Part 5


Ginny laid in bed for a long time, waiting on sleep to come. She draped one arm across her eyes, wanting to hide from the humiliation she felt. What Kara must think of her. She was a tease, she admitted. Nothing but a damn tease. But it wasn't intentional, she thought. It wasn't. She had simply lost control. In Kara's presence, she seemed to do that a lot.

Had Kara's mouth really been at her breast or had she imagined it? Yes, and her nipples hardened now at the thought of it. For a moment, she had simply lost herself in Kara's touch. For a moment, she had just let go and let her feelings have full reign.

But she had come to her senses, thank God, and Kara had stopped when she asked her to. What was it that she wanted from Kara? What did she need from her?

"I want to make love with her," Ginny whispered. "I do. I want all of her."

She turned her head into the pillow, willing these feelings to go away. She didn't want to want Kara. She didn't want to have these feelings for a woman.

But she did. She couldn't deny them any longer. It was driving her insane. Tomorrow, she would go to her. She would go to Kara and beg her to make love to her if she had to. Kara had wanted her tonight, Ginny knew that. She could feel that, see that in her eyes. Maybe Kara could give her the release that her body craved.


Ginny stood nervously beside her car, her eyes wide. Her legs were shaking and she wasn't sure she could even walk to the cabin. She swallowed, her hand reaching back to the car. Maybe she should just leave. Maybe this was a mistake. Why was she in such a hurry to disrupt her life? To change everything? And it would. She could never go back to the life she had.

But she wasn't happy with her life. Was she? Hadn't she been searching all these years? Searching for what, she hadn't known. Not until she met Kara, anyway. Now she knew. I want her.

She walked to the door, her hand trembling as she knocked lightly. She heard footsteps then Kara was there, holding the door open.

Their eyes collided and her breath caught in her chest. Kara stood barefoot before her, an old paint-stained T-shirt hanging out over faded blue shorts.

"Ginny . . . what are you doing here?" she asked softly.

"I had to come. You knew I would," she accused. They stared, neither making an attempt to move. "May I come in?" she finally asked.

Kara stepped back, letting Ginny pass and she shut the door behind her.

"I've been thinking . . . thinking about us," Ginny said quietly. She turned around and gasped. Hot desire burned in Kara's eyes.

"You shouldn't have come," Kara said.

"I want you," Ginny said simply.

"No. I can't do this," Kara said. "I won't stop the next time."

"I don't want you to stop," Ginny whispered.

"Ginny, listen to what you're saying."

"Please . . . you're not going to make me beg, are you?"

"You don't know what you're doing," Kara said.

"No, you're right. I don't. And I'm scared to death."

Kara laughed nervously. "Then why?"

"I want you, Kara. I want to make love with you," she said quietly and she watched as Kara nervously swallowed.

"I don't want you to hate me, Ginny . . . and you will."

. "No, I won't. You want me, too. I can see that in your eyes," Ginny whispered.

Kara moved to her and took her hands. "Yes, I want you. I just don't want to hurt you." And I don't want you to hurt me, she added silently.

"I want you to be the one, Kara. I want you to show me." Ginny's hands gripped Kara's tightly. "Please?"

Kara left her protest unspoken. Ginny's eyes were begging and Kara ignored the warning bells in her head and she lowered her mouth and captured Ginny's lips, lips that opened under hers. She felt Ginny's hands tremble as they clutched her arms and Kara pulled her mouth away.

"Don't be scared," Kara begged.

"I am. I'm scared to death. I don't know what to do," she said. "How to touch you."

"I'll show you," Kara said softly. Her hands cupped Ginny's face and her kiss was soft, gentle. But when Ginny's tongue came out to meet hers, Kara's mouth turned hungry and she moaned against Ginny's mouth, taking her tongue inside.

Their breath came fast and they pulled away, both their chests heaving with their desire. Ginny reached up and touched Kara's clinched jaw, soothing her.

"You're scared, too," Ginny said with awe.



"I don't want this to be a mistake," Kara whispered.

"It would be a mistake to ignore this attraction."

Kara took Ginny's hand and led her into the bedroom. The afternoon sun was gone, leaving the room in shadows. Ginny stood still, but her hands shook uncontrollably in Kara's. She had never been more nervous in all her life.

Kara knew this was probably a mistake but she couldn't stop it. Not this time. She wanted what was about to happen. Her hands went to Ginny's waist and she tugged her shirt from her shorts.

Ginny's breath poured from her as Kara pulled the shirt over her head. Ginny raised her eyes to Kara's as Kara unsnapped her bra and Ginny let it fall to the floor. She stood and watched as Kara's face softened and she saw that Kara's hands were trembling, too, as they reached out to touch her. But her hands stopped, just a breath away and Ginny saw Kara squeeze her eyes shut tightly.


"Oh, God, I . . . I just want you so much," she murmured. She needed to go slow, despite the ache in her. She finally cupped Ginny's full breasts with gentle hands.

Ginny murmured a sigh and closed her eyes, her body melting under Kara's soft caress. She gasped when Kara's warm mouth covered her erect peak, taking the nipple inside and Ginny's hands went to Kara's face and she held her there, her head bent back, eyes closed tightly. So different from Phil, she thought crazily. Oh, and it felt so good. As she knew it would. Her legs would not support her a minute longer and she collapsed on the bed, weak from Kara's mouth.

"Ginny?" Kara asked with uncertainty.

"Come to me," Ginny said softly. "Please?"

Kara's breath caught at her soft plea and she moved and stood by the bed, pulling Ginny's face into her. She wanted her so badly, she had to force herself to go slow. She didn't want to scare Ginny but she wanted her more than she could ever remember wanting before.

Ginny was calm as she reached out and slipped her hands under Kara's shirt, moving to her warm waist, touching her bare skin for the first time. Her composure vanished, however, when Kara took her hands and moved them to her breasts.

"Touch me," Kara commanded softly.

Ginny's fingers touched her hard nipples, then closed over her breasts, each fitting easily in her hands. So soft, she thought. So unlike a man. She groaned, wanting to touch them with her mouth and she shoved Kara's shirt up, pulling Kara into her waiting mouth.

"Oh, Ginny," Kara whispered and she pulled the shirt over her head quickly, standing silently before her as Ginny's mouth moved to her other breast. Ginny's hands went to her shorts and fumbled with the button.

"Take these off, please," Ginny begged. She wanted to touch her bare skin. She wanted to see her naked. Kara let her shorts fall to the floor and Ginny held her breath, overcome with desire for this woman. She was so thin, but her small breasts were full, erect and Ginny reached out, but Kara captured her hand.

"Now, you," she said and reached for Ginny's waistband, unbuttoning her shorts with ease and pulling them down Ginny's hips.

Ginny laid still, feeling her heart pounding and fearing she would surely pass out when Kara finally came to her. But her arms welcomed Kara, moving over her shoulders and pulling her close as Kara laid her naked body on top of Ginny, molding herself to Ginny.

"Oh . . .." Ginny shut her eyes, guiding Kara's mouth to hers. It was slow. Slower than she could ever have imagined and her hands caressed Kara's warm back, savoring each kiss, each brush of their tongues. Then their slow exploration turned hungry as lips claimed the other and Ginny moaned as Kara's tongue went inside her mouth, exploring with warm wetness.

When Kara slid lower, Ginny's hands guided her to her breasts and she groaned softly when Kara sucked hungrily on her. Her legs opened instinctively and Kara settled between them, pressing into her and Ginny rose up to meet her, aching to be touched by her. She trembled when Kara's hand moved over her waist and her breath caught when Kara's fingers ran through her soft triangle of hair, so close to her desire.

"Yes," she breathed. "Please. I need you to touch me," Ginny begged. She had dreamed of this moment all her life and she couldn't suppress the cry that tore from her lips when Kara's fingers slid into her wetness.

Kara wanted to take her. She wanted her fingers deep inside. Ginny was so wet to her touch, she could hardly make herself slow down. She wanted to shove Ginny's legs apart and bury her face in her wetness and she groaned against Ginny's breast, making her fingers slow even when Ginny's hips moved frantically beneath her.

"Kara," Ginny murmured. "Oh, God . . . Kara." It was heavenly, this woman's soft touch upon her.

Kara was lost, hearing her name uttered so beautifully from Ginny's lips and she pulled her fingers away. Ginny whimpered but Kara moved to her mouth and silenced her, kissing her hard.

"I'm sorry. I can't wait," Kara murmured. "I want you too much."

She slid down her body, her hands urging Ginny's legs apart.

"What . . . what are you doing?" Ginny whispered.


Ginny saw her intention and she gasped, clutching at Kara's shoulders even as her warm mouth left wet kisses in its wake.

Kara moved down and quickly covered Ginny with her mouth, her groan mingling with Ginny's as she tasted her.

