Love Thy Neighbor

By: A. K. Naten 

Category: Uber Alternative fic

Rated: R-ish

Summary: How ‘neighborly’ can you get with people who live close to you, especially when you discover that what you think you know about them is wrong? A story about finding hope and love in unexpected people and places.

DISCLAIMER CRAP: This is a F/F SLASH PIECE that depicts sexual relationship(s) between consenting adult women. If you are under 18 years of age and/or this type of story is illegal in the state or country in which you reside, consider yourself hereby warned. If depictions of this nature disturb you, then stop reading and bail now, dude.

This is an UBER story; characters are loosely based on two chicks from a now-cancelled TV show, but that’s where the similarities end — and I really mean that, because I never knew much about the show anyway.

Okay, I think that’s what I’m basically supposed to say...??

This is my first attempt at the Xena-Uber/Alternative thang, so go easy on me. This is nothing major; just a little piece of fluff that’s been swirling around inside my head for awhile. This story and its characters belong to me. If you wanna post it on your site, please ask me.

Part 1

"...Kinda always knew I’d end up your ex-girlfriend..."


"Jenna, wait... please?" I pleaded half-heartedly with my girlfriend as she angrily marched around my little one-story stucco house, picking up stray pieces of her life.

"No... I’m through waiting, Cammy... I’ve been waiting for six fucking *months*!" she said through angry tears as she whisked past me, tossing some things onto the kitchen table. "Six months of my life have been WASTED, waiting for you to make up your fucking mind! Waiting for you to decide whether or not I was *good enough* for you!" She shouted as she spun around to face me. "And now you tell me that you *knew* from the start that you didn’t want more than this!?"

I cringed slightly at her words. What started as a simple disagreement about what we were going to do for the holidays had somehow turned into a humongous, hurtful argument about how we really felt about one another; or rather, how I *didn’t* feel about her. I was just being open and honest about my uncertainties; Jenna, obviously, felt much differently.

"What you’re really saying is that you knew all along that you didn’t want *ME*!" She continued to glare at me angrily. I opened my mouth, wanting to refute her words, but I couldn’t; what she was saying was absolutely true. "Jesus *Christ*, Cammy!!"

Oh boy.

She shook her head and twisted away from me, continuing to cry while I merely stood there rubbing my temple with my fingers. I watched her hastily throw the few meager belongings that I had allowed her to bring to my home into a paper grocery bag that had ‘Have a Wonderful Day!’ printed in red ink on the side. I grinned at the irony, despite the ill timing.

Jenna crumpled the top of the bag closed and grabbed it, turning to head for the front door. She stopped abruptly and dug her car keys out of her purse, fumbling with them — taking my house key off the ring, of course. She spun around to face me, and thrust her arm out, the key between her fingers. She said nothing, and we looked at each for a moment. Her short, dark auburn hair framed a splotchy, reddened face; her normally warm brown eyes were dark and bloodshot; and her small, dainty fingers trembled slightly as they held the silver key that represented the only expression of trust and love I could ever muster for her.

My own light jade eyes trailed all over her face, knowing that I wouldn’t be seeing it again anytime soon. I really did feel horrible. Jenna was a decent person, for the most part. A little demanding, perhaps, but that didn’t mean she deserved to be hurt, and I was indeed hurting her. But I didn’t mean to... no *really*, I didn’t. Why do people always have to push for more? ...Especially after only six months. Why couldn’t she just accept the fact that she wasn’t the one for me?

I drew a deep breath and slowly reached up to take the key from her hand, giving her a somewhat contrite look. She stared at me as more tears trickled down her cheeks. So many emotions fluttered across her delicate features... sadness, anger, regret, love... yes, Jenna had loved me. I knew it. I just couldn’t return it. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to return it with anyone, and I seriously wondered if I ever would.

"Goodbye Camille." She said with soft anguish, then she turned and walked out of my life.


I was slumped on the living room sofa, staring out the window, when I heard the garage door open and close.

"Did Jenna leave?" The soft voice of my 9-yr-old daughter was like a balm to my troubled soul.

"Yeah, honey... she left." I answered as I turned to look upon my little angel. She was the spitting image of me: light blonde hair framing a round, fair face with a smattering of little-kid freckles splashed across her nose and cheeks; a tiny rosebud mouth that often quirked in consternation, and bright, inquisitive, green-blue eyes.

I had made many mistakes in my life, most of the really bad ones occurring back when I was young, carefree, and in college. When you’re young, you don’t know anything. You walk around thinking you’ve captured the world in your grimy little hands, only you’re too stupid to realize that it’s really the world who has captured you. I had thought that I knew what I was doing when I stupidly decided to have a casual little one-night stand with a guy I actually found attractive. It was just one of the many times my foolhardy recklessness came back to haunt me. The outcome of that fateful union, however, was a blessing in disguise. My precious daughter was everything to me.

Megan wore her shoulder-length tresses in a ponytail today — much more functional for skateboarding and riding bike, you know. She sat on the arm of the sofa and peered at me; I could see the myriad of questions forming in her intelligent little mind.

"Did she leave because you didn’t want her to move in?" She asked, her fair brows furrowed in deep thought. She knew that Jenna and I had been having problems, but I had never really gone into detail with her.

"Well, that was just part of the problem, sweetie." I answered her honestly, but vaguely, not wanting to get into it right now, especially with a 9-yr-old.

"You guys wanted different things, Mom. She probably would have left anyway." She said matter-of-factly with a shrug of her narrow little shoulders. She’s so mature for her age, always has been. She’s especially perceptive about people’s feeling. I can only look at her in amazement and smile.

"I know... you’re probably right, honey." She slid herself down onto the sofa completely, coming to rest against my shoulder. I can smell her sweaty-kid aroma, and I know that she’s been playing outside for hours because she knew that Jenna and I were in here arguing. I felt badly about that, and I put my arm around her to give her a hug.

Megan knows more than most 9-year-olds know about life, love, and relationships, and she knows me better than anyone. She’s an extremely bright kid, but she also has an uncanny ability to read me like a book. We’re very close, and I suppose that closeness accounts for some of her ‘ability’. Still, she’s way ahead of her time. It always amazed me that she turned out to be so level-headed and smart, especially since it’s just been the two of us for the past 8 years. I guess that means that I’ve done a good job with her? ...Who knows. My mother certainly doesn’t think so. Even though she’s finally accepted the fact that I’m gay, she still thinks that my being so is bound to have a ‘horribly detrimental effect on your only daughter!’ — her exact words, mind you. Oh well, whatever. Can’t please everyone all the time, and I sure as hell have never pleased my mother, so why should this be any different?

Megan had no problem with my being gay, but then again, she was a kid and didn’t know what it meant to most people. She only knew that she hated seeing me alone and unhappy. Yeah, I know — I told you, she knows me.

"So, does this mean you’ll be dating other people?" Megan looked up at me with curious eyes, rousing me from my thoughts.

"Oh *God* honey! Don’t throw me to the sharks already! Geez!" I laughed at her and shook my head.

"Aunt Susy says you need to get back out there. She says you need to live it up and have some fun, Mom!" Megan said as she sat up and looked at me very seriously. I laughed again.

"Yah, well Aunt Susy is too nosey for her own good!" I said, scooting forward on the sofa. Susy was my nearest and dearest friend, and since I no longer spoke to my real sister, Megan had adopted Susy as her pseudo-aunt. "How do you know what Susy has to say anyway? What, have you two been conspiring behind my back again?" She and Susy were constantly trying to solve my love-life dilemmas. I probably would find it endearing if I weren’t so cynical.

