PROVENANCE XI
By Cruise

Disclaimers: Are the same as all other subsequent parts.

Special Thanks: To Julia for her editing prowess, to Monica for her support and for maintaining my web site, to all the fans for supporting my writing passion. Thanks for bearing with me for the delay with the update as my mother recently passed away and to everyone who sent their condolences, support and love. You all are the best!
 

Rayne grudgingly headed up the elevator towards her office to start her day of work. She was in no mood to be at work; instead her mind was somewhere else. She wanted to be anywhere else, as long as she was with a particular blonde actress who consumed all of her thoughts. She sighed, disappointed, remembering how she had to watch Lark board the plane for her promotional tour in Europe late last night and wondered how she was going to make it through the next couple of weeks without her. She didn’t want to be away from her and missed her the second she was out of sight. ‘I’m such a wuss, but I can’t help it, I’m hopelessly in love.’ She reasoned with a chuckle as she swiped her badge for security purposes and waited for the door to open. Rayne headed down the hall towards her office and smiled at the secretary who was on the phone, waved her over and handed her phone messages. She grabbed the messages and opened the door to her office.

“Well, look at what the cat dragged in.” Forrest sarcastically commented after Rayne entered the office.

“Yeah, yeah, but I should say that to you. I’ve been in the gym for quite awhile working out while I’m sure your lazy ass was in bed.” She chuckled and tossed the handful of messages on her desk. She sat in her chair and placed her attaché case on the desk and opened it. She pulled out a framed picture of Lark that she had developed at the one-hour photo shop while still in the Keys and smiled as she looked at it. She placed it on her desk, next to the one’s of her family, and stared at it. She inwardly reminisced about their trip and of how she loved the picture of Lark that she snapped of her in the early morning sun.

“Sorry, but I just didn’t feel like getting out of bed this morning. I take it you had a very happy birthday?” Forrest slyly grinned, as he placed a cup of coffee on her desk and glanced at the picture Rayne was staring at. “From the smile on your face it looks like the rain didn’t bother you. We were drenched up here and I saw the Keys had it worse through the weather reports.”

“It was the best one I’ve ever had Forrest and the rain didn’t get in our way at all.” Rayne answered with a warm smile, knowing Lark was the reason for her happy birthday and thought back on the lovemaking they did for the rest of their vacation when the rain kept them inside.

“I take it things are getting hot and heavy between you two then? You’ve got to give me the juicy details.” Forrest demanded with a sly grin and moved to his desk, sat down and looked across to Rayne for her answer.

“Sorry, dude I don’t kiss and tell.” Rayne answered looking up from the picture to him, then back down.

“Since when?” He asked with a chuckle.

“Since this one matters and she’s special. I didn’t bother me telling you of the one night stands I had before, but Lark is off limits when it comes to that Forrest.” Rayne assertively answered staring at him to express her point that her and Lark’s intimate details were not going to be discussed. Those were staying between her and Lark.

“You got it pal.” He conceded and was glad to hear that Lark was special to Rayne and not just one of her many flings since Karen’s death. “I’m really happy that things are going so well for you and Lark. You can thank me for that anytime.” Forrest answered and smiled amused with himself.

“Thank you for what?” Rayne asked, looking up from her multiple phone messages.

“For talking some sense into you about Lark.” He answered rolling his eyes exasperated by her forgetfulness.

“Oh, that yeah, well thanks bud.” Rayne casually answered and smiled. “Any news on whether we are going to get switched to a different assignment?” She asked hopeful, changing the subject.

“Aah, it’s safe to say we are stuck right where we are partner.” Forrest answered disappointed.

“Why? What’s going on?” Rayne uneasily asked looking up from her picture of Lark.

“The director caught me the second I got in here and told me there was another threat on Congressman Morgan while we were off.”

“You’re kidding? Was it a written or physical threat?” She asked, worried that something might have happened to him.

“Nah, written. He gave me this file to go over and see if we can track these jerk offs down before they succeed with their plans to off him.” He explained and handed her the file.

She perused the file and looked up at him. “Great, we need to go back and interview that asshole we got a while back. I am so not into talking to that moron again.” She mentioned loathingly.

“My thoughts exactly. We might as well get this out of the way with him though.” Forrest suggested and headed towards the door, chuckling when he heard Rayne growl her displeasure when she stood up. “Come on grumpy, I’ll buy you some more coffee and if you’re really good, a donut.” He laughed and watched as she passed by him.

“Make it a bagel and I’ll behave, somewhat.” She answered and chuckled heading towards the elevator.

He stood next to her and looked her way, laughing then looked back at the elevator. “You got it,” he agreed and stepped onto the elevator, just before the doors closed.

The pair interviewed the suspect after having breakfast and headed over to the Congressman’s office. “Well, let’s hope the Congressman can give us more insight into who might want to assassinate him.” Forrest commented, looking to Rayne, then back to the road as he steered the car through the busy streets.

“He sure as hell was a waste of time. Either he’s incredibly cunning or an absolute idiot. Something is just no fitting together and I can’t put my finger on it. We are missing something crucial and it’s bugging the shit out of me.” She answered and narrowed her eyes as she looked out the window, trying to figure out some of his comments. She was snapped out of her thoughts when her cell phone rang and frowned when she saw the message of an unknown name from her caller ID. “Agent Donovan.” She greeted into the phone.

“Ooh, how sexy.” Lark provocatively replied into the phone.

“Well, hello there.” Rayne answered, smiling happily and feeling her heart race from hearing Lark on the other end.

“What are you up to Agent Donovan?” Lark giggled flirtatiously, enjoying the sound of how formal Rayne addressed herself.

“Forrest and I are heading over to your father’s office actually.” Rayne answered and stared out the window, turning her head away for some privacy from Forrest who was craning his neck to hear her conversation with a sly grin.

“Is everything okay with daddy?” Lark worriedly asked and began pacing the floor of her hotel suite.

