By Geonn Cannon

Warning: This chapter contains graphic sexual situations. If you want to skip it, when things get R-rated, just skip ahead to the next chapter and you won't miss anything plot-wise.

Chapter Eight -

The majority of the town had already taken their seats. The din was rising with each new arrival, mostly discussing what the topic of the meeting should be. When Sheriff Jones stepped out of the staircase, the conversation soon shifted to what the hell had happened to his face. Winston Orr could barely keep himself from laughing. "Maybe he had a run-in with a jealous husband," the old barber suggested to Wilbur.

"More likely a jealous door frame," Wilbur smirked. "You haven't seen the way he walks after half an hour in my bar."

Tommy Dawes, the stable hand, leaned forward and tapped Wilbur on the shoulder. "Couple of fellas came into the stable for their horses this morning, said Sheriff Jones got into a dust-up with Noah Dearborn last night. Said they hadda clean the blood off the floor and the cell bars."

"Think that's right?" Winston asked.

Wilbur nodded at tilted his chin at the stage. "If anyone was dumb enough to cross that maniac..."

Winston laughed so hard he began to cough. He covered his mouth with his fist and Wilbur slapped him on the back a few times. When the coughing had died down, Wilbur leaned back just as Katie slipped into the folding chair next to him. Wilbur smiled at her and glanced over her shoulder. His smile faded. "Where's Ada? Valerie? Your whole little club's gone missing lately."

Katie smiled. "Ada's holed up at home. Probably getting that bug Rose has... Valerie went to take her some supplies."

"And Rose is still..."

"Sick. Getting better though. I saw her yesterday."

"Good," Wilbur sighed. He patted his wife's arm and said, "I hated the idea of hiring a woman as my bartender, but I really don't want to explore the alternative."

Mayor Scott finally appeared. He crossed in front of Sheriff Jones and leaned on the podium. He took a moment to scan the crowd and said, "If I could have everyone's attention, please?" The room quieted. "Thank you. Before we begin, is Mrs. Valerie Monroe in attendance today?" He paused for a reply and, when he didn't get one, muttered, "All right. As I'm sure you're all very aware, we've had a bit of a problem in this town lately. Problems with lawlessness, vigilantism... gunfights in the middle of Main Street in broad daylight.

"This must end. It must end before it gets out of control. Before Paradise, Oklahoma, becomes synonymous with outlaws and gunfights. Do we want to become the next Tombstone? No! We have to nip this thing in the bud if we, as a town are to... a-are to survive." He lowered his head briefly. When he'd regained his composure, he looked back out over the crowd.

"So in order to prevent further situations like this, starting today, Sheriff Jones will be enforcing a new law. Anyone seen carrying a weapon within town limits will be fined fifty dollars." A gasp went up from the crowd, but Scott merely raised his voice and continued speaking. "Anyone discharging a firearm will immediately be arrested. This law will be enforced retroactively... which means I am calling for the immediate arrest of Mrs. Valerie Monroe and the man known as Black Jack."

The crowd revolted.

"Are you insane, man?" Winston Orr shouted.

"That's unethical!"

"Please, everyone, please," Scott said. He held his hands up and tried to wave people back into their seats. "This is the best solution for everybody. If we show that we're serious, then there won't be a problem with gunslingers like Black Jack..."

"You take our guns, you take our freedom," Winston Orr said. "If I pull my shotgun 'cause someone is tryin' to rob my store, I'm gonna have to pay fifty dollars? Hell, I might's well give the guy my cash drawer. It'd be cheaper!"

A few others shouted their support of Winston.

Scott massaged his brow and leaned against the podium. "Ladies and gentlemen, please..."

"We refuse to have our hands tied by..."

"All right!" Scott barked, slapping his hand repeatedly on the podium. "Please. Ladies and gentlemen, please. Exceptions will, of course, be made in certain cases, Mr. Orr. Self-defense will be allowed. The law only pertains to those <i>carrying</i> guns on their persons. What you describe would be protecting yourself and your property. We would not fine you for that."

"Mighty fine line, if you ask me," Orr grumbled.

Someone said, "What good is having guns if we can't use them? Might as well just outlaw bullets!"

"Valerie Monroe was protecting herself and... a-and Black Jack when she shot Dearborn," Katie yelled. "Why isn't she exempt?"

"Valerie Monroe shot Noah Dearborn in the back. She was in no immediate danger and..."

