Copyright Notice: The characters and story are copyrighted to the authors. However, readers may notice vague similarities to any number of other uber characterizations of Xena, the warrior princess, and of Gabrielle, the battling bard. This is not coincidental.
Disclaimers: The story depicts a loving relationship between two persons of the same sex. Being the discreet, non-peeping-tom's that we are, we have a fade out before the good stuff starts. We leave that up to the imagination of the reader, which is very likely more vivid than ours anyway.
NOTE: This is the sixth short story in our slow-moving, yet slightly jerky, saga. The first was Incident at the Antiq**s and Eats Truck Stop (for those of you who want historical background).
Comments, feedback, winning lottery tickets, movie deals may be sent to email@example.com.
"Hey, Zee, what did I do with my bra?"
Bri's soprano voice wafted out of the bedroom, down the hallway, around a corner, and into the living room of the small house, where it lapped invitingly against the ear of the room's occupant.
Zeena had a big grin on her face as she called back, "I don't know. The last time I saw you, ya weren't wearing one."
This comment produced an abrupt silence from the bedroom. Bri (like the cheese although she didn't spell it that way) had been thumping suticases around and opening and closing drawers all morning in her zeal to pack everything necessary for a short fishing expedition. She had finally worked her way to underwear, which brought up the subject of her favorite bra and prompted her abrupt question.
Still grinning, Zee turned her head when she heard Bri's voice behind her. The blonde was standing in the doorway with her hands on her hips, trying to look stern.
"Okay, missy, you keep talking like that and you won't be doing anything but fishing on this trip."
The tall mechanic merely waggled her eyebrows at her partner. As Bri fled back to her packing, Zee heard a muffled giggle. She grinned to herself as she turned back to the television. This trip wasn't going to be just fishing if she had anything to say about it.
They had been talking about going fishing for weeks, once the weather got warmer. Bri had always enjoyed the few fishing trips her family had made when she was a kid. She hadn't fished in several years, but knew the old skill would come back to her quickly. Just like riding a bicycle. Then she remembered she had never been very good at riding a bicycle either. Oh well, you didn't need much sense of balance to fish, she figured.
And Zee usually went fishing once a year; she liked getting away for a few days from everything and everybody. Except Bri, she reminded herself. She had never gone fishing with anyone else before. She smiled as she imagined how this time would be different - and better - than all the others.
Then she frowned as her eyes focused on the picture in front of her. She had been reduced to watching wrestling. No NASCAR; no basketball. The only other choice was golf, and watching grown men whack at a little ball was about as exciting as a turtle race, in her opinion. She used to like wrestling, even though she knew it was all acting; but now they hardly ever actually wrestled. Oh yeah, three or four guys would jump one guy - usually out of the ring - and beat him up with the cameras rolling; if you can call that wrestling. But mostly they pranced around the ring, yelling into a microphone, and calling each other names. 'And we're supposed to believe this is real?' she thought to herself.
Zee wandered into the kitchen. Maybe beer would help her get through this desert of non-entertainment.
"Are you all packed? Where's your bag?" Bri asked as she walked into the kitchen.
Zee swallowed some beer and sighed contentedly. "There's no hurry. It's just fishing; I'll throw an extra t-shirt in before we leave." Since she had never taken anyone with her before, she had never bothered much about changes of clothes and other useful tips for the fashion-conscious fisherman. She was lifting her beer arm for another swig when the movement was stopped. Looking down into green eyes, she saw the storm warning. Cringing internally, she tried a smile. "What?"
Bri had learned she needed to take a firm line with her socially-challenged partner. "You march right into that bedroom and start packing. And don't think I won't check to see you're taking enough clothes for the weekend. I'm not spending the whole time with someone wearing the same smelly t-shirt." The vertically-challenged blonde spun her tall companion around and gave her a push in the right direction.
Zee trudged into the bedroom, muttering under her breath, "I wasn't planning on wearing a t-shirt the whole time."
Bri, standing in the doorway to foil any escape attempt, smiled at the barely audible comment. Her plans didn't include wearing t-shirts the whole time either. But she didn't want to encourage Zee's minimal packing tendencies.
