This is a classic/uber alt story. If you read the story you'll understand. You know the drill about who X/G, and company belong to. There are some depictions of physical expressions of love within this story so be forewarned. I'm indebted to my patient, and thorough Beta who offered sound advice, and a guiding hand when needed, in the completion of this story. I bow to your superior, and many grammatical skills. However, if I ever hear mention of parenthetical phrases needing to be separated by commas, I'm gonna pull the rest of my hair out. <g> I'm sure I probably missed a couple of commas in this disclaimer, so if there are punctuation errors still in the story, they are entirely my fault. Enough rambling, on with the story.
All I Want For Solstice…
The symphony of the animal din was a soothing balm hinting at the wildlife treasures. The variety of creatures were minimally disturbed by humanity due to the nefarious reputation of the forest nicknamed Black Magic. Many who ventured into the timberland were never seen again. Two weary travelers braved the ominous woodland in search of an answer to the mystery.
The fauna suddenly became eerily quiet in the dense murky forest moments after a tall dark haired female form paused and lifted a hand signaling her shorter traveling companion to halt. She methodically peered into the gloomy darkness of the seemingly impenetrable canopy above trying to discern what had caused the wildlife to make a fast break to safety. The silence was broken by the sudden unsheathing of the tall dark woman's sword from the scabbard on her back and dropping it onto the foliage littered ground causing the smaller blond woman to raise her staff into a defensive position.
Noticing her dark haired companion clasping her hands together above her head the blond bewilderedly whispered, "Xena, what's going on?"
"Drop your staff and follow my lead," was the gruff response. "Now Gabrielle."
The sudden whooshing noise emanating from the treetops followed by the crunch of broken branches prompted the blond woman to immediately comply with the stern order. Numerous imposing masked female figures dropping from the dense canopy soon surrounded the two travelers.
"We come in peace," reverberated among the group of women as the dark traveler faced the apparent leader of the newcomers as she spoke.
"Why are you trespassing on Amazon land?" the lead masked woman menacingly demanded.
"Amazons… you're really… Amazons? Wow, I've never met Amazons before. I mean sure I've heard stories – Do you really collect a bounty from your Queen for every, uh whatchamacallit, male… uh… genital you present her? Do you really cut off one of your breasts?" the blond woman incredulously prattled while scrutinizing the body parts in question among the bountiful strangers.
Penthesilea, the leader of the Amazon cluster, continued to ignore the babbling woman addressing the tall dark trespasser, "You're an Amazon – SHE'S not," slightly nodding her head toward the still gushing blond.
"Hey, don't judge a scroll by its cover!" the affronted traveler countered.
The Amazon leader faced the perturbed blond. Her eyes were barely visible beneath the animalistic mask. Making a show of raking her eyes over the smaller woman, she mockingly spoke,
"Airhead, you're not ready yet? Come on runt, we're gonna be late! Get your lazy ass in gear!"
"You goober Breann! I told you never to disturb me when my creative juices are flowing! I was on a roll with this story. You know I have had a severe case of writer's block for weeks!" Brushing her blond bangs out of her eyes, Keelin reluctantly saved her document and shut down her computer.
With a snicker Breanne rejoined, "Runt if ya had ANY of your 'juices' flowin', ya wouldn't be so grumpy all the damn time. With a tight body like yours, there's no way you'd have a problem getting laid. I sure the hell don't."
Bustling over, and poking her sister in the chest to emphasize her point, Keelin retorted, "For your information Miss smartie, I choose to be selective with whom I share my 'juices'. Normal people do not require incessant, marathon sessions of sexual escapades with innumerable women to be contented. And I'm only 7 minutes younger than you, and we're the same height, so stop calling me runt!"
"Yeah yeah, you're still the runt of the litter. Yep, you're sexually repressed if you really believe normal people don't have sex more than 3 times a year. And there ya go again with the big words. 'Normal' people don't understand half the things ya say. I dunno how our family failed and produced a nerd," wiping a non-existent tear from the corner of her eye, "Gives our family a bad name. Talk plain English. If you didn't have the trademark Masterson bad temper, and look exactly like me, I'd swear they'd given Mom and Pop the wrong kid to take home 25 years ago.
A serious expression settled on the older blond's face. "'Sides, I've thought about being with just one chick. Even thought about settlin' down. Then a bodacious babe walked by, and I came to my senses and decided it wasn't fair to deprive the world of my charms," Breann chuckled.
"Get your ass in the shower runt. We're supposed to meet the gang at the Sky Bar in an hour. Maybe you'll loosen up enough to hook up with some red-hot chick to work off some of that pent up sexual tension. You're spending too much money on batteries Sis."
Exasperated, Keelin spun around and stomped out of her bedroom.
Punching in the number 2 on the speed dial, the blond waited for the line to pick up. "Operation Baby Ruth is ready for the next phase. We'll be there." Click.
Pulling her brown leather bomber jacket more snugly around her body, the tall female Texan turned and teasingly ruffled her sister's windblown hair. "Why are we going to Sky Bar instead of Bar 6 tonight as usual? Looking to mark new territory?"
A black silk clad chest shook with laughter as the woman in question finished brushing her almost jet black, shoulder length, hair into some semblance of order. "Hey, you're the one named Hunter. I'm the angel in this pairing," the tall, femininely muscular, woman cheekily replied while adjusting her mini skirt, before retrieving her trench coat from the red SUV.
