Here Comes My Woman

by G.S. Binkley


xxgsb@hotmail.com

Synopsis: HERE COMES MY WOMAN continues on with the lives of Lacy and Gage a few years later as the writer reveals more about her dark past. The dynamic duo work together on a movie while raising their family and someone from Gage's past makes an unexpected appearance. This is the third story in the WOMAN I LOVE series. The second story is entitled A WOMAN LIKE YOU.

Sexual Content: F/F partners

Code:

L: Love between two people with kisses, embraces and tender moments.

LS: Love scenes described in more detail, involving scenes of lovemaking.

ES: Explicit love scenes.

· This story is rated: LS

· Fiction (Alternative)

Language: Caution - some language used may be offensive, however, it is only used in the context of the situation or the character's personality. Overall - minimal usage.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: I salute you, Sam!! Thank you so much for beta reading this story. The gift of your time, knowledge and skills has been invaluable to me. Anyone wishing to show Sam their appreciation for making this story flow so much better can contact her at scammer68@yahoo.com.

This is copyrighted material, © 2002 Binkley…all rights reserved. It may be reproduced, duplicated or printed for personal use only. For all other uses, please contact xxgsb@hotmail.com

Lacy and Julie slipped out of the house unseen by her vigilant and overprotective partner. They came close to getting caught when she noticed Gage absently staring out the window as they ran across the yard. They slipped quickly behind the manicured bushes. Peeking out from behind the shrubbery, Lacy sighed after Gage turned her back to the window. Dropping down, the younger woman said. "God, I love that woman but she's driving me crazy."

The slightly shorter woman nodded. "Mark, can be like that."

Lacy took a few moments to closely watch her friend. "You wanna talk?"

Julie nodded then said. "Maybe. But, first, honestly… how are you doing?"

"To be honest, I needed these last couple of days of rest. The doctor ran some tests but I'm feeling a hundred percent now. She gave me some vitamins… said I needed to eat better… and, yes, get more rest." Lacy added flippantly. Placing a reassuring hand on her friend, Lacy concluded. "Stella had the flu over the weekend and I think I may have had a touch of it. That's all." Changing the boring subject, Lacy asked. "So, tell me? Trouble between you and Mark?"

"I like you, Lacy. Straight to the point." The brown-eyed woman paused briefly before sharing her concerns with Lacy. "I think Mark's going to break up with me."

"What!" Lacy erupted in disbelief then softened her voice. "No way."

Shaking her head, the dark haired woman continued. "Something's up… that I know. Mark had to go to New York and help out his friend." Lacy's raised eyebrows caused the older woman to explain further. "Mitchell Stone is also Mark's VP there. He's having problems with his step-son."

"Yeah, Gage told me something about that." Lacy remembered the brief conversation they had regarding this subject.

"Mitch needed some time off. It was right around the same time a big contract was being negotiated and…. anyway, the family problems his VP is having…..they've separated recently." The VP's troubles hit too close to home for Mark and Julie. "Mark's afraid even more so…..you know, we've talked about it."

Lacy heaved a heavy sigh. "Julie, that doesn't automatically mean Mark will leave you just because……"

"That's not all." Julie interrupted her.

************************

"Gage. Can I get a little bit of your attention?" The blonde turned away from the window, focusing completely upon her friend.

"Julie's going to leave me." Mark revealed seriously.

"Does that mean we have to move out?" Gage piped up, trying to break his bleak mood. At first, she didn't think he was serious. "I'm sorry. Me and my big mouth." The blonde moved around the desk and leaned against it. "Mark, you have to do it."

"I know." Mark concluded then quickly changed his mind. "I can't."

"Mark, let me tell you something I've never even told Lacy." A distinct frown crossed her face. That's not saying much. I've not told her a lot of things. Recalling the many times her partner encouraged, prompted and enticed Gage to get her to talk about her past, the blonde remained elusive regarding that part of her life. "For years, I ran….ran from love, from life." Gage knew her next words would hurt her friend. "Just like you did after your parents and wife….. died."

Mark turned away.

"For years, Mark…. just like me. We both threw away the chances that came our way because we suffered a great loss. Both of us, Mark…." The blonde allowed only a brief moment to entertain a former lover to enter her mind. Gage hooked his chin, forcing him to face her. "…and where did it get us? Oh, yeah, you're a big CEO with billions. Me… I did okay through the years, I guess." Gage pulled up a chair next to Mark. "There was this moment, Mark, with Lacy when I thought that…." She remembered a more recent event. "As a matter of fact, what I talked with you about earlier."

Mark scrunched his eyebrows in question.

"The talk Lacy had with her agent. Remember what you told me?" Gage finally smiled. "You were right. I was crying all over the fact that Lacy would be better off if we'd never met…. a person could make a case for it regarding Lacy… but, there's one thing for sure. I wouldn't be. Oh, sure, I'd be making movies and writing and such but, my life now. God, Mark, if you could just feel for one moment what I do having my family around me, loving me."

Suddenly being flushed with an overwhelming feeling of the love Julie showered on him, Mark stopped her. "I do."

Pointing a knowing finger at her friend, she declared. "And, those are the exact words that will get you want you want….for a lifetime."

************************

"Do you think that will work?" Julie quizzed her.

"Absolutely. I'd only give him till then and after that….." She left the unspoken words hang. Grasping each other's hand, they shook them. "It's a plan."

Julie jabbed a finger in the air, correcting Lacy. "Secret plan."

Chapter Nine

Lacy was back to work on Thursday. Feeling more energetic than she had since the movie started, the grateful actor corralled her producing partner for a brief but very hot rendezvous in her trailer during the noon lunch.

"I thought Stella was going to be here with the kids." Gage looked around the empty trailer.

"Nope…. just you and me." Lacy quickly shed her clothes. "Get us something to drink." She slipped behind the curtain.

While Gage pulled out a couple of cold drinks, Lacy hurriedly slipped on a red teddy. "Sweetheart…" Lacy called from behind the curtain. "Would you get the red scarf for me?"

"Sure." Gage sat the drinks down on the table before turning her back to the curtain. She opened the small closet door, searching for the requested item. "Lacy, I can't seem to find….."

A very seductive. "Sweetheart." Drifted across the room meeting Gage's alert ears.

As Gage turned around, her sensual hazed green eyes met the beautiful vision before her. The blonde swallowed hard. "I…. I…."

Walking seductively toward her lover, Lacy purred. "I take it you like it."

"Like it?" The shocked blonde panted. "I love it." A slow enticing seductive smile rose on Gage's face. "Come here."

Lacy's long arm reached out to her lover, guiding the blonde toward the small bedroom. Like a drought led to water, Gage drank deeply of the vision of her lover.

