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 all of the fans who support my passion, the webmasters who give the bards a venue to post our stories. Your hard work is greatly appreciated. To my supporting cast of Stoley, Julia and Monica, all who help out in their own special ways!

NEW ADDRESS: Please take note that I have a new email address, as I will no longer use AOL's service. The new address is

Part VII

Lark wiped the tear that slipped past her resolve and wondered how she could have been so stupid to think that Rayne would only be for her. She moved the phone from her ear and quickly placed it back when she heard the woman curtly answer and ask, "This is her mother. Who is this?" offended by Lark's tone of voice with her.

Lark's heart raced excitedly that it was Rayne's mother and not a lover. She fanned her face with her hand elatedly and suddenly felt warm from embarrassment, wondering how she was going to explain her rudeness to Rayne's mother. She had wanted to make a good impression on Rayne's family when she had the chance to meet him and it didn't seem like she was with her mother. "Oh, aah I'm so sorry ma'am for my impolite comment. I'm just not a morning person and I took that out on you. Please accept my apology." Lark sweetly kissed ass, hoping the woman on the other end would buy her line of bull. She had never felt so humiliated in her life and if she could, she'd kick herself in the ass for acting so rash. She nibbled nervously on her lip waiting for the woman's answer.

"Well, I'll accept your apology as long as you tell me who you are and why you are calling my daughter so early." She answered, suspicious of Lark.

"Oh, I'm Lark Morgan. I'm aah a friend of Rayne's and I was trying to reach her before I left town this morning. I thought she would be home by now." Lark answered, relieved that the woman was letting her off the hook.

"We spoke with her when we arrived from Greece earlier and she asked that we wait for her here. It seems our daughter has some exciting news to tell us that she wanted to discuss over breakfast. We expect her within the next half hour, should I have her call you?" She freely explained and inquired.

"Unfortunately, I'm going to be leaving in about five minutes, so she'll have to call me at my hotel later today. I gave her the number last night." Lark informed her disappointed that she wouldn't have a chance to speak with Rayne.

"Oh, it just dawned on me, are you Lark Morgan, the actress?" She asked with a twinge of excitement in her voice.

"Yes, that's me." Lark admitted and blushed with a grin. 'Well, at least she doesn't hate me and she's quite friendly giving me all that information! I wonder what the exciting news Rayne has to tell her parents. Maybe she's going to tell them about me?' She wondered hopeful and felt a tickle in her stomach at the thought.

"Well, I've enjoyed all of your movies and I just adore your parents. Can you please tell them that Maria Donovan says hello?"

"Oh, aah thanks and yes ma'am, I'll tell my parents you said hello." Lark enthusiastically answered. "Oh, darn! I have to head out." Lark informed her when she heard a knock on her door and knew it had to be Elaine. "Could you please tell Rayne that I called to say good-bye and I'll be looking forward to her call?"

"I sure will honey and you have a safe trip. Don't forget to tell your parents I said hello." Maria reminded her.

"Thanks and I won't forget. Bye!" Lark pleasantly ended her conversation and clicked the phone off happy that it ended on a positive note. She smiled uncontrollably and sighed deeply, happy that she thwarted an awkward situation with Rayne's mother. She had an exhilarating feeling consume her and she felt a strong connection to Rayne, as if she were already a part of her family. 'Am I just looking into this too much? I'm acting as if I'm married to Rayne already. What if she's not interested in being in a relationship with me? I hope I'm not looking into this too much.' She insecurely thought and jumped when she heard a loud bang on the door. 'Shit! I forgot Elaine was at the door.' She smiled and attempted to calm her racing heart from the freight as she approached the door. 'No, I'm not going to think that way especially after that powerful kiss that Rayne bestowed upon me.' She thought with a smile and opened the door. "Hi Elaine!" Lark greeted her with a smile and opened the door wider.

"Well, that's more of a pleasant response than I got on the phone. Did you speak with that tall and good looking beauty you've lost your heart too since then?" Elaine teasingly asked with a sly grin and stepped aside as Lark gestured to the luggage for the driver to take to the car.

"I wish." Lark answered with a smile and followed the two out the door. She set the alarm and locked the door. "I spoke with her mother." Lark informed her as she turned towards her and both walked towards the limo.

"You're kidding. How did that happen?" Elaine inquisitively asked.

"I called Rayne's house hoping to hear her voice either live or on the answering machine and her mother picked up the phone." Lark explained and stopped by the car as she waited for the driver who was opening the door for them.

"I take it the phone conversation went well?" Elaine asked with a grin and followed Lark into the limo once she was seated.

"It started out horribly because I thought Rayne had some other woman there and I was so rude." Lark told her and rolled her eyes at her stupidity.

"Oh, you're kidding!" Elaine replied surprised.

"I wish! Thankfully, she accepted my apology and bullshit line that I'm not a morning person."

