A tapping sound jolted the lovers from a sound sleep. Alex loosened her hold on Samantha and reached for the table light switch. The room was unusually dark.
"Um . . . who's there?" she croaked before stretching to read the clock in the kitchen area.
"Ah, excuse me, Ms. Dorian," an apologetic male voice filtered through the door. "It's Jeff, from the kitchen. Mr. Black asked that I bring you up a pizza."
By the time Jeff was finished with his sentence, Samantha had her hand on the knob and was opening the door.
"Thanks," she smiled at the young man. "It smells marvelous!"
"Mr. Black said it was getting kind of late, and he hadn't heard from either of you. He didn't want you to miss dinner, so here I am." He handed the large covered tray to Samantha and turned to go.
"Tell Gary, um, Mr. Black, we said thanks, and that we really appreciate the delivery," Samantha called after him as he started down the hallway.
"Will do. Enjoy!" He waved at her without turning around.
Samantha sniffed at the pizza, while carrying it into the kitchen. She grabbed two plates and some extra napkins and proceeded into the living room. "I guess we were more tired than we thought. I don't think I saw 15 minutes of the second movie before I was out like a light."
"Ditto. But I'm awake now and that pizza will not last long; I guarantee." Alex took the plate Samantha had filled for her and placed it on her lap.
True to her words, it didn't take long for them to devour their dinner. Samantha rewound the movie, and they actually watched it the second time.
"Why don't you try doing what you did on my head before to my wrist and ankle? Would you mind? It would be good practice." The brunette smiled at her lover who turned away from the television when the credits started to flood the screen.
"You know, I'm not sure exactly what it was I did in the cave, Alex. I just kind of placed my hands on your head and could feel where the throbbing came from."
"No time like the present for an encore performance."
A pensive look crossed the freckled face as she helped Alex remove the sling Gary had insisted she wear during the day. The ice had definitely kept the swelling to a minimum, but the skin circling the tall woman's wrist was a deep purple.
"Damn, that looks painful." Samantha could feel the tears welling in her eyes as she inspected the damaged area. "You have some bruising on the shoulder, too."
"It looks worse than it feels, honey," Alex reassured her. "It was inevitable that the shoulder would discolor a little, after the shock it received in the fall. In a few days, I'll be as good as new, promise."
"If that were the case, Alex, Gary wouldn't have suggested you call Kelley to come fly the plane."
"I didn't say the ankle would be as good as new," the brunette retorted. "Besides with a few days rest, I could have probably flown home."
"Uh huh." Samantha nodded her head and smiled. "I'm just as glad you decided to call your folks."
Positioning one hand on either side and slightly above the bruised wrist, Samantha could feel a difference in the temperature of the skin as she slowly moved her hands around the area. Her palms began to emit what felt like a surge of warmth as she concentrated on relieving the pain in her lover's wrist.
"I can feel the heat coming from your hands, Samantha."
"I think I can feel the area of the most damage," the blonde replied as she worked on the injury.
They agreed that putting a movie on might be distracting to the healing they were trying to accomplish, so instead the two women sat and rehashed all that had happened to them the past few days. The entire time they talked, Samantha worked on Alex's wrist and ankle. When she looked like she was beginning to tire, Alex insisted that she stop and that they get ready for bed.
"One more day of relaxation is my limit," Alex commented as they turned down the bedspread and climbed onto the bed.
"We'll see what your parents have to say about that." Green eyes twinkled as the blonde teased and then waited for a reaction.
When she didn't receive the expected answer, Samantha lifted her head to spot a tear trickling down Alex's face.
The tip of her finger caught the moistness as it rolled down her lover's chin.
"Alex, what's the matter, honey?"
The dark-haired woman turned her head, only to have a small hand turn it back, forcing her to look into the concerned verdant eyes.
"I feel so helpless and vulnerable. I haven't felt like this since I was a child, and I hate it!"
"No one likes to feel powerless, Alex."
"You don't understand, Samantha . . . "
"No! You don't understand, Alex. You're not Superwoman, even though you've made yourself out to be one for all these years. You're flesh and bones like everyone else, and you can even break. I don't know why you feel you have to hold onto this fa¡ade, but it really is time to let it go. You could have been killed trying to keep me from getting hurt; how do you think it makes me feel to look at your injuries and know that all I have is a small limp because you took the brunt of the fall? I love you, but sometimes you can be a real pain in the ass, Alexis Dorian."
Alex placed two slender fingers across the pouting lips of her lover and shook her head, a smile brightening her sapphire eyes. "You're absolutely rightçI'm not SuperwomançI think this little escapade shows that quite clearly. But," and her voice took on a deeper more serious tone, "don't you ever think that I wouldn't react exactly the same way again. You're the most precious thing in my life, Samanthaçyour safety will always be my responsibility."
Samantha began to interrupt but was quickly stifled.
"Remember when we first met and I told you I would be there for you if you fell?"
The blonde gently shook her head in affirmation.
"I will always be there if you stumble or fall, Samantha." She hugged the smaller woman closer and kissed her on the top of her head. "By the way, my wrist and ankle feel much better after your treatment tonight, thank you."
Samantha mumbled, "I'm glad, and you're more than welcome."
"I don't know about you, but I'm tired again," Alex confessed. "Must be all the resting we did today." She giggled and pulled the smaller woman closer. "Sweet dreams, my Destiny."
"Sweet dreams, Alex."