"Oh . . . God." Ginny's hips pressed against Kara's face and she thought she would surely die from pleasure. Her vision swam and she shut her eyes as Kara's tongue moved over her. Sweet Jesus, she thought. No one had ever loved her this way. Phil had never even tried. Is this how women make love? She didn't think she could stand another second and when Kara's tongue plunged deep inside her, she cried out, her hands clasping Kara's head to her hard. Yes, oh yes. Her body trembled from deep within and Kara's mouth tugged at her, her tongue stroking her fast and Ginny exploded in a burst of color, her eyes blinded by the intensity of her orgasm. She screamed, her mouth open wide and her hips rocked with Kara. She felt her body draining, as if Kara were sucking the life from her limbs and she finally collapsed, her arms dropping limply to her sides as tears streamed from her eyes.

She tried to roll over, embarrassed, but her body wouldn't move and she laid there, sobs wracking her shoulders.

"Ginny? God, did I hurt you?" Kara moved beside her and took her in her arms.

Ginny clutched her, squeezing her eyes shut. She buried her head in Kara's shoulder, unable to stop her tears.

"What is it?"

"Never . . . no one's ever . . . I've never . . .." She gave up and Kara held her, her hands gently soothing her, caressing her hair.

"Oh, God," Ginny mumbled. "I didn't think it was possible," she said.


"How you made me feel," she said softly. "No one's . . .."

"No one's made love to you that way before?" Kara asked gently.

Ginny shook her head, embarrassed.

"Then I'm glad I'm the first," Kara said.

Ginny kissed Kara softly, tasting herself on Kara's lips. "Show me how to touch you," she said.

"Do I need to show you?"

"I want you to feel what I did," Ginny said.

"You know I will."

Ginny watched her, meeting her eyes, seeing them cloud with desire. And she remembered what Kara had told her once. That women knew how to touch women. She wanted to give Kara pleasure like she had never wanted before.

Her hands were confident as they moved to Kara's breasts. "Lay back," she said. Her mouth moved over Kara's face, touching her lips lightly, nipping at her neck before finding her breast. She took the swollen nipple into her mouth and she felt Kara shudder in her arms. And, Lord, how wonderful it felt to have this woman's breast in her mouth. Yes, she wanted to give this woman pleasure. Her hands and mouth moved as if she'd done this hundreds of times before. She felt Kara's body respond to her and she pressed her weight into Kara, her hips meeting Kara's in a rhythm as old as time. Her body knew what to do, even if she didn't and her hand moved between them, needing to touch Kara, needing to feel her warmth.

She moaned softly when Kara took her hand and placed it between her thighs. Kara's wetness enveloped her and Ginny's fingers moved into her, sliding wetly over her, into her.

"Yes," Kara murmured quietly. "Like that."

And she was so wet, Ginny's hand was dripping with her and she matched Kara's rhythm, her hand moving with the motion of Kara's hips. The scent of her drifted to Ginny and she knew she wanted her mouth on her. She wanted to taste her. She had to taste her. She wanted to feel Kara moving under her mouth.

"I want you," Ginny whispered. "I want all of you."

With a desire so strong she couldn't control it, her mouth quickly replaced her fingers and she groaned loudly as she tasted Kara's sweetness for the first time. She thought foolishly that she didn't know what she was doing, that she couldn't possibly be giving Kara pleasure, but Kara's hands urged her on, pressing her face back to her.

"Yes, please. Don't stop," Kara whispered.

Ginny's tongue moved over her, around her, and Kara's soft sighs washed over her. Ginny buried her face again into her wetness, sucking her into her mouth, hearing Kara cry out softly and her own pleasure surged through her, threatening to explode again. Her tongue stroked her quickly and she felt Kara's hips still as she rose off the bed and then Kara clutched Ginny's head with her hands and arched into her.

"Ginny!" The word was torn from her mouth and Kara cried out.

Ginny felt Kara throb against her tongue and she gasped as her own orgasm came swiftly over her again.

Kara gathered Ginny to her, kissing her face, her eyes, her lips. "You're a beautiful lover, Ginny," she whispered. "So beautiful."

Ginny felt on the verge of tears again. In all the years with Phil, he had never once said those words to her. She couldn't speak now and she snuggled close to Kara, feeling her lips move over her face.

"I wanted you so much," Ginny said. "Like that. I've wanted you since that first kiss," she admitted to Kara and to herself.

"I know."

"I had an orgasm and you weren't even touching me," Ginny confessed.

"I know," Kara said again, softly.

"Is it always like that? With women?"

Kara smiled. When was the last time she'd felt this way?

Ginny leaned up on her elbow, gazing into Kara's eyes. "Is it?"

"It might be for you."

"Is it for you?" Ginny asked.

"No," Kara admitted. "It's not often like this for me."

Ginny lay back down, satisfied. She took Kara's hand and held it as she snuggled against her, against her warmth. "I don't reach an orgasm very often."

"With Phil?" Kara asked gently.

"No. Not very often," she admitted. "Seldom, actually."

"Maybe . . .."

"No. I wouldn't want him that way," Ginny said. "I wouldn't want him to do that," she whispered. And she knew that she would never let Phil love her that way. It could only be Kara.

Kara knew they should talk, but her hands wouldn't still. Desire flamed again and she wondered if she would ever tire of touching her. She captured Ginny's breast with her mouth and felt Ginny's hands move through her hair, holding her, murmuring soft words as Kara sucked hungrily at her breast. Was she responsive like this with Phil? Did he not know what he had? No. Men seldom did.

Ginny's body flamed under Kara's touch and she wanted Kara's mouth on her again, but her orgasm shook her so suddenly when Kara's fingers slid over her, she clutched Kara's hand between her thighs, refusing to let it go.

This give and take was so new to Ginny, and her confidence grew with each touch. She knew instinctively how to touch Kara and her hands moved over her, into her wetness and she watched Kara's face as she cried out her name again, her body pulsing against her fingers. She pulled away, wanting her mouth there again and she moved between Kara's legs, her tongue reaching out to her.

"Ginny . . .." Kara said softly.

"I just want to . . . feel you again . . . with my mouth," Ginny murmured against her.

Kara drew in a deep breath, her body numb and she laid back, letting Ginny move over her. When Ginny's arms wrapped around her hips, pushing Kara's legs even farther apart, she felt her body respond again. Ginny moved with such slowness, such gentleness over her, as if all she wanted was to taste her, to drink her fill.

Ginny felt Kara respond, felt Kara's body move against her mouth and she sighed, loving the way she could make Kara want her. Her tongue teased her, moving around Kara's desire until Kara whimpered softly.

"You're driving me crazy," Kara breathed. "I can't stand it."

Ginny lifted her head and smiled. "I didn't think you'd be ready . . .."

"I am," Kara whispered.

Ginny's smile vanished, her desire for this woman overtaking her and she groaned softly when her mouth settled over her again. She couldn't get enough of her and she inhaled deeply, savoring her scent, holding Kara's legs apart as her tongue plunged inside of her, then out to tease her swollen nub.

"Yes . . . oh, please . . . Ginny . . . hurry," Kara whispered and Ginny did.


Kara felt Ginny move away, taking her warmth with her, and she opened her eyes, finding Ginny sitting on the side of the bed, the sheet wrapped loosely around her hips.

"What is it?" Kara asked.

"I've got to go," Ginny said.

Kara reached out and touched her back, moving lightly across her silken skin. "What time is it?" She didn't even remember falling asleep.

"After two," Ginny said.

"Are you all right?" Kara asked softly.

Ginny smiled in the darkness. She was exhausted. Her body was numb and she was certain that she wouldn't be able to walk. But all right? She didn't know. She felt almost as if she were in a dream. Almost. She turned around and took Kara's hand, bringing it to her lips, tasting the remnants of her desire still clinging to Kara's fingers.

"I'm fine, really," she murmured. "But I've got to go. Nana will be worried."

Kara knelt behind her, brushing her hair off of her neck and putting her lips there. Ginny sighed, surprised that her body still had the energy to respond. She turned and found Kara's lips, swollen like her own after their night of lovemaking.

"We need to talk," Kara stated gently.

"Yes, I know." Ginny smiled slightly and touched Kara's face, feeling her jaw clinch. "Last night was . . .."

"Incredible," Kara finished for her.

"Yes. Yes, it was. But I need some time . . . to think," Ginny said softly. She felt Kara withdraw, felt her body tense and she brushed at Kara's hair gently, letting her fingertips run down her smooth cheek to her swollen lips. "I've got to go," she said again.

Kara nodded. "Okay."

"Kara . . . it's never been like this for me," she confessed. "I'm so scared."

"I know. But please don't hate me. No matter what happens, please don't hate me."

"No. I don't. I couldn't."

