Disclaimers: The characters portrayed in this story are the property of CD McKendry. This story portrays scenes of mild violence and the occasional 'four-letter word'. If this offends you, please do not read any further. Also be advised that this story involves two women in a sexual relationship so once again; if this offends you do not read any further. Finally, this is my first attempt at writing anything since about a hundred years ago when I was once a school girl so if this worries you (and it probably should), please do not read any further. If you find anything truly offensive...or if you just want to say hi (which, by the way, I much prefer), please feel free to drop me a line at: cdmckendry@hotmail.com

For those of you that are left, please enjoy.

WAR, PEACE, UNDERSTANDING & LOVE

Part 7

Kate didn't know what emotions she felt as she fled Kris's place. She was relieved at first that they had been interrupted, not sure if she was ready for what she felt was happening. When she heard Kris say Sam's name though, it was like a hot iron had been pushed through her stomach. Everything in her screamed that it was wrong for Kris to go with Sam tomorrow. The trouble was, she didn't know how to tell Kris that without coming across like some crazy possessive lunatic.

Not wanting to go home, but not able to go back and face Kris, Kate wasn't sure what to do. Pulling off the side of the road by the lake, the history teacher decided that maybe it was time for a trip home. I haven't been back since dad's funeral last year and I do miss mom. Maybe she can help me gain some perspective on this situation. I need some time to re-evaluate everything. I could leave in about an hour and be there by midnight or one. I better call mom so she doesn't try to beat me to death with her damn frying pan again.

The decision made, Kate turned her car around and headed in the direction of her small house on the other side of town. Once there, she picked up her phone and called her mother to tell her of her plans. The conversation with Delores was short and to the point as usual. Kate's mother was a woman of few words so conversations were never long winded. Hesitating only momentarily, Kate picked up the phone again and called the school's receptionist Mrs. Peacock. Filling in the older woman on her plans, she asked that a substitute teacher be found for Monday. She planned to be back on Monday but didn't want to have to be on the road before 4:00 in the morning to make it back for classes.

Before throwing her clothes into an old beat up duffle bag, Kate made herself a full pot of coffee to fill the thermos. If I'm going to make a last minute, spur-of-the-moment kind of trip, I need something to keep me awake! As soon as the coffee was made and her bag was packed, Kate locked her front door and headed out.

Already feeling better, Kate cranked the music on her car stereo. Still a big fan of the 80's, the sounds of Bon Jovi pounded through her poor unfortunate factory speakers as Kate sang along. Drumming away on her steering wheel, Kate drove on into the night.



Kris still felt horrible an hour after Kate made her abrupt departure. Not knowing whether it was the almost-kiss that upset the blonde or the fact that they had been interrupted left Kris with a horrible feeling in her stomach. God what was I thinking? I can't get involved in a relationship here! I'm not staying and we both know it! Thank God the phone rang. Sam will be the perfect distraction over the weekend and with a little luck will be able to help me get my libido back under control.

For some reason, that thought did not help Kris to calm down nor did it make her feel any better. While Kris would be the first to admit that she had enjoyed Sam's attentions in the past, she wasn't overly excited to be meeting up with the tall blonde the next day. What the hell is wrong with me? I have a woman that is sexy as hell and who has made it perfectly clear that she's interested in 'rekindling' the past and I'm barely interested. Then there's Kate. Just her name makes me smile now when a few months ago, her name made me want to rip my ears off. What is it with us...is there no middle ground?

Deciding that her thoughts weren't going to get her anywhere, Kris grabbed her keys and headed over to her mother's house for her daily visit. When she arrived at the manse, the lights on the front steps were on and the house looked almost inviting. Kris figured the fact that her father's car wasn't there probably had something to do with that.

Quickly dismounting from her frozen motorcycle, Kris jogged quickly up the front steps and inside the door. When she reached the front foyer, she noticed that there were voices coming from the kitchen. Curious, she moved through the long dark hallway that emptied into the spacious country-style kitchen. Sitting around the table was her mother and a group of about five other women that Kris did not recognize right away. When she took a second look she realized that one of the women was Mrs. Peacock, the receptionist from the high school.

"Hey mom," she said while bending to kiss a leathery cheek. "I'm sorry, I didn't know you'd have company. I just wanted to come by and see how you were today. I was going to come over earlier but I got tied up with something. If you want, I'll come back tomorrow."

"No don't be silly." Karen exclaimed still surprised to see the young woman. "I'm glad you're here. Did you have a good day today?"

"Yeah, it was alright. Look, I don't want to intrude on your time with you friends so I'll just come back." Kris wasn't comfortable with the group of women; all of whom she was sure, attended her father's church.

It was quite obvious to Karen and the other women that Kris had something on her mind that she wanted to discuss with her mother in private. Mrs. Peacock, being the good Christian woman that she was, looked down her nose at Kris and said, "I didn't know that Ms. Crawford would be going out of town this weekend. You would think that the woman would at least try to book a substitute ahead of time!"

If the women had been playing poker, Kris would have definitely beaten everyone in the room. Everyone, that is, except her mother. Only Karen saw the imperceptible flinch in her daughters indigo eyes even as Kris shrugged off the tidbit of gossip she'd just been passed. Now thoroughly intrigued as to what was going on, Karen thanked the group for coming and began herding them out the door.

