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


The contact from Rayne made Lark's legs buckle and she wrapped her arms around Rayne's neck, deepening the passionate kiss. Rayne, at first was the aggressor, but Lark quickly assumed that role and lustfully kissed her as if it would be the last opportunity she would ever have. 'Hmmm, I like it.' Rayne thought pleased with the searing kiss and aggressive behavior from Lark that sent her senses soaring. She pulled Lark into a warm embrace and deeply kissed her, letting her know how much she missed her. They broke the kiss breathless and stared at one another. "I guess you did miss me." Rayne chuckled and moved the errant lock of blonde hair from Lark's face.

Lark held Rayne's face in her hands, staring deep into the blue before her, "You have no idea how much Rayne," and pulled her in for a soulful kiss.

Rayne's heart raced excitedly as her hands moved up and down Lark's back. She wasn't used to being so passive during foreplay, but was completely enthralled with what Lark was doing to her. Rayne broke the kiss in dire need of a breath and stared deep into loving greens, desperately trying to calm her thundering heart. She was enchanted by Lark's mesmerizing green eyes, which wrapped her in a warm, loving embrace. She stared at her and inhaled deeply, lost in her feelings for Lark then asked, "Is it crazy for us to miss each other this much? I mean, we haven't known each other for very long." Rayne nervously chuckled and lightly stroked Lark's cheek with her thumb, hoping Lark felt the same way.

Lark moved her hands down Rayne's arms and rested them on her forearms. "We haven't known each other for long, but you know what? To me, it feels like we've known each other forever." Lark exuberantly surmised.

"Maybe we have." Rayne softly agreed and searched Lark's greens as if she were trying to remember another lifetime looking into those same, beautiful eyes. She smiled and lightly kissed Lark's lips. She broke the kiss when she felt Lark's lips quiver and heard her gasp. "Are you okay?" She worriedly asked, looking at Lark who began to cry. "What's wrong Lark?"

"I'm sorry, I'm just so…" she attempted to explain and shook her hands to control her emotions then continued, "I'm just so flabbergasted that you are here. You sent me all of those beautiful roses and came all the way here to see me. That is so sweet and it means so much to me. You have made me feel so special. I've never had anyone do something so incredibly romantic like that for me before." She sincerely professed and held her hand to her heart, fighting back the tears that wanted to fall to no avail.

Rayne was stunned by the admission and wasn't sure what to say. She had assumed that everyone would treat Lark that way and was surprised to hear otherwise. She lovingly smiled and gently wiped away Lark's tears. She knew one thing; it broke her heart to see Lark cry. "Lark, I'm, aah, not sure what to say except that it came from my heart. It's what I felt I wanted to do for you. You've filled me with so much happiness since you've entered my life that I wanted to let you know how special you are to me. I know that usually people don't feel this way about someone else after knowing them for such a brief amount of time, but I can't help it. I didn't want to go another day without seeing you." Rayne wholeheartedly admitted, still softly stroking Lark's face with her thumb.

Lark smiled and sighed happily turning to kiss Rayne's hand that held her face. She turned back to Rayne; "I don't give a damn about whether we have only known each other for a short time. I know how I feel for you and that's all that matters." Lark tearfully confessed leaning up and kissing Rayne. "Make love to me Rayne." Lark whispered through her kiss.

Rayne ardently kissed her and pulled away. "Lark I, aah, need to tell you that I can only stay for a couple of hours. I have to be back for work early tomorrow morning and I, aah, don't want you to…" Rayne hesitantly explained, trying to choose her words to express them considerately and continued, "well, I don't want you to think I just came all the way here to have sex with you and then leave. There, I said it, I know it didn't sound very correct, but I'm not sure how to express myself any better." Rayne nervously answered and felt the warmth of her embarrassment.

Lark giggled and found her admission to be adorable. "I understand Rayne and I would never think that of you. I want to be with you Rayne, whether its for all night or just a few hours. What ever you want to give me, I'm willing to take." Lark answered and raised Rayne's hand to her mouth, delicately kissing it. 'Did I really admit that?' She must think I'm a tramp. Oh, I can't help it, she drives me crazy!' Lark nervously wondered and decided she didn't care; she desperately wanted to be with Rayne.

"Well, it's not what ever I want to give you Lark it's what we both want. I would like to make love to you all night and hold you into the next morning, waking up beside you to do it all over again. I must admit that I am incredibly hot for you right now, but I would rather wait until we have more time for each other." Rayne sincerely admitted. 'Normally it wouldn't have mattered to me and I would have already been in bed with her, but damn she does something to my emotions. She has suddenly elicited a conscience in me that hasn't been there since I was with Karen.' Rayne thought staring at Lark, wondering what she was going to say.

Lark grasped Rayne's hand and led her to the couch. They sat and turned towards one another. "Rayne, that is so incredibly sweet that you don't want to rush our first time together and as much as I want to be with you, I understand. I want it to be very special and I won't want to let you go either." Lark answered, softly smiling and leaned to Rayne, kissing her.

"It will be I promise." Rayne suggestively smiled and pulled Lark onto her lap. She happily smiled wrapping her arms around Lark and passionately kissed her feeling completely at ease with Lark. 'How can I feel so strongly towards Lark without feeling any hesitation or fear?' She wondered, surprised that she hadn't run for the hills already from the way Lark made her feel.

'Oh, my god! She drives me mad and her kiss is so sensual, erotic, loving. I think I might pass out!' Lark thought, breathing heavily and broke the kiss breathless. She smiled, looking at Rayne and lay her head on Rayne's shoulder. She inhaled deeply catching a whiff of Rayne's cologne and smiled enjoying the strong scent. She lightly kissed Rayne's neck, reveling in her closeness.

