by Carole Giorgio
The west side of the building never got the morning sun, but Alex's body instinctively knew it was time to get up. She lay in bed contemplating what the day was to bring and realized that she really didn't have the luxury today of just laying here with Sam while the smaller woman slept. She knew from the past few days that Samantha was not a light sleeper and she hardly stirred as Alex carefully slipped out from under her hold. It was weird sleeping in one position all night attached to another warm body, but it was a weird Alex was thoroughly enjoying. She was ready to begin her life as a partner and prayed to the Goddess that this time the relationship would last for a lifetime. She blew the sleeping woman a kiss and whispered, "I love to watch you sleep, Honey." Then tiptoed out of the bedroom and into the bathroom, softly closing the door behind her.
Alex stared in the mirror as she brushed her teeth, mentally going over some of the chores that needed to be completed before the end of the day and trying to get them straight in her mind before putting them down on paper as was her custom.
First on the list was to finish looking over everything that had been accomplished in her absence, talk to the supervisors and then see what was left on their agendas. Aside from the track and railing, only small stuff should be left to complete. She breathed a sigh of relief in realizing that the open house was merely days away. Reconsidering the relief, she switched back to the semi-panic mode because she hadn't thought about all that having an open house entailed. San Francisco had completely taken her mind off the opening and being with Samantha had taken precedence over everything. It was very unlike Alex to put anything ahead of business, but she was realizing that her life was changing in more ways than she had originally imagined.
Quickly going over all that needed to be done in respect to the opening, she assured herself that handling the preparation would be one of Samantha's assignments. She seemed to be very good at organizing, she loved to cook and she loved to talk. So, getting the menu together would be an easy task for her. She could also call all the subcontractors and set them up with starting dates. Alex was sure her lover would be able to keep everything under control, which would leave Alex free to supervise the finishing of the work.
She smiled at the face in the mirror when she thought about the plan she had for Samantha to come on board with her instead of doing that transcribing job. Having Sam in the clinic would give her a chance to see the blonde on-and-off throughout the day and the thought of that was exceedingly pleasing. In exchange for taking Sam away, Alex would make sure Jane's company was well compensated.
Sometime this morning she and Samantha needed to have that talk about business. But right now she needed to get a cup of tea. Then she'd shower and dress. The workers would be arriving in less than two hours and she wanted to be downstairs before anyone else arrived and completely filled in on what had transpired over the last few days.
Light was filtering in from the skylight and around the open window areas of the Clinic as Alex made her way down, tea in hand. She unlocked the front doors and then walked over to the supervisor's desk and collected all her messages. Her office was on the same floor so she headed toward it.
She had forgotten to show Sam the office on the tour; actually there were still quite a few places in the building Samantha had never been. That would be rectified very soon -- mental note made -- Acquaint Samantha with the entire building ASAP. She unlocked the door and stepped into her private domain. The office was positioned in the northwest corner on the bottom floor, giving her an ocean view out two sides. Light wood paneling covered the left wall with built in bookcases only partially filled (the rest of the books were still in boxes on the third floor). Between the bookcases was a one-way viewing window so she could look out to the gym, if she so desired, but would not be disturbed by onlookers from the other side. She had painstakingly picked out a large, light oak desk to match the paneling, which would be delivered before the end of the week and would hold her computer, monitor, and tele/fax machine with a space below for the printer. There were also a few chairs, excluding her own and a couple oak file cabinets. The dictaphone machine would also fit somewhere on or under the desk but she hadn't picked out a place for it as yet. She made herself a note to remember to get another machine for one of the other office rooms.
Alex sat down on the floor with her messages in one hand, pad and pen in the other. She began by making a list:
So far all my notes are about Sam -- they should be about the Clinic. Come on, Alex, get your mind on the job at hand -- you and Samantha will have all night to talk -- just get through the day. Okay, okay. She chastised herself and started another list:
Enough already -- no more notes until you Talk to Samantha. Obviously this is not going the way you expected.
Her little talk with herself was interrupted by the sound of workers entering the building. Getting to her feet she recognized the head supervisor and walked over to talk to him.
"So, it seems by your notes that things are finishing up on time," Alex greeted the supervisor.
"Yes, Ms. Dorian," the supervisor began. "We only have half a crew today because most of what you had specified got finished up Saturday. Most of the work that's left to do is on the second floor. Basically the area around the track and the rail." His smile was one of pride as he continued to explain to his employer how everything was being handled.
Alex agreed that is seemed as though all was running smoothly. "The Clinic is really shaping up and it looks like you've pretty much completed the list I left with you. I'm very pleased with the way you handled everything in my absence." She watched as the super beamed in response to the compliment from a woman he deemed could be difficult to please. " I already checked out the Jacuzzi in each of the locker areas and the pool. Also, it looks like all the equipment was put in the gym according to my specifications. You've done an excellent job, Jim." Alex complimented the older man. "How long do you think it will take the crew to finish on the second floor?"
"I would imagine we'll be totally finished by Wednesday, Ms. Dorian," came the reply.
"Good. Then I guess I can start making plans for the Open House. I'll wait until everything checks out, especially the railing, and then set the date." She shook the supervisor's hand. "Listen, I'm expecting my office furniture as well as the furniture for a few of the other offices to arrive between now and Thursday. If I'm not around when it does, I would appreciate your handling the placement of the pieces. I'll leave you a note as to where each piece is supposed to go." She looked at the older man as he nodded an agreement and then turned to go upstairs to oversee the workers.
Alex walked over to the Juice Bar area to check out the boxes that had arrived on Thursday and were all sitting in the corner. She had a slew of products to have unpacked along with the new equipment for chopping, juicing and blending. The person in charge of this area needed to be called today -- she scribbled another note.
Okay. That seems to be all that needs to be done down here right now. Guess I'll go have a look at the second floor.