"I still say they mixed up our birth certificate footprints, and I'm really supposed to be named Marshall. It was New Year's Eve, marking the beginning of a new decade. I mean, there usually is champagne floating around to toast the new arrivals anyway. Imagine their excitement delivering twins as the first babies born in the new decade. So you can't tell me that there was not at least a little bit of partying going on at Wrigley University hospital that night. I got stuck with your name cuz tipsy technician Tom was seeing quadruplets instead of twins, and since I was the first baby he could grab after several attempts, I was saddled with your name."
They both laughed as they made their way towards a second, older model, black SUV currently disgorging a number of their rowdy friends.
"This new bar caters to both men and women, and the hook is that it continually rotates more than 700 feet in the air to view the city. Hence the name Sky Bar," Marshall explained, pointing to a freestanding tower about a block away on 5th Avenue. "Supposedly upper and middle class people hang out there. Mark is on the make for a new sugar daddy so he wanted to check it out, and convinced the three musketeers to make a night of it."
Looking to where her sister had pointed, Hunter tucked her ID and cash in the back pocket of her denim jeans, and adjusted her white Henley shirt, while Marshall unfastened the top three buttons of her silk blouse, and adjusted her cleavage for maximum exposure. The moderately chilly, South Texas, December breeze added to the beautiful, well-proportioned, silk clad, braless woman's attributes.
"Angel my ass," Hunter laughed, "Your bottle cap nipples scream otherwise."
Marshall playfully winked an arctic blue colored eye at her, and strutted toward their friends.
Once the brunette twins arrived, hugs and kisses were exchanged, along with good-natured ribbing. Soon they were making their way to the bar.
"I really hope the bar has decent finger food. I have a ragin' case of the munchies," Quinn, the Hispanic leader of the three musketeers, chimed in.
"You been hittin' the weed early cuz? You greedy bastard. Where's my doobie?"
"Jake ya pothead, I haven't been smoking shit, I'm a growing boy is all," Quinn replied, flexing his bicep.
Marshall patted Quinn's lightly bearded cheek, and rubbed his moderately protruding belly. "You are a bit chunky 'round the edges buddy. You need to hit the Sweatshop. I'm sure Keelin will give you an owner's discount, and you can't beat the view of all the panting, sweating, undulating, smooth & creamy, beautiful women. Why do you think I have a lifetime membership? The body to die for is just an annoying side effect," she facetiously added, moving her hand from head to waist in a model like gesture.
A dazed look overtook Quinn's face. "Oh yeah, Latina hot tamales in tight spandex begging to be unwrapped and eaten. Heaving mounds of flesh calling me to taste the juicy fruit…"
"A bit chunky," Deena, the redheaded female final member of the irreverent three musketeers, known for her blunt honesty, interrupted. "You're bonkers if you think that that jelly belly of yours, not to mention your ugly mug, wouldn't send hot women running in the opposite direction faster than War head George W. Bush from his National Guard posting."
The entire group burst into raucous laughter at the analogy.
Mark recovered first. "Come on, let's go on up. There's a big hunk of prime beef pining away because I have not yet graced his dismal existence with my ebullient presence. Besides, it's a bit chilly out here, and I don't want 'shrinkage' to mar my manly attributes. I want him to see what he's getting now… n… later."
"You're as bad as Breann," Hunter chided as she circled his shoulders. "You're both powerhouses of inexhaustible carnal pleasure hounds. With a touch of Keelin's vernacular thrown in for good measure"
"Uh oh, Keelin's rubbing off on Hunter, and not in a good, hot and bothered, way," Deena opined. "You should take a page from Marshall's book Hunter. She's having fun being a hot single babe, leaving a swath of wanting women in her wake. She doesn't get laid only when the temperature is twenty degrees above zero, and the humidity's less than 15 percent, and an easterly wind's blowing more than 20 miles per hour like you do. Your right forearm is much more toned than your left. You're gonna wear it out petting your 'kitty' as often as you do. You must go through a lot of batteries girlfriend."
The group laughed. Even Hunter joined in.
"I'm not that bad Deena. I just like to get to know a person before I sleep with them. It seems I'm the only one in this bunch who has standards," Hunter playfully griped.
"It's a scientific fact. Sex reduces stress, and is a great way to burn calories," Marshall added with a beatific grin, placing her arm around her sister and tugging her into a playful, one-armed, hug.
"No wonder Quinn's so chunky… he ain't gettin' any!" Jake chortled.
After the chuckles died down, the redhead inquired with a smirk, "Hey Hunter, what did you say you an' Marshall had to call your 'kitty' when your mom talked to y'all 'bout the birds an' bees cuz she wouldn't say the word vagina?"
Taking a deep breath, Hunter looked directly at Deena. "It was called our kit kat."
The group drew curious stares as they neared the elevator leading up to the Sky Bar, roaring with unrestrained laughter.
Thinking over the redhead's earlier comments, the tall, beautiful, raven-haired twin quietly muttered as she trailed behind the group, "We're working on that," with a roguish sparkle in her eye.
"I cannot believe you have the audacity to wear that out in public," Keelin laughed.
Sporting a cocky grin, the white leather clad blond turned around to face her sister, continuing to walk backward, her arms spread apart, causing her custom made trench coat to open. "What's wrong with what I'm wearin' runt?"
"What's wrong? You are not wearing anything underneath that vest, and those leather pants are so tight I can see your pulse… in the dark!"
"I repeat, what's wrong with it, and what the hell're you doin' lookin' for a pulse there? Ya into incest runt? That why your ex's all left ya? Found out 'bout your little fetish?"
"That is NOT funny. At least button more than two buttons on that vest! You are going to get arrested for indecent exposure!" the younger blond laughed.