Mrs. Peacock, disappointed that she hadn't been able to bait Kris, made one last attempt at stirring the pot. "I would have thought Kate would have told you that she was going. I was under the impression that the two of you had gotten rather...close." This last word was said with a small smirk and the woman still looking down her nose.

Kris, already tired and quite frankly getting a little tired of the older woman retorted, "Well, next weekend I'll ask her to give me a moment by moment itinerary if it'll help." With that, she turned towards the kitchen counter to make a fresh pot of tea. She smiled to herself when she heard the 'hrumph' behind her as the old busybody turned to leave.

After her mother had escorted the group to the door, Kris poured them both a cup of tea and sat down at the table. Karen stared at the woman in front of her and once again thanked whatever being out there that she had a chance to spend some time with her. At least now she could truly feel that she knew her daughter before departing from this life.

"So daughter of mine, now that you've chased out the 'Better Busybody Society' what can I do for you?" Karen smirked at the description of the group and Kris outright laughed.

"That's not nice mom. You'd better watch what you're saying or people might think that I'm rubbing off on you!" Kris couldn't help but laugh. It was as if her mother was finally growing a spine after all of these years. Better late than never I guess! This thought threatened to make Kris's mood even worse but she pushed it away. The past is the past and I will leave it there. She did the best she could at the time and I've just got to get over it! Kris never questioned her need to forgive her mother's actions and hold her father accountable for his.

"No, it's not nice but sometimes you've just got to call a spade a spade." Karen was tired of being the buffer between people. Maybe Kris was rubbing off on her or maybe it was because she was dying but she just didn't have the patience to deal with phony people right now. Eyeing her daughter once again, it was obvious that something was wrong; Kris never drank tea. "So seriously, what's on your mind?"

Kris let out a sigh and sat her mug down heavily on the solid oak table. "I think I screwed up big time mom but I'm not sure you want to hear about this."

"Does this have something to do with why Kate suddenly decided to leave town for the weekend?" Karen asked with nothing but concern and understanding in her voice.

Kris looked at the older woman, the surprise evident in her crystal blue eyes. "How did you know? I thought I covered that up pretty well."

Karen reached over and took her daughters hand in hers much smaller one. "Kris, as much as you hate him, you do have some of your father in you. I've spent the last 35 years learning to decipher his looks and understand them. No one else in the room would have guessed that you didn't know Kate was going away but to me it was clear as a bell. So tell me about it. What happened?"

"Well," Kris hesitated and looked to her mother, "I almost kissed her."


Kate pulled into her mother's driveway a little after one in the morning. Exhausted and hungry, she dragged her body and her duffle bag out of the car into the cold night air. As she was approaching the front steps, the porch light flicked on and the door opened. The moment that Kate saw her mothers face, she almost lost her precarious grip on her emotions. Her mother swung the screen door open and took her tiny daughter into her arms, bringing her in out of the cold.

For a few long moments, Kate couldn't even speak. She just held tight to her mother and enjoyed the feeling of safety that being in her mothers' presence always brought her. Finally, knowing that the older woman had to be at least as exhausted as she herself was, Kate pulled away and admonished her, "Mom, I told you not to wait up for me! You must be absolutely zonked!"

"Nonsense child! When you call me up out of the blue and tell me you are coming home for a visit that very night you think I'm not going to wait up and see for myself that you're alright?" Delores looked at Kate like she'd lost her mind. "Now, I can see that physically you are just fine so that leaves the emotional. Being as I'm sure we are both too tired for a long drawn out conversation tonight, I suggest we retire for the evening and have a fresh perspective on it all in the morning. What do you think?"

Kate smiled at her mother's ability to sum it all up in five sentences or less and nodded. "If you don't mind mom, I'm really tired. I think a good nights sleep is just what I need right now." Kate leaned over and gave the reclining woman a brief hug and kiss on the cheek. "Guest room all ready?" she asked as her mother stood and turned off the lights.

"Yep...ready and waiting for you!" With that the two women bid each other a goodnight and headed to bed.

Despite being absolutely wiped from her long day and seemingly endless evening, Kate just couldn't fall asleep. She couldn't help but re-examine everything about her time with Kris over the last few weeks. It was odd to her that for so many years she hadn't felt particularly interested in anyone, yet here she was, completely befuddled about a woman whom she could have sworn she hated.

Well, it's definitely not hate anymore now is it? The problem is, I'm not sure just what it is I feel for Kris. I know that I'm completely amazed at her strength and courage. I respect her as a professional. I think she's incredibly funny when she wants to be, not to mention very intelligent. She has an incredible amount of compassion and she makes me smile.

As Kate lay there, she remembered a very sweaty Kris coming into the office after her workout. Unconsciously, her breathing picked up and she felt a warm heat start to uncurl in the pit of her stomach. Kate's mind drifted in a haze for a moment and when she shook herself from the path her thoughts were on, she couldn't help but chuckle softly into the silky night air. Okay, I think it's pretty safe to say that I'm attracted to her. I'm sure that this should weird me out but it doesn't so I'm not going to question it. Now the question is, what do I do about it?

With that final thought, Kate finally managed to drift into a light sleep.

