These Dreams
By Verda
Copyright 1999

Disclaimer: The characters of Xena and Gabrielle belong to Renaissance Pictures. This is an Uber-Xena story. No copyright infringement is intended. This story was not written for commercial purposes.

LOVE/SEX DISCLAIMER: This story contains scenes depicting a love/sex relationship between two consenting adult women.

Please send all comments to me at:

The little blond raised her eyes from her work to glance at the clock. Damn, she thought, I'm gonna miss my deadline. Samantha was an artist, and an illustrator of children's books. She needed one more illustration for the book she was working on and there was just no time. Riffling through the rejection pile she found one that would have to do and quickly scanned the images to e-mail to her publisher. She hated sending something she was not totally pleased with but they had had too many delays on this book as it was and the deadline was firm.

What a relief, she thought as she leaned back in her chair and closed her eyes. That was too close.
The afternoon sun streamed in the window, warming her, relaxing her. She caught herself drifting off and jerked herself awake. Get your lazy butt out of that chair, she told herself. Remember Mom is coming this weekend and this place is a mess. She glanced around the room wondering where to start. There was just not enough room for everything; the little bachelor apartment was filled to the brim leaving just a path that went from the bathroom, to her bed, to the drafting table and kitchenette. That was all the empty space there was. The room was tiny and one entire wall was filled with shelves packed with her art supplies. The wall space between the bathroom and her bed was stacked with canvases. Boxes were everywhere, filled with books mostly. She had a passion for reading and when she was not into her artwork, her nose was in a book.

Samantha heard the sound of rapid footsteps coming up her stairs. Dusty must have broken up with another boyfriend, she thought as the door burst open and the petite little brunette breezed into the room. Dusty had been her next door neighbor and best friend since she was ten years old, but she rarely saw her these days unless she was between boyfriends.

"You're not going to believe who I saw today," the young woman said, as she leaned over the drafting table.

Curiosity got the best of the young artist, and she took the bait. Looking eagerly at Dusty she asked. "Who?"

"Your dream girl."

"Ha ha, very funny," Samantha said as she turned back to her work.

"No, I'm serious."

"What's that supposed to mean? Why is it you think any woman who makes it to twenty-two years old and is still a virgin must be a dyke."

"Hey, I never said that," Dusty replied holding her hands up in supplication. " Me thinks thou doth protest too much. What I meant is exactly what I said." Dusty replied over her shoulder as she walked to the canvases stacked against the wall and began looking through them.
" Ah, here she is." Holding up a painting of a beautiful woman with striking blue eyes " I saw her today; Blue Eyes." Dusty said as she carried the painting back to Samantha.

"You're kidding me, right?" The young artist replied, suddenly very interested. Could it really be her? She thought, as she unconsciously snapped her pencil in half.

"No I'm not kidding… it was uncanny, she looked just like her." Dusty laughed as she sat on the arm of Samantha's chair gazing at the painting. "She must have thought I was crazy when I kept staring at her, but I couldn't help it. It was so weird."

"Did you find out her name?"

"No, I just stared at her like an idiot."

"Did you follow her and find out where she lives?"

"Are you crazy? I ain't no freakin' PI for Christ's sake."

Samantha realized immediately how silly that sounded, expecting her friend to follow this stranger home. "Where's your sense of humor?" She grinned. " I was just kidding." Her face took on a more serious look. " I would like to see her though…you know, see if she really looks like the woman in my dreams."

"Believe me, she does."

"How would you know, you aren't privy to my dreams."

"How could I not know?" The look she flashed Samantha was incredulous. "You've been telling me about her for years. And lets face it, you're a wonderful artist. I've never seen you paint anyone that wasn't a good likeness."

" How tall do you think she was?"

"At least six feet, maybe a little taller."

Nodding Samantha asked, "What was she doing?"

"She was talking to some creepy looking guy; a real loser. She noticed that I was watching her and I looked away. When I looked back she was smiling at me. I know she was laughing at me, thinking what's that idiot staring at."

"She probably thought you were coming on to her." Samantha replied, trying to keep a serious look on her face. Turnabout is fair play, she thought.

"God, do you really think so?" The look of mortification on Dusty's face was priceless and Samantha couldn't help but laugh. Realizing that Samantha was joking, Dusty joined in and their laughter filled the room.

Wiping the tears from her eyes Samantha's gaze turned serious again. " Where exactly did you see her?"

"She was coming out of the Right Way Health Club, and the loser guy I told you about came up to her and started talking to her. She was dressed in sweats, so I guess she must have been working out."

"Great. What time was it that she came out?"

"About 1 PM." A frown crossed Dusty's face. "Samantha, you're not gonna stalk her, are you?"

"Don't be silly. I just want to see her in the flesh instead of in my dreams." Shaking her head she added, "Don't you see Dusty, she's real and I didn't even get to see her. I have to find her, I have to see her for myself."

The frown on Dusty's face deepened. "I never should have told you about her. Now you're gonna be more obsessed then ever."

"I am not obsessed with her."

"Call it what you want, but I call it obsession. How many drawings of her have you done…a hundred? And how many paintings? Your little imaginary friend is going to take over your life if you don't watch out"

"But you have to admit that this is strange. I've been dreaming about her for as long as I can remember, and now to have proof she's real…"

"Wait a minute… this woman looks like the women in your dreams but she's not her. That's impossible."

"How else would you explain it?"


"Get real Dusty. I could accept coincidence perhaps if it was just the face, but you said she was six feet tall. What do you think the odds are that there would be someone with her face and height? Astronomical."

Dusty walked to the door shaking her head. "If you get yourself arrested as a stalker, I'm gonna give you a big fat 'I told you so'."

With that she left the room, but Samantha didn't even notice. "She's real," she whispered. "And I'm gonna find her."


The visit with her mother had been dreadful. She had ridiculed everything about Samantha's new abode and made her feel like she was a little girl again. "You left home for this," she had said, looking around with great disdain. Her parents were not happy when she had decided to leave home, and to leave home for this was unacceptable to them. "It's all I can afford right now, and besides I like it," she had countered. The rest of the day had been much the same and Samantha breathed a sigh of relief when her mother finally left.

Her mind drifted back to the mystery woman, and she contemplated why it was so important for her to find her. She thought about the dreams. Why have I been dreaming about you…why? Her mind tried to sort through the conflicting emotions she felt when she thought about her. And she thought about her a lot. Dusty had gotten tired of hearing about her dreams, and she avoided the subject all together with her parents. They had even sent her to a shrink to find out why she was so obsessed with a woman - granted an imaginary woman - but a woman just the same. When the age of first love, boys and crushes came and went without their precious even dating at all, it was just too much. But Blue-eyes was not imaginary, not someone she created. Samantha had always believed that she was real. Now she planned to come face to face with the flesh and blood reality.



Samantha had been watching the Health club between 11:AM and 1:30PM for almost three weeks now and still there was no sign of Blue Eyes. Perhaps she was not a regular customer. There was also the chance that lunch was not her regular time to work out, and the day Dusty had seen her had been an exception. After waiting with no success she decided she needed to come up with a better plan. She needed to find out if Blue Eyes was indeed even a member of this club. Perhaps she had never been in the place before and Dusty just happened to see her the one time she had been there. There was only one way to find out; she had to go in and ask. Samantha knew the odds were against her, and that she was grasping at straws. Most clubs would protect the privacy of their members - but it was worth a try.

Samantha went home to get one of her paintings of Blue Eyes, which she hoped someone at the club would recognize. She had had a lot of time to think while she sat and watched the health club. She thought about the dream, which had always been the same. Samantha was sleeping on a pile of fur in the midst of a terrible nightmare. She would be wakened by an incredibly tall woman with the most beautiful blue eyes she had ever seen, who would kneel beside her, take her in her arms and say, "It's okay. I've got you." She would immediately relax and let herself be held in those strong comforting arms. She had discovered that in her waking hours if she was upset about something, she could just close her eyes and picture those blue eyes and the stress of the day would leave. However, now that she knew Blue Eyes was real, things had changed… the dream had changed. No longer did it end with just those soothing words and an embrace. Blue Eyes would nuzzle her hair and whisper "I love you" while nibbling on her ear, and then they would make incredible love. In the dream she could feel her body responding and it baffled her. She had never been in love, never really been interested in sex like the other girls. She felt like an outsider in school when all the girls would talk about their latest crush. Some had teased her about being a lesbian, but in truth she had never been interested in the girls either. She just figured she was one of those rare people who have no sex drive and left it at that. Now things had changed. She had felt her body respond in the dream, felt the unbelievable fire and joy of their lovemaking. It felt so real… so right. She awoke to find herself in a state of arousal she would never have believed possible. Her whole world had changed and her body rejoiced in this newfound wonderment.


Tess Richmond sat staring off into space mentally reviewing the meeting she had had this morning with Tucker. She had bested him again; taken another contract he thought he had sewn up.

"All's fair in love and war," she had told him.

"This isn't war," he reminded her.

"Well it certainly isn't love," she shot back. The competition between them had escalated as Tess' company grew. The more power she had to wield, the more she went after him, and she was a very shrewd businesswoman. She was brought out of her reverie by the slamming of her office door. She looked up to see John, one of the two business associates she was lunching with today.

"Hey, Tess how did it go with Tucker this morning? I heard from Russ that he's sending some investigator to try to get something on you."

"That slime bucket can have them investigate till the cows come home. I've got nothing to hide." A loud rumbling in her stomach caused Tess to look at her watch and frown. "I didn't eat breakfast today and I'm starving. Where the hell is Stewart anyway? This was supposed to be a late lunch, but at this rate it will be dinner". At that moment the door opened and Stewart ambled in with a big grin on his face.

"You been breaking little girls hearts again Tess?" The balding man said with a smirk on his face.

Tess glanced up in time to catch said smirk. " Have to, you know. It's part of my job description."

"Mike Harper from the health club just called. I guess one of your little castoffs was in the club asking about you. He said she was a cute little blond number. Said your taste has definitely improved. "

"What's that supposed to mean? I have impeccable taste. And I don't go for little blondes; you know I like my women long, lean and dark."

"Patterning them after ourselves are we?"

"Not that long." Tess laughed and stood, stretching her six-foot frame.

"Well anyway, they sent her packing. Said they didn't know you"

"You don't suppose she's the one Tucker sent? I wouldn't put it past him to send some cute little innocent looking thing around that I wouldn't suspect. He must be having them investigate my personal life too if they're checking the place where I work out, for Christ's sake."

"When are you gonna get over this vendetta with him anyway?" Stewart asked walking to the door. "Are we gonna eat or what? I'm starving," he added, not waiting for a reply.

Tess grabbed her leather shoulder pouch and followed them out the door. "I'll get over it when I put him outta business…When I own it all and he is groveling at my feet."


Samantha sat in her car across from the health club, she didn't know what else to do. It was her only tie with Blue Eyes. She had decided to spend the entire day there instead of just lunch hours. She was sure the man at the health club recognized the picture of her mystery woman even though he had said otherwise, so the only thing to do was wait. A rumbling in her stomach reminded her that she was hungry and she was contemplating getting something to eat when a gold Lexus pulled up in front of the club. When Blue Eyes got out of the vehicle Samantha thought her heart would stop. She just stared at the woman with her mouth open. She was not dressed in sweats, or any type of exercise attire for that matter. She wore form fitting Levi's with boots. The blue silk shirt she wore was sure to bring out the color in those gorgeous blue eyes, and Samantha wished she was close enough to see her face and feast on those eyes. She watched her walk into the club and contemplated following her. She thought better of that idea because they might tell her that she had been asking about her, and it would get them off to a bad start. She decided the thing to do was to follow her home and then figure out some way to casually meet.


Tess had spent the rest of the day wondering about the blonde investigating her and decided to drop by the health club on her way to the nightclub she owned called Girls Night Out. She wanted to talk to Mike about the blonde and find out exactly what she had been asking. To her dismay Mike had gone home early and no one else knew anything about a little blond asking questions. The fact that Tucker sent a woman suggested that he was going to try to seduce her into giving up company secrets. What other reason could there be? We'll just see who seduces whom, Tess thought as she got back in her car. It only took a couple of blocks for her to realize she was being followed. Hmmm, cute little blond, she thought, this must be her. She decided to go on with her plans for a night at Girls Night Out. She was not in the closet, and if the woman had done her homework she would know that Tess was a lesbian. Taking care not to lose her tail she drove to the nightspot and parked in the back. Getting out of her car she walked to the edge of the building to see if the blonde was going to follow her. The parking lot was well lit, but there was a shadowy area just around the corner between the lights in front and in the back where she hid herself from sight and settled in to wait.