Ginny reached for her clothes and she felt Kara's eyes on her. Her body responded just knowing that Kara was looking at her and she wanted to crawl back in bed with Kara and make love all over again. But she dressed slowly, not daring to look at Kara. She needed some time to sort out her feelings.


"I got up at midnight and you still weren't home," Nana said as they had coffee. "I was beginning to worry."

"I'm sorry. Time just got away," Ginny said weakly. She knew she looked a sight. She could hardly meet her own eyes in the mirror. Her lips were swollen and red and she was certain that Nana would be able to tell exactly what she had been doing last night.

"Well, you look like you've hardly slept a wink. And as tired as you've been lately," Nana fussed.

And she was exhausted. More tired than she could ever remember being. Her thoughts felt jumbled. Should she feel ashamed? Should she be thinking of Phil? All she could see was Kara, Kara's beautiful body under her hands, under her mouth. Kara crying out when Ginny's tongue touched her. Ginny crossed her legs and looked away. She wanted her. After spending hours loving her last night, she still wanted her. She could spend hours more in her arms.



"Are you worried about Phil?" Nana asked.


"Well, he hasn't called in awhile and you just haven't been yourself lately. Why don't you give him a call," Nana said gently. "It wouldn't hurt for you to make the next move, you know."

Oh, Nana, if you only knew, she thought. She sighed wearily. "No, he hasn't called in a couple of weeks."

"More like four," Nana said.

"I don't want to call him, Nana," Ginny said firmly.

"This playing hard to get will only last so long," Nana said.

Ginny laughed. "I'm not playing hard to get. I'm just not ready to see him," she said.

"Have you talked to Kara about him?"

"Yes. We've talked," Ginny said, and it wasn't a lie. Kara knew all about Phil.

"What does she think?"

Ginny was nearly overcome with a case of nervous laughter and she covered her mouth with her hand. God, what was she supposed to say to that? That Kara thinks that a man has no idea how to touch a woman? And it was true, of course.

"She thinks I don't love Phil," Ginny said.

"Well, she's probably not the best one to ask. After all, she's never been married," Nana said.

Not to a man, no.

At lunch, Ginny walked to the park, eating her sandwich without tasting it, her mind jumping between Kara and Phil. She had spent four years with Phil, going on five now if she counted the separation. Only one night with Kara. And there was no doubt in her mind that she had found what she had been looking for. That burning desire. That magic. And she had found it in another woman's arms. In Kara's arms. And she was still frightened.

Now what? Was she a . . . lesbian? Would she feel that way in any woman's arms? She didn't think so. It wasn't as if she was attracted to every woman she saw. Only Renee before this. But was that the truth? After Renee, she had refused to form any close friendships with women. She knew now, that self-consciously, she was running, hiding. She had just never entertained the idea of being with a woman sexually. It hadn't been a possibility before. She just assumed that what she had with Phil was all there was and that it would have to be enough.

But again, the question nagged at her. Was it Kara or was it women? She thought back to the first time she had met Kara, that day in the store. Hadn't she felt something even then? Hadn't her breath caught when she looked into Kara's blue eyes? Yes. And the more she was with her, the more she thought about her, about being touched by her.

She threw her sandwich away and walked along the trail, remembering last night. She had been afraid. She hadn't known what to do. But in Kara's arms, she knew. She knew how to touch her, knew what made Kara's body respond. She just knew. Like Kara had known.

She leaned against a tree, her eyes closed to the sun and she remembered Kara's mouth on her, her tongue sliding through her wetness, bringing her to orgasm. Her breath caught, feeling the now familiar desire surge through her. Desire for Kara, a woman.

Why hadn't Phil ever loved her that way? He had never even tried and she hadn't known that she wanted him to. Would it have been the same with him? No. But if he had, would she then have been satisfied? No. Phil just didn't make her feel the way that Kara did. And she had never wanted to pleasure Phil the way that she did Kara.

She waited for the shame to strike her, but it didn't. She had been nervous, so nervous. Even now, she still had a hard time believing that she had spent the night making love with a woman, making love to a woman. But she had. And it had felt so right. Maybe that's what frightened her now. It had felt right to be with Kara. And it was okay. She had survived.

She pushed off the tree, heading back. She was ready for the day to be over. She wanted to see Kara again. And she wasn't frightened in the least.


"I'm going to Kara's," Ginny said. "Don't wait dinner."

"Again? Isn't she working?"

"I don't know." Had she been able to work? "I might be late," Ginny called.

"Well, I won't worry if you are. You'll get something to eat?"

Ginny felt a blush creep along her face as Nana watched her. Something to eat? They wouldn't bother with food, no. Each other's body was all the nourishment they needed tonight.

Ginny found Kara on the porch and their eyes held. Ginny saw relief in Kara's eyes and she smiled slightly. She took Kara's hand and led her inside without a word.

They stood staring, their eyes seeking. Then they flew together, arms wrapping around the other, lips searching and touching, tongues dancing in greeting. Ginny reached up and pulled Kara's shirt over her head, again finding no bra. Her hands went to her, cupping her swollen breasts, taking a nipple into her mouth.

Kara groaned, her own hands reaching out to Ginny, lifting her shirt, touching her warm skin.

Ginny drew back and stripped off her shirt, watching Kara's eyes darken when she dropped her bra to the floor. Ginny took her hand and led her into the bedroom, not bothering with the covers. She drew Kara to the bed, her hands shoving between Kara's legs, cupping her through her shorts. She wanted her. She couldn't control this wild hunger she had. She had ached with it all day. She wanted her now and her fingers were frantic as they shoved inside her shorts. Her tongue pushed against Kara's and she moaned when she felt her flesh, hot and wet to her touch.

Kara laid back, sensing Ginny's need for her. She unbuttoned her shorts, giving Ginny room and her legs parted for her, ready for her.

Ginny plunged inside of her, deep and hard and Kara surged up to meet her, her hips undulating against Ginny's fingers. Ginny pulled out, sliding through her wetness, moving over her like silk and she stroked her, faster, until she felt Kara still against her hand and cry out, her legs wrapping tight against Ginny's fingers.

Ginny felt perspiration on her brow and she closed her eyes, shocked by her need for this woman. She had never been aggressive in bed before. Phil wouldn't have allowed it. But with Kara, she felt free to express herself, express her desire.

"I wanted you," Ginny whispered.

Kara pulled Ginny into her arms and held her, her lips brushing lightly across her damp forehead.

"You're a very fast learner," Kara murmured. "Sure you haven't done this before?"

"Only in my dreams." Ginny rested her head on Kara's breast while the other made lazy circles across her stomach. "I couldn't stop thinking of you today."

"That makes two of us," Kara said.

"I wasn't sure if you still wanted me," Ginny admitted.

"Why would you think that?"

"I didn't know if last night was just . . . if all you wanted . . .."

"Just one night?" Kara supplied.

Ginny nodded.

"I haven't wanted like this in a very long time, Ginny. You scare me, too. This is new for you. You don't know what you want, you don't know what's out there."

"And you do?" Ginny whispered.

"I know I want you, yes. But you . . .."

"I want you, too. It doesn't matter what's out there, Kara."

Kara watched her, wanting to believe her. But Ginny didn't know how it could be. She had no one to compare Kara with. And what did she want? A summer affair? No. She was too old for that. And her feelings for Ginny went beyond an affair. She was falling in love with her and her eyes widened, shocked by her own admission.

"What are you thinking?"

"Nothing," Kara murmured. "Let me love you," she whispered and she silenced Ginny with her mouth, swallowing her questions.

Ginny's questions died as thought was lost under Kara's insistent mouth. With gentle hands, Kara shoved Ginny's shorts down, her hands moving lightly over her body. Kara shrugged her own shorts off and lay naked on top of Ginny, pressing her into the bed, warming her body with her own. Ginny held her, brushing her hands through Kara's short hair, guiding her mouth to her breast.

Kara covered her full breast, her tongue raking lightly across the taut nipple. Ginny moaned in her ear and Kara closed her eyes, loving the sounds of pleasure coming from Ginny.

Kara drew back and smiled. "Tell me what you want," she whispered.

"Kara . . .."

"Tell me and I'll do it. Anything."

Ginny's hips pressed up, her desire boiling over. "I want your mouth . . . your tongue . . . where only you have been." She was so wet and she parted her legs, wrapping them around Kara's thigh, pressing her wetness to her.

Kara kissed her, her tongue brushing lightly across her lips, then she gasped as Ginny sucked her tongue inside her mouth. Her thigh pushed harder against Ginny's wetness, meeting the thrusts of Ginny's hips.

"Please . . . your mouth," Ginny murmured against Kara's lips. "I want your mouth to take me." She was so near orgasm already but all she wanted was Kara's hot mouth on her, where she had been remembering it all day. Her hips slowed and she urged Kara downward, pushing lightly on her shoulders.

