See disclaimer on previous chapters

Thanks to: M and J, and C and J...always encouraging me to continue.

And thank you for your time

Comments may be sent



Money Where Your Mouth Is

By djwood


It started with a knock on their front door.

"I'll get it!" Called out Kate, walking out of the spare bedroom where she had been working on the computer. Opening the door, her usually friendly smile turned into an ear-to-ear grin when she saw who was knocking. "Hey...thanks!" After signing, she shut the door and carried a box down the hallway to her partner's office.

"Who was that?" Asked the blonde...glued to her 'Author Mode'.

" one special...just UPS." Waiting for a flicker of recognition of what it meant.

"UPS? Did we order something?" Equally blonde eyebrows furrowed in concentration.

"No...not really ordered something---" Leaving the rest of the sentence hanging, blue eyes watching her friend with a soft look.

Sam raised her head for a second, looking at Kate. "Well then, what really are you saying?" Then held up a hand before her friend could answer her. "No wait...give me two minutes and I'll be done with this page, OK?" Her fingers still moving over the keys.

" problem." Leaning against the doorframe, holding the box behind her. Her plan was starting to backfire on her...the box was a bit heavy to hold like that for very long! Oh will be worth it.

The clock ticked loudly in the quiet room. Both women concentrating on their task. And true to her word, in less than 2 minutes, Sam hit the last key, saved it, and sat back, rubbing her eyes. "Hmm...that part's done. Now my friend...what's the mystery?" Looking up into sparkling blue eyes that were looking back at her. With never knew what to expect!

"Well...we didn't order it really...but..." Stepping forward, the tall woman placed the box on the other's lap. "Open it!" Excitement spilling over in the request.

"Huh?" Totally confused for a moment at the woman's happy sound, until she saw where it had come from. "Oh's from the publisher! Our copies of our book!" Remembering her lesson from Christmas, the box was ripped open with no thought of saving anything...if it got in the way of speed.

A combined 'oh' was said as Sam lifted up the paperback. Maggie and Darby, in bold black print...the artwork just as promised, but so much more when holding the finished product. Under the title was the author's name: the compromise they had worked out. Kate had tried to sound non-chalant when she had thrown the idea out:

Lying in bed one night the two women were discussing the book.

"You know Sam, we don't have to use both our full names. We can combine them any way we want to, or make up a whole new's done all the time. That would give a little safety for you, without hiding. And with it being in paperback, we can skip the picture."

"Well...what do you have in mind?" Sam didn't know what to do. To make something entirely different seemed wrong, as the postings had been under her pen name...but not feeling right about using that either. It felt like running away not to use her own-or both their names.

"I don't know...put our first names together----uhm---how about Samantha---Kat?"

The blonde smiled but wrinkled up her nose. " kitty cat?"

"Sure...but we're both listed...though I'd be happy to drop out of this---"

"NO. Don't even go there. We're in this together." Interrupting her partner, and also coming up onto her elbow so she could see Kate's face as they talked. "That idea wasn't too bad...but it doesn't click."

Again Kate took a deep breath. "Well...we could combine our names another way."

With her hand resting on the tanned chest, The petite woman could feel the steady heartbeat pick up speed a little. Hmm...what was that about? "OK. What's your other idea?" Curious now as to what would cause this reaction.

"Well---maybe instead of combing our first names...maybe we could kinda...uhm take your first name, and ah use my last name: Samantha Pompaas. I mean it's just an idea." Hurrying to add, almost tripping over her words. "We can write a list tomorrow and go from there.

The Samantha in question lowered back down onto her favorite shoulder and spoke it out loud. "Samantha Pompaas---Samantha Pompaas." It was almost a whisper as the writer repeated it. "Yeah I like it...a lot. You wouldn't mind?" Holding her breath...

"No...I wouldn't mind...I would like it if you would use it...make us seem like partners in all ways. But it's only a suggestion, so we'll talk about it tomorrow." Trying to relax now that her suggestion was out in the open...and her lover hadn't said no right away.

The other half of the writing team had her eyes closed, holding in the quick tears that had formed with the conversation. It was a type of commitment with Kate-- suggesting Sam use her name. She felt surrounded by love, and a sense of belonging, and it filled all of her. Snuggling in closer, the little blonde tightened her hold and sighed.

"Big sigh OK?" Her large hand stroking soft skin...a combination of caress and comfort. Kate gathered her friend to her...holding her closer still.