"Are you okay?" Rayne asked, glancing down at Lark who looked up at her.

"A bit breathless, but perfectly content." Lark sheepishly admitted and chuckled.

"The feeling is mutual, sweets." Rayne snickered and leaned her head against Lark's, lightly rubbing her back.

'Sweets. Oh, my gosh! I love the way she called me that.' Lark thought euphorically. "Rayne, you're missing your Halloween party." Lark remembered and sat up looking at her.

"Aah, it's no big deal besides, I wouldn't want to be anywhere but right here with you." Rayne coyly smiled and felt her heart skip a beat when Lark smiled back. She leaned in and lightly kissed her, and then moved forward on the couch. "Are you hungry? I had room service bring up dinner for us." Rayne offered and glanced at the table then back to Lark.

"A woman after my own heart, tempting me with food. You are ruthless Rayne Donovan in that you know one of my main weaknesses so well." Lark giggled and looked back at Rayne.

"One of them, huh? Any others I should know about?" Rayne suggestively asked and laughed, lightly stroking Lark's leg with her hand.

"Well, it would be no fun if I told you all of them, but I'm sure you could guess one of my other one's. She happens to be tall, blue eyed and extremely sexy!" Lark flirtatiously answered and winked.

"Hmmm, I'm going to have to do some investigating to find out who this other person is when I get back to work. We just got a new program and I'm sure the computer can search out your weakness with the details you just gave me." Rayne jokingly laughed and moved forward on the couch with Lark still in her arms.

"Well, let me know what you come up with my dear." Lark grinned and asked. "Do you have any weaknesses?"

"Yes, just one, but if I tell you I'd have to kill you. You're just too beautiful for that demise so you'll just have to try and figure it out yourself." Rayne playfully answered and winked with a mischievous grin knowing Lark got the hint. "So, shall I carry you to the table or would you like to walk?" Rayne teasingly asked with a sly grin.

"Oh, I think you should carry me. I'm feeling very tired from trying to guess your weakness so I think it would be better if you helped me." Lark grinned and wrapped her arms around Rayne's neck, completely content within her arms. 'I'm her weakness!' She confidently thought and sighed dreamily.

"As you wish, my little princess." Rayne added with a snicker and stood up, carrying Lark to the table. "Do you think you can sit in the chair or should I call for a highchair to keep you from falling out while you eat?" Rayne teasingly asked and laughed as did Lark.

"No, I think I can manage to sit in the chair as long as you sit very close to me." Lark grinned and wiggled her eyebrows provocatively.

"I wouldn't have it any other way." Rayne coyly smiled and placed Lark in the chair, then pushed the chair in towards the table.

"Oh, how I love chivalry." Lark chuckled and placed the napkin in her lap. "So, what will we be eating this evening?" Lark eagerly asked, watching as Rayne sat in the chair next to her.

"Well, I thought you would enjoy a nice juicy piece of liver for dinner." Rayne answered settling in her chair.

"Please tell me you're kidding?" Lark asked, her demeanor changing to horror at the thought of eating liver.

"Of course I'm kidding! I just wanted to tease you. That is one food I wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole! No offense to the liver lovers of the world, but I just can't go there." Rayne laughed and removed the lids from the plates on the table. "I hope you like chicken cordon blue Madame?" Rayne asked and glanced over at Lark.

"I love it! Good choice Rayne. I think I'm going to keep you." Lark teasingly laughed and watched as Rayne placed the food on her plate, feeling completely at ease with the woman next to her. 'It's as if this were us in another lifetime and we are just picking up where we left off. Like a married couple.' Lark gleefully thought, intently watching Rayne.

Rayne laughed and placed the food on her plate, then picked up a pitcher. "Would you like some iced tea or wine?" She asked.

"I'll have iced tea, thanks." Lark answered and held her glass out for Rayne to fill with the beverage. "This is so perfect." Lark giddily declared and smiled at Rayne.

"Not yet!" Rayne grinned and grabbed the remote by her. She clicked on the stereo, which played soft, love songs and leaned in for a kiss that Lark gladly granted. "Now it is." Rayne whispered and deepened the kiss.

They broke the kiss and stared at one another. "You are so incredibly romantic Rayne. How is that?" Lark asked in wonderment. She had never been around someone as thoughtful and romantic as Rayne.

"You inspire that in me Lark." Rayne shyly admitted and sheepishly grinned.

"Don't stop, I love it." Lark softly answered with an engaging smile and kissed Rayne.

"Trust me, that's only the beginning." Rayne provocatively insinuated and sat up grinning.

'Oh, be still my beating heart, I can't wait to see what follows!' Lark giddily thought and sighed contentedly. She stared at Rayne who began to eat and wondered if she were too good to be true. She smiled when Rayne looked at her, "How did my old man let you off of work earlier today?" Lark asked and ate her food.

"He said he wanted to spend the day with your mom so he let all of us go home." Rayne answered and shrugged simply, continuing with her meal.

Lark's eyes narrowed wondering what her father was up to. "He never takes time off of work like that to spend the day with my mom. I wonder if everything is alright?" Lark worriedly asked.

"Oh, I'm sure everything is fine. Maybe he's trying to be romantic and put some spice in your mom's life." Rayne suggested with a chuckle and wiggled her eyebrows teasingly.

Lark paused momentarily and burst into laughter. "I really can't see my dad being romantic." She answered and laughed harder.

"You just never know what kind of tendencies someone might have hidden deep within them Lark. You just don't know what goes on behind their bedroom doors. He might be the most romantic man in the world for all you know." Rayne answered, slyly grinning.