Samantha couldn't believe her luck. Blue Eyes was going into some type of nightclub, and it would make a casual meeting easier for her to arrange. She was having a hard time controlling her excitement and the adrenaline was really pumping. This was really it, she was going to meet Blue Eyes. She had to try to come up with a way to bump into her and not seem too obvious. She did not see the figure waiting around the corner till she almost ran into her. Samantha froze as the blue eyes fell on her. She hadn't thought it was possible, but those eyes were even more striking then she expected. She couldn't help staring. This woman was breathtaking and oozed sex appeal. She let her artist's eye study the beautiful face before her; those prominent cheekbones…the perfect lips. This was Blue Eyes…there was no doubt in her mind. Her throat seemed to close up and her palms were sweating. She was in the presence of a Goddess and had been struck mute.

"You've been following me," Tess purred as she stepped out of the shadows. Teasingly she arched an eyebrow. "Why?"

Samantha tried to speak but no words came out. She couldn't believe Blue Eyes was actually here and talking to her. She tried to decide whether to tell the truth or lie. The truth doesn't come back and kick you in the butt later, she thought. The decision was made; she would tell the truth…just not quite all of it…yet. Taking a deep breath and willing herself to calm down, Samantha was finally able to get her frozen body to respond. "Have you ever seen someone and instantly knew that there was some kind of connection, and you have to know more about them?" What a stupid line, Samantha thought. I can't believe I said that.

The little vixen is trying to be coy. I guess I will just see how far she is willing to go. "Yes, as a matter of fact I have." Tess let her gaze wander down the blonde's body and back up to her eyes…such beautiful clear green eyes, so open and innocent. Damn she's good, Tess thought, I can almost believe she is the innocent she appears to be. She raised her hand to Samantha's face and let her index finger trace along the line of her jaw, stopping on her lips. She felt the involuntary tremble and thought, this is gonna be easy. "Why don't you come with me for a drink and we'll get to know each other. "

Samantha couldn't believe it. She had finally talked to Blue Eyes and she had felt the connection too. "Yes…I…um…would like that," she stammered.

"Good. Shall we start by introducing ourselves? I'm Tess," she said reaching out and grasping Samantha's hand.

"Samantha." She wanted to say more, but her vocabulary had been swept away by the piercing gaze of the blue eyes that had haunted her dreams.

"Samantha," Tess said, tasting the syllables on her lips and liking the taste. " What a pretty name." She squeezed her hand gently. "Shall we go?"

Tess led the way into the nightclub. There was a woman just inside the door collecting a fee to enter and checking ID's. Samantha started to get in line but Tess just nodded to the woman as she walked by. " She's with me." The woman nodded back as they breezed on by.

Samantha could not believe how loud it was inside the club. She had hoped they would be able to sit and talk, but it looked like they would be lucky to hear themselves think. When her eyes became accustomed to the dim light, Samantha realized that there were no men in the place at all. Women sat together at tables and danced together on the dance floor. She had never been to a bar of any kind and thought it appropriate considering the circumstances that the first time was a lesbian bar.

The place was packed with small tables surrounding the busy dance floor. Tess did not turn toward the few remaining empty tables, but continued across the room toward the bar. Just to the right of the bar she turned down a hall that led first to the bathrooms and then opened up into another room with four pool tables. At the far end of the room was a door marked PRIVATE. Tess produced a key to this door and escorted Samantha into an office with a large wooden desk, two chairs and a large comfy looking couch. Tess deposited her small leather pouch and keys on the desk. "Make yourself comfortable," she said picking up the phone. "What would you like to drink?"

"Just water please."

"Please don't tell me you're a teetotaler."

"Hey, I don't mind if you do. I just don't like the taste of it."

Smart girl, Tess thought. She doesn't drink while she's working. "Water it is," she said while dialing the phone. "Jan this is Tess .I need a bourbon and water and a glass of water brought back here to the office." Looking again to Samantha she asked. "Would you like a lemon slice in your water?"

"Yes, please."

"And Jan, put a slice of lemon in the water. Thanks." Tess crossed to the couch and sat beside Samantha. "I hope you don't mind being back here in the office but I thought it would be easier to talk. It's so loud out there."

That brought a grin to Samantha's face. "It was awful out there, wasn't it?" There was a quick knock on the door, which opened to admit a stocky looking woman dressed in black leather. She set two glasses on coasters on Tess' desk. As she turned to leave, Tess touched her sleeve.

"Thanks, Jan. We are not to be disturbed," Tess said winking at her.

"Gotcha boss lady." And with that Jan was gone.

"Now where were we?" Tess said, handing Samantha her water.

"I think we were getting to know each other?"

"Ah yes. And I plan to get to know you very well." Tess took a couple of sips of her bourbon then set it down and let her hand drift to Samantha's thigh. Leaning forward she let her lips gently brush against Samantha's and then pulled away. Samantha could feel the blush rising up her neck and cheeks, and her heart was beating so fast she thought she would pass out. This was happening too fast and she wasn't sure how to slow it down. How could she tell Tess that when she said she wanted to know her, she didn't mean it in the biblical sense? Well actually she did, but not like this. She was looking for forever and not a one-night stand. She just had to tell her and hope she understood.

"Tess, we need to talk."

"Oh no…talking is not what I had in mind." Tess purred seductively as she leaned in to capture Samantha's lips again. The young woman half-heartedly tried to push her back a little but Tess just pulled her closer and covered her mouth with her own. The kiss was more urgent this time and she ran her tongue over Samantha's lips demanding entry. Samantha's dream had become a reality and she couldn't think clearly any more. The dream had felt so…right… but this was no dream and all rational thought left her as she parted her lips to allow Tess entry. The kiss deepened and Samantha could feel Tess' hands sliding under her shirt and kneading her aching breasts through her bra. Samantha's body was on fire. She arched her back to push her breasts harder against Tess' wonderful hands.

"Do you want me to stop?" Tess growled as she pushed the shirt higher.

"No… please… don't stop." All thoughts of taking it slow were gone. Blue Eyes was real and wanted her…nothing else mattered.

A few quick tugs and Tess removed Samantha's clothes and was gazing hungrily at her breasts. She brushed gently across the puckered flesh of Samantha's nipples causing the young woman to gasp. "You're so beautiful," Tess said as she ducked her head sucking a sensitized nipple into her mouth. With each pull on her nipple Samantha could feel convulsions in her center.

"God you taste good." Tess moaned as she pushed Samantha back on the couch and covered her body with her own. Capturing her lips again she began thrusting her mound into Samantha's, causing the woman to be nearly frantic with desire. All Samantha could think about was that exquisite pressure and never wanting it to end.

When Tess rolled off Samantha the feel of loss was almost unbearable.

"Don't stop…please don't stop!"

"Oh no" Tess purred, "I have no intention of stopping." Tess captured a nipple in her mouth and alternated between nipping with her teeth and suckling as her hand found the moist opening to Samantha's need and pushed two fingers inside. Samantha gasped and began thrusting her hips to force the fingers in deeper.

Tess released the nipple and slid down Samantha's body. Her tongue left a moist trail down Samantha's belly as she made her way to the mound that was her goal. She parted the hair with her tongue, finding Samantha's aching clitoris and sucking it into her mouth, matching the rhythm set by her fingers. Samantha was moaning constantly as her body stiffened and her inner muscles released and grabbed Tess' fingers. The orgasm roared through her body then released it in a quivering heap.

Tess gazed at the beautiful woman beneath her and as their eyes met, for a brief moment, a feeling of connection and contentment flowed through her. Drawn into those beautiful eyes she wanted to take the young woman in her arms and never let her go. Where did that come from? She thought as she quickly pushed the emotion back down, remembering Tucker and why Samantha was here in the first place.

As Samantha's heart rate and breathing returned to normal, she thought about how much she wanted to bring Tess the same ecstasy she had just experienced. Tess was still fully clothed and Samantha reached to unbutton her shirt. . "Ah,ah,ah," Tess said as she pulled Samantha's hands away and quickly stood up. Picking up her bourbon she quickly downed it. "It's been fun," she said striding to the desk to retrieve her things. "Don't follow me any more or next time I won't be so nice," and with that she was gone.

Stunned, Samantha stared at the door in disbelief. A few moments ago she had felt the connection to Blue Eyes…felt special…desired. Now she just felt dirty and violated. She wondered what had happened to her resolve to take it slow and not let it turn into a one-night stand? More like a one-hour stand she thought, and the phrase Wham, bam, thank you ma'am came to mind. She had to get out of there before she made an even bigger fool out of herself and broke down. She couldn't let that happen…at least not here.

Quickly she dressed and tried to compose herself before she had to walk through all those people out there. Would they know what had happened and laugh at her? Was this the normal routine for the women Tess brought to her private room? How could she be that stupid and naive to let something like this happen? She could still feel Tess' hands on her body and it disgusted her. The first time was supposed to be beautiful yet she felt so sick and dirty her only thought was to get home and wash Tess' touch from her body. Samantha felt the bile rise in her throat and knew she was going to be sick. She thought she might make it to the bathroom but that line had been enormous and she could not let it happen out there. She took a deep breath and swallowed hoping to calm her churning stomach. If I can just hold on long enough to get outside it won't matter if I lose the contents of my stomach. No such luck, it was going to be now. Franticly she looked around the room and spotted the trashcan by the desk. She managed to get there in time and sat on the floor with her face over the can. Samantha's first thought was to clean up after herself. She stood up and started to the door with the trashcan in her hand. What am I doing? She put the can back down and started again toward the door. I hope it smells really ripe in here when she gets back. And if she doesn't like it she can go to hell!


Tess was at the bar talking to Jan when Samantha entered the larger room and headed for the exit.

"Geeez Tess…what did you do to that one? She looks like someone just ripped out her little heart and stomped on it..."

Even in the dim light Tess could see the sadness and hurt in her eyes and how pale she had become. An overwhelming feeling of guilt came over her and she tried to shake it off. Why should she feel guilty? The woman had been sent by Tucker in one more of his attempts to take her down, and she owed her no apology.


Samantha managed to get to her car before the tears started. "She's not Blue Eyes…she's not," she sobbed. "She just looks like her." Samantha didn't want to believe that Blue Eyes could be so cruel, but deep inside she could feel the truth. She was the woman of her dreams; and that realization broke her heart.

Samantha hardly remembered driving back home and getting out of the car. A splitting headache had settled in by the time she walked into her apartment and saw the portrait of Blue Eyes in front of the
stack of canvases. For a moment she just stared at it as a raw sense of anguish engulfed her, too soon replaced by an anger she couldn't have controlled if she had tried. Picking up a letter opener she plunged it again and again through the painting, tossing it aside only to start looking through the canvases stacked against the wall in a desperate effort to destroy all the likenesses of Blue Eyes. As she looked for the next one she realized she could not just destroy her work. Pulling all of the portraits out and bundling them up so she did not have to look at the face that had haunted her dreams for so long, she decided to take them to a little gift shop that sometimes sold her work for her. She couldn't bear to destroy them, but she didn't want to have to look at them either.

Getting in the shower Samantha scrubbed herself till she was raw and still she could not feel clean. She wondered if she would ever feel clean again. Sliding down the wall of the shower she just sat letting the water hit her. The feeling of emptiness was overwhelming. Starting to shiver, she realized that the hot water was gone and she left the shower still in a daze. Emotionally devastated and exhausted, she collapsed on her bed and cried herself to sleep.


Tess awoke from a fitful sleep and that dreadful feeling of guilt passed over her again. Her dreams had been filled with images of Samantha. Images of those beautiful green eyes…so warm and full of innocence. Again she wondered why she should feel guilt at getting the best of the young woman; after all she was just a pawn used by Tucker in the game of cat and mouse they played. Wasn't she?
How can you be so sure? A voice screamed from deep inside her and she questioned what she had done. Why hadn't she seen it before? Perhaps Samantha truly was an innocent. She could feel it in her gut. Suddenly she knew she had to find Samantha…to know for sure, and if this feeling proved to be correct, apologize. She did not expect to be - or even believe she should be -forgiven, but whatever it was worth… she had to try. But how…she didn't even know her last name? Damn, why didn't I notice the license number on her car? In a city this size, it would be almost impossible to find Samantha without her complete name. That left the health club. Perhaps Samantha had said something to Mike that would help and she determined to stop by the club and talk to him. That settled she lay back down again and soon fell into a restless sleep.


