See Part 1 for Disclaimers.



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Part Five

Invisible fingers poked restlessly through the remains of last year’s bounty, indiscriminately tossing the detritus as if searching half-heartedly for some forgotten thing. Small, more substantial fingers poked just as restlessly at a collection of Matchbox cars arranged in some obscure pattern only they could discern. From time to time, those fingers paused in their play to reach up and reset a lock of hair disturbed by the pass of the invisible searcher.

Lee watched the towheaded boy stop his play to again reach up and set his wind ruffled hair back in place. The boy, Lee recalled from his earlier encounter during the shoot, was much younger than his height and maturity would suggest. He was a quiet child who handled his role in the show exceptionally well, but otherwise kept to himself.

Lee was about to go out and ask the child why he was still here when he caught the boy's attention turn to the parking lot. Lee followed the boy's gaze to where two women were standing beside a silver Blazer. There was another, sportier car sitting beyond the Blazer, but Lee couldn't see enough of it from his position to tell what it was. Lee's brows rose.

The taller of the two women topped the shorter by a head and, by the way she stood, it appeared that she enjoyed that height advantage immensely. Her black hair was perfectly coifed and unaffected by the spring wind swirling around her. Her skirt and jacket spoke of sophistication and a high profile job. As Lee watched, the woman tossed her head and he caught a glimpse of dark, flashing eyes and a perfectly made up face. She reminded Lee of nothing so much as one of those women who would try to seduce him for her own purposes, and he could feel his face wrinkling up in disgust as he watched.

The shorter woman contrasted the taller in every aspect. Where the taller woman's hair was so dark it shone nearly blue in the sunlight, the shorter woman's was a bright, coppery red which bounced around her head in unruly curls as she spoke. Where the taller woman's features were dark, almost Mediterranean, the shorter woman's were so pale as to seem nearly transparent. Even her clothes, a thick sweater and pressed Dockers, were simple and practical as opposed to the taller woman's flashy duds. There seemed, to Lee, to be a no-nonsense air about her that spoke of a hidden strength and brought a small smile to his face.

Even at this distance, Lee could tell the two were embroiled in a heated argument. The taller woman was gesticulating wildly while the shorter appeared to be more restrained, her words coming through clenched teeth. Lee watched the altercation a moment longer before cutting his eyes back to the boy whose unhappy gaze was locked on the two women.

"Lovers' tiff."

"Huh?" Lee blinked and turned his attention away from the tableau near the cars. He smiled at the woman who had spoken to his back. "Hey, Lane."

Lane returned the smile. "Hey, Lee." She indicated the women outside with her chin. "I said, 'Lovers' tiff.'"

"Oh?" Lee glanced outside. The shorter woman was approaching the porch with a determined look on her face, the taller on her heels, obviously still shouting.

Lane nodded. "I heard them on my way in. "


Lee watched the approaching women with interest. The dark woman had put her longer legs to good use and quickly caught up. She reached out and clamped down on the red-head's shoulder, spinning the shorter woman around. Lee glanced over at the boy to check his reaction in time to see a tear trickle down his cheek. As he watched, the child jumped to his feet and ran towards the two women.

"Excuse me a sec," Lane said as she pushed around Lee.

Lee smiled as he watched her burst through the door. Lane wasn't huge by any stretch – though she couldn't be called small, either – but she definitely carried herself with authority and Lee loved watching her throw that tough butch attitude around.

Lee followed Lane's progress into the yard. The red-head was being shaken violently despite her efforts to free herself, while the boy struck at the dark woman's waist and back. When Lane arrived, she inserted herself between the women as if they were mere bushes tangled in the wind and split them apart.

The moment the red-head was freed from the shaking grip, the young boy left off his attack and cowered against her. "Huh," Lee commented again, this time to the empty room. There was no doubt about the relationship between the boy and the red-head.

Lee’s grin, which had been on his face since Lane left the building, slipped as he watched the taller woman lunge at his security chief. In an instant, he was out the door and on his way across the yard to where the two women struggled. He arrived just as the over dressed visitor managed to accidentally land an elbow into Lane's face hard enough to send the butch stumbling backwards.

Lee’s hands were already reaching out as he approached the combatants and he managed to place one in the middle of Lane’s back, preventing her stumble from turning into a fall. He halted his forward momentum to give her his attention. “Are you alright?”

“Yeah,” she muttered through the hand covering her face once she’d caught her balance.

Lee nodded then turned to the tall woman who he could now discern as being of some sort of Latin descent. She had paused in her attack when Lane started to go down and was now standing with her hands on her hips and her chest heaving.

“You,” Lee snarled, jabbing a finger in the air at the woman. “I want you off this property immediately.”




~Continued in Part Six~

©March 2005