"My dad? I doubt it!" Lark added and laughed, flabbergasted by the implication. "I'll have to ask mom about that one!" She giggled at the thought of asking her mother that question.

"Well, he had to be somewhat romantic to have produced a beautiful daughter such as yourself." Rayne admiringly smiled and winked.

"Thank you." Lark smiled, appreciative of the compliment and blushed, changing the subject as she felt undeserving of such admiration, but did enjoy the compliment especially coming from Rayne. "What time do you have to work in the morning?"

"8 AM." Rayne answered and sipped the tea, glancing up from her glass to look at Lark.

"What? That early? Oh, Rayne you are going to be so tired! Oh, now I feel badly that you won't get much sleep tonight." Lark frowned and sat back in the chair.

Rayne placed her hand on Lark's and comfortingly patted it. "Don't worry Lark. I will sleep on the plane. My father had the plane customized with all the amenities for when we do long distance traveling. Besides, it is worth every minute to see you." Rayne answered and winked with a smile.

Lark's face grew flush from the comment and smiled. "You are quite the charmer Rayne Donovan." Lark grinned and stared at Rayne, trying to find out if she was being truthful with her comments or if she was just a smooth talker. She found truth within the blue eyes before her.

"Oh, before I forget. I spoke to my mother earlier today before I left and she was insistent that I thank you for the flowers you sent her. She said they were beautiful. "Am I missing something here?" Rayne questioned with a confused look on her face as to why Lark would send her mother flowers. "

"That's great, I'm glad she liked them." Lark happily smiled and sighed, glad that she made a mends for her behavior with Rayne's mother. Then knew she had to be truthful with Rayne as to why she would send her mother flowers especially considering Rayne was a little confuse by her gift. "I need to explain why I sent your mom those flowers. When I spoke to your mother the other day I was a little rude. I'm sorry Rayne I just jumped to conclusions when I heard her voice on the other end of the line and I made a snap judgment so I sent her some flowers as an apology for me being so rude. I hope you're not made at me." Lark discursively explained.

"I'm a bit confused as to why you would have jumped to conclusions about my mother being there Lark." Rayne queried staring at Lark for her answer.

Lark looked down, shameful of the way she acted with Rayne's mom and glanced back up at her. When she looked deep into Rayne's blues, she knew she couldn't lie to her. "I was being foolish Rayne. I thought your mom was another lover and I was very jealous. I hope you're not mad and that you'll accept my apology for the way I acted." Lark asked hopeful and inhaled deeply, hoping Rayne would do just that.

Rayne stared at Lark wondering why she would feel that way. "I'm a little disappointed that you would think I would have another lover there after the wonderful time we spent together Lark?"

"Please don't be disappointed or upset. I jumped to the wrong conclusion and I'm sorry. I wasn't sure where I stood with you Rayne." Lark attempted to explain and saw the disappointment in her eyes. Lark looked down, sad that she hurt Rayne.

Rayne lifted Lark's chin up and stared at her. "There is no apologies needed Lark. This is how you stand with me. There is no one else for me, but you Lark. Believe me when I tell you that." Rayne sincerely told her and warmly smiled. 'It sure took me long enough to figure that one out in my thick skull.' Rayne inwardly admonished for taking so long to admit the truth of how she felt about Lark.

Lark sighed relieved and smiled, "that is such a relief to know Rayne. It means a lot that you told me. I was beginning to worry that there might be someone else and that you weren't interested in having more than a casual relationship with me, when I wanted so much more."

"I'm sorry if I gave you that impression Lark, I didn't mean too." 'Maybe I acted that way subconsciously trying to be cautious with my feelings. Should I tell her about Karen and all the one night stands I had since her death?' She inwardly questioned and felt unsure of what she should do. She rose from the chair and walked to the sliding glass doors, looking out over the lighted 'Golden Gate Bridge' across the bay from her. 'Will she think badly of me? I don't want to scare her away.' She wondered and turned when she felt Lark's hand on her back.

"Rayne, talk to me. What's going on?" Lark softly asked concerned and watched as Rayne turned to face her.

"Oh, I'm just trying to work through a few demons of mine Lark." She stated chewing on her lip nervously and decided to be honest with her. "I want to level with you and I don't want you to think badly of me, but I've been with a lot of women in the past six months." Rayne answered and looked away, embarrassed that she had so many other women. It mattered to her since being with Lark when it never would have before.

"Why would I look badly on you Rayne? I have no right to judge you for what you've done in the past." Lark asked and lightly touched Rayne on the forearm.

Rayne turned and looked at Lark, then smiled slightly. "Thanks, but I just wanted to be honest with you Lark. After Karen died, I really didn't cope very well and I vowed not to be hurt again." Rayne began to explain as Lark stopped her.

"Wait, who is Karen? Is she the woman in the picture at your villa?" Lark asked, trying to clarify the situation.

"Yes, we were partners for quite some time and she was killed in an automobile accident. I loved her very much and I was devastated by her death." Rayne explained and felt her emotions well in the pit of her stomach. Lark's heart skipped a beat as Rayne told her how much Karen meant to her. She wanted Rayne to feel that way about her and was ashamed that she even thought of that at the same moment Rayne was pouring her heart out to her. Rayne gathered her composure and continued, "Once I began dating again I didn't want to date a woman for more than one evening. I feared if I let someone get too intimate with me I would be hurt again and I just couldn't go through that pain again. My family has been trying to get me to move past my feelings and be more open to long-term relationships, but I haven't wanted a relationship with anyone in that way, until you stepped into my life Lark. I feel alive again when I'm with you and I can't see myself anywhere but with you." Rayne wholeheartedly professed, smiling as she stared at Lark and felt a huge weight lift from her shoulders from the admission.