Although they were both more tired than either of them would have thought, the lovers lay in each other's arms without sleeping for the longest period of time. Each was lost in a world of her own where thoughts of "what if" and "why" floated aimlessly around in circles. Visions of the Indian maiden and brave graced the mind of each of the women as they closed their eyes to sleep. Alex thought she could feel Samantha's heart beating faster as she gently squeezed her in a soft embrace.
It was the experience of a lifetime, actually coming face-to-face with a former self; at least that is what the two had to believe the Indians were. The situation set Samantha off on a new course in her life and gave her something to strive for that had never been there before.
For Alex it was an epiphany that all she had been taught through her childhood had, indeed, been true. In her heart of hearts, she was always afraid that perhaps her mother merely had a highly intelligent but overactive imagination. Now she knew there was more truth than fiction in her mother's philosophy.
The evening grew late before the two lovers became dreamers, and even then, they shared a common bond as each relieved her own special memory of the Indians' visitation.
Again the sun was well above the horizon when sapphire blues batted their way into wakefulness. The weekend was over, and by all rights Alex had planned on having the two of them back in California and headed toward Alternative Paradise by this time. Of course, life had decided a different route would be taken by the women, causing them to stop for a day or two and merely enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Alex had no problem with enjoyment. What she did have a problem with was not having the ability to move around as usual.
Her body still rebelled to movement as she began to unwind from the small woman snuggled up against her. No sense in making her get out of bed because I can't sleep.
But it seemed that Samantha was tuned in to Alex's every move.
"You okay, Alex?" Sleep-filled eyes peered up into her lover's face.
"Sure, honey. I'm just getting cramped being in this one position, and I can't force myself to sleep any more this morning. I'm going to get up; you can go back to sleep, okay?"
The answer took Alex totally by surprise and she stopped inching toward the edge of the bed. "What do you mean, no?"
"I mean if you're getting up, I am, too."
"That's silly. I know how much you like to sleep in."
"I slept most of yesterday away. I even slept through a movie. I think I can manage to see the sun before she reaches her noon position today." Green eyes now sparkled as the blonde rubbed the remainder of sleep from them before scooting up and planting a kiss on the full lips of her lover. "Hum, you taste great! You want to . . ."
"Samantha, I'd love to but . . ."
"I know," the smaller woman pouted. "It's just that you look so . . ."
"If you say helpless . . . "
The blonde wore an impish grin as she kissed Alex on the cheek. "I wouldn't think of insulting you like that." She giggled, slid off the bed, and hobbled into the bathroom.
The rest of the morning cruised by. Alex used the laptop to catch up on her e-mail, and Samantha sat pensively on the porch doing some writing. They met Gary for lunch, watched another movie, and played a game they had borrowed from the recreation room.
By the end of the evening both of the women were feeling immensely better and anticipating that by tomorrow doing a little shopping with the Moms would not be too difficult a task for either of them.
Wrapped contentedly in each other's arms, they bid the evening adieu with no more than a final good night to each other. The day had been long, even though it had been uneventful, and their bodies were still in a recuperative mode, allowing sleep to find them easily.
Being driven to the airport while sitting in the passenger's seat was not the way the independent Alexis Dorian had intended on greeting her mother the next time she saw her. But Alex was not a fool and realized that calling her parents to come and fly her and Samantha home was probably the least selfish and most practical thing she could have done.
She knew headstrong and independent were duplicate middle names of hers. She had tried her damnedest in the past to be totally self-sufficient and not rely on her folks for help to resolve minor and even some major setbacks in her life. She was aware that she hurt her mother's feelings when she didn't include the older woman in some of her daily activities, but that had been the way their relationship played out, and she had always expected her mother to simply deal with it. Now things were slowly changing, and she was being drawn closer to her family, probably because she realized how much Samantha relied on family influence. Alex was even beginning to realize just how selfish she had been these past years by shutting her parents out of important events in her life. Since Samantha's mother was no longer the main figure in her life, it seemed like Aurora had the fortune to fill a much-needed void. Samantha loved being with Aurora, and the feeling was obviously mutual.
The brunette laughed to herself as they turned the corner and came in sight of the airport. Her final thought before spying the plane carrying her parents to her aid was that this must be what "married" life was all about.
"Well, are you ready to greet your saviors?" Alex kidded as she turned and faced an unsmiling Samantha.
"I wouldn't go that far, but do you realize how lucky you are that your parents can put their lives on hold to come and help us, or that they'd even want to, for that matter?"
Putting her hands up in surrender, Alex quickly tried to change the subject. "Hey, girl, I didn't mean to start World War III here; I was just kidding."
The blonde's features softened, and she placed a hand on Alex's cheek. "I know you were only kidding, honey, but I don't think your realize just how great your parents are."
"Sure I do." The brunette shrugged her shoulders. She grasped the small hand on her cheek and continued, "I just don't like feeling like a child, and right now I am feeling rather juvenile having to have the Moms come and take me home."
"At least they're around to do it, Alex. Think what it would be like if you didn't have them to rely on when you really needed help." She looked into brimming sapphire eyes and smiled warmly. "I really can see both sides, honey, and I know you could have "bought" us out of this, but isn't nice you have family who come to help when you need them?"
Without waiting for an answer Samantha brought the car to a halt. She faced her companion. "I love you, Alex. Thanks for stepping down into the child's position and calling your folks; everyone needs to be needed occasionally, even Moms."
Samantha leaned over and kissed away a small tear, as it trickled down Alex's face. "Now, get rid of that wet stuff, or Mom's going to think you're in pain. She'll really go into 'mother mode' then, and you'll find yourself being pampered a whole lot more than you bargained for." Receiving the smile that the comment called for, Samantha directed her attention to the runway where a small jet was coming down for a landing.