Winston laughed loud enough to interrupt Scott's explanation. "Your ice is getting thin, boy. No one's gonna follow this crazy--"

"With every new law, there is an adjustment period. And until the kinks are worked out, fines will be issued <i>judiciously.</i> Exemptions will be decided on a case-by-case basis. As of right now, only two people are being called for; Valerie Monroe and Black Jack. You will follow this order or you will be arrested. That's all." He turned and got off the stage as quickly as possible. Jones followed him, leaving the hall behind them in an uproar.

Wilbur shook his head. "Can you believe that, Katie? Who does...?" He realized he was speaking to an empty chair and looked around for his wife. "Katie?" He sighed and shook his head. "Eves of Paradise Social Club. Escape Artist Club is more like it..."


Katie ran from the town hall and startled a man who was rooting through saddle bags in search of hidden treasures. He gasped when she stormed down the stairs and raced down the dirt street with her skirt gathered in one hand. A few seconds after she disappeared into the stable, she reappeared on horseback and headed towards the edge of town.

Katie, in her rush, hadn't even noticed the thief. She was spurring the horse harder than he'd ever been, praying it would be fast enough. Ada's house was on the very edge of town, out of sight and facing a wild hillside. If she got there before Valerie left, there was a very good chance they could get away without anyone from town spotting them.

As she rode up, she saw Rose and Valerie standing inside Ada's low picket fence. Rose had a revolver in her left hand and was holding it steady. She held it for a few seconds and then dropped it like a lead weight and began rubbing her arm. She twisted her shoulder to loosen it up and brought the gun up again. Valerie turned away from Rose's practice when she heard the horse's approach. She smiled and walked to the gate. "Katie!" she called. She waved and motioned at the door. "Now that you're here, the club can play a hand."

"No, we have to go, Val. Now!"

Katie stopped the horse behind the wagon and leapt down. She rushed to Valerie's side as Rose holstered the gun. She was wearing Ada's clothes, which made her look like a little girl playing dress-up, but she looked miles better than she had the day before. She leaned against the fence, obviously still weak. "What's wrong, Katie?"

Katie paused to take a breath, her face stinging from exertion. "Mayor Scott... instituted a new law. Anyone seen carrying... a weapon in town limits will be fined, anyone discharging a weapon... will be immediately arrested. The law is retroactive, so he has a warrant out for your arrest, Val. And another for Black Jack."

"I'm wanted?!" Valerie gasped. She looked over her shoulder at Rose and shook her head. "This is ridiculous!"

Rose shook her head. "There's no way you'd get convicted," she said. She reached out and put her hand on Valerie's shoulder. The move was half-comfort, half-necessity. "Most everyone in this town would testify you shot Dearborn to save someone else."

"That ain't the point," Katie said. "Don't you get it? The jail only has two cells, Val. If you get locked up, Jones will put you in a cell with Dearborn."

"Oh, hell," Valerie muttered. Her face went white at the implication.

"It's not law and order," Rose gasped. "It's an execution."

Katie grabbed Valerie's sleeve. "We have to go. Now. Before anyone figures out where you are."

"Where will I go?"

"The train station," Katie said. "We'll put you on a train to New York, say you're just going up to see your husband for a while. No one will question it. We'll say you left this morning and that's why you missed the town meeting. But we have to go <i>now.</i>"

Valerie nodded quickly. "Okay. Okay, let's go." She turned and squeezed Rose's good shoulder. "Be well."

"We'll send you a wire when everything's settled," Rose promised. She embraced Valerie as the sky rumbled with thunder. "Better get going," she said.

Ada came out onto the porch as Katie and Valerie walked back to the horse. "What's going on?"

Rose said, "Sheriff is calling for Valerie's arrest. Discharging a firearm."

"Ah, hell," Ada breathed. "Hold on." She ran back into the house and returned a few seconds later. She was carrying two slickers and a wide-brimmed hat. She hurried down the path and handed them each a slicker. "If this storm is as bad as it looks, you're gonna be wanting these. Ride fast, Katie." She put the hat on Katie's head and pecked her cheek.

She moved to Valerie and hugged her tight. "Where're you gonna be?"

"New York," Valerie said. "We'll just tell anyone who looks for me that I'm joining Max."

"Be safe." Ada hugged Valerie and then helped her get into the slicker. They mounted Wilbur's horse and waved good-bye before heading towards the train station. Ada watched them go, eyes brimming with tears.

