Disclaimer: Although these characters are my own, I am adding this in case someone would see any resemblance of the characters of Xena and Gabrielle, who belong to MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No infringement on their rights is intended.

Subtext disclaimer: Anyone against two consenting adult females in a loving relationship? Bye-bye. Under age? See ya later, like when you're old enough. Illegal where you live? Sorry, but again back out. Anyone left? WELCOME.

And thank you for your time.

Thanks go out to




By djwood

Kate's surgery had gone well, and she had recovered nicely...now it was just waiting for healing to take place. It already was a lot less noticeable...and so life was good...the best either had ever had. Sam was busy with her accounting business...even though she had lost a couple of clients when she moved, she had the 'family' business and another new one from word of mouth...the mouth being her surrogate father...Kate's Dad. Kate was staying busy, but not necessarily out of mischief, much to her roommate's enjoyment. So life had settled into a peaceful routine. They had sat down together and written up a kind of schedule that they usually had, since both were in a situation to set up their own hours to a point. They didn't want to get in each other's way all the time and have 'too much of a good thing'. So they worked out a rough 9-5 of hours apart, and then they had their evenings together and weekends. With Sam's business being more flexible, she filled any day free time with her writing to stay ahead of Kate's proofreading and reviewing.

At times it still seemed like a dream to Sam...even occasionally waking up in a cold sweat that her parents showed up and tried to take her away from Kate. During these nightmares, her partner would always wake up and comfort her, much to the blonde's embarrassment about having 'bad dreams' at her age.

"I'm so sorry love. I'm keeping you from having a good night's sleep." Apologizing after one such episode. "I'll just go into the spare bedroom and lay down there. You've got a long day tomorrow." Turning to get up, only to be pinned down by a tanned arm.

"I don't think so. I wouldn't sleep worrying that you would have another one without me being there. Your place is by my side, as mine is at yours...good and bad. So just get comfortable." Sliding the other woman back over onto her and setting the blonde head on her shoulder. "Better?" Stroking the soft hair to relax her lover.

"Yeh" With a sigh. "I wish they'd just disappear. I've seen more of them with these dreams than I have in real life in years!" Trying to make a little joke, but Kate could hear the tension underneath the humor.

"Do you have any idea why you're having these dreams? There's got to be a reason behind them. Did you have them before you moved in here?" Trying to find out when they started, to see if that would tie anything together.

Sam tried to think back to the first time she woke up from one. "Uhm, I guess after you had your surgery, I just assumed it was from being so worried that something would happen. It's the first time I've spent in a waiting room for someone, so I thought it just spooked me, and my parents symbolize you being taken away from me. I just ignored it, but they kept popping up at different times." Sounding disgusted with herself.

The darker woman tightened her hold on her lover, feeling guilty for have a hand in this. "I'm sorry sweetheart. I never meant for you to suffer like this. But maybe if you talk to your parents, it will take care of it. You didn't let 'idiot boy' bother you anymore, so maybe your parents need the same treatment...I mean to talk to them...not slug them." Trying to soften the suggestion.

"I know what you mean." Poking the tanned skin. "We usually don't talk unless it's a holiday." Sounding like that relationship was a normal one, but not wanting to think of having to make an extra call. The required ones were not looked forward to, not to mention an extra one. On the other hand, she dropped in on her surrogate folks every few days and had supper with the whole family each week. That had taken some getting used to, but now she looked forward to them, to catch up with everyone and their busy lives.

"If you call them when they don't expect it, it will give you an advantage too." Added Kate. "You don't have to talk to them very long."

"I suppose. But what do I say? Oh by the way, I'm having nightmares about you...got a voodoo doll that looks like me that you've been playing with?" Rolling her eyes.

Now the other woman couldn't help but laugh. "Oh, I'd like to listen in on that conversation!"

"Nah...they'd just say...'no we don't,' as if I'd asked about a picture. But you're right...maybe I'll call them and see if that helps. I guess I can check to see if they got my change of address and phone number."

"There you go...a good excuse, but not needing to be on the phone long if it isn't working out. Now come here and relax...I won't let anything happen to you. If I have to, I'll jump into your dreams and give your parents a piece of my mind...then rescue you."

"My knight in shining armor." With an exaggerated sigh before giggling. "You're crazy, you know that?"

"Yeh, but a nice crazy...crazy about you. And I get away with a lot more that way." Wiggling her eyebrows. "Feel better now? Think you can go back to sleep?" Changing her tone to be concerned for her partner.

"I'll be fine...thanks...it's so wonderful to have you here...for me to be here." Wrapping an arm across the longer form. "Goodnight, love."

"Kissing the forehead on her shoulder Kate answered. "Night sweetheart. Remember I'm right here...I'm not going anywhere."

So being able to comfort and be comforted, they fell into a quiet slumber that lasted through the rest of the night.

Sam was quiet in the morning after getting up and dressed. Knowing what she had to do didn't make it any easier. It was Saturday, which was good, then Kate would be in the house, but not good as then her father would also be home. They could double-team her...only in the most reserved way of course. Well, thinking about it wasn't getting it over with. What's 5-10 minutes out of her otherwise happy life? The weather was still nice, so maybe they could go somewhere to a park or walking this afternoon. So, both physically and mentally straightening herself, she walked to her office and sat at her desk. Here, in this room that Kate had given up as a gift to her, she felt safe and loved. Picking up the phone, she dialed her old house...not home...this was home. That was just where she grew up. The housekeeper answered the phone on the second ring.

"Hello Louise, it's Sam...antha, are either of my parents available? Yes Louise, it's good to hear your voice too. Yes, I'll hold." A picture formed in the blonde's mind of Louise...should be retiring soon. The only warm spot in an otherwise cold childhood. And Louise didn't dare do too much or would bring on the wrath of her employers. The phone was then picked up.