Even though the gasp was small, Samantha heard Alex's reaction as she spied the plane that was now grinding to a halt on the tarmac.
"What is it, Alex? You look like you've seen a ghost."
"It's nothing." Alex started to stutter, losing her normal poise and control. "I just . . . um . . . I wasn't expecting them to ask . . . oh . . . Uncle Al to fly them here."
"Uncle Al? Great, I get to meet another relative. You don't talk much about your relatives, honey. Whose brother is this?"'
"Kelley's," she answered without taking her eyes off the plane. "Before we go any further, I need to tell you that he's gay, too. So, we're all just one happy family!" She shook her head and she grabbed her lover's hand. "Bear with me, darlin', you're about to embark on an unforgettable adventure."
The questioning look on Samantha's face made the taller woman smile. Then Alex tried to quickly explain the enigma.
"Uncle Al is the black sheep of the family, even though there are so many of us on the gray side that he barely stands out anymore. He's Kelley's older brother, and I think he came out to Gram when he was about five." She couldn't help but grin at the incredulous look on her lover's face. "That's just to say that Gram was not at all surprised when Al blurted out a week before the male equivalent to the debutante ball that the only girl he would even consider appearing with would be Kelley. He refused to escort the debutante his father had picked out for him and announced that either his sister would be at his side or his date would be wearing a tux like he was. My grandfather knew there was no arguing with him. Consequently, Kelley was Uncle Al's date for his 'societal coming out' party. Listen, honey, I don't have time to go into all this before they come tripping off that plane. Let me just say that if you like the Auntie Mame character, you're gonna love my Uncle Al. He's as close to a free spirit as you are ever going to meet and . . ."
The plane had completed its landing and the passenger door was opening. Alex sped up her conversation with a promise to fill Samantha in on all the details later that evening when they were alone. The blonde smiled broadly at her partner's uneasiness.
"This is definitely going to be fun," Samantha chortled. She grinned even broader when a hint of red began to paint Alex's cheeks.
As the three relatives approached the Jeep, baggage in hand, Alex whispered, "Samantha, please don't be surprised if Uncle Al is extremely doting."
That final confession only heightened the enthusiasm that had been building ever since the blonde saw the jet on the airfield. "Oh, this is absolutely going to be an evening to remember!" It was the last remark made before the Moms and Uncle Al reached the car.
Just as Samantha was about to open her door, it was graciously opened for her by an extremely handsome, white-haired man. The blonde looked up into piercing gray eyes that were the exact color of Kelley's, and there was no doubt that this gorgeous man was a Dorian.
A rich tenor voice greeted her ears. "You must be the new addition to our little family?" Sparkling gray eyes glanced in her direction before lighting on Alex's face. "I'm Uncle Al, and by the look of the expression on little Al's face, this is the first you've heard about me."
Samantha did a double take on the mention of Alex being called "Little Al." She didn't know whether to laugh or hide the giggle and did a very poor job of concealing her surprise at the pet name.
"Okay, Uncle Al, you don't have to embarrass me before you even get properly introduced." Alex was quick at redeeming her composure. "This is Samantha. Samantha, this, as he has already introduced himself, is Uncle Al."
By this time the man was over on the other side of the car and getting as much of a hug as the wounded Alex could muster.
"It's been quite a while, munchkin." The large man enveloped the woman sitting in the front seat of the car.
"Al, how about letting someone else get in a hello, instead of hogging the entire conversation?" Kelley was standing on Samantha's side of the vehicle and Aurora was behind Al on Alex's. "Let Aurora in to say hi to Alex."
With the look of a wounded animal, the tall man stepped back to let his sister-in-law take his place at her daughter's side.
"Hi, sweetie." Aurora leaned in and kissed her daughter tenderly. "How are you feeling?"
At the same time, Kelley greeted Samantha, and for a few seconds, the conversations became a hodge podge of hellos and informal greetings. In the middle of the cacophony, Uncle Al interrupted with the suggestion that he drive them all to wherever it was they were going to eat before his stomach embarrassed him, and that perhaps they could then get a singular conversation going so everyone could be involved.
He loaded all the suitcases in the back of the Jeep and helped Samantha from the car. She stepped out from the behind the wheel and joined Kelley and Aurora in the back seat, and Uncle Al took her place in the driver's seat.
"Good, now we can get this little party headed in the right direction. So . . . seafood or pasta?" Not waiting for an answer, he put the car in gear and started for the highway.
Sandwiched between the two women in the back seat, Samantha occasionally would glance at Al and then Alex, at Aurora and then Kelley. The resemblance between Alex and her uncle was uncanny, but then she guessed it was not any more so than that between Alex and Kelley. She kept thinking that Alex was certainly a combination of looks between both of her parents. If Samantha hadn't known better, she would have sworn that they were all blood relatives. Her mind doted for a second on artificial insemination, and she marveled at the accomplishments of science. That thought led to one concerning her and Alex discussing the possibility of starting a family of their own some day.
When they reached their destination, Al got out of the car and walked around to the passenger side. He opened the door, picked Alex up off the front seat, and proceeded to carry her into the building.
Samantha received a warning look from her lover not to laugh, and Aurora reinforced the look with a whisper into Samantha's ear. "It would be best for your relationship to play down what Al just did as much as possible." She giggled and hugged the small blonde close. "He never could get over the fact that she's all grown up. This is just an excuse for him to pamper her like he used to when she was little."
Samantha did her best to keep a straight face as she walked into the restaurant between Aurora and Kelley. She had never seen Alex look so childlike; it warmed her heart.
