Provenance

by Cruise


Disclaimer: This is a prequel to my Rayne/Lark story Indiscretions that I had an idea for while writing its sequel Ab Initio. If you are under the age of 18 or if lesbian romance bothers you then please find another story, this one is not for you.

Language: Mild

Special Thanks: To Dango for editing the story, to Stoley for posting it and maintaining my site and to all of the fans who continually support us! Cruise@clububer2000.com


Part 1

Rayne casually strolled into the bustling room of agents inhaling deeply, in an attempt to quell the nausea that brewed deep within her. "Hey Rayne! What's up with the glasses on inside?" Forrest enthusiastically and loudly asked, slapping her on the back. Just what she needed to go along with the pounding headache that accompanied her nausea. She grimaced and pulled her sunglasses down, staring warningly at the boisterous fellow agent before her. "Oh, let me guess. A late night with an abundant amount of whiskey and aah what day is it? Oh, yeah Friday so she must have been a brunette, right?" He teasingly asked with a knowing grin.

Rayne sheepishly grinned and pushed the sunglasses up, hiding her blood shot normally blue eyes. "Am I that predictable?" She asked with a chuckle.

"When it comes to your exploits with women, yeah. A word of advice my dear partner, you might want to consider settling down with just one of them before you party yourself to death." He chuckled and flipped through some of the paperwork he carried.

"Yeah, already been down that painful road." Rayne dryly admitted and felt a catch in her heart from the painful memory.

"Huh? Did she find out what a cad you are and dump you?" He sarcastically asked and laughed.

"Uhmmm, no she's dead." Rayne commented flatly, fighting the lump that began to form and walked away.

'Shit! I really stuck my foot in my mouth on that one and what a way for me to finally get a glimpse into her private life." Forrest thought regretfully and approached Rayne who was pouring a cup of coffee. "Aah, Rayne I'm really sorry. I shouldn't have made that comment." He apologetically responded.

Rayne turned and strained a smile. "Don't be. You couldn't have known about that seeing as how I've never mentioned it to you." She coolly answered, raising the cup to her mouth and took a sip of the hot beverage.

"Well, if you need someone to talk to I'm here." He offered.

"Thanks, I appreciate the offer but I'm over it now." She smiled briefly and took another sip. The look in her blues told Forrest another story. She didn't want to discuss the subject any longer and changed the topic. "Well, I guess we should see where we are suppose to be." Rayne commented and walked away.

Trace watched her and couldn't help but get the feeling that she really wasn't over it. They hadn't been partners for very long, but he respected and liked her. She had coldness about her when it came to her personal life and hoped she would eventually warm up to him. This latest revelation from her was a huge break through between them. He approached the group of agents gathered around the Agent-in-Charge for their assignments. "Forrest and Rayne, I want you both directly behind Senator Morgan. Tom and Fred, I want you two to his left and right. We've had some recent threats in regards to the Congressional candidates and we don't want to take any chances." He explained as he glanced around the group of agents.

"If there have been threats, why would he give his speech outside where he's a prime target?" Rayne asked, exasperated by the fact that he would put himself in such danger, not to mention all of the agents in charge of protecting him.

"He's a tough son of a bitch and doesn't give much credence to threats like that agent." The man answered with a slight smirk. "Besides, I think he likes to keep us on our toes. Let's get to it." He chuckled and ordered as the groups dispersed to their posts.

'Great, another asshole who doesn't care about himself or anyone else he puts in danger.' She thought perturbed and settled into her designated post, immediately scanning the crowd for any unusual activity. She nearly jumped out of her skin when the agent testing her earpiece shouted into it. "Thanks a lot ass face!" Rayne mumbled angrily into her microphone, gritting her teeth to maintain her composure and looked at Forrest who was laughing. She curled her lip up at him and gave him a menacing look of warning and turned back to the crowd.

"Hey, just checking to make sure you're awake. How's the headache?" He chuckled sarcastically into her earpiece.

"You'll find out later when I kick your ass in the gym." Rayne quipped with a slight chuckle.

"Ooh, I love a challenge." He responded with a laugh as Rayne heard the agents in the background shouting their bets on the fight. All for her of course!

She grinned and scanned the crowd hearing through her earpiece, "Okay ladies and gentlemen, Senator Morgan is approaching the stage from your rear. Pay attention and stay on your toes. Its show time!"