"Well... she kinda told me that things weren’t so hot between you and Jenna." Megan admitted somewhat sheepishly. "We talked about it when we went to the movies last weekend... I told her that you guys had been fighting a lot and stuff." She shrugged, trying to appear casual.

I reached out and grasped her hand, "I’m sorry about all that honey. I never wanted you to be in the middle of my troubles with Jenna."

"I know... it’s no big deal." She shrugged, and for a moment, she seemed so grown-up, I almost wanted to cry. "Mom...," she interrupted my melancholy, "Can I tell you something, and you promise you won’t get mad?"

Uh oh. "Sure, sweetie."

"I kinda didn’t like Jenna... she was sort-of boring, and she didn’t know *squat* about playing PlayStation games!" She said, the expression in her light green eyes changing from sheepishness to incredulity in a matter of seconds.

I couldn’t help myself, and I laughed out loud. "Oh Meggy!" I opened my arms and we laughed and hugged each other tight.

If only all of life’s complexities could be as simple as those that a child sees.




‘Love Thy Neighbor’

by A. K. Naten


Part 2

"...Two lovers entwined, pass me by

And heaven knows I’m miserable now..."


"God... I can’t believe I let you talk me into this!" I whispered in a hiss to my friend Susy.

Susy lived for the dating and clubbing scene, whereas I liked to go clubbing, but I could barely stand the dating bullshit. All the time and energy that was wasted flirting and playing head games made me sometimes consider staying single. ...But only sometimes.

"What?! Jesus, Cammy, come *on*! You need to get out and get on with your life, and Amber is a sweet girl!" Susy scolded me before she took a gulp of her beer.

"Yeah, *girl* being the key word there — how old is she, Suz? 21? 22?"

Susy frowned fiercely, swallowing her beer quickly, "No! She’s like... 23 or something!" She hedged with a totally unconvincing shrug. I glared at her knowingly. "Cam, does her age really matter? I mean, if she’s cool and you like her, who gives a shit what the age difference is!"

"*I* give a shit, Suz! I might be seven years older than this girl — probably *more*, judging from your guilty expression." I said sternly.

Susy just rolled her eyes at me. "Okay, aside from the *insignificant* age difference, what do you think of her?" Susy asked as she propped her arms on the table and leaned in toward me conspiratorially.

I took a quick gulp of beer and quirked my mouth, not wanting to tell Susy that so far, Miss Amber-Waves was not floating my boat. "I dunno... she’s cute... seems nice... a little ditzy perhaps, but–"

Susy let out a groan and rolled her eyes again, "Cam, can’t you just overlook the minor flaws? Just once?"

"Having no brains isn’t a ‘minor flaw’ in my book, Suz; that’s a pretty major defect!" I retorted, taking another swig from my bottle.

" ‘Defect’ ?! OhmyGOD... you are *UN*believable!" Susy said as she collapsed backwards in her chair, shaking her head at me. I glared at her... this was starting to piss me off now.

She leaned forward again, "You’re never going to find *perfection*, Cammy... it doesn’t exist!"

"I never said I wanted or needed ‘perfection’! I just want something that’s... *feasible*... potentially workable, at the very least!" I spat, angry and wide-eyed, trying to keep my voice down so that the other club patrons wouldn’t stare at us.

Susy took a long drink of her lager, "You know what your real problem is?" She said, squinting and pointing her beer bottle at me.

"...What." I said flatly, fully expecting her to launch into one of her famous ‘this is what’s wrong with your life’ tirades, which she did routinely about every six months.

"You’re too fucking picky, and you’re too damn brainy for most normal chicks." Susy said, making a face and polishing off her brew. I shifted my jaw and gave her a nasty look again. "It’s true. You’re too smart, and you use big words when you talk, and you intimidate the hell outta everyone." She continued, nearly slurring her words now as the four or five beers she’d consumed since getting here began to sink in. "And then, if they can’t use big words back at you, you get all pissy and cross them off your ‘eligible’ list." She made faces and hand movements as she talked, and I suddenly laughed out loud at her dramatic gestures. "What?! It’s not funny, Cam! You’re never gonna find anyone if you continue to be so damned picky!"

It wasn’t supposed to be funny, but I laughed anyway. Having my drunken best friend tell me that I’m too smart and picky while pulling faces and gesturing wildly just struck me as humorous all of a sudden. Susy was still talking, and I only caught the last half of what she said, "...the least you could do is show her a good time before dumping her juvenile, brainless ass!" She finished haughtily, and I burst out laughing even more.


I glanced out the living room, eager to see if my babysitter was on her way. Isabel Santillo lived diagonally across the street from me, and she’d been babysitting Megan for nearly a year now. She was an adorable girl, just turned 17, and Megan loved her.

As I looked over to her house, I saw an older girl who looked just like Izzy — Megan’s pet name for her — come out of the front door and head toward the blue Jeep Wrangler that was parked in the driveway. I supposed it was her sister, Lucia. I had never personally met Lucia; I only ever saw her from my window as she came and went, or if she happened to be outside washing her car or fetching the newspaper when I pulled into my driveway, or whatever.

What little I knew about her came from sporadic comments from Isabel: she attended the local college, worked two jobs, and loved books, computers, and music. Isabel adored her and thought she walked on water. Their mother had passed away several years ago from cancer, and the girls lived in the modest one-story home with their father, a tall, kind-looking man who worked as a police officer, I think.

The tall, dark-haired girl hopped into the Jeep and started it up, the thumping sound of music immediately filling the air as she backed out of the driveway, waved to someone at the house, and took off down the street. My eyes tracked over to the house where she had waved, and I saw Isabel coming out her front door. Thank God. If I showed up late for her birthday dinner, Susy would have my head on a platter.

I opened the door for Isabel, who apologized for being a little late. She explained that her father couldn’t be home tonight, so she and Lucia had to quickly discuss and rearrange schedules so that Lucia would be home later when Isabel was finished babysitting.

"You know, Izzy, if you’re ever alone at your house, or whatever, you’re more than welcome to stay here until someone gets home." I offered, wanting her to know that she had somewhere to go if she needed it.

"Oh thanks, Ms. Williams. I don’t know why Lucia and my dad have such a cow about me staying alone at night — I mean I’m 17 now, y’know?" She made a face and smiled, her teeth bright and white against her olive skin.

"Yeah, well, they’re just concerned for your well-being. There are plenty of weirdos out there... they just want you to be safe." I added.

"I guess. Well hey, have a good time at your party — is this for your birthday?"

"No — it’s for a friend of mine; she’s hitting the big three-oh." I made a funny face and smiled.

"Ooo, a milestone birthday! So you won’t be back until late then, huh?" Isabel added with a knowing smile.

"Uhh, maybe — is that a problem?" I hoped not; I was kind-of in the mood to party and hopefully, get a little jiggy-wid-it tonight.

"Nope; Lucia gets off work at eleven, so she should be home around 11:30 or so. Besides, I’m sure she’ll call to check on me." Izzy rolled her eyes and I smiled.

"Okay. You guys have my cell number, right?" I know I had asked them that at least twice already, but I couldn’t help it — I’m a Mom — worrying and double-checking everything is what we do.

Megan and Isabel humored me anyway, nodding and murmuring an exaggerated ‘yesss’. "Okay... thanks Isabel... bye honey." I gave Megan a kiss and waved to them both as I dashed out the door.


The party was fun, despite the fact that I only knew about four or five people. Susy’s friends were similar to her, so it turned out to be pretty wild and loud overall.

