I Found My Heart In San Francisco

Book 11: Karma

By: S X Meagher

Part 10

The early afternoon traffic allowed them to reach the massive discount store fairly quickly. Ryan immediately made a beeline for the junk food, and ordered two hot dogs for herself. Jamie took a pass since she'd had a nice healthy salad while Ryan was practicing, but she enjoyed watching her lover demolish the jumbo-sized hot dogs, nonetheless. The food was located outside the building, and when Ryan was finished, they went to the front door, where she pulled out her membership card and flashed it at the man guarding the door.

“You have to belong to get in here?” Jamie asked in amazement as she looked around the massive warehouse-style space. The floors were concrete, the walls were stamped steel with no insulation, and the open plywood-sheet shelving went almost to the ceiling, making it the least attractive store she had ever been in.

“Yep. When I was little, I thought it was pretty cool that we qualified to join something,” Ryan laughed. “Little did I realize that the membership requirements were only to keep out people with absolutely no visible means of support!”

“What do you buy here?” Jamie asked as she looked around suspiciously.

“Lots of stuff,” Ryan replied. “I buy my socks here, and sometimes sweats and stuff, household and personal products, tires, liquor. The best deals are on things like food, though.”

They were walking down an aisle containing gargantuan boxes of cereal and jams and jellies, and Jamie started to ask, “Ryan, who on earth would buy …” but then she realized with a start that the O'Flahertys were the ideal consumers for such items. “Did you buy all of your food down here when you were growing up?”

“Yep. We would go through one of these boxes of cereal in a week,” she said proudly, holding up a box bigger than Jamie could imagine eating in a year. “You couldn't get too attached to a particular brand though, because Da bought whatever they had that week. He would come down every two weeks or so, since we didn't have much storage room. He'd prowl the aisles and plan our menus around what was available. I guess that's why I learned to eat anything that was put in front of me,” she said reflectively. “But after Brendan left home, and Rory was gone so much, we dropped down to a more normal scale. Da still comes down before every family party, though. We really like the meat they sell here, and it is a very good bargain.”

They were browsing through the clothing tables where Jamie saw some cute pastel T-shirts and sweats, and she sorted through them to find the appropriate sizes for the girls. Ryan came back to the cart with bags and bags of white athletic socks. Each bag held six pairs, and she carried at least six bags. “So many?” Jamie asked.

“Two bags are for me,” she admitted. “I throw all of my socks away once a year. Then I buy two bags of these, and I'm set.”

“No wonder your socks always look nice. I thought you just did a fabulous job with the laundry!”

“No, my socks take a beating, and I truly hate to get blisters, so I make sure they're always nice and fluffy. The best way to do that is to cycle through them every year. Do you want socks too?”

“Sure, I could use some.” She examined the bag of good quality socks and exclaimed, “These are less than a buck a pair!”

“I know, babe. That's why I throw them out after a year.”

“Jesus! I sometimes pay $11 for a pair of Thorlos!”

“Stick with me, sweetie and I'll show you where all the bargains in the bay area lie!”

“Do you think the girls need jackets?” Jamie asked as she surveyed two tables full of lightweight winter jackets.

“Well, Jennie didn't have one on at the last basketball game, and it was cold out in my opinion, so my guess is she doesn't own one.” There were three different styles of coats available, and each came in two color choices, so they picked one of each to provide some individuality for the girls.

“I think we need to get them something fun, don't you?” Jamie asked as they left the clothing area. “They're still kids, after all.”

“That's why I wanted to come here, to tell the truth,” Ryan revealed. “Do you feel generous enough to buy them a couple of computers?”

“They don't have them?” she asked in amazement.

“Nope. Not a one in the house.”

“Absolutely!” Jamie agreed immediately as they found the electronics area. Jamie started to load six of the laptops into the cart, but Ryan stopped her.

“God, Jamie!” Ryan cried. “I think two is plenty.”

“Let's get three,” she begged. “Two girls to each one seems like a better ratio.”

