Reece's Faith, Part 34

©2000 -Vertigo-


For Disclaimers please see Part 1

"Oh girls, that was one of the most unusual days I've had in my life!" Marsha laughed, while Reece tried to extricate her from the tiny sports car with as much grace as possible.

Of course, the strong club owner could have simply leaned in and threw the woman over her shoulder, but she strongly doubted it would go over big, especially with her husband peering disgustedly through the front window.

Faith knelt on the driver's seat and pushed her mother's backside with her shoulder as her lover pulled her by the arms.

"Come... on... mom," the actress grunted.

Violet sat between Cori's legs on the hood of the car sharing a bag of chips, looking for all the world as if they watching a Marx Brother's movie. They had no problem sitting on top of each other in the back seat with Faith or climbing over everyone to get out. However, Mrs. Ashford was having quite the time unfolding herself from the bucket seat.

"Freak, what did you do to my car? This seat used to go back much farther."

"I, um, well..." Cori stammered while Violet blushed.

"Never mind. I probably wouldn't want my mother sitting there if I knew," Faith said as she poked her head over the roof of the car.

Finally, the older woman flew out of the car and into Reece's arms with a shriek. "Faith Beulah Ashford!" Marsha yelled. "That was a horrible thing to do to your mother."

"It got you out didn't it?" the actress smiled proudly.

"Beulah???!!" Reece dropped Mrs. Ashford and fell into hysterics. "Buh... Bu... Beulah??!! Oh, god..." she then snorted so loudly she began to choke. Cori and Violet rushed to her aid, both biting back their own laughter.

"Serves you right," the actress huffed. "I have you know that was my great-grandmother's name," Faith tried to sound haughty but failed to cover her embarrassment.

"Theresa, honey," Marsha patted Reece on the back, "hands up, reach for the clouds," she sang.

"Let's go, Mother."

"But she's choking," Mrs. Ashford worried.

"She'll live," Faith narrowed her eyes at her gasping lover. "Look, she's breathing already."

"Yeah, I'm fine," Reece choked, wiping the tears from her eyes.

"You are sooo punished," Faith whispered as she passed Reece.

"Punished? Hey! Wait! I was caught off guard!" the tall woman protested.

"Tsk, tsk, guess you've been cut off for the first time, eh Reece?" Violet jumped off the car.

"Looks like you'll be sleeping alone tonight, boss," Cori teased. "Man, and you got such nice Christmas gifts, too," she shook her head with disappointment.

"Drop. Dead. Freak." The tall woman started for the door, paying no attention to the woman writhing around on the sidewalk in a dramatic death scene.

"Definitely Oscar worthy, hon," Violet applauded after the dancer twitched for the last time.

"Ya think?" Cori began to get up. "See? There's more than one actress in the bunch," she snickered.

Quinn Ashford stood tapping his foot while the women poured through the door. Marsha stopped taking off her coat long enough to put her hands on her hips and stare him down. Reece stood behind the older woman displaying one of her most menacing stares.

"Quinn, you just keep whatever comment you may have to yourself. The girls have been through enough already without having to hear your narrow-minded gibberish," she stood there challenging him to say something.

Quinn so desperately wanted to say something, he had seen everything on the news. Glancing back and forth between the two women, his confidence faltered. That icy cold stare and his wife's unwavering stance made him think twice.

How can she stand there and defend that place, and that... woman? What has happened to my wife? My whole family has gone mad! What am I going to say to the guys at the country club? 'My daughter's in love with a homicidal dyke?' Jesus! I'll be blacklisted! It was killing him. He took a deep breath and saw the figure behind his wife shift her stance. He made eye contact with every intention to cow that woman into backing off. However, the look in those blue eyes caused his throat to go dry. After swallowing several times and then looking back at his wife, Quinn threw his hands up in the air, defeated.

Marsha harrumphed. Reece turned on her heel and sprinted up the stairs. Satisfied that the man would cause no problems for the mean time, she had to see about this "being punished" business.


"Sweetie?" Reece knocked on the closed bedroom door.

Faith smirked. Sweetie? Okay, that's a good start.

"Can I come in?"