When Tess got to the office the next day Stewart was waiting for her. "I got the scoop on that investigator Tess. Her name is Norma McNeil, forty three years old and a real barracuda. She has been visiting all our accounts and asking questions just as bold as you please. Tucker's not trying to sneak behind your back and get some dirt. He's trying to make everyone think you're into something shady by making it obvious that you're being investigated. Very clever actually. He doesn't have to produce any dirt and he still shakes their confidence in you."

Tess felt as though she had been hit in the gut. She had her proof now that Samantha was just some sweet innocent kid that had been at the wrong place at the wrong time. Again the trusting green eyes came to her mind and the waves of guilt she felt was almost too much to bear. Slowly she sank to her chair unable to get the green eyes out of her mind.

"Are you alright Tess? You look like you're gonna pass out." The news he had given her was not that bad and Stewart wondered if something else was the matter.

"Yeah, I'm fine Stew, just leave me alone for a while…okay?"

"Sure Tess, if you're sure everything is okay."

"I'm sure." The color was starting to come back to her face and she gave him a smile.

Once alone the guilt came back with a vengeance. I know what I did to that girl was wrong, but damn…I don't even know her…why does this hurt so much? None of this made any sense. Why was Samantha trying to find her, and why couldn't she get her out of her mind?


It had not gone well at the club either. The only thing of any use Mike could tell her was that the woman was an artist, and she had shown him a portrait that she had painted of Tess. With so little to go on, it was like looking for a needle in a haystack. Well at least I know she's an artist, and a pretty good one according to Mike. Tess decided to start by checking with all the local art galleries to see if any of them displayed her work.

Two days later Tess was still calling galleries. She had checked with all the really local ones and had come up empty and now she was widening her search. She had worked her way to about a 100-mile radius when she finally hit pay dirt at the Harrington Gallery. They were having a showing of Samantha Peterson's work this weekend, and the artist would be there to discuss it. Tess couldn't believe her luck; not only did they know her, but also she was going to be there this weekend. Now she had to figure out what to say to her. She wondered if she could even get Samantha to listen to her at all.


The drive to the Harrington Gallery seemed to take forever. Tess' stomach was doing flip-flops and her palms were sweaty. She had never lost her cool like this over a woman before and was at a loss to explain it. She felt like a silly schoolgirl with her first crush. Pulling into the parking lot, Tess took a few deep breaths and tried to pull herself together. Another new emotion swept over her… fear. What if she won't let me explain? Taking another breath Tess got out of the car. The closer she came to the door the more her stomach did flips. Once inside she looked around. There were several small alcoves connected to this main room. Over the entrance to one of them was a banner reading: THE WORKS OF SAMANTHA PETERSON. Tess headed for the door and was surprised to see the abstract and surreal images that greeted her. Somehow she had not pictured Samantha's work this way. There were several groups of people wandering around, but no sign of Samantha. She could see a woman talking to one of the groups and everyone seemed to be hanging on her every word. Tess surmised that she must work here and perhaps she could tell her where to find Samantha. Striding over she waited for the woman to finish speaking. As Tess listened it soon became apparent that this woman was Samantha Peterson. The disappointment she felt was overwhelming, while Tess had felt much fear and apprehension at the thought of this meeting, the disappointment was so much worse.

On the long drive back to work Tess finally allowed herself to accept the possibility that she might not find Samantha…not tell her how sorry she was. How strange it was that finding the young artist had become so important. Why do I care so much? She realized that she had felt some sort of connection that first night, but her hatred for Tucker overshadowed everything else, and she pushed the feeling back not willing to let it emerge. Then the dreams had started and now all she could think about was finding Samantha. Tears started to trickle down her cheeks and she angrily brushed them away. This is stupid. I have never had an emotional response to any sexual encounter; they are just physical releases…nothing more. Now here I am reacting like I just lost my best friend. I don't even know her for God's sake.


As the weeks passed Tess' life slowly returned to normal. She had accepted the fact that she could not find Samantha. The sense of loss had receded somewhat but she knew it would not leave as long as the dreams continued, and continue they did. Sitting in the steam room at the club lost in thought, Tess suddenly realized that the woman next to her was speaking. "I'm sorry, what did you say?"

Sandra had been a member of the club for about 6 months now and had admired the statuesque woman right from the start but she had been too shy to try to speak to her. Never could come up with a good opening line, but now she had one. "I said I bought a painting the other day and the woman in it looks just like you. It's an amazing likeness…do you model?"

Trying to keep her composure and not sound too anxious Tess responded. "Really… my mother has been wanting me to have one done, where did you say you got it?"

"At 'Unique Gifts' on Meyer Rd, just off 7th," she smiled seductively. "I would love to show it too you; it really is quite lovely. Perhaps you would like to come over and see it."

Standing, Tess bundled her towel more securely around herself and started for the door." I really am pressed for time, but thanks for the invitation." She didn't even take time for a shower and was walking in the door of the gift shop in only twenty minutes. It was not a very large shop and it took no time at all to see that they had nothing else on display by Samantha. There was only a very small art section and the few paintings she saw were reproductions and not original art.

"Is there something I can help you with?"

Turning, Tess found a small balding man smiling up at her. "Yes, thank you. A friend of mine bought a painting here by an artist named Samantha, and I was wondering if you have anything else by her?"

"Oh Samantha, yes. I have a few of her pieces in the back. She leaves them here on consignment, and when I have room I put one up and sell it for her. Wait here and I'll go get them."

Tess watched him disappear into a back room and then return with several paintings in his hands, a puzzled look in his eyes. He looked at the face on the canvas again and then looked back to Tess. "This is you," he said as he looked again at the image in his hands.

"No, actually, it's not." Reaching for the paintings she said, "May I see?" Receiving a nod, Tess took the paintings. Holding her breath, she let her eyes fall to the canvas, a gasp slipped out before she could hold it back. It was her…but it wasn't… the eyes, they looked at her with such love and caring and she knew without a doubt that she had never looked at anyone that way. Is this the way she saw me? Well she certainly doesn't see me like this any more. It was almost more than she could bear to realize that Samantha would probably never see her like this again. Handing the little man her credit card she said, "I'll take them all."

His face lit up as dollar signs filled his head; she hadn't even asked the price. He didn't know why she said the woman in these paintings wasn't her and he didn't care. He was going to make a nice piece of change on this sale and with business being so slow lately this was a Godsend. "Just let me wrap these up for you and I'll be right back." Then he ducked into the back room again.

Tess tried to will her heart to slow down; she felt like she wanted to scream. She had looked at herself through Samantha's eyes and the reality of what she had done to her sunk in again. Taking several deep breaths she pulled her emotions back under control as the little man emerged again with her purchases safely bundled up. "I would love to get in touch with the artist and let her know how much I love her work. Do you have an address, or phone number I can have? Tess said as she watched him zip her credit card through his machine.

"I'm afraid I can't give out any personal information without Samantha's consent." He looked at her again with a puzzled look. It was obvious to him that she was the woman Samantha painted, so she should already have this information and if she didn't then it was probably because Samantha did not want her to have it.

Tess tried to think of something she could say to change his mind. She decided to hit him in his wallet. "Could you get more paintings of hers for me? I don't care what they cost."

"Yes…I am always more than happy to special order for a good customer."

Handing him her business card Tess said. "When do you think you can have them for me?"

"If she has any on hand, I can have them in a day or two."

"Good, call me at that number when you talk to her and let me know when you will get them in," Tess turned and left him standing there with more dollar signs floating around in his head. She knew he would get in touch with Samantha as quickly as possible. The sooner he did, the sooner he got his money and when he let her know when Samantha would deliver the goods she would know when to be there waiting for her.



Samantha sat staring at the blank piece of paper before her but nothing came. Concentrating on her work the last few weeks had been so difficult. She felt as if a part of her had died and the grief was overwhelming. She was certain now that she had known Tess before, in another time and place. She had been in a used bookstore looking through the titles to see if something would catch her eye. She wanted something to read… something to take her mind off Tess and everything that had happened. Her eyes fell on a title that made her gasp. The book was called 'The Search for the Girl with the Blue Eyes' by Jess Stern. Thumbing through it she found it was a book about past life regression through hypnotism and reincarnation. It had been a fascinating book and had, in her mind, explained what had happened to her. She thought for a while that she might seek out a past life regression therapist but decided against it. Blue Eyes was dead to her now and she determined she did not want to go back and find out just how much she had really lost.

The sound of the phone ringing brought her out of her thoughts. Answering it she found it was Mr. Davis the owner of the shop she had taken her paintings to.

"What can I do for you Mr. Davis?" She asked, hoping that he had good news. One of her paintings had finally sold a few days ago, and she wondered if she would be lucky enough to have another sell this soon.

"I sold all your paintings and…uh…was wondering if I could get some more as soon as possible?"

"All of them?" Samantha replied, truly shocked. "I can't believe after all this time they all suddenly sold at once."

"Yes…that was quite unusual…but you see an art collector saw the painting that sold a few days ago and came in looking for more of your work." Thinking quickly, he added, "He was really quite taken with them and wanted me to get more as soon as I could." He had been careful not to mention that it was a woman who bought the paintings because he had a gut feeling there was something going on between the two of them that might cause Samantha to back out and not come back. You do what you have to do to make a sale, he thought.

Flattered that there was someone out there wanting to collect her work she said, "I have a few more pieces I can bring you tomorrow. Will 2pm work for you?"

"Sure, anytime tomorrow is fine. I'll be there all day. See you then…."

Samantha couldn't quite put her finger on it, but Mr Davis had seemed so nervous. She finally decided that he was just anxious because it was a possible sale and he wanted to make sure he could keep his customer happy. The important thing was that the paintings were gone. She hoped that this would help close that part of her life and she could finally get over this obsession with Blue Eyes.


Tess had propped the paintings up along the wall and just stood back staring at them. They were mostly of her face and some of them were like the first one she had seen, looking out with a look of complete devotion. There were two though that were different and the look in the eyes was haunted and forlorn.
It was clear that the young woman had been watching her for quite some time. How else could she have had the time to paint all these portraits. The question was why? She was sure she had never met Samantha before and yet she seemed so familiar. She just had to get Samantha to talk to her and perhaps, in time, solve this mystery.

Just as she was wondering if she would receive a phone call from the gift shop the phone rang. The caller identified himself as Richard Davis, the proprietor of the gift shop. He advised her that she could pick up more of Samantha's paintings anytime during store hours on Thursday. Thanking him she hung up the phone. Well… if I can pick them up any time on Thursday, Samantha must be delivering them tomorrow. She decided to spend however long it took tomorrow waiting for Samantha. Then she would follow her home. Once she knew where she lived she would just keep trying to talk to Samantha till she gave in. It was not much of a plan, but it was all she could come up with. She did not want to confront her at the shop because if Samantha wouldn't have anything to do with her and she got away, Tess would not be able to find her again. This little trick would only work once.


Tess had been sitting in the little coffee shop across the street from the gift shop for hours and had seen no sign of the Jeep Cherokee that Samantha drove. She could see the little bald man puttering around and dusting shelves. He looked up suddenly and went into the back room and came out a short while later with what appeared to be paintings. Could Samantha have been there and she had missed her? She crossed the street and went inside. Richard worriedly glanced at the door to the back room, then came over to talk to her. "I thought you were going to come by tomorrow." He said as he sat the paintings down on the counter.

"Did Samantha just drop those off?" Tess said as she walked toward the back room.

Running after Tess, the little man grabbed her arm. "Hey, you can't go back there." The look on Tess' face made him quickly let go. "She's already gone," he said as Tess pushed past him and through the door. Quickly she crossed the small room and exited out into a small parking lot off an alley. She could see Samantha's Cherokee as it turned the corner and disappeared. "GOD DAMN IT," she shouted, as she slammed her fist into the side of the building. Turning, she leaned against the building and slowly slid to the ground. Then she noticed the pain in her hand and looked to see that the bleeding knuckles were starting to swell. She crossed her arms over her knees, and lowered her head to her arms in defeat. "Damn…Damn…Damn."

"That must hurt," Richard said looking at her hand.

Tess hadn't noticed the proprietor standing there till he spoke. "Yeah…it does." She flexed her hand. "It's not broken though…pretty stupid thing to do."

"I have a first aid kit. Come on in and we'll clean that up." He turned and went back inside the shop.

