Ginny walked into the bar, feeling that every eye in the room was on her. More women than she ever thought she'd see were crammed together in the loud and smoky club. She shoved her way to the bar and got a beer, then walked through the crowd, looking at faces, suddenly wondering what she would do if Kara was there. But of course, she wouldn't be. Ginny didn't think that bars were Kara's style.

She had scarcely taken a drink from her beer when a pretty, young women, barely college age, asked her to dance. Ginny stared at her, shocked, then politely declined. For a moment, she had forgotten where she was and why. She was embarrassed and wanted to call the girl back, but she let her go. She wasn't interested in that woman in the least.

She didn't decline her next offer, even though the woman was even more masculine that Phil. She was at least closer to Ginny's age.

"I'm Mandy," the woman said.

Mandy? This was no Mandy! "Ginny. Nice to meet you."

The woman pulled her close and Ginny could smell bourbon on her breath and she turned her face away from her.

"I haven't seen you around before," Mandy said.

"I'm just visiting," Ginny explained.

"I hope for awhile," Mandy said seductively.

"Leaving in the morning, I'm afraid," Ginny lied. She felt the woman's large breasts press against her own and she wanted to pull away.

"That's a shame. But the night's long," Mandy whispered in her ear.

Not long enough to convince me to stay with you! "I'm actually waiting for someone," Ginny lied again. She prayed that the song would end.

"Well, just my luck," Mandy said but she continued to hold Ginny close.

Ginny suffered through the slow dance, escaping Mandy's arms as soon as the song ended and moved to the other side of the room, away from Mandy.

She made herself stay until midnight, enduring countless dances with strangers, none of whom stirred even the slightest desire in her. None of them could compare to Kara, not that she thought any of them ever would.

Back at her hotel, she lay on her bed, fully clothed, feeling even more depressed than before. Kara, where are you? I need you.

She closed her eyes and let silent tears fall, feeling her heart breaking all over again. How could she love someone so much, finally, and they just leave her? Leave with a half-assed excuse that it was for her own good? It made no sense.

And it wasn't fair. She had been looking for so long. Looking for that magic, that burning desire. And she had finally found it with Kara. And now she was gone from her life as quickly as she had come into it.

She awoke during the night and undressed, crawling beneath the covers finally. But she couldn't sleep any more. She tossed and turned, her thoughts jumbled with memories of Kara. Kara's lips coming to her; Kara's hands cupping her breasts. Kara's mouth settling over her, taking her to heights she had only dreamed of. Kara. Kara's face. Kara's eyes. Kara.

She got up. Angry.

"Damn her," she whispered to her empty room. She had to stop. She couldn't go on like this. It was slowly driving her insane, this desire, this need she had for Kara.

"Well, she doesn't want you. She doesn't love you."

Ginny laughed bitterly. And what could she possibly offer Kara anyway? Friendship? Yes, they were friends. But she was sure Kara found her lacking in bed. Ginny didn't have experience. She didn't know how to love a woman. Kara had probably been with many women, all of whom were vastly superior to Ginny when it came to making love.

Ginny was jealous again. Jealous of those women who had touched Kara, had made love to her. Was there someone now? Had she called up an old friend? Was there someone staying with her at her cottage?

Ginny slammed her fist on the table, cursing herself for the tears that ran down her cheeks; cursing herself for being weak.

She should just go back, she thought. Go back to Nana and her lonely life. She would forget about Kara. Eventually. Maybe even look back on this with fondness someday. Kara had, after all, shown her that there was a whole new life for her, just waiting to be explored.

But instead of leaving, she took a bus downtown and walked the familiar streets, window-shopping and people watching. She paused at the high-rise where Phil worked. Where she had once worked, too. She should go up. At least say hello. At least so that she could tell Nana she had seen him.

But she didn't. He would want to talk. It would just start all over again and it was better this way. She didn't want to see him, anyway. He meant nothing to her anymore. He was just a distant memory of another life.

She walked down to the waterfront and had lunch, taking her seafood platter out to the patio overlooking Puget Sound. She had to fight the gulls for her last shrimp, but it was relaxing to be out here again. The familiar smell, the familiar sounds. She hadn't realized she had missed Seattle. She had stayed away because of Phil. But Chiwaukum was only a couple of hours through the mountains. She could come back now, if she wanted. She no longer felt the need to avoid Phil. That was over.