"No," the actress sat on the bed, smiling. I'll only make her beg for a little while. Its so cute.

"Faith? It slipped out... Beulah is really a pretty name."

"I can hear you gagging from here, Reece."

"I just want to tell you something."

Faith bit her lip. Reece sounded like a little child. "What, Theresa," she tried to sound really annoyed, but giggled quietly as she heard her lover groan and bang a body part on the wall with a thud.

"I wasn't laughing at you baby, I swear it. Can I come in?"

"Gee, Reece, it sounded like laughter to me," the pout was evident in her voice.

Shit, she's really upset... The club owner knocked her head on the wall again. Well, it's a funny name. I'm sure I'm not the first to laugh. Mine's kinda funky, but that's a nun for ya. She wondered what to do when Cori wandered by and snickered. Reece glared at her and Cori waved it away with a flick of her hand.

Rolling her eyes, she gestured for the tall woman to bend down to her. "You really want to be forgiven?" she whispered into Reece's ear.

The tall woman nodded furiously.

Cori pointed to the floor. Reece shook her head back and forth furiously.

The dancer pointed and glared.

The club owner reluctantly knelt in front of the door. "I'm on my knees here, baby," Reece pled with Cori's coaching.

"I'm not convinced."

Cori handed her a pad and pen, but Reece had no idea why.

The dancer shook her head in mock disgust and snatched the items away, drawing a heart and shoving it back at the club owner.

"Faith? Look at the floor," Reece shoved the paper under the door. "I'm begging out here."

The actress picked up the paper and smiled. "I can hear that. What else you got for me?"

Sensing headway, Reece shooed the dancer away. "Here," she slipped another paper under the door.

Faith picked up the smiley face and chuckled.

"I heard that, Faith. Let me in."

"I'm still not convinced," the actress fixed her hair in the mirror.

"Now look," Reece smirked.

Faith looked down to see the next paper, followed by another paper. She picked them up and began reading about how much Reece loved her and what she intended to do to show her. Whew! She sure knows how to describe that particular activity. "Now that's more like it," she said as she threw open the door.

Reece fell into the room on her hands.

"You really were on your knees," Faith laughed.

"Apparently," Reece said as she crawled into the room, knowing how Faith would react.

Faith regretted opening the door as she became instantly aroused at the sight of her tall lover on all fours. "You're forgiven," she said rather breathlessly and sat on the bed, patting the space beside her.

"Is this where we kiss and make up?" Reece jumped into her spot and pushed her lover down playfully.

"No, this is where we kiss. Making up comes later."

Reece climbed on top of her and slowly slid her knees down until she was covering Faith's whole body, then laid down cradling Faith's head with her forearms, her hair falling onto the actress's ears, tickling them.

Faith sucked in her bottom lip as she felt the weight of her lover slowly envelop her. "You feel so good on top of me, Reece."

Reece kissed Faith gently at first, but both became carried away quickly. Faith, once she slid her hands down to her lover's backside, and Reece, when Faith grabbed said area and pulled her down even harder. The tall woman groaned and began a slow grind into the smaller body.

"Reece, baby... wait..."

"Shh... kiss... mmmm"

Maybe making up won't be such a bad idea, thought the actress as she wrapped a leg around her lover's thighs.


Quinn sat back down in the recliner and flipped on the TV. He stopped at the live report from the club. They were rehashing the earlier scenes, cutting bits and pieces together randomly. They began by showing the tape of when Faith exited the club with Reece, the two strange girls and his wife.

While he had to admit he was impressed with the way the tall woman protected his little girl, easily parting the crowd and keeping the protesters away from her, he felt Faith still had no business being there. If it wasn't for that crazy woman corrupting her, she'd have been home right now and not displaying these antics to the entire Tri-state area. In addition, home not only for the holidays... and for good. He made a disgusted sound and raised the volume on the TV.

"Ms. Ashford? Are you involved with Ms. Corbett romantically?"

"*Bleep* you, you *bleep*hole!"

My daughter, the truck driver. Jesus, Faith!

"Have you any idea of her criminal past?"


Reece turned to the reporter with a venomous glare, then the image of her face was replaced by one of the sidewalk. When the camera righted itself, the two strange girls were wiggling their tongues at the camera while just sliding into the car.