Rayne snickered at the corny announcement and focused on the crowd. She heard the crowd erupt in a loud cheer and they all jumped up and down waving enthusiastically. 'Wow, I guess he's popular.' She mused inwardly with a slight laugh and blew out the breath that she held, fighting off the latest wave of nausea. She slowly turned to her opposite side and caught sight of the loveliest vision she had seen in a long time, actually ever. Sure, the women she'd been with recently were lookers, but nothing like this one. 'Damn!' She whispered appreciative of the breathtakingly beautiful blonde who approached the microphone, smiling and blushing from the rousing response from the crowd. Rayne, to say the least, was captivated by the curvaceous woman in the sultry red, slim fitting dress who had just sauntered past her. "She's absolutely beautiful." Rayne mused in a hushed whisper listening to her soft, sweet voice address the crowd. 'Snap out of it Rayne! She could be dangerous on the heart.' She inwardly thought as her feelings for this unknown woman scared her. She had never felt that way about anyone with just one glance until now. She couldn't help but stare at the young woman. 'Get her out of your mind, she's probably not even gay!' Her thoughts reminded her. She blinked repeatedly, hearing a voice in the distant, which was now becoming louder.

"Rayne! Do you copy?" The voice urgently asked.

"Aah yeah. Sorry." Rayne responded and quickly looked over at Forrest who was worriedly staring at her. She motioned to her earpiece and shook her head as if she couldn't hear. "What did you ask? I couldn't hear it." She discreetly questioned into her microphone, scanning the crowd.

"We need you to report on quadrant three please." He asked as she looked directly ahead and checked the crowd.

"All clear." She answered.

"10-4." The voice responded.

She watched the crowd and heard the sweet angelic voice introduce herself as Lark Morgan, then introduce her father, Senator Morgan. She smiled and asked for everyone to elect him as his or her new Congressman. The crowd erupted in a loud cheer as the popular Senator approached the microphone smiling proudly and exuberantly. He kissed his daughter on the cheek that stepped to his left as both were just off to Rayne's right. "Isn't she lovely?" He enthusiastically asked as the cheers grew louder when he motioned to Lark.

'Oh, she certainly is.' Rayne thought agreeing and appreciated the view of Lark from behind. 'You are such a horn dog Rayne!' She admonished herself and cleared her throat, hoping it would quell the interest. She smiled slightly when she noted the young woman blush from embarrassment in regards to her father's comments.

"Her mother is just as lovely too." He added with a grin and looked at his wife standing to his right as the crowd yelled out in agreement.

Rayne finally contained her senses and figured it was best to just focus on the task at hand of doing her job. As it was, she had already put them at risk by not paying attention. She faintly heard the Senator's speech as he drew near the end. She looked off center of the Senator and saw a person reach into their coat pocket. Her instincts took over and her muscles tightened, readying for the worst. She saw a glimmer of a flash as the man pulled a gun out of his pocket. "Gun at one o'clock!" She alerted through her microphone quickly heading towards the Senator. She grabbed the Senator and heard a bang as she quickly pulled him and his daughter to the ground. She lay on top of them covering them as Forrest did the same with the Senator's wife. She heard the frantic voices through her earpiece and shouted for them to apprehend the shooter as they lay behind the podium using it for cover.

"What the hell is going on?" Lark shouted frightened by everything and struggled to get up.

"Please miss. Stay down until it's clear." Rayne shouted, as the frantic screams of the crowd were deafening holding Lark down. "I promise no harm will come to you." She reassuringly told her as fearful green's met calming blues. She smiled slightly and looked around just as the other agents swarmed the stage.

"I've got the Senator, bring her." The agents shouted and quickly escorted the Senator off the stage. Rayne helped Lark up and quickly took her to safety backstage as Forrest did the same with her mother.

"What's going on?" The Senator frantically asked hugging his frightened wife and child, happy they were unharmed.

"A shot was fired from the crowd andů" The agent paused and pushed his earpiece in, then continued, "The perpetrator has been apprehended." He advised with a relieved smile.

"Sir, we haven't found the bullet yet, but we will and the suspect is in custody." An agent alerted him rushing backstage.

"Good, find that bullet!" He ordered.

"Hold on!" Forrest alerted and moved towards Rayne. "Take off your jacket." He ordered and helped her remove it.

"What's up?" Rayne questioned, confused by what her partner was doing.

"I thought so from the blood seeping through your clothing. Rayne you've been hit." He informed her and saw the blood soaked sleeve on her shirt.

"Really?" She asked with a chuckle. "I didn't even realize it." She added with a nonchalant shrug of her shoulders as she looked at her arm.

Lark released the hold on her father and caught a better glimpse of the woman who saved her life. Her heart fluttered and was taken by the attractive woman. 'She's gorgeous.' She gasped inwardly.

Forrest moved the sleeve of her shirt to examine the wound. "It doesn't look like the bullet penetrated the skin. But it looks like a deep gash it's bleeding pretty badly. Call for a medic to clean this up." He advised looking back at an agent with a radio then turned his attention to his boss. "The bullet can't be far away." He commented as the other agents headed out to the stage to investigate.

Rayne put her hand over the wound as they looked around the curtain to the stage. "Who is that woman daddy?" Lark asked, watching them leave.

"A Secret Service agent I presume, why?" He asked, stepping closer to his curious daughter.