Tess followed him into his shop. He was her only connection to Samantha, and she knew she had to convince him to help her. She stood quietly while he cleaned and wrapped her hand .

"You still gonna buy those paintings?" He asked hopefully.

"Sure…if you'll give me Samantha's address and phone number."

"You know I can't do that…it's unethical." He looked at her curiously. "Why are you trying to find her?"

"We had a… misunderstanding and…I… need to apologize." Tess looked at him sadly. "Will you help me?"

He looked for deception in her eyes, and all he saw was genuine sorrow. He believed she meant the young artist no harm and only wanted to apologize. "All right, I'll do it… but don't tell her I gave you the information…okay?"

"You have my word," she said extending her good hand.


All the way home Tess thought about how she would get Samantha to talk to her. She decided she didn't want to just show up on her doorstep. She would try the phone first to see if she could get Samantha to meet her to talk. She new the odds were against it, but thought it best to try that approach first.

Tess passed back and forth in front of the phone, afraid to pick it up. What will I say to her? she thought. Finally she picked up the phone and dialed the number. When the phone started ringing, she almost hung up. What's wrong with me? Why does the thought of talking to her terrify me so much?




"Samantha…this is Tess…Please don't hang up." She heard the click as the phone was disconnected. Well…what did you expect? She hates you.

Tess decided to drive to Samantha's apartment. Hell, what have I got to loose, she thought. From somewhere deep inside a voice said…EVERYTHING.

Samantha was sitting in stunned silence when she heard a knock at her door. Hesitantly, she peeked through the tiny hole in the door. She felt like her heart jumped into her throat when she saw Tess standing there. Quietly, she backed away from the door. The knocking came again, louder this time. Samantha sat on the bed and stared at the door unable to move.

"Samantha." Tess called through the door. She knew she was home because she saw the Cherokee parked outside. "Samantha…please…I need to talk to you." No sound came from within the apartment. A thought occurred to Tess that perhaps someone had picked Samantha up. That would explain why the Jeep was here, yet not a sound came from the apartment. Tess decided to wait out of sight for her to come home. It would be better to catch her out in the open anyway…no door to slam in her face.

Samantha heard the sound of footsteps walking down the stairway. How did she find me? She thought, as she quickly through clothes into an overnight bag. She had decided to go stay with her folks for a while, hoping that Tess would not find her there. She checked out the window for any sign of Tess' Lexus and found it was nowhere in sight. Quickly she made her way to the Cherokee.

Samantha backed out of her parking space only to find that Tess had stepped in front of the Jeep and was blocking her retreat. Total and complete shock soon dissolved into panic. I can't face her again…I just can't. "Get out of my way," she yelled as she rolled down her window.

"I'm sorry Samantha, please let me talk to you."

Samantha's shock and panic was quickly replaced with anger. This woman had a lot of nerve; first she seduces her then dumps her like a piece of trash, and now she was trying to do it again. "Go to hell," she yelled as she began to inch forward.

Tess had started around the Jeep toward the door when she saw that it was moving again. She quickly returned to her position blocking her exit. "Please Samantha, just hear me out, then if you want to leave I won't try to stop you."

Samantha realized she had allowed Tess to take control in their previous encounter and she would not allow that to happen again. "Get out of my way or I swear I'll run over you"

"I guess that's what you'll have to do because I'm not moving," and Tess stood her ground.

Samantha was sure Tess would not be fool enough to keep standing there if she stepped on the gas. There was about three feet between Tess and the hood of her car and she figured Tess would have time to get out of the way. Let's see how good she is at playing chicken, she thought, and stepped on the gas.

Samantha couldn't believe it when Tess didn't move. She closed here eyes as she felt the Cherokee hit the woman and slammed on the brakes. " OH GOD, OH GOD," she screamed as she bolted out the door, eyes searching for the body of the tall woman. To her amazement, she could not find her till it dawned on her to get down and look under the Jeep. Tess was lying on her back under the car and Samantha was sure she was dead. She got back in the Cherokee and slowly backed up. The tears had started again as she approached Tess and she sank to the ground with her face in her hands. "I wait my whole life to find the other half of my soul and when I do I kill her," she sobbed.

"I'm not dead."

The words were low, but Samantha was sure she heard them. Uncovering her face she found those blue eyes gazing at her in a rather unfocused manner. "I thought you would move," she whispered. "I really wasn't trying to kill you."

" I wasn't trying to get myself killed either, I thought you would stop." Tess replied as she started to sit up.

"I don't think your supposed to move till the paramedics check you over." Samantha said as she started to rise. "I'll go call 911 and get you some help."

"That's not necessary." Tess replied as she continued her attempt to get up. She was dazed, and the wind had definitely been knocked out of her. She wasn't sure, but she thought she may have been unconscious for a brief time. She had some scrapes on her back and arms but nothing seemed broken. Her head had taken quite a bump and was throbbing. As she got to her feet the world started spinning and she thought she was going to go back down. Samantha realized what was happening and was there in an instant, hoping to steady her or at least break her fall should she indeed pass out. Tess held on to Samantha till the dizziness went away then slowly straightened up. "I guess I stood up too fast," she grinned.

"I think you have a concussion and I'm taking you to the hospital."

"No, really, I'll be fine. I just need a minute to get my sea legs back."

"Now you listen to me Tess, I'm taking you to the hospital and that's that. What if I just left you here because you said you were all right and you died? I would be a murderer."

"It was an accident. You thought I would move."

"Okay, I did think you would move, but I'm still taking you to the Hospital. I have to make sure you're all right. I couldn't live with myself if something happened to you."

Tess really did not feel like arguing and the truth was her head hurt like hell. "Okay, lets get this over with then."

Samantha walked her around to the passenger side of the car. She was taking no chance of another dizzy spell toppling the tall woman before she could get her into the Jeep.


"Where are they taking her?" Samantha asked the nurse as she saw an orderly pushing her down the hall in a wheel chair.

"That was quite a knock she took on the head," the nurse responded. "They are taking her to X-ray for a skull series, check for concussion." She looked at Samantha. "I still can't believe she managed to run over herself." The nurse said grinning; she walked away, still shaking her head.

She told them she ran over herself? How could she come up with a story like that? She thought. Walking back over to her chair she sat down again to wait. What am I going to do with her when we get out of here?
Samantha toyed with the idea of just dropping her off at her car and being done with the woman, but she kept thinking, what if she tries to drive home and gets dizzy and kills herself or some innocent person in an auto accident? No, I'll make sure she gets home safely, then I'm done with her.


"Why did you tell them you ran over your self? Samantha asked as she opened the door for the tall woman, and reached to help her into the Jeep.

"Purposefully running someone down is a felony Samantha, and even if we said it was an accident, it would have gone against your record. You know what that would do to the cost of your insurance? Besides, it was my fault. I shouldn't have stood in front of your car. It was a stupid thing to do."

The trip to Tess' house was traveled in silence that was broken only when the young woman needed directions.

As they pulled up in front of her house Tess realized she was running out of time. She had to think of a way to get the young woman to come in and talk. Samantha walked Tess to her door and said goodnight. She had done what she had planned to do; she had gotten her home safely. She turned to leave when she felt a hand on her arm.

"Please don't go," Tess pleaded. "I need to talk to you...try to explain. "

Samantha pulled her arm away and turned to face the tall woman. Fear showed in her eyes. "Why do you think I would believe anything you say?" The truth was that even after everything that had happened, she didn't want to leave. She was torn…she didn't want to leave, yet she was afraid to stay. She pushed the fear back knowing that the need to talk it out and bring closure to their past encounter was needed, and perhaps after that she would be able to go on with her life.

Feeling utterly defeated, Tess closed her eyes and fell back against the door. She's right, she thought, why would she believe me? When Samantha saw her sway into the door, she assumed that the tall woman was having another attack of dizziness. Quickly she grabbed her arm and leaned into Tess to make sure she didn't fall. "Give me your keys and I'll help you inside."

Tess realized instantly that Samantha had misinterpreted her action. Deciding to let the misconception stand, she handed the young artist her keys. At least it would keep her here a little while longer. Samantha unlocked the door, then wrapped an arm around the tall woman's waist. Tess clung to her, adding to the elusion that she was in need of help.

They walked through the entry and into a spacious living room. Samantha looked around the room for a close place to deposit the large woman who was leaning heavily on her small frame. A leather couch to her left looked like the perfect spot, and she headed toward it.

Tess was feeling guilty at again deceiving Samantha, and stood up releasing her grip on the young woman.

" Is the dizziness gone?" Samantha asked as she felt Tess' weight lift away from her.

"Yes…thanks for helping me…again." Tess found she could not look Samantha in the eye.

"You said you had something to tell me and asked me to hear you out. I wasn't ready to listen then…but I am now…if you still want to tell me."

"Yes I'd like that."

Tess led the way to the kitchen and nodded toward a chair. "Please…sit down. I thought I would make some coffee." Tess felt so awkward talking to this woman and she realized that it was because she cared what Samantha thought about her And right now she knew the young artist didn't think much of her at all.

"Why don't you sit down and let me make the coffee? You're supposed to be taking it easy right now."

"Thanks, but I think I can manage to get a pot of coffee going without doing too much damage," she laughed.

"I know…I just thought…"

"I know, but I'm okay…really." Turning back to the coffee maker she set it to brew.

Samantha took in her surroundings as Tess set up the coffeemaker. It was a lovely large kitchen with creamy white walls and burgundy appliances. She had never seen appliances in that color before and found it attractive. The counter tiles were a very pale gray, almost white really, with a soft dusty rose pattern running through them. The floor was also done in those same tiles, just larger. "You have a lovely house," she said as Tess joined her at the table.

"Thanks," she said, smiling at the young woman's approval.

"So, what is it you wanted so desperately to tell me that you were willing to let me run you down?"

Unable to look the young women in the eyes Tess picked at a non-existent piece of lint on the tablecloth. "I told you…I thought you would stop." She tried to think of how to explain her actions of that night at Girls Night Out, how to make Samantha understand that it was nothing personal. What an understatement, she thought, nothing personal. In her whole life sex had never been anything personal. She always made it clear to any woman she was interested in having sex with that she was not interested in a relationship of any kind, just sex, If they would go for that fine, otherwise there were plenty out there who would. But in Samantha's case she made nothing clear. Tess had purposefully given her the impression that she was interested in a relationship with her and then twisted the knife in her gut when she left the office. She had allowed her hatred for Tucker to color her perception of the young woman, and that had not been fair.

"I found out that afternoon that my father had sent an investigator to get something on me," Tess began, averting her gaze from the young woman. "When they told me that a cute little blonde was asking questions about me I assumed that she was the investigator… You fit the description so…I just…" She hesitated trying to find the right words feeling the guilt wash over her again. Finally she looked up into the green eyes gazing back at her, "I made a mistake, and I'm very sorry Samantha."

Samantha had seen the hatred flash in her eyes when Tess mentioned her father. How could a father deserve this much hatred from his own child, she thought.

"What did he do to you that you hate him so much?"

"He pretended I didn't exist." Tess answered bitterly, " I don't want to talk about him…" She broke eye contact again, unable to continue looking into those searching green eyes. "I have no excuse Samantha…there is no excuse for the way I treated you."

"Are you asking me to forgive you?" Not waiting for an answer, she continued. "I'm not ready to do that…not yet."

"I understand…I…I didn't expect you to forgive me…I just want you to believe that I am truly sorry."
She thought about how upset Samantha had been when she thought she had killed her. Anyone would have been upset under those circumstances, but that wasn't it. She remembered the words uttered in despair by the beautiful little blonde. . 'I wait my whole life to find the other half of my soul and when I do I kill her.'

"Why did you call me the other half of your soul?"

Samantha thought franticly trying to remember telling Tess this and drew a blank. "I don't know what you're talking about."

"When you thought I was dead you said something like you waited your whole life for the other half of your soul just to kill her."

It came back to her in a rush. She remembered sobbing over what she thought was a dead body, and the words just tumbling out. She had been so relieved that Tess was alive that she had forgotten she said it. Again faced with the option of telling the truth or a lie she chose the truth.

"You'll probably laugh at me and think I'm crazy if I tell you" Samantha gazed into those blue eyes and saw genuine concern and curiosity.

"I won't laugh…please…I need to know." Tess covered Samantha's hands with her own and squeezed gently.