"Freaks, the whole lot of them," he muttered, shutting off the TV.

"Funny you should say that, dear," Mrs. Ashford chuckled, ushering the girls into the room.

"What the hell is that?" Quinn pointed at Cori with disbelief.

"Cori and Violet. They're Faith's very good friends. They'll be having Christmas dinner with us tonight."

"Like hell they are! FAITH! Get down here this instant!" he yelled, deliberately knocking into Violet on his way to the stairs.


"Son of a bitch!" Faith jumped off the bed, slamming Reece's head into the headboard.

"OW! Oof." the club owner fell onto the pillow, blinked away the stars and turned over.

"Why is it when ever that man is in my house, I come up injured?" she rubbed the sore spot on her forehead, pulled down her shirt and ran out after Faith.


"What the Hell is wrong with you?" Faith asked her father.

"That's what's wrong with me," he hollered, pointing at Cori. "I will not eat Christmas dinner with that."

"Cori," the dancer provided.

"Shhh," Marsha patted Cori on the shoulder.

"You know, I could say something profound about how one shouldn't 'judge a book' and all that rot, but in your case, Dad, it'll just get lost between your ears. I don't know why I thought you could be civilized long enough to have dinner. I can't believe you're my father."

"You watch your mouth, little girl!" he pointed his finger at Faith.

"Honestly, Quinn, she's hardly a little girl and I think you're the one who should watch your mouth. This isn't your castle, have some respect. If not for Cori then for Theresa's home."

Reece took her place at Marsha's side and folded her arms.

"Respect?!" he waved his finger at Reece.

The club owner widened her stance, her upper lip curling.

"Her!? A common criminal? Why, she's nothing but a worthless thug..."

Faith covered her father's mouth with one hand and put the other on Reece's chest to hold her back. The feel of Reece's heart hammering wildly against her hand frightened her.

Quinn grabbed his daughter's hand and yanked it away.

"I am still your father, Faith! How dare you..." he held her hand up in the air and, to the dismay of everyone in the room, Faith grimaced in pain.

Reece reached around her lover and covered Quinn's face with her hand and squeezed. Her teeth ground together audibly.

"Reece, no!" Faith cried.

"Don't... you... ever... touch... her... again," she spoke slowly in a very deep voice. "Ever. Do you hear me?"

Marsha gasped and covered her mouth with her hand. Cori and Violet froze. It appeared to the piercer that Reece actually became larger. Violet had only heard about the Reece of the past and the stories were scary enough. Witnessing what she feared was The Animal was downright chilling. This wasn't her friend.

Reece squeezed harder, the man started bending at the waist.

"REECE! PLEASE!" Faith yelled in a panic, holding on to Reece's shirt.

"Apologize, worm," the tall woman let go of his face as she shoved him backwards and balled her fists at her sides.

"Faith, let go of me," the tall woman growled.

"No. You're scaring me. Please calm down, please! I'll make him leave, I promise!" she begged.

Reece stood there, leaning against Faith's hand, her chest heaving erratically into her palm.

Faith stared into Reece's narrowed eyes, she noticed her jaw clenching spasmodically, her nostrils flaring. God, she is just like an animal.

Reece was fuming and Faith had never actually felt her lover's body this tense with anger. The actress hadn't ever been in body contact with Reece when she'd lost control; the energy pouring into her body through her hand was intense. She let go of her shirt and started rubbing her hand in small circles on Reece's chest, not really knowing what to do.

"Quinn, come in here this instant!" Marsha was petrified for her husband.

Quinn stood there shocked. That woman was stronger than any man he had ever met. With just her hand, she had sent him sprawling on his ass. And Faith is holding her back. He shivered with the thought of his little girl on the receiving end of such strength and again at the thought of his daughter denying her anything. Oh god! His mind filled with images of the maniacal club owner controlling his daughter, abusing her, taking what she wanted forcefully and he became furious again.

Seeing her father open his mouth, Faith turned her head towards him and warned, "Don't you even think about it. If I was so inclined, I could have just let her at you and maybe you would have learned your lesson. However, I'm not so inclined and I really don't want to clean up the blood on Christmas Eve." Faith's calm tone was the best acting job she'd done yet.