My suspicions that Suz would try to fix me up with some of these friends turned out to be accurate — at least three women had hit on me rather unsubtly. Unfortunately, as I figured, none of them sparked any kind of curiosity. One was a little too butch, one was way too old, and the other one, although hot, was a complete bimbo. I wasn’t too surprised, but I was disappointed, in a way. I had seriously hoped to find someone who was at least interesting enough to talk to and hang out with for the evening. I only held out a very slight glimmer of hope that I’d find someone tantalizing enough to possibly make out with in a dark corner someplace, and I simply *knew* better than to hold out hope that I’d find someone who impressed me enough to make a future date with. Alright, so I am a snob... so sue me.


It was close to midnight and I had finally become sufficiently bored. I found Susy, wanting to wish her a final happy birthday so I could go home and get some much-needed sleep.

"Hey birthday girl, I’m heading out." I said as I hugged my friend tightly.

"Already? Don’t tell me you’re leaving *alooone*, Camille?" She drawled out, looking at me with a goofy expression on her drunken face. I hate it when she calls me Camille. Reminds me of ‘chameleon’, and then I picture myself with those bizarre lizard eyes that can rotate 360 degrees.

"Yeah, hon. I’m afraid your ‘matchmaking’ efforts failed miserably." I gave Susy a stern, knowing look. She just shrugged and held her hands up. "Suz, I love ya dearly, but please do me a favor?" She cocked her head and looked at me seriously as she took a slug of some wicked-looking red concoction in a martini glass. "*Don’t* do me any favors." I said, giving her a smart-ass smile and patting her on the shoulder before turning to leave.

When I walked outside, I was shocked to find it raining like hell. I made a mad dash to my car, getting soaked in the process. I felt stupid, not realizing that rain was even in the forecast. Then again, I rarely watched the news or read a newspaper, so, I suppose I deserved it. Luckily the party was *over* instead of just starting. Some impression a drowned rat would have made to everyone.

Now I had to drive home smelling like a wet, smoky ashtray. Lovely.




‘Love Thy Neighbor’

by A. K. Naten

Part 3

"...Come here a little closer,

‘Cos I wanna see ya, baby, real close up..."


When I walked in the door of my house, I immediately noticed that it was dark and dead quiet inside. I frowned and walked into the kitchen. The microwave and stovetop clock were both flashing. I tossed my purse on the counter and noticed a sheet of paper with something scribbled on it. "Mom — It stormed bad and we went over to Izzy’s house to be with Lucia. Come get me there. — Meggy." I smiled, half in relief, half in humor at my daughter’s abrupt note. In addition to being wet, I knew that I smelled like a barroom, so I changed shirts quickly and grabbed an umbrella to head over to the Santillo house.

I reached the front door and knocked softly, not wanting to startle anyone, even though I knew they were expecting me. I saw the blinds in the front room move as someone looked out, then the locks of the door clicked and clacked and it opened.

The young woman who stood greeting me in the doorway was, for lack of a better word, gorgeous. She was quite tall, with long legs that fit nicely into a pair of well-worn bell-bottom jeans, and a loose cotton half-shirt that showed just a hint of a flat, tan-colored stomach. My eyes zoomed in to see a small silver hoop adorning a pierced navel. ...Oh babyyy. Forcing my eyes upward I somehow managed to keep my tongue from lolling out as I quickly assessed the rest of her. This girl looked a lot like Isabel, but she was obviously more mature. She had long, dark brown hair that curled slightly and fell well below her shoulders; her face was perfectly-proportioned with a strong jaw and smooth, light caramel-toned skin; her lips were full and meticulously-shaped; and her eyes were a striking, piercing blue.

Wait a minute — blue? I looked again, aware that I was probably staring, but too fascinated to ignore it. Indeed they were blue; even in the near-darkness of the night, I could see that they sparkled like crystal. Her face had a calm, serene beauty about it... she was definitely exquisite.

"Hi... Megan’s Mom, right?" She asked softly, tearing my mind out of its trance. God, I hadn’t had that much to drink tonight — what the hell was wrong with me?

I smiled nervously, feeling like I’d been caught looking under her skirt or something stupid like that. "Yes, hi... Lucia?" I spat out quickly, sticking my hand out in a purely knee-jerk reaction.

"Yeah... come on in." She grinned and shook my hand in a firm, assured grip, opening the door wider and inviting me inside.

The Santillo house was as small as mine, but it was warm and decorated with the comfortable earth tones of a southwestern-style motif. Lucia led me toward the living room, where Isabel and Megan were crashed-out on the sofa, a Disney movie softly playing on the forgotten television.

"It stormed pretty good, and the electricity went out. Isabel won’t admit it, but she’s scared to death of thunder and lightning. She called me and I told her to bring Megan over here — I hope that was alright?" She said as she spoke in a low, quiet tone as she looked from the two slumbering figures to me, her dark, slim brows quirked in a tentative question.

"Oh sure, that’s fine. Megan isn’t too wild about storms either, even though I love them, personally." I answered with a jittery smile.

Lucia crossed her arms and grinned back at me, "Oh yeah, I love them too... so powerful and beautiful." She smiled again, and I couldn’t help but be totally transfixed by the brilliant whiteness of her perfect teeth, and the comforting cadence of her soothing voice. This girl — this neighbor whom I’d never even met before — had suddenly and utterly captivated me. I knew next to nothing about her, and yet I stood here, intending to collect my daughter and go home, completely transfixed and unable to tear my gaze away from her... from this girl. God Lord, what had come over me?

I somehow managed to yank my feet out of the quicksand I had stepped in, finally gathering my sleepy daughter and heading home. As I tried to fall asleep that night, my thoughts kept bouncing hither and yon about the lovely, enigmatic Lucia Santillo. I kept telling myself that it was just simple curiosity that piqued my mind; that I was just interested in knowing who she was because she was Isabel’s sister, and because I knew so little of her.

...Hey, it was worth a shot.

I finally started to drift off to sleep, my mind still wrapped in confusion over my reactions, and my heart harboring numerous improper thoughts about someone who was, in all likelihood, *way* too young for me. My final cognizant thought was that Susy would think I’d completely flipped my lid if she knew about this. Then again... she might not.




‘Love Thy Neighbor’

by A. K. Naten


Part 4

"...Slight of hand and twist of fate,

On a bed of nails she makes me wait..."


The next few weeks passed without much incidence. Springtime was officially here, and we endured several nasty thunderstorms. I always thought of Isabel and Lucia whenever we got socked with one.

I had also taken to the sneaky habit of glancing out my living room window nearly every evening so that I could watch Lucia climb into her Jeep and head off to work. She must be a very dependable employee, because she was always punctual. I often found myself wondering where she worked, because she usually dressed very casually in jeans and a t-shirt of some sort, and carried a little duffle bag. I should just ask her, duh. I should just go over and say ‘hi’ to her... see how she and Isabel are doing. Megan stops over to see them often, I should really do the same... just pop over and make some small talk... they *are* my neighbors, after all... it would be the ‘neighborly’ thing to do, right?

...God help me, I’m an idiot.

I got a rare treat one Saturday morning when I innocently wandered over to the window with my bowl of cornflakes and looked out, only to be greeted by Lucia’s well-toned backside as she bent over inside her Jeep. Apparently, she was washing and vacuuming her car, and I stood there like a complete voyeur, ogling her for at least 15 minutes as she scrubbed and rinsed the vehicle from top to bottom. She had a deliriously scrumptious body, and eyeballing it made my brain as mushy as the cereal in my bowl. A little white tank top exposed broad, tan shoulders; the flat tummy was slightly exposed again; and some very skimpy jean shorts accentuated long, tan, shapely legs and bare feet.