Kara felt the urgency in Ginny's hands, saw the look of pleasure on her face as Kara slid lower along her body. Her hands pushed Ginny's legs apart and her mouth found her, wet and wanting. Ginny pressed up and met her, opening wider and her breath hissed between her teeth.

"Kara . . . Kara." God, yes. This was what she wanted, what only this woman had ever given her.

Her whispered name was like a drug and Kara nearly devoured her in her desire to please her. Her tongue moved through her wetness, surrounding her. Her mouth opened and she covered Ginny completely, sucking her hungrily into her mouth.

"Dear Lord," Ginny breathed and she clutched at Kara, her heels digging into the bed.

Kara's shoulders pushed into Ginny, driving her legs apart, pushing her farther up the bed with the force of her desire.

"Oh, God!" Ginny screamed. "Kara . . .." Ginny's heart pounded in her ears and Kara's mouth sucked her in, not letting her go and Ginny was filled with such sweet pleasure. Her body throbbed against Kara's face and she felt as if she were drowning, sinking into blackness, trying to catch her breath. "Yes, yes . . . God, yes," she breathed, feeling her orgasm build, threatening to swallow her, to end this sweet torture. It came to her slowly, climbing, driving her mad and she pulsed in Kara's mouth, spasms shaking her. Kara's mouth held her, continuing her assault on her as wave after wave rammed into Ginny, causing her to cry out Kara's name again and again.

When her body stilled and her hips lay limply on the bed, only then did Kara's mouth leave her. Ginny could not even open her eyes and she rolled her head from side to side.

"I didn't think it could possibly get any better than last night," she whispered. "But each time . . .."

"I know." Kara bit her neck gently, then moved to her ear. "I wanted you like that all day," she whispered back.

"I don't think I can move."

Kara leaned up on her elbow, letting her eyes move lovingly over Ginny's face, down to her breasts. She was in love with her. The certainty of that thought filled her heart painfully. Love brought hurt. It always did. She touched Ginny's face gently, her eyes lingering on her full lips. She hadn't been looking for love, of course. The women who had shared her bed since Marsha were simply diversions. Someone to ease a lonely night, someone to talk to for a moment, then gone. No feelings were involved. No commitments, no worries. Just a physical release that they both had needed.

But it was so very different with Ginny. Kara wanted her, sure. But she also needed her. A deep, burning need that touched her very core, causing her to question her very existence. How had she lived this long without Ginny in her life? How could she go on, now that she'd had her?

"What are you thinking about?" Ginny asked gently.

Kara closed her eyes, unaware that Ginny had been watching her. "I was just thinking about you," Kara admitted. "About how you make me feel."

"Then why did you look so sad?"

Why, indeed? Because now that I've had you, I don't think I can live without you. She rested her head against Ginny's breast again, letting Ginny stroke her hair.

"You're not going to tell me?"


"Is it Marsha?" Ginny asked.


"Are you thinking about her?"

"Why would you think that?"

"You loved her once. Are you thinking about that?" Ginny asked again.

"No. That was a long time ago, Ginny."

"Was it . . . was it good with her?" she asked quietly.

Kara looked up and met her eyes. "It was never like this," she said truthfully. "It's never been like this with anyone."

"I find that hard to believe. It's not like I know what I'm doing," Ginny said, finally breaking the hold her eyes had on her.

"Does that frighten you?" Kara asked. "That you know how to touch me?"

"I'm not sure. I mean, I know I want you . . . like this. But, is this who I am? What I am? Is it just you or is it . . .."

"Or can any woman make you feel this way?" Kara asked. She closed her eyes against the pain that she was feeling. Always pain when you loved a woman.

"I don't think so," Ginny said softly. "If any woman could make me feel this way, I wouldn't have waited for you."

"But you won't know until you've tried it," Kara said.

"I don't think I want to . . . try it, Kara." In fact, she knew she didn't. No one could ever make her feel what Kara did. She knew in her heart that it was the truth. But she couldn't say the words. Kara would never believe her, anyway. Kara had experience. She'd been with other women, and Ginny was jealous of each of them. Had Kara loved them this way, too? Had they wanted her so deeply that nothing else mattered?

Kara raised up and kissed her softly. She'd had enough talking. "Can you stay the night with me? Please? I would love to wake up with you," Kara murmured against her lips.

"Yes, but I'm not ready for sleep," she whispered.


"What do you mean, Phil is coming?" she asked, stunned by Nana's words.

"Well, he called last night. He wanted to surprise you. He took off all next week and he's coming tomorrow." Nana watched her. "I thought you'd be thrilled. I told him how you just haven't been yourself lately."


"Well, you haven't."

Ginny paced behind the counter, thankful there were no customers in the store. "Where will he stay?" she asked.

"Well, with us, of course. Ginny, I'm not a prude. I know you sleep together. I won't mind if he stays in your room," Nana said innocently.

Ginny closed her eyes, cursing silently. What was she going to do? She did not want to see Phil. And she certainly did not want him sharing her bed. And for a week? She would never survive.

"Ginny, you surely don't want him staying in the lodge out on Lake Wenatchee, do you? That's twenty miles away," she said.

"No," she murmured. We certainly couldn't have that! "What time tomorrow?" she asked.

"He's leaving in the morning. Should be here by noon."


"Yes and I think you should just take the afternoon off. I know it's Saturday, but Jessica and I can handle it."

Ginny felt like crying but she forced herself to smile at Nana. She meant well. "You'll stay home tonight, I hope," Nana continued. "We need to clean house. And I'll have meals to plan," she added. "Oh, this will be fun, won't it? You can show him around, take him hiking or something. He likes that, doesn't he? And, now Kara can meet him. I'm sure she'll like him . . .." Nana rambled on, but Ginny had stopped listening.

Kara. What was she going to do about Kara? She closed her eyes, trying to ward off the wave of guilt that settled over her. She had just spent the night making love to Kara, waking up entangled in another woman's arms and now she had to tell that same woman that Phil was coming to spend a week with her. A week in her bed.

She knew that Kara would understand. Ginny couldn't very well tell Phil and Nana that she would rather Phil not come at all, that she would rather continue exploring her new relationship with Kara. That would be just crazy. Maybe it was good Phil was coming. Did she have any feelings for him still? This would be the only way to find out.

Suddenly, it was all just too complicated. But then, did she think that it wouldn't be? That she could just ease into this new phase of her life without complications?

Nana left the store early to start dinner and Ginny waited until Jessica had left at closing to call Kara.

"It's me," she said, when Kara had answered.

"I missed you today," Kara said softly. "Can you come over?" she asked.

Ginny closed her eyes for a moment, wishing she could go to Kara. "I can't," she said quietly.

"What's wrong?"

"Phil is coming," she said.

There was silence and Ginny pictured Kara standing there, clutching the phone.

"I see," Kara said finally.

"He called last night, when I was with you. He's taking vacation next week and coming to visit. Nana's got it all arranged," she explained.

"Where will he stay?"

"Here, at the house." Ginny heard the uncertainty in Kara's quiet voice.

"In your bed?"

Ginny was silent for a moment. "Yes," she finally said.

"I see," Kara said again.

"Kara, I don't know what I can do. I don't know how to tell him or Nana that I don't want to see him. They've got it all planned. That's all Nana talked about today."

"I understand. It's not like I didn't know about Phil. I mean, I know you're still technically involved. I just . . . I guess I didn't expect him to show up so soon after we . . ." she let her voice trail off and Ginny squeezed her eyes shut, not wanting to hear the hurt in Kara's voice, knowing she could do nothing about it.

"I'm so sorry," she finally said.

"Well, there's not a whole lot you can do now. And Ginny, maybe this is good, this is what you need right now. To see if . . . to see if you . . . still have feelings for him. Maybe you'll see him and it'll all come back to you."

Ginny wondered how hard it was for Kara to say those words. She hadn't seen Phil in nearly nine months now. Her body told her that it was only Kara's touch she needed but her mind still balked. Was it women or was it just Kara? But did it matter anymore?

"I don't want to be with him," Ginny said. "I'm just so confused about everything, Kara. I know I want you . . . but . . .."

"I know," Kara said. "This is so new for you. Don't worry about me, Ginny. You've got unfinished business with him. Maybe this thing between us is just . . .."

"Just what? A passing affair?"

"Something like that," Kara said.

"Don't do this, Kara. I know how I feel about you," Ginny insisted. "This morning when I woke up, it felt so right to be in your arms. It was the most natural thing in the world to wake up with you, to make love with you this morning. No one's ever made me feel the way that you do. Phil hasn't come close," Ginny whispered. "And that's why this is killing me that he's coming."

"I'm sorry. If I could turn back time . . .."

"No. I wouldn't want that. I don't regret this, Kara. We both knew something was pulling us together. We both knew this would happen. Didn't we?" she asked hesitantly.

"Yes." Then she laughed gently. "Well, in my dreams. I never thought you would actually come to me."