"You didn't!" Elaine asked with a laugh and grasped Lark's arm waiting for her answer.

Lark sheepishly grinned and looked down, then up at Elaine. "It was the only thing I could think of to say!" She explained and laughed as Elaine joined her.

"Well, I always told you that your engaging charm and your knack for bull will get you places honey!" Elaine teasingly laughed as Lark did the same. "Why were her parents there anyway?" Elaine asked, looking away briefly when she felt the limo move then returned her gaze to Lark.

"They had just come in from Greece and spoke with Rayne. She said she wanted to tell them some exciting news over breakfast. I can only hope it's about me being in her life!" Lark excitedly giggled and shrugged her shoulders hopeful.

"Let's hope!" Elaine agreed with a laugh. "I'm glad to hear things went well with her mother after the disastrous beginning you two had." Elaine chuckled.

"Me too, but it helps that she's a fan of mine!" Lark added and laughed.

"No freaking way! The Ambassador to Greece's wife is a fan of yours? That is too funny!" Elaine commented shocked by Lark's revelation.

"I know, I was floored but I was so relieved!" Lark admitted and snickered. "Oh, by the way, I would like for you to have an arrangement of flowers sent to her mother with an apology note from me." Lark sheepishly grinned and thought an added touch with the flowers would help even more.

"Consider it done. Where should I send it though?" Elaine queried and wrote a note to remind her.

"Hmmm, I'm not sure. I'll call my father once we board and ask him where we could have them sent."

"Wow, you are one lucky woman. Speaking of lucky, what happened with Rayne last night?" Elaine asked with a sly grin and an arched brow, hoping Lark would give her some delicious details of their date.

"No, I didn't get that lucky with Rayne. Yet!" Lark added and laughed heartily along with Elaine. "We had a wonderful date Elaine. Aaah…" Lark began to explain with a sigh and lost herself in thoughts of the evening.

"Bring yourself back to my time Lark." Elaine commented and snapped her fingers, in an attempt to bring Lark out of her revere.

"Oh!" Lark chuckled and swatted Elaine's hand away. "We went for a ride on her motorcycle down to the beach. We got some burritos and ate them on the beach."

"Burritos? You mean to tell me she couldn't spring for something more expensive? Her father is an Ambassador for cripes sake!" Elaine asked and commented, shocked by their choice of cuisine.

"Oh, stop it!" Lark warned and elbowed Elaine who giggled. "It was very romantic!" Lark defensively added. "Well, we sat on the beach getting to know each other and Rayne helped an officer catch a criminal who jumped over us."

"What? Are you kidding me?" Elaine asked, finding it hard to believe that Lark actually had a good time on her date from what she just told her.

"No, I'm not kidding. We were getting ready to kiss and this guy jumped over us. Well, she chased him down…" Lark was explaining, but Elaine interrupted her.

"What about the kiss? I want the juicy details!" Elaine eagerly inquired.

"You are terrible Elaine!" Lark laughed.

"I know I'm hopeless. Now, give it up. Was it everything you thought it would be?" She enthusiastically asked, hoping for Lark's sake that it was everything that she wanted from Rayne.

"We kissed later when she dropped me off. Oh, Elaine it was everything and more. I know that is such a cliché, but it's the truth." Lark dreamily answered and smiled wistfully, remembering the moment.

"I'm so happy for you Lark. That's wonderful honey." Elaine sincerely replied and squeezed her arm, smiling widely.

"I am so happy and alive when I'm with her Elaine. I don't want to be away from her and this trip is already killing me! I know in my heart that she is my soul mate. I feel it every time she looks at me and when she kissed me I truly knew it." Lark wholeheartedly explained with tear filled green eyes.

Elaine smiled happily for her friend and sniffled back the tears that threatened to escape. "I am so pleased to hear that Rayne makes you so happy Lark."

"Me too. I just need to find a way to make it through this time being away from her." Lark answered and felt disappointment consume her as she thought about being away from Rayne.

"Oh, you'll be so busy that the time will fly." Elaine answered and smiled. "Wow, that was fast." She commented and looked out the window as she felt the limo stop, noting they were at the airport.

"Please tell me you arranged for some breakfast for me? I'm starving!" Lark asked with a chuckle.

"Of course my dear. I have to spoil my favorite client." Elaine joked with a sly grin as she exited the limo.

"I'm your only client silly." Lark added with a hearty laugh shared by Elaine as she climbed out of the limo.

"Well, you're so damn demanding that I can't handle anyone else." Elaine teasingly groused as the women laughed harder, walking towards the private plane parked on the tarmac.

Rayne pushed open the door and tossed her keys on the table, quickly smiling when she heard, "Hi honey!" as her parent's enthusiastically greeted her when they saw her enter the house.