Rose brushed Ada's arm and said, "It's not permanent... she's just going away until we can get this all sorted out."

Ada scoffed. "Assuming we <i>do</i> get it sorted out."

Rose smiled sadly. "Yeah. Assuming that." They waved again as the horse rounded a corner and dropped out of sight. A few fat droplets of rain splattered against the wooden porch, a preview of what they were in for later in the night. Ada went inside first and Rose glanced at the sky for a long moment before she followed.


With the bounty from Valerie's supply run, Ada and Rose decided to combine lunch and dinner into one large meal. They raided the bags for the most desirable foods and ended up with a feast of chicken fried steak, cornbread, black-eyed peas, okra and hominy with sweet tea. Ada did most of the cooking, Rose shuffling around as her assistant. As they fried the beef for the steak, Ada began humming quietly. Rose picked up the tune and, before long, both women were singing.

They sang 'Little Old Sod Shanty on My Claim' together and Rose sang 'A Fair Lady of the Plains,' but cut off the final verse wherein the six-shooting woman was killed by Indians. Ada sang, "In a canyon, in a cavern, excavating for a mine."

Rose laughed, "Live a miner, forty-niner, and his daughter, Clementine."

They joined together, singing about the poor miner's lost daughter. When Rose sang, "Herring boxes without topses," she kicked her right foot up and tapped her heel with the fingers of her left hand. Ada laughed so hard she lost the tune and had to lean against the stove for support. The singing stopped only when the food was ready. They carried their plates, heavy with food, to the table and sat across from each other.

By the time they started eating, the darkness in the windows had grown to midnight-blackness, occasionally cut into by flashes of white-hot lightning. They ate slowly, taking long pauses to watch the window and wait for the rain to start. Ada watched Rose fumble to use her fork with her left hand. "How is your arm? Your side?"

Rose looked up, surprised by Ada's speaking voice after all their singing. "It's a bit sore. Both arms, actually."

"Why're you even trying to shoot with your left hand?"

"It's my weak hand," she said. "I can't handle a gun with my right arm at the moment. I'd like to be able to go up against Dearborn again if necessary."

"You think you could take him?"

"In a fair fight?" Rose said. "I got no doubt."

Ada smiled. "Seriously. The gunshot...?"

"Better than it has been in a week." She dabbed at her mouth with a napkin and leaned back in her chair. "I want to thank you, Ada. For... hell. You know." She ducked her head, suddenly bashful. "If it weren't for you... I would've... well..."

"We don't have to talk about that," Ada said, as much from embarrassment as fear of what might have happened.

"Still," Rose said. "Thank you, Ada."

"You are welcome, Rose."

Rose turned her glass of sweet tea to make rings on the wooden table. She looked out the window again and said, "Looks to be quite a storm."

"Mm. Epic," Ada agreed. "I'm prayin' we don't get a tornado."

"We had a couple down in Texas a few months before the Land Run," Rose said. "Lotta piss and vinegar, big noises and such, but nothing to worry about."

"Still... mind if I leave a lantern next to the bed tonight?"

Rose shook her head. "Next you'll be wanting to eat cookies in bed."

Ada ducked her head shyly and began to idly push her cornbread through the juice of her beans. She looked out the window as droplets began to pelt the glass, each exploding with a loud thwap. "I don't like the rain," she said. "I'm not scared of it anymore, mind you, but... Whenever a storm starts up, I get flashbacks to when I was a little girl... hiding under my blankets..."

Rose smiled. "I always climbed out my bedroom window and sat on the rooftop. I got soaked, usually got sick for my troubles, but... it was worth it." She looked down at her food and then looked up to see Ada smiling at her. "What?"

"Just picturing young Ms. Rose, sitting on her roof, soaked to the bone and laughing her fool head off."

Rose blushed and shrugged. "It was cold. And amazing. And when the lightning flashed and it made the whole world look white and gray..."

"You're beautiful."

Rose stopped and looked across the table. Ada was studiously ignoring her, focused on stirring her hominy and okra together. Rose waited to see if there would be any follow-up to the statement. When Ada stayed quiet, Rose cleared her throat and said, "Um... t-thank you, Ada. Thank you." She sipped her tea and watched Ada carefully. "Sometimes I feel like I'm on display for Paradise Rose. Like I'm just a pretty face."

"I'm sorry... I didn't mean to..."