She wondered through Pike Place Market, watching as the vendors displayed their goods, shoving through the crowds. Back on the street, she walked again through downtown, pausing to watch the horse-drawn carriages carry tourists along to the waterfront. She walked on, passing shops and people, her mind blank and empty for once.

She passed an art gallery, one that she had walked past a hundred times before and her breath caught in her throat. She reached out to touch the glass, her eyes wide. It couldn't be. She brought her hand to her chest, trying to chase the pain away. The Big Tree. By Kara Morgan. She looked at the card again, but it was there.

Her eyes blinked quickly, trying to hide the tears that had formed. She stared, dumbfounded. The forest was ablaze in white light, the moon seeming to chase the sun from the sky. Her eyes followed the giant tree into the dark forest, down its rough bark, bark that she could still feel pressing against her skin. The path to the tree seemed to glow and she followed it now, as her feet had followed it all those weeks ago. And there, at its base, stood the shadows of two lovers, beneath the summer moon, heads drawn together, embracing. Hands touching, loving.

She shuddered and her breath left her in a silent gasp. Is that how they had been? Wrapped so closely together that even the barest of light could not penetrate? She watched, and remembered.

"Did you want him the way you wanted me? Did you beg him to put his mouth on you?"

Ginny swallowed hard, her eyes unseeing as she stared at the painting.

"Did he make you feel the way that I did? Were your breasts ready for his touch, like they are mine?"

Ginny shook her head. "Never," she whispered. She closed her eyes and saw them, her hand placing Kara's between her legs. "Touch me."

"Ginny, Phil is coming."

"I don't care. I need you. Don't stop."

She groaned, remembering. "I'm so sorry."

"You don't ever have to be sorry for wanting me that way."

And then, "Ginny, honey, come on."

And Ginny knew. Kara loved her. It was all there, right in front of her. Kara loved her.

She pushed through the door, going immediately to the painting.

"May I help you?"

Ginny looked up, stunned. "I . . . I want to buy this one," she stammered.

The woman smiled. "Ah, are you familiar with her work?"


"Well, we have some others of hers. I'm afraid this one is not for sale."

Ginny swallowed. "What do you mean?"

The woman smiled again. "The owner has decided to keep it and display it for awhile. Perhaps in a few months . . .." She walked away, beckoning Ginny to follow. "Come, we have some others by Kara Morgan."

Ginny followed, her eyes wide as she saw familiar scenes appear before her. The waterfalls, at sunrise. Nana's favorite lake, also at sunrise. She looked closer, seeing two deer faintly in the mist. She moved on and her eyes teared again. Their lake. Their sunset. She reached out. She had sat right there, beside Kara and watched as the colors changed, as the lake turned from blue to orange before her eyes. She glanced at the card. Ginny's Lake. She raised her eyes to the woman.

"Yes, this one is beautiful," the woman said. "But, its been sold."

Ginny's heart sank. Sold? That was her lake. That was her sunset. She took a deep breath and turned to the woman. "I want the one in the window," she said evenly.

"I'm sorry."

"Please, I have to have it. Ask the owner," Ginny pleaded.

"Very well. I'll be right back."

Ginny watched her go, then turned again to Kara's paintings. They were beautiful. All of them. She could picture Kara standing over them, her fingers holding the brush gently, lovingly stroking the canvas, bringing the scenes to life.


Ginny turned. "Yes?"

"She'll part with it for three thousand," the woman said.

Ginny nodded. "Okay." She didn't care about the price. She would have drained her entire savings to have it.

The woman smiled. "She would like to display it for awhile. Could some arrangement be made?"

"No. I'm not from Seattle."

"Perhaps we could ship it to you then?"

"No." Ginny forced a smile. "I'm sorry. But I must have it now."


Kara stood looking out over Puget Sound, unseeing, as the ferry took her to Seattle. A party. She didn't feel like a party. She didn't feel much like anything, but Marsha had talked her into it. A bunch of their old friends would be there, she had said.