"Hey, mom and dad!" Rayne grinned and hugged her parents who rushed over to greet her. "Welcome back, I've missed you." Rayne greeted and broke the hug from her mother, then hugged her father.

"We missed our little girl too honey. It's so good to see you." Her father happily greeted and squeezed her tightly with his hug.

Rayne smiled happily and enjoyed being in the comforting confines of her father's arms. She kissed his cheek and broke the hug. "What did you bring me?" She eagerly asked and flashed a coy, girlish smile at her father.

He laughed and blushed. "You know me too well my dear." He winked and grabbed the bag on the table, handing it to her.

"Oh, yes!" She laughed and opened the bag. She pulled out the shot glass in the bag. "Daddy, you know me so well!" She laughed and kissed him on the cheek. "Thanks! I needed a new one after Shay broke my other one from Greece after our last game of 'quarters'."

"Well, I knew how heartbroken you were and I couldn't have my precious little girl being so sad." He teasingly laughed and kissed the top of her head.

"I think you spoil her too much John." Her mother added with a giggle, watching as Rayne carefully placed the gift with the other shot glasses on the counter.

"Hey, who asked you old woman!" Rayne sarcastically teased her mother and headed towards them.

"You know I spoil you far more Maria." Rayne's father grinned and winked at his wife who wrapped her arm around his waist for a hug.

"Yes, you do my dear." Maria agreed and smiled up at her tall husband.

"Hey cut it out or you'll have to get a room at the hotel down the street." Rayne jokingly warned and stopped before them. "So, can I buy you some breakfast?" Rayne offered smiling.

Maria looked up at her husband stunned as he did the same. "Did she just ask what I think she did?" Maria queried, staring at her husband.

"Yes, dear I believe she offered to buy us breakfast." John added with a grin.

"What has gotten into you Rayne?" Maria asked, turning towards her daughter.

"Funny, mother. Move your hump. Let's go." Rayne sarcastically commented and coaxed them towards the door with a gesture of her hand. "Come on, get those old bones moving. Don't be shy. I know you're mother wasn't. She told me!" She snickered and scrunched her face up at her mother who passed her.

"You my dear are incorrigible and I'm going to have to talk with your grandmother about revealing family secrets to you!" Maria warned as she exited the house followed by her husband and daughter.

"Oh, there's a catch to breakfast." Rayne added as she locked the door and turned back to her parents who waited for her.

"I knew it! There is always a catch!" John commented with a laugh.

"We'll have to take your ride dad. Unless of course, you both want to try and ride on my motorcycle. I think mom could fit on the handlebars if you ride on the back. It's just up the street so it shouldn't be too uncomfortable." She jokingly laughed.

"Now, that would be funny to see!" Her father added with a hearty laugh. "Yes, we'll drive honey." He added as they all walked to the car.

"Excellent." Rayne smiled and looked around. "I see your detail is keeping close tabs on you." Rayne grinned, spying her father's bodyguards and climbed into the back seat when her father unlocked the car.

"Yeah, they are like a bad cold, they never go away." He chuckled and laughed.

"That's our job dad." Rayne proudly commented.

"You all do a great job too. Hey, I think it's about time you purchased a car instead of that motorcycle young lady. Don't you think?" Her father asked as he climbed into the car.

"You know, I think you're right dad. It might be time for me to get a car." She added with a smile and looked out the window, lost in her thoughts of a particular blonde that invaded them.

John looked back at his daughter, surprised by her comment then looked at his wife and arched a brow. She shrugged her shoulders and shook her head, just as confused as he was by her comment, but happy just the same. He put the car in gear and backed out of the driveway. "I take it we are going to Sal's for breakfast?" He asked, glancing towards his daughter through the rearview mirror.

"Yep." Rayne answered, never breaking her gaze out the window. 'I wonder if Lark is okay. I can't believe I miss her so much already. How am I going to make it without her being here? She's so beautiful.' Rayne thought with a smile and snapped her head towards her father when she heard him speak.

"We're here honey." He alerted her when she didn't exit the car.

"I'll get us a table." She replied finally exiting the car and quickly headed into the restaurant.

"What is up with her John? I'm kind of worried. Since Karen died, she would get very agitated if you insinuated that she should get a car and give up that darn motorcycle." Maria asked and commented, surprised by her daughter's reaction.

"Maybe she has met someone Maria. That's the only thing I can figure. She never had the motorcycle when Karen was alive and after she passed away she got the bike. She told me that a car held too many attachments and the motorcycle was only about her. Maybe the conversation of her getting a car means she no longer wants to be alone and she wants an attachment." He explained to his wife optimistically as they approached the restaurant.

"Let's hope honey because I can't take her daredevil lifestyle anymore. I want her to find someone to love and be happy with again so she can settle down before it's too late." Maria admitted and was consumed by her emotions, knowing the pain Rayne felt in her heart from the loss of her partner. "Oh, maybe it's the girl I spoke with on the phone, Lark Morgan." She excitedly suggested, remembering their conversation earlier in the day.