Embracing each other, their lips met in a feeding frenzy as they tried to devour each other. Hands roamed effortlessly across each other's heated bodies. Backing Gage up against the bed's edge, Lacy reached down grabbing her lover's backside. The bolt of pleasure shot up and down the blonde's body coming to rest at her center. With weakened knees, Gage collapsed on the bed taking her lover with her.

Lacy settled between her lover's legs. Their lips melded together only breaking apart in order to take another quick breath before they tongues engaged again in a passionate dance. "Sweetheart…."

"Mmmmmm."

"Take…." Lacy tugged at her lover's clothes. "…it….off!" The overheated actor demanded before flipping both of them over.

With Gage now on top, she took full advantage of the position. Gage's lips found refuge between Lacy's breasts. "God, baby, I want you." Her hand ran down Lacy's shapely side coming to rest briefly at the dark haired woman's hip. The blonde paused long enough to meet her lover's eyes. "I will have you, woman!"

"I'm counting on it." Gage resumed her sexual assault on her lover's breast, nipping, sucking and driving her crazy. Lacy snapped her head back as Gage's roaming hand found it's way to her center. It didn't take long for her partner's skillful fingers to do their magic.

"Oh, God, sweetheart, God yes!"

On the brink of knocking on his star's trailer door, Lacy's words sailed through the air stopping him. "Guess I'll talk with them later." Ryan turned abruptly, mumbling. "I only have a movie to shoot, schedules to keep… and do it within a budget." Ryan shrugged his shoulders. "Oh, well, she's gonna be in a good mood this afternoon." I hope that takes the edge off when she sees….. The director's thought trailed off. Even he didn't look forward to the two adversaries reunion.

************************

As Ryan figured the afternoon went smoothly. Both Lacy and Gage set the tone for the rest of the cast and crew. Everyone was in an upbeat mood and they had finished ahead of their shooting schedule. Ryan hoped that Gage would whisk Lacy from the set before their new crewmember arrived. The director remembered his earlier conversation with Mark. "Can we wait till at least late in the day? I'm already behind schedule with Lacy getting sick and…." Scratching his full head of hair, he continued. "I'm not looking forward to this."

"I know, Ryan." Mark shuffled back and forth. "Neither am I. I'll have Michael wait till late in the day. We have that production meeting after filming today and it's inevitable." He placed a reassuring hand on his co-producing partner. "I think we'll be out of the line of fire. Now, I'm not sure Gage will….. and, of course, we both know who will be the real target."

As Mark had stated, it was inevitable. Michael arrived a fraction of a second before Lacy turned to leave. He escorted the new crewmember onto the set.

And, with much ado, a loud and clear voice sang out. "Hey, guys. I'm back."

Lacy spun around; glaring first at the unwelcome redhead then she shot a quick glance at Ryan, Mark and finally her shocked blue eyes came to rest on her partner standing next to her. She met guilt-ridden green and knew. With pursed lips and a dangerous glint brewing in her now stormy blue eyes, Lacy commanded her partner. "You have some explaining to do." Grasping Gage's hand, Lacy jerked it. "Come with me."

Mark and Ryan caught their friend's stunned green eyes begging for them to help her before Lacy dragged her away. "I guess she's going to miss the meeting."

Mark agreed. "Count on it."

************************

The next day Lacy decided to take the high road but not before she had a couple of choice words with the newest crewmember. She let the day play out so as not to upset her friend and director's schedule.

After the long days filming, Lacy gather her things and headed for her trailer where she hoped she would meet up with her partner. After letting Gage stew the night before and all day, Lacy felt it was time to let her partner know she was not really mad at her. The rest of the cast and crew gathered around after filming when Michael, after being prompted, suggested they meet up at the bar, Heydukes.

Several members jumped at the idea. The young assistant director approached his boss. "Ryan, you gonna go? I'm buying."

"Yeah, sure. Why not?" Ryan answered. "I'll catch up with you later."

************************

When Lacy arrived at her trailer, Gage was nowhere in sight. She found a note stating that her partner would be there shortly as she was in a meeting with Mark. Good. She quickly changed and backtracked through the studio, waiting for her prey to pass.

As the redhead approached her red sports car, she waved to several other co-workers. "Be right there."

"Or not." The cold, clear and firm words stopped the redhead in her tracks.

Turning around to meet the taller woman, the younger woman sarcastically said. "Well, well, well…. the divine Levine."

"And, if it isn't… Kathy Griffen. Or, should I say… Griff the rift." A red eyebrow jumped up before Lacy continued. "Yes, rift. Like the one you tried to cause between me and Gage on my last movie and in New Orleans when you intercepted my calls to her."

"Oh, that." Griff laughed off the accusation. "That was nothing." She stepped closer to the taller woman. "You haven't seen nothin' yet."

Fuming, Lacy stifled the raging fire building inside. "I don't know how you connived your way back onto this movie but rest assured…. if you so much as touch…." Sucking in a stilling breath, Lacy continued. "…No one, nothing will come between me and Gage." Lacy poked the redhead's chest. "Got it."

Griff watched Lacy walk away then mumbled. "Got it. That's the plan. Gonna get it." Smiling, she slid into her convertible and cranked the engine.

***********************

When Lacy arrived back at her trailer, Gage was anxiously waiting. The night before Lacy had been distant and it seemed nothing had changed the next day. Gage felt like she was the plague the way her partner was ignoring her. I can't really blame her. When Lacy asked if Gage knew Griff was hired to work on the movie, her partner's guilty look confirmed her suspicions. There was a time in my life when lying was easy…but, I just can't lie to her. So, Gage took her punishment in stride. She was desperately trying to figure out a way to make it up to her partner when Lacy arrived back at the trailer.

"I'm sorry." Gage offered for the umpteenth time.

Sitting down next to Gage, Lacy decided it was time to make amends with her lover. "The only thing that really concerned me was that you knew about it and didn't tell me or why." Lacy informed her partner.

Gage pulled Lacy closer. "You weren't feeling well and I didn't want to put anymore stress on you. I was going to tell you. Really. I couldn't find the right time."

Lacy eyed her partner carefully. Something's up, I know that for sure. But, she has never lied to me. The dark haired woman kissed Gage.

"Am I forgiven?" Gage asked hopefully.

She kissed the blonde again. "For now." The younger woman stood up. "Come on, let's go home." I will get to the bottom of this though.

Gage happily jumped up and led Lacy out of the trailer.

************************

Tony Kussler carefully eyed the cast and crew of Lacy Levine's new movie. He choose a dark and secluded corner in the crowded bar as he waited for his cohort. Thinking of the movie star, Tony's anger flared. I will get that bitch. Somehow… someway.

When Blade arrived for the schedule meeting, he plopped down across from the dark haired man. "You buying?"

Waving for the waitress, Tony ordered a beer for his flunky. "Let's make this quick." Nodding to the group he'd been carefully watching, he said. "Didn't know they'd be here."