"No, no, it's okay. It's different coming from you. Because you liked me and not... my face. But now that we've been friends for a while, i-it's nice to know that you..." She dabbed her lips with a napkin and settled for a simple, "Thank you, Ada."

Ada shrugged, obviously embarrassed that she'd let the compliment slip out. She finished her cornbread and looked down at the remnants of her meal. "I don't think I could eat another bite."

"I think I'm throwing in the towel, too," Rose said, despite her plate being clean save for a few crumbs and sauce. They stood and carried their glasses to the couch, where they sat on opposite ends. Ada tucked her legs up underneath her and watched the rain trace wild patterns on the glass. Rose watched Ada more than the window. "If you get scared, we can grab some blankets off the bed."

Ada smiled. "I'm just here to make sure you don't go running out there and add pneumonia to your bullet wounds."

"I'll be good, Doctor Odell," Rose said.

They sat in silence and listened to the rain patter against the walls and roof. Before long, the dim light and the hypnotic rhythm had dropped Rose's eyelids like anchors. She was still awake, but only just barely. As she slumped against the cushion, Ada hazarded more lingering looks at her patient, houseguest... friend.

Her eyes caught on the glow of Rose's profile and the way the candles seemed to light her hair on fire. In the dark, in a rainstorm, surrounded by candles, Rose became a goddess... something out of a fairy tale book. When Rose turned her head, Ada caught reflections of candlelight in her wide brown eyes, dancing back and forth as if they truly lived in her eyes. And when Rose opened her eyes and looked right at Ada, she turned away, embarrassed, and watched the window until the blush in her cheeks faded.

"What happened to him?" Rose said, so quietly her voice was almost lost in the storm.

Ada looked at Rose and found herself to be the object of examination. "Who?" she managed.

"The man," Rose asked. She settled against the back of the couch and rested her head on her hand. "The day of the Land Run, you... I looked back. There was a man who'd fallen from his horse into the river. And you stopped to help him."

"Oh," Ada said. She looked into her drink and furrowed her brow. "He and his horse both broke a leg. They had to put down his horse, poor fella. I stayed with him until the Purcell doctors took over and, by that time... well..."

"You missed the run."

Ada nodded. "Yeah. Well."

"No, no 'yeah, well,'" Rose said. "You stopped. A man was hurt, maybe could've died, so you... gave up and helped him. You sacrificed to help someone else. I thought about that so many times since you first told me that story, Ada. The strength it took. While everyone else was lying and stealing to grab a little piece of dirt and rock, you saved a man. I felt so ashamed about riding on. That day and every day since."

"You're not a doctor," Ada said. "Well... truth be told, I ain't a doctor, either. But... still, there wasn't anything you could've done."

"Could've helped you. Couldn't have been easy, getting the man out of the river all by yourself, let alone a lame horse."

Ada shrugged. "I was impressed with <i>you.</i> Grabbing and holding a plot of land... I think I was so willing to stop because I was scared. Everyone racing, like there was only one tract of land and they were all willing to kill for it. Even if I had found a place to make my home, I don't think I would've been able to keep it. And if I had..."



Rose smiled. "No, what?"

"I... don't know where it would have been. Maybe I'd have ended up in Guthrie or Tulsa or something... And then, I never would have met you." There was a pause and she quickly added, "Or... or Valerie. Or Katie or anyone."

"You wouldn't be in this whole Black Jack mess, either."

"It's worth it," Ada said, her words swallowed by her glass.

Rose watched her for a minute and then bit the bullet. "Ada... you always sit next to me at the card game. Or, if you can't, you act disappointed all night and watch me from across the table. You walk home with me most nights. You come into Paradise Rose every day, even though you never drink when I'm not at work." She motioned at the kitchen. "You haven't got a single bottle of liquor here. You're not a drinker."

Ada shrugged. "So I like your company."

"Is that it, Ada?"

"Mm-hmm," Ada said. She'd finished her tea and was staring down at the empty glass in her lap. She twirled her fingers together and sucked her bottom lip. She gestured with the glass and stood quickly. "I should... I-I have to soak the dishes."

Rose stood and hurried after. The stitches pulled on her side and she winced, slowing to keep from aggravating her injury. She kept her movements slow and easy and caught up with Ada at the sink. "Ada. Wait." She put her hand on Ada's arm and, when she turned, there were tears fogging up her glasses. "I just wanted you to know that I know. Valerie's been ribbing me about it for a while and..."

"I'm sorry," Ada said quickly. "You gotta know, Rose, I'd never... act on it."