The conversation never paled the entire evening. It ran the gamut of everything that had happened to the two campers, interspersed with the adventure that Uncle Al had just finished experiencing on a safari over in Africa. Samantha was interested in hearing all about his escapades, and he was far from shy when it came to being the center of attraction. On the other hand, Aurora was interested in the experience the girls had had with their former selves, and Kelley was concerned with their physical well-being and whether or not they should be out gallivanting around the countryside.
Alex assured Kelley that they had rested for the past few days and were both well on their way to recovery. She mentioned that they had wanted to stop at the trading post, but the request was put aside when early evening turned late and the group was still in the midst of after dinner conversation.
Whenever Aurora could get Samantha alone for a few minutes, the dialogue trickled back to the spirit encounter. Samantha loved being the center of attention with her mentor and was more than happy to fill the author in on all the details of the adventure.
On the way back to the clinic Kelley, Al, and Alex discussed the anticipated weather conditions for takeoff on Thursday. Al had to leave for an appointment in New York the following night, and Kelley wanted to get back to California before the weekend. While the pilots were busy discussing flight plans, the two writers had a little more time to chat about a more intriguing subject.
"I know I've been writing about past life regression, dealing with your past lives, and meditating into them, but Samantha, an encounter such as the one you and Alex experienced proves how blurred the line is between one life and the next." Aurora's sapphire eyes twinkled as she spoke of helping Samantha gather all her thoughts together to put them into book form.
Samantha was sitting on top of the world, imagining her first novel hitting the bestseller charts, when a deep contralto voice knocked her back into reality.
"Does the fact that the two of them could have been seriously injured and not be around to tell this marvelous story ever enter your little mind, Aurora?" Steel gray eyes narrowed on her partner's enthusiasm.
"Of course I was concerned about that, Kelley, but that's all after the fact now, isn't it? They weren't mortally harmed, and in fact, it seems the entire motivation behind the visitation was to help get Alex out of that situation where she might have suffered more damage."
"There's no calming that vivid imagination of yours, Aurora, even for a second."
"You wouldn't know me if it were tamed; admit it," Aurora retorted. "Besides, why should it be? They're both fine, with only a few bruises and scrapes. Alex did more damage to her body in the first few years of martial arts training than during the fall in the cave. She's just older now and doesn't heal as quickly."
"Thanks for talking about me like I'm an old woman, Mom." Alex leaned over the front seat and sent her mother a sarcastic glance. "And for acting like I'm not even in the car!"
"Alexis, I wasn't . . ."
"Sure you were, but that's okay." This time the smile was genuine. "I realize what an important revelation this is for you, and I'm doubly thrilled that Samantha is here to do most of the story telling. I guess I'm still waiting for the I told you so."
"That's no way to talk to your mom, Alex," Al interjected with as solemn a look in Alex's direction as he could muster. "She has been telling you about past lives and the interactions of spirits with present incarnations since you could reason. It's not her fault you had to realize, the hard way, that she was right, again." His demeanor softened as he reached out and touched the ebony locks of his favorite relative. "I guess it's the way of the warrior, now isn't it munchkin? You always have been hard headed and in need of finding the truth for yourself. Now you know you truly were a warrior; I'm sure you've brought a lot of that young brave's essence through with you again this time."
"Well, we can all tell you've just returned from a spiritual journey. Out too long in the jungle with no one to talk to but the apes, Uncle Al?"
"Hey, don't start ragging on me, little miss. I'll have to pull this car over and . . ." The twinkle in the gray eyes was unmistakably jovial.
"Okay, okay, enough." Kelley intercepted from the rear seat. "Samantha already knows we're a bunch of kooks; this is just giving her more fuel."
Al pulled the car into the driveway of the clinic and up close to the front door to let everyone out. Gary had offered to put everybody up for the next few days and told Kelley when she had phoned him earlier that he would leave the front door open until they arrived. He added that the room keys would be on the main desk in the lobby.
The lobby was empty, save for the envelope with their names on it lying on the desk. After they managed to get the luggage inside, Kelley locked up the front door, and the little entourage began their trek as quietly as possible in the direction of their rooms. They were all on the same floor and within shouting distance of each other.
Al suggested that they pile into his room and have a nightcap. Kelley squelched the idea and said she felt the girls had been out quite long enough for one day and needed to rest up if they wanted to venture out again in the morning. For once, she got no argument from either Aurora or Alex. Big Al pouted for a second or two but realized his little sis was right and agreed that he was just being selfish and wanted to spend all the time he possibly could with everyone before he had to leave tomorrow.
Breakfast was promised, and kisses were given all around at Alex and Samantha's door.
Alex gave Kelley a particularly affectionate embrace. She pulled the woman close with her good arm and whispered in her ear. "I just wanted to thank you and Mom for coming; it really means a lot to me."
"Alex, we've always told you we were never farther than a phone call away. You never doubted that, did you?"
"No, it's just that I felt like such a . . . "
"Yeah, like maybe I was twelve again and locked myself out of the house."
"Honey, you'll always be twelve to us, even when your hair is as white as Uncle Al's."
The two women switched partners as Kelley and Samantha said their goodnights, and Alex said goodnight to her mother.
Just as Alex was about to close the door, Kelley motioned her outside. "I'll be right there, Samantha," she yelled across the room to Samantha, who was already headed for the bathroom.
"Okay, I'm gonna start a bath."
"Is something wrong, Kelley?"
"Not exactly," the older woman looked intently at her daughter. "We saw how you kept looking at Samantha this evening, Alex, and we know what's been running through your mind."