"Samantha...what a surprise. It's still a couple weeks till Thanksgiving. Is something wrong?" Her mother had reached the phone first and spoke--after putting it on speaker so her father could hear too. Sam could tell because the background noise amplified; besides that's what they always did. That way they could continue with what they were doing at the same time. Now, how could her mother make a question that normally came out of concern sound so bored? As if she were reading from a script. The same variation of every other holiday conversation she had.

"No mother, everything is fine. I just thought I should call to make sure you received my change of address and phone number."

Now her father spoke for the first time. "Yes Samantha we did. What caused you to leave the city? Where you are isn't as large is it?" She could actually hear him turn the pages of the newspaper as he spoke!

"No father, it's smaller, but very nice here. I...uh...I made friends with someone and decided that a change would do me good."

"Moved to be with someone? Who is he? You haven't done anything to embarrass us now have you daughter? You do seem to not think of the big picture sometimes, and we're too far away to fix it for you." Advised the cold tone of her mother.

Fix anything? They hadn't done anything to fix a thing her whole life. That was for staff. The pencil she had been playing snapped in two suddenly. OOPS...no stress, right? Even with Brandon, they had advised her not to throw away such 'an opportunity for social growth" and give up 'this business thing' she was doing. Her composure was held together consciously. "Yes, I moved here to be with someone...as friend...HER name is Ka...thryn, and we're sharing a house. So if you were to ever call," Yeh sure! "She could answer the phone as well as I could. It's her house."

"You moved in with a stranger from a different city? Samantha...what were you thinking? Are you sure she is respectable? What of her family?" That was father showing his true colors, not that he ever tried to hide them. Only showing concern when it comes to anything that might reflect on them.

This was turning more into an inquisition than a 5-10 minute phone call. Imagine her dreams after this fiasco! The writer could start to feel the old anger start to build. Time to end this while she still had control of her voice and thought...to stay focused. "What I've done is to move somewhere that I'm happy...with someone I'm happy with. Whose family has welcomed me as a part of them. But I'm sure I'm far enough away that no one will know I've even left. I haven't kept up with anyone in your circle for years. Anyway---all I wanted to know was that you had received the notice. I will talk to you in a couple weeks...unless you're going away for the holiday?" Please say yes...please say yes! Hoping they were leaving so that she wouldn't have to repeat this.

"No, we'll be here. Having the usual guests for dinner. You're...uhm you're not planning on flying in are you? I'm sure we could find room for one more at the table." Throwing the invitation in as proper etiquette...though not anyway close to sounding sincere!

"Oh no...thank you. I haven't been there in years when I was in the same city." Almost laughing out loud as she could almost hear them relax. "I will spend the holiday here with Ka...thryn and her family. Well, I'd best let you return to your day."

"Yes, Samantha we have your address and phone number on file. Thank you for calling." Father now sounding as anxious as his daughter to end this. "Good-bye."

"Good-bye mother...father." Hanging up the phone as if it had grown horns. Leaning back in he chair, she closed her eyes and rubbed the back of her neck. Lost in her thoughts, she didn't notice the body leaning against the doorway for a few moments.

"How'd it go?" Her partner asked softly, then entering the room and walking behind the chair to start gently massaging the shoulders and neck of her companion.

"Oh...that feels wonderful. The knots on top of knots should tell you." Then realizing her tone of voice was still sharp, reached up to squeeze the hand on her shoulder. "Sorry...I forgot you've never had the pleasure of my parents. Surprising it was even a little---worse than I thought, and I don't ever hope for anything good."

"Well, I was kinda standing in the hallway listening so I could come in if it sounded like you needed me. But I thought I'd stay out here out of sight to give you your privacy." Continuing to try and loosen up those tight muscles.

"Uhmm--Well, thank you. I only came in here as this is a special place and I thought it would keep me calmer. I feel you in here every time I am...because you were so kind to make this over for me. It gives me a sense of peace." Feeling her neck start to relax, she heard popping and crunching as she moved. "You can be right next to me when I call again...I have nothing to hide. And if I can touch you...that will help." Sounding a bit like a little girl scared and needing reassurance.

"Sure...I'll be right here. If I can help...you couldn't keep me away." Leaning over to replace her hands with her lips...around her neck and back again.

"Oh God Kate, that's heaven. How do always know just what to say and do to make everything better?" Reaching back to run her hands through the thick dark mane of hair.

Turning the chair around to face the blonde, the tall woman continued the trail of kisses to the front of her throat to the now pounding pulse, then stealing the other's lips in a way that made them both forget where they were. Releasing the lips for just a brief moment she purred. "I bet I can make you feel even better." And kneeling in front of the accountant's chair brought them eye-to-eye. Eyes that had darkened in color in the last few minutes.

"Bet you can too. Should we continue this relaxation technique in another room?" Starting to stand up, only to be held back.

The blue eyes that held the green one's attention were also darkening. "Why move? I think we've got plenty of room, and the carpet's nice and thick." Again leaning in to meet soft lips several times...each one a little deeper and longer. "Remember I said we have all kinds of rooms now to play in...and we've already initiated the dining room. " Wiggling her eyebrows before laughing at the blush on Sam's face.

A blush that turned into a flush as she ran her hands behind Kate's neck and pulled them together. With this unspoken answer, the taller woman wrapped her arms around, and then lifted her partner right out of the chair and against her as they continued to kiss. Then slowly lowering them both to the floor...neither one at this point caring which room they were in, just that they were together. Taking and giving to the other all the love and passion inside them. Clothes soon littered the floor, as they were in the way of the closeness they wanted to feel and touch. It was always just under the surface, the need to express their love and joy at finding each other, to touch each other's heart and sending them both over the edge, their bodies arching against each other. Not moving for long minutes, they let their pulses return from pounding to beating, from gasping to breathing. Neither in a hurry to leave the arms of her lover, they were comfortable just resting, softly caressing the skin in a slow and lazy way.