“He’s fine babe. Don’t worry.” Rayne soothingly answered, hearing a touch of nervousness in Lark’s voice. She didn’t want to worry her by telling Lark about the latest threat. “So, how was your flight?”

“Horrible, I missed you the entire time. I was ready to tell the pilot to take me back home to you.” Lark whined with a pouting tone into the phone and stopped, looking out the window.

“I miss you too. I probably would have made the pilot bring me home.” Rayne admitted and laughed.

“Well, Elaine wrestled me down and wouldn’t let me do it or I would be there with you right now.” Lark teasingly chuckled and stuck her tongue out at Elaine who grunted in protest to her comment.

“Don’t tell her that! I don’t want her hunting me down to kick my ass. I like it just the way it is, you better tell her you were kidding.” Elaine warned and pointed at Lark to emphasize her point.

“Do I need to have a conversation with Elaine about treating my princess a little better?” Rayne teasingly asked.

“Yes, I think you should. Could you come now and talk with her? Then I’ll be able to properly thank you.” Lark asked with a laugh, wishing Rayne could do just that.

“You know if I could, I wouldn’t of let you go there with that wretched agent of yours, sweets.” She quietly responded and laughed.

“Whaah, I miss you and need to see you.” Lark whined and flopped on the couch, disappointed that they were so far apart.

“I feel the same way, but before we know it we’ll be together.” Rayne sweetly said and smiled, thinking of that time.

“I’m sorry if I’m torturing you with my whining, but…” Lark answered and paused as Elaine commented.

“I’m sick of your whining and you’re torturing me!” Elaine looked away from the paper she was reading, smirked at Lark then looked back at her newspaper.

“Like I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted by that ingrate agent of mine, I have this longing to be with you and can’t seem to get over it. I guess it’s because our relationship is so new or maybe it’s because you’ve made such a resounding impact on my life, that I miss you so much and I hate that we are apart.” Lark admitted and grinned when Elaine extended her middle finger towards Lark in response to her comment about her, looking from the paper once again.

“I know and I completely agree, but we are going to have to find some kind of a happy medium or we are going to go out of our minds being away from each other.” Rayne suggested and glanced at the guard when Forrest stopped in the parking garage. She flashed her badge as did Forrest and nodded as the guard passed them through. “Hey, babe. I’m going to have to call you back later. We are heading into to see your father and the connection is going bad.” Rayne told her, reluctant to hang up with Lark.

“Okay, I look forward to hearing from you. Tell daddy I said hello and be careful. I miss you terribly honey and I love you so much.” Lark wholeheartedly admitted and felt her eyes moisten, knowing she was going to lose her connection to Rayne.

“Same here babe. Take care and I’ll talk to you later. Bye.” Rayne answered and smiled, hearing Lark’s sweet voice tell her goodbye, then clicked off the phone. She sighed disappointed that she had to end the call so soon and exited the car when Forrest parked it. Forrest looked at her with a silly grin and shook his head as the pair headed towards the elevators. “What?” Rayne defensively asked.

“Honey, sweets, babe?” He asked with a chuckle.

“Yeah, so why were you listening?” She casually answered and insinuatingly asked.

“I couldn’t help but over hear all the mushy stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I totally dig it partner. I like this side of you. It suits you well.” He answered smiling happily.

“Thanks, I think you’re right.” Rayne admitted with a chuckle and looked up at the numbers on the elevator waiting for their floor to come up, smiling uncontrollably from how Lark made her feel. They stepped onto the elevator and waited for the doors to close.

“Hey, when Lark gets back in town the little lady and I would like to have you both over for dinner.” Forrest offered, smiling.

“Great, we’d love it.” Rayne answered and returned a brief smile as the doors opened, stepping off the elevator. “Alright, let’s hope the Congressman has some good information for us.” Rayne quipped and approached his office, greeting the fellow agents with a nod.

After finishing their meeting the pair was just as baffled as they were before speaking with the Congressman who gave them no new information. Not to mention fed up with feeling like they were on a wild goose chase. Rayne felt a nagging feeling that something just wasn’t adding up. “What are you thinking Rayne?” Forrest asked as he stared at his partner who was lost in her thoughts.

“Did they test for gun powder residue on the suspect? I don’t remember seeing that report.” Rayne asked, staring at Forrest and waiting for his answer.

“I’m not sure why?” Forrest asked, perplexed by her thought process and watched as she thumbed through the file for the report.

“They didn’t do one! What in the hell were they thinking? Shit!” She cursed and looked up at Forrest. “I’m thinking this guy isn’t the shooter at all and the gun residue test would have proved my theory, but the jackasses didn’t do one. I think he’s some loser who wants to make a name for himself even if it means going to prison for an extended period of time.” Rayne suggested as she looked at Forrest.

“Or he’s being forced to take the blame and thinks it’s safer in federal prison.” Forrest countered, looking at Rayne.

“Okay, we need to change our strategy with him Forrest and be very cunning to get him to give up the goods.” Rayne told him and attempted to leave, but was stopped by the other agent.

“Hey, don’t forget you two have dinner detail with him later this evening.” The agent reminded them and motioned over his shoulder towards Congressman Morgan’s office.

“No problem, you get him there safely and we’ll take over from there.” Rayne confidently replied and headed down the hall followed by Forrest.

“Can I rough him up if he doesn’t tell us what we want this time?” Forrest teasingly asked as they stepped onto the elevator.

“If you’re a good boy.” Rayne chuckled in response and hit the button, watching the doors close in front of them.

After interrogating and humiliating the man for the majority of the day he finally confessed that he was not the shooter, but he was paid a lot of money to take the fall. “What a freaking idiot!” Forrest commented angrily after exiting the room. “Why in the hell would you sit in prison for something someone else did for that amount of money?” Forrest asked incredulously.

