be back?”

“Ahh, she said that she had to go back to work and that she’d be back later on tonight. She wasn’t really specific with the time.”

“Hmm, I wonder if she wants to do dinner with us this evening.” She checked her watch and realized that she was still on Montana time. She moved her watch forward and then saw that it was close to mealtime “technically”. “Did you remember to change your watch? I almost forgot.” Ally said nonchalantly as she fixed her watchstrap.

“Yes I did already. I did it on the plane, I didn’t want to get screwed up later on.” Syd replied. “So Ally? When do we get to try out that pool of yours?”

“You get a sudden urge to go swimming or something?”

“Maybe……..” She said with a bit of a grin on her face.

“I’ll have to see if the pool was set up for the summer. I don’t know if it was even filled this year. So much was going on when I came home, I didn’t even notice. Let’s go out back and check, you’ll love it out there. Dad had the best garden, he had the most beautiful roses, I wonder if he planted any before…..” She trailed off as Syd softly caressed her cheek.

“Let’s go see.” She said as she kissed the top of Ally’s head. She took Ally’s arm and walked out into the patio and then out to the pool area.

There they were as beautiful as Ally remembered. There were rows and rows of roses in the garden adjacent to their fence. Syd just marveled at Ally’s face when she saw them. She took a look for herself and was amazed at their beauty.

“My God they are gorgeous. You were so right. Your father definitely had a green thumb. I don’t think I have ever seen roses like that before.” Syd said in awe.

“I don’t think you’ll ever see any like this anywhere. He truly made it an art.” Ally explained proudly.

There was still a cover on the pool and Ally walked into the pool shed and opened the door to flip a switch. With a click the electronic pool cover slid open and revealed a full swimming pool. Ally looked up at Sydney and smiled.

“I bet I know who is responsible for this.”

“Edna?”

“None other. I bet she called ahead and had the service come and take care of this. She is too much. We have to remember to call her tonight and thank her.”

“Absolutely, she is such a wonderful woman Ally. You are very lucky to have her as a part of your family.”

“She’s your family too Syd. I know Eddi thinks of you as family. She has said so many times. I think you are the daughter she never had. I always hoped that I was that girl, but I really think that she feels that way about you. She loves you, you know.”

“Yeah I do, she is one in a million. She took me in after Sharon and I split up…” Syd realized a second too late that she had mentioned her ex’s name to Ally for the first time. Ally tried to control the excitement of Sydney’s disclosure of her name. She played it off coolly not wanting this conversation to end. Syd’s body had panic running rampantly throughout it after she slipped up. “Anyway, she really helped to get my head together. I will be forever grateful to her for that.”

“That’s our Eddi, she will stop at nothing to help people in need. That is just in her make-up and I would never change that about her. God, I miss her already!” Ally laughed at herself.

“With me here? What am I, chopped steak?”

“Liver honey, chopped liver.”

“Ew, I hate liver, I would much rather be steak.”

“I love steak, it’s the most delectable of meats I think. I could eat steak all the time.” Ally said in her most sexy voice.

“Really? I think you do get your share of steak….. don’t you think Alicia?” She purred playing along with their analogy.

“You can never have enough steak, especially when it tastes as good as it does.” Ally said seductively enjoying the playfulness of Sydney.

“You like the flavor…….. you like the juice when you poke your fork into it for your first bite. The anticipation of the dripping morsel onto your taste buds……it’s intoxicating isn’t it?” She rumbled into Ally’s ears sending her into fits of arousal.

“Yes it is……and it’s a good thing that I am not a vegetarian. Don’t you think?” She gulped as she saw the dark desire forming in her lover’s eyes.

“Yes I do……..come here Alicia……..I need to kiss you…..” Syd commanded in soft humming tones.

Ally moved within reach of Sydney’s lips and slowly pressed hers against Syd’s. The passion from one kiss was astounding to Ally and she wanted Syd to take her right then and there when she heard someone clearing their throat behind them.

Looking up startled. “Tracey!! My God you scared the hell outta me!!” She screamed at a smiling curly headed blonde.

“Yeah, you looked scared……hey Syd, how are ya?”

“Fine thanks, you?” She said trying to hide the blush she felt creeping up her neck.

“I am well. Damn hungry though, you guys up for pizza?”

“God Tracey is that all you still eat?”

“Hey it’s a fine meal, if I do say so myself. You have eaten plenty of them with me if my memory serves correctly.”

“Haha I know. You know Trace…….you could take us to the bar tonight, if you wanted.” She wiggled her eyebrows at Tracey who in turn raised hers high into her forehead.

“THE BAR?? You want to go there? God I never thought I would see the day!! Man Syd, I don’t know what you have done to her, but I like the results.”

“Hey! I went to plenty of bars at school. I just never wanted to go to a gay bar before. Now I think I would love to enter a club on the arm of this beauty.” Ally winked at Syd whose body immediately reacted to the comment.

“Umm, could you two excuse me…?” She said as she practically ran up to the house.

“What was that about?” Tracey asked.

Ally just shrugged her shoulders, “I have no idea. Excuse me Trace, would you? I really want to know what is bugging her. She has been so strange since we left Montana. I’ll be back in a few. Sorry hon. ” She said as she squeezed her friends forearm and ran up to the house in search of her love.

*~*~*~*

Sydney ran into the house and quickly found the powder room to heave her guts out. Her body was shaking from the stabbing pain in her gut. ‘She’s not Sharon, Sydney, she’s not Sharon. She wouldn’t treat me like a prop. She’s not like that!!’ Her head was saying in a mantra. Her body continued to tremble as another wave of nausea hit her hard. This was going to be a long night indeed.

Ally ran into the house shouting Syd’s name and got no response. Only after seeing Syd’s pale face exit from the powder room did she calm her bellowing.

“Syd, honey, are you ill? You look so pale.” She ran up to Syd and rested the back of her hand to her cheek. “You are warm, come on and sit down in here.” Ally said as she walked Syd back to the couch. “Relax a bit. I’ll get you some water.” She caressed Syd’s ashen face and went into the kitchen to retrieve a glass of water.

Tracey came back into the house and saw Sydney on the sofa in the family room. Her head was resting on the armrest of the sofa and she looked as if she was crying. Tracey heard Ally in the kitchen and decided to find her first.

“Hey Ally, is Syd okay? She looks like she’s crying over there.” She said sympathetically.

“I don’t know Trace. Do you mind if we take a raincheck tonight? I think she has airsickness or flu or something. She just came out of the powder room and she looked like she had just gotten sick.” She explained.

“Sure babe. Tomorrow is Friday anyway, maybe we could go to the bar then, I mean if you guys are up to it.”

“OK Trace, thanks hon. I have lots of packing to do here, and hopefully I will get lots done during the day so we can play after dark!!” She said as she smiled at her friend.

“I have missed you girl.” Tracey said as she hugged her buddy.

“Me too Trace, have a good night.”

“You too hon.”

“I have a feeling though, it’s gonna be a long night.”

“Well hopefully not too long. You look like you could use some sleep. Those eyes of yours need some shuteye.”

“Yeah I know. I haven’t been sleeping all that well as of late. I was hoping that coming home would cure me of my night demons. I have bad dreams all the time. Syd usually cuddles me close and then I usually calm down. We call it “The Exorcism”.” She laughed as she enunciated the words while using her hands to mime quotation marks.

“God you guys are sickening. I’m glad you are happy though Ally. She is gorgeous! And my God how do you not feint with that accent calling out your name?? Don’t tell me she doesn’t. I know my talks with you taught you something!!!”

“Christ Tracey!!” Laughing, “Although it took awhile not to blush whenever I heard my name called that’s for sure, but I will never tire of it. Not from that mouth or with that voice. God she could melt butter with that voice.” She said proudly. “Speaking of meltdowns, I think I need to get back to her. See you tomorrow?”

“You bet babe, nite.” Tracey said as she kissed Ally’s cheek and left to go home. Before she left, she waved good-bye to Syd and bid her a goodnight as well.

*~*~*~*

Ally returned to Sydney’s side with her water. She gave her the glass and watched her pale partner slowly drink the contents. She sighed softly and then looked into Ally’s eyes.

“I’m sorry honey. I guess I am just not feeling that well. I don’t like to fly, and maybe it finally got to me.” She lied with a sincere smile.

“That’s alright sweetie, just lay here.” She shifted so Sydney could lay on the couch with her head resting on Ally’s thigh. She stroked Syd’s long dark hair and started to knead the knots from her neck and shoulders. She could instantly feel the stress from within Sydney.

“God Syd, you are so stiff and balled up with tension. Are you sure that you are okay?” Ally asked hoping that Syd would finally open up to her.

“Yeah baby, I’m feeling better just being here with you. Sorry your first night home turned into a bust.” Syd said sleepily.

“Spending time with my best girl is never a bust in my eyes.” She said outloud. ‘I love you, you big goof.’ She wished she could say out loud. “There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for you Sydney. I hope you know that.”

“Mmhhmmm” Sydney said as she fell off into a restless rest.

Ally continued to rub Syd’s head as she felt her body completely relax and her breathing deepened. She just sat there and held her love trying to soothe whatever demons may have invaded Syd’s soul. She shifted a little and felt Syd’s grip on her legs tighten.

“Shhh, don’t worry love, I’m not going anywhere. I love you Sydney. You don’t know how hard it is for me not to tell you that.” She began whispering to her slumbering companion while rubbing her head. “You have helped me so much in the last few months. You have helped me to deal with the biggest loss in my life. When my parents were killed, I never wanted to know love again. I didn’t want to hurt like that ever again, and loving you sets me up for that. I don’t care though, you brought out the person in me that I was afraid to know was there. I was afraid of knowing the person inside of me because I knew I was different. You showed me that loving a woman is no different than the love my father showed my mother. I know who I am for the first time in my life. I’m not afraid of the future because I know that I’ll have you at my side. It just makes me sad that you don’t tell me what is bothering you so much. I know it’s about that woman you used to be with, you just need to tell me. You know whatever you say to me won’t change the way I feel about you, nothing will. I just know that whatever it is that she did to you, will make me feel that much more sorry for her. She lost her chance with you, and you’re mine now. It’s bad enough I can’t even compliment you without you thinking that’s all I love about you. God you aren’t a trophy or a possession. Sydney you are a gorgeous woman, that is just the facts. Your physical beauty, though, doesn’t even compare to the woman you are to me.” Ally sighed and wiped a stray tear from her cheek. “I love you baby, I love you with all of my heart.” Ally finished as she leaned her head back into the couch.

Sydney lay her in lap with one teary eye opened not knowing what to say to Ally. ‘Do I let her know that I heard most of what she said? Or do I lay here and pretend to be asleep? God she is the most wonderful person I have ever known. She has a heart that parallels no other. I do love you Alicia, I just wish I knew how to say it again. Those words have hurt so many. I want them to be more than just words, especially with the love I feel for you. I really hoped that I would have forgotten about Sharon, because I never wanted to talk about her again. I hope that you never meet her, I would hate it if she tried to hurt you. She hurt me really badly, and I never want you two in the same room together. Even if she is only here in conversation. I promise I will tell you everything, I just need the courage, help me find that courage Alicia. Only you can help me to find that strength. I just hope it’s not too late by the time it arrives. I couldn’t bear the thought of losing you. Ever.’ Sydney mused to herself as she nonchalantly shifted in her “sleep” to wipe her tear stained face.

*~*~*~*

Ally awoke to find Sydney gone from her lap and the couch. She got up and stretched to go find her lover. She walked into the kitchen and the room was dark. She managed to turn on the lights in the hallway and walked up the stairs. She found her bathroom door closed and heard the shower turn off. A smile came to her face as she approached the door. She tapped lightly on the door.

“If you are a 5’4″ blonde haired beauty you may enter. If not please go away, my girlfriend will be up soon.” Sydney said as she grabbed a towel and began to dry herself off.

The door opened up and the chill air ran up her semi-wet naked form. Syd grabbed Ally and quickly ushered her inside to close the door. She embraced Ally in a full bear hug and relaxed when she felt the smaller woman’s hands on her.

“When did you wake up honey?”

“A couple of hours ago. Did you have a good rest?”

“Mm, yeah I did. I didn’t even know I was tired. Must have been the traveling. I’m going to be up all night now.” She pouted.

“Ooh, I hope so. I would hate to think that I would be up all by myself in this big house. I may get scared.” She joked around. “Besides, I have a surprise for you.”

“A surprise? For me? Why? What did I do?”

“You are just you, baby, that’s why.” She smiled and looked at their hugging reflection in the mirror.

“Well where is it?”

“It’s downstairs, you want to see it?”

“Sure in a sec. First I want to know if you are feeling better. Your coloring is so much better.”

“I feel one hundred percent better sweetheart, and it is because of you and your TLC. Thanks for taking care of me.”

“Aww sweetie, it was no big deal. I like taking care of you. I hope to do it for a long time.” She sweetly smiled.

“Me too. I’m hungry, let’s go downstairs.”

“Ohhh, the surprise is food related?”

“How else would I thank you appropriately? Food is like gold to you babe.”

“Got that right. Lead the way!!” She said excitedly.

Syd grabbed a T-shirt and shorts from their room and lead Ally downstairs. She led Ally through the sunroom and out towards the pool.

“Oh Sydney…..” Ally gasped at the sight in front of her.

The perimeter of the pool was illuminated by candlelight. Syd had set up a table with several entrees of Ally’s favorite delicacy, Chinese food.

“Sydney, how did……..this is beautiful. How did you do this without me knowing?”

“I found the keys to one of the cars in the garage, found a phonebook, and I am not above asking for directions.” She smiled triumphantly.

“You are incredible! Thank you so much, God you are so thoughtful.” Ally said as she captured Sydney’s lips in a deep sensual kiss.

“Mmm, you are so welcome. I know that you wanted to spend your first night with Tracey, so I wanted to make up for it somehow.” She guiltily said.

“Oh Sydney, you don’t have to make up for being sick, it just happened. Don’t think that you had to make up for that.”

“Ally….I……..I…..” Sydney softly began.

“What Sydney?” Ally asked.

“Nothing, I just wanted to tell you that I am really happy you brought me here.” She said as she released a breath she didn’t know she was holding.

“Me too sweetie, I am so glad that you are here with me. Are you hungry?” Ally excitedly asked.

“Sure, let’s hit it. Now remember, no swimming for at least an hour after eating.”

“Oh Sydney, I think they have pushed it down to a half hour now.” She answered mischievously. She sat down and started spooning little portions of everything that Sydney ordered for them. “Ooh can you pass me an egg roll?”

Laughing, “You know it still is such entertainment for me to watch you eat. Between you and your aunt, I think I have found the two most adoring eaters on the planet. It is really something to watch.” She said as she put a forkful of Cashew Chicken in her mouth. “Mmm this is good.” She mumbled.

“Mmhhmm it is. Oh you got to try the Shrimp and Pea Pods, God, I have missed this place. They just don’t have this in Montana. So um, did you venture around town?”

“Yeah I did a little, I didn’t want to go too far without a chaperone.” Syd jokingly replied.

“Did you like Market Square? Isn’t like a little town of make believe?” Ally inquired.

“Yeah, it was like…..what was that guy’s name who had a children’s show on television here in the States, a Mr. Robinson, or someone?”

Laughing, “Ha, I think you mean Mr. Roger’s. Yeah, he had a show for kids, Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. It was one of my favorite shows as a kid. But I see your point, it is a little like that. You should see it around Christmas, they really do a wonderful job with lights all over every single tree in the square.”

“Even the huge one near the fountain?”

“Especially that one. It’s really something to see.”

“You know what?” Sydney asked as she was staring at her lover.

“Hmm?” Ally replied in between bites.

“You looked about twelve years old just then. I don’t think I have seen that look in your eyes before you spoke of Christmas. You are so adorable Alicia.”

“You are just biased.”

“No I just call them as I see them.’ She said as she winked at Ally.

*~*~*~*

“Oh Sydney that was just wonderful, God it feels good to have food in my belly. I didn’t want to eat too much, because I really want to get in the water. I don’t remember September being this warm.”

“It seems a little out of season, but I agree it is quite warm out, it’s so beautiful though. The sky is clear and you can see lots of stars, but you are right, you don’t quite see as many as you do by Edna’s.” She said as she poured more wine for herself.

“I am glad that you are feeling better. What do you suppose hit you? Air sickness?”

“Well, whatever it was, I’m glad it decided to leave as quickly as it arrived.”

“Me too.” She smiled as she gestured to Sydney to fill her glass as well. “You know, you could get arrested for aiding to the delinquency of a minor.”

“Yeah well I think they could arrest me for more than a drinking violation. Certain acts of love are illegal here in the States, no?”

Thinking about what Syd said brought a flush of acknowledgment to what acts she was talking about.

“You are so beautiful when you blush Alicia. I am a lucky woman.”

“No Sydney, I am the lucky one.” She leaned over and kissed her partner.