Zeena paused, stunned, just inside the room. As her eyes travelled across the clothes- strewn bed, they got bigger and her mouth hung open. It looked like a clearance sale at the SuperColossalMart. She managed to hitch up her jaw before she turned to her partner.
"Geez, Bri, we're only gonna be gone for three days! You don't have to take everything you own." She paused as an idea occurred to her. Putting on the lopsided smile she knew Bri couldn't resist, she went on, "Or are you planning on falling in the river and have to change clothes every hour?" The picture of Bri's body covered only by wet, clinging clothes was leading to other pleasant thoughts that showed only too plainly on the mechanic's face.
Bri turned redder than a cherry on top of an ice cream soda. She tried to shove the taller woman out of her way but was only able to move her a couple of inches. It was enough for her to squeeze into the bedroom.
Not sure if she was more embarrassed or pleased at Zeena's obvious thoughts, Bri grabbed up some of her clothes and threw them into the closet. Usually she put all her things away neatly, and Zee's too just because she liked seeing the floor some of the time. But today was an exception.
Zee was still grinning when Bri turned around with an explanation. "I wasn't taking everything, smarty! Only I wanted to make sure I had everything I'd need." She pointed at a large suitcase open on the floor and filled with color-coordinated and accessorized outfits.
Her partner walked over and looked at it for a minute. She whistled a few discordant notes to herself before looking at Bri, whose face was returning to her normal color. Zee tried not to smile as she thought, 'She sure did get red. I wonder what else makes her blush that quick.'
"I'm glad your're not taking everything 'cause it won't all fit in the car. And I wouldn't want to take your clothes and leave you behind with nothing to wear." She whispered huskily. "Of course I'd want to stay behind too then."
Zeena laughed loudly when Bri turned redder than before at this remark. She leaned toward her friend. "Hey, your neck's red, too. How far down does the color go?" She tried to look down Bri's shirt.
Bri shoved her harder this time, and Zee fell onto the bed, still laughing. Bri put her hands on her hips and tried to look mad. It had always bothered her that she blushed so easily, even when she wasn't embarrassed. Actually Zee's comments made her happy since it showed how much Zee really wanted her.
After a couple of false starts, Bri finally was able to say, "Fine. Laugh all you want." She stopped because Zee was doing just that. She decided to change tactics. "So what are you going to pack? And it had better be more than your Swiss Army knife!"
The dark-haired woman sat up, wiped her moist eyes, and failed badly at looking indignant. "Of course I need more than a Swiss Army knife. Ya need a longer knife for gutting fish." She grinned.
"I meant clothes," Bri said, slightly exasperated.
"Clothes. Sure. It'll only take me a minute to pack." She caught Bri's eye. "Well, maybe five minutes."
Zee stood up and had started for her dresser when a flying sport's bag caught her in the stomach. She grabbed it instinctively and raised an eyebrow in the direction of the thrower. "You found it! I wondered what had happened to it. Where was it?"
Bri answered shortly, "In the closet." She didn't want to admit that it had been buried under her suitcases. She sometimes felt a little guilty about moving into Zee's house and taking over. Then she got over it. "And I want to see it full before we leave tomorrow morning," she added.
"Okay, okay," Zee grumbled. "Let's see ... extra pair of jeans ..."
Bri interrupted this internal communing. "That's only one pair."
"I'll be wearing jeans, won't I? Or maybe you don't want me wearing jeans while I drive, huh?" This conversation seemed to be going exactly where Zee wanted it to. And she wasn't even trying.
"Just finish packing."
"Jeans, right ... t-shirts. Oh, by the way, I'll be wearing a t-shirt while I drive, too." She smiled at Bri, who could only grin back at her. Things were looking good. "A coupla black ones should do it. Unless you think I'll need more in case I fall in the river every hour."
By this time Bri didn't care if they went fising or not. The image of Zee in a wet t-shirt rose before her eyes. She closed her eyes but the image lingered.
"Are you okay?" Zee was a little worried when Bri closed her eyes. Maybe all that blushing was bad for her.
Bri opened her vivid green eyes. They locked on Zee's brilliant blue eyes. Both sets reflected the same thought as the two would-be fishermen wrapped their arms around each other and fell onto the bed.
The fishing trip had been postponed indefinitely.
In the living room, the television continued to show strutting wrestlers to an empty and indifferent room.