Lark fought the tears that threatened to fall as she saw all the sadness and sorrow within Rayne's tormented blue eyes when she spoke of Karen and the aftermath of her death. Her heart fluttered when Rayne said she didn't see herself with anyone other than her and she was flabbergasted by the confession. She thought she was the only one that felt that way. "Rayne I'm so sorry for your hurt. I'm very happy to know that I make you feel alive again and that you want to be with me because I feel the same way about you. I want to replace your pain with nothing but happiness." Lark warmly smiled and sniffled back her tears.

Rayne chuckled and smiled, "You already have, more than you know. Thanks for understanding," she softly said and lightly kissed Lark. She needed to feel Lark's connection, her warmth and her compassion.

Lark poured everything into that one kiss, to show Rayne how much she cared for her. She never wanted to hurt Rayne like that and only wanted to love her, completely. Lark threw her arms around Rayne when she felt her break the kiss. She held Rayne for everything that she meant to her, for the pain she felt and to comfort her, letting her know she was safe within her arms. 'I want to tell her how much I love her, but maybe she's not ready for that yet.' Lark inwardly wondered and reveled in the confines of Rayne's warm embrace.

Rayne held Lark tightly and tried to hold back the tears that edged past her resolve. 'I love her so much. How can this be?' She wondered completely amazed by the revelation. Her heart raced at the thought and she knew it was way too early for to tell her. She slyly wiped the tears from her eyes and broke the hug with a smile, quickly changing the subject. "I nearly forgot! I wanted to invite you to join my family and I for Thanksgiving dinner at my grandmother's house. My mother, the insistent one, asked that I extend the invitation to your parents as well. That is if you and your parents don't have any other plans." Rayne asked and hoped they didn't have other plans, waiting for Lark's answer.

'Well, I guess she's not one for the mushy stuff by the way she quickly changes the subject during emotional situations all the time.' Lark thought disappointed that Rayne might still be holding something back about her dead lover. She decided not to push the issue for now and smiled, "that would be absolutely wonderful and no, we don't have any other plans for Thanksgiving, thank you so much!" Lark gleefully accepted the invitation. 'I would have cancelled any plans I might have had anyways, especially if it meant spending the holidays with Rayne.' Lark inwardly thought and giggled quietly.

"Fantastic! You won't be disappointed especially when you taste my grandma Taye's sweet potato crunch. It's delicious." Rayne smiled heartily, remembering the savory taste of the dish.

"I can't wait!" Lark enthusiastically commented. "Who else will be there? Do I get to meet your entire family?" Lark inquired eagerly as they sat at the table, keenly interested in meeting Rayne's family.

"Well, my immediate family at least as the aunts, uncles and cousins won't be able to make it this year. Of course, Shayan, Holly and Brandon will be there whom you've already met and you'll get to meet my beloved grandmother, my younger brother Jayce who'll be home from college for the holidays and my parents. Speaking on the phone to my mother doesn't count as a proper introduction." Rayne laughed joined by Lark.

"What about your grandfather?" Lark inquired confused as to why she didn't mention him.

"Grand dad died a long time ago unfortunately." Rayne sadly informed her.

"Oh, I'm so sorry to hear that Rayne. I didn't know, sorry for mentioning it." Lark regretfully answered, feeling awkward.

"Don't be sorry, how could you have known? The good thing is, there aren't any other dead relatives in the immediate family for you to ask about." Rayne mischievously smiled.

"Whew, good thing." Lark answered with a smile and a sigh of relief that she wouldn't be sticking her foot in her mouth again. "So, tell me about your grand dad. What was he like? I bet you were his favorite." Lark cheerfully asked and smiled, knowingly.

"How did you know that?" Rayne asked with a surprised grin as she stared at Lark.

"I can see how fond you are of him by the gleam in your eyes when you mentioned him. I figured the feeling had to be mutual and besides, I know how my grandfather dotes on me. So, I'm sure he did the same with you." She grinned knowingly. "What did he do for a living?" Lark asked, intently watching Rayne and waiting for her answer intrigued to know everything about her and her family.

"He was in the military and amassed a huge fortune in the shipping business once he was discharged from the service. He was so much fun and loved all of us so much as we did with him." She smiled adoringly. She sadly remembered the day of his funeral and sighed disappointedly at the unhappy memory. She inhaled deeply and changed the subject to lighten the mood. "He was very generous to all of us by establishing trust funds for all his kids and grandkids. If my brother Jayce had his way he'd have spent it all by now. It's a good thing we were only allotted a certain amount at a time or he would be living in the subway station in Boston." Rayne chuckled and rolled her eyes at her younger brother's indulgent ways in regards to money.

"I take it he's the black sheep of the family?" Lark teasingly asked with a smile.

"Nah, not really. He's not that bad he's just horrible when it comes to budgeting his money and being very reliable. He's a party boy and likes to have fun rather than getting serious about his life." Rayne explained and lightly stroked Lark's hand with her thumb. "You'll like him, he's very charming." Rayne grinned knowingly.

"I'm sure he learned that from his sister." Lark giggled and leaned in for a kiss.

"Yes, among other things just not the financial one." Rayne chuckled and leaned back after breaking the kiss. "So, how was it growing up without any siblings? Sometimes I wished my brothers weren't around." Rayne laughed as Lark slightly snickered.