Heaven help me... I’m perving on the neighbor girl. I let out a strangled whimper and marched back to my kitchen, determined to stay away from that damned window, no matter what.

...Yeah, right.


It was a Thursday evening, some weeks later, and Megan and I had just finished dinner when the doorbell rang. I opened it to find Isabel standing there, looking a little nervous.

"Hey Isabel, what’s up?"

"Hi, Ms. Williams. Uhm, I know I’m supposed to babysit for you tomorrow night, but... uhm... well, I kinda have a conflict." She grimaced and twisted her hands nervously.

Susy had begged me to go out with her tomorrow night with some friends; there was a new club that had just opened a few weeks ago, and Susy was dying to check it out. I had called Isabel earlier in the week, making arrangements with her to babysit Megan. At first I didn’t really feel like going, but it had been quite awhile since I had hung out with Suz, so I had changed my mind and was now kind-of looking forward to it.

"Oh? What’s the problem?" I asked, wondering if she was backing out completely, or what.

"Well, I have this *huge* history final project that’s due, like, tomorrow, and my freakin’ pc crashed, and now I’m afraid I lost all my work, and I *gotta* get it done or else–" She rambled on nervously and I cut her off.

"Okay, okay — I get the picture," I said with a grin. I worked as a pc systems technician, so I was used to people asking me for help whenever their computers gave them troubles. "Do you want me to take a look at your pc, or–"

"Oh no, no," Isabel interrupted me in return, holding out a hand. "I just wanted to ask if Lucia can babysit for you tomorrow, instead of me."

"Oh...uhh..." I wished I had a better response, but I couldn’t come up with one. Lucia as ‘the babysitter’?! ...Oh Christ. All sorts of Jerry Springer Show-type ideas started flashing through my head.

"I know she hasn’t really watched Megan by herself before, but Meggy really likes her, and she doesn’t have to go in to work tomorrow night, and–"

"Oh no, it’s not that I don’t trust her, I just..." Quick you idiot, before she thinks you have something against Lucia! "Uhm, I just hate to... *inconvenience* Lucia at all... y’know? I mean, if she had plans of her own or something, I’d hate for her to be sitting over here all night." I laughed a little and smiled, hoping I didn’t sound too lame or full of shit.

"Nope, it’s not a problem; she has the night off tomorrow and offered to cover for me." Isabel smiled, looking pleased that I wasn’t upset about the change of plans. Upset? Hell no I wasn’t upset. I was actually thinking of staying home now that I knew Lucia would be here. Oh for fuckssake, stop it!! God, when had I become such a pervert?!

"Okay, well — I’ll see her around eight then?" I tried to sound very nonchalant, but I wasn’t sure how it was coming out.

"Yep — eight o’clock. Thanks Ms. Williams, and I’m sorry about all this."

She’s really a sweet girl. "No problem Isabel. Hey, if you do need help with your pc, let me know... I can take a look at it for you."

"Oh thanks, but Lucia said she can fix it, so everything should be cool — cross fingers! See ya!" Isabel smiled wide and waved cheerfully as she cut across the lawn toward her own house. I closed the door and released a loud sigh.

I either needed to get seriously laid tomorrow night, or I had to find out how old Lucia was before I drove myself insane with the fear of becoming a pedophile. For once, I was actually hoping that Susy had unsubtly lined up a blind date for me.

Oh yeah... the situation had definitely become grievous.




‘Love Thy Neighbor’

by A. K. Naten


Part 5

"...My skin tonight is a-blazing, but I don’t think you’re my type

What I need tonight’s the real thing, yeah, I need the real thing, tonight;

As a fuck, hon, you suck, as a fuck hon, you suck..."


The new club was fun. The atmosphere was casual and relaxed, and the music was loud and lively... a good mixture of danceable rock and techno. The servers consisted of scantily-clad babes and guys who flirted raucously with everyone. It was similar to ‘Hooters’, only equal-opportunity male and female, and no tacky, orange short-shorts worn with nylons. ...I still can’t believe they make those girls wear *nylons* underneath those hideous shorts.

Every once in awhile, a little ‘announcement’ would be made, and someone would beckon all the servers to stop what they were doing to gather in the middle of the dance floor. They’d happily oblige, dropping their trays and going to town as they line-danced or just plain boogied down to some wild song, merrily bumping and grinding with an occasional patron. Some woman was apparently celebrating a birthday, or something, and I laughed as I watched the female servers take turns giving her little lap dances. Bet she’d be having some serious wet dreams tonight — most of the girls were pretty hot.

As entertaining as my surroundings were, the evening was still dragging on somewhat painfully for me. Susy had, as I predicted, magically bumped into a ‘friend of a friend’ who just so happened to be available, and just so happened to be alone for the evening. So, while Suz danced and enthusiastically carried-on with her girlfriend of three months, I was forced to dance with the Britney Spears look-alike. Alyssa was cute, yes, but she and I had absolutely nothing in common. And, I was betting that she was barely over 21. She was a great dancer, but then again, youngsters usually are. Damn, Susy was right... I really needed to ditch this bad attitude.

The feel of Alyssa gripping my ass as we danced snapped me abruptly out of my depression. "You are soooo *hot*!" She murmured breathlessly into my ear as she began kissing and suckling my neck. Oh Jesus. "Come on... let’s get out of here." She said, taking me by the hand and leading me away. Shit... now what do I do? Did I really say that I wanted to get laid tonight? ...Errrr.

We wound our way through the loud, dancing crowds, back toward the lounge and restrooms. This back portion of the club was chocked-full of dark little nooks and crannies designed, I’m sure, for moments just like this. We passed several couples engaged in much more than simple kissing until we found a dark little niche of our own. Alyssa pulled me into the corner and into her arms, kissing me hard and groping me forcefully. Well, wasn’t she just the bold little filly?

She was a wonderful kisser, and her busy little hands set my body mildly afire, but as she moaned into my mouth and moved her hips insistently against my thigh, I couldn’t help but think, ‘Is this what I’ve been reduced to?’ Mindless sex in the dank recesses of a mostly-gay club with some young thang I’d just met? God... my love life had officially hit a new low.

My mind waffled back and forth about what to do. I had thought that I wanted to get laid, but this wasn’t really what I had in mind, and she wasn’t really who I wanted. Oops... wait — strike that last part.

We kissed and fondled and bumped and grinded for a few more minutes until I couldn’t take it anymore. "I’m sorry, Alyssa." I said, breaking the kiss and pushing her away from me.

Her face registered shock and her swollen lips parted in question. "I just... I can’t do this." What was I saying? Why couldn’t I do this?! I wracked my brain for something to say to her... for a feasible excuse... a plausible means of escape.

"Why not? What’s wrong?" Alyssa implored, reaching out to stroke my chest with her fingers.

I captured her hands, suddenly not wanting her to touch me, "I don’t know... I’m just... I’m not really into this right now." I sighed and ran my hand through my hair. "It’s not you... it’s me."

Oh my Godddd... did I *really* just say that?!

Alyssa snorted softly and pulled her hands out of mine, stepping away from me, "Right... well, hey... maybe I’ll see ya around sometime." She shrugged me off and turned abruptly, walking away to leave me standing there feeling like a real ass. I slumped against the wall and wondered what in the hell my problem was.