"I want to meet her." Lark smiled as Rayne and her partner turned back around.

"We need something to place on there to stop the bleeding." Forrest commented. "Where in the hell are those paramedics?" He nervously asked, looking around with no medical personnel in sight.

"Forget about them. We'll head to the hospital it's not that bad anyway. Just use my jacket to stop the bleeding." Rayne suggested and nodded towards it as Forrest moved to grab it.

"No, here use my scarf." Lark eagerly offered and rushed over, holding it out.

"Oh, thanks but, that's not necessary. My jacket will do." Rayne graciously refused.

"No, I insist. It's the least I could do." Lark smiled and placed her scarf over the wound.

Rayne placed her hand on top of Lark's and felt a wave of electricity course through her. Her heart raced and she blushed when Lark stared deep into her sensual blues with time seemingly stopping for a moment. "Well, aah thanks. I, uhmmm, appreciate it." Rayne embarrassingly smiled. Her calm, cool and stoic demeanor was nowhere to be found. Only her shy, giddy schoolgirl demeanor was present, one that she had never experienced before.

"You saved our lives. It was the least I could do." Lark shyly smiled and reluctantly moved her hand. She loved the feeling Rayne's touch generated throughout her, but did so as she saw Rayne's uncomfortable look.

Rayne's gaze stared upon the alluring blonde with the stunning green eyes a little longer than she wanted and smiled cordially. "Thank you, again." She turned away and headed off with Forrest.

"Let's get that thing checked out." Forrest smirked and patted her on the back.

"Wait!" Lark shouted out as they stopped and turned to her. She couldn't allow this woman to exit her life so quickly.

"I think you have an admirer." Forrest sarcastically whispered. "I'll get the car, don't take long or you'll bleed to death." Forrest snickered and exited the door.

"Ha ha." Rayne remarked with a sly grin before he exited the door.

Lark stopped and blushed when Rayne's piercing blue eyes met hers. "I aah wanted to know if I could repay you in some way?"

"There's no need miss. I was only doing my job." Rayne humbly answered.

"Yes, well I would still like to make up for you being hurt. I guess what I'm trying to do is ask you out on a date." Lark chuckled shyly and looked away nervously. She discreetly wiped her sweaty palms on her dress.

'I'd love to go out with this one, but I should really steer clear.' Rayne thought and met her gaze when she looked up at her. "What makes you think I'm into chicks?" Rayne asked with a hint of sarcasm. 'That should make her back off.' Rayne hoped inwardly.

"Well, your bracelet gave it away." Lark informed her with a knowing smile and looked at Rayne's wrist.

Rayne sighed with a chuckle and looked at her rainbow colored bracelet with an upside down triangle. "Hmmm, a dead give away huh?" Rayne snickered.

"I suppose so. Will you accept my offer?" Lark asked hopeful.

"I'm very flattered and appreciative of your offer Ms. Morgan, but I can't. Thanks though." Rayne smiled graciously and opened the door.

"What is your name?" Lark queried disappointed by her rebuttal, wondering about the identity of her knight in shining armor. 'She'll come around and allow me to get to know her better, I'm sure of it.' Lark confidently thought, knowing she was not going to let this woman slip out of her life that easy. She had a connection to her that she had never felt for any other and she saw it in the tall woman's eyes as well.

Rayne turned back as she moved through the door stating, "Rayne Donovan," and exited to the parking lot.

Lark knew there was hope despite Rayne's refusal to go on a date with her and headed off with a grin to set her plan in action. She was not going to take no for an answer especially with the way she felt about the woman after one chance meeting.

Rayne blew out the breath she held and quickly headed towards the waiting car. She settled in as Forrest glanced over at her as he drove off. "Well, are you going out with her?" He asked with a sly grin.

"Forrest!" Rayne warned with a stern look. She knew where he was going and she wasn't interested.

"Come on!"

"No, I told her I couldn't." Rayne reluctantly admitted.

"Why? She's hot!" He exclaimed and steered the car out of the parking lot.

"It's more fun to play hard to get." Rayne grinned mischievously and added, "besides, she's the type I could lose my heart to and I'd rather just stay away from that if you don't mind now that I think about it!"

"Maybe that's what you need Rayne." He commented and focused his attention to the road.

'It's exactly what I'd like, but I don't need.' Rayne thought, quietly staring out the window. The feelings she had for this woman were unusual for her and she wasn't sure how to handle them. She decided the best thing was to stay away from her, but she still couldn't help being so intrigued by the young woman.

Rayne returned to work despite Forrest's pleas for her to go home and take it easy after receiving stitches in her arm from the bullet, but she was too stubborn to allow a small cut to keep her from working so she told Forrest as they entered their office. "Damn, it takes a long time to get in and out of those hospitals." Rayne fumed as they headed towards her boss' office that spied them and motioned them in the minute they entered the building.