"Hmmm. I told you ya." Kate smiled...rolling to her side...head propped by her elbow. "How are those shoulders now?"

"What shoulders?" The blonde questioned. "Oh yeh...I'd say quite well, along with the rest of me, thank you. I repeat...you sure know what to say and do to make everything better." Running the back of her hand across the tanned cheek.

"And I can say the same about you, sweetheart. But I suppose, if we want to go walking this afternoon, we'd better get up, much as I don't want to move." Leaning into the soft hand caressing her face and closing her eyes.

"Yeh, I guess. Should we eat before we leave, or pack a picnic lunch and put it a small backpack and eat outdoors?" The writer asked, already thinking about food.

"It's a nice day out. Better take advantage of it...Thanksgiving's in a couple weeks and we could have snow by then."

With just a little more snuggling and few more shared kisses, they got up and grabbed their clothes...walking 'as is' down the hall to their bedroom to dress for walking.

Turning to talk to her friend Kate said. "Just like I said...another room initiated." Watching the green eyes enlarge and then roll.

"It's not nice to kiss and tell." Teased the blonde.

"OK, but how about…" Began the long legged beauty.

"Hey!" Interrupted Sam, taking her T-shirt and snapping it at the backside of her partner. Surprising herself when she connected.

"Hey!" Cried out the victim, turning around to protect her 'asset', though rubbing it with her free hand. "Watch what you're snapping with that sweetheart."

"I did...that's what made me do it. You have the most irresistible sway when you walk...it's breath taking with clothes on, but without...whew! You should probably wear a sign to warn unsuspecting eyes." Loving the shy look that came across the dark features of her friend...though not ashamed of her looks, she was honestly unaware of how good-looking she was.

Kate just laughed...waiting for her partner to come up beside her, and then holding her close. "You're a nut...but thank you." Kissing her on the forehead., and then they walked arm in arm to their room to dress.

They spent an enjoyable afternoon hiking in some state owned forestry land and ate sandwiches and chips with soda under a large oak tree. Just what Sam needed to erase the painful morning.

The accountant loved her life here...the only fly in the ointment was when it came to money. The house was Kate's and so she insisted on making the mortgage payments, but also tried to pay everything else of the bills. Saying it was the same as it had been before Sam moved in, and that she should save her money for a while to build up her savings account. They'd divide things up later. It got to be a joke, of who got the mail got the bills to pay, but she was starting to feel uncomfortable about it. But how to bring the whole thing up? She firmly wanted to pay her share of things. No wonder communication is listed as one of the most difficult things in a relationship...that and money. Lucky her! She had them both rolled into one. As she lay there trying to figure it out, her lover looked over and saw the serious look on her face with the eyebrows furrowed in concentration.

"Hey...what's up?" Asked Kate, turning to give her full attention to the woman next to her.

"Huh?" Startled out of her thoughts.

"What are you thinking about so hard?" Waiting for an answer.

"Oh...uhm...well...uhm...oh nothing." Stammering and stuttering, not wanting to bring up anything that might ruin this peaceful afternoon together.

"Don't think so...try again...remember? We don't face things alone anymore. Spill it."

"Well, uh...it's just the money thing."

"What money thing?" Asked the homeowner...clueless.

"That's just it...you don't think of it as a money thing, but I do.

"Uhm, sweetheart? You lost me."

"OK. You know the game we have of fighting of who pays the bills?"

"Sure." Laughing at the thought.

"Well, it's kinda starting to bother me. You own the house and pay the mortgage. I need to carry my weight here...to contribute to our life. I feeling like I'm living off you this way." Staring at the ground while speaking. God, this was hard. But it needed to be said, so they could figure out a compromise.

During this Kate had listened, amazed that Sam would feel this way. She had just wanted to give her some time to get back in a normal routine from moving and setting things up again. Truth be told, she was used to being in charge of everything and didn't give it a thought. But if the tables were turned, it would be an uncomfortable situation. "I'm sorry Sam. You're right. I wasn't thinking. In trying to make things easier, I only made things worse. When we get back we'll work out a system of dividing things up between us so that we are partners in this area also. I don't want you be at all uncomfortable in any part of our lives." Talking seriously, but then changing her tone to lighten the tension. "With it having to do with numbers, I'm sure you'll put together a balanced account for each of us. OK?"

The blonde smiled and let out a breath. "Thanks. There's several ways that will work. I was thinking of dividing the bills in half and then I would match your mortgage payment and put it directly towards the principle. That will take years off the loan and make the money work the best. And that way I will be paying on the house too, and doing my share." Now in accountant mode.

"OK...that sounds like a good plan, and we'll put it on your computer when we get back. Deal?" Holding out her hand to shake.

"Deal." Reaching out and shaking the tanned hand, then lifting it up to kiss the top of it. "Love you, you know." The green eyes full of just that...love.

The blue eyes looked into the green and softened at the expression. "Love you too. Thanks for talking to me about this."

"Remember what you said...we don't have to go through anything alone anymore." Smiling as she leaned against the taller shoulder. "And I'm trying really hard to do that. We're both used to doing things on our own and being in charge without consulting anyone. It will take some time, but we'll get there. The first time we have to talk about things is the hardest to do, then it will get easier."

"Yep. You can tell me anything you know. I don't bite. I may nibble a little bit, but not bite." The dark head leaning over to nibble a little as an example.

"Oh...you can nibble all you want." Laughing at the antics of her friend, but not moving away. "Well, let's pack up and wander on back home. I promised mom I'd make a salad for tomorrow."

"Oh...what ya gonna make? Something I like?" Sounding like a little kid.

Sam rolled her eyes at the question. "Well, that will restrict me, but I'm going to make a Jell-O salad, and I'll throw your favorite together too."

"Chocolate pudding with whipped topping mixed in? Oh boy." As Sam nodded in agreement. "Well, we'd better get back then."