“All right, but only one printer for the whole group,” she said firmly.

“Okay,” Jamie conceded, “but only if we can get them a flatbed scanner, too.”

“Deal,” Ryan decided. “Then let's get out of here before we go broke!”

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Luckily, the store accepted American Express, since they would not take Ryan's debit card for such a large purchase. As they waited for the manager to come approve the charge, Jamie opened her mouth to speak, but Ryan cut her off with a, “Don't you dare say, 'I told you so'!”

“Who, me?” she asked with a face full of innocence. “Even though I did tell you so,” she added as she danced away from Ryan's attempted pinch. Standing a safe distance away, Jamie said, “Many stores are funny about debit cards, hon. I was just trying to protect my little punkin by getting her an American Express card.”

The manager asked for another form of ID, but she was eventually satisfied that Ryan was who she claimed to be. As they pushed their two groaning shopping carts to the car, Ryan smiled at her partner and said, “It is nice having a charge card, Jamie. It let me pay for the doctor when I had to take Jennie down, and it let us do this. Thanks for being so thoughtful.”

“You're welcome,” Jamie smiled at her. “You know what I was just thinking of?”

“Huh-uh,” Ryan replied.

“I was just thinking of coming here when we have our big family. I want to need those massive boxes of cereal, too!”

“Baby, if our kids have O'Flaherty genes in them, we could need to come here if we just have one!”

* * * * * * * * * * * *

“I hate to even suggest this, but we should stop at Target,” Ryan said with a sick look on her face.

“That's another place I've never been,” Jamie admitted. “But why do you look like that?”

“Going to Target the week of Christmas is a little like going to the marketplace in New Delhi the day after Ramadan,” she warned.

“Have you been to New Delhi?” Jamie asked in surprise.

“Well, no,” Ryan said seriously. “Why would I go once I heard about the lines?”

* * * * * * * * * * * *

The Target was located not too far from Costco, and Jamie was surprised when Ryan went to the farthest corner of the massive lot to park.

“Why way out here?” she asked as she hopped out.

“One — we've got an awful lot of things in the back, and I don't want anyone to peek. Two — there's a cart return right next to us so I don't have to schlep the cart far. Three — there aren't any cars next to us to ding my doors. Four …”

“Good enough, babe,” Jamie interrupted. “I sometimes forget how much thought you put into every decision you make.”

“Hey, being careful got me the best girlfriend in the world, so don't knock my methods.”

“No complaints,” she agreed as she grasped Ryan's arm with both hands and pulled her close. “You don't mind if I hold on to you in public, do you?”

“I prefer it,” Ryan said as she leaned over to kiss the top of her partner's head.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Jamie had, in fact, been to New Delhi, and after seeing the crowds she thought that perhaps Ryan had not been forceful enough in her warning. “My God, this is total mayhem!”

“Yeah, but the biggest crowd will be by the toys. Let's head straight for the Christmas decorations and hope they've got something left.”

Their luck was holding because just as they arrived a clerk came out with a large hand-truck full of tiny white and multicolor lights and sparkly ornaments. Jamie suggested they use either multicolored lights with only one color of ornament, or go with multi-colored ornaments and white lights.

“I'm glad you're here,” Ryan mused. “I would have grabbed three of everything and hoped for the best!”

“No, honey, you have to plan this too. I think it might look most festive to buy every color ornament and go with white lights.”

“Okay,” Ryan said as she started throwing lights into the cart. When she started grabbing a couple of boxes of each color of ornament, Jamie interrupted again.

“They've got three different sizes, babe. Buy one of each so the tree has more depth.”


“If you vary the size of the ornaments, it creates an optical illusion and makes the tree look bigger.” Ryan shot her a dubious look, but did as she was told. Keeping with the Evans family tradition, they bought enough lights to illuminate Candlestick Park, but Jamie assured her that they were required. Some delicate multicolored garland was added to the now full cart, and they headed for the clothing area.