"How's the arm agent?" The gray haired impeccably dressed man asked when Rayne and Forrest entered his office.

"Oh, it's fine. No big deal, just a few stitches." Rayne shrugged off the injury and stood in front of his desk with Forrest standing next to her.

"Stop being so damned modest Rayne. That was a pretty deep wound." Forrest chuckled at her reluctance to let on that the wound was worse than she mentioned.

"You could have taken the remainder of the day off you know?" He chuckled and looked up from his paperwork.

"Nah, I've got too much paperwork to do."

"Well, the two of you are being assigned to Senator Morgan until the end of the elections in case anyone else wants to take another shot at him. Other agents are being assigned to all of the candidates as a safe guard."

"Oh, you're kidding!" Rayne incredulously responded then realized she was being disrespectful and added, "Sir. We thought we would be assigned to covert assignments as requested?" She asked, glancing at her partner who was no more pleased than she about their latest assignment then looked back to her boss.

"Your request has been duly noted and depending upon your performance with your latest assignment it will be reconsidered." He firmly answered and handed them their paperwork. "You'll both have this weekend off before joining his detail full time." He advised looking up them as they approached the door.

Rayne was livid and knew her partner was too. They had hoped to be assigned to top-secret covert operations preferably overseas instead of baby-sitting Congressional candidates. "Thanks." Rayne solemnly answered, taking the paperwork and walking towards the door.

"The Senator specifically asked for you both as his detail and his request has been granted." He informed her as she turned back to face her boss. "I guess you made quite an impression on him." He chuckled and looked back down at the paperwork on his desk.

"Yes, especially on his daughter." Forrest sarcastically whispered with a snicker walking past his partner out of the office.

Rayne closed the door and fumed at their latest assignment. "You're really asking for an ass whipping aren't you?" She teasingly asked as they walked to their office.

"The truth hurts huh partner?" He taunted with a laugh and flopped in the chair at his desk.

"What's this?" Rayne asked, noticing the basket on her desk. She picked up the note attached and began to open the envelope as Forrest checked it out.

"Ooh, gourmet cookies." He fawned looking into the basket, his mouth watering at the sight of the delicious cookies before him.

"Get out of there!" She teased and slapped his hand as he reached for one.

He laughed and sat back in his chair. "Who are they from?" He queried with a knowing smile and a sneaky suspicion at just who had sent them.

Rayne gave him a sideways glance then looked back down and read the card. 'This is a token of my appreciation. I would love to show you more. How about a date? Call me, Lark Morgan.' Rayne chuckled and tossed the card at him. 'She's persistent I'll give her that. I like it!' She grinned, smitten by the woman and pulled out a white macadamia nut cookie, her favorite, and sat in her chair.

"Oh, man! She's hot for you pal! Go out with her. I can't believe that you've got a woman like her falling at your feet that many people would die to have!"

"Huh? Who is she?" Rayne asked confused, chomping on the last bite of her cookie and plopped her feet up on her desk relaxing back in her chair.

"Lark Morgan, the actress. Don't you watch TV or go to the movies?" He condescendingly asked surprised that she didn't know who she was.

"Great, and an actress! I take it she doesn't do action flicks?" Rayne casually asked swiping the crumbs off of her hands.

"No, usually dramas or chick flicks."

"Figures." She replied unimpressed. "So, you're a chick flick kind of guy huh?" She teasingly taunted.

"Yeah, well occasionally I have to watch one with Sherry. We have a deal where we see a chick flick and then I get to see my action flicks." He grinned.

"Nice compromise." She chuckled sarcastically and looked at the paperwork on her desk.

"Yeah, especially if you want to get lucky." He laughed with a wiggle of his eyebrows and grabbed a cookie before leaving the office.

"Yeah, compromise." She spoke softly and looked at the note once more. The blonde woman with the piercing green eyes who had entered her life earlier in the day intrigued her as no one else had before. She opened the drawer to her desk for a pen and grabbed the picture lying within it. She picked it up and leaned back in her chair. She lost herself in the picture as she stared at it, fondly remembering the attractive woman of Asian descent in the picture. She remembered everything she meant to her and the pain of losing someone she loved so much. She was reluctant to go through that again and tossed the note from Lark in the trash. She placed the picture on her desk and started her paperwork. Her concentration just wasn't there and her gaze was drawn to the picture before her. She was having feelings for the blonde she met earlier, strong feelings that she hadn't felt before. Even stronger than the one's she had for her former lover Karen, pictured before her. She picked up the picture again and stared at the woman with the long dark tresses who stared back at her smiling so sweetly. She couldn't figure out why she had the feelings she did for Lark. She was so conflicted that it made her head hurt and decided she didn't want to find out why. She felt guilty, like it wasn't fair to Karen's memory or to her heart. 'I just can't take the chance of going through that pain again.' Rayne thought, staring at the women in the picture. She slipped that brick wall she had surrounding her heart back up. She wasn't sure why her guard was let down when she met the green-eyed actress with the smile to die for, but she knew she needed to stay away from her from the strong feelings she was having for her.

