Disclaimer : Characters and situations are all from my imagination.

Warnings : Sex and love between women

Feedback : Constructive criticism and feedback, both welcomed at geonncannon@gmail.com




by Geonn


Copyright © 2010 Geonn Cannon


"It's still not too late to back out, Dee. Sneak around to the front of the house, climb in my car, and not look back. We could just spend the weekend sightseeing."

Deirdre shook her head. "I think someone's blocking your car in the driveway."

Colleen shrugged. "So what? You think I haven't driven across the lawn to escape before? Come on. Let's go."

"Face it, kiddo, you're stuck. You should consider yourself lucky," Deirdre said as she pushed the back door open with her shoulder. "You could be at work with people shooting at you."

"Don't tease me," Colleen said. She had a bowl of mustard potato salad in one hand, a plate of corn on the cob in the other. She slipped past Deirdre onto the veranda and heard the screen door slap shut behind her. The edges of the tablecloth caught the breeze, held down by a tall pitcher of ice tea on one corner and a stack of plates on the other. She could smell the smoke from the barbeque even though it was on the other side of the house.

Colleen father's laughter echoed across the lawn, and she saw her mother Maureen roll her eyes. She placed a fork next to a plate and smiled when she saw them approaching. "There you girls are. I was starting to think you took the opportunity to run away."

"I tried to convince Dee," Colleen admitted.

"Nothing will make me leave before I try that amazing coleslaw of yours, Mrs. Finn. Colleen raves about it."

Mrs. Finn smiled. "Nice to know she remembers us now that she's in the big city." She leaned in and kissed her daughter's cheek, quickly rubbing away the lipstick mark she left behind. She turned and arranged the plates on the table. "Now if the boys would just finish their little gab session, we could get down to eating."

As if on cue, they heard heavy footsteps on the hardwood deck. Moments later, three men appeared at the corner in a fog of laughter. Colleen's father, Connor Finn, had finally stopped growing up only to start growing out. He had the upper body of Charles Atlas, his thinning white hair swept back out of his face. He carried a plate of barbequed ribs and grilled burger patties like Prometheus delivering fire to the masses, his lips spreading into a wide smile when he saw Colleen.

"Baby girl," he said. He put the plates down on the table and held his arms out for a hug.

"Be ready to call an ambulance," she muttered to Deirdre. She stepped into the embrace and her father's arms closed around her. He squeezed and bent back, lifting her feet off the deck.

"How's my baby doing?"

"She still needs to breathe," Maureen said, "so let her down."

Connor did as he was told, and Colleen pretended to check herself for broken bones. Deirdre put a hand on Colleen's shoulder to make sure she was okay, and Colleen nodded. Her brothers Denis and Ryan followed up their father's greeting with gentler but still rough hugs.

Her brothers were both dressed in jeans and department dress shirts, the badge emblazoned over their hearts. Denis was the first to acknowledge Deirdre's presence. He held out a hand and said, "You must be the friend from work."

"The partner," Deirdre said. "Nice to meet you folks. Colleen made flashcards so I'll know everyone on sight."

Ryan said, "I know I must be a shock. I don't photograph well, so you probably weren't expecting someone this handsome."

Denis slugged his brother on the arm. "Yeah, he don't photograph well because the camera actually sees his face."

"Boys," Maureen warned. She held out a fully-loaded plate, and Denis took it from her. She said, "Deirdre, what would you like?"

"I'll take a little of everything."

"I like this girl already," Connor said. "Just so long as you don't take one bite and tell us you're full."

Deirdre took a plate and said, "Don't you worry, Mr. Finn, I'll be taking seconds before you finish your burger."

"A challenge!" Denis declared.

Once everyone had their food, Connor held out his hands. "Who would like to say grace?"

Colleen glanced at Deirdre. "Uh, Dad. Dee is--"

Deirdre put her hand in Colleen's. "Not going to say grace no matter how much he begs. Let one of the boys say it."