Blade gulped down the ice-cold beer, swiping his mouth with his sleeve. "Ahhh… everything's set. I can move anytime."

Tony felt compelled to slap his partner in crime but reframed from that impulse. "Are you stupid or something? Your job is to keep an eye out for anything I can use. You don't move on them unless I say. Got it."

"Hell! After what she did to you, losing your job and all." Blade sneered. "I woulda already…" The young man knew his boss blamed Lacy Levine for getting canned from a very lucrative co-host job on a network entertainment show.

"Shut up. You do what I am paying you to do." A loud roar from the crowd greeted their director as Ryan entered the bar, which caught Tony's attention. "You need to get closer. I want everything…anything. Now, get out of here. I'll call you later."

Blade whined. "I was gonna have another beer."

Squinting eyes shot daggers at the scruffy man with long blonde hair. Tony threw a twenty at him. "Now, go on. I'll call you later." Tony watched Blade leave. He knew Blade would jump into his black shiny sports car and head straight to a liquor store before he would crash in his one room apartment.

Ryan joined the small group gathered around the table. "Hey, guys." He sat down between Shanti and Shonnel Westin. Griff sat across from him next to Michael and with Ben Thomason on her left. Boyd Dietrich was trying to make time with the pretty young waitress serving them.

"What will you have Ryan?" Michael asked.

Shonnel laughed. "You'll have to get it yourself. Boyd has our waitress cornered."

Shanti propped her hand under her chin. "Somebody should save her."

"Yeah, she doesn't look too happy." Ben agreed. The gallant actor rose and set out on his mission.

"He's nice." Shanti's green eyes followed the handsome young actor.

When Ryan finally answered Michael, he found his assistant director's attention riveted on Griff as she spoke to the other strawberry blonde across from her. "If you like that model." Griff purred then gave Shanti a wink.

The slightly older girl returned Griff's comment with a shy smile.

Ryan cleared his throat. "Maker's Mark and coke if you don't mind."

Sucked in by the magnet pull Griff generated at Shanti, Michael summoned all the strength he had to respond to his boss. "I'll get it."

As the evening progressed, Ben saved the waitress from the inebriated older actor and eventually one by one each member of the group drifted out leaving Michael and Griff alone at the table. Both, somewhat the worse for wear, revealed the thoughts they were harboring all night long.

"You know, Michael, my friend…. Shanti means peace." Griff slapped him on the arm. Smiling, Griff concluded. "That's exactly what I'm going to get…. a piece."

Devastated by his friend's announcement, Michael countered quickly in order to hide his true feelings. "Not before I do." And, the bet was on.

************************

Stella had one of those mysterious Saturday morning meetings. And, since Lacy asked Gage to take the kids out for some ice cream, she had the house to herself as she met with her lawyer.

"If David agrees, what other problems might I encounter?" Lacy was anxious to get her wishes cemented on paper.

Jack Timble perused the paper before him. Finally, he took off his glasses. "Is this what you want?"

"Yes." Lacy said adamantly.

"Then as along as he agrees to it…. I see no problem." Shuffling the papers together, he concluded. "However, Lacy, anyone…someone else in the family or even David himself even if he signs it…. can take this back to court and try and have it changed."

"No." She forced out quickly. "This has to be an iron clad contract. I want nothing… and I mean nothing to break my wishes on this matter."

"Okay, I'll talk to Art about it."

"My agent?"

The fifty-seven year old man stood up. "Lacy, I know of none better than Art to ensure that every potential loophole is covered…"

Remembering how Art Graham skillfully dodged any loopholes in her contract negotiations with Ron Griffen, Lacy agreed. "He is rather good at that."

************************

As Gage negotiated her vehicle at the turn near the entrance of Mark's home, she spotted Derek handing Sammy his cone. "Derek, no. Wait till we get home." Her attention then turned to see Lacy walk out the front door with her lawyer right behind. Gage smiled. She is beautiful. So, lost in her thoughts, Gage didn't see that even as Derek tried to comply with her wishes, Sammy's quick hands snatched onto the cone.

"Hey! Sammy, don't do it." Dani warned her youngest brother as he cocked the cone in the air, ready to throw it. "You're gonna be in big…." Too late. "….trouble."

The cone filled with melting ice cream splashed on the leather seat, dripping onto the carpet. Gage pulled the car to a stop, put it in park and turned off the engine.

"Uhhh ohh…" Derek groaned. Scared, the young five year old waited for the explosion he was sure would come. The last time this kind of accident happened, Derek was with his father.

Sammy, on the other hand, was smiling while Dani slammed her hand across her face, peeking through her fingers at Gage. She was thankful her mom was now standing at the passenger door after seeing her lawyer friend off.

Gage slowly twisted around to see the sloppy mess. In one moment of reflection, Gage pondered a similar incident from her past.

Lacy, seeing the mess herself, spoke sharply. "What happened here?" She glanced at Derek then to her smiling two year old. Lacy knew how much Gage loved her old jeep, taking meticulous care of it. "Derek?"

Finally, Gage spoke. "Lacy, it's okay. It was an accident." The blonde smiled at Derek. "That's all."

Except for Sammy who didn't care, the rest of the group was surprised the dam hadn't burst from the owner of the vehicle. Gage got out of the car and helped the kids out before she turned them over to her partner. "Derek, why don't you help me clean this mess up?"

Seeing that she wasn't mad at him, he was only too eager to help. "I'll get the cleaning stuff."

************************

The next morning Lacy was wide-awake. Placing gentle kisses on her partner's lips, Lacy tried to coax Gage to wake up. Her hand ran up under the top the blonde was wearing landing squarely on Gage's breast. "Come on, get up."

"Mmmmmm…." The sleepy blonde enjoyed her partner's ministrations.

"Gage, sweetheart. Come on, I'm in the mood….."

Green eyes sprung open. "In the mood? Okay." Gage pulled her lover closer.

"For some exercise." Lacy stated.

Wrapping her arms around Lacy, Gage agreed. "Me, too."

"Good." Lacy pulled away. "Let's go."

"Huh?" The confused blonde grunted. "You know, I'd do it anywhere you wanted, but…." She patted the bed. "..this is much more comfortable." Gage waggled her eyebrows.

"Gage?" Lacy waited for her partner to move.

"Oh, okay?" Gage reluctantly kick started her body.

Seeing how much her lover was willing to do as she was requested, Lacy changed her mind and jumped on her partner. "I love you, you know that."

Smiling, Gage kissed her lover lightly. "Me, too."

Lacy's long finger traced the outline of her lover's jaw down her neck and continued downward. "Sweetheart?" She hesitated. "You really enjoy being with the kids, don't you?"

"I love being with them…but, I loooove being with you." The blonde pulled her lover down on top of her. "Want me to show you?"

They exchanged longing kisses before Lacy laid her head on Gage's shoulder. "How do you do it?"