"Ya gotta expose a little bit o' honey to be busted for that runt. I refuse to wear black jeans and a white cashmere sweater to this bar. One of us shouldn't look like a nun in civvies." Smirking, she turned around and headed to the elevator leading up to the bar, her forest colored eyes twinkling, mimicking the starlite in the night sky.
"Bar none, this is one of the best low-key bars I've been to. Even with Quinn's big red face threatening to explode on the dance floor." The redhead took a long swig to finish off her drink. "Whose turn is it for the next round?"
"I got it," Marshall replied returning to their table from the dance floor, and leaving a dejected looking platinum blond casting a longing gaze at her retreating dance partner. "Whatcha guys drinking?"
"I will have a Swizzle first… and YOU later sweetheart," came a throaty response from just behind Marshall, along with a proprietary squeeze to her derriere.
"And I'll have a draught of MGD to start off," came another from her left. Breann stared in stupefied shock at the actions of her sister.
"Hey, you guys finally made it," Marshall beamed when she turned around and engulfed both blond's in a bear hug, "Ya had me thinking I had snared another stalker for a minute there Keelin."
"In your dreams you wish I were your stalker, stud. Why don't you take a minute to freshen up, and wipe the drool from your mouth before you head off to get the beverages. In the meantime, I'll consider gracing you with a thrill later, and save a dance for you." Her response delivered in a normal tone of voice. The blond patted the firm abdomen as she sat at the table.
"Always the jokester, short stuff," Marshall laughed, as she made her way to the bar to retrieve the drinks, while their friends made the blond twins welcome at the table.
"Now that's the Keelin I know, and love to torment. All talk, and no action."
"Be quiet Breann."
"Ya can't even say shut up like a normal person," the older blond mock groused.
A low rumbling voice floated from behind the blond, "Shut up Breann."
"How cute, the other almost virgin stickin' up for the runt. What's the matter, did your dance partner find out she wasn't going to score a piece tonight?" Breann continued to tease.
"Quit it Breann. You are just upset because Hunter rebuffed your advances when you wanted to get in her pants," the younger blond responded.
The older blond caught Hunter's eye then returned her gaze to her sister. The teasing tone absent from her voice, Breann replied, "You would think that, wouldn't you?"
"Not everyone is vulnerable to your charms Breann. You don't have to treat them badly just because they did not sleep with you. What has gotten into you? You have been antagonistic to everyone lately. That's not like you. I'm worried about you. Mom and Pop…"
"Should just mind their own damn business. Just like you runt," came the gruff retort.
"I'm warning you Breann, not another peep outta you," Hunter cautioned, as she took a step forward.
Figures, the chaste twosome stickin' up for each other," the irascible blond persisted, as she stood up.
Deena quickly stood up to stand between the blond and brunette." Whoa, chill out guys. Let's take five minutes to cool down. Who pissed in your Wheaties Breann? You too Hunter, back off."
"C'mon Breann, let's go hustle some pool. There are some hot sugar babies hangin' 'round there. Mark's already there, struttin' his stuff with his future sugar daddy," Jake tried to divert the irate blond's attention. "You should check out the dude, he has pixie stixs instead of legs," the blond young man laughed, tugging his friend in the direction of the pool tables.
Keelin pulled the tense brunette towards the center of the bar, "Come on Hunter, let's go dance. You promised to show me your new dance routine. You guaranteed at the end of the dance I'd have my shirt on inside out."
Returning to an almost empty table, Marshall set the drinks down, "Where'd everybody go?"
The redhead, the lone occupant of the table, blew out a relieved sigh, "Hunter and Breann looked like they were 'bout to take a swing at each other over Breann's teasing of the way Keelin talks, and insulting them both about their celibate ways. Keelin shuffled Hunter to the dance floor, and Jake dragged Breann to the pool tables. Somethin's up with Breann. She's been more bitchy than usual."
Marshall glanced over toward the pool area, catching Breann glowering towards the dance floor. "I'm sure she'll work things out in time. Whatever they may be."
The night passed on quietly, with everyone seeming to have forgotten the earlier near confrontation, as close friends often do. Quinn headed home early, because of an early start the following day. Since Jake shared his apartment and wheels, and had not hooked up with anyone, he headed home with him.
"Hey Keelin, where's my dance you promised me?" Marshall provocatively danced over to where the blond was standing, sipping her drink.
She set down her empty glass. "What happened to the tall redhead you were dirty dancing with earlier? I thought you had selected your conquest for the night."
"Nah, she had on so much lipstick, she looked like she had wax lips. Besides, who said I'm not working on my next conquest right now?" Grabbing Keelin by the hips, she danced them both onto the dance floor.
"Why do you like to endlessly tease me Marshall? Is it because I'm safe to play around with, and you think nothing will come out of it?"
"Who says I'm teasing?" the brunette quipped, brushing up against the blond, "I know you're not as uptight as everyone thinks. Just because you're looking for a 'forever yours' type of relationship, doesn't mean you're not a fun-loving person when you let your hair down. I think that when the right person comes along, you'll show your true colors. I'm just loosening you up a bit for her." The brunette's smile added a devilish glint to her eyes.
"Maybe I'm waiting for you to grow up. Did you ever think of that?" the blond smiled.
"If I believed that, I'd have cleaned up my act a long time ago. Instead I'm sowing my wild oats until you get comfortable with me, take leave of your senses, and cut loose to be the wild filly I know you are. There's a method to my madness," the arctic-blue-eyed woman winked.
"If that is what you're doing, then why haven't you bought me dinner yet?" the blond playfully murmured, "That would normally be the first step. You do own a restaurant."
"You know I co-own a sports bar, not a restaurant," the brunette chided. "As for why I haven't invited you to dinner… I have to make sure I'm going to get a return on my…'investment' first," Marshall grinned, as she mischievously dipped the blond, causing her to laugh.