Colleen squeezed Deirdre's hand, silently thanking her for not making a fuss despite her own personal beliefs. She saw Ryan looking at their intertwined hands, Colleen's white fingers casually folded around Deirdre's, but he didn't say anything as he took his father's hand and bowed his head. Denis said the prayer, and everyone dropped their hands to the table.

"So, Deirdre," Maureen said. "Do you prefer Deirdre or Dee?"

"I answer to either," Deirdre said. "Dee is fine."

Maureen smiled. "What do you do at the department?"

"Here we go," Colleen muttered, blocking her mouth with the rim of her glass. She took in a mouthful of tea.

"Uh, Colleen and I are partners."

Maureen said, "I know that, of course. But surely you have some kind of specialty."

"Yeah," Colleen said. She couldn't keep the irritation out of her voice. "She runs the copy machine and gets coffee for the real cops."

Maureen said, "Oh, well that's nice."

Connor's voice was casual as he said, "She's being a smart-ass, Maureen."

Maureen's smile faltered.

Colleen leaned back in her seat. "Deirdre is my partner. We patrol, on the street, just like Daddy and the boys do. We answer calls. We kick down doors and we take statements and we occasionally chase bad guys. That's what her specialty is, Mom."

Connor raised his eyes to look at her. "Colleen..."

"I don't know why we have to go through this every time I come home. I really don't."

Ryan said, "Call, come on."

"I'm as much a cop as Denis or Ryan or Daddy. I'm not sitting around all day answering phones and filing reports. I'd like it if you guys would act like it."

An uncomfortable silence fell over the deck, and Colleen could feel the blush burning her cheeks. The curse of being fair-skinned. She scratched her temple and pressed her lips together, picking up her fork and pushing her food around her plate. Denis or Ryan, she couldn't tell which, coughed and mumbled something about gravy. The boat was passed down the table, but Colleen kept her eyes on her plate.

"Good food, Ma," Ryan said.

"It really is terrific," Deirdre said.

Maureen said, "Well, you can thank Connor for that. He's been manning the grill since early this morning."

"If you get the flame going before the sun comes up, you don't notice the heat as much."

Denis said, "Yeah, but your skin does. You look like a redneck, Pop."

"Just warn me if I start acting like one," Connor said.

"What do you mean 'if'?" Colleen said.

Connor said, "Oh, great, now she's a comedian."

The awkwardness evaporated as they moved on to safer subjects, but Colleen had to fight her anger and frustration at the time-worn argument. Her father was chief, and her brothers were both decorated cops in his department. The sole reason she'd taken a job in 'the city' was so she could be out of their shadow. She hadn't foreseen that her family would see her choice as a retreat, and no amount of arguing would convince them that she was anything more than a secretary with a badge.

Deirdre moved her foot and brushed her leg against Colleen's. Colleen slipped her foot from her shoe and covered Deirdre's foot with it. It wasn't the same as being able to hold her hand, but it would help her get through lunch.




The drive back to the city would take two hours and by the time Colleen realized how late it had gotten, it was too late for her to convincingly turn down her mother's offer to spend the night. Deirdre was more than willing to stay, so Connor went upstairs to fix up the guest room. Colleen's room remained as she'd left it when she moved out so many years ago, even her posters left untouched on the walls. She walked around the perimeter of the room, an archaeologist of her own past, overwhelmed by memories of the room.

"Okay, you're going to have to explain that."

Colleen turned and saw Deirdre in the doorway, pointing at a poster on the wall. Colleen followed her finger and smiled at the familiar poster. "Smashing Pumpkins? Come on. Tell me you didn't have Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness on constant repeat."

Deirdre shook her head. "I was more of a Destiny's Child kind of girl. Beyoncé all the way." She walked into the room and stuck her hands into her pockets. "Your Mom told me to get some pajamas from you."