The next morning found Kate in exactly the same position she had fallen asleep in. It took only a moment for her confused and sleep-filled mind to register where she was. Memories of the previous evening filled her mind, as did thoughts of a certain tall, dark-haired goddess. Not wanting to think about anything of any consequence, Kate buried her head under her pillow and tried unsuccessfully to go back to sleep. When she heard movement in the other room, she knew that her mother had started her day and would be waiting not so patiently for her to get up and explain her sudden need to come home. What was I thinking when I decided to come home? How in God's name am I going to explain this to mom without her freaking out? I think I'm a little old for the 'mom, I think I might be gay' conversation! Did I just think that? I'm not gay. I'm just...well, I'm not gay.

Kate's bladder finally drove her from the safety of the warm, down-filled comforter she was hiding under. As much as she hated the idea of facing any of this, she knew that her mother would offer sound advice. Or at least she hoped she would.

After taking care of her morning needs, Kate dressed in a pair of sweatpants and hoodie sweater that were two sizes two big and had belonged to her brother once upon a time. Knowing that she couldn't put it off any longer, she finally went out to face her mother.

"Morning mom, coffee made yet?" Kate asked trying to sound casual and hoping her mother wouldn't press her for details right away.

Unfortunately for Kate, her mother was ready and waiting. "Yes it is dear, I made it about a half an hour ago. It sure took you long enough to get out here. I heard you in there moving around about a half an hour ago. If you think that you're going to avoid explaining to me what is going on, then you might as well get that thought out of your head right now. Sit, drink your coffee, and speak."

Kate sighed as she looked at her mother's face. Delores had that look that said 'tell me now or you're not moving from that spot until you do'. Kate moved from the table, going to the counter to pour a cup of coffee. She took her time adding cr╦me and sugar and then carefully stirred the hot liquid. This simple task served only to remind her of having coffee with Kris. That's when she began to speak. "It's kind of complicated Mom. I'm not even sure where to begin and it is a long story." Turning around to face the older woman, Kate saw only understanding in the intelligent green eyes. She moved back to the table to once again sit opposite of Delores and took a long sip of her morning vice before continuing. "The Cole's Notes version of the story is this: I had a student twelve years ago that drove me nuts. She was mouthy, rude and she never did her assignments. Granted over the years, I've had lots of students that fit that bill to some degree, but she did it all. She was even arrested in the middle of class one day. Whenever I tried to talk to her about her attitude, I got even more attitude. I've never had a student that drove me to the edge the way that she did. Finally one day after we had yet another argument, she left the school and never came back. Until now."

Delores was a smart woman but it didn't take intelligence to tell that there were some pretty deep rooted feelings here. She could see the emotions swirling in the green eyes before her. She could almost feel the guilt coming from her daughter, although she didn't understand why. Lots of kids drop out of school. She can't save them all and I thought she knew that. Why is this one so different?

Kate saw the questions forming in her mother's eyes so she continued. "Her mother is dying so she moved home after all this time to try and rebuild some type of relationship with her. Now she's the school counselor. She did go back to school eventually as a mature student. When she first came back, it was like no time had passed and the animosity was still fresh on both sides. I had a very hard time believing that she had grown up and she still held a lot of resentment towards me." Again Delores felt the sadness and guilt coming from her daughter. "You know Mr. Hannock, the principle at the school right?" When her mother nodded, Kate continued. "Well, I guess he sensed the tension between us on the first day. Before either of us knew what was happening, he had ordered Kris to assist me with the team." Kate didn't need to explain the team any further as her mother had been listening to tales of Kate's coaching since the beginning. "I was furious when I found out. I stormed over to her place one night and succeeded only in making matters worse between us. Anyway, after a touchy beginning, I realized that she really was quite good with the girls on the team and with other students in general. We began to get along, finally agreeing that we needed to leave the rest of the crap outside for the sake of the students." Kate stood and stretched her compact body. Returning to the coffee pot, she poured herself another cup. When she raised her eyebrow in question at her mother, the older woman shook her head no. "I had a student come to me about a month into school. She had some questions about her life that I can't really go into but she needed more help than I felt comfortable giving her. I spoke with Kris after the student agreed to go and see her. The student's only condition was that I be able to attend the sessions with her. That's when I really began to see." Kate stopped talking and began to cry softly. Her mother, seeing her distress, tried to comfort her as best she could without knowing the full story. As Kate began to bring her emotions back under control, she continued her story. "I can't go into detail, but one day I needed to talk to Kris about the student we are working with. Neither one of us had time during the day, so I decided to drop by her house. When I got there, I heard Kris talking with her father. Actually, when I say talking I mean screaming. Mom, it still sends a chill down my spine. Now I understand where Kris's anger and acting out came from. I can't believe that man is a minister. I didn't know that it was possible for someone to hate his or her own child that much. When her father left, we finally talked. We talked about everything, long into the night. I let her down mom. She was just a kid that I could have helped but I didn't stop to look past the attitude. What kind of teacher does that make me? What kind of person does that make me?"

Again the tears came, this time with no end in sight. Delores wrapped her daughter up in her large comforting arms and let her cry out her sorrow. Time passed and still the tears came. Delores spoke for the first time since Kate's soliloquy began. "Sweetheart, you can't be held responsible for everything. There's no way you could have known what that man was up to. He is the minister of the church and a pillar of the community. You took that at face value, most people would have."