Unable to hold that blue gaze Samantha focused on their hands and the feeling that just this small touch brought to her. Too much had already happened because of half-truths and misunderstandings. This is it… I can't hold anything back. " This is gonna sound strange, but I swear it's true." Taking a deep breath Samantha began her tale of a lifetime of dreams and confusion, and her final realization that she believed that they had known each other before… in another life…had been soulmates in that life and had been irresistibly drawn back to each other in this one.

"As far back as I can remember, I've been having dreams about a woman I called Blue Eyes. In the dreams, she was very loving and caring…she comforted me and I felt safe in her arms. When I told my parents about my friend Blue Eyes, they just assumed that I had created an imaginary friend to deal with the loneliness. I was an army brat, and we moved around a lot till I was ten, so it was hard to keep friends. I guess it's not that uncommon an occurrence. They didn't discourage me from talking about her, and at first they even thought it was cute. It was a bit confusing to me that I was grown in the dream… I knew it was me though, and after a while… I just accepted that in your dreams you're grown up. Kids don't seem to ponder inconsistencies like that." Looking up to Tess, she gave a little smile. "I didn't anyway."

" When I was a little older, my parents started to get concerned. It wasn't cute anymore when it came from an older child. We had settled down in a stable environment, and I had made friends. They scolded me and told me she wasn't real and to stop talking about her. That hurt a lot because she was so real to me. I think I developed my interest in art just so I could put her on paper and be able to gaze on her with waking eyes. I was careful not to talk to the folks about her anymore because it just upset them." Samantha got up and began to pace back and forth as memories long pushed back found their way to the light of day. " When I was sixteen, my mother found my hidden drawings of Blue Eyes and the shit hit the fan. The other girls had crushes on boys and her little girl was obsessed with an imaginary woman. She and my dad argued about putting me into therapy. She won, and I was sent to a shrink." Samantha closed her eyes as the memories washed over her. She had not intended to go into quite so much detail, but once she started, it just came pouring out. She opened her eyes and looked back at Tess. The look on her face was hard to read, and Samantha wondered if she was going to believe her.

The coffee finished dripping and Tess stood on shaky legs. Samantha's story was affecting her more deeply then she had anticipated. She went to the cupboard and retrieved two mugs. "How do you take your coffee?" She asked walking to the pot.

"Black… with a little sugar."

Tess gave a relieved sigh. She drank hers black also, and had no milk or cream in the house, and hadn't even remembered that little fact until time to serve the coffee. Pouring two mugs and grabbing a spoon, she returned to the table. She handed Samantha the sugar and sat back down so the young woman could finish her story.

Sitting at the table again, Samantha stirred a spoon of sugar into her coffee as she continued.

"When my friend Dusty told me she had seen Blue Eyes come out of the health club, I finally had a place to start looking for you. I always believed you were real, but I didn't know how to find you. I thought my heart would stop when you got out of your car at the club. I don't think I've ever been more excited in my life." She looked at Tess with eyes that showed the emptiness in her soul. Her lip trembled and she took a shaky breath as she continued. " When we finally met…it felt like… I had known you all my life…it felt so right." Samantha turned away as a tear started down her cheek. "I was wrong…I didn't know you at all."

The bittersweet realization of what Samantha's hopes had been that night, and how she had destroyed them
engulfed Tess, and she wanted to just crawl in a hole and die. She lifted her hand to Samantha's tear stained face and wiped the tears from her cheek stroking gently. When Samantha pulled away from her touch her hart sank. She didn't blame Samantha for not trusting her any more, and she was filled with self loathing for the fear that she could see in those beautiful eyes… knowing she put it there. It was not a fear of physical injury, but fear of a much deeper hurt. "I'm so sorry," she said as she dropped her gaze to her hands once more, unable to bear the pain reflected in those green eyes.

Samantha watched Tess, and the anguish she was going through was plain to see. She saw a tear make its way down Tess' face and she wanted to take her in her arms…make it all right…but she couldn't. She didn't know if she would ever be able to respond to the need to hold this woman…to feel complete again. Awkwardly she handed Tess a napkin.

Taking the napkin Tess dabbed at her eyes. "Samantha…if you believe nothing else…believe me when I tell you I will never hurt you like that again."

"I want to believe …to trust…but… It's gonna take time."

"I know…" Tess responded letting their eyes meet again. "It's just…so hard knowing that I can't take it back. I look at you and see the sadness in your eyes… and knowing that I put it there breaks my heart."

Not knowing what else to do, Samantha decided to finish telling Tess about her belief that the dreams represented a past life that they had shared together as lovers. "Tess…I've been reading about reincarnation…I think the dream was really a memory of a time when you and I were lovers. I think that's why I felt I knew you…why your touch felt…so right."

Tess had never believed in anything but the here and now. We are born…we live…we die, that's all there is... She had always referred to people who believed in such nonsense as reincarnation, or any type of spiritual mumbo jumbo as Hugga Bugga's. Now she sat listening to Samantha and she didn't know what to believe anymore. She had no doubt that Samantha believed in this reincarnation theory of hers and Tess found herself desperately wanting to believe it too. The protective walls she had built when her mother died had remained intact throughout her life. She was surrounded by people, but never let anyone inside that wall. She never noticed the empty loneliness of her life because she kept it filled with hatred for Tucker and she let that emotion fill her so she had no room for anything else. But somehow Samantha was breaking through that wall and it felt good to feel something other than hate.

Samantha's stomach picked just that moment to rumble and she rolled her eyes.

"Are you hungry?" Tess asked as she got up and went to the refrigerator and peeked inside, glad for the chance to change the subject and lighten the mood in the room. "About all I have is lunch meat…but we could make some sandwiches."

"That would be great, I'm starving." Samantha said as she joined Tess in peeking in the near empty refrigerator. "Wow, you must not cook much…there's nothing in there," she said looking up at the tall woman.

"I don't cook at all…I make sandwiches, or I go out." Tess gave her a lop-sided grin. "We could go out if you'd like."

"No…a sandwich is fine." Samantha said quickly, not wanting to let the outside world intrude.

Plucking the lunchmeat out of the refrigerator Tess said, "Good, I really didn't want to go …I just wanted to give you an out if you were too uncomfortable staying here." She smiled at Samantha, relieved that she wanted to stay. When the young woman flashed that beautiful smile at her, it took her breath away. How does she do that? She thought, Just a smile from her and I can't breath. Reaching for the bread, Tess carried the lunch items to the table. Turning back to the refrigerator she said. "Would you like mayonnaise, mustard, or both?"

"I like everything." Samantha said peeking into the refrigerator with Tess. "Oh, you have tomatoes, would you like me to slice one up?"

"Sure, there's a knife in the end drawer under the counter over there."

They sat at the table eating their sandwiches in awkward silence, neither knowing quite what to say. Smiling, Tess spoke breaking the quiet. "So, who were we in this past life you think we had together?"

The levity in Tess' voice, coupled with the use of the word 'think' crashed down on Samantha. "You're making fun of me. I didn't think you would believe me, but I didn't expect such sarcasm." Sadness flashed across Samantha's face and she started to rise.

Grabbing her hand Tess said. "Please don't go… I'm sorry if I seem to not take this seriously. I was just trying to keep the mood light. I've never believed in these types of things and always thought the people who did were a little wacko, now I find I am one of those wacko people. Too many strange things have happened to both of us. I have a heard time believing this…but I can't come up with any other logical explanation. I didn't tell you before…but… I've had dreams too. Not all my life like you have... They started that first night after… I…" Tess looked away, guilt evident on her face. "I am so sorry…so sorry." Tess whispered as she tried to blink back the tears that insisted on falling.

Samantha squeezed her hand and said gently, "It's okay."

"No…it's not okay." Tess said, pulling her hand away and striding across the room. "How can you be so kind after what I did to you?"

"Tess…I'm not saying that what you did didn't hurt me…because it did. But I want to put the hurt behind us and start over. I understand a little better why it happened now… and… that helps a little. I still feel a connection to you Tess… and I would like it if we could try to be friends. I…don't know if anything else will ever be possible.

"Friends…I like the sound of that." Tess said, relief evident in her voice. She had not been sure any kind of a relationship with Samantha would be possible, and was willing to take anything she could get.


Tess walked into Girls Night Out for the first time since that awful night with Samantha. She had put this off too long. What's the big deal, she thought… I can do this. But it was a big deal; her whole life had changed the night she met Samantha.

The club had always been a haven for her, a place she could get away from the world. She could have her pick of women, and she had. But now, things had changed. Coming back here brought it all back…how much she had hurt Samantha. It was a relief to know that this would be the last time she would ever have to come into this place again. She knew that if she ever hoped to have a relationship with Samantha, Girls Night Out, and all it entailed, would have to go. And the truth was, the thought of letting the club go didn't even bother her.

Angela saw the tall woman walk through the door. The buff redhead had been managing the club for several years now, and couldn't believe Tess was going to sign it over to her tonight. When the boss called and asked if she still wanted the place, she wanted to cry… it was a dream come true. "Hey Boss Lady, it's about time you got here… been having second thoughts?"

"No…no second thoughts…I just…" She smiled at Angela and handed her the paperwork for her to sign. "Just need your signature and we're all set."

"With pleasure," Angela said as she signed the sales contract. "Why don't you come in for a while and help me celebrate."

"I'll have to take a rain-check Angela…I gotta run," Tess said quickly, eager to be away from a place of such bad memories.

"Thanks again Tess…I don't know why you changed your mind and decided to let me have Girls, I guess all my badgering finally paid off."

"I guess it did." Tess smiled at her, "and you're welcome." Tess walked away, leaving her worst nightmare behind her.


The next few weeks flew by as the new friends spoke often but kept the relationship as just friends. It was a time to get to know each other and learn to be content to just be together with no other pressures.
Samantha and Tess both found that the dreams that had plagued them stopped. It was as if they had been there to help them find each other and were no longer needed.


Breathing hard, Samantha trudged up the rocky path. "Tess…slow down…I can't keep up." She said with labored breath.

Tess looked over her shoulder to see a flushed Samantha, breathing hard and trying to catch up.
"I'm sorry…I didn't think. We'll take a break here, okay?"

Why does she want to have a picnic in a spot we have to hike to get to, Samantha thought as she sank to the ground, thankful for a much-needed breather. Unhooking her canteen from her belt, she took a long drink, then sighed. "Are we there yet?" She said, rubbing her cramping legs.

"Almost," Tess said, kneeling beside her. "Hey, I know…how about a piggy back ride? It's really not too much farther…I can carry you."

"God Tess, don't you ever get tired?"

"Sure I do. But Samantha…we've only been walking for an hour."

"Up hill Tess…an hour up hill."

Tess stood up and took off her backpack. "You're gonna have to carry this," she said, slipping it on Samantha's back. "Okay now, up you go." She pulled the young woman to her feet and knelt down in front of her. "Climb on."

Hesitantly, Samantha climbed on Tess' back. "You sure you can do this?"

"Oh yeah…no problem." She grunted as she got to her feet. Slowly she moved up the path. About half way there she was breathing hard and had worked up a good sweat. Carrying an extra hundred and fifteen pounds up hill was quite a strain, but she wouldn't admit that to Samantha. Besides, it was an excuse to touch her, and the feel of the young woman pressed against her back was sheer heaven. Just a little bit farther, she thought to herself. Finally they were at the top, and looking across a lovely green valley. Just off to the left glistening in the sunlight was a small clear lake. Tess put Samantha down and watched her face light up at the sight.

"Oh Tess… it's gorgeous."

Tess smiled, and stretched out her aching muscles. "I knew you'd love it here. Want to take a swim before we eat?" Tess did not wait for an answer. She was well and truly overheated from the last of their trek up the hill, and was ready to cool off in the inviting lake.

Samantha couldn't believe how fast the tall woman stripped down to her bathing suit and was in the water. "Hey…you never wait for me," she said as she started to strip as well.

"Come on slow poke." Tess shouted as she climbed out of the water, and started up a tall rock overhang. The rock ledge hung about twenty feet above the lake. Striding to the edge, Tess dove gracefully into the lake. When she broke the surface, she found Samantha paddling toward her.

"Wow, how'd you learn to dive like that?"

Tess smiled smugly. "I have many skills."

I'll just bet you do, Samantha thought to herself. She paused for a moment. Something about that phrase was so familiar. Grinning, she splashed Tess, and then dove under the water kicking as hard as she could.

Tess was after her in a moment, catching her easily with her powerful strokes. Coming up under Samantha she propelled them both up and out of the water, then crashing back down with a big splash. They came back up sputtering and laughing. Exhausted after an hour of playing in the water, they climbed up on the smooth rock ledge and lay down to soak up sun, and dry out.