"I've been praying that she snaps out of her death wish obsession for quite some time now. Let's see what she has to say though. We may be way off course with our thinking." He gently advised and placed his arm around his wife's shoulders, and pulled her closer for comfort as they entered the restaurant.

They took their seats, checked the menu's and placed their order with the waitress who had delivered coffee to the group. Maria sipped her coffee and swallowed before asking, "So, honey. What is the exciting news you have for us?" she didn't want to wait any longer for the news.

Rayne blushed and chuckled looking at her mother. "I've met a wonderful woman." She answered and grinned broadly.

"That's fantastic honey. Who is it?" John eagerly asked and patted Rayne's hand that lay on the table.

"It's Lark Morgan. I think you know her father, Senator Morgan. He's currently running for Congress."

"Yes, I know Lance. He's a fine man." He enthusiastically informed her, pleased by the fact that Rayne was interested in his colleague's daughter.

"Oh, I spoke with her this morning." Maria informed her.

"You did?" Rayne eagerly asked. "What did she say?" Rayne inquisitively asked and sat upright, her interest piqued that Lark called.

"She wanted to talk to you before she left and asked that you call at her hotel when you get a chance." Her mother relayed the message and sipped her coffee.

"Damn, I'm sorry I missed her." Rayne answered, disappointed that she didn't get to hear Lark's voice again. "So, what did you think of her?" She nervously asked.

"She's lovely honey from what I gathered on the phone in our brief conversation. I told her I was a big fan of hers." Her mother sheepishly admitted with a laugh.

"You've seen her movies?" Rayne asked surprised.

"Yes and I loved them." Maria chuckled.

"Damn, I think I'm the only one that hasn't seen them all. Brandon made me watch a couple of the kid's movies she's done, but I have some catching up to do I guess." Rayne snickered, surprised that her mother was such a fan of Lark's.

"Well, honey. You have to broaden your movie choices and watch ones that don't revolve around action. Drama and nice romantic comedies are very delightful."

Rayne rolled her eyes, knowing that she wasn't in to chick flicks and answered, "Well, I'll only check them out if Lark is in them," she conceded with a chuckle, as did her parents.

"So, where did you meet her?" John inquired and sipped his coffee.

"I met her when we were assigned to the convention where her father was campaigning."

"You're protecting Lance? Why?" Her father asked, concerned.

"Yeah, there were threats against some of the candidates and someone actually took a shot at him." Rayne explained and started to eat her meal when it was placed before her.

"He wasn't hurt was he?" He asked worriedly and looked up at her.

"Of course not, dad. He had me protecting him." Rayne cockily commented and smiled wryly.

"How could I have been so cavalier with my judgment?" He laughed and ate what was on his fork.

"I was shot, but he wasn't." Rayne casually added with a grin.

"What? Are you okay?" Maria protectively asked worried about her daughter. "Why didn't you call us?" She angrily asked.

"Yes, it just grazed my arm mom. It was no big deal. There was no need to call." Rayne shrugged off the significance of it.

"Rayne, I really don't like your casual attitude about it and I don't like your cockiness! You've had a damn death wish since Karen died and it worries us." Maria angrily admonished, frustrated by her daughter's cavalier attitude towards danger.

"Mom, come on. I'm fine." Rayne softly answered attempting to calm her mother down.

"No Rayne. The lifestyle you are leading is not healthy. You do every death defying activity there is and that damn motorcycle scares the hell out of me especially as fast as you drive it. I'm not going to be quiet about it anymore. You need to decide whether you want to die with Karen or get on with your life." She agitatedly demanded and dropped the fork on the table, suddenly not hungry.

"That's right mom and it's the reason I wanted to talk to you both. I know I've been an asshole the past few months and I'm sorry I've worried the both of you as well as the rest of the family. Yes, when Karen died I was devastated and I didn't want to go on living. I guess buying the motorcycle and doing the harrowing activities was my way of subconsciously looking for death. Thankfully, I'm fine. I don't want that life anymore ever since I met Lark and when I think back on how stupid I was to feel that way, I could kick myself. If I had succeeded I never would have met Lark. She has filled me with so much life and happiness in such a short period of time that it's incredible. At first, I was so scared to give in to my feelings for her and refused to go out with her because I was afraid to give my heart to another like I did to Karen to only have it broken again. I was foolish to think that way because I couldn't keep her off my mind and I didn't want to be away from her. I let go and now I can't see my life without her in it. It's strange because we haven't known each other very long. I feel more for her than I ever did for Karen mom." Rayne sincerely explained and stared at her mother, expressing her feelings within her eyes.

