CHAPTER SEVENTEEN MISSING IN ACTION
Danni turned left onto Desires street noting the U-Haul truck up ahead driving out of sight. She slowed down as she neared the address, checking the numbers to make sure she had the right street and the right house. The driveway was void of the white Toyota that Desire drove. She pulled the steep slope and shut the engine down on the beige Honda rental car.
She only had a couple of hours to catch the plane back to Nashville in time for her meeting. An uneasy feeling came over her. Something didnt seem right. She stepped out of the vehicle to look around the property then looked around the back yard fences noting that Blue was no where to be found. She thought to herself that maybe Desire had taken Blue to the lake but she couldnt shake the disconcerting feeling in her heart. Danni heard the sound of a male voice just as she was about to turn around and go back to her car.
"If youre looking for Desire you just missed her." A tall handsome young man was walking across his front yard toward her, a friendly smile on his face. "My name is Rick. I live next door," he added offering his hand.
Danni took the proffered hand and shook it. "My name is Danni. Im a friend of Desires.
"Nice to meet you," answered Rick. "I saw you around the house last week. In fact I think I saw two of you."
"That would be my sister Annie. Can you tell me when Desire will be back?"
"I dont expect her back actually."
Danni gave him a sideways look confused by his answer. "Did she go somewhere on vacation?"
"No. She moved this morning. You just missed her."
Dannis heart leaped into her throat as she listened to the words. Her heart beat loudly in her chest as she made a valiant attempt to contain her emotions. "Moved? But I was just here two days ago. She made no mention of this."
"She told me the move was rather sudden. I still dont know how she packed so fast even with the help of her friend."
"What did this friend look like?"
"He was a tall fellow, dark skin, goatee, dressed in leather."
"Ares," mumbled Danni.
"Thats his name. She said it was short for Aristotle. So you know him then."
"They were involved a very long time ago," answered Danni her feelings of grief rapidly changing to anger.
"Oh now Im really confused. I thought she was gay."
Danni chuckled. "She thought you guys didnt know."
"Well we never talked about it. I saw the four of you pull up one night last week. You were rather attached to her lips."
"How embarrassing," responded Danni. "I am so sorry."
"Dont be. I was enjoying the show myself," he answered, the smile on his face lessening Dannis discomfort. "I take it you two had a fight Saturday night."
"What makes you say that?"
"She got tanked at the casino down the street where I work. It was the first time Id ever seen her drink anything besides coke. She mentioned having a rough night."
"Can you give me her new address?"
"Im afraid she didnt leave one. She said she was going on a journey and when she settled down she would call us. Dylan might know."
A short muscular man walked up to the yard as he finished his sentence. "Rick how are you next door neighbor?" he asked as he shook his friends hand in greeting.
"Just fine. Let me know if you need any help moving in," answered Rick. "By the way this is Danni, a friend of Desires."
Dylan looked at Danni taking in every inch of her beauty appreciatively. "Damn why are all the beautiful ones gay," he exclaimed offering his hand to Danni.
"Pleased to meet you," replied Danni taking the hand in friendship. "Does everyone in the neighborhood know?"
"Oh no. I asked her out on a date and she politely declined telling me about her sexual preference. Of course after seeing her with her friend last night and this morning I was beginning to think maybe she lied to me because I wasnt her type. Does she go both ways?" rambled Dylan. "Oh forget it. You wouldnt tell me anyway. I shouldnt expect you to."
Danni watched in amazement as the man rambled on. She looked at Rick who raised his eyebrows and shrugged his shoulders as Dylan continued talking. "Shit if I had known she went both ways I would have pursued her. The ladies usually like me. I bet she would have fallen to my charms dont you think?"
"Its your height," interrupted Danni praying he would shut up and not caring if she hurt his feelings with the truth.
"What?" Dylan asked looking up into Dannis eyes.
"She prefers women but she only dates people over six feet tall."
"Really. Does that mean you and her," started Dylan.
"Yes we were and hopefully we will be again. Did she tell you where she was going?" asked Danni losing her patience with the irritating little man.
"Didnt she tell you where she was going?" responded Dylan further annoying Danni.
"If she had I wouldnt be bothering you with the question," answered Danni biting the inside of her lip to suppress her anger.
"Im sorry. She didnt leave a forwarding address. She told me that her lawyer would call to finalize the paperwork on the house. Im buying it you know. She is such a dear. I cant afford the mortgage on my house now that I have to pay spousal support so I had to sell it. This house is much smaller then mine so the mortgage will be a lot less and I can afford to live without boarders." "Jeez buddy no wonder your wife left you," thought Danni.
She kept looking at her watch hoping Dylan would notice and stop to take a breath. Finally she reached into her pocket taking the battery out of her pager. The gadget beeped causing Dylan to finally pause. She cupped the pager in her hand and pretended to look at it. "Im really sorry but I have to answer this. I really have to go," she stated shaking hands with the men before going to her car.
"Danni Im sure Desire will call you. Dont give up on her," shouted Rick. Danni turned around and waved before getting into the car. She noticed Rick running toward her as the she backed out of the driveway and rolled the window down.
"I just remembered something that might be useful," he said. "In the casino she mentioned that she might go to California."
"Thanks," answered Danni extending her hand to shake Ricks hand.
"Good luck. I hope to see you two back some day," replied Rick.
The trip to California was long and uneventful. Because of the loads they were carrying they had to stay to the right driving no more then 60mph on the straightaway. They reached the house in Rossmoor just after sunset backing onto the driveway in front of the four car garage. Lorraine, the property manager, was no where to be found. After a couple of phone calls Desire contacted her arranging to get the keys from her at 10:00pm.
Electing to wait for the keys and enter using the conventional method, Ares unhitched the Toyota and the two drove to the beach for dinner. Lorraine was waiting for them when they returned. With keys in hand Desire opened the front door and ran inside up the staircase and to the right of the hallway leading to the roof with Blue and Ares following closely behind.
Outside on the second story was a large Jacuzzi. Desire pulled back the cover testing the water. Satisfied that the temperature was perfect she turned the jets on and started taking off her clothes. Ares watched quietly drinking in the sight of the small brunette as she shed the last piece of clothing and turned around naked in the warm California air.
"Whats wrong?" she asked noting the look of surprise and pleasure on the dark gods face. "Its not like you havent seen me naked before."
"I just," stammered Ares controlling the arousal caused by the scene before him. "Destiny was never modest either."
"You sound surprised. I wasnt exactly modest with you in Corinth."
"I must have blocked that from my mind."
"Youre welcome to join me," she added. "My muscles ache from the drive." Desire jumped into the steaming water sitting down on the bench waiting for the god to join her. "Are you going to just stand there?"
"Yes," answered Ares. "Something tells me we arent going to have sex tonight so I think Ill just stay where Im at."
"Well at least come over and talk to me," stated Desire turning around in the Jacuzzi, her knees on the bench as she leaned against the top of the tub, full breasts exposed to the warm night air.
Ares walked closer, grabbing a chair and sitting in front of Desire, his eyes never leaving her chest. "What do you want to talk about?"
"Choose a subject," she answered. "You like my breasts dont you?"
"That goes without saying. Youre testing my god hood arent you?"
"Because Im naked?" Desire leaned back seductively placing her hands on her head and stretching, the movement forcing the swell of her breasts closer to the dark god.
Ares reached his hands forward gently taking a full breast in each hand, eliciting a feint moan from Desire. "So when did you have your first orgasm?" he asked casually looking into Desires eyes as he spoke.
Desire inhaled deeply trying to concentrate on the question and ignore the warm feeling invading her body as her nipples hardened. "Could you be any more personal?"
"You told me to choose the subject," he answered his thumbs gently caressing full nipples. "This excites you."
"A stiff wind can excite me," quipped Desire. "But it does feel nice," she added slowly moving her lower body toward the jets of warm water rushing forward.
"Are they sensitive?" he asked his voice low and sultry.
"Arent all breasts sensitive?"
"Destinys were very sensitive. Biting or pinching her nipples proved more painful than pleasurable."
"Mine are the same way," answered Desire her pulse racing from the contact.
"She liked to have them sucked and licked but gently. Right here underneath was always the most sensitive spot," he said cupping the large breasts underneath softly caressing the silky smooth skin. "She didnt have tan lines either."
Desire gasped silently feeling the control of her body slipping away. "What were we talking about?" she asked as she hugged the side of the Jacuzzi. "Something about my first orgasm?"
"Is this getting too intense for you?" whispered Ares. Desire nodded. "I can stop."
"Ill get back to you on that," she answered pausing and closing her eyes momentarily. "Eleven."
"My first orgasm. I was eleven."
"You had sex when you were eleven?"
"No. I had my first orgasm when I was eleven. Do you want to hear the story?"
"Of course I do," he answered resisting the urge to take one of the exposed breasts into his mouth.
"The shower head in the bathroom was broken," started Desire now rocking slowly back and forth against the jet stream, concentrating hard on her words and not the warm water caressing her sex. "So I took a bath. I had to wash my hair so after lathering I dunked myself under the water. It was a small tub and I had to push myself forward with my hands behind my head. My legs were spread around the water faucet that was still turned on filling the tub."
She paused for a moment looking into dark brown eyes trying to mask the lust on her face as the pressure built below. "The water ran over my body between my legs. It was like nothing I had ever felt before so I scooted closer to the water. It felt so good. The pleasure increased until I could feel it peak and my body started to spasm. I stayed underneath until the pleasure stopped and all of a sudden the water was tickling me. I had no idea what happened but for the next three years I only took bathes."
"Why did you stop taking baths?"
"Do you know what the greatest invention of the 20th century is?" asked Desire.
"It wasnt the Internet or the computer or the cell phone although they are all good choices. No it was the shower massage. My dad installed one in the girls bathroom and after that I would spend hours in the shower. I was the cleanest girl in Tennessee. I didnt even know they were orgasms until my first time with a woman and I gotta tell ya that was a bit of a let down."
"I have to say Desire I have heard a lot of stories but this is the first time I have heard that one," responded Ares laughing. "Im trying to picture you as a little girl with your legs hugging the faucet."
"Im sure it didnt look pretty. But it sure felt good." Desire paused lowering her head as the pressure between her legs began to peak. She inhaled slowly taking in a gulp of air before speaking, her voice low and sultry as she drew out each word. "There is something about the feeling of warm water caressing my clitoris that brings me to orgasm every time." She closed her eyes letting the wave of pleasure wash over her body before opening them and looking into Ares deep brown eyes, her own eyes dark with lust as she smiled mischievously.
Ares looked at her suspiciously. "Did you," he started pulling his hands away from her chest as Desire nodded and winked. "While we were talking?"
"Yes," she whispered. "You shouldnt have asked that question."
"You are unbelievable. You may not be Destiny but you can sure act like her."
"I invited you in."
"Ill remember that next time," he answered shaking his head and smiling in disbelief at the small brunette as he stood up.
"You helped," she said staring down at her breasts, nipples still erect. "I dont suppose you could help me again and pop my bed into the master room. Im very relaxed now and very tired."
"Ill have your bed ready for you by the time you come downstairs," he answered then turned around to leave.
Desire grabbed his hand from behind and pulled him around until his face was level with hers. "Thank you for your patience," she whispered before placing a soft moist kiss on his lips.
Ares looked into pale green eyes twinkling in the moonlight. He leaned over, his mouth open forcing her lips apart with his tongue kissing her long and patiently tasting the sweetness of her lips for several long moments. "Youre worth the wait."
Mattie dialed the phone number listening for it to start ringing. Instead a recording came on saying that the number had been disconnected and there was no new number. Mattie shook her head and dialed again with the same result. "Honey can you give me her number again?"
Annie repeated the number to her lover. Mattie looked at the display. "Thats what I dialed. I keep getting a disconnect message."
"Did you try again?" asked Annie coming back into the room.
"Yes I dialed again," answered Mattie sarcastically.
"Did you check the number?"
"Thats why I asked you for the number dear."
"Try her cell phone."
"Do you have her phone number? I cant find it in the book."
"I wrote it in there."
Mattie thumbed through the pages for L. The only number written down was the number she wrote before they left Nevada. She threw up her arms in frustration. "I dont see it."
"Give me that," said Annie impatiently as she took the book and phone from Matties hands. She dialed when she found the page she was looking for. "Its right there," she said pointing to a page under D.
Mattie looked at the page to confirm the information and laughed. "D for Desire. I should have known. I suppose the number for The Mirage Hotel is listed under T."
Annie looked away blushing from embarrassment then held the receiver in front of her comparing the number on the phone to the one written in the book.
"Whats wrong?" asked Mattie noting the confused expression on her face.
"I know I wrote the correct number down. I checked it twice before we left but Im getting another disconnect recording."
"Maybe we should call Danni," suggested Mattie.
"Shes in Nashville. I forgot to get the number to her hotel."
"Im getting a really bad feeling about this Annie. Are you up for a road trip?"
"Only if we fly."
"Ill make the reservations and book a rental. Besides I think its better if we talk to her in person. I feel bad about waiting this late in the week to call."
Annie walked behind Mattie wrapping strong arms around her shoulders and kissing the back of her neck. "Honey you worry entirely too much. Im sure shes okay."
Annie and Mattie walked into the waiting room, thankful to find it was empty. Together they approached the reception window. A pretty young woman with long blonde hair looked up. "Can I help you?" she asked. The name on her smock read Tanya.
"Is Dr. Vaughn in?" asked Annie.
"Do you have an appointment?" asked the receptionist thumbing through the day calendar on the desk.
"No. Were friends of Maryanne. We were hoping to speak with her if she is available. My name is Mattie and this is Annie."
"If youll take a seat Ill see if she is available."
"Thank you," answered Mattie and Annie in unison. They turned around and sat down in two chairs next to the hallway door and watched as Tanya walked away from her office.
"She has good taste in employees dont you think?" asked Annie following the long legs of the blonde as she disappeared from view.
"If you like blondes," replied Mattie nonchalantly.
Annie looked down at the top of her partners blonde head and kissed it. "That I do," she answered placing her arm around Mattie and pulling her close.
Moments later the door opened and Maryanne stepped out. She was dressed in a sharp black silk blouse covered partially by a white coat, a medium length gray skirt, black hose and high heels. Black rimmed glasses adorned her face.
"Wow you clean up nicely," stated Annie leaving her seat to meet the doctor.
Mattie followed her lead rolling her eyes as she stood up. "She has a thing for blondes," she added playfully punching her mate.
"I thought I was cleaned up last time we met," replied Maryanne.
"You were I mean," stuttered Annie. "You look so professional."
"I hope so," answered Maryanne. "People dont want you slicing their brain wearing blue jeans and a cowboy hat. Come on back with me to my office."
Silently Annie and Mattie followed her to the back of the hallway into a very plush office. Maryanne motioned for them to sit down and closed the door. She took her white coat off throwing it over the back of a chair, sat down in a large leather reclining seat, kicked off her shoes and put her feet on top of the desk. "Am I still looking professional?" she asked, her hands folded in front of her.
"You look relaxed," answered Mattie.
"So what stupid thing has Desire done now?" inquired Maryanne.
"Excuse me?" asked Mattie.
"I figure youre here about Desire. If you havent noticed shes a bit intense emotionally and tends to act a little on the stupid side. So what has she done?"
"We were hoping you could tell us that," interjected Annie.
"Why? What arent you telling me?"
"We decided to drop by on her," started Annie. "Her house was empty. According to the man who was there she sold her house. She left no forwarding address."
Maryanne shook her head. "Short dude buff body? Rambles on and on and on?" Annie and Mattie nodded their heads. "That was Dylan." Maryanne hesitated for a few moments before continuing. "When the going gets tough Desire gets going. Im not surprised really."
"Shes done this before?" asked Mattie.
"Yeah. She does this radical life change thing and moves or changes her appearance of her name. You get my drift. Fucking drama queen."
"How can she just pack up and leave so easily and quickly?" asked Annie.
"How much do you guys know about her?" asked Maryanne.
Mattie went on to explain what Desire had said about being married, losing her baby and the accident. After she finished her explanation Maryanne reached for the phone.
"Chinese or pizza?" she asked. "Were gonna be here for a while."
Maryanne took the orders for Chinese food and called the restaurant. ""First of all its easy to move around the world if you have money and Desire is loaded."
"But she lives rather modestly. She barely has a decent car," interrupted Annie.
"She always said that when she met her soul mate she would start spending her money. Her mother was very disappointed in her when she got pregnant. But she always told her she was glad that she had been smart enough to get knocked up by a very rich man. Jacksons parents were loaded. He was twenty when he slept with her. Desires mother called it rape until he agreed to marry her and his parents agreed to set Desire up financially for life."
"Thats blackmail," interjected Annie.
"Mrs. Love preferred the term extortion. A trust fund was set up for her in case the marriage failed. A second trust fund was set up for her daughter the day she was born."
"But I thought she lost the baby," stated Mattie.
"Im surprised she didnt tell you. Gabrielle Frances Long was born on May 1, 1979. She was a beautiful child and Desire was a doting mother. She managed to finish her junior year at some school for wayward girls then came home with the baby to live with Jackson."
Mattie sat with a sorrowful expression on her face as she listened to the words. "How did she die?"
"Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. It happened on Desires 17th birthday."
"She told me that she hated her birthdays," whispered Mattie thinking out loud.
"She stayed married to Jackson. She was determined to make the relationship work. She went back to school and graduated with honors. UCLA offered her a scholarship to play softball. It was a dream of hers. One night she and Jackson went to dinner to discuss college. He didnt want her to go to California and they got into a fight. Jackson was a heavy drinker and visibly drunk when they left the restaurant. She begged him to let her drive and he hauled off and hit her. She backed down and got into the car. He rolled it on the freeway. Thats how she lost her husband."
"She didnt exactly lie to us," started Annie. "Is she always this good about leaving details out?" Maryanne nodded. "What hasnt she told us about the car accident?"
"It sounds like she was straight forward about that but," answered Maryanne, pausing to consider the question.
"But what?" asked Mattie anxiously.
"She told me how Jacksons death devastated her. Of course she felt guilty. Thought it was her fault for not insisting on driving. She wouldnt go near the drivers seat of a car unless she was one hundred percent coherent especially with a passenger. I tried to ask her about it several times but she always gave me the same answer. It didnt matter how the drugs got into her system. It was her responsibility."
"Do you think she took the drugs? Were you there that night?" asked Annie.
"I was there. She didnt knowingly take the drug."
"You seem pretty certain about your answer. Do you think someone slipped something in her drink?" asked Mattie. Maryanne shook her head. "What do you think happened?"
"This ex girlfriend of hers, Jill was there. Jill dated Desire for a couple of months, slept with her and dumped her. Desire had never been rejected like that and took it hard. In her mind she was in love with this woman so anytime she came to the bar Desires attentions were directed toward her. They talked and danced. They were both drinking the same kind of drink, a Long Island iced tea I think. I believe, I would stake my reputation that Desire picked up her glass by mistake."
"Why do you think she would have drugs in her drink?" inquired Annie.
"Months later I heard someone talking about her. Jill was a coke dealer who started using. During the day she would snort cocaine and take Quaaludes in the evening to bring her down."
"Did you tell Desire about this?" asked Mattie.
"Of course but she wouldnt listen. It was easier for her to take responsibility than admit that the woman she loved wouldnt come forward. When I confronted Jill she denied everything. Said she wasnt a dealer and never did drugs."
"How could Desire take the blame for something she didnt even do?" asked Mattie shaking her head.
"It probably couldnt have been proven at least not without a confession from Big J. Besides she blames herself for the death of her husband and child. If she could she would probably take the blame for world hunger," quipped Maryanne.
"Sounds like someone else I know," mumbled Mattie as Annie poked her in the side with her elbow.
"Guilty or not she paid her debt to society. Thats something you have to convince Danni of. Can you even imagine what happens to a beautiful girl like Desire in a state penitentiary?"
"What happened to her?" asked Annie.
"Exactly what youre thinking. The girls in Chino hit the mother lode when Desire entered the prison. She became first prize in a gang war. The winning gang claimed her as their own. As long as she serviced them they didnt hurt her."
"Gross. How come she didnt fight back?" asked Annie.
"She found out Linda was pregnant when she died and gave up. About a year later she tried suicide with a razor. Luckily the sight of her own blood caused her to pass out before she could finish the job. A woman whom she affectionately referred to as big mama, because she was wider then she was tall, found her. The sight of her dying on that shower floor softened her and she offered Desire protection if she could help them defeat the rival gang.
They waited until Desire was approached for sex by four of their rivals. This time Desire resisted until she was stripped naked while big mama looked on. Then she went into tiger mode and beat the shit out of the four. It turned into a gang war and big mamas gang won. She testified that Desire was being raped and acted in self-defense. Desire didnt get into trouble and was protected for the remainder of her sentence."
"Wow I would have liked to have seen her kick the crap out of those women," stated Mattie.
"You guys need to convince Danni that her debt is paid. Desire doesnt deserve anymore punishment."
"How can we find this Jill?" asked Annie.
"If shes still alive shes probably living in Long Beach and frequenting the same bar. Women like her stay single. Her last name was Giles, Mills, something like that. Proving her innocence isnt going to help. If you want Danni and Desire together convince Danni to forgive her and move on. Otherwise they wont have a prayer as a couple."
"Shes right you know. Destiny only forgave Eve when she was convinced that Eve accepted her guilt," stated Mattie.
"Now you two have a story for me," replied Maryanne.
"Its a really long story," answered Annie.
"Give me the shortened version," responded Maryanne.
"First of all Eve was raised in Rome as Livia. Livia and Destiny were friends until Ares intervened. He convinced Livia to attack an Amazon village not knowing Destiny was an Amazon princess. Destiny rebelled by helping Varia escape. Livia sold her into slavery. She fought as a gladiator until she was crucified by Augustus Caesar."
Maryanne removed her feet from the desk and leaned over, her head on her hands as she stared intently at Annie and Mattie. Moments of silence passed before Maryanne spoke. "Youre not kidding are you? This reincarnation stuff is real?"
"Afraid so. How do we find Desire?" asked Annie.
"We dont. When she wants to be found she will contact me," answered Maryanne.
Mattie leaned into her partners shoulder. "Still think I worry too much?"
"Do you have any idea where she might have gone?" asked Annie ignoring the statement tinged with sarcasm made by her lover. "She mentioned a house in California."
"She talked about Nashville but I dont think she would go there because of Danni."
"Danni lives in California," interjected Annie.
"Really? Desire said she was moving with her to Nashville."
"Danni was planning to move in September. She works out of the Los Angeles office," answered Annie.
"I dont know what to tell you. She has the resources to do anything she wants to do."
"Well I guess we should go back to California," responded Mattie.
"Give her some time and work on Danni. I have never approved of any of Desires lovers until now. I can feel it in my gut. Those two belong together reincarnation or not," answered Maryanne picking up the phone that was now ringing. "Our food is here guys," she added.
CHAPTER EIGHTEEN ALONE AGAIN
Danni walked quickly into her house running straight for the answer machine on the counter. Nervously she pushed the play button and listened to her messages, hoping against hope that one of them would be from the small brunette. One by one the messages droned on all relating to work. The doorbell rang before she could listen to the last message. When she heard the familiar voice of her sister she opted to answer the door.
Mattie and Annie greeted her, overnight bags in hand. "Did you get our message?" asked Annie.
"Have you heard from Desire?" asked Mattie.
"Nice to see you too," answered Danni fatigued from the flight home.
"Were sorry," answered Mattie and Annie in unison.
"Were just worried about you guys," added Mattie.
Danni motioned for them to come in and set their bags down, hugging each one once inside the door. "No to both questions," answered Danni wearily. "I just got in."
"You look like crap sis," stated Annie. "Im sorry to lay this on you but we just came back from Desires."
"Was that before or after she moved?" asked Danni.
"You know about that?" asked Mattie.
"Yeah." Danni paused before continuing. "I got there just after she left. I have no idea where she is. I talked to the guy who bought the house but he was no help."
"Short dude. Talks on and on and on," interrupted Annie. Danni nodded. "Im surprised he didnt mention talking to you."
"He was probably too busy trying to hit on you," answered Danni.
"He was rather preoccupied with you," interjected Mattie as Annie rolled her eyes in disgust. "Anyway we then went to see Maryanne. She doesnt know where Desire is either but she did tell us that she has a habit of disappearing for months on end."
"This day just gets better," whispered Danni. "Any good news for me?"
"Well Maryanne thinks youre the right woman for Desire and has given you her seal of approval," answered Annie trying to lighten up the mood.
"Big fucking deal."
"You and Desire are meant for each other. You have the same gutter mouth," replied Annie.
"Lets sit down and tell you what we found out," interrupted Mattie placing herself between the two tall women before a fight could break out. Danni acquiesced and sat down listening to the story Mattie told her regarding Desire.
"If youve already been out to Nevada does that mean you forgive her?" she asked after finishing her story.
"I dont know. What I do know is that it hurts like hell not being with her or knowing where she is," answered Danni wistfully. "Knowing shes with Ares isnt helping any."
"Excuse me?" exclaimed Annie jumping from her seat.
"What are you gonna do Annie, call him and confront him?" asked Danni mockingly.
"Why not? I warned him," started Annie.
"Like hes gonna answer you when hes trying seduce Desire.
Annie fumed and sat back down. "I guess youre right," she mumbled feeling helpless. "There has to be something we can do to find her."
"Honey you heard what Maryanne said. Give her time. Shell contact us," interrupted Mattie. "Of course if she is in California and we happen to bump into her at one of her old haunts, who could blame us," she added. "Long Beach is familiar to her and Maryanne did mention that a lot of people know her out here."
"Good idea," answered Annie. "We could start tonight by going to the beach for the fire works display."
Desire stood in front of the mirror applying the final coats of hairspray to her freshly chopped dark tresses. She ignored the mess that was now her home, opting to pay some friends over due visits, the first being Roxanne her old hair stylist. Once again her hair was cut above her shoulders, cropped on top and perfectly curled. She lightly covered her hair with one hand verifying that the hairspray was holding, convinced that not one hair would move in the face of a tornado.
"Trying to destroy the ozone layer?" said the low voice behind her.
Desire jumped forward, startled by the sudden presence of the dark god. "Do you ever use the front door like normal people?" she hissed trying to slow down her heart rate.
"Im not like normal people," he replied.
"Ya got that right," grumbled Desire. "Since when are you an environmentalist?"
"Im not but I can barely see you in this fog youve created."
"Yeah but I look good dont I?"
Ares looked her up and down approvingly. "Yes. Whats with the new do?"
"New attitude. New look. Of course I had the same look two weeks ago in this world. So much for big changes."
"What are your plans for tonight?" asked Ares.
"I thought Id check out the fireworks along the beach. Do you want to come along?"
"Sounds harmless and after?"
"I thought wed go dancing," answered Desire.
"Should I change for the occasion?"
"No. Your leathers will do just fine where Im taking you."
"And where is that?"
"They call it the motion on the ocean. Itll be fun," answered Desire grinning. "Just dont bend over."
Darkness covered the long expanse of beach illuminated only by the many fires burning along the shore. Thousands of men, women and children milled along the coastline taking their positions in the sand, enveloped by the warm July weather waiting for the fireworks display to begin over the Queen Mary. The sound of loud music could be heard from the many boom boxes scattered along the sand. Children ran around carrying sparklers in their hands while the late comers crowded along the sidewalk next to each other away from the moving cars filled with people desperate to find parking spaces.
Out of no where Desire and Ares appeared among the crowd, courtesy of Ares airlines.
"Desire I really dont like crowds. Isnt there some where else we can go?" asked the dark god.
"Relax it creates atmosphere. It wouldnt be any fun if we were the only ones on the beach."
"I could make it fun," Ares whispered into Desires ear. "We could make our own fireworks."
"Nice try and very tempting," answered Desire running her hand along the dark hairs of his chest.
"OH my god. Is that really you Tiger?" came a voice from behind.
Desire turned around to see the familiar face of an old college teammate. "My god Shauna, is that really you?" asked Desire walking up to the tall redhead. Both women looked at each other drinking in the sight before embracing. "What has it been? About eighteen years?" asked Desire breaking the contact.
"I havent seen you since you left college," answered Shauna. "Who is that hunk youre fondling and since when do you fondle hunky men?"
"Come on Shauna. You know I like em tall dark and dangerous."
"So how dangerous is he?" asked Shauna.
"Very. You have no idea," replied Desire with a smile on her face. "Come on. Let me introduce you to him."
Shauna eagerly followed her old friend to where Ares was standing. Desire introduced the dark god who gallantly took her hand and placed a gentle kiss along her knuckles eliciting a quiet moan from the tall redhead.
"And a gentleman too," she cooed.
"Yeah whatever. Break it up you two," interjected Desire watching as the two looked each other over approvingly.
"So is Ares a Greek name like the god of war?" asked Shauna seductively.
"Yeah something like that," stated Desire before Ares could answer. "Should I get you two a room?" she added, a hint of annoyance in her voice.
Shauna smiled breaking her gaze away from the tall god. "Are you going to share him Desire?"
"Yeah like I share. After the fireworks were going across the street to Ripples. Does that answer your question?"
Shauna looked at Desire quizzically before responding then over at Ares, a look of disappointment in her eyes. "Oh. OH I understand," she answered as Desire pulled her away from the dark god while Ares looked on.
"Hes confused," Desire whispered into her ear. "After tonight I think things will be much clearer to him."
"I totally understand. Damn why are all the gorgeous men gay?" asked Shauna.
"Same reason all the gorgeous women are gay. I dont know what the reason is. I just know we are," answered Desire still talking in a low voice. "Youll just confuse him more if you keep fawning over him."
"Right. Im sorry. So what brings you to this neck of the woods?"
"He does. Im on a mission."
"I see. That is so sweet of you. Hes lucky to have such a good friend in you."
"Whatever. So who are you here with?"
Shauna looked around searching the crowd for familiar faces, realizing that her friends were no longer behind her. "Oh no. Where did every one go?" she asked. "Id better go find them."
"Listen if you wind-up back here look for us," replied Desire.
"I will. Hopefully we can talk some more," answered Shauna as she walked away in search of her group. Desire walked back over to Ares who was staring intently at her.
"Where did the lovely Miss Shauna go?" asked Ares.
"She got separated from her group. She might meet us later," answered Desire.
"Is she a former conquest of yours?" he asked.
I wish. Damn pitchers. Why did they always have to be straight?" she thought. "Something like that," responded Desire. "Come on. The show is about to start. Lets see if we can get a better view."
Mattie and Annie walked arm and arm ignoring the errant looks of discomfort aimed in their direction. Danni walked silently behind, her eyes searching through the sea of faces, hoping to find the piercing green eyes of the woman who held her heart. All three women stopped when the first sounds of the fireworks could be heard.
The display lasted for fifteen minutes ending triumphantly with a long burst of red, white and blue images that lit up the sky. Within minutes people began packing up their gear and shuffling along the sidewalk in an effort to beat the crowds out of the parking lot.
"All this for fifteen minutes. Seems kind of senseless dont you think?" muttered Danni.
"Its kind of like sex," quipped Annie, receiving a sharp poke in the ribs from her smaller counterpart.
"If you could only last for fifteen minutes we wouldnt be together," interjected Mattie, receiving a kiss on the forehead and a toothy grin from her lover.
"Thanks for bringing up the subject of sex," grumbled Danni.
"Boy youre grumpy when youre not getting any," stated Annie.
"Still the sensitive one arent you Annie?" interrupted Mattie.
Annie bowed her head and rolled her eyes. "Sorry," she mumbled. "Why dont we walk around? Maybe well bump into her."
"Trust me. Ive been searching the crowd since we got here. Lets just wait for the crowd to dissipate and leave," answered Danni.
"Fine. Why dont we try the bar she used to hang out at?" offered Mattie.
"Sure," replied Danni her eyes still searching for the sight of the small brunette. A flash of green and gold reflecting from a light post caught her eyes. She turned to take a closer look recognizing the familiar green eyes of the small brunette in the distance. Danni hesitated when the figure turned away revealing short black hair cropped above the neckline.
As Danni started forward a crowd of people carrying ice chests and other beach paraphernalia pushed their way across the sidewalk blocking Dannis path and her view. Desperately she fought to break through, only to be shoved backward by a giant burly man. By the time Danni could cross the silhouette of the small brunette was gone. She walked frantically searching for those glowing green eyes stopping several feet away from Mattie and Annie when she was certain Desire was no where in sight. Dejected she walked back to the girls.
"Hey what was that about?" asked Annie.
"Nothing. I thought I saw Desire. Whoever it was is gone now," answered Danni.
"The crowd is thinning. Shall we go?" asked Mattie. Both sisters nodded in response.
The short line moved quickly as the women filed into the crowded bar. Danni paid the cover charges, stopping to speak to her friend at the door before entering the club. Mattie and Annie followed closely behind as Danni made her way to the downstairs bar, her eyes searching for the glow of pale green eyes.
"Shes not down here," stated Annie. "Im going to use the facilities," she added kissing Mattie gently on the lips.
"The upstairs is much larger but I dont think were going to see her," replied Danni despondently.
"Is negativity a family trait?" asked Mattie.
"No," defended Danni. "I felt her energy on the beach and I swear that I saw her right before those obnoxious people plowed through the sidewalk."
"It sounds like the connection is stronger than it has ever been," responded Mattie gently stroking the taller womans back with a comforting motion as they waited for the bartender to hand them their beers. "Do you dream about her?"
"What happens in your dreams?"
"Every night since I left I have been dreaming about us traveling together like we did so long ago. Then the dream shifts to the present and usually were just holding each other and kissing until I wake up with this gaping hole in my chest when I realize its not real."
"You are just speaking figuratively about the gaping hole in your chest arent you?" asked Annie, a small grin on her face as she walked up to the women.
"Yes sis. But it still hurts just the same," answered Danni motioning for them to follow her up the stairs. They walked through the large crowded room stopping near the center to afford themselves a view of the entire facility. Three pairs of eyes continued searching for signs of the elusive brunette.
"You know she could be a blonde by now," stated Mattie.
"Believe me Ive been staring at every woman that even remotely resembles her in stature," answered Danni her eyes constantly scanning the scenario.
Loud music played over the sound system. Every where women were holding hands, dancing and playing affectionately with each other. Annie growled menacingly as she was bumped and pushed from side to side as the night wore on. Mattie lunged for a seat along the wall as the current patrons vacated the spot, tugging at Annie to join her before she could respond to the intoxicated woman who had just poured half of a beer on Annies back.
"Why are we still here?" asked Annie as she sat down allowing Mattie to soak up the stain with a napkin. "You know I dont do crowds well."
"Were lending your sister support. This has been really hard on her."
"Remind me to smack the crap out of Desire when we catch up with her."
"Stand in line babe. I get first shot at her," answered Mattie.
"You are really cute when you act butch," replied Annie before kissing her soul mate deeply.
Mattie broke the kiss abruptly as Danni walked up to the table. "What was that for?" asked Annie.
"Not in front of your sister," responded Mattie.
"Were in a lesbian bar and I cant even kiss my girlfriend," pouted Annie.
"Wait until were alone. I promise Ill make it up to you," Mattie whispered.
"Ill hold you to that," threatened Annie.
"Dont let me interrupt you," interjected Danni.
"Youre not interrupting Danni," stated Mattie.
"Come on. You dont have to baby sit me. Im a big girl. If you guys want to go home take my car. I can catch a cab later."
"Why dont you come with us?" asked Annie.
"And watch you two fondle and grope each other. No thanks. Besides its still early. Maybe shell show up."
"All right. If you need anything just holler sis." Mattie and Annie stood up and hugged Danni goodbye then walked downstairs. Danni watched until her eyesight was blocked by two hands covering her eyes.
"Well hello there stranger," came a low sultry voice from behind. "Its been a long time."
Danni placed her hands over the strangers, running her palms curiously up the forearms behind her. "Yes it has," answered Danni before removing the hands and turning to look around into the dark blue eyes of her ex lover. "How long has it been?"
"Over ten years by my guess," answered Jillian. "Like a fine wine you just become more beautiful with age.
"And like a good scotch you are as smooth as ever," answered Danni embracing the petite blonde. "Of course like a used litter box youre still full of shit," she quipped breaking contact with the woman.
"No honey. Look in a mirror. You are absolutely gorgeous. I like your hair darker."
"As opposed to looking like shit when we were actually a couple?"
"Danielle dont twist my words or are you just fishing for more compliments?" asked Jillian.
"Im always fishing for something," replied Danni with a devilish grin on her face.
"So where is your girlfriend?" asked Jillian ignoring the sarcastic remark.
"No beating around the bush for you. At least not figuratively," replied Danni. "As to your question, she isnt here."
"So you have one," replied Jillian, the sound of disappointment in her voice.
"Yes, no, I mean, we had a fight," answered Danni her heart beating wildly in her chest as deep blue eyes smiled back at her.
"I cant imagine anyone allowing a beautiful woman such as yourself to be alone in a place like this. She obviously doesnt know what she has," answered Jillian.
"Thats funny coming from you."
"Ive made mistakes in my life. Leaving you was one of them."