Trying her damnedest not to look like a child who had gotten her hand caught in the cookie jar, Alex knew precisely what her mom was talking about.
"And? Don't tell me, let me guessççyou all think I should continue to keep my big mouth shut and keep the family secret, secret, right?"
"Actually, wrong! If there's ever going to be the right person in your life to confide in, we believe Samantha is the one. We just wanted you to know that we're all in agreement with you on this, Alex. We just wanted you to know that once you've talked to her, you don't have to be afraid of keeping your disclosure a secret from us."
A sigh of relief escaped from the younger woman's lips and brought a smile to Kelley's face. The older woman could see the tension flow from her daughter's body.
Once again, Kelley reached out and embraced the younger version of herself. "I'm sorry we saddled you with so many secrets, honey; we just wanted your life to run as smoothly as possible."
"I know Kelley, and I love you and Mom for ... "
"We know, Alex. You'd better get inside; Samantha's waiting." Kelley turned and walked down the hall toward her own room.
Alex watched until Kelley disappeared into her room, and then she reopened the door to her own suite, stepped inside, and locked up. She leaned back against the door and sighed. It felt like the weight of the world had been lifted from her shoulders. She smiled to herself and slowly started toward the bathroom.
"You haven't used up all the bubbles, I hope," Alex chided, as she neared the bedroom door.
"What makes you think I put bubbles in the bath?" There was a watery echo to the question as it trickled through the half-open bathroom door.
"Number one, I know you, and number two, I can smell the scent of vanilla," Alex answered as she began to undress in the bedroom.
"What makes you think that's not just the candles you smell?"
"Well . . . "
"I'm right, aren't I?" the brunette snickered. She finished taking off her clothes and headed for the bathroom.
"Yeah, you're right. But you had better hurry and get in here before the water gets cool; it doesn't have a heater like ours at home."
Alex opened the door and drank in the vision of Samantha sitting in the swirling water, the glow from the candles flickering off her golden locks, casting an ethereal halo around the blonde head. The tall woman stopped and grinned. She allowed her eyes to drink in the living fantasy sitting before her, clothed only in the fragile bubbles that bounced aimlessly, while being tossed in all directions by the swirling jets, allowing only minute glimpses of the unadorned skin beneath the water. My world was truly empty before you cast your magic on it, Samantha. Again, the words of her mother echoed in her mind, "Like everything else, Alex, when you're ready to accept it, love will find you." I must have been ready, Mom, because I can't imagine my world without Samantha.
"Penny for your thoughts? You look like they're pretty deep."
"Nah, I was just thinking how lucky I was to have you."
"Ah." The smaller woman could not keep from smiling. She lowered her eyes and played with some of the bubbles. "So, naked lady, are you going to just stand there, tempting me to leave this warm liquid, or are you going to come join me?"
Without another word, Alex slowly stepped over to the Jacuzzi and lowered her statuesque form into the bubbles, seating herself on the opposite side of the tub from Samantha.
Samantha let the water carry her over to her lover's side; she then lifted one of the goblets off the edge of the tub. "It was a lovely day, Alex, and here's to an even more lovely evening."
"It was a good day, wasn't it?" the brunette acknowledged.
"Yes, but you have some explaining to do, 'Little Al'," Samantha smiled. She watched Alex cringe at her use of the ancient nickname. "Yes, you have some explaining about this mysterious uncle of yours who travels the world and appears like magic to come to your aid when you're in need. He appeared out of the blue, like a white knight on a winged steed." She giggled as she handed Alex the glass of the warm red liquid she had poured before starting the bath. "How come I haven't heard of him before now?"
"Samantha, we're still getting to know each other; you can't expect me to have touched on all the facets of my life in these few short months."
"Why not? You know absolutely everything there is to know about me and my life."
"I doubt that I know everything," Alex countered. "I'm sure somewhere along the line we'll be having a conversation and something I don't already know will rear its ugly head. It will be at that point that I'll turn to you and say, 'Why, Samantha, you haven't told me everything!'"
The blonde laughed as she edged even closer to Alex and sipped on her wine. "Nope; I don't think so, at least not anything of any importance. And certainly nothing with an 'ugly head.' I lead a rather dull life before hooking up with you Dorians."
"Well, then you'll just have to be patient with me, and I will eventually fill you in on all the lurid details of my family life, okay?"
"Sure, you have the rest of this lifetime to fill me in, but you can start right now with good old Uncle Al."
"Okay," Alex agreed. She took another sip of her wine and put her good arm around Samantha, drawing the smaller woman close until their bodies were touching.
Samantha decided that the best position to listen to a story was on Alex's lap, so she continued to move until she was straddling the dark-haired beauty, and they were sitting face-to-face.
"There, that's better, now I can really concentrate."
"Well that's good because this is the kind of thing you need to concentrate on. As I said earlier, Uncle Al is the blackest of the Dorian sheep. He was the middle child and refused to be stunted by his place in the family. I guess we really haven't talked much about the Dorian side, but there is, of course, Kelley, who's the youngest, Uncle Al and Uncle Darian . . ."
"Darian Dorian, what an unusual name," Samantha interjected.
"It's a family name all the way around, and Uncle Al has made mention more than once that he was glad he didn't get saddled with it, as he believes the name made Uncle Darian an old stick in the mud."
"And were you named after Uncle Al?"