“Mm, do you want to try the pool yet?” Sydney asked hopefully. “There is a little more to the surprise for this evening.”

“Oohh there’s more? What could you possibly have done in two hours?”

Sydney smiled innocently.

“Should I be afraid?”

“Yes, be very afraid. You left me on my own for a couple hours, be very afraid Alicia.” She purred in Ally’s ear. Ally audibly gulped as she felt Sydney pull her to her feet.

“I don’t think you’ll be needing these.” Sydney seductively said as she began to remove Ally’s shorts. Sydney pushed the unwanted clothing to Ally’s feet followed by her underwear. The warm air felt wonderful on Ally’s aroused skin. Syd slowly unbuttoned Ally’s shirt as she kept eye contact with the smaller woman. She gently brought the garment over Ally’s shoulders and down her arms, revealing well tanned, delectable skin that she needed to taste. After her shirt fell to the ground with the other items of clothing, she removed the final piece of apparel unleashing Alicia’s beautiful breasts.

Sydney just stared at her lover as she gently cupped Ally’s breasts and began to brush her thumbs across Ally’s already erect nipples.

“You are such a sensual person Sydney, I just love it. I never knew that making love could be this incredible. You never leave me wanting for more. You satisfy every need I thought I would ever have. Sometimes you satisfy wants that I didn’t even know I had.”

“Good I am glad. I hope that you like what I have planned for you for tonight then.” She said as she captured Ally’s wanting mouth with her own. She let her tongue linger inside Ally’s mouth as they exchanged gentle touches and caresses. Ally tugged on Syd’s shorts and pulled away breathlessly from the kiss.

“These have to go as well my sweet.”

“Oh that’s not a problem, I want to feel your body against mine. I love the way our bodies feel when they are together. It’s like we were made to fit perfectly with each other. We must have been considering the differences of our heights.”

“Mmmm I love your body and the way it feels. I bet it will feel even better in there.” She said as she gestured to the water.

“Come on, let’s get wet.”

“Too late for that my little country mouse. I have already reached that point. I don’t think I will ever have to worry about that being a problem as long as you are in my life.” Sydney chuckled at Ally’s admission.

The two women slowly entered the candle lit pool by walking down the stairs in the shallow end. Ally held onto the metal railing as she stepped down letting the temperature of the water wash over her skin. Sydney dove under the water and came up like a goddess as the water cascaded down her tanned muscled form. Ally just watched Sydney like a child in awe of a phenomenon. The desire she felt right now challenged any emotion she had ever had, and won.

Ally dove in towards her lover and surfaced in front of her. The taller woman wrapped her arms around the smaller form in front of her. Their bodies were warm and wet and glistened in the candlelight.

“You know, the only other time I have been naked in this pool was with Tracey. We got drunk and went skinny dipping a couple summers ago. I thought that was fun. It doesn’t even hold a candle to this….sorry, no pun intended.”

“You and Tracey huh? Should I be jealous?”

“Oh God no, Tracey is my best friend. I think that sex is the only thing we haven’t shared. Did I tell you that she was the one that told me I was gay? I thought she was just wishfully thinking aloud. She just knew me better than I knew myself. Still does sometimes. Other than you and Edna, I have never trusted someone, as I trust her. She is the best friend ever.”

“She seems like she really cares about you. I think I will like getting to know her.” Syd said as she leaned over and gently nibbled on Ally’s neck. She felt Ally’s body shudder and she moved her lips over to Ally’s throat and began to gently kiss and suckle at it.

“Mm, no more talk about Tracey.” Ally panted out as she claimed Syd’s mouth again. Ally thrusted her tongue deep inside Syd’s mouth. She felt feverish with the passion running through her body. Syd reached down and started massaging Ally’s bottom and was rewarded with a hungry growl from Ally.

“Oh yes Syd, God you are so incredible. I want you so badly right now.” She gasped.

“I know baby, me too. Come on, here’s where the surprise comes into play, and I do mean play. Do you trust me?”

“You know I do. What did you have in mind?” Ally asked while half of her was nervous, her other half was on fire.

Syd took Ally’s hand and led them back to the stairs leading out of the pool. She sat Ally down on the last step leaving her upper body exposed to her. She bent down to her knees and knelt between Ally’s legs. Ally reached out and pulled Sydney into a lustful kiss. Their tongues battled for control inside their mouths while their bodies began to move against each other in a rhythm of desire. Syd leaned over and reached for the towel she had resting poolside. She opened the towel to reveal a pair of handcuffs. They separated from their kiss and Syd raised her eyebrow in question.

“You game?” Syd asked as she dangled the cuffs from her finger.

“Where did you want to cuff me to, the water?” Ally chuckled.

“No, I thought this would serve us well.” She clanged the cuffs against the railing next to the stairs.

“Oh, um, I sense a well thought out plan. Remind me to leave you alone more often.” She smiled seductively at her lover.

Ally leaned back and reached up so her hands were on either side of the railing. Sydney reached over and locked the cuffs to each of Ally’s wrists around the railing. She ladled some water in her hands and poured it slowly over Ally’s breasts watching the droplets of water return to their origin. Ally’s nipples were fully erect and Sydney found her mouth eager to taste them. She leaned into Ally’s body and captured a nipple with her teeth and gently stroked it with her tongue eliciting a pleasurable moan from Ally. She looked up and found Ally’s eyes closed and her mouth was open wide enough for her tongue to moisten her lips. Syd climbed a little further up Ally’s body and whispered in her ear.

“How far do you want to go?”

“I’d go anywhere with you Sydney.”

“All right. Then I want you to tell me how you feel about this.” She smiled and lifted a candle and poured a little drop of wax on her palm and showed Ally. “You want to play with fire, scarecrow?”

“Do it Sydney, you won’t hurt me.” Ally said confidently as she watched Syd raise the candle over her chest and painfully waited in anticipation as the wax slowly ran from the candle onto her chest. “Oooh…….” She hissed.

“Did that hurt you?” Syd asked sincerely.

“No it feels really umm………I don’t know how to describe it, but it definitely didn’t hurt.”

“The journalist doesn’t know how to describe something?” She kidded.

“You win this time Sydney, take it while you can.”

“How about I take you instead?” She purred as she let another few drops fall onto Ally’s chest. A drop of wax rolled to her nipple before it hardened making Ally pull on her restrained arms. Her body was reacting to the stimulus with a ferocity she didn’t expect. She was fully enjoying Sydney’s little surprise. Another flow of the wax fell onto her and it landed directly on her nipple making her cry out. Sydney dripped some water from the pool on the same spot and the combination of hot and cold made Ally shudder with desire.

Sydney drew patterns on her lover’s chest and abdomen with the wax until she wanted to do much more than watch her lover squirm, she wanted to take Ally over the edge of reality. She wanted the screams, she needed to hear her name called into the heavens. She ladled more water over Ally’s body and rubbed her chest until all the wax fell off her body. The exotic massage had Ally writhing with need. Sydney brought her hands lower to feel Ally’s excitement. Not even the pool could wash away her lover’s wetness.

Syd played in Ally’s folds of skin and slowly entered her with one teasing finger.

“Oh sweet Jesus!!!!” Ally screamed out.

Syd began to thrust slowly into her lover as her thumb stimulated Ally’s clitoris. She added a finger to the assault and felt Ally’s body grind into her. Her arms were pulling hard on the railing wanting to be free to pull Sydney into her. The excitement of the restraints was almost unbearable…almost.

Syd slid down and raised Ally’s legs over her shoulders. She leaned back pulling on Ally, making the rest of Ally’s body buoyant. She kissed her inner thighs and looked into Ally’s eyes knowing that it wouldn’t take much to bring her to release. Sydney had never seen a more beautiful sight in her life. She leaned forward and licked Ally’s sex from the base of her anus to the tip of her clitoris. Ally’s body started squirming from the welcomed invasion. Her breath was coming in short pants and Syd heard her name coming from deep within Ally’s throat. Her tongue rapidly moved against Ally’s clit bringing her closer and closer to release. She drove her fingers deeper inside of Ally as she moved her tongue faster.

“Oh my God….Sydney…….fuck……….I’m……….ooooooooohhh!!!” Ally shouted out as her release flooded through her body. She hung on to the railing as Sydney continued her assault on her body. Her body shook with every touch from Sydney’s mouth and fingers. When Sydney knew her lover had had enough, she slowly lowered Ally’s legs back into the water and pressed her body against her. Ally wrapped her head against Sydney’s head and shoulder in an embrace.

“Please….Sydney, can you take these off now? I need to hold you.” Ally pleaded.

“Yes sweetheart, of course.” She reached up to the towel and found the key releasing Ally’s spent arms. Ally brought her arms around Sydney’s strong form and held her as tightly as she could.

“My God Sydney, that was amazing.” She whispered out. “The combination of everything was so exhilarating. You are really an incredible lover.” She said softly as her emotions came over her and she began to cry.

“Shh, it’s OK sweetie, I’ve gotcha. Shhh. It was really wonderful for me too baby. To feel you lose all control like that, watching your expressions change, feeling your body finally giving in to me. Oh My God…..there is no other feeling like it. You are quite an astonishing lover yourself.” She said as she gently kissed her lover’s forehead.

“I thank God everyday for bringing you to me. You are the most important thing in my life. I don’t know what I would do if anything happened to you.”

“Let’s not think about that. Hopefully we won’t ever have to find that out.” She squeezed Ally closer to her. “Let’s think about something much happier, like your birthday.”

“What about my birthday?”

“Is there anything special you want or want to do?”

“I haven’t really thought about it. I’m sure you’ll think of something though. You, I have found out, are very resourceful.” Ally smiled into Syd’s strong embrace.

‘Yes I am, and believe me, between Tracey and I, you are going to have the best birthday ever, you just wait.’ Syd thought as she felt Ally’s smile against her.

*~*~*~*

The first night sleeping in Ally’s house was a quiet one for the two women, especially Sydney. Even though they fell off to sleep in the wee hours of the morning, she still woke up with the birds. She wasn’t quite sure what to do with herself, since this was the first morning in about three years that she didn’t have to tend to the horses in Edna’s stables. Edna always would ask her to take a vacation, but Sydney would always politely decline.

Syd decided to get up from under the warm assault of Ally’s body. She managed to sneak out of the bed without waking her. There wasn’t an easy way to awaken Ally, so she knew she could escape without disturbing her. She walked downstairs and started to clean up their mess they had made the previous night. The sight in front of her made her smile. Her little surprise paid off in spades. They had both had a wonderful time, but Sydney still felt a little guilty for not telling Ally about Sharon and her past with her. Syd knew she would probably feel better, but she couldn’t stand the thought of what Ally would think of her after she knew what was done to her. She didn’t want pity, she just wished all of the past and all of her thoughts of Sharon, would just go away.

*~*~*~*

Ally opened her eyes and noticed right away that she was alone. At first she was a little unnerved by this, then she figured that Syd probably got up at dawn like she usually does.

“Does she ever sleep?” She sleepily said to herself.

Ally got up and put a pair of shorts on and one of Syd’s large T-shirts on and stumbled into the bathroom. After she finished with her morning necessities, she went downstairs in search of Sydney. She found her poolside sunning herself. Ally took in the breathtaking sight before her. Sydney had donned her black bikini and went out for a morning swim. She did a few laps then lied in the lawnchair to get some sunshine. She felt Ally’s presence before Ally even said anything to her.

“Good morning gorgeous.” Syd greeted.

“How do you do that?” Ally marveled.

“I have many skills.” She smiled and squinted up at her friend.

“Yes, I think you have shown me that.” Ally smiled back. “Did you sleep okay?”

“Mmm, yes I did. Your bed is quite comfortable.”

“Yeah, I had forgotten what it felt like. I think last night was the first night in weeks that I didn’t have a nightmare.”

“I was going to say something about that but I didn’t want to jinx anything.”

“Thanks for noticing.”

“Hey, when you are concerned, I always notice. In a room of thousands, I would know if you were missing.”

“You are sweet.” She said as she put her arms around Sydney from behind her chair.

“Yeah, but don’t let that get around. I got a reputation to uphold.”

“Ooh, right. Sorry.” She kissed Sydney’s cheek.

“Are you hungry sweetheart? I think you worked up quite an appetite from last night.”

“Yeah, but whose fault is that?”

“Oh I’ll take full responsibility for that, with pleasure.” She said as she gave a full smile to Ally.

“God you are so beautiful.”

“So are you little one. So are you.” She said as she caressed the cheek looking down at her. “Let’s get some breakfast.”

“Sure. You up for going into town? I really don’t want to cook.”

“Alright, let me put something on that’s not so revealing, and we can go.”

“Aww and spoil my visual from across a table?”

“Sorry to disappoint, but I don’t think everyone would share your opinion.”

“Oh, I beg to differ. I’m sure there are plenty of people that wouldn’t mind the view.”

“Well, too bad for them that I am already taken.”

“Yes, terrible shame don’t you think?”

“Not for me. Come on, let’s eat.”

“There is a place called The Harbor that I know you will love. They only serve breakfast and lunch, but it is the best food around as far as breakfast. They will make you any kind of egg that you can think of. It’s great stuff. Ooh I can’t wait.” She said clapping and skipping up to the house. Sydney just watched the childlike antics coming from Ally with a huge smile.

*~*~*~*

Ally drove into town like she was visiting for the first time. Her memories of life with her parents seemed so long ago. This was a whole new thing for her. She was just grateful that Sydney was there with her. They pulled into the small shopping plaza and parked near the restaurant. Ally couldn’t believe that she was home again.

“God Sydney, it feels like I have been gone a lifetime. It is so strange to be here.”

“I bet honey. Did you want to go in?”

“In a sec, I just want to look around for a minute.”

Ally just walked through the tiny plaza gazing in every window to see if they had changed as much as she had in the last few months. She came across a tiny clothing shop and smiled to Sydney.

“They have the best cashmere sweaters in this place. Mom got me one for Christmas last year that is just the best.”

“Did you want to browse for awhile before brunch?” She said looking at her watch.

“Nah, I just liked reminiscing. We can go, I am truly hungry.”

“OK Hon, let’s go. I hope there isn’t a long wait.”

“Hopefully not, but unfortunately this place is usually packed around lunchtime. Lots of business people come here from all over just to eat here. It’s really great.”

“Can’t wait, let’s go and get our name in.”

Looking up from her menus the hostess asked, “How many?”

“Just the two of us.” Ally replied.

“Name?”

“McKenna.”

“McKenna?” The hostess asked again.

“Yes Ally McKenna.”

“Wow, you probably don’t remember me, it’s Melissa Milo, we went to the high school together.”

“Oh yeah, Melissa, how are you?”

“I am doing well. I heard about what happened to your parents. I am so sorry. Your father helped a lot of this town’s “Most Stressed”.”

“Thanks. It’s been a rough year but I have had a lot of help from some really wonderful people. My dad loved what he did and really cared about his patients. I know a lot of people will miss him.”

“Yes that’s true. Umm, the wait will only be a few more minutes.”

“That’s all? This placed is jammed.” Ally said as she looked around the restaurant.

“I’ll get you in. I have a little bit of an edge over these people.”

“Thanks Melissa.” Ally gratefully smiled.

“Sure Ally, take care.” Melissa said with a sincere smile.

“You too, good to see you.”

“You too.” She replied as she walked towards oncoming guests.

“She seemed nice.” Syd chimed in.

“Yeah, she was extremely quiet in high school. You could be guaranteed a smile from her though if you said hello. She was one of those people who you knew would be a loyal friend. You know?”

“Yeah, so why didn’t you hang with her?”

“We hung out in different circles I guess you could say. Funny, I don’t really see or talk to any of those people now. My only constant has been Tracey.”

“They say people change their ways in time. Those others weren’t meant to be your friends.”

“I guess not. I didn’t even hear from alot of them when my parents died.”

“That’s terrible. I’m sorry.”

“What for? I am much better off without them.” Ally said confidently.

A voice came from the front counter. “McKenna, party of two.”

“That’s us, come on!” Ally jumped from the waiting seats.

“Right behind you.” Syd chuckled at her obviously hungry partner.

The two women were seated in a large booth in the upper level of the restaurant. Syd just looked around in disbelief at a place being so crowded that only served two meals out of the day.

“It’s really nice in here.”

“Yeah, like I said a lot of people come here from all over. I think some just spend their lunch hour in the car to get here.”

“Wow, it must have a great reputation.” Sydney added.

“Yes it does, and it seems to be growing.”

A waitress arrived at their table, “What can I get you ladies? Anything cold to drink today?”

“I’ll just have water.” Sydney said.

“Will that be bottled, filtered, mineral, carbonated, caffeinated or tap?”

Sydney just stared at Ally with her mouth open and eyes wide. She then returned her stare to the waitress. Ally had to stifle her laugh with her hand.

“Umm, I guess tap is fine.”

“Lemon or no lemon?”