They decided that they'd buy a pair of jeans for each girl, and a pair of dressier pants as well. After a small debate, they also agreed on two blouses, three bras and seven pairs of panties for each. Ryan went to fetch another cart, then stopped for a box of popcorn, leaving Jamie fully in charge of the selections. When she returned, popcorn half eaten and a semi-guilty smile on her face, Jamie patted her side and said, “This isn't your favorite thing, is it?”

“Nope. It's bad enough buying clothes for myself. Buying them for others is torturous.”

“You go over there and browse in the electronics,” Jamie kindly directed. “Just leave me the empty cart.”

“You do love me, don't ya?” Ryan grinned, taking her up on her offer before she could change her mind.

When the cart was groaning, Jamie signaled her partner and they threaded their way through the confusing lines, where Ryan took over and guided the carts to the shortest line in the entire store. “You're good at this,” Jamie complimented her.

“Practice, practice, practice.”

“Hey, how about if I ask Mom to come help us trim the tree tonight? I don't think she's ever actually done one herself.”

“Great idea,” Ryan agreed. “See if she wants to have dinner first.”

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Catherine did indeed wish to join them, but she insisted that they allow her to take them out to dinner, since they had been running around all day.

Ryan heard Jamie's end of the conversation, and she asked for the phone. “Hey, Catherine?”

“Yes, dear?”

“How about that fabulous dim sum Jamie's always talking about? Isn't that place near your house?”

“You'd do anything to get out of going to a restaurant, wouldn't you, Ryan?” she teased.

“You've learned my tricks pretty quickly, Catherine. But I'll behave if you really want to go out.”

“No, dear, I love dim sum too. I'll bring enough for Mia, in case she's at home.”

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Over a fabulous dinner of all of Ryan's favorites, Catherine revealed what she had learned from her travel agent. Mia was present, but Jamie had told her mother that they were planning on surprising her with the trip, so she spoke as though the plans were for Ryan and Jamie alone.

“I spoke with my agent and he can get you into a fabulous room on Harbor Island,” she said excitedly.

“Is that in the Bahamas?” Ryan asked.

“Yes, Harbor Island is right off the tip of Eleuthra, which is one of the bigger islands. Anyway, he can book you from the thirty-first through the second. You could fly home on Monday the third, and be back in time for practice.”

“Can you take time off during basketball?” Mia asked.

“Yeah, we get Sunday and Monday off,” Ryan said. “And if we win both games in North Carolina I don't have to come home with the team,” she added, waggling her eyebrows playfully.

“What!” Jamie shouted.

“I told Coach Hayes about this trip, and she said I could go directly to the Bahamas if we win both games.”

“But, honey, what if you don't win?” Jamie protested.

“Do you really think I would allow us to lose with that kind of carrot dangling in front of my nose?” Ryan smirked.

“Ryan, things happen that you can't control. We won't be able to cancel if you have to go home,” Jamie explained.

“Then I'll just have to run a bunch of laps,” she declared defiantly, “'cause we're going!”

“God, you guys are making me soooo jealous,” Mia mused.

“Don't you have any plans for New Year's, Mia?” Catherine asked, trying to surreptitiously feel her out.

She looked down at her plate and muttered, “Not anymore.”

“Oh, I'm sorry, dear. What about Christmas?”

She brightened up a little as she cast a smile at Ryan. “I'm going over to Ryan's for Christmas Eve,” she related. “My parents are going to be in Rome, and they wanted me to come with, but I just wasn't in the mood.” Looking at Catherine she asked, “What about you Mrs. … I mean, Catherine,” she corrected herself.

“I'll be with all of you on Christmas Eve,” she revealed. “Then the girls are coming down to my house for Christmas Day. You're more than welcome to join us, Mia.”

“Thanks,” she smiled. “I might just do that. Do you have big plans for New Years, Catherine?”

Jamie held her breath since she knew this would be a tough time for her mother. In all of the excitement, she didn't stop to think of how sad it would be to be alone at the dawn of the new millennium.