Clearing her throat to dislodge the lump there, Sam answered, though still with her emotions showing. "Oh yeah...more than OK. Thank you for offering me your last name." Meaning so much more than just those words.

"Well, you know anything I have or am is yours. It pleases me that you would consider it. You are a part of the family...a part of life. Do you know what I am saying?" Trying to say something without actually saying it in case it was too soon.

"Yes I you are a part of me and everything about me. Well...not my family...I wouldn't do that to you." Lightly poking a rib. "I am so lucky...I never stop being amazed at my good fortune in finding you and being accepted as a member of your family. You are an amazing group of people." And with both their declarations, they snuggled down to sleep...both smiling.

Kate shook herself back to the present, realizing she's missed a part of what Sam had said. "What sweetheart? Missed that...kinda zoned on you for a minute." Rolling her blue eyes at herself.

"That's OK love, I was just babbling on about actually hold the book...isn't it just unreal? I mean Maggie and Darby have been chapters on the computer...but here it is all compiled together." The awe thick in her voice.

Kate knelt down and put the box onto the computer desk and then ran her right hand along her friend's flushed cheek. "You aren't babbling're excited...and you have every right to be. I am too, and I'm very proud of you." Gathering the smaller woman into her arms, she just held her lover to her...enjoying the closeness, sharing the joy...feeling the excitement. Kissing the warm cheek, the dark haired beauty leaned back and smirked. "Well...we've got a dozen books...what do we do with them? Bring them to the family supper tomorrow night? You can autograph them. Heck...we can charge them and start making money right away!" Laughing as she finished.

Sam didn't respond beyond smiling. What were they gonna do with a dozen copies of the book? There weren't twelve people who knew she wrote fiction of this nature...or fiction of any kind. So she gently switched the subject...successfully for a change. "Do you remember what we're bringing for supper? Was it dessert or a salad?" Knowing which way one sweet-tooth would 'remember'."

"Uhm...dessert? Maybe that turtle cake? The one with the nuts on the top?" Dark eyebrows were raised with a hopeful expression on her face.

"Hmmm...chocolate. Why am I not surprised?" Trying to keep a straight face. "I thought it was that vegetable dish your mom liked."

"Oh." The hopeful puppy dog look dropped to a lonely doghouse dog in an instant, even the volume of her voice lowered in defeat.

But at lest the subject had changed away from the book. Sam stood up from her computer and reached out her hand to help her partner up, and then linked her arms around a trim waist. "Well...I think we have the stuff to make both. I'll make the salad today cause I know it will be safe till tomorrow, but the cake is gonna wait till tomorrow." Going on tip toes to kiss soft lips that were now smiling at her.

"OK...I can live with that. I'll even help you make the cake…"

"You mean you want to hang around to clean the bowls." Sounding predictable her friend was at adorably so!


"Well...that too." Blue eyes twinkling in mischief. "But I promise not to clean them out until you empty them."

"Oh you are so good to me...I am a blessed woman." Laughing at her friend. But in all truth...Sam knew she was blessed, and didn't take it for granted. Life was better now than ever and she acknowledged that fact every night with a 'thank you' whispered before sleep.

"Yes you are blessed sweetheart. Blessed with intelligence, compassion kindness and a heart of gold. And I am blessed in being able to share your life." Kissing the top of the blonde head when finished.

"W-W-ow...thank you. I feel the same way." Overwhelmed by the speech. Then she noticed the sparkle still in the blue eyes...and narrowed her green ones. "And being intelligent, I can see through that, and am still not baking the cake till tomorrow."

"Hmm...oh was worth a shot." Squeezing the smaller form to her for a second, Kate chuckled and then released her companion. "And speaking of's getting close to time to feed you...any ideas of what sounds good...besides the general category of food?" And, as if on cue, a rumbling was heard and then the corresponding face flushed.

"Not a word...not one. Let's just leave quietly and go to the kitchen, and no one will get hurt. NOW" Pushing the taller woman ahead of her out the door and down the hall, the sound of muffled laughter lingering behind.

And so another pleasant afternoon passed by. It was early spring and chilly, but still nice enough for a walk to the park. The pair took off after lunch and headed out, chattering away...a gentle push every once in a while. A picture of opposites: Kate's dark head of hair in its usual ponytail and knit ear coverings matching her bright red winter jacket. Her blonder counterpart had a more muted green and maroon jacket with green earmuffs. Taking advantage of the bright sunny day, they walked around the park a couple times...Kate climbing some rocks and then they both climbed a small hill that had a nice view of the surrounding countryside.