"Not really. We were both named after a great-great-great, like five or six times great grandmother, Alexis Llewellyn. I think Gram was working on having an Alexis when Uncle Al showed up instead. He laughs that he thinks he should have been me but there was a mix up in the cosmos, and he came out instead. He's been trying to make it up to Gram ever since. But Gram really didn't care; she always felt that homosexuals had it all over the rest of the world anyway when it came to inspiration, artistic abilities, and flare. Of course she was always a little prejudiced," Alex admitted.
"That's the most original reasoning behind being gay I've ever heard," Samantha laughed. "So, tell me something, Alex." The blonde's smile began to fade slightly. "Why would your uncle have thought he was supposed to be you?"
"Because Gram was trying for a girl and because our birthdays are just two days apart."
"Well, why didn't she wait and call Kelley Alexis?"
"Kelley was a change of life baby; Gram hadn't planned on having any more kids. Besides, Kelley wasn't born in the right month."
"Oh, so the name Alexis has a special month?" Now the verdant eyes were spinning with questions. "Alex this web is getting thicker and thicker as you weave it."
Alex took another sip of her wine and sighedççsomething she seemed to be doing a lot of this evening. "What do you say we finish with this bath, reload these goblets, and I finish telling you the Dorian saga in the nice comfortable bed?"
"It's that long, huh?"
"Let's just say it has a few twists and turns."
Thoughts of seduction were put aside in anticipation of knowing more about Alex and her interesting family. Samantha's own family history paled in reference to the stories Alex had to tell. They finished washing up and dried quickly. Samantha insisted that she be the one to get the wine and told Alex to settle herself on the bed and wait. Alex was in no mood for confrontation and agreed, figuring she would have a few extra minutes to gather her thoughts and put the family dynamics into some semblance of order.
"Okay, Alex, I hope you're ready to talk because I'm certainly in the mood for listening," Samantha chuckled as she reentered the bedroom to find her lover propped up on pillows and waiting.
"I guess the best way to start is to go back to the beginning, at least to the beginning as I know it." She held out her glass and let Samantha fill it up, then took a sip and waited while the smaller woman climbed in bed beside her.
"The grandmother I spoke aboutççthe one I'm named afterççwas a gold miner back in the 1800's, and she struck a mother lode. Sometime when we're home, I can go into more detail about her life, but the important thing about the two of us is that she was the one who started the Dorian Dynasty."
"Wouldn't she have had to had all male children to start a dynasty?"
"Not really. The money is handed down through blood line, not necessarily the name."
"But you said the name was important . . . "
"I said the name Alexis Llewellyn was important, Samantha, not the Dorian part. But we're getting off the subject. It seems that one of my grandmothers got it into her head that the majority of the inheritance should go to a relative with the same name as our benefactor, then she further elaborated that the child needed to also have the same birth date. Whoever it was she had draw up the will made it ironclad, and no one has been able to break it to this day. The extra funds that had been set aside for this lucky distant relative were to increase in value until ten generations had passed. If, by that time, no female child had been born to stake the claim, then the monies would be put into a fund to help needy women. Up until my birth, it was very hard to exactly match a birthday. But my folks did the arithmetic, and mom decided on a Caesarian birth so she could pick the exact date. Needless to say, my Uncle Darian was less than thrilled when I came along to claim the bounty. By the time I was born, he had three sons but no daughters."
"And so you've received all the money?"
"Okayççno." She smiled at her lover. "The last of the stipulations is that I do not get the extra money until my 31st birthday, and I have to still be single at that time. A woman after my own heart!"
"Alright, but I'm still confused," Samantha admitted. "If this lawyer was so good at his job and this will with its prerequisites is so stringent, how can you get the money if it goes by bloodline. I mean I know you're a Dorian by birth, but Alex, don't you think they would have taken that into consideration at some point? If your relative had made sure of all the other provisions, I would think she would have insisted that the girl child be of the same bloodline, also."
Samantha looked at Alex and watched in wonder as a light rose tint appeared on her lover's cheeks. She gave a questioning look and began to speak, but two long fingers silenced her voice. The taller woman shook her head and continued her explanation.
"I told you we were a bit of an eccentric family, Samantha. There's also an enormous amount of love between my parentsççbetween all my parents."
A light went on in Samantha's head. She immediately realized what Alex was saying. It was no coincidence that Alex and Kelley looked so much alike, it wasn't environmental; it was biological.
"Uncle Al is you dad?" Samantha whispered.
"Yeah. It was kind of a rotten trick for the two of them to play on Uncle Darian. He thought with them both being gay that his kids would have a greater chance of getting the inheritance. But Uncle Al knew how much Kelley loved Mom. It was his way of allowing his little sis to actually be blood kin to her lover's baby."
"How beautifully romantic."
"It turned out to be more than just romantic for me."
"I'll say, including the fact that you ended up with three parents."
"Actually, no. After I was born, Uncle Al took off on one of his overseas adventures and was gone for the first five years of my life. He and my moms had an agreement that he would always be my Uncle Al, and I wasn't told that he was my father until I was old enough to understand all the implications. But he does spoil me, Samantha. He has since the day I was born. Even though he wasn't a part of my everyday life, he was always there in the background. The Three Musketeers were not going to inform anyone in the family as to what they had done, but when I was born, they figured Grams had a right to know. Grams figured Uncle Darian did too, so he wouldn't keep trying to have a daughter, at least not for all the wrong reasons."
"I'm sure he said that Kelley and Aurora and Al had you for 'all the wrong reasons.'"
"He tried, but no one really paid much attention to his paranoid ramblings. Grams knew the reason I had been conceived; fixing the date was merely a plus."
"So, Alex, exactly how much money are we talking about?"