"And no, you're not getting any ahead of time. The last time I did that, there wasn't enough to take out of the house."


"No buts."

"Yes ma'am." Not sounding sincere at all!

And on that note, they gathered everything together and made their way back home.

Family night was typical...loud, active, and filling. Everyone talking at once, people all over the place and enough food for twice as many people as present. The first few times Sam had been here, she thought she'd been zapped into a fourth dimension, but soon was participating, though a lot less vocal. Because she was quieter and usually pretty serious, when she did play a joke, she had a very high success rate!

Today's topic was Thanksgiving. There was a discussion on having ham or turkey...turkey won (by a neck). The next was time of day...the boys wanted to try to fit it in between football games...mom said 2:00, football or not. Then the boys were talking about finishing the basement to have a 'guys' room. This they talked about a lot, especially for family holidays...but nothing was ever done.

Kate watched them talk back and forth for a while before adding her two cents worth. "Well, we can always get together at our place. It's bigger and the downstairs is kinda finished with a TV and pool table."

Everyone thought it was a good idea...well, ALMOST everyone thought it was a good idea. One little blonde was valiantly trying not to choke on the mouthful of food she's just taken. Trying to catch her partner's eyes, she saw the blue eyes shining with excitement at having her family over. "Uhm...Kate?" Speaking softly and tugging on her friend's sleeve.

Still listening to her family, the tall form just leaned down to Sam without making eye contact. "Hmm?"

"I didn't know you knew how to cook that much, especially something this big for so many people."

"Huh?" Not quite grasping the seriousness of the situation. "What do you mean, me cook? I can microwave reasonably well, but what's that got to…do…with…having…Oh God. We have to eat." The tan face lost a lot of its color, and she turned panicked eyes to her friend. "I was only thinking of our bigger house...and keeping the boys downstairs out of the way. I never thought about the food! Now what? I better cancel out."

Seeing the guilty look and subdued expression, so rare, on this woman, twisted Sam's heart. "No Kate...that's OK. Uhm…that was really nice of you to offer. You just surprised me, that's all."

"I'm sorry about that too. Here we just talked about working together and within hours I put my foot in my mouth. Geez...I should be beat." Sounding really disgusted with herself.

At that the blonde smiled and leaned to whisper in her lover's ear. "Maybe later…" Reaching under the table to squeeze a thigh.

Any pale color was instantly replaced with a flush. "Sam!" Clearing her throat. 'She got me again! I'm getting whipped at this game. Oops...don't say that out loud...she'll just rack up more points!' "Later." Reaching under the table and removing the trespassing hand, only to have hers captured and held. Smiling into green yes, she gently rubbed the other's hand with her thumb. "Promise."

Winking at Kate, the writer just nodded and said. "Oh yeh." Causing a sheepish look on the raven haired woman. Then without letting go of the hand, Sam turned her head to face her surrogate mom, only to see another pair of blue eyes already watching her. CAUGHT! "Uhm mom...as long as I was just nominated to help host this, want to go over what the traditions are for the meal?" Still feeling sick to her stomach. She HAD BEEN looking forward to being a part of a real family for the holiday...now she was going to be in charge of it. With 'clueless in the kitchen' for help...talk about the blind leading the blind!

Mom just smiled at the request. "Sure honey. I can even fix a lot of it here and just bring it over when we come." Trying to take some of the terror out of her new daughter's face.

"No...no. That's all right. We can do it all from our house. But you are certainly welcome to come over as early as you want...like the night before!" Laughing at herself. "I'm in the dark about this...having never had a real family holiday before."

To mom's ears, the blonde sounded like a lost little girl talking about what had been taken away from her childhood, by never having it. "We'll make up menu a little later, and do it together. It doesn't change much...they always want the same thing year after year. I somehow missed teaching ONE of my daughters how to cook." Starting pointedly at her eldest.

Kate happened to turn back to her partner and caught the look. "What?! I don't even know what you two are talking about. How can I be in trouble?"

That made the two other women laugh. " We were just talking about your kitchen skills..." Explained her friend still laughing.

Blue eyes rolled...embarrassment showing. "Yeh. She gave up on me when she discovered her pots and pans were at risk in my hands...not to mention the mixer, cake pans, cookie sheets…" Counting them off.

"OK OK I get the picture." Laughed Sam.

"And you know." Continued mom. "Cast iron is supposed to be pretty kill-proof, but my daughter almost succeeded."

"Ah mom." Complained the eldest daughter, bowing her head in shame. "Don't give her any more ammunition, please. She already has plenty just living with me."

"That's Ok, Kate." Again squeezing the hand she had continued to hold under the table. "We love you anyway." Bringing a smile to the previous pout. "Even if you are cooking challenged." Bringing the pout back. Leaning to the pouter, she again whispered into the other's ear. "If you don't want me to bite that right off your face, I suggest you remove it from my sight and reach. It's giving me all kinds of ideas." Almost purring as she finished with her mock threat.

"Oh Lord." Quietly groaned Kate, squirming around in her chair, showing her discomfort at being teased at her parents' table, surrounded by family. It just wasn't fair! It never used to be like this...she was the one usually making Sam squirm. When had she lost control of the situation?! "Well...I suppose we could head out, huh?" Picking up her plate and carrying it out to the kitchen without even a glance at the other two women. Sam smiled...'GOTCHA.' "Sure." Picking up her own plate, and then turning to mom. "Why don't I come over a little later in the week and you can tell me what's what." And with that headed into the kitchen to add her plate and silverware to the dishwasher, meeting her very flustered partner on the way out as she was headed in. Everyone helped clear the table by carrying their own dishes to the kitchen.

Not looking at her friend directly the long legged woman headed towards the living room. "I'll get our jackets."

"Thank you." Still smirking over her victory.

"Sure." Disappearing out of the room.