‘Christ I just want a glass of water!!’ She thought to herself. “No lemon…thank you.”

“And you miss?” The waitress turned to Ally.

“I’ll have what she’s having.” Ally said as she stopped herself from laughing out loud.

T

he waitress flipped her pad closed, smiled, and walked to get their innocuous beverages.

“Oh……my God. All I asked for was water. I never really thought about how many different ways people would drink it. Jesus!!” Syd said while still wide eyed.

Laughing with her, “I know, I wasn’t sure if I should stop her to take a breath or not. Nothing is simple anymore, you know? Not EVEN water.” She said looking at her menu, “What are you going to get?”

“God, I have no idea. If ordering water was this much trouble, I am afraid to order anything of substance.”

Giggling, “Don’t be, just get what you want. I’m sure they can make anything that you like.”

“We’ll see.” She said smiling.

The waitress came back with their glasses of tap water, and opened her pad up to take the ladies’ orders. Her eyes widened with the amount of food that Ally ordered. Sydney struggled through the ordering process and hoped to get her food the way she liked. Ally seemed confident that she would.

“Would you excuse me Ally, I am going to visit the ladies room. Where is it, do you know?”

“Umm…yeah… it’s over by the kitchen area…see the arrow?”

“Yeah, thanks hon. See you in a bit.”

“OK.” Ally answered as she grabbed a package of breadsticks and began dipping them into the butter. “Mmm, God I am so hungry.” She said to the empty seat across from her.

*~*~*~*

Sydney walked into the ladies room and did what she needed to do in there. She walked out of the stall and walked towards the sink to wash her hands and face. She rinsed off her face and felt a towel being held out to her. She accepted it and dried her face.

“Thanks…” Her words stopped cold when her eyes met with dark brown ones.

“Hello Sydney. My my my, what a small world it is.” Sharon chuckled.

“What the hell are you doing here?” Syd nearly spat trying to control her emotions.

“Now Sydney is that anyway to treat an old friend?” She crooned.

“You are NOT my friend. Have you been following me? What the hell do you want from me? Answer my question!” She said very impatiently.

“Following you? My aren’t we the arrogant one. Don’t flatter yourself darling, I am here on business.”

“Business?” She said disbelieving.

“Yes darling, daddy’s little company is planning a merger with one of the big boys of the Midwest. He sent me to…”

“To use your only attribute? He wanted you to seduce the big boys into seeing things “your way”? Right? You make me sick.” She tried to push away from the platinum blonde invading her space.

“Oh Sydney, you can’t still be angry with me, can you?”

“Sharon, I don’t feel anything but pity for you. Is there anything else?”

“Yeah, you can tell me the name of that fine little thing sitting with you.”

Sydney couldn’t control her temper any longer. She threw Sharon up against the wall and pinned her forearm under the blonde’s throat. “You even breathe on her, and I will rip you apart with my bare hands. Do you understand me?”

“That’s alright Sydney, I know all about young Alicia. Shame what happened to her parents. I bet she is desperate need of comfort. I’m sure I could…” Sharon was cut off by added pressure of Sydney’s arm at her throat.

“You know what Sharon? You have about two seconds to shut the fuck up before I kill your whoring ass. Leave her alone you psychotic freak or I swear to you….” Sydney hissed at Sharon.

Laughing through her gritted teeth. “Oh Sydney…God I forgot how sexy you are. Especially when you get angry. Does she see that angry side of you Sydney? Does she know what a bad ass you are Sydney? Does she know about Billy? I bet you didn’t tell her about that, did you?” Sharon paused and watched proudly as her words dug into Syd like daggers. “Does she see that aggressive sexual side of you? Does she like it rough like I did… Sydney?” The blonde taunted. Sydney’s breath was coming in short gusts of emotion. Sharon just laughed and smiled. “Hmm?”

“You stay away from her Sharon. She is NOTHING like you!!! You harm one hair on her head, I swear to you; I will make it my purpose in life to make yours a living hell. If you even SPEAK my brother’s name again, I will be your greatest nightmare. I promise you that.” She seductively hissed into Sharon’s ear.

“Ooh baby, I’m getting so hot. Talk to me some more.” She said as she licked her lips.

“God you are disgusting!!” Sydney spat as she let go of her hold on Sharon. She pointed her finger at Sharon in warning. “If you do anything, or say anything to her, I’ll come after you.” She said and walked out of the ladies’ room leaving an amused Sharon behind to straighten her suit. Sharon smiled at her reflection.

“Oh Sydney, you ain’t seen nothing yet.” She smiled with aplomb.

*~*~*~*

Sydney stormed out of the ladies room and stopped to collect herself. She stood behind the wall separating the restrooms from the main room of the restaurant. After taking a few breaths, she made her way back to the table to where Ally was seated.

“Hey sweetie, are you alright? You look a little pale.” Ally observed.

“Ally……I….” Syd started as she sat down.

“Here we are…” The waitress came just as Sydney began to tell Ally what had happened.

“Scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, and an English muffin with strawberry jam.” She said as she put Sydney’s plate down in front of her.

“And for you, we have a three egg four cheese omelet, a side of bacon, a side of sausage, a small stack of blueberry pancakes, hash browns, an English muffin with grape jelly, a glass of milk, and two glasses of orange juice. Honey, I don’t know where you are going to put this, but bon appetìt.” She said as she sauntered off to another table.

“Oooo, look at this, God I am so hungry. Dig in sweetheart.” Ally said excitedly as she began to eat as if she hadn’t in a week.

Sydney watched the younger woman consume huge amounts of food as she sat and stared at her full plate.

“Shydnee, are yooo k?” Ally said with a partially full mouth as she noticed Syd not eating.

“Yeah, um, I think I lost my appetite. I’m not feeling that well all of a sudden. Maybe it’s a little flu left from last night.” She lied.

“Oh honey, I’m sorry. I forgot about that. God, I’m so sorry. We can take this to go so we can get back home.” Ally compromised.

“NO! Please finish your meal. You know how much I love to watch you eat.” She tried to sincerely smile but it just wasn’t coming through, and Ally saw right through it.

“Sydney what is wrong, honey? Please tell me.” Ally almost pleaded.

“I will tell you, but just not here, and just not now. When the time is right Ally, when the time is right.” Syd explained.

“OK, I will hold you to that baby. You can tell me anything. It won’t change the way I feel about you, nothing could.”

“Thanks sweetheart, I don’t know what I would do without you.” She reached across the table to hold Ally’s hand.

Sharon strolled out of the ladies room and glanced up at Sydney. They made eye contact, Sharon winked at her, smiled, then strut out of the restaurant. Sydney swallowed her emotions as she watched Sharon leave and gently caressed Ally’s hand. Ally looked up from her meal and smiled at Sydney. She continued to devour the food in front of her until there was nothing but crumbs left. The waitress came by and in disbelief and took Ally’s empty plates. She tossed away Sydney’s uneaten eggs as per Sydney’s request. ‘Who likes to eat reheated eggs anyway?’ Syd thought to herself.

Ally and Sydney walked up to the counter and Sydney insisted on paying for their meal. With a final huff, Ally agreed to let her pay and they left the restaurant. The two were quiet on the way home and Ally couldn’t help but wonder what had set Sydney off. She was never like this. Ally looked over at her partner and saw the lost look on her face as she stared out the window.

‘What is going on with you baby? God I wish you would just tell me. It can’t be that bad. It can’t be…’ Ally thought to herself as they pulled into her driveway.

*~*~*~*

Ally went into the garage to get the last of the boxes she had to pack up the rest of her things. She had decided with Edna that the best way to handle all of the furniture in the house was to have an estate sale. Whatever she could sell she would, and whatever she couldn’t she would donate or throw away. She had gone through quite a bit before moving to Montana, but there was more than ten years worth of stuff here. Tracey had helped her on more than one occasion get her ready for her big move. Her mother’s jewelry and clothing had been sorted and given away. What people didn’t want she donated to the Salvation Army. She had kept her mother’s wedding ring set for herself. It was always a favorite of hers and she knew her mom would have wanted her to have it. There were a few items of her clothing that had extreme sentimental value to them, so she kept them as well. Her mother had recently gone to Paris and had brought back some wonderful perfume, Boucheron. On days when Ally really missed her, she would spray it into the air just to have her scent nearby.

Ally cleaned out her parent’s room in a few hours while Sydney decided to take care of the living and dining rooms downstairs. Sydney took this time to wonder why Sharon was in town, and how she knew about Ally. She was shaking with feelings she hadn’t felt in a long time. She was angry, nervous, and most of all she was in shock. Seeing Sharon was not on her things to do list for the day, and really was playing with her head.

‘God, what the hell is she doing here anyway? How does she know about Alicia and what happened to her parents? It’s not like she gives a shit about the human race, well only if she gets to sleep with them. Uugghhh, why the hell did she have to show up?’ Sydney was reeling in her mind as Ally walked downstairs to meet her.

“Hey baby, feeling any better?” Ally asked sympathetically.

“Yeah I guess a little.” She lied.

“Are you hungry at all? I could make you something to eat since you didn’t get anything at the restaurant.”

“No sweetheart that is okay, I don’t really feel up to eating. Did you talk to Tracey at all? Does she want to go out this evening?”

“I did get a chance to talk with her briefly after lunch but her new girlfriend wants to spend time with her tonight. So I guess it’s just you and me tonight.”

“Ohh, new girlfriend eh? Is she cute?” Ally wiggled her eyebrows.

“Well according to Trace, she is a “hotty”. I guess they finally had sex, which is weird I think.”

“Sex with your girlfriend is weird? Um, I think you had better talk to mine then, ’cause she kind of likes that.”

Laughing, “Ha ha, no I mean it’s kinda soon for Tracey. She was the type to wait a while before making that kind of commitment. She has only known this woman, um, Char I think her name is, for a couple months.”

“Alicia, I hate to break it to you, but you and I made love within days of knowing each other.”

“I know, but I am not Tracey, nor do I think it is the same. Char is a business associate of Tracey’s. They have only really seen each other like four or five times.”

“Oh, so she’s isn’t from around here?”

“No I think she is on the West Coast somewhere. LA maybe? I don’t remember. Anyway, she just arrived and is actually staying for a week or so this time, so maybe we’ll get to meet her.”

“Great, maybe we can get together or something with them for dinner or what not.”

“I think that is a great idea. I really want to meet the woman who made Tracey’s morals go right down the crapper!!” She said with a large smile.

“Well I’m sure she is something else if she broke down Tracey’s walls so easily.”

“Well, I guess we have to wait to find out.”

“Yep.” Sydney agreed. “Ah, I got most of these rooms in boxes for the sale. Did you want any of this stuff? There is some really nice porcelain statues and things here.”

“No, I pretty much went through and kept all that I wanted to keep, as did Edna. My other family really didn’t come around that much so I don’t think they are getting any of it. I think I would rather sell it or donate the rest. It looks so damn empty in here. It’s like someone else’s house.”

Sydney wrapped her arms around Ally. “I know baby. How are you holding up? Can I do anything for you?” Syd asked sincerely.

“You just being here with me is all I will ever need. Thank you for coming here with me. I’m not sure I would be this together had you not.”

“Where you go, I go, get used to it.” She smiled into the top of Ally’s head.

“That’s easy enough.” Ally tightened her hold on her. ‘I love you baby’ She thought to herself.

ONE WEEK LATER

“So everything is a go for tomorrow night?” Sydney asked Tracey quietly.

“Yes, I have called all of our friends and Edna should arrive early tomorrow morning. I will pick her up from the airport and keep her with me until the evening. Are you sure she has no idea?” Tracey inquired insistently.

“No Tracey, she hasn’t the foggiest. I can’t wait! She needs this so much. I think a night spent with old friends in celebration will be exactly what she needs to give her some kind of closure here. And Tracey?” Syd prompted.

“Yeah?” She responded.

“Thank you for this. You are truly a good friend. I can see why she speaks so highly of you.”

“Right back atcha babe. She is so smitten with you. I have never seen her this happy. So I guess thanks are in order to you.”

“I really care about Alicia. I wouldn’t hurt her for anything in the world. I would rather spit on the Pope than break her heart.”

“That’s a lovely visual, but I get your meaning.”

“All right then. I guess the last thing is to make sure we have enough to drink, the catering place knows the time and place. This is going to be a night that we all will remember, for a long time.”

“I hope so, Sydney.”

“Me too. I’ve got to run. Ciao.” Sydney hung up abruptly.

“Ciao?” Tracey smirked as she hung up the phone. “Ally, you’ve got yourself an incredible woman.” She said as she snuggled up to Char. “And so do I.” Tracey said as she kissed the smiling face looking up at her. “Babe, you are going to love Ally and Sydney. They are so awesome. I can’t wait. Ally is going to be so surprised!”

‘So is Sydney.’ Sharon smirked into Tracey’s body. “I can’t wait to see her expression!! God how I love surprises.” Although it was Sydney’s surprise Sharon was after, not Ally’s.

“Me too Char, me too.”

*~*~*~*

Tracey knew Char from Backburn Inc. a small software company looking to expand their company to the Midwest. Char came into Chicago to make a play for her company. Tracey being one of the research managers decided to meet with her to talk about her father’s ideas of coming to the Midwest. They met a couple of months ago and have seen each other a few times to discuss their companies and what they might offer one another. Talking at a restaurant the two women discussed many things outside of work. They both discovered that they enjoyed the company of women, and made a point to see each other the next time Char came into town. Tracey could not wait. Char was a beautiful woman blonde hair, deep brown eyes and a beautifully shaped mouth. She stood about 5’8″ and had absolutely no body fat. To Tracey she wreaked perfection.

Char came into Chicago to check the status of their merger and, of course, to see Tracey. The two were fast becoming more than friends. The distance was the only thing to come between them. Tracey and Char consummated their relationship after Char’s third visit to Chicago. Tracey was not one for casual sex, but there was nothing casual about Char. She was extraordinarily exciting.

Everything about her was a mystery to Tracey. She seemed very elusive about her past, it was obvious she had been hurt and did not want to reopen old wounds. After Tracey had unsuccessfully asked her about it, she decided to leave well enough alone. Char didn’t come in that often, so she just wanted to enjoy what little time they had together. Tracey was so excited about her enigmatic lover she couldn’t wait for Ally to meet her. Tracey told Ally about Char the day she met her:

“Hello?” Ally answered.

“Hey baby!!”

“Trace!! How are you honey? God I miss you.”

“Me too, I am really good. How are you doing?” Tracey asked tenderly.

“Things are alright Tracey. They get better each day. Sydney has been a great support to me. I can’t wait for you two to meet. You are going to love her!!!”

“Well, I have some news myself.”

“Do you??? Who did you meet and where?” Ally laughed knowing full well it had to be a woman.

“Ally, God, she is such a hotty!! She is like 5’8″, blonde with brown eyes and a body to die for. There is no pinchability on this woman. The girl is tight!!” She said exuberantly.

“Wow Trace, she sounds fabulous. I can’t wait to meet her. Where did you guys hook up?”

“Wanna hear something funny? We met at work. I was just saying how horrid it was working here since there was no eye candy, then in walks Char. God, she took my breath away. Girl she is soooo sexy. She could turn any straight woman, I am sure of it. God Damn!!”

“Damn Trace, sounds like you got a keeper there. Have you gone out yet? Like on a date or anything?”

“Well that’s the problem. We went out once after one of our meetings to a restaurant and we just clicked. We talked about everything. I talked about you and Sydney and how long you and I have known each other. I mean we just talked and talked. I haven’t met a woman that could hold a conversation like that in a long time. I was ready to swear off intelligent women because I didn’t think they existed anymore!” They chuckled to each other. “No, seriously she is really amazing Ally.”

“I am so happy for you. But wait, you mentioned a problem?”

“Oh yeah, um well, she lives in California. She works for a small software company that wants to move to the Midwest. So we are looking to do a small expansion to bring them over here. Blah blah you don’t need to hear that part, that’s the boring stuff. So she came out here to talk to some companies and she found us. The rest is history. So the problem is she lives across the country. I don’t know if I am up for a long distance relationship. I mean, part of me says “Man, go get her!”, then the sensible part of me says “No, it’ll be too hard on you.” I don’t know what to do, but for right now, she is all I can think about.”

“Well see what happens the next time she comes into town and play it from there.”

“I guess you’re right, but man. My luck huh? I finally find a “Woo!” girl and she lives two thousand miles away.”

“I’m sorry Trace. Um, on a happier note, I think I’ll be coming home in a month or so.”

“Really? That is awesome!! I really miss you Ally.”

“Me too hon. I am gonna sell the house, so I need to pack up and get it ready to sell. It’ll probably be at the end of September.”

“Kick ass, I can’t wait to see you. I can’t wait to meet Sydney. She sounds wonderful.”

“She is Trace she is. But ah, I gotta get going so I will call you with information on when I’ll be coming home okay?”

“OK Hon, take care of yourself, I love you.”