"Oh. Okay, um..." She bent down and opened the bottom drawer. Deirdre stepped closer and put her hands on Colleen's hips. "Course I could just sleep like I do at home."

Colleen smiled and stepped away from Deirdre's touch. "It's hard enough keeping my hands off you as it is. Don't even tease me." She handed Deirdre a folded pair of light blue pajamas. "Sorry about my little thing with Dad this afternoon."

"No, no. You warned me. Hard to believe they're that oblivious."

"I'm a girl," Colleen said. "Despite the fact women have been police officers for a hundred years now, but they still refuse to admit that we've infiltrated their boys club. I've even come for a visit in full uniform and they would rather pretend I'm a secretary."

Deirdre shrugged. "Maybe they're just worried about you. They would rather believe you have a safe desk job than accept you're out there in danger."

"Who knew you were such a Pollyanna?" She put her hands on Deirdre's hips and, glancing toward the door to make sure no one was coming, leaned in and kissed her. "You should probably go to bed."

"Okay. I just wanted to see you before we were apart all night." She backed out of Colleen's arms and said, "How did we ever manage being separated for the entire night?"

Colleen shrugged. "Guess we didn't know what we were missing."

Deirdre winked, blew her a kiss, and closed the door behind her when she left the room. There was a T-shirt from her police department in the bottom drawer, and it reached mid-thigh on her. She decided to wear it to bed as a silent protest against her family's behavior at lunch. As she changed, she thought back to the first time she met Deirdre. Colleen really didn't know how she had managed before meeting her new partner.

An ill-advised arm movement during a phone call had sent her coffee cup off the edge of her desk, and she was on her knees trying to wipe up the spill. She reached for more Kleenex when a handful of paper towels appeared over her shoulder. "Officer Finn?"

She turned, raising her head to follow the voice to the source. Officer Deirdre Scott, stunning in her uniform, stood just behind her. Deirdre's scarlet hair was pulled back, tied in a small bun at the base of her skull. Later Deirdre would tease her about that moment, how Colleen had stayed on her knees during their entire conversation. "You started off kneeling before me. It's always good to start a relationship knowing where you stand."

Deirdre was new to the department, and the lieutenant assigned her to ride with Colleen. After Deirdre helped her clean up the spilled coffee, they went out on their first patrol together. The time was mostly spent getting to know each other and swapping life histories.

When their shift ended, Colleen felt comfortable enough with her new partner to invite her out for drinks. Alice's Pub was Colleen's regular haunt, a safe haven for female cops to unwind after a hard day.

Deirdre had looked around during her first beer and then met Colleen's eyes across the table. "So just lady cops here, huh?"


"Must be nice to get a drink without being hit on by everyone around you."

Colleen said, "I wouldn't know."

Deirdre had smiled, and Colleen winked at her.

Colleen came out that night, but Deirdre waited a few weeks before admitting the same. "I didn't want it to be like... you know. Agreeing with the boss just to be agreeable."

"I'm sure you could have convinced me it was true," Colleen said.

Colleen let the reverie fade as she left her bedroom. The downstairs was dark, the only light coming from down the hall. She could hear the television playing in Ryan's room, and she tiptoed past her parents' room to the single bathroom in the center of the second floor hallway. She showered and brushed her teeth and, on her way back down the hall, stopped by the guest room. She peeked her head inside and saw Deirdre sitting on the edge of the bed. Her hair was down, her pajama top unbuttoned over a tank top.

Deirdre looked up and smiled.

"I just wanted to say goodnight."

"Goodnight. Sleep tight."

"Don't let the bed bugs bite." Colleen smiled and said, "I'll see you in the morning. We'll have breakfast and head home after."

Deirdre nodded. "Sounds good. See you in the morning."

Colleen blew her a kiss before she closed the door and returned to her bedroom.