Gage frowned at the question before her.

Lacy didn't need to look to know what expression just crossed her lover's face. "When Sammy dropped the ice cream in the car, I'm afraid I wouldn't have handled as well as you did."

A deep laugh escaped the blonde. "Oh, that's easy really. The secret is when something like that happens I pretend it's someone I hardly know that did it. That way I don't show if I am upset about it. You see, when I do this, it gives me time later to re-evaluate what happened. I realize that it's only leather not the end of the world. And, truthfully, it's a big reward to me. I guess I'm a bit selfish about it to know I didn't get mad or angry and that makes me feel good."

"Easier said than done." Lacy countered.

"Yeah, I know." Tapping her lover's nose with her finger, Gage confessed. "That happened to me once… it was an ice cream soda and I wouldn't want anyone to go through what I did. Okay?"

Lacy nodded and brushed her lips against her lover's neck. "I'm sorry. What I said about you taking care of the kids. You're wonderful with them."

Gage allowed a single tear to fall from her eye. "Thank you."

Lacy glanced up at her lover and wiped the tear away with a kiss causing Gage to smile. "Now, about that exercise you wanted."

It was a long and tiring session but very satisfying for both.

Chapter Ten

The next couple of weeks of filming went rather smoothly. Griff stayed out of Lacy's way, as she was busy wooing the young starlet. Michael did his part to intervene, plying Shanti with attention and compliments but Ryan could tell his heart wasn't in it.

As the young assistant director finished up coordinating the afternoon schedule for some exterior scenes he was going to shoot, Ryan stopped to talk with him. "Michael, can we talk?"

Handing the paper to his boss, Michael asked. "You want some changes to it?"

Shoving them back at the younger man, Ryan said. "No, I trust you have it under control. Listen….." Scanning the empty set, he continued. "…you and Griff… I know you got this thing going with Shanti."

Michael started to protest but halted himself.

"It's not been a problem really… at least not on the set." Ryan clasped the dark haired man's shoulder. "I know about the bet…."

"It's not really a bet, Ryan… more like…."

"You like her, don't you?"

"Yeah, she's cute and funny and… nice."

"Nice? Griff is nice?" The director pondered this novel idea.

Stunned, by this revelation, Michael countered. "We're just friends."

"Okay, if you say so." Ryan nudged the young man forward, leading him off the set. "I don't want you to get hurt. She's only out for herself."

Michael stopped abruptly. "Please don't say that…. I… nothing."

Seeing that his young friend had it bad, Ryan gave him a reprieve. "I'm there for you if you ever need to talk."

Michael shook his head in acceptance of the genuine offer.

************************

"Mark, are you all set?"

Nervously, Mark played with the small box in his coat pocket. "Yes. I think."

"Next week is the fourth of July. You and Julie and the kids are coming to our home, right?" Gage asked.

"That's the plan."

"Then we're good to go." The blonde turned to leave.

"Gage, wait up a minute." Mark turned serious. "Can we talk…it's kinda important."

"Sure." Gage sat down in the chair across from Mark.

"After the fourth, I need to head to New York for a couple of weeks."

"No problem."

"We have that location shoot in St. Louis then and I want everything to…."

"Relax, Mark. I'll take care of it." Gage assured her friend.

Reluctant, he continued. "That's what I wanted to talk with you about."

She saw her friend morphed into full out professional mode. A sight she had seen before as he ruled over the boardroom meetings.

"You've missed several productions meetings…. "

Uh oh.. Gage finished for her friend. "I'm not up to speed about things and I've been remiss in my duties around here….and, I don't take things as seriously as….everyone else."

"In a nutshell." Mark agreed. "I envy the way you go about things…. seemingly without a care in the world. It is a business…. and people depend on us to do our job."

Realizing she had let her producing partner down, Gage vowed. "I'll do a lot better. No more monkey business for me. After all, we have Stella to watch the kids."

"Gage, I think the world of you. You put Lacy and the kids first at all costs. That's something I'd like to be able to do." He slumped down on the edge of the desk. "Guess I'm from the old-school…. habit. Maybe it's all I've ever had… work." Before he could explain further, the telephone rang. "Hello." Concern loomed on his face. "I'll be right there."

"You need me?"

"No, that was Julie. Her son's in a bit of trouble." Mark hurried out of his office. He flew by too fast to even recognize Griff.

Determined to not let her friend down, Gage marched out the door and ran smack dab into Griff.

"Well, all you had to do was ask." Griff held onto the blonde.

Untangling their arms, Gage stepped back. "Griff, that's enough."

"What a tease? Feel me up and then you shy away." Griff moved in closer. "I can certainly help you get over your shyness." Slipping her hand on Gage's hip, Griff quickly moved in, only a breath away.

Two hands shot up, forcefully pushing the overeager redhead away. "No. No way. Not ever. Do you understand?" Gage said sternly.

"Oh, don't be coy."

The angry blonde stepped forward. "I'm not interested, Griff. Even if Lacy and I weren't together, it would never happen between us. Trust me." The resolute words dripped like poison from the blonde's mouth.

Repulsed and hurt by being rebuffed, Griff's defenses went up. "As if I was really interested." She grunted. "Honey, you don't know what you're missing." Spinning around, Griff left Gage standing in the hallway.

Thinking of her lover, Gage softly said. "I'm not missing a thing."

************************

Slapping his drinking buddy on the back, Koda Kannon bid his farewell. "That's too bad buddy. I'm sure you'll get another job." Koda tapped Tony Kussler on the nose. "You got a nose for the dirt. Try the tabloids again." Koda dropped a couple of twenties on the bar. "Gotta go." He started to leave but turned around once more. "Hey, if you need anything…" Pointing to Tony first then to himself, he said. "You….me."

Tony was still mulling over his friend's comments when the gang from the movie set entered the bar. He covertly took a place near the group in an attempt to garnish any juicy information that would further his plans. I wonder what Blade has for me. Son-of-a-bitch better come through.

It was another usual Friday night for the gang. Everyone was in attendance except for Ryan. Shanti spread her time between dancing with Michael, Shonnel and Ben and talking with Griff.

Griff was biding her time waiting for the right moment. She suspected that Shanti would be willing for what she had in mind. However, Griff had been around enough to know you have to have the right bait to catch a potential disinterested fish.

As the night wore on, it became apparent that Ben Thomason was making head way with Shanti. Fuming, Griff gulped down another drink, now preferring the harder stuff. When Ben escorted Shanti home, Michael was relieved while Griff seethed.

Tony's Friday night observation of the group provided some interesting developments but when Blade didn't show for the scheduled appointment, the reporter gathered his things and left.

After a couple more drinks, Griff became a wild woman. She floated throughout the bar looking for love, taunting and teasing everyone that was remotely interested. Having been spurned first by Gage and now Shanti, Griff had only one thing on her mind.