Ginny smiled, feeling some of the tension dissipate. "There was no way I could not go to you, Kara."

"Which brings us back to Phil."

"I'm sorry," she said simply.

"Well, there's nothing we can do about this. I'll give you room. You need some time with him, Ginny, whether you think so or not. You know, we haven't exactly spent our time talking about this thing between us. Maybe we should have. I just . . ."

"I know. But other things kept getting in the way," she said lightly. She didn't want to try to analyze her feelings for Kara. She just wanted . . . to be with her.

Ginny sighed, wishing she had just driven over to the cabin. This conversation should have been in person, not over the phone. But she knew they would get precious little talking done. She couldn't seem to keep her hands to herself whenever she was around Kara. Anyway, maybe Kara was right. She did need to see Phil, to see if there was anything there, if there ever had been.

"We'll talk after he's gone. After you see . . . how you feel."

"I know that you're right," Ginny said. "Maybe I do need some time to see how I feel about . . . everything."

Kara let out a heavy sigh. "Yes. You do. Because if you don't you'll always wonder if it would have worked out with him."

"But I can't stop thinking about you, Kara," Ginny whispered.

"I know. You haven't left my thoughts all day," Kara said quietly. After only a slight pause, she cleared her throat. "Have a good week," she said and hung up abruptly.

Ginny listened to the dial tone a moment longer, then hung up gently. Despite her words, Ginny had heard the pain in Kara's voice.


When Phil walked in the store just shortly after noon, Ginny forced a smile to her face and went to him. He looked the same. His brown hair cut short, his moustache neatly trimmed.

"God, I've missed you," he whispered in her ear. His arms held her tightly, pressing her breasts against his hard chest and she raised her face for his bruising kiss.

"It's good to see you," she managed, pulling out of his arms.

"You look great," he said. "Country living must agree with you."

"Hello, Phil," Nana said, giving him a big smile.

"Nana!" He gave her a brisk hug and kissed her cheek. "Thanks for having me," he said.

"I'm so glad you're here, Phil. And Ginny is, too." She winked at him. "I think she's been missing you."

"Nana!" Ginny turned pleading eyes to Nana, but she ignored her.

"Oh, Ginny. It doesn't hurt that Phil knows you've missed him, does it?"

"Have you missed me?" Phil asked.

"I suppose," Ginny said and forced another smile to her face. Had she missed him? She hadn't given much thought to it in more weeks than she could count.

But Phil looked happy with her answer and he draped an arm around Ginny possessively. "We've got a lot of catching up to do, sweetheart."

"Yes. That's why I've given Ginny the afternoon off," Nana said, pleased with herself.

"That's wonderful."

"Ginny, take him to the house and help him unpack. We'll have dinner at seven. Roast," she added.

Ginny smiled and nodded, wishing she were anywhere at this moment other than here. Nana was positively beaming and Ginny didn't have the heart to spoil things for her.

She rode with Phil to the house. Nana had planned it that way, she supposed. Nana had skipped her walk this morning, instead, riding with Ginny to the store. She would drive Ginny's car home later.

"You are glad to see me, aren't you?" Phil asked.

"I wish you had asked before taking vacation," Ginny said.

"I tried. You weren't home," he reminded her.

No. She had been with Kara, in her arms . . . making love. She felt a twinge of guilt and sighed, trying to keep thoughts of Kara away. She had to if she were to survive this week. "I still wish you had waited and talked to me first."

"Ginny, I had to see you. You've been gone for nine months. Don't you think that's long enough?"

"Long enough for what?"

He smiled in that way of his. Cocky, she thought. And she hated it. "It's time we got married, Ginny."


"Yes. I know you left because you were scared when I asked you before. I love you, Ginny. We're good together. It's been four years. Well, nearly five now. It's time."

Ginny closed her eyes, feeling sick to her stomach. How dare he? How dare he come here after nine months of separation and talk marriage? As if they had never been apart? As if they had not spoken of this before?

"I'm not ready," she said.

"Don't start that again, please. You're just scared," he said.

"Turn here," she said, motioning to the house. "And I am not scared," she insisted.

They unpacked in silence, Ginny feeling very crowded as he invaded her room with his things.

"I like your room," he said. He sat on the bed and took her hand possessively, enclosing it in his larger one. "I've missed you. I've missed making love to you."

"Phil . . . ," she shook her head but he pulled her down beside him.

"Nana won't be home until six," he said. "She told me."

Ginny smiled slightly, her eyes meeting his brown ones. Nana was trying her best to get her married off. She lifted her neck as Phil placed his lips there, the familiar feel of his moustache raking against her skin.

"Have you missed me?" he asked.

She closed her eyes and nodded as he pushed her back on the bed, his hands nearly groping at her breasts.

"Ginny, there's been no one since you left," he murmured against her lips.

She was nearly overcome with guilt and she wrapped her arms around his strong shoulders, so different from Kara's. But it wasn't right. She opened her mouth to protest and he shoved his tongue inside urgently, pushing at hers, crushing her lips beneath his. She whimpered, feeling tears sting her eyes. Why couldn't he make her feel the way that Kara did?

"Oh, Ginny, you feel so good," he whispered. He took her hand and placed it on his swollen groin, urging her to stroke him.

Ginny felt his power through his jeans and she let her hand move over him, once so familiar to her, now nearly alien.

"Let's take these off," he said, his hands going to her jeans. "I'll take care of you, sweetheart," he whispered.

She was in a daze as he lowered her jeans. Her mind was blank, completely blank as his rough, possessive hands moved over her. He paused only briefly at her breasts, then his mouth came back to hers, and he kissed her with a force that bruised her lips.

"I can't wait," he murmured and he spread her legs with his knees, plunging deep inside her.

She cried out in shame and gasped as he thrust into her, pushing her hard against the bed. God, oh God, she thought. She squeezed her eyes shut, hearing him groan with each thrust as he pounded into her.

"Oh, Ginny," he gasped and he came inside of her, his hips shaking as he held himself over her.

She felt a tear escape and she rolled her head away from him. Why . . . oh, why? Surely he knew that she was not aroused, that she had not reached an orgasm. Surely he knew that she had not enjoyed that. It was sex. That was all. There had been no love involved. But, she admitted with sadness, she had let him.

"God, that was so good." He pulled out of her and took her hand gently in his. "But fast. I've missed you," he said again. "Tonight we'll go slower," he promised.

Tonight. And the night after that and all week, he would be sharing her bed. She breathed deeply, feeling choked on her unshed tears. She felt nearly sick to her stomach. Why had she just allowed that? That assault on her. And that's all it had been. She was simply an object there to satisfy him, to bring him relief.

He sat up and reached for his jeans, which had gathered around his ankles. "Get up, sweetheart. You can show me around town." She didn't move and he reached for her. "Or are you wanting some more of that?" he asked, winking at her.

She swallowed with difficulty and forced a smile. "No." Definitely not. She made herself move, pulling her jeans back around her waist. She felt repulsed. She felt violated. She wanted to run into the bathroom and shower. She wanted to scream out in frustration. He had no idea, she thought. No idea that he had not satisfied her. And he had not even tried. Oh, Kara, I'm sorry.


She kept her back to him as she fastened her bra. "What?"

"You are going to marry me, aren't you?"

Tell him. Tell him now. She turned back around, the words on her lips, but the look in his eyes stopped her. He looked so vulnerable, so child-like. Her shoulders slumped and she looked away.

"Let's don't talk about it now, Phil. Please?"

"Okay. We've got all week, anyway. But I warned you, didn't I? I told you I would be coming to take you back," he said.

"Yes, you warned me."


Ginny cut into her roast, her appetite vanishing with each bite. Nana and Phil carried on a conversation without her, neither seeming to notice that she was a thousand miles away from them. She heard Kara's name and she looked up, puzzled.

"We haven't seen her work, though," Nana was saying.

"That's amazing. Mr. Bradshaw just bought one of her paintings," he said. "Hung it in the conference room."

"Is it any good?" Nana asked.

"Oh. Very. It's called Tomorrow and Today. It's a seastack, out off the Peninsula. The sun is setting in the west and one side of the stack is orange, nearly crimson and the moon is shining overhead, in the east, making the facing side almost glow a ghostly white. It's beautiful, really."

Ginny listened with interest, thinking how ironic it was that Phil had seen Kara's work but she, who had spent countless hours in her arms, had not even thought to ask to see it.

"Well, I knew she would be good," Nana said.

"She must be. Cost him over two thousand bucks," Phil said.

"My, my," Nana said. "Ginny, can you image that? And here I was thinking maybe I'd like one of her paintings."

Phil looked at Ginny and smiled. "So, you're hanging out with a famous artist and you haven't even seen any of her paintings. Are you sure it's the same Kara Morgan?"

"Yes," Ginny said lightly, glancing at Nana.