Coming back out the good nights began. Sam was hugged by everyone, and she kissed mom and dad on the cheek before leaving the room. It was a real step forward to be so demonstrative with everyone, but slowly it was becoming second nature. It was a new habit she was cultivating and enjoying at the same time. "Goodnight everyone." Calling out the blonde one last time as she walked out the door into the evening.

"Night." Added Kate, following her friend to the SUV. Answering 'good nights' followed them as they walked to the door. They got in at the same time, but as soon as the doors were shut and the dome light went out, Sam was pulled from her seat towards the driver and kissed very intensely, though not giving any resistance.

"You." The driver growled and tapped the torturer's nose when finally coming up for air. "That's what you get for teasing me like that. And at the dinner table too!" Leaning in again to repeat the assault on the soft lips that were still within reach. Another couple minutes passed by them, lost to their surrounds. "Oh boy." Murmured the driver nibbling Sam's jaw line before leaning back. "Isn't this fun? Parking in the parents' driveway like a couple of teenagers." Looking around she then started laughing out loud. "And fogging up the windows. We'd better get out of here before we get caught. They'd have all kinds of fun with that!"

"Yeh...let's go home, my love." Agreed the passenger reaching over to clasp their hands together. "Then you can apologize some more about volunteering me for Thanksgiving. I think it will take quite a while." Wiggling her eyebrows.

Having to clear her throat again Kate murmured quietly "Oh Lord." Not necessarily feeling religious at the moment, but knowing she might need some help before the night was over!

They made their way back to their home, where they turned out the lights after arriving, but not actually getting to sleep for quite a while.

Thanksgiving morning arrived very early for Sam...not that she had slept very much during the night. First was the nightmare, waking them both up, and then the awake nightmare of going over everything in her head to make sure she had everything done in her mental list of what to do, in what order when she got up. Everything that could be done ahead of time was done. The turkey was thawing out, the salads made, the stuffing mixed together, the potatoes peeled and in water, all the dishes washed and setting out to be placed on the table, and the house had been cleaned to an inch of its life. Still Sam was restless. Wanting everything to be perfect, she had turned everything upside down, including Kate! There was no comforting or relaxing the blonde whirlwind as she went from room to room. The final inspection would take place Thanksgiving morning. Although everything was ready, the new hostess couldn't relax.

The dark haired roommate watched her friend, feeling helpless to do anything to counteract this. She had offered to cancel more than once, but the writer refused, saying she wanted to do this...to do her part.

"But sweetheart. Having it mom's, and us going over early to help would be enough. Don't wear yourself out trying to do it all." Attempting to make the words sink in, by looking intently into green eyes. She could almost see the words bouncing off the other's forehead and disappear into the air, like a puff of smoke. So, the only alternative was to do as much as she could and was allowed to help.

Before the alarm even had a chance to go off, Sam was awake. That in itself was a sign of stress, as she was not usually an early riser, loving her snuggle time on her favorite shoulder. But she was again going through her mental list of what she wanted done when, and in what order. Beginning to roll onto her other side to get up, she found herself captured and rolled back onto her side, and her favorite shoulder.

"Where do you think you're going? It's not even light out yet." The tall form murmured, holding the smaller one to her.

"I can't sleep any longer so I thought I'd get up so I wouldn't wake you. I guess I waited too long...sorry." Throwing her arm across her friend's waist. "You should be sawing logs after me waking you up again last night." Sounding both ashamed and disgusted that the nightmare had come again during the night.

"So should you. I didn't do anything but hold you...you were the one having to go through it again. Maybe it will go away after dinner and the holiday is over." Running a smooth hand down the soft skin of a bare arm.

"Maybe. Remember I have to call them again today, too. Joy-joy." Sounding as enthused as someone on her way to the dentist for a root canal.

"Hey...remember too that this time I'm glued to your side, and listening in." Giving her support for the emotionally painful phone call Sam had to make to her parents.

"That's the only bright spot." Smiled the woman looking up into still sleepy blue eyes. "Anytime I can be glued to you is good for me." And with those words, stretched up to kiss the soft lips above her, only to repeat it again, this time lengthening it and deepening it as the familiar warmth rolled through her.

"Mmm...yeh glue...I like glue." Whispered the long legged beauty as she rolled her partner onto her back. "I think we need to practice this gluing technique." Lowering her head to return the assault on full lips and then roaming down the pale throat.

Sam knew she should get up. There were things to do...right? But as she felt hands and lips caress her, the chores slipped her mind until the only thought left was how much she loved this woman, and loved loving her. Tangling her hands into the thick dark hair, she pulled the tanned face closer to her to make their contact greater...returning the favor of exploring and tasting the tanned skin of neck and shoulder. "Oh...I love you." Feeling the need to say the words out loud to the one who had released her from her prison of emotional pain and scars.

"And I love you Samantha...more everyday. I love holding you." Kiss. "And kissing you." Kiss. "And tasting your skin." Kiss. "And touching you." Kiss "And I REALLY love feeling you kiss and touch me." Kiss. "And loving me." Kiss. She would have continued expounding on all the things she loved about her partner, but her lips became otherwise engaged in keeping another pair company. Thus the very early morning and dawn passed without either of them being aware or caring.

Dinner at 2:00PM, so Sam figured people would start arriving around 1:00 to talk before sitting down to eat. It was all she knew: cocktails at 6, dinner at 7. Hor de vours at 1, dinner at 2. So it was with extreme surprise and a bit of panic that she saw a car pull up into their driveway at 11:00AM. Mom and dad came bringing Robbie, along with a salad, home made rolls, holiday tablecloth and some extra serving bowls.

"I know my eldest doesn't have a lot of dishes for entertaining, and didn't know what you had, so I brought some extras, just in case. I know if I called ahead and asked, you would have said you had everything and then raced out and bought them."