She wandered around the second floor and was very pleased with the rate of completion. Everything was going according to schedule and all that needed to be done now was to plan the opening. The sun was beginning to stream in through the windows and Alex heard and felt her stomach beginning to rumble.
That's what I deserve for not at least grabbing a bagel before I left the apartment, she reprimanded herself. Well, it wasn't too late to rectify the situation. It was time anyway to take a break and wake the sleepyhead up. She and Sam could go get some breakfast and while they ate she would finally get a chance to talk to her lover about Samantha coming to work with her.
The elevator door opened and Alex was struck by the distinct smell of breakfast strips. Well, I guess getting Samantha up is no longer on the list. She quietly opened the door and walked into the kitchen. The radio was blaring and the small blonde at the counter was obviously enjoying her music and oblivious to the new presence in the room. Alex stepped up behind the singing cook and put her arms around Samantha's waist. The smaller woman jumped and almost matched heights with her lover before turning around giggling.
"Damn, Alex -- you could have made me burn myself," she half-seriously told her lover as she threw her arms around Alex's neck and kissed her good morning.
"No, no, no," Alex shook her head. "I saw what you were doing before I came in. I was careful about that -- wouldn't do to have you hurting yourself. Breakfast smells wonderful! I'm starving."
"Hey, isn't that my line," the smaller woman asked. "Well, it's just about ready. I was hoping I wouldn't have to try to figure out the intercom or the phone intercom or go down and get you. Must be ESP -- you're right on time. Go! Sit down. Your juice and tea are already on the table. You need to explain all the nuances of the intercom systems to me sometime Before I need to use it."
"Most definitely!" Alex stated as she gave Sam a hug. "This is a great way to start the morning, Honey. Been a long time since someone has cooked for me. You sure you don't need any help?"
"No. I don't need any help. Now shoo, go sit!" She gave Alex a quick kiss as she motioned for her to go sit down. "I worked too hard for you to let this get cold," Samantha continued as she opened the oven and pulled out the already done bagels, hash browns and breakfast strips. She finished cooking up the eggs and carried the plates over to the table.
"Well, even though I didn't see you upon awakening -- you're still the first face I see this morning. I slept great last night, how 'bout you?" Samantha asked as she filled Alex's plate with strips, toast and eggs.
"Same here," Alex admitted, "but as usual I was up almost before the sun. Everything's running like clockwork downstairs," she continued as she tried to find something wood to knock on. "All should be completed by Thursday or Friday. So . . . all that's left now is to figure out what we're going to do for the Open House." She looked over at Samantha and raised an eyebrow.
Samantha hadn't taken the bait so Alex began again. "Remember when I was talking about us working well as a team?"
"Uh, huh," Samantha responded, a mouth full of hash browns.
"Well, as I said before, I think we make a pretty good team. This Clinic of mine is too much for one person to run alone." Now she was the one running on at the mouth, a very unusual circumstance for Alex but she continued. "Working with Marge I always had office-type help at my fingertips. Now I need to supply my own. I already have the contract therapists, massage therapists, martial arts instructors and the first run of lecturers lined up, but I need someone to help me keep everything organized and keep the place flowing and running smoothly." She stopped and looked at Samantha who had stopped eating and was staring at her.
"Are you asking me to work for you?" Samantha questioned.
"No. Not exactly," Alex quickly replied. "Not just . . . work for me -- be a part of all that's going on -- be like my second in command." Damn it, Alex -- she doesn't want to work with you. You should have waited until she at least acted like she might want to be part of the business. "Listen, Honey, if you'd rather stay working where you are, I'll understand, honestly. I just thought it might be nice for us to be able to work together -- as a real team." There you dropped it in her lap; it's up to her now!
"Oh, Alex," Samantha exclaimed. "That's a marvelous idea -- I would love to work with you on a daily basis." Then her smile turned to a small frown. "But I may have to give some notice at Flying Fingers. Just up and quitting would not be a very nice thing to do to someone who made a place for me because Suz asked for a favor.
"Listen, Hon, I have no problem with giving Jane a call and telling her that I lured you away with money and fame," she laughed and continued on, "I don't think her company is extremely busy right now -- I think she's anticipating the extra work that'll be coming from here. So she will have at least a week-and-a-half to find a replacement for you and I will guarantee her that we will keep her busy."
"So -- what would I actually be doing, Alex," Samantha wanted to know.
"You will kind of be like the entertainment director on a cruise ship." Alex explained further, "You'll be in charge of keeping everyone happy. Anyone working with us will be able to come to you with their concerns, complaints or questions. You would also be in charge of coordinating the lectures and taking care of the visiting lecturers. Of course your most important job would be making sure that I got to see you during the day, fixing my breakfast, making my lunch . . . I'm only kidding!" She stretched out her hand to hold Samantha's on the other side of the table and smiled at the beaming blonde. You'll be my partner in every sense of the word, she thought to herself.
"Sounds like something I would be interested in doing for the rest of my life," Samantha admitted her eyes sparkling at the thought of being involved in every aspect of Alex's life.
"Wait -- I haven't told you the best part of your job." Alex put down her fork and looked deep into sparkling green eyes. "You would also have to go with me on business trips -- those for this company, which will not be a lot -- and those for Marge's, as I promised her to keep up with a few of my old customers for a little while and that includes traveling to where they are. And . . . you get to go to bed with the big boss." Alex smiled at her lover and waited for the final decision.
"So -- When do I start?" was the next question.
"You already have," came the answer as Alex's heart began to relax and she sat back to finish her breakfast. "Great breakfast, Samantha, thanks! You're gonna spoil me."
"You're very welcome -- Anytime," Samantha smiled back at her and added, "That's what I'm here for, remember?"
They continued to talk a little about the completion of the work being done, setting things up for the open house, calling in the subcontractors and basically everything they needed to discuss about getting the Clinic up and going. Samantha decided that she should be the one to talk to Jane first and if there was a problem she promised to let Alex handle it. They also decided that Samantha would get a lesson this evening on how the intercom system worked and on how to turn the security alarm system on and off.