Maria stared into Rayne's blues and saw the sincerity in them. Her eyes welled up with tears and she smiled happily. "Oh, honey. I'm so happy to hear that. We were so worried about you and I can see the joy in your eyes when you speak of Lark. I hope she's everything you have ever wanted in a partner." She replied and patted her hand comfortingly.

"Partner…" She said softly and liked the sound of Lark being her partner. Yeah, she is mom. She really is what I've been searching for in a partner. I'm so glad that I met her. She has truly blessed my life with her presence." Rayne wholeheartedly admitted.

"That's fantastic honey." Her father commented, wiping a tear away and smiled, glad to see his daughter so happy.

Rayne stared at her parents and blushed, "Okay, enough of this mushy stuff. Where are we having Thanksgiving this year? Is it Holly's turn to host?" Rayne questioned and looked between her parents for the answer.

"No, it's at your grandmother's house this year." Maria advised her.

"Excellent. Gram will be very happy to have the family at her place." Rayne endearingly smiled at the mention of her beloved grandmother.

"Are you going to invite Lark?" Maria asked with a hopeful grin.

"Yes, but I can't be sure that she'll accept my offer. She's very busy and she might be spending it with her own family." Rayne smirked, knowing that her mother was up to something.

"Invite her parents too then." Her father added, looking up from his plate of food.

"Yes, that's a fabulous idea. It would be great to see Julia and Lance again. We had so much fun with them the last time we all were together." Maria added with a smile, remembering the fond memory.

"Okay, I'll ask Lark and invite her parents. I'll let you know what they say." Rayne answered and wiped her mouth with the napkin after finishing her meal.

"I'm stuffed!" Her father commented and rubbed his stomach.

"Me too!" Maria added and chuckled.

"What do you two have planned for today?" Rayne asked, leaning back in her chair satisfied by the meal.

"We are going to spend the day with Holly, your brother and Brandon. I miss my little grandbaby." Maria grinned proudly at the mention of her grandson.

"That will be fun. How is Jayce doing? I haven't had a chance to talk with him lately." Rayne inquired.

"Well…" Her father drawled and sighed exasperated by his youngest son's antics.

"What? What's going on?" She asked concerned and looked between her parents for an answer.

"He's been doing too much partying and not enough studying. He's been put on academic warning." Her father informed her, displeased with his son's academic woes.

"You're kidding? What the hell is wrong with him?" Rayne asked shocked by the news of her brother.

"We aren't sure, but we intend to have a long discussion with him over the holidays. He just can't be trusted to do anything right these days and we're not sure what course of action we should take with him." Her mother added, worried about her son.

"Do you want me to talk with him?" Rayne asked, hoping that her brother might listen to her.

"That might be a good idea seeing as how he adores you. You should give him a call I'm sure he would love to hear from you." Maria suggested and watched as Rayne paid for the bill.

"Yeah, I'll give him a call and if that doesn't work, I'll have to have a heart to heart conversation with him in a head lock." Rayne informed them with a chuckle. "Are you both ready? I need to get some sleep before I have to go back to work." Rayne added and stood up.

"Yep. We are set. Thanks for breakfast." Her father answered and stood up, holding the chair for his wife.

Her parents said their goodbyes and dropped her off at the villa. She waved to them and disappeared into the villa. She tossed her keys on the table and headed down the hall to her bedroom. 'I'm freaking exhausted!' She thought with a sigh and fell back on the bed. Rayne kicked her shoes off and moved the pillow under her head. She closed her eyes and pictured a certain blonde who has frequently invaded her thoughts. She smiled happily and quickly drifted off to sleep with that green-eyed beauty on her mind.

"Lark wake up! We are getting close to the hotel." Elaine alerted and nudged her arm, trying to wake the slumbering woman who took advantage of the limo ride from the airport.

"I want to sleep!" Lark protested and moved away from Elaine, closing her eyes.

"I know dear, but you need to freshen up before we get to the hotel. I don't want your tired ass face plastered all over the tabloids. It won't be very flattering and I don't want that on my resume." Elaine chuckled and opened her purse, looking into it.

"You can be a real nag sometimes Elaine!" Lark huffed and sat up, pushing the hair off her face.

"Here, put this on." Elaine suggested and handed her the lipstick container.

"Yes, slave driver." Lark quipped and held the compact mirror up that Elaine gave her. She carefully applied the lipstick and fixed her tousled hair. She inhaled deeply and exhaled, closing the compact and turned to Elaine. "Is that better?" She sarcastically asked with a sly grin.

"Oh, so much better." Elaine teased and winked.

"I am so not in to doing this Elaine." Lark admitted and sighed, looking out the window. "I just want to be back with Rayne." She whined pouting and turned to Elaine.

"I know you do hun, but look, you have to be here so try to make the best of it."