A cold beer was placed on the table in front of the brunette. The music reverberating against the bottle causing the condensation to slide down the side.
After a pause, Hunter lifted the cold beer to her lips, "Yeah, we're cool," she replied, after setting the bottle down, "What's going on Breann? You've been biting everyone's head off lately. You know if you have a problem I'm here for you, right? Hell, you were a lifesaver for me after that whole Beth fiasco." Silence greeted the brunette.
The fidgety blond looked everywhere except at her friend, peeling the label off her beer. "I don't regret it," she quietly stated, "Any of it."
"I'm glad," was the just as quiet response. After a few moments Hunter continued, "I'm here if you ever need anything."
After a few minutes, the blond took a deep breath, and broke the ensuing silence. "It's work. There was a kid in one of my art classes who'd been havin' some trouble with some bullies. I tried to help the kid out, by meeting him after school, and trying to come up with solutions to his problem. Keepin' him outta the way of the bullies. Ya know, talkin' before fighting, and things like that. His pop didn't take kindly to it when he found out. I was under investigation for improper conduct with a child. Their findings were inconclusive. The father's apparently seen me in… a compromisin' situation. He claims to have recognized me as an 'enthusiastic participant' in a sexual act with a woman in a bar someplace. He says that I'm a deviant, cuz I don't have a problem with publicly having sex with women, and that I probably have other perverse secrets I'm hidin'. Now there's an inquiry into my 'moral character,' since my personal life was placed under scrutiny. The Board is worried I may not be a 'positive influence' on the kids I teach. I've been on administrative leave for two weeks, and will stay on leave until the inquiry is finished." Looking directly at the brunette, the blond intoned, "I didn't touch the kid."
"It never crossed my mind that you did. That's a hell of a whopper to swallow. Anyone who knows you, knows you'd never abuse a child in any way. You adore kids. You spoil your nieces and nephews more than their grandparents. You organize a yearly Christmas party for underprivileged kids, and constantly support anything involving them. You're no more of a deviant than I am. They can't believe the crap that guy's shoveling."
"The problem is, I can't deny the allegation about the public sex. I've done it Hunter. You know that. I don't give a damn about what people think about me, but I love teaching art to kids. If they take that away from me… I just wanna flip-em all off," Breann angrily hissed.
"You're a totally different person when you're around kids, and just because you have a… colorful sex life, doesn't make you a bad person. Yes, you're like a steam roller when you set your stubborn mind on something. You're also cocky, short-tempered, full of yourself, overbearing, aggravating… "
"Gee, thanks for trying to cheer me up Sunshine," the blond sarcastically uttered.
Taking the affronted blond's hands between her own, she chafed them. Hunter continued, "BUT you're also loyal to your friends, honest, dependable, caring, trustworthy, generous, and unselfish. You'll defend anyone who you feel needs it. Even your twin sister, though you like to pick on her. And you'll especially defend a kid being harassed by bullies, no matter the consequences." Freeing a hand she caressed the side of the smaller woman's face, "That's what I love most about you Breann. You look out for others, before you think about yourself. Especially kids."
The blond looked down and shrugged, "Yeah, well…"
Trying to alleviate her friend's embarrassment, Hunter released the remaining hand, and joked, "Though I'm sure your past conquests won't agree with the caring for others part."
A reluctant smile graced the blond's face, "Hey, they all knew what they were getting from the get go, I didn't lead anyone on. They sure weren't complaining during the festivities," the blond smirked. A somber expression suddenly clouded her beautiful face. "Don't tell anyone about this mess. Keelin'd just get all worked up and try to fix things for me. She has enough to do with keeping the Sweatshop up and running, and if the folks find out, it'll push pop to worry about me and run… Keelin. He has enough on his plate with Mom's health."
Hunter smiled at the omission of the detested moniker. "Pinky swear." Both women hooked their respective pinkies together, and pulled them apart quickly.
Standing up and placing her arm around the shorter woman's shoulders, Hunter led the way towards the bar. "C'mon heartbreaker, let's see if I can play matchmaker, and set you up with that tall redhead that Marshall was practically having sex with on the dance floor. Being one of the famous Chase Doublemint Twins has some perks. At least that's what Marshall tells me," she laughed. "I'm sure the redhead can put a satisfied grin on your face, and help you work off some of that energy."
"What makes you think I need to work off any energy?"
"Your pulse is racing," the brunette smirked.
The blond quickly looked down at her white leather clad crotch.
"Don't worry. Things are still on track. The 'incident' was not a deal breaker. It will be a rocky road, but I'm sure things will work out in the end," the brunette related. "It was one hell of an ice breaker, you gotta admit."
Looking out through the glass window as the bar rotated, the two figures stared unseeing at the night skyline of the city.
"I hope you're right, or this Christmas is really going to be one for the unpleasant memory books. All I want is for her to be happy this Christmas. Even if it's not with me," the subdued blond whispered.
Attempting to lighten the mood, the brunette queried, "Remind me why we named this little mission Operation Junior Mint?"
"Because we were both drunk at the time," the blond managed a weak smile.
"Just be yourself, and stop acting the way people expect you to act, and things will work out the way you want them to," the brunette gently squeezed the smaller woman's shoulder, and walked away.
"I'm trying, but she only sees me as a good friend." The dark skyline was the only witness to the whispered comment, and lone tear.