"Sure is nice here." Sam commented, taking in the scenery.

"Wait till later this spring when the leaves all bud out and the wild flowers start to bloom. And in the fall with all the's so pretty." Wrapping her arms around her partner from behind so they were looking out together.

Leaning against the form behind her, the writer rested her hand on the ones holding her. "Yeah, I bet it is...and I look forward to it. But I'm in no hurry to make the year go by...I'm enjoying every day as it comes." Sounding very relaxed and content...which she was.

Kate tightened her hold on the smaller figure. "Me too. Maybe cause we waited till we were a bit older to find each other, we appreciate what we have that much more."

The sound of other people walking towards them broke the quiet and also the special moment they had been sharing. With her arms still around Sam, Kate wondered what to do. Should she back away or wait to see how her partner would handle the situation? She decided to take the petite woman's lead.

Sam heard voices and by instinct stepped away from her friend, who immediately dropped her arms from around her waist. As soon as she stepped forward, she knew what had been done. Not even wanting to see the hurt she knew would be found in the blue eyes, she reached out her right hand and grasped the larger left one, squeezing it, and not letting go, and lead her lover down the path to continue their walk.

As soon as the blonde stepped away from her, Kate closed her eyes for a second...pain hitting her in the chest. So the need to hide completely is still running strong about them. Dropping her arms from the other in defeat, she was ready to step away. Then a small hand grasped hers and squeezed it. Squeezing back, the taller woman was surprised, but pleased that the writer didn't let go, and so just tagged along with her. Well, Kate thought as the pain quickly's a start.


The home place was lit up and cars parked around it when the women drove up. Kate got out and opened the passenger door, reaching out her arms to help carry something.

"Thanks honey." Reaching back and handing out the casserole dish, smirking as a pout formed. " don't carry the cake. I got it this far in one piece, and I'll get it the rest of the way, thank you very much! And inhale that know what I'll do if you don't." Stepping out of the SUV with the cake container and threat.

"Let me carry the cake, and I won't have any reason." Said Kate, standing firm and not moving from in front of the open door. "Besides, you won't do anything here." Sounding very sure of herself.

Without any response, Sam just stepped up to her taller companion and tip-toed up to kiss her...nibbling the soft lower lip that had been sticking out. Immediately lost in the sensation, the kiss lasted a little longer than the blonde had intended, but enjoyed every moment of it. Setting back down onto her feet, she smirked at the glazed look in the blue eyes...and also the surprised look on the tanned face. She knew her own eyes were a little that always happened when they kissed.

"S-Samatha…" Stuttered the amazed woman.

"Yes...and in your parent's front yard too. Tell ya a secret. I bet they know we've done that before. And if anyone else was watching...maybe they learned something they can put to use!" And with that, she stepped around her still stunned partner, cake in hand, and walked to the sidewalk before stopping. "You coming honey?"

"Uhmm...y-yeah...coming." Shutting the door and carrying the glass dish to join the other. Wow Kate thought. That was one heck of a big baby step! The pout was replaced with an ear-to-ear grin as they walked up the driveway to the back door to join the rest of the family.

The meal was loud and laughter-filled, as usual, when they all gathered...with lots of food and teasing. Sitting back, dad surveyed the table full of people. This was his favorite night. Time to catch up with everyone. Looking at his wife, he winked at her, and she smiled back, knowing where his thoughts were. 'Family' was important to them both, and the bond between them all was strong.

"Well Sam, how are things in the computer world?" Dad asked turning to his 'third' daughter.

"Just fine dad...busy, but that's good. If it wasn't busy, I would be worried." Smiling towards the head of the table. "And yes, your reports should be all done by mid-week. Everything looks good." Familiar now at his way of information gathering.

"Of course honey...with Kate here coordinating things and Jack cracking the whip, I wouldn't think it would be anything but."

"Aww dad." Came stereo replies from the named siblings. Wanting to change the subject away from them, Kate jumped to the first thing that came to mind. "Hey...guess what? We got a delivery of the first copies of 'the book' today." It had been labeled 'the book' as soon as word got around the family that there would be one published. All talking ceased and everyone turned to the writing partners. Then the room exploded in cheers and good wishes.