After all the business discussion was out of the way, Alex opened the topic of Samantha's parents.
They discussed how Alex had always been an advocate of everyone coming out of the closet and being who they were. After all -- she had been raised in a very liberal family. Her parents both came from money, they were both self-employed and they were also very involved in the politics of the Gay and Lesbian Movement. Job security had never been a problem with either of them and they had passed that lack of concern on to their daughter. Alex had been brought up to be proud of who she was and where she came from and that attitude made it difficult for her to deal with people who were afraid to be themselves. She had always felt that gays who refused to come out were either ashamed of who they were or were just plain cowards.
Samantha voiced her concerns about Alex's opinions seeming a little harsh to be applied en mass to the entire Gay community and began to feel just a little bit disappointed in her lover's lack of compassion -- the feeling did not last more than a second or two. Alex read the expression on Samantha's face and pleaded with her to listen to the rest of what she had to say.
The conversation took a complete turn around. Alex confessed that she had always come from a place of comfort and had never realized that coming out could be a harmful experience. She was concerned that Samantha's parents would not take the change in their daughter's life kindly and she was afraid for Samantha both physically and mentally. She apologized for being so bigoted and guessed that she was now getting to walk in someone else's shoes. She didn't want Samantha to tell her parents until she was ready to do so and if it took a while, she was willing to wait.
Samantha was worried about where her parents would stay when they came to town for the Pageant of the Masters -- if she wasn't living in her apartment, she couldn't expect her folks to stay there with it empty. She asked if Alex thought she should leave some stuff there and just act like she hadn't moved into the warehouse. Alex didn't think that was a very good idea, she explained to Sam that a suite that was being designed especially for her parents was near completion. She could put a rush on the project and Samantha's parents could stay there. It was on the other side of the building from their apartment so would be nice and private for everyone.
Of course they had to talk about how Samantha was going to explain that she had quit one job and got another in the course of a week and that she had moved out of her apartment and into the warehouse.
"You could tell them that new living quarters was part of your perks for working for me -- that you got free rent here," Alex offered. "After all, I'm a woman living alone -- roommates are also safety features."
"That would probably work," Samantha agreed. "Could we set up one of the other bedrooms to look like it was mine?"
"Of course we could, silly -- just pile it full of your boxes -- no need to unpack everything. I'm sure your parents know you by now." Alex smiled broadly at the face in front of her.
"Very funny, Alex." Samantha sarcastically replied.
They discussed hiring a moving company to pack and move most of Samantha's stuff sometime within the week. Sam would go over to the apartment today and pick up whatever she would need for the next couple days.
It was a very busy breakfast and the first of many meetings of the minds, so to speak, of Alternative Paradise. Alex was ecstatic; everything was going according to her plan. Talking Samantha into taking the position had not turned out to be difficult at all. In her heart she wanted to make Samantha a full-fledged partner, right here and now but in her mind she knew better and just kept that little thought quietly to herself.
The intercom phone line rang through just as the gals were beginning to clear the table. Samantha waved Alex on with a gesture and continued toward the kitchen, dishes in hand.
"Ms. Dorian?" a male voice questioned.
"Yes," Alex replied.
"This is Erin down on the first floor, looks like your office furniture has arrived. Do you want me to hand it over to the super or are you able to come down?"
"I'll be right there. Have them wait," Alex answered the worker.
"Will do, Ms. Dorian," the man confirmed as he hung up the phone.
"Gotta go, Honey," Alex told Samantha on her way back to the kitchen. "Looks like the office furniture is here and I want to make sure it gets into the right offices the first time."
"No problem, Alex. I'm gonna finish up here, telephone Jane and then I'll be down to find you before I leave for the apartment to do a little packing." She kissed her lover tenderly, holding her soapy hands out from Alex's body -- "Better hurry before I get kinky and you get wet."
Alex laughed and moved away in mock fear. "Ooooo, I'm scared!" she laughed. "See ya in a bit."
The phone call to Flying Fingers was not as difficult a conversation as Samantha had anticipated. Jane was extremely understanding. The younger woman had explained that she had been offered a substantial pay raise and benefits that were more than tempting. Jane, in return, told Samantha that the summer months were sometimes slow anyway and she had been afraid that she wouldn't be able to supply Samantha with enough work to make it worth her while at least until the new provider, Ms. Dorian, came on-board. She had more than enough sub-contractors to handle the workload and perhaps even enough to take on the new contract. It was a short, easy conversation and ended amiably.
Samantha said good-bye and then stared into the receiver with a puzzled look. Damn, that was almost too easy! But at least I'm out from under and able to move on without any guilt. She put the phone back on the cradle, got her purse and keys and went in search of Alex.
"There you are," Samantha grinned at her lover who was standing by the finished railing looking down into the pool area. "I was sent all over Tartarus by those uninformed people you call workers!"
"Hi to you, too," Alex grinned back holding out her hand for Samantha to take. "Come 'ere, I want you to see the office I picked out for you."
She led the smaller woman back past the TaeBo and aerobics area and down toward the meditation rooms. "Here it is. It's directly above my office and you have a nice . . ."
"Alex, this is huge!" Samantha exclaimed. "And I've got an ocean view." She turned around and threw her arms around Alex's neck and kissed her. "But, do I really need this much space?" The smaller woman stepped away from her lover and motioned to the dimension of the room.
"You're going to be handling a lot of clients, and they need to see that you're important. This is an important looking room. I thought maybe tomorrow we could look through some of the books I have with office furniture and get an idea of what you want. What'd ya think?"
Samantha turned and stepped into waiting arms as she threw her own around Alex's waist placing her head on the chest of the most important person in her life. "This is all happening so quickly. I never knew I could be this happy." She looked up at her lover, "Do you think I will ever get tired of telling you how much I love you, Alex?"