The brunette gazed down at the upturned face. Her hand reached to gently push the wet, stray strands of normally golden hair behind a well-formed ear, then caressed the soft, damp cheek as she pulled her hand away. Never taking her eyes from the moist, soft, kissable, lips. She moved closer, as if in a dream, slowly lowering her head, hearing the sudden increase in the blond's breathing. Seeing the rapid rise and fall of her bosom. Scenting the yearning hunger. Caressing the bare silky-smooth hips. Tasting the soft yielding lips now beneath her own. All her senses momentarily satiated.
The smaller hands threaded themselves through her long, dark hair, forcing increased, yet not thorough, bodily contact, prompting the brunette to lead them in the direction of the bed. Stumbling briefly over the discarded towels, they continued their passionate trek. Their kisses intensified in their ardor for much more. The blond's questing tongue gained entrance, and began a persistent appreciation of the eager mouth, tasting a hint of the contrasting sweet and sour flavor of the beverages they'd imbibed earlier. Pleasure-filled hums wafted in the charged air, until the backs of the smaller woman's legs bumped against the bed.
The tall, unclothed woman looked down upon the nude, seated blond, taking a moment to catch her breath. A slender hand reached up to her in supplication, her forest-colored eyes beseechingly asking a question, and searching for an answer simultaneously. There was no hesitation in the silent reply, as the brunette clasped the smaller hand, and lowered herself atop the firm, welcoming body.
Her trembling hand roamed slowly and reverently down the blond's muscled thigh to the bend behind her knee, gently pulling upward until her foot was firmly planted. The accompanying leg soon followed suit of its own volition, causing the brunette to slide between the spread legs. Her hand teasingly moving around to squeeze a tight, firm, cheek, and push the blond up into her taut abdomen in a slow, gentle, rocking motion. All the while, her mouth paying tribute to her lips, jaw, and neck.
Gradually making their way down to the now heaving chest, eager lips teased the sensitive flesh of the blond's breasts. Alternately nipping and licking in unhurried titillation, paying homage to each, without touching the apex. Strong, insistent hands grasped the dark head, and unequivocally guided the tormenting mouth to the crest of her left breast. A deep, carnal groan filled the room when a feverish, moist mouth finally enveloped the rosy, distended, nipple, and suckled enthusiastically. The blond thrusting her chest up to offer more of herself when teeth gently bit down, then moved to lavish the same devotion to the other.
The fervor of the blond's hips accelerated, as she wrapped her powerful legs around the brunette, seeking to increase the contact, in response to the new stimulus to her breasts. Strong hands clutched without purchase at an even stronger, lightly sweat-slicked, undulating back. Athletic legs strained to keep the body thrusting into her with abandon. Guttural cries of bliss increased in volume, as she neared hedonistic fulfillment.
"Yes, yes, yes… uh… yes yes… mphf!" the cry cut off by a demanding and ravishing mouth, as the smaller body convulsed in violent fruition. Several minutes later, the still quaking blond was lovingly held in the brunette's comforting embrace, unconsciously reversing roles with the blond as the soother for once. Breathy and ragged breathing the only sound permeating the cold night air.
"YOU STOPPED THERE?! You're heartless, woman! When does Xena get her bon bon devoured?!"
"Calm down Hunter. Read my lips. It is just a story. They are NOT real. Gabrielle is NOT real. Xena is NOT actually suffering from a female version of blue balls. What the heck are you referring to as a bon bon anyway? Nothing on a woman's body looks like a bon bon."
The brunette spun around in the chair, her back to the story on the monitor. "Think about it Keelin. What's tasty, round, sweet, and has a liquid covered cherry? Not to mention gets eaten a lot," her friend summarized impishly.
"You are deranged."
"And your point is?"
The blond laughed. Stooping to hug her friend, she placed a quick kiss on her forehead as she stood up, "Hunter, you are a riot."
"I aim to please," came the jovial response.
The blond intently studied the beautiful face, inches away from her own, "I never did get to properly thank you for being my shining white knight in armor last night and defending me… with Breann."
"That's ok. I only did it to score brownie points with you, so that you'd let me read your juicy Xena and Gabrielle stories. When you let Xena GET SOME, and make it explicit, I'll be paid in full," Hunter wolfishly countered, comically leering at the monitor.
"And everyone thinks you are sexually repressed."
"Hey, I have to live vicariously through your characters. Who, by the way, look EXTREMELY familiar to me for some odd reason. I wonder why, hmm? Something you're not telling us Keelin? Keelin, the poster child for celibacy, writing erotica. Are you getting your jollies by writing porn?" she laughed. "If I'm not getting lucky, at least let my poor doppelganger get her bell rung. Pet the… Pethy… Penthesilea… boy that's a jawbreaker for a name at the beginning of the story. You should take the name out, and just call her the Amazon leader, or something," Hunter rambled.
Keelin suddenly pushed the back of the swivel chair and dumped Hunter to the floor, jumping on her stomach and pinning her shoulders down. "As I was saying, I did not get to properly thank you for last night. If there's anything you want to make it up to you, for spoiling your evening, it's yours."
Hunter's continual struggle to sit up motivated Keelin to shift her weight, and lay her forearm across her captive's chest, just below her collarbone. Applying increasing pressure, the brunette eventually settled down, placing her hands on her captor's hips. They peered into each other's eyes; Keelin noticing the darker ring of blue surrounding the prominent, substantially lighter shade in the middle, Hunter noting a few intermittent flecks of hazel throughout the forest-colored irises.
Keelin leaned forward and pushed herself off her knees to regain her feet. She faced the owner of the legs she had spied out of the corner of her eye moments before.
"What were you guys doin' on the floor?" Breann questioned.
"We were just horsing around. What are you doing home so early? I wasn't expecting you until this afternoon to get ready for the Christmas party, because of the school's teacher in-service," Keelin answered.