Michael pulled the dancing woman down from the top of the bar. "Come on, I'm taking you home."

Swaying against the young man, she rubbed up against him. "Just what will you do with me then?"

Michael tried to ignore her roaming hands. He guided her through the bar and out the front door.

Spinning around, Griff flopped her arms over his shoulders and kissed him. "Like that?"

"Come on, Griff. You're drunk." Michael was fighting the sexual feelings rising in him.

************************

Three days before Lacy and Gage were to head home for the 4th of July family bar-be-que, Lacy opened the package. Maybe this time. She carefully followed the instructions on the box. Before she could read the results, Lacy heard one of the kids scream. Laying the wet stick on the box, she hurried out of the bathroom.

Rounding the corner to Derek's bedroom, Lacy met her three children and Gage engaged in an all out tickle fight. Sammy squealed as Gage tried to protect him from his two older siblings.

"No fair, Gage." Derek yelled. "He tickled me first."

Dani fell over laughing. "Now, you know how I felt when she…" Dani sternly pointed at the blonde. "Kept me from you. You did the same thing, Derek." Her blue eyes grew wider. "Now, come here." She pounced toward him. Narrowly escaping, Derek found safety in his mother's arms.

It only took a half hour to settle the kids in bed. Having forgotten all about the test results, Lacy climbed into bed. She waited for Gage to check the house before retiring.

"All secure." Gage announced, having set the alarm system.

"Hurry up, will you?" Lacy wanted her pillow so she could go to sleep.

Holding up a finger, Gage pointed to the bathroom. "Be right with you."

At first, Gage didn't notice the stick still sitting on the box as she brushed her teeth. Leaning over to spit, Gage's green eyes snapped wide open. She quickly rinsed her mouth out. When her blonde head popped out from the doorframe, she cleared her throat. "Lacy, could you come here a minute?"

Lacy lounged on the bed. "Oh, sweetheart, I'm tired. What is it?"

Walking out of the bathroom, Gage had one hand behind her back and wearing a very smug smile. "Lacy." Holding the blue tipped stick up in the air, Gage announced. "One of us is pregnant."

Chapter Eleven

Ryan White shut down the set of Lacy's movie for the long 4th of July weekend. Since they arrived back home in St. Troy late Wednesday evening, the entire family slept late the next morning.

When the tired travelers finally woke, it was near noon. As Stella prepared lunch, Lacy wondered where her partner was off to. "You seen Gage?" Lacy snagged a couple of grapes before looking out the kitchen window as Stella fixed some sandwiches.

Lacy turned when the nanny didn't answer her. She noticed some sandwiches on the table already and grabbed one. The dark haired woman paused to study it before taking a bite. Mmmmm… Gage makes the best sandwiches. "Guess she was in here earlier, huh? Stella?"

So intent on navigating the knife to cut the sandwiches she was fixing, Stella didn't hear Lacy. Lacy keenly watched Stella cut the sandwiches diagonally with precision. Mmmm… just like Ga…….!

Realization dawned on the dark haired woman but she didn't have time to decipher it since Dani came barreling in the kitchen. "Stella, you got a phone call."

Finally, the nanny looked up. "Me?" Both Lacy and Dani watched as a dark cloud passed the nanny's eyes before she rushed off to answer the telephone call.

"Where are your brothers?"

"Where I left them." Dani absently replied.

Cocking a hand on her hip, the mother asked. "Where's that?"

Dani munched on a cookie she grabbed from the package on the table. "Outside with Gage. She's giving them rides on the lawn mower."

Lacy turned on her heel, heading out the door. "Dani, would you finish getting things ready?"

Her mother was out the door before she could reply. "Uh oh, Gage is in trouble."

************************

Lacy watched from a distance as her partner pulled Derek and Sammy in the small trailer behind the lawn mower. At least she doesn't have the blades on like last time.

Gage felt an eerie feeling rising as she made another turn. When green met blue, she smiled. The blonde negotiated the shrubs, heading straight to Lacy. She killed the engine and offered another winning smile. "I learned my lesson." When Gage first bought the lawn tractor and trailer, the boys begged for a ride. Figuring she could kill two birds with one stone, Gage piled Sammy and Derek in the trailer and went about mowing the lawn. When Lacy found out, she was fit to be tied. Gage could still hear the fuming mother. She didn't talk to me for two days.

Seeing his momma, Sammy wiggled out of the trailer. "Sammy, hold on you little whipper snapper." Using Gage's favorite phrase in referring to the two year old, Derek helped his younger brother out.

"Momma!" Sammy waddled across the short distance to Lacy. She scooped him up, giving him a kiss. Watching her oldest son take up a protective position near his hero, Lacy grinned. "Come on. Lunch is ready."

The group piled in the kitchen ready to eat. Once the kids were settled, Lacy addressed her partner. "Gage, sweetheart, why don't you hire someone to mow the lawn on a full time basis. We have the money." While they were making the movie, Gage had temporarily arranged for a local lawn care company to maintain the lawn.

After gulping down her drink, she said. "But, we like to mow the grass. Right, Derek?"

Derek slapped her hand in a high five. "Yep."

"With the way you were going about it when do you expect to get it done?" Lacy asked sarcastically.

"Point taken." Gage scooted back from the table. "I already called Steve from that lawn place. He's sending someone over tomorrow." The blonde rose and walked around placing a quick kiss on Lacy's temple. She winked at her lover. Gage placed two hands on her partner's shoulders and leaned in. "That way I have more time for you."

Lacy was enjoying the impromptu massage when a distraught Stella stumbled in the kitchen. "Ma'am?" She directed to Lacy. "I need some time off."

"What is it?"

With pursed lips, Stella frowned. "A friend of mine is in the hospital. In LA. I've already made the necessary arrangement. I know this is short notice but… it's……"

"When do you leave?" Lacy jumped up to comfort the older woman. "Gage can drive you to the airport."

Gage nodded. "Sure."

Placing her two hands on the nanny's arms, Lacy inquired. "Is there anything we can do?"

Relieved for the time off and offer of help, Stella answered her. "No, she's just very bad off and I've…. I…Grace is a very dear friend." The older woman nearly collapsed in Lacy's arms. She helped the nanny to a chair.

Dani splashed some water on a dishtowel and handed it to Stella. "I know Grace. She's nice." The eleven year old continued when she saw her mother's raised eyebrows. "On the plane….. you know, Grace. She was going to see her new grandbaby."

"Can't be the same one, Dani." Lacy countered, still watching the distressed nanny. "Stella, what's Grace's last name?"

Patting her neck with the cold damp rag, Stella confirmed what Dani assumed. "Davidson."

Gage was about to turn away in order to get the car keys when she heard Stella's last words. "You? You know Grace Davidson?" Stunned by the news, Gage slumped to the nearby chair. "I can't believe it." She said more to herself as several revealing memories zapped to the forefront of her mind. "I knew there was something familiar about you. You…. you helped me…."