"Cest la vie," answered Danni trying to shake the rush of emotions invading her body. Looking into the familiar blue eyes brought back the pains of heartbreak. The womans touch still made her feel like a teenager caught up in the throes of her first love.
"Ive spent the last ten years of my life trying to make up for the mistakes Ive made. Maybe fate has brought us together again for a reason," replied Jillian as she reached for Danni, taking both hands into hers.
Danni tried unsuccessfully to avert her eyes away from the striking blonde. She could still feel the weakness in her knees from the presence of this woman she once thought her soul mate. "It wasnt fate. I just didnt feel like leaving with my sister," stated Danni casually.
"Annie was here. I didnt think she came into places like this."
"Shes changed a bit since you last saw her. In fact if you met her now you would think she was an entirely different person," answered Danni smiling at the thought of a confrontation between the two women knowing that this Annie would probably beat the crap out of Jillian if she knew about their history together.
"Well its good to know she has loosened up enough to come into this type of establishment. She was always afraid to join us like she thought being gay was contagious or something."
"Obviously it is. She has a girlfriend now," answered Danni.
"Really," answered Jillian, a quizzical expression on her face. "I am sorry I missed them. Maybe I can meet her girlfriend another time."
"Theres always the possibility well run into each other again."
"I hope its more than a possibility. I was thinking maybe we could get together, maybe go sailing or something."
"Im not sure if that would be a good idea," replied Danni ignoring the emotions elicited from her ex lover.
"Well dont count it out. Sailing is just innocent fun."
"Theres nothing innocent about you Jillian."
"Look if you work things out with your girlfriend bring her along. Heres my card. Use it even if you just want to talk," answered Jillian. "In the mean time why dont we take a spin on the dance floor. You do still like to dance dont you?"
"I suppose a dance couldnt hurt," answered Danni allowing Jillian to lead her by the hand to the packed dance floor.
Desire fumbled with the keys for several moments before Ares grabbed them from out of her hand and unlocked the front door. Desire bolted through the hallway and out the back door where she was met by the friendly black dog. The combination of pain pills and alcohol was taking effect leaving her giddy from the excursion into the mens bar. Plus she thought it might be a good idea to beat a hasty retreat from the god of war who was still fuming over the experience.
She sat down on the lawn chair and started taking her clothes off, beginning with her shoes. Ares was standing in front of her, hands on his hips, an angry scowl on his face as she started removing her top.
"What were you thinking taking me to a place like that?" he asked.
"I told you not to bend over," answered Desire before bursting into laughter as she recalled the look on his face when her old friend Brian took her place on the dance floor behind Ares. She looked up at Ares noticing the menacing expression on his face. He did not appear amused as she took her top off and started to undo the zipper on her shorts. "You have to admit it was funny."
"It was humiliating."
"I dont suppose there is a god of humor. If so you really need to speak with him and get some."
Ares answered by grabbing her by the arms and pulling her forward staring lustfully into pale green eyes diluted from the pain medicine. The dark god pressed his lips against Desires forcing her mouth open with his tongue. Desire responded pressing her body against the solid form of the god, her lips and tongue lingering in his mouth as her passion was ignited. After several long moments Ares broke the kiss staring intently at Desire.
Desire looked down at the dark gods chest pulling his shirt out and stripping it from his chest. "Much better," she purred running her fingers through the dark hairs and running her tongue along the sinewy muscles eliciting a moan from the dark god. Ares pulled her face upward again to kiss her then pulled back to look into her eyes again.
Desire broke her arms free feeling the heat build between her legs. Quickly she unhooked her bra strap, pulled her shorts down and dove into the water allowing the cold liquid to extinguish the flames from within. Ares was staring at her in disbelief as she broke through the surface. "Are you going to join me?" she asked.
"What is it with you and water?" growled Ares testing the temperature of the pool with his hand, shivering at the coolness. Desire just shrugged. "Destiny hated water. I thought you were a Leo, a fire sign."
"I am but Mercury is in Cancer, a water sign. Remember I like fish too," she stated with a twinkle in her eyes. "Are you coming in or what?"
"Ill just stay out here where its warm and dry, thank you," he grumbled.
"Chicken shit," Desire cried out.
Moments later the big black dog jumped enthusiastically into the pool, paddling toward his human. Ares shook his head as he watched canine and mortal frolic in the water. He walked around the pool watching as Desire swam back and forth, a black dog on her heels, before his attention turned elsewhere. Desire quietly slipped out of the water drying her hands on her clothes and grabbing an object out of the pocket of her shorts. She took a lighter and lit the fuse of an M-80 firecracker and threw it at the dark gods feet before jumping innocently back into the pool to resume her play with Blue.
There was a loud explosion and a burst of sparks as the firecracker exploded startling Ares who screamed in surprise jumping forward and landing in the water extinguishing the flames on his pant leg. Desire was holding her sides from laughing so hard as Ares came up from under the surface of the water. "I knew wed create sparks together one day," she quipped still holding her dog protectively from the explosion.
Ares growled as he swam toward the small brunette, brown eyes black with fury. "That was not funny! Are you nuts?"
"What? Youre a god. Its not like you couldve gotten hurt," defended Desire back peddling in the water.
"No you just startled the hell out of me. I like the sound of explosions but not under my feet!"
"Well you should have just come into the water with me in the first place," stated Desire defiantly as the dark god neared her.
Ares stopped and looked at her frustration in his eyes.
"Whats wrong?" asked Desire.
"You really know how to kill a mood," he answered shifting his direction toward the steps in the shallow end. He raised himself out of the water and picked up a towel from the bin to dry himself off. "I will see you soon," he added and with a brilliant light he was gone.
"Party pooper," mumbled Desire as she left the backyard and walked into her bedroom. Desire laid down on the bed and closed her eyes surrendering herself to Morpheous. She was on horseback riding next to Eve. Destiny continued to steal glances at the tall dark beauty when she wasnt looking. She wanted to confess her love to Eve but found that she could never find the right words or the right moment to tell her how she felt about her. As Eve brought her horse up she hoped that tonight would be the night.
The dream changed and Desire was lying next to Danni staring into her eyes. They were looking longingly at each other trading gentle caresses and smothering each other with passionate kisses. They were always kissing.
Danni woke up from her pleasant dream to the harsh reality of the emptiness in her heart. Every night she experienced the same dreams. She was traveling through ancient Greece with the small dark warrior. Destiny would continually look back at her as they traveled on horseback. She wanted to tell her companion how much she meant to her and that she loved her but it never seemed to be the right time or she would lose her nerve in the evening before they would lay down for bed.
The dream would change and she would find herself in her bed with the small dark beauty in her arms. They would look lovingly into each others eyes, thankful to have finally found each other, kissing passionately. Then she would wake up to the cold reality of an empty bed.
Danni walked into her study and turned on her computer, looking up the number to her close friend Johnny. It was 9:00am when she dialed the phone. Quietly she waited for her friend to pick up.
"Heres Johnny," came the voice from the other end.
"I cant believe they let you answer the phone like that at work," replied Danni.
"Is this my favorite tall, dark and gorgeous business executive? The one who looks simply delicious in leather?" asked Johnny.
"Its just me honey," answered Danni.
"Ive missed you the last couple of weeks sweetie pie. Where have you been?"
"Its a long story Johnny. I met someone and I need you to find some information on her. Can you do that for me?" asked Danni.
"For you sweetie pie I will do anything. Was this encounter of the romantic persuasion?"
"Definitely. I want to find out everything I can about her starting with where she lives."
"Danni you tramp. Did you do the nasty with her and forget to get her phone number?" asked Johnny teasingly.
"No. Its much more complicated then that. What kind of information do you need on her?"
"Try like everything. Where did you meet her? Did you get her last name? Give me the story Danni."
Danni gave her the shortened version of events of the preceding weeks leading up to that fateful night when she learned the true identity of the woman she loved, leaving out the details of Corinth and reincarnated souls.
"Wow. She turned out to be the Tiger Long from UCLA and you are so taken with her that youre ready to forgive her for that night. Im impressed. She must mean the world to you."
"Shes the one Johnny. The Fates sure like to play tricks on us. I know she doesnt want to be found but I need to know where she is. She can kiss my ass if she thinks Im going to let go without a fight."
"Hey I thought you swore off blondes after Jillian."
"Shes a natural brunette," replied Danni.
"Really. Shes a platinum blonde in all of the photos Ive seen her in. I dont suppose you have a recent picture of her."
"If you start running your information search Im sure you can find one in the Las Vegas newspapers. I believe we made the front page once or twice."
"Why dont you send me a fax. Include her name, maiden name etc and if you have her last residence that would be helpful. Im a bit backed up at work but I should have a complete report for you after the weekend. Is that soon enough?"
"That will be fine. If youre free Monday lets do lunch," answered Danni.
"Jeez Danni you sound like such a California suit. Lets do lunch. In spite of that silly remark I will see you for lunch Monday. How about the Paradise at one?"
"Its a date. Ill see you then," responded Danni.
"Who do you have a date with?" asked Annie walking into the study. She was dressed in a tank top, shorts and running shoes.
"Its not a date," defended Danni. "Im just having lunch with my friend Johnny."
"Who is he?"
"He is a she and we have been best friends since college."
"Johnny is an odd name for a woman," replied Mattie as she joined them, rubbing the sleep from her eyes.
"Her real name is Joanne but shes always been rather obsessed with talk show hosts especially Johnny Carson."
"She sounds like an interesting character," interjected Mattie.
"Thats putting it mildly," stated Danni.
"Oh do tell sis," Annie said sitting down on the end of the desk. She pulled the sleepy form of her lover onto her lap staring intently at Danni waiting for the story. "Wait dont tell me. Her last name is Carson."
"Good guess Annie. Shes a bit like that guy Kreamer from Seinfeld but not nearly as weird. Of course she loved the episode when he bought that old stage set from the Merv Griffin show."
"Dont tell me she ends her conversations with an imaginary golf swing," interrupted Mattie.
"Okay I wont tell you," answered Danni as the girls began to laugh. "Shes kind of stuck in the eighties with a Suzie and the Banshees hair do. She has one too many piercings and she dresses the part but she is a genius when it comes to computers. Shes great at obtaining information on people which can be very helpful in the music business."
"So she investigates people for you. Is she investigating anyone interesting?" asked Mattie leaning her head back into Annies shoulders as she spoke.
"Shes going to find out where Desire is living," answered Danni confidently.
"Good for you sis, going on the offensive. I warned Desire not to underestimate you," responded Annie.
"Thank you for the compliment," answered Danni.
"I thought you were going to wait for her to contact you," interrupted Mattie.
"It depends on how long she takes. She has a few weeks. If I dont hear from her Im going to confront her and take what is mine."
"I didnt know you could be so butch," Mattie said chuckling. "It must be a family trait."
"She takes after her big sister," stated Annie gloating.
"Sorry Annie but I have always been the butch one in the family. I know I blew things with Desire by over reacting but Im not going to just sit around and wonder what she is doing, not when I can keep an eye on her myself. Besides what she doesnt know wont hurt her."
"You sneaky girl," interjected Annie.
"In the mean time Im going to drive up the coast and pay an old friend a long over due visit," answered Danni. "What about you guys?"
"I think were just going to hang out by the beach and maybe go back to the bar. She cant get mad at us if we accidentally bump into her," replied Annie.
"Maybe Ill see you guys there tonight."
Danni pulled up in front of the two-story home nestled along the oceanfront. She had been surprised to find that Jonathon had settled in California and now appeared to be living very comfortably along the shores of Malibu.
It had been more than fifteen years since she had spoken to her former brother in law. After Linda died she couldnt bring herself to face him. As time wore on she knew she should visit and give him comfort but the memories of happier days were too strong and painful. Eventually she was embarrassed by the amount of time that had lapsed between visits providing her with one more excuse not to see him.
She gazed at the peaceful house, noting the brilliant colors of the sky as the sun descended upon the California coastline. After gathering up her nerve, she strolled up the concrete walkway and rang the bell. Moments later a tall beautiful woman with auburn hair opened the door. "You must be Danni. Im Katherine," she replied offering her hand.
"Yes I am," answered Danni taking the proffered hand and shaking it.
"Follow me. Jonathon is outside on the deck. He has been looking very forward to seeing you."
Danni followed silently behind admiring the interior of the house. They passed through a hallway filled with photographs of three different children at various stages of their lives.
Jonathon stood up to greet the women as they walked through the sliding glass door onto the wooden deck that over looked the seashore. He was tall and beefier than Danni remembered. His dark brown hair was now highlighted with gray along the top and sideburns. Gentle brown eyes stared at Danni in disbelief as he moved forward to embrace her.
"You look absolutely beautiful Danni," exclaimed Jonathon hugging her fiercely. "Its so good to see you after all of these years."
"And you Jonathon. The years have been kind to you," she answered breaking the contact.
"I cant get over how incredible you look," he said drinking in the sight of his former sister-in-law. "What happened to the awkward teenager I remember?"
"She grew up, got over the acne, bought contact lenses and had her braces taken off," answered Danni.
"Does Annie look as good as you?"
"Oh yeah. Were hard to tell apart. But she has changed a lot. Shes a completely different person now."
"She is a very strong and independent woman. Shes also a doctor."
"Little demure Annie?" asked Jonathon as Danni nodded her head in reply. "I would never have guessed. Sit down. We only have oh about eighteen years to catch up on. Let me get you a beer and we can talk."
Danni accepted his offer and the two caught up on their lives. Jonathon told Danni about the wonderful woman he had been married to for seventeen years, their two sons and one daughter. He told her about the successful law firm he now owned and his political aspirations.
Danni talked about her career in the country music industry and her impending move to Nashville, the result of a major promotion. They were still talking a couple of hours later.
"So tell me Danni," started Jonathon. "What is it really that brings you here tonight after all these years?"
"You have a wife, three teenage kids, you a future congressman. I cant help but think they should be my nieces and nephews. Youve really moved on with your life since Linda died havent you?" responded Danni."
"I was a young man with the rest of my life ahead of me. What did you expect?"
"I dont know. I guess I never really thought about it."
"Please tell me youve moved on Danni."
"I have. At least I thought I had but it still haunts me every day."
"Linda would want you to put it in the past. I still think about her. I dont know why bad things happen to good people but they do. She was my life until I met Katherine. Thats when I learned for every dream that ends another one comes along and takes its place. Living your life doesnt mean you love Linda any less or that youve forgotten about her. In fact I believe it honors her memory."
"Have your feelings changed for Tiger Long? Last time we spoke you said you would never forgive her for the things she had done. You wanted her dead."
"I was still very young and mourning the senseless death of my wife. I knew that in order for me to completely move on I had to forgive her so I went to visit her in prison shortly after I married Katherine."
"You spoke to her in prison?" asked Danni in disbelief.
"Not quite. I went to visit her but she was in the infirmary recovering from a botched suicide attempt. Thats when I realized then that maybe I had been wrong about her. I know now in my heart that her and Linda were just friends. Whatever the reason it was an accident. I never did speak to Tiger."
"I do want to forgive her. I guess that why Im here."
"I noticed you have a ring on your finger. Does this mean youre engaged?" asked Jonathon, a grin on his face.
"Well I, its complicated," stammered Danni.
"Whos the lucky woman?" asked Jonathon hoping to alleviate some of Dannis discomfort.
Danni cocked her head to the side, a quizzical expression on her face. "You knew I was gay?"
"Of course I did. Was it supposed to be a secret?"
"Was it that obvious? I was just a kid. I mean what made you think I was gay?"
"Maybe because you never talked about boys. You were obsessed with softball although being a pitcher threw me a little," he answered with a chuckle. "You were definitely a tomboy and you were always picking fights with the boys at school."
"Hey the kids at school picked on Annie a lot. Someone had to stand up for her," defended Danni.
"And Annie used to have a crush on every boy in school. You would just roll your eyes when she would talk about Bobby or Joe or Rick."
"I can hardly wait until you meet her girlfriend," interrupted Danni, an evil grin on her face.
"Annie has a girlfriend, as in a lover?" asked Jonathon surprised at the admission.
"Yep. Its a long story. Her name is Mattie and they are very happy together."
"Wow. I would have never guessed that one. So are you going to tell me about the new woman in your life? Is this why you felt compelled to see me? Maybe put things in the past and move forward."
"I guess you could say that. A met a wonderful woman. We even got engaged but things got complicated," answered Danni.
"Relationships are always complicated. They take a lot of work but when its right its worth all of the pain endured to spend the good times with the woman you love," replied Jonathon. He paused noting the solemn expression on his guests face. "So tell me about this woman."
"Shes beautiful. Shes older than I am. Shes much shorter with black hair, pale green eyes and golden brown skin. Shes very athletic. In fact she used to play softball in college and she is a black belt in Kenpo karate. Shes warm, funny, adventurous and a great kisser. I dream about her every night and when she touches me I feel as though she completes me."
"It sounds like youre in love Danni."
"I think maybe I feel like I need your approval."
"Why? If you love her dont let her go."
"What arent you telling me?"
"When I met her she was introduced to me as Desire Love. In college she went by her middle name Darlene and her married name Long but most people knew her as Tiger."
Jonathon looked at her with a stunned expression on his face as he put the pieces together in his mind. Silence followed as Jonathon continued to contemplate the information. He turned around looking into the night sky dimly lit by a sliver of the moon. After several long moments he turned around to face Danni. "Well that certainly makes life interesting," he stated.
"Interesting is an understatement. Its been a nightmare."
"How could you get to know this woman and not know who she really was?"
"She has changed quite a bit. Her hair is black and very long and she is much smaller, I guess I mean to say much thinner. She looks younger now then she did in college."
"Do you have a picture of her?" asked Jonathon.
"Actually I do," answered Danni pulling out her wallet. She handed a photo of her and Desire standing next to Mattie and Annie before they embarked on their parade adventure at the Rio Hotel.
Jonathon looked at the photo with wide-eyed amazement. "I know a lot of men who would be heart broken by this photo," he stated attempting to lighten up the conversation. "I dont think I would have recognized her either and I saw a lot more of her then you ever did. I take it thats Annie with her girlfriend." Danni nodded in response. Jonathon looked intently into pale blue eyes. "What do you see when you look into her eyes?"
"Love and compassion. I see the other half of my soul."
"I met a friend of Tigers when I went to visit her in prison. She was a pre-med. student. Her name is Maryanne."
"Ive met her," interrupted Danni.
"We talked quite a bit about Tiger. She told me that she had proof that Tiger didnt willingly take that drug," started Jonathon.
"I know about that," interjected Danni.
"Did you know that Tiger rejected her evidence? She believed that she should have been more careful that night and asked Maryanne to accept her guilt. I need to show you something." Jonathon walked into the house, returning a short time later with a piece of paper in his hand. "Maryanne sent this to me a few weeks later. Its a letter written by Tiger to her. It helped me move on," he said handing the letter over to Danni.
Danni took the letter feeling a tightness in her stomach as she began to read.
Im so sorry for causing you so much worry. I know you believe that I have been unjustly incarcerated but I believe otherwise. Shortly after my stay at the Hotel De La Chino I learned about Lindas pregnancy. It hit me like a ton of bricks and I knew then that accepting my guilt couldnt bring her back but it could honor her life. There are two very important rules in bar life. Rule number one: People do drugs in the bars. Rule number two: Never leave your glass unattended because of rule number one. I royally fucked up rule number two. Because of it Linda will never grow old with Jonathon and they will never know the love of their unborn child. Death would be a blessing for me. Lucky for you I pass out at the sight of blood, otherwise I would be dead.
I didnt do it because I want to die. I did it because I was afraid to live any longer. After learning about the pregnancy I contacted my lawyer about another trial, for the crimes against the child. He told me that I couldnt be prosecuted any further because of the deal made with the District Attorney. I guess I should have been relieved but three years just doesnt seem like enough retribution for the grievous mistake I made.
I thought about being a bad ass and getting into trouble to extend my current sentence but I just dont have it in me so I decided not to fight back while in prison. As a result I have become the prison bitch, whore, whatever word you want to use. But even I have my limits. I can handle the female prisoners but the guards decided to join in on the fun. Male guards. Merry Christmas to me. It broke me and thus my unsuccessful attempt at suicide.
Dont worry it wont happen again. I now have a reason to live in this hell hole. Im pregnant. It looks like Im going to have another girl. I need your help. Luckily for me the father is a devout Christian and a happily married man. He has agreed to give up all rights to the child. In exchange I wont prosecute him for rape or tell his wife about the child or as he claims, the affair.
I will still have more than a year left on my sentence and no child should be born in a prison. I need to find a responsible couple to adopt the baby. Foster care is out of the question even for the short time left on my sentence. This child deserves loving parents from the day she is born. Please dont argue with me about keeping the child. She deserves a good family with two parents who will love her. I wont fuck up a second time. I cant bring Linda and her baby back but I can do right by this child. Will you please help me find the right couple? I will be forever indebted to you. All I ask from the couple besides a loving home is that I name the child.
Danni stared at the letter rereading it as Jonathon looked on, tears forming within pale blue eyes. Her hands began to tremble as her gaze met Jonathon.
"Theres more to the story," he said quietly motioning for Danni to follow him. She walked behind him silently as he lead her into the hallway in front of the wall of family photos. "I met Katherine just months after Linda died. At first I felt guilty about finding someone so soon but I knew she was the one to fill the void in my heart left by the loss of your beloved sister. Six months after Linda died Katherine and I were married. We both wanted children and immediately started trying to conceive. Nothing happened. The doctors told us that Katherine was barren. I thought god was punishing me for getting remarried so soon. Thats when I went to see Tiger in prison."
"Are you going to tell me," started Danni hesitantly.
"Yes," answered Jonathon quietly as he pointed to a photo of his oldest daughter. She had long dark brown hair, pale green eyes and towered over the other girls on the basketball team in the photo. "During my conversation with Maryanne I told her about Katherine and me. A couple of months later she sent that letter to us. Her name is Linda Danielle Reeves."
Danni stared at the photo reaching her hand out to touch the face in the image, tears streaming down her face.
"Linda will always be with me in memory and every time I look at my beautiful daughter I am reminded of the wonderful place in my heart that your sister will forever occupy."
"Does Desire know you adopted her child?" asked Danni.
"Yes she does. Thats why I never contacted her again. She promised Maryanne that as long as we stayed together she would never interfere in Lindas life and she has kept that promise."
"Does Linda know? She should know her mother."
"Katherine is her mother. She knows she is adopted but because of the circumstances surrounding her conception we feel it is best for her to wait until she is eighteen. If she wishes to meet her birth mother we will arrange it. After talking with you that might change."
"How so?" asked Danni.
"I will talk with Katherine. I hope that you wont wait another fifteen years to visit and if you two are together then maybe it is time. But I wont push it on Linda if she doesnt want to meet Desire. If its meant for those two to meet I promise you it will happen."
"How did you end up with three children? The other two look a lot like you. Are they adopted?"
"Three years later Katherine conceived and gave birth to twins, Justin and Jared."
"Can I have a picture of Linda?" asked Danni.
"Are you going to show it to Desire?"
"I would like to but if you dont want me to I will respect your wishes."
"I think she would like to see a photo of her daughter. Ill trade you a photo for the one you showed me. I would like to have a picture of my favorite sister-in-law."
"Its a deal," replied Danni.
"I hope this visit has helped you find your answers. What are you going to do now?"
"Im going to find my soul mate and grovel at her feet."
"Good for you. Linda will be dancing in heaven when she finds out that two of the people she loved most in this world have found happiness in each other."
"Thank you," whispered Danni as she gathered Jonathon in her arms for a bone-crushing hug.
Danni turned up the radio as she navigated her way out of Malibu and onto the Los Angeles freeway toward home. A million thoughts were running through her mind all of them centering around a small brunette with dazzling green eyes. Suddenly her Monday lunch with Johnny seemed to be light years away and she wondered what she could do to occupy her time until then.
She pulled onto the quiet street leading to her house noticing a tiny figure on the curb. Slowing down she switched her high beams on to see the furry creature. It was a small black puppy. She pulled up several feet away from the frightened animal and exited the car. Bending down she quietly called for the puppy. Large brown eyes looked up at her nervously then walked tentatively toward her. As she came closer Danni could make out her features clearly. She was the size of a cat. Her fur was black with tan and white paws, a band of white fur around her neck. Her face looked like that of a hound dog with floppy black ears and a blaze of white fur covering her muzzle and leading up between deep brown eyes. Black freckles covered the white of her muzzle. Danni felt a moment of déjà vu as she picked the puppy up. It was like looking into the same gentle face of the big black dog owned by the woman she loved.
"You could be his daughter," she said using her best baby voice. "If this isnt a sign I dont know what is," she added as if the little creature could understand her. The puppy continued licking her face while Danni placed her on her lap and continued on home.
CHAPTER TWENTY OUT DAMN SPOT
Annie woke up and quietly removed her lovers arm from her chest. She made her way into the bathroom as the first rays of light made their appearance across the skyline. After changing into a pair of shorts and a tank top she made her way into the living room to put on her running shoes. She grimaced as her bare feet stepped into a pile of soft mush sitting on top of the hardwood floor. Immediately she caught a whiff of an offensive odor that smelled like it belonged in the toilet. She lifted her right foot to examine the matter stuck between her toes, recognizing the origin.
"Gross," she whispered into the air. She looked around perplexed trying to imagine where the foreign excrement came from. Before she could figure the puzzle out the small black puppy bound forward. The movement startled Annie causing her to lose her footing as she fell backward onto the floor landing into a puddle of another unknown substance. "Danni! Youve got some splaining to do!" yelled Annie doing her best impersonation of Ricky Ricardo. By the time Danni appeared in the room the puppy was attacking Annie and licking her in the face while the fallen brunette giggled and petted the baby creature.
"Jeez Annie you smell like shit," stated Danni standing over her sister with her hands on her hips as she laughed at the sight on the floor.
"What is this?" asked Annie.
"Its a puppy. What did you think it was?" asked Danni, a hint of sarcasm in her voice.
"Since when do you have a puppy?"
"Since last night when I found her alone on the sidewalk. I couldnt just leave her. Isnt she adorable?"
Annie grabbed the puppy by the neck looking into the dark brown eyes of a happy little dog. "What did you do? Shrink Desires dog?"
"Can you even believe theres another dog that looks like Blue? Its got to be a sign Annie. As soon as I talk to Johnny Im going to confront Desire. Im not waiting around any longer."
"Good for you Danni," stated Mattie as she walked into the front room wiping the sleep from her eyes. "What smells?" she asked before looking down on the floor and noticing her partner playing with a bundle of fur.
"Your girlfriend," answered Danni.
"Hey its your mutt that smells not me," defended Annie.
Mattie looked at the brown smear on the floor that matched the substance on Annies foot crinkling her nose in disgust as the odor continued to invade her senses. "Maybe you should watch where youre walking honey," she said bending down to pet the puppy. "Oh you are so cute, yes you are," she said talking in a baby voice while Annie glared at her.
"How was I to know I needed to watch for land mines in this house?" grumbled Annie. "Dont just stand there sis. Could you get a towel or something to clean this crap up?"
Danni left the room, coming back momentarily with a hand full of wet towels and handed them to her sister. Annie leaned forward while the puppy turned her attention toward Mattie. She wiped her neck realizing that the wetness running down her back was puppy pee. "Great. Thats a lovely way to wake up in the morning covered in crap and piss."
"So what are you going to do with the dog?" asked Mattie.
"Im going to give her to Desire. She said she was looking for a companion for Blue," answered Danni.
"How sweet. Desire is going to flip when she meets this little one. She could be Blues daughter. What are you going to name her?" asked Mattie.
"I was thinking of naming her Aphrodite. Shes already stolen my heart."
"Aphrodite is going to love you for naming a dog after her," interjected Annie.
With a twinkle of light the goddess appeared in front of them. "Did I hear my name? And who are you going to name after me?" asked Aphrodite.
Danni pointed to the puppy laying on her back smiling as Mattie scratched her belly.
"You want to name a dog after me!" exclaimed Aphrodite.
"Sure it fits. Shes on her back with her legs spread open content to have her belly scratched," quipped Danni, an evil grin on her face.
"Very funny," grumbled the goddess.
"She does have a point," added Annie.
"Mortals do not name their animals after me," defended Aphrodite glaring at the puppy as she ran toward the goddess and started nipping at her leg.
"At least shes cute," interjected Mattie.
Aphrodite stood with her hands crossed in front of her ignoring the affections of the persistent puppy. "I dont do dogs," she stated defiantly.
"Arf, arf," exclaimed the puppy in a high pitched voice pawing at the inattentive goddess.
Aphrodite slowly looked down staring into the deep brown eyes of love, her resolve melting at the sight. "She is kind of cute." The puppy licked her exposed ankle repeatedly until the goddess leaned down to pet her. Aphrodite picked the puppy up cuddling her to her chest as the excited bundle of fur reciprocated by licking her face. "Oh all right. Aphrodite it is. Shes a little lover isnt she?"
"What a sight. The goddess of love communing with a dog," Annie said laughing at goddess and dog.
"You should give her to Desire. Then shell have a matching set," stated Aphrodite.
"My thoughts exactly," replied Danni.
"Does that mean youre talking to her?" asked the goddess.
"As soon as I find out where she is. You could help me with that Aphrodite."
"I have faith youll find her. This is your battle," responded the goddess.
"Yeah, yeah I know and gods dont interfere," stated Danni.
"So what changed your mind?" asked Mattie.
"I went to see my former brother-in-law last night. It was quite an eye opening experience. Why dont you go take a shower Annie and Ill make breakfast. Then Ill tell you everything."
"Just make sure there are no more land mines," replied Annie nodding as she was helped up by her partner and led to the bathroom. Danni finished cleaning up and started breakfast. An hour later they were sitting around the table eating while Danni told them about her conversation with Jonathon.
Three pairs of eyes stared at her in stunned silence as she finished her tale and showed them the photograph of Desires biological daughter Linda. "Shell be seventeen on the twenty-eighth," finished Danni.
"Thats Desires birthday," interjected Mattie.
"I know," answered Danni.
"She has her moms eyes and smile, not to mention some of her other attributes," stated Annie staring at the tall teenager in the photo.
"Except shes not height challenged," added Aphrodite.
"Hey I resent that comment," Mattie chimed in. "Desire is taller then me."
"Honey everyone is taller then you," quipped Annie reaching her hand over the table to touch her lovers hand.
Mattie glared back at Annie removing her hand quickly, a small scowl on her face. She turned her attention to Danni ignoring the pouty face of her partner. "That was a very courageous thing she did giving up her second daughter especially after losing her first child."
"I agree. There are so many things I dont know about her but I do know one thing. Her heart is true. It hurts knowing that maybe the accident that took Lindas life could have been prevented but Desire accepted her guilt and paid dearly for it. She deserves some peace. Maybe I can give that to her."
"So when are you going to see her?" asked Annie.
"Monday after I talk to Johnny. I just hope she can forgive me," answered Danni.
"She will Danni and together the two of you can close the wounds that have been festering for so many years," interjected Aphrodite.
Danni smiled at the blonde goddess staring at her earnestly.
"What?" asked Aphrodite.
"I was just waiting for you to say I told you so," answered Danni.
Aphrodite grinned. "My work here is done. Call me when you two are ready to get married. I am an ordained minister you know."
"Keep the twenty-eighth open. I want her birthday to be a happy one," replied Danni.
"You got it sweet cheeks. Just give me a call," answered the goddess and with a twinkle of light she was gone.
CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE - WRONG PLACE WRONG TIME
Desire waited impatiently for the machine to dispense the necessary bills unaware of an eerie silence that had descended upon the bank. After several long moments the ATM spit out her card issuing an online statement that the machine was temporarily out of money.
"Just fucking great," cried Desire kicking the piece of equipment to vent her anger. She turned around to look at Ares who was standing patiently behind her. "I hate going into banks just for cash. The lines are always too damn long," she added as she swung the glass door open violently.
The bank was empty as she and Ares walked through the door met by two large automatic weapons. "Just fucking great! Not one god damned person in line but I suppose this hold up is really going to delay us now!"
"Hands up and get down on the floor," shouted a tall man wearing a ski mask.
"Well which is it? Hands up or down on the floor?" she asked as the men stared at her stunned by the question.
"Hands up!" yelled the first man.
"Down on the ground!" yelled the second man in unison with the first.
"You guys really planned this well didnt ya?" asked Desire sarcastically as the second man pushed her roughly to the floor. Desire fell forward landing with a thud next to Ares on the cold tile. "Wait til you two get my dry cleaning bill," she mumbled.
"Shut up Desire," demanded Ares. "They have guns."
"What are you worried about? They cant hurt you," whispered Desire.
"But they can hurt you."
"Awe I didnt know you really cared."
"Keep it up Des. If they dont kill you I will."
Desire kept quiet as the two men ordered the tellers around. She could hear the sirens as the police cars came to a halt outside of the bank. "Great. Now its a hostage situation."
"Desire this is serious. Dont give them any ideas."
"Well I hope theyre not that dumb. Youre a god Ares," she whispered. "Cant you just make this go away?"
"And how would I explain it?"
"Point taken. So whats the plan?"
"Just stay quiet and lets see what happens."
"Yeah right. Me stay quiet. Look theres only two of them. We can disarm them."
"Desire this isnt a game. Maybe Destiny could get us out of this situation but you will only make things worse."
"Hey I resent that. Remember I beat the conqueror," hissed Desire.
"What do you suggest?" whispered Ares.
"We offer ourselves up as hostages. When I give the signal Ill take out my guy and you take out your guy."
"And what if you miss? They could kill you."
"Been there, done that. Come on we can do this. Besides look at them. Theyre not in control. Theyre amateurs."
"So what signal will you give?" asked Ares.
"You know me by now. Just listen for the sarcastic remark," answered Desire.
"Shut up you two!" yelled the first man.
"Fine. Were done talking anyway," mumbled Desire.
A few minutes later Desire lifted her head. "Excuse me but I take it youll be needing hostages to get out the front door. Why dont you take us and leave the bank employees to their jobs," asked Desire slowly picking herself up from the floor, her hands over her head.
"Dont move lady!" yelled the first man.
"Not a problem. Just trying to speed this thing up and help you guys," answered Desire.
"Why would you offer yourself to us?" asked the second man.
"Hey. I didnt say I was giving myself to you guys," she answered. "I was offering him up," she added pointing to Ares. "Hes expendable. But there are two of you. It was an easy conclusion."
"Who are you lady?" asked the first man exasperated.
"Just a customer with less fucking cash than you two. By the way did you want my gold card?"
"Keep your hands above your head lady," commanded the second man. "Dont try anything."
"Just trying to help," said Desire resting her hands on top of her head. She watched as the second man spoke on the phone to a police officer outside, negotiating the terms of their getaway. Long tense moments passed before the two gunmen were ready to walk outside of the bank.
Ares stood up with his hands over his head, a look of disbelief on his face as he glared at Desire. The first man stood behind Ares pushing him forward, the gun to his back while the second man followed with Desire. Slowly the front door was opened and they stepped outside.
The front of the bank was blanketed with several police cars, their lights flashing. News helicopters could be heard over head as the four people stepped into the parking lot.
"I could carry the money bag for you," offered Desire.
"Just shut up," hissed the second man.
"You know thats a really big gun you have," started Desire.
"Im not afraid to use it," answered the second man as they walked to the right of the parking lot.
"Im sure youre not. You know what they say about a man with a really big gun," started Desire.
"Shut up or Ill shoot you right here."
"Cant shoot me until were in the getaway car. Im all thats between you and the swat team."
"The swat team is looking pretty good right now," answered the gunman tightening his hold on Desire.
"A sense of humor. I like that in a man you know," stated Desire. Desire walked forward silently for a few more steps. "They say that a man with a really big gun is compensating for his short comings. Is that true?"
Frustrated the gunman pushed her forward releasing his tight grip on her. The barrel of the gun moved away from her back giving her the opening she was looking for. With lightning speed she turned to her right placing a sharp backward jab with her elbow into her captor, knocking the gun into the air. Before he could respond she was standing over him with his hands behind his back, locked within her grasp.
Ares responded knocking the gun out of the second mans hand. The gun went off sending a single bullet through the dark gods shoulder. The gun sailed into the air before a second bullet could fire and Ares had his man pinned to the ground as a swarm of officers surrounded them.
The officer in charge walked up to Desire as she released her hold on the bank robber and handed him over to the police. "Lady that was really stupid. You could have been killed."
"Wouldnt be the first time," mumbled Desire casually. "Youre welcome by the way."
Ares walked over to Desire flexing his shoulder. "That was close. Good job Des," stated Ares leaning down to hug the small brunette.
"Did it hurt?" she whispered into the dark gods ear.
"Nah. I didnt feel a thing," he answered.
"Good. Ill give you a rub down later anyway."
"Ill hold you to it," he answered kissing her on the lips as the cameras rolled. Desire reciprocated by opening her mouth and meeting his searching tongue, the adrenaline pumping within. For several long moments the two stayed lip locked hungrily devouring each others lips.