“I've decided to go to Italy,” she revealed. “I'm leaving on the twenty-sixth and coming back on the tenth.”

“That's great, Mom,” Jamie said enthusiastically. “Are you … meeting friends there?”

“Ahh … yes, Jamie. I won't be alone.”

“It must be really hard for you right now,” Mia said with sympathy.
  1. is, dear, and thank you for your concern. I'm dealing with it as best I can.”

“You're doing a lot better than my mom did when she thought she'd caught my dad cheating,” Mia laughed, blushing furiously as she heard herself give voice to the family secret.

Mia's mother, Anna Lisa, had a legendary temper, and Catherine could only imagine what her reaction would have been. She couldn't contain her curiosity, and asked, “What happened, dear?”

“It was a long time ago — I was probably in high school,” she mused. “It was early in the morning, before school. My older brother came running down the stairs yelling, “'Hide, Mia! Mom's coming!' Of course, there were a million reasons for me to assume I had done something wrong, so I started running!” She laughed at the memory. “I ran out the front door with Peter right after me, and we were halfway down the driveway when my dad came running down the driveway in his boxer shorts!”

Catherine's mouth gaped open at this revelation, and Ryan had begun to chuckle as Mia continued. “Two seconds later, the door flies open, and my mom is there on the front step brandishing a big knife! She starts yelling at the top of her lungs that if she ever caught him with his … uhm … member … in another woman, she'd cut it off and grind it up for sausage!”

Ryan was slumped down in her seat, unable to hold herself upright through her laughter. But Jamie and Catherine sat unblinking with their mouths agape as Mia concluded, “I don't think she really would have.” After a beat she added, “But you never know, do you? All I know is that if he ever fooled around on her, she never found out about it.”

“Did he really have an affair?” Jamie asked, still stunned.

“Don't know. I don't think she knows either,” Mia admitted. “I think she was just suspicious, to tell you the truth.”

Catherine finally found her voice and said, “I think your mother had the right idea, Mia. If I had taken a stronger stand, Jim might not have had the nerve to keep it up.”

“That's exactly what my dad was worried about,” she said seriously. “He wanted to make sure he could keep it up!”

* * * * * * * * * * * *

The four of them drove over to Jennie's just as it was getting dark. Jamie, Catherine and Mia had decided to stay at the group home and organize the ornaments and lights, to allow for several of the girls to go with Ryan to pick up the tree. Jennie clearly had other ideas, because she grabbed Ryan's hand before she could get fully into the house and declared, “Nobody else wants to go. Come on,” she urged when Ryan didn't move quickly enough to suit her.

“Okay, okay,” she laughed. “Give me a half second.” She let the young woman lead her back down the sidewalk and into the car. As she started it up she asked, “Something wrong?”

“Huh-uh,” Jennie said with a smile. “I just don't get to see you alone much any more. I … kinda miss it,” she admitted.

“You know, I never stopped to consider that,” Ryan said thoughtfully. Turning to Jennie she said, “I'm sorry for that, Jen. I should have asked you if you minded doing things with other people all of the time.”

“I don't mind, Ryan,” she insisted. “I just like to be alone with you, too. There's stuff I can't talk about with other people around.”

“Anything you need to talk about now?” Ryan asked as she steered the car towards the local tree lot.

“No, not a lot,” she said.

“How are you feeling about the holidays?” Ryan asked gently. “Are you okay about being at Safe Haven?”

Casting a quick glance over at her friend, Ryan saw silent tears sliding down her pink cheeks. Turning the car onto a side street, she pulled to a stop and got out. Jogging around to Jennie's side, she opened the door and tugged at her shoulder until she got out as well. Ryan enveloped the small body in a tender hug, rubbing her back at the same time. “I'm sorry, Jen, I know it's hard to be away from home,” she whispered.

“It's just hard at Christmas …” she began, but Ryan knew it was much more than that. Being fourteen and abandoned in various ways by both parents had to be a wound that would never truly heal. She thought of her own fragile psyche, scarred severely because of her mother's death. The thought of having her parents voluntarily leave her was more than she could fathom.