“Well, he’s obviously someone seeking attention whether it’s negative or not. Look at the Boston Strangler, I’ve seen reports now that he wasn’t the one who committed the murders, but took the fall for it due to the infamy and money his family would receive. It’s strange, but it happens or they assured him that our case would fall through and he’d get off. Too bad he wasn’t much help with identifying anyone by name, but he gave a good description of him especially the tattoo this guy supposedly has. Contact Johnson and see if he can finger the person who paid him in the crowd the day of the convention based on his statement. Maybe we’ll get lucky and nail these people. I’m going to check the database on the computer for anything else that might ring a bell based on his description or an associate with our imposter we have in custody that might fit the bill,” Rayne ordered with a smirk and headed off to accomplish her task.

After a long day of trying to gather information about the threats and a boring dinner party protecting the Congressman Rayne was glad to get home. She parked the car in her driveway and headed up to the dark house. She sighed disappointed as thoughts of Lark popped into her head, wishing she were waiting for her there. She unlocked the door and entered, quickly tossing her keys on the table. She turned on the light and locked the door behind her. She scanned the villa and for the first time realized how lonely her place really was. ‘Wow, she has had a major effect on my life. How could I not see how lonely I really was?’ She wondered amazed by the fact that she at one time relished living there alone and how being with Lark changed all of that. She no longer wanted to be alone and wished she was coming home to Lark’s loving arms. ‘Aah, she can’t get here soon enough.’ She sighed disappointed and headed down the hall towards the bathroom to take a shower.

“Elaine, how much longer do we have to stay here?” Lark asked agitated leaning closer to her friend.

“Why? Do you have a date?” Elaine smirked teasingly, knowing full well what Lark had in mind.

“Yes and you know it. You are just torturing me for the pleasure of it aren’t you?” Lark whined and scrunched her nose up at Elaine.

“Yes, it’s payback for me having to hear you constantly whine about how much you miss Rayne.” Elaine countered with a laugh.

“Well, it’s true. Can I help it I’m hopelessly in love?” Lark asked with a dreamy smile.

“I guess not, but please try to bear with me here. Besides, you’re going to have to get used to doing these things Lark. You pay me chump change to advise you on your career and handle your affairs for you so you can be a huge celebrity.” She sarcastically needled her friend and smirked. “So, shut your mouth and flash that winning smile towards those producers so you can nail that one huge break out role that will send you into leading lady status, especially that old chubby guy, who has one strand of hair covering his entire head.” Elaine explained and glanced towards the man she was referring to as did Lark who snickered at her last comment. “Just try to get through this promotional tour and then you’ll have a break for the holidays to spend with your honey. We’ll leave here in about thirty minutes. Okay?” Elaine encouragingly asked with a toothy, Cheshire cat grin as she glanced at Lark.

“I will try to bear with you my dear and I will do my best to put forth a winning smile, even to the one strand hair guy.” Lark answered with a smile and stood up, looking back at Elaine. “Just how do you put up with my whining and keeping me on track?”

“I really don’t know other than me being a saint is all I can say. I sure hope you will remember that for when you are giving me my Christmas bonus this year.” Elaine jokingly answered as the pair giggled. “Hurry up, go knock one strand guy out so we can get leave!” Elaine laughed and shooed her away. Elaine shook her head with an inward laugh as she watched Lark greet the producer. ‘She is head over heels in love with Rayne, that’s for sure. She seems like she’s walking around in a daze and more than likely she’s thinking of her new girlfriend.’ She thought and felt a happiness consume her, knowing how smitten Lark was with Rayne.

Rayne slipped on a tank top and boxer shorts. She dried her hair with a towel as she padded down the carpeted hallway towards the kitchen. She grabbed a soda and a bag of chips before heading into the living room. She plopped on the couch and tossed her towel next to her before digging into the bag of chips. She clicked on the TV and flipped through the channels stopping at the sports channel. She kicked back watching the show as she ate the chips and drank the soda. A picture on the entertainment center caught her eye and she placed her snack food down on the coffee table. She stood up and slowly approached the picture. Rayne picked up the picture and sat on the couch as she stared at it. ‘It’s time for me to move on Karen. We had a wonderful life together and I will never forget that, but it’s time for me to start a new life with Lark.’ She thought as if the woman in the picture could hear her. Rayne stood up and headed down the hall towards her bedroom. She placed the picture in a box in her closet where she had photo albums of Karen and inhaled deeply then exhaled, feeling a calming peace about her. After Karen passed away, she packed all of her possessions except that one picture. She couldn’t bear to see reminders of her dead lover, but she could never bring herself to pack that particular picture of Karen and felt a weight lift from her shoulders when she did it. She knew the only way to move on was to put her past behind her and didn’t want that constant reminder every time she looked at the picture. ‘I’ve got to put her death behind me, and stop dwelling on it. To live my life happily and wholly as she would have wanted me too. There was a reason for Lark entering my life and for me falling in love with her so quickly and completely. Maybe Karen had something to do with sending Lark to me as she saw how much pain I endured from her death. I think she is finally at peace, knowing that I’m finally able to move on.’ She thought and smiled, hoping that was true.

Rayne pulled out the pictures of their trip and chose a shot of Lark that she enjoyed. She placed the picture in a spare frame and headed towards the living room with it. She moved the pictures around and placed Lark in the front of the others. She smiled staring at the picture and felt a rush of happiness consume her as Lark smiled back at her. She traced Lark’s features in the picture with her finger, imagining how warm and soft Lark’s skin feels. Her heart fluttered as she thought of how sensual and seductive Lark’s kisses were. She jumped out of her revere when she heard the phone ring and felt her heart quicken from the start. She quickly grabbed the phone and lifted it to her ear, “Hello,” she greeted into the phone.

“Hey babe. Are you okay? You sound out of breath.” Lark replied worried that something might be wrong.

“Oh, no I’m fine now that I hear your voice. I was startled by the phone while I was staring at a beautiful woman.” She answered with a grin that always seemed to creep onto her face when she spoke of and to Lark.

“Really? Is she anyone I might know?” Lark asked with a twinge of jealousy, hopeful that it was her that Rayne was referring too as she smiled and stared out the window of her hotel looking at the bustling city below her, wishing she was with Rayne.

“I’m not sure, but I can tell you that she is gorgeous.”