She never planned to date her partner. There was no part of her that ever even considered it an option. Coworkers and criminals were strictly off-limits. But after a long shift, settling for the crummy coffee in the office before heading home, Deirdre had walked up behind her and started rubbing her shoulders. After twelve hours in her Kevlar vest, walking the beat, sitting in the uncomfortable patrol car, it had felt like heaven. Deirdre offered to finish the job somewhere a little more private, and Colleen fully understood the subtext behind the offer.

She invited Deirdre home.

Colleen turned out the light and walked to the bed. Even after all the years away, she still knew the room well enough to navigate the room in the dark. She crawled under the blankets, fluffed the pillow, and stretched out. Ryan's TV was still playing and she knew he'd fallen asleep halfway through the Letterman monologue. She knew that her parents would sleep through the ruckus; they had always been able to sleep like the dead. The night that she fell off the roof trying to sneak out, it was Denis who had to help her to the car and drove her to the hospital. In fact, Denis was probably the only one who was still awake.

Denis, who was asleep in the downstairs bedroom.

She threw the blankets back and rolled out of bed, padding barefoot back into the hall. She eased past Ryan's room and opened Deirdre's door just wide enough to slip inside. She pressed herself against the door and bit her bottom lip. Deirdre was sitting up on the far side of the bed, leaving a space just wide enough for another person.

"It's about time."

"Oh, be quiet," Colleen said.

She hurried across the room and slipped under the covers. Deirdre had changed into the pajamas, and Colleen undid one button at the bottom. She slipped her hand inside as she pressed Deirdre down onto the pillows. They were both giggling as they kissed, but they quickly became serious as the kiss intensified. Colleen managed to get the pajama top undone before sliding her hand down. Deirdre had forgone the pants, preferring instead to just wear boxers. Colleen rubbed her hand against the material, and Deirdre moaned into her mouth.

"I meant what I said," Colleen whispered. "We have to be quiet." She kissed the corners of Deirdre's mouth, then her nose, then between her eyebrows.

Deirdre ran her hands over Colleen's shoulders and kissed her throat. "Mama and Daddy right down the hall?" She nipped Colleen's ear.

Colleen chuckled and pushed the pajama top off Deirdre's shoulders. Deirdre pushed herself up off the mattress and freed her arms. She dropped her hands to Colleen's hip and pushed under her T-shirt, over her belly and then back down to her panties.

"Did you wear these to make things easier?" Deirdre asked.

"No, but it worked out well." She straddled Deirdre and sat up, peeling her T-shirt off. She dropped it at the foot of the bed as Deirdre sat up and kissed her breasts, running her tongue over the curves before cupping one in her hand and wrapping her lips around the nipple. Colleen moaned and ran her fingers through Deirdre's hair. Deirdre lifted her head and Colleen bent down to kiss her lips.

"You're lucky Grammy wasn't here. There's a Deirdre in Irish mythology."

Deirdre kissed her way down Colleen's neck, to her shoulder. "Mm. Does she live happily ever after?"

"She commits suicide by leaning out of a carriage and bashing her head open on a rock."

Deirdre reached back to unhook her bra and Colleen pulled it away. "Have to keep me away from carriages, then."

"Mm-hmm," Colleen agreed. She kissed Deirdre again and pushed her down to the mattress. She slid down Deirdre's body, kissing her breasts. She ran her tongue over the wide, dark areolas, closing her lips over one nipple and playfully biting the other before moving lower. She closed her eyes as she tongued Deirdre's navel and worked her fingers under the elastic of Deirdre's underwear.

Deirdre lifted her hips and Colleen moved lower. She pushed the boxers down Deirdre's legs and kissed her thighs. Deirdre shifted her feet to work the underwear the rest of the way down, kicking them aside with her foot. Colleen lifted Deirdre's legs, resting them on her shoulders as she ran her lips down the inside of Deirdre's thighs. Deirdre reached up and wrapped her hands around the top of the headboard, smiling as she looked down at her lover.

Colleen wet her lips, lifted her eyes to meet Deirdre's, and smiled coyly.

"Come on," Deirdre whispered. "You know you want it."