"I had a pretty good childhood and my parents gave me everything I ever wanted, except a brother or sister, but I always wanted to have a big family with plenty of other siblings. My parents had other plans and didn't want more children. I felt kind of lonely that I didn't have sibling, but I'll have that big family one day though." Lark thought sadly then smiled confidently as she thought of having children of her own.

"They probably felt like they had already created perfection so why bother with any more?" Rayne charismatically grinned, trying to make Lark feel better. She could see the sadness in her eyes and hear it in her voice. She chuckled when she saw Lark blush and look away.

"Thanks, that's sweet to say." Lark grinned and felt the warmth on her face from embarrassment. "So, when is your birthday?" She asked, changing the subject.

"In about eight days." Rayne answered and laughed.

"Really? Ooh, a Scorpio." Lark answered surprised and intrigued. "I'll have to do some shopping for your birthday present." Lark grinned mischievously.

"Oh, yeah?" Rayne asked and blushed. "You don't need to get me anything, just spend the day with me." Rayne shrugged off the suggestion of a present for her.

"I'd be delighted to spend your special day with you and I will get a present for you too." Lark smiled and playfully poked Rayne in the chest letting her know that she shouldn't argue with her about it.

"Great, well thanks if that's what you want to do." Rayne grinned blithely. "Well, when is your birthday?"

"Mine is in March." Lark answered, smiling.

"I'll make sure to mark my calendar for that special event. So, have you dated many people?" Rayne asked wondering if she really wanted to know the answer to that question. 'Too late, I already threw it out there. Be prepared.' Rayne inwardly warned.

"Well, aah, not many really. I've been in a couple of relationships, but nothing really serious. I suppose I've been waiting for Miss Right." Lark shyly admitted and grinned at her last comment.

"There's nothing wrong with that. I think it's very sweet. I wish I had been that way." Rayne warmly smiled and raised Lark's hand to her mouth, lightly kissing it as she stared deep within her sparkling greens. "You are so incredibly beautiful, Lark." Rayne sincerely whispered and gently pulled Lark towards her. She pressed her lips against Lark's for a passionate kiss. She reached up and held Lark's face with her hand, deepening the burning kiss. They broke the kiss breathless and rested their foreheads against one another. Rayne smiled and kissed her briefly. She looked down at her watch and sighed disappointedly softly saying, "I have to get going Lark."

"I don't want you to leave Rayne." Lark sadly admitted.

"I know, sweets, and if I could I would stay right here with you." Rayne answered moving back from Lark and smiled. "Will you ride with me to the airport?" Rayne asked hopeful.

"Absolutely. Let me call Elaine and arrange for the car to be brought around." Lark agreed and said as she rose from the chair. She refused to release the hold on Rayne's hand and pulled her out of the chair. She chuckled, as did Rayne while they walked towards the phone. Lark placed the phone to her ear as Rayne moved behind her and wrapped her arms around Lark's small waist. Lark sank into Rayne's warm embrace and closed her eyes from the contact, reveling in the fact that Rayne held her so close.

Rayne closed her eyes losing herself in Lark, burning to memory the smell of her and the feeling of having this wonderful woman within her confines. 'I've never had someone have such an affect on me.' She thought and snapped out of her revere when Lark turned around.

"You sneak!" Lark teasingly accused and laughed.

"Huh?" Rayne asked confused and slightly smiled wondering what she had done.

"You had this evening planned with Elaine. How long did she know?" Lark asked, feeling giddy that they pulled a fast one on her.

"Not very long before you did actually. When I arrived and checked around for the two of you, I slyly caught her attention through the door when you were finishing up an interview. I tried to get in touch with her earlier, but couldn't reach her to set my plan in action. I was hoping that you didn't have any other engagements and she said she would make sure that you came up to the room as soon as you finished your last interview." Rayne explained with a sly grin.

"I wondered why she didn't come back to the room with me. Well, thanks for the surprise it's just what I needed and wanted." Lark smiled and wrapped her arms around Rayne's neck, pressing her body against Rayne's.

"Me too." Rayne agreed smiling and leaned down capturing the inviting lips before her. They broke the hug startled when Elaine entered the room and turned to see her blushing.

"Sorry!" She apologized and turned away.

"It's okay Elaine." Lark chuckled, slipping her hand into Rayne's as she lead her towards the door.

"The limo is just outside hallway door. There shouldn't be any reporters out there, but I'll run roughshod for you just in case." Elaine explained and offered as she peeked out the door. "Okay, the hallway is clear." Elaine informed them and waited as they passed by her.

The trio casually walked down the hall towards the door. "Thanks for your help Elaine with pulling off the ruse." Rayne smiled, looking over at her then glanced back to Lark, winking.

Lark smiled and blushed, moving closer to Rayne. She kissed Rayne's shoulder and tightened her grip on Rayne's hand. "I'm glad I could help put a smile on Miss Sourpuss' face. She did nothing but sulk non-stop since we left. I thought I was going to have to check in to the hospital for treatment if I had to hear one more time how much she missed you." Elaine teasingly replied and knew Lark was going to kill her by the way she gritted her teeth when she stared at her.

Lark curled her lip up and gave a low growl towards Elaine, then smiled when Rayne looked at her. "Is that true?" Rayne asked with a chuckle, holding the door as Elaine checked outside.

"No, not really. She's very dramatic sometimes and likes to over exaggerate. She should be a writer!" Lark snarled teasingly with her last comment as she passed by Elaine. Rayne waited as Lark climbed into the limo and then did so herself.

Elaine held the door and leaned down. "You kids have a good time now and call me when you pull up. I'll meet you outside to chase off any screaming women." Elaine jokingly said and winked as she closed the door.