When Sam heard her lover make the announcement, her mind went blank. Talking about the book was one thing, but having it in solid form, where they could hold it, and read it, was entirely something else. Her stomach clenched with the thought. Now what? Taking a deep breath, she calmed herself with it. This was her family, just as much as it was Kate's. They knew all there was to know about her, and loved her their daughter's partner and for herself. They would want to share in this happy time. So she put a smile on her face, and under the table, grasped the other woman's thigh in response. The taller woman turned to her and smiled. All this was done in the time it took between Kate's announcement and their response.

"Hey! When do we get to read the book of yours?" From Joannie.

"Yeah...until I see it...I won't believe it." Teased Jack.

"Right...we're family, so we get free copies, right?" asked the perpetually poor Robbie.

The dark haired woman laughed at them all. "The books are at the house, and Robbie...since you're can pay extra. Haven't you heard of family support?" Laughing again at the look on her youngest brother's face, then continued the charade. "What do you think Sam? Mark up of about what? 200%? Cash and all major credit cards accepted." The schpielle rolling off her lips.

Sam raised her eyebrows in mock concentration. "Hmm...200% sounds good to me. We'll even throw in an autograph for that." Trying to keep the business tone in her voice and a straight face.

Again the table roared and congratulations mixed with good-natured grumbles as they talked more about the publishing.

Slowly then talk turned to other things, and then they all cleared the table and brought in dessert. Kate's eyes never left the cake as it was sliced and passed around...watching it get smaller and smaller. Finally everyone had a piece that wanted one and she sighed. Almost half of it left...leftovers...YES! But when a hand reached for the knife to cut seconds, Kate would have nothing of it. " seconds...I mean...don't eat too's really rich." A flush following her words.

"You meant exactly what you said darling." Teased her mom pointing a finger at her and shaking it. "What is it about you and that cake?" Asking the question there was no specific answer to.

"It's not my fault." Turning to look at amused green eyes. "You made it that first time. I can't help it that it's soooooo good." Proving her point by putting another forkful of the chocolate ambrosia into her mouth and rolling her eyes as she chewed, causing laughter.

Later that evening back at home, the sound of the microwave brought Sam from their bedroom to the kitchen. In the dimness stood a solitary figure with a fork in her hand. Flipping on the light, blue eyes were first surprised and then sheepish at getting caught.

"What ya doing in the dark?" The blonde asked needlessly.

"Didn't want to wake you." Grasping at straws...guilt all over in her voice.

"Why not? What ya warming up?" The green eyes took in the embarrassed look on the other turn to a blush. "You're not….Are you warming up that cake?"

"Uhm...maybe." Looking down at the fork feeling like she was twelve again and getting caught with her hand in the cookie handed!

Seeing that expression, the petite woman had a hard time continuing. "Should I start you on a 12 step program about it?" Trying not to laugh at the child-like look on her partner's. She was just too adorable sometimes!

"No---it's just---well...if I put it in the microwave for only like 10 seconds, it gets warmed up just a bit. Enough to make the frosting all gooey...and the cake tastes like it was fresh out of the oven." The microwave had buzzed, and Kate was itching to get the cake out before it got cold again, but didn't want to do it in front of Sam.

But the writer saw blue eyes darting from her to the microwave and back again...and knew what was bouncing around in the ravened haired head...not that it was too difficult! Let's see just how badly she wants that piece of cake? Walking up to her friend, Sam slid her arms around the tall form. "That's OK honey. I'm glad you like my baking. Do you want to try warming anything else up?" Nibbling on bare skin at the base of Kate's throat and working her way up to her jaw and across her cheek, pressing her small form against the other.

Immediately strong arms closed around her lover.

"Yeow!" Called out Sam...feeling a fork in her back.

"Oops-sorry." Murmured Kate, dropping the utensil to the floor. "Just checking to see if you were done." With a smirk, then bending down to nuzzle and kiss the side of a soft neck.

"And am I?" Was asked quietly...concentrating on her task of checking out any warm bare skin.

"Are you what?" The cake lover asked--confused as to what they were talking about.

"Done." Answered the blonde...acting like she was no where near done with her project at hand...or in hand.

A chuckle came from the dark haired woman. "Nope...need some more work." Grinning now as she lifted the blonde off the floor and headed to the bedroom.

But honey, the oven is in here." Teased Sam, laughing and then attacking soft lips that were now on her level.

Hmm-mm." The tall woman felt her legs wobble a little with that last kiss. "I'll warm you up in other ways, sweetheart, and then we'll really be cooking." Making her way out of the kitchen to their room, locking lips again.