Hunter quickly rose to her feet. Straightening her clothes, she spoke, "Um, Breann knew she was going to be let go early today, so I offered to come and help her set-up for the party tonight… I found you here instead… so I bugged you to let me read some of your porn stories, to kill some time 'til she got here."
Keelin looked suspiciously between the two nervous women. "Well, excuse me for not having the writing skills of O'Henry, but you seem to like my stories well enough. We still have plenty of time to set-up. It's only 10AM, and the guests are not due to start arriving until around 7 tonight."
"I need to go wash up, then I'll start on the stuff for tonight," Breann quickly exited her sister's room.
"I'll go help her." Hunter tried to make a hasty retreat.
"Hang on a minute there, Miss Bon Bon. I meant what I said about owing you for defending me with my sister, BUT you high-tailed it out of there rather quickly when Blinky Bill started hounding me for a dance out on the top deck, and would not leave me alone."
"Blinky Bill?" Hunter could not help but burst out in laughter at the nickname. "I'm sure there was a medical reason he kept repeatedly blinking his eyes. Besides, you handled him pretty well on your own."
"THE POINT IS, you deserted me, and because of that you will NOT get to see Xena get her 'bon bon' devoured in explicit detail. EVER!" With that the blond spitfire left the room.
Hunter yelled as she left the room, "Why do I have to suffer?! I was not the one who paid him to stalk you! Marshall did! You should punish her, not me!" the brunette groused. "Though I gotta admit, he was an oddfellow. Kept talking to his 'little Bill.'"
A sobering thought suddenly occurred to the brunette, "Aw man, that means even my doppelganger ain't gonna be getting any. This is looking to be a bah humbug Christmas. I'm gonna end up wishing for all my presents to be re-chargeable batteries."
"Sure Auden. Not a problem Auden. Have fun Auden. We'll take care of the kids Auden. Are you out of your ever lovin' mind Keelin? Why in the world would you agree to watch the kids while your brother and sister-in-law go Christmas shopping? I have many skills, but taking care of two crying eight month olds, and a two year old, is definitely not one of them," a panicked voice exclaimed in a stage whisper, while rocking a crying baby, and trying to coax him to take a bottle of breast milk.
"Calm down Marshall, you're going to upset Justin," Keelin cautioned, as she nodded toward a blond little boy, contentedly chewing on a stuffed teddy bear. "The twins are just unusually fussy for some reason. Auden and Phoebe had some last minute presents to buy for Christmas, but had to wait until payday to get them. Since they came early for the party tonight, they asked if we could watch them. The twins are usually very good babies, and Justin's never a problem, so I said fine."
"I came to help decorate, not raise my blood pressure. Well at least not this way."
"Hunter was here earlier, so we've already set everything up. She and Breann went on a liquor run for our famous smoothie fruit and fuzzy peach drinks, so we're all set once they get back."
Marshall placed the crying baby on his stomach on the bed and gently rubbed his back. "He's not stoppinnnnnnnng…"
The sound of the front door opening and closing sent a wave of relief through Marshall. "Breann, I hope to God that's you!"
"Stop yelling. The babies are upset enough as it is," Keelin reprimanded.
"I hear my little munchkins," a childlike voice floated into the bedroom, and was soon joined by its speaker. "Where are my little men?" Breann relieved Keelin of her bundle, and kissed the little boy on the crown of his head. Then bent to kiss Justin, and then the crying baby Marshall was trying to calm. "There there Mateo, what's the matter huh? Perky Nana not keeping you happy huh? Your nanny not who you want huh?"
"We've tried everything. Changed diapers, fed them, burped them, carried them, sang to them, nothing seems to work." Keelin grabbed Justin's hand, " Come on little man, let's get you some lunch."
"Dum dum. Dum dum. Dum dum," was repeated by the little boy, as he was escorted out of the room.
"Why was he looking at me when he said that?" Marshall asked, exasperated.
"Cuz he's a smart little boy," came a teasing response from Hunter, as she entered the room.
Breann quietly chuckled and continued to try and soothe the crying baby. "Hey Hunter, do me a favor, and get one of my blueberry waffles from the freezer please."
Hunter gave the blond a bemused look, "Okaaaaaay."
"Make them stop, please make them stop," a pathetic voice pleaded.
The blond laughed. "Calm down Marshall, and relax. They can sense your emotions. You calm down, and you have more of a chance of calming them down, though that's not what has them fussing."
"I'm not very good with kids Breann. They make me nervous. They're so little, so demanding, so helpless, so fragile." Panic was beginning to creep back into her voice.
"You're doing fine Marshall," Breann soothed, "Kids are not so bad. Don't you want to have your own some day?
"I'd rather have the kind that I can give back at the end of the day. I'll stick with my nieces. Thank you very much."
A sad look crossed the blond's face, "What if the woman you're interested in wants kids, or already has a chicklet or two? Would that stop you from getting serious with her?"
The brunette laughed. "You call kids chicklets? Why?"
"The woman's a chick, so a little one is a chicklet. Makes sense to me," the blond shrugged. "Don't let kids, or the possibility of them, stop you from dating someone Marshall. Kids are a blessing, and there are some very special women out there that you'd not be able to get to know better if you used that as a reason not to date them."
"I didn't say I wouldn't date them. Why in the hell are we talking about this anyway? I'm not dating anyone, much less a woman with… chicklets," the brunette laughed.
Hunter re-entered the room and extended her hand, "Here's your waffle. Where's your bazooka water gun?"
Grabbing the waffle, Breann tore it in half and gave a piece to Marshall. "Give this to Matt."
Both brunettes looked at the blond with confused looks.