"Don't you see? I should have been there for her. I should have protected her from such a monster. She was a kid that was scared and confused and I let him hurt her. In my mind, that makes me no better than him." Kate was inconsolable. Until now she hadn't had anyone to really talk about this with and her emotions were flowing.

"You are no such thing and I don't want to hear you say that again Kate!" Kate's eyes flew to her mother, shock evident on her heart-shaped face. "You are not a mind reader, you do not have some telepathic ability. There was no way that you could know what was going on in that girl's life."

"Mom," Kate began only to be cut off by her mother.

"No Kate. It's not your fault. You and I both know why you responded the way that you did. I loved your father for a good many years but I'll never understand the way he treated your brother Dave the way he did. I'll bet you dollars to donuts that every time you saw Kris acting out; all you could see was Dave." Delores was on a roll and did not stop. "Dave was my son and your brother but we both know that he was an ass Kate. Lord knows that I loved him but your father gave him the world and he still wanted more. I'll never forgive myself for not standing up to your dad. Dave was wild and I should have taken control when it became obvious that your dad could not or would not. I'm only sorry it affected you more than either your father or I would have ever imagined. By the time we figured out the kind of damage that we'd done to you by pushing you to the side, it was to late to make it up." Kate was about to interject but was once again cut off by the aging woman. "I'm not saying you were a bad kid Kate; quite the opposite in fact. You were the best child a parent could hope for. We never had to amuse you or entertain you. You always did your homework, helped out around the house, even got a part-time job so that you didn't have to ask for money. The problem isn't with the way you acted but how you reacted. You felt like you couldn't come to us when you needed to talk and that's wrong. We weren't there for you, didn't show you how much we loved you. We took you for granted." Now both women were crying, emotions from the past still haunting them both. "I don't want you to push people away all of your life but that's what you've been doing Kate. We hurt you so much as a child that you've never truly trusted people since then. I wish I could go back in time sweetie but I can't, and neither can you."

Kate looked at her mother through fresh eyes. They had not talked about her brother in fifteen years. His death was inevitable from the time he was in his teens. Wild and carefree, he couldn't control his drinking or his drug use. One night on the back roads of their small hometown, the drinking and drugs caught up with him when he drove his pickup truck off the road and into a tree. Kate couldn't remember her older brother without a bitter taste rising in her throat. He was mean, selfish and hateful but she hadn't wanted to see him dead.

Her father had never truly recovered from the loss of his beloved son. Right up until the old man's death, he continued to put his son on a pedestal. The bitter taste started to subside and instead a feeling of utter sadness crept in. "Mom," Kate started, her voice raspy from the emotions displayed. "I need a break. I'm going to go and lay down for a while. There's so much," Kate waved her hands in the air. "So much emotion. I need time to process this."

Her mother didn't speak but nodded her understanding. As she watched her daughter leave the kitchen, the realization struck the older Crawford woman that there was more to this story. Sighing, she resigned herself to wait until her daughter was ready to continue.


Kris waited patiently for Sam's SUV to appear on her street. Stamping her feet to keep them from freezing, she clutched a travel mug of coffee in her slender hand. For once, the cold wind didn't have any affect on the beautiful woman as she was to deep in thought to notice.

The conversation she'd had with her mother the night before had been an interesting one. Gotta give the old woman credit she thought wryly. She didn't even seem phased by what I told her. She listened and didn't judge what I was saying. It was kind of nice to be able to talk to her about that. God, I wish she'd been around when Alicia knocked me on my ass. Pushing thoughts of her former lover from her mind, Kris noticed that the tall blondes' Explorer was finally approaching. Okay, I'm just going to take today one step at a time. There is no reason why I can't enjoy Sam's presence. No pressure or strings can be a wonderful way to relieve more than one kind of stress.

Sam's smile as the tall brunette climbed into the passenger street of the 4x4 was contagious. Kris gave her a grin and said, " Hey there! I was beginning to think that you were going to leave me standing out there all morning."

Sam leaned over and gave Kris a quick kiss on the lips. "Nope, not a chance. Been waiting for this since I found out you were back in town." The look she gave Kris was nothing short of a leer. "Would you have been disappointed if I had stood you up?"

Kris knew that Sam was fishing so she said casually, "Nope, I've never been short on company."

Sam looked at Kris but couldn't tell if the brunette was pulling her leg or not. Deciding to keep their playful banter going she returned with, "Not with your left hand as your constant companion anyway!"

Kris burst out laughing and nodded her head; "Well you got me there!"

The two women headed out of town and towards Pritchard. The day was cold but clear and they could see the country road stretch for miles ahead of them. The yellow painted lines on the two-lane blacktop lulled Kris into a trance and her mind began to drift to a certain blonde teacher. Kris couldn't help but feel hurt that Kate hadn't told her she was going out of town nor could she help but worry that the teacher was okay. Knowing that Kate must have already been tired before her drive, Kris could only hope that Kate had made it to her mother's house in one piece.

Sam noticed that Kris seemed to be deep in thought and resolved to bring her out of her somber mood. "So, you want a truck do you? What's the problem, motorcycle to much power between your legs?"

Kris responded immediately to the lascivious look on Sam's face. "I've never had a problem with power between my legs. I'm surprised that you would have forgotten that." This time Kris tossed a lustful look of her own at Sam. Yep, a little tension breaker is just what the doctor ordered Kris thought to herself as the pair drove on towards the larger town.