“I know, Jen, I know,” she murmured as the small body shook against her. She knew there were no words to soothe her pain, so she offered her love and her empathy through her touch.

“I'm so glad you're my friend, Ryan,” she choked out. “I don't know where I'd be without you.”

“I'll always be your friend, Jennie,” she said solemnly. “I've never lied to you, have I?” she asked as she pulled back and made eye contact with the red rimmed eyes.

“No, never,” she agreed.

“I promise that I will always be here for you, Jen. I don't make promises like that often, and when I make one, you can count on it. Do you believe me?”

Her trusting blue eyes opened wide, and she nodded her head slowly. “I believe you, Ryan,” she murmured softly as she leaned in for another hug. She took a deep breath and revealed, “I didn't ask the other kids if they wanted to come tonight. I just wanted to be alone with you.”

“That's okay, sweetie. I'd rather be with you anyway,” she said as she leaned down and kissed her head. “Hey, what's going on here?” she teased, running her hand through the fine blonde hair. “Did you run out of razors?”

“No,” she said with a smirk. “I uhm … kinda want to look like …”

“The other girls at school?” Ryan asked.

“Yeah.” She blushed softly as she asked, “Do you think I'll fit in?”

“I do, and I'll help you in any way I can. How about I take you for a cool new haircut right before school starts?”

“Haircut?” she asked in amazement. “I think I need more hair, not less!”

“The guy I'll take you to can give you a little trim that will make everyone ask where you get your hair cut,” Ryan promised. “You can be a trendsetter!”

* * * * * * * * * * * *

The tree trimming party lasted until nearly ten o'clock. By the end of the evening, each of the girls had picked one of the older women to flirt with outrageously, save for Jennie, of course. To Ryan's great relief, three of the others decided that Mia was the one for them, and she mused that the constant attention seemed to be a good remedy for Mia's doldrums, even though the girls were only 16 and 17 years old. The boldest of the group, J.C., still had a hankering for Ryan, and the older woman politely put up with the not-so-subtle flirting until Jamie actually got up and insinuated herself between Ryan and her young admirer. Jennie's friend, Callie, seemed to have a crush on Jamie, but she was much more subtle in her overtures.

On the way home, Catherine observed, “Do you really think that's a good atmosphere for Jennie to grow up in? Those girls seemed so overtly sexual!”

“Oh, they are,” Ryan agreed. “Most of them have been tossed out of the house for some pretty outlandish behavior, and I would guess that most have been sexually abused at some point in their lives. Jennie has been around that type of thing for a couple of years now, and she really hasn't acted out sexually. Sandy keeps a very strict watch on the girls to make sure the older ones are never alone with the younger ones. Hopefully she'll meet some average kids her own age at Sacred Heart who can be good influences on her.”

“I worry about her,” Catherine repeated. “She is such a sweet child.”

“She really is,” Ryan agreed. “But wasn't it clear tonight why it's hard to place kids who've been abused? Those girls were practically in our laps!”

“I was about to pop that J.C. character,” Jamie mumbled.

“You can't let them get to you, Jamie,” Ryan reminded her. “They're just lonely kids who don't know how to get love any other way.”

“Oh, she knew how she wanted to get love, all right,” Jamie assured her. “And she looked like she could teach you a thing or two!”

“Uh-uh, no way,” Ryan vowed. “You're my one and only teacher!”

* * * * * * * * * * *

After practice the next day, Ryan dashed up the stairs to the Berkeley house, water dripping from the windproof/waterproof jacket and pants that Jamie had purchased for her after the soaking she had taken while getting lost running in a rainstorm. The day was very cold, the kind of damp cold that makes one's joints ache. Surprised to see how dry she was, Ryan took off her jacket and pants while still on the porch, her T-shirt and tights keeping her from shocking the neighbors.