Reece's body started to become more pliant and her heart had slowed down some, but Faith knew that she was still enraged. The actress felt trapped. She looked at her mother who nodded worriedly, tiling her head in the direction of her soothing motions.

"Baby, it's okay, I'm going to take care of it and then we're going to eat. Please trust me," she glanced at Cori who was just as scared as she was. Faith tried to convey confidence to her friend. She was going to let go of Reece and send her off with Cori. "Mother, take Reece into the kitchen. Cori and Violet, you go and see to it that they stay there. I have something to discuss with my father."

Reece stepped forward naturally when Faith let go of her and Quinn flinched. The club owner sneered at him.

"C'mon, Bosslady, let's go play with the turkey," she tugged on Reece's rigid arm and managed to pull her away.

Faith shoved her hand into her hair so hard she practically threw herself backwards. "I want you out of here. Do you hear me? Never, ever step foot into this house again. I'm ashamed of you," the actress said through her tears.

"Faith, how can you let that monster..."

"Monster? You're calling her a monster? God, Daddy, did you ever listen to yourself? Did you ever think before you spoke? How does Mom even stand to breathe the same air as you?"

"I'm scared for you. Baby, listen to me..."

"Baby?" she laughed. "No, you listen to me. Like it or not, Reece is my lover, my heart and soul. She loves me, she holds me and she makes me feel whole. I'm incredibly happy with her. If she's only gone for an hour, I miss her terribly. Speaking her name makes me smile. I feel like a thousand little sparks run through my body every time she touches me. Most of all she respects me. She'd never hurt me knowingly and she'd never ever raise her hand to me in anger. Simply looking at her sometimes makes me giddy. Reece is my whole world and that's perfectly fine with me. Most fathers would do anything to have that for their little girl. You... you just insult her, hurt me and disrespect me in our home. How dare you? I want you to go away and don't ever come back. I'd give you an ultimatum like, 'When you think you can accept Reece,' but since I don't see that happening any time soon, just go."

Quinn sat heavily on the couch. He leaned his elbows on his knees and covered his face with his hands. He began to cry.

"I'm so sorry, Faith, please don't make me go," he sobbed.

Faith looked at her father and felt a twinge of guilt. "This is my house, you're not welcome here anymore."

The actress broke down. It was harder than she thought to say what she did. It hurt her to tell him that she didn't want to see him any more and her father was crying for the first time in her life.

"I'm so sorry..." he blubbered.

She was hurt, guilty, confused and needed to feel her lover's strong comforting arms around her right that second. Which is exactly what she felt when she turned to leave the room. "Oh, Reece," she sobbed into the tall woman's chest.

"Shhh, it's okay, Faith, it's all going to be okay," Reece cooed and scooped her lover up into her arms. The tall woman stared at the broken man for a moment before glancing over towards the kitchen where three worried faces eagerly awaited the outcome. Reece nodded at them and kissed her lover's head. "I got ya, baby," she whispered into the red hair as Faith burrowed deeper into her chest.


The tall woman laid Faith down on the bed and held her until she cried herself to sleep. She wondered as she gazed at her lover, what it must feel like to have a father, and to have him turn on her like Faith's did. God, that must suck. Reece thought about how it must hurt Faith; what it must feel like to be torn between your lover and your parent. She couldn't get a good grip on the emotion, but if it made Faith this upset, it must be horrible. Who is he to come in here and make her feel this way? He's her father! He should be holding her hand, making her laugh, embarrassing her by singing off-key. This is no way to treat a child.

Faith turned over into her usual fetal position and Reece knew she was out for the count. She kissed her lips and closed the door behind her. Coming down the stairs, she heard Marsha begging Quinn to stay for dinner.

"My daughter doesn't want me here Marsh, she hates me. I really made a mess, didn't I?" he sighed heavily. "My daughter hates me."

"See, here's the good thing in all this, sir, I don't think Faith can hate anybody. Even you."

Quinn looked up to see Reece halfway down the stairs, leaning over the banister.