"Ugh! I feel so out of it and this is the last place on earth I want to be. I miss her." Lark replied sadly.

"Yes, dear. You stressed that point many times this morning, but you need to pull yourself together and try to get through this Lark. This means a lot to your career and the studios."

"I know, don't worry. I'm an actress, I can play the part." Lark mischievously smiled and winked.

"That's my little actress!" Elaine jokingly chuckled. "Okay, well it looks like they have a mob of people out in front. Once you are in the lobby of the hotel, there will be a brief photo session and then you will be meeting with some of the studio executives, along with your co-stars, for a brunch." Elaine instructed.

"Bummer, I was hoping I could head up to the room for some more sleep, but brunch sounds good. I'm always ready for more food." Lark answered with a smile.

"Okay woman! It's show time. Get that million-dollar smile on and knock them out. Oh, keep your statements very brief. That's what all the interview sessions are for Lark." Elaine warningly added and smiled as Lark slid closer to the door.

"Sure thing. Don't be far away so I know who I need to schmooze." Lark chuckled and waited for the driver to open the car door.

"I'm right behind you." Elaine added with a snicker.

The driver opened the door and Lark exited, with a million dollar smile plastered on her face to the delight of the press gathered close to the car. She waved and smiled, stopping to pose for pictures as Elaine exited the limo. Lark slowly made her way up the red carpet to the doors of the hotel and smiled for the cameras. She entered the hotel and noted the executives standing in the lobby with her other co-stars. "I take it those are the one's I need to impress?" Lark softly asked Elaine, who moved closer to Lark.

"Yes, those would be the fat cats you need to be nice too. The one on the left is John Howard and to his right is Marcia Brown." Elaine informed her and stepped back as Lark approached the group.

Elaine watched as she greeted the executives and her co-stars before they all took pictures together. She followed them down the hall as they headed off for the brunch. 'She knows how to hide her feelings that is for sure. I've got to give her that.' Elaine thought impressed, watching how Lark seemed to be completely enthralled by what the members of her group were discussing. She knew her mind was a thousand miles away, thinking of a sexy, tall Secret Service agent.

Elaine dutifully followed Lark around to her various obligatory meetings and photo ops, making sure she was on schedule. "Okay Elaine, that's it. I want to go to my room, take a shower and relax before I have to go to anymore meetings." Lark informed her, tired from the morning events.

"Sure, we are in the Weston suite." Elaine told her and held her hand out, pointing to where they needed to go.

"What time is it?" Lark asked and looked down to Elaine's watch.

Elaine moved her arm up for Lark to see the watch, "It's 2:00 pm."

"No wonder I'm so tired! I should be rolling out of bed about now. Preferably in the arms of Rayne." Lark exclaimed with a giggled and followed Elaine down the hallway towards their room. Elaine opened the door and followed Lark in the room. "Wow! Look Elaine!" She exclaimed excitedly, looking at the various vases of roses positioned throughout the room.

"They're beautiful Lark!" Elaine exclaimed in awe and reached for a tag to find out who sent them.

Lark approached the bouquet of red roses and smelled their fragrant scent that filled the room. She smiled, enjoying the aroma they exuded. "I take it my schmoozing paid off earlier!" Lark jokingly commented and grinned, turning to Elaine.

"Try again." Elaine slyly smiled as she approached and held out the card for her.

"Who?" She questioned and opened the card that Elaine handed her. "Aah, oh my gosh, how sweet! Rayne sent me these!" She squealed excitedly and held the card to her heart that simply said, 'I miss you, Rayne.' "I can't believe it. This is so incredible!" She shrieked and felt her eyes moisten from the thoughtfulness. "I need to call her!" Lark replied and grabbed the phone, quickly punching in the numbers to call Rayne. She listened and hoped that Rayne would pick up the phone, but reached the answering machine. "Rayne, hi aah, thank you so much for my flowers. They are absolutely beautiful. That was so incredibly sweet!" Lark's voice crackled and she moved towards the sliding glass doors, looking out over the bay before her, wishing she were with Rayne. "I miss you so much and I want to talk to you. I'm going to try and reach you on your cell. If I don't catch you please call me as soon as you get this message. Bye!" She softly spoke into the phone and clicked off. She grabbed Rayne's card from her purse and quickly punched in her cell phone number. "Damn! She must have it turned off. Oh, shoot that's right. She's at a speech with my father and probably turns off her cell phone when she's working. I'll beep her and see if I can get through that way." Lark remembered and clicked the phone off, then dialed in the numbers for Rayne's beeper.

"If she can't get calls with her cell do you think she'll have her beeper on?" Elaine asked, plopping down on the couch and grabbing a handful of grapes from the fruit basket on the coffee table. She leaned back and propped her feet up on the table, looking back to Lark for her answer.