"Oh, we've seen her sketch, but nothing else," Nana said.

"Well, I'd certainly like to meet her," Phil said.

Ginny cringed, imagining having to introduce Phil to Kara.

"Oh, and I'm sure she wants to meet you, too. Ginny's told her all about you. Haven't you, Ginny?"

Ginny gave Nana a penetrating glance and nodded, shoving a piece of roast into her mouth to avoid speaking.

"Why don't we have a cookout tomorrow? We can go to the campgrounds out by Drury Falls. There's a wonderful hiking trail there. You do like to hike, don't you Phil?" Nana asked.

"I guess so. Not that I get much of a chance in Seattle," he said.

"We can invite Kara, Ginny. Maybe have a campfire with hotdogs and chili," Nana said. "Sounds exciting, doesn't it?"

"Yes, let's do. What do you say, Ginny?" Phil asked.

Ginny nodded weakly, thinking she would never invite Kara. She would make up some excuse. She could not handle the both of them together. She would simply go insane if she tried.

Phil lounged by the TV while Ginny and Nana cleaned up.

"Ginny, you don't have to help. I know you'd rather be out there with Phil," Nana said.

Ginny let out a heavy sigh. "No. I'll help," she said.

Nana set the plates down and took Ginny's arm. "What's wrong, child? You hardly said a word at dinner."

"Nothing's wrong, Nana." Only everything.

"Phil loves you," Nana said.

Ginny nodded. "Yes, I believe he does," she said.


That night, as Ginny crawled into bed beside Phil and let him take her into his arms, she felt that she had surely reached the lowest point in her life. She nearly choked when his tongue shoved into her mouth and when his hands grasped her breasts in his vise-like grip, she finally pushed him away.

"No, Phil," she said.

"No? What do you mean?"

"I mean, no. I don't want you to touch me. I don't want this."

"Ginny? Are you okay?"

"No. I'm not. You come here after nine months of separation, thinking that nothing has changed. Well, it has," she said quietly. "Things have changed. I've changed."

"I still love you. I still want to marry you," he said simply.

"Phil, I left because I needed some time away from you. I wasn't sure that I wanted to marry you. I'm still not sure," she said cautiously.

"Ginny, we've been together for years. What's next for us, if not marriage?"

"Phil, don't do this to me. You know how much Nana wants us to get married. She's been harping on me since I moved here. I'm happy right now," she said, choosing her words carefully.

Phil laughed. "You can't possibly be happy. There's nothing here for you. And you're too young to be an old maid, even if Nana does think you're fast approaching that age," he said lightly. "Besides, I'm not leaving until you agree to marry me."

"I'm not going back to Seattle, Phil," she said firmly.

"Oh, Ginny. Don't be difficult," he teased. "Let me make love to you," he coaxed. "You must have missed it, too."

"Phil, don't," she warned, but his hands came out again and he pulled her on top of him, his arousal pushing up against her.

"See how I want you," he said and he pressed her firmly against him.

"Phil, please, don't do this," she begged, trying to break his hold, but his mouth smothered her protests.

She hated herself as he pulled her panties down and entered her. Images of Kara's gentle lovemaking came to her as Phil plundered her body and she didn't try to stop the tears that flowed from her eyes.



"Yes." A pause, then, "How's it going?"

Ginny felt her heart constrict at the sound of Kara's soft voice and she clutched the phone to her, as if she could touch Kara.

"Okay," she lied. "I guess."


"We're going to Drury Falls this afternoon. Nana wants a campfire and hotdogs," she explained.

"Sounds like fun."

"Come with us?" she asked hesitantly.

"I don't think so," Kara said.

"Please? Nana wanted me to call you. She expects you to be there." Ginny lowered her voice, glancing into the living room where Phil and Nana sat. "I want you to come," she added softly.

"Ginny, it would be uncomfortable for you . . . for me, too."

"I know, Kara. Don't you think I know? But I need to see you," Ginny pleaded. "Please, Kara. I may very well go crazy if I don't see you."


"We've got some vegetarian ones at the store. I'll get some for you," she promised.

She heard Kara's deep sigh and she knew that her jaw was clinched and she wished she were there to soothe it. To hold her.

"Okay. I'll come," she said finally. "If you think we'll be okay."

"Thank you, Kara," Ginny said softly. "I . . . I miss you."

"Ginny, don't. This is hard enough."

"I know. And I lied before. It's not okay. I'm so miserable."

She heard Kara's low chuckle.

"Sweetheart, I'm the one who's miserable."

She hung up, staring at the phone, wondering what she was going to do. Kara was right. It would be uncomfortable for them, both of them, but she had to see her. She needed to look into her eyes. She closed her own, remembering Kara's soft touch upon her body, the soft lips that had brought her such pleasure. It wasn't Phil. It never had been. She had been a fool to allow him to come here and a bigger fool yet to allow him into her bed. It was Kara she wanted. In her life and in her bed. Not Phil. Not any man.


They hiked up to the falls and sat on the rock, just out of the reach of the cool spray. Ginny had hoped that Kara would come early, but by the time that Nana was ready to hike, there had been no sign of her. Ginny was afraid that she had changed her mind and that she wouldn't come, after all. And she needed her to come. She needed to see her. She needed to talk to her, to tell her how she felt and she couldn't wait another day. As she sat there, she had already decided that if Kara didn't show, she would drive to the cabin herself. She didn't give a damn what Phil or Nana thought.

"This is beautiful," Phil said. "Good idea, Nana."

She beamed at him and Ginny had a crazy notion that Nana loved him much more than Ginny ever had. She watched him. He was a handsome man. She had always thought so, anyway. But she knew now that he wasn't what she wanted and he never could be. She knew without a doubt that she would never be with a man again. She knew that with certainty after last night.

She had cried and Phil hadn't understood. He had held her and tried to soothe her but she had pulled out of his arms. She didn't want his touch. She didn't ever want his touch again. She had taken her pillow and slept on the couch, only going back to her room when she heard Nana stirring.

Phil hadn't commented on it today, but he had watched her, she knew. And tonight, she would tell him. She would tell him that she didn't love him and that she was not going to marry him and she would send him away. It would break Nana's heart, of course, but Ginny couldn't worry about that now. She could not survive the week if things remained as they were.

It was nearly six when they got back to their picnic table, but still no sign of Kara. Ginny tried not to let her disappointment show, helping to unload their firewood for their later fire and showing the proper amount of enthusiasm for the hotdog dinner that Nana had planned.

"I wonder where Kara is?" Nana asked for the third time and she stared off down the dirt road, looking for her truck.

"Probably working and lost track of time," Ginny offered. And perhaps it was true.


Kara turned the Land Cruiser onto the bumpy road, cigarette clamped between her teeth, her eighth of the day. She would rather being going anywhere at this moment other than to meet Phil. Even the damn dentist, she thought But Ginny had pleaded and Kara admitted that she couldn't stay away from her another day, even if she had to share her with a man. A man who hoped to marry her.

Had they slept together? Of course. He had come up here for that very reason, after all, she thought bitterly. Jealousy consumed her and ate at her stomach and she hated herself for what she was feeling. See what happens when you fall for a straight woman, she thought. Straight? Ginny was many things, but straight was not one of them. Not after the way she made love to Kara. She couldn't be. The way she touched her with such intensity, such passion. No. No one could make love to another woman like that and be straight.

Nana saw her and waved and Kara forced a smiled and waved back. She had never been one for praying, but she sent a silent plea to anyone who might be listening. Please, just get me thought this evening.

"We were wondering if you'd forgotten," Nana said.

"Working," she lied. She hadn't picked up a brush in two days.

Ginny walked up to her and met her eyes, uncaring that Nana was watching them. All she wanted to do was to wrap her arms around her and hold her. "Kara," she said softly. "I'm so glad you're here," she whispered, hoping Nana couldn't hear.

"Hi." Kara's eyes greedily traveled over Ginny, remembering how responsive she had been in her arms and she felt her pulse quicken. She shouldn't have come, she thought.

"Come meet Phil," Nana said and pulled Kara after her. Ginny saw the anguish in Kara's eyes as they left her and she followed close behind.

"Phil, this is Kara Morgan, the artist," Nana presented importantly.

"Hello," he said and took Kara's outstretched hand. "I've seen your work. Very nice."

Kara smiled and released his hand quickly. He was attractive, she thought with dismay. If you liked that sort of thing, anyway.

"Which is more than we have," Nana added.

"I don't really have anything finished, Louise."

"My boss bought Tomorrow and Today," Phil said.

"Oh." Kara smiled, hating the fact that this man had access to her painting. "That's one of my favorites. Top ten."

"You mean, you rank your paintings?" Phil asked. "What? One to ten?"

Kara laughed. "Some I just like more than others," she said. "But everyone has different tastes. Some I like so much, they become too personal to part with," she said.