When I got home, all was dark. As I tossed my purse on the kitchen table and entered the living room, I could hear the quiet sounds of soft music playing. Lucia was curled up on my favorite chair, the small table lamp providing the only light as she sat reading a book.

I smiled as I approached her, and she looked up, giving me a grin, "Hey." She greeted softly.

"Hey... how’d your evening go?" I asked, coming to sit on the sofa beside her.

"Oh it was fine... Meggy is such a great kid." She unfurled her legs and stretched languorously, and my eyes bulged at the glorious emergence of those long, tanned beauties.

"Yeah... she is great." I mumbled, trying to focus my vision someplace besides her thighs.

"How was your evening? Have fun?" She asked with feigned innocence.

"Mmm, it was okay," I shrugged, finally able to look away. "We went to that new club, ‘Degener8’?" I asked, wondering if she’d heard of it... wondering if she knew that it was known as a primarily gay club.

"Oh yeah... I know that place... I hear it’s pretty cool." She said smoothly, her brows lifting ever-so-slightly as she gave me a very subtle, very sly smile.

...What did that mean? Did that mean she knew it was a gay club? Did that mean she now knew I was gay? Did I just stupidly give myself away without thinking?! Shit! I felt a sudden surge of panic.

"Mmm, yeah, it was fun." I managed to say with what I hoped looked like a nonchalant shrug. "The music was decent... the atmosphere was relaxing... and I especially liked how all the servers would just drop what they were doing and start dancing, right in the middle of everything." I motioned with my hands and smiled at her.

She smiled back at me, "Yeah, that place is already getting a reputation for its ‘go-go dancing waitresses’." She said, raising an eyebrow and giving me a sideways look. I couldn’t tell if the expression was favorable or unfavorable; was she saying that she approved, or disapproved? ...She was very difficult to read.

We sat in silence for a few seconds until I took notice to the book she had been reading. "Stephen Hawking... wow," I said with a smirk. I would never have pegged this youngster for reading freaking Stephen Hawking.

"Mmm, yeah... he has some interesting theories about... stuff." She said casually, picking the book up and flipping it back and forth.

I laughed lightly, "Do a lot of pondering about creation and the fate of the universe, huh?" I teased.

She gave me a smirk and quirked that brow again, "Sure... don’t you?"

"Not lately, no." I laughed again. "Lately I’ve been too busy trying to figure out what the hell’s wrong with my love-life." I said sarcastically... then instantly regretted it. Why did I just blab that to the *babysitter*, for fuckssake!? ...Ohmygod...

Lucia must have sensed my sudden panic, because she laughed softly, "I understand what you mean, believe me." She got up off the chair and casually let her hand brush across my arm, "I think people like us have a much harder time finding that ‘special someone’." She looked directly at me, giving me another gorgeous smile before padding away, bare-footed, to the kitchen to retrieve her things.

*What*the*fuck*...?! Did she just say what I think she said? Did she mean what I *think* she meant?! ...Ohmygod... I suddenly had a very real fear that my head was going to explode.




‘Love Thy Neighbor’

by A. K. Naten


Part 6

"...Girl, I wanna take ya to a gay bar,

I wanna take ya to a gay bar, gay bar, gay bar..."


Four weeks passed, and I hadn’t spoken with Lucia again since the night she babysat. Well, I hadn’t spoken with her at length, that is. I saw her outside, and we waved and said ‘hello’ and commented on the weather and boring shit like that, but nothing major. Nothing like when she pretty much told me that she not only knew I was gay, but that she was, apparently, gay as well. Well, I didn’t know for *sure*, but I held out hope. It was, actually, rather bittersweet... Lucia was gorgeous and smart and kind, ...but she was young. Too young. She could very well be the girl of my dreams, but she was unattainable.

Damn. Would my luck *ever* change?


Another month passed. My birthday was coming up, and Susy called me on a Monday, telling me that she and ‘the gang’ were going to take me out on Friday.

I was totally not into it. Even though it was my own big three-oh birthday, I wanted nothing to do with it. I just wanted to hide inside my house. No presents, no cake, no parties — no fanfare. Just leave me with a pint of Starbucks coffee ice cream and a bad cable movie, and I’ll be fine, thank you very much. But, as usual, I caved and agreed to go. Well I had to, really... Susy threatened me with bodily harm if I didn’t, and believe me, Suz could hurt me — she’s a big girl.

Isabel came over to babysit, and I hopped in my car and promptly headed over to Susy’s place. Someone else was going to drive, which meant that they intended to get me shit-faced to the max. Well, maybe that wouldn’t be a bad idea. I kind-of welcomed the thought of drunken oblivion at this point in my life.

We arrived at ‘Degener8’ around 9 p.m., and the place was hoppin’. Loud music blared and thumped, reverberating inside my head and chest. The sexy waitresses and waiters flitted back and forth, as usual, and everyone was dancing and sweating and laughing the night away.

The gang wasted no time in buying me drinks of all shapes and sizes. And, much to my embarrassment, they wasted no time in announcing to the whole damn place that it was my birthday, the pricks. "Happyyy Birthdayyy dearrrr Cammm-eeeelllllll!" The whole place sang off-key. I cringed and closed my eyes... I hate to be called ‘Camille’, and I *really* hate having ‘happy birthday’ sung to me by a bunch of strangers. I think all the restaurants where they do that should be shut down by the Board of Health for harboring infectious disease.

"And now, a special dance for the special girl!" The announcer called out amidst clapping and cheering.

Oh Jesus H. Christ... kill me now, please.

The music started and the scantily-clad servers sauntered over to my table, looking like something out of a ZZ Top video. Susy grabbed my chair and spun it around so that I faced everyone. I could barely look at the servers as they began to prance and dance; I just wanted to curl up and die. This was supposed to be fun, but it was anything but. I was going to fucking kill Susy after this night.

Suddenly someone stepped out of the dancing group and came to stand right in front of my chair. It was a cute little blonde, and she smiled saucily at me as she sat down on my lap and began to ‘dance’. Ohmygod... did I not ask to be put out of my misery? What was *taking* so long!?

One after another, the girls — and guys — took turns either dancing right in front of me or sitting on my lap, twisting and turning and bopping up and down enthusiastically. Even though I knew my face was turning twenty different shades of red, I went along with it, forcing my laughter and acting like I was enjoying the whole thing. I had to hand it to these kids — they were lively, and they seemed to really enjoy teasing me.

I was pounding drinks by now, hoping and praying that I would pass out so that the little parade of bodies would cease. I was just turning and sitting another empty glass on the table when yet another body came to stand in front of me, silently requesting a turn on my lap. I looked up, and my heart literally stopped.

It was Lucia. ...*Holy * Fucking * Shit*.

I could only sit there in an open-mouthed stupor while a slow, sexy smirk spread across her lips. Her pale eyes glittered at me as she spread her knees apart and seated herself very carefully upon my lap. She was so much taller than I was, but oooo, did ever she feel niiiice.

I could barely comprehend what was happening... all I could hear was loud, thumping music and the whooping and hollering of my friends... all I could feel was gentle pressure against my lap as Lucia’s body drew closer and touched me fleetingly... all I could smell was the flowery shampoo scent that wafted from her hair, and the aroma of her perfume mixed with a faint tang of sweet-smelling sweat.

It vaguely occurred to me that I was staring straight at her breasts, and as I flushed red, I forced my attention up to focus on her face. ...My god, she was gorgeous.