“I love you too Trace. I’ll talk with you soon. Bye.”

“Bye.”

*~*~*~*

“Who was that on the phone Hon?” Ally asked a startled Sydney.

“Um, it was Tracey, I thought you were going to take a nap?” Sydney quickly replied.

“No I couldn’t sleep. What did she want?”

“Well she wanted to see what we were doing tomorrow night. I guess she wants to introduce her new girlfriend to us.”

“Ooh cool!! I should call her back.” Ally said excitedly.

“No!” Ally raised her eyebrows at Sydney’s tone of voice. Thinking quickly Sydney said, “Um, well she said they were going out and she would call you in the morning or something.”

Sighing, “Alright I guess I’ll talk to her tomorrow then.” Ally took a look around and saw that the entire downstairs had been cleaned. “My goodness Sydney. Look at all the work you did. This place is immaculate. You can actually hear an echo now. Thank you so much for all of your help. I couldn’t have done all of this without you.”

“You are most welcome sweetheart. I just want everything to go smoothly and as pain-free as possible for you. I know how hard this must be. I remember when we had to pack up my mom’s belongings. It was really hard on my brother and me. She was all that we had left after dad and…..um….well after he died. I can’t imagine what you must be going through. I, at least had Tim.”

“Well Miss Sydney, I have you, and Eddi and I have Tracey. So I think I am doing just fine. Thank you for your concern though.” She said as she circled her arms around Syd’s larger frame and laid her head against her chest.

“You’re welcome baby.” Syd murmured into Ally. They sat like that for several minutes and enjoyed the peace that passed between them.

*~*~*~*

Sydney couldn’t wait for the festivities to begin. She was determined to make this the best birthday Ally ever had. She was fighting a mental battle with herself and decided that she was going to bite the bullet and tell Ally that she loved her tonight. She had purchased Ally’s birthday present when Ally was sleeping in. She found her way into town and went in to the town’s jewelers. Her eyes immediately fixated on a simple gold band with several tiny diamonds embedded in it.

“Ooh, I like that one, may I see it please?” Syd pointed inside the glass case.

“Absolutely, it is quite an eye catcher.” The jeweler opened the case and took out the ring and handed it to Sydney.

Sydney fingered the small band and decided it was simple yet classy, just like Alicia. It was perfect.

“Can I have it engraved today? I need it for tonight.”

“As luck would have it, my engraver is working today which is rare for a Saturday. Let me ask him if he has anything else lined up.” He said as he smiled at his customer. “Just give me a minute, I’ll be right back.” He took the ring in question with him to the back of the store. He went into the storeroom and looked for his employee.

Several moments had passed when the stocky man returned with a smile on his face.

“Well ma’am, you are in luck. He said he would take care of this for you while you waited. Do you have a few minutes?”

Excitedly Sydney shook her head. “Yes I do, thank you so very much. This will mean a great deal to a very special person.” She gave the man a dazzling smile to which he found himself hypnotized by.

Shaking himself out of his reverie, he began filling out the invoice. Sydney gave him Ally’s ring size and what she wanted engraved on it. Within a half-hour she had her gift and was on her way home.

“Now if I can keep this courage I will give it to her tonight. I don’t know what I am worried about. Alicia is nothing like Sharon. I just have to keep reminding myself of that. They are nothing alike, thank God.” She said to herself as she pulled into the driveway.

She parked the car in the garage and went into the house to wake her sleeping woman. She walked up the stairs and into Ally’s room to find a breathtaking view. Ally had rolled onto her stomach while clutching her pillow. Her naked form was only covered from her waist down. Her knee was sticking out of the sheet and slightly hanging over the bed’s edge. Her golden locks were spilled down her back and shoulders with a few stray strands falling into her face. She was absolutely beautiful. Suddenly Syd’s fears all seemed to disappear with one look at Alicia. Seeing this angel before her completely dissolved any reservations she’d had in proclaiming her love.

After taking a moment to memorize every curve of Ally’s lithe form, she decided to kick off her shoes and curl up next to her.

Ally immediately felt Sydney’s presence and rolled her back into Sydney’s front. Sydney’s arm draped around Ally’s waist in reflex, and the rest of her body spooned into Ally’s back. It was a perfect fit.

Sydney just lay there smelling the wonderful scent that was Ally. Her hair smelled like flowers and her body emitted a fragrance that was crisp and clean. Sydney would have stayed like that all morning, but Ally stirred awake and rolled towards Sydney.

“Mm, good morning sweetheart.” Ally sleepily said.

“Good morning sleepy head. Did you sleep well?”

“Mmhmm, I did. I have slept so well since coming home. I hope I don’t get spoiled by this.”

“I think you have just been really tired. We have been doing alot since we got here. You are just tuckered out.”

“Perhaps. Have you been up long?”

“Nah, just an hour or so. I couldn’t resist coming back to snuggle with you. You looked so damn cute.”

Ally just smiled into Sydney’s chest and inhaled deeply. She loved the way this woman smelled. She had this wonderful musk about her that was all her own. It was intoxicating as well as arousing. She could feel Sydney’s fingernails moving up and down her back and she felt the gooseflesh rising. The touches became more urgent as did the need to be one with each other. Ally tilted her head up and captured Syd’s wanting mouth with her own. Their tongues instantly sought out the other’s. They tenderly stroked each other’s tongues and nipped at each other’s lips. Ally caught Sydney’s bottom lip and began to suck on it. She fully pressed her mouth against Sydney’s again and felt a bolt of desire wash over her. Sydney caught Ally’s moan in her mouth and immediately wanted to be naked against this woman. Ally looked into deep stormy blue eyes and knew that breakfast was not going to be an option this morning.

*~*~*~*

“OK Edna, I am gonna take her out for about an hour, I’ll make something up. I know, I’ll make her take me to the beach. She wanted to go there yesterday and I wasn’t in the mood. So I’ll make her take me there while you guys pile into the house. The caterers will be there shortly after we leave. We just need to check on the beverages. I ordered a bunch from Terry’s Liquors and we just need to pick it up. I couldn’t very well bring a bunch of alcohol into the house without explanation. After we surprise her, I will run out and get the drinks. Sound like a plan?”

“Okay, Syd, this is going to be so great. It sounds like you have it planned and ready to go. She is going to be so surprised! Tracey and I will be around the corner. We will watch for your car to leave and we will pull up, so make sure you don’t forget anything, okay?”

“All right Edna, I am so glad that you could make it. You being here will make it all that much more special for her. She loves you so much.”

“I know. I can say the same about you dear.”

Sydney could feel the blush creep up her neck. “Thanks for saying so Edna. I’ll see you all in about two hours. Hey, is Tracey’s girlfriend coming too? I know that Ally is really looking forward to meeting her.”

“Yes, she will be here later. Tracey said she had some things to do before-hand, so she wouldn’t be able to make it in time for the surprise.”

“Ok, at least she is coming. OK let me think here for a sec. I do believe that is everything. I’ll see you soon Edna.”

“Okay, dear, make this work dammit. I didn’t come all this way for nothin!” She kidded.

“No problem, Ally has no idea. I gotta run she’s out of the shower, the water just turned off. Bye.” She whispered and gently hung up the receiver.

Sydney took one last look around and saw that none of the party favors were in sight. She smiled to herself and went upstairs into Ally’s bedroom to change and waited for her love to exit the bathroom.

The door opened and steam billowed from the bathroom. Ally walked into her room to find Sydney dressing and smirking at her with her jeans part way open.

“Well, don’t you look like the cat who just swallowed the canary. What’s up with that smirk?” Ally teased.

“Nothin baby, you just look so sexy, I can’t help myself.” Sydney purred.

“Mmhhmm, whatever you say. You look great Sydney, are we going somewhere?”

“I’m not sure yet, I thought you liked it when I dressed like this.”

“When you wear those black jeans you have the greatest butt in the world. It makes me want to squeeze it!!” Ally grinned devilishly.

“I think we have squeezed enough body parts for one day, don’t you?”

“Says you! I could do it all day long. You must be getting old.”

“Old my ass, I’ll show you old!!” She laughed and threw Ally on the bed and mercilessly began tickling her. Ally tried really hard to pretend that it had no effect on her but she couldn’t fake it for long.

“I GIVE!!!!!!!!!!” Ally panted. “Please…oh Syd….stop…please!!” She managed to get out between giggle fits.

Sydney ceased her attack and gently kissed Ally’s cheek. She helped her up and walked to the closet to look for an outfit for Ally to wear. Ally jumped into the bathroom to dry her hair and apply a small amount of makeup to her face. When she was finished she went back to her room and found Sydney holding up some of Ally’s clothing.

“I would like you to wear this tonight.”

“Sydney, what’s going on? Are you taking me to dinner?”

“Mmmaybe. We haven’t heard from Tracey yet about her meeting up with us, so I figured we should get ready anyway. If she doesn’t call we’ll go out, just the two of us. If she does call, we still go out. Sound good?”

“Sure, I never knew you liked these pants so much. I would have worn them more often.”

“Well speaking of nice butts, your’s looks fabulous in those black slacks. I like the vest with that shirt too.” Sydney pointed as Ally dressed under instruction for the first time since the first grade.

“Shoes Miss Sydney? What shoes?”

“No shoes, wear your black boots. That will finish it off just right.” Syd said as she watched Ally put the finishing touches on her outfit.

“See now? You have brought a little bit of the country home to you. You are beautiful Alicia.” Syd said as she kissed her gently on the lips.

Ally turned around in the mirror to see what Syd saw in her. She had on a black pair of pants, a long sleeved white collarless shirt with her sleeves rolled up, a black vest and black boots. “I look like a bank robber. All I need is a black cowboy hat and a trusty steed and I’ll be on my way!” She joked.

“You look very sexy, trust me. Although seeing you on a horse always has been a favorite of mine. It must be looking at your legs straddling something that really gets me going.”

“You are incorrigible Sydney Thompson!!”

“Always. Now let me get finished here.”

Sydney went to the closet again and pulled out a finely knit, gray, cropped V-Neck sweater and pulled it over her head. It fit snugly against her muscular torso and showed her belly when she raised her arms. She wrapped a black braided belt through her belt loops and looked for the right shoes. She slipped on a pair of black loafers and brushed her hair so it loosely fell across her back. She added a little color to her lips and eyes and she was ready. Ally took a breath and slowly let it out. Syd’s raven hair mixed with her cerulean eyes and dark clothing made her look like nothing Ally had ever seen before. Sydney was stunning.

“I thought we could take a drive down to that beach you wanted to show me. I bet the colors down there are beautiful this time of year.”

“Ooh Sydney, that would be wonderful. It is gorgeous around this time. You really want to? It may get a little chilly.” Ally sincerely questioned.

“Well that’s why I’ll have you on my arm, to keep me warm.” She answered before she gave Ally a full smile, melting the young girl’s heart. “Come on then, let’s get this night underway.”

“After you my dear.” Ally gestured towards the stairs.

The two walked arm in arm down the stairs and grabbed their jackets. They got into the car and pulled slowly out of the driveway. Once they rounded the corner, Tracey and Edna pulled into the driveway and headed up to the house. There was lots to do in the next hour to make this a night to remember.

*~*~*~*

Ally drove down the winding road to get to the beach. The steep incline made two cars passing one another nearly impossible. Ally could tell Sydney was a little unnerved, so she held onto her hand until she felt the taller woman calm.

“It’s OK Hon, I have driven down here a million times. Relax.” Ally soothed.

“It’s just such a curve on such a hill, it’s kinda scary don’t you think?” Syd asked.

“Yeah, at first I would always make Tracey drive because I was always afraid I would hit someone. The more I drove it, the more at ease I became.” Ally explained.

“Well, I for one, am glad that you are driving. I think I would be too preoccupied with the view. This is really pretty Alicia.”

“It should be, they spent over eight million dollars on the restoration of it.”

“Eight….million…..dollars?” Sydney gasped.

“Yeah, see what happens when you get a roomful of bored, retired, millionaires together? They even made the city pay for it. Like they just couldn’t reach into their little mad money jars and pay for it themselves. Some of the people in this town make me crazy.”

“Wow, I can see why. Why did your parents stay here? I would have been dying to get away from here.”

“It was a safe place to bring up children; there isn’t much crime here. My dad’s practice was here, and mom liked to golf at the club, which is only a mile or so away from home. They had a good life, why would they leave?”

“I guess you are right. Did you like this place growing up?”

“It had it’s moments, but all in all, I do like this place alot. It’s very beautiful here, and how many towns are there, where it’s safe to walk just about anywhere, without being bothered by someone? It’s really expensive to live here though. I am very lucky that my parents were able to give me the life that I had.”

“It’s nice that you see that. Some people, when they are born into money don’t feel quite the same way as you do. A lot of people expect to be catered to or just don’t know how to do anything for themselves. You are so not like that. I can’t tell you how happy that makes me.”

“I am glad Sydney. I don’t know if I could ever be like that. My whole high school class seemed to be filled with people like that. Let’s just say that I am very happy I didn’t turn out that way.” Ally paused when she remembered something from her past. “You know what? OK, this is the kind of people that I went to school with, ready?”

“OK, tell me.” Sydney said amusedly and shifted in her seat to watch Ally’s face become more and more animated.

“I had a locker that was next to one of the more popular girls in my grade. I think her name was Jordan DuBois, or something ridiculous like that. Anyway, she would keep an extra outfit in her locker, just in case someone was wearing what she had on that day.” Ally finished and Sydney’s eyes shot wide open in disbelief.

“You have GOT to be kidding me.”

“I wish I was, but that isn’t even the horrible part.”

“Oh God, there is more?” Sydney groaned.

“Yeah, so brace yourself.” Ally giggled.

“OK.” Sydney said while smiling as she gripped onto the dashboard.

“OK, one day I was in the commons area and I was near the phones. I saw Jordan on the phone and she was starting to raise her voice. Well, being the nosy body that I am, I slowly walked over to the phone next to her and pretended to use it. You know, just so I could listen.” Ally paused and Sydney nodded in acknowledgment. “So anyway, she was talking to her mother and she was bitching about the fact that someone had on the same outfit she had on. Well, her mother said to change into her other outfit. Jordan said that she had done that already, and it was her second outfit that this person was wearing. So she asked her mother to bring her a THIRD outfit so she could change.”

“OH MY GOD!!!!! My mother would have laughed at me and hung up the phone.”

“Yeah no shit, so guess what?”

“I am afraid to know anymore.” Sydney replied while chuckling through her hands that now covered her face.

“Well you guessed it, her mother came to school and dropped off another outfit for “Miss Priss” to wear!”

“I cannot believe that!!”

“Yeah well, believe it, because it’s true. And I think she bitched at her mom because it was wrinkled or some shit, and her mom apologized and promised to take her out to the mall after school.”

“Jesus!! That is exactly what I am talking about! You are so lucky that you didn’t turn out that way. I may have had to kill you.”

“Believe me, I would have killed myself.” Ally agreed and slowed the car into the parking space.

Ally and Sydney got out of the car and walked to the brick path just short of the sand leading to the water. They stood next to each other just admiring the view. The sun had begun its descent leaving a beautiful trail of color it’s wake. The water glistened with the light of the upcoming night’s sky. It was truly a sight to behold. Ally had never seen a sky like this one. She felt as if it were smiling upon her. She felt a warm calm wash over her and goosebumps trail up her arms. She took in a sharp breath of air and suddenly tears began to roll down her cheeks. Ally smiled into the sky knowing her parents were the cause of this phenomenon. Sydney looked away from the view and saw Ally weeping and wrapped her arms around her.

“What’s wrong baby?” Sydney asked as she kissed the top of Ally’s head.

Sniffling, “Sydney, I just felt my parents surround me. It was like all of a sudden I couldn’t breathe, and I felt a warmth run through me. Then I took in a quick breath and I could faintly smell them. God, it probably happened in like two seconds, but my God Sydney, I know it was them.” Ally sobbed into Syd’s embrace.

“The people who love you will always be with you Alicia. Death doesn’t even stop that; at least I don’t think so. I believe in souls, I believe in angels, and I do believe that you are watched by loved ones who have died. That doesn’t surprise me that you felt them. You must have fond memories of the beach with your folks.” Syd said as she stroked Ally’s hair with her fingers.

“I do. They used to take me here every weekend in the summers. I would swim, and mom would help me build sandcastles, and then dad would let us bury him occasionally. They were the sweetest people Syd. My mom was the most wonderful woman that I have ever known. I could only dream of being the mother she was.”

“Alicia, you have the biggest heart I have ever seen. There is no doubt in my mind, that if you have children, you would be a wonderful mother. I feel lucky to have met you Alicia. There aren’t many hearts like yours. I feel honored that you chose to share some of it with me.” Syd reassured.