"Oh, so you don't sell everything?"

She smiled briefly and Ginny saw that it didn't reach her eyes. "Sometimes I paint just for me," she said. "Others, I give as gifts." She shrugged, not wanting to have this conversation with him.

"Wow. Some gift. Well, it's very nice to meet you. Nana's told me quite a bit about you," he said.

Kara glanced at Louise who smiled sheepishly. "A beer?" Louise asked.

"Yeah, please."

"I'll get it," Phil offered.

Kara turned and found Ginny watching her and her eyes moved over her quickly. Ginny brought her hands out, as if to touch her, then dropped them to her sides.

"Kara," she whispered softly, her eyes searching. She didn't care that Nana was watching.

"Here you go," Phil said and Kara turned to him, muttering a thank you and took the offered beer.

They sat in lawn chairs and Kara observed this man that had shared Ginny's life. And still did. An attractive man, but still a man, she noted. And possessive. He sat close to Ginny, touching her knee with his hand as he spoke and Kara couldn't take her eyes off of them. She felt jealously smoldering inside of her and hated it. What she and Ginny had shared was most likely temporary. And most likely over. Phil had come here to stake his claim.

"Are you from Seattle?" he asked.


"Well, once Ginny moves back, we'll have to get together," he said easily.

She met his eyes for a moment. "Sure," she said lightly. She ventured a glance at Ginny who met her eyes and Kara did not miss the quick apology that flashed her way.

"Did you bring your sketch pad, Kara?" Nana asked. "It's almost sunset."

"No, Louise. I've sketched the falls before. They're much better at sunrise," she said.

"They're beautiful at any time," Phil stated.

Kara smiled, hating this man. "Yes, they are. I was speaking of sketching, though."

Ginny rubbed her temples, feeling a headache approaching. This had been a mistake, she thought wearily. Phil was actually competing with Kara, as if he knew she was a threat.


"Hmmm?" She looked up at Nana.

"Why don't you take Kara to the Big Tree?"

Ginny glanced at Kara. "Have you seen it?" she asked. It would give them a chance to talk. She hoped Kara had not been there before.

"No. What big tree?"

Ginny laughed. "Big Tree. It's a cedar. Three hundred feet tall and as wide as a house," she said.

"You go ahead. Phil and I will start the fire," Nana said.

They walked away in silence, Kara with her hands shoved in her pockets, Ginny's folded securely under her arms. When they reached the trailhead, the sun was already past the trees and shadows covered the path as they entered the forest. They were both silent as they walked.

"Are you upset with me?" Ginny finally asked.


"Then why won't you talk to me?" Ginny asked.

"What should I say? That Phil's a nice guy?" Kara thought she hated him.

"No. That's not what I mean. You're being difficult," Ginny accused.

"I'm being difficult? I didn't even what to come here this evening," she said. "I didn't want to see you with him. To see him touch you like that."

"Yes, it was a mistake," Ginny said. "You were right."

They walked on, slowly, along the path, both struggling with their thoughts.

"Have you enjoyed his company?" Kara finally asked.

Ginny ignored her question, instead, she pointed to the massive tree up ahead. "The Big Tree," she said.

"Jesus," Kara murmured and she bent her head back, trying to find the top as it disappeared into the sky. "That's one big tree."

Ginny smiled, but it faded when she met Kara's blue eyes. "Have you enjoyed his company?" Kara asked again.

"Don't, Kara," Ginny said softly. She walked on, up to the base of the giant and leaned against it.

"You've slept with him?" Kara asked.

Ginny closed her eyes, not wanting to discuss Phil. Not now.

"Haven't you?" Kara asked again.

"He's sharing my room, yes," Ginny said.

"He's made love to you?"

Ginny looked away, her hands reaching out to touch the rough bark. Made love? No. She wouldn't call it that. Kara gripped her forearms hard and turned her around to face her.

"I'm just so . . . lost," Ginny whispered. "I don't have a say in anything. He acted like we hadn't been apart at all."

Kara stared at her, blue eyes peering into green. "Did he make love to you like I did?" Kara asked, her eyes holding Ginny prisoner.

"Kara . . .."

"Did you ask him to? Did you want him to?"

Ginny trembled under Kara's angry gaze, but she couldn't look away.

Kara pushed Ginny roughly against the tree, holding her there. "Did you want him the way you wanted me?" she whispered, pressing her body against Ginny. "Did you beg him to put his mouth on you?"

Ginny shook her head, her breath coming quickly through her parted lips.

"Did he make you feel the way that I did?" Kara demanded and she moved her face to Ginny's, foreheads touching as their breath whispered against each other.

Ginny closed her eyes and waited for Kara's bruising, angry kiss. But the lips that touched hers were soft and gentle, not angry and Ginny's mouth opened to her, her hands moving to Kara's face.

"Ginny . . . I can't stand this," Kara whispered. She covered Ginny's breasts with urgent hands, cupping them softly, feeling the nipples strain against her palms. "The thought of him touching you . . . like this," she whispered, her voice trailing away as she kissed Ginny. "Ginny, did you feel this with him? Were your breasts ready for his touch, like they are mine?" she demanded.

"No, Kara . . . never like you," Ginny whispered into her mouth. "Never like you."

Kara held her close, her hands cupping Ginny's hips, pressing them to her, trying to make Ginny see how it was with them, how it could never be with anyone else. But Ginny's hands wouldn't still. They took Kara's face and brought her mouth close and she moaned softly when their tongues touched.

"I want you so much," Ginny whispered urgently. "Kara, please." Ginny's chest heaved as if she'd been running and she clutched Kara to her. "I need you," she whispered. "I need you to make love to me."

"Ginny . . . don't," Kara warned.

"I mean it," she said and she took Kara's hand and shoved it between her legs. "Touch me."

Kara could feel her wetness through her shorts and she was lost. She pressed Ginny against the tree and unbuttoned her shorts in one quick motion, her hand pushing past the waistband with ease. Ginny's legs parted and Kara's fingers moved through her wetness, touching her so gently that Ginny nearly cried.

"Oh, God."

"Ginny . . .." Kara breathed against her mouth.

Ginny's legs failed to support her and she clung to Kara, her back arched against the rough bark of the giant tree. She had never wanted like this, never needed like this and she held Kara's hand to her, harder.


Kara's tongue in Ginny's mouth matched the rhythm of her fingers and she held Ginny as she rocked against her, bringing her closer to orgasm.

"Ginny? Kara?" a voice called to them from the forest trail.

Kara froze at the sound of Phil's voice as it carried through the trees. He was looking for them.

Ginny grabbed Kara's neck and pulled her back to her. "Please, don't stop," she begged. "Don't stop."

"Ginny," Kara whispered. "Phil is coming."

"I don't care about him. I need you." Ginny's hands guided Kara's mouth back to hers. "Don't stop, Kara. Not now."

Kara moved on her again, her fingers frantic now and Ginny arched against her hand, her body convulsing, throbbing and Kara swallowed her scream, sliding down the base of the tree with Ginny as her legs gave way.

"Kara," Ginny sighed and she let her tears fall. "I'm so sorry," she whispered. "I'm so sorry."

"Ginny? Kara?" Phil called again.

"We're coming," Kara yelled to him and she saw the beam of his flashlight through the trees and she just now realized how dark it had become.

"Kara, I'm sorry I made you do that," Ginny whispered against her mouth. "I just . . . needed you. I needed your touch."

Kara took her face in gentle hands. "You don't ever have to be sorry for wanting me that way," Kara said and she wiped the tears from Ginny's eyes with her thumbs. "Come on. We've got to get back."

Ginny let herself be pulled to her feet and she stood by numbly as Kara's hands came to her and tucked her shirt back into her shorts. Oh, God, she thought. I'm in love with her.

"Ginny, honey, come on," Kara urged. "He's coming."

Oh, Lord. A simple endearment can melt my heart. I love her, Ginny thought again. And on the heels of that: What have I done?

Kara took her hand and pulled her along the trail just as Phil's light came into view. Their hands dropped immediately and they took a step apart.

"There you are," he said. "We were getting worried a bear had eaten you or something."

Ginny couldn't find her voice and Kara spoke for them. "We got to talking and just lost track of time," she said.

"Well, come on. Nana's starving." He draped a possessive arm around Ginny's shoulders and walked ahead of Kara. Kara watched them, watched as Ginny's legs attempted to keep up with Phil's. She hated him.

"I was getting worried," Nana said. "It gets dark quickly in the forest."

"You know how girls can talk," Phil said.

"Open the wine, Phil," Nana said. "I'm going to celebrate." She smiled and clasped Ginny's hands. "Why didn't you tell me?" she asked.

"Tell you what?" Ginny asked weakly.

"That you're getting married! Phil told me you talked about it yesterday. I'm so excited I can hardly stand it," she said.