“Hmmm, well I’ve come across a gorgeous woman lately too, in particular a tall raven-haired, blue eyed Secret Service Agent with the sexiest body you will ever see. She has swept me off my feet and stolen my heart. Maybe you know her?” Lark seductively replied in the phone and felt her heart skip a beat.

“Well, with that list of attributes you must be talking about me!” Rayne teasingly and cockily answered with a chuckle. She smiled uncontrollably and padded through her bedroom towards the back deck. She opened the sliding glass door and stepped outside. She sat in the chair looking out over the darkened ocean hearing the waves lapping gently against the shore and smiled when the soft breeze caressed her face.

“Ooh, you are so arrogant, but that’s one of those personality traits I so love about you. Now, tell me about this woman you were so taken with that the phone startled you.” Lark answered and felt a tickle in her belly, waiting to hear what Rayne had to say about her.

“She’s an actress with gorgeous, long flowing blonde hair, the most incredibly alluring and provocative green eyes, a body that everyone is envious of, a kiss to die for and the most delightful personality anyone could ever hope to have.” Rayne admitted smiling dreamily and opened her eyes after picturing Lark in her mind.

Lark’s legs grew weak and she flopped on the bed with her heart racing at what Rayne had just admitted. “That is definitely me!” Lark commented with a chuckle and heard Rayne laugh.

“Oh, now who is the arrogant one?” Rayne teasingly asked as the pair shared a laugh.

“I think you rubbed off on me.” Lark countered with a hardy laugh.

“You’re probably right.” Rayne agreed and both laughed harder. “So, how was your day? Is Elaine treating my princess any better?” Rayne jokingly whined with the princess comment.

“Yeah, she’s a little better. I think she is going to behave now that I told her you would rough her up if need be.” Lark giggled playfully in the phone as Rayne laughed on the other end.

Rayne was lost in Lark’s giggle and smiled, pausing before she said anything to reflect on how much she enjoyed being in Lark’s life. “Lark, I miss you so much and I’m hopelessly in love with you.” She wholeheartedly blurted out, desperately wanting to let her know that in case the world ended the next day.

Lark gasped when she heard Rayne’s admission and her heart raced with her smile consuming all of her fine features. “Thank you baby. That is so sweet of you to say and it’s just what I needed to hear. I miss you so much to honey and I love you so much too honey. It’s just too much!” Lark added with a chuckle.

“I know it’s disgusting isn’t it?” Rayne asked with a laugh.

“Yes, what are we going to do about it?” Lark asked, sharing the laugh as she rubbed her tummy to quell the butterflies that were doing swan dives in her stomach from her excitement.

“Well, I guess we just need to love each other more!” Rayne exclaimed with a laugh.

“You got it baby. So, what are you wearing?” Lark provocatively asked, with a blushing grin. ‘Why am I blushing? She can’t see me!’ She wondered with an inward chuckle.

“I’m wearing a tank top and boxer shorts, how about you?” Rayne asked, propping her feet up on the railing and tilting the chair back on two legs waiting for Lark’s answer.

“I’m sprawled out on this big bed wearing nothing and waiting for you to come and take advantage of me.” Lark seductively purred into the phone.

Rayne pushed her chair back to far lost in the image Lark mentioned to her and felt it go out from beneath her. “Shit!” She commented when she fell out of the chair, flustered by what Lark said to her.

“Rayne are you okay? Are you there?” She nervously asked when she heard the crashing of the chair and the phone hit the ground.

Rayne quickly stood up and fumbled for the phone kicking it before finally getting a grip on it. “Sorry, I’m here.” She breathlessly said into the phone and grabbed the toppled chair from the ground. ‘Fucking chair I should through it in the ocean.’ She angrily thought and slammed it down on the deck as if it were the chairs fault that she fell out of it. ‘It couldn’t have been me being flustered by what Lark said and being embarrassed for falling on my ass!’ She thought perturbed with herself and sat down in the chair, this time with all four legs firmly planted on the ground.

“Are you okay? What happened?” Lark worriedly asked.

“Oh, the leg on the chair broke and I fell backwards.” Rayne told her, too embarrassed to admit the truth.

“Oh, honey. Are you hurt?” Lark asked concerned and hoped she wasn’t seriously injured.

Rayne looked at her elbow and felt her face flushed with embarrassment. “I scraped my elbow on the wall.” She answered agitated with her stupidity and headed into the villa to get a tissue to wipe off the blood.

“I’m sorry babe. I’m sending you a kiss to put on it.” Lark answered with a smile, wondering if the chair really did break or if it was from her comment.

“Thanks, it feels much better.” Rayne chuckled and held the tissue on the wound.

“I think you better check out all of your chairs to make sure they are sound from now on Rayne.” Lark advised her, hoping to bate her into confessing. ‘She fell because of my comment I know it. The chair breaking is way too much of a coincidence.’ Lark gloatingly though.

“Okay, you’ve got me. I fell out of the chair because of what you said. I can’t hide the truth from you.” Rayne admitted, her conscience killing her and laughed as did Lark.

“Aah, I’m flattered darling.” Lark answered with a giggle and smiled wider. “I’ll make up for your fall just as soon as I see you.” Lark promised and felt a tingling sensation throughout her from Rayne’s confession. ‘I feel like such a giddy little school girl.’ Lark excitedly thought and smiled uncontrollably.

“Sounds good to me. I can’t wait to see you.” Rayne answered with a laugh and wondered how much more of a sap she would become. ‘It’s no use, this woman makes me lose control over all of my senses!’ She thought with a snicker and headed back to the chair.

“I can’t get there soon enough! I wish I were there right now. This is killing me being so far away from you.” Lark admitted with a whiney tone in her voice.

“Same here babe. You will be back in time for Thanksgiving dinner right?” Rayne confirmed hoping her plans wouldn’t change.

“I’m flying in early that morning and then we will get some time to spend together before I start filming on my new project.” Lark explained and smiled excitedly at the mention of spending time with Rayne.