The first car lot the two women came to was also the largest in town. The typical gaudy SALE signs with the streamers were hanging from every available pole and fixture. Kris turned to Sam, "I guess they're having a sale," she said dryly.

"So it appears. Come on, maybe you'll find what you're looking for over here." The tall blonde led Kris over to a section of the lot that housed trucks of all different sizes, makes and models.

While Kris leaned in windows, crawled under frames and kicked tires, she noticed that Sam was never far from her. Quite often the other woman would reach out to rest her hand on Kris's back or to take the brunette's hand. On one occasion, Kris backed up to take in the entire appearance of the truck and felt a long hard body press against her back. She could feel Sam's warm breath on her neck just below her ear while her slender hands teased at the bottom of Kris's light denim shirt. It didn't take long for the tension to build between the two women.

Unable to take any more, Kris made a snap decision and told the salesman she would take the truck. After explaining that she would be back later to pick it up and that he should have all of the papers ready, Kris practically dragged a thoroughly amused Sam back to the other woman's vehicle.

"What's your hurry there stud?" Sam asked in a voice low and throaty.

"You know damn well what my hurry is!" Kris growled when she looked at the blonde and saw the blatant desire written on her face.

"Been a while has it?" Sam drawled sexily as though she had all the time in the world.

"To long," Kris replied simply as she roughly pulled Sam's mouth to hers in a crushing kiss that left both women breathless. Without another word, Sam started the Ford and headed towards her apartment.

Kris's mind reeled as they sped through the town. Her thought's kept trying to creep back to a small blonde with grass-green eyes but then a wandering hand would take purchase on her inner thigh and all coherent thought would flit from her mind.

Sam slammed the truck into park and both women exited the vehicle quickly. Sam fumbled with her keys, eventually succeeding in getting the stubborn old lock open. As soon as Kris entered behind her, the tall blonde turned and pinned her against the door.

"God Kris, you're even sexier now than you were 12 years ago. I wanted you the moment you walked into the community center that day." Sam's mouth assaulted Kris's neck raising the counselor's temperature and libido to an almost explosive level.

Kris pushed them away from the door and towards the couch. Sam pushed the leather jacket down Kris's arms as they moved clumsily through the small room. Once Kris was freed from the heavy garment, she began an assault on Sam's clothing, making quick work of the buttons on the front of Sam's shirt.

Sam inhaled deeply at the urgency of Kris's desire. A flood of want traveled through her body in a southerly direction pooling between her strong thighs. When Kris impatiently pushed her bra up over her breasts and took an already taut nipple in her mouth, Sam let a long low moan out and pressed the dark head in closer.

Kris's body was on fire. The hunger that had been steadily growing in her over the last few hours threatened to consume her very being. Using her powerful body, she lowered them to the old couch, her mouth never leaving a tortured breast as Sam's moans spurred her on.

Sam didn't think she could take the exquisite pleasure for much longer. She needed to feel those lips and tongue on her own. Pulling up on the dark head, she managed to get Kris's mouth to leave her breast and travel back to her lips.

As Kris's mouth traveled north, her hands traveled south. Finding the button on Sam's jeans, she made quick work of it and the zipper soon followed. Sliding her hands inside, she pushed both jeans and panties down over shapely hips and nicely toned ass as far as she could.

Sam sat up and pushed away from Kris momentarily. Removing her already open shirt and bra, she stood and quickly rid herself of her jeans. Kris took in the naked body of the woman in front of her and growled low in her throat. Still fully clothed, Kris pulled Sam to her with a force that threatened to knock them both over. Thrusting her tongue into the other woman's mouth once again, she grabbed two handfuls of the delightfully available ass.

Sam's body was on overdrive. She remembered how hot the sex had been between them years ago but it paled in comparison to what she was feeling now. As she felt the strong powerful hands grip her backside, she wrapped her own muscled legs around a slender torso. As her legs contracted, the hands on her ass pulled her in tighter sending shocks of pleasure right to her core.

Kris looked at the beautiful woman wrapped around her, head thrown back as sounds of carnal pleasure pouring from her mouth. Unbidden, another blonde's face slipped into place causing Kris's heart to momentarily stop and a fresh flood of moisture to gather between her legs.

As Sam was about to cross the threshold, she felt Kris deliberately slow their pace and ease the blonde back slightly. Growling in frustration Sam's eyes flew open. When her eyes met the fire blue ones in front of her she became entranced by the desire she saw there. In the next moment, all thought flew from her head as she was lowered to the couch in one quick motion. Long fingers that had previously massaged and tortured her body from her nipples to her butt were thrust deeply into her center. Sam's eyes closed once again as her hips picked up a fluid movement with Kris's hand. The dance as old as time was just about complete and Sam could feel herself reaching the crescendo. At last her body began to shudder and a blinding white light flashed behind her closed eyelids. A scream of absolute heaven slipped past her throat and her fingers dug deeply into Kris's shoulder.

Kris rested her head against the sweat-covered shoulder of the other woman. As both women tried to recover, only deep, unsteady breathing could be heard in the room. Still fully clothed, Kris pushed herself up off the couch and smiled down at the spent woman. "Well now, if this is how you help your friends shop, count me in!"