"Oh, I do," Colleen said. She gave Deirdre's thigh another teasingly gentle kiss before gently blowing across Deirdre's pubic hair. Deirdre shuddered and then gasped as Colleen's tongue touched her. Sliding across sensitive flesh, Colleen's eyes closed as she focused on the subtle signals Deirdre sent to her. They usually didn't have to worry about being quiet in bed; their neighbors played rock music at deafening decibels so Colleen figured turnabout was fair play. The band probably enjoyed their show more than Colleen and Deirdre liked the music. It was unique, then, for Colleen to rely on a whisper or a sigh to know if she was doing well. She did a few tried and true moves, thrusting with her tongue and then dragging the flat of it up to Deirdre's clit, and she tested a few new moves. She teased Deirdre's clit with the very tip of her tongue while she curled two fingers and brushed the knuckle against Deirdre's labia, getting them nice and wet before she uncurled one and let it slip inside.

"Like that?" she whispered.

"Mm-hmm," Deirdre said. Her eyes were closed, the tendons in her throat standing out as she struggled against the urge to cry out. "More."

Colleen wasn't sure what she meant, so she added a second finger and applied more pressure with her tongue. Deirdre sucked in a lungful of air through her teeth and arched her back, pulling at the headboard as she lifted her hips. Colleen moved her hands down, cupping Deirdre's ass and gently thrusting two fingers forward as she continued to flick Deirdre with her tongue. Colleen could tell that she was getting close, so she lifted her head and kissed Deirdre's belly, extending her thumb to brush Deirdre's clit.

"Come on, Dee," Colleen whispered. She pressed her cheek against Deirdre's stomach and closed her eyes. "Come for me."

Deirdre dropped her hand to Colleen's head, rocking against Colleen's hand as she came. Colleen kissed and bit Deirdre's stomach until she collapsed to the mattress in a breathless heap.

Colleen slid up Deirdre's body and kissed her breasts, sucking the erect nipples before she settled on top of her. Deirdre pulled Colleen forward and kissed her hard, moaning as the last tremors of her orgasm passed. Colleen broke the kiss, pressing her lips to Deirdre's cheek and earlobe. Deirdre ran her hands over Colleen's body, running her fingers up Colleen's spine and feeling her tremble at the touch.

In between kisses, Deirdre said, "That was worth waiting for." She brushed her nose against Colleen's and said, "Am I the first girl you've ever slept with in this house?"

"Um," Colleen said. She kissed Deirdre's nose.

"Okay, fine, then in this bed."

Colleen smiled and, even in the darkness, she was sure Deirdre could see her blushing.

"Give me something, Officer Finn."

"First cop," Colleen said.

"In this house?"

"Ever," Colleen said. She kissed Deirdre and settled against her thigh. Deirdre planted her heel against the mattress and Colleen moaned. "I swore I'd never date a cop. Let alone my partner." She began to rock her hips.

"When did you... change your policy?" Deirdre slid her hands over Colleen's torso, leaving a trail of goosebumps before settling on her breasts. Colleen arched her back into the caress.

"Right after I met you," Colleen said.

Deirdre put her hands on Colleen's hips and sat up, pressing her lips to Colleen's throat and moving higher to her lips. Colleen dug her fingers into Deirdre's shoulders, grinding against Deirdre's leg. Deirdre dropped her hands to Colleen's ass and guided her movements, looking into Colleen's eyes as they moved together.

Colleen moaned, and Deirdre muffled the sound by kissing her. Colleen broke the kiss and looked into Deirdre's eyes, trying to catch her breath. She cupped Deirdre's face in her hands, brushed her thumb over Deirdre's lips, and closed her eyes as she finally came. She squeezed Deirdre between her legs, bucking her hips until she caught her breath. She rested her forehead against Deirdre's, pushing her hands up into her hair.

Deirdre kissed Colleen's throat until she felt capable of speech. "How early do your parents wake up, usually?"