" up." Sam stumbled over the words as she lost track of their conversation and the teasing about the cake...THE CAKE! Lifting up glazed green eyes to meet equally glazed over blue ones, she asked. "What about your cake?" Finding her own tasty morsel to nibble just happened to be an earlobe.

"C-cake? What c-cake? Oh geez sweetheart, you keep that up and it will be a miracle if we make it in one piece to the bed." Struggling to keep her composure and balance!

"So you want me to stop?" Not even slowing down on her actions.

" believe in miracles!" Now taking those last steps to the side of the bed. Kate slowly and gently set her passenger down, sliding her down her own they maintained physical contact the whole time.

Feeling the back of her legs against the bed as her feet touched the floor, the petite woman smiled, having no doubts they would reach their destination. Wrapping her arms around the taller shoulders, she pulled the tanned beauty to her. Those soft lips constantly called out to her...filling her with a want that no amount of kisses seemed to take away. Knowing it would be safe, and trusting her partner, Sam let herself fall backwards onto the bed, taking Kate with her.

Kate, feeling herself pulled forward, let go reluctantly of the soft but firm body against her, so she could catch herself when she hit the bed. Not good to squish the woman you're making love to...kinda would kill the mood, don't ya know! Her strong arms held her body up slightly from putting her full weight on her lover. "Hmm...why do I feel like I just fell for you all over again?" Smiling as she looked into turbulent green eyes.

"Could be because you did. " Looking back at her companion. Reaching up she cupped the tan face and caressed the cheek with her thumb. "Just like I did honey. Every time it's like falling again. You can take my breath away." Pulling the dark head down for an example of a breath-stealing kiss.

The cake was forgotten in the microwave...the fork lay on the floor...and even the kitchen light was left on until morning. With hurried tenderness, Kate removed the other's sweatshirt and bra all in one motion. Taking a moment to admire and

stare at the creamy skin before using her larger hands, smoothing and caressing...finding and re-visiting all the favorite places that would make Sam softly moan and gasp...shivering in response. Soon Kate's clothes were tossed off and smaller hands ran up a muscular yet velvet sides and back...making the other woman whisper her name.

"Oh Sam...that feels so good. You know just where I love your t-touch. Like there." Literally arching herself into her partner's arms.

Looking up through half closed green eyes, she feasted on the scene above her...never growing tired of all the nuances of emotions that crossed her lover's face...besides the obviously beautiful form within her reach. "That's right honey...just close your eyes and feel me...let me love you right into bliss..." Her voice deepening and slightly hoarse with her own passion.

"" The words forced through the waves of pleasure building in her. Moving her one leg just a little bit, was enough to insure dual oblivion.

The next morning, two bodies were still tangled together in the sheets and blanket...wrapped in each other's arms. One pair of ones...opened a bit and then closed...only to flutter open again. A small smile formed as she felt the weight of her partner half on and half off her. What better way to wake up...then she realized what woke her up. Sam had snuggled a little lower on her shoulder in her fact, not really her shoulder any more at all! And that cute soft snore was blowing her breath right on her---well, was causing a reaction from the outside to deep within. As much as Kate was enjoying this exquisite torture...something needed to be done. Either move her a few inches away or a few inches closer! And the dark haired woman had no difficulty choosing her answer...but figured that was cheating...uhm...maybe.

"Ah...sweetheart?" Rubbing her hand along the shoulder and arm on her. Nothing...except an extra big exhale...which Kate did not need at this point. Now feeling her control slipping, she tried again. Sam was not an early riser...unless troubled...or smelled breakfast...neither being the case this morning. :" up." Now kissing the blonde hair and gently shaking the sleeping woman. Something this time...a slight stretch so she was covered even more, and then another big sigh. "Oh Lord Sam, you're killing me here...but what a way to go!!" Trying one last time to be honorable, the now deeper alto voice raised in volume. "Samantha May!"

The sound of her full name reached the cob-webbed mind and caused her to jerk awake...and the jerk caused Kate to jump a bit in surprise...and...BINGO...a few inches in the right direction...or left...depending on how you looked at the situation.

"OH!" Came from Kate...her breathing stopping in mid inhale.

"Hmm!" Came from the now very awake blonde. Neither woman moved for a minute, trying to comprehend the scene.

"Ah S-Sam...either move please and let go...or resign yourself to staying here a while...I can't take it any longer." A hoarse voice whispered desperately.

Talking around the surprise, Sam answered. "I think I'll resign." Trying not to laugh at the panicked look on her lover's face. Though surprised at the position she found herself in, was enjoying it. So with a bird's eye view, she sighed again...this time on purpose...making now wet skin react to the cool air blowing on it.