She heard some very loud music coming from the living room, and after a moment she rolled her eyes at hearing one of the pop bands that Jamie had an inexplicable fondness for. I'll distract her and put something decent on, she decided, opening the door to find her partner gently swaying to the music. I'll never understand how she can like really complex classical pieces and this pabulum!

Ryan had opened the door so soundlessly, and the music was so loud, that for a moment the smaller woman didn't realize that she was being observed. Ryan leaned against the door, her face twitching into a warm smile as she watched her partner move gracefully to the music.

Jamie had a beautiful, graceful style of dancing that warmed Ryan's heart. The blonde often teased that Ryan didn't really dance — she just had vertical sex. Jamie however, had a much more demure, understated style that perfectly matched her personality. Smooth, poised, and refined — but with an undercurrent of passion that only someone who knew her well would notice. Ryan most definitely knew her well, and she felt her mouth begin to go dry when the beat picked up a little and Jamie's hips began to twitch more forcefully. Oh, my, she sighed internally, as her own hips picked up the beat. She checked her watch, and noted that they had two hours to kill, and she immediately decided just how the time would die.

She started to take a step towards her partner, but just as she did, Jamie moved under one of the warm lights that cast a golden glow onto her body. Ryan had never considered herself overly impressed by good looks. As adorable as she found Jamie, she had to admit that her outward appearance was not even in the top ten reasons that she was attracted to her. But every once in a while, she moved in a certain way, or had a particular expression on her face that made Ryan look at her as though it were the first time.

Ryan sucked in a breath as she considered what a fantastic-looking woman she had chosen to spend her life with. From her spun-gold hair to her dark blonde eyebrows, and lashes that batted slowly, hiding her verdant green eyes — Ryan loved every feature. Her small, well-formed nose and her absolutely luscious lips, so full and succulent-looking. And her skin … Ryan honestly had no words for her skin. As far as she knew, no one had ever been clever or poetic enough to conjure up words for the flawless wrapper that covered the most wonderful package in the world.

Without a word, Ryan kicked off her shoes and padded across the room, sweeping Jamie into her arms as she continued to move right along to the beat of the music. The smaller woman let out a gasp when Ryan's body wrapped around hers, but she quickly regained her equilibrium, managing to maintain the beat.

They moved together, neither speaking — neither needing to. Their bodies spoke volumes, and neither wished to interrupt. The next song was one that Ryan heard often, and she knew it was a favorite of her partner's. Surprisingly, when the lyrics began, Jamie started to sing along — but in Spanish. Ryan had privately thought that the song was ridiculously sappy, but the perfectly accented Spanish gave the tune a mysterious flavor that carried Ryan away. She closed her eyes and listened to her lover sing to her, while their bodies touched gently all along their lengths.

Cuando sintas tristeza
Que no pudas calmar
Cuando haya un vacio
Que no puedas llenar
Te abrazaré
Teharé olvidar lo que te hizo sufrir
No vas a caer
Mientras que estes junto a mi

They began to touch each other lightly, Ryan's hands unable to remain at rest. Switching to English, Jamie looked into her eyes and sang not a lyric, but a promise.

And I will take
You in my arms
And hold you right where you belong
Till the day my life is through
This I promise you
This I promise you

I've loved you forever
In lifetimes before
And I promise you never
Will you hurt anymore
I give you my word
I give you my heart
This is a battle we've won
And with this vow
Forever has just begun

Looking down into the beautiful green eyes that held her heart, Ryan bent and covered Jamie's mouth with a tender kiss. As much as she loved hearing her sing, she couldn't hold back another moment, and they held onto each other tightly as their bodies became one.

With a hunger that had quickly grown to voracious proportions, Ryan sucked greedily upon the coral-pink lips, then thrilled to the sensation of Jamie's slick tongue filling her mouth. Their moans nearly drowned out the music, and when Ryan stooped slightly, Jamie read her signal and jumped, landing in her arms.