"I certainly hope not! It happens to be one of my favorite sentences." She bent down and gently kissed her heart's delight. "I'm glad you're happy, Samantha. For the first time in a long time, I am too. Now -- back to the decisions at hand." She swept her hand around to encompass the room. "You'll need a bookcase, desk, chair, filing cabinet and a small conference table. Anything else you can think of off-hand?"
"No -- I don't think I would have even thought of all that. This is very new to me, Alex. I hope I don't disappoint you." Samantha said with an almost fearful look in her eyes.
"Samantha, nothing you could do would disappoint me," Alex assured her. "I have absolute faith in you." She took her lover's hand and started walking out the door.
Samantha pulled back a little and then whispered, "Alex, do you really think it's proper for us to be walking around holding hands in front of all these workers?"
"Samantha, if I were your husband and you were my wife and we had just gotten married and were so in love with each other that we couldn't keep our hands off one another -- do you think these people would mind if we walked around holding hands or even if I walked through the building with my arm around your shoulders?" Alex questioned her lover.
Shaking her head the answer came back, "No. But they would be . . ."
"No buts . . . if they would accept it from a male and female . . . they will accept it from us." Alex smiled at the smaller woman as she re-took her hand. "Besides -- if they don't like it -- they can quit. After all I am the boss!" She gave Sam a mischievous smile and whispered in her ear, "They ought to be happy that I don't decide to make a spectacle of us and kiss you in the middle of the reception area."
"Alex! You wouldn't!" Samantha countered.
"Oh, Samantha -- that almost sounds like a dare -- I never turn down a dare." The ebony-haired beauty confessed.
"No -- not a dare." Samantha said backing up with her hands up, palms facing Alex. "No dare here, Alex . . . honest. Let's just go to the car so I can get back before dinner." Samantha twittered nervously.
Alex just smiled at her and motioned in the direction of the outside door.
Walking along the connecting corridor between the warehouse and the garage, Alex mentioned that Samantha still had only seen part of the layout of the warehouse and the penthouse.
"I know," Samantha agreed, "but there's been so much happening, so quickly. My head's spinning and now I have moving to do, also."
"Don't worry about the moving, Samantha. I told you we'd get a company to take care of that. You can unpack at you leisure." Alex opened the garage door and let Sam enter. She walked in and the door automatically began to close behind her.
Sam had walked over to the VW and just as she was about to open the door and get in she stopped. "Wait a minute." She began to scrutinize the outside of the car, starting with the driver's side and walking around the entire vehicle. "What happened to my car, Alex."
"What'd ya mean, what happened to it?" Alex asked raising a questioning brow.
"There was a ding from a shopping cart -- right here -- she pointed to a spot just under the window of the back seat." Continuing on back around the car she pointed out another blemish that had disappeared and then a ding and then even a bend in one of the bumpers. "Tell me, Alex, is this a magical garage? If I didn't know better I would say this little baby's been to the body and paint doctor and has come back looking better than new? What's up?"
"There was a little incident while we were gone," Alex mumbled.
"A what?" Samantha asked looking Alex directly in the face.
"A little incident . . ." Alex repeated.
"What kind of incident?" Samantha wanted to know.
"It was really no biggy. The garage hadn't been hooked up to the security system properly and while we were up in San Francisco someone vandalized the garage. My car wasn't around, so they targeted yours." She looked at Sam who was walking around the car shaking her head.
"Samantha -- the security agency took care of everything -- it was their fault." Alex walked over to Samantha and turned her around.
"How was it their fault the garage was broken into?" The small blonde asked.
"It wasn't their fault for the break-in. It was their fault the cops didn't get here quicker and catch the culprit. They hadn't wired the garage completely. I think I know who did it and he probably got his destructive revenge out of his system." Alex lifted Samantha's face for their eyes to meet. "I'm sure it won't happen again." She assured Samantha.
"You can't be sure of that, Alex," Samantha said downheartedly. "I thought Laguna was a safer place than most."
"Don't go there, Honey. Laguna is a safer place than most -- this all came about because I fired a hot head and he wanted to get even with me. Just with me, Samantha. It has nothing to do with Laguna, nothing to do with you. Please -- don't let this worry you." She put her arms around the smaller woman's waist, bringing their bodies to a touching stance as she tried to ease unfounded fears.
"Come on, Sam, this has been a great day so far. Your car has a face-lift and the situation's well in hand. Go get some of your stuff and get your butt back here before I miss you too much." Alex held her tight, while telling her to go, sending opposing signals to the object of her affection.
Samantha lifted her face to gaze into eyes trying to smile but filled with concern. Alex bent down and gently placed a soft kiss on trembling lips. It had been hours since she had touched the blonde and her body began to tingle as her lover surrendered to her embrace.
"By all that is, Alex, I do feel safe when your arms are wrapped around me," Samantha whispered as she brought her own arms up and placed them around her hero's neck. The kiss of affection had become one of passion as Samantha's lips returned to Alex's, parting slightly, the warm tip of her tongue beckoning her playmate to join her.
Hands held waist high moved to a lower position, fondling the shapely buttocks beneath the light cotton shorts Samantha wore. One hand remained steadfast, preventing the smaller woman from moving as the other traveled around the svelte shape to the opposite side, slipping gracefully up under the leg of the shorts and finding it's destination at the soft mound of curly hair.
Moans of pleasure emanated from the throat of the small blonde as a caressing hand found moistness at its fingertips.
A deep masculine cough, followed by a clearing throat brought Alex quickly spinning around to face the now open garage door.
Samantha fell down onto the seat of the VW, almost hitting her head on the way, as Alex glared at the intruder. "Don't you know how to knock?" She spat at the innocent worker.
"I'm sorry, ma'am," came the reply, "but the door was ajar -- I simply . . . gave it a little push and . . ."
"Well? What is it?" Alex questioned the now red-faced young man standing on the other side of the room.
"Ah . . . the super said . . . you wanted to know when we had all the furniture for your room ready to be placed. I . . . didn't mean to interrupt . . ."