"Yes, Gage, it was me." Stella confirmed.

"What? Helped you do what?" Confused, Lacy asked then looked from the nanny to her partner. "Gage? You know Grace, too?"

A long paused filled the air as Gage allowed several more memories to come rushing back. "She…." Shocked, the blonde shook her head, still unfocused. Finally, Gage spoke again. "Grace was my caseworker. And, she…" Dazed green eyes met the green eyes of the nanny. "…helped me with my stuttering."

Crossing her arms, Dani declared her victory. "Like…I told you."

Lacy shot her daughter an irritated look. "Stella, when do you leave?"

"Five. I can get a cab." Stella offered.

"No, Gage will see you off." Lacy swung her head to her partner for confirmation. Pulling the stunned blonde from her distant musings, Lacy asked. "Gage?"

"Yes, of course."

"Can I go?" Dani asked.

Derek chimed in. "Me, too."

Not wanting to be left out, Sammy raised his arms to his mother. "Momma? Me, me."

************************

Lacy stretched her long body against her lover. "Mystery solved." She declared but was worried about her partner and offered a distraction. Lacy's hand slid between the sheets along her lover's side then up and over Gage's firm stomach. When her hand veered south, Gage stopped her.

Looking directing into Lacy's loving blue eyes, Gage asked. "Do you mind? I don't feel up to it tonight."

Only feeling slightly rebuffed, Lacy dropped her head on her partner's shoulder meeting a strong squeeze from Gage. "I'm worried about you."

As it turned out, the whole clan had taken Stella to the airport since no one wanted to be left behind. With the nanny safely on the plane, Gage had driven quietly home. Her demeanor remained the same throughout the evening, not even getting much of a rise from the blonde when Dani taunted her for not winning in the game of charades.

"Do you want to talk about it?"

"No." Her laconic response cut through the air sharper than she intended. Drawing in a deep breath, Gage apologized. "I'm sorry. Why didn't she say anything?"

"I know." Lacy snuggled closer, brushing her lips against her lover's neck. "All those mysterious meetings she had was…. just to visit her sick friend."

"Somehow I feel…. not betrayed exactly…" Gage couldn't find the exact word regarding the emotions that played inside her.

"She's a lot like you…keeps everything inside." When Lacy heard her own words, a cord struck home.

Gage pulled her lover even closer. "I remember now…. she…. I… we got along….. well. I really liked her. She didn't make fun of me or nothing… just like Grace. I guess I was five, six… I don't know."

The revelation that crossed Lacy's mind begged to be acknowledged but she wasn't about to interrupt her partner's long awaited explanation about her past.

"We… she did more than help me with my talking." Gage smiled. "We played together. I would sometimes pretend that…....." The blonde refused to cross that one time hopeful bridge. "We did everything together at the Center. Instead of playing with the other kids, I would help her fix lunch, clean up…whatever."

A warm smiled graced Lacy's face. Another mystery solved. Perfectly cut diagonal sandwiches. "Sweetheart, may I make a suggestion?"

Gage drew back in order to see her lover's concerned eyes. "Yes."

"Before you go and assume why she never told you, wait till she gets back and then the two of you should talk. I'm sure she has her reasons."

Gage lightly kissed her lover. "For you, anything."

Even after hearing Gage's agreement to her advice, Lacy knew it would be a difficult task for her lover.

************************

The next morning Gage met with a young man named Jim. The 6' 2" man quietly followed the blonde around the property nodding more than talking. The buzzed hair cut blonde man studied the grounds carefully as if surveying a potential battleground.

After Gage explained what she needed him to do, she asked. "Any questions?"

"Reckon that's all I need." Scratching his two-day-old beard, he asked. "Mind if I get started tomorrow?"

"Ahhh… you know it's the 4th, right?" He nodded. Puzzled as to why the young good looking man didn't have other plans on the 4th of July, she said. "We're having a bunch of people over tomorrow…. how about Sunday or Monday might be better for you?"

Jim paused to scan the yard once again. "Said you're leaving Monday… wanted to be sure I started before then… in case I have questions." Seeing Gage hesitate, he offered. "I won't be in the way tomorrow.. quite a bit of land here. Wanna do a good job for ya."

Gage looked into his sincere brown eyes and agreed. "Okay. You might as well join us for something to eat while you're here."

Jim nodded. Gage watched him amble off to his black car.

************************

Gage could tell that Mark was nervous when he arrived with Julie and her two children, Joe and Jessie. He confirmed her suspicions when he leaned in and said. "This is it. This is the weekend."

Gage punched her friend in the arm. "Good for you." Nodding at the eighteen-year-old boy, Gage asked. "What's going on there?"

Mark took a long moment to study Julie's son who shared the same dark looks and warm brown eyes as his mother. "There's been some progress. I'll tell you later. By the way, Dash and his wife and son are coming back to live here in St. Troy."

The blonde smiled. "Grayson? Your brother-in-law? Guess we'll get to see even more of you then." Lacy and Gage had met Alexus and Dash Grayson on one of their short shopping trips to New York City a year ago. Chance Mallicoat, the one time ever-faithful companion of her friend, Mark, was now securely re-attached to his old boss, Dash Grayson. Chance had served the Grayson family from when Dash was a young boy till it was assumed that his one-time young charge had been killed several years ago. With the joyous news of Dash being alive, Chance left Mark's employment with his best wishes.

Before Mark could reply, Julie took possession of her boyfriend's arm. "Gage, do you mind?"

"No, go on…..you need any help with your bags?"

Jerking on Mark's arm, she nodded. "That's why I have him."

************************

After their guests settled in and a short lunch, the small group ended up out near the pool. Dani took up residence next to the sixteen year old, Jessie. She grilled her on everything from make-up to boys and even though the nearly twelve year old was several years away from dating, Dani figured she should be prepared. Her last year in school awakened her interest in boys.

To everyone's surprise, Joe showed an amazing amount of patience as both Derek and Sammy doused him with their water guns. Julie explained to her friends Joe's recent problems with drugs, which only further determined Lacy's resolve to raise her kids in St. Troy.

Finding a quiet moment to themselves, Lacy leaned in. "How's things been going so far?"

Julie's brown eyes drifted to her boyfriend. "Hard to tell. He's been quieter… more distance lately." She turned to her friend. "Although he was an absolute lifesaver in helping me with Joey." Julie produced a quick frown realizing she had slipped again. Her eighteen year old wanted to be called Joe.

"Hmmmm." Lacy thoughtfully mused. "Think he needs a push?"

"I'm afraid if I did…." Julie stopped short, too scared to enunciate her fear. "I've decided this is the weekend."