"Screaming women, huh?" Rayne asked with a chuckle looking at Lark.

"Oh, she's full of it. You can't listen to a word she says, she's a pathological liar you know?" Lark answered, trying to keep from laughing, but it didn't work and the two women burst into laughter. "I'm kidding; she just loves to tease me. Besides, the women can scream all they want you're the one I want to be with." Lark smiled reassuringly and kissed Rayne's cheek.

"That's fine with me!" Rayne chuckled and kissed the top of Lark's head as she lay against her arm, tightly clutching Rayne's arm.

"Oh, before I forget." Lark began and sat up looking at Rayne who turned towards her. "I've been asked as to what our relationship is during these interviews and I fear it's just going to get worse if I don't make a statement. I've always tried to have an open relationship with the reporters because it saves me grief in the long run, but I wasn't sure what I should tell them about us, or about your job so I kind of left those questions hanging. So, they will be all over me to find out what the scoop is the next time I speak to them. I need for you to tell me what you'd like me to say."

"Well, thanks for talking to me about it first. That's sweet. Don't mention I work for the Secret Service; just tell them I'm your father's personal aide. My director wants people to believe that for some stupid reason. I still don't know how anyone couldn't figure it out, but that's what he wants so we go with that explanation. I do as I'm told so I don't piss off the big guy who gives out the plush assignments. Actually, I think there have been more threats to the candidates that he hasn't told us about and wants to be safe than sorry. Don't worry about your father, he's safe with me around him." Rayne arrogantly smiled and continued, "As far as we go, you can tell the press that we are one hot and steamy item if you want to." Rayne answered and wiggled her eyebrows playfully as they laughed at her last comment.

"Ooh, I like that explanation." Lark readily agreed and mischievously grinned. "By the way, I trust you completely with my father's safety." Lark confidently smiled. "I must confess to not know much of what the Secret Service does except protect the President and Vice President. I really didn't know you protected anyone else. What other duties do you all perform?" She asked, intrigued by Rayne's work.

"We protect foreign dignitaries, as well, and have various divisions working with counterfeiting, financial crimes, computer crimes and forensic science. So, we do a lot that people wouldn't associate with our division." Rayne explained. "Oh, excuse me for a minute I have to call the pilot." She smiled apologetically and pulled out her cell phone. She punched in the numbers and held the phone to her ear.

Lark smiled and looked out the window, sad that their evening would soon be coming to an end. 'She is so fascinating and intriguing. It amazes me that she would choose an occupation as a Secret Service agent. It's almost embarrassing to say I'm an actress considering the importance of her job. She must be a natural born hero.' Lark thought admiringly and turned to Rayne when she heard her end the phone conversation. "Is everything set for your flight?" Lark asked, secretly hoping that her flight would be delayed.

"Yep, they are just waiting for me to arrive." Rayne answered, with a twinge of regret for having to leave. They stared at each other and paused awkwardly, not knowing what to say or do, only seeing the sadness in one another's eyes from their impending separation. Rayne cleared her throat, "aah, so you'll be back on the seventh right for the election?" Rayne asked, confirming Lark's arrival date.

"Yes, unfortunately. I wish I could come home earlier, but I am swamped with public appearances for the next week. The good news is that I will have a five-day break before I leave for Europe. The studios changed the dates so I'll have more time to spend with you if you don't mind." Lark grinned hopeful.

"That's great! What a coincidence. I already have that time off. Thankfully, I previously asked for the week after my birthday off to do something fun." Rayne excitedly informed Lark and instantly thought of the possibilities for the two of them to spend that time together.

"Excellent. I'll have you for five days all to myself then? I can't believe it!" Lark enthusiastically exclaimed and laughed, ready to begin the five-day tryst right then.

"Just be gentle." Rayne teasingly laughed and leaned closer to Lark, giving her a sideways mischievous glance.

"Oh, I intend to be very gentle." Lark seductively whispered in Rayne's ear.

Lark's hot breath resonated through Rayne's ear sending a flush of warmth throughout her, "wow! I think this is my stop!" she stammered and blushed from the comment, trying to still her rapidly beating heart. 'Damn, she sends my senses soaring.' She thought, pleased, and looked out the window, hearing a low giggle from Lark. She opened the door when the car came to a stop and stepped out, blowing out the breath she subconsciously held to release her sexual tension.

"Oh, Rayne. I don't want you to go." Lark whined and hugged her tightly when she exited the limo.

Rayne chuckled and wrapped her arms around the shorter woman. She kissed the top of her head, "I know, I don't want to leave either, but we'll be together before we know it. The time will pass really quickly, I hope." Rayne added and laughed, hoping that it would. She smiled and looked down at Lark as she lifted her head up.

"I hope so!" Lark answered with a chuckle.

"I almost forgot. I have something for you." Rayne grinned mischievously, remembering Lark's gift.

"You do huh?" Lark asked intrigued and grinned.

"I was so eager to see you when I arrived that I forgot it on the plane, I'll be right back." Rayne informed her and ran towards the steps of the plane. She quickly scaled the stairs and disappeared within the plane.

Lark's heart skipped a beat when she thought about how special Rayne made her feel and sadness consumed her when the realization that Rayne would soon be gone hit her. She wiped the moisture from her eyes and smiled when Rayne ran down the stairs towards her.

"Okay, close your eyes." Rayne asked, holding her arm behind her back.

"What is it?" Lark giggled wondering what Rayne was holding behind her back.

"Close your eyes silly and you'll find out." Rayne playfully said and smiled.

"You're not playing a trick on me are you?" Lark asked, unsure of what Rayne was going to do.