"Early," Colleen said. "I wouldn't want to risk sneaking around in the morning. So..."

Deirdre nodded. "It's okay. I'm about to pass out anyway. I'll miss having you curled up next to me, though."

"Me too." Colleen kissed her and reluctantly rolled to one side. She pushed the blankets away, exposing Deirdre's naked body to the cool air of the room as she sought their clothes. She handed Deirdre her boxer shorts and sat on the edge of the bed to pull her own underwear back on. "We eat breakfast around six. I think we have to eat here or else my Mom will hate us forever."

"That woman I met at lunch? Does she hate anyone?"

Colleen smiled. "Okay, she wouldn't hate us. She'd just be 'very, very disappointed.'"

"Gotcha." Deirdre pulled her pajama top back on. When she got it buttoned, Colleen was back in her T-shirt. She turned and knelt on the mattress, leaning over the bed to kiss Deirdre.

"Goodnight," she whispered. "Thank you for agreeing to come on this trip. I would have been halfway up the wall by now."

Deirdre shrugged. "I'd have been halfway up the wall at home missing you. So it worked out for us both."

"Yeah, it did."

Deirdre slapped Colleen's arm. "Go. If I have to get up at six, I need to sleep. Like, now. Plus if you stay this close to me, we might have to go another round."

"What would happen in the next round?" Colleen asked, leaning closer.

"Nothing as fun as you're thinking. We left all our toys at your apartment."

Colleen raised an eyebrow. "Who needs toys?" She kissed Deirdre once more before she finally forced herself off the bed. "Okay. Goodnight for real this time."

Deirdre propped herself against the headboard with a pillow and said, "Goodnight. Thanks for the bedtime story."

Colleen chuckled and opened the door a crack to check the hallway. When she was sure it was clear, she waved at Deirdre over her shoulder and slipped out. She tiptoed down the hall and ducked into her bedroom before anyone could stumble over her on their way to a midnight snack.




Colleen thought she was being sneaky when she woke up at half past five and decided she would start breakfast for everything. She kept on the T-shirt she'd slept in, pulled on a pair of sweatpants, and quietly left her bedroom. By the time she reached the landing, she realized she was too late. The kitchen light was already on, and the smell of bacon filled the entire downstairs.

Denis was already at the dining room table, his hair a sloppy mess obscuring his eyes. He lifted his coffee in greeting as she walked in. Colleen waved to him and looked into the kitchen. Her mother was dressed and already serving up a plate of eggs and bacon.

"Ma, do you ever actually sleep?"

"Who can sleep with all these helpless, hungry people in the house? Heaven forbid your brother should have to crack an egg for himself."

Denis said, "If I even touched that stove, I'd have welts from you slapping me away with the spatula."

Colleen pulled out her usual chair. "He has a point, Ma."

Maureen smiled as she turned back to the stove. "The usual, Colleen?"

"Yes, please."

"Will your friend be joining us for breakfast?"

Colleen shrugged. "It's pretty early for her."

Maureen said, "Denis, go wake up your brother." He pushed away from the table and headed for the door. " Nicely ," she amended.

He muttered something about how he was always nice, and disappeared into the darkness of the living room.

"Coffee?" Colleen said. Maureen pointed over her shoulder, and Colleen went to pour herself a cup.

"I still can't get used to seeing you drink that stuff. I guess I still expect you to drink soda and lemonade."

"Hell on your teeth."

"And coffee is just fine."

Colleen smiled and said, "Well, we all grow up."

Maureen sighed and nodded.

"Mom, you understand I'm a cop. Like Daddy, and Denis, and--"

"Yes," Maureen said. Her voice was sharp, angry like Colleen had never before heard it. She picked up a towel, roughly wiped her hands, and tossed it down on the stove. She turned to face Colleen. "Of course I understand. And I'm proud of you. But you have to understand. I watched Connor groom those boys to be cops from the moment they could walk. He gave them little batons and handcuffs and made them arrest the other kids in the neighborhood."