“Excellent, I can’t wait. Are you finished for the day or do you have more appearances to attend?” Rayne asked, hoping they would have time to chat with one another. She didn’t want to lose her connection to the sweet voice on the other end of the line. Lark had a way of sending tingling sensations throughout her whenever she spoke and Rayne wasn’t ready to let her go just yet.

“Unfortunately, I’m not finished yet. I’m sure Elaine will be yelling at me to get my butt moving to our next appearance in a few minutes. She can be such a slave driver sometimes.” She disappointedly answered, wishing she could spend the rest of the day talking with Rayne and chuckled with her last statement.

“What the…?” Rayne said as her voice trailed off when she turned away from the phone looking back into the bedroom.

“What’s wrong?” Lark worriedly asked, hearing her tone of voice change.

“Someone’s in the house.” Rayne whispered as she quietly crept into the house and headed towards her bed to retrieve her gun sitting on the nightstand.

“What? Rayne leave the house, hang up with me and call the police right now.” Lark nervously urged and stood up, beginning to pace the room. “Rayne! Did you hear me?” She shouted into the phone when she didn’t hear her answer. “Rayne!” She shouted again, her heart pounding in her chest fearful.

“I’m okay Lark, trust me I’ll be fine. Hold on.” She whispered and stealthily headed down the hall with her gun safely in hand, trying to find out that was in her house. She peeked around the corner and stood upright when she saw who was in her house, lying on the floor. She shook her head in disbelief and nudged the body on the floor with her foot. “Get up idiot.” She replied and heard Lark shouting through the phone.

“What’s going on?” Lark anxiously queried.

“Sorry, babe. I didn’t mean to scare you, but I couldn’t say too much until I knew who was in here. It’s my drunk younger brother Jayce who I had no idea was coming over here to stay and the one who is going to owe me a very expensive lamp to replace the one he just broke.” She calmly replied, hearing the distress in Lark’s voice and squatted down, to check his pulse when he didn’t move or answer her.

“Whew, you scared the hell out of me. How come you can’t just call the police like every other normal citizen?” Lark asked, agitated that she would risk her life like that and patted her chest trying to calm her racing heart from the fright. ‘I don’t know why I’m so frazzled, after all she did the same heroic stuff on our first date.’ Lark reminded herself as her heart leveled to a regular beat.

Rayne chuckled and stood up, “Well, darling I do this sort of thing for a living and no, I can’t be like any other normal citizen. That is too boring.” Rayne teasingly answered with a chuckle.

“It’s going to take me some time getting used to having a hero around the house all the time.” Lark jokingly commented and nodded towards Elaine when she motioned that they needed to get moving. “Well, hero as much as I hate to tell you this, I must go and do my celebrity thing. It has been a huge surprise to me how many interviews and appearances I’ve had to make considering I was just one of a huge cast of others.” Lark chuckled downgrading her importance to the movie and felt sadness that she had to hang up with Rayne.

“You have fun doing the celebrity thing and I’m sure you’re the most beautiful one out of that huge cast, that’s why they had you do so many appearances.” Rayne complimentarily told her with a grin as she walked towards Lark’s picture and stared at it.

“Aah, you’re so sweet and you have made my day.” Lark answered and felt her eyes water from the compliment.

“Well, I’ll be thinking about you, just about every minute of every day until I see that gorgeous smile of yours in front of me.” Rayne flatteringly replied, smiling, smitten with the woman in the picture.

“You are so adorable and I’ll be doing the same with you, but for every second.” Lark giggled and blushed when she admitted that. “I miss you and love you very much.” Lark wholeheartedly professed and blew Rayne a kiss in the phone.

“I love and miss you too, take care and I’ll talk to you tomorrow babe.” Rayne sweetly told her with a huge smile.

“Bye gorgeous.” Lark commented and reluctantly moved the phone from her ear. If it were up to her, she would be talking with Rayne the entire night.

“Talk to you later sexy.” Rayne softly replied and clicked off the phone. “Hmmm, what’s wrong with this picture? The gorgeous woman I love is many miles away from me and I’m stuck with this drunken brother of mine. It just isn’t my idea of fun.” She spoke out loud and laughed, grabbing a blanket from the couch and tossing it on her brother. She checked him over and he seemed to be fine. She knew he wouldn’t feel so great in the morning though. “That’s his penance for interrupting my conversation with Lark, the hard floor!” She chuckled and headed back down the hall to her bedroom. ‘What in the hell was I thinking giving him a key to my place? I’ll have to reconsider that decision. He’s lucky I didn’t shoot his drunk ass!’ She thought with a laugh and holstered her gun. She flopped on the bed, grabbing the remote as she settled into the middle. She flipped the channels and stopped on one of the entertainment shows, hoping to catch a glimpse of Lark as they were doing reports about the various premieres. Normally she wouldn’t watch the celebrity shows, but she found herself stopping at those channels in hopes of seeing Lark on one of them quite frequently now. She smiled and sighed deeply, thinking back on her conversation with Lark and how wonderful Lark made her feel every time she heard her sweet voice. She closed her eyes, basking in the marvelous feeling that swept over her when she pictured Lark’s angelic face, before drifting off to sleep with the woman of her dreams heavy on her mind.

The days passed entirely too slowly for Rayne and Lark. They thought the day they would be reunited would never come, but it finally did. They spent the days apart lonely and constantly on the phone with one another with their conversations sometimes lasting for hours to quell the loneliness they felt. “Rayne! Stop looking out that window and come here to help your grandma.” The elderly woman called out seeing her granddaughter staring out the window for the umpteenth time in the thirty minutes she had been there.

Rayne turned and sheepishly grinned as she looked at her grandmother who smiled mischievously at her in the doorway of her kitchen. “Yes, ma’am.” Rayne answered and headed her way. “How can I help Gram?” She asked, grasping the older woman’s hand when she approached.

“You can help me by stop looking out that window. You’re going to ruin my drapes and,” she answered, pulling her tall granddaughter closer to her continuing, “it’s not going to bring her here any faster.” She commented with a smile and a wink. “Put those sweet potatoes in the oven for me please.” She ordered and pointed at the dish she was referring too.