"I hate to break you two up but I need to ask you some questions," interrupted the police chief.
Ares broke the kiss holding Desire tightly to him as she began to tremble. Desire stood on the tips of her toes bringing him down for another searing kiss to the cheers from the crowd gathered. The police chief watched silently waiting for the two to break apart. Desire finally pulled away burying her head in the dark gods chest releasing a sigh of relief as her heart continued to pound loudly in her chest. On shaky legs Desire followed Ares and the officer and answered the police chiefs questions. Reporters waited anxiously to interview the couple about the events inside of the bank. After answering all of the questions from the police officers, they were escorted toward their car, away from the cameras, choosing not to be interviewed for the six oclock news. Ares held her protectively in his arms until they were safely back in her vehicle.
"Desire what were you thinking back there? You could have been killed," started Ares as settled behind the steering wheel.
"I was thinking that Im not gonna let some little pissants ruin my day. Im tired of the interruptions in my life," answered Desire.
"Youre obviously not thinking clearly," added Ares.
"Big surprise there. So they had guns. Big fucking deal. Ive dealt with quite a bit lately."
"That doesnt mean youre invincible."
"But I can handle myself. Lets review. I was a slave, got branded, beaten to death, came back to life, got stuck in a tree twice and attacked by a spider. Did I mention I really hate spiders? I was attacked by an Amazon, dissed by the conqueror, whipped to death, brought back to life, killed a samurai and I had to carry a headless corpse and a body less head which was really, really gross and disgusting not to mention morbid and vile. I got into a fight with a redneck, whacked in the head with a beer bottle in a burning building, handcuffed naked by a swat team.."
"Handcuffed naked by a swat team?" interrupted Ares.
"Yeah," answered Desire, her voice dripping with sarcasm. "Where were you? Then I find out the woman I killed is the sister of my soul mate and here we are. Shit just slides right off of me Ares. Dont ask me to think or feel. Im brain dead and numb."
"And if I bring you back dead, Annie, Mattie and Danni will find a way to kill me," responded Ares.
"Guess youll just have to protect me."
"Thats easier said than done," replied Ares, a devilish grin on his face.
"What are you smiling about?"
"I was just picturing you naked and handcuffed by a swat team."
"Yeah well Danni was naked and handcuffed with me. Enjoy your little fantasy."
"Well after that kiss you laid on me maybe I wont be just fantasizing about you," purred Ares.
"That was nice Ares. Thank you."
"Nice. Just nice! Is that how you kiss when youre just being nice?"
"I was scared! You saved my life. I just realized that and I reacted."
"You sure didnt act scared."
"Petrified is more like it. Im sorry. Im not being fair to you. What if Danni watches the news?"
"Just like that its back to Danni."
"Im a tease Ares. I dont mean to be but youre so god damned handsome but until I know its over with Danni I just cant cheat on her."
"But youre on a break. She just left you."
"Its called being pussy whipped. This would be a lot easier if you looked like a troll."
"When Danni sees the story on the news it just might be over and I will be there waiting with open arms."
"And if she doesnt?" asked Desire.
"Nothing lasts forever Desire, especially love. Dont expect me to be a gentleman when the time comes."
"If that happens just make me come," purred Desire a devious look in her eyes.
Ares looked over at the small brunette grinning as he started the car. "Has anyone ever told you that you are trouble Desire?"
"Ive heard that all my life Ares. Shit its almost noon and I still dont have any fucking money. Oh well, they better take a god damned check," stated Desire.
Danni walked along the sidewalk looking through the window into the restaurant to see the goofy grin of her quirky friend Johnny who was waving wildly at her. She walked into the restaurant to the booth in the back and hugged her. Johnny was dressed in a pair of faded jeans and a tie die T-shirt. Her hair looked wild and unkempt matching the piercing in her nose and eyebrow.
"How are you doing sweetie pie?" asked Johnny.
"I dont know. You tell me," answered Danni as they both sat down at the booth.
"I took the liberty of ordering for you. Cobb salad with honey mustard dressing on the side, just the way you like it. Besides you sounded kinda stressed so I figured youd be eating light," replied Johnny.
"Did you find out where Desire lives?" asked Danni anxiously.
"Of course I did sweetie pie. You doubt me?"
"No. Never. Its just been a very long weekend and Im desperate to talk to her."
"I cant blame you. She is a hottie, almost as delicious as you my dear."
"So what do you have for me?" asked Danni trying to disguise the irritation in her voice.
"Well for starters she owns a very large home in Rossmoor, a very ritzy neighborhood I might add. The home was rented out until last month so I drove by the house and it is currently occupied. However I didnt see the Toyota Tercel she owns. I talked to a neighbor who told me that a young woman moved in with her husband. She didnt actually confirm it was her husband but she did go on and on about how gorgeous this man was."
"Ares," mumbled Danni.
"What?" asked Johnny.
"She has a male friend. His name is Ares."
"The neighbor did say he looked like a god. She also confirmed that they drove up the first night with a small white car so I think its your gal."
"Great. So do you have the address?"
Johnny handed a folder of papers with the address and a considerable amount of other information about Desire.
"Whats all of this?" asked Danni.
"You said you wanted to know everything about her. Shes a keeper if you can get past the little stint she did in Chino," replied Johnny realizing her mistake. "Of course you seem to know about that already."
"Yes I do. Can you decipher this information for me?" asked Danni.
"Well for starters she is loaded. I dont mean well off. I mean she doesnt know what to do with all of her money. She has property in several states along with a bank account large enough to keep her comfortable for the rest of her life. She has an investor that seems to have done very right by her. Shes involved with a lot of charitable organizations that have to do with saving animals and helping children. She also sponsors a couple of scholarship funds for her college alma mater. Did you know she was from Nashville?"
"Yes I knew that."
"She was married in high school, even had a baby but the child died."
"I know all of that," interrupted Danni.
"Did you know her husband died in a car accident? DUI. She survived the crash because she was thrown out of the car. Shes been in the hospital over a dozen times for major surgeries. Shes even in the medical journals for having the largest tumor ever removed from a persons skull."
"That I didnt know. Maybe I was wrong to have you find out so many personal things about her. Im sure in time she will tell me this stuff. Here take this back," she said handing the pages of information back to Johnny.
"Dont you want her address at least?" asked Johnny.
"I have it committed to memory."
"There is one more thing I think you should know. Its very personal but it does involve you."
Danni cocked her head to the side, one eyebrow lifted questioningly. "Whats that?"
"Apparently she doesnt get along well with her living relatives. She has a brother and a sister. Theres some nasty history between her and the brother. He could be a very dangerous man. Every time Desire moves to a different state he follows. Her will is very clear about excluding him." Johnny paused trying to gauge Dannis reaction.
"Go on. Tell me more," Danni encouraged.
"I think he tried to kill her. She moved in with her ailing mother and brother. Nine months later she was in the hospital with a concussion and he moved out immediately. In her will he gets absolutely nothing."
"That cant make him too happy," interrupted Danni.
"No. He has a good job and makes good money but he has nothing to show for it except an alcoholic wife and an Australian Shepherd and the dog came from the pound. Of course his wife looks like she came from the pound too but the dog is a lot cuter," rambled Johnny losing her train of though. She paused for a moment a blank expression on her face. "Where was I? Oh yeah. He worked for a construction firm supervising the building of new homes in Las Vegas. According to a report on the Internet about the corporation he has just been transferred to their division in Orange County."
"When did that happen?"
"Hes following her back to California," exclaimed Danni.
"It appears so otherwise it is a huge cowinky dinky."
"Id just like to see him try something with me. Thanks Johnny. Youre a life saver."
"Theres more. I kinda got side tracked."
"You get sidetracked? Never," said Danni smirking. "Do I really need to hear more?"
"Yes. This definitely concerns you. Its about some changes to her will."
"What changes?" asked Danni.
"Thats what Ive been trying to tell you sweetie pie. A small portion of her estate goes to her sister Leanne. The rest is divided among several charities, that is until Friday. It seems she revised her will to reflect a change in her life."
"Spit it out Johnny."
"She has named a certain tall dark and gorgeous beauty as executor of her estate."
"Me?" asked Danni a perplexed expression on her face as Johnny nodded. "Why would she do something like that?"
"Love makes people do crazy things. She has even included a power of attorney. If she ever becomes incapable of making financial or medical decisions you take over. There is one catch. The will does include a clause that states you must take care of Figaro, Boomer and Blue until they have lived out their natural lives. Please tell me those are dogs."
Danni sat there speechless as she listened to the words. "Two cats and a dog," she mumbled.
"What?" asked Johnny. "I didnt hear you."
"Figaro and Boomer are cats. Blue is a dog."
"I think she loves you. Shes a keeper Danni. If you dont want her then send her my way."
"No youre right. Im gonna keep her," answered Danni grinning like a Cheshire cat.
"Go now Danni and find her. Marry her and honeymoon on Maui. She has a condo there you know. And ask her how much she rents her condo for. Ive never seen Hawaii."
"I will. Thanks Johnny. Ill pay for your trip to Maui. I have to go now. I have to finish up at the office and go hunting," answered Danni as she rose from the booth.
"Hey what about your lunch?"
"Take it home with you. Ill contact you for the wedding."
Danni finished up at the office and hurried home from work. It had taken her much longer than anticipated, her thoughts wandering to the small brunette as she prepared for her morning business trip to Nashville. She hoped that after they made up Desire would accept her offer and fly to Tennessee with her.
She could hear the television set turned on in the guestroom when she walked into the house. She strolled to the open door searching for the familiar faces of her guests, stopping when she heard various noises coming from the guest bathroom. She turned to walk away, stopping to look at the image on the screen. Curious she moved toward the television turning the volume up to hear the details.
"The Bank of America on Palo Verde Drive was robbed today. Two gunmen took hostages in an ill-fated attempt to rob the bank early this afternoon. A small brunette who refused to give her name and her male lover foiled the robbers plan as they left the building at gunpoint taking the two men down. One shot was fired but the police confirmed no one was hurt."
Danni stared at the footage oblivious to the commentary as she watched her soul mate embrace Ares and kiss him passionately in front of the cameras while a crowd of people watched on. The kiss seemed to linger for hours. She continued staring as the two broke their contact then embraced a second time, the kiss even more passionate than the first and lasting longer then an eternity for Danni.
When the story ended Danni changed the channel catching a second news station reporting the same story with the same image of the heroes kissing. After flipping the channels one last time she suffered through the image again before throwing the remote control at the TV and leaving the room.
Her body trembled as she replayed the scene in her mind over and over again, ignoring the high pitched voice of little Aphrodite crying in the backyard. Even the incessant pleading of the adorable puppy couldnt begin to repair the tearing in her soul as she walked aimlessly out of the house into her car and drove to the local bar down the street.
"Do you think shell like her?" asked Desire referring to the shiny new vehicle in the driveway.
"Whats not to like?" replied Ares. "Shes fast. Shes sleek and very, very expensive but gifts arent gonna bring her back."
"I know that. Pretty eyes and great tits are gonna bring her back," quipped Desire.
"You have both. Do we get to take her for a spin? Maybe cruise down the coastline with her top down?" asked the dark god running his hands over the shiny metallic paint job. "Ill go topless if you go topless."
"I bet you would. No, I should save her for her rightful owner," answered Desire noting the look of disappointment in the dark gods face. "Get over it Ares."
"Come on Des. A good car is like a good woman. You have to break her in to fully appreciate her beauty."
"Is that right Ares? Are you comparing me to a hunk of metal?"
"No but I am willing to break you in," he responded.
"Trust me Ares. Ive been broken in to the point of just being broken," answered Desire averting her eyes toward the ground as she spoke. She thought back to her nightly dreams, clinging on to the fact that Danni appeared to her every evening always kissing her.
"Everything looks in good working order to me," replied Ares attempting to lighten up Desires mood that appeared to suddenly turn dark.
"Except the head," stated Desire pensively.
"What are you going to do Desire? Just wait until Danni comes back."
"No. Im leaving in the morning for a few days. Im going to Nashville."
"Whats in Nashville?"
"Danni. She works for a record label remember?"
"Oh yeah. Do you know where she lives?"
"No but I know what record label she works for."
"What are you going to do? Just walk in and demand to see her?"
"Sure. Why not?"
"What if they dont let you in?"
"Why wouldnt they? Besides if they decide to be rude and not let me see her Ill find out where she lives and storm her house."
"Wouldnt it be easier to just call her at the record label?"
"This is something I have to do in person."
"What time does your flight leave?"
"It leaves at 9:30am. It should arrive in Nashville around six."
"Would you like me to take you to the airport?"
"Nah but thanks for the offer. I have a cab scheduled to pick me up in the morning and the pet sitter should be here around noon. Feel free to use the pool while Im gone."
"Ill wait until you get back. Its much more fun that way."
"Speaking of fun lets go and have some. The night is still young."
"What did you have in mind?" asked the dark god, a lascivious look on his face.
"Get your mind out of the gutter Ares. I thought we would take a drive down the coast in style."
"But you said," started Ares.
Desire pointed the remote control at the garage lifting the door open to reveal an incredible Harley Davidson motorcycle parked inside.
"Its called a Fat Boy. I dont know much about motorcycles but this one looked tuff with all of its silver chrome and of course a metallic teal green paint job to match my eyes."
"Wow!" exclaimed Ares. "That is very nice!"
"Im glad you like it," stated Desire tossing the keys at the dark god.
"Like it! I love it! "Its bad like me."
"Yeah. Youre so bad," teased Desire.
"Are you going to let me drive?"
"I would make that call if I owned it."
"Desire who owns it?"
"You do oh dark one," answered Desire as she bowed in front of Ares. "Please accept it as a token of my appreciation."
"For what? Every time I try something you stop me."
"Mind out of the gutter Ares. Thank you for being a friend and putting up with my crap and getting nothing in return."
"Except a lot of cold showers," quipped Ares.
"My point exactly."
Ares walked around the bike inspecting every piece of metal and leather, his mouth wide open in awe.
Boys and their toys, she thought. "Youre gonna catch flies there big guy."
Ares closed his mouth and looked at Desire a huge grin on his face. "I dont know what to say."
"Obviously. The proper response would be thank you."
"Thank you," repeated Ares.
"Youre welcome. I know its not the hot sexy thing you wanted between your legs but its the best I can do right now."
"Shall we take a spin my lady?" asked Ares gallantly.
"I thought you would never ask," answered Desire with a finally cultured southern drawl.
Desire stood to the side of the bike while Ares started the engine and let it warm up then climbed on the back of the vehicle behind Ares, wrapping her arms around his chest, playfully running her hands through the silky hairs before firmly pinching his nipples.
"Desire you are such a tease," gasped Ares as a jolt of electricity ran through his body from the intimate touch.
"I wouldnt be if you looked like a troll. Its the hazard of being so damned handsome," Desire whispered into his ear as they drove onto the street. "Come on give this baby some juice!"
The porch light turned on as Danni pulled up in the driveway. It was nearly 11:00pm. Five hours of playing pool and visiting with the regulars down at the Kit Kat had left her even more depressed than she had been when she left her house. Running into Jillian again hadnt helped her with her confusion.
Two figures, one tall and one short, appeared at the front of the doorway as she exited her car. Great. Mom and dad are waiting up for me, she thought to herself as she walked slowly up the porch.
"Youre alone," stated Annie as Danni walked through the door past her.
"Wheres Desire?" asked Mattie.
Danni turned around, pale blue eyes slightly diluted from the alcoholic beverages consumed earlier glared into two sets of inquiring eyes. "Yes to the first question and I have no fucking idea to answer the second question," she answered coldly.
"Youve been drinking," growled Annie.
"And driving. Not too smart Danni especially when you stop to consider the circumstances that have led you to this state," scolded Mattie.
"Dont even lecture me. I am not in the mood," yelled Danni.
Annie grabbed her sister by the shoulder glaring into her eyes. "Apologize to Mattie right now. Just because youre acting like an ass doesnt give you the right to be so rude."
Danni looked down at the ground avoiding the ice blue eyes staring back at her. "Im sorry," she mumbled. "Its been a really bad night. I didnt mean to take it out on you Mattie."
"Apology accepted. Sit down and tell us what happened with Desire," answered Mattie placing a consoling hand on Dannis back.
"Absolutely nothing. I didnt go see her. I cant," she started as she sat down on the sofa.
"Why didnt you go see her?" asked Annie.
Danni sat down pensively and picked up the remote control to the television, turning the machine on. "Just watch," answered Danni pointing to the nightly news on Channel 7. The same news story reporting on the bank robbery came on first. Mattie and Annie watched silently their jaws dropping open as they watched the entire scene unfold.
"You know I bet if you looked up the word trouble in the dictionary you would find the name Desire in the description," quipped Annie as her sister turned the volume button down.
"It was on the six o-clock news in your room when I came home from work."
"That would explain why the remote control was on the floor," interjected Mattie.
"I saw that and I ran out. What am I gonna say to her? When youre done fucking the god of war do you think we might have a shot at being together?"
"So you went out and got drunk," observed Annie.
"I am not drunk," defended Danni.
"Youre not sober either," stated Mattie. "And you have been driving."
"How much have you had sis?"
"Just a few beers over the last five hours."
"You still shouldnt have been driving. Why didnt you call us? We would have picked you up," added Mattie.
"Thanks mom," answered Danni. "I need my car to drive to the airport in the morning."
"We can take you to the airport idiot. Just tell us what time your flight takes off," interrupted Annie.
"The flight leaves at 9:30 in the morning. Thanks."
"Thank us by talking to Desire," interjected Mattie.
"What am I supposed to say? You heard the reporter. An unidentified brunette and her lover," started Danni.
"That doesnt mean anything sis."
"Did you see the way they kissed? And Desire initiated the second kiss."
"She was swept up in the moment. Besides you left her remember?" added Annie.
"Dont go by what you see on TV. Go with whats in your heart," Mattie said.
"I know. Its easier said then done. That image keeps playing over and over in my mind. I feel like Ive been sucker punched in the gut."
"Be tough. Give her the benefit of the doubt. Maybe thats all they did," stated Annie.
"Youre right. Maybe we can stop by her house on the way to the airport."
"Promise?" asked Mattie and Annie in unison.
"Yeah I promise," answered Danni dejectedly.
"Dont be so glum," Mattie added.
"Its been a rough night."
"Anything happen at the bar that we should know about?" asked Annie.
"I ran into my ex again. She wants me to go out with her."
"And?" asked Mattie.
"And what? Its confusing. I feel these emotions when Im with her," started Danni.
"What did you do?" inquired Annie skeptically.
"Nothing. At least nothing more than Desire."
"So you kissed her," accused Annie.
"Yeah I kissed her. It felt nice. Nothing more."
"Danni dont let this thing with Desire go any farther. Talk to her. You guys are meant to be together," Mattie said hugging the tall brunette.
"I wont. I need to go to bed. I have to get up early if I want to catch her before my flight," she answered returning the embrace before getting up to go to sleep.
"I have a bad feeling in my gut Annie."
"I do too but they have to work this out between themselves. Come on lets go to bed," replied Annie leading her partner into the guestroom.
CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO - SOUTHERN HITS AND NEAR MISSES
Desire woke up early to get ready for her flight. She left instructions for the pet sitter then cleaned the litter box and fed the cats making sure their crystal vase was filled with water. She let Blue outside and went back in to change then put on a short sleeve jade blouse tucked into black jeans and her favorite black Justin boots. She ran her brush through the short dark tresses then plastered enough hairspray to hold it until she could check in at the hotel in Nashville. After applying a light coat of make up she took her bags and set them by the front door saying goodbye to the big black dog standing by looking sadly into her eyes.
"Come on Blueboy. Dont give me that look. Ill only be gone for a few days. Youre gonna love Lynn. Shell take real good care of you until I come home," she said trying to lose the guilty feeling in her gut she always had whenever she left her boy alone. "I promise you Im gonna find you a companion soon so youll never be alone again," she added hugging the over grown bundle of fur. Two large black and white tabby cats stood in the hallway giving her dirty looks as she left the house. "I swear if cats had fingers those two would be flipping me off," she mumbled closing the door behind her.
Desire didnt want to leave anything to chance this morning and called for a 7:00am taxi to pick her up and take her to the airport leaving her plenty of time to check in and have breakfast before the flight. The cab pulled up right on time and within minutes they were traveling briskly along the 405 freeway toward LAX.
Fifteen minutes later traffic slowed down to a crawl. Desire instructed the driver to get off at the next exit and take surface streets as the cab came to a complete stop. Several minutes later the car had not moved. Desire looked through the window to see if she could see what the hold up was. Her eyes drifted to the flashing red lights of police cars and emergency vehicles as they fought their way through the morning traffic rush that was now a parking lot.
"Great. Just fucking great," she mumbled to herself. "Thank god I left early."
Another fifteen minutes passed by while Desire waited impatiently. "Excuse me," she said to the driver. "Do you know whats going on?"
"Looks like an accident up ahead miss, a big one," he replied.
Desire shook her head in disgust. "Thats why they pay you the big bucks," she mumbled.
"Excuse me miss did you say something?"
"I said can you at least turn the radio on and see if you can find a traffic report?" The driver complied with her wishes and turned the radio to the a.m. station that reported the traffic every fifteen minutes.
"If youre driving north on the 405 this morning my condolences to you. A major accident involving an over turned oil tanker and two passenger cars has brought traffic to a halt creating a parking lot on the freeway. It is officially a Sig alert, the first one of the morning but most likely not the last. All lanes are currently blocked and expected to stay that way for another hour."
"Fuck!" cried Desire. "This is why I never leave early. What was I thinking?"
Annie pulled up to the large white house her jaw dropping as she looked at the magnificent structure that was Desires new home. "Woa, not too shabby at all," she stated.
"Ill say," added Mattie. "I dont see any cars in the driveway. It doesnt look like anyone is home."
"Just my luck," grumbled Danni. "Ive written her a note so Ill be back in a few minutes," she added leaving the vehicle.
Danni walked up to the grand structure and rang the doorbell. After a couple of minutes she rang it again then took her letter out of the envelope to reread it one last time.
Words cannot adequately express the emotions I am feeling. I know that I acted hastily in Las Vegas and regret the night I left your arms. There are many things I want to say to you but I believe they are too important to say in a letter. I will wait until I am looking into those sparkling green eyes to express my feelings for you.
I will be in Nashville until Friday. Below is my work phone number and address for both the Los Angeles office and the Nashville office. I will instruct Evelyn to put your call through immediately. I am also including my home phone number in case you dont receive this note before Friday.
Please contact me. We have so much to talk about and a lifetime to do it in but I yearn for the day we can begin this journey together. You are in my thoughts daily and invade my dreams at night. If I dont hear from you I will understand and wait for you to contact me when you are ready. I have so many things to say to you. I wont give up on us.
Danni placed the letter back into the envelope and pushed it through the mail slot on the front door. Dejected she walked back to the car and joined her sister and Mattie who were listening to the radio.
"Wed better stay off of the 405 freeway," Annie told her sister. "Theres a Sig alert so well have to take the long way."
"Just as long as we get there on time. I have a seven oclock meeting as soon as I get in," answered Danni.
An hour later they arrived at the airport.
"What Airlines are you flying?" asked Mattie as they approached the terminal.
"American Airlines flight 2430. Ill be arriving Friday at 2:20pm on American Airlines flight 5802. Should I call a cab?"
"Of course not. Well pick you up," answered Annie as she maneuvered the car through traffic to the correct terminal. Mattie and Annie got out of the car to help Danni with her baggage leaving after giving her a hug and wishing her a safe flight.
Danni walked through the gates without incident and boarded the flight to Nashville. It would be several long hours before she would reach her destination. She pulled out her laptop and turned it on figuring she could at least catch up on some work. Moments later she shut the computer off. Thoughts of a certain green-eyed brunette continued to haunt her and she knew work would be futile.
Desire jumped out of the cab throwing the appropriate bills at the driver as he handed her the garment bag from the trunk. She charged into the airport electing to carry her luggage on the plane and ran through the building searching for the gate. She was breathing heavily as she ran up to the counter to get her boarding pass and handed her ticket to the American Airlines employee.
"Im sorry Miss Love but flight 2430 has stopped boarding. Let me see if I can find you another flight to Nashville."
"But my watch says 9:28am. The flight leaves at 9:30am. I need to be on that flight."
"As I said the plane has stopped boarding."
"This is LAX. Since when do planes leave on time?"
"I wish I could accommodate you but the plane is already beginning to taxi onto the runway," repeated the hostess ignoring the snide remark.
"Well tell them to taxi back. I need to be on that plane."
"We do have another flight leaving in an hour. Would you like to be on that flight?"
"No. I would like to be on flight 2430."
"Its too late for that maam. Shall I put you on the next flight?"
"Fine. Whatever," answered Desire. She waited as the woman finished the paper work and instructed her to the next gate. Desire walked away growling about the early morning events.
"You know I could have gotten you here on time and you would be on that flight right now," whispered Ares startling the small brunette.
"Now you show up. I spend two hours on the fucking freeway turned parking lot and you wait until now to pop up and scare the hell out of me."
"Why are you so tense?" asked the dark god his hands on her shoulders messaging the tight muscles.
"I dont do change well. I want to be on that flight. Put me on that flight."
"Right. Ill just zap you onto the plane. That wont alarm anyone."
"At least buy me breakfast then. I hope the rest of the trip doesnt go as bad as this," replied Desire regretting her last statement. Just great, cried the little voice. Why dont you just pray to the gods of bad karma and ask them to fuck up your little trip.
Desire checked into the Hilton Hotel late that evening. She took the elevator to the tenth floor where her suite was located. She fumbled in her pocket for the card key to room 1023 and opened the door, threw down her bags, stripped her clothes off and turned on the television. Within minutes she was sound asleep exhausted by the connecting flight she was forced to endure because of her tardiness.
She woke up just after dawn the following morning, jumped in the shower and prepared to go down to music row and search for Danni after breakfast.
Walking along the historical street filled her with excitement as she thought about the history created inside the walls of each record label wondering if she would ever become a part of country musics history. Yeah like thats gonna happen, sniped the little voice. "It could happen. K.T. Oslin was in her forties," Desire mumbled to herself eliciting uncomfortable stares from a couple walking by.
She stopped in front of Mercury records home to many of the finest country singers in history including Shania Twain. She took a deep lungful of air, opened the glass door and walked confidently up to the receptionist, her pulse racing.
"May I help you?" asked the receptionist with a slow southern drawl.
"Yes, I um am looking for Danielle Day please."
"Do you have an appointment?"
"No I dont. Im a friend of hers."
"Miss Day is in meetings right now. I can take a message for her."
"Ill wait," replied Desire.
"Im afraid that wont be a good idea. Shell be in meetings all day."
"What about lunch? You do let her stop and eat lunch dont you?" asked Desire irritation in her voice.
"Miss Day is a very busy woman and she doesnt accept unsolicited appointments."
"Im not soliciting anything," hissed Desire attempting to keep her temper in check. "Im a friend of hers."
"Really. Youre just a friend," replied the receptionist. "Do you live around here?"
"No I dont. I just flew in from California to see her. What has that got to do with anything?" asked Desire.
"Why would you fly in from California to see her when you could visit her out of our home office in Los Angeles where she works?"
"She doesnt work in this office? But you just said she was in meetings all day."
"She flew in yesterday and as I said Miss," started the receptionist.
"Love, Desire Love," interrupted the small brunette.
"She is very busy and doesnt receive unsolicited visitors."
"Look Im a friend and a business associate. If you just let her know Im here Im sure she will come out to talk to me."
"How are you a business associate Miss Love?"
"She, I, weve talked about my singing career. She came to see me sing a couple of weeks ago."
"Well if she wants to speak with you Im sure she will call you," stated the receptionist very rudely.
"She cant call me because she doesnt know where I live. Will you please just tell her Im here? Otherwise I can just go sit down and wait for her until she is free."
"I cant let you do that and if you even try it I will call the guard and have you removed from the office. Otherwise as I stated earlier you can leave her a message and I will make sure she gets it."
"I dont fucking believe this," grumbled Desire not realizing she had spoken loud enough for the receptionist to hear, the green-eyed monster alert and ready to do battle.
"As I said Miss if you dont leave now I will call security. I dont need to listen to that kind of behavior."
"Fine Ill just leave a message," answered Desire, using all of her control to contain the monster straining to break loose. She quickly pulled out her business card and wrote the name and phone number of the Hilton on the back and handed it to the receptionist staring back at her with cold dark eyes. "Ill try back tomorrow. Maybe you wont be so rude," she stated then turned and stalked out of the door. The receptionist looked at the business card and tossed it into the trash can once Desire was out of sight.
Danni walked her associate out to the reception area thanking him and recommending some of Nashvilles finer eating establishments, declining his offer for dinner.
"How are you Daisy?" asked Danni. "You look like youre having a rough day."
"Just another day at the record label," answered the receptionist. "When will these wanna be country music stars learn that you cant just storm into a record label and expect to be seen without an appointment?"
"Come on Daisy. You put up with that every day. How many so far?"
"Just three since the office opened but that last one rubbed me the wrong way."
"Well just know that we are thankful in the back that you warn off the riff raff. It makes our job a whole lot easier," Danni stated.
"How long are you in Nashville this time Miss Day?"
"Just through Thursday. "Ill talk to you later," answered Danni walking back to her office. She didnt have an assistant in Nashville however Jims assistant Evelyn offered to answer her phone calls and help her every time she was in town. Evelyn was in her late thirties with light brown hair and hazel eyes. She wasnt the prettiest woman in the office but most regarded her as the most efficient assistant in the company. Danni constantly kidded her about stealing her away from Jim when she relocated to Nashville permanently. She was also the only person in the company who knew about her sexual orientation.
"Evelyn I need you to do me a favor please."
"Anything for you dear," she answered.
"Im expecting a phone call from a Miss Desire Love. I gave her the direct line. If she calls page me even if Im in a meeting. If Im out of the office call me on my cell phone or better yet just give her that number. Shit I cant believe I didnt think to write that number down in the letter, she thought to herself. "Let her know Im staying at the Hilton."
"She sounds important Danni. Is this business or personal?" she whispered out of ear shot from inquiring minds in the office.
"Hopefully both," answered Danni grinning as she thought back to the first night she saw Desire.
"Well you must tell youre old pal Evelyn. Your eyes lit up when you mentioned her name but there is sorrow in your heart."
"Its complicated right now. I think shes the one. I met her when I went to Las Vegas. Thats why I didnt come back right away."
"You spent the week in Vegas with a woman you just met?" asked Evelyn intrigued.
"Like I said its complicated. I havent seen her since. Something seems to keep getting in the way."
"Was she that gal you were supposed to go scout?" Danni nodded her head in response.
"Was she any good?"
"You mean as a singer?"
"Yes missy. Get your mind out of the gutter. I dont want to hear those details."
"Relax Evelyn. There arent any gory details to report," started Danni.
"You spent a week with her and nothing happened?" interrupted Evelyn.
"Nothing like that anyway but I did fall in love. To answer your first question. Shes an incredible singer. Shes beautiful and plays a variety of musical instruments. Shes very beautiful and full of talent and her heart is in country music. She was born and raised in Nashville. Did I mention she was beautiful?"
"Well she is."
"Love, why does that name sound familiar?"
"Didnt you grow up in Nashville? Maybe youve met her," answered Danni casually.
"Yeah and you know every queer in the country. Darlin Nashville is a big city," replied Evelyn sarcastically.
"Point taken," stated Danni.
Evelyn was silent absorbed in thought trying to determine why that name sounded so familiar. "Dee Dee."
"What?" asked Danni.
"I went to middle school with a girl everyone called Dee Dee. It was short for Desire Darlene. She had a real temper when it came to kids calling her Dee Dee and I do believe her last name was Love. She was about five and a half feet tall and very athletic and had long brown hair. She was a real jock. Even did karate or something like that. She was stocky and very shy but the one thing I remember the most about her were these amazing green eyes. They were so pale they were almost gold."
"That sounds like her except she isnt stocky anymore and her hair is almost black. See you do know everyone in Nashville. What else do you remember about her?" asked Danni her heart beating loudly within her chest, the conversation making her feel closer to Desire.
"I only knew her for a few months before my family moved. Her parents used to own a shop on 3rd street in the heart of the District. They made all kinds of instruments, banjos, fiddles, steel guitars, and mandolins. In fact the shop is still there somewhere between Commerce and Broadway. They advertise that their instruments are made with love. Its still a family owned business."
"Some of our musicians use those instruments. I didnt even make the connection. I may have to go and check it out."
"Do that. From what I remember she could play every instrument like a pro."
"From what Ive heard she still can. Thanks Evelyn for the information and please get a hold of me if she calls."
"IF she calls?" asked Evelyn, confusion on her face.
"When things work out I will tell you everything. Until then Im just hoping she read my note and decides to call me otherwise Ill have to wait until I go home to see her."
"And you cant stop thinking about her. You got it bad girl. Good luck. I hope she calls you."
Desire drove back to the Hilton and parked her rental car in the garage. She was still fuming from the experience back at the record label and decided she was not in a good frame of mind to be driving a strange car in a city she was no longer familiar with. The hotel was located within minutes to the district and she chose to walk after making a quick stop in her room to change into more comfortable clothes.
It took her twenty minutes to walk down to 3rd street. She stood outside of the familiar old shop staring at the window dressings, remembering a happier time when she would come to the shop after school and help her father in the workroom. Together they would craft each instrument to perfection then she would test the finished product with a mini concert for the man she idolized.
Dad had been dead now for over five years but her memories of him were crystal clear. He was a very quiet man who rarely showed his love through physical affection or words but when she would play and sing for him his dazzling hazel eyes would light up and she could remember seeing the dance in those beautiful orbs. Every day she would thank god for being blessed with his eyes, though different in color. She was the spitting image of her mother except her eyes which were the only living proof that she was his daughter and not the milkmans even though her relatives had teased her endlessly with that little story. Of course not one relative could explain where her over sized breasts came from. It was one of the familys little mysteries.
She opened the glass door listening to the bell ring as she walked through. The store was lined with various instruments displayed in every nook of space. Along the back wall was a host of photographs, many of them autographed by the famous musicians who owned a musical instrument made with and by Love.
A woman with short auburn hair streaked with gray walked into the showroom. She was the same height as Desire and very petite dressed casually in a pair of jeans, white shirt and cowboy boots. Desire hadnt seen her sister Leanne since her fathers funeral. Leannes face was lined with a few wrinkles making her look much older than Desire even though they were born only ten years apart. Five years earlier just after their father had died and they were still on good speaking terms, they had spent a good deal of time together but were often mistaken as mother and daughter, something that did not sit well with her older sibling.
"Well look what the cat dragged in," commented Leanne as she strolled toward Desire dazzling hazel eyes penetrating the short brunettes stoic behavior.
"Its lovely to see you too Leanne. You havent changed much except you could use a bottle of Lady Clairol," retorted Desire.
"Youre still the same smartass youve always been," replied Leanne.
"I learned from the best," answered Desire.
"And who would that be?"
"Why my big sister of course. She taught me how to be a smartass and my big brother just taught me how to hate."
"I see youre still blaming me and Brett for your shortcomings."
"No I blame mother for my height," stated Desire walking up to her sister, stopping within an arms length and staring intently at her.
"What brings you back to Nashville?"
"A plane," quipped Desire attempting to cut through the tension in the air. "What? Not even a little smile?" Desire paused watching her sister waiting for a reply that never came. "Youve always been intense but when did you completely lose your sense of humor?"
"I think you know the answer to that question. You have some nerve just showing up here unannounced."
"So I take it blood really isnt thicker than water?"
"Dont expect me to welcome you with open arms. What do you want?"
Desire shook her head and walked away from Leanne looking at the latest model of fiddles on display. "I thought we could at least be civil. I thought you were different from Brett but I guess I was wrong."
"Dont you dare compare me to Brett."
"Why? Just because you arent stalking me?"
"What are you talking about?"
"I just moved back to California. Brett accepted a position in Orange County with that construction company he works for days after I moved. Considering the move was rather abrupt I would conclude that he has a private investigator tailing me. Are you saying you had nothing to do with that?"
"I havent seen Brett since fathers funeral."
"And you didnt even attend moms funeral."
"You know why I didnt come. I couldnt leave the business unattended."
"A business you own because of me."
"I earned this business. You know that."
"Yes I do. Thats why I turned it over to you."
"And Im supposed to be eternally grateful."
"No. I was hoping for a little civility. I didnt cut you out of the will."
"No you just turned mom and dad against me. They chose to move away. I couldnt take care of them in Nevada and run the business in Nashville."
"You could have been involved."
"I took care of them for years before they moved and what did it get me?"
"I earned this business," defended Leanne.
"And thats why you were cut out of the will. Otherwise Brett would have gotten his hands on the business and run it into the ground. Maybe if you had shown up for mothers funeral you would have known this instead of threatening to contest the will."
"You pushed me into that decision. I had to protect what was mine."
"Dont you get it? By naming me executor mother knew I would do the right thing. She wanted us to share the business and the house."
"Then why did you sign it over to me?"