"They arrested me, too. Only once, though."

Maureen said, "You were safe . You were the one I knew I wouldn't stay up at night worrying over. So I'm sorry. I'm sorry I go along with your father's misogynistic belief that you're not a real police officer. But please, just let me hold onto the fantasy for a little while, okay?"

Colleen crossed the room and hugged her mother from behind. "Sorry."

"Don't be sorry," Maureen said. She patted Colleen's arm. "I'm the one who should be sorry. You deserve the same praise we heap on your brothers, but I let him treat you like a secretary. It's not right. I'll talk to him."

Colleen saw movement out of the corner of her eye and turned to see Deirdre standing just inside the kitchen door. "Hey. Sorry. I, uh... there were screams coming from the other bedroom. Then I smelled the bacon and made a judgment call."

Maureen sighed. "Those boys." She shook her head and stepped out of Colleen's arms. As she left the room, she turned and pointed at Deirdre. "At least you have a good partner watching your back."

"Yeah, Ma," Colleen said.

Deirdre waited until Maureen was upstairs before she said, "What was that about?"

"You were right."

"Don't sound so surprised."

Colleen looked down at the pans her mother had abandoned and took over for her. "Want some eggs and bacon?"

"Can you make--"


"I was going to say--"


Deirdre said, "I do love scrambled eggs."

"You're in luck," Colleen said. She grinned and picked up the spatula. "Fair warning, if you want a shower, you better hurry. Once the boys get started..."

"I think I'll have breakfast instead. Shower when we get back to your place."

Colleen smiled. "Good call."




After breakfast, Maureen and Connor escorted Colleen out to her car. Connor held out his hand to Deirdre and said, "It was nice to meet you, Ms. Scott. Always nice to meet Colleen's friends."

"Yeah, they just want to use you as a spy," Colleen said. "Don't be surprised if they start calling you once a month to ask if I have any boyfriends."

Deirdre raised an eyebrow and said, "Well, if that ever happens, you two will be the first people I call."

Colleen turned back to the car to hide her smile. She rested her arms on the top of the car while Deirdre hugged her mother and father. When she looked over her shoulder, she said, "You know, I'm your daughter."

Maureen said, "Yes, but you have to come back. We have to convince this one to make the return trip."

Deirdre said, "Trust me, the meal you made yesterday? I'm coming back whether Colleen brings me or not."

Connor said, "Good enough. We'll keep a place set for you."

Colleen hugged her parents as well, bidding them goodbye before she looked at her watch. "If we want to get back before lunch, we probably should get on the road."

"Okay, okay," Maureen said. "Go on. We'd better see you again soon. I don't mean the next holiday weekend, either. This family doesn't need holidays to get together."

Colleen said the last part of the well-worn saying along with her. She said, "I got it, Ma. I'll be here."

"So will I," Deirdre said.

They got into the car, and Connor knocked on the driver's side window. When Colleen rolled it down, he put his hands on the roof and leaned down to look inside.

"Drive safe, Officer Finn."

Colleen blinked. "I will, sir."

He looked past her. "Officer Scott, make sure she behaves."

"It's ninety percent of my job, sir."

He nodded and patted the roof of the car before taking a step back. Colleen pulled out of the driveway and waved out the window as she turned onto the main road back to town. She waited until the house was out of sight before she exhaled sharply and looked at Deirdre.

"What do you suppose that was about?"

"Mama must have talked to him."

Deirdre grinned. "After all your talk about how 'nothing scares a Finn'?"

"No one is exempt from Mama." She reached over and put her hand on Deirdre's thigh. She squeezed, and Deirdre put her hand on top of it. Colleen squeezed Deirdre's fingers and then returned her hand to the wheel.

"So, you have your father's approval. That's pretty huge. What's your plan now?"

Colleen smiled. "Now? Now I have to earn his respect."



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