"Okay. It's okay," Alex gave the man a backward wave of her hand to indicate he could leave. "I'll be there in a few minutes. Tell the men to take a 10 minute break."
Feeling quite dismissed and also relieved to be able to leave the presence of the agitated female, he practically ran from the doorway, but not before making sure the garage door was tightly closed.
Alex turned around and the look of comic relief on Samantha's face prompted her to break into uncontrollable laughter.
"What's so funny?" Samantha queried.
"Oh, Honey, the look on your face!" Alex chuckled, her laughter becoming contagious as Samantha also began to giggle. "I don't think that unfortunate young man had any idea what he walked in on. Between my car and my body, you were almost totally hidden. I guess we're going to have to use a little more discretion during business hours." With one arm on the top of the Volkswagen and the other on the open door, she leaned inside and gave Samantha a quick kiss, "So, you go get what you need and I'll see you in a little while."
"Okay, Alex. Don't work too hard." Samantha started the car as Alex walked over to the panel that operated the garage doors. "I won't be long. But I think the first thing I'll do when I get there is take a nice cold shower!" She laughed and waved at her lover as she left the garage on her way to the apartment that was now nothing more than a place to store stuff.
Alex walked back into the building making a mental note to have someone check the automatic door that was supposed to completely close on its own.
Technology could definitely be a double-edged sword. When Samantha opened the apartment door she could see the telephone message machine blinking. Inspection of the machine showed that it was almost at its limit for calls. All the calls were from the same two women -- her mom and Suzanne. As usual, her mom hadn't paid a bit of attention to the statement she had made days ago about not always being at home and by the time she had placed the final call last night, she was sounding very close to being in a panic. Consequently, the first hour-and-a-half of Samantha's time at the apartment was spent trying to calm her mother down, and explaining to her that she had been away with a female friend for the past few days. She didn't want to lie, but she wasn't ready to go into detail so she explained a little about the job change and the apartment change. Her mom listened quietly as Samantha explained that she felt the new job was one with a lot more prestige, adding that she would be almost like her own boss with quite a bit of responsibility and a large salary increase to boot (she knew that would please her mother, money compensation always did). She went on to tell her a little about Alex and as soon as she could finagle to change the subject she did. She got her mom to talking about things at home and breathed a sigh of relief when the topic did not return to her and where she had been for the past five days.
After getting off the phone with her mother, Samantha plopped down on the couch and started to cry. All the pent up emotion she had kept at bay while she was on the phone was released. She wanted so to tell her mom how she had finally found the love of her life, the one thing her mother had been talking about for the past couple years. She wanted to say how happy she was that she had found Alex, but she couldn't -- she couldn't even bring herself to admit that it was Alex she had gone away with. She felt like she had betrayed both her lover and her mother by not telling the latter about the former. This time in her life was supposed to be joyous, not confusing and difficult. She still had to make a convincing enough story for both her parents so they would not get an inkling that anything unusual was going on between her and Alex -- not that she thought that would even enter their minds.
This was going to be a lot more complicated than she had first anticipated. And much more difficult to deal with as she was already getting guilt feelings from both sides. Samantha seriously thought about just writing her parents a letter and telling them everything. She knew Alex would be there for her, but she just couldn't bring herself to sit down and write. She knew she would have to face her decision one day, but she wanted a little time to consider how to go about doing it -- she didn't want to lose her family, but she hated feeling guilty about being in love with Alex.
For a day that started out as good as it had, it was taking a terrible turn. No, Samantha -- you're not going to let this spoil your day. Get a grip! Put it out of your mind for now. You will figure out how to deal in due time. She got up and went into the bathroom, washed her face and then did a little mirror work, telling the face that stared back at her that all would be well. The day became brighter as the face looking back at her began to smile. Think of Alex. The face in the mirror ordered. Think of her smile. The face smiled at her. Think of her touch. "No, that's enough -- we don't need to go there right now," she told the face, laughed and left the bathroom.
Next on the agenda was to call Suz back. As luck would have it, she ended up getting the answering machine. She didn't want to explain to her friend over the phone the change that had occurred in her life. She wanted to tell Suzanne face to face about Alex and all that had transpired in San Francisco. She knew her friend would be happy for her but she felt she owed it to her to tell her in person. She gave Suzanne Alex's number and told her to call back there.
The rest of the day had sped along as she went through clothes, choosing those she would need right away and those she could let sit in a box for a little while. She made sure to get her necessary items out of the bathroom and bedroom. Alex called once just to say hi and see how everything was going and she told her all was well and she that would be back as soon as she could. She reminded Alex that she did not have her keys to the warehouse with her and Alex told her the doors would still be unlocked when she got home. Home, she thought to herself and smiled. Her heart was there with Alex so that would absolutely be her home. The last things she packed were the perishable items that had been left in the freezer and the refrigerator.
By the time Samantha got back to the warehouse it was almost six o'clock. All the workers had gone and she was glad that Alex would be the only person she would run into. She did not want to look up into the face of one of the workers only to see that gossip had been spread around the entire complex. She was really embarrassed by what had happened in the garage but when she stopped to think about it, she would have still responded in the same way again.
The garage door was open so she pulled the car right in next to Alex's. Getting out of the VW she looked around for a 4-wheel wonder to cart the first load up to the apartment. When she didn't find anything, she picked up the box with the refrigerator stuff in it and headed toward the building. She buzzed Alex from beside the elevator and was told to come on up and then they would go back down together and get the rest of the stuff.
Arriving at the top floor, Alex was there to greet her and take the box out of her arms. "Here, let me get that! You shouldn't be carrying this, it's heavy," Alex said in a semi-scolding tone.
"Alex, it's not that heavy," Samantha defended herself. "I've lifted heavier."
"Whatever," came the answer as she put the box on the kitchen counter.