Unlike the other dancers, she didn’t merrily bop up and down to the rhythm of the music; she merely placed her hands on my shoulders and scooted her body close while staring determinedly at me. I could feel her legs flex and tighten as her thighs squeezed mine, and my stomach flipped. She edged forward even more, sliding both her arms around my neck so that they encircled me completely. Her face loomed precariously close to mine, and her breasts nearly touched me as she finally began to sway and move ever so slightly in time with the music.

I unconsciously brought my hands up to hold onto her waist while her body moved back and forth in a gentle rhythm and her ass ground lightly on my lap as she proceeded to ‘dance’. My panties were wet, and my throat was dry, I swallowed convulsively while drowning in the mischievous light that glittered in her exquisite, sky-blue eyes. I quickly decided that I could die right at that moment and be quite happy.

I have no idea how long the ‘dance’ lasted. All other noises and sensations seemed to vanish as Lucia stayed there on my lap, gyrating subtly and moving herself against me so sensually. All I could feel was the warm, comfortable weight of her body... all I could hear was the soft rasp of her breathing... all I could smell was her sexy, delicate scent as it wafted past my nose.

Raucous laughter and someone slapping me on the back finally roused me from my reverie, and as I came-to, I found myself captured in Lucia’s darkened stare and tiny Mona Lisa smile. I opened my mouth to try to say something, but instead, a dark head leaned forward and soft, dainty lips captured my mouth in a surprisingly tender kiss.

"Happy birthday, Cammy." Lucia whispered, her breath gusting gently against my lips. Again I tried to say something, but nothing came forth. Lucia moved back slowly, fixing me with a sultry but coy smile as she finally scooted off my lap and walked away.

Susy immediately came clamoring over to me, laughing and smacking me on the arm, yelling "Oh yeah! Oh baby!" and other exclamations that I couldn’t quite make out. I just sat there, for a pretty long time I think, while my befuddled brain tried to process what had just happened.


Later that night, when I finally got home and hauled my drunken carcass into bed, I wasn’t too surprised to find that I was unable to sleep. All I could think about was Lucia and what had transpired at the club. Since I was so drunk, I couldn’t reconstruct everything; one thing was for certain though... *something* incredible had happened, and everyone else had apparently picked up on it as well.

Susy was overjoyed, of course, and during the entire drive home, she harped endlessly, blabbering things like, "Ohmygod, that was so *amazing* Cam!" and "You should have seen your face!" and "You have to find out who that girl is, Cam! You *have* to ask her out, man!"

God... if she only knew. I didn’t say a word; I just sat motionless in the back seat, trying to stay upright and keep the contents of my stomach down where they belonged.

I started to wonder if it was real. Maybe it wasn’t Lucia? Maybe it was just some chick who looked like her, and my inebriated mind had conjured up Lucia’s sweet face and stuck it on the unsuspecting girl’s body? ...Okay, so I’m probably reaching. Still, I was having a great deal of trouble believing that all of it had actually taken place.

Moreover, I knew now, more than ever, that I was incredibly attracted to Lucia Santillo. And no, it’s not just because she kissed me and gave me the most erotic lap dance ever... it was more than that. I felt drawn to her... as though she and I had some kind of commonality that we were consciously unaware of, but which our souls knew and yearned for.

Of course, the big problem was that she was a *kid*. I knew I had to find out how old she was; might as well get the facts before getting wound-up over nothing.

I wasn’t too keen on being slapped in the face with disappointment, but I had to know.




‘Love Thy Neighbor’

by A. K. Naten


Part 7

"...I got a head full of ideas,

that you wouldn’t believe ..."


No too surprisingly, I didn’t see Lucia for nearly two weeks. Well no, that’s not quite true. I did see her, we just didn’t speak to one another. Sometimes she’d be pulling out of her driveway just as I was just nearing mine, or she’d be outside doing something and I’d open my front door and spot her and quickly duck back inside like a total dork. If we caught each other’s eye, we’d give each other quick, shy little waves, but only because proper neighbor etiquette dictated it. It was pretty obvious that we were both embarrassed and avoiding one another. Which was really stupid, because I genuinely liked the girl, and I had thought that she liked me too. But, before things could go any further, I really needed to find out her age.

After much incessant hounding from my evil best friend, I finally spilled my guts and admitted that not only did I know Lucia, but she was also my neighbor. Naturally Suz flipped her lid, and she immediately offered to call one of her friends who worked at the local college where Lucia attended school, and ask her to do a little ‘unofficial’ investigating on my behalf. I felt really bad about that; it seemed to so underhanded and sneaky. But hell, who was I kidding? I wanted to know her age badly enough, so I went along with it.

The thing was, it took too damn long. An entire week had passed, and there was still no word from Susy’s inside ‘source’. At that point, a light bulb finally went off in my head, and I quickly realized that I was overlooking my safest, most accurate source: my daughter.


As I headed back the hallway toward Megan’s room, I could hear the soft sounds of Nora Jones seeping through the closed door. ...So that’s where that cd disappeared to. Little weasel. Well, at least the kid has good taste.

I took a deep breath, determined to remain calm and appear only casually inquisitive, lest my overly perceptive daughter see through my charade and bust me wide open. I brought my knuckles to the door and rapped lightly, and was greeted by Megan’s sleepy face a moment later. "Hey sweetie... whatcha doin’?"

"Just finishing up my homework," she answered as she went back to her desk and I made myself comfortable on her bed.

"Whatcha working on?" I asked while glancing at the scattered papers on her comforter.

"Some stupid History junk about all the American Presidents." Megan muttered in annoyance, making me smile.

"Not much of a History fan, huh?" I asked with a laugh.

"No way, it’s so stupid! All those names and dates and stuff... who can remember all that?" She griped as she rubbed her eyes.

"I know, it kinda stinks, but you might as well learn it now, because you’ll definitely need to know it later." I answered with a smile. She rolled her eyes at me and I laughed again. "Uhmm, say Meggy," I began, hating that I was so bad at sounding casual, "have you seen Isabel or, uh, Lucia lately?" There, that was pretty smooth ...not.

"Mmm, yeah. I saw Izzy yesterday, and I saw Lucia the day before that when I was riding bike."

"Oh yeah? How is she— I mean, how are *they* doing?" ...Oh, real smooth, dude. I’m such a doofus.

"They’re good. Izzy’s freaking over her big senior projects and stuff."

...And...? What about Lucia? Lucia, kid, LUCIA!! I mentally slapped myself.

"Oh, Lucia asked about you." Megan’s nonchalant statement caught me off guard.

"Oh yeah?" I wondered if Meggy could hear my heart pounding, ‘cos I sure could.

"Yeah. She asked how you were doing and said to tell you ‘hi’." Megan answered blithely, keeping her nose stuck in her book.

"Oh, well... that’s... sweet of her." More smoothness from the Queen of Control. I rubbed my forehead and scolded myself again. When I looked back at Meggy, she was looking directly at me with a blank, innocent expression on her face. "What?" I asked with a frown.

"Do you like her, Mom?" God! Why do kids have to be so... direct!?

"What?!" A little more panic in the voice this time. "Of course I like her. She and Isabel are great... kids." There... maybe that’ll cover it.

"No, I mean, do you *like* her-like her?" Meggy asked, pushing her book aside and bringing herself to perch right in front of me. Shit... she’s not going to let me off the hook. Damn Susy for talking to her so much about my love life! "Cos I think she kinda likes you." She added, looking at me thoughtfully. ...Ohmygodohmygod ...Wait — did she just say that Lucia likes me?

"W-What do you mean, honey?"