"I'm hoping she'll have it on so she knows I'm trying to contact her. Maybe she'll have it on vibrate." Lark reasoned and waited for the tone, then entered the hotel number she found on the phone. She clicked the phone off when she was finished and moved towards another bouquet of white flowers, smiling as she felt their delicate petals and thought of Rayne. She held the card to her lips and lightly kissed it, as if she were kissing Rayne. She felt a tickle in her stomach from how special Rayne made her feel with the gesture.

Rayne scanned the busy auditorium for anything out of the ordinary and felt her beeper vibrate. 'I wish he'd hurry up and finish so I can see who beeped me. Hopefully, it's Lark. I wonder if she liked the flowers?' She smiled at the thought of Lark's name. As each minute of the Senator's speech passed it seemed like an eternity to Rayne. 'Maybe it wasn't even her calling.' She fretted, dying to find out if it was Lark who called or not. She didn't want to avert her attention from the crowd after the Senator had been shot at, she would just have to wait. 'I feel like such a little schoolgirl when it comes to Lark. Wow, I just can't get over how she makes me feel.' Rayne thought scanning the crowd from left to right. She had a feeling it was Lark who beeped her. 'Damn, this sucks big time. I know she's on a tight schedule and I may not have a chance to catch her for quite some time. Come on Senator shut up!' She inwardly coaxed hoping he would soon end his speech. He did just that, forty-five minutes later. Rayne and Forrest followed him backstage, stopping when he greeted some of the event coordinator's. She took a quick glance down at her beeper and noted the area code as being out of Florida and surmised that it had to be Lark. She smiled happily and looked back up. 'I knew it! Now, if he would just sit down for his dinner so I could call her,' she thought anxiously and perturbed that she was confined to a boring speech and dinner when she could be enjoying the evening with Lark.

Forrest moved closer to her after seeing her check the beeper and sarcastically asked, "Is it anyone we know?" winking with a sly grin in reference to the call on the beeper.

"Mind your own business." Rayne teasingly grinned and followed the Senator who headed down the hall.

"I'm sorry, but I need to stop in the little boy's room." Senator Morgan advised the pair with a sheepish smile, stopping before the bathroom.

"This is your department partner." Rayne chuckled with a sly grin.

"Okay, let me check in there before you enter." Forrest replied and disappeared behind the door.

"This is ridiculous that I need to have someone check the john for me." The Senator commented embarrassed.

"You just never know sir. I've heard a lot of accidents happen in the bathroom." Rayne jokingly smiled, trying to lighten the mood.

"Very funny Rayne." He sarcastically quipped. "So, I hear that my little girl is very smitten with you Agent." He slyly grinned and put his hands in his pockets.

"Well, the feeling's mutual sir." Rayne bashfully admitted with a smile.

"That's great. Just be good to my little girl and don't break her heart or you'll have me to deal with." He gently warned and winked when Forrest opened the door, waving him inside.

"You can count on that not happening sir." Rayne answered confidently and watched as he disappeared behind the door. She quickly pulled out her cell phone and turned the power on. She looked down at the beeper for the number and punched it into the phone. "Hi, aah I need Julia Donovan's room please." She asked when the hotel clerk answered the phone.

"Right away ma'am." The clerk replied and directed Rayne's call to the appropriate room.

'Ma'am?' Rayne questioned the formality with a chuckle as it made her feel old. 'Come on answer Lark.' She anxiously coaxed, hoping she would be able to speak with Lark before her father exited the bathroom. 'Damn, I missed her!' Rayne inwardly commented angry and clicked off the phone when the Senator exited the restroom before the voice mail turned on.

"Okay, gang let's go eat." The Senator enthusiastically suggested and headed down the hall with his entourage in tow.

Rayne and Lark played phone tag with one another for that evening into the next day and both women were about to go out of their minds. Rayne anxiously fretted as she waited for the Senator to finish his last speech of the early morning. She was about to crawl out of her skin from being here and not with Lark. 'It's beyond me why anyone would get up at seven in the morning to listen to a boring speech from a politician.' She thought in disbelief, scanning the crowded room as Lark weighed heavily on her mind. "I need to talk to her, see her. I miss her so much. I can't believe I'm feeling this way. I feel as though I've been functioning in a fog the past few days.' Rayne inwardly thought and snapped out of her thoughts when the Senator approached them.

"I've had it for the day Jimmy. Cancel the rest of my appointments, I'm going home." He ordered looking at his personal secretary.

"But, sir you need too…" The short man interjected, but was interrupted by the Senator.

"I don't care what I need to do. I want to go home for the rest of the day, you got that?" He assertively asked, glaring at the nervous man before him. Rayne looked down to conceal her laugh and wondered if the geeky looking man dirtied his shorts. She looked back up when Jimmy agreed to cancel his appointments. "Rayne, it looks like you and Forrest will be able to call it an early day. You've got the rest of the day to enjoy yourselves. Jimmy, call Director Bailey and tell him I've given Rayne and Forrest the rest of the day off. I don't want to hear that they've been called in to work either. Make that clear." He assertively smiled and placed his hand on Rayne's shoulder as they walked down the hall.