“Sorry Gram, but I can’t help it. I haven’t seen her for so long and I’m really excited that she’ll be here soon.” Rayne smiled sheepishly and placed the casserole dish in the oven as ordered. Her grandmother stood and stared at her without saying a word. “Gram, are you okay? What’s up?” She worriedly asked and moved closer to her, as she didn’t say anything to her, she just stared.

She broke her silence, “I’m fine sweetheart. I was just admiring how beautiful you are and how happy you seem.” She adoringly smiled, grasping Rayne’s hands and stood before her.

Rayne blushed and smiled at her grandmother’s comment. “Thanks Gram and yes, I’m very happy. It’s taken a while for that to happen, but I truly am Gram.” She wholeheartedly admitted and felt her eyes moisten at her confession, thinking of how Lark has been the reason for her happiness.

“I’m very happy to hear that because you’ve been so sad for a long time. I’m glad to see that Lark has stolen your heart and soul, and that you’re very much in love with her. She’s your soul mate my dear and I’m sure I’ll love her as well.” She observed and endearingly told her, with a warm smile.

“Gram, you haven’t even met her and I didn’t tell you that about her. How did you know?” She asked, surprised by her Grandmother’s revelation.

“I can see what she means to you in your eyes, your expressions and the way you talk about her. Your face lights up and glows with happiness when you or anyone else mentions her name. I’ve never seen you like this with any other person you’ve been with and that includes Karen. I can see how special Lark is to you and if she can make my beloved granddaughter that happy then I’m sure to love her.” She lovingly admitted and hugged Rayne.

“Thanks Gram, you’re the best and you’re right, she is my soul mate. I feel that connection with her like I’ve never felt with anyone before.” Rayne answered smiling and broke the hug. “I’m sure you will love her too. She’s wonderful Gram and she fills me with so much love and happiness like I’ve never had before in a partner. The feelings I have when I’m with her are so incredible.” Rayne sincerely professed and felt her heart race as she spoke of Lark.

“I’m very happy for you. Bring her to me when she arrives, I want to speak with her.” Her grandmother ordered with a Greek accent.

Rayne smiled and chuckled, then kissed her grandmother on the cheek. “Yes, ma’am.” She answered, and leaned back, then looked up when she saw her brother enter the kitchen.

“Here is the ice you asked for Gram.” Jayce offered, holding the bag up and smiled before putting it in the freezer.

“You’re a good boy, when you want to be.” She teasingly replied and slapped his butt before approaching the stove to check on her meal.

Rayne moved her brother out of her way when she heard the doorbell ring. “I’ll get it!” She excitedly shouted and felt her heart race faster as she thought it was Lark.

“Geez! You’re like a bull in a china shop.” Jayce sarcastically commented when he righted himself after his sister tossed him into the counter.

Rayne reached for the door and took a deep breath before opening it to calm her nervousness. She smoothed out her clothes and took a quick glance at her hair in the mirror next to the door. When she was satisfied with her look she opened the door and stared silently at what she saw. “Rayne are you okay?” Congressman Morgan asked when she didn’t say anything.

“Oh, aah sorry. I was surprised that Lark wasn’t with you.” She answered disappointed and slightly embarrassed by her actions.

“I have to apologize for my sister’s rude hospitality Congressman, Mrs. Morgan. Please come in, I’m Jayce Rayne’s sister.” He cordially introduced himself with a smile and held the door open, gently pushing his disappointed sister out of the way for them to pass. “We’ve sent her to so many etiquette schools, but unfortunately she keeps failing.” Jayce joking commented as the group laughed.

“Don’t be so disappointed Rayne. Our little girl is on her way. She called me and told me she was delayed by customs and for us to head on over. I’m sure she’ll be here shortly. She said she tried to call, but there was no answer.” Mrs. Morgan informed her.

Rayne reached for her phone and realized she didn’t have it with her. “Damn, I must have left it in the car. I was in such a hurry to get here and so preoccupied with seeing Lark that I forgot to bring it in.” Rayne shyly commented and was flustered by her forgetfulness. “Uhmmm, let me introduce you to the rest of my family.” She offered and led them towards the dining room. “You’ve met my smart mouthed younger brother Jayce already.” She sarcastically replied with a smirk towards him, and then turned towards the kitchen where her grandmother was standing in the doorway. “This is my grandma Taye.” She proudly introduced as her grandmother approached the Morgan’s.

“Hello and welcome to my home.” She warmly greeted and hugged them both.

“Thank you so much for having us, we are delighted to be here.” Mrs. Morgan cordially smiled and held out a bottle of wine as a gift for the hostess.

“Oh, how lovely thank you, but you really didn’t need to go to any trouble for me.” She replied with a smile and accepted the gift.

“It was no trouble at all and we apologize for our daughter’s tardiness, but was delayed by customs at the airport.” Congressman Morgan apologized.

“It’s no problem with me, only my granddaughter. She’s been so eager to see her that she has nearly destroyed my lovely drapes looking out the window for her.” She chuckled and laughed, as did the Morgan’s who all turned and looked at Rayne who sheepishly grinned.

“Lance, Julia! Hello!” Maria Donovan enthusiastically greeted as she entered the kitchen.

“I aah, think I’ll go see what dad is up to outside.” Rayne suggested, watching as her mother engulfed the pair in a hug still embarrassed by the way she greeted the Morgan’s at the door. She quickly headed out to the back yard where her father and brother Shayan were. “How’s the turkey?” She asked looking at the smoker grill they were standing by.

“It’s almost done. How about all the other goodies inside?” Her father asked, looking up at her.

“Well, Gram had me put the sweet potatoes in the oven a few minutes ago so I imagine it won’t be long now.” Rayne answered and inhaled the smell of the turkey cooking. “Yum, it smells delicious!”

“Oh, it will be, guaranteed.” Shayan arrogantly confirmed with a sly grin.