"Because I dont need it. You know that."
"So why didnt she just give it to me?"
"Because you hurt them. You only saw dad twice before he died and you never once visited mom. That really hurt her. Besides it would have given any lawyer plenty of fuel for Brett to contest the will."
"You know I couldnt visit as long as Brett was in the picture."
"I knew that but mom never understood. Brett beat the shit out of me right in front of her and she still told me it was my fault because I cussed at him. He was abusing her and she was scared to death of him."
"When did this happen? Why didnt you tell me and why didnt you fight back?"
"It happened right before he moved out. Ask your friend Nancy. I tried calling you. She told me you wanted nothing to do with me. As to why I didnt fight back. Do you really think I would harm mothers precious little son in front of her?"
"Nancy never told me you called."
"Im not surprised. She hates the family especially me. Ive tried to tell you that for years. I thought you would at least call me at the hospital. When you didnt I just figured she was right."
"You were in the hospital?" asked Leanne a look of pain and anguish washing over her face. "What did he do to you?"
"It doesnt matter now. I just wish you didnt hate me."
"I never hated you."
"You just treated me like you did."
Leanne turned her head down toward the floor. "It really hurt me when mom cut me out of the will. The only reasonable explanation I could come up with was that you pushed her to do it."
"Why would I turn around and give you the business?" asked Desire.
"Guilt," answered Leanne.
"I do guilt well."
"I told you were Jewish."
"Just because we have a relative with the last name Israel doesnt mean were Jewish."
"When are you going to stop denying your Jewish heritage?"
"When you stop denying your relationship with Nancy of fifteen years is nothing more than just a friendship."
"Theres as much a chance of that happening as there is of you not fucking every pretty thing in a skirt."
"Well then maybe its time. I havent had sex with a woman in almost five years, at least not in this world."
"Yeah when pigs fly."
"Im telling you the truth."
"What did you mean by not in this world?"
"Lets just say my dreams have been quite vivid and interesting. Its a long story."
"Ive got the time. Business isnt exactly booming right now," replied Leanne pointing to the empty showroom.
"Get me a bottle of Coca Cola out of the vending machine and I will tell you everything. Then you can accuse me of having lost my mind."
Desire followed Leanne into the backroom and sat down at the workbench and proceeded to tell Leanne everything that had happened in Corinth. Leanne sat quietly engaged by the fanciful tale. She sat silently staring at her sister for several moments trying to decide if she was telling the truth or not. Desire could never lie to her sister and today she appeared to be telling the truth.
"Have you ever thought of becoming a fiction writer because you should really write this stuff down and publish it. It must have been some dream but you dont really expect me to believe that story do you?"
"Thats what I thought until I saw the tattoo," answered Desire pointing to her right hand and the lion jumping through the chakram. "Do you really think I would purposely put a tattoo on my hand?"
"That does seem kind of excessive. I didnt even know you watched that kind of a show."
Desire continued her story, telling her about Aphrodite and meeting Mattie and Annie and her soul mate Danni. She even told her about Ares and how much time they were spending together.
"So what are you going to do about Danni?" inquired Leanne.
"Does that mean you believe me?"
"Its a lot to swallow but youve never been able to lie to me. Im just glad you found someone to share your life with. You should follow your heart. I have a feeling things will work out."
Desire had always admired her sister and loved her dearly. Her heart swelled with happiness knowing that the past would stay where it belonged and she finally had her big sister back in her life. She felt certain she had made the right decision by seeing her and she was relieved to know that extenuating circumstances had kept Leanne from coming to her aide a couple of years earlier.
"Well?" asked Leanne.
"What are you going to do about Danni?"
"Im gonna go back tomorrow and maybe kick that little receptionists ass if she doesnt let me see Danni."
"Try being nice this time. It will get you a lot farther."
"I was nice," defended Desire.
"Listen to your big sister. I only have your best interests in mind."
"I know. You always have. And since were on talking terms there is something I need from you."
"It figures. I knew you had an ulterior motive."
"Thanks for your confidence in me sis. I need new instruments and you know I wont play with anything other than the instruments made here. I want two of each this time and dont worry I intend to pay for them," answered Desire containing her anger.
"Im sorry Desire. Its just a bad habit. Money has been tight lately. Nancy got fired and were relying on just one income."
"Youre not in any financial trouble are you?"
"Were getting by."
"The store isnt in danger is it?"
"No Desire. Dont worry about us."
"You know you can always come to me if need be.
"I dont need charity from my little sister."
"Thanks a lot Leanne. Youre as bad as mom and dad were. At least I can give you a decent order. I need two of everything. The only thing I have left is dads guitar."
"Desire Im not going to let you pay for them."
"Yes you are. Just make sure you make them. Now ring them up and have them sent to my house in Rossmoor. Ill give you the address," answered Desire writing out a check.
"No need. I have the address." Leanne hesitated before continuing. "Maybe you should give me the address again. I know I have it somewhere but give it to me anyway."
Desire pulled out a business card and wrote the new address and phone number down and handed it to her sister.
"Does this mean youre playing again?"
"Im toying with the idea. I entered a talent competition at Gilleys and won. Danni is encouraging me to get serious."
"Really? Youve always been afraid to sing on stage."
"Well I played a concert in front of thousands of people in Corinth. It felt pretty awesome. I think Ive finally overcome that obstacle."
"Now you just need an agent, someone who can help you get a record deal."
"Danni is an executive at Mercury Records. Who knows maybe Ill be the next K.T. Oslin."
"That sounds great. Im happy for you. How long are you staying in town and where are you staying?"
"Im staying at the Hilton until Friday."
"Ooh very ritzy."
"I felt like splurging. Listen I should go. Its been a long day so when should I expect the instruments to arrive?"
"They will be arriving at your door within a few days. Now go and find Danni. Dont let this one get away," answered Leanne extending her right hand to shake Desires. "Besides it would be nice to see my little sister finally realize her musical potential and land a record deal." Desire took the proffered hand. Their family had never been physically affectionate and Leanne had once told her that she doesnt like people touching her ever. Physical contact with another person often made her skin crawl so Desire restrained from attempting to hug her then turned to leave. "Hey maybe Ill see you before you go home."
"That would be nice. You know where Im staying," answered Desire as she turned and walked out of the front door.
Leanne waited several minutes before picking the phone up and dialing.
"Hello," came the response from the other end.
"Hey its me. You were right. She came to see me and shes in love with the tall brunette."
"Did you make up with her?"
"Of course I did. She thinks everything is peachy with her big sister. She knows about your move to California."
"So its legitimate. Just as long as she doesnt know about us talking."
"So what is this little plan of yours?" asked Leanne.
"The less you know the better. Right now just concern yourself with staying on her good side. I would bet money that she will include you in her will as soon as she gets back to California."
"What good will that do us unless she dies?" asked Leanne. The voice on the other line was silent for several long uncomfortable moments. "Brett youre not going to hurt her. You promised."
"I wont hurt her at least not physically."
"What are you going to do?"
"Well for starters we need to keep her away from tall dark and gorgeous. I would hate to have to hurt her. Desires money belongs in the family not to some dyke she just met. Let me take care of the details. Its going to take a few months but I promise it will be worth the wait."
"Just promise me she wont get hurt."
Leanne heard the bell ring alerting her to a possible customer. She peeked out of the backroom and saw Nancy walking toward her. "Its only you," she said moving back into the workroom as she continued her conversation with her brother.
"Nice to see you too," answered Nancy kissing Leanne on the lips.
"Who is that?" asked Brett still on the phone.
"Just Nancy," answered Leanne.
Moments later the bell rang again. Nancy looked out to see the tall dark form of Danielle Day strolling into the showroom. "Nice," exclaimed Nancy appreciatively. "This woman is a dead ringer for the warrior princess," she whispered to Leanne.
"Brett I would swear that woman Desire is in love with just walked into the store. Nancy says she looks just like Xena," Leanne whispered into the phone.
"Whatever you do dont let her know that Desire is in town or that the two of you talked."
"I wont. Gotta go," answered Leanne hanging the phone up and motioning to Nancy. "Help this customer. It might be Desires new lover. Dont let her know Im in the backroom."
"Theres no time to explain. Brett has an idea that might just save the store."
"Like that wonderful plan he had to improve business?" asked Nancy.
"Please do as I ask. The first part of the plan is to keep that woman away from Desire'. Help me and Ill tell you everything when she leaves."
Nancy nodded in acknowledgement and walked into the showroom up to the tall dark stranger. "Can I help you?"
"Are you the owner of the store?" asked Danni.
"No but I am the manager. My name is Nancy," she answered extending her hand to shake Dannis.
"My name is Danni. Im a friend of Desires."
"You know Leannes little sister? How is she?"
"I was hoping maybe someone here could tell me."
"Desire and Leanne havent spoken much in the past five years since Mr. Loves funeral."
"So Leanne and Desire arent close?"
"They used to be. So are you Desires lover?" Danni stared at her startled by the question. Nancy began speaking before she could respond. "Im sorry if I offended you. You look like her type."
"No Im not offended and no were not lovers, not exactly," answered Danni fumbling over her words. "So Im her type?"
"She always liked tall brunettes. Ive been a friend of the family for years and Ive seen her with many lovers, most of them very tall and brunette, occasionally blonde though. Shes never been one to stay with a woman for any length of time."
"How are you a friend of the familys?" asked Danni.
"Ive known Leanne for fifteen years, strictly friends," she said defensively. "Ive helped her keep the business alive during that time and although Ive been unsuccessful Ive tried to keep the family together. Leanne doesnt like to talk about it."
"Is Leanne here? I would really like to meet her."
"Im afraid you just missed her. She left for a few days but shell be back on Monday. Is there anything I can help you with?"
"Yes there is. Im looking to buy some instruments."
"Come with me and Ill set you up with the finest instruments in the business."
Thursday morning Desire walked back into the office of Mercury records to confront the receptionist one last time. She checked out of the hotel deciding to do some sight seeing and check out the new Country Music Hall of Fame. If she was unsuccessful she would change her reservation and take an early morning flight and spend the day at Disneyland.
"Well well I didnt expect to see you back so soon," Daisy stated snidely.
"I told you Id be back. I would like to speak with Miss Day please."
"Well at least your manners have improved," quipped Daisy.
"Its not my manners that need improving," replied Desire sarcastically emphasizing the word my.
"And that attitude isnt going to get you any where."
"So if Im nice youll let me see Danni?"
"No as I said yesterday she doesnt accept unsolicited appointments."
"And as I said I am a friend. If you tell her Im here she will want to see me," answered Desire through clenched teeth. "Even if its just to tell me to go to hell, cried the little voice.
"Thats not going to happen anytime soon."
"Then Ill just wait quietly over there," Desire said pointing to the sofa in the waiting room.
"Do I need to call security?"
"Did you give Danni my message?"
"Of course I did. If she wanted to contact you she would have already."
Desire looked behind the desk at the half full wastebasket sitting to the side of the desk. "Dont you guys have a daily cleaning service?"
"Usually we do but the janitor was sick last night," stated Daisy cautiously as she watched the wandering eyes of the small brunette.
Desire walked to the side of her desk peering into the canister catching a glimpse of the green ink from her business card. Before Daisy could respond she jumped forward digging through the trash to pull out the card. "Gave her my card my ass," she yelled picking up the crumpled piece of paper.
"Im calling security," cried Daisy pressing a button under the desk to alert the guard.
"You bitch. You couldnt even hand her this fucking little card," hissed Desire threateningly. "She cant call me if she doesnt know Im in town!"
"I showed her the card and she told me to throw it in the waste basket!" defended Daisy.
"Bullshit!" yelled Desire as a large black man dressed in a uniform came up to her and restrained her.
"You dont want to be startin any trouble miss," he informed her.
"Oh yes I do. Just tell Miss Day that Miss Love would like to meet with her. Its a very simple thing to do. If she tells me she doesnt want to talk with me Ill leave."
"Im afraid we cant do that miss. Youll have to leave," he stated hauling her toward the door.
"You are so in trouble bitch when she finds out what you did!" yelled Desire dropping the business card on the floor as she was dragged from the building. "I promise you Ill have the last laugh!"
Danni walked into the reception area to check on Daisy after hearing of the commotion while in the conference room.
"I heard you had a little trouble," stated Danni.
"Yes Miss Day. This one got a little out of hand. I think she was going to attack me but thanks to Al Im alright."
"She must have been a feisty one," declared Danni casually as she turned to go back toward her office. Danni turned around when something out of place caught her eye. She walked toward the front door and picked up the crumpled piece of paper, staring silently as she read the green print. She turned the card over and read the note in Desires handwriting. "When did she leave Daisy?"
"She could still be in the parking lot fighting with Al for all I know. He hasnt returned."
Danni turned around and bolted through the door running toward the parking lot. She spotted Al walking back and stopped in front of him. "Where is she?"
"Who Miss Day?"
"The woman you escorted out."
"Oh you mean the crazy lady I had to restrain and drag out of the building kicking and screaming," answered Al grinning.
"Yes. That one. Where is she?" asked Danni impatiently.
"She finally drove away when she realized I wasnt going anywhere until she did."
"Whats wrong Miss Day?"
Danni handed him the business card. "Shes my friend damn it. I need to talk to her."
"You mean she was telling the truth? You two are friends?"
"Yes. We keep missing each other."
"Uh oh, someones in trouble. Im sorry Miss Day. I just did what I was told."
Danni looked at the troubled guard. "I know. Its not your fault."
"Why dont you call her Miss Day and tell her about the mix up. Of course she didnt seem to be the understanding kind of person but its worth a try."
"You got that right," mumbled Danni as she walked back into the office. "Daisy why is this business card crumpled and why does it have soda on it?"
"I, um, I dont know," answered Daisy.
"You dont know or you wont say? When did she leave it?"
"Yesterday when she was here the first time. I saw her hand it to Daisy," interrupted Al trying to cover his ass.
"She left this yesterday and you didnt give it to me?"
"Im sorry Miss Day but we get all kinds in here every day. You said it yourself yesterday. She didnt even know you live in California. How was I supposed to know she was your friend?" defended Daisy speaking so fast Danni couldnt get a word in edge wise. "Plus she was very rude."
"Shes only rude when someone provokes her," answered Danni. "Well talk about this later," threatened Danni walking to her office.
"Evelyn do me a favor hon. Call this number and find Desire. If shes not there leave a message and keep calling until you get her, please."
"That was her in the waiting room?" asked Evelyn. Danni nodded her head standing quietly as Evelyn talked on the phone.
"Bad news doll," stated Evelyn hanging up the receiver. "She checked out of the hotel this morning. Im so sorry."
"Just fucking great."
"Hey kiddo. Look at the bright side. She came all the way from Las Vegas just to see you in person."
Danni looked at her and smiled for the first time since landing in Nashville. "Youve got a point. Thanks. You really need to think about coming to work for me Evelyn," she said with a mischievous grin on her face and a twinkle in her eyes. "I promise you I will make it worth your while," she added winking.
Danni made it into her suite just as the phone was ringing. After the incident with Desire she had called Johnny and asked her to track down Desires return flight information. "Hello," she said into the phone.
"Heres Johnny," cried the voice on the other line.
"So what did you find out?" asked Danni anxiously.
"Well currently she is scheduled to leave Nashville in the morning on American Airlines flight 5802," answered Johnny. "Does that help?"
"Very much thank you. Maybe Friday the thirteenth wont be so unlucky after all. Thats my flight."
"Good for you. Go get her tiger."
"You mean go catch a tiger by the tail," quipped Danni.
"Yep. That sounds more appropriate. Let me know if I can help you anymore."
Danni arrived at the Nashville airport two hours before the flight was scheduled to depart. She grabbed a breakfast sandwich at McDonalds and sat at the front of the gate with a book in her hand to pass the time. She kept a watchful eye on her surroundings as passengers started to congregate around the boarding area looking for the elusive brunette.
An hour and a half dragged by as people began lining up to board the plane. She sat there watching and waiting until every passenger left the terminal to board, still not seeing the brunette. After last call was announced over the speaker she reluctantly picked up her carry on and boarded at the last minute, disappointed that Desire was no where in sight. It would be a long flight home.
CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE - THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT
Desire arrived back in Los Angeles before noon having left Nashville on an earlier flight. At least the trip wasnt a total loss, she thought. I got my sister back. "You are so naïve," cried the little voice in her head. "Do you really think that all is well after one visit?" "Oh shut up," Desire mumbled barely audible as she walked into the terminal.
"You havent been back for five minutes and already youre telling me to shut up. Thats not very nice," Ares whispered into Desires ear. Desire jumped back shocked by the unexpected voice and stumbled into the waiting arms of the dark god.
"I knew youd fall for me one day," quipped Ares.
"Just once I wish you wouldnt sneak up on me Ares," hissed Desire.
"And where would the fun be in that?"
Desire picked up her bag and followed him through the airport to the waiting car.
"I cant believe you had time to pick it up. Thank you," she exclaimed pointing at the brand new white Jeep Grand Cherokee in the parking space. "I have always wanted one of these," she added walking around the SUV and inspecting it.
"You mentioned on the phone that you wanted to play today. So where are we going?"
"Were going to Disneyland!" she proclaimed.
Ares rolled his eyes in disgust. "Tell me youre kidding, please," he pleaded as he opened the passengers side for Desire.
"No Im not kidding. Itll be fun. Afterward we can go out and have a drink. Well even take the BMW." Desire watched as the dark god took the drivers seat not saying a word. "Ill let you drive," she added watching his eyes light up. He stayed silent. "Well drive with the top down." Ares started the car and backed out of the space still not acknowledging Desire. "Well drive with my top down." Ares gave Desire an evil smile.
"Its a deal," he answered with a lascivious grin.
"God youre a hard sell. Dont you like Disneyland?" Ares continued looking forward. "Whats wrong? Youre not afraid of roller coaster rides are you?"
"Im the god of war. Of course Im not afraid," he answered.
"Too bad. You could hold onto me if you were."
"Well maybe a teensy bit," he stated teasingly not wanting to pass up a chance to be close to Desire physically.
They spent the day together at the happiest place on earth. Ares took full advantage of the situation insisting on riding the Matterhorn six times. Each time he held Desire closely between his legs kissing her on the back of the neck as they rode down the mountain, attempting to melt her resolve.
Desire was enjoying the freedom of showing romantic affection in public without worrying that someone might try and kill her so she reciprocated many of his advances, kissing him several times during the course of the day. The kisses werent deep but the experience was new for her and she couldnt resist being seen in public with the hottest man on the planet, god or not.
Desire stared blankly in deep thought, sipping her Coca-Cola watching the boats from the pirate ride go by in the Blue Bayou restaurant. In the back of her mind she felt guilty wondering where Danni was and if she was with anyone. Come on, you know shes with someone, taunted the little voice. A beautiful woman like her? Desire shook her head trying to quiet the annoying little voice of her conscience. Please be home tonight. And forgive me for the loose lips with Ares. Forget the loose lips, cried the little voice. You killed her sister! The harsh thought broke her out of her reverie.
"Is something wrong Desire? You look a little rattled."
"Its nothing. Come on. Lets get out of here and cause some trouble."
"Now youre talking oh and Des, this little trip is just between the two of us."
"The things youll do to get laid Ares," quipped Desire.
"Im not kidding."
"Dont worry. Your secret is safe with me."
They left the park as the sun began to set and headed for home stopping to switch vehicles before going to the Club on Broadway. As promised Desire took her top off after they left her street, the darkness of the night giving her some protection against her nakedness. A group of boys in a Camaro did a double take as they pulled up to the same stoplight and peered into the car. Desire smiled and stood up as soon as the light turned green and flashed them the parade wave instructing Ares to gun the engine and lose them so she could put her top back on.
"Youre a sport Desire," yelled Ares over the noise of the engine. "I didnt think you would really do it."
"Ive done it before Ares. Im just a wild and crazy gal."
Ares pulled up to the bar on Broadway and parked the car being careful to place the convertible top back on properly. They walked arm in arm into the bar and joined another couple playing pool. Both women were very beautiful and feminine. They were of Hispanic decent with bronze skin and dark brown eyes and hair. They introduced themselves as Jeanette and Irene. After the introductions between the four new acquaintances they began playing a serious match of pool.
Jeanette turned her attentions to Desire while Irene seemed quite taken with the dark god flirting shamelessly with him while Jeanette struck up a conversation with Desire.
"Ive never seen you in here before. Are you two a couple?" asked Jeanette.
"Kind of, no, its complicated," answered Desire.
"Say no more. You dont want to ruin your reputation in a lesbian bar because youre with a male lover."
"Thats not it really. Were just really good friends. We have major history," replied Desire before getting up to take her turn at the table. You could just freak her out and tell her you were lovers two thousand years ago, quipped the little voice.
"You look like more then friends. I can definitely see the chemistry between you two," added Jeanette when Desire sat down.
"Whats the story with you and Irene?" asked Desire attempting to change the subject.
"Weve been lovers for eight years. We only come out when we want to spice up the relationship if you know what I mean," she answered playfully slapping Desire on the shoulder.
"What do you mean?" asked Desire. You idiot. How naïve can you be? Shes hot for you and she is hot. Can you say three way, better yet four way?
"I think you know what I mean," replied Jeanette leaning closely into Desire as she spoke. "We like to go out occasionally and find a third party to join us, sometimes a fourth," she added pointing to Ares as he bent over the pool table in front of them to take his shot. "Especially when they look as enticing as you two."
"Maybe you should talk to Ares. Im sure hed be interested," Desire replied looking nervously away. "Isnt it hard being with someone who isnt your lover?"
"Its kept our relationship fresh. I know this kind of relationship is frowned upon in the community but it works for us. Arent you at least a little bit interested?"
"Maybe if I wasnt in love with someone else."
"So you two are an item," stated Jeanette.
"No not him. Her name is Danni," answered Desire watching as two new patrons entered the bar. Desire froze as a petite blonde walked into the establishment ignoring Jeanette who kept talking.
Ares watched Desires demeanor change dramatically, her eyes never leaving those of the slender blonde. He excused himself from Irene and walked up to Desire. "Whos that?"
"That would be Jill. Shes an ex of mine and nothing but trouble."
"She is kind of pretty. Trouble can be fun," stated Ares.
"Not when it comes in the form of a drug laced drink."
"It was her drink you took by mistake the night Linda died."
The memories came crashing around her like a giant wave drowning her. Tears welled up in her eyes as the blonde spotted her and started walking toward her.
"Hide me Ares," whispered Desire trying to stand nonchalantly behind the dark god and remove the moisture from her eyes. It was too late. Jill had spotted her and waited for her to come forward. Reluctantly Desire stepped away from Ares brushing his shirt as if she had a specific purpose for standing behind him.
"Well, well if it isnt Big J," started Desire fighting hard to gain some composure.
"I never understood why you called me that."
"Its an inside joke. Ask Maryanne sometime. Im sure shed love to share it with you see in how its not exactly a compliment."
"Its been a long time," purred Jill staring deeply into pale green eyes, ignoring the hostile tone in Desires voice.
"Not long enough," mumbled Desire too low for anyone to hear.
Jill reached over and embraced Desire then kissed her on the lips before breaking the contact. Desire felt light headed from the touch trembling from nerves as Jill spoke, fighting the urge to kiss her or punch her. Beat the crap out of her, cried the little voice. Dont let her get to you wimp.
"How long has it been?" asked Jill.
"January 1, 1984. Almost eighteen years," answered Desire.
"You remember the exact date. Im impressed."
"Dont be. My best friend died that night."
"Oh thats right. I remember hearing something about that. You were in a terrible accident."
"I almost died that night. I spent three years in prison because of it," stated Desire coldly. Keep it cool girl.
"Didnt we dance that night? I dont remember you drinking much at all," interjected Jill.
"Youre a piece of work Jill."
"I havent been called Jill in years. I go by Jillian now."
"Changing names doesnt change who you are."
"Its Des." Flustered Desire hesitated. "Never mind. I know Maryanne spoke to you after the accident. You know exactly what happened so dont insult my intelligence." Thats it take control.
"The only thing shorter than you is your temper."
"Do not make fun of my height! And what would you know about my temper? We didnt date long enough to even have a fight or do you remember? After fucking me you didnt even have the decency to break up with me or tell me to get lost! You just didnt call or return my phone calls! By the way are you still snorting cocaine?" added Desire balling her hands into fists. Good jab, now go in for the kill. Shes a bitch and she called you little!
Ares saw pale green eyes turn dark with rage. He could tell by her body language she was about to do something she would regret and stepped between blonde and brunette. "Desire she isnt worth it. Let it go."
"Looks like Im not the only one with a new identity," sniped Jill. "You have some nerve coming here after all these years and throwing accusations around. You were immature then and you still are. I didnt drive home stoned out of my mind and kill my best friend."
"Because I took your glass by mistake you bitch," answered Desire. Just do it, cried the little voice. Dont listen to Ares. Punch her lights out.
Ares grabbed the small brunette by the arms before she threw a punch and pushed her toward the exit. Desire resisted momentarily before relinquishing herself to the strong arms leading her away from the establishment.
Outside the bar Ares watched helplessly as Desire burst into tears trembling. "Why did I even go out on Friday the thirteenth. I should have known it would be disastrous," she cried through an onslaught of tears. You dork. Wimp, wimp, wimp. She composed herself and moved away from the dark god, swinging her fists angrily into the air releasing years of frustration and anger as Ares looked on. Just go back in and throw something at her! yelled the little voice.
Irene and Jeanette looked on from the doorway as a loud crash was heard inside the bar. Jill hit the floor with a thud, knocked out by a beer sign that fell off of the wall and crashed into the back of her head.
"Desire you didnt?" whispered the dark god as a smile invaded Desires face through tear stained cheeks.
"I think I did," answered Desire grinning as she watched the bartender inside go to Jills aide and help her up. You know you did. Good girl. "I think Id better go home."
"That might be a good idea," stated Ares. "Lets go."
"Hey big guy. Why dont you stay? Irene and Jeanette seem to be hot for you and looking for a third tonight. You dont want to disappoint them do you?"
"What about you?"
"Tell me all of the gory details when I come back from San Diego."
"Youre okay with this?"
"Yes. I just want to go home. You have fun."
"Okay," he answered kissing her softly on the lips and walking toward the bar.
"Dont forget. I want the details," she called out before getting into her car. She sat in the drivers seat for several minutes as the tears rolled down her cheeks. She smiled watching Ares walk out of the bar with a beautiful brunette on each arm. Boy are you blowing the chance of a lifetime, cried the little voice.
CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR SHIPS THAT PASS IN THE NIGHT
Danni walked through the door to her home listening to the sound of the screaming puppy locked in the bathroom. Mattie headed straight for the door to let the puppy out while Annie helped her sister carry her luggage to her bedroom. It was after eight. Dannis plane had been delayed during the stopover and didnt land until 3:30pm. By the time they picked up her luggage the evening work traffic was already in full swing so they elected to have dinner first and drive home after rush hour.
On the way home they stopped by Desires house to find it still empty. Danni convinced them to go out and play pool with her after they freshened up at the house and took care of the puppy.
Mattie created a new playpen in the kitchen for the little girl so she wouldnt be frightened in the bathroom. After feeding Aphrodite they left listening to the lonesome sound of the tiny dogs cries as they drove away. "Shell be fine," Annie said trying to comfort Mattie who was shaken by the puppys incessant pleas.
They arrived at the club around nine. A BMW roadster was pulling off the curb creating a parking space directly in front of the bar. Three sets of eyes admired the car attempting to catch a glimpse to see if the driver looked as good. The lamp from the light post flickered off just as they focused on her.
"Kind of looks like Desire," commented Mattie.
"I was thinking the same thing but that sure doesnt look like her little car," added Annie.
Danni strained to catch a glimpse of the driver as she made a U-turn and pulled up to the spot looking at the back of the BMW as it drove away. "Do you really think its her?" she asked. "I couldnt tell."
"Nah I dont think it was Desire. Her hair was way too short," answered Mattie.
"I agree besides she said she doesnt like sports cars. If it was an SUV I would say follow that car," added Annie.
Danni finished parallel parking and shut the engine off. Together they walked into the club noticing a commotion around the pool table. As the crowd cleared Danni recognized the woman holding her head tenderly. She walked over to Jillian to see what had happened.
Jackie the bartender was helping Jillian on to her feet handing her a bag with ice to apply to her injury. Jillian took the bag and placed it on the back of her head pushing Jackie away as she looked up to see the pale blue eyes of Danni staring back at her.
"Well well well three times in one week. It must be fate," stated Jillian moving to embrace Danni.
"I wouldnt call it fate. Its just a coincidence," answered Danni breaking the contact. "What happened to you?"
"I dont know really. I guess that darn sign just fell off its nails and I was standing in the wrong place at the wrong time." Jillian looked past Danni staring at the small blonde behind her. "Is that your new girlfriend Danni?" she asked referring to Mattie.
"No. That would be Annies girlfriend Mattie," she answered introducing the two.
"Youre Annies girlfriend," repeated Jillian her voice animated. "My how things have changed. Its very nice to meet you," she added shaking Matties hand. She looked up to see a second set of pale blue eyes glaring down at her. "And you Annie. Its so good to see you after all these years." She walked up to Annie her arms spread open to hug her, startling the tall brunette. Annie hesitated then tentatively placed her arms around the petite blonde, questioning eyes glaring at her sister. "Contrary to popular belief Annie I really dont bite," quipped Jillian.
"I um Ive just never been the touchy feely type," answered Annie. Danni was shaking her head and waving her hands wildly trying to get her sisters attention.
"Since when?" asked Jillian breaking the contact. "As I remember you were always hugging someone."
"Uh maybe youre remembering Danni."
"No. You two could never fool me. You are nothing like your sister."
"I guess Im not the same person I used to be," stated Annie.
"So Jillian," started Danni coming between her sister and ex lover trying to avert the conversation. "How are you feeling? You look like you took a nasty bump on the head."
"Well now that you mention it my head does hurt quite a bit. Nothing a little TLC couldnt fix though," she said softly as Mattie and Annie rolled their eyes.
"Im sure your girlfriend can help you with that," interjected Mattie pointing to the slender brunette standing silently behind Jillian.
"Oh Im so sorry. This is my friend Lisa," answered Jillian making the proper introductions. "Were friends. Thats all."
"Am I supposed to like her?" Annie whispered into Dannis ear.
"Yes very much," Danni whispered back.
"Not gonna happen in this life time. I dont like her Danni. Make her go away." replied Annie.
"So Danni," started Jillian linking her right arm through Dannis left and walking her away from the crowd. "How have you been since last we met? I still dont see any sign of a girlfriend."
"In good time Jillian. Were just taking a little break. Unlike you shes willing to commit to some hard work to make a relationship work," answered Danni.
"Ouch. That one hurt but I suppose I deserved it. Ive changed a lot since we were together."
"I find that hard to believe. How come after all of these years I keep running into you?"
"I havent lived in this state for a lot of years. My job just transferred me back to California a few weeks ago. I told you its fate," she answered leaning closely into Danni, one hand stroking the tall brunettes arm as she spoke.
Danni inhaled slowly attempting to ignore the emotions a simple touch was igniting within her body. Thoughts of a small green-eyed brunette brought a wistful smile to her face as she gazed into the blondes face. "I could use a drink about now," she stated. "Would you like something from the bar?"
"How sweet. That would be lovely."
"As long as its of the Long Island variety," quipped Jillian.
"Of course. Some things never change," added Danni walking toward the bar where Mattie and Annie were standing, their eyes riveted on Jillian as they carried on a conversation.
"That one is trouble," stated Mattie wrapping her right arm around her partners shoulder.
"We need to think of a way to get her away from Danni. I cant believe it. Danni looks like shes hanging on her every word. Im going to talk to her about her taste in women," answered Annie as Danni strolled casually to the bar. "That woman is all over you like a nasty habit." added Annie.
"Dont worry. I can handle her," answered Danni a lascivious smile illuminating her face.
"Thats exactly what Im worried about. You handling her! I know I have only been back in your life for a short while but Ive seen you with women. Dont let this one get in between you and Desire."
"Relax its just some harmless flirtation. Paybacks are a bitch and so am I."
"So whats the story between the two of you?" interjected Mattie. "Give us the short version."
"There isnt much to tell," answered Danni. "I gave that woman three years of my life and she ripped my heart out. Now she acts like it was the biggest mistake of her life and you know what? It was so let me have my fun," added Danni as the bartender served her two drinks.
"Whats Jillians last name?" asked Annie.
"Stiles. Why do you ask?"
"No reason," answered Annie.
Danni looked at her questioningly then walked back toward Jillian. Mattie sat quietly on the barstool next to Annie a look of dread on her face. "Dont you think we should tell her?"
"Im not sure we should. What good is that going to do her?"
"It will certainly get her away from that woman," answered Mattie.
"And wed have one hell of another scene in the bar."
"What do you mean by another scene?" asked Mattie.
"I would bet money that beer sign didnt just fall off its hooks on accident."
Mattie looked at Annie with a quizzical expression putting the pieces of the puzzle together in her mind. "That means that the woman in the BMW," started Mattie.
"Was Desire," finished Annie. "She left Jillian something to remember her by."
"Damn it. I knew we should have followed her."
"How could we know she would go from a Tercel to a BMW in a week and chop all of her hair off?"
"Because Maryanne warned us. Remember what she said about a radical change in appearance?"
"Youre right. Shes on the run and drastically changing her looks. This is bad. Maybe its a mid-life crisis."
"Ill be sure to tell her you said that."
"It could be a side effect of menopause," added Annie an evil grin invading her face.
"You are being really bad right now. I cant wait to see what kind of retribution follows when I tell Desire what you said. Youre not that much younger than she is."
"Ah but thats the key. In this life I will always be younger than her."
"But when Im bad Im really, really good," replied Annie reaching to embrace her partner.
"Not to mention full of yourself," responded Mattie playfully resisting the contact before falling into strong arms. "So what do we do now?"
"We get Danni away from Grendel over there and take her to Desires house so those two idiots can finally talk this thing out."
"Well she looks like a stick monster and shes all hands. Look at her groping Danni. Come on. Lets get my sister away from her before she drags her back to her lair and swallows her whole."
Annie and Mattie walked arm and arm over to where Danni and Jillian were sitting engaged in deep conversation.
Desire drove away from the bar and headed straight for the address given to her by her friend Brian. She noticed that the lights werent on in the house as she pulled up in the driveway and checked the address a second and third time to make sure she was at the right place.
She walked up to the door and rang the doorbell. It was just after nine and she hoped Danni would be safe at home. She could hear a noise coming from inside and rang the doorbell a second and third time waiting several minutes before knocking on the door. She couldnt identify the sound coming from inside and decided that someone forgot to turn the television off. She withdrew the letter that she had prepared on the flight home in case she missed Danni and reread it.
I just came back from Nashville. I tried visiting you at your office on Wednesday but that bitch of a receptionist wouldnt let me see you. I went back on Thursday and that bitch hadnt even given you my business card. She threw it in the trash! Did I mention she was a real bitch to me? Of course I guess I sounded pretty stupid not knowing that you lived in California. I guess that never came up.
I thought I could wait for you to contact me but I was wrong. I just want to see you and hear your voice even if its just to tell me to go to hell. I hope you dont mind but I did some digging and found out where you live. Duh I guess you figured that out already.
There is so much I want to say to you. Of course my first inclination is to throw myself on the ground and beg for your forgiveness and ask for a second chance. Besides Im good on my knees. I know I shouldnt be joking but I cant help myself. Its how I deal with misery and I am miserable.
I have spent my nights doing a lot of soul searching while alone in my bed. I think Ive had an epiphany. Your forgiveness will mean the world to me whether there is a chance for us or not. But I learned something. Your forgiveness will mean nothing unless I can forgive myself. I think I have finally forgiven myself Danni.
I can never set things right for the crimes Ive committed but I have done everything in my power to make amends for them. I just need to see you even if its just one last time.
The waiting is killing me so Ive decided to take a trip to San Diego and do something useful until I hear from you. I am going to a university that deals with past life incarnations. Maybe I will learn something useful to apply to this life. I will be staying with my friend Sharon. I dont know how long I will be there but if you want to talk to me please call me at her house. I have included her home phone number and her cellular phone number at the bottom. Mine has been turned off. Those things are really annoying.
If I dont hear from you I will not try to contact you again. I will never give up on you Danni but I will respect your wishes.
I love you.
She held the paper in her hand and put it back in the envelope, slipping it through the mail slot on the door.
Little Aphrodite could hear the human on the other side and began scratching against the barriers in the kitchen. After several attempts she broke free and ran to the door. There was silence but on the ground was an envelope. To the little puppy it was a shiny new toy to chew on.
CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX DANGERS OF LOVE
Dejected Desire left Dannis house and drove home. A small mound of letters sat in a pile on top of the hardwood floor. "Bills bills and more bills." She collected the stacks of mail and tossed them into the study without looking at them. The mail could wait until after she came home from San Diego. She never saw the hand written envelope holding Dannis letter.
Desire fixed a blender of blue margaritas before she started up the stairs to the Jacuzzi, a place she could find refuge in.