A gasp was the immediate reaction, and then arms tightened around her...holding her there. "You know Kate, I like it're even softer here than your shoulder."

"Well I should hope so! So you want to play huh? When you pay...OH!" The threat interrupted by a slight movement from Sam...slight--but just enough.

It was late morning when they walked out of the bedroom...holding hands, to make breakfast...or brunch, when they discovered the kitchen light still on.

"What the--?" Asked Kate, puzzled.

"Oh yeah." Giggled Sam, turning it off. Bending down, she picked up the fork from the floor. "Am I done now honey?" Asking in total innocence, holding it up for her friend to see.

The question brought the memory of how their evening had ended in here...and a flush rose on her face. "Oh...uhm...done..." Then her natural quick wit kicked in. "Done...and delicious too!"

The writer laughed and then opened up the microwave...took out the now dried up piece of cake. "I have to say I faired much better than this dessert did." Throwing it away...and again laughing as sad blue eyes followed her every move. "Sorry honey, even mouth-to-mouth won't save it. Sometimes it's best to let it go and say goodbye." Setting the small plate into the sink.

Kate walked over to the garbage can and opened the lid, waving. "Goodbye...I'm sorry...I'll never forget you." In total funeral type somber tone.

The blonde watch in fascination until the speech and then she started laughing...growing with every phrase till she was doubled over and crying.

Strong arms wrapped themselves around her and her neck was kissed. "Gotcha!" Laughing along with her friend. She enjoyed seeing and hearing the other woman let loose and laugh from her toes. "OK...NOW...what's to eat?" Giving the petite woman one last squeeze before letting her go to head to the refrigerator.

"How about---cake?" Questioned with a chuckle.

"Nah...I've had my sweet tooth filled for a while now." Winking at her partner, before her dark head disappeared into the inside of the appliance.

Not surprisingly during the next week, each and every one of Kate's siblings and her parents 'happened' to be in the neighborhood, and with a bit of heavy hinting, received copies of 'the book'. Much to Robbie's relief, they didn't charge him as Kate had teased him about doing. She said they would take it out in washing, garage cleaning, lawn mowing...starting a list until the youngest was moaning his displeasure, then they relented and laughed at him.

One afternoon, Kate and Sam were browsing at the mall. As long as it wasn't too crowded, the tall woman didn't mind going there. They stepped into a bookstore to look at some computer software (and games for Kate!) to add to their collection. Not really looking around too much as they was only the movement outside the display window that caught their eyes.

Slightly elbowing her partner, the blonde got her attention. "Uhm Kate...what's going on outside?" Tilting her head towards the mall itself.

Looking up from what she was reading, the blue eyes followed the head tilt.

"I don't know. Don't remember hearing about anything going on out here. Look at the signs they are carrying."

As they read the posters together, the color left both their faces.





Sam's stomach instantly churned, and suddenly huge green eyes turned back to her friend. Unlike the color that had left Sam's face, and stayed gone, Kate's was flushed in anger. So much so that the blonde put her hand on the other's arm in an attempt to calm her. She could feel the muscles in the arm were tight in an effort to not react. "Easy honey...look in the store. We're not the only ones in here. They are just a small group of narrow minded ignorant people...hating whatever they do not, or cannot or want to try to understand."

Through clenched jaws, the tall woman responded with effort. "I know...but at the moment, I'd like to give them a crash course in human equality. Good God, it's the 21st century. What does Haskell's sell that could be considered smut?" Asked the dark haired woman in agitated confusion. Not waiting for answers, she walked over to the checkout. The clerk knew her because the 'gadget buyer' was a regular...coming to look for anything new or interesting.

"Hi Kate." He greeted her with a smile. "Looking for something specific this time?" Grinned the college-aged man.

Unable to help herself, the tanned woman smiled back, though it did not completely reach her still serious blue eyes. "Just looking today Thad. What's with the bunch outside here today? You got a back room I've never found?" Trying to ease her own anger with a bit of humor. But she had been coming to this store for years, and it really ticked her off that people would do this. The owner was even a casual friend of her dad's.

Thad shook his head. "Well I guess they think you're not far from the mark."

Dark eyebrows raised at the comment. She'd prowled this store and never found anything worth protesting...unless the price of something was beyond what she had in her pocket at the moment. "Really? What have I been missing out on?"