Samantha emptied the box, filling up Alex's refrigerator in the process. "Well, that ought to keep us for a little while. At least it looks like you actually eat here occasionally," the small blonde teased her companion.
"What do you say to us cleaning up and going out to eat tonight? You've had a really busy day and I don't think I have the makings of a complete meal in here even with all you've just brought over." Alex waited for Samantha's response and when it was affirmative she smiled broadly
"One of my favorite restaurants is up on Cliff Drive at Heisler Point; it has a beautiful ocean view and the food is excellent. You'll really love this place, Samantha. Why don't I call for reservations, give us enough time to shower and dress and then we'll go. We can bring your stuff up on the way in or better yet, I'll get one of the workers to bring it all up in the morning."
The only thing that troubled Samantha was Alex paying for everything. She didn't know how to bring up the subject. She was too tired to think about cooking dinner and eating out was more than appealing. Finances needed to be discussed but she put them on the back burner for tonight as she headed for the bathroom and a nice hot shower.
As promised, dinner was elegant, delicious and scenic. Atmosphere was something the restaurant basked in as the candlelight on the tables softly illuminated the faces of two women oblivious to the world around them. Soft jazz accompanied the meal and twice the waiter had to touch Alex's shoulder to get her attention away from the face that seemed to have captivated her completely. It was their first night out and about in Laguna and Alex wanted to make sure it was a night to remember. She was, of course, an expert in wining and dining and knew exactly what the rest of the evening held in store for the adorable blonde sitting across the table from her.
The gals got back around 9:30. During dinner Alex had talked Samantha into having one of the workers unload the Volkswagen in the morning. There was nothing left for them to do but ascend in the elevator lock up and retire for the evening.
Samantha headed immediately for the bathroom and decided to get ready for bed while she was in there and Alex was busying herself in the kitchen. Samantha decided it was time for a change from the nightshirts Alex was used to seeing on her. She donned a pale green silk negligee she had brought from the apartment and felt much more alluring. This had been a rather special evening because it was the first time they had been to such an elegant restaurant alone. It was a topsy-turvy kind of situation, like having the first date after the wedding but she was feeling wonderful and thought it appropriate to try to look as seductive as she felt.
She walked into the living room and Alex did a double take, almost dropping the two glasses of wine she was bringing over to the small table by the windows. "Damn, Samantha. You might have at least warned me. Red is not a good color on an off-white carpet." She smiled at her lover, as she put the glasses down and drew her into an embrace. "Want to skip the nightcap?" she whispered in Samantha's ear. "I think I could make you forget you even wanted one." She nibbled delicately on the small blonde's ear lobe as she ran long, teasing fingers down Samantha's neck, over her breasts, around her body, stopping on the firm, round buttocks. Gently she began to lift the smaller woman and Samantha helped by wrapping her legs around Alex's waist, her arms encircling the taller woman's neck. "Guess this nightee won't be on for long, will it?" she questioned provocatively.
"You can bet it won't," came the soft, low whisper from Alex, followed by a "Damn -- we need to lock up first!"
"Well, I'll just carry you over to the security panel and give you your first lesson." Alex walked across the hall to the panel next to the elevator with Sam still kissing her neck and whispering in her ear.
"If you ever want to continue with tonight's game plan you had better behave for a few minutes," Alex continued.
Samantha released her leg hold from around the tall woman's waist and stood on the floor in front of her. Alex turned Sam around to face the controls. "No more funny stuff until everything's all locked up and secure, you hear?" Alex smiled and then blew warm breath into Samantha's hair, sending more love bumps down her back.
"Stop it, Alex. If I have to behave -- so do you!" Samantha whined as she wiggled her shoulders up and down, twisting her head in mock irritation.
"This really shouldn't take long, I already know you're a quick study," the smile on Alex's face was unmistakable in her voice.
She shook her head to get the scent of Samantha's perfume out of her nostrils so she could concentrate on the chore at hand and began the process of engaging the entire security system.
"As you already know, we have a few of the intercom systems set up in the apartment, but this panel controls all the sound and motion detectors on the first and second floors. We should probably make sure all the doors are locked after everyone leaves the clinic in the evening. The rest of the security system can be put on before we go to bed. But I guess it's pretty important since there is no way we could hear someone down on the first or second floor without turning these on. When everything is on the security company takes over surveillance." She looked over at Samantha. "But, since we are in the process of getting ready for bed -- we should do it now before we forget. And I know I would forget all about it with a vision like you standing before me." She breathed a deep sigh and continued on with the lesson.
She pointed out each step in the process of turning on the sound/motion detectors on the first floor. "You just flip this switch here so that you can see the red and it will let you know that the sound is on -- this one is for the motion. As she flipped the second switch and pointed to the area where motion would be detected, it was . . . there were three distinct areas of movement coming through on the panel and at first Alex just stood there watching.
One of the figures was located in the gym, one near the climbing wall and the other over in the pool area.
"Alex -- what should we do. You haven't turned the entire alarm on yet so the police won't be coming. Should you go ahead and turn it all on so they will?" The panic in Samantha's voice made the taller woman comfort her by placing an arm around her shoulders.
"Listen carefully, Samantha," Alex said looking directly into Sam's eyes. "I am going to take the stairs down and see what's happening."
"No, Alex," the smaller woman pleaded. "Please don't go down there alone!"
"Samantha -- I said listen. I am going down and I want you to give me 15 minutes and then phone 911. I don't want them coming too soon and scaring the culprits away. These guys need to be taught a lesson and then arrested. Let me get things under control and then call the cops." She looked at the frightened woman standing beside her. "Do you have all that, Samantha?"
"Ye . . . yes . . . please be careful, Alex," came the fearful plea.
"I will. You stay here!" Alex opened the door to the stairs and started down.
Taking the steps three at a time she quickly made her way to the first floor, quietly opened the door and let her eyes get accustomed to the dimly lit rooms. The only illumination came from outside and from the small night lights that had been strategically placed in various electrical outlets throughout the Clinic. She could hear one of the culprits in front of her in the gym area. Listening intently she also knew there was a second one behind her near the climbing wall. The third was not to be heard so she assumed he was still somewhere around the pools.