"Excellent sir, but is everything okay?" She asked worried that he might be ill.

"Everything is fine. I would just like to surprise my wife and spend some time with her for the day." He smiled and moved his arm off her shoulder as they exited the building.

"Sounds good with me. We'll escort you home. I'll see to it that your home detail doesn't disturb you." Rayne advised and held the door open for him.

"Thanks." He smiled and climbed into the car.

'Yes!' Rayne thought happily and climbed into the passenger's seat then motioned for the driver to leave. She held the phone up and punched in the numbers. She placed the phone to her ear, "Hey dad! I need a favor." She mischievously smiled and waited for his reply.

"Elaine, how many more of these interviews do I have left?" Lark asked, exasperated and slumped her shoulders disappointed that she was stuck there and not spending the day with Rayne.

Elaine leaned closer to Lark. "Well, considering you just started them, you have quite a few!" Her tone of voice rising with annoyance, knowing she was in for another day of listening to Lark whine about not being with Rayne.

Lark's eyes narrowed and she puckered her lips in mocking anger; "It seems like I've been here forever and a day already!" then slouched back on the couch frustrated.

"Lark, it's because all you can think about is Rayne and nothing else."

"And your point might be?" Lark sarcastically asked, flicking her eyes up at her.

"Please, stop torturing yourself like this Lark. You'll talk to her later I'm sure. I just need you to be up for these interviews and not let these vultures see you like this, they'll eat you alive!" Elaine pleadingly begged.

"I can't help it Elaine, I miss her." Lark whined and leaned her head back against the couch. "I think I'm going to go crazy if I don't talk to her soon." Lark added, looking up at the ceiling.

"Yeah, me too." Elaine sarcastically commented and grinned when Lark moved her head off the back of the couch and glared at her. "You know, you're not the only one suffering here!" Elaine defensively replied. "It's very stressful trying to cheer you up. All I hear is Rayne this, ooh, I miss Rayne, when will I hear from Rayne!" Elaine mockingly portrayed Lark's comments.

Lark stared at her friend and burst into laughter, knowing she was being silly. "Elaine, I'm so sorry and I do apologize that you have to suffer by listening to me. I promise, I'll try not to do it anymore." Lark guaranteed with a smile and patted Elaine's hand.

"Oh, thank you so much! I need some medication for my splitting headache." Elaine commented with a chuckle, relieved that she wouldn't have to hear Lark whining over Rayne. She wondered just how long that would last. 'Probably not past lunch.' She thought and snickered inwardly, moving to her seat as the next interviewer stepped into the room.

Elaine sat with her head propped up against the wall and looked at her watch. She yawned and was happy to see that the day would soon be ending. 'About another hour until this is over. My ass is asleep!' She realized surprised and moved in the chair. 'It's no wonder. I've been sitting on it all freaking day. This has to be workman's' comp!' She thought with a snicker and looked up towards the door. 'What the hell?' She inwardly cursed, surprised by who she saw there. She quickly headed to the door and spoke with the person standing there. She finished her conversation and returned to her chair. 'Hmmm…well this should be an interesting evening.' She thought with a snicker and looked at Lark who had the interviewer laughing hysterically.

"Okay, that's it right?" Lark asked hopeful when the last interview was finished.

"Yes, dear. Head on back to the room and call that honey of yours so I don't have to hear about it anymore." Elaine teasingly laughed and shooed her away.

"Excellent! Oh, do I have anything later?" Lark asked turning back to Elaine.

"Nope, nothing until tomorrow morning. I'll be up later. I have a few people to talk to before I head up." Elaine informed her and picked up her paperwork, placing it into her briefcase.

"Behave! Bye!" Lark giggled excitedly and headed off down the hall with Security close behind. She hurried to the room and burst through the door to complete amazement.

"You're gone for a few days and I come here to find a room filled with roses. Were they sent by anyone I know?" Rayne seductively asked, slowly walking towards Lark as she lifted a single red rose to her face, and smelled the flower.

"Rayne! I can't believe you're here. I missed you so much!" Lark tearfully informed her and gasped. Her heart raced uncontrollably and she wasn't sure what to do. She was shocked to see Rayne there and stood in stunned silence as she watched her approach with an alluring smile.

Rayne stood before her and lightly traced the contours of Lark's jaw line with the rose. She stared at Lark and leaned in. Lark closed her eyes and inhaled deeply, trying to calm her racing heart as Rayne drew near. "Show me how much." She requested in a deep, throaty whisper and pressed her lips against Lark's.

Continued in Part VIII.

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December 2001

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