"I think Lucia likes you." I just stared at her dumbly. "She asked me about you before. And Izzy says she doesn’t have a girlfriend or anything." My eyes widened and I could only blink for a moment before all the words started to sink in.

"Wait... are you saying that–"

Megan interrupted me, "She’s gay too, Mom. Izzy told me. I thought you knew?" She answered matter-of-factly, like she was giving me tomorrow’s forecast or something.

"Well, I—I, I mean, I wasn’t sure–"

Another interruption, "So, do you like her?" Megan’s eager, inquisitive blue-green eyes pierced me intensely, and I felt my body mutiny against me as a full-blown blush raced across my face.

I laughed nervously and got up off the bed, "It doesn’t matter if I ‘like’ her or not, Meggy. She’s just a kid and I’m... I’m older, honey. I’m a *lot* older." I answered with a shrug.

"Nuh-uh, Mom. She’s not a kid. She’s older than Izzy!"

"Well I *know* she’s older than Isabel, but she’s in college, honey! Ergo, she’s a *kid*." There. I had sufficiently made my point.

Megan scrunched her face up as she thought about what I had said. "Now then, it’s late, and you really need to get to bed." She nodded, still in deep thought. "If I get home at a reasonable time tomorrow, maybe we can hit ‘Dave and Busters’ for dinner, okay?"

Her little cherubic face lit up, "Okay."

"Okay. Get to bed, sweetie." I gave her a kiss and turned to walk out the door.

"Mom?" She called to me before I made it out.

"Yeah honey?"

"How old would she have to be?"

The quiet question took me off guard. "How old would who have to be, and for what?"

"Lucia." Oh Jesus. "How old would Lucia have to be for you to *like* her-like her?"

Why do kids always talk in ridiculous riddles like that? ‘Do ya *like* her-like her’... ... ‘didja *do* it-do it’... ‘didja *love* it-love it.’ ...Goddddd.

I sighed but managed a smile for my baby, "I don’t know honey. Please just forget about it... okay?"

She let out a frustrated sigh, "Okayyy."




‘Love Thy Neighbor’

by A. K. Naten


Part 8

"...I don’t wanna doubt you, know everything about you,

I don’t wanna sit across the table from you wishing I could run;

I wanna love you madly, I wanna love you now..."


Another week had passed since my revealing little chat with Megan, but Susy’s ‘source’ still hadn’t come through with the goods on Lucia yet. I supposed that I could ask Megan to find out, but now that I knew she was gunning for me to *like*-like Lucia, something told me to just drop the subject where she was concerned. I loved her dearly, but I didn’t want her doing or saying anything that would embarrass the hell out of Lucia, and more importantly, me.

To make up for her source’s apparent unreliability, Susy had offered to take Meggy and me to the movies for the evening. We were going to see some cheesy teeny-bopper comedy flick that Megan and Susy were interested in, but which I didn’t give a shit about. No matter; I was just glad to get out of the house for awhile.

Suz and I were chatting in the kitchen, killing time before we left for the movie when the doorbell rang. I was still talking to Susy while I walked over and yanked it open without looking. My mouth dropped open when I saw Lucia standing there, looking nervous but gorgeous as ever.

"Uh, hi." She said, twitching her mouth in small smile.

I hesitated for a moment, like an idiot, "Hi, hi." I had to blink to wake myself up. Hell-oooo?!

"Uhm... how’ve you been?" She asked as she shoved her hands into the back pockets of her jean shorts.

"Fine... I mean, good... I’m good. You?" God, I’m so clever sometimes I can’t stand myself. This was surely THE most stimulating conversation I’ve had in AGES.

"Oh I’m fine... fine." Yeah... apparently she’s feeling clever tonight as well. Christ! Somebody SHOOT us! Quick! "Uhm, actually, I was wondering if–"

Just as she was starting to say something interesting, Susy came around the corner and interrupted us. "Hey, what’s up Cam?" She inquired, her eyes immediately growing huge as she spied Lucia standing at the door. "Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to–"

"Oh no, it’s okay." I offered quickly. Susy looked at me expectantly. Oh damn. "Uh, Lucia, this is my friend, Susy. Suz, this is Lucia, my neighbor across the street."

"Ohh, right — from the club, right?" Godddd... of *course* Susy would have to mention *that*. Oh I was going to kill her for sure.

"Uhhhh, yeah." Lucia murmured, her eyes darting away nervously while her face flushed bright red. Don’t worry honey, mine was burnin’ up too.

"Ah, Susy’s taking Meggy and I to the movies tonight." I blurted quickly, wanting to change the subject.

"Oh. Well... I guess that answers my question then." Lucia said, making a small, disappointed face.

"What question is that?" Susy interrupted. Excuse *me*?! Shouldn’t she be standing out in the kitchen minding her own damned business?! I shot her a dirty look.

Lucia glanced from me to Susy, and back to me, watching our silent interaction. "Uhm, I was going to see if maybe... well, actually, I was going to ask you if you’d be interested in going to the movies with *me* tonight, but... I guess my timing’s a little off, huh?" She gave a forced little laugh. Aww, she was so cute! Oh damn it all to hell!

"No it isn’t." Wait — why was *Susy* answering Lucia?! I turned and looked at her like she had sprouted three heads and was speaking Hebrew, but she completely ignored me. "You two can go. I’ll take Meggy with me." She shot me a smug look of confidence, "You didn’t want to see the movie anyway."

My mouth opened to argue, but nothing came out. I looked back to Lucia, who was standing there somewhat bashfully, her hands still deeply embedded in her pockets. "I don’t want to ruin your plans. We can go another time if you don’t want to go tonight...?" She said, looking hopeful.

"Of course she wants to go!" Susy blabbered. I needed to find a fucking muzzle for her, and fast. "Go on, Cam... don’t worry about me and the kid. Go!" She made a shooing motion and finally turned to head back to the kitchen, leaving me with Lucia.

I forced a small smile onto my lips, feeling awkward and uncertain. Lucia smiled gently at me, "Listen, if you really don’t want to go, I understand–"

I held up a hand to stop her, "No, no. She’s right; I wasn’t really into seeing some dumb teeny-bopper movie." Lucia grinned and I grinned right back. "I’d love to do something with you." Oops... that didn’t come out quite right. Hopefully she wouldn’t pick up on it. I glanced at her eyes and they were sparkling bright and light and blue. Oh boy.


After what seemed like an eternity, it was finally time for Susy and Megan to get ready to leave for their movie. Lucia had been sitting in the living room chatting with Megan while I stood around pretending to be cool and Susy stood in my kitchen silently smirking at me. To make matters worse, I caught Susy and Meggy smiling and winking conspiratorially at each other several times. I smelled a rat.

I finally walked them to the door, giving Meggy a kiss and the usual ‘behave yourself’ lecture. When Susy walked by me, she leaned in and whispered into my ear, "By the way... Lucia is 25 — soon to be 26." My mouth fell open yet again, and Susy gave me a wink and a wave as she walked outside.

It took me a few seconds to snap out of my daze and I quickly dashed out the door after my friend. She was just getting in her car when I reached her, "Hey! Wait!" I whisper-yelled to her. "How do you know that? Are you sure? How can that be?" I demanded, firing the questions at her rapidly.

She smirked at me again, "Calm down, you spazz! Instead of going to college right after high school, she got a job to help support her family, because her mother had just died. She took a few college courses here and there, and then after a few years, her Dad got a nice promotion, and he insisted she go full-time. End of mystery, Sherlock." I stood there giving her an incredulous look. "Oh, and her current GPA is 3.95 — right up your alley, dude." Susy looked at me triumphantly, but I still just stood and stared with my mouth hanging open. "Oh, and another thing... Meggy is staying overnight at my place tonight. You can pick her up tomorrow." She smiled and turned to Megan, "Right kid?"