"Your daughter cried herself to sleep just now and I couldn't do anything about it. That just makes me feel bad. She was crying over you. That sickens me," she said as she came down the stairs.

Quinn backed up as she got closer. Reece stopped moving and lifted her hands.

Cori shot her a pleading look.

"Its alright, Cori, I'm not going to hurt him. Faith did that better than I could. I think he's learned not to fuck with me... or Faith, for that matter. Haven't you, sir?"

Quinn backed up another step; Reece cocked her head and raised an eyebrow. When the man didn't answer, she sat down on the coffee table a good distance away. "Take off your coat, Mr. Ashford, you're staying for dinner."

Violet came out of the kitchen with that comment.

"You want me to stay?" he asked dazed.

"Shit no, I can't stand to look at you and I know the feeling's mutual," she chuckled, "but Faith does."

"She doesn't want to look at me either," he hung his head down. Marsha came over and hugged him.

"Sir, you have a terrific wife and a fantastic daughter. How you turned out to be such a flaming asshole, I'll never know. But," she sighed deeply. "Faith loves you, god only knows why, so I have to play Suzy fucking homemaker."

Quinn looked to his wife as if to say, 'Does she always talk like that?' Marsha just shrugged.

Reece bowed her head and blew out a breath, ruffling her hair. She didn't want to do this, but for Faith, she'd walk through Hell and back. Leaning forward on her elbows she continued, "Faith doesn't want you to leave as much as I don't want you to stay. So, you have options here. You either go upstairs and apologize, tell her how much you love her and make this a great Christmas for everyone -- and personally, I really hated Christmas until Faith walked into my life -- or you can leave and probably never see her again."

Quinn's lip quivered.

"Of course, that would break her heart, in turn make my life a little more difficult, in which case you'd be at the very top of my shit list," Reece couldn't hide the smirk as the man grimaced.

"Thank you," Marsha cried.

"Go on, the choice is yours, but I suggest you go up and be Faith's father. I would have given anything to know what that's like, sir." Reece got up and started to walk into the kitchen. She felt very sad -- for Faith and her father. How can you make a miracle, produce a life and be so careless with it?


The tall woman started at her name coming out of his mouth. She turned to see his hand outstretched. "Don't patronize me sir. You can hate me, I don't care," Reece sneered.

"Reece, please. I mean it," Mr. Ashford held his shaking hand out and tried again. "What you said about not having a father..."

"Is none of your concern. Go up and make sure Faith knows hers still loves her no matter what. That's what fathers do, isn't it?"

Quinn wouldn't take no for an answer. He clasped Reece's forearm and turned her around. "Okay, so I'm an asshole."

Reece snorted and looked at his hand.

A flaming asshole."

Reece exhaled a laugh through her nose.

"I was afraid for Faith. All I heard were stories about you... I saw you arrested, lose your cool plenty of times; I was scared. You have to admit, you're pretty intimidating when you want to be." Reece nodded so he continued, "Then I saw what happened today..." he sighed heavily, "I'm ashamed to admit that I was worried about what others may say about Faith; how it would make me look."

"Fuck 'em," Reece shrugged.

"Have you seen some of those people? Not with someone else's..."


"Well, you get the point," he grinned. "I was afraid that you were hurting her, I mean the way you hurt me didn't convince me that... Anyway, then Faith told me how much you mean to her, how incredibly happy she is... and she's right you know, every father wants his little girl to be that happy for the rest of her life. I shouldn't care that you're a woman or what other people think."

"She said she's happy? How happy did she say she was? She told you I make her that happy?" Reece blurted out.

"You're such an asshole, Reece," Cori laughed.

"Food's almost ready, everyone," Violet announced.

Reece shook Mr. Ashford's hand loose. "Well, time to make merry," she turned to go upstairs.

"Reece? I thought I was going to go up?" Quinn asked hopefully.

"I think she'd love that," Reece smiled and took his hand this time.

"Thank you so much for the chance, Reece."

"Don't fuck it up. I still don't like you very much."

Reece shook his hand a bit longer before going to the couch. A hundred emotions swirled around in her head, making it throb. She leaned back and covered her eyes with her arm.

"Shit I hope I did the right thing."