The blonde just blushed...to true to argue! "Well...I don't have a lot of things large enough for groups of people as I was alone, so there was no need. Thanks mom." Giving her a quick hug after they set things on the table.

Robbie dragged Kate downstairs right away for a game of pool, and dad followed to watch TV.

'OK...I can handle this.' Sam told herself. 'They're early, but I'm ready, and it's just mom and dad...no problem.' Of course the thought was barely out when another car came up the drive; Kate's sister Joan with her husband Joe and their two children: Zach and Missy. 11:30...still 2 ½ hours till dinner! 'What are we going to do til then!'. Now more panic in the green eyes. And before she could digest THAT information, the last member of the family drove up and parked. Jack came in through the garage, passing his younger sister's entourage and making his way into the house. On his way through, he hugged everyone, wished them a Happy Thansgiving and disappeared downstairs to join the rest. "Hail...hail...the gang's all here!' Sang Sam in her head as she watched the door open again.

In came the crew...Joan bringing brownies, pumpkin and apple pies. Coats were piled in the spare bedroom, and the kids raced downstairs to see Aunt Kate and everyone, and leaving Sam with the other two women. Those two had been through so many holidays, that they were on automatic pilot working together, checking the turkey, laying things out, starting another pot of coffee, and leaving the blonde to the side watiching. Now it's not that they intentionally excluded her...they just weren't used to having an extra pair of hands, and so had a routine. They shy 'newbie' of the family didn't know how to just plow in and grab something. Kate chose that moment to come up for some snacks and drinks, in time to see a blonde head disappear into their bedroom. Seeing all the activity in the kitchen, she stopped there before following her friend right away.

"Mom?" Whispered the daughter.

"Yes dear." Looking up from the oven door.

"Uhm...what's Sam up to? You didn't chase her out did you? You know-- SHE can cook...she's not a threat to the day." Trying to lighten the question up with a small smile. "It's going to take a little while to get used to the zoo at holidays."

Mom looked around surprised that she was missing. "Oh...well, she was here just a moment ago...right Joanie?" Looking confused as to where the third member of the cooking crew had gone.

"Gee mom...I think we kinda took over." Also sounding surprised. "I guess we're just used to being the only ones to get it done. It's not like you're any help, sis!" Poking fun at her big sister as only siblings can do and live!

"OK...save it...you two fired me years ago for burning water."

"No dear." Corrected mom. "You burned up the pan because you forgot to put water in it." Explaining in a normal tone of voice...as if it was an every day occurance.

A giggle from the living room made them all turn to the source of the sound. There stood "Julia Child's" other half...hand over her mouth, and shoulders shaking in laughter. "You burned water?! What a hoot!" Leaning against the couch.

"HEY...you're supposed to take my side and defend me...not join them!" Sounding injured, but not seriously.

"But Katie...there's no way to defend yourself...you burned up a pan. Fact." Teased the little sister again.

"Yeh--but she didn't have to enjoy the story so much." Grumbling as she turned to her friend and pouted.

Looking pointedly at that lower lip, Sam walked up to the taller woman and put her arms around her waist to say quietly. "Remember what I told you before about that pout..."

It disappeared in a nano-second. About the same amount of time it took for the tan face to blush a bit.

"I hate to interrupt you two, but Sam, where do you keep the relish tray?" Asked mom from back in the kitchen.

"Coming." Answered the blonde, turning to leave the warm confines of her partner's arms.

Kate relunctantly let go, and went to gather the stuff she'd originally come up for. As she left them to go back downstairs, she stopped by her mother and kissed her cheek, winking at her. "Thanks." She whispered and got a wink back and a smile.

"Here's the relish tray mom." Setting it on the cupboard and starting to get out of the way.

"Oh no you don't my dear." Intercepted the matriarch of the family, and pushing her back into the room. "Since number one child is clueless in here, you get to take her place."

"Uh...ok...but I don't know what to do...you two are a blur." Remarking shyly without eye contact.

"Hey mom...does that mean I can order her around?" Called out Joan from the refrigerator door. "I've never had anyone I could tell 'em what to do before. This could be fun." Raising an eyebrow identicle to her older sister's, only with warm brown eyes instead of blue.

"Now Joanie...the point is to change this from a two person crew to a three person crew...not scare her off downstairs. She'll be just fine without your so called help." Shaking her head.

"Oh...O...K." She protested good naturedly. "Thought it was too good to be true. Just wait till Missy's old enough to be here." Thinking out loud about her daughter in a tone of voice that made them all laugh.

"Oh honey. Number one: it's not nice to talk like that about your daughter that way...she is not slave labor. Number two: have you ever seen her and Kate together? Auntie crosses her leg, and Missy does too. She may end up flunking Home Ec just like her hero did."

"She what?!" Exclaimed the room mate leaning on the counter for another good story.

"She flunked Home Ec...brought in a TV dinner for a meal preparation and jammed the swing machine so badly they had to replace it." Again shaking her head remembering the antics of young Kathryn Elizabth. "It's not that she didn't try...it just wasn't something of interest. Give her a solo or lead the debate team, or give her some room to run, and she was exceptional, but she's never been into frills and fluff. Not my Kate...and I wouldn't have her any other way." Finishing the story softly with a smile.

"Yeh." Inserted Joanie leaning against the counter next to Sam. "When I showed up and didn't do damage to their equipment, I got instant As. I just stayed away from Chorus and Debate and Track."

A warmth flowed through Sam as she stood in the kitchen between these two women. They had been slicing and dicing and cleaning up together now. At first being told, not wanting to make a mistake, but as all the talking and laughing continued, she got caught up, and just did things that hadn't been done yet. The warmth was from feeling like she belonged here...she was a part of this loud, funny and loving family, who had accepted her as one of them. Turning her head away to hide the sudden tears in her eyes, she closed them for a mement and took a deep breath. Home...she finally had a home...with Kate and with her family. Looking at the clock she realized that it was almost time to eat.