Alex swallowed hard and continued, "Over all the years, the money has been handled by an investment firm and a group of lawyers. Mom said she talked to one of the attorneys on my last birthday, and with all the stocks and bonds, as well as the real estate holdings, the accumulated total is a little over seventy million dollars, plus a 500-acre spread in northern California."
Samantha was so unprepared for the astronomical number that when she tried to swallow her last mouthful of wine, she ended up choking, with the majority of the red liquid spraying the taller woman's nightshirt.
"Oh, shit! I'm so sorry, Alex." She started to jump up from the bed but was caught by a strong right hand.
"Calm down, Samantha; it's okay."
"Damn, I knew you had money Alex, but that's . . . that's . . . "
"Amoralççludicrousççinconceivable?" The brunette pulled her lover close. "You'll never want for anything, Samantha."
"Alex, people are going to think I got with you for your money."
"But we know better." She kissed the smaller woman on the forehead. "We were destined to meet. Our little adventure out in the wilderness only further proved the fact that we were meant to be together."
Trying to take her mind off the family secret that she had just been privy to, Samantha focused on the soiled nightshirt. "Take that off, and let me put it in some water to soak. I'll get you a clean one."
"It's fine, Samantha."
"No, come on, Alex, let me get the wine off of it before it stains."
Knowing that Samantha wouldn't be happy until the shirt was off, she let the blonde help her out of the soiled garment. Then she tried distracting her lover by pulling her close and nibbling on her neck.
"Stop that, Alex, you know you can't finish what you're trying to start." The blonde giggled softly as she pulled away ever so slightly, feeling the hardness of her lover's nipples against her own and unable to resist bending down and kissing one of the pink tips before sliding off the bed and walking into the bathroom.
"No fair getting me all excited and then leaving the room, you know." Alex mumbled. She glanced over on the nightstand and spied a piece of paper covered with Samantha's printing. "Is this the poem you were working on the other day?"
"Yeah," came the answer from the next room. "I was going to read it to you before you started talking about dynasties and ... rich people."
"Can I read it while you're playing Dorothy Domestic?"
Alex unfolded the sheet and began to read:
WHEN LIVES COLLIDE
Out of a primal and distant past, beyond the frame of time
An Indian maid and brave appeared to mingle souls divine.
The ancient emerged to those now here ~ they met on common ground.
Then with the help of mystical means, a healing way was found.
The present incarnations viewed reflections of long ago,
The essence of who they used to be, the new selves came to know.
A link with their eternal souls brought old and new together,
Then generations mingled in the moist Sedona weather.
A clap of thunder, a lightening bolt, Indian Summer rain ~
Hence, Shamanistic knowledge worked its spell on Earth again.
A final glimpse of who they'd been ~ then a poignant fare thee well.
Ancients left their modern selves with a fabulous tale to tell.
Now, I'll tell you all the story of the maiden and the brave,
Of love that brought their spirits back to an age-old, hidden cave.
Just because you have not seen them, don't negate this tale is true
For I talked with them as surely as I stand and talk to you.
My challenge now will be to let the world know natural truths
They taught me love surpasses time, those ancient Indian youths.
Though it may take me years to weave the tale for all to see,
The memory of the two of them will live inside of me.
"This is beautiful, Samantha." Alex was holding the poem in her hand when Samantha walked back into the room, carrying one of the still lit candles that had been stationed around the edge of the tub.
"It's okay. I'm not sure it's really finished yet."
"Sounds great to me."
"Yes," Samantha chortled, "But you're easy to please."
"I wouldn't be so sure of that."
With that, the blonde gently took the paper from her lover's hand and placed it back on the nightstand, along with the candle. She reached over and ran a small hand over Alex's chest, smiling as nipples that had gone back to their natural state, again stood at attention at the gentleness of her caress. "See how easy you are?" she whispered into Alex's ear.
"We weren't talking about that," Alex whispered back.
"I was," Samantha confessed, leaning over to extinguish the candlelight.
"I don't think I can wait until your body is back in excellent condition to touch you."
"All this talk of money turn you on, Samantha?"
Evil flashed in emerald green eyes as Samantha pinched one of Alex's erect nipples.
"Ouch! That hurt!"
"It was meant to hurt; that statement was totally uncalled for!" the blonde retorted.
"You're right. I'm sorry. I thought I was being funny, but I wasn't," Alex apologized.
"Apology accepted. Now . . . where was I before I was so rudely interrupted?"
"I think you were . . . "
Alex's statement was cut off as soft lips covered her own, allowing only the involuntary moans of pleasure to escape, while small hands began traveling down her body.
"On second thought, you don't need a clean shirt, and you don't need this underwear on either." With unexpected swiftness Samantha ran her hands down around Alex's hips and slid the panties around the tall woman's ankles. She gently maneuvered them off the still swollen ankle, off the uninjured foot, and onto the floor.
"You might be a little slow tonight, but there's no reason for me to suffer withdrawal symptoms along with you." Starting at the ankles, the blonde nibbled her way up the long, sinewy legs of her lover, smiling as she noticed the love bumps trailing wherever her lips touched.
Alex jumped slightly and let out a moan of delight when Samantha's lips buried themselves in the soft curls beneath her abdomen before inching her hands up the muscular thighs and allowing her fingers to eagerly find their way to part the moist nether lips beneath the dark ringlets.
"You taste sweet, my love," the blonde confessed, as her tongue darted between the folds to lap contentedly on the nectar within. "I've got you in my clutches now, Alex. I have no intention of letting you go." She parted the lips again and languidly traced the opening from top to bottom, stopping ever so shortly at the pool of moistness, before allowing her tongue to travel the length again. She could feel the bud of pleasure as it became harder, and the blonde grinned. She knew what Alex wanted yet purposely avoided landing on the vulnerable spot, until she knew the dark-haired beauty was ready to scream with desire.