"Come on, trust me." Rayne charmingly grinned and watched as Lark closed her eyes. She held the gift out in front of her and smiled proudly. "Okay, open them."

"Oh, my gosh! I love it, how sweet!" Lark excitedly shouted when she saw the gift of a stuffed ghost.

"Happy Halloween." Rayne smiled, happy to see the look of joy on Lark's face. She loved her beautiful smile and made a mental note to always make sure Lark smile.

"He's so cute!" Lark giggled and hugged him to her. "I'm going to call him Booey for Halloween!" Lark told Rayne and laughed. "Thank you so much." Lark moved in and passionately kissed Rayne, graciously thanking her for the present.

"Miss Donovan, we have clearance for take off." The co-pilot called out from the stairs of the plane.

Rayne looked at him and nodded her head acknowledging his comment then looked back at Lark. "I'll see you soon okay?" She softly asked and kissed Lark one last time.

Lark gasped, trying to contain the emotions that welled within her and couldn't bear to let Rayne go, but she knew she had to. "I'll be counting the minutes until I see you again Rayne. Have a safe trip back and thank you so much for coming to see me. You have no idea what this has meant to me. Oh and thank you for Booey, I love him. I love…aah…I love the fact that you came all the way here to see me." Lark nervously stammered, deciding not to blurt out that she loved Rayne right there on the tarmac screaming over the roar of the plane engine. She decided to wait for a quieter and more intimate moment to profess her love to Rayne.

"I had a wonderful evening and I'll miss you." Rayne smiled and kissed Lark one last time before turning towards the plane. Lark reluctantly let go of Rayne's hand and smiled when Rayne looked over her shoulder, winking at her.

Lark watched as Rayne steadily climbed the stairs of the plane and walked along trying to catch one last glimpse of Rayne who quickly appeared in the small window when she took her seat. She smiled and felt a catch in her heart as Rayne smiled at her. She waved when Rayne put her hand up against the window as if she were touching Lark's hand and stepped back intently watching as the plane moved away from her. She stopped waving and wiped the tears from her eyes as the plane moved out of her sight. She clutched her stuffed ghost close to her as if it were Rayne and climbed into the limo, settling back against the seat. 'Why am I acting as if it is the last time I'll ever see her? I'm acting like a silly little schoolgirl. My emotions are going crazy. Either it's that time of the month or I'm completely and hopelessly in love with that woman.' Lark knew it was the later and didn't mind it at all as she held Booey tightly.

Rayne looked back towards the lighted city hoping to catch one last glimpse of Lark, but knew that was fruitful. She leaned her head against the window and knew her life and her heart were never going to be the same since Lark had captured it completely. 'That's fine with me. I like the feelings I have when I'm with Lark. I know she was going to tell me that she loved me.' She thought blissfully and closed her eyes with Lark's face etched into her memory.

"Why didn't you tell me you were here? I would have come out to met you Lark." Elaine asked, surprised when Lark entered the hotel suite.

"I totally forgot. I was lost in my thoughts of Rayne." She said in a distant voice and headed into her bedroom. She lay on the bed and cuddled into the fetal position; still tightly clutching the stuffed ghost Rayne gave her, thinking of the impact Rayne had on her emotions.

"Hey, are you okay? Did something happen with you and Rayne?" Elaine worriedly asked, entering the bedroom and sitting next to Lark on the bed.

Lark looked up at her and smiled, "Yes, she's captured my heart and made me fall hopelessly in love with her."

Elaine put her hand on Lark's hip and chuckled, "Honey, that's nothing new. I knew that after you met her. I'm glad to hear things went well." Elaine smiled and comfortingly rubbed her hand on Lark's leg.

"She so romantic, thoughtful and sweet, Elaine. Look at my Halloween gift, isn't he the cutest thing you've ever seen?" Lark dreamily asked, her head still stuck in the clouds from the aftermath of Rayne.

"He's adorable, Lark. I'm going to let you get some sleep we have an early day tomorrow." Elaine comfortingly patted Lark's leg and rose from the bed. She walked to the door and looked back, "I'm really happy for the two of you, Lark," smiling sincerely.

"Thanks Elaine." Lark smiled appreciatively.

"Night." Elaine winked and closed the door.

Lark sighed deeply, completely satisfied and happy with her life. She clutched Booey tighter and closed her eyes, instantly picturing Rayne. She quickly fell asleep with her tall, dark Secret Service agent on her mind.

The week quickly passed by as predicted by Rayne and she had a nervous tension about her, knowing she would see Lark later that evening. She was ecstatic to see Lark and it seemed as if the day would never get going. She was up before dawn as she was too anxious to sleep and a vigorous run along the beach did nothing to help with the tension. She showered, dressed and headed off to start the rigorous day of waiting for Lark to arrive later that evening and with overseeing the security details for the crowd that would be gathered around Senator Morgan when the election results were revealed. 'I can't wait for this day to end so I can whisk Lark away.' Rayne thought, eager to get it over with and spend time with Lark.

When the time drew near for Lark to arrive Rayne's heart beat faster in anticipation of seeing her and she frequently checked the door, hoping to see Lark walk through it. She and Forrest made their way through the crowd checking for anything out of the ordinary and she turned towards the door when she heard a commotion. She moved on her toes to see over the crowd and saw the flashbulbs go off, hearing someone say Lark's name. Her heart pounded in her chest and she looked back at Forrest with a grin. He nodded and motioned for Rayne to move to the next room. She headed into the said room as Forrest moved closer to Lark. "Excuse me Miss. Morgan, but we need to see you right away." Forrest stated in a serious tone and held Lark's hand guiding her through the crowd.