"Big deal," Kara muttered. She glanced to the west, the sun still hanging on, dipping into the sea as it fought with the clouds that brought a slow drizzle. And the colors were magnificent. But she could find little joy in them this evening. She turned her face away and cupped her hands, flicking a flame to her cigarette.

She drove through the wet streets, thoughts of Ginny crowding her mind and she pushed them all away.

"Jesus, look at you," Marsha said, drawing Kara inside. "You look like shit."


"I mean it. When's the last time you've eaten?"

Kara shrugged, slipping another cigarette between her lips. Marsha watched her, concern showing on her face. "I've never seen you this way, Kara. I'm worried about you."

"Please," Kara said and rolled her eyes. "I'm fine."

"Why don't you call her?" Marsha asked gently.

Kara shook her head. "No." She took a deep drag off her cigarette. "I'm extremely happy being miserable."


"It's the Big Tree," Nana said excitedly.


"It's . . . beautiful," she said, looking closer. "Look, there are people . . .."

"Yes," Ginny said sharply.

Nana looked up. "Should we hang it above the sofa?"

"No. I want to put it in my room," she said.

"In your room? Why, it would look wonderful out here," Nana said.

Ginny stared at her. "I would rather hang it in my room."

"Well, okay. It is your painting," Nana said defensively. "Did you see her?"

"No. I bought it at a gallery, downtown," she said.

"What did you pay?"

"It doesn't matter," Ginny said quietly.

"Too much, no doubt. You should have just asked her for one. She said she sometimes gave them as gifts," Nana said.

"Like I said, I didn't see her," Ginny said. She left, taking the painting with her. She propped it against the bed and stared at it, again. It was all there. Everything she felt, it was there. Kara had captured it exactly. Their love.

She squeezed her eyes closed, trying to ward off the tears that she knew would come. She had been unable to stop them last night and today. She had cried. She had cried for herself. She cried for Kara. She cried because the pain in her heart was nearly too much for her to bear.

Maybe she shouldn't have taken the painting. It was too painful to look at, really. Maybe she should just put it away for awhile. Maybe later, years from now, she could look at it and not remember.

"Where are you?" she whispered. "Why won't you come back to me? I know you love me." She tucked her face into her hands and cried, deep sobs that came from her heart.

She cried when the espresso machine gave her mocha instead of a latte. She pounded the side, tears streaming down her face.


"Damn thing," she muttered. She sipped the mocha and it burned her mouth.

She cried when she restocked the shelf with cereal, knocking several boxes to the floor. She picked them up, wiping at her tears.

"Ginny? What's wrong?" Nana asked.


She cried when she burned the garlic bread they were having for dinner. "Goddamn it!" she yelled, jerking the bread from the oven.


"I'm sorry," she whispered.

Nana stared at her, not knowing what to say.

And she cried in bed, the light still on, her eyes staring at Kara's painting for hours on end.

Nana suffered through her bouts of tears in silence. Ginny could not tell her what was wrong. Nana had quit asking. She walked around her gently, trying not to upset her.

One night, weeks later, as Ginny lay in bed, tears running down her cheeks, Nana came to her.

"Ginny, what's wrong, child?" she asked gently. "I want to help."

Ginny turned bruised eyes to Nana. "I'm . . . I'm so lonely," she whispered.

Nana sat on the edge of the bed and brushed her hair, as if soothing a child.

"Why don't you just call?" she asked.


"Phil," Nana said gently.

Ginny cried harder, her shoulders shaking. "Oh, Nana. It's not . . . not Phil," she said.

Nana looked at her, puzzled.

Ginny couldn't keep it inside any longer. She no longer cared if Nana hated her.

"I miss . . . Kara," she cried.


Ginny nodded, covering her face with her hands.

"I don't understand," Nana whispered.

"Kara left . . . because of me," she said.

"You're not making sense," Nana said. "Why would she leave because of you?"

Ginny took Nana's hand. "Kara and I . . . we . . .." But she couldn't say the words. Not to Nana.

"Ginny? What? What's wrong?"

"I love her," Ginny whispered.

Nana frowned. "You're good friends."

Ginny shook her head. "More than friends, Nana."