“It better be or Gram will have your head!” She teasingly answered and pointed at him.

“Ooh, I don’t want to piss off Gram that’s for sure!” He laughed along with his sister and father.

“Dad, Congressman and Mrs. Morgan are here if you want to go say hello. I’ll watch the turkey in case it decides to make a run for it.” Rayne informed him and offered with a laugh.

“Ooh, yeah, I better go in and say hello to Lance and Julia or your mother will be yelling at me for being rude, then mom will do the same thing as your mother. It’s scary to think of those two ganging up on me. Thanks for the heads up.” He grinned and handed her the tongs.

“I don’t think it would be scary. It would be funny actually.” Rayne added with a laugh and watched as her father headed towards the house.

“I’ll go with you dad. I think it would be scary and I don’t want either of them thinking I was rude too. Watch that turkey now!” Shayan teasingly replied and followed his father to the house.

“Yeah, you just watch where you’re going so you don’t fall on your face like always.” Rayne tauntingly laughed and turned towards the cooker. Rayne stood looking out over the green expanse of the pasture before her and watched as the horses elegantly galloped past. She smiled, but couldn’t contain her disappointment that Lark was late. She feared that Lark would end up not making it and felt lonely. ‘She’ll be here, stop worrying you idiot. She told you she would be here and her father said she was only delayed.’ She told herself and opened the door looking at the turkey. She was satisfied with the way the turkey looked and stood up.

“I hear you’ve been waiting for me.” Lark softly said as she moved behind Rayne.

Rayne spun around and felt her heart race in her chest when she heard the familiar voice. She gave a sideways glance and saw Jayce standing at the corner of the house with Elaine then turned her gaze back on the lovely sight before her. “I’ve been waiting way to long for you, but seeing your lovely face now makes it worth the wait.” She sexily said with a smile and quickly engulfed Lark in a hug, passionately kissing her.

“Oh, baby. I’ve missed you so much.” Lark breathlessly told her, breaking the kiss. She wrapped her arms around Rayne’s neck tightly and captured her lips for a searing kiss to let her know just how much she missed her.

Rayne held her tighter and deepened the searing kiss, not wanting to relinquish the hold on her lover. “You feel so good in my arms sweets. I missed you terribly that’s for sure. I love you.” She whispered in her ear, enjoying the warm and comforting feeling of Lark in her arms. Her sadness, loneliness and longing for her vanished the second she saw Lark. Those feelings were replaced by elation and love.

Lark smiled and felt her heart flutter when Rayne told her she loved her. “I love you with all of my heart baby.” She softly proclaimed and kissed her cheek, then nuzzled her face in Rayne’s neck reveling in the loving and safe arms that held her.

“I can’t wait to be alone with you and hold you, kiss you and tell you how much you mean to me.” Rayne told her and smiled as she leaned back looking at Lark.

“Ooh, I can’t wait. I’ve missed having those strong arms wrapped around me along with those gorgeous blues gazing upon me. Not to mention, those voluptuous lips kissing me, everywhere.” Lark smiled lovingly and provocatively as she kissed Rayne. She broke the kiss and stared deep into Rayne’s blues. “So, are you going to introduce me to the rest of your family?” Lark asked with a smile.

“My brother didn’t introduce you to them?” Rayne asked, surprised that she didn’t meet them before she came out back.

“No, he was out front with Brandon when we pulled in and told me you were back here. You were right; your brother is quite the charmer, just like you.” She grinned and poked Rayne in the chest. “When you told me that the other night, I didn’t quite believe you, but I should have. He sure is.” She giggled, thinking of how flirtatious he was with her, just like Rayne.

“Did he try to hit on you?” Rayne asked, looking at Lark for her answer and felt a wave of jealousy.

“Yes.” Lark blushed and chuckled.

“He’s going to pay! Dearly.” Rayne grittily answered and grasped Lark’s hand leading her towards the house.

“NO! Rayne, I’m sure it was just harmless.” Lark stopped her; worried that Rayne was going to harm her brother.

“Don’t worry honey, I won’t hurt him too bad. I’ll let him live, this time.” Rayne answered with a maniacal laugh.

“There’s no need for you to be jealous my darling.” Lark smiled, blushing and wrapped her arm around Rayne’s waist.

“I know, but I can’t help it. You’re mine.” Rayne answered with a sheepish grin and kissed the top of Lark’s head, pulling her closer. “Oh, Gram is very excited about meeting you along with the rest of the family.”

“I’m so nervous about meeting her and your parents.” Lark stopped and told Rayne in a fretting tone.

“You don’t need to be Lark, besides you’ve already made a huge impact on my mom.” Rayne reassuringly told her and smiled.

“I can’t help it. I know how much your Grandmother means to you from our lengthy phone conversations and I want to make a great impression on her as well as a better impression on your mom. I still cringe thinking about how rude I was with your mom on the phone that time. It wouldn’t be very good if they didn’t like me. How does my hair look? Do I look okay?” She nervously asked, smoothing her hair with her hand.

“You look absolutely stunning and they are going to love you, I guarantee it. I spoke to Gram earlier and she’s very excited to meet you. Even if they didn’t approve of you, it wouldn’t matter to me. I love you and you’re the one I want to be with, no matter what.” Rayne sincerely told her and smiled, then kissed Lark to seal her proclamation.

“That’s so sweet, but are you sure they are excited to meet me?” Lark tentatively asked.

“Yes, trust me. They are going to love you. I promise you. Now, don’t worry.” Rayne confirmed and smiled as the pair headed towards the house.

“Okay, I’ll take your word for it.” Lark answered with a smile, seeing the sincerity in Rayne’s blues. She winked when Rayne held the door open for her and entered the house followed by Rayne.

“Dad, I want you to meet Lark.” Rayne told him as they entered the house and introduced Lark.

“Well, hello Lark. It’s a pleasure to meet you. We’ve heard so much about you.” He warmly greeted and smiled, hugging her.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you too sir. I hope everything you heard was good?” She asked with a smile breaking the hug, then gave Rayne a sideways glance and looked back to Rayne’s father.