"Hey! Earth to Rayne!" Forrest shouted, snapping her out of her thoughts.

"Huh?" She muttered and looked up at him.

"What are you doing this weekend? Or should I say, who are you doing this weekend?" He teasingly laughed and grabbed another cookie as he tossed the foam basketball in the small hoop in the corner of the office.

"You should be a friggin comedian, Forrest!" She sarcastically grinned as he turned and looked at her. She watched as he turned to the basket and dunked the ball. "I'm going to take advantage of our weekend off and chill out around the house, ALONE." She emphasized with a chuckle. "Thank goodness the Senator is taking the weekend off too and special thanks to the other team babysitting him at home!" Rayne chuckled; glad they would have the weekend off.

"Yeah, same here. With this latest assignment we won't be getting too much time off especially with the elections coming up soon. They'll be campaigning hot and heavy." He added with a frown and sat in his chair.

"Just what I'm looking forward too. Standing around at those boring parties and campaigns listening to all of those blowhard's speeches." Rayne chuckled and shook her head thinking about it.

"Oh, man you had to remind me! But then again, you might get to see that sexy blonde seeing as how she's the Senator's daughter." He teasingly drawled. He sensed she was smitten with the actress and hoped she'd realize the same thing and not blow a perfect opportunity.

"Dude, you've got to stop with the blonde okay? I don't want to discuss her anymore." Rayne warned and stared him down.

"If that's what you want." He casually shrugged his shoulders.

"Yeah, that's what I want." Rayne growled, as she didn't want to discuss the subject or be taunted about her anymore. She was having a hard enough time dealing with her feelings for her and just wanted to forget about her. She looked back down at her paperwork as Forrest rose from the chair and stood beside her.

She didn't look up and he leaned down saying, "Stop pining for the dead woman you once loved. Live your life in the present and don't close it off to everyone. I haven't known you for very long Rayne, but I've got a good idea of what you're doing. It all makes sense now with what you told me about your former lover and why you go from one chick to the next. You're ability to love again is dying within you and you don't even realize it. Don't discard someone who could very well be your true love." He softly advised and placed a comforting hand on her shoulder before leaving.

'Like he knows what my fucking life is all about? He doesn't know jack!' She angrily and defensively thought leaning her head in her hands that rested on the desk. She sat silently for a few minutes trying to figure out her feelings and what he said to her. 'Is he right? Have I lost my ability to love again?' She wondered questioningly and decided that he was full of it. 'Do I want to love again, that's the question?' She asked herself and quickly rose from the chair, grabbing her jacket as she headed out of the office.

She entered her quiet beach villa after a long drive home fighting with her subconscious as to why she shouldn't get to know Lark. 'Why can't I get her out of my mind and why do I feel so damn guilty for thinking about her?' She questioned frustrated and tossed her keys on the table, then her jacket on the couch. She headed directly for the kitchen and grabbed a glass from the cupboard, filling it with her favorite whiskey. She added a smidgen of coke and some ice before heading out onto her porch overlooking the ocean. She sat in the beach chair and propped her feet up on the railing looking out over the ocean drinking her beverage and trying to forget the events of the day. She sat watching the surfers enjoying the unusually large surf wishing she were out there with them. 'Maybe it would take my mind off of all this crazy stuff. I need another drink.' She reasoned jumping out of her chair and entered the house.

She fixed herself another drink and headed back out onto the porch, grabbing the bottle along her way. She watched the guys surf for over an hour and tried to sort out the thoughts she kept having of Lark. She hoped the whiskey would help forget about her, but it only made her think of her more. She decided she had enough and headed into the house. She was restless and eager to do something else. She picked up the phone and dialed her brother, Shayan. "Hey Shay. What are all of you up too?" She asked and sat in the recliner, turning the TV on. She hoped talking to her brother would keep her mind off the blonde.

"Not much, just watching TV. How about you?"

"Same thing. Just chilling out." She answered and flipped through the channels.

"Is everything alright?" He asked concerned by her demeanor.

"Oh, yeah. I'm fine. I was wondering if you could bring Brandon over tomorrow so we can hang out together and do some fishing?"

"Sure, no problem. I'll bring him by around eight then. He'll be very excited to come over."

"Great, I can't wait to see you both. Thanks and see you tomorrow." She replied and hung up the phone.

"I'm worried about Rayne." Shayan thoughtfully commented thinking about his sister and looked at his wife who was sitting next to him.

"Why, what's wrong?" Holly worriedly asked.

"She just didn't sound good. She sounds like something's really bugging her."

"I'm sure she's fine honey. Just talk to her tomorrow and see what's going on."

"I'm going to take Brandon over tomorrow to hang out with her, maybe that will lighten her spirits."