Ally looked up into the deep pools of blue and felt the love pass through them. Sydney had to fight back the tears threatening to blow her cool exterior. She tightened her hold on Ally and felt the woman reciprocate. Ally kept her head resting on Sydney’s chest. Sydney hoped that Ally didn’t hear her racing heartbeat. She was so scared with her feelings towards Ally. She loved this woman with her entire being, and she was going to tell her tonight.

*~*~*~*

Tracy and Edna were racing around the kitchen finding bowls and such for the caterers. The food came on time and so did most of the guests. The family room was filled with people who loved Ally, or maybe some that just liked her a whole lot. There were people she hadn’t seen in a long while; some before her parents died. Tracey could not wait for her friends to arrive. Tracey was a wreck; she wanted everything to go well. She wanted her friend to have the best birthday ever. Edna just sat and watched as Tracey continued her running from room to room making sure everything was perfect.

“If anyone sees headlights, let me know. Everyone is here except for Ally and Sydney. So shush everyone when they arrive.” Everyone looked at the crazed woman and smiled. Tracey continued to run around double and triple checking everything making sure that nothing was left undone before they arrived. The house was ready for Ally. She was going to have the best party ever if Tracey had any say in this matter at all.

*~*~*~*

Sydney continued to hold Ally as the rest of the daylight was engulfed into the lake. She knew tonight was going to be something special, but she couldn’t erase the fact that Sharon was around. She didn’t like the fact that she was here. Business or not, she hoped that she was leaving shortly. ‘How does she know about Alicia? How does she know of her parents’ death? She had just better stay away from her. I don’t think I would be responsible for my actions if she ever tried to hurt her. She is a selfish, money hungry whore that knows nothing of the value of the human heart. Especially a heart like Alicia’s. She just better stay away.’ Sydney’s body stiffened while thinking about Sharon. Alicia looked up at her lover with concerned eyes.

“What is it honey? You seem very uncomfortable. Are you okay?” Ally asked.

“I, ah, I was just thinking baby, I’m sorry. I was thinking of my past and how lucky I am to have you. Sometimes I look back at the person I was and then I look at you, and wonder if I really deserve you.”

Ally straightened herself in Sydney’s hold and held Sydney’s shoulders to gain her full attention.

“Now you look here Sydney Thompson. Don’t you ever let me hear that out of your mouth again. You deserve to be happy and to be loved by someone. Everyone deserves some kind of happiness in life. If I can be the one to give you that love and happiness, then I am going to do just that. Why would you say something like that?”

Sydney just shrugged, “I guess I am waiting for all of this to blow up one way or another. I have never felt for anyone the way I feel for you Alicia. I never thought I was worthy of such a gift. The last woman I was with…….” Sydney stopped not wanting to bring all of this up on Ally’s birthday night.

“Come on Sydney, I know you are holding something back from me. You have to know by now that you can tell me anything.” She looked up into troubled blue eyes. “And I know you feel you will shatter me with whatever it is that you are keeping to yourself, but please know that whatever it is, we will get through it, I promise you.” She pleaded with Sydney for her to understand.

“Don’t make promises you can’t keep Alicia.”

“I have never made a promise to you that I didn’t keep. I never intend to break any promise that I have made to you, ever.”

“Alright then, I will tell you as much as I can for right now okay?”

“Whatever you would like to share is all that I ask Sydney. I just want to help you with these demons that seem to be plaguing you.”

“You are such a find Alicia, I can’t tell you that enough.”

Ally hugged Sydney one more time and they walked to a nearby bench to sit and bear souls. Sydney really didn’t want to spoil Ally’s evening, but to deny this woman anything was something that Sydney didn’t want to do, ever.

Sydney took a deep breath and started to tell her tale of woe.

“Well, many years ago as you know, my parents died. Something that I didn’t mention to you was that I had a brother.”

“Tim? Sydney you have told me so much about Tim.”

“Alicia, if I tell you this, it will be much easier to just say it, and have you ask questions later, is that alright?”

“OK honey, I am sorry. Please continue.”

“Tim is my brother, yes, but I had another brother, Billy, who died about two years after my dad did.” She paused to see the sadness in Ally’s eyes. It was sadness for Sydney that Ally felt. ‘Why did she feel the need to keep this from me?’ Ally thought. It was something she would ask when she was indeed finished.

“Anyway I was an angry person after my dad passed away. I didn’t understand why people that we loved had to leave us. It didn’t make sense to me and I became very angry and I hung out with a bad bunch of people. They made me feel like I belonged to something, we could do anything, we were in control, and nothing could hurt us. I guess I needed that reassurance that I would never be out of control again. This I could handle, and no one was going to take that from me. If there were people out there that challenged us and the way we thought, well we would just change their minds. I’m sure you know that it wasn’t peaceful negotiations that took place.” Sydney stopped to register Ally’s reaction to her admission. Ally just studied Sydney’s face and wondered how she changed so much in ten years.

“Anyway, like I said I was a very angry person back then. When Billy died I turned into something even worse. I was my own enemy. Everything I touched, everything I loved was leaving me and I only knew of one thing to release the pain that I felt. It was pure violence. Everything that I did was nothing short of psychotic. I didn’t know of the person that I used to be. I just became this thing that destroyed or abused anything or anyone that got in my way of thinking or feeling or doing. Then when my mom died it finally hit me; I had no control of anything. All the people that I had hurt it was all for nothing. So I guess it was at that time when I finally realized that all I had done for the past four years was become a stupid, worthless bully. I had no self-respect anymore. I didn’t like the person I had become. It was truly time for a life makeover. So that is when I made up with my brother and decided to go to University and work on the sheep station.” Sydney paused to let Ally soak in everything she had told her. She knew that she needed to keep going on her tale, but she just wasn’t sure if she could muster the courage.

“Sydney? May I say something?” Ally said as she looked at the pained face of her lover.

“Of course sweetheart, I think I would really like it if you would.” She said as she gave a half smile, unsure of what Ally would say after what she had just heard.

“I know you think you probably just dropped a huge bomb on me and now is the time when I will just run for cover. Well let me reassure you again, that I love you. I know it’s hard for you to hear that, but honey, I can’t not say it to you. I have never loved anyone the way I love you. You make me a whole person. In a sense you complete me. I know that there is more to your story, and I will listen to every word you speak, but please know that I will never stop loving you.”

Ally stopped to brush the fresh tears that were falling freely now down Sydney’s cheeks. She took her face in her hands and looked her square in her swollen eyes. “I love you Sydney.” She finished her statement and sealed it with a soul-binding kiss. “Know that I will always love you. You don’t have to keep anything from me. In fact I would prefer that you didn’t, but I know that you are hurting from something, and if you can’t tell me now, I do trust you enough to know that one day you will. Now if you want, you can keep going with your story. If you would like to stop now you can. I just want you to know that I don’t want to push any of this out of you unwillingly. Whenever you are ready to tell me the rest, please do. OK?”

“Alicia…you are the most extraordinary woman I have ever met. I don’t think I will ever meet anyone like you. You are such a gift to me. Thank you. Thank you for loving me.” She said as she wiped the rest of the tears that had fallen down her face. She took a deep breath and continued her story. “At the University I met a woman named Sharon Harris. She was the first person that I thought truly accepted the dark side that I had possessed for so long. She and I became close friends. She would share stories of her life in the States with me, and I told her about my past. Mine of course were scary tales of angst and rage and death, while hers were nothing like that. She never flinched with any of the tales that I told. She would just listen, occasionally she would hold my hand if any of the stories would get ugly, which they usually did. She was the most comfort I had had in almost five years. Tim and I were not close for awhile, but that was my fault. After mom died, we finally reconnected. After all, we were what was left of our family, so we had no choice but to find each other again. He had gotten married, but it was still nice to have my brother back. Anyway, about Sharon…God I hate thinking about her.” She paused and took a deep breath. “Sharon was a beautiful woman, she was tall, lean, and blonde. She had the darkest eyes I had ever seen. She was everything I thought I was looking for in a partner. God I was so wrong. She and I became lovers. We did everything together. I told her everything about me and still she stayed, so I thought I had found gold. Well I found fool’s gold Alicia, and boy did I find that out the hard way.

“She asked me to move to the States with her after the school year had ended. God I think I was about nineteen at the time. I was so in love, or so I thought, that I couldn’t think of doing anything or being with anyone else. I told my brother about selling the sheep station, and he thankfully, wanted to keep it going. That’s when I packed up my life in Sydney and moved it to Montana with her. We stayed together for about three years I think it was. One night, she had called me from the office. She said she had a project that she had to finish. It was gonna take a few hours so she was gonna be late getting home. Silly me started to feel bad for her.” She painfully chuckled. “So I packed us a dinner picnic. I got some stuff together and put it in a basket and took it to her office.” Sydney paused to gain control in her voice. It had begun to quiver as she started talking about that night. She regained her breathing and started again.

“I walked into her office and there she was at her desk. Well I should say, on her desk, having sex with her secretary, Tina. Isn’t that the oldest cliché in the book? She didn’t even stop until she had a fucking orgasm. She then proceeded to tell me that I was a prize to her. A beautiful trophy that she could come home to or she could be on my arm whenever we went to a bar or something. I was something that she could show off. I was a fucking possession of hers. She had so many affairs behind my back. All of her compassion for me was just a lie. She didn’t give a shit one way or another for me. She liked my money and she liked the way I looked. Obviously I was lacking in the sex department since she had sex with anyone she could get her fingers into. Although she seemed to like it rough, or so she said the other day….”

“The other day!! Sydney when did you see her?” Ally almost shouted in disbelief.

“She approached me when I was in the restroom at the restaurant last week.”

“Why didn’t you say anything? God, no wonder you were so upset when you came back.”

“I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want you to worry. You have had so much on your mind, this would have only added to it. She handed me a towel after I had washed my face and I literally almost killed her Alicia. She brings out an anger in me, I didn’t know I had.”

“What happened Sydney? Did she threaten you?”

“More like I threatened her. She made mention to finding out who you were, and I guess I just lost it. Alicia, I can’t even tell you how much I wanted to hurt her after she mentioned your name and her own in the same sentence. Somehow she found out about you and the fact that your parents were killed. I just don’t know how she did it, unless she has been following me. She said she was here on business for her father’s company, but still. It really freaked me out to see her after all this time.”

“Oh Sydney, I am so sorry. God, I wish you would have told me. I don’t want you to ever go through anything like that alone again. Do you understand me? I want you to promise that you will ask for help if you need it. If something is bothering you, I want to know about it. Are we clear about this? We are in this together!” Ally said sternly but with so much love in her voice.

“Yes Alicia, I understand. Thank you for your concern. It means the world to me.”

“OK, I am sorry, I didn’t mean to jump in like that, but damn Sydney, that really threw me to hear that you had seen her, and here, of all places!! I hope to God that I never meet this woman Sydney. I swear to everything Holy, that I will punch her lights out.”

“My hero.” Sydney chuckled and kissed Ally on the top of her head. “So to finish this damn thing, I left her that night. I told her I didn’t want to be found by her and that she shouldn’t come home until the next day. I stayed with some friends until one of them told me about Edna needing a stable hand. I had worked with horses before so I knew what kind of work would be involved. I called your aunt and we had a great talk. I came to the ranch and she showed me around. I loved it there and I really took a liking to Edna. She took me in and the rest as you say, is history. She is the dearest friend that I have ever had. She always knew what to say to make me feel better; she still has that wonderful quality. This is my third year there, and I couldn’t think of any place else I would rather be.” Sydney smiled down at Ally.

“What about Australia?”

“Oh I miss home, there is no question about that. I even contemplated moving back after what had happened. There were just so many bad memories there for me, that I thought I just needed a fresh start. Sure it didn’t start out great in the States either, but I was already here, and Edna entered my life. It seemed like it was meant to be. How else do you explain me meeting the woman of my dreams?”

“The woman of your dreams?” Ally shyly asked.

“You, Alicia.” Sydney shifted in her seat to face Ally. She caressed Ally’s face with her hand. “I love you Alicia. I love you more than anything I have ever known. That scares the hell out of me, but it’s time that you know that I am in this for the long haul. I swore to myself that I would never love anyone again, but you showed me a love that I have never seen before. I know that heart of yours doesn’t have a mean streak in it. I know that my heart is safe with you. You have owned it since we met at the stables the day you arrived at the ranch. I love you Alicia with all of my heart.”

Ally began to weep when she finally let it sink in that Sydney did in fact love her and now she was finally voicing it. Sydney reached into her pocket and pulled out a small velvet box. She took it with shaky hands and held it before Ally.

“Alicia, I want you to have this. Although it scares me senseless, I want you to be with me forever. However long forever is, I want you to share your life with me. Please accept this gift and know that you encircle my heart with every breath that I take. I love you Alicia.” Sydney said as fresh tears streamed down her face.

Ally opened the box to find the ring that Sydney had picked out earlier that morning. “Oh Sydney, this is beautiful!”

“Look in the inside of it.”

“Ooh, an inscription…Always, Sydney.” Ally put the ring on and brought her hand to Sydney’s heart. “I love you too Sydney. Thank you so much.”

“Happy Birthday baby.”

The two just held onto each other as the waves of sobs passed and resurfaced over and over. Their trip to the beach had lasted well over her time limit and Sydney knew that she had to get Ally back to the house. There were festivities awaiting them in Ally’s honor, and a very nervous wreck named Tracey.

*~*~*~*

The ride from the beach was filled with tender kisses and touches. Syd had never felt so loved in her life. The love that she thought she had with Sharon was nothing in comparison to what she had with Ally. She felt like the luckiest woman in the world. Her fears were melting with every minute she spent with Ally. Giving her the ring was such a cleansing for her soul. ‘I could fly right now if she asked me to.’ She thought to herself. There was only one thing left to tell Ally about her checkered past, and that indeed, could wait for another time. ‘I don’t want to spoil her entire evening. Besides, she may not be as accepting as she was earlier.’ Syd thought as she stared at the profile of her companion.

“What’s on your mind Sydney?” Ally asked.

“Mmm, you baby. I am so happy right now. Nothing could possibly ruin this night for us.” Syd happily said.

“I agree. It has been the best birthday that I have ever had. Thank you Sydney, for so much. You have been so good for me. You helped me more than you know. If you hadn’t been around, I may have just withered away into nothingness after my parents died. I didn’t know what or how to feel, or even if I could feel loved or give love again. You have healed my heart Sydney, I can’t thank you enough for that.” Ally said as she squeezed Sydney’s hand.

“You don’t have to thank me Honey, you have been just as important in my own healing. I never wanted to love again. Love was the equivalent of pain for me, and you smashed right through that wall. I saw your heart from the very beginning and knew that mine would be safe with you. You have no idea what that means to me.”

“Yes I do. I can understand completely. We helped each other while helping the other, if that makes any sense whatsoever.”

“It does sweetheart, it truly does.” She paused to look at Ally. “I think it’s a good idea that we go back to the house and check to see if Tracey called. I know she wouldn’t want to miss your birthday.”

“Well, I know she has Char in town for only a couple more days, so she may be preoccupied.”

“But you are her best friend Alicia. Surely you’d think she would celebrate that with you.”

“I can hope. She is just so smitten with this one. I have never seen her so over the edge for anyone. This girl had better not break her heart, otherwise, she will have me to deal with.”

“Remind me never to break Tracey’s heart. I don’t ever want to feel your wrath.”

They chuckled as they pulled into the driveway of Ally’s house. Sydney had to really try to keep her emotions in check. She couldn’t wait to see Ally’s face when she walked into the house.

Sydney walked around the car and opened the door for Ally. She took her hand and walked together towards the house.

*~*~*~*

“They are here!” Tracey shouted to the crowded family room. “No one makes a sound!” She peeked again outside and saw the two women walking towards the front door. “When they walk into the room and switch on the light, shout surprise, but wait until she walks in here, don’t shout it to the foyer!” She insisted.

Everyone rolled their eyes at their spastic friend, but nodded their acceptance of her orders. Edna just smiled to herself as she eyed the doorway her niece was going to walk through shortly.

*~*~*~*

“Sydney, I can open the door, sheesh. I know it’s my birthday, but I can open a door for myself. Hey why is it so dark in here? Didn’t I leave a light on?”

“I guess we forgot. I can get the one in the family room. I think I remember where all the lamps are.”

“Oh no you don’t. They are going to end up on the floor if you start feeling your way around. Let me.”

“Have it your way.” Syd said to a smiling Ally.

*Click*

“SURPRISE!!!!!!!” The room shouted at a very startled Ally. “HAPPY BIRTHDAY Ally!!!!!” They shouted again.

Tracey came rushing at Ally with a huge grin on her face. Before Ally knew what hit her, she and Tracey ended up sprawled on the couch. Tracey was hugging and kissing her happily surprised friend.

“OH…MY…GOD!!!!! Who did this?” Ally asked while looking up at Tracey then at a hugely grinning Sydney.

“I should have guessed. I can’t leave you two alone for two minutes.” Ally laughed and managed to climb over Tracey to her feet.