She crept around toward the wall as the one in the gym yelled out. "Hey, Jake. Did you say just to loosen the bolts in this equipment or . . ."
"I don't want anyone to notice that the equipment has been tampered with," came the rough growling voice from near the climbing wall as the man turned and headed toward the gym.
You son-of-a-bitch. I had a feeling I hadn't seen the last of you. Did you have to bring the other two Stooges with you? Alex thought to herself as she recognized the name and the voice. Guess I have to actually put you behind bars before you'll leave me alone. She readied herself for confrontation.
"And keep your voice down, idiot; you know they just went upstairs. Stupid dyke forgot to lock the doors after her -- saved us the trouble of having to break in," Jake went on coming around the corner to help his companion
Alex decided to let Jake pass in front of her and to head for the pool area first and take out the solitary conspirator there. She'd be back for "Curly and Mo" just as soon as she took care of the lone Stooge. Just as she had suspected, number three was over by the Jacuzzi. He was down on his knees pouring something into the water. Okay, Larry -- time to test the results of your labors. Knowing that a splash would not be heard from the gym she walked up behind him. He turned at the sound of her footsteps, thinking it was one of his buddies and was unpleasantly surprised by a fist in the face, which sent him spiraling backwards into the chemically infected Jacuzzi. He had knocked his head on the side as he landed and was knocked out, floating face up. Alex went into the dressing area and pulled a couple hair dryers from the wall, tearing off the cords to use as bonding. Going back over to the Jacuzzi, she pulled the unconscious man from the pool and tied him up, gagging him with a towel from the locker room supplies. She left him lying on the floor, gagged, tied and beginning to show signs of chemical burns on his skin.
One down -- That was a piece of cake. Here's hoping the other two are just as stupid.
From the sound of the commotion she heard going back toward the gym, Alex figured the guy had to be a klutz and that usually meant she'd be dealing with a big ox. She cautiously slithered around the inside wall so as not to be spotted and observed him over by the Universal gym, loosening bolts. She picked up a sand filled ankle weight and a small barbell on her way to the goon. Alex didn't want to have to take him and Jake on at the same time, not that she couldn't, it would just be easier if she could deal with this one and then go after the other big guy.
"Hey," she whispered loud enough for him to hear, "whatcha doing big boy?"
The look of astonishment almost made her laugh as he stared at her in disbelief. His next move was to open his mouth and yell to his friend when he was assaulted squarely in the Adam's apple with an ankle weight, stopping all thoughts of any immediate speech. He picked up the wrench he had dropped on the floor and started over in Alex's direction, holding his throat with his other hand. If he had had the ability to spew forth steam, Alex would have seen it rising. She met him halfway, a crooked smile on her face, her hands moving in a come hither motion. As he pulled his arm back in preparation of delivering a blow to his adversary, she completed a quick spin and waist level kick that landed directly in his groin with enough force to knock him off his feet. Almost angrier than he was hurt, he got onto his knees and then back on his feet, his main problem seeming to be not knowing which to hold first -- his neck or his throbbing groin. It was an awkward raging bull of a man who once again came charging in Alex's direction.
His voice began to come back and he spat vicious words in the direction of the beauty before him. "God damn bull dyke, why I oughta fuck you right here as soon as I'm done beating the shit out of you. I hate your kind."
"I'm sorry, am I missing something here?" Alex taunted the already furious man. "If I didn't know better, I would swear that it was I who was beating the shit out of you - you no good excuse for a human." She had enough of looking at him, listening to him and fooling with him. She swung around and kicked him in the chest. Before he had a chance to recover she came at him again. Leaping gracefully in the air she launched her right foot toward his lower jaw. The two collided and she could hear the bone crack as foot-to-jaw contact was made. Alex watched, a grim smile on her face, as he was propelled backward and ended up crumpled in a heap on the floor.
"So much for your 'fucking' me, you asinine piece of shit," she said to unhearing ears, before she turned her attention to the other room.
She knew the commotion they had caused had to have been heard by Jake. Quickly she raced toward the climbing wall, not wanting the third and most important of the intruders to escape punishment. Alex came to a dead stop as she reached the hall and saw Samantha coming toward her from the elevator with Jake at her back.
"Well, well," the oversized oaf grunted. "Looky what I got here!" He grabbed Samantha from behind, one arm around her waist, the other around her neck. "This your new little plaything, dyke? Bet she's pretty good in the sack?"
"You let her go!" Alex commanded.
"Now that's not very civilized. How'd ya like to share?" He sneered at Alex, tightening his hold on Samantha as he rubbed his face against hers.
"I said let her go." Alex repeated slowly edging closer, a maniacal grin on her face. "This is between you and me big guy. Why don't you just let her go?"
At this point it became a game of cat and mouse between Alex and the disgruntled ex-employee. Alex tried to figure out how she could get Samantha away from the big man without putting the small woman in more danger than she already was. He continued to hold the upper hand as long as he had Samantha in his grasp.
All of a sudden the man's jaw slackened and his eyes opened wide. Suddenly he was holding nothing but dead weight in his arms as Samantha did what any self-respecting lady would do -- she fainted.
The thug looked down at the limp woman in his grasp, giving Alex just the opening she needed to throw the barbell she had carried with her from the other room, hitting him in the head and knocking him off balance. He was not over the shock of the impact when he felt an incredibly searing pain in his arm as Samantha sunk her teeth deep into it, drawing blood and causing him to release her. She fell onto her knees and crawled toward Alex as Alex descended upon Jake with a mighty blow to his chest, followed by a fist in the face and a sweep to his knees, bringing him down hard. Alex had a firm hold on his hair and was pulling him up, about to hit him again when the front doors flew open and uniformed police officers ran into the building, guns unholstered, shouting warnings.