"Hers and ours too!" Holly chuckled and winked flirtatiously at her husband. "Maybe we can work on giving him a little brother or sister while he's at his auntie's house tomorrow." She seductively suggested and cuddled closer to her husband.

"Ooh, sounds good to me, but why wait until then? How about if we get started now?" He offered and kissed his wife passionately as she giggled.

Rayne sat bored, flipping through the channels and stopped when a show caught her eye. "Ooh, ER. My favorite." She said out loud and settled in to watch the medical drama. "No way!" She laughed and couldn't believe her eyes. Lark happened to be on that episode. "Just my luck." She chuckled and looked around. 'I think I'm losing it, I'm talking out loud to no one, but myself!' She thought and laughed, sipping her beverage as she watched the show. 'Hmmm, not a bad actress.' She thought as the show progressed and she enjoyed seeing the green-eyed beauty in her living room. She leaned forward and reached for a handful of M&M's from the candy dish and caught a glimpse of Karen's picture she had sitting on the mantle. She felt a pang of regret and guilt and turned the TV off. She paced around trying to resolve her conflicted emotions and felt as though she were doing something wrong by having them. She sighed frustrated and headed into the bedroom. She flopped on the bed exhausted by the day's events. "I can't keep going on like this, I'm going to have a break down." It was the only thing she remembered as the whiskey quickly took her into a deep sleep.

"Lark? Are you listening to me?" Elaine asked and snapped Lark back to reality with a light touch of her arm.

"I'm sorry what did you say?" Lark asked confused by what Elaine was saying.

"I said I've had a few offers for movies for you and this one would be a career maker if you get the part." Elaine eluded and offered her the script.

"Oh, yeah?" Lark asked non-committal and extremely unenthused by the offer.

"Lark, what's going on with you? Is everything alright?" Elaine asked worried about her by the far off gaze she had.

Lark stared at her and chuckled embarrassed for being so spaced out. "I'm sorry. I was just thinking about someone else." She blushed at the thought of the woman she referred to and stood up, looking out the window.

"I guess this person made quite an impression on you?" Elaine asked, with a chuckle.

"Oh, in a way you'll never know." Lark admitted with a flushed smile thinking of how Rayne made her feel with just one touch of her hand as she dreamily gazed up at the star littered sky. She turned to Elaine with a whimsical look explaining, "She's the most beautiful woman I've ever seen Elaine." Lark admitted excitedly and sat next to her agent.

"Come on Lark, you've been around many beautiful women before."

Elaine found her comment hard to believe considering the many gorgeous women she's come across in Hollywood.

"No, she's different from them and she made me feel aah, so wonderful with just one touch of her hand. She's tall with dark features; she's muscular and has dark, straight hair that just touches the top of her shirt collar and these beautiful hypnotizing blue eyes. Elaine, her eyes are exquisite." She admiringly explained with a sigh biting her lip at the wonderful feeling she had inside just thinking of the woman. "I've never had someone make me feel this way after meeting them for the first time. I'm in love with her, Elaine." Her smile was broad and irremovable as she fondly spoke of the woman and professed such a confession.

"Wow, Lark you really are smitten by this person huh?" Elaine commented surprised by her friends reaction to the women she described. "Well, I think before you make such declarations of love Lark, ask her out on a date."

"I already did and she declined, but I can see in her eyes that she's intrigued by me as well. Trust me, I won't be giving up on her very easily." Lark admitted with a grin and a giggle as she looked at Elaine.

"Well, I'm happy for you and I hope she sees the error of her ways and accepts your offer of a date." Elaine teasingly commented and both women laughed.

"That's right and I know just what I'm going to do to make that happen starting tomorrow." Lark confidently informed her and smiled.

"You go girl! Now, come down from that cloud you are on long enough to look at this contract offer that's going to send your career soaring." Elaine laughed and handed Lark the contract.

"Yes, ma'am." Lark teasingly laughed and accepted the documents from her.

The steaming hot sun peering in through her bedroom window rudely awakened her. She covered her eyes with her hand to shade the bright light and sat up trying to gain her composure. She wiped her face with her hands in an attempt to wipe away the dreams she had that night. She dreamt about Lark, which seemed to have lasted the entire night and felt ashamed for having the dream. "It's just not right." She reasoned guiltily and sighed. She inhaled deeply then exhaled and stared at the picture of her fallen lover that she had grabbed off the nightstand thinking about what she had to do. She quickly dressed and headed out the door and down the beach on foot.

Shayan pounded on the door over and over again with no answer from Rayne. He turned the doorknob and entered the house, surprised that she didn't lock it. "Rayne! We're here. Where are you?" He called out and didn't hear anything.

"Daddy, where's Auntie Rayne?" Brandon quizzically asked.

"I'm not sure son. Sit down on the couch and watch TV while I look for her okay?" He smiled comfortingly as his son did as he was told.