"You ready to eat?" Samantha said as her stomach started rumbling. She climbed off the ledge and walked to the pack that carried their lunch.

"Mmmm…I'm starving."

Samantha tossed a blanket to Tess. "Spread this out and I'll get the food."

Tess unfolded the blanket as requested, and sat down as the pretty blonde carried the lunch basket over. Sitting on the blanket facing each other, they ate as if it was the last meal either of them would ever have.

"I guess all this fresh air and exercise affected my appetite. I don't remember when I've eaten so mush." Samantha said as she stretched out on her back and patted her stomach. "I'm so glad you brought me here."

"This place is special to me. I've never wanted to bring anyone else up here till I met you." Tess smiled shyly, and dropped her gaze. Why do I feel like a tongue-tied schoolgirl with her?

"Thank you for sharing your special place with me, Tess. How did you find it?"

"When I was little, my mother used to bring me up here. Well not here exactly…we went to the other side of the lake. You can drive in that way, and there are lots of people. It's a touristy sort of place, but I like it over here. It's harder to get here, but it's worth it. It's wild, and free…when I'm here, I feel like there's no one else in the world."

"You never mention your mother…are you still close?"

"I lost my mother when I was ten years old…I miss her." Tess smiled at the young woman, "You would have liked her Samantha. She was warm, funny, and a genuine good person. She deserved better then Tucker. I loved her a lot… I lost that for a while…because of him."

"What happened Tess?" Samantha reached over and covered a large hand with her own. "Is that why you hate him…he tried to turn you against your mother?"

Tess closed her eyes and swallowed. She had never shared her memories and private thoughts with anyone before, but it was different with Samantha. She wanted her to know her, and maybe understand a little better. "No, he never tried to turn me against her…but he succeeded in doing just that…for a while."

"I don't understand." Samantha could see the pain in those beautiful blue eyes, and squeezed Tess' hand in comfort.

Tess gazed down at their clasped hands and squeezed back. "When I was growing up my mother painted a glowing picture of him... I guess she didn't want to spoil my image of my father. She gave me a photo of him, and I thought he was the handsomest man in the world. I would ask her why he didn't come to see me and she would tell me he was very busy. She bought birthday and Christmas gifts for me and signed them Daddy. She was trying to protect me from the reality of the situation, but all it did was make me think there must be something really bad about me because this wonderful man didn't want to see me."

"When my mother died, my mother's sister Stella became my guardian. I wanted to go live with my father, but Aunt Stella said Mom would not have wanted that. We argued about it and when she left the room, I called my father. I told him my mother had died and asked if I could come live with him. It was the first time I had even heard his voice…" Tess brought her knees up to her chest, and wrapped her arms around them. She could still feel the devastation of his words, even after all these years. Taking a moment to compose herself she continued. " He told me that my mother had been a gold digger… just out to get money from him, that he was not my father and not to bother him again." Tess brought her gaze up to meet Samantha's. Her mask was down and the emotion was plain to see. " What kind of man would say something like that to a child? My mother had just died for God's sake. I couldn't believe the father I had believed in all those years didn't exist. Aunt Stella walked in and I broke down and told her what had happened. She was livid. I asked her why my mother had told me he was my father. She said, because he is your father. She told me how he dumped my mother when he found out she was pregnant, and when she tried to get him to help support me he lied and said he was not my father. The court ordered a blood test and it came back that he could be my father, so he brought in several other men with the same blood type who swore that they had all slept with my mother. They said that she was a slut and slept with anything in pants. If it had been today they would have done a DNA test and had conclusive proof, but back then they could only prove he was a possible candidate."

Samantha couldn't believe what she was hearing. She ached for the tall woman who was obviously in so much pain. She watched as a tear made its way down Tess' cheek and reached to wipe it away. "You said that he turned you against your mother. How did he do that?"

"I realize now that my mother was only trying to protect me, but then I hated her for lying to me about him. And I hated him even more for making me feel that way about her. I decided some day he was going to pay, and believe me, he has. "

"Well, it sounds like you are your fathers daughter."

"I'M NOT LIKE HIM! I HATE HIM!" She stood up and walked a few paces away.

"Could you just look at yourself honestly for a minute? What has your life been up to now? Hatred? Planning revenge? Who does that really sound like, the mother who loved and protected you, or the father who abandoned you? Don't you see? Like it or not, you have patterned yourself after him. He won. "

Tess didn't like looking at herself through Samantha's eyes… it hurt too much. "What do you expect me to do, go to him and say I forgive you daddy? I can't do that."

"You don't have to like him, you don't even need to forgive him, but you do need to put him behind you, let go of the hatred and get on with your life. Don't give him the rest of your life, he's taken enough of it already."

Listening to Samantha, Tess could almost believe it was possible to release the hate and change her life. The woman seemed to be a walking example of what she was preaching. After all didn't Samantha have every reason to hate her for the way she had treated her? "I don't know if I can do that Samantha, when I'm around him, or even think of him I lose it."

"I have faith in you."

"You really do, don't you?" She shook her head incredulously. "Why?"

"I'm your friend…I care about you."

"Would it be alright if I…if I gave my friend a hug?" Tess said hesitantly, not sure how Samantha would react to such physical contact.

Now Samantha's tears started to flow as she got up and walked to Tess. She no longer dreaded the tall woman's touch for fear it would bring back those awful memories. "I think I need a hug about now," she said as her arms slipped around the tall woman.

Tess gently wrapped her arms around Samantha, afraid to hold her too close or too tight for fear Samantha would misconstrue the meaning behind it. She realized her fear was unfounded when she felt Samantha's arms squeeze tightly around her. She laid her cheek on Samantha's head and just held on. If felt so good to just hold her and be held in return, nothing else was needed. She wished that they could just stay like this forever. The words 'the other half of my soul' played again in her mind and she knew without a doubt that it was true.


Tess had decided to take Samantha's advise and try to find some type of closure with Tucker. She was going to meet with him and talk truce, and today was the day. He had been hesitant when she called and asked to see him, but things had been fairly peaceful between them lately and he thought, what the hell. When Tess arrived in his outer office and announced herself to his secretary, she was surprised at how calm she was. She had been working hard these last weeks to not let herself fall back into the cycle of hate and vengeance that had been her life for so long. This was different though; she was going to see him face to face, and these encounters always tended to make her blood boil.

Tucker opened his door and ushered her into his office. "What brings you to my neck of the woods Tess…what have you got up your sleeve?"

"I just needed to get something off my chest Tucker, and then I hope to be out of your life for good."

"Why do I have a hard time believing that Tess?" Tucker said sarcastically.

"I don't really give a damn if you believe me or not. I've spent most of my life hating you for what you did to my mother and me."

"I'm not your father," he interrupted.

"You're damned right you're not. You were a sperm donor…nothing more." Tess stood and gripped the back of her chair. "A friend of mine reminded me that I have already wasted too much of my life hating you, and I don't intend to do it any more. I came here today to call a truce…I hope we can put all this behind us and go on with our lives. I'm not saying that I forgive you… just saying I don't want to hate anymore."

"I don't know what you're trying to pull Tess, but it won't work."

"Like I said Tucker, I don't give a damn if you believe me. I just needed to close out this part of my life so I can go on." Turning, she walked out of the office leaving a stunned Tucker watching her go.

It was not going to be easy, but just that first step had felt like the weight of the world had been lifted from her shoulders. Tess could not wait to tell Samantha about the meeting. She drove the ten miles to the young woman's apartment with a smile on her face. She had actually been able to talk to him and not slip into that vindictive hate mode and she was glad that Samantha's faith in her had been justified. None of this would have happened if Samantha had not come into her life. The young woman made her happy and she had not been able to say she was truly happy since her mother had died.

Samantha saw Tess pull up outside and was waiting at the door for her. The tall woman took the stairs two at a time. "I did it," she beamed as she picked Samantha up in her arms and spun her around.
"I wasn't sure I could come face to face with him and not let the hate and anger take over again, but you were right. I actually talked with him and felt nothing."

"I knew you could do it. I had enough faith for both of us." Samantha said as she grinned from ear to ear. "And when you have faith, anything is possible."

"And I have faith in us," Tess responded, "And like you said…when you have faith, anything's possible." Tess was feeling bold; Samantha was in her arms and not protesting. She wanted more then anything to lean down and kiss her, and almost followed through with that thought. Instead she put her down and said, "Samantha… I think it's time for us to talk about our relationship."

"Yes…I guess it is," Samantha replied.

Tess took the young woman's hand and led her to the bed and sat her down. She then pulled the chair from the drafting table over and sat down facing her. Summoning her courage she brought one of Samantha's hands to her lips and gently kissed it. Her heart pounded when the young woman did not pull her hand away. "Samantha…I'm not sure if you can ever feel the same way I feel about you after what happened, but I need to tell you that these last few weeks with you have been the happiest of my life. I love you and want nothing more then to spend the rest of my life trying to make you as happy as you make me."

Samantha could not stop the tears as she flung her arms around Tess' neck. "Oh Tess, I do love you…I do." She clung to her as if to let go would mean her very life. Pulling away far enough so that she could see into Tess' eyes she said. " I want to start over, but this time can we take it slow?"

"We'll take all the time you need. I promise. I'll never rush you, or push you into something you're not ready for. I just want to love you, and take care of you." Tess leaned down and gently brushed Samantha's lips with her own. "Now get dressed. I'm taking you out to celebrate," she said rising and walking to the door. "I'll wait outside to give you some privacy while you change."

"You mean you don't want to be seen with me in my paint covered clothes?"

Tess flashed the most radiant smile Samantha had ever seen and her heart melted. "I will always be proud to have you on my arm…no matter how you're dressed."

Samantha returned the smile. "It would help to know where we're going so I'll know how to dress."

"You tell me your favorite restaurant and I'll take you there…then we'll go dancing. Would you like that?"

"Mmmm…very much," Samantha said. "I've never been courted before…I think I'm gonna like this." She crossed to Tess and gave her a peck on the cheek. "I won't be long," she said as she turned for the closet to find something to wear. Suddenly she froze in her tracks, realizing that there weren't too many places where women could go out dancing with each other. Samantha could not bear the thought of going to Girls Night Out.

Tess saw the stricken look on her face when she turned around. "Samantha…what's wrong?"

"Where are we going dancing Tess? I can't go back to Girls Night Out."

Tess walked to Samantha and took both of her hands in her own. "Hon…I would never take you back there. I never want to do anything that would bring back those memories for you. Angela, the woman who managed the club for me, has wanted to buy the place for a long time… I signed the paperwork a couple of weeks ago… she's welcome to it. I want us to be able to start over…without that hanging over our heads". Cupping the young woman's face in her hands Tess said, "I love you Samantha. Please believe me. When I told you I would never hurt you like that again…I meant it."

"I do believe you…I'm sorry…" A tear trickled down Samantha's cheek.

"Hey, it's okay…I understand." She leaned down and kissed her forehead. Tess drew Samantha to her in a gentle embrace. "Its okay, I've got you." She whispered into her ear.

With those familiar words spoken into her ear so lovingly, the tender emotions they had always brought her in her dreams engulfed Samantha again. "I feel so safe and protected when I am in your arms like this," Samantha said as she snuggled into the warm embrace. "I love you Tess, and I'm sorry if I hurt you when I asked where we were going. I do trust you…I really do. If I had just taken a moment to think before I spoke, I would have realized you were not thinking of going there tonight."

"Do you still want to go out tonight?" Tess said, drawing back so she could look into the young woman's eyes. "We can go another time if you prefer."

Samantha gave her a little squeeze then turned to her closet. "No way. You're not getting out of taking me out that easy." Rummaging through her clothes she pulled out a lavender dress and nodded her approval. "I'm dressing up, and you're taking me out.


Dinner had been wonderful, but Samantha was a little hesitant about dancing. She had never really dated, and had never learned to dance. Not wanting to look like a nerd, she was hoping that Tess would skip anything fast. Slow dancing she was sure she could do, and not make a fool of herself. Besides, it was an excuse to be able to hold onto Tess…to be held by Tess.