With her back to the stairway, she didn't hear or see Kate come up. And so after taking the centerpiece to put on the table, she turned and walked smack dab into the firm form of her friend. "OH...You scared me! Sorry." Looking up into the face she loved. "Hi."

"Hey there." Looking at what was in Sam's, hand she reached out and took it away and put it back on the counter. "Uhm...can you come with me for a second?" Taking her hand and leading her down the hall to the accountant's office.

"Sure. Be right back." Calling out to the other women and followed the taller woman.

As they stepped into the office, Kate closed the door behind them and took the blonde into her arms. I was going to wait till later to give this to you, but

maybe you'd like it now." Turning them both, but still holding her lover, she nodded to the computer desk. There in a beautiful vase were 6 long stemmed roses: two yellow, two white and two red. "I got some of each color as you are so many things to me. The yellow is for friendship, and you are my very best friend. The white is for purity, and you have the most giving and compassionate heart I've ever known. And the red is for love, and you know how much I love you...and that you hold my heart with yours." Looking into full green eyes with her equally tear filled blues.

"Oh Kate...oh love...they're gorgeous...beuatiful...I don't know what to say. Thank you so much. I love them...and you so much." Holding her close and resting her head under the taller chin. "When did you sneak them in here?"

"Last night. You've been so busy getting ready for this and wanting to have everything perfect for the family, I just wanted to let you know how much it means to me that you have tried so hard to make yourself a part of us. Besides, this is our first Thanksgiving together and since it's the season to give thanks, I wanted to give thanks for you...you complete me." Leaning down to capture trembling lips in a tender loving kiss.

Their names being called from the other room broke up the special moment, but they just smiled at each other. Sam whispered. "You'll get your gift after everyone's left." And kissing her once more. Then she picked up the flowers and walked down the hall to place them in the center of the dining room table; a true symbol of thanks.

Kate followed with a smile that could light up the whole house. Comments and compliments were given on the beautiful arrangement, as everyone had migrated to the dining room. When all were seated dad reached out both hands to take the ones on either side of him, and so it continued around the table til there was a completed circle.

Sam just looked about as this took place, having Kate take her hand on one side and Joanie on the other. This was something new...what was gonna happen next?

Dad began to speak. "Another year has passed since we last gathered together to give thanks. We have been blessed with everyone being able to gather with us

and even a new addition, which is an additional blessing." He looked down the table and smiled at Samantha who returned the smile, though a bit shaky. She felt her hand being squeezed by her partner, and returned it, feeling safe and warm and loved. After a pause, dad continued. "So, as is our tradition, we'll just go around the table and everyone can give an example of something they give thanks for. I give thanks that my whole family is here, healthy and whole."

And so, one by one the family expressed themselves of something good in their lives. Little Missy made everyone smile when she said she was thankful that Aunt Kate had found someone to make her happy so she wasn't alone anymore.

Now it was Sam's turn to squeeze the tanned hand in hers as she looked over and saw the blue eyes filled with tears.

When it was the newest family member's turn, there was a short silence as she tried to gather her emtions and speak from her heart. "It's hard to only pick out one thing to be thankful. I now have both family and friends and someone to share my life with...all that I thought was beyond my reach to ever find. So I say thank you to each and every one of you for so graciously taking me into your home and making me feel that I belong. So I guess my one thanks would be of finding a home where I belong" Finishing with a smile as she looked at each person sitting around the table.


With the holiday 'thank yous' given, dad carved the turkey and everyone passed plates around to begin the meal. After that, it was the usual get together dinner that happened every week: lots of talking, lots of laughter, and lots of love. Sam had a difficult time eating at first, looking at everyone with a lump in her throat. Then a hand on her leg under the table from her partner turned her head in that direction, to receive a smile and a wink.

Then the 'pass mes' started.

"Pass me the potatoes."

"Pass me the stuffing...and the gravy."

"Pass me that salad...the orange one."

"Pass me the rolls." Robbie called out from across the table and down two. They were in front of Sam, so she picked up the basket to pass it down, when she grinned. Taking one out the basket she lobbed it toward the youngest sibling, like

so many had done at the weekly meals, but being new at it made her aim not quite so precise, and missed the intended. Didn't miss the gravy bowl though, and as it splashed into the container, threw gravy into the air and onto mom's arm, and the holiday table cloth.

Green eyes almost popped right of their sockets. Good God! Not only did I miss, but I hit mom of all people! Now what, beside slide out of her chair right under the table to hide. While figuring out her retreat, the table quieted.

Mom looked at the 'passer' for a moment. Casually picked up the now sodden roll, fired it back to Sam, hitting her square on the side of the face. "Projection dear, you have to learn to arc the toss to get it where you want it to go. Don't worry, you'll get the hang of it. Kate's an expert...practice on her." Then she picked up her fork again and started eating.

Again Kate protested. "Hey...how did I get involved in this? I'm just sitting here minding my own business!" Looking over at her friend's face and beginning to laugh, taking her napkin and wiping at the gravy rolling down her partner's face.

Sam was in too much shock to move. She didn't blink. She didn't move to even clean off the gravy that she could feel on her face.

Then with Kate's laughter, the whole table broke up. To stop a full fledged food fight, dad raised his hand and spoke above the din. "There will be no more food throwing during this holiday meal." Looking sternly down the table at his family.

Then he smiled at his wife. "Not shot mother...you're still the best roll thrower of the family." Winking at her.

Something started to bubble up from deep inside of Sam, and rose up through her. It was at first just a chuckle, and then a giggle, and then exploded into a breath stealing laughter that she hadn't done in years, if ever. Since everyone else was still laughing over dad's remark, and mom's aim, no one heard this first from their newest family member...except Kate.