Quietly she placed the pitcher and glass along the side of the tub, turned the jets on to full power and stripped off her clothes, the warm night air feeling luxurious against her skin. Before jumping in she adjusted her head phones and turned on her favorite CD mix and cranked up the sound, shutting out the noise of the freeway and the world around her.
She leaned against the side of the tub drinking the tall margarita as she listened to a song by Lorrie Morgan.
I ve been lookin at the numbers and it makes me really scared.
And I cant help but wonder how well ever get anywhere.
Hope can die so young long before the race is won
And the odds are were all gonna get our hearts broken someday.
Desire joined in singing along with the words.
And the odds are some of our dreams will get left along the way.
And every time you hold me close theres a light against the dark
And here we are evening up the odds. Evening up the odds.
And I want you to tell me how safe I am with you.
And how our hearts together cant help but make it through
And for every love that leaves theres a love thats meant to be.
Desire listened to every lyric as the chorus repeated itself. "Danni wherever you are I pray you will come back to me. Let this be us, a love thats meant to be," prayed Desire into the warm night air.
It had been years since Desire felt the pain of heartache or the intense emotions that came with falling in love. Her stomach was tied in knots as she downed the liquid in her glass to dull the ache in her soul.
She closed her eyes and thought about the tall dark beauty that invaded her dreams every night and filled her thoughts every waking moment. Tears formed in her eyes as the stereo began playing a ballad by Diamond Rio. Quietly Desire sang along with the lyrics pretending that Danni was with her listening to her voice.
Last night I had a crazy dream
A wish was granted just for me
It could be for anything
I didn't ask for money
Or a mansion in Malibu
I simply wished for one more day with you!
Desires voice cracked as she sang the lyrics. Pale blue eyes stared lovingly into her face as she envisioned the day they would find each other again.
One more day, one more time
One more sunset, maybe I'd be satisfied
But then again, I know what it would do
Leave me wishing still for one more day with you
One more day...
Tears streamed down as she strained to finish the song. Soft long fingers reached gingerly below her chin pointing her face upward in a soul-searing kiss.
First thing I'd do is pray for time to crawl.
I'd unplug the telephone and keep the TV off.
I'd hold you every second.
Say a million "I Love You's"
That's what I'd do with one more day with you.
One more day, one more time,
One more sunset maybe I'd be satisfied.
But then again I know what it would do.
Leave me wishing still for one more day with you.
The vision became more intense. A soft husky voice whispered "I love you." Two lovers embraced, their souls uniting as one. Desires heart raced. Hands trembled as the words were spoken. Her heart was comforted and for the first time since that fateful day so many years ago Desire felt as though her torment was over and her soul had been released.
One more day, one more time,
One more sunset maybe I'd be satisfied.
But then again I know what it would do.
Leave me wishing still for one more day.
Leave me wishing still for one more day.
Leave me wishing still for one more day with you.
As the song ended Desire drifted off into a deep sleep, her arms grasping the sides of the tub as the peaceful dream invaded her unconsciousness.
Getting Danni away from the woman they nicknamed Grendel proved to be a more arduous task then expected. After much convincing Danni finally agreed to go home with them.
The trio drove directly to Desires house. There were no vehicles in the driveway but several lights appeared to be on. Filled with optimism they climbed up the walkway and knocked on the door. They could hear Blue barking on the other side of the door as they waited patiently for the small brunette to answer.
After several long moments they rang the doorbell looking through the windows for signs of life.
"Maybe she isnt home," stated Mattie.
"Give her some more time to answer. Its a pretty big house," interjected Annie knocking wildly on the door.
"What if shes in the shower and cant hear us?" asked Danni.
"Then well go wait in the car and try in a few minutes. Better yet the car is low on gas. Lets go fill up and come back," answered Annie. Mattie and Danni nodded in agreement as they walked away from the house.
Fifteen minutes later they were back at the front door of the massive white structure, knocking and ringing the doorbell to no avail. "Lets go home," Danni said disappointed in the results of the evening. "Ill try again in the morning."
Annie tried the front door making sure it was locked then began searching for an extra key that might be hidden somewhere on the property. Defeated she joined her partner and sister in the car and drove away.
Desire reluctantly awoke from her pleasant dream leaving the warmth of the tall brunettes embrace. Half asleep she thought she could hear voices in front of her house as she took the headphones from her ears. Disoriented she attempted to step out of the tub her eyes still closed, the allure of the pleasant dream causing her to stumble and sit back down with her head leaning against the side of the Jacuzzi.
She opened her eyes listening for the sounds that seemed to have disappeared and closed them again searching for the dream that would place her back in her lovers arms. She could feel herself falling downward, warm water enveloping her like the sweet kisses of the tall dark brunette she dreamed of every evening.
Ares said goodnight to his beautiful lovers and left their apartment to go wait downstairs for the taxi. He thought about the green-eyed brunette who encouraged him to enjoy an evening of sin, a pleasant smile on his face as he thought about how much fun he would have teasing her. The two women lived up to their expectations and extended Ares a second invitation contingent upon him convincing Desire to join in on the activities.
An uneasy feeling washed over him and moments later he was standing on the second story of Desires home searching frantically for the owner of the house. Ares walked up to the tub noticing immediately the slumped body laying in the water. Quickly he jumped into the water and pulled the limp form out and placed her on the deck slapping her face to awaken her.
"Desire! Wake up! Come on girl dont do this to me," he said attempting to elicit a response from her. "Im not kidding." Ares proceeded to attempt CPR to revive Desire blowing air into her lungs and massaging her chest. Moments later her head shot straight up spitting water into the dark gods face.
"Oh gross Desire!" yelled Ares wiping off his face in disgust.
"What the fuck is going on?" cried Desire as she continued coughing and spitting up water unaware of her surroundings. "Its you. Cant you just once not sneak up on me?"
"Sneak up on you! You were at the bottom of the tub. What the hell were you thinking Desire. You should never, ever be in this thing alone especially with a pitcher of margaritas!" he answered lifting up the empty pitcher. "If I hadnt decided to stop in you would be dead and I would be blamed.
Desire looked groggily around her surroundings attempting to understand the implications of the dark gods words as she wiped the droplets of water from her eyes, nose and mouth. "What just happened?"
"You almost died damn it! Thats what happened!" yelled Ares, grabbing Desire gruffly by the shoulders and shaking her.
"I thought I heard voices and started to get out of the tub," started Desire confused about what happened. She looked at her hands now pruned from the over exposure in the Jacuzzi. "I have been in here way too long."
"Arent you the quick one! You were lying at the bottom of the tub and you werent moving or breathing I might add. What were you thinking?"
"I guess I wasnt. I must have fallen asleep because I was having this wonderful dream and then I was spitting in your face. Im sorry."
"Im glad youre okay Desire. No more water for you tonight. Go to your room and sleep it off."
"Youre sending me to my room?" asked Desire grinning.
"Yes I am. Youre not in any shape to do anything but sleep," answered Ares as he prepared to make his exit.
"Hey how did it go with Jeanette and Irene?" she asked a twinkle in her eyes.
""Ill tell you another time Des. Go get some sleep."
"Ares wait." The dark god hesitated glaring at Desire. "Thank you."
"Youre welcome," answered Ares and with a brilliant light he was gone.
CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN MISSED OPPORTUNITIES
Little Aphrodite didnt waste anytime ripping the paper apart with her teeth. She spent a couple of hours ripping it to shreds; eating some of it and slobbering on the small pieces that werent swallowed. Exhausted she fell asleep inside the hallway, torn pieces of evidence still clinging to her muzzle as her humans finally walked through the doorway.
Danni opened the door and looked at the mess on the hardwood floor. Small bits of paper were scattered across the entryway extending into the hallway; some plastered to the floor with urine and a lovely little brown pile next to the door. Sleepy brown eyes looked up at her humans as they walked through the door. She ran up to the trio happily, her tail wagging as she jumped up seeking affection, oblivious to the destruction she had caused.
"Well I guess the play pen didnt hold her," quipped Danni as she leaned down to pick up the puppy and place her back in the kitchen.
"Step lightly," interjected Annie teasingly.
"Im sorry Danni. Ill clean up this mess," added Mattie.
"No dont worry about it. Its nothing a few paper towels cant clean up. You go on to bed."
"Whats this?" asked Annie picking up a tiny piece of paper. The handwriting said "Love you, Desire. "Desire was here."
"What? Give me that," stated Danni grabbing the shard of paper from her sisters hand. "I cant fucking believe this. Its worse than phone tag."
"Why dont you just call her Danni. Stop this nonsense."
"Its too late to call her," answered Danni.
"Danni now is not the time for manners. She obviously wants to talk to you and you want to talk to her so just make the call," interjected Mattie.
"I cant," answered Danni sheepishly.
"Yes you can sis," stated Annie picking up the portable phone and handing it to Danni. "Its really quite simple. Just pick up the phone and punch these numbers."
"I dont have her phone number."
"What!" exclaimed Mattie and Annie in unison.
"I wanted to talk to her in person. I never got her phone number from Johnny."
"Then call Johnny and get the damn number from her. Shes a good friend. She wont mind you calling this late," answered Annie.
"I cant. Johnny left this morning on a fishing trip. She wont even have her cell phone with her."
"Unfrigginbelievable!" howled Annie.
"Maybe we can piece together the note," offered Mattie.
"Im not sticking my hand in piss to try and decipher a letter by Desire," Annie said defiantly.
"Oh come on. Its for a good cause," encouraged Mattie.
Annie glared at her partner, an incredulous expression on her face. "Oh all right," she said as she joined the two in picking up the shredded pieces of paper. A long search resulted in only a few pieces of paper with useful information. "At least the puppy has a good appetite," quipped Annie shaking puppy pee from her hands.
They put the pieces on the table trying to make sense of the fragments.
I just came back from Nashville. I tried your office on Wednesday but that bitch of a receptionist I went back on Thursday and that bitch hadnt even my business card. She threw it in the trash! Did I mention she bitch to me? sounded pretty stupid you in California..
I thought I could wait to tell me to go to hell. I found out where you live. Duh I guess you figured that
I want to say to you. throw myself on the ground your forgiveness . good on my knees. miserable.
doing a lot of soul searching had an epiphany. mean the world to me forgiven myself Danni.
just need you one last time.
The waiting is killing me until I hear. I will be
I dont know how long talk to me please call
never give up
Danni searched the floor again for more pieces to the puzzle. "Is that it? She says to call her. Theres got to be more to the letter, something with her phone number on it."
They continued their search on the hardwood floor. After searching for another hour they stopped the hunt
"Danni dont give up," said Mattie trying to console the distraught woman. "Every thing happens for a reason. Just be patient."
"Why is this happening? Its not for a lack of trying," answered Danni.
"I know its cold comfort right now but things will work out," stated Annie. "If we have to hunt her down and tie her up for you thats what well do."
"Why dont we call Ares? I bet he would help us," added Mattie.
"NO," answered Danni emphatically. "I will not ask for his help. Hes done enough damage already."
"Shes right Danni. Ares only threatened you because you refused to talk to her. If he knew how hard you were trying to contact her he might help you out."
"No. I will not accept his help."
"Stubbornness must be a family trait," grumbled Mattie.
"Ill go see her first thing in the morning. Ill wake her ass up out of bed if I have to.
CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT A PATH BETTER LEFT UNTRAVELED
The first rays of sunlight appeared over the horizon as Desire woke up. Her head throbbed from the effects of the pitcher of margaritas she consumed the previous evening. Thats what you get for drinking butthead. And since when do you wake up with the sun," hissed the little voice. Go back to sleep.
"Shut up!" cried Desire as two sleepy cats looked at her annoyed by the early morning wake up call before jumping off the bed. "Why am I doing this to myself?" Desire rubbed her temple applying pressure to her head to stop the pain. Yeah like that ever helped. Give me some drugs now, cried the little voice. "How come youre so vocal when Im miserable? And since when do I talk to myself? I must be losing it."
Desire got out of her bed and crawled to the bathroom, two cats slinking behind. Figaro followed trying to kiss her human and lick her feet as she stood in front of the mirror and popped a couple of pills in her mouth. Boomer greeted her by jumping on the sink crying for affection. "Havent you two learned by now I am not a morning person," mumbled Desire. Her question was ignored by two bundles of fur waiting impatiently for their food bowls to be filled.
To their dismay their human filled the automatic feeders to the top, a sign that she was once again leaving them in this strange new place. Disgusted they ran out of the room ignoring her. She would have hell to pay when she came home this time.
Desire put on a pot of coffee and jumped into the shower. Thirty minutes later she was dressed holding a thermos of the dark liquid and two bags for the road. After loading her things into the car she came back inside and retrieved Blues collar and leash and called him outside. The overgrown dog came bounding outside past Desire trotting down the street until his human called him back and motioned for him to jump in the back of the Jeep.
Happily he settled down on the luxurious leather stretching his length and falling back asleep. Desire took one last look around the house to make sure everything was locked and ready for the house sitter to arrive at noon. Once she was certain she had not forgotten anything, she climbed into the drivers seat, turned the radio on to the local country station and started the engine. She let the engine warm up before backing out of the driveway and headed for the 22 freeway, singing along to the music as she drove. It was just before 7:00am and the pain pills were already kicking in, numbing the dull ache in her skull.
Dannis arms were wrapped around the small brunette as they watched the sunrise, content in the afterglow of their lovemaking. They were on a sailboat drinking hot chocolate and enjoying the calming effect of the waves against the side of the boat in the brisk morning chill. The early morning sunlight came streaming into Dannis window waking her from a peaceful dream with a jolt and bringing her back to the reality of an empty bed.
Danni looked at the clock and jumped out of bed realizing she had overslept. She walked toward the guestroom and peaked in looking at the peaceful faces of blonde and brunette. She rapped harshly on the door and stood watching with a wicked grin as both women jumped up, startled out of bed by the sharp noise while Danni laughed and ducked when Annie threw a foreign object at the door.
"What the hell was that for?" yelled Annie attempting to ascertain her surroundings. Mattie looked up momentarily then laid her head back down on the pillow and closed her eyes, ignoring the noise in the bedroom.
"That was for not waking me up before dawn. The sun is up and youre still asleep. Whats up with that?" answered Danni.
Annie looked over at Mattie and rolled her eyes then looked back at her sister. "What time is it?"
"Its after dawn. I wanted to be at Desires by sunrise."
"Well youd better get going. Youre late," quipped Annie.
"Thanks a lot," replied Danni gazing suspiciously at the object on the floor. She leaned down to take a closer look. "The one day I need you to wake me up and you spend the night screwing your brains out and dont even wake me."
"Awe come on Danni. Dont be mad. Desire usually doesnt get up with the sun anyway."
"I cant believe you threw a dildo at me," she added.
"It was the closest thing to me. What can I say?"
"Dont say anything. I need to go," answered Danni before turning to walk away.
"Hey Danni," called Annie. She turned back to look at her sister. "Im sorry. I dont know what came over me. I never sleep past dawn."
Danni looked down at the dildo and grinned. "Gee I wonder. At least someone is getting some."
"Good luck!" added Annie as she watched her sister walk down the hallway.
Danni showered and dressed quickly then filled her travel mug with hot coffee and left the house, one puppy in tow. Aphrodite took her seat in the back of the car, content to be with her human, and laid her head down, the soft purr of the motor lulling her to sleep.
Danni reached Desires house just after seven and walked up to the door with the puppy in her arms listening for the familiar sound of the big black dog barking. She rang the doorbell a few times before knocking. After several hard raps, she went around to the back gate searching for Blue only to find an empty backyard.
Frustrated and determined to find the elusive brunette she placed the puppy back in the car and proceeded to jump over the back gate. "Very nice," she commented looking at the crystal blue water in the pool. "Cant believe there isnt a Jacuzzi." Danni walked to the sliding glass door to see if it was open or if she could see any signs of life inside the house.
All she could see were two tabby and white cats looking curiously at her, meowing on the other side of the glass. The door was locked from the inside and Danni realized that breaking in wasnt an option. Dejected she went back to the car and sat with her cup of coffee in hand and a puppy on her lap. She would wait all day if she had to.
A short time before noon a car pulled up to the driveway. A young woman with long blonde hair exited the car and strolled up the walkway. Danni watched as the woman took out her keys and opened the front door.
She jumped out of her vehicle and hustled up the walkway. "Excuse me," she said running up the steps as the blonde turned around. "Im a friend of Desires. I dont suppose you could let me in and wait for her."
"It would be a long wait. Desire wont be back for a couple of weeks," answered the young blonde. "By the way my name is Lynn. Im the house sitter," she added extending her hand to shake Dannis.
"Im Danni," answered the tall brunette taking the proffered hand. "Then you must know how to contact her."
"Of course I do," answered Lynn running her hands in her pants pockets. Several seconds later she searched the pockets of her shirt, followed by an in depth search of her purse. "Oh shit. This is not good."
"Whats wrong?" asked Danni.
"Desire gave me the phone number of her friends house in case of an emergency. Shes very protective of her cats. I cant seem to find it," she replied searching her pockets one last time in vain.
"This day just gets better and its not even noon yet," quipped Danni. "Do you have her friends name?"
"Yeah, its Sharon."
"Can you be more specific?"
Lynn looked at her questioningly. "What do you mean?"
"Whats her last name?" asked Danni frustrated.
"I have no idea. Desire never mentioned her last name."
"I hope she isnt paying you too much," grumbled Danni.
"She isnt paying me anything," responded Lynn unaware of the sarcasm intended. "Its summer and I have a huge house with a pool and Jacuzzi to play in. Thats payment enough. All I have to do is let the maid and gardener in and clean the cat boxes. Its a sweet deal."
"I didnt see a Jacuzzi." Lynn gave her a funny look. "Ive been trying to contact Desire for over a week so I jumped the fence into the backyard. Where was the Jacuzzi?
"Its on the second floor of the house. Desire sits up there every night with her headphones on."
"Then she could have been home last night?" asked Danni.
"Yeah. She was home pretty early in the evening," answered Lynn.
"Shit!" grumbled Danni kicking her foot on the ground. "I cant believe my fucking luck. Are you sure Desire never mentioned Sharons last name?"
"No Im sure. All I can remember is that it was a 760 area code. The paper must have fallen out of my pockets. It might even be at my apartment. I could take your name and number and call you if I find it."
"That would be great, if you find it."
"Ill tell Desire when she calls and give her your phone number."
Pale blue eyes lit up. "When do you expect her to call?"
"I dont. She called every day to check up on Blue when she was in Nashville but she said she wouldnt be calling unless there was an emergency," answered Lynn watching the hope drain from Dannis face. "But she could call and if she does I will definitely give her your message."
"Fine," replied Danni handing her a business card with her home phone number and her cellular number on it. "Thanks anyway," she added and walked back to her car.
Danni stalked into her house setting the puppy down before slamming the front door and throwing her keys on the kitchen counter. Mattie and Annie appeared from the hallway to see what all of the commotion was about.
"I take it things didnt go as planned," stated Annie drolly.
"I guess Desire decided to get up with the sun today!" yelled Danni.
"I take it she wasnt there this morning," interrupted Mattie.
"Of course she wasnt there so I decided to stick around and wait until she came home. Around eleven this young blonde girl goes to her house so I followed her to the door," started Danni.
"Youre not going to tell us shes already seeing someone else are you?" asked Mattie, a hint of panic in her voice.
"No just some ditzy college kid who is house sitting for Desire. It seems she went out of town, somewhere in San Diego to stay with some woman named Sharon who is supposedly just a friend. She left this morning around seven just minutes before I arrived because someone forgot to wake me up!" answered Danni pausing to catch her breath, glaring at Annie. "Oh and get this she was home last night, probably in the Jacuzzi with her headphones on."
"She has a Jacuzzi. Nice," interjected Annie ignoring her sisters apparent irritation with her.
"Thats right Annie. Just hear the really important stuff!"
"Hey dont take it out on me."
"Why not? Maybe if you had just woke me up this morning like you said you would I might have been able to talk to her before she left town for two fucking weeks."
"I said I was sorry. Im not the only one to blame here," defended Annie.
"I would have set my alarm clock but no you assured me you would be up before dawn so who else should I blame?"
"Her," answered Annie pointing to Mattie who was standing quietly listening to the exchange of words. "She kept me up all night."
Mattie gave her partner a menacing look. "Ill remember that next time you touch me Annie."
Annie raised her eyebrow and cocked her head at Mattie before returning her attention to her sister. "Look at the bright side Danni."
Danni glared at her twin waiting for her continue.
"What!" asked Annie uncomfortable with the threatening look she was receiving from Danni.
"Usually something comes after Look at the bright side," answered Danni.
Annie poked Mattie in the side and leaned over to whisper in her ear. "A little help here. Youre the one with the gift of words."
"Im thinking," Mattie whispered back. "Im not sure there is a bright side."
"Thanks a lot," mumbled Annie.
"Well Im waiting!"
"Um two weeks isnt that long to wait?" replied Mattie.
"That was a witty come back," whispered Annie.
"Hey you made your bed," started Mattie.
"Yeah, yeah," interrupted Annie. "Shes right sis. Two weeks will fly by."
"Annie its been two of the longest weeks of my life already. What am I supposed to do for the next two weeks?" asked Danni agitation in her voice.
"Well you could train little Aphrodite," quipped Annie pointing to the puppy as she relieved herself on the kitchen floor.
"Shit!" cried Danni.
"You got that right," Annie said sarcastically holding her nose to avoid the scent of the offending pile. Mattie grabbed the paper towels off the kitchen counter and cleaned the mess up glaring at her partner as she did so.
"Potty outside," Danni said scolding the small bundle of fur as she walked to the sliding glass door and set her outside before coming back into the front room.
"Why dont we just call Aphrodite. Im sure she can find Desire for us," offered Mattie.
"Did someone call my name?" asked the blonde goddess as she appeared with a twinkle of light. "Ick. Who smells?"
"That would be your namesake," answered Annie pointing to the puppy clawing the glass door.
"Im just going to ignore that. So what can I do for you ladies?"
"Find Desire for us," interrupted Danni.
"Im afraid I cant do that hon. Shes left the radar screen."
"What do you mean shes left the radar screen?" said Danni raising her voice as she spoke.
"I talked to Ares this morning. She told him she had something very important to do and asked him to respect her wishes until she returned."
"Aphrodite youre a goddess. You can find her!" yelled Danni frustrated.
"And I told you I wasnt going to interfere. Everything happens for a reason. She has to do this on her own."
"So you know where shes at," interjected Mattie.
"Yes. Think of it as a journey. Its already started and she needs to go through it on her own."
"Cut the crap Aphrodite. Those two buffoons are meant to be together. Its not like they havent tried to be with each other in the last week," interrupted Annie.
"Mattie you can relate. Do you remember when Gabrielle went to the temple of Mesonine?"
"Yes but what does that have to do with anything?" answered Mattie.
"Shes on a spiritual journey and just like Gabrielle she has to do this on her own."
"Cant you tell us anymore? Please Aphrodite. Shes staying with a woman who for all I know is her new lover," pleaded Danni.
"The only person you have to worry about is Ares. And he has promised to leave her alone until she returns. If he can do it why cant you?"
Danni turned away from the blonde goddess and sat down on the sofa placing her head in her hands in defeat.
"Do you really think Ares will keep his promise?" asked Annie.
"Yes I do. Hes rather sated right now anyway," answered Aphrodite.
"Oh thats just great!" shouted Danni throwing her hands up in frustration. "There goes my Jacuzzi theory."
"Aphrodite how could you say something like that in front of Danni?" asked Mattie.
"What? What did I say?" Aphrodite looked from Mattie to Annie before responding. "Oh Im sorry. No not with Desire. He left some bar last night with a couple of women who wanted to spend the evening with him and Desire," started Aphrodite.
"No more. Youre just making things worse," interjected Annie.
"Like let me finish guys. They settled for Ares. Desire went home. Alone. He isnt the bad guy here. Hes been way more of a gentleman then Ive ever seen him be."
"So Desire was alone last night?" asked Danni.
"Yes. They havent done the deed yet."
"Yet?" inquired Danni.
"Dont put words in my mouth. I know two weeks seems like an eternity but Desire needs to find some answers. She will come back to you."
"Fine," said Danni abating her attack on Aphrodite.
"Good. Now where is that cute little girl of mine?" she asked.
Desire leaned against the massive pillows lining Sharons bed. Her friend lived in a five-bedroom house but insisted that she sleep with her in the queen size bed in the master room. Desire arrived the morning before in time to be treated to an authentic country breakfast at a quaint little restaurant just outside of town. They spent the rest of the day at the university talking to a professor about the past lives journey she would begin then ended their day along the wharf for dinner and shopping.
Desire was exhausted when they got home but still couldnt sleep next to the small redhead and two spastic toy poodles. Sunday started with brunch and more shopping. She hated shopping and could hardly wait for Monday to come so she could get on with her journey. Sharon had been called to work for an emergency. A pile up on the freeway caused a patient overload at the hospital where the nurse was needed. She sighed, content for this moment alone, the poodles outside playing excitedly with her own mutt.
July 15, 2001 Journal Entry
What was I thinking? Sharon has more energy then those little rats she calls dogs. Buffy and Spike. How could I ever think we could get along? Shes a Buffy fan and Im a Xena fan. Thats been enough to elicit three additional arguments over the weekend. I gave up trying to convince her that Xena and Gabrielle really existed. She wouldnt even listen to me about Destiny. She thinks Im crazy with all of this reincarnation talk. It must be her Catholic upbringing. I thought she was going to have me committed when I told her about the conqueror. Luckily I was able to convince her that it was just a wet dream.
Of course now she wants to set me up with some chick at the hospital because she thinks I just need a good lay. Which I do. So I told her everything about Danni, Mattie and Annie. Again she thinks Im nuts. Of course I am for confiding in her. In my defense talking about stocks and bonds gets real boring. Danni hasnt called yet. Maybe she was called back to Nashville. Or maybe she found another woman to sleep with.
"Hey I didnt mean to write that."
You are losing it if youre talking to me. Im in your mind dork.
Youre doing it again, cried the little voice.
"Where was I?"
Tomorrow I will leave early in the morning. I spoke to a Dr. Roberts who has agreed to personally guide me through regressive hypnosis. He wants to start with my last incarnation and work backward to my first incarnation, which of course we already know is Destiny. Until tomorrow.
July 16, 2001 Journal Entry
Wow what a first day. The drive alone was a killer. I hate California traffic. I was thirty minutes late but Dr. Roberts was quite pleasant about it. He actually hypnotized me! It was so real not to mention scary. I was a nurse in my last life. Me, the woman who passes out at the sight of blood. I was born in the twenties and married at a young age with two children. My husband was very handsome. In fact I believe it was Danni.
Mattie and Annie told me about a former life where we were together with Mattie being my mom and Annie being my sister. Im pretty sure this was the incarnation. I had a sister who I remember clearly and my mother was an angel. If Im correct that would make Brad, my former husband, Danni. This stuff is really confusing. The bad news is that I died young.
I was stationed in Hawaii before America was involved with the war. We woke up on that fateful morning on December 7. Alarms were going off and I quickly dressed running to the hospital where injured soldiers were already being transported. The memory was so clear. It was spooky. Overhead I could see bomber planes, actual Japanese planes flying in formation up above. Smoke and fire was everywhere as bombs landed around me. Thats all I remember except a sharp pain then darkness. I was one of the first American casualties of World War II. Even then I didnt get to see my children grow up.
I asked Dr. Roberts how come I didnt remember my very last life. If I died in 1941 who was I during the next twenty years? He said that the soul goes to another plain and looks for suitable parents. Some times it takes many years before the soul chooses its next body looking for the right family to learn new lessons. Weird huh? That means I actually hand picked my parents in this life and it took me twenty some years. What an idiot. I better get some sleep. Sharon is working again tonight. I still havent slept but Im hoping that the pills I took will help me sleep. Until next time.
July 17, 2001 Journal Entry
Well today was another eye opener. This reincarnation stuff is really exhausting. It turns out that I was a migrant farmer, a man at the turn of the century. I died from a farming accident. Before that I was a miner in San Francisco. Yep you guessed it. I died from a mining accident. Actually I was killed when the gold mine I was working turned out gold nuggets. No wonder I am so afraid of guns.
We continued after that. I lived in the south during the civil war and fought as a man for the south. Of course I was really a woman. I only dressed as a man to follow my husband in battle. I wonder if that means I was a butch heterosexual in this life. I cant believe I was a rebel. You guessed it. I died in battle. I see a pattern developing. During the revolutionary war I rode through towns alerting the colonists that the British were coming. Again I was a female. Of course we only hear about Paul Revere. But then again he survived his ride, I think. I really need to brush up on my American history. But I do know I didnt. This is really tiring me out. Id better hit the hay. Until next time.
July 18, 2001 Journal Entry
Im beginning to think this wasnt such a good idea. My lives havent exactly been happy and the trauma is exhausting me. Dr. Roberts reaffirmed that every life lived is meant to teach us lessons we havent learned in our previous lives. Obviously there is something I am missing.
So far each life has ended violently. Maybe thats why I detest violence. If I die violently in this life I will scream. The doctor thinks I should take a few days off and come back on Monday. So far Ive been bombed, gutted with farming tools, shot in the head, been hit by a canon ball, yes a canon ball and burned at the stake. Did I mention I was convicted of witchcraft? Why couldnt I just be a whore or something safe in any of my incarnations?
Danni still hasnt called but I suspect when she learns of my history shell run for the hills. It was definitely her I followed into battle during the civil war and a friend did try to save me before I was killed at the mine. It should be interesting comparing notes with Mattie to see how many times our lives have crossed. Until Monday.
July 23, 2001 Journal Entry
I am sitting in a hotel in San Diego. Sharon has promised me that if Danni calls she will contact me immediately. I even bought a cell phone to carry around with me even though I hate these things.
I told Sharon that it would be easier for me to rent a room next to the university because this experience has been so draining. She bought it. We just dont mix in person. Thank god we never got involved with each other. Blue is pissed at me. I can tell. He wouldnt come inside and say goodbye when I left. I know hes in good hands plus he has those two poodles to play with. Like me he just needs to get laid. I have got to get him a companion.
Today was another interesting day at the university. I was a queen, actual royalty. Who wouldve thought this little white trash girl from Nashville could be a monarch? Of course I got my head lopped off. Guess I must have pissed someone off. Were getting closer to the end of the journey. I wonder how many more different types of deaths I have experienced. This by far has been the dumbest idea Ive ever had. Theres a reason why we cant remember our past lives but Ive gone this far and I really want to concentrate on my life as Destiny. Until tomorrow.
July 24, 2001
I am a masochist. Joan of Arc. Need I say more? No wonder I cant stand religion. A lot of good it did me back then. Tomorrow is my last day at the university. We stopped before going back to my first incarnation. Guess who else I got to be? I cant even remember the guys name. That episode Between the Lines was based on reality. Alti is one scary bitch and poor Xena. Talk about losing your looks. Gabrielle was a cute little warrior though. Guess who I was? Ill give you a hint. You dont know his name because he died! Big fucking surprise there. I took an arrow in the chest for the mother of peace. Yep that was me.
Im desperately trying to remember some of the people from the visions because I could definitely see Xenas soul through her eyes in this memory. I cant explain it but she was my sister in Hawaii. When I looked into her eyes and handed her the box I could see who she really was. Tomorrow we spend the day in ancient Greece. I want to devote the entire session to Destiny because she seems to have had the most interesting life. Besides maybe it will give me some useful ideas to write some stories.
Since being alone at night I have started writing my memoirs of Corinth. Its turned into a mini novel. Im thinking of putting it on the Internet as fan fiction. I call it Waking Up With the Conqueror. I just have to keep this my little secret. I sort of wrote about my sex life as the conquerors body slave, adding a little bit of erotica to the story. Annie would kill me if she ever found out about the story but I couldnt help myself. Danni hasnt called and I am so horny. It helped me work through some frustration. God I want Danni so badly. I love my new little green machine. Hey I had to break it in. Besides no one will ever know that the story is based on fact. Well until tomorrow.
July 25, 2001 Journal Entry
Wow Destiny was a piece of work. Dr. Roberts was able to help me remember all sorts of events. He never believed that Xena was based on a real person but after today he has sworn to watch all of the shows. There was a forty-eight hour period when Destiny was conquering Greece and she slipped unexpectedly into a coma. He also believes in time travel and has been asking me about the tattoo on my hand. He found it interesting that it is similar to the tattoo Destiny had on her leg. Now that was an awesome tattoo. Ive even drawn it so I dont forget any details. Im wondering if that coma coincides with the time I spent traveling in Japan. How could my soul be in two places at one time?
She was a lot cooler then I am today. I could catch arrows and fight like Xena flips and all. Three big differences between her and I. She wasnt afraid of heights, couldnt sing and she wasnt afraid of the sight of blood. Otherwise she was a sarcastic bitch like I am.
Varia was gorgeous just like the actress who played her in the series. She must have grown up a lot between the time she tried to kill Eve and the time we got together. She was a fierce warrior and a loyal friend. She reminds me of Maryanne. Our relationship was very similar. Wouldnt that be a hoot to find out that Maryanne was the reincarnation of Varia? It would sure explain a lot of things.
Livia was beautiful. I remembered the first time I ever saw her. It was love at first sight. We were so close before Ares intervened. It took years before I forgave her for that betrayal. I wish Danni knew this story. Maybe she wouldnt wait so long to show me the same forgiveness. I was an Amazon queen. That is so cool. I wish I knew what happened to the amazons to cause them to die out. They were thriving during my lifetime.
Destiny really went off the deep end after her death. Hope knew just how to manipulate her. She kind of reminds me of my mother. We were very close but there was no physical affection of any kind. I wonder what might have happened if Gabrielle had raised her. But I cant blame Xena for over reacting. That must have been a frightening time.
I had an incredible son. He grew up to be a fine man, giving me a grandchild before I died. I could tell so many great stories about Destiny. Her life was very interesting before and after she met Xena and Gabrielle.
The good news is that Destiny died after realizing her love for Eve. They did spend some quality time together. The bad news is that she died before her fortieth birthday. All my life I have had this haunting feeling that I wouldnt live to see forty. Now I know why Ive had this feeling. I wasnt able to remember a single incarnation where I lived to a ripe old age. I never made it to forty. I pray that in this lifetime I can break the cycle. One year with Danni if things go right just isnt enough time to spend with her.
If youre listening god please give me some more time. I still dont know what this great lesson is that Im supposed to learn but if you answer my prayers Im sure I can figure it out. If not for me, do it for Danni.
Im going home tomorrow after I pick up Blue. I doubt if I will keep writing in this journal after tonight. The story is finished though. I wonder if anyone will like it. Until next time.
CHAPTER TWENTY-NINE DAZED AND CONFUSED
Desire traipsed across the hardwood floor toward the sliding glass door to let Blue outside, turning the lights on along the way and tossing the unopened mail into the study. It was barely past midnight and she was emotionally drained when she heard the knock on the door.
Her knees trembled thinking of the possibility of Danni standing in front of her. It was wishful thinking. She lumbered back to the front taking her time to compose herself before answering the knock then inhaled deeply and cautiously turned the knob. Ares stood in front of her, resplendent in his black leathers.
"Shit. Its just you," said Desire irritation in her voice. "Since when do you knock?"
"Gee nice greeting Desire. Every time I show up its always, "Dont you ever knock Ares? And I finally knock and you still get pissed at me! I just cant win with you."
"Im sorry Ares. Its just been a long two weeks," answered Desire still holding the door open.
"Well what?" asked Desire.
"Are you going to invite me in?"
"Since when do you need an invitation?" quipped Desire smiling at her visitor. "Come on in," she said motioning for the dark god to follow her to the living room where she sat down on the sofa.
"Did you find your answers?" asked Ares sitting next to her.
"No I just have more questions," answered Desire wistfully. She placed her right hand against the arm of the chair and dropped her head onto her hand letting out a deep sigh. "Will I ever have a happy ending Ares?"
"Desire youre still young and you have plenty of time for a happy ending."
"And how do I achieve that? Danni still hasnt called me, not a peep."
"She cant call you if she doesnt know where you are."
"She knows where Im at. I hand delivered a note to her house before I left telling her exactly where I was and no phone call. She isnt ready to forgive me and Im just too damn old to keep chasing a woman who doesnt want to accept me for who I am or for the things Ive done in my past."
"Good girl Des. Maybe now is the time to finally learn from your mistakes."
"What is this great lesson Im supposed to learn?"
"I cant tell you that. You have to figure it out on your own but you are on the right track."
"Why? Because I said Im tired of waiting." Desire stared at the dark god her mind racing to figure out the clues to her past that would help her move forward in the future. "Every life Ive lived just trying to do good, fighting for good causes. I was even a nurse one time and I hate the sight of blood. Isnt that what were supposed to do? But every god damned time its like I was punished for it and not just by an early death. Is it true nice guys finish last?"
"Self sacrifice isnt for everyone Des."
"Whats that supposed to mean?"
"It means that you cant change the world all by yourself."
"So its wrong to even try? I get punished for it."