He walked down the hall to the bedroom calling out Rayne's name with no answer and checked the entire villa before heading into the garage. 'Where in the hell is she?' He wondered and noted she didn't take her motorcycle, meaning she had to be on foot. He went back to the bedroom and looked around. He noticed the picture lying on the bed and figured out where Rayne had to be. He put the picture on the nightstand and headed off to get Brandon. "Come on son, I know where to find your aunt." He pulled the car into the parking lot and they exited the car. "I'm going to stay here dad." Brandon nervously stated as his dad understood and ruffled his hair.

Shayan slowly approached his sister who sat on the marble bench lost in her thoughts. "Rayne? Are you okay?" He softly inquired trying not to startle her.

She slowly looked up at him confused. "Shay?" She asked and wondered what he was doing there.

"We didn't see you at the house and we were worried." He commented and sat beside her as she turned her attention back to the tombstone before her. "What's going on Rayne?" He asked concerned for his sister from the disheveled and tired look she possessed. It was completely unlike her to be that way.

They sat silently for a few moments and Rayne commented, "I'm dishonoring her memory with thoughts of another Shay. I feel guilty and overwhelmed by my emotions."

"Who? What are you talking about Rayne?" He questioned confused.

"I aah, met this woman yesterday." She began and inhaled deeply before continuing, "She's the most beautiful woman I've ever seen before Shay and I've been having these really strong feelings for her." Rayne honestly admitted.

"Well, that's great honey. Why do you feel so guilty?" He asked and rubbed her back comfortingly. He was glad you was actually having feelings for someone rather than just discarding one woman after another before a relationship could be formed.

She turned and looked at him. "Feelings that I never felt for anyone, including Karen." She reluctantly admitted and looked down at the headstone with Karen's name on it.

"Oh, I see." He answered solemnly and realized how conflicted she must be. He knew how much Karen meant to her and with her death, how great a toll it took on his sister. He was happy that she was finally moving on with her life, but meeting this woman had brought up many painful memories for her.

"She was my life. I always believed we were meant to be together forever Shay. I loved her completely and thought she was my soul mate. How could I have stronger feelings than that for someone else? She's been gone for two years now. Why would I be feeling like it was just yesterday that she died after all this time?" She questioned confused by the raw feelings of guilt and sadness that she was having.

"Maybe because Karen wasn't the person you were meant to be with Rayne and your heart is telling you that it's time for you to move on." He stared at her as she snapped her head around to face him. "Look, before you get mad, listen to me. There is a reason for everything and there's a reason for Karen dying Rayne." He attempted to explain.

"What's the reason Shay to make me learn how to suffer?" She asked and pounded her heart to emphasize her point.

"No and it's pretty arrogant of us to think that her passing was for you to learn something. Maybe her duties on earth had been fulfilled and it was her time to go or maybe it was to allow you to love again Rayne so you can be with your true love. She came into your life and touched your heart, teaching you how to love someone. If we are to assume that her purpose here had something to do with you then maybe that was her reason for being here and it was time for her to go so you could be with your soul mate. Don't you remember how you were before she entered your life?" She looked at him clueless and he smiled, "You were exactly like you are right now. Going from one woman to the next without a meaningful relationship amongst them. You settled down with her and learned that you could open your heart to love someone. She wouldn't have wanted you feeling guilty and being unhappy or being alone, pinning for her. You know that. I don't know about this new woman you are talking about whether she's your true love or not Rayne. Only you will know that, your heart will let you know. So, give her a chance and yourself. You're not dishonoring Karen's memory and you shouldn't feel guilty for having such feelings. They are only normal. You have to move on." He gently encouraged and draped a comforting arm around her shoulder.

She knew what he was saying was the truth, but she still felt guilty and unsure. She wanted to get to know Lark more and spend time with her, but she just wouldn't be able to handle falling in love with someone again and being hurt. She had a feeling that was the road she was heading down and it scared her. "You're right. Maybe I will." She answered and smiled looking up at him. She'd had enough of all the mushy stuff and wanted to change the subject. It took a lot for her to reveal what she had to her own brother and she didn't feel like pursuing it any further now.

"I know I'm right. Give it a chance Rayne." He smiled encouragingly and stood up when his sister did.

"Let's get back so I can have some fun with Brandon." Rayne smiled trying to change the subject. She didn't want to harp on that painful moment any longer.

"You sure you're alright?" Shayan questioned, looking at her.

"I'm great. Thanks for the talk I appreciate it and I'll truly consider what you said." She faintly smiled and picked up her pace to greet Brandon. "Hey buddy. Ready to go fishing?" She excitedly asked and hugged him tightly, kissing his cheek.

"I'm always ready to go fishing!" He exuberantly agreed and hugged her.