“Can I get a hug from my best girl?” A voice came from across the room. Ally turned to find Edna smiling at her.

“EDDI!!!! Oh my God!!! YOU TOO???” Ally jumped and ran across the room to hug her aunt.

“Guilty as charged, afraid to say. Happy birthday sweetheart.”

“Thanks Eddi. It means the world to me that you came.” She said as tears threatened to leak down her cheeks. She turned into her aunt’s body and again wrapped her arms around the stout woman. “God I can’t believe you are here.”

“Believe it honey. I wouldn’t have missed this for all the horses in Montana.”

“I love you Eddi.” Ally said as she squeezed Edna again.

“You too kiddo. I bet there are a lot of faces you haven’t seen here in a while. I’ll be here for a while, but I have to leave. This was a stopping point for me before I have to go back to Indy. They are having another auction. I just had to go. There is some machinery I still needed that I couldn’t find this summer. I am hoping to get lucky tomorrow.”

“Aww Eddi, you can’t stay for the whole party?”

“It was either do it this way, or not show up. And as I said, I wouldn’t have missed that expression of yours for anything. It was beautiful.”

“It sure is.” A low and throaty voice came from behind Ally and arms soon wrapped around her waist.

“Oh you…you are in so much trouble. I can’t believe you didn’t let any of this slip. I was totally surprised.” Ally admitted.

“Well isn’t that the purpose of a surprise party?” Sydney sarcastically responded.

“OK Smart-Ass. That’s enough outta you.” Ally’s guardian spoke.

“Hey Edna, nice to see you.” Sydney said as she released Ally to embrace her dear friend.

“You too hon. I gotta hand it to you and Tracey. You definitely fooled this little one here.”

“Yep we sure did. Many ways in fact.” Sydney smiled down at Ally who understood what Sydney was referring to. She immediately raised her ringed finger to show her aunt what Sydney had gotten for her.

“Oh honey, that is beautiful!! I knew she had good taste.” Edna smiled.

“The best. Look who is wearing it.” Sydney laughed and pecked Ally’s cheek.

“Hey you two, I gotta make some rounds. I gotta find Tracey and meet this new girlie girl of hers.” Ally said excitedly.

“Char isn’t here yet darlin’. She said she would be here a little later. Some business came up or something. She should be arriving shortly.” Edna explained.

“Oh well, then I am going to chat with some people. There are faces I haven’t seen in years. This is turning into a night of first’s, that’s for sure.”

“First’s?” Sydney asked.

“Yeah, first you giving me the ring. Then you telling me you loved me. Then this party, I haven’t ever had a surprise party before. I can’t even wait to see what the rest of the night has in store for me.”

“It’s gonna be a night to remember baby. I can feel it.” Sydney smiled.

“I think you are right. Remind me to thank you properly later.” Ally said as she reached up and held the back of Sydney’s head until they were face to face and inches from each other. “I love you Sydney.” She said as she pulled Sydney down for a short but passionate kiss. “It gets better… later.” Ally promised.

“I can hardly wait. I love you too baby. Go on now. I gotta run to Terry’s and get the rest of the alcohol.”

“OK sweetheart. I’ll see you soon.” Ally stopped and turned to see a familiar face. “Oh my God Rita!! God I haven’t seen you in ages!! How have you been?” Ally’s voice faded and blended in with the rest of the room. Sydney just smiled and walked towards the door. Tracey ran up to her and planted a great big kiss on her lips. Sydney just looked at her awestruck and smiled a crooked grin.

“Thank you Sydney. This worked out so great!! Did you see her face?? God she was so surprised!! This is just so great!!”

“Yes, we did well. I think we really got her. So um, where is your lady?”

“Oh, she should be here any minute. Are you off to the liquor store?”

“Yep. I figure it’s probably a good time before it gets totally hopping in here. I should be back in about an hour or so.”

“OK great. Sydney…thank you again for getting all of that taken care of.” Tracey sincerely said.

“Hey no problem, you took care of everything else. I’ll see you soon.” She smiled and opened the door.

“OK Sydney, be careful, you do remember where you are going, right?” Tracey asked hesitantly.

“Yea, I have been there before. See ya.”

“Byeee” Tracey sang. “OK, now it’s time to partaaaayy.” She screamed as she jumped in a dancing line. The women around her just laughed and danced with their happy friend as the music thumped around them.

*~*~*~*

“Dance with me babe.” Tracey said as she grabbed Ally’s arm and pulled her into the middle of the family room.

“Christ! Do I have a choice?” Ally yelped.

“Nope, come on.” Tracey giggled as she started to sway with Ally to the bass of the music.

The two started to get overtly sexual on the dance floor. Their legs were intertwined as they started their decent to the floor and back up again. Their hips were gyrating with the rhythm and their arms were flailing above them. They looked at each other and broke into a fit of laughter as the song ended.

“Should I be jealous?” A voice came from behind Tracey. Ally looked into deep brown eyes and smiled.

“You must be Char. I am Ally, no need for worry here. We agreed a long time ago that we were best as friends and nothing more.” She extended her hand to Char and they exchanged a jovial meeting.

“That’s a relief. Hi honey, I finally made it.” She directed her gaze at Tracey.

“Hi sweets, I’m glad you got here. This is my best friend in the whole world.” She said as she hugged and kissed the top of Ally’s head.

“Nice to finally meet you Ally. Oh and Happy Birthday. Sorry I missed the surprise, but I had some things to tend to before I was able to get here.”

“That’s OK. I am just glad that I got a chance to meet you as well. Tracey has said so many wonderful things about you. I couldn’t wait to meet you.”

“Likewise. I have heard nothing but great things about you and Sydney for the last few months. It is wonderful to see you in the flesh.”

“Thanks. How long are you here for?”

“Only a couple more days unfortunately. I gotta get back to LA. I’m just about done with my business deal. I should know by tomorrow morning.”

“I see, well I hope it works out for you.”

“Me too. Shall we get a drink?” Char asked Tracey and Ally.

“Sure, I think there is still a bit of wine left. Sydney went to the liquor store to get the rest of it.”

“Oh what a dear. To the bar then?”

“Onward!” Ally said as she raised her fist. She walked arm in arm with Tracey and Char.

*~*~*~*

“God I hope I went the right way….oh here it is. Thank God. That’s all Alicia needs is to get a smoke signal from me because I got lost.” Sydney rambled to herself.

She stepped out of the car and walked into Terry’s Liquor’s and waited in line. She approached the counter and watched as a young man’s eyes popped out of his head as he stared at her.

“Are you all right?” She teasingly asked.

“Uhh, y…yeah. Can I help you?” The tongue-tied clerk asked.

“Yes. I am Sydney Thompson. I called a few days back with an order for a keg of beer and some other things.”

“Riiiight, um, let me go in back and make sure we got it all together.” He said before he practically ran into the stockroom.

“God if he is twenty-one I’ll be surprised.” She mused to herself.

“Hey little lady. What does a fine thing like you need with so much booze? You needing to share it with anyone?”

“Excuse me?” Sydney asked incredulously.

“I said….” He started to drool a bit as he was swaying from foot to foot. “Do you need some company to help you drink all that?”

“No thank you.” Sydney noticed that a policeman had entered the store and she motioned for him to come closer. “Hey bud, did you drive here?” She asked the obviously inebriated man.

“Of course I did, that’s my ride right out front, do you want me to show it to ya? I could take us somewheres more private.”

“No that’s OK, I’m sure you’ll be quite busy the rest of the night.” She chuckled as the police officer made his presence known.

Sydney amused herself by watching the drunken idiot try to walk out of the liquor store towards his car. The officer followed him out and waited for him to get in his car. When he closed the door and pulled out his keys, the officer appeared at his window with his partner, and asked man to get out of the car. The drunken man started swearing at the officers and was getting very excited. The man was given a test that he failed miserably and was soon being read his Miranda’s. They handcuffed him and placed him in the back of the black and white. The initial officer walked into the liquor store and approached Sydney.

“Thanks Miss. I appreciate you giving me the heads up with that one. I’m surprised that he didn’t kill himself or someone else on the way here.”

“That’s no problem. A good friend of mine lost her parents to someone like him. I couldn’t let that happen again to someone else’s loved one.” Sydney explained.

“I’m sorry to hear that. If more people like you made it their business to help, we may not have as many fatalities as we do. Thanks again, I do appreciate it.” The officer smiled a bright teethy grin at Sydney.

“It was the least I could do. Have fun with that one.” She shook his hand and gestured to the idiot screaming in the back seat of the squad.

“Oh we will. Have a good night now.”

“I will. Goodnight.” She watched the squad pull out of the parking lot. She decided to find the little salesman and find out what was taking so damn long with her order.

“Excuse me?” She said as she knocked on the backdoor. The same man exited the door.

“I’m sorry ma’am. I’m just uhh, well I can’t get the keg out of the back, and I’m alone in here…” Sydney stopped the kid in mid panic.

“Where is it?”

“What?”

“Show me where it is and I will help you.”

“Ma’am you won’t be able to lift it. It is really very heavy.” The boy explained.

“Just point me in the right direction. I assure you I can help. If I can hog tie farm animals, I certainly can roll a keg out here.”

“Uhh, this way.” He led Sydney into the refrigerated locker. She easily got the keg from it’s resting spot as the young man looked on in awe. She put the keg on a two-wheel cart and wheeled it out into the front of the store.

“Now if you can get the rest of my order together I may have enough time to enjoy my girlfriend’s surprise party.” Sydney deadpanned.

The young clerk just stared at her. “Tonight would be good.” She broke him out of his reverie.

“Yes…yes….sorry. I just…nevermind… I’ll be right up with the rest of your order.” He said as he scurried into the back again.

After a few minutes the young clerk returned from the abyss with the rest of her supplies on her list.

“I think this just about covers it. You do know that you need to put a deposit on the tapper for the keg?”

“Yes, I was informed of that. You do take cash I assume?” She said as she raised a quizzical eyebrow at him.

“Of course.” He blushed. “I’m sorry, I have been a little out of it.” He bashfully admitted.

“It’s all right. Now, if you can carry the bags and the tub to the car for me, I will handle the keg.” She smiled her brightest smile at him. He jumbled the bags but agreed to help. ‘This poor kid needs to get laid, and fast.’ She mused to herself as she rolled the keg to her car and placed it in her back seat. The clerk placed the rest of the bags in her trunk with a few extra bags of ice “on the house”.

“Thank you for your help umm,” She stopped and looked at his nametag. “Jimmy. You’ve been most helpful.”

“Sure miss, anytime. Uhh, have a good time at your umm, party.” He stumbled out.

“Thanks, my girlfriend thanks you too. Bye now.” She said as she waved to him out her window and pulled out of the parking lot back towards Ally’s house.

“My God, she has got to be the most stunning woman I have ever met.” The young man said out loud to no one in particular. He turned and walked back into the store while looking back over his shoulder for one last look.

*~*~*~*

Ally was so happy. This was the best birthday that she could remember having. She had never had a surprise party before. Her parents would occasionally throw her a party for her birthday, but never a surprise one. She was really happy for Tracey too. She had never seen her so happy before. ‘This girl may just be the one.’ Ally thought to herself as she watched the interaction of the two women.

“Hey Tracey? How long did Syd say she’d be? I’m starting to worry.” Ally questioned.

“Oh darlin, she’ll be fine. She said she would be about an hour. It’s almost that time now. Don’t worry she’ll be fine, hon.” Tracey reassured her friend.

“You’re right. I am just being a worrywart. You are going to love Sydney Char, she is just the best!”

“Oh, don’t you worry. She and I will certainly have a spectacular conversation. You just wait.” She smiled victoriously.

“Well good. I know she has been looking forward to meeting you, as I have.” Ally smiled.

“Thank you, the feeling is mutual.” Char said with a smile.

*~*~*~*

Sydney drove up the driveway to Ally’s house and saw the people dancing through the main window. A smile came to her lips as she saw Ally and Tracey dancing together.

“She is just too damn cute. It looks like she is having a great time.” She said outloud as she put the car into the garage. She walked around to the trunk, pulled out the bags from the liquor store, and headed up to the house. She opened the front door and walked towards the kitchen. She grabbed one of Ally’s friends and asked him to help her with the keg.

“Sure, does that mean I get first pull from it?” A very thirsty Josh asked.

“Sure cowboy, if you can tap this sucker, it’s all yours.” She smiled at him.

“Cool, I’m on it.” He said as he grabbed the half-barrel out of the backseat. Sydney wheeled a handcart towards him and he just scoffed at her.

“I don’t need that, just hold the doors for me.”

“Alright studly, I’ll lead the way.” She winked at the young man as she watched his facial expressions reach the crimson stage. “Are you sure you don’t want the cart?”

“You know, I got this um, football injury and uh, it might be a good idea if I use that thing.” He stammered out.

“Sure, you’re probably right. You don’t want to aggravate your injury.” She said while holding back a chuckle. “C’Mon, we’ll get this set up in the bar area.”

“OK, lead the way.” An embarrassed Josh replied.

Sydney and Josh wheeled the keg into the bar. She poured several bags of ice into the tub and watched as Josh tried to lift the keg alone. She handed him the tapper and together they lifted the keg into the tub of ice. Josh successfully tapped the keg and a line soon formed around that area. Ally was still dancing with Tracey so Sydney decided to go into the kitchen and grab one of the bottles of champagne for her birthday girl. Sharon watched menacingly as Sydney walked into the kitchen.

“It’s showtime….” Sharon said to herself.

Sydney had her back to the doorway leading from the kitchen to the family room. She was trying to open the bottle of Martini and Rossi Champagne she had bought for Ally, Tracey and her new girlfriend, Char. She thought a toast would certainly be in order for this evening.

Ally got a glance of Sydney walking into the kitchen. She broke free from Tracey’s dancing arms and headed towards the kitchen. “Hey Trace, Sydney just got back. I’ll be back in a sec.”

“OK hon. Hey if you see Char, tell her she owes me a dance all right?” Tracey asked.

“Sure babe.” Ally replied. She saw Char follow Sydney into the kitchen and realized that Sydney had yet to meet her. ‘She is gonna love her!’ She thought to herself. She picked up her pace so she could introduce the two women.

Sydney popped the champagne cork from it’s bottle and heard some people approaching. Char was standing behind Sydney in the kitchen as Ally walked in.

“Hey honey, I want to introduce you to someone.” Sydney heard Ally say.

Sydney turned around as if in slow motion, only to look into the eyes of her ex-lover and dropped the bottle of champagne on the floor. The bottle crashed to the floor and glass particles were shattered everywhere.

“Sharon.” Sydney said through gritted teeth.

“Hello Sydney. Long time no see.” Sharon smirked.

“Not long enough for me.” Sydney retorted.

Ally’s jaw dropped as she heard the exchange between the two.

“Sharon?” Ally whispered.

Sharon and Sydney turned to face Ally. Sydney’s face was pale and drawn whereas Sharon’s was flushed with excitement. Ally looked at them with so much confusion on her face.

“What do you mean? Sydney this is Char, Tracey’s girlfriend.”

“No Alicia, this is Sharon Harris.” Sydney corrected.

“What?!” Ally said disbelievingly. She suddenly found a rage building within her. She turned and got in Sharon’s face. “You’ve got about five seconds to tell me why I shouldn’t call the police and have them arrest you for trespassing.”

“Oh Sydney, you didn’t tell me she had such spirit. I would have looked her up her sooner.” Sharon chuckled as she stared at Ally’s infuriated face.

“Don’t you even think about it Sharon.” Sydney warned.

“Oh don’t worry Sydney, it’s not her I am after. I came back to claim what you took from me.” Sharon turned to face Sydney.

“And what did I EVER take from you?” Sydney spat at Sharon.

“You my darling. I came back for you.”

“You have GOT to be kidding me. I wouldn’t go back to you for anything in this world.” Sydney shot back.

“Oh Sydney, don’t you remember how good we were together? We can have that again Sydney. Just come with me and let’s start our life over again.” Sharon quietly spoke until she felt Ally grab her arm.

“Look here Miss ‘I-Lie-To-Everyone-About-My-Identity’ Sydney is with me. She will ALWAYS be with me. There is nothing that you could say that will change that. What about poor Tracey? She has no idea of the lies you have fed to her. You are going to break her heart. But I guess someone that doesn’t HAVE a heart wouldn’t know what it feels like to have theirs broken.” Ally paused to look into Sharon’s unfeeling eyes. “Now, I am going to ask you nicely one last time to leave my house. After that, I can’t guarantee how it will come out!” Ally shouted.

“Oh I think there is definitely something that I could say that would change Sydney’s mind.” Sharon threatened.

“Sharon, don’t you dare.” Sydney warned.

“What’s the matter Sydney? Are you afraid to tell your lover the truth? Afraid that she will see the monster you used to be? Or maybe you are still that person underneath that new exterior of yours.” Sharon taunted. Sydney grabbed Sharon by her shoulders and put her face within inches of hers.