Sam looked up and laughed softly at the brunette. For a moment she was sure there was something unusual in the dark-haired woman's eyes but she couldn't make it out before the mask of coolness slipped firmly into place. Choosing to make light of the situation, she responded, "Just let me catch my breath. We'll go get your new truck and then," she stood on still shaky legs and moved to Kris, "I'm going to fuck you silly." With that, Sam picked up her hastily discarded clothes and sauntered off towards the shower.

Kris watched her go with a laugh. Yep, this is just what I needed. Some quick relief and no strings attached. She couldn't help but hear the other little voice that said, is it really?



Part 8

Kate sat on the edge of her bed trying to gather up the strength to face her mother. The conversation from earlier had left Kate's mind a whirlpool of thoughts and memories. Memories of being left behind while her father and brother went off on yet another adventure together. Memories of her parents arguing about her brother's antics at school like lighting the science room on fire or punching out the music teacher. She tried to sleep if for no other reason than to stop the barrage of images flashing through her mind.

In her mind, she saw the similarities between her brother's actions and Kris's. It was easy to see now how she had quickly dismissed Kris as a spoiled brat. Kate had thought that what Kris really needed was a good old-fashioned ass whooping. She assumed that like her brother, Kris had been given the world but still wanted more. She didn't realize at the time that Kris was getting a good old-fashioned ass whooping; whether she deserved it or not. I should have been there for her, not caught up in some self-centered time warp!

A light tap at the bedroom door finally stirred the petite blonde from her troubled thoughts. Wiping her tear-stained face to help clear the fog from her mind, Kate stepped to the door and opened it. She saw her mother's concerned face on the other side and smiled softly at the old woman.

"I'll be okay mom. I think that I'm getting more sensitive in my old age." Kate tried to make light of the situation.

Delores couldn't help but notice the dried tears on her beautiful daughter's face, nor could she ignore the sadness in her green eyes. "Oh sweetie, I'm so sorry. I didn't bring up that stuff about your brother to hurt you or to bring back bad memories. I just wanted to try and help you see why you acted the way you did."

Kate stepped through the doorway and pulled her mother into a hug. "I know mom but no matter what my own experiences were, I shouldn't have judged her like that."

Delores sighed and thought once again that there was more going on than Kate was telling her. Deciding that the reason Kate had come for a visit was because she needed some advice, she pulled her headstrong daughter into the kitchen. "I don't know about you but I'm famished. How about we continue our conversation from earlier and I'll make us some soup and sandwiches?"

Kate nodded her ascent and followed her mother through the old house. Delores thought that perhaps Kate wasn't ready to reveal the reason for her visit so she played it safe by asking, "So, how does the team look so far this year?"

Immediately a change came over the angelic face in front of the elderly woman. "I didn't think it was possible but somehow they are even better than they were last year. Of course they all grew like 10 inches over the summer which helps a lot but that's not all. They seem to function better as a team this year. Kris has been wonderful with the girls. I was watching her work with the power players the other day and when she was done they were spiking the ball better than I've ever been able to get them to do it." Kate beamed with pride at her young team's accomplishments.

When her mother started laughing at that last part, Kate shrugged and said, "Well you try and jump above the net when you're only five foot three. So spiking was never my best move, shoot me!" Both women laughed at the truth of Kate's statement.

The light conversation continued through lunch and as Kate talked, Delores noticed a reoccurring theme; one tall dark-haired counselor. Itching to confirm what had become quite obvious to her, Delores finally blurted out, "Is there something going on between you and this woman?" Her tone had been much harsher than she intended and she saw the panic on her daughters' face.

Delores rushed to repair her error and continued on in a much softer tone, "I've never seen you this animated about anyone in your life. You obviously have some pretty strong feelings here. Come on now, you came all this way."

Kate tried desperately to read the look in her mother's eyes. They may not have been close while she was growing up but she loved her mother deeply and couldn't stand the idea of the older woman being disappointed or worse yet, disgusted with her. Only seeing love and understanding in the deep green eyes, Kate said simply, "I think I might be falling in love with her."



Kris lay physically spent after yet another round of passionate sex. She spared a glance at the perfectly toned body lying naked next to her. This was a body that she had spent the last few hours mapping with her hands and tongue but still she felt nothing. There was no mind blowing mental and emotional connection to accompany the mind-blowing orgasms.

There has got to be something wrong with me! Kate thought as she tried in vain to feel something that wasn't there. I like Sam; we have a good time together. We are obviously very compatible in bed. Why don't I feel all of the things that I'm sure I should be feeling? For all outward appearances, we should be a perfect match. Why is it then that the only feeling I get when I look at her is physical?

Sam rolled towards the brunette who had become so quiet that she could almost feel the withdrawal. Seeing the far away look in her lovers' eyes Sam couldn't help but feel a certain amount of loss. Whatever Kris was thinking about, it wasn't pleasant. In Sam's mind, after what they had just spent the last several hours doing, the tall woman should only be thinking pleasant thoughts.

"Hey," she whispered softly, almost afraid to intrude on the other woman's reverie.

Kris looked over and saw the questions in Sam's eyes. Immediately, the standard mask of impassivity slammed over Kris's thoughtful expression, closing out any hope Sam had of understanding. Falling easily into the role of seductress, Kris quickly hooded her eyes and sent a lustful leer towards Sam.