Megan was grinning ear to ear as she answered "Right," and they chuckled and gave each other high fives as Susy started the car and took off down the street, throwing me one last little wave.

I smelled more than a rat now... I smelled a rat *and* a fink.




‘Love Thy Neighbor’

by A. K. Naten


Part 9

"...If I could fall in love again

I’d fall in love with you..."


Lucia and I sat in the living room for awhile after Susy and Megan left, both feeling awkward and nervous. We made a little bit of small talk, though it seemed forced and rife with uncertainty.

"So... do you wanna go to the movies, orrr...?" Lucia finally asked.

I shrugged, trying to appear passive, "Doesn’t matter to me." I looked back at her and the burning look she suddenly held in her eyes almost took my breath away. It was dark and wicked... it was hungry and mischievous... it reminded me of that night at the club. "We could just hang out here... or whatever." Shit... what was I inferring?!

Lucia quirked a small smile at me, then she casually kicked her sandals off and curled her long legs up underneath her as she turned to look back at me. "Do you have anything to drink?" She queried in an innocent-sounding voice. Oh yeah baby, I got what you want riiight here... Stop it!

"Uhm, yeah, sure. Wine okay?" I asked over my shoulder as I hustled my butt out to the kitchen. The more distance I put between us right now, the better. She projected passion and desire like no one I’ve ever known before. My heart was thundering and my libido was racing.

Lucia murmured her approval and I took my good ‘ole time fetching the drinks. I knew I had to keep my wits about me tonight; it’d be incredibly easy to get a little tipsy and take advantage of her. Hell, it wouldn’t even require getting tipsy; I was ready to jump her right then and there.

The sound of the stereo suddenly filled the house, and as I replaced the wine bottle in the ‘fridge, I recognized the tune. It was one of the songs that played at the club the night of my birthday party. Hmm... so she wants to play? Maybe she’s planning a repeat performance, eh? Oo-la-laa. I was smirking self-satisfactorily to myself when I closed the ‘fridge door and came face to face with Lucia’s tall form.

I jumped in surprise and she broke into a wide smile, "Sorry." She murmured.

"S’okay." Stay calm, stay calm.

"I hope you don’t mind," she said, indicating the music, "I like this song." Oh yeah... she *definitely* wanted to play.

"No, that’s fine. I like it too." I said smoothly as I handed her a glass of wine. We both drank and looked at each other for a moment, playful little grins on our faces and suspicious twinkles in our eyes.

"You know... I got in trouble that night." Lucia began.

I frowned, "What do you mean?"

"At work, after your little birthday ‘celebration’? My boss gave me grief." She gave me an embarrassed grin.

"Oh no... you didn’t get fired or anything, did you?"

She laughed, "No, no. He just told me that I shouldn’t be so ‘overly-touchy with the patrons’." She said, affecting a deep, male-ish tone.

I laughed, loving the rich sound of her laugh and her voice. "Well, if it’s any consolation... the patrons enjoyed your... touch." I took a sip of my wine, giving her a coquettish look over the rim of my glass.

She smirked at me, "Oh really?"

"Oh yeah... very much."

"Well... I enjoyed touching you too, Cammy... very much." Her voice was low and smooth and so fucking sexy, and her eyes glistened, tantalizing me with their flickering blue flames. I was ready to blow. We stood there mutually smirking and silently teasing for just a moment before Lucia put her wine glass down and took a step toward me.

Carefully reaching out to remove my glass from my grasp, Lucia pinned me with those mesmerizing, winter-blue eyes, "I like you, Cammy," she began in that soft, sexy tone, "And I think you like me." She said, one corner of her mouth quirking upwards coyly. She was brave, I’ll give her that. Wanting to see where she was headed with this, I simply smiled at her and nodded.

She reached a hand up and stroked a finger along my jaw, "I’m not much for dating... I don’t like all the silly flirting and the wasteful games of pursuit." Oh my god... could she read my mind?! "If I’m interested in someone, and they’re interested in me, why play games? ...Don’t you agree?"

...Was she *really* asking me this?! "Uh... uh-huh... sure," I mumbled, too transfixed by her consuming stare and too mesmerized by her gentle touch to say anything else.

She gave me a full-blown smile, "Good... then you’ll understand when I say that I want you, in a *very* big way."

My eyes widened and I smiled back, "Oh yeah, I understand... *believe me*, I understand perfec–," Lucia’s lips pressing against mine cut off the rest of my response.

As soon as we collided together, I could feel the volcanic eruption inside me. I boldly darted my tongue out to delve deep inside, and Lucia gladly allowed me entrance. We stood there in the darkened kitchen tasting and sucking, hands feeling and caressing, body temperatures climbing, desires escalating. Thighs were soon intermingling and hips were suddenly grinding against each other’s danger-zones, and I thought it was high time we moved this elsewhere, otherwise I’d never be able to walk on my kitchen floor again.

I broke the kiss regretfully, "Uhm, I think maybe we should move this–"

"Yeah." Lucia interrupted me quickly.


The morning dawned bright and sunny, and I cursed the fact that I forgot to turn the blinds to block out the offending rays. Squinting, I turned my head in the other direction and got a face full of flowery-smelling, dark brown hair. ...Lucia. Lucia the Luscious. ...Lucia the Lustful. Lucia, Lucia, Luciaaaa... I grinned at my own moronic thoughts. Well, I couldn’t help it, really; I didn’t get much sleep last night. I think too much sex turns your brain to mush. And ohhhh... did we have much sex. Uhhh... I smiled again.

Whoever coined the phrase, ‘too much of a good thing’ never spent the night with Lucia Santillo. Memories flitted through my mind as the sun warmed my naked back and the smell of Lucia filled my senses. Her long, lean body merging with mine... fingers fluttering and caressing naked flesh... legs and torsos sliding together... warm lips blazing scorching trails... hands gripping and desperately clutching... muscles tensing, bodies straining... thighs and hips thrusting... quiet cries of ecstasy... gentle kisses and softly murmured words of passion.

...And that was just in the first five minutes. I grinned at myself again. Lucia must have heard the whirring of my brain, because just at that moment, she turned to face me, her own sweet smile spreading across her gorgeous face.

"Good morning." She purred in a sleepy voice.

"Mmm, yes it is." I answered, again the stupid grin taking over my face as my mind filled with thoughts of lust. Well, I shouldn’t say ‘lust’. That would give the impression that all of it was nothing more than simple lust, and it wasn’t. It wasn’t simple, and it certainly wasn’t lust. It was so much more. It was... the most amazing thing I’ve experienced in a very long time; maybe ever. It was peace, love and tenderness and blood, sugar, sex, magic alllll rolled up into one night of the most incredible, breathtaking love-making ever.

Yeah, that’s right, I said the ‘L’ word. This was love-making... which meant that this could very well be... Love.

I know what you’re thinking — after only one night, how can I, the pickiest person on the planet, fall so easily? Simple... I finally found the right girl. And she was right under my nose the whole time. I know it seems sudden, especially for me, but it really falls into place quite nicely when you find the right one.

Besides that, Lucia was my neighbor. And you know how the saying goes... "Love thy neighbor."




Return to the Academy

Oh, by the way, song clips are used without permission; I know, it sounds bad, but no serious infringement was intended, honest; and besides, it’s not like I’m making any money on this or anything.

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