"Good for you." Having heard her friend's decision, Lacy hoped everything would work out for Julie. Maybe I should enlist Gage's help. Lacy had not let Gage in on what she and Julie conspired, keeping the confidence of her friend intact. However, she was not about to idly sit by and allow two ships to pass in the night without sailing to some kind of mutual port. She figured Gage would be very instrumental in providing the shining beacon both reluctant parties would need in finding their way to the same harbor.

Her thoughts were disrupted when a stream of water doused her. Wiping the liquid from her face, she saw standing before her two innocent faces. Apparently, Joe and Derek had been chasing Gage around the pool when the blonde decided to take up residence in front of her and face the water assault full on. In the last minute, Gage not realizing where she was standing, stepped away in order to miss the deluge, which then rained down on an unsuspecting Lacy. The two boys hightailed it away leaving Gage standing alone. Lacy's squinting blue eyes met shocked green that quickly turned playful. Gage shrugged then smiled at her partner before rushing off to find her assailants. "I said it before and I'll say it again… I love that woman but she is in so much trouble."

Chapter Twelve

As Lacy's family arrived for the 4th of July barbeque, Gage provided some last minute direction to their new yardman, Jim. "Lacy wanted me to make sure and see that you join us after you're finished. The food will be ready in a couple of hours." She turned to walk away then decided to ask him one last time. "You sure you don't have something else you'd rather be doing today?"

"Nope." He gathered his tools and ambled off.

Watching the young man for a minute, Gage almost didn't hear her name being called.

"Gage."

She turned to see Joe approaching her. "Hey."

"Lacy wants you and I was wondering if I…. could maybe take your boat out? Just up and down the cove." He added quickly.

Gage hesitated only briefly. "Sure, why not?"

The young man wanted to reassure her. "My dad had one like yours… a few years back. He taught me…. I'll be super careful."

The blonde nudged the young man. "Come on. You know, Mark has a couple of boats. Doesn't know a thing about any of them." She stole a quick glance at him. "Maybe you could show him the ropes."

"Seriously?" Having not taken much interest in his mother's boyfriend, Joe didn't care to learn about the man who, he felt, was trying to replace his father. After his father died, Joe took it upon himself to step into that role as man of the house. He wanted to help his mother and sister while staking his claim as an adult. It was Mark's entrance into his mother's life that interrupted his plans.

"Don't know why really. He loves the water like I do." Gage wasn't about to let Joe in on the secret she shared with her friend. Mark did own several boats including the one at the cabin that so impressed Dani. There was only one thing that Mark ever resented about his father. Sam Calico elected to teach his young son to swim and without much production dropped him overboard from their thirty-foot boat. If it hadn't been for Mark's mom, Doris, he swore he would have drowned. Doris relegated her husband from the bedroom for a full week after that stunt. Of course, Sam was oblivious as to why, because that was the way his father taught him to swim. "I'm sure he'd appreciate you teaching him. Did I tell you he loves the water?" Gage asked again hiding her devious grin. Oh, he is gonna love me for this.

Dark blue eyes nearly skyrocketed out of his head when Joe asked Mark to go along for a ride on the boat. Desperately wanting to form some kind of bond with his girlfriend's son, he reluctantly agreed and didn't miss the smirk on his friend's face.

Jessie, Dani and Derek piped up all insisting on going along for the ride. Lacy's astute younger brother, Nate, read the panicked look on Mark's face so he asked to go along, too. Gage shrugged her shoulders as she scratched behind her ear pretending the whole thing was news to her.

************************

For the next two hours as Gage ruled over the grill, Julie waited nervously for the boat's crew to return. She surreptitiously gave Gage the evil eye as they both knew about Mark's fear of the water.

"Julie? Come inside and help me?" Lacy called. "Stop worrying. Okay? You said yourself that Joe's an expert boatman. Besides, Nate's with them." She guided her friend to the kitchen where Lacy's mother and sister were sitting at the table.

Lacy arrived just in time to hear her mother advise Lisa. "Talk to her. She's your sister for goodness sake. She'll understand."

Lacy's blue eyes shifted from her mother to her sister then finally came to rest on her friend. "Go on." Julie nudged her. "Mrs. Levine, can I help?"

"Please call me Lynn." As Julie sat down, Lynn Lewis shoved several unshucked corn her way. "This will keep us busy till they get back."

That was their mother's cue for the two sisters to have a long needed chat. Lisa rolled her eyes embarrassed at being caught. Recovering quickly, she grabbed Lacy's arm. "Let's get this over with."

The older sibling followed her sister out the door. As they passed across the patio, Lacy sent Gage a quick wink.

Chewing on some crushed ice, Gage watched her partner being dragged away by her sister. Hank Lewis nudged her. "Here have a beer."

Gage shook her head. "Think they'll show up?"

Hank shrugged, finished his own beer then started on the one he had offered his sister-in-law. "If Denny knows what's good for him."

"Where's your dad anyway?"

Lacy's dark haired older brother sat down in the chair. "Checking on your new yard guy. He considers himself an expert." Hank snapped his fingers as a revelation popped into his mind. "Hey, you know, Gage, you should of asked him to take care of this place. He'd love it."

"Quite frankly, we hadn't thought of it." Gage jumped back when the flame sizzled from the grill. "It's a full time job."

"Stand back." Daniel Lewis ordered. He doused the flame with some of Hank's precious beer then handed the near empty bottle back to his son. "Thanks." Throwing a hard glare at Gage, he said. "Next time ask."

Hank stared at the bottle for a long moment before taking a long pull, finishing it off. When Jason arrived, Hank dipped into the cooler, pulling out a beer for himself and his partner.

Jason screwed the top off and drank greedily of the cold beer. Sparing a quick glance around the house, he joked. "House still standing, I see."

His partner lightly punched him the gut. "If it wasn't, it'd be your fault. You had to go and save money ordering the cheaper material just so we'd make a bigger profit." Hank said seriously, hoping Gage was listening.

"Had to find some way to buy that new car." Jason countered with the same resolute tone.

Lacy's father noted Gage's concerned expression as Hank and Jason bantered. "Don't let them bother you. Lacy'd have their heads if that were true." He whispered.

Gage decided to play along. "Too bad they're such cheapskates." She jerked her hand over her shoulder at the two smug guys. "Mark and I have a twenty million dollar project we were thinking of throwing their way but, now…."

Pushing each other out of the way, Jason and Hank raced to get to Gage first. "He was just joking." Turning to his friend, Jason shot Hank a hard look. "You idiot… I hope you didn't cost us this job."

"Me?" Hank jabbed himself in the chest. Mocking Jason, he spat sarcastically. "Hope the house is still standing. I never know what's gonna come out of your mouth next." Hank slapped his taller partner's head.

Dan shook his head. "Businessmen." He winked at Gage. "Don't worry about the your electricity. I wired it. And, another thing…. I'd love ya to ASK me to take care your place. Be right here in heaven, I would."