Someone sat down very close and suddenly Reece was enveloped in a warm soft embrace.

"Hey!" she jumped up uncomfortably.

"Oh stop being so butch and let a mother hug you for once."

"Fine," she said tensely although she had to admit, it felt really good. She relaxed into her lover's mother's arms and sighed contentedly. It felt safe.

"You did really well, Theresa. I'm so proud of you."

To her utter embarrassment, tears sprang to Reece's eyes.

"Shhh, it's alright. Just you let me hold you." Mrs. Ashford had a feeling that the fearless strong woman needed to cry. These last few days had been an emotional roller coaster. She had often wondered about this woman, what made her the way she is? It was apparent that she was hurt, troubled, but she was curious to know why. Cori barely contained her laughter when the older woman asked her if the club owner ever really cried or if she ever talked about her mother. The dancer briefly explained to Faith's mom the hell that was her friend's childhood and this made the older woman weep herself.

Marsha was determined to let the dark woman know she had someplace to go if she just needed to be held. Everyone deserved that much out of life... to be hugged, noncommittally, no questions asked. What a shame, she thought, that Theresa never knew a mother's unconditional love. She never knew what it felt like to have someone tell her she was special, or important, looked at her through a mother's eyes.

The older woman felt her daughter's lover clasp her tightly and try to pull away. Knowing that the usually controlled woman was probably mortified by her actions, she had to reassure her. Marsha pulled back and held Reece's face in her hands. She tried to convey as much understanding with her eyes as she could. She wiped the tears away with her thumbs. "You're such a beautiful girl Theresa. I'm so sorry you never had a mother's love." Mrs. Ashford pushed long black strands behind Reece's ears gently. "It's a terrible shame," she leaned in and kissed her forehead.

"Stop it, Mrs. A., I don't deser... need this, alright?" Reece was terribly ashamed to be crying like this.

"No, you stop it. You're worthy of a little TLC too, you know. No one's too big to need a mommy."

"Jesus!" Reece breathed as her tears renewed themselves. She allowed the older woman to hold her, rock her. She felt like a baby, and for once, it was okay with her. She rubbed her face into the older woman's shoulder, finding her humming reassuring.

"Why don't you think you're deserving of love, sweetheart? How did you get this way? Who hurt you so badly? Hmm?"

"No one. Everyone."

The older woman cradled the tall club owner as she wept. "You're only human, Theresa, and human's need to feel safe; they crave contact. When it's denied too long, they become wild. Is that what happened to you?"

"Yes," Reece shook her head.

"Well, I'll tell you something, never be ashamed to be human."

Reece nodded.

"Faith makes you feel safe, doesn't she?" Mrs. Ashford peered down at the contradiction in her arms. All power and strength, yet she's as frail as a butterfly.

Another nod followed by a loud sniff.

"Well, we'll keep this our little secret, won't we? No one has to know anything, okay?"

"Okay," Reece sniffled, feeling much better that she did a minute ago.

"Faith is going to come down those stairs and faint dead away when she sees this," Violet whispered to her lover.

"Nonsense. She's gonna crawl up on her momma's lap too," Cori whispered back. "This is so sweet I think I'm gonna cry."

"You think she's ever been hugged like that before?"

"No, never. I can hardly imagine a nun doing motherly... and that bastard who beat her... But Faith is Marsha's daughter, so I think Reece got pretty lucky."

"Oh god, Reece! What's wrong?" Faith ran over to the embracing women in a panic.

Reece sniffed a few times before pulling away from the embrace. "Your mom was feeling me up again."

Faith raised an eyebrow at her lover and watched her carefully as she stood up.

"Sir," she acknowledged Mr. Ashford as she passed him by.

"She does give good hugs, huh?" Quinn whispered with a wink.

Red faced, the club owner swiped at her eyes one last time. "Are we gonna eat or what?" she asked, standing behind her lover and wrapping her arms around her middle.

"I'm starved!"

"Yeah, where's the food!?"

"Come on!"

After everyone crowded into the kitchen, the tall woman squeezed Faith harder. She drifted them under the mistletoe and kissed Faith's head. "Are you okay?" she leaned over and kissed an ear, then some neck.