"They're teething. The cold will help numb the gums, while the waffle will provide some rough texture for them to rub their gums on. The waffle's edible, so they'll have a tasty snack to occupy them, once it's mushy enough for them to eat. Just watch to make sure he doesn't try to chomp a big piece off."
After a couple of minutes, the babies quieted down, and were content to enjoy their tasty, homemade teething snack.
"Why do you want my water gun?"
"Your sister took it upon herself to indoctrinate your nephew into the Masterson pain in the ass club. She got a hold of your trident from Halloween, and poked the hell outta me when I was getting your waffle." Showing her arms, Breann was able to make out the slightly red fading dots made by the prongs of the trident. "So it's either soak her with the bazooka, make her take an unexpected fun dip in the pool later, or set a good example for Justin, and send her to her time out corner."
"We start 'em young in our family," Breann chuckled. "Bedroom closet, top shelf, behind the 'adult' toys," she smirked.
"I knew you were my favorite for a reason," Hunter chortled, as she ran for the weapon.
"They're asleep," Breann whispered, as she laid her bundle down, and covered him. Marshall followed suit.
"They're not so bad when they're asleep," the brunette commented.
"They're not so bad period," the blond replied, squeezing Marshall's arm as she left the room.
Marshall spent a few minutes gazing at the peacefully sleeping babies, reflecting over the time spent with the kids. "No, they're not so bad at all," she agreed, as she placed light kisses to each sleeping child's head.
Marshall flipped off the light, and tripped over something on the floor. With the light from the hallway flooding part of the room, she could see the teddy bear Justin had been chewing on earlier. She reached down to pick up and put away the toy.
A piteous wail floated from the bedroom, "Ugh, I'm holding a gummi bear."
"Is your present ready?"
"Yes, I finally managed to get everything done."
"I hope she understands the meaning behind it."
"I think she will not have a doubt once she sees it."
"Everything will be fine. Operation Junior Mint will be a success."
"You all set?"
"Yes, everything is finally ready. I just need her to agree."
"Once she realizes what her gift really is, I'm sure she will."
"Thanks for your help with all of this. I owe you."
"Nah, just treat her right, and I'll consider Operation Baby Ruth a success. Even though that was a lame name. Why did you pick it?"
"When I was a kid, I had an obsession with candy, one candy bar in particular. It was all I ever wanted to eat. I'd do just about anything to get my hands on one."
"Anyway, the more I thought about finally setting things in motion the closer it got to Christmas, the more I wanted it. It reminded me of the things I was willing to do to get my hands on a Baby Ruth candy bar as a kid. I have never wanted anything so badly since I was obsessed with those candy bars. So I settled on the name Operation Baby Ruth because it seemed appropriate somehow."
"Well, we'll see if we can get you a king size 'Baby Ruth' for Christmas."
Laughter followed the two figures out of the darkened room.
The front room was filled with gathered family and friends by nine that evening. The lush, green, seven foot, lavishly decorated, Christmas tree, topped with a starburst shaped star, was the focal point of the gathered crowd. A cherry blossom scent mixed with the scotch pine scent of the tree permeated the air. Snippets of conversation drifted through the room.
"When are you and Keelin heading up to visit your parents? You guys leaving Christmas Eve, or on Christmas day?"
Breann turned to face Marshall, a lop-sided grin creasing her face. "We're heading up tomorrow afternoon, so we can spend all of Christmas day with the whole family. We'll be back on the 28th. Did I ever tell ya 'bout the time Keelin was briefly dating a chick who had just had a chicklet? Ya know, ya really should give 'em a chance. Ya dunno what you're missing. This woman played a game called skittles while she was in Britian, but I'm getting off the subject aren't I? Anyway, she was breast feeding the kid…"
"Oh no, not the milk dud story," Keelin pleaded, as she and Hunter joined the twosome.
"Milk dud story?"
Keelin sighed. "Breann was holding the baby one time, and she was apparently hungry. So as babies tend to do, she rooted around for food. She latched on to Breann, and started trying to suckle. Susan saw what happened, and started laughing. She took the baby, and made a comment to her that she was not going to get anything out of those milk duds, referring to Breann's breasts."
"Keelin tore her a new asshole for insultin' me," Breann wheezed through her laughter.
Her three companions joined in the laughter.
"I can't believe that you were actually telling us a story where you were the butt of the joke Breann, and that Keelin actually defended you over her girlfriend," Marshall laughed.
"There's a lot you two don't know about the Masterson twins, but y'all sure will soon enough," she cryptically replied. "Y'all want a taste of the old Breann? Fine. Let me tell ya 'bout the time a while back when Keelin kept referring to S&M as M&M at a theme club we went to one time…"
"Well it's about time to get everyone together to open presents. We have an early start for our trip tomorrow," Keelin quickly interrupted, trying to herd her sister towards the Christmas tree.
"Keelin's been to an S&M club? You're into S&M Keelin?" both Marshall and Hunter asked simultaneously.
"That's an eye popper of a revelation I see? Toldya there's plenty of stuff y'all don't know about us," the older blond devilishly beamed.
"Wow, that's a catchy pop version of that Christmas song. Pop rocks, huh guys?" Keelin chimed in.
"I'll pay ya a 100 grand to tell me that story Breann," Marshall offered.
Keelin nearly dropped her drink.
"Watch it there butterfingers, don't want to stainyour favorite rug do ya?" Marshall teased.
"You don't have that kind of money Marshall," Keelin retorted.
"I'm sure Hunter and I can pool our resources, or put our sports bar up as collateral. Hell, we can sell a kidney each, right Hunter? It'd be worth it to find out about your… fetish."