They walked into the bar, and Samantha was relieved to see that it was smaller then Girls Night Out, and much less crowded. Tess took the young woman to a table and seated her, then walked to the bar to order drinks. Even though this was not her normal haunt, she could see many familiar faces around the room.
One in particular caught her eye. Judy was a tall slinky brunette, with beautiful soft brown eyes, and sexy full lips. In the past she would have been glad to see her, but sex, just for sex, had lost its appeal. The need for constant sexual gratification, she realized, was her way of filling the void in her life. But no matter how often she sought out a partner for the night, the emptiness remained…the void never filled. Now, with Samantha in her life, she felt whole.

Judy saw Tess looking at her and smiled seductively. She always enjoyed her romps with the tall gorgeous woman, and was hoping to be her choice for a bed partner tonight. She was willing to play along with Tess' rule of sex with no personal involvement, and it had paid off with many a passionate night of sex till dawn. Then they would go out to breakfast and Tess would say her good-byes.

Samantha watched from across the room as the beautiful woman walked up to Tess and draped herself on the tall woman. She could not hear what was said, but it was obvious the woman was attempting to seduce her companion. She could feel the hairs raise up at the nape of her neck as her anger began to flare. Chill Samantha, she told herself. You don't own her. To her relief, she saw Tess remove the woman's hands from her body as she spoke to her. Then she pointed to Samantha, and the young artist could see the woman's gaze track to her own, a frown on her face. The tall woman turned back to the bar to place her order.

Judy stood for a moment studying the little blond at the table. She was definitely not Tess' usual type. She looked so young…so innocent. As Tess joined the young woman at the table, Judy could see the look of adoration in the young blonde's eyes as she gazed at the tall woman. That poor little thing is in for a real heartbreak, she thought.

As Tess approached the table she could hear the strains of The Indigo Girls song 'Power of Two'. She placed the drinks on the table and took Samantha's hand. "May I have this dance?"

"With pleasure," Samantha grinned as she stood and allowed the woman of her dreams to lead her to the dance floor.

Tess put her arms around the young woman and pulled her close as she briefly leaned down to rest her forehead against Samantha's. Then she tightened her embrace, kissing the top of her head and resting her cheek against the silky hair. They closed their eyes as they swayed with the music, content to be in each other's arms.

Well, I'll be damned. Judy couldn't believe her eyes; she had never seen Tess behave so tenderly. I guess a leopard can change its spots.



Samantha sat at her drafting table letting the last few weeks replay in her mind. Tess had been so attentive and sweet. And romantic, she reminded herself. When Tess just spoke her name she would tremble, and at night when Tess would go home the emptiness engulfed her. Nothing had happened beyond cuddling and kissing and Samantha had gotten comfortable with the physical closeness again. She wanted to be with this woman always and not just a few evenings a week. Tess had respected her wishes to take it slow, but now the young woman was ready to take the next step. Picking up the phone, she dialed the familiar number.

"Tess Richmond speaking."

The rich resonate tones were music to her ear and Samantha could feel her heart rate speeding up. "Hi, how's your day going?" She said trying to pull her thoughts together.

"Much better now," Tess said, a smile coming to her face at the sound of her beloved's voice.

"These last few weeks you've been taking me out and wining and dining me. Its been great…but I want to cook you a nice romantic dinner tonight…just the two of us. My cramped little apartment doesn't really lend itself to a romantic evening… so how about I do it at your place? I want tonight to be…this weekend to be… special." Samantha was blushing, and she was glad Tess could not see her. "I could pack an overnight bag and we could spend the whole weekend together."

There was a long pause on the line as Tess tried to fathom the implications of Samantha's words and tone of voice. "That sounds wonderful Hon," Tess purred. "I can't wait."

"Can I drop by and pick up your key so I can get in early and have everything done when you get home?"

"Sure, I'll run down the street and have an extra key made for you. Perhaps if you have your own key, you'll feel more at home there." Perhaps you'll even consider moving in, she thought, relishing the idea of the beautiful woman sleeping in her arms every night.

"Okay, I guess I'd better finish up here so I can get my shopping done and get over to pick up the key. I love you."

"I love you too…I just wish I had the words to tell you how much."

"I know how much…I can feel it. I can't explain how…but I do. See you in a little while."

"Till then. Bye."

Samantha hung up the phone. Just the thought of tonight made her tingle all over with anticipation. It felt good to feel this way again. The phone rang and she picked it up. "Hello?"

"Hi-ya Sam, how's tricks?"

"Hi Dusty, I'm great. It's good to hear from you. One of these days soon, we have to get together so I can tell you everything that's happened. You won't believe it."

"How about this weekend? Your mother asked if Roy and I would like to spend the weekend at the cabin with her and your dad. Roy couldn't turn down an offer like that from the Boss' wife. Anyway, your mom is on her way over to ask you to come too. I thought I would give you a call and warn ya in case you need to figure out a way to say no to her."

"Thanks for the warning Dusty. I owe you one."

"Does that mean you're not coming? It sure would be a lot more fun if you come. We're leaving tonight so we won't waste part of Saturday driving up there. It should be fun though Sam, whatdaya say?"

"I have plans this weekend Dusty."

"Maybe you should change your plans kiddo. She invited Rick from Engineering to come too, and he's a real babe."

"Oh God Dusty…is she trying to set me up again?"

"Well…yes…but this one's a real catch."

"I'm seeing someone Dusty…well…more then just seeing. I'm in love, and I've never been happier."

"Christ Samantha…why didn't you tell me?

"I just…"

"You have to tell me all about him," Dusty interrupted. "Where did you meet? How did you know he was the one…and who is he?"

"This is what I wanted to talk to you about…I want us to get together so I can tell you all about her."


"Yes her… its Blue Eyes. Her name is Tess, and I love her with all my heart. Are you okay with this?"

"I…don't know what to say Sam… I can't believe you found her." Pausing a moment to organize her thoughts she said, "Of course I'm okay with it… I kinda thought you might be leaning that way, so it's really no big surprise… except the Blue eyes part. Now that was a surprise."

"I really do want to talk with you more about her, and I want you two to meet, but I really need to think about what I'm gonna tell Mom. I promise we'll get together real soon okay?"

"Okay Sam, but make it real soon. I'm dying to get all the details."

"Soon, I promise. Talk to you later." Samantha hung up the phone and just sat there. How am I going to tell Mom, she thought.

Picking up the phone again she called Tess. She knew this meeting with her mother would probably take a while and she didn't want her to worry if she was late picking up the key. Just thinking of this talk with her mother had her stomach doing flip-flops, and she was not looking forward to it at all. When she heard Tess' voice it seemed to calm her nerves a bit. "Hello love. I just wanted to call and let you know I'm probably going to be a little late picking up my key and I didn't want you to worry."

The term of endearment brought a smile to Tess' face as she said, "Thanks Hon. You're right, I would have worried. Did something come up?"

"Well…yes. Dusty called and told me my mom is on her way over to invite me to the cabin for the weekend, and I suspect she'll be here quite a while."

"I don't want to cause a problem with your family Hon…We can put off our weekend if you need to."

Samantha could clearly hear the disappointment in Tess' voice. "I have no intention of missing our weekend love, and besides mom is just trying to set me up with someone again. I'm not going to be a hypocrite Tess…I'm gonna tell her about us."

"Are you sure you want to do that Samantha?"

"I'm sure…I love you…I can't hide that from the people I care about. I can't live like that. I hope she'll understand and accept me. If not…well I won't worry about it till it happens. Besides, she has been worrying about me being a lesbian for a long time now…she even sent me to a shrink, so it won't be that much of a surprise. At least it wasn't for Dusty. I told her about us and she wasn't surprised at all. Well that's not true…she was surprised about us, but not about me. Does that make any sense?"

"Yes, I think it does." Tess thought for a moment about the possible consequences of Samantha telling her mother about their relationship. "If it doesn't go well, you call me and I'll come right over. Promise me."

"I promise…wish me luck."


Samantha heard a knock at her door. "Oh god, she's here…talk to you later. Love you."

She greeted her mother at the door with a smile, which hid the nervousness she felt. "Mother, what a surprise. I've been wanting to talk to you…and here you are." She opened the door wide to invite her mother in.

Sarah McBride gave her daughter a quick peck on the cheek and breezed past her into the small room. Looking around the cluttered little apartment with disdain, she remembered the only extra seat in the place was the bed. "I still don't understand why you prefer this hovel to your place at home."

"Let's not get into that again Mother. I like being on my own, and this is what I can afford." Samantha closed the door and crossed to her chair, pulling it over for her mother to sit on. "Please Mother, sit down." Walking towards the kitchen she asked. "Would you like something cold to drink?"

"Oh I'd love some ice tea if you have some."

"Sure do." Samantha smiled reaching into the refrigerator. Handing her mother the tea she asked, "What brings you to my neck of the woods? I know you don't like slumming it."

"I just wanted to see you dear." Sarah smiled and sipped daintily on her tea. "You know you haven't come to see us in a while…we miss you."

"I'm sorry Mother…I've been kinda busy lately."

"Your father and I were talking just last night about you, and saying that we just don't get to see enough of you any more. We thought it might be nice if we all got away for the weekend and spent some time together."

"I'd love to Mom, just let me know enough in advance so I can make sure I don't make other plans."

"Well…we were thinking of this weekend. It's the first weekend you father has had off in God knows how long, and we thought a family weekend would be nice."

"I already have plans for this weekend Mom. I'll have to make it next time Dad has some spare time."

"But we need you to come this weekend. I already invited your friend Dusty and her boyfriend Roy…and they accepted. Couldn't you change your plans?"

"No, I'm afraid not…this weekend is kind of special." Samantha thought for a moment, trying to come up with the best way to explain to her mother.

"Samantha, you're going to be 23 years old next Monday and we were trying to have a surprise party for you up at the cabin. This is a special occasion and I think you should reconsider changing your plans. Besides…I invited a very nice young man for you to meet."

"So, you finally decided to tell me the real reason you want me to come." Samantha got up and paced back and forth. "You're trying to set me up again Mother, and you know how much I hate that."

"Samantha Rose, be reasonable. How are you ever going to find a nice young man and settle down if you won't even try to meet anyone."

"I have met someone Mom." Samantha sat back down on the bed and grasped her mothers hands. "I have met someone whom I love very much."

Sarah's face brightened. "Well why didn't you say so before…bring him along, your father and I would love to meet him."

"I don't think that's such a good idea."

"Why not?"

"Because it isn't a he mother…it's a she; and I want you and dad to get used to the idea before you meet her."

Sarah sat staring at her daughter in stunned silence. Hadn't she spent a small fortune on therapy to try to prevent something like this from happening? Finally she said, "I was afraid something like this would happen when you refused to give up your obsession with that imaginary woman."

"She wasn't imaginary mom. She was real…and I found her."

"This is worse then I thought; you have convinced yourself she is real. What do they call people with those delusions…Schizophrenic?"

"I'm not Schizophrenic Mother, and I'm not going to argue with you about this. I already made plans to spend the weekend with Tess, and I'm not breaking them."

"Well…I guess there's nothing more to say." Sarah rose and walked toward the door.

"I guess not."

Turning back to her daughter again Sarah said, "I don't understand this, and I'm certainly not happy about it Samantha, but I love you… that's not going to change." She walked back and embraced her daughter. "I'll try…but I don't know how I'm going to tell your father." Shaking her head she walked back to the door and left.


Tess spent the afternoon pacing around her office. She couldn't keep her mind on business, no matter how much she tried. She kept worrying about Samantha. What if her mother took the news really badly? Several times she almost drove to Samantha's in case that had happened and she needed a shoulder to cry on. She stopped herself though, reasoning that the woman might still be there, and Tess' presence could cause an even worse situation. So she had to sit and wait…and hope that everything went all right. This waiting was driving her crazy though, and she paced to the window again, sighing as she gazed out at nothing. A small voice behind her brought her out of her thoughts, and she turned to find Samantha standing in her doorway.

"Your secretary said you wanted me to come right in." Samantha said, closing the door behind her.

"I've been so worried about you," Tess said, as she crossed the room and pulled the young woman in for a fierce hug. "Everything go alright?"

"She wasn't happy, but she took it pretty well. I mean she didn't disown me or anything…she said she loves me and she'll try. I can't ask any more then that…can I?"

"No, I guess you can't."

"I'm actually more worried about my dad, but…well…I just hope a little time will help them get over the initial shock…and then we'll see."

Tess was relieved to see that Samantha seemed in good spirits, and that the encounter with her mother had not been as horrible as she had feared. "Well then…are we still on for tonight?"

"Yep…got my car packed with groceries. All I need is my key." My key, I like the sound of that.