Thad just smirked and left his spot behind the counter and indeed did head to the back of the store. On the back shelf sandwiched between historical and western romance, was a small section label 'alternative romance'. Kate had never really even looked at it before. Most of the books back here were not usually in her interest...the gadgets being up front! Pointing at the alternative section, he just turned and walked back to the cash register to check a customer out.

Sam had been watching the exchange between her friend and the clerk, and when no voices were raised, she went back to the programs to make her writing and accounting time shorter. But curiosity got the better of her after a few moments, when Thad returned without Kate. Following the direction to the back, she walked up to the taller woman who had her back to the rest of the store. Tapping her on the shoulder, she got the other's attention. "Hey Kate...thought I'd lost you back here. What did you find out?"

At the sound of her lover's voice, Kate sighed. This was going to be sticky. Should she get her out of the store...or face this together? Did she feel like a chicken or a warrior? Thinking chicken made her think fowl--which led her to Dolly the Duck, and so answered her internal question. Turning, she smiled at the petite woman. "Hi there. Can't get lost in here...I spent most of my allowance on one thing or another. And yes...I did find out. It's this section that's raising the ruckus." Stepping aside, she allowed her partner to look.

Green eyes took in the section title and then turned to her lover. "These?"


"But they're..."

"Yep...they are alternative fiction...romance to be specific. Look at the authors...some of our favorites...and...uhm...along with my very favorite one." Pointing at the book in her hand. A very familiar book...theirs! Their book had made it to this store already!

"Oh boy..."

"Now Sam..."

"And so it begins." Closing her eyes and taking a deep breath. "Another hurdle."

"I guess so sweetheart." The alto voice low so only Sam would hear. That in itself was more than Kate would usually say in public. "I think there will always be hurdles...but we decide if they are walls or just challenges." Serious in her comment...wondering how her partner would take this.

Shrugging her shoulders, Sam tried to search in herself for the courage she knew was there...and the love and support she carried inside from her lover and family...and so met this head-on. If a bit shaky coming out of the starting block. "Samantha Pompaas looks kind of good amongst all those other names, huh? Must be pretty good to be with them. Maybe we should purchase a copy." Smiling up at Kate and squeezing her hand for a moment to show she was OK.

The smile was returned...and this time it did reach the blue eyes. And actually filled them with tears momentarily, before clearing her throat. "Uhm...nah...I don't think she'll need the help. I think she'll be just fine on her own. You know...all this publicity might just make a certain reader interest aware they are here, and actually do some good."

"Yeah...sometimes this kind of protest back-fires on them"

"Sometimes. Did you find what you were looking for?" Changing the subject back to their reason for being here in the first place.

Sam smiled and bumped the taller woman as they started back to the front of the store. "Already found what I was looking for...came in with her." Laughing softly.

"!" A slight blush adding extra color to the tanned face.

"Come on." Said the blonde, leading the way out. "Let's go home. Should we grill out tonight? It's a beautiful day out."

"Yes it is...a beautiful day today." Kate agreed for an entirely different reason.

They exited the store and ignored the small group of people...not giving them even a glance...not acknowledging their presence even.


"Steaks are ready!" Called out Kate into the house before returning to the grill.

"OK! Bring them in!" The writer had set the table and even had a candle lit...just to make it a little more cozy.

The dark haired woman brought in the platter of meat in and slowed down as she walked into the dining room. "Hey! That looks nice. What's the occasion?" Panicking for a second that she had forgotten something important...but coming up with nothing.

"No reason. Just thought this would be nice. We're usually busy and grabbing food on the run...or draped all over the couch, eating off the coffee table...or going out the door to the health club."

"Yeah...this is a treat. Kind of a date with my favorite girl." Smiled Kate as she put the platter down on the table.

"My feelings exactly." Setting rolls and salad down also.

They sat down and began to eat. Filling in the silence periodically with chatter. The television was on in the living room...the sound on they wanted to check the weather predictions for the next few days. Topping off the local news was the scene at the mall this afternoon. Both women stopped eating with forks halfway up to their lips. Getting up, Sam walked into he living room and turned up the volume.

"Again...recapping this story. A small group of concerned citizens have picketed Haskell's Bookstore to protest a section of alternative books regarding Gay and Lesbian literature. It was a quiet protest and no one was arrested. The store owner had no comment.

As the pre-taped film ran, it showed a pair of women in the background, leaving the store...never looking towards the tall and dark, and one shorter and blonde.