“Don’t you dare say one word about my past. I have paid for everything that happened in that time. You of all people should know that!” She screamed as she tightened her grip around Sharon.

“Oh Sydney, how I’ve missed your arms around me. Don’t think that I won’t fight to have them back on a full time basis.” Sharon smiled.

“What the hell does that mean? You will have to fight until hell freezes Sharon. Our time together is over!” Sydney said as she walked towards Ally.

“Oh no no no, my dearest. Our time is just beginning.” She paused and looked at Ally. “Alicia? Has she told you about her brother Billy?” Sydney whirled around and grabbed Sharon by the throat.

“Shut the fuck up Sharon, I’m warning you. You say one word disgracing my brother and I will kill you where you stand! Do you hear me!!!” Sydney shouted.

“God I have missed that fire. Remember how you used to take me after your nightmares Sydney? Those dreams you had would wake you so abruptly. You were so filled with angst and rage. I could ease your pain with a few acts of passion. Do you remember that, Sydney? We could have that again, just say the word.” Sharon continued to taunt as Sydney began to squeeze her neck harder.

“Sydney, please…let her down.” A soft voice entered Sydney’s ears and she realized that Sharon was dangling under her grip. She slowly let her down and felt Ally’s hand on the small of her back. One movement sent a calming sensation throughout her entire body.

“I’m so sorry.” Sydney whispered to Ally.

Ally took Sydney’s hand and walked her a few feet away from a gasping and coughing Sharon.

“Sydney, what am I going to tell Tracey? I think she is in love with her. This is going to kill her.”

“There is nothing that we can say that is going to lessen the blow from this one. She is an uncaring bitch that doesn’t care who she hurts, as long as she gets what she wants.” Sydney commented.

“Sydney, is there more to your story about Billy that I need to know about? I would much rather hear it from you than her.” Ally asked quietly.

“Yes there is. I wish I would have told you the whole story, but I didn’t want to upset you on your birthday. If you just go with the flow and pretend, just this once for me, I will tell you everything. I can guarantee she is going to say it just to upset me. Please know that I love you, and whatever she may say, might not be the truth. So if you are confused or terrified by what may come out of her mouth, I’m sorry. I only didn’t tell you because of everything you have gone through.” Sydney tried to explain.

“What does that mean Sydney? I don’t understand. With what I have gone through? What could have been in your past that would upset me now? I don’t get it.”

“What she means, brat, is that you lost your parents to someone like her. She killed her own brother. It was her fault that he died. Isn’t that right Sydney?” Sharon triumphantly stated.

“What?” Was all Ally could breathe out.

“YOU KNOW THAT’S NOT WHAT HAPPENED!! You know I blamed myself for the longest time for Billy’s death. It’s not true!” Sydney defended. She looked into Ally’s eyes and could only read fear and confusion.

“Yes it is Sydney. You may as well have pulled the trigger yourself.”

“Shut up Sharon, I am warning you for the last time.” Sydney growled.

“I…I don’t know what to think here.” Ally stammered. “I’ve got to get out of here.”

“Alicia, please. Don’t go.” She reached for Ally only to have her pull away. Ally ran out of the kitchen and went looking for Tracey and Edna.

Laughing, Sharon looked at Sydney with utter amusement.

“The little brat must be terrified of you now.” Sharon chuckled.

Sydney was staring at the floor listening to Sharon gloat, then she looked up to meet the eyes of the most heartless woman she had ever met. She swallowed a couple times before gaining the strength to speak coherently. She mustered a throaty one-word whisper.

“Why?” She asked.

“Why not Sydney? I came back for you and I’m not leaving without you.” Sharon stated flatly.

“Why would you want to be with me? I despise you more than I thought capable. You may have ruined everything that Alicia and I have built over the last few months.” Her voice started to get louder. “What the hell did you possibly think I would give you after you broke my heart the way you did over three fucking years ago!?” She started to pace through the kitchen. “I can’t believe you! How could you?! I want to know RIGHT NOW!”

Sharon laughed in her face. Sydney growled and smashed the back of her left hand into Sharon’s face. She grabbed Sharon by the throat again and slammed her against the kitchen cabinets.

Sharon started to choke, “Sydney, I…can’t breathe. Please…..let me…..go.” She gagged and squirmed knocking over a bottle on the counter and breaking it.

“Not until you tell me why? NOW TALK!!!” Sydney demanded as she picked up a piece of the broken bottle off of the counter. She pointed the jagged edge at Sharon’s cheek. She rubbed the edge on Sharon’s face smearing the blood that had run from her nose. “Tell me why you thought it necessary to ruin my life AGAIN!” She pushed Sharon onto the counter and lessened her grip on her throat. A few larger pieces of glass fell to the floor smashing into smaller pieces. She kept the glass against Sharon’s face and demanded she talk.

*~*~*~*

Ally ran out of the kitchen searching for Tracey and Edna. She found Edna talking to a couple of her friends. She rushed over to her and immediately had tears streaming down her face. Edna looked at her niece and new something was terribly wrong.

“What is it honey? You look very upset.” Edna said very concerned.

“I…I don’t know what to say Eddi. Sydney….she….oh my God..” Ally whispered out through her sobs. She felt Edna pull her into a hug and quietly sobbed as onlookers gave them their privacy.

“What did Sydney do honey? I can’t help if I don’t know what happened.” Eddi comforted.

“Not here, let’s go into the other room. Where’s Tracey?” She asked.

“She is over there having a drinking contest. I think she is winning.” She said as they looked over to Tracey pointing and laughing at her opponent on the floor.

“Oh no…that’s going to make matters worse.” She said sadly.

“What? Girl, you tell me right now what is going on here??” Edna demanded.

Ally looked around and noticed that they were pretty much alone and it wouldn’t make a difference if she told her here or not.

“Sydney’s ex-girlfriend is in my kitchen right now.” She choked out.

“What? What are you talking about child?” Edna asked.

“Char, Tracey’s girlfriend is really Sharon, Sydney’s ex.”

“Oh my God.”

“Yeah I know. I don’t know how I am going to tell Tracey. She is really in love with this woman. I don’t know how. That woman is a total bitch. I was shaking in there I was so angry. Then she starting talking about Sydney and how she killed her brother.”

“Whoa, whoa whoa. Hold it right there. Sydney killed her brother?” Edna asked incredulously.

“I don’t know the whole story. Sydney seemed pretty upset by the accusations, but Sharon said that she was no better than the people that killed mom and dad!” She started breathing heavily. “I just don’t know what to believe. I am so confused Eddi. I don’t’ know what to do. I have to tell Tracey that her girlfriend is a maniacal bitch, AND tonight I find out that my girlfriend killed her own brother. I AM LOSING MY MIND!! I just couldn’t handle anymore so I ran out of there and found you.” Ally shouted out.

“Oh my….” Edna couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She had to do something fast. There was something that just didn’t click here. She had known Sydney for the last three years. She knew that woman couldn’t kill anyone. “We have to tell Tracey before she finds out another way. I think we need to sit her down and tell her before she is too drunk to comprehend what we are saying to her.” Edna rationalized.

“Good idea Eddi, let’s go get her.” Ally agreed.

They walked over to the bar where Tracey was challenging everyone to a beer chugging contest. Ally walked behind her and tapped her on the shoulder.

“Tracey? I need to talk to you. It’s really important.”

“Can’t it wait Ally? I’m about to make fifty bucks off this guy.” Tracey answered without looking at Ally.

Ally put her hand on Tracey’s shoulder and made her look at her. “Trace, it’s really important. Please.” Ally almost pleaded.

“OK, Babe. What is it?”

*Crash*

“What the hell?” Tracey looked at Ally and Edna after hearing the crash and knew something was up. “Where’s Char guys?” Tracey asked. Tracey ran towards the kitchen where the crashing sound had come from.

“Tracey wait!” Ally screamed unsuccessfully. “Dammit. We got to catch her!” Ally said to Eddi as they ran after Tracey.

*~*~*~*

Tracey ran into the kitchen and was flabbergasted with what she saw. Sydney had still had Sharon up against the cabinets with her hand on her throat. Edna and Ally soon followed into the kitchen.

“Holy shit! Sydney what the fuck is you doing? Let go of her! NOW!” Tracey screamed and ran towards Sydney and Sharon.

“Tracey no! It’s not what you think!” Ally tried to warn her.

Sydney half-turned to see Tracey coming after her. “Tracey stop right there. This is not the woman you think it is.” Sydney tried to say as she felt Tracey’s hands around her neck.

“Tracey no! Stop!” Ally screamed.

“What is your problem Ally? She is attacking my girlfriend!”

“She’s not your girlfriend Tracey…she is my ex-lover, Sharon.” Sydney choked out.

“What are you talking about? Char tell her it’s not true.” Tracey said looking up into her lover’s eyes. Sharon looked at Tracey with a blank expression. “Char? Char, what’s going on? Talk to me.” Tracey said as she released her hold on Sydney’s throat. Sydney backed away to reveal the woman that Tracey had grown to love. Although this time Tracey was looking into the eyes of a stranger. “She’s telling the truth isn’t she?”

Sharon didn’t flinch or attempt to answer the question. Tracey, being more than a little tipsy, slapped Sharon across her face. “WHY? Why would you lie to me like this? I thought you loved me.” More blood trickled from Sharon’s nose and she licked it with her tongue and smiled.

“Oh poor young Tracey. I give you some sack time, which was mediocre at best, some warm embraces, and you think its love? You just kept me warm until I could have what I really wanted.” Tracey snarled, reached back and punched Sharon’s face. She reached back again only to have Sydney grab her arm.

“That’s enough Tracey. Ally call the police. We have an unwanted guest here.” They looked at Sharon who was just sitting on the counter staring into nothingness with a small smile on her face.

“Sharon, you have hurt my friends for the last time. I’m going to have you put in jail for breaking and entering. If you’re lucky, you won’t have anything else on your record to keep you there longer.” Ally said to the numb woman. She looked at Sydney and mouthed “I’m so sorry.” Sydney walked over to her and put her arms around her.

“I’m the one who is sorry honey. I shouldn’t have kept this from you. I promise when all of this is over, I will tell you the whole story.”

“OK then, after this is over. I have a phone call to make. I’ll be right back.” She turned to leave the room, looked into the bar area and looked back into the kitchen. “You know, it’s a good thing these people really like to party, because this would be really hard to explain right about now.” Sydney looked at her partner and smiled.

Sydney looked over to Sharon’s unbalanced expression and wondered what she ever saw in her. The beauty that once radiated off of this woman was now gone. Everything about her had changed for the worse. She knew now how lucky she was to have found Alicia. Of course, she always knew that part.

Tracey just sat at the kitchen table and just stared at Sharon. It was unbelievable to her what had just unfolded. The woman who had loved her for the last few months was nothing more than a lying Sociopath. She buried her head in her hands and began to weep. Sydney walked over to her and put her hand on her shoulder.

“I’m so sorry I brought her into your life Tracey.” She whispered to the crying woman.

Sharon watched the exchange and reached down to pick up a piece of the broken bottle from the counter. She had the glass in her palm and slowly slid off the counter. Edna saw her move and motioned too late to Sydney. Sharon quickly raised her weaponed hand and rushed towards Sydney.

“IF I CAN’T HAVE YOU, THAN NO ONE CAN! YAAAAH” She shouted as she raised her hand to make the strike.

“Sydney! Look out!” Edna screamed.

Sydney whirled around and caught Sharon’s raised arm before it made impact. Ally heard her aunt scream and ran into the kitchen after her call to the police. Tracey got behind Sharon and grabbed Sharon’s other arm and shoved it behind her back.

“Drop it Sharon, or whatever your name is!” Tracey shot out.

Sharon grunted and dropped the piece of glass on the floor. She started to kick and scream and Tracey threw her down onto the floor. Pieces of the broken glass dug into Tracey’s knees and into Sharon’s body. Sydney traded places with Tracey since she had a better advantage over Sharon.

“Sydney honey, are you all right?” Ally ran to her side.

“Yes darlin. We just need to wait for the cops now. We can add attempted murder to her sheet and she should be put away for a good long time. Maybe they’ll put her into a mental hospital. I think she would benefit greatly from that.” Sydney smirked as she tightened her grip on Sharon’s twisted arm.

“You think some shrink is gonna stop me from coming back to get you Sydney? Think again. I am going to haunt you until the day you die. You will never be able to forget me, I promise you that.” Sharon spat into the floor.

“You’re right Sharon, I won’t forget you. I will remember how you actually helped me to become a person again after Billy died. I do regret, however, the fact that I don’t have any other fond memories of us together. I feel nothing but pity for you, but at least I know what love is now. It’s exactly the opposite of what we had together. So, for that, I thank you.” Sydney said sarcastically.

“Fuck you!” Sharon cried out.

“In your dreams Sharon.” Ally hissed. Sydney looked up at Ally and smiled a full smile at her love. She knew that nothing had really changed between them. It was just a matter of finishing her story to Ally.

“Hey! Someone called the cops!” A voice shouted from the other room. Ally giggled to herself and went to the door to welcome the arriving officers.

“Evening ma’am. We got a call that you had an intruder this evening?” One of the officers asked.

“Oh how I wish it were that simple. Follow me.” Ally explained with a grin on her face.

She led the officers into the kitchen. Most of the people had left the party already and the ones that remained just stared at the entering policemen.

“Well, what do we have here?” The first officer asked.

Sydney looked up and it was the officer from the liquor store. She recognized him and she smiled up at him and rolled her eyes.

“Seems like you are doing our jobs again for us tonight. You are a busy woman.” He smiled at Sydney.

“Again? Sydney?” Ally questioned.

“Long story.” Sydney replied.

“Another one?” Ally teased. Sydney just raised her brow at Ally and grinned.

“Unfortunately.” She quipped back.

Sydney moved off of a struggling Sharon and the officers handcuffed her. The second officer stood Sharon up and motioned for her to walk out of the kitchen. She turned to face Sydney.

“See you soon, my sweet.” Sharon said.

“Not if I see you first.” Sydney answered quickly.

Sharon was taken out of the house and placed into the squad car. The first officer questioned Ally and Sydney as to what happened.

“Long story short, her name is Sharon Harris. She stalked me for three years just to cause me harm. She tried to kill me with a piece of broken glass in a kitchen she wasn’t invited into and I want to file charges on all counts.” Sydney plainly stated with her arms across her chest.

“Would you like to elaborate any on this?” The officer smiled.

“OK, three years ago…”

*~*~*~*

Sydney relayed as much information she could bear to remember. The officer was amazed that this woman hadn’t been committed to a psyche ward sooner. In his opinion, “she is a couple cents short of a dime.”

“Thank you Officer Randy, good to see you again.” Sydney kidded.

“Thank you Sydney. Ally I’m sorry your birthday turned out this way, but rest assured, we will take care of Ms. Harris. Have a good night ladies. Well, what’s left of it.” He said as he checked his watch.

“Good night.” Both Ally and Sydney said in unison.

They closed the front door and realized that the four of them, Sydney, Ally, Edna, and Tracey, were the only ones left in the house. When the police showed up, the party pretty much broke up. They all took a seat at the bar and did a shot of Cuervo.

Ally had tended to Sydney’s wounds and Edna to Tracey’s. Tracey still hadn’t absorbed everything that had happened this evening, but it would all sink in soon enough for her.

“God, I just can’t believe all of this. What the hell would drive someone to that?” Tracey asked.

“I don’t know Hon, I’m just glad that she didn’t physically hurt you.” Ally said as she wrapped her arm around her best friend’s shoulder.

“Sharon is sick, that’s all there is to it. I can’t think of any sane person that would do this.” Edna threw in.

“Obsession is a scary thing. I hope this is the one and only time I get to be the subject matter.” Sydney chuckled half-joking, half-serious.

“Well kids, thanks for the excitement, but I have to go. I have to get my sorry butt to Indy.” Edna exclaimed.

“Aww Eddi, are you sure you can’t postpone your trip? Just for a day?” Ally asked.

“Aww honey, you don’t need me here. My limo is waiting for me outside. Besides I do believe you have other plans for the rest of the evening. It’s your birthday for cryin-out-loud! Have some fun tonight! I’ll see you back in Montana when you get back. OK?” Edna replied.

“Thank you for coming Eddi. It meant so much to me that you were here. I’m just sorry for the way that things ended. I just hope they lock her up for a good long time.” Ally said as she hugged her aunt. “Have a safe trip Eddi, and please call me when you get in, you know how I am.” Ally said as she pulled away from the hug.

“I love you Ally. Take care of her.” She said quietly as she pointed to Tracey. “I think she’s gonna need some TLC from you.”

“I will.”

“Edna, it was wonderful to see you again. I know it meant the world to Alicia for you to be here for her birthday. I’ll be back at work soon, boss lady.” Sydney laughed as she hugged Edna good-bye. Edna laughed with her and then turned to face Tracey.