Sam felt a momentary pang of sadness but dismissed it. With more levity then she felt she laughed at Kris's look and said, "Good God woman! Are you trying to kill me? Not that I'm complaining mind you but Jesus!" Kris laughed along with Sam, glad to be out of the close scrutiny that made her so very uncomfortable. When she crooked her eyebrow cockily, Sam only laughed harder.

"Come on oh insatiable one. Let's go see what kind of food we can scare up from the kitchen." Sam intentionally stretched her muscles languidly hoping to entice Kris into spending the night at least. If I can't have you for good, at least I can have this! As she stepped from the bed, she noticed Kris's eyes roaming hungrily over her wares once again.

"So Kris," Sam asked seductively as she tied her satin robe loosely closed, "do you want to spend the night?"

Kris eagerly nodded her head vigorously as she threw on her boxers' and T-shirt.



Kate and her mother had talked long into the day on Saturday. As she made her way home on Sunday, it occurred to her that her mother didn't seem all that surprised by her revelation. It almost seemed like the older woman had expected this conversation a long time ago. I'll have to ask her about that Kate thought aloud.

When she arrived home from the long four-hour drive, she immediately thought of calling Kris. Unsure of what her reception would be after running out so abruptly on Friday, she decided instead to head over to the dark haired woman's house. Everything she had to say needed to be said in person anyway.

One of the things that Delores had made her see was that you couldn't run from your emotions forever. You can bury them as deep as you want but sooner or later, they will come out she was told.

Although Kate was tired from the drive as well as from the emotionally draining weekend, she felt better than she had in a while. When she took stock of where she was in her life, she really couldn't complain. She had a job she loved, a nice place to live, and a group of friends that while not large, was very reliable. Her mother had helped her to realize that it's always easier to see the negative things that are happening in one's life. She needed to stop doing that and start looking at the good things.

She had a chance at something with Kris. She could feel it in her soul. Now she just needed to see if the other woman felt the same way.

After dropping off her duffel bag at home and throwing a quick load of laundry into the apartment-sized washer, Kate grabbed her keys and once again headed out the door.

On the quick drive to Kris's place, Kate tried to put her thoughts in some sort of order. She wanted to see how the dark-haired woman felt without revealing too much of herself. I know that she feels something. Whatever this is between us is almost a tangible presence whenever we're together. Now if can only get her to admit it, we might have a fighting chance!

It took less than 10 minutes to reach the walk-up apartment that the school counselor called home. As Kate parked her small car on the other side of the street, she noticed that Kris's bike was parked in its usual spot but there were no lights on in the second floor apartment.

Not sure whether to go up and knock or leave and come back the next day, Kate sat indecisively in her car. Just as she had made up her mind to at least go and knock on the door, two pairs of headlights turned onto the darkened street and approached.

Unable to see who was in the approaching vehicles, Kate sat and waited. When the SUV turned into Kris's driveway followed by a lightning blue pick-up truck, Kate's heart sank instinctively. She didn't have to wait long for a pair of long jean-clad legs to appear from the door of each vehicle. Tracing the legs up to the top, Kate's suspicion was confirmed when she saw the blonde woman from the community center flash a flawless smile at her Kris.

As Kris got out of her vehicle, she quickly rounded it and moved towards Sam. Kate couldn't hear what was being said but she judging by the body language of the pair, she had no desire to. Just as she thought she wouldn't be able to take anymore of the scene, Kris leaned over and bestowed an earth-shattering kiss on her companion.

Kate felt sick at the site. Two days ago, she had been a hair's breadth away from kissing the dark-haired beauty but the phone call from Sam had interrupted it. Now, Sam stood in her place and the pain of a missed opportunity was too much to bear.

As soon as the couple had made there way up the stairs, Kate started her car and slammed it into drive. Speeding off into the night, she impatiently brushed her tears away. Fuck Kris! I've done more crying since you came back into my life than I have in an entire lifetime! Enough!



Kris felt pretty good as she headed into the gym on Tuesday for practice. Sam and her had had one hell of a good time on the weekend and now she felt much better prepared to face the small spitfire blonde that she had come so close to kissing.

Somehow the brunette had convinced herself that it was completely one-sided on her part and nothing had really happened. This thought didn't help to quell the nervous butterflies in her stomach as she stepped into the large cold gym and caught site of the beautiful blonde.

Pushing away all thoughts, Kris dropped her usual mask into place and walked up to Kate. "Hey there, welcome back. I understand you went out of town for the weekend to see your mom. Is everything okay?"

The sight of Kris's tall frame immediately brought a vision of the passionate lip lock she had witnessed two days prior and Kate barely had the ability to hold her hurt in check. Stiffly she said, "Yes, everything is fine thank you. You're late for practice and the girls have an out of town game in two days. We need to get on with the drills."

Kris could read Kate's body language and understood her to be angry. Trying to rectify the situation she started quietly, "Kate if,"

Green eyes turned hard cut her off. "I don't want to talk about it. Nothing happened so don't worry about it. Let's just forget about it and get on with practice."

Mistakenly thinking Kate was angry about the almost-kiss, Kris bit out a quiet but sharp response. "Damn, if you're this angry now, I guess it's a good thing that phone interrupted us!"