Smiling, Tess reached into her desk and retrieved the key. "Is this what you need…hmmmm?" She took Samantha's hand and placed the key in her palm closing her fingers around it. "My place, is your place, and I hope that soon we can make it a permanent arrangement." Lifting the clasped hand to her lips she brushed them across the young woman's knuckles. "I love you Samantha." She leaned her forehead against the young woman's. "Forever and ever."

"Forever and ever," Samantha repeated as she circled her arms around the tall woman with a sigh.


Samantha didn't have a lot of experience in cooking. She hadn't lived on her own that long, and at home she never had to cook. She did have a recipe for a chicken and rice dish that she liked very much. It was also quick and easy, which was a big plus. Some steamed broccoli and a green salad and she would have a nice, well-balanced meal. After all, it wasn't what she served, but how it was presented that was important. She had bought a lovely lace tablecloth with a delicate pale mauve pattern. To go with it were two soft gray candles, and a beautiful flower arraignment. The table was perfect, the lights were dimmed, dinner was ready, all that was lacking was Tess. Samantha had timed the trip from Tess' office to her house. It had taken her twelve minutes, but that had not been driven in the evening rush. She allowed extra time for that and thought it should take about twenty minutes…give or take a minute or two. It had been twenty-seven minutes since Tess called to say she was on her way home. Not anxious at all are you Samantha, she thought to herself.


Tess hung up the phone and smiled. She liked the idea of going home to Samantha…it just felt… right.
A quick stop to pick up a dozen long stemmed red roses, then home…to Samantha. The florist shop was right on the way home, so the stop would not cause much of a delay. She walked in the shop and saw a huge container filled with long stemmed roses. She caught the eye of the woman behind the counter and pointed to the red roses.

"Beautiful choice." The sales woman said. "How many did you need?"

Tess started to answer, when a small crystal bud vase caught her eye. In it was a single lavender rose. In her mind she saw the vision of Samantha in that beautiful lavender dress she wore that first time she took her out dancing…it was perfect. "I've changed my mind, I want the lavender rose in the crystal vase.


Samantha heard the hum of the garage door opening. Tess was home. She dimmed the lights in the dining room and lit the candles, then went to the door in the kitchen that led into the garage. When Tess opened the door she saw Samantha's beautiful face beaming at her. She returned the smile and brought a rose from behind her back. "For you."

"Oh it's beautiful," Samantha said as she pressed her nose to the petals taking in the delicate fragrance. "Thank you." She raised up on her tiptoes and kissed Tess on the cheek. Turning she took Tess' hand pulling her toward the dining room. "Come on, I want you to eat while it's still hot."

"Something sure smells good," Tess said following Samantha into the dining room. Soft music played in the background setting a sweet romantic mood. "My table has never looked this good… it needed your touch." Tess drew the young woman into her arms. "Almost as much as I do." She leaned down for a quick kiss, but couldn't bring herself to let it end.

"I'm glad you like it," Samantha said coming up for air.

"Very much." Tess reluctantly escorted her lovely dinner companion to the table and seated her, then took a seat herself. For the first time her house felt like a home. She scooped up some of the chicken and rice and passed the dish to Samantha. "This looks wonderful."

"I hope you like it," the little blonde replied, passing the steamed broccoli.

Taking a bite Tess nodded her head. "Just as wonderful as it looks."

"I think you're a little biased, but thank you." Samantha said tasting a bite herself.


Swallowing her last bite, Tess leaned her elbows on the table and placed her chin on her hands. She watched Samantha as she finished her meal, and wiped her face with her napkin. Such an ordinary thing, yet she was mesmerized.

"What are you staring at?" The little blond said as she licked her fingers.

"You…I love to watch you."

"I'm sure it must be a beautiful sight, watching me wipe my face, and lick my fingers." Samantha rolled her eyes and laughed at the thought. "I'm sure you've entertained women here that were a lot more beautiful to look at then I am."

The tall woman's face became very serious for a moment. She knew what the young woman meant by 'entertained' "I have never…ever brought a woman here for sex…that's what you're talking about aren't you? She watched as the little blonde silently nodded her head. You know that I've had sex with a lot of women…that's no secret, but I never loved any of them…never wanted to bring any of them home. "I love you Samantha, everything about you …everything.

The little blond smiled from ear to ear. "I'm glad you let me into your heart and home."

"I really loved coming home tonight, knowing you'd be here waiting for me." Tess said as she reached out to cover her companion's hand. "It was the perfect way to end the day… coming home to you." She lifted the small hand to her lips, kissing the tip of each finger.

"You cooked, so I'll clean up," Tess said as she stood with her empty plate, and reached for Samantha's.
She smiled over her shoulder as she carried the dirty dishes to the kitchen.

Samantha followed the tall woman into the kitchen and found her rinsing the dishes to put into the dishwasher. She walked up behind Tess, wrapping her arms around her and nuzzling into her neck. "Can't these wait till later?" The young woman said, squeezing tightly.

"Yes," the tall woman said as she turned in the young artist's embrace. Taking the beloved face into her hands, Tess softly said, "How did I get so lucky?" She leaned down to nibble on Samantha's ear and brought a hand down to caress a soft round breast. "I love you."

When Samantha gently pushed her away, the tall woman froze. Had she misinterpreted the young woman's intentions for this evening? Fear gripped her heart; she would rather be flogged then push her young love into something she was not ready for.

"Samantha, I'm sorr…"

Small fingers touched her lips, silencing her. " Shhh…I want you Tess…but I'm in charge this time." Reaching down she laced their fingers together, bringing the long slim fingers to her mouth and kissing them gently. With their hands still clasped, she turned and led her tall lover out of the kitchen and toward the bedroom.

Tess followed along like a lovesick puppy, relinquishing her normal role as the aggressor. She realized this was not a sexual conquest - it was making love - a totally new experience for her.

Samantha stopped in front of the bed, and turned to face her lover. Reaching up she cupped Tess' cheek, and felt an involuntary tremor run through the tall woman's body. Her heart started racing as her lover closed her eyes and pressed her lips into the young woman's palm. She wound her fingers in the long black tresses, pulling Tess down and capturing her lips. She felt strong arms encircle her body, then slip down to her rounded behind, pulling her tight against the tall woman's body and squeezing gently. Now it was her turn to shiver. Untangling her trembling fingers from the long hair, Samantha began to unbutton Tess' blouse, kissing the exposed skin as it appeared.

Tess had never experienced anything close to the excitement building in her body. When she felt the exquisite lips press against the exposed skin of her breasts she heard a moan, and realized it was her own voice.

Samantha pushed the offending cloth off the beautiful broad shoulders of the woman she loved, and reached around behind her to unhook the last obstacle to her lovers breasts. As the bra fell to the floor, she gasped at the sight of the wonderful full breasts that in their aroused state seemed to be reaching out to her. She looked up into incredibly blue eyes, clouded with passion. "You're so beautiful." Strong hands gripped her head and guided her to a breast, aching with need.

"Yesss Samantha…yes," Tess said, as she felt the warm, wet mouth close over an erect nipple. Her knees began to give way. "I can't stand up any longer," she said clutching the young woman's shoulders for support.

Samantha reluctantly released the breast she was making love to, and knelt before the aroused woman. She began to remove the rest of the concealing garments that were keeping her away from her lover's need. Once the task was complete, she stood up and stepped a few paces away to take in the breathtaking sight of Tess in all her glory. Smiling seductively, she began to remove her own garments, enjoying the smoldering look of desire in her lover's eyes.

Tess watched her little blond lover disrobe with barely controlled passion. It was all she could do to keep from tossing her on the bed and ravishing her. She had never wanted anyone in her life as much as she wanted Samantha. When the young beauty held out her hand, Tess nearly flew into her arms, drawing the delicious nude body to her and nuzzling into the sweetly scented blond hair. There were no words that could express the depth of love she felt for this precious woman, yet she felt the need to try to tell her. "I love you…I love you…" she whispered over and over, as her hands roamed down the lovely bare back, settling on Samantha's firm round behind. "Mmmm…you have a great butt…you know that? So soft and squeezable." She accentuated the last word with a gentle squeeze.

"You could turn a girl's head with that kind of flattery," Samantha said as she pushed the tall woman onto the bed, landing on top of her.

The feel of the beautiful nude body on top of her was sheer heaven. Wrapping her arms around the little blonde, Tess flipped them over, so that she was on top. With a hand on each side of the lovely face beneath her, she leaned down and placed a soft kiss on her forehead, then her nose, and finally her lips. "I said before that coming home to you was the perfect way to end the day, but I was wrong. Nothing could be more perfect then making love with the other half of my soul…I love you Samantha…I hope I never disappoint you."

Samantha saw the tremble of her lover's chin as she spoke those final words, and she tightened her embrace around the tall woman. "Just never stop loving me Tess…"

"Never." The dark tresses mingled with the gold as the tall woman dipped her head to nibble and suck on an inviting neck. She could feel the rapid heart beat as her lips brushed the pulse point, feel the erratic breathing. Tess had to will herself to slow down, to be gentle and tender. Her only goal, to please the only person in her life she had ever loved. She slid off the little blonde to lay on her side. Propping herself up on an elbow, she drank in the beauty before her. "You're so perfect," she said, running her hand lightly over the flat belly, then up to cup an inviting breast. "I've never wanted anything in my life more then to make love to you…pleasure you." She bent down and kissed the breast she was holding then gazed into the intense green eyes watching her. "I love you…No matter how many times I say it, it's not enough."

Samantha rolled over to face her lover, and leaned in to capture those enticing lips. She pushed Tess onto her back again, reclaiming her position on top, as their tongues danced together. She slid down the writhing body, slowly making her way to her lover's breasts. "So beautiful," she whispered, as she lowered her mouth, licking and nipping around the edge of the aching nipple, before sucking it into her mouth with a moan.

Tess arched her back, pushing her breast harder into her lover's mouth, as her fingers entwined in the long golden hair. The soft moans coming from Samantha as she made love to her breasts were intoxicating, and she lost herself in them. She shut her eyes tightly and let the sounds and sensations engulf her, carrying her with them…soaring to heights she had never dreamed possible.

Samantha moved till she had better access to her lovers beautiful body, without releasing the breast she was caressing. She ran her fingers through dark curls, and long legs parted in invitation. She brushed a finger along the wet folds, and was rewarded with a gasp, as Tess clutched her firmly to her breasts in a death grip. Over and over she let her fingers brush against her lovers most private place, and felt strong hips thrust up to meet them. Then she pushed inside the slick, inviting warmth of Tess' inner depths, her fingers matching the rhythm of her lover, thrust for thrust.

"Oh God Samantha….yesss." Tess gasped, as she tossed her head back and forth frantically. "Mmmmm," she groaned softly through gritted teeth as she felt the orgasm pulse to life, her inner muscles gripping and releasing her lovers fingers. Her body stiffened, and she felt wave after wave wash over her. When it ended, she collapsed back down on the bed. Pulling Samantha in for a fierce hug, she was overcome with emotion and found herself sobbing into the younger woman's neck, "I love you…forever and ever."

Raising up on her elbows, Samantha kissed the tears from Tess' cheek. "Forever and ever," she echoed with a sigh. She laid her head down on her lover's chest, trying to calm the rush of emotions that flooded her as she had watched her lover surrender to her touch. God how I love this woman, she thought, closing her eyes, and breathing in the heady sent of her beautiful lover.

For the first time in her life, Tess felt truly whole, and complete. "You're amazing," she said as she stroked the golden tresses.

Samantha pushed herself up to where she was straddling the tall woman. "You're pretty amazing yourself." She said, as her hands began a slow survey of her lover's breasts.

"Oh no, any more and I will melt into a puddle." Tess said as she stilled the small hands. Gripping Samantha by the waste, she lifted the small woman, tossing her to the side, then rolling over to capture a soft pink nipple in her mouth. The smell of her lover's arousal was intoxicating, and she nibbled her way down the beautiful body seeking to savor the taste as well.

Samantha realized she could not hold back her release as soon as she felt her lovers tongue enter her. She tried to slow down the building orgasm to no avail. Gripping Tess' shoulders, she just let go and lost herself to her lovers touch.

Climbing back up next to the beautiful blonde, Tess pulled her into her arms and held her. Samantha snuggled closer and Tess could feel her breathing slow to the quiet rhythm of sleep. She knew she wanted to end each day for the rest of her life with this precious woman in her arms. "Forever and ever." She whispered, and kissed the golden head as she closed her eyes, and let sleep claim her as well.

The End

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