Nana frowned again, her eyes searching Ginny's. "What are you saying, child?"

"We . . .." Ginny closed her eyes. "We were lovers," she whispered softly. "I'm in love with her."

"Ginny?" Nana gasped. "You're not saying . . . that you and Kara?"

"I'm sorry, Nana. I know you don't understand." She opened her eyes, but Nana couldn't meet hers. "I didn't know how to tell you."

"But . . . Phil. You're not . . . like that. Kara's not . . .." But Nana stopped. "Is she?"


"My God. What did she do to you?" Nana hissed.

"No. It wasn't her. It was me, Nana." She took Nana's hand, trying to make her understand. "Why do you think I ran from Phil? It just wasn't right with him. There was no magic. I was looking for that magic that you had with Grandpa," she said. "And then I met Kara. And I finally found what I had been looking for. She made me feel everything that I'd been missing."

Nana shook her head. "I don't understand," she said softly. "I just don't understand."

"I know you don't. I wasn't going to tell you." She turned away. "She's gone, anyway."

"She's why you've been hurting?"

Ginny nodded, tears coming again. "I love her. But I don't think she's coming back to me."


Kara drove through the mountains, the road more familiar than it should be. It had been three months since she had traveled here. Three months since she had left Ginny. Her stomach tightened. What would Ginny say to her? Would she be angry?

Maybe she would be thankful Kara had left. Maybe she had time to sort out her life, to decide what she really wanted. Maybe it wasn't Kara.

Kara closed her eyes briefly, thinking of the pain she would feel if Ginny sent her away. But then, it couldn't be any worse than the pain she had been suffering these past few months. Marsha, of all people, had made her come back.

"You're making yourself sick. Hell, you're making me sick just watching you."

Kara could smile now. It was almost over, one way or the other.

The Dobson place was as she had left it. She opened the windows, letting the breeze chase away the stale smell of the closed-up cabin. She unpacked what little she had brought back with her. She had been afraid to pack too much. She wasn't certain how long she would be staying. And October was but a few weeks away.

She gave in to the nervousness that had been threatening the entire trip and took a beer and a cigarette to the porch and settled in her chair, pleased that it still felt comfortable to her. She listened to the calls of the birds, the calming sound of the wind in the trees. Different than the sound the wind made at her cottage, yet familiar, and she relaxed.

She would go to her at the store, she decided. Not at the house, where Nana could watch their every move, hear their every word. And the store was safer, she thought. Ginny might be less inclined to strike out at her, if that was to be her intention.

She should go, yet she stayed rooted to the chair, fumbling into her pack for another cigarette. Nerves. What a terrible thing for a woman her age.


Ginny looked up at the sound of the bell, like she always did. Her smile faltered and she dropped the change she was handing to Mrs. Peters, listening as it clattered to the counter top, then the floor. Kara.

"I'll get it," Mrs. Peters said, but Ginny hardly heard. Startled green eyes met blue across the room.

Her heart beat painfully in her chest and she couldn't breathe. But Kara was there, standing by the door, still holding it open, as if she were afraid to come inside.

Ginny moved, her feet carrying her slowly around the counter, her eyes never leaving Kara's. She stopped a mere foot from her, surprised to find fear in Kara's eyes.

"Don't you ever . . . leave me again," Ginny whispered.


Ginny let her breath out slowly, then moved into Kara's arms, pressing against her warmth, feeling so much relief that she thought she would surely die. Strong arms held her close and she breathed in Kara's scent.

"Ginny . . .."

But Ginny pulled out of her arms and turned to Nana, who was watching them with wariness.

"Can you manage without me?"

"I suppose," Nana said, unable to meet Kara's eyes.

Ginny turned and walked out the door, feeling Kara's presence behind her. Why was she here? Did she come back for Ginny or did she come to finally explain? She stopped at Kara's Land Cruiser, then turned and met her eyes, tears forming in her own at the profound sadness in Kara's.

"Ginny . . . I . . .."

"I don't want to talk yet," she said, wiping a tear off her cheek.

Kara drove quickly down the road, her eyes glancing at Ginny frequently, but Ginny refused to look at her. "We need to talk," Kara finally said. "Do you want to go to your house?"