"My... m-my crush," Ada said. "How I feel about you, damn it. I... sometimes I feel like you're the only thing I get up for in the morning, but... that's as far as it'll go. I won't lose you as a friend, so I'm not gonna... risk it by being stupid. Okay? You don't have to worry."

Rose quietly said, "You like me?"

When Ada closed her eyes, a tear broke away and cut quickly down her cheek.

Rose touched Ada's cheek and brushed away the tear with the pad her thumb. She turned her hand to brush her knuckles against the wet flesh and stretched up on her toes to kiss the moisture away. Ada recoiled from the touch of Rose's lips and hissed like she had been burnt.

Rose moved her hand to Ada's chin and turned her head slightly. In the darkness, Ada's eyes and her glasses combined to flicker with a life of their own. Rose brushed her thumb over Ada's bottom lip and leaned in to lightly touch their mouths together. Ada exhaled a shaky sob, and she brought up one trembling hand to touch Rose's face. Mindful of Rose's wounded side, Ada rested her other hand low on Rose's hip and pulled her close. The house was freezing and they could feel each other's body heat through their layers of clothes.

Their lips parted and Rose sank back to the ground. Ada embraced her and kissed the curve of her cheek, sliding her lips up into her hair. Lightning flashed through the window like a flashbulb catching them in the act.

A few second later, thunder shook the house and Ada jumped. Rose caught her.

Ada caught Rose's eye and bent down to find her lips again. This time, there was no exploration in the kiss, just hunger. The rain, the thunder, everything stopped as Rose's tongue slipped into Ada's mouth. The rain pounded, the thunder roared above them, but all that mattered at the moment were pressing lips and fingers searching across tightly-fastened clothes.

When they separated, Ada ran her tongue across her top lip and took a deep breath. She kept her eyes closed and brought both hands up. She flattened her fingertips against Rose's forehead. Slowly, she brought her hands down and traced Rose's features. She whispered, "I've wanted to do this for so long."

She let her fingers hesitate over Rose's eyes and felt the flutter of her butterfly-wing eyelashes against her palm. When she ran her fingers over Rose's mouth, Rose parted her lips and let the fingers slip inside. Ada gasped and withdrew her hands. They looked at each other and Ada whispered, "How far...?"

"As far as it goes."

Ada nodded, her breath catching in her throat. Rose stepped back and slipped her hand into Ada's. She squeezed her fingers and calmly guided her into the bedroom. As they crossed the threshold, Ada gently took control and guided Rose forward to the bed. "Sit here," she said quietly. Rose obediently sat on the edge of the bed where her body had so recently been mended and watched Ada circle the room and light candles. As a golden glow slowly began to fill the room, Rose undid the buttons on her dress and pushed the material apart.

When Ada walked back to the bed, Rose had the top half of her dress unbuttoned and quickly shrugged out of it. Ada knelt in front of her, eyes glued to Rose's lace chemise. As Ada sat transfixed, Rose reached out and brushed her bangs away from the rims of her glasses. Ada looked up at her, eyes brimming with tears as she finally cupped Rose's breasts with both hands. They both shivered at the touch and Ada leaned forward. She squeezed with both hands as she kissed Rose's collarbone.

Rose sighed and whispered, "I've never been with a woman before."

Ada moved her lips over Rose's flesh, tasting her sweat and flicking her tongue into the hollow of her throat.

Rose's eyelids fluttered and she pushed her hand through Ada's hair. "Uh," Rose grunted, leaning into the touch. Ada slipped her hands into the bottom of Rose's dress and slid her hands over the silky material of her chemise. Thunder growled outside and Rose whispered Ada's name. Ada looked up at her, eyes wide, and lifted herself high enough to kiss Rose again. Their lips met roughly and their teeth clacked together as Ada pushed Rose down onto the mattress.

Their tongues met again and Ada climbed completely onto the bed to straddling Rose's prone body. "Rose," she gasped. "Rose, my Rose."

Rose pressed her hand against Ada's hip and followed her curves from the thigh to the swell of her small breast. She squeezed and ran her thumb over the hard nipple, feeling the bud even through her thick shirt and underwear. Ada yelped and arched her back, her eyes tightly shut behind her glasses. She sucked in a hitching gasp and then wept, "Oh, no. No, no."

"What?" Rose whispered. She kept her hand heavy on Ada's breast and squeezed gently.