"Okay -- time to break it up," one of the officers said upon entering the area.
He came over to where Alex stood poised to continue her attack. "I'll take him from here, Miss."
While he was cuffing Jake and reading him his rights, Alex grabbed Samantha and pulled her close. "You okay, baby?" she whispered in her ear.
"Yeah, Alex," Samantha answered looking up into deeply concerned eyes. "I'm fine now. Go ahead, tell the policemen where the other guys are. Let's get this over with."
Alex turned to the policeman and explained the entire incident, sending one of the officers into the pool room and escorting the other to the gym. After all the paper work was finished Alex concluded her conversation with the officers by telling them that she thought Jake had been the intruder who had vandalized her garage only days before. She explained to them that he had been fired for fighting on the job and was obviously determined to get even with her. She thanked the officers for arriving so expediently and informed them they would be getting a nice donation from her company for the next Policeman's Ball. The lieutenant in charge assured Alex it was all in a day's work and told her that he would make sure everything was handled properly back at the station. He wished the two women a pleasant, uneventful evening from here on in and headed toward the exit.
Alex walked them out and then immediately locked all the doors, turned and opened her arms to Samantha who did not need a second invitation.
"Oh, Alex," she began . . . "I was so afraid for you."
"Didn't I tell you to stay upstairs?" Alex gently chided the woman in her arms.
"Yes, but . . ."
"You could have gotten yourself hurt and I would have never forgiven myself for that," Alex continued as she hushed the smaller woman by putting a finger to her lips. "I didn't want you in harm's way, Samantha."
"Oh, and I guess I wanted You there?" came the statement from the small blonde as she pulled away and placed her hands on her hips. "I think I handled myself pretty damn good! I feigned fainting, didn't I?"
"That was a fake faint?" Alex responded, laughing at the indignant stance her lover was taking.
"Do you really think I'm such a sissy that I would faint in a situation like that? Well, I . . ."
Alex grabber her up and swung her around. "I don't care how sissy or not sissy I think you are -- I still don't want Anything to happen to you. My heart was in my throat when that idiot had his grimy paws around you! He's lucky I didn't do him permanent damage in the area of his precious jewels when I had the chance." Alex kissed Samantha and squelched any possibility of a sarcastic come back for thinking her unable to take care of herself.
Lost in the moment and swept away in the arms of her lover, Samantha quickly forgot all about the indignity of being thought of as a weakling. She hung onto Alex, her body forgetting the situation they had just left for the present touch of her lover's body. Alex's scent filled her nostrils and her entire being trembled at Alex's touch. When their lips finally separated, Alex whispered in Samantha's ear, "What do you say we call it an evening in more comfortable surroundings?"
"My thoughts exactly," came the response as the blonde loosened her hold on her lover's neck. Hand in hand they walked over to the elevator.
On the way upstairs Alex brought them back into the real world. She remarked that now they would have to have everything in the building re-checked to make sure there were no accidents when clients began arriving. A thorough investigation of all the equipment and the pool areas would be costly, but it was a necessity. She was sure they had caught the miscreants in time but she couldn't be positive, so she would hire someone to inspect the entire first floor, and perhaps it wouldn't hurt to have them check out the second floor as well.
They got out of the elevator and Samantha went on into the living room while Alex turned on the security system. There would be no more lessons tonight. She wanted to get everything locked up and then take the mood of the evening back an hour or so to before the intrusion.
"Everything's secure and all alarms are on, now where were we?" Alex walked into the living room, her senses pleasantly assaulted by the smell of sweet vanilla candles, the sound of soft jazz and the beckoning of her naked lover sitting by the window surrounded by pillows, two glasses of wine in her hands.
She kicked off her shoes and undressed while walking across the living room floor, leaving a trail of clothing on the way to the beauty sensually poised between two pillows.
"I changed the red for spumante -- less chance of a stain." Samantha handed Alex one of the glasses as sapphires met emeralds and locked in a passionate exchange without uttering another word.
Alex took the glass and sat beside Samantha. She offered the small woman the wine from her glass and as Samantha began to drink she made sure that droplets fell from the lips, trickling down her chin and landing on the body beneath. Alex relieved Samantha of her glass, placed her left hand behind her lover's head and gently assisted her as she lay back on one of the pillows.
"Looks like some of the wine spilled. We can't have it reaching the carpet, white or not." Soft lips caught small beads of wine from the tip of Samantha's chin, sucking all the wet until it was dry and then continuing down to between the breasts where more of the sparkling liquid had somehow found its way.
"I've always believed in sharing,"Alex confessed as she took a sip from the glass she still held in her right hand. She leaned over Samantha and kissed her, allowing some of the sweet nectar to be shared as parted lips accepted both the liquid and the tongue that followed.
"You go well with white wine, my Destiny, it sweetens even more when it touches your skin." Alex took the remaining pearls of liquid and drizzled them down the crevice between Samantha's breasts and into the small indentation that was her navel. "We can't waste any of that wine now can we?" she smiled down at her heart's desire as she sucked and licked the fruit of the vine until all traces were gone.
Consumed with a passion she could no longer control she took Samantha in her arms and quenched the thirst that had been growing since the romantic dinner so many hours before. Samantha responded to every move, every touch, every kiss. Their bodies fit together as though they had been cast from the same mold, separated and fired independently and were now being given the chance to again become the sum of their two parts. All residue of the transgression upon their privacy was put aside while the lovers basked only in the intimacies of each other. The stars and the moon beamed light into the room creating a magical iridescence on the two shadowy forms that seemed to appear as one. The ocean below added a slow undulating rhythm with periodic crescendos of crashing waves. Sleep came as the aftermath of orgasmic gratification, and the two women, surrounded by a comforting wall of pillows, each cradled in the arms of someone who loved her more with each passing day, dreamed away what was left of the night.
End of Chapter Eleven
Continued in Chapter Twelve
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