In moments, they were in their room and Ryan was placing her gently on the bed. Jamie wrapped her arms around Ryan's neck, and pulled her right down with her, they grappled briefly, Ryan's body half off the bed — Jamie refusing to relinquish her hold. Ryan finally gained purchase and stretched out alongside her lover, covering her mouth once again, while her hands simultaneously worked on buttons and zippers and hooks.

Once again, Jamie mused that her lover clearly had some dominion over the fasteners on all forms of clothing. Ryan seemed to just give the order, and the garment opened. Jamie knew that such a feat was a physical impossibility, but she had no other explanation, so she chose to believe.

Lying there, her blouse open, slacks unzipped, the front closure of her bra no longer an impediment, Jamie smiled serenely when the dark, damp head dipped and took her breast into a warm mouth. She was feeling particularly sensitive today — and fairly sensual as well, as evinced by her impromptu dance number. But when Ryan's mouth began to suckle her, she felt an explosion of sensation that was tremendously stimulating — and made her long for more.

“Yes,” she moaned, with the first word of her own creation since Ryan had come home.

While her mouth worked the plump flesh, Ryan's determined right hand slipped into Jamie's pants — creating a trail of fire wherever her short nails traveled. Ryan loved to touch her partially-clad body — finding it much more erotic than complete nudity. Her mouth moved to the other breast, squeezing it between both hands as she did so. The pressure of her hands and the force of her sucking made Jamie growl with pleasure. She stuck her thumbs into her waistband and stripped off her slacks, the roomy cut of her khakis helping her to disrobe in moments.

As soon as her slacks and panties had been cast off, Jamie shifted her body and wrapped her legs around Ryan's waist, holding on tight as her partner ratcheted her desire higher and higher.

Pawing at the irritating clothing that kept her from feeling her partner's heated skin, she waited patiently while Ryan yanked off her T-shirt. Jamie took over then, unhooking her bra with care, revealing the twin prizes that her own questing mouth sought.

She took her time, savoring the variety of tastes and scents that buffeted her senses: the fresh scent of her soap; just a touch of baby powder; a faint note of musk, which would grow stronger with her arousal; and a bit of clean, salty sweat. And always, hiding under the artificial scents, was Ryan's own aroma — indescribable, but as familiar as the smell of her own home — permanently imprinted on her brain.

As Jamie's tongue swirled around the stiffening nipple, she felt Ryan's hands slip to her waist to peel off her tights. Then the long legs wrapped around Jamie's waist, holding her in place just as she had done to Ryan moments before.

She reveled in the feeling of being completely trapped — of being subject to Ryan's absolute whim, to do with as she chose. Her free hand went to the neglected breast, and plumped the nipple that her searching fingers found. Ryan replied lustily, moaning throatily as Jamie simultaneously sucked and squeezed.

The powerful thighs compressed, and Jamie could feel a wet kiss placed repeatedly upon her belly by Ryan's lower lips. Suddenly, their positions were reversed, and Jamie found herself on her back, with her legs dangling over Ryan's broad shoulders. Without warning, the dark head dipped and Jamie felt sensitive flesh pulled gently into Ryan's mouth, the warm, wet tongue and lips touching her everywhere. With a soft, determined sucking motion, Ryan consumed her, thrilling her to the core as she felt every part of her most delicate flesh disappear into that hungry mouth.

Jamie's jaw opened and closed impotently, her lips unable to form words. Ryan possessed her so totally that she couldn't move, so she consciously relaxed and let her lover feed. As soon as she gave up any attempt at control, her climax built and hit her hard, the feeling washing over her in waves, each one more calming, more soothing than the last.

Ryan's hot tongue wasn't ready to release her, and the silky smooth organ continued to stroke and play with Jamie's sensitized flesh. Jamie's hands went to her partner's back and stroked her with the same slow movements, soothing Ryan's racing heart.

Gently releasing her captive, Ryan climbed up her lover's body and took her into her arms, rocking her gently until she had fallen asleep against her. “I love you,” Ryan whispered, the first words that she had spoken.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Continued in Part 11