"Look deeper Desire. Look at all of the things youve lost as a result."
"So youre saying Ive sacrificed my family and all those dear to me to help others and thats wrong."
"Youre getting warmer."
"That theory doesnt fly in this life and Im still miserable. Ive lost Danni and besides the boys she is the only thing I care about right now."
"Whats changed in this life?"
"Ive been a fuck up all my life. Isnt that obvious?"
"Youre too hard on yourself."
"Lets review my life shall we Ares? I started liking girls when I was fifteen so I slept with a college man and got knocked up at sixteen. Then I sleep while my baby dies and a year later I watch as my drunken husband drives the car into a pole killing himself. Then I kill my best friend because I wasnt careful. I get knocked up in prison and give my child away. So you tell me where the self sacrifice is."
"For starters you slept with Jackson to prove you werent gay because it would devastate your mom. You were a devoted mother. Not all deaths can be explained and you attempted to stop Jackson the night he died. You almost died because you wouldnt leave him. Linda was a terrible accident and giving up your daughter so she could have a better home than you could provide her would be considered very self sacrificing by many people."
"A lot of people would say it was very selfish to give her up."
"Only if you want to look at the glass as half empty."
"Ive spent the last fifteen years of my life doing absolutely nothing."
"Taking care of sick and dying parents is nothing. Most people would think otherwise."
"I had to take care of them. It wasnt a choice."
"Yes it was. You chose to take care of them and chose to suffer the price you paid."
"So Im a masochist?"
"Youre really getting close now. What emotion led you to take care of your mother even after making a death bed promise to your dad that you would move on with your life?"
"Guilt. I had all of the money in the world to take care of her properly but she wouldnt except it. Even so she would have hated me if I hadnt stepped in."
"It might not have been her first choice but she would never have hated you. After Hope died Destiny spent the rest of her life blaming herself for her death. She never truly believed that she could be a good person because of her parentage."
"So youre saying Ive spent the last two thousand years trying to prove Im not evil just because my soul was born of evil. Whats so wrong with that?"
"What have you sacrificed to prove this fact? What is the one element in your lives that is missing?"
"Happiness Ares. I mean Ive had bits and pieces of happiness but my soul feels as though it has never really been happy."
"Why do you think that is?" asked the dark god.
"Ares Im too tired for this. I dont understand. I just want to be happy."
"Is that what you really want?"
"Yes. Of course I want to be happy."
"Do you deserve to be happy?" asked Ares.
"No I dont," Desire answered immediately.
"Isnt it obvious? Ive screwed up so many times."
"Youre the only person on this earth who believes you shouldnt be happy."
Desire stood up and walked around the room deep in thought. Ares followed her grabbing her by the shoulders and whipping her around until they were face to face with each other. "You carry the burden of guilt around your neck like Danni carries the burden of anger. What are you going to do when she releases that anger?"
"Ill be waiting for her."
"You wont be happy. You will still be carrying the guilt with you like you have in all of your lives."
"So youre saying I can never be happy?"
Ares released his grip in frustration backing away from Desire. "For someone with a genius IQ you can sure be stupid. Youve made mistakes but youve paid for them. Stop feeling guilty for things you cant control."
"I could have controlled what happened to Linda. How do I make up for that?"
"You cant. Dont you get it? Shes dead and you cant bring her back. Youve done everything possible to atone for your crime and still you carry the guilt around."
"Guess Im screwed then."
"No youre not. Unless you keep walking around like a victim."
"I am not the victim here," hissed Desire.
"Yes you are. Its comfortable for you. As long as you stay this way you will never have a chance at happiness and you might as well die before you turn forty."
Desires eyes turned dark with rage as she stormed up to the dark god slapping him in the face. "That is the meanest thing anyone has ever said to me!"
Ares rubbed the side of his cheek, warm from the heat of the blow. "The truth hurts doesnt it?"
Desire turned away her eyes welling with tears. She inhaled sharply releasing a mouthful of air absorbing the truth of Ares words, ashamed by their implication.
"You spent your time in jail Desire. Every day you punished yourself out of guilt. I know what those women did to you but I also know it wouldnt have happened if you hadnt wanted it to. Stop being afraid."
"Afraid of what?" asked Desire choking back tears.
"Happiness. There is nothing selfish or evil about wanting a little piece of happiness in your life."
"How do I do that?"
"Just make it happen. Stop worrying about other peoples feelings for a change. Destiny was never evil despite who her parents were and youre not evil now. Its not a sin to live your life for yourself. I thought that was the reason you packed up and left without a trace."
"How can I do that when all I can think of is how Danni feels right now?"
"Thats my point Des. She hasnt called you. Why is that? If shes not ready for you then just let go. When the time is right for her she will come back. Ive seen for myself how she looks at you."
"But what if she comes back later and doesnt like what she sees?"
"No buts Desire. Its time to stop being the victim. Forget Danni right now. What makes you happy?"
Desire looked into the sincere eyes of the dark god and smiled. "My boys make me happy."
Thats it? Two cats and a dog are the only things that make you happy?" asked Ares frustrated by the conversation.
"I was including you in that statement. Arent you one of my boys now?" answered Desire teasingly.
"I make you happy," repeated the dark god.
"Yes. Youve been my rock in all of this. Are you sure you and Destiny werent more then just bed partners?"
"What are you suggesting?"
"Look I know that Xena has always been the one to float your boat but maybe you felt something more than lust for Destiny."
"What if I did?"
"It wouldnt be a crime to admit it."
"Im still the god of war. Love is my sisters thing. Death and destruction are the things I like most in this world."
"Thats why youve been hanging around me so much."
"Hey Im just trying to get laid. Dont make it into anything else." Ares said defensively.
"Youre even cuter when youre flustered."
"I am not flustered!"
"So make me happy god of war."
"What are you suggesting?"
"Tomorrow its just you and me. Youre right. Im single and Im tired of being alone so if youre game maybe we could spend the day and evening together. No games."
"Im youre man," answered the dark god leaning into Desire to place a kiss upon her lips. Desire moved in closer to receive his mouth and embrace him as the contact lingered on.
"That was very nice," purred Desire burying her head in the strong chest of the dark god before yawning.
"Youd better get some rest because tomorrow because I dont plan on letting you sleep."
"Lets start early. Id like to go to the beach."
"What is with you and water?"
"You can stay on the sand. Ill let you pick out a new bikini for me."
"Ill see you at dawn," he answered placing a gentle kiss on her head and with a brilliant light he was gone leaving Desire asleep on the sofa.
CHAPTER THIRTY FEELINGS OF BETRAYAL
"I said bikini Ares. My underwear covers more than this thing does," stated Desire looking at the emerald green g-string bikini hanging from the dark gods hand.
"You dont wear underwear."
"I stand corrected. If I did wear underwear it would cover a lot more than this thing does."
"Be a sport Des, itll look good on you. Besides your butt is one of your greatest assets," answered Ares. "Since when are you modest?"
"Fine. Ill be back," Desire answered grabbing the outfit from Ares hand and retreating into the bathroom. Moments later she came back to the hallway wearing a sleeveless vest shirt and shorts over the bikini.
"You know if Im going to be seen with the hottest man on the planet I want people to know hands off so youre going to have to hold my hand," stated Desire as she opened the front door and walked out.
"Is that all I get to do?" Ares whispered into her ear before wrapping strong arms around her and kissing her passionately on the porch.
Dannis heart leaped into her chest when she saw the white Jeep Cherokee parked in the driveway. She slowed the rental car down coming to a crawl until she stopped a couple of houses away across the street from Desires house.
She had spent long miserable weeks praying for a phone call that never came and now she felt as though she wouldnt know what to say. She sat silently watching the golden rays of the sun appear above the horizon gathering the courage to speak to the woman who held her heart.
Before she could step out of the car she heard voices and turned to look across the street to ascertain where the noise was coming from. To her surprise and horror Desire was standing in front of her doorway in the strong arms of the god of war kissing him deeply. She sat frozen, too stunned to move and ducked when they walked to the Jeep and drove away, unaware of her presence.
She waited a couple of minutes before starting the engine and driving away quickly. A short time later she spotted the vehicle and followed the Cherokee at a safe enough distance so the occupants in the Jeep would not know they were being tailed.
The Cherokee drove toward the coastline following Pacific Coast Highway until they were near Huntington Beach before pulling to the side of the curb and parking. Danni drove her car several miles past the beach before making a U-turn and driving back to the spot where the Cherokee was parked and now abandoned. She stopped her car a block away, shut off the engine and walked up to the short stretch of beach that was most popular for surfing. She stood along the sidewalk searching for Desire and Ares until she spotted them setting up beach chairs and opening the cooler to have breakfast on a blanket while the beach began to fill up with people.
Danni found a spot behind some rocks to begin her vigil watching every move the small brunette made.
Desire sat down on the blanket and opened the ice chest removing a plate full of pastries and donuts and started munching as she looked at the waves rolling along the shore.
"So are we just supposed to watch the water?" asked the god of war.
"No were supposed to watch the surfers," answered Desire.
"I hate to break it to you Des but theres only one idiot out there trying to surf," quipped Ares.
"Thats because the surf sucks. There are no waves."
Ares sat silently his eyes riveted on Desire who was staring into the ocean mesmerized by its beauty. "This sucks Desire," stated Ares raising his hand above his head. A large wave crashed onto the head of the lone surfer taking him under. Desire watched horrified, standing up to search for signs of the man and running toward the water, only stopping when the man resurfaced and was united with his board.
"Now its getting interesting," Ares said grinning.
"Itll be interesting when you take your clothes off," purred Desire seductively after walking back to their place on the sand.
"Ill take mine off if you take yours off."
"Deal," answered Desire stripping away her shirt and shorts as the dark god looked on approvingly at the tight abdominal muscles now exposed. Desire stared at the muscular dark chest and long supple exposed legs of her companion, a lascivious expression on her face as Ares returned the favor by removing his outer clothes. She turned to look at the water after hearing the roar of the waves.
Desire turned back to the dark god a quizzical expression on her face. "Did you just make that happen?"
"It was getting boring. I had to liven things up a bit."
"Well that is too enticing," she said before running toward the water.
"Where are you going?" called Ares. "You dont have a surfboard."
"Its called body surfing. I do have a body you know," she answered before running into the ocean.
"And a lovely body it is," stated Ares looking at the taught muscles of Desires exposed butt and legs. Ares smiled at Desire keeping a watchful eye on her as she swam past the swells riding each wave until it crashed into the surf. The surfer on the other side was having a bit more difficulty falling off of his board more times then he could stay on providing Ares with some much needed entertainment.
Desire would stay in the water for long periods of time then come back to the blanket for a drink and another attempt to coerce the god of war into joining her in the ocean. Then she would run onto the sand and head back into the ocean. After several romps in the water Desires hair still remained dry with every strand in its place, an achievement that Desire was quite proud of.
The beach filled up with sunbathers as the morning wore on but only Desire and the lone surfer dared to attempt the waves caused by the dark gods powers. Desires skin turned a deeper shade of gold from the rising temperatures and the blistering sun while Ares watched patiently from the sidelines, his eyes continually riveted on her.
He looked on in horror as the lone surfer neared Desire crashing into her as a massive wave engulfed them both. Ares jumped up and ran to the waters edge waiting for signs of his companion. Long moments passed as the man resurfaced searching for his board.
Panicked Ares raised his hand to calm the swells of the ocean and dove into the water searching under the surface for Desire. He grabbed her by the shoulders lifting her from the oceans floor and pulled her above the water wrapping strong arms around her as he carried her to the shore and laid her unconscious body on the sand. Immediately he began blowing life into her while Danni looked anxiously on ready to expose her cover and run to the still figure.
Desire coughed and spit water into the face of the dark god who reciprocated by covering her mouth with his own, kissing her deeply before releasing her.
"What is it with you and water?"
Desire looked up into dark brown eyes noting the hint of fear on his face and laughed. "Damn it my hair is wet. I must look like shit," she stated.
"Its not funny Desire. No more water!"
"Hey I didnt do it on purpose."
"One surfer in the water and you cant stay out of his way."
"Thats not fair. He hit me," said Desire in defense of her actions. "You know if you want to kiss me you dont have to send some guy crashing into me so you have an excuse," she teased.
"You are a piece of work," replied Ares.
"A piece of work with sand up the wazoo," Desire said giggling.
Danni stood deathly still in the distance as she watched the scene unfold. Desire appeared safe and was blatantly kissing the god of war in front of the small crowd of people that had gathered to watch the life saving rescue. Now they appeared to be laughing and wrestling in the sand, oblivious to the scene they were creating. She kept pinching herself praying it was just a bad dream.
She couldnt understand what had happened in San Diego that would send Desire into the arms of the god of war and not her own. She wanted to leave and forget everything she had seen but it was like watching a terrible accident. Deep inside she knew she shouldnt be watching but she couldnt take her eyes off of the couple. She could feel the tear of her own heart as her love appeared to slip away before her eyes.
Desire and Ares left the beach shortly after the near drowning incident. Danni continued to follow them unnoticed as they drove back toward Seal Beach stopping at the 7-11 along the way. Danni pulled into the parking lot waiting until they came out of the convenience store.
Desire strolled out of the establishment carrying a large slurpee in her hand, sucking the contents from a straw. The liquid ice bubbled up over the lid dripping onto Desires chest eliciting a cry from the small brunette.
"Ick. I hate sticky on me," she cried.
Ares stopped and stared at the enticing red liquid dripping from her cleavage and leaned down, licking the cherry slurpee from her chest. Desire moaned loudly from the intimate contact as goose bumps covered her body, hardening her nipples. A sensuous mouth covered hers as Ares continued to lick remnants of slurpee from her face. Desire watched the dark god through hooded eyes.
Danni couldnt take anymore torture. She was past her limit and sped out of the parking lot, trying desperately to erase the images from her mind. Fine, she thought. There are more fish in the sea, fish that want me. She picked up her cell phone and dialed.
"Hey its me," she said into the phone.
"I was beginning to think you would never call," said the voice on the other line, her voice low and sultry.
"Is that invitation to go sailing still good?" asked Danni.
"You know it is hon. Name the day."
"How about tomorrow? I thought we could start with breakfast, hit the ocean early and maybe have dinner and go dancing later on."
"Sounds lovely. Pick me up at six."
"Ill see ya then," replied Danni.
CHAPTER THIRTY-ONE SIX FEET OF TROUBLE
Ares followed Desire into the dimly lit bar, holding onto her hand as she guided him to the back where the pool table was located. They had finished their day at the Queen Mary enjoying an elegant dinner of steak and lobster topped with a bottle of fine champagne and now it was time to let off some steam.
"My my, it is a small world," stated a tall woman sitting at the bar. Desire turned to see where the voice was coming from and was greeted by a warm hug from another former ex lover.
"Caroline Peters," replied Desire returning the embrace and looking into alluring blue eyes.
"Its Dr. Peters now," answered Caroline looking into sorrowful green eyes. "Tell me where it hurts," she whispered.
"If I do will you kiss it and make it better?" teased Desire receiving a warm kiss on the lips for her answer.
"You know I will sweetie. Its been a long time."
"Yes it has. Close to twenty years."
"Shauna told me she ran into you at the beach. I didnt believe it."
Caroline was a six foot tall beauty with blonde hair and bluish green eyes who followed Desire to California to attend the same university. She had put herself through college working as a model and a female mud wrestler in the eighties when the fad was all the rage. Like Desire her looks did not reflect her age.
"Im back," responded Desire with a haunting voice.
Caroline looked at the tall dark figure standing politely behind her before whispering into Desires ears. "I thought you liked them femme. This ones a bit on the butch side even for me," she quipped.
"Very cute. This is a friend of mine, Ares," answered Desire making the proper introductions.
Caroline extended her hand. Ares took the proffered hand and gently kissed the top of it. "Its always nice to meet such a beautiful woman," he said.
"And a gentleman too. Im impressed," replied Caroline. "So have you been able to come to terms with your little problem?"
Ares cocked his head to the side not understanding the implication. Desire grabbed Caroline and pulled her face closer to her own. "Now is not a good time. Hes much more comfortable with me right now," she whispered. "Just play along. He thinks were together."
"Do you think thats such a good idea?" asked Caroline. "I know a great therapist who could help him sort things out."
"Trust me. Its for the best. Besides he is rather handsome and I dont mind people assuming that were together."
"Does that mean I dont have a shot at you tonight?"
Desire could feel her skin tingle looking into the eyes of the former model. "I, um, no I didnt say that," she stammered. "But he um would be hurt if I left him."
"Who said anything about leaving him? Hes gorgeous. Bring him along." Desire stood motionless, thoughts of Caroline and Ares together invading her senses. Caroline placed a gentle kiss on her cheek followed by an erotic peck on her neck eliciting a slight moan from the small brunette.
"How bout a game of pool?" stammered Desire before supple lips covered her own. "Like now," she added breaking away from the tall blonde. "How about getting some drinks Ares?"
"Now when it was just starting to get good?" exclaimed Ares his eyes riveted on the two women.
"Trust me. It will only get better," husked Caroline running her hand along the silky dark hair of his chest.
You are so dead Desire. This is one scene youll never get out of, cried the little voice. You could never say no to her and why would you? Desire shook her head trying to get rid of the annoying little voice by focusing on thoughts of Danni. She looks a lot like Danni only she wants you, yelled the evil little voice. "Well that didnt work," mumbled Desire still entranced by the tall doctor.
"I think Im going to like you," replied Ares his voice an octave higher from the sensual contact.
"Thats the idea," answered Caroline. "Did your parents know you were going to look like a god when they named you?"
"Margaritas Ares," interrupted Desire pulling him away from Caroline. "Why dont you go get us a pitcher of margaritas," she added whispering in his ear.
"Dont start the party without me," he answered before moving toward the bar.
"Oh we wont," interjected Caroline mesmerized by the firm and muscular backside of the dark god as he walked away. "Wow he could make a gay girl go straight."
"Hell he could make a straight guy go gay," quipped Desire.
"He isnt really gay is he?"
"No I just made that story up. Shauna was fawning all over him."
"And you dont want to share him. I never figured you would end up with a man, even one as hot as he is."
"Its a temporary thing. Hes been baby sitting me since I had a fight with my girlfriend."
"So nothing is going on between you two?"
"Its complicated," Desire said sighing.
"Its not like you to cheat on a woman just because you had a fight."
"Its more like she broke up with me. Im trying to let go but you know how I am. If theres even a small chance of us getting back together I cant enjoy the opportunities presented to me."
"Like me," said Caroline her voice soft and sexy as she leaned down to kiss Desire, her lips demanding entry. "Weve always had fun together. Enjoy yourself. Youre on a break."
Desire trembled from the familiar contact wrestling with her bodys response to the tall beauty. "Youre a hard woman to say no to."
"Then dont say no," replied Caroline one hand roaming down Desires chest, stroking the soft skin of her exposed cleavage.
"Arent you worried about getting killed? This is a straight bar."
"Everyone knows me here. Besides the men love to watch me with my lady friends."
"Yes we do," Ares interjected enthusiastically. "Please dont stop," he added placing the pitcher on the bar along with three glasses. "This is bringing back rather fond memories from a party long ago, only the tall one was the brunette."
"You must share that little story with us," stated Caroline.
"Pool, I thought we were going to play pool," interjected Desire nervously. "Rack em up Ares."
"Caroline you need to get her to relax a little bit," answered Ares.
"And what do I get in return?" she asked reaching to hold strong hands.
"Name your price," he replied staring deeply into her eyes.
"Get a room you two," shouted Desire pouring glasses of margaritas.
"Later," replied Caroline and Ares in unison.
Desire glared at the dark god her message being read loud and clear as the color of her eyes changed shades, reflecting her irritation. Ares let go of the tall blondes hands and moved to the pool table to rack the balls.
Caroline moved closer to the small brunette. "Lighten up Des. Youre on a break. We could have lots of fun tonight."
"Thats what Im afraid of."
"You afraid of fun. Since when?"
"Since I met my soul mate."
"Well I think you just need a little persuasion," replied Caroline holding Desires hand to her mouth and kissing each knuckle. Using her free hand Desire downed the contents of her glass, closing her eyes and grimacing as the cold liquid left a sharp pain between her eyes.
"Oh shit!" she exclaimed.
"I love a challenge," whispered Caroline placing a gentle kiss on Desires forehead.
They continued their flirtation, taking turns playing pool and drinking margaritas. Desire found herself extremely thirsty, drinking the tangy liquid like it was water. She began flirting back as the alcohol chased away her inhibitions.
Desire leaned over the pool table contemplating her next shot. Caroline stopped her pointing out a bank shot to the side pocket that was more plausible.
"I cant do bank shots," Desire complained leaning over the pool table to reach the cue ball.
Caroline stood behind her enveloping her with long strong arms, her groin pressing against Desires buttocks. "Yes you can," she whispered into Desires ear wrapping her arms around Desires and guiding the stick.
Desires heart skipped a beat from the warmth of the long figure behind her. Caroline leaned closer running her hands down Desires arms, tracing a pattern around her chest before caressing her stomach and kissing the back of the small brunettes neck pinning her against the pool table. "Maybe its time to stop playing pool and find another game to play." Caroline turned Desire around planting a penetrating kiss on her lips leaving Desire panting.
"What did you have in mind?" she asked her voice squeaking as she spoke.
Ares moved closer to the two women, his eyes riveted on blonde and brunette. "Care to follow us home?" he asked, his voice low and seductive.
"I thought youd never ask," replied Caroline stroking the dark gods chest before kissing him fervently.
Desire stared at her companions, the sight of them stimulating every fiber in her body. Wordlessly she followed them out of the bar and into the Cherokee her head spinning from the alcohol. Its about time you took a walk on the wild side you stick in the mud, cried the little voice.
Ares was inside the master bedroom discreetly doing his god thing to create the perfect atmosphere for the encounter he was about to experience. Desire wavered back and forth on shaky legs held up only by the possessive arms of the tall blonde who was bathing her bare neck and shoulders with gentle kisses.
Ares opened the door exposing his handy work. Candles were lit all around the bed creating a soft glow that illuminated the king size bed. Red rose petals were sprinkled along the floor and on the top of the sheets that were now drawn.
"Ya lil romantic," stated Desire slurring her words as she was picked up and set in the middle of the bed. Desire moaned as she felt her clothes being removed from her body by two sets of hands exposing sun bathed skin to the cool night air. Caroline sat above her naked from the waist up, large breasts dangling in front of Desire before she laid her long form against Desire kissing her passionately while the dark god looked on removing his leather vest.
"Damn you look good Des," she husked. "Not an ounce of fat on you except where it looks best," she added leaning on her right arm and caressing a breast with her left hand so Ares could enjoy the view.
Desire looked up through hooded eyes while her body screamed dont stop. Dont you dare stop, hissed the little voice. Youre on a break! Dont do it, yelled her conscience. In your heart you know Danni loves you. Caroline leaned in planting sensual kisses on her neck leaving a trail of fire on Desires skin.
"Stop," whispered Desire.
Caroline looked up at Desire her lips still attached to her neck. "Youre kidding right?" she asked.
"I want to watch you with Ares," she replied.
The dark god didnt need a second invitation climbing onto the bed next to both women. "Go on. I want to watch you two first," she commanded fighting to keep her eyes open.
Caroline happily turned to face the dark god wrapping her arms around him aggressively kissing a trail up to Ares mouth. Desire rolled on her side caressing the strong back of the blondes as their lips met and parted each seeking out the others tongue. Desire continued to stroke the long form watching the sensual play until her eyes closed and darkness surrounded her.
Caroline felt the hand on her back go limp and turned to look at the sleeping face of Desire. "I think we lost her," she whispered.
Ares glared at the unconscious form with an exasperated expression on his face. "Thats her way of saying no," he answered.
"She didnt want this to happen?" asked Caroline speaking in a low voice so as not to wake up the sleeping woman.
"Oh she wanted this to happen. Her conscience wouldnt let it," replied Ares.
"And your conscience. What is it saying?"
"Its saying maybe we should move to another venue. Come on, I know the perfect place," answered the dark god.
CHAPTER THIRTY-TWO BAD NEWS TRAVELS FAST
Desire was naked in bed with two of the most beautiful people on the planet. A set of hands roamed over her body, caressing her breasts, neck and thighs leaving trails of erotic kisses all over her exposed skin. She moaned from the touch, the slow burn of arousal creating an inferno in her groin. She was on her hands and knees, the long hard form of Ares penetrating her from behind while his hand stroked her swollen clitoris. Her body shook and convulsed as wave after wave of pleasure pulsated through her. Ares collapsed next to her pulling her down in his arms and kissing her tenderly. She searched for the tall blonde beauty after breaking the contact, wondering where she might have gone.
Desire opened her eyes met by the harsh morning sun as it made its way into the sky. She covered her face and stumbled out of bed to close the shutters, confused as to her surroundings. Her head throbbed with a dull aching pain, the after effects of the tequila she had consumed the night before.
She looked around searching for Ares and Caroline attempting to remember the details of the night before. Two cats followed her as she made her way into the bathroom and sat down on the throne, her vision clouded from the pain. "What happened Fig?" she asked as the longhaired cat purred and licked her feet. "Was it all a dream?" She went back into the bedroom observing the burned out candles and lumbered into the kitchen searching for signs of human life.
After a thorough search she concluded that she was alone except for two felines and one canine standing patiently at the back door waiting for his human to let him out. Desire complied with his wishes then put on a pot of coffee and grabbed a cold bottle of water from the refrigerator to wash the pain pills down.
An hour and several trips to worship the porcelain goddess later the visions from the night before became clear. She remembered being naked in bed with both Caroline and Ares watching them make out on her bed. "Oh this is not good. I must have passed out but what about the dream? Where was Caroline? Was it even real?" She threw a cut off T-shirt and shorts on, splashed water on her face and ran her hand through her hair yelling Ares name. "Wherever you are Ares just meet me at the café!" she yelled. "In ten minutes!"
The café could be described at its best as an intimate setting however from the front of the restaurant the dark god came to the conclusion he was walking into a dive. He did notice however that it was filled with patrons and hoped that was a good sign as to the quality of the food served. He quietly followed his waiter trying to ignore the lascivious looks he was receiving from the young man who was obviously checking him out from head to toe. Ares sat down at the table facing the door so he could flag the small brunette when she walked into the establishment.
Desires eyes immediately went to the dark god as she walked up to the table and sat down. She was wearing a short tight sleeveless gray T-shirt that came down to her navel with black shorts and thongs. Her usually perfect hair was disheveled and spiky. Deep circles were apparent under her eyes as she greeted Ares with a warm kiss on the lips, eliciting stares from several lesbian patrons.
"I can hear them saying another one bites the dust," she mumbled while pouring cream into her coffee.
"Are you saying Im bad for you?" asked Ares mockingly.
"Definitely. Its one thing to fantasize about you but youre not supposed to be in my dreams," she answered rather excitedly. "Theyre gonna start taking toaster ovens away any day now," she added softly.
"What was that? I didnt quite hear you?"
"Nothing. Inside joke." Desire answered the question with the sound of panic in her voice as she grappled with her emotions and Desires inside.
"So Im in your dreams now," repeated the dark god, a grin forming across his lips.
"Thats it! Your promised me no god tricks!" cried Desire pointing an accusatory finger at Ares.
"And I kept that promise," he defended raising his voice in anger.
"No that cant be. I dont believe you."
"If I was in your dreams last night you put me there. I give you my word."
"Dont twist my words Ares. I said dream, not dreams. It was only one dream," she answered emphatically. "Give me your word as a god," she added whispering.
"I already have. I dont get you. You can fantasize about me. You even bring me into your bed with another woman and now youre getting all worked up because I was in your dream?"
"Yes, thats just sex and lesbians can have sex with men especially if there is another woman present. Thats totally normal, perverted but normal. But you cant be in my dream," she argued.
"So I was in your dream. What can it really mean?" he stated casually. "By the way what were we doing in your dream?"
Desire looked at the dark god with contempt, pale green eyes burning with anger. Finally she answered tentatively. "We were kissing."
"So we were kissing! We were kissing last night and all day I might add. You were in bed naked with me last night and I didnt hear you complaining. If you hadnt passed out there would have been even more kissing."
"In the end all we did was kiss." Desire paused for a moment. "Naked," she added. "Do you even know what it means in a dream, do you?"
"In a dream kissing someone heralds a new love affair."
"Well that sounds like good news to me," answered Ares grinning like a Cheshire cat.
"Thats not all. We were fucking and Caroline wasnt even there," she whispered. "That means I will happily adjust to new circumstances."
"Well of course youre going to enjoy it," he answered gloating. "You did enjoy it didnt you?"
"Yes," she hissed. "Tell anyone and I will deny it," she whispered looking around paranoid. "You dont get it. Every night I dream about Danni and every night we are kissing. That means that the relationship is genuine. Its what Ive been holding onto. Now shes gone, maybe for good." Desire calmed down for a moment, tears welling in her eyes.
Ares demeanor shifted when he saw the expression change on Desires face. Two lousy years as a mortal and he was now finding himself feeling empathy for the woman sitting with him instead of enjoying this small victory to bed the small brunette. "Where do you get this crap from anyway?
"Its called dream interpretation. Its always right. I dreamed for months of airplane crashes, which signify loss in business, and I was fired. When I have abnormal dreams happy things happen just like the book says and when I stopped dreaming of kissing Julie the relationship ended. Thats it. It was an abnormal dream!"
"I am not abnormal!" defended Ares.
"Im a lesbian so heterosexual sex is abnormal to me. Come on test me."
"Test you how?"
"I dont know. Test my homosexuality."
"This is absurd. Youre putting way too much into this dream except the part about you and I having sex."
"Work with me here Ares. Give me something to hold onto."
"Give me something to work with."
"I have it. Word association."
"What will that prove?"
"You say a word, any word, places, anything. Ill say the first thing that comes to mind."
"You need to get some rest Desire. Your brain is addled. You drank way too much last night."
"Tell me something I dont know. I was one with the porcelain goddess this morning."
"Then you should rest up. We have reservations tonight."
"Come on Ares. Help me prove Im still a happy homosexual or you have no chance fucking me tonight," she hissed.
"Sex," replied Ares without hesitation.
"How is that a lesbian response?"
"Because we have them."
"Orgasms. We dont have to fake them either," answered Desire.
"Lesbians watch pornography?"
"Only when were not making our own tapes," answered Desire with a twinkle in her eyes. "Go on."
"Bottom. At least in my last relationship. Never again, continue."
"Dysfunction. Well close enough anyway."
"Dinah Shore Golf Tournament. Ah ha, Ive still got it!" cried Desire with elation.
"Xena!" shouted Desire and Ares in unison. The dark god held his hand up to wave to the tall intimidating woman standing in front of the cash register. Annie turned around when she heard the name called, stunned momentarily at the sight of Ares and the small brunette to his right.
Desire stood up jubilant that her membership in the lesbian sisterhood was still in tact. She leaned over and kissed the dark god lightly on his lips, oblivious to the tall woman standing a few feet behind her watching as the scene unfolded. Taking advantage of the situation Ares reached behind Desires head and pulled her forward opening his lips to receive her kiss. The contact quickly went from chaste to passionate as Desire responded, parting her lips to seek the dark gods tongue not breaking contact for several moments.
She sat back down in her seat, a dazed look across her golden face. "Okay that was confusing," she stated quickly a stunned expression across her face.
"As you stated some time ago youre a lesbian, not dead."
"OH sure throw that back in my face when Im vulnerable."
"But you felt something didnt you?" asked Ares prodding an answer before Annie could respond and interrupt this important interlude.
"Okay I felt something," she answered anxiously as Ares grinned in victory.
"Please tell me it was heartburn," stated a low voice from behind. Annie had both hands around her neck before Desire could answer causing the small brunette to jump from her chair.
"Oh gods," answered Desire turning around to stare into pale blue eyes. "Oh this so doesnt look good does it?" "I um," she started.
"You what? Lost something in his mouth and thought you could find it with your tongue?" asked Annie sarcastically while the god of war looked on gloating.
"That works. Go with it," answered Desire sheepishly.
"We need to talk," responded Annie pulling Desire up by the neck of her shirt.
"Now Xe, Annie dont go getting your panties in a wad. It isnt against the law for a man and a woman to kiss in public even if it is a gay establishment," defended Ares.
"What are you doing here?" asked Desire nervously.
"Never mind what Im doing here. Lets go talk," answered Annie pulling the smaller woman to her feet.
"What no hug, hi how are you?" replied Desire as Annie dragged her from the table while the patrons watched on with interest.
"Just follow me."
"You know it would be a hell of a lot easier if I could actually walk. Besides I have friends here who will come to my rescue if I yell. People like me. I have a reputation you know."
"Oh yes Ive heard about your reputation
"I can walk on my own thank you very much for asking," hissed Desire digging her heels into the sidewalk and stopping Annies progress.
Annie hesitated looking down at her grasp on the woman before releasing her. "Lets go."
Desire followed her outside of the restaurant until they were both out of sight from the dark god. Annie turned around to face Desire her hands swinging in anger as she thought about the earlier scene. "What the hell were you doing in there?"
"They call it kissing and its good to see you again by the way," replied Desire.
"First off he is a man," started Annie.
"Actually hes a god," interrupted Desire, her voice dripping with sarcasm.
"And second he isnt Danni," finished Annie ignoring the mocking remark.
"We were talking and we kissed. Thats all," answered Desire attempting to sound casual.
"You were playing tonsil hockey!"
"Well it didnt start out that way," defended Desire. "And its not the first time."
"So while Danni is out looking for you," started Annie.
"Shes looking for me?" interrupted Desire.
"Yes. Shes a mess right now."
"I never really believed she would come around so soon. I wasnt surprised when she didnt call me."
"I told you not to underestimate her."
"Look Ares has been a good friend to me."
"Taking advantage of you. Thats your idea of friendship."
"We havent you know. Not yet anyway."
"Not yet?" asked Annie exasperated. "But you want to dont you?"
"Yes, no, I dont know."
"What happened to big OLE walkin talking vibrator?"
"A girl can change her mind," defended Desire. "How am I supposed to react? Danni said she couldnt marry me. She never said now. She just said never. It hurts and last night she left my dreams," added Desire fighting the tears threatening to invade her eyes.
Annie watched as the flood of emotions washed across her friends face. "Lets start at the beginning okay?" she asked while Desire nodded her head in response. "Besides youve got bigger troubles right now, like explaining your sudden and unexplained disappearance to a very pissed off blonde," she added watching as her partner finished parking the car behind Desire approaching rapidly.
Desire turned around to see the small blonde stalking purposefully toward her, an angry expression on her face. "Oh boy. She looks mad," she mumbled.
Mattie reached her destination pulling the small brunette into a bone-crushing hug. Before Desire could respond she felt her body being pushed backward slamming into the tall woman behind and trying to stay on her feet. "Where the hell have you been and why havent you called? Politeness is your pet peeve my ass! You treated us like shit when you took off! What the hell do you have to say in your defense?" shouted Mattie shaking her hand at the bewildered woman. Mattie waited impatiently for an answer that never came.
Desire stared back in silence, the fear of pissing Mattie off even more gripping her like a python. Her mouth opened but no words came out. "Well Im waiting," added Mattie arms crossed in front her, tapping her foot on the ground.
"I thought you were the tough one," quipped Desire looking up at angry blue eyes.
"Not in this life time," whispered Annie suppressing a laugh.
"Just hit me and get it over with," stated Desire looking into emerald green eyes now dark with rage.
"What?" asked Mattie.
"Just hit me. Itll hurt a lot less then seeing the disappointment in your eyes," replied Desire bowing her head down to avoid the infuriated blonde. "Im sorry," she added weakly.
"You could have been hurt and we would have never known. Did you even think about that?" asked Mattie her expression softening.
"Ares would have told you," answered Desire quietly.
"Bad answer," whispered Annie waiting for the second wave of her lovers wrath to come crashing down.
"What! What does he have to do with anything?" continued Mattie before pausing to look at Annie shrugging her shoulders then back at Desire counting the cracks on the sidewalk. "Youve been with Ares? How could you?"
"I havent been with Ares," defended Desire. "Not like that. Hes been a friend."
"More like kissing cousins," added Annie smirking at her friends obvious discomfort.
Desire responded with a more then playful jab of her elbow into the exposed stomach of the woman behind her. "Thanks a lot," she grumbled. "Do you want her to kill me?"
Mattie composed herself before speaking again. "Desire we were worried about you. Maryanne didnt even know where you were when we told her you sold your house."
"How did you find out?" interrupted Desire.
"We went to your home when we couldnt contact you by phone."
"You went to my house just to find me?" asked Desire.
"Yes. What did you expect us to do?" answered Mattie.
"Not that. Ive never had anyone try to find me when I disappear, not even my family."
"Hey I thought we were your family," interjected Annie smacking the small brunette across the top of the head.
"Even if Im not with Danni?"
"Yes," replied Annie and Mattie in unison.
"Im sorry. I never meant to worry you guys or hurt you," answered Desire as tears began to flow freely down her cheeks. "I just knew that Danni needed time and so did I."