"So, what is it that you want, my love? Tell me and I'll do your bidding." The angelic face glanced up from her perch to gaze on sparkling, half-lidded sapphire eyes; the brunette smiled down at her.
"Those are my lines," she half breathed in short, metered breaths.
"And how do they feel bouncing back into your ears?" Samantha whispered. "Doesn't matter, you need to answer, my love. What is it you want?"
"You know what I want, Samantha."
The blonde head swayed to and fro. "Nope, not good enough." She took one small finger and entered her lover slowly, watching Alex's abdomen tighten and her chest expand, as her lungs filled with air. "This? Is this what you want?"
"I didn't think so." Samantha removed her finger and replaced it again with her tongue. The bud was still swollen, and she knew Alex preferred to come on the outside before climaxing within.
"So, tell me, Alex; it's not difficult. Just let me know what to do and I'll do it." She ran her hands up the shapely sides of the taller woman, a sea of bumps following hands that reached up to engulf two firm breasts.
Hot breath blew on dark curls as Samantha continued to tease, unrelenting in her quest to receive a verbal answer.
"Please, Samantha." The plea came from lips moistened with desire.
"What, Alex?" She was not going to give in; she wanted to hear Alex beg.
"I ache for you, Samantha."
"For me to do what?"
"God damn it, Samantha."
The blonde kept teasing, placing her tongue on the eager bud only to move it slowly, causing an ache that would not be satisfied until a quick cadence was established and continued.
"Harder, Samantha. Faster."
"What?" Samantha was still not satisfied; she wanted to hear Alex ask.
"Samantha, lick me, hard, fastççplease. Stop teasing."
With that, the tongue, that had been reticent to continue in one place, found the spot she knew would take her lover over the edge and concentrated on bringing the bud to bloom. She continued in the same area until Alex's knuckles turned white, and she begged for Samantha to get off the love-saturated area. It was at that point that Samantha once again entered her lover, but this time with a hard upward thrust eliciting a moan of pleasure from Alex that caused the smaller woman's heart to pound faster.
Samantha situated herself between the muscular thighs. She enjoyed making love to Alex as much as she enjoyed being made love to, and it was beyond assumption that the old adage about giving being as great a gift as receiving was most assuredly a truth.
Alex, on the other hand, was not satisfied being a passive participant. "Come here, you," the brunette moaned as she stretched her right arm down to feel the moistness that trickled onto the inner sides of the blonde's thighs. She reached further and inserted two, then three fingers into the slick wetness of her lover's treasure. "I want you to come at the same time I do, Samantha. It's better for me that way."
The smaller woman resituated so she could continue making love to Alex, while being made love to in return. The buildup had been slow, but the anticipation heightened threefold with both of the women becoming involved in the lovemaking. During the heat of the moment, Alex forgot she had a wounded wrist and sore shoulder until an involuntary moan of agony instead of ecstasy escaped from her throat when she turned too quickly and grabbed at the smaller woman's waist.
Samantha started to stop, but was immediately threatened by a throaty utterance. Alex's dark locks were dripping with perspiration. She grunted, and then from deep within growled that if Samantha knew what was best she would not miss a beat, the pain be damned; it was worth the rapture.
Minutes passed and the two sated lovers lay quiet and content in each other's arms. Their breathing was no longer labored, and they found themselves bathed in the sweet after sweat that allowed them to cool, following the heat of inner explosions.
"It's been quite an interesting evening, my love," Samantha announced, breaking the silence and curling into her sleeping position on her lover's chest. "Are there still more secrets to be told of the Dorian tribe?"
"You've pretty much gotten an outline of all the major ones, that's for sure. Are you certain you want to remain in the family? You haven't taken the blood oath yet, so you could still escape."
"Could I really?"
"No! In actuality, you've been accepted and taken in; you now belong to us body and soul." Alex kissed the top of the still damp head and breathed in the odor of contentment. "I love you, Samantha."
"I believe my soul was intertwined with yours long before I even met you Alexis Llewellyn Dorianççand I love you, too."
"Even though I'm going to be obscenely wealthy in a matter of months?"
"Aren't you already?"
"Well, yes, but . . ."
"So what's a few more million here or there?" Samantha giggled and squeezed Alex carefully, trying to remember that there were still some bruises on the body she loved to be cuddled next to. "I suppose we'll just have a completely different set of problems from couples who have a lack of money. It doesn't mean our life is going to be without situations, I'm sure. They will just be different."
"I'm glad that's the way you think, my Destiny. The last thing I want is for money to be an obstacle in our relationship."
"So, do I have to sign a pre-nuptial agreement?"
Alex sighed deeply. She thought she had breathed the last of the sighs of exasperation when she began to tell the story of Al and the money. "Honey, I guess there are still some things we need to talk about, but not tonight, okay? I feel marvelous, and all I want to do is curl up with you and go to sleep."
"Sounds like a plan," Samantha agreed. "We don't need to go into the terms of the commitment until closer to the ceremony."
"Thanks, Samantha. One serious discussion and disclosure a night is sufficient." Placing her hand under the smaller woman's chin, she tilted the face she adored until she was staring into deep green eyes that radiated nothing but love. "Sweet dreams, my love," she whispered, as she gently kissed Samantha's parted lips.
"Hmm," Samantha moaned and then answered with a countered, "Sweet dreams to you, too, Alex. See you in the morning."