"Is everything okay?" Lark worriedly asked, concerned by the tone of voice he had used with her.

"It will be." He added and opened the door, guiding her through it. She looked back at him wondering what was going on as he quickly closed the door.

"I thought you would never get here." Rayne said and approached Lark, who turned around surprised to see her.

"Rayne! I thought something was wrong by the way I was ushered in here." Lark excitedly greeted and sighed relieved when she realized everything was okay, quickly engulfing her in a hug.

"Oh, that's just Forrest's bad attempt of being smooth. I missed you so much sweets and I'm so glad to see you." Rayne wholeheartedly greeted and bestowed a long, passionate kiss upon Lark's sensuous lips. Lark wrapped her arms around Rayne's neck and deepened the kiss. She broke the kiss and held Rayne as tight as she could. Rayne chuckled and held her tightly, comfortingly stroking her back.

"I missed you so much too Rayne. I'm so happy to see you." Lark whispered tearfully and kissed Rayne's neck. "Just hold me." She softly pleaded, perfectly content to stay right were she was for the rest of the evening.

Rayne smiled and felt the butterflies in her stomach flutter as she held Lark in her arms. She softly stroked Lark's long, blonde hair and placed soft kisses on her cheek, happy to have her back in her arms again. Rayne looked up when she heard a knock at the door. They sighed and broke the hug as Elaine peeked her head inside. "Your father is asking for you Lark." She smiled at Rayne and looked Lark's way.

"Okay, thanks, I'll be right there." Lark answered and reluctantly relinquished her hold on Rayne.

"Go see your father. I'm not going anywhere and besides, I get you all to myself for the next five days. Did you pack all that I told you to?" Rayne asked grinning and moved the blonde hair off of Lark's face.

"Yes, I did." Lark blushed and giggled. "Just where are you whisking me off to Agent Donovan?" She sultrily asked smiling euphorically and looking into the blue eyes she had quickly lost her heart to the moment she first laid eyes on her.

"You'll find out soon enough my dear." Rayne mischievously grinned. "Now, go see your father. He's waiting for his princess." Rayne coaxed with a smile.

"Only if you kiss me one more time or otherwise I don't think I'll have the strength to make it across the room." Lark teasingly whined with a grin.

"Well, duty calls and if I must help a damsel in distress then that's what I shall do." Rayne readily agreed to accept the challenge and leaned down to kiss Lark.

Lark leaned avoiding the assault on her lips and stared at Rayne saying, "Only if that damsel is me," with a warning smile.

"Only you, sweets." Rayne whispered and kissed Lark, deeply.

Lark broke the kiss breathless and sighed, satisfied. She straightened her dress and her hair. She flashed a smile towards Rayne as she approached the door, "You drive me crazy," she told her and winked before exiting the room.

Rayne smiled and blushed watching Lark leave the room, thoroughly enthralled by Lark's essence. 'If she only knew the affect she had on me!' Rayne inwardly thought with a chuckle, trying to still her thundering heart. 'Wow! What a knock out!' Rayne appreciatively thought, shaking her head and laughing as she walked towards the door.

Senator Morgan won his Congressional bid by a landslide and the last of the partiers were leaving as Rayne completed her work duties. She checked her watch and noted the early morning hour and was glad her workday was coming to an end very soon. "Listen Rayne, go ahead and get out of here. I can finish up here." Forrest offered, knowing how eager Rayne was to leave with Lark.

"Are you sure?" Rayne excitedly asked. She felt bad leaving Forrest to finish up their report.

"I can handle it, get out of here and have a great time." He chuckled and shooed her away.

"I intend to and thanks!" Rayne smiled and headed towards the door where Lark was standing, talking to her parents. "Congratulations sir." She offered and held out her hand.

"Thanks Rayne." He smiled and shook her hand. "You two have a great time." He grinned and patted Rayne on the back, then kissed Lark.

"We will, thanks daddy. Bye mom!" Lark grinned and waved goodbye as they exited the door.

"Have fun honey and send us a postcard." Her mother called out and waved.

Rayne looked back and smiled as she closed the door behind them. "How embarrassing!" Lark sighed as Rayne moved behind her.

"How is that embarrassing?" Rayne asked confused looking at Lark.

"She wants me to send her a postcard? I feel like she's sending me off to camp or something." Lark commented and laughed, as did Rayne.

"Oh, she was just trying to be polite. You know how silly mom's can be sometimes. Don't be embarrassed." Rayne laughed, brushing it off.

"You're right. Oh, happy birthday, Rayne." Lark smiled and kissed her.

"That's right, it is my birthday huh? I forgot about it, thanks." Rayne coyly smiled.

"So, birthday girl, where are you whisking me off too this morning?" Lark eagerly asked, intrigued by the mysteriousness of Rayne's instructions previously in the week for what types of clothes to bring as she cuddled close to her.

"You mean to tell me that you don't have a clue as to where we are going based on the clothes I suggested you pack?" Rayne mischievously grinned.

"Well, I have an idea that you are going to whisk me off to a tropical paradise. Is that correct?" Lark asked, with a giggle.

"Put those cute little buns of yours in the limo and we'll have to see if your choice is correct after the plane ride." Rayne suggested and devilishly smiled, kissing Lark.

"Let's go!" Lark eagerly shouted and quickly climbed into the limo.

Rayne laughed and shook her head, then climbed in the car with the driver closing the door behind her. Lark quickly grabbed the object of her affection and passionately kissed her, excited to have Rayne all to herself for the next five days.

Continued in Part IX.

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April 2002

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