“Tracey, I’m so sorry hon. If there is anything that I can do for you, please, you know my number. Come here child.” Edna said as she opened her arms for Tracey to fall into.

“Thanks Edna. You seem to make things feel better, with just one hug. No wonder Ally loves you as much as she does. Take good care of yourself. Have a safe trip and good luck at the auction.”

“Thanks Tracey. All right ladies, good night and take care. I’m off to Indy. Bye now.” She said with a final wave of her hand.

She went upstairs to retrieve the remainder of her bags and Sydney helped her get them into the limousine. With one final kiss and a wave, Edna was off and Sydney walked back into the house.

*~*~*~*

“Tracey, you know you can just spend the night here. It’s kinda late.” Ally insisted.

“No Ally, thanks, but I have so much to sort out. It’s really hard for me to process everything that went down tonight. It’s all just so surreal right now. I guess I am still waiting to wake up from this nightmare.”

“I know what you mean.” The low sensual voice of Sydney came from over Ally’s head.

“Hey you, did Eddi get off OK?” Ally said as she was hugged from behind.

“Yeah she did. Did I hear you were leaving Tracey?” Syd asked.

“I gotta. I have lots to think about. I appreciate the offer Ally, but I really think I need to go home.” Tracey reasoned.

“Let us drive you at least. You have had quite a bit to drink tonight.” Ally compromised. Tracey knew not to argue this point with Ally and her past experiences with drunk driving.

“OK, babe. You win. I know I can’t win that argument.” Her friend acquiesced. “I’ll get my stuff together. Be right back.”

“K, Trace. We’ll be right here.” Ally shouted at her friend’s back.

Ally turned to face Sydney. They studied each other for long moments before slowly embracing each other. The warmth and love they felt for each other came out in full force with this embrace.

“I love you Alicia. I’m so sorry I wasn’t completely honest with you. It almost cost me everything.”

“Sydney, there is still a piece to this puzzle that I need to know, but I also know that you would never lie to me. I know there is a very good reason that you didn’t tell me about the death of your brother. I will just wait until we are alone and comfortable to talk more about it. I love you too Syd. I always will.”

“That’s so good to know.” She leaned down and slowly and tenderly kissed Ally’s lips. The kiss deepened and the women found their embrace becoming more and more needy. Sydney’s tongue demanded entrance and Ally didn’t fight it. She willingly took in the hot moist muscle between her lips and began to suck on it.

Sydney’s body pressed against Ally’s and they began their private dance of desire. Ally pulled away suddenly and had a look of confusion on her face.

“Where’s Tracey? I don’t want her to find us like this. It may upset her with everything that’s happened.” Ally said as she felt her neck being nibbled on by Sydney. “Oh God, that feels good. I totally know why Sharon wanted you back.”

“Alicia, no more talk about that woman tonight OK?” Sydney asked softly but seriously.

“Deal, I’m sorry. I am, though, going to go upstairs to check on Tracey. She should have been down here already.”

“OK, I’ll come with you.” Sydney said.

“Is that a promise for later as well?” Ally said as she waggled her eyebrows.

“You are such a naughty girl. Come on. Let’s see about your intoxicated friend upstairs.”

“OK Love, after you.”

The two women walked up the stairs hand in hand. They walked into Ally’s room and there was no sign of Tracey. Ally turned and walked down the hall to her parents’ room. She opened the door and looked into another empty room.

“Ally, I think I found her. Come here.” Ally heard Sydney say. Ally ran down the hall to follow Sydney’s voice.

“Syd? Where are you?” Ally called out with a bit of panic in her voice.

“Shh, in the guest room.” She whispered.

Ally walked into the guestroom to find Tracey under the covers of the bed in the fetal position. She was lying on one pillow with another one in her arms.

“God, I feel so bad for her. On top of everything with Sharon, she is going to wake up with one helluva hangover.” Ally sympathetically commented.

“Yeah I don’t envy the headache, she’ll have. Come on you, I’ve got some ‘splainin to do.” Sydney said in her best Ricky Ricardo.

“Yeah you do. Come on Ricky.” She giggled back and silently closed the door.

Syd and Ally walked down the long hallway into Ally’s room and shut the door. They both undressed and got into the bed. Sydney opened her arms for Ally to snuggle into. It was their favorite position to sleep in, and not to sleep in. They got themselves situated and Ally felt Sydney stiffen a bit and knew that she was ready to talk.

“OK, are you ready Hon? I just want this over with.” Sydney asked as if to gear herself up.

“Sure, baby, whenever you are.” She said as she snuggled closer to her lover.

“OK, what Sharon said about Billy was true at one time. I completely blamed myself for his death. I didn’t kill him, so to speak, but I felt totally responsible for his death. We were having a brawl that night with one of the other gangs. He knew that they were going to be bringing some heavy stuff with them.”

“Heavy stuff?” Ally asked.

“You know like guns and shit like that.”

“Oh, OK.”

“Anyway, he begged me not to go that night. He was always the peacemaker. After dad died he tried to be the man of the family. He was such a gentle soul, but very passionate about family. He was really worried for me. He knew what we did and he hated that I was involved in it. He didn’t understand why I needed to be with these people. Looking back, I don’t know what I thought I got from them either, but like I said, I was really lost at that time. Anyway, he had heard that the leader was gonna be packing guns that night. He urged me to stay home. I told him I wasn’t going to change my mind. He just wouldn’t listen. I told him to stay away if he didn’t like it. He didn’t.

“He showed up that night and tried to talk some sense into me. Before I even saw him approach, he walked into a line of fire. Someone had shot him. Bullets were flying everywhere and all I could do was watch him fall. The cops came and everyone scrambled out of there. Billy bled to death in my arms.” Sydney paused to control the emotions that were seeping through her pores. “He told me that he loved me, and that he would do it all again, if it meant keeping me alive. I still don’t think I will ever understand that kind of love. Family was the most important thing to him though. He also said he knew how mom was going to react, boy was he right. She blamed me for all of it, which I don’t fault her for. I was a terror at that point in my life. Timmy and I weren’t speaking, and then of course he sided with mom, so my life was completely shit at that time. I wouldn’t relive that time for anything in this world.

“There was a trial but the shooter’s ass was covered by his people. His name was never even brought into the courtroom. They dismissed the case because they had no real suspects. Billy was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Just like that, Billy became a statistic. I miss him terribly. His death was very wrong, just like your parents’. I just didn’t think the timing was right for me to tell you about him. I didn’t want to upset you anymore than you already were. I wanted to give you as much time as possible to mourn the loss of your folks, before I laid this on you. I’m sorry Alicia. I won’t keep anything from you ever again. I promise you that.”

“That is a promise that I will hold you to my dear Sydney.” Ally said as she kissed the soft flesh beneath her lips.

“Mmm, I do believe it’s still someone’s birthday. You may have whatever you like.” Sydney said in a very sexy throaty voice.

“God Sydney you give me chills when you talk like that.” Ally shivered.

“Like what, Alicia?” She whispered into the younger woman’s ears.

“You are such a tease Sydney.”

“No Alicia, I do believe a tease is someone that only pretends to offer something they have no intention of giving up. I have every intention of giving you whatever it is you desire tonight.”

“Really? Well then, I take it back. You are not a tease.”

“Thank you.”

“You are a seductress.”

“That, I cannot argue with.” Sydney said as she leaned over and flipped Ally onto her back. She kissed her soundly on the lips and their dance of desire played out once more. The kisses turned feral, the need to reconnect with each other was prominent with every movement. Sydney covered Ally’s naked body with her own. She kissed and licked every inch of Ally’s neck and throat. She nipped and suckled Ally’s ears until every inch of Ally’s body was covered in goosebumps.

She moved slowly southward until she came to Ally’s fully erect nipples. She took one into her mouth as she caressed the other with her fingers. Ally gasped at the sensation and pulled Syd’s head closer to her body. Ally’s body started gyrating into Sydney. Sydney pressed down with her own body to absorb every shock that Ally gave her. She teased the nipple with the tip of her tongue and gently nipped at it with her teeth. Ally started to moan with pleasure as Syd’s hand roamed slowly downward until it reached it’s destination.

She gently moved her fingers across Ally’s soaked pubic hairs. Sydney pressed the heel of her hand against Ally’s clitoris and Ally began to grind into it.

“Oh Sydney, God, you feel so good.”

“Good baby, so do you.” Syd whispered hoarsely back to her lover.

Ally’s movements became more fervent. She needed to feel this with Sydney again. Sydney spread Ally’s legs farther apart to gain better access to her lover’s passion. She moved her body down Ally’s to breathe in her essence. She could smell the arousal and wanted very much to taste the nectar waiting for her. She climbed in between Ally’s legs and placed tiny kissed up and down her inner thighs. She finally placed a kiss on the apex of Ally’s legs. Ally took a deep breath and slowly felt her body’s control leave her; Sydney was in control of her now. Sydney spread Ally’s lips open and gently teased her excited clitoris with the tip of her tongue. Ally’s body tried to shoot off the bed, but Sydney held onto her so she could not escape her erotic torture.

Ally was in a state euphoria. Everything was right again in their world. The most incredible woman on the planet was loving her. Sydney’s tongue picked up it’s pace when she felt Ally’s body responding to her touches. She inserted two fingers into Ally and felt the smaller woman push onto her invasive digits. Ally’s voice was picking up volume with each stroke of Sydney’s fingers and tongue.

“God baby, ungh, harder, please.” Ally begged.

Sydney added a third finger to her arsenal and felt Ally’s body respond wholeheartedly. Ally’s body was grinding into Sydney’s as she felt her getting closer and closer to release. A few more strokes of Sydney’s tongue and Ally was screaming to any god that would listen. Sydney didn’t stop her assault until she heard Ally begging her to do just that. Sydney’s release drowned out Ally’s voice for a brief moment. After her body stopped its convulsions, she was able to hear her again.

“Oh my God, Sydney. That was incredible.” Ally panted out.

“No baby, you are incredible. I love making love with you. I can release myself, by just loving you. I have never been able to do that with anyone else.”

“That does take talent.” She giggled. “Hey come up here, I want to hold you.” Ally said as she felt her partner crawl up her body to embrace hers.

“God this is home to me Sydney. You, here with me is my home. Some people think that home is a place. I think it could be a person. For me, that person is you Sydney. God, I love you so much.” She said as she kissed Sydney tenderly.

Several kisses later the two women were disturbed by the phone ringing.

Ally grunted, “Who the hell could that be? It’s almost the middle of the night. I’m just going to let the machine get it.”

“Are you sure you want to do that? I mean, not to make you worry, but it could be Edna.”

“Oh shit, you are right.” Ally said as she grabbed the phone off the nightstand. “Hello?”

“Ally McKenna?”

“Speaking, who is this?” Ally asked.

“Hi there, it’s Officer Randy. I just wanted to let you know that Ms. Harris is behind bars. We found out some interesting things about her. Is Sydney with you?” Ally could hear the hopefulness in his voice.

“Yeah she is hang on a sec.” Ally covered the phone with her hand. “It looks like you have started another fan club. It’s Officer Randy. I think he has a crush on you.” Ally giggled.

“Oh stop…” Sydney said as she grabbed the receiver from Ally. “Hello Officer Randy, how are you this morning?”

“Doing well Sydney, how was the rest of your party?”

“Well it kind of came to an abrupt halt. Gee I wonder why.” She smiled. Ally could hear the laughter coming from the officer and rolled her eyes.

“Well I just figured you guys would still be up so I wanted to tell you something about Ms. Harris.”

“Oh?” Sydney stopped Ally from kissing her neck; she wanted to hear this. Ally pretended to pout and motioned to Sydney that she was going downstairs to get some water.

“Yes. It seems as though Ms. Harris was caught embezzling money from her father’s company in California. He filed charges against her and I guess that’s why she came here. There is a warrant for her arrest in LA. Her father cut her off completely so she has no money to speak of. I’ll just assume that’s where you come in.” The officer assessed the situation.

“Unfortunately. I was given quite a bit of money when my parents passed away. She knew of this information, so I would agree with your assumption on that. I think it goes a little deeper than that, but it may have started out that way. I just hope she gets the help she needs.”

“Me too. She is a bit on the aggressive side.”

“Oh yes she is.” Sydney agreed. “Was she working for her father at all? I am just wondering how she met up with Tracey.”

“Yes apparently, she was in fact looking to do something with Ms. Miller’s company, but it was only after she found out her father had cut her off. She told one of the other officers’s that she met up with Tracey and was looking to get revenge on her father’s company. She discovered with Tracey that she had a connection to you. Small world eh?” The officer attempted at humor.

“I guess.” Sydney didn’t find it amusing.

“Anyway, that’s all I know for now. I’m hoping to get her in for a psychiatric analysis tomorrow. We need to know if she is crazy or just dangerous, or both for that matter.”

“Yes indeed. Well Officer Randy, thank you for the call. We do appreciate it.”

“No problem Sydney, thanks for your cooperation and assistance tonight.”

“No problem. Take care now. If you find out anything else, please let us know.” Sydney said as she bid farewell to the policeman.

“Sure thing. Goodnight.”

“Nite.”

Ally returned with water in hand and sat on the rocking chair facing the window. She took a couple sips of water and just stared out at the moon. “So how was the rest of the call?” She asked Sydney who was walking out of the bathroom.

“They found out that Sharon was stealing from her father. He cut her off and that’s when she found Tracey’s company I guess. They had contacted them at one point to talk about a merger or some shit, and after her father cut her off she went to Tracey’s company impersonating an employee.”

“Wow, so what was the deal with you? Why was she after you again?” Ally inquired.

“Just as I thought, she was after my money. She knew what I was worth after my folks passed away and she wanted it back. Her father cut her off so she went to the next best place she could think of, me. She just got lucky by meeting Tracey who happened to be your best friend. I don’t think she expected the resistance I gave her. God, she is really a sick individual.”

“God, that gives me the creeps.” Ally said while shivering in her birthday suit.

“Hey stand up for a second. I wanna do something.” Sydney said as she gathered a blanket from off the bed. She sat down on the rocking chair and opened her arms for Ally. Sydney cradled her like a mother would a child. Sydney draped the blanket over their naked forms. Ally’s head rested on her shoulder as she tenderly held the rest of Ally’s body close to her own. The two women just sat holding each other close as the rocking soothed any pain they may have felt earlier.

“God this is nice. I love feeling your arms around me.” Ally hummed to her lover.

“Me too baby. I wish we could stay like this forever. Away from crazies like Sharon.”

“Mmm, me too.” She agreed as she yawned quietly. “Sydney?”

“Yes sweetheart?”

“Thanks for my birthday party. Although Sharon may have ruined lots of it, it was still pretty cool. I don’t think I will ever have that kind of excitement again.”

“God I hope not. I have dealt with more than my share of that kind of excitement.”

“You should see the kitchen Sydney. It is trashed. There are still some stains on the floor that Eddi and I couldn’t get out. I’m just glad we got all the glass up.” Ally sighed. “Man, what a night.”

“Yeah, when all of this is over and your house is sold, just think of the peace and quiet we will be able to have together.”

“Mm, I can’t wait. God, I can’t wait to get back to Montana. I really hate leaving Tracey here by herself after all of this, but…she’s a big girl, I know she’ll be all right.” Ally’s voice became nothing more than a whisper. Soon Sydney heard quiet snoring coming out of her love. She smiled into Ally’s hair and gently kissed the top of her head. She tightened her hold on Ally and looked out the window and stared into the night’s sky.

“You were right Billy. There really is no love greater than the one you have for your family. Ally, Edna and Timmy are my family now, and I will do everything that I can to protect them. It was a hard lesson for me to learn, but I think I finally understood what you were trying to teach me. I miss you Billy, but I know that you would be proud of the woman I am today. This little one in my arms is living proof of that.”

A shooting star shot across the clear sky as Sydney finished her conversation with her brother. She smiled at his response and gently rocked her precious cargo until she too, fell captive to the night.

THE END

*~*~*~*

AUTHOR’S NOTES:
Well it’s finally finished!!! WOOHOOOO! Thank you all SO MUCH for hanging on with me until I completed this thing. It turned into so much more than I had originally planned. Please let me know what you think, I LOVE to hear from you guys.

DEDICATIONS:
This story is dedicated to my father. I lost him to Cancer during the writing of this piece. He is now back in the arms of my mom, who I lost eleven months before him. I actually learned alot from Ally, if that is possible, and was able to mourn and go on with my life. So dad, I know we agreed to disagree about a lot of things in life, including my sexuality, but know that I am truly happy. I think of you both all the time and I miss you terribly. Take good care of each other, just like you always have. I love you.

To the love of my life: Thank you for helping me throughout the darkest point of my life. If you weren’t with me, I shudder to think of what my life would be right now. There are no words that I could possibly utter, that describe what you mean to me.

Feedback is the ruler of all bards.

dsbauden@dsbauden.com

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s