Both Breann and Keelin exploded in laughter, remembering the previous night's discussion concerning Keelin's 'fetish.'
Marshall and Hunter looked at each other. "Did I say something funny?" Marshall inquired.
"Sorry guys. That's gonna be our little secret. Only 'I' get to tease Keelin about fetishes, or otherwise," Breann stated emphatically.
"C'mon, ya can't drop a golden nugget of information like that, then leave us hanging," Hunter whined.
"Keelin, didya know that the Milky Way galaxy can be seen with the naked eye as a diffuse band of broad light stretching across a clear night sky?"
"No Breann, please tell me more."
The blond twins wandered off arm in arm, leaving the two frustrated Chase twins in their wake.
"Wise-ass little shits aren't they?" Marshall grumbled.
"Well at least now we know what to give them as their prank gifts, to open at their parents," Hunter smugly replied.
Looking around the table and turning the scroll over to search the back, the brunette woman queried, "Where's the rest of it? Who ended up with who? What special Winter Solstice gifts did everyone get? Did Bree Ann hunt that idiot father down and…"
"That's all there is Penthesilea. I told you it wasn't finished before you started reading it," the smaller blond chastised, gathering the numerous scrolls together to put safely away. "I haven't really decided yet who ends up with who. That's part of the Winter Solstice mystery. I'm leaning towards ending the story where the reader can decide for themselves who they want to end up together. Though I have left both subtle, and blatant clues as to who wants to be with whom. I want the reader to try and figure out if the blatant clues of who gets together are the real clues, or if the subtle clues are the real ones. The whole story has not yet 'spoken' to me one way or the other. And her name is pronounced breen, as in rhymes with queen."
The brunette Regent stood and helped the bard return the scrolls to their case. "Where do you get such strange ideas for stories Gabrielle? You must have one Hades of an imagination. Writing about people far in the future. A world with spinning buildings; writing stories on things other than scrolls or parchment; being able to see in dark rooms without candles or torches. I guess that's what makes you such a great bard."
"I'm just glad to be writing again. After Japa… well… I'm glad to finally be home."
"You've never told us what happened."
"That's one story I will never tell. It's in the past, and I'm only focusing on the future." She shook herself from her troublesome memories.
"Anyway, this story comes to me in vivid dreams, almost as if I'm living it." Gabrielle laughed lightly, "When I first met Xena, I told her I had the gift of prophecy to convince her to take me along with her. Maybe that's where these dreams are coming from."
"Gabrielle, the things you write about will never happen. Traveling around without using wagons, carts, and animals; bottles for babies; wooden phalluses that move on their own? Like you said in the story, it's just a story," the Regent laughed. "Why are you using the council room to write your story, and keeping them here?"
"One good thing that came out of our last… voyage was that Xena asked to read my scrolls once we got back." A fond smile suffused Gabrielle's now expressive face, "She even asked me to write a story just for her. So since Winter Solstice is just a few days away, I thought I'd give her this one as a special gift. This is the first story I've been able to write in a long time. I've been working on it for a while. She's been reading my old scrolls whenever she gets a chance."
"Ah, and you need to keep these hidden from our inquisitive, and impertinent Warrior Princess."
"I only have so much energy to keep a suspicious warrior occupied."
"My heart is breaking for you," the Regent deadpanned.
The blond smiled, and winked. With that, the Amazon Queen left the council room.
The quiet sounds of an Amazon village settling in for a long, cold winter's night drifted through the air. Two figures lay indoors snuggled together, enjoying a warm, crackling fire after sharing a quiet, late evening meal. The taller of the two women was cradling her smaller, blond companion in her arms, her nose nestled in the short, golden hair. The smaller woman blissfully caressed the strong arms wrapped around her waist, soaking in the attentive presence of her companion.
A low, vibrant voice spoke softly into a well-shaped ear, "So how was the elder's meeting you had to attend today? Did that ol' battleaxe of a Queen keep you late on purpose again?" the tall woman inquired.
"Xena, be nice," the blond mock reprimanded, "Being the Queen of the Amazons is a big responsibility. You can't blame her for working so hard to rebuild the Nation."
"All work and no play," an insistent pair of lips teasingly suckled a conveniently positioned ear, "makes me," a light brushing of lips, "want to teach the Queen," a light sucking kiss placed just behind the ear, "A lesson," A playful bite assaulted the abused ear.
A shiver ran through the smaller woman's body. She took a deep breath, and shifted, lying on her back, to face her tormentor. "She just might like that," a quavering voice responded, just before small hands wrapped around a strong neck to bring the teasing lips to battle with her own.
After several long heartbeats they pulled apart.
Gabrielle cupped the beautiful face hovering over her, as she spoke, "Maybe she doesn't have pleasant memories of past Winter Solstice's."
"Maybe she's using these so-called meetings to hide her hidden agenda," came the devilish reply.
"Now why would she do something like that?" Gabrielle innocently questioned. "Maybe she just doesn't like Winter Solstice, and prefers to work through it."
"I have it on good authority, that she does not dislike Winter Solstice," the warrior smirked. "So what would you suggest this Amazon Queen would need, or want to make this Winter Solstice the best one she's ever had?"
Looking up into the arctic-blue-eyes, a radiant smile lit up the bard's face as she caressed the beautiful visage above her. She reverently whispered, "All I want for Solstice, or will ever need, I already have. You. I love you Xena."
"I love you too Gabrielle."
The quiet passionate sounds of two reunited soul mates laying before a warm crackling fire, bound together for eternity, drifted through the air of a quiet Amazon village settled in for a long, cold winter's night.
Candy Name Count: 108
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