"Married?" Ginny repeated in a hushed whisper. Her eyes flew to Phil, then, more importantly, to Kara.

"Isn't it exciting, Kara? I suppose Ginny told you all about it in the woods," Nana said excitedly.

Kara couldn't breathe and her eyes moved slowly to Ginny. "Yes," she managed. "Wonderful."

Phil walked up, practically beaming and Kara felt as humiliated as she ever had in her life. She forced a smile to her face and offered her hand to him. "I suppose congratulations are in order, then." She wondered if he could still feel Ginny's wetness on her fingers.

"Thank you," he said sincerely. "I'm so thrilled she accepted."

Kara glanced at Ginny, keeping the pain in her eyes shielded. "I hope you'll be very happy," she said to Ginny.

Ginny was certain that she was going to pass out right here. With any luck, she would fall into the fire and it would all be over quickly. She shot Phil a look that would kill most men and he had the good sense to look away from her. She looked again at Kara, wanting to take her away from here and explain, but Kara refused to meet her eyes.

Kara forced down her hot dog, nearly choking on every bite. She refused to look at Ginny. She refused to look at Phil. Tension settled around the campfire and even Nana seemed to notice.

"Have you set a date?" Nana asked, disrupting the silence.

"No," Phil said. "But I hope soon. The sooner the better, you know."

Ginny said nothing and she tossed her plate into the fire, and everyone watched as her uneaten hot dog sizzled in the flames. She would kill him, she decided. She had just cause. He had just ruined her life. And Kara. Kara wouldn't even look at her. And who could blame her. One minute, Ginny is begging her to make love to her, the next, she finds out Ginny's to be married. She groaned softly. God, what had just happened here?

"And babies?" Nana asked.

"Nana! Please," Ginny said quietly.

"Well, you're not getting any younger," she continued

"Nana . . . stop," Ginny said sharply and she shot Phil another look.

Kara waited what she thought was a respectable time, then stood. "I've got some work to finish," she lied. "Thank you for inviting me," she said to Louise. "But I need to get going."

"Are you leaving already? We've got marshmallows, too," Nana offered.

Kara ran her hands through her hair and she wanted to scream. "I'll have to pass," she said. "Nice to meet you, Phil. It was . . . enlightening."

"Maybe I'll see you around this week," he said.

"Probably not. I've got a lot of work to do." She turned, and with only a nod to Ginny, walked purposefully to her truck.

"Kara, wait," Ginny called and ran after her. She had to talk to her. She didn't care that Phil and Nana were staring after her.

Kara kept walking, not trusting herself to speak.

"Wait," Ginny demanded in a soft voice.

Kara stopped, her hand on the door. "I've nothing to say to you."

"I didn't know anything about that."


"How can you think I can want you like that if I'm planning on marrying Phil?" Ginny asked.

Kara's eyes bored into hers. "One last time? Cheap thrill?"

"Don't be like that. It's not you," Ginny said softly. "You know how I feel about you," Ginny insisted.

"Ginny, go back where you belong," she said, motioning with her head.

"I don't belong with him," Ginny said.

"Well, you certainly don't belong with me."

Ginny felt as if she'd been slapped and she stood by silently as Kara slammed the door and sped off.

She walked slowly back to the fire, accepting the burning marshmallow without a word.

"Kara sure was quiet tonight," Nana said after an eternity of silence.

"She's different," Phil commented.

Certainly different from you, Ginny thought. And I'm in love with her and she doesn't want me anymore.

They packed their things and drove back, Ginny thankful there was no more talk about a wedding. When Phil would have followed Nana into the house, Ginny stopped him.

"I'd like to talk to you. In private," she said, glancing at Nana. When Nana closed the door, Ginny turned on him, eyes flashing. "How dare you?" she hissed.

"Ginny . . .."

"How dare you tell Nana that? You know how much she wants us to get married."

He had the audacity to smile at her. "I needed all the help I could get."

"You bastard," she spat, wanting to slap the smile from his face.

"Ginny! You act like this is a surprise. We've talked about it."

"I'm not going to marry you. You knew that last night." Her voice softened. "Phil, I'm not in love with you."

"What do you mean?"

"I don't love you. I'm not going to marry you."

"Ginny, we've spent four . . . nearly five years together. We're good together."

"Good?" She shook her head. "You call what you did to me last night good? No."

"Ginny, let's talk about this. I was trying to make love to you."

"Make love? You forced yourself on me, after I asked you to stop."

"Ginny, we're a couple. Couples make love."

"I want you to leave," she said. "In the morning."

"I'm here a couple of days, you get pissed off and you're sending me away?" He laughed. "Ginny, be reasonable."

"I am being reasonable. And you're right," she said. "I am pissed off. I'm pissed as hell that you told Nana we were getting married and I'm pissed as hell that you're even here in the first place." She was pacing then, her voice rising with each word. "You come up here and act like nothing has changed. You act like I didn't leave nearly a year ago because I didn't want to get married. How . . . dare . . . you?"

Phil stared at her and for the first time, she saw uncertainty in his eyes.

"You were just scared. Marriage is a big step, Ginny. But I love you."

"You don't even know me anymore, Phil. I'm not the same person that left."

Phil stared at her again, silently. Finally, he brushed at his moustache with one finger.

"What's with you and the artist?" he asked.

Ginny wasn't afraid to meet his eyes. "My relationship with her is none of your business."

"If I didn't know you better, I'd say . . .."

"Don't, Phil," she said quietly. "You have no idea."

"I watched you. You were so quiet before she came and then when she got there, you couldn't take your eyes off her." His voice was angry and he grabbed her arms. "Did that dyke come on to you or what? Is that what this is about?"

"Dyke?" Ginny laughed softly in his face. "Is that what she is?"

He shoved her away, his eyes searching hers for answers. "Did she?"

"My relationship with her is none of your business," she said again.

"Isn't it? My God, Ginny, what's happened to you?" He shoved his hands nervously through his hair and peered at her. "We were going to get married."

"No. We were not. And that has nothing to do with Kara," she said.

"Please tell me you're not involved with her," he whispered. "Please?"

Ginny stared at him, refusing to look away. "We're . . . more than friends, yes," she admitted. "And that has nothing to do with you."

"Jesus," he muttered. "I can't believe this." He turned his back on her and Ginny was tempted to go to him, to comfort him, but he shrugged her hand away. "Was I that bad in bed? Jesus, you had to replace me with a fucking woman?" he yelled.

"Phil, this has nothing to do with you. It just . . . happened."

"But you're not a . . . a goddamned lesbian," he whispered.

"If what I feel for her makes me a lesbian, then yes, I guess I am." She took his arm and this time he didn't pull away. "I don't expect you to understand, Phil. I don't understand it myself."

"That's why you cried last night?"

She nodded and shoved her hands in her pockets. "I wasn't ready to accept this, I guess. I didn't know for sure that I could be in a . . . a lesbian relationship like this. But she's what I want."

"So, it's over? Just like that?" he asked, his tone hurt again. "Because some dyke came on to you?"

"Stop calling her that," she said sharply. Then her voice softened. "Don't you see? This has nothing to do with you. I tried, Phil. That's why I let you come up here. But it's me. Something was missing with us. That's why I ran. I just didn't know what it was."

"And you can't know now," he insisted.

"Phil, she's not the first woman I've been . . . attracted to. It was before I met you and nothing happened. I couldn't allow anything to happen. But . . . with Kara . . .." She clutched at her heart and closed her eyes. "This is who I am. I'm so sorry."

"You're sorry? That's all you can say? What the hell is Nana going to say?"

"She doesn't know. And I'm not ready to tell her."

"Well, maybe I should. Maybe she could talk some sense into you."

"Phil, please don't be this way. It's not you. It's me."

"I think you're sick," he said bitterly. "This whole thing is sick."

"I'm sorry you feel that way then." She faced him squarely and didn't flinch from the anger in his eyes. "I'll tell Nana you're leaving in the morning."

She walked inside, slamming the door behind her. Why did she tell him? Did she honestly expect him to understand?

She got her pillow and tossed it on the sofa, unmindful of Nana watching.


"What?" she asked.

"What's wrong?"

"Nothing. Everything."


"Nana, I don't want to talk now."

"Where's Phil?"

"Outside, I suppose," she said curtly.

"You've had a fight? Ginny, you just got engaged," Nana said innocently.

"Nana, I'm not engaged. I'm not getting married."

"But, Phil . . .."

"Phil is leaving tomorrow," Ginny said between clinched teeth.

"Leaving? I don't understand," she said. Nana sat on the sofa beside Ginny and took her hand. "What is it, child?"

"Nana, I'm not . . . I just . . . I don't want to marry Phil. Let's just leave it at that."

"But he loves you."

Ginny smiled gently and kissed Nana's hand.

"But I don't love him."

Part 6

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