"No. I'm not ready to talk," Ginny said quietly.

Kara drove to the Dobson cabin in silence, glancing occasionally at the woman beside her, the woman who simply stared out the window as they drove. Once inside, they stood staring at each other for countless seconds, both trying desperately to read the other's eyes.

"I'm sorry," Kara finally said. "I just wanted you to have a chance . . .."

"I said . . . I don't want to talk yet," Ginny whispered. She went to Kara and slipped into her arms. "I just want to love you," she said softly.

"Oh, Ginny," Kara murmured into her hair, breathing deeply. All the endless weeks of pain vanished as her hands moved over Ginny's soft body, molding her to her own.

"I need to . . . be with you," Ginny whispered. "I need to know if it's true," she said.

"If what is true?"

"I saw it in your painting, but I thought maybe I was just hoping, wishing," she said, her voice ripe with emotion and unshed tears. At Kara's frown, she said, "I went to Seattle looking for you. I saw the tree. I bought it."

Kara touched Ginny's face, tears brimming in her own eyes.

"Tell me I didn't imagine the love in that painting."

"I knew for certain that I loved you that night," she whispered. "And I was afraid."

Ginny drew Kara's head to hers, meeting her lips for the first time, feeling as weak as she had that other time, so long ago now. "Show me," she whispered.

Kara drew Ginny's naked body to her, touching her breasts with gentle fingers, feeling the familiar hardness against her palms. She had thought, once, that she might never again feel Ginny beside her, like this. But Ginny was here, she was real and Kara loved her with a passion she had only dreamed of. Her mouth left Ginny's, moving to her breasts and Kara buried her face between them and she cried.


"I love you," Kara whispered. "I'm so sorry. I was just scared to death over what I felt."

Ginny pulled her up, letting her own tears fall and she pressed her face into Kara's neck. "Don't cry, sweetheart," she whispered. "I love you so very much. I'll never hurt you."

Ginny pushed Kara gently on the bed and covered her, needing to show her how much she loved her. Her kisses were soft, feather-light on her face, her eyes. Words of love poured from her and she murmured in Kara's ear, promising her, tempting her with the ecstasy that was to come. Her tongue slid slowly over Kara's, into her mouth, needing to know her again. She moved to her breasts, her tongue raking each nipple in turn, feeling them harden, taking each into her mouth, feeling them swell even more as she gently sucked, gently teased.


"Yes. I'm here." Ginny's tongue moved over her, tasting her, wetting a path that her mouth followed and she heard Kara's heart beating loudly, heard her breath catch when Ginny kissed her thighs, moving over her, touching her first with gentle hands, soothing her, spreading her thighs even more. She breathed the scent of Kara and she was lost. She knelt between her legs, eyes closed as she touched her, fingers moving through her silkiness, then inside her as Kara moaned softly.

"I love you so much," Ginny whispered. She lay down and buried her face between Kara's legs, tasting her, loving her. Her tongue moved deep within her, feeling Kara drawing her in. She took her gently between her lips, her tongue moving over her, stroking her, feeling Kara move with her, writhing under her mouth before yielding to the pleasure that Ginny brought to her. Kara clutched Ginny's head, fingers entwining in her hair, and she held Ginny to her, hard, pushing her hips against her face, begging her.

"Ginny . . . oh, Ginny," she breathed and then she stilled, her voice gone as her breath caught and her hips arched once and she screamed out, calling Ginny's name again before her legs gave way and she relaxed, spent, arms falling to her sides, chest heaving.

Ginny knelt between her legs, hands resting on Kara's stomach. "I love you, Kara," she whispered.

Kara's eyes opened slowly and she reached out to touch Ginny's face, still wet with her. "I hurt you," she said. "I'm so sorry."

"Yes," Ginny nodded. "You hurt me. You left me and I wanted to die," she said. "I just couldn't understand, Kara. I felt so strongly about this and you just disappeared, as if it meant nothing to you."

"I ran. I was . . .."

"You were scared I would hurt you," Ginny stated. She crawled next to Kara, wrapping her arms around her and snuggling close to her. "It wasn't until I saw the painting that I finally realized why you had really left. But I couldn't find you." Her voice broke and she swallowed back tears. "I tried."