Annie placed her arms around the distraught womans waist and pulled her closer for a hug. "You think weve mentally abused her enough for one morning?" she asked directing the question to her partner.
Mattie responded by grabbing Desires hands and staring into her eyes. "Family means we love you. You dont have to run away when times are difficult and if you do, then run to us."
"You havent met my family," whispered Desire choking down tears.
"Danni is going to be so happy that we found you," started Mattie wiping the tears from Desires face. "We should call her."
"She wont be home. She was on her way out when we left," stated Annie.
"Call her on her cell phone," answered Mattie.
"No good. She went sailing and doesnt have her cell phone with her. She did say that her and her friend were going to go to dinner and afterward they were going dancing at the Suite. She said she would be there around nine. We could meet her there tonight and surprise her," replied Annie.
"Excuse me guys," interjected Desire. "Do I have a say in the matter? Nothing has changed. Im still the one responsible for her sisters death or have you two forgotten the whole reason why were here?"
"Well we didnt say it would be easy," stated Annie.
"But shes ready to talk to you. Shes spent the last month soul searching," added Mattie.
"Besides we know it was just an accident. Weve done some searching on our own and we know you didnt take the drugs on purpose," finished Annie.
"How do you know that?" asked Desire defensively.
"We have our ways. You picked up a friends glass by mistake," replied Mattie.
"What the hell does that matter? Lin is still dead because of my carelessness. Dont you get it? I suppose you told Danni all of this," answered Desire angrily.
"Well actually," started Annie.
"So what now? It wasnt my fault so Danni can forgive me. You just dont get it," interrupted Desire. "I knew Jill used the drugs she sold. But I didnt care. All I cared about was that she wanted to dance with me and maybe she would see that I was the one for her. I never should have left that glass unattended. It was stupid. Lin should be here today preparing her child for her senior year in high school. Instead shes laying under six feet of dirt. Why cant any of you accept that?"
"We didnt say we couldnt accept that," defended Annie. "We just thought that knowing the truth would ease the pain."
"Ive had this knowledge for seventeen years. It doesnt ease the pain. Accepting my guilt doesnt ease the pain but at least I can honor my dead friends memory."
"Youve known?" asked Mattie bewildered. "Then why didnt you fight the charges?"
"It doesnt matter. My deliberate actions led to my best friends death. Conditional forgiveness is no better then conditional love."
"Well you do have a point. Will you please just see Danni and talk to her before you do something you will regret?" asked Annie.
"Like sleep with the god of war," replied Desire.
"Youve slept with Ares?" asked Mattie staring wide-eyed at Desire.
"No not yet. Weve fooled around a little but hes been a gentleman."
"What are your feelings for him?" asked Annie tentatively.
"I dont know. Hes been fun to hang around with. Ive been having these dreams," started Desire.
"I knew it. That bastard! Hes altered your dreams," exclaimed Annie raising her hand in the air.
"No. He promised no god tricks."
"And you trust him?" asked Mattie perplexed by the conversation.
"Yes I do. Hes been really good to me. And very honest. I know exactly what he wants."
"Which is?" asked Annie.
"He wants to sleep with me."
"And you," asked Mattie.
"I miss Danni," answered Desire.
"Nice duck but answer the question," interjected Annie sternly.
"A part of me is tempted, very tempted."
"Which part?" asked Mattie.
"What part do you think? We spent yesterday together and for the first time since I was married no one looked at me funny because I was showing affection in public. I could hold his hand, hug him even kiss him without hesitation and never once did I have to worry that someone might take a gun out and shoot us for immoral behavior. That is until Caroline started fawning over you, cried the little voice. Some things are best left unsaid, cried her conscience. I never realized until yesterday how tiring it is to be gay in this world. This is new to you guys but its been my life for twenty years. Im getting old and Im tired of fighting."
Mattie took Desires hand and placed her free hand on her shoulder. "Youre right. It is new for us but we do understand. Have your feelings changed for Danni?"
"No. But her feelings for me have changed."
"No they havent. Danni went to your house the day you moved. Shes ready to forgive you but she isnt the most patient person. Being told not to contact you was very frustrating for her," interjected Annie.
"She didnt have much of a choice in the matter," stated Desire.
"You are so wrong cowgirl. She saw you on TV. What were you thinking anyway? You could have been killed."
"Oh great. So she knows about Ares," commented Desire ignoring the inquisition.
"Yes she does so dont wait. Come with us tonight to the club," stated Annie.
"No. I mean let me go see her alone tonight. She doesnt need to think she is being ganged up on."
"Youre right," responded Mattie. "Will you promise to have dinner with us tomorrow night to celebrate?"
"How can you be so sure about the out come?"
"We know what Danni wants. Besides whatever the out come tomorrow is still your birthday," answered Annie.
"Oh yeah that. Whoopee."
"Think positive," growled Mattie.
"Okay. Id better get back to Ares," answered Desire hugging her friends before walking toward the café.
"Dont do anything I wouldnt do," Annie called after her.
"Great. That leaves the field wide open," mumbled Mattie as Annie playfully jabbed her in the stomach with a well-placed elbow. "Couldnt you have been more to the point and just said dont fuck Ares."
"Are you going to kiss me with that gutter mouth?" asked Annie jokingly. Mattie looked around at the empty street and answered by placing a sound kiss upon on her lovers lips.
Desire walked back into the café to find Ares still seated at their table, his breakfast plate empty while hers sat untouched on the table.
"So I take it youre going to go see Danni," he asked as Desire sat down next to him.
"You dont hate me do you?" she asked nodding her response.
"It aint over until the fat lady sings. Isnt that one of your mortal expressions?"
"Yes," answered Desire looking around the room thinking it would make life much simpler if she could find a fat lady and coax her into singing. No such luck. I could convince him to go home with me and never tell Danni. Jeez hes handsome, cried the little voice. Stop that you bitch. Its for the best, yelled her conscience.
"Earth to Desire," said Ares interrupting her thoughts. "Does this mean we arent going to have dinner together?"
"You still want to?"
"Of course. I had fun yesterday. Besides the evening wasnt a total loss. I did hook up with the lovely Dr. Peters. You missed a good time Desire," he answered, stroking the small brunettes hand as he spoke.
"It figures. You can tell me all about it over dinner."
"Sure. I made a reservation at that restaurant you like so much, the Captains Quarters."
"Good then go home, get some rest and clean yourself up. I didnt get a chance to tell you earlier but you look like shit."
"Thank you so much for the commentary."
"Hey youre the one who insists on honesty."
CHAPTER THIRTY-THREE - THE MOMENT OF TRUTH
Desire stood in front of the bathroom mirror carefully finishing her make up
aware that tonight she would be seeing Danni for the first time in four weeks. It had felt like four years to her and she wasnt sure if she was ready to face the tall dark beauty that haunted her dreams night after night.
Her only obstacle was Ares. He had been such a gentleman and she had been such a tease and he still wanted to take her to dinner to celebrate her birthday knowing that at this time tomorrow she would be back in the arms of the woman she loved.
The doorbell rang. Desire yelled for Ares to come in, surprised that he would choose to enter through the door tonight. After spraying cologne in all of the appropriate places she left the bathroom listening as the doorbell rang a second and third time. She hurried to answer it.
A short man dressed in a tuxedo was standing across the threshold pointing to the waiting limousine. Ares was waving through the window from the back of the vehicle. Desire grabbed her purse and followed the man out the door, stepping into the limo to join the dark god.
"Very nice," she purred.
"Only the best for you," he answered popping open a chilled bottle of champagne and pouring the bubbling liquid into two glasses. "How does lobster tail and steak sound?"
"It sounds like my dinner last night," she quipped. "I could eat fish every day of the week."
"So could I Desire. So could I," responded Ares a playful grin forming on his lips.
"Are we talking about food here?" Desire asked her eyes twinkling mischievously.
"Its like ambrosia, food for the gods."
"We are definitely not talking about food. I take it you and Caroline had a good time."
"It could only have been better if you hadnt passed out," he answered. "You did that on purpose didnt you?"
"I was drunk or dont you remember?"
"You werent that drunk."
"Actually I was. I meant to pass out after watching the two of you."
"You little voyeur," replied Ares teasingly.
"Voyeur, exhibitionist. Im just your average all around pervert."
"Is being in love worth missing out on a night like last night?"
"Ask me again after Danni and I make up," answered Desire as the limo came to a stop in front of the restaurant.
Dinner was a very enjoyable experience for Desire. The light banter continued throughout the meal as Ares went into detail describing his interlude with the sexy doctor. Desire squirmed uncomfortably in her seat listening to the erotic description Ares told about the blonde.
By the end of the meal Desires face was flushed from arousal. Silently she prayed that Danni would willingly kiss and make up quickly so they could go back to her house and fuck each other in two.
Ares pressed against Desire as they left the restaurant holding her closely until they were safely in the car. He kept his arm around her gently caressing her hand, tracing a pattern up her arm as he whispered additional intimate details into her ears, the warm breath causing goose bumps to rise from Desires skin.
"Youre going to make this tough on me arent you?" asked Desire inhaling deeply.
"Would you expect any less from me?" he asked placing a feather light kiss on her earlobe followed by more kisses against her neck. His right hand roamed down her stomach caressing her inner thigh as he spoke. "I can feel the heat emanating from your body Des. It feels good doesnt it?"
"Of course it feels good," responded Desire her voice trembling from the stimulation of her senses.
Ares placed his hand on her cheek, turning her face toward him. Breathlessly she leaned forward her lips covering his mouth, a probing tongue forcing his lips open to deepen the kiss. She repositioned herself to gain better access to the dark gods body. Small hands cupped his face pulling him closer as she devoured him with her lips responding to the heat building between her legs. After several long sweet moments she moved back, a confused look on her face. "I have to stop," she whispered to the dejected god. "Im sorry. You feel and look so damn good but I want to make things with Danni," she added visibly flustered.
"You want to make things with Danni," repeated Ares mockingly.
Desire laughed realizing the implication of her words. "You put my mind in the gutter. I want Danni to be the one in the gutter with me." Desire paused screwing her face up before continuing. "You know what I mean. If she ever leaves me again youll be the first one I call."
"We made a great team Des. If you ever change your mind there are a lot of women just waiting to invite us into their bed. Jeanette and Irene, Caroline," started Ares.
"Shh," Desire said placing her hand over the dark gods mouth. "Evil Desire is listening. Dont give her anymore ideas." Desire kissed Ares tenderly one last time before the limousine came to a stop in front of the night club. "Tell Caroline I said hello," she added as the driver opened the door.
Desire made her way quietly out of the limousine, smoothing out the wrinkles in her suit as she stood up. She greeted the hostess at the door and looked through the poolroom searching for her tall dark brunette. She made her way up the staircase once she was certain Danni was not on the first floor.
She looked around the bar as she reached the top of the staircase. Couples were sitting down along the sides of the walls while the single women stood in empty spaces in the middle of the floor. The dance floor was packed and made her search difficult. Desire casually walked to the bar and ordered a beer, still searching the establishment. Maybe Danni changed her mind, she thought.
She made her way to the front of the crowd to watch the dancers on the floor, ignoring the inquiring looks coming her way. She froze when the tall dark head of her love appeared above the crowd at the back of the dance floor. Desire strained her head to see who she was dancing with. A familiar blonde head came into view leaving Desire stunned and shaking in anger as she watched the two women dance very close together. Desire walked behind a couple of women to hide herself from Dannis sight.
She watched and waited for the two ladies to step down from the floor when the music slowed down then watched in horror as both women joined hands and moved much closer to each other, oblivious to their surroundings and the dark green eyes staring at them. Desires heart began pounding loudly in her chest, her knees weakening as both women leaned into each other kissing passionately.
Desire lifted the beer to her mouth and downed the contents of the bottle in one gulp then walked quickly to the bar, sitting on the only empty seat at the back end of the club. She motioned for the bartender to come over. "Line em up. Three shots of gold, some salt and just bring me a fucking lime," she stated. "Oh and a beer to wash em down."
"Sounds a bit drastic Desire," stated Cassie, the bartender.
"Its my fucking birthday tomorrow and I just got a really bad surprise. Just pour the drinks. I have a driver outside waiting for me," replied Desire.
Desire watched as the shots were poured and one by one she swallowed them, licking the salt and sucking on the lime. When she was finished she washed the tequila down with a beer and slipped a couple of pills in her mouth. The alcohol was already taking effect by the time a fourth shot and beer were served.
"Care to talk about it honey," asked Cassie. Cassie watched Desire drink the final shot and waited for an answer. Desire stared at her for a moment trying to compose herself before answering. "Life just sucks," she said, a slight slur in her words.
"Wheres your buddy, you know the handsome guy youve been hanging with?" asked Cassie.
"Thats just the problem. I sent him home because I thought I would surprise somebody tonight. Guess what? The surprise is on me." Desire turned in her chair pointing to the space along the wall now occupied by Danni and Jill still engaged in passionate kisses. "You see that tall brunette?" asked Desire as Cassie nodded her answer. "That is my soul mate and the one attached to her face is an ex-lover." Desire stopped to take a long drink from the beer, feeling the rush of adrenaline from the tequila.
"Life just sucks. I spend my 1st life being honorable only to be crucified and have my head decapitated so I can come back to life and eventually get run through with a sword at a young age for a bunch of fucking amazons who die out anyway. Then I take an arrow so the mother of peace doesnt kill. And it never gets better. All of my lives are the same. Ive been hung for treason, burned at the stake as a witch and even ruled in France. Of course I was executed before my fortieth birthday. Big fucking surprise there. And my lives in America havent been any better. I run through towns alerting every one the British are coming only to be attacked and killed with a musket but does anyone even know who I am? No, the only one we ever hear about is Paul Revere. Then Im blown to bits by a canon during the civil war and I wake up on DDay only to run into a fucking bomb. Not a good way to wake up but hey now I dont have to worry about any god damned war. So here I am today almost forty and I finally find my soul mate and guess what? Shes in the fucking corner of this fucking bar sucking face with my ex-lover who in all probability is the fucking reason I spent three years in jail because she had to put fucking drugs in her drink."
"What are you talking about? I think youve had enough," stated Cassie after Desire finished her ranting.
"Reincarnation man. Past lives. Its a reality and my reality just sucks. There is living proof," added Desire pointing to Danni.
"What happened to the short blonde?" asked Cassie.
"What short blonde? You mean shes already been with more then one. The bitch," answered Desire.
"Yeah shes been in a couple of times with a little blonde, short hair, even smaller then you," quipped Cassie.
"Dont piss me off Cass," hissed Desire. "And dont call me little."
"Since when are you so sensitive?"
"Since I found out I was very small Amazon with a fucking temper and a chip on her shoulder. Now what did this other blonde look like?" she asked trying to articulate her speech unsuccessfully.
"Lets just say they looked like they were going to a Xena convention."
Desire looked intently at Cassie trying to dissect the information. "Wasnt her then. She has a twin. What were they doing here anyway?"
"Actually they were asking a lot of questions about Jillian."
"Great. Im sure theyve told Danni everything." Desire looked over in Dannis direction and quickly ducked her head as the tall woman walked by on her way to the restroom.
"Im outta here," said Desire, slapping two twenties on the counter to cover her drinks. She headed for the staircase, ignoring the name Tiger being called over the music. In seconds she was downstairs, tumbling down half of them in her hurry to leave the establishment. Shit Im gonna hurt in the morning. At least it got me down here faster. Just walk on by and ignore everyone you idiot," cried the little voice. You really need to work on being cool.
Danni turned around before entering the restroom. She could feel the presence of Desires energy but could not see the small brunette anywhere in the bar. Deciding she was mistaken she walked back to her date when she heard Jillian call out someones name. "See something you like," she husked as she walked up to the tall blonde.
"Its nothing. I thought I recognized an old friend but I guess I was wrong," she replied. "Are you ready to go?"
"Sure," answered Danni then followed her date out of the door, her eyes scanning the parking lot for the small brunette.
Through the tinted window of the limousine Desire watched the two walk out of the nightclub hand in hand. She grabbed the bottle of tequila and downed another shot.
Danni drove the vehicle down the coast to Jillians home, pulled into the driveway and shut the engine off. She got out of the car, opened the passengers door for her date and followed her to the doorway waiting nervously as Jillian found the key and opened the door.
Jillian took Dannis hand and led her into the front room, seating her on the sofa. Before Danni could object Jillian sat in her lap wrapping slender long arms around her neck and pulling her in for a kiss. The contact was passionate from the start as both women opened their mouths inviting the other one in.
Danni could feel the passion of fire ignite within her body as her tongue explored the blondes mouth. The kiss lingered on for several minutes and continued to deepen leaving both women breathless as they broke the contact momentarily. Jillians hands roamed greedily across Dannis chest, caressing soft breasts through the silk of her blouse, eliciting a moan from the tall brunette. Thoughts of a green-eyed brunette flooded Dannis mind as Jillian gently squeezed her nipples. Dannis body went rigid and she pulled away from the blonde.
"Whats wrong?" she asked still panting heavy from the contact.
"I cant do this," answered Danni pushing the blonde away.
"Dont tell me. You have a girlfriend," stated Jillian sarcastically.
"Yes I do and just because were going through a rough spot doesnt mean I should be doing this."
"Youve picked a fine time to get a conscience. Does this woman even have a name?"
"Her name is Desire."
"Formerly known as Darlene Long?" Jillian looked at Danni in disbelief. "Are you nuts? That woman is crazy."
"How do you know her?"
"I used to date her."
"It was long before I met you and only for a couple of months. Everyone called her Tiger. It was just a fling. She was too messed up for me."
"Why do you say she is crazy?"
"I ran into her a few weeks ago. She couldnt even be civil. She just started yelling at me and throwing around false accusations. Youd think after eighteen years shed learn to take responsibility for her actions."
"What actions?" interrupted Danni.
"Danni shes an ex-convict. She got high on drugs one night a long time ago and crashed her car killing her friend. Then she acts like it was my fault. All I did was dance with the girl that night. I felt sorry for her. She didnt take the break up well at all."
"You were the one who danced with her that night?" asked Danni her body rigid.
"Among others," answered Jillian. "Why are you looking at me like that?"
"Come on Jillian. Its me. You told me that before we met you used to get high on cocaine and use Quaaludes to bring yourself down."
"Yes but I stopped that before we met."
"Just answer me one question. The last night you saw Desire were you high?"
"Everyone was high Danni. It was New Years Eve. But most of us were too intelligent to get behind the wheel of a car," she added snidely.
"Did you put anything in your drink?"
"Danni it was eighteen years ago. I dont remember."
"But you could have."
"Its possible. Why are you asking me this? Those days are long gone. I drink but nothing more."
"Did I ever tell you about my older sister Linda?"
"You mentioned her once or twice but as I recall you didnt like talking about her. You said the emotions were still too raw."
"They are still very raw. I have to go Jillian. I cant talk about this anymore."
"What arent you telling me?"
"It doesnt matter. What matters is what Im telling you right now. I dont want to be with you. This is wrong," answered Danni standing up. "Sometimes the human heart feels what our eyes cant see. Ive been blind. I have to find Desire. Shes my soul mate, not you," added Danni leaving before Jillian could get up to stop her.
Danni arrived at home just after midnight. Blonde and brunette were sitting up waiting anxiously to hear about the reunion. Smiles turned to frowns as Danni walked in alone.
"Wheres Desire?" asked Mattie and Annie in unison.
"How the hell should I know?" asked Danni. "It wasnt my day to watch her."
"Didnt you and your friend go to the Suite tonight?" inquired Mattie.
"You mean Jillian," started Danni.
"Grendel? You were with Grendel?" asked Annie.
"Excuse me," started Danni.
"The stick monster with the roaming hands. What the hell were you doing with her?" continued Annie.
"I told you I was going out this morning. Whats the big deal?"
"You tell us," interrupted Mattie. "Where is Desire?"
"I was with Jillian all day. I havent seen her."
"So you didnt go to the Suite?" asked Annie.
"Yes we went to the Suite. You act like its a crime."
"What were you doing with Gren, I mean Jillian?" asked Mattie.
"We were on a date."
"Please dont tell us you were kissing her," interjected Annie.
"Would someone please tell me what the hell is going on?" replied Danni.
"You were kissing her," accused Annie. "This is not good. How could you blow it?"
"Maybe Desire stayed at home tonight," interrupted Mattie trying to be optimistic.
"Hello guys. What the hell are you talking about?"
"We saw Desire this morning. We wouldve called you but you left your cell phone at home," answered Annie.
"We told her you would be at the Suite with a friend," added Mattie.
"Great, just fucking great," cried Danni. "How could you do that?"
"We thought we were helping you. You do want to make up with her dont you?" asked Mattie.
Danni covered her face with both hands in frustration. "I do now."
"Why were you out with Grendel?" asked Annie.
"When I didnt hear from Desire I went to her home yesterday morning. Before I could work up the nerve to go up to the front door she came out with Ares. They were kissing. I followed them until I couldnt take it anymore. They looked like a couple so I called Jillian."
"And Desire probably showed up at the bar tonight and thought you were with Jillian," interjected Mattie.
"This is a mess. Its bad enough she saw you with another woman but with her ex-lover," started Annie.
"The one she danced with the night Linda died," finished Danni.
"How do you know about that?" asked Mattie.
"It doesnt matter now. What a mess," said Danni sighing. She slumped into the nearest chair, her head in her hands in defeat. "What do I do now? Shes probably in bed with Ares as we speak."
Mattie kneeled next to Danni and took her hands gently. "Go to the beach," she started.
"Why would I go to the beach now?" interrupted Danni exasperated.
"Its her birthday. She told me about a beach that she goes to when she is depressed. She has spent many birthdays there alone," finished Mattie.
"What if shes not depressed? Ares looked like he was making her happy."
"Its just an act," answered Annie. "She wants to be with you."
"I would bet money that she will be there in a few hours. She says it is the most beautiful place in the world in the early morning hours during a summer full moon. Go to her and talk things out."
"Will you guys come with me?" asked Danni.
"I think you two need to be alone," answered Mattie.
"Just give me an hour to talk with her then follow. It would mean the world to me."
"What do you have in mind?" asked Annie curiously.
"Just a surprise for Desires birthday. Humor me."
"Well be there," answered Mattie and Annie in unison.
"Why did you call me here?" asked Ares looking around the deserted street in front of Desires house.
"Stay away from her bro," answered Aphrodite.
"Whats wrong now? Did their little reunion not go as planned?" asked Ares snidely.
"Things went way wrong but theyre not irreparable. I promised not to get involved but this thing has gotten way out of hand."
"Then dont interfere. Let nature takes it course."
"So you can sleep with Desire. No way. Theyre too close to getting back together again."
"Then why are you asking for my help?"
"Im not asking you. Im telling you. Leave her alone tonight. She wants Danni not you."
"Desire has her own free will. If she wants me she gets me," answered Ares.
"Damn you. I knew I should have intervened when they asked me to. Do it as a favor to me."
"What do I get in return?"
"The satisfaction of knowing you did the right thing."
"That sounds rather selfless. Its not my thing."
"Do it for love then."
"Youre the goddess of love not me."
"Ares please just once show some compassion," yelled Aphrodite in frustration.
"Just this once! I have spent countless days with Desire not touching her. I have been compassionate!" he answered raising his voice.
"I saw the compassion last night. Thank goodness Desire passed out on you two. It sure didnt stop you from enjoying her friend."
"It was the opportunity of a lifetime. I took it."
"So just say no this once."
Ares shook his head in anger. "No. Im not gonna do it. If Danni blew it then its her problem not mine!"
"Oh youuuuu!," cried Aphrodite and with a twinkle of light she was gone.
Desire surveyed her decorating. The bedroom looked like it did the night before when Ares and Caroline came over. Candles burned on every tabletop surrounding the bed. Crushed rose petals that came from the two dozen roses Desire had purchased for Danni were strewn along the carpet and bed sheets. She was dressed in black laced lingerie that left little to the imagination.
"Ares," she said her voice low and sultry.
With a brilliant flash of light the dark god stood in her bedroom his eyes glued to the alluring brunette lying across the top of the bed his lower lip dropping to the top of his chest.
"So do you have anything left for me?" she asked her eyes looking seductively at Ares.
Ares stood motionless a lascivious look on his face. "What do you mean?" he asked attempting to contain his lust.
"I figure Caroline probably wore you out last night. Its gonna take a god to keep up with me tonight," she answered her right hand stroking her neck slowing moving down her body to caress her breast through the delicate material.
"What happened with Danni?" asked Ares sitting down on the bed placing his hand over Desires following the movement as her hand glided over the lace down her stomach toward her thigh.
"Shes moved on. I was lured there to witness her on a date with my ex girlfriend Jillian."
"The crazy blonde?"
"One and the same," whispered Desire. "Lets not talk anymore," she added tugging at the leather vest and pulling him closer to her. Desire devoured the dark god with her gaze. Desire licked her lips with anticipation as her face neared his, their lips touching. Mouths opened with eager tongues exploring each other in a passionate embrace.
Desire pushed his vest off exposing the muscular chest. She ran her fingers through the fine hairs pinching his nipples, her lips never leaving his. Small hands roamed down rippling muscles until they found the belt buckle. Hungrily she removed the offending object unzipping his pants as the sensual caresses became fiercer eliciting moans from both participants.
"Take them off," she whispered her eyes riveted on the long hard body as the clothing was stripped away. Ares stood in front of her in all of his glory. Not in my wildest imagination, she thought. Lustful eyes widened as he gracefully placed himself above her stripping away her panties with one hand before moving up to face her. Full supple lips closed around her neck as he kissed a trail of fire down her collarbone, removing the last piece of clothing to expose full breasts, nipples hardened from the arousal.
Desire leaned her head back moaning from the touch. "Dan, oh god that feels so good," she purred. Ares stopped momentarily noting the slip of tongue when Desire started to call Dannis name. He gingerly moved back up her body placing one hand over her closed eyes. Desires body writhed from the shift of contact before darkness invaded her senses.
Ares looked down at the small sleeping form and with a snap of his fingers he was fully dressed. "Damn it," he growled. "A couple lousy years as a mortal and Im scarred for life." With a brilliant flash of light Ares found himself in front of the doctors home in San Pedro. "I hope the good doctor is ready to play," he said when Caroline answered the door.
CHAPTER THIRTY-FOUR BROKEN DREAMS
Desire bucked wildly beneath Ares reveling in the incredible sensations created by the dark god. She was sweating profusely as her hips rocked in a rhythmic motion matching his thrusts. Ares locked his lips over her mouth kissing her fervently as her body trembled and shook from the ecstasy of the moment. Ares rode her crying his release into the hot summer air slowing down to catch his breath before dropping down her body to pleasure her with his tongue.
Desire lay quietly in strong arms until sleep overcame her. She found herself swimming naked in the pool watching as Danni dove into the pool surfacing in front of her. Danni pushed Desire across the water until she was sitting on the steps in the shallow end. Pale blue eyes twinkled in the moonlight as Danni leaned in kissing Desire on the lips, her hands roaming between the small brunettes legs as she gasped for air.
Desire woke up, beads of sweat covering her forehead. She looked around at the rumpled sheets on the bed filled with the scent of the dark god. "Oh jeez. What happened?" The clock on the bed read 3:00am. She started talking out loud to herself listing the events of the evening. "Okay I went to dinner with Ares. Danni was kissing Jillian at the bar and I drank tequila. I have got to stop drinking tequila," she said rubbing her face while two un-amused cats stared at her from the floor near the bed. "Cats not on the bed is not a good sign!"
She stood up walking around the room to snuff out the smoldering candles. "I invited Ares and oh god I remember everything we did. What have you done idiot!" she yelled at her reflection in the mirror. You got lucky. Deal with it," cried the little voice.
"Oh just shut up!" she yelled grabbing her aching head with both hands and pulling her hair by the roots.
"Meow," cried Figaro.
"I wasnt talking to you." Desire looked at herself in the mirror. "You really are the crazy old cat lady," she said pointing at her reflection. "At least you have a reflection. Where do I come up with this stuff? Focus. You just had sex with the god of war." He fucked you in half," cried the little voice. "Shut up!" Desire frantically searched through her discarded clothing until she found the comforting pill bottle and opened it pouring the contents onto the dresser. She grabbed a hand full of pills and threw them in the back of her throat, washing them down with a swig of water from the bottle on the nightstand.
Quickly she put her bathing suit on followed by a pair of shorts and thongs and looked out of the front window. The limousine was still parked in the driveway, the driver sleeping in the front seat.
She locked the door behind her and walked to the waiting car, knocking on the window to wake the driver. He looked at her and jumped out opening the back door for her to enter. Desire took her seat in the back and opened the liquor compartment, extracting the half-empty bottle of tequila.
"Where to Miss Love?" asked the driver.
"Sunset Beach. Near the Jack in the Box," she answered before slamming back a shot of the gold liquid. "I might as well get tanked. My life is over any way," she mumbled ignoring the inquisitive stares of her chauffeur.
Danni parked her car in the lot and strolled toward the sandy shores of Sunset Beach bathed in the glorious moonlight cascading along the ocean. She saw the flailing figure of the small brunette splashing in the calm water. To her right she noticed another shadow standing casually against the lifeguard station. "Ares," she hissed walking up to the ominous figure and standing next to him.
"I figured youd show up sooner or later," he stated.
"I thought she would be here alone," responded Danni.
"She has no idea Im here."
"Then why are you?"
"Somebody had to baby sit until you showed up," he answered dryly.
"If she was happy with you she wouldnt be here. What did you do to her?"
"I have done nothing to her which is a lot more then I can say about you," he replied defensively. "Can I help it she finds me irresistibly attractive?"
"So you took advantage of the situation and slept with her?" Danni answered her voice in a low menacing whisper.
"She didnt do anything she didnt want to do."
"Thats cold comfort Ares."
"Come on Danni. She saw you with that blonde. It was bad enough being lured to that club just to see you cavorting with another woman but to be there with her ex lover. That was just mean."
"I had no idea her and Jillian shared a past."
"And that makes it alright?"
"It wasnt a set up Ares. Annie had no idea I was on a date."
"Then youve moved on. Why are you here?"
"I havent moved on. I reacted badly to the situation."
"Does red slurpee ring any bells?"
Ares thought about the comment before speaking. "You saw that?" Danni nodded her head in response. "Why didnt you call her in San Diego if you care so much," he asked his voice dripping with sarcasm. "I know she left you a letter at her house."
"Aphrodite chewed the letter up," answered Danni.
"My sister can be accused of doing a lot of things but chewing up a paper note. I dont think so."
"No not Aphrodite your sister, the puppy!"
"You named a dog after Aphrodite. Oh how the mighty Olympians have fallen. She must love you for that."
"She got used to the idea. Wait till you see the puppy. Can we please focus on whats important here?" stammered Danni impatiently. "What did the note say?"
"It said that if she didnt hear from you she would move on."
"Thats why she was with you yesterday isnt it?"
"That and Im incredibly handsome," answered Ares smugly.
"She thinks I slept with Jillian doesnt she?"
"You mean you havent?" asked Ares surprise in his voice.
"No it was a retaliatory date. I left with her last night but nothing happened."
"Desire doesnt know the truth. Just remember that when you two talk."
"She must hate me," stated Danni wistfully.
"She should but she doesnt, otherwise she wouldnt be bouncing around the ocean floor singing sad country songs. Can you forgive her?"
"Yes Ive had plenty of time to think about the accident," started Danni.
"I wasnt talking about the accident."
Danni turned to face the dark god standing toe to toe with him. "What else should I forgive her for?" she asked angrily.
"She thought you were in bed with Jillian. She thought you had moved on. What do you think Im talking about?"
"You really slept with her. I didnt want to believe it but I can see it in your eyes," Danni started her voice trembling.
"Answer the question," interrupted Ares. "Can you forgive her?"
Danni walked away from Ares contemplating the question. The thought of Ares in bed with Desire made her stomach churn. She played the events of the previous month over and over in her head looking at the ocean and watching her soul mate continue to flop around in the ocean. She realized the only thing she wanted to do was wrap her arms around Desire and hold on for dear life.
"My actions have caused this mess," she stated walking back to face the dark god.
"Ding ding ding, score one for Danni. Of course I have to admit Desire isnt exactly the most rational person on the planet and moving out of the state without telling anyone was a bit on the idiotic side but you have to admit she has a flare for the dramatic."
"Its good to know Im not the only one who thought her actions were a bit over the top. The answer to your question Ares is yes."
"Then what are you standing here for. Go get her before she accidentally drowns herself on purpose."
"That statement makes no sense."
"This is Desire were talking about. Shes trying to kill herself out there," he answered pointing to the small brunette who was now crawling further into the ocean. She was hundreds of feet away from the shoreline but the low tide still only reached the top of her thighs.
"You dont really think shes," started Danni.
"Trying to kill herself," finished Ares. "Poor thing. She just keeps stumbling farther out but the water still barely goes past her knees. It has been amusing though."
"And youve just stood here watching her," stated Danni.
"What should I do? She isnt in any danger out there. I knew you would show up."
Danni nodded and started walking toward the ocean.
"Danni," the dark god called out. Danni turned to face Ares. "Nothing happened between us tonight or any other night."
Danni looked at Ares cocking her head to the side, a quizzical expression on her face. "But you just said," she started.
"I wanted to know if you could forgive her."
"Nothing happened. You havent had sex with her. I dont understand."
"Lets just say the lady knows how to party." Danni looked at Ares not quite understanding the message. "Shes been drinking. A lot. She kept passing out on me," added Ares.
"Why are you telling me this Ares?"
"I dont know. Dont question me. But I wouldnt mind watching Desire squirm a bit."
"She thinks we had sex tonight. Thats why shes here on the beach."
"But you said she passed out."
"Yes I did. I also implanted a dream in her mind of us having sex. She doesnt know it was a dream. She thinks it was real."
"You are evil Ares."
"And dont you forget it. Go make her squirm."
Danni flashed a devilish grin at Ares and began walking toward the water.
CHAPTER THIRTY-FIVE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE
Danni could hear the sweet voice of the small brunette as she neared the water. She took her shoes off and walked into the shallow tide. Desire was oblivious to the sound of water splashing behind her as she continued to sing, her words slightly slurred from the alcohol she had consumed earlier.
'Cause I do not forgive and I do not forget.
I will fight for love until the death.
Jezebel, save your charms.
She'll be back here in my arms.
Oh how quickly you forget.
She is not yours yet.
She is not yours not yet.
"And who would you be referring to?" husked Danni standing within a few feet of her intended target. The sudden noise frightened Desire causing her to lurch forward and lose her footing on the ocean floor. She landed face down in the water before regaining her composure and turning around to face the tall brunette.
Desire stared into pale blue eyes peering back into her soul until she found her voice.
"At a loss for words. Thats a first," said Danni grinning at the small brunette trying to wipe the salt water from her face.
"Are you here to come thwimming with me?" asked Desire saying the first thing that came to her mind. A fucking month apart and thats all you could come up with! Cried the little voice in her head. Idiot! Nice lisp by the way.
"Im not dressed for the beach."
"What you didnt know you were going to the beach?" she asked slowly articulating her speech to eliminate the slur of her speech.
"I knew I was coming here I just didnt dress for it."
"Thats kinda dumb dontcha think? Take your clothes off and come on," stated Desire turning toward the ocean and walking away from Danni, the water still barely reaching the top of her thighs. "Ill get naked if you do."
"Desire stop," called Danni. "I didnt come here to swim. I came here to talk."
Desire did as commanded, her pulse racing, the sound of her heartbeat pounding loudly within her chest. "Why are you at my beach?" she asked defiantly.
"I came here to find you," answered Danni.
"You found me," mumbled Desire looking down at the water. "Thouldnt you be in bed with Jillian?" Damn those tricky Ss.
"I should be in bed with you," replied Danni.
"Itth a little bit late for that dontcha think?"
"I didnt sleep with Jillian."
"Oh come on. I thaw the two of you at the bar. You were in heat and with my exth lover."
"I guess thats another thing we have in common."
"You and Jillian were loverth? When?"
"When I was in college. We were together for three years before she broke my heart."
"Gee you mutht rate. I didnt even warrant three month with the bitch. Two month and poof," started Desire snapping her hand in front of her. "She dropped me like a nathty habit."
"I didnt sleep with her," reaffirmed Danni.
"Oh no. Dont thay that. I know Jillian. I thaw you two," started Desire.
"I didnt sleep with her," interrupted Danni.
Desire stared at Danni her mouth open wide in wonderment. "Oh god no." Desire began to tremble, thoughts of the evening running through her mind causing her a great deal of discomfort.
"I thought you would be happy," replied Danni attempting to hide the smile threatening to invade her lips as she watched Desire squirm with this new information.
"Oh this ith so not goood," stammered Desire slurring her words even more as the pain pills kicked into high gear. Suddenly she could not feel her feet and tumbled into the water on all fours. "Oh shtit, oh no," she cried slapping her face with her right hand. "Oh I dont feel tho goot."