Kate got up and joined Sam in the living room...holding her from behind as they watched the piece finish. Then silence as Sam turned off the TV by remote.

"Sweetheart?" Asked her worried partner. The blonde hadn't said a word since the news piece had begun. The dark eyebrows furrowed as she tried to figure out what to do. It seemed like they were being tested...or at least the writer was being tested on her resolve and promise to live her life more honestly and true to herself. "Sweetheart?" The endearment was repeated when there was only silence.

The blonde head was whirling with so many things at once. The excitement of getting their book published was slowly being chipped away with real life. It was a question paradoxical with the book and their life...can love overcome the harshness and ignorance of others? What should she do? Nothing? Something? Far away she could feel arms around her waist tightening...bringing her back from where she had retreated. Leaning back against the solid form...her rock...Sam sighed. What would she really change if she could? Not a single thing was the instant answer.

"I'm OK love...just surprised that this made the news." Smiling sadly. "Must have been hard up for something to fill in the time."

Kate exhaled a breath she didn't know she had been holding. Well...she was talking and even joking a bit...maybe it was another hurdle they'd crossed. And so followed the tone of her friend. "Yeah...I guess it's hard to come up with interesting things every day."

So they walked back to the dining room table and their unfinished meal and finished it. Of course they were both quieter than at the start of the meal, but it was not so much an uncomfortable silence as it was both of them thinking of what they had just watched After cleaning everything up, Sam disappeared into her office for a while. Kate understood the need for some was just the way her lover worked through things. When she had it straight in her head, they would was their routine...opposites at work. Kate talked off the top of her head...Sam took it in and held on for a while. Both had good and bad sides to their actions. The blue eyed woman would never get an ulcer from stewing about things...but sometimes had to talk around her foot before she was done. Sam watched and listened and observed without commenting...taking it all in and letting it eat at her until it could be talked about more calmly and quietly. The influence of one on the other was starting to balance each other more to the middle of the spectrum. The writer easing her partner's impulsive remarks with a look or touch. And the naturally outgoing woman bringing the blonde out of her shell to at least talk about things at some point.

About an hour later, Sam entered the living room holding out a sheet of paper to the woman lying on the couch. "Got something for you to read...if you would." Very serious but not upset.

Kate sat up...only to have the writer sit in the corner and pull the dark head onto her lap. " spend time like this with could give me a whole book to browse." Smiling up at her friend and winking.

Sam smiled back and stroked the long mane of hair...running her hand over it. "Thank you...I love this time with you too. But not as much as I love you."

"I love you too sweetheart." The she proceeded to read the paper...and though serious, the blue eyes shone with pride and love. When finished, she handed it back. "That's said it just right. Did it help to put it down on paper?"

"Yeah, I think so...sometimes just writing the words can take the sting out of a situation for me...and respond with thoughts to get it out of my head and heart...not hang onto it."

They sat together for another hour discussing what Sam had written and the situation in general. Kate could think of a couple ideas to contribute, but this was Sam's therapy and her way of working through her feelings. Yep...another baby step for her friend taken...side by side...together lending support and encouragement.

Two days later, the local paper printed the piece it its entirety in 'the voice of the people'.

Tonight I am sad. I have just watched the news coverage on the protest at Haskell's Bookstore. I truly believe in the first amendment of the freedom of speech...the right to disagree and have different views and thoughts...lifestyles...ideas. But no one is forcing anyone's lifestyle on the public by simply having a small selection of reading material for certain people's interests. No one is pushing anyone to read them except who wants to. There are larger sections of other reading material for other interests, but no one says they are wrong if they don't agree with them being there. It is the protesters that are telling the public what they can and can't read...what they can and can't sell...what can and can't exist. And that is another thing entirely. Why? Why must life be like this? History keeps repeating itself, but we never seem to learn by our past mistakes. People coming to America on the Mayflower and the Revolutionary War to free us to be who we are and not under someone else telling how to live. The Civil War to free blacks from slavery...that no one can own another no matter what color. The right for women to vote and then equal rights, finally figuring out that intelligence does not lie only in a certain gender. Then of course there is the devastation left behind because Hitler decided to wipe out an entire race because he thought they were inferior.

Now we look back at these examples and wonder how we could have ever thought that way about a certain section of people. In another hundred years will this current issue seem archaic also? Because who loves whom -it is wrong? If we find out we are not the only life forms...will those other beings be wrong because they may not look like us?

Maybe the thing we should be intolerant intolerance.

A concerned citizen

part 10

Return to the Academy