"I won't leave you again," Kara promised.

"No. I won't let you. This is what I want, Kara. Not some faceless woman from my future. Not a chance to meet someone else, someone other than you." She traced Kara's lips with her finger, then cupped her cheek, making Kara look at her. "You not only took my heart, Kara. You took my soul. I'm just half a person when you're gone."

Kara let tears slip easily from her eyes as she held Ginny's gaze. Foolish women in love. Indeed. She had made a big mistake by leaving. They should have talked then, they should have shared all of this then. But she had been too scared all those weeks ago. Her pride had told her to run before Ginny decided there were others out there, much better than herself.

"I just wanted you to be sure . . . that I was what you wanted. I didn't want to assume . . .." Kara said, trying to explain.

"I'm sure." Then Ginny smiled and leaned over to touch her lips to Kara's. "I'm sure that I want you in my life, like this. I'm sure that I love you. I'm sure that I want you to make love to me . . . right now," she finished in a whisper as her kiss deepened.

Kara's lovemaking was slow, unhurried. She touched Ginny with gentle hands and soft lips, saying she was sorry, over and over again. Then Ginny was guiding her, spreading her legs for her and Kara went to her, her mouth loving her, her tongue moving through her wetness, her moan mingling with Ginny's as her tongue slipped deep inside her.

Much too soon, Ginny thought. Too soon. But she couldn't stop the flame as it moved through her body, consuming her, igniting the fire that burned beneath Kara's mouth. She clutched at the bed, her fists raking through the covers as she tried to anchor herself, but she was washed away as wave after wave hit her, causing her to cry out, to scream Kara's name, to press Kara even closer to her.

"Oh . . . my . . . God," she whispered. "No one but you," she breathed, so softly.

Kara gathered Ginny in her arms. "No one but you."


Kara laughed as Ginny surveyed the room, trying to find the perfect place to hang the Big Tree. Kara already knew it would go over the fireplace, but Ginny wanted to be certain it was the best place for them to see it at all times.

They bought the Dobson cabin together. It needed a little work, but they had time. In the past month, they had been to Seattle to collect some of Kara's things and they moved most of Ginny's from Nana's house. Nana had not yet accepted this. She didn't understand the love they had for each other and Kara didn't blame her. But she knew it was very hard for Ginny. Louise could hardly stay in the same room as Kara now.

"She'll come around," Ginny had said. "Give her time."

Kara's eyes followed Ginny across the room, watching her. Her heart swelled with love each and every time she looked at her. Kara knew she had never been so happy in all her life. Finally, she felt at home.

"You know what I think?" Ginny asked as she stood with her hands perched on her hips.

"What's that?"

"I think we should hang it over the fireplace."

Kara arched one eyebrow.

"Really? What a wonderful idea," she teased.

Ginny walked slowly towards her, her own eyebrow raised.

"Do you have any idea how sexy you are?" Ginny asked. She slid her arms around Kara and pressed her hips intimately against her. Kara responded instantly.

But Ginny pulled away, a grin on her face.

"So, will you help me hang it?"

"Now?" Kara asked, trying to pull Ginny back.

"Yes, now. Baby, we spent the entire morning in bed."

"And what's wrong with the afternoon, too?"

Ginny laughed, then laughed harder when she saw that Kara was serious.

"We did that yesterday."


Ginny reached out and cupped Kara's cheek, her eyes soft upon her.

"Why haven't you been painting?"

Kara shrugged. "I've been busy."

"You haven't painted since you've been back."

Kara dipped her head, then looked up shyly at Ginny. "I'd rather be with you," she said.

Ginny heard the words behind the words. She moved closer to Kara, one hand sliding easily under her shirt to touch warm skin.

"I'm not Marsha," she said.

Kara looked up, surprised. "I know. I just . . .."

"I'm not going to leave you. I won't go out with friends because you're not paying me enough attention, honey. Painting is your life," she said.

"You're my life."

"No. I'm a part of your life. Painting is, too. It's who you are. It's what makes you special."

"I don't want to fall into the same trap, Ginny. I get so involved, I just lose track of time."