Danni leaned down and extended her hand to help the distraught woman up, only to have it batted away. "Get away from me," cried Desire attempting to swim away from Danni on her hands and knees. "Oh god. What have I done?"
Danni grabbed Desire and pulled her up holding her out of the water while the small brunette continued to swing her arms forward splashing the water. "No! I you," she started. Danni held onto the small brunette, wrapping strong arms around her to contain her.
"Desire what is it?"
"I, sth, I sthl oh god I fucked Areth," she answered before bursting into tears. Danni pulled Desire toward her, holding her tightly.
"Ssh. Hey its okay. We were on a break," whispered Danni offering comfort.
"No, itsh not okay."
"I forgive you," added Danni.
"But how do I forgif mythelf?" asked Desire her words becoming more slurred every minute.
Realizing that maybe she had gone too far, Danni decided to let Desire off the hook before the damage was irreparable. "You didnt have sex with Ares. It was a dream."
Desire stopped squirming against her captor momentarily her foggy mind trying to process the information unsuccessfully. "What do you mean it wath a dream?"
"You passed out. Ares implanted a sex dream in your mind as retribution."
"Thon of a bith. Bathtard. So I didnt do the nathty with him?
"No but you wanted to," answered Danni.
"But I didnt. Thats the important thing," Desire replied articulating each word very slowly. "Heth very hanthome you know."
"I forgive you," whispered Danni.
"Whait. How do you know thisth?"
"He told me."
Desire turned around to face Danni a dangerous glint in her eyes forming beneath the glazed lenses. "You bith," she cried pounding her fists against Dannis chest. "You knew and you let me cower. How could you?" Danni fought to restrain the small hands flailing wildly against her until Desire stopped, her head wavering forward as the rush of blood went straight to her head, the dizziness leaving her nauseous. "Oh boy, I dont feel tho goot," she added the color draining from her face.
Danni picked her up and slung her over her shoulder running straight for the shore. She set Desire down gently in front of the lifeguard station as a crowd of familiar faces looked on.
Desire stood on shaky feet wavering in front of her friends. Mattie and Annie watched with concern. Aphrodite and Maryanne stood a distance away next to Ares as Desire blinked twice before speaking. "Where did you come from? Dont you know thith ith a private beach?"
"Its a public beach you ninny," defended Annie as Desire lurched forward, the contents of her stomach emptying onto the sand.
"If you were watching her how could you let her get so messed up?" Mattie asked Ares.
"Hey Im not her keeper," defended Ares. "She slept the first drunk off. How could she get so bad on three shots of Tequila?"
Desire continued to wretch drowning the sounds of the voices.
"Because she had a few pain pills to start out the evening," stated Annie pointing to the mess in the sand.
"Damn you Desire," cried Maryanne. "You promised me you could handle it, that you didnt have a problem. I would have taken those pills if I hadnt trusted you."
"I do not have a problem," defended Desire standing up to take a breath.
"That explains why your system is filled with them. I think we need to take her to the hospital so she doesnt try to kill herself again," replied Maryanne.
"I did not try to kill myself," hissed Desire before leaning back over into the sand.
"Why would you think she tried to kill herself?" interrupted Mattie.
"Shut up Maryanne," added Desire. "I dont have a problem anymore. The pills are strictly for fun now."
"Are we having fun yet cowgirl?" asked Annie, her voice dripping with sarcasm.
"Cant one of you guys do the god thing and help me here?" pleaded Desire pointing at Ares and Aphrodite.
"Sorry babe but I want you to learn your lesson," answered Aphrodite.
"Ive learned my lesson, honest. Im gonna throw up a lung any minute now. Cant ya just help me then smack me around a little?"
"Not gonna do it," answered Aphrodite moving away from Desire as she leaned over a fifth time. Desire finally leaned back against the ladder, confident her stomach was empty.
The goddess walked in front of her careful not to step in the moist sand and looked into her patients eyes while the others watched on. Desires eyes rolled back in her head before focusing on the blue eyes of the goddess. Aphrodite looked into pale green eyes and without warning slapped the woman across the face. "Thats for taking the pills."
"Owe shit and youre gonna beat me too! Ares has been way nicer then youre being."
Angrily Aphrodite aimed a rising kick into Desires jaw snapping her head back into the wooden ladder. "And thats for sleeping with my brother."
Desire stumbled forward placing her hand behind her head swatting Annie away as she offered aide to the small brunette. "Gods since when did you become such a butch," she growled feeling the warmth of the blood trickling from the scar in the back of her head.
"Just because Im the goddess of love doesnt mean I cant kick some ass when someones ass needs to be kicked," she said back.
"And I didnt sleep with him," added Desire.
Annie saw the blood flowing from the scar and quietly moved forward to steady her friend. Noting the g-string on the brunette she leaned over to give Desire a playful pat and try to help her with her balance. "And it is a rather lovely little ass to kick," she said teasingly, gently placing her hand on Desires rear to help stabilize the still weaving woman.
Her good intentions had the opposite effect as the contact startled Desire causing her to jump violently backward, slamming her head into the steps a second time. The force of the blow sent her flying forward headfirst into the sand. Panicked Annie rushed to help her, placing a hand over the open wound and yelling at Aphrodite who cringed as the woman crash-landed.
"Are you okay?" yelled Mattie and Maryanne running to their friends aide followed by her panicked girlfriend.
"What are you trying to do kill her?" asked Aphrodite.
"Dont even start with me," defended Annie. "I was trying to help her."
Desire began to stir as her friends crowded around her. Slowly she lifted her head, "Its okay. My face broke the fall," she said then fell forward again. The wound was now flowing freely as Maryanne scrambled to find something clean to stop the bleeding.
Danni pushed her sister out of the way in an effort to check on her love. Gently she cradled Desires neck while Annie grabbed hold of her torso and together they turned the small woman toward them. Desires face was caked with sand, her eyes and lips barely visible as she attempted to spit the sand from her mouth. Danni and the rest of the gang fought to control their laughter at the unsightly vision of their unlucky friend. Annie started wiping the sand from her eyes and Desire started yelling when she tried to open them, the sand now falling into pale green eyes. Panicked Desire started rubbing her eyes making the condition worse. She yelled from the stinging sensation she was feeling.
"Oh for gods sake," stated Ares. "Why didnt you just help her in the first place Aphrodite?"
Desire continued rubbing her eyes desperately to stop the pain as her eyes started to swell up. Maryanne pushed her way toward her buddy with a bottle of water in her hand and poured the liquid over her face while Annie and Danni restrained the distraught womans hands. After several moments the golden brown face appeared, stained with tears. Everyone watched in horror as her eyes reddened and swelled up within seconds.
"Oh shit," cried Desire.
"Shes allergic isnt she?" asked Annie. Maryanne nodded her head in response as Annie shook her head and started laughing uncontrollably.
"Eyes are gonna swell up like balloons," answered Maryanne joining in the laughter.
"This is so not funny," hissed Desire her head throbbing from the pain.
"Oh no this is funny," interjected Ares laughing heartily. "This is definitely funny."
"Dont you dare laugh Danni," threatened Desire causing Danni to lose all self-control.
Ares pushed his way through the crowd of women and leaned over to Desire talking to her gently. Just as Desire thought the dark god would take pity on her he turned around and called to his sister. "Aphrodite you have to take a picture first," he said chuckling. Desire screamed her anger into his ear and with a burst of energy started beating him with her fists. Ares restrained her hands allowing the photo to be taken then placed one hand over her head. In moments the swelling went down and the bleeding stopped. Even Desires headache and stomachache disappeared. Her once swollen face was now filled with rage as she looked around for her target, the goddess of love. Moments later the water bottle lying in the sand rose from the ground and flew into the air finding its mark along the side of Aphrodites head.
"Oww," she cried as Desire stood up to confront her.
"Ya couldnt have just done that in the first place could ya?" she growled. "Ya had to teach me a lesson didnt ya?" she added walking toward the goddess only to be restrained by Mattie and Danni.
"Back off babe. You might be able to move objects with your mind but I can still turn you into a barbecue," defended Aphrodite a small ball of fire forming in her hand.
"Since when did you become so butch?" asked Desire.
"Shes been hanging out with Sue," interrupted Maryanne.
"Butch is cute on you," replied Desire.
"And just like that youre not pissed at her anymore?" asked Ares.
Desire looked around as everyone awaited her answer. "It doesnt hurt anymore and it was kind of funny," she responded sheepishly. "Its hard to stay mad at someone so cute."
"Good news for you sis," added Annie.
"So isnt this the part where you pick me up and kiss me?" asked Desire winking at Danni.
"Hows your breath?" Danni retorted eliciting a frustrated response from Desire. Aphrodite took her cue and approached the small brunette.
With a twinkle of light Desires appearance changed dramatically. Her hair was in perfect condition, as was her make up and the sand was gone from her appearance. She blew into her hand noting the freshness of mint. "So you are good for something," quipped Desire.
"The bikini stays. It looks good on you," answered Aphrodite ignoring the snide remark.
"Besides later you can use it for dental floss," added Annie chuckling.
Danni waited patiently as Aphrodite finished her primping before walking over to Desire and sweeping her off her feet. Desire wrapped her legs around Dannis waist and her hands around her neck returning the embrace, reveling in the sweet contact. "Is every day going to be like this?" asked Danni grinning into golden brown features.
Desire looked coyly around avoiding direct eye contact before looking over at the god of war.
"Oh please. Let me answer this one," interjected Ares.
"Do tell us," stated Danni.
"Well for starters be careful with her at the beach. If theres only one surfboard in the water shes bound to find it," Ares started then added, "With her head. And do not leave her in the Jacuzzi alone! Ever! Water is dangerous to her but she thinks shes a fish!"
"I am a fish."
"Fish dont drown. You drown!" he shouted pointing his hand at her.
"I drown once and youre going to throw it in my face. Mother thinks youre quite handsome by the way."
"You drowned?!" exclaimed Danni her expression turning to concern.
"I fell asleep. Thats all," answered Desire nonchalantly.
"Ill tell you about it later Danni. Just dont leave her in the water alone. Ever! And dont let her go to the bank alone. Im sure you all heard about the bank robbery a few weeks ago. Even the police chief called her stupid for that little stunt. I got shot for my efforts."
"What can I say? Shit flies when I get pissed off," interrupted Desire.
"And dont even ask me about the Fourth of July!" added Ares.
"Whats wrong? You told me you liked explosives!" defended Desire.
"Not at my feet!" growled Ares. As soon as he finished his sentence a small explosion was heard behind the dark god causing him to leap forward several feet, flushed from the sound. Aphrodite stood behind him laughing at his startled expression. "That is not funny!" yelled Ares waiting for the laughter to die out. "See what I mean. I used to like the sound of bombs exploding until she came along."
"So you still want to kiss and make up?" asked Desire gazing into ocean blue eyes.
"I knew we were forgetting something," answered Danni before engaging Desire in a soul searching kiss.
Desire stepped back looking into deep pools of blue a questioning look on her face. "This isnt right. Have you forgiven me Danni?"
"Ive had time to think. I know it was an accident," started Danni.
"It was irresponsible not an accident," interrupted Desire pale green eyes turning dark with anger.
"I accept that," interjected Danni placing her hand over Desires mouth. "Let me finish. "Linda would want us to be happy together. I know that now."
"What changed your mind?" asked Desire while the others looked on quietly.
"I went to see Jonathon." Desire fell backward out of Dannis grasp, tears clouding pale green eyes. "I met his wife," added Danni. "I saw a photo of Linda." Danni reached her hand under Desires chin lifting the golden brown face upward. Desire stared back tears flowing freely down her cheeks. "She has your eyes." Danni pulled the small brunette toward her hugging her fiercely. "You did good."
"Is she happy?" Desire asked choking back tears.
"Yes. Shes an honor student and a jock. They have a beautiful family," answered Danni holding on tightly. "Im sorry for judging you so quickly."
"I love you Danni."
"I love you too."
"By the way," Desire whispered into Dannis ear, "Now that Im coherent again, why is every one at my beach tonight?"
"Well Aphrodite is here to perform the ceremony," started Danni.
"What ceremony?" interrupted Desire.
"The wedding ceremony," answered Danni.
"Did you ask me to marry you?"
"Oh right. I knew I was forgetting something. I see you still have your ring," answered Danni running one hand along the piece of jewelry hanging from a gold chain around Desires neck. "I would kneel but I dont want sand up the wazoo."
Desires face turned serious. "Youre not kidding are you?" she asked.
"I havent even asked the question, hush," Danni stated placing one hand over Desires mouth. "You talk too much sometimes. Will you marry me?"
"Now? Im wearing a g-string," answered Desire.
"You look gorgeous to me," whispered Danni.
"But I dont have anything written down, you know vows, that kinda thing."
"Desire you would just trip over your tongue anyway," quipped Danni.
"Hey dont make fun of my tongue. Its good for a lot of things you know."
"I intend to find out," answered Danni.
"So is there going to be a wedding or what?" asked Aphrodite stepping in between the two women.
"Yes," answered Desire.
"Good then step around everyone." Aphrodite motioned to the others standing by silently. "Who is going to stand up for these two women?"
Annie stepped forward and stood next to Danni. Mattie grabbed Maryannes hand and stepped forward to stand next to Desire. "Well stand for Desire," she stated.
"Now who will give this woman away?" asked Aphrodite pointing at Desire.
"Oh goody. I get to be the girl," said Desire giggling.
Six pairs of eyes looked anxiously at the god of war. "Oh come on. Not me." "Please Ares," Desire asked softly with pleading eyes.
"Only if I get to see some hot girl on girl action," he answered.
"Ares," growled Desire.
"Oh all right but I swear Desire if Destiny ever decides to come visit all bets are off!"
"Its a deal," replied Desire. "Like thats ever gonna happen," she whispered into Dannis ear.
"Good now lets get down to business. I know you havent written any vows so I will say a few words for you. Desire your heart is true. Tonight you will lift the heavy burden of guilt that has lain so near to your heart. Danni tonight you have found forgiveness in your heart. The pain that has followed you around for so many years will lessen allowing you to love freely. Together you complete each other. Your souls are united through eternity. It is that strong bond that has brought you to this moment in time. Your love for each other will keep that bond united. Is there anyone here who believes that these two should not be together? If so speak now or forever hold your peace."
All eyes looked toward Ares.
"What?" he asked.
"Danni do you take this woman to be your wife, to have and to hold, to love and to cherish, in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad times, until death do you part?" continued Aphrodite.
"I do," answered Danni her eyes gazing lovingly into Desires.
"Desire do you take this woman to be your wife, to have and to hold, to love and to cherish, in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad times, until death do you part?"
"I do," answered Desire returning the gaze.
Aphrodite paused as Desire and Danni exchanged rings.
"With the power vested in me I now pronounce you hitched. Go on. Kiss each other," finished Aphrodite.
Everyone applauded as Danni leaned down to kiss Desire tenderly on the mouth.
"Wow Im not an old maid," Desire said admiring the rock on her finger.
"Just old," interjected Annie as she leaned down to hug the small brunette and offer her congratulations.
"Be nice to me. This makes me your sister."
"Theres a scary thought," quipped Annie receiving a playful slap from her new sister-in-law.
The others took their turns hugging and congratulating the new couple as the moon began its decent. Desire walked over to Ares who was conspicuously standing a distance from the group. "Why dont you join the rest of us?"
"This is your moment Des."
"You know I should be angry at you for implanting that dream in my brain."
"How come you arent mad?"
"Because I deserved it."
"For passing out on me?"
"I didnt pass out."
"Yes you did. Youve been drinking tequila like a fish."
"Thats why you put your hand over my face just before I passed out. I guess the spell wouldnt have worked if I was awake."
"I dont know what youre talking about," defended Ares.
"Of course you do. I wouldnt have fallen asleep without a little help from a friend," answered Desire placing one hand affectionately against his cheek. "Thank you friend."
"Go on. Its time to be with your wife," he stated holding up the keys to the BMW. "I thought you might like to give it to her now."
Desire scanned the parking lot her eyes resting on the majestic vehicle parked on the concrete. "You brought the car. That was very thoughtful of you. You can be a very sweet man Ares."
"Dont go spreading false rumors around. But if you want to let all of your friends know that Im an incredible lover its okay by me," he answered a twinkle in his eyes as he grinned at the small brunette.
"Youre a dog Ares."
"As long as its the three headed kind not a cute little puppy like that guy over there," he replied pointing at the little black, tan and white puppy bounding in the sand toward Danni.
"Oh my god, how cute," exclaimed Desire walking toward her lover.
"Desire," called Ares. She stopped to look at the dark god. "Youre welcome." Desire nodded her head in acknowledgement and rushed toward the dark furry creature nuzzling up to her wife followed by a tall lanky woman with wild hair.
"Is that your dog?" asked Desire pointing to Johnny.
"Um no. Im baby sitting her for a friend," she replied gazing at Desire approvingly. "Sorry I couldnt get here earlier. I take it I missed all of the fun."
"You missed the wedding," answered Danni petting little Aphrodite. "Johnny this is the elusive woman I was telling you about, Desire.
"It is a pleasure to meet you," Johnny said offering her hand to Desire who took it and shook hands with her. "Youre even more beautiful in person."
"Thank you," replied Desire blushing from the compliment. "Whos your little friend?"
Danni picked the puppy up and handed her to Desire. "This little girl is Aphrodite. Think of her as a wedding gift," she answered her face glowing as she watched Desires light up.
Desire held the little bundle of fur, scratching her belly while Aphrodite enthusiastically licked her face. "She is soo cute. My god Danni where did you find her?" she asked fawning over the puppy.
"Its love at first sight," Annie whispered to Mattie.
"Of course. Her name is Aphrodite," interjected the blonde goddess.
"That would make her the puppy of love," quipped Mattie.
"She was all alone on the street," Danni said answering Desires question. "It had to be fate."
"I cant believe theres another dog that looks like Blue. He is going to be so happy."
"Are you happy Desire?"
"Happy cant even describe what Im feeling right now," answered Desire moving closer to Danni and wrapping her free hand around the tall brunette. They giggled as the puppy barked, unhappy that she was being ignored and crushed between the two humans. "Just like Blue arent ya girl? Gotta be the center of attention."
"Just like her human," quipped Danni.
"Hey I resemble that remark." Desire paused before continuing. "I have something for you," she added setting the puppy down. She handed the keys to Danni and pointed to the BMW in the parking lot. "Shes sporty and sleek like you."
Danni stared at the vehicle her jaw dropping down in wonderment.
"I told you it was her that night in the BMW," bragged Annie.
"Thats for me?" asked Danni stunned by the gift.
"Youre worth a thousand BMWs," answered Desire.
"All I got you was a stray dog."
"I cant believe you just said that!" exclaimed Desire slapping the tall brunette gruffly on the shoulder. Her expression became serious. "Danni in monetary terms I am beyond wealthy but if wealth is measured by happiness then I have been one of the poorest people on the planet until now, until you came into my life. That little puppy is the most thoughtful gift anyone has ever given me. Shes priceless. I will love her and cherish her for the rest of my life along with you." Desire smiled a mischievous glint in her eyes. "Besides I got you the car because I knew you would look sexy in it. Purely selfish motives I assure you."
"We are going to look good in it arent we?" answered Danni.
"The thought of you behind that wheel is already turning me on," Desire whispered in Dannis ear, leaving a gentle kiss on her earlobe.
"I think its time we left and went some where else to celebrate alone," stated Danni the warm breath sending shivers down her spine.
"Good answer," purred Desire her kisses covering the bronze skin of her new wifes neck.
"I have another surprise for you," interjected Aphrodite. "Meet me at the marina."
One by one Desire hugged her friends goodbye, thanking them for joining the ceremony at the beach at such an early hour. Danni took her place behind the steering wheel of the BMW while Desire slipped into the passengers seat holding the little black puppy. Together they drove back to the house in Rossmoor in style.
CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX TOGETHER AT LAST
Hand in hand Desire and Danni walked up to the house leaving an anxious puppy in the car. Desire opened the door and started to walk in, stopped by the strong arms of her lover. "What?"
Wordlessly Danni picked her up and carried her across the threshold.
"You little romantic," whispered Desire kissing her wife passionately.
"Well it wasnt exactly a traditional wedding but I do believe in traditions," replied Danni.
Danni gently set her down and watched as she ran to the backyard calling the big black dog. Blue bound toward his human, his tail wagging excitedly as she scratched the fur covering his chest. "Its official Blueboy. You now have two mothers," she said. "Come on. I have a surprise for you. Thank Danni for this later baby."
"You talk to him like hes going to answer. Its very sexy," stated Danni appearing behind the small woman, embracing her.
"It is not sexy."
"Oh yes it is. Anything you do is sexy," Danni whispered into her ear.
"Wed better get to the marina."
Desire and Danni walked out of the house followed by a very happy canine. "You are so going to love your surprise Blue," commented Desire.
Danni opened the door and motioned for Blue to jump into the backseat. He hesitated as a bundle of fur bound forward, enthusiastically licking his muzzle and biting his ear. With some encouragement he took his place in the seat getting acquainted with the new dog.
Desire sat in the passengers seat watching as Blue warmed up to the little puppy while Danni started the car.
Twenty minutes later they were at the marina. Blue bounded out of the car followed by Aphrodite on his heals. Desire and Danni walked along the dock stopping when they saw the goddess waving widely from the deck of a 46 foot multi-hull sailboat.
"Its gorgeous!" cried Desire running onto the boat followed by two dogs and her lover. "How does it work?"
"Dont worry about that. Im going to get you two into the ocean. Danni can bring you back. Shes quite familiar with this type of vessel."
They walked around the deck looking approvingly at the amenities. The interior was fully air conditioned with screens on all opening ports. There was a large u-shaped settee with a fold down table large enough to seat eight. The cabin was large and spacious with a king sized bed in the center. A bucket filled with ice sat on the dresser containing a bottle of apple cider. Two crystal champagne glasses engraved with their names and the date sat next to it. Candles were lit around the room illuminating the bed with a romantic glow. The sheets were pulled back covered with crushed rose petals.
"The room is perfect!" exclaimed Desire.
"You can thank Ares for the decorating. You two pour yourselves some cider while I get this thing into the ocean and dont worry about the dogs. Ive provided them with a safe little place on the deck so you two can have some much deserved privacy."
"Thank you Aphrodite," said Danni hugging the goddess.
"Im happy for you," she replied. "Now get. Ill handle things out here," she added closing the bedroom door. Aphrodite guided the vessel out of the marina taking it onto the calm seas before disappearing with a twinkle of light.
Desire walked around looking into the bathroom curiously before turning the stereo on to provide atmosphere. She peaked out of the portal while Danni opened the bottle and poured two glasses of cider. Together they watched as the canines interacted. Blue sniffed at the puppy cautiously looking up wearily. Aphrodites head barely reached his stomach so she jumped up nipping at his muzzle. Blue sat down with an uninterested expression ignoring the overtures of the small black creature until she jumped up and bit him on the cheek, tugging at the excess fur of her larger counterpart.
Blue stood up with the puppy still dangling from his cheek and shook his head, disengaging the little girl and running away from her. Aphrodite bound after the large dog and within minutes the two were growling and wrestling with each other. Desire and Danni observed them until they settled down to sleep, the small black puppy resting her head against the larger dog's chest.
"Shes alpha bitched him already," stated Desire.
Danni looked down at Desire laughing. "Alpha bitched him? What exactly does that mean?"
"Alpha bitch is a term for a dominant female."
"Does that make me your alpha bitch?"
"Only if you want to dominate me."
"Oh but I do," replied Danni pulling the small brunette closer to her for a kiss.
"Well then. Lets go."
"Wait. I need to know what happened with you and Ares," said Danni.
"Dont be mad at him. Because of Ares nothing happened last night."
"He said you passed out."
"I didnt. He couldnt implant the dream unless I was asleep."
"You mean," started Danni.
"Yes." Desire paused for a moment before continuing. "I have a really nasty temper Danni. I was so angry when I saw you with another woman but Jill? That really got stuck in my craw. Im an eye for an eye kinda gal. He stopped me from doing something I would regret."
"How far did you two go?" asked Danni tentatively.
"Do you really want to know?"
"I need the whole truth Desire. I cant take anymore surprises down the road."
"Lets just say that after last night I think I need a bigger dildo."
"You guys didnt," started Danni.
"No but we did get naked. Nothing else happened. He put his hand over my face and I fell asleep. Then the dream, followed by a second dream with you and me playing in the pool naked and kissing. What about you and Jill?"
"We didnt make it past the sofa. The minute she put her hand on my breast I knew I didnt want her. Is there anything else I should know?"
"Officially I havent had sex in this world in almost five years. Youre the last lover I ever want."
Wordlessly Danni gently placed Desire on top of the sheets in the middle of the bed. She unclasped the bikini strap and removed the clothing from Desire who watched through hooded eyes. Next she slid the g-string off pausing to soak up the vision in front of her before undressing herself, her eyes riveted on the small brunette.
Desire smiled, her eyes taking inventory of every inch of flesh covering the tall dark woman. "What happened there?" she asked softly pointing to a scar on Dannis stomach.
"Appendix," she answered climbing onto the bed over Desire leaning on one hand as she lay face to face with her soul mate. "You are so beautiful," she said delicately caressing her cheek with her free hand before pressing her lips against the waiting mouth of the smaller woman.
The kiss was slow and gentle her tongue softly probing open supple lips exploring with care. Desire moaned from the contact reciprocating by softly caressing the bronze face with small hands. Her skin tingled down to her toes, the embers of passion smoldering from the sensual kisses.
Danni dragged her free hand across Desires neck blazing a gentle trail down her breasts, stopping to squeeze the left breast before replacing her hand with moist lips, suckling the hardening nipple. Her mouth traced a pattern beneath the sensitive flesh, licking the inflamed skin, her tongue bathing golden brown flesh with love as she made her way down taut muscles until her lips nipped the dark brown triangle of hair at her pubic line.
Desire gasped and flinched when Danni touched on her tickle spot running her hand through the silky dark tresses of her lovers hair. Danni pressed her lips roughly against the lower abdominal muscles, licking and sucking while her hand slipped between Desires inner thighs, her fingers slipping easily inside the moist warm sex.
Desire let out a low guttural moan bucking her hips upward to meet the erotic contact. "Oh gods that feels so good," cried Desire her passion overflowing. "Just use your hand please," she pleaded. "I want to see your eyes."
Danni complied with her lovers wishes draping her body across the top of Desire', gently caressing the heated triangle between her legs. Supple lips enveloped Desires mouth her tongue demanding entry as the small brunette bucked seductively into the hand giving her so much pleasure.
"I just want to feel you next to me," she panted grabbing Dannis head and pushing her tongue into her mouth. "Oh yess."
"Can you come for me this way?" asked Danni her voice smoky as she stroked her inner folds, one thumb rubbing the swollen bud.
"Yess," answered Desire grasping Danni around her shoulders, long fingernails digging into her back as her body rocked back and forth to the rhythm of Dannis caresses. Strong legs wrapped around Dannis waist pulling her fingers deep inside of the small brunette. She entered her with three fingers thrusting her hand in and out, her eyes never leaving those of her love. "Oh yess," cried Desire throwing her head back into the pillow, her body quaking as the first wave of an orgasm rolled through her body. Danni continued her thrusts until the smaller woman stopped shuddering, a peaceful expression on her face.
Danni placed soft kisses along the collarbone of her lover as her own heartbeat slowed down gradually. With the gracefulness of a cat Desire flipped her partner over and sat on top of her stomach, rubbing her sex against tight stomach muscles, leaving a trail of wetness in her wake. "That was an appetizer," husked Desire before pouncing on her lover to reciprocate her love.
Small hands grazed sensitive skin tracing the contours of every sensual curve of Dannis form memorizing the sound created by every touch. Gentle lips bathed every inch of flesh before caressing taut nipples swollen from desire. Desire flicked her tongue over the hardened flesh dragging her teeth along one breast while squeezing the other eliciting a low guttural moan from her lover.
"Please Des dont stop." Dannis head arched backward into the pillow her body aching to reach her lovers touch.
Desire slid her hand down to the apex of Dannis thighs parting her legs to reveal the glistening moisture developing from her touch. She stroked the warm folds as she climbed down the smooth stomach resting her head against one thigh reveling in the softness of her sex as Danni begged for release. Desire blew warm air between the dark patch of hair before delving her tongue into the sweet center of passion. With long strokes she brought her lover to the brink of ecstasy her hips bucking upward to receive the warm caresses. Desire stopped momentarily savoring the moment as she looked at Dannis face filled with rapture.
She gazed into hooded blue eyes as Dannis body stopped trembling from the pleasure. Temporarily sated she laid next to the tall beauty resting her head on a soft breast, suckling the nipple and listening to the heartbeat as it slowed down. One hand caressed the other breast as they lay in each others arms.
"I was beginning to think we would never get to this place," whispered Desire in between kisses.
"Are you satisfied?" asked Danni stroking the back of Desires head, careful not to touch the sensitive flesh surrounding her scar.
"Hell no," answered Desire teasingly. "That was round one. It was perfect, soft, gentle, delicate. Making love has never been so beautiful."
"Dont get too comfortable. I have plans for you."
Desire straddled her partners waist leaning on her hands and knees placing feather like kisses on her cheeks. She looked into deep pools of blue tracing the lines of sensual lips, enraptured by strong hands caressing the back of her thighs. "What are your plans?" she whispered before demanding intimate contact.
Dannis lips met her own in a soft tender kiss before answering. "I want all of you tonight. I want your heart, your soul and your trust. Are you ready to give yourself to me?"
Desires pulse quickened, a tinge of fear intruding her senses as she gazed into pleading eyes filled with lust. "What did you have in mind?"
"Do you trust me?" asked Danni. Desire nodded her answer. "Then will you give yourself to me?" Desire contemplated her answer then slowly nodded her head. "Turn over and close your eyes."
Desire turned around, her face toward the mattress, a pillow under her neck for support as she closed her eyes. She listened as Danni leaned over the bed. She could hear a drawer open and several rustling noises. "What are you doing?" she asked.
"No questions," answered Danni in a soothing manner. Moments later she could smell fresh leather as a mask was placed over her eyes. Leather restraints lined with sheepskin were placed around her wrists and tied to the bedposts. "Are you ready to give yourself to me?"
"Yes," answered Desire a rush of warm heat filling her center as her heart rate sped up. Danni leaned over behind her placing the length of her naked form across her back placing ardent kisses across her neck and sucking on a tender earlobe as Desire gasped. Danni blazed a trail of fiery kisses down the muscular back, licking and caressing the soft skin. She continued downward kneading firm buttocks and thighs as her tongue moved down the soft center of Desires most private place eliciting soft moans from her tentative partner.
Desire groaned with disappointment when the contact was broken. Moments later long muscular legs straddled her buttocks as warm scented oil was rubbed into her back, buttocks and legs. With oil slickened hands Danni reached under the small brunette cupping firm breasts and gently pulling her upward onto her hands and knees. "Are you ready to submit to me?" Danni whispered into Desires ears. Desire took a long deep breath before answering yes. Danni rubbed her left breast, placing the hand over her heart. "Are you scared?"
"A little," answered Desire softly.
"Does fear excite you?"
"Yes," answered Desire in breathless anticipation. "I gave you my vows Danni. Im yours."
Danni reached her hands between Desires legs stroking her wetness, the warm liquid covering her fingers. Desire listened intently feeling the heat from Dannis center as she pulled her body toward her. She bowed her head forward and moaned as the dildo caressed her lips before penetrating her with one fluid motion. She thrust her hips back until the entire dildo filled her core. Danni moaned as her own sex met the firm buttocks of her partner.
Danni grasped Desires hips firmly penetrating the small brunette as waves of requited pleasure washed across her body. Desire leaned back straining to feel the warmth of her naked body brushing against the hot skin of her love. She leaned her head over Dannis shoulders as both lovers ravaged each others mouths, lips and tongues dancing with passion as the phallus slid in and out of Desires inflamed center.
Danni broke the kiss forcing the object inside of her faster and harder, her hands squeezing and caressing full breasts as Desire gasped with pleasure. "Oh gods Danni, harder," she whispered, her head back, her body braced by strong arms around Dannis legs as the dildo continued to engorge her.
"Come for me," whispered Danni breathlessly into the small brunettes ears. As Desire continued to buck wildly Danni reached one hand between her legs stroking Desires clit.
"Oh gods yes," cried Desire. "Come with me, oh gods dont stop," she yelled as every sensation peaked. "Oh god I love you Danni," she cried as the walls of her sex exploded deep inside, wave after wave of pleasure releasing inside of her.
Danni pumped harder as her own arousal peaked. Desire reached one hand behind caressing her lovers sex as she continued to ride the crest of her own orgasm. "Oh yessss, gods yes Desire," cried Danni reaching a plateau as her arousal peaked sending her over the edge when the feeling intensified. Both women cried into each others arms as the sensation continued, falling into the pillows as the spasms of pleasure slowly subsided leaving the lovers spent.
Danni covered the nape of Desires neck with feverish kisses as her hands skillfully released the bonds holding her wife. The small brunette turned around revealing pale green eyes glazed over with lust penetrating Dannis gaze. Desire smiled before attacking supple lips in a ferocious kiss. "Alike but different," she purred in a low sensual voice. "You like to be in control and I love to be controlled."
After several long moments Danni reached for Desires hands pulling her up and back on top of her kissing her tenderly. Desire sat on top of Dannis stomach rubbing her sex against the soft skin leaving a trail of wetness across the warm flesh. "I need more," she purred drowning in deep pools of blue.
Desire slid down her lovers body placing fervent kisses against the heated flesh working her way down between her legs. Two hands pushed her thighs apart exposing the moist center of Dannis sex. She kissed her inner thighs licking a wet trail to her center before delving her tongue deep within the soft folds, eliciting a moan from the tall brunette. Strong hands stopped her motioning for her to turn around. Swiftly and gracefully Desire flipped her body around until her own inflamed center was inches away from Dannis probing tongue.
Desire inhaled deeply enjoying the musky fragrance of her partners sex before engorging the swollen bud with her tongue gasping as Dannis tongue penetrated her inner walls. Both women continued their ministrations, lips and tongues kissing and suckling the others moist wet center in rhythm with their hips bucking wildly against each other until they released their pleasure simultaneously. Desire laid her head between strong thighs in exhaustion, closing her eyes momentarily.
"Hey, come here," whispered Danni. "I want you to fall asleep in my arms."
Desire looked up with sleepy eyes stumbling along the bed until she was next to the tall beauty. "I think Im in love," she said placing her head under Dannis chin one hand wrapped around her waist.
Danni returned the embrace hugging her tightly with both hands. "Mine," she stated.
"Forever," whispered Desire.
"For eternity," added Danni.
"Im yours, body, heart and soul," whispered Desire before the sound of her lovers heartbeat lulled her into a peaceful sleep.
"And I am yours," Danni whispered kissing the top of her lovers hair.
Dannis arms were wrapped around the small brunette as they watched the sunrise, content in the afterglow of their lovemaking. They were lying in bed drinking hot chocolate and enjoying the calming effect of the waves against the side of the boat in the brisk morning chill.
Desire squinted as the sunlight glistened off the window. She set her cup down and pressed her body closer to the long form next to her. Strong hands caressed her buttocks and soft kisses were placed along the side of her neck as Desire moved to kiss Danni on the mouth, the taste of their lovemaking still lingering on her lips.
"I had a dream about this," whispered Danni.
"I was in it right?" quipped Desire.
"Yes," answered Danni tickling the small brunette.
"No no tick, tickling," replied Desire giggling from the touch.
The two lovers continued playing for several moments before falling back into each others arms. "We were watching the sunset on a boat sipping hot chocolate."
"Then its true what they say."
"Which is what?" asked Danni.
"Dreams really can come true," answered Desire before kissing the tall beauty.
"Happy birthday my love," whispered Danni snuggling against the small brunette.
Desire smiled contentedly. "Best birthday Ive ever had." Tears welled up in Desires eyes. She couldnt remember a time when her spirit felt so free.
"Are you happy?" asked Danni.
"Happier then Ive ever been," answered Desire. Danni leaned into Desires face kissing the tears away.
"Tears of happiness?" inquired Danni. Desire nodded her head in between kisses. "What would you like to do for the rest of the day?"
"Stay in bed," answered Desire stroking firm breasts.
"Good answer. I rescheduled dinner with Mattie and Annie for tomorrow."
"Now its time to make my dream come true.
"What were we doing in your dream?" asked Danni.
"We were fucking," Desire said her voice low and sultry.
"Excuse me?" asked Danni.
"You heard me right. Theres no time like the present," growled Desire flipping Danni on her back. "I warned you Im a pervert," she added playfully seducing Danni with her eyes. Desire hesitated momentarily feeling the impact of the evenings events in their entirety.
"Whats wrong Des?" Danni asked noting the wistful look and tears threatening to invade pale green eyes.
"What do you think the odds were that we would find our way back to each other so soon?" asked Desire.
"Id say one in a billion," answered Danni.
Desire growled placing passionate kisses against the hollow of Dannis throat before replying. "You know, Im beginning to like those odds."
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