He leaned closer to her, “Of course, my daughter is quite smitten with you.” He told her and chuckled looking at his daughter who blushed.

Lark looked at Rayne with an arched brow and a mischievous smile. Rayne conceded and smiled, shrugging her shoulders. “What can I say? It’s true. By the way dad, the turkey is done.” She smirked towards him for the comment.

“Ooh, good I’m starving!” He chuckled patting Lark on the shoulder and headed towards the door.

“Hello Lark, I’m Maria, Rayne’s mother.” She greeted as she approached and hugged Lark.

“Hello. It’s a pleasure to finally meet you in person.” Lark smiled, hugging her. She felt a warm flush all over from her lingering embarrassment and was relieved to see how warm Rayne’s mother was to her. The nightmares she had of Rayne’s mother being nasty to her seemed pretty silly to her now considering how accepting and welcoming her mom was to her.

“The feeling is mutual and did my daughter pass along my thank you for the lovely flowers you sent me?” She asked, breaking the hug.

“Yes, she did and I’m glad you enjoyed them. Again, I apologize for my behavior that day.” Lark grimaced and shrugged her shoulders, trying to express her sorrow.

“No problem, I understand. Welcome to the family and make yourself at home.” Maria warmly told her with a smile.

“Thank you so much.” Lark smiled in return.

“Hey, sweetheart.” Her father smiled and kissed her cheek.

“Hi Daddy, Mom.” She smiled and moved to kiss her mother, not relinquishing her hold on Rayne’s hand.

“Where’s Gram?” Rayne asked looking around the house, not seeing her. She looked at Lark when she felt Lark tighten the grip on her hand and winked, to calm her fears.

“She’s in watching the Macy’s day parade.” Jayce informed her, popping an olive in his mouth.

“Let’s go say hello.” Rayne suggested and smiled, as she led Lark towards the living room. She looked back at Lark and smiled reassuringly when she felt Lark clutch her hand tighter. “Hey Gram. This is Lark, Lark this is my grandma Taye.” Rayne proudly introduced the women and smiled.

“Hello Lark.” She cordially greeted and stood up, engulfing the shorter woman in a huge.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you ma’am.” Lark replied smiling and patted the older woman’s back as she hugged her tighter. She felt in incredible warmth and comfort from the woman’s hug.

“I have heard so much about you.” She told her and broke the hug. “Come, sit down with me and let me talk with you.” She warmly invited and gently pulled Lark by the hand down as she sat on the couch followed by Lark. “Rayne honey, can you please go check on the sweet potatoes for me?” She nicely asked with a smile.

“Aah, well Gram…I uh,” Rayne wasn’t sure what to do especially when she saw the horrified look on Lark’s face.

“Lark, there’s no need to be nervous around me. I promise.” She reassuringly told her with a sincere smile.

“It’s okay Rayne I’ll be fine.” Lark answered confidently as she looked at Rayne.

“Alright, just say nice things about me Gram.” Rayne teasingly replied and winked before leaving.

“I always do my dear.” She answered with a chuckle. They watched as Rayne disappeared from the room and her grandmother turned to Lark. “I hope you are feeling a little more relaxed Lark.” She curiously asked, looking at the younger woman.

“Yes, a little. I just wanted to make a good impression as I know how much you mean to Rayne.” Lark admitted with a smile.

“There’s no need for you to make a good impression for me. You have made a wonderful difference in my granddaughter and I know how much you mean to her. I hear it in her voice and the way she speaks of you, and her eyes tell me exactly how much she loves you. I’m very happy for you both and I wanted to thank you for giving my granddaughter her life back.”

“Oh, wow. I’m flabbergasted by what you are telling me. I love your granddaughter very much and I will try to make everyday of her life very happy and to let her know just how much I care for her.” Lark sincerely assured her with a warm smile and patted her hand that she held.

“Just remember that my granddaughter can be very stubborn, arrogant and difficult at times. If she gets out of hand you let me know and I’ll take care of her.” The elderly woman advised her with a sly grin and winked, patting Lark’s hand to emphasize her point.

“I sure will, thanks.” Lark chuckled.

“Now that we have had a chance to meet let’s go eat!” Taye suggested and stood up, still holding Lark’s hand.

“Sounds wonderful to me.” Lark agreed with a laugh and walked beside Rayne’s grandmother.

“She’s fine Rayne.” Her grandmother advised with a grin, knowing that Rayne was standing just outside of the door. “Did you really think you could fool me?” She teasingly asked with a smile.

“No ma’am.” Rayne sheepishly admitted with a laugh and wrapped her arm around Lark’s waste.

“You remember what I told you about her. Now let’s eat that bird!” Her grandmother reminded Lark with a chuckle and ordered, walking away.

”I will.” Lark answered with a smile.

“What did she say about me?” Rayne asked curious to what her grandmother was referring too.

“I thought you were listening?” Lark teasingly implied looking up at her tall lover.

“I was trying to, but I couldn’t hear anything.” Rayne sheepishly admitted with a sly grin.

“I’m sorry, but that is between her and I.” Lark playfully told her with a sly grin.

“Oh, really. You can’t give me a hint?” Rayne asked, hopefully she would share what was said.

“Nope, sorry my darling, but I can tell you this. Your grandmother is a wonderful woman and she loves you very much. Actually, your entire family is great! I see where you get all of those wonderful traits of yours from.” Lark grinned, happily and leaned up kissing her. “Let’s go eat.” Lark suggested and pulled her tall lover towards the dining room.

“So, no hint huh? What if I try to sexually entice you into telling me what she said, would it work?” Rayne asked, still wondering what her grandmother said to Lark. The curiosity was killing her.

“Sure, go ahead and try. We’ll see what happens.” She teasingly answered, knowing she wasn’t going to tell Rayne, but she was going to reap the benefits of Rayne trying to sexually entice her.

To Be Continued…

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URL: www.clububer2000.com
 

August 2002



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