"I... I-I climaxed," Ada whispered. She bowed her head and sobbed quietly. "I climaxed already, Rose."

Rose moved her hand to cup Ada's cheek and sat up to kiss her tenderly. She let the kiss linger, still getting used to the sweet silkiness of another woman's touch. "It's all right," she breathed against Ada's cheek. "It's all right." She moved her hand to the small of Ada's back and gently pushed her back. As Ada fell away from her, Rose used her free hand to undo the buttons of Ada's shirt. She parted the material and kissed each newly exposed inch of warm flesh. She ran her tongue over freckles and pulled back only to push the blouse off Ada's shoulders.

Ada unfastened her own trousers and took Rose's hand. "Touch me here," she whispered, half-pleading. Rose allowed her hand to be guided and slid her hand into Ada's underwear. The material was wet and Ada keened when Rose brushed her fingers through the thick hair.

"We can go slow," Rose assured her. She withdrew her hand and kissed Ada's neck. Ada lifted off Rose and rolled to the edge of the bed. Her entire upper body trembling, she pushed her trousers and underwear down and turned to face Rose completely naked. She instinctively covered her crotch with her hands and then said, "Well...?"

Rose didn't respond aloud. She lifted her hips and pushed the dress down, kicked it to the corner. Ada watched Rose strip, unable to blink, unwilling to miss anything. Rose reached down and touched the bottom of her chemise, wincing when she felt her stitches pull. "You're going to have to help me," she said.

Ada scrambled over and took the hem in both hands. She pulled the gown up and over Rose's head. Rose pushed her hair out of her face and smiled when she saw Ada had her eyes closed. "Ada," she laughed. She took Ada's hand and pressed it against her bare breast. Ada's breath hitched and she opened her eyes, experimentally squeezing her fingers. She pulled, closing her fingers around the naked nipple and pinching gently.

"Oh," Rose gasped. She closed her eyes and said, "Yes, Ada."

Ada covered the other breast and squeezed them both, leaning in and kissing Rose's lips. "You're beautiful," she breathed against Rose's mouth. "Don't wake me."

Rose arched her back into Ada's caress and moaned into her mouth. Ada broke the kiss and looked at Rose's bandages. She traced each square with a fingertip and said, "You don't think you'll be hurt?"

"I'll be careful," Rose assured her.

Ada looked lower and saw Rose's creamy thighs, the triangle of nearly red hair settled between them. She cried out and felt a new wave of tears beginning. "Oh, Rose."

"Shh," Rose whispered. She angled them both towards the bed and lay down, pulling Ada down on top of her. The crush of the taller woman pinned Rose to the mattress and she could feel Ada against every inch of her. She spread her legs and hooked her ankles together in the small of Ada's back. She realized Ada was crying and cupped the back of her head, whispering quietly that it was all right, that she was okay, that it was fine.

Ada lifted her head and assaulted Rose's lips, pushing her tongue deep into her mouth and thrusting her hips wantonly against Rose. She dug her knees into the mattress, rocking the entire bed with her frenzied motions, gasping into Rose's mouth as she held on. Rose threw her head back and sighed, tightening her legs around Ada's hips as she climaxed. Ada moved her hand between Rose's thighs and cupped her sex. Rose sighed and rocked languidly against Ada's fingers. It was no longer sex, just idle masturbation.

Ada's lips, freed from the need for orgasm, began to lazily explore Rose's face, neck and shoulders. Rose whispered, "Ada," and came on her fingers. Ada slowed her hand and drew it back, wiping the wet fingers on the mattress. She stretched her body over Rose's and hooking her leg over Rose's thigh. Coiled together like snakes, Ada looked into Rose's deep, brown eyes and traced the line of Rose's bottom lip with one finger. "My God. I'm awake, aren't I?"

Rose slipped a hand between their bodies and between Ada's legs. Ada's eyes closed and she began to rock against Rose's invading fingers. First just one, circling as if to explore the territory, and then two, becoming more insistent. Ada bit her bottom lip and rocked in rhythm to Ada's thrusts. "Yeah, Ada," Rose whispered. "You're awake. You're wide awake."

Ada came on Rose's fingers. Her mouth formed a wide O as she bowed her head, kissing Rose's neck until her body stopped trembling. She pressed her face against the curve of Rose's neck and quietly admitted, "I don't think anyone's ever made me... do that before. Thank you, Rose. My Rose."

They held each other, Rose stroking Ada's hair until she fell asleep.


part 9

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