Looking at the tears rolling down her friend's face as she continued to laugh, she saw a light in the green eyes she hadn't seen since the nightmares started. Nor had she ever heard such unguarded laughter. Leaning over to wipe more gravy off the jaw, she said so Sam could hear. "Welcome to the family sweetheart. Mom doesn't throw things at just anyone. She saves it for only her favorites."

Forgetting about the other people, she put her arm around the other's shoulders and hugged her.

That was the part of the meal that everyone would talk about for months and years to come. Not that Sam had cleaned for days, or that the tablecloth was pretty, or that the dishes were arranged so nice. It was that moment frozen in time of rolls flying through the air. The rest of the afternoon and early evening was spent cleaning and putting away and packaging leftovers, and moaning about how they had eaten too much, right before asking if there was any pie left.

As darkness fell, the family slowly made their way out the door to their cars to head on home...holiday over. Everyone carried a paper sack with a part of the meal to take back with them. And everyone had thanked their hosts for such a lovely day. Robbie of course had to ask if they were having Christmas here, for which Sam grabbed her partner's hand and squeezed very tightly to give a silent message...'DON'T YOU DARE.' Kate just smiled and said we always go home for Christmas, and that tradition remains as is.

Lying on their couch in their favorite position--Kate sprawled out with her head on Sam's lap, they enjoyed the quiet of some soft music, and a glass of wine.

Looking at the clock, the blonde sighed. "I suppose I'd best make that call. It's getting late." Reaching for the phone next to couch on the end table. Kate made a move to sit up, but was gently pushed back down. "Don't move love, I like you right there where I can see you." And smiled down...and received a smile in return. The number was dialed and her parents were told of the incoming call.

"Happy Thanksgiving mother...father." Knowing both could hear.

"Why Samantha, we were thinking you weren't going to call, it's getting rather late. You usually call before now." The usual cool tone of her mother reaching out with its icy grip to wrap around the daughter, not to mention not returning the holiday greeting.

"I'm sorry it's late, but our company just left and this is the first chance I've gotten. I hope you had a pleasant afternoon." Starting to twirl the phone cord as usual when talking to her parents. But her hand was removed by two larger ones and held between them, causing a smile to replace the serious face.

"Yes we did dear. The Chesterfields were here and the Mattsons. Their son asked about you...maybe we could arrange a dinner for the two of you to meet…" Starting to plan another socially correct pairing, but was interrupted by laughter on the other end of the phone lines.

"Please mother don't bother. I'm very happy where I am, and with whom I am with, and I don't plan on making changes in the future." Winking down at the soft blues eyes watching her so intently.

"Well now Samantha, we are just looking out for your best interests." Her father spoke for the first time, sounding like they would ignore her wishes. But not this time!

"Father...mother. I know what my best interests are, and I will take care of them." Feeling a tightness in her chest despite the comfort of Kate next to her. Then as she reached up to scratch her jaw, she felt a little glob of dried gravy from dinner, and in that instant she could almost feel Kate's mom beside her, comforting her. The tightness went away, and for the first time, she felt pity for her parents, locked in their world of material wealth, but destitute in any emotion. They were not people with any power over her any longer as she thought about them. You can't be intimidated by those you pity, and their hold over her disappeared. "I appreciate you concern for me, but I have everything and everyone I need right here, and will very happy to remain here. I'm glad you had a happy holiday, and I will call you at Christmas. Good-bye."

"Well...umph--good-bye Samantha." Stuttered her father somewhat speechless at the remarks of his daughter.

"Good-bye Samantha." Echoed her mother, butter wouldn't melt in that mouth for the coldness of the farewell.

And without any hesitation, the daughter hung up from her parents. It would be the last time they would ever have any impact on her life. By instinct she knew the nightmares would be no more. Biology and obligation tied them, but love bound her a hundred folds more strongly to the family she had here. Sighing, she looked down again at the beautiful face of her Kathryn Elizabeth. "Well, another phone call down...and I think the last one that will ever have me knots. I just realized that I should feel sorry for them, for all that they have, they really have nothing. I am the wealthy one...rich in all the things that count...starting with you."

A smile appeared on Kate's face, and this time she did sit up, gathering her best friend into her arms. "I'm glad you figured that out sweetheart. I feel the same way about you...I'm the richest and luckiest person on the earth. Happy Thanksgiving." Leaning forward those few inches to meet soft lips already parting for her.

Pulling back, Sam moved quickly to her feet. "Oh...you--Thanksgiving surprise...just sit there and I'll be right back." Disappearing into their bedroom.

"OK...But you know you didn't have to get my anything...I'm happy to be able to share the holiday, and every other…oh..my…god…sweet…mercy…" Totally losing control over her speech.

For Sam slowly walked out of their room in a dark green silk negligee with only thin straps holding it up, and clinging to every curve. "Even though I'm wearing it, I bought it with you in mind...you always say how much you like this color on me." Continuing to walk to the couch to stand in front of her lover. "You like?" Turning around slowly to show a lot of skin in back.

Kate swallowed hard. 'Breathe...come on...you can do it...breathe. If you pass out now...you'll never forgive yourself.' Standing up on weak knees...Kate continued to stare at the vision in front of her. "You know...every day I wake up and look at you and see this beautiful woman in my arms." She said in a husky voice. "But this just blows me away...you are perfection." Reaching out to run a finger across a shoulder.

Sam just smiled and stepped closer to reach her arms around the taller neck and bring the dark haired head to her. "Happy Thanksgiving my love." Kissing her with tenderness and love and then deepening it with the beginnings of desire.

That did it for Kate...on overload already, she couldn't take any more. Reaching down, she swung the silk clad goddess into her arms and carried her into their bedroom, where she unwrapped her 'gift', and they loved long into the night. Thanksgiving had a whole new meaning for them...with each finally having someone special to be thankful for...and each saying a silent thank you before falling asleep in each other's arms for the riches in their lives...the important ones...each other.

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