"Then I'll remind you. And if I feel like you're ignoring me, I'll sneak up behind you," she said, moving behind Kara as she spoke. "Like this," she whispered, moving both hands under Kara's shirt now, sliding up to cup her breasts. "And I'll tell you that I need you," she murmured into her ear. She felt Kara's heart pounding beneath her hands and she closed her eyes, so sure of their love for each other. She slid one hand lower, along Kara's thigh and felt her tremble in her arms. "And I know you'll stop what you're doing, because you love me . . . and you want me."

Kara turned quickly and captured Ginny, wrapping long arms around her before kissing her soundly.

"Are you teasing me?" she murmured against her mouth.


Their mouths met again, harder, and their bodies moved together in a dance that was known only to them.


Louise stood in the opened doorway, a witness to a love she never thought she'd see. She'd heard laughter from inside and walked up the wooden steps, unnoticed. She saw, for the first time, Ginny's happiness. She could see it in her eyes as she looked at Kara. She could see it as Ginny moved to the other woman, touching her so naturally that Louise blushed with the genuine love she saw there. And Kara. Oh, her eyes followed Ginny around the room, a smile touching her face just from being in her presence. She saw their teasing, their affection for one another. It reminded her of her own marriage.

How could she have disapproved of this? Had she ever seen Ginny so happy? But then, they had moved together, had touched in ways Louise could never have imagined.

She cleared her throat loudly, coughing lightly. The couple pulled apart quickly, a crimson blush lighting Ginny's face immediately.


"I thought I should intervene before I witnessed something far too personal for grandmothers," she said lightly, stepping fully into the room

"I'm sorry. I . . . I didn't expect you," Ginny said and she moved farther away from Kara.

Louise took a deep breath and clasped her granddaughter's hands.

"Ginny, don't be sorry. I'm the one who should be sorry. I couldn't see the love you have for her. I couldn't imagine . . . what you could have with Kara." She glanced quickly at Kara, a woman she had admired before and then shunned. She knew that she was wrong. "I have never seen you so happy."

Ginny's eyes misted over and she hugged Nana tightly. She had been so afraid she had lost her love.

"I love her," Ginny whispered.

"Yes, I can see that. I'm sorry I judged you."

Ginny pulled away from Nana and grabbed for Kara's hand. She pulled her close to her side, her eyes meeting Nana's again.

"I've found my magic, Nana," Ginny whispered. "I so want you to be happy for me."

"I am." She raised her eyes to Kara, meeting the blue, blue eyes of the woman who loved her Ginny. "I'm happy for you both. I'm sorry it's taken me this long to see what you have."

Kara lifted a corner of her mouth in a smile. Louise had come around.

"We're having lasagna for dinner, Louise. I hope you'll stay," she offered.

"Of course. And I'd like to look around. I haven't been to the Dobson place in years. Imagine, Ginny, married forty years and divorcing. Why, I declare . . . it's not like your grandfather and I didn't have fights. But we would never let it come to this. We would work through it. People nowadays . . .."

Kara listened as her voice trailed off when Ginny led her through the cabin, showing her the kitchen.

She smiled as Ginny shot her a glance over Nana's shoulder. Everything was complete. Nana had come around.

She followed them into the kitchen and grabbed a beer and her cigarettes and moved to the deck in the back, ignoring the light mist that surrounded her. She lit her cigarette easily, listening as Ginny and Nana moved about the house, Ginny telling her about the plans they had.

She tired to think of a time in her life when she'd felt more content, more at home, and she couldn't. There was nothing else in her life that could compare to this. She knew without a doubt that she loved Ginny completely. As she also knew that Ginny loved her.


Before she could turn, a gentle hand stroked her back.

"You okay?" Ginny asked.

Kara turned and moved into Ginny's arms, hugging her tightly to her chest.

"I'm so in love with you."

She felt Ginny smile against her neck, then soft lips nibbled there.

"Oh, Kara . . . don't you know what you do to me? I love you, too, sweetheart."

Their bodies pulled apart, but their eyes did not. Green locked on blue and they smiled. Slow, gentle smiles that touched their hearts . . . and souls.

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