"Let's go then." She smiled and climbed into the car with the little boy still draped around her as Shayan shook his head laughing while climbing in the car. They made it back to the villa within no time from the cemetery that was located down the street from her villa and Rayne quickly jumped out of the car with Brandon. "Grab your bag." She commented and held him down so he could retrieve it. "Give your old man a kiss." She teasingly suggested.

Shayan smiled and kissed his son that Rayne held through the window. "Behave for your aunt." He chuckled and looked up at Rayne. "Call me if you need me."

She smiled appreciatively, "I will. Bye." She turned and headed off.

"Don't forget what I said!" He shouted out before backing the car out of the driveway and shook his head knowing how stubborn his sister could be as she waved off his comment without turning around.

The pair had been fishing for a while without a bite and Rayne was checking her fishing pole that was in its stand. Something didn't seem right to her and she turned to check on her nephew." Brandon! What did I tell you?" Rayne sternly asked and approached the small fisherman who stood in knee-deep water as the turbulent surf made it difficult for him to maintain his balance.

"Do I have to wear this life vest? It's bothering me." He whined and unsnapped the latches.

"Yes, if you want to surf fish you have to wear it. The sea is rough today and can sweep you out there in no time. Keep this on like I told you okay?" She asked, kneeling before him and snapping the latches he unhooked.

"Okay." He drawled, rolling his eyes and reluctantly relented.

"I wouldn't want my favorite boy swept out to sea now would I?" She smiled and leaned her forehead against his. "I'd be mighty upset. Not to mention your mom and dad would kill me." She teasingly laughed and kissed him as he giggled. "Okay, whose going to catch the biggest fish today?"

"Me of course!" He confidently replied with a grin.

"Put your money where your mouth is then mister. Let's get fishing!" Rayne suggested with a laugh and stood up. She brushed his hair back and turned when she heard a soft, sweet voice.

"Hello, I'm not interrupting you am I?"

"Aah, no aah Lark, what are you doing here?" She nervously asked confused and surprised. Her heart fluttered at the sight of the blonde, but felt unnerved that she was there. 'Damn, she's forward coming here like that.' She thought surprised by the women's audacity.

"I'm sorry. I asked my father to find out where you lived. I'll just go. I shouldn't have come in the first place." Lark replied, flustered and embarrassed that she actually had the gall in the first place to just show up at her home.

"Well, aah it's okay. Did you need something?" Rayne asked, easily relenting and happy that she turned back around. She inwardly tried to calm her racing heart as she stared upon the beautiful woman before her that was making her senses soar.

"Thanks. I just wanted to give you this." She smiled and held out a neatly wrapped package. 'Whew, she's not going to toss me off her property.' She thought relieved and stared at the attractive woman before her that made her heart race uncontrollably.

"Brandon how about baiting the hooks for us?" She asked with a smile.

"Sure thing!" He excitedly answered and ran for the fishing poles.

They chuckled at his exuberance and looked back to one another meeting each other's gaze. "Is that your son?" She nervously asked.

"My son?" Rayne asked confused and looked at Brandon. She turned back, flustered by the question. "Oh, no he's my nephew. Well, godson." She nervously chuckled. 'What in the hell is up with you? You're acting like an idiot!'

"He's gorgeous. I see that good looks runs in your family." Lark smiled and saw Rayne blush at the fairly forward comment. "This is for you." Lark offered again and held out the package.

"I already told you that you didn't need to do that." Rayne shyly answered, her heart racing within her chest.

'Damn, I can't take another rejection.' Lark worriedly thought staring into the most beautiful, yet troubled blues eyes she had ever seen.

"But, thank you. It was very nice of you to do that and thanks for the cookies. They were delicious." Rayne smiled and accepted the gift much to Lark's relief. 'What are you doing? You should be running about now!' She admonished inwardly and opened the gift. Her head told her to run and her heart wouldn't allow it.

"Well, I just wanted to give you something to say thanks." Lark attempted to explain and waited anxiously for Rayne to open the present. Rayne held up the white shirt and turned it around looking at it. "I figured I owed you a shirt for the one that was damaged yesterday." Lark attempted to explain and realized that she had no right to be there and that she was pushing way too hard. She was lying to her and she didn't want to do that. She figured she had to be honest, as it had to have been written all over her face. She looked down, and then looked up at Rayne, "I need to be honest. That shirt was an excuse for me to come here and get to know you better, to see you again. I'm sorry, I should leave now." Lark guiltily explained and turned towards her car feeling like a heel for intruding on her privacy. 'I guess I read the wrong intentions in those eyes.' She thought sadly and approached her car.

Rayne was mystified by everything and looked at the shirt, then Lark. There was a part of her that wanted Lark to leave and never enter her life again and there was a part of her that wanted her to stay. She watched as Lark moved closer to her car and she took a step, her heart racing uncontrollably as she contemplated what she should do.

Continued in Part 2.

Comments accepted at Cruise1313@aol.com

August 2001


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