"Perfect. I was going to ask you the same thing," Faith said suspiciously.

"Never been better," she said as she lifted then twirled the actress around.

"Mom does strange things to you, hon. I'm worried about this," Faith chuckled.

"What happened with your father?"

"He surprised me. I woke up and he was sitting on the bed. I had no idea what was going on. Then he told me he loved me," she shook her head. "Coulda knocked me over with a feather," Faith smiled as Reece caressed her belly and showered her neck with tiny kisses. "As if you had nothing to do with it," Faith narrowed her eyes accusingly.

"Me?" Reece pointed at herself and blinked rapidly.

"Oh, right. The picture of innocence. Yeah, you," the actress turned in her lover's embrace and hugged her tightly.

"I only did it 'cuz I thought it would make you happy," the club owner pointed to the mistletoe and Faith leaned up for her kiss.

"And I love you dearly for it," she returned to her position and kissed Reece's bicep.

"He impressed me."

Faith drew back eye's wide and stared at her lover.

"In his own asinine way, he was being as protective of you as I am. I don't think I can really blame him, Faith."

"What do you mean? Whom was he protecting me from?"

"Me," She put her fingers on Faith's lips to hush her, and grinned at the pout she found. "Faith, look at it this way, if you were in his shoes and the only time you met me, I was dressed entirely in leather, groping your wife, beating you up, getting arrested for assault... What would you think? I'm not sayin' he's right for the way he acted, god knows he's an asshole, but really, what would you do?"

"You really took the time to think from his point of view?" Faith asked with wonder.

"Honestly? No," she grinned sheepishly. "But it hit me when I heard how badly he hurt when he said that you hate him. It all flooded in my head," she shrugged.

"You are something else." Faith skimmed down Reece's arm with her fingertips.

"See, I know I'm overprotective, but I know what I'm protecting you from. He didn't. He was assuming I was doing all sorts of terrible things to you. All he had to do was ask."

Faith's hand drifted to Reece's face and she traced her features.

"Faith there's a downside to the two of us being so mutually inclined to protecting you."

Faith stopped moving her hand and rested them on her lover's lips. "What's the downside?" she asked distractedly.

"With the two of us both feeling like we have something to prove to the other, it could go two ways. It could either become a brawl or a cock measuring contest."

"God help me," Faith shuddered with horror. "I don't think I'd be long for the free world if you and Dad started measuring your penises. They'd have to put me away," she winced hard.

Reece chuckled, "Is everything okay between you guys now?"

"With Dad? Yeah, we talked, I talked mostly, but he promised to see things from your point of view. Ironic, huh?" the actress smiled.

"Like rain on your wedding day," Reece bent down and kissed Faith's nose.

"Like a black fly in your chardonnay," the actress responded in kind.

"You guys coming or what?" Cori slapped herself in the forehead immediately after asking.

"Nah, that was way too easy, Freak," Reece chuckled.

"Bless you. Marsha would have killed me if I provoked you into saying another bad word," the dancer's head disappeared around the bend.

"C'mon, baby, let's eat."

"Okay, but wait a sec." Reece ran over and put on the stereo. "All Christmas tunes, all day," she remarked as she took Faith's hand.

"I really have to talk to my mother about what she's been feeding you."

"Ooo, I like this song," Reece snapped her fingers a few times before singing with the radio. "Walkin' in women's underwear. Ow! Who hit me?"

"Theresa, what did I say about being fresh?" Mrs. Ashford tapped her foot.

"Sorry, Mrs. A.," Reece sat down with a pout.

"Mom, we really have to talk," Faith said, her eyes never leaving her lover.

"Later, dear. The sooner we eat, the sooner we can open our gifts."

"We're opening them tonight?" Faith asked, disappointed. She was looking forward to Christmas morning.

"Only the ones we got for you and Theresa."

"Ooo, you got me a present?" Reece lit up.

"Yeah, we're staying in a hotel tonight," Quinn piped in.

"God bless us all... everyone," Reece lifted her hands to the ceiling.


"See how your mother talks to me, Faith?"

"Shut up and eat," Faith shoved potatoes in her lover's mouth, "smartass."


Part 35

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