Kate squared her shoulders and rounded on Kris. Trying to keep her voice controlled she bit out, "Well, it sure looked like you were glad the phone interrupted us when I stopped by your place on Sunday!" With that, the petite woman stormed over to the other side of the gym to start moving the girls through their paces.

Practice that night was a long one for all parties concerned. The entire team could feel the tension between their two coaches but they were all at a loss as to what to do about it. When practice mercifully ended two-and-a-half hours later, all of the girls were relieved. They received their ride assignments for Thursday's game and disappeared as quickly as possible.

Kris approached Kate one final time. "Kate please, I don't want to argue with you."

Kate snapped unreasonably. "We're not arguing, we're just not talking." And with that said, she grabbed her things and headed out the door.



Thursday dawned clear and very cold. At noon the temperature was only minus five Celsius and the weatherman reported a new cold front moving in. As the girl's volleyball team loaded up into their rides after school, one team member noted to another that the only thing colder than the weather was the attitude flowing between their two coaches.

Kris had seen very little of Kate over the last couple of days and it was starting to really bother her. As she exited the school and moved towards her new truck, she was once again reminded of the previous weekend and everything that had happened. Kate had obviously seen her and Sam sometime Sunday night. Kris had tried to talk to the smaller woman about it but was brushed off every time.

When she reached her truck, she was thankful that she'd at least had the presence of mind to buy an extended cab. Somehow she'd forgotten that when you lived in a small community like this, all of your sporting teams had to travel from town to town.

Smiling at the Popsicle-like group standing impatiently in front of her truck, she quickly released the locks and let the group in. Just as she was about to get into her side she caught site of Kate approaching her. Turning, she raised an eyebrow in question.

"Do you have your cell phone on?" Kate asked with very little patience in her voice.

"Yes of course, why?" Kris asked.

"The roads are getting slick and they may cancel the game tonight. If they do, I don't want to have to flag you down to turn around. Keep your phone on and don't blast the music so damn loud you can't hear it ring." Kate didn't realize how condescending her tone became until she heard a very quiet, "Yes m'am," in response.

Throwing a look over her shoulder she said in an almost teasing manner, "If only I could have gotten you to respond to me like that when I was your teacher!" With that small jest, the small frame disappeared into her car and pulled out of the lot.

The team made it all the way to Groverster and had begun warm-ups before the snow started to come down. While Kate lead the girls through a variety of drills, Kris and one of the parent volunteers watched the weather to see how bad it got.

By the time the game began, the snow had begun to pile up quite deep and a few of the parents had suggested canceling the game. When the official looked outside, he said it looked like it had stopped snowing and suggested that they play on.

Kate looked at Kris whom she knew had been keeping an eye on the situation. Kris knew that the girls had been looking forward to playing but didn't want to take any chances. "I think we should cancel Kate. If the snow picks up again, we'll never get back to town."

Kate looked outside and hesitated only a moment. The girls had worked so hard and this was an important game. The snow had definitely stopped and didn't look like it was about to start up again. "I think it will be okay Kris." Turning to the referee she said, "We'll continue for now ref."

Kris looked like she was about to argue with her but apparently decided against it. Turning back to the game, she put the weather out of her mind quickly.



The girls in her truck were ecstatic all the way back to town. The game had been hard fought and well played on both sides but Kris's team had come out on top.

The snow had picked up some since the last time that Kris checked the roads and it didn't look like the snowplows had been out yet so Kris put the truck in to 4-Hi for the drive home. As she listened to the girls chatter about everything and anything, her thoughts turned to the other coach.

Kris knew that they were headed down some unavoidable path but she was resistant to the pull. There was something about Kate that struck Kris as being dangerous; not physically dangerous but emotionally dangerous.

After dropping the girls off at their homes, Kris decided to drive by the manse to see if her mother was still up. As she approached the house, she hit a patch of black ice that made the large truck fishtailed and Kris almost lost control. Whoa! Damn these roads are getting bad!

Hoping that everyone else had made it back to town without any problems, Kris decided to head home instead of stopping at her mom's. There is no way in hell I'm going to get stuck there overnight!

By the time Kris had pulled into her driveway, the snow had piled up in huge drifts and it was almost impassible, even in four-wheel-drive. As soon as she had unloaded her truck, Kris headed up the stairs to her door. It took two tries to get the key in the lock as the metal deadbolt had frozen since she had left earlier that morning.

She had just settled on the couch with a cup of hot chocolate when there was a loud banging on her front door. The sound was so unexpected that Kris dumped her hot drink down the front of her shirt when she jumped at the intrusion. "God Damn!" she cursed as she pulled her soiled clothing away from tender skin. Another bang on the door brought out her temper. "Will you hold on just a God Damned second!" she bellowed at the noise.

Apparently whoever was at the door really wanted in as they ignored her completely and banged on the door for a third time. Now thoroughly annoyed with life, Kris stalked to the door and threw it open. There stood Kate with tears streaming down her face. Drained of all annoyance at the look on the older teachers face, Kris pulled the small blonde into the warm apartment.

"Kate, what's wrong?" Kris asked as she held the shaking body.

Kate was unable to answer immediately. Instead she held tight to Kris and tried to order her chaotic thoughts. Finally she managed to choke out, "There's been an accident. Tina, Diane and Lake were all...killed."

To be continued - Part 9

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