Taking a chance, Gage asked. "Would you come by now and then and check on things? Jim seems capable enough. Kinda strange though…"

"Sure thing. Be my pleasure." Tired of hearing Hank and Jason argue, he ripped into them. "You two, shut…." They complied. "..and sit." Before he finished, the two men flopped down feeling like two chastised schoolboys. Turning back to an impressed Gage, he smiled. "Years of practice."

************************

Joe guided the boat easily toward the dock. He took great pride in showing Mark what he knew. For the first time in a long time, the eighteen year old felt a sense of confidence. Floundering around for years after his father died, Joe was lost with no sense of direction. It was one of the reasons he turned to drugs. "Nate, could you get the starboard…"

Before the young captain could issue his command, Nate jumped up near the starboard rail to secure the lines. Joe maintained the boat's turtle like speed until Nate would be able to make his way to the port side. Memories flooded Joe's mind remembering the last time he was out on the boat with his father. Joe, Sr. proudly watched his son navigate their boat into port. However, at the last minute his dad took over captain duties and ordered his son to secure the anchor lines. In such a hurry to impress his father, Joe tripped over a loose line and fell head first into the water. It was an embarrassing moment and one that he harbored for years because he never had a chance to prove to his father he could handle docking their boat.

Joe slowed the boat to a crawl but Nate was still having a problem securing the line. "Nate, I need you on the port side." Joe barked.

Having seen Nate's dilemma, Mark jumped over the port's rail near the edge in an attempt to help. He grabbed the line and readied himself for the boat's approach to the dock. "I got it." Mark sprang up quickly then twisted around at the exact time when Joe flipped the boat into reverse causing the older man to lose his balance. Flailing arms flapped round and round as he desperately tried to right himself. Before Mark took the plunge, his eyes met and held Joe's worried brown ones. In that moment, they shared a link that cemented a bond between them. Mark splashed head first into the water.

Jessie, Dani and Derek leaned over the port side. "Can I jump in, too?" Derek begged his sister.

Dani rolled her eyes. "Jeez, sometimes I don't know about you Derek."

Joe killed the engine. "Nate!"

Lacy's twenty-five year old brother flew across the bow. "He's okay." He said upon spying his fallen mate.

Mark had dog paddled safely to the dock's edge, climbing up the ladder. He looked up to see everyone staring at him. CEO of I don't know how many companies, respected, good business head on my shoulders and… Feeling totally embarrassed and shaking with fear, he surveyed his wet sodden body. ….it's all come down to this.

The motley crew waited in great anticipation at Mark's reaction but none more than Joe. When Mark finally let out a deep sigh, he began to laugh so hard he fell to the dock's floor. He laughed at himself and at the situation he found himself in. I don't care. I had fun today.

Joe and Nate secured the boat to the dock and helped the kids down. Nate corralled the younger ones directing them back to the house while Joe hung around, waiting for the expected reprimand.

"Sorry." Joe offered Mark an apology.

Mark studied the young man for a brief moment. He took a chance of a lifetime. Wrapping his arms around Joe, he gave him a big bear hug producing the desired effect. Joe was now nearly as wet as Mark. "Figured you had that coming." Silence between the two reigned only for a moment before they both broke out in laughter.

************************

Lacy leaned against the gazebo's rail closely watching her pacing sister. "Lisa?"

Halting her sister with a raised hand, Lisa vacillated the words she was going to say. In an attempt to brace her sister against the news, Lisa let out a deep breath. "Lacy."

"Jason." The older sister quickly inserted before Lisa could speak another word.

"How'd you.."

"It's written all over you face and… his, too."

"You're not upset?"

Wrapping her sister in her arms, Lacy assured her. "Nope. Happy for you. When's the wedding?"

Pulling back, Lisa was clearly mortified. "Really, Lacy, I haven't even given any thought…"

Lacy shot her a knowing look.

"Next summer." Lisa giggled. "He doesn't know yet. I want to surprise him."

Lacy let out a heartfelt laugh. "They never do, dear. They never do." Pulling Lisa in for another hug, Lacy smiled as she mentally calculated that her newborn baby would be about three or four months old.

************************

Denny Lewis, his wife and son never did show up for the barbeque. They were scheduled to arrive after spending some time with Crystal's family. And, another absent guest was Hank's girlfriend. They had recently broken up over a discussion about marriage.

By the time everyone had eaten, it was evident to several members of the group that something drastic had changed between Mark and Joe. The easy bantering between the two brought a relieved smile to Julie's face.

Lynn was happy to see her daughter finally make her intentions to Jason known since she had her sister's apparent approval. Lisa flirted openly with the tall good-looking man that the Lewis family had welcomed years ago. No one - other than Lisa - was happier about this new development between Lacy's sister and Jason than Gage. Thank God, I don't have to worry about him anymore. A niggling doubt had pestered the blonde for years even though it was quite apparent that Lacy was totally in love with her.

As evening set, Nate and Hank prepared to light the fireworks. The group gathered around and several couples took up residence next to each other. Dan and his wife paired up as did Lacy and Gage along with Jason and Lisa. Mark led Julie a short distance away from the crowd. The kids perched themselves on the short brick wall ready for the fireworks to commence.

As the dark sky lit up in an array of bright colors, Mark tenderly took Julie's hands in his and summoned the courage within to ask the question that would change his life forever. He had determined to ask Julie to marry him and after having formed a new relationship with Joe, as the fireworks burst across the sky, Mark exploded with excitement about the prospect of making Julie Grant his wife.

Lacy and Gage noted the engaged couple share a loving kiss and admire the sparkling new diamond on Julie's finger. Simultaneously, they said. "Bout time." Surprised green met equally astounded blue in a knowing exchange.

From a short distance away, the intensive observing young yardman scratched his short beard before turning to leave.

************************

The long weekend was about to come to an end. Stroking the length of Lacy's side, Gage held her love. "I hate to leave tomorrow."

"I know." Lacy enjoyed her lover's undivided attention. "After the location shoot in St. Louis, we only have a few more weeks in LA… then it's back home for us." She leaned in for a sweet and gentle kiss that suddenly turned demanding.

The blonde broke from the passionate kiss, sucking in much needed air. "Did you forget our anniversary in a couple of weeks?"

"How could I?" Gage's roaming hands left no patch of skin ignored. "Are you practicing?"

"Mmmmm hmmmm." Gage again demanded and claimed the willing lips before her.

"All right." Pulling at Gage's top, she ordered her lover. "Get this off."

In a flash, Gage stripped off the offending shirt. "Your wish is my command."

"Is that right?" Lacy nuzzled her partner's neck as her hand squeezed Gage's backside.

"God, baby. You know, I love that."

Lifting up, Lacy pushed her lover's hungry lips to her breasts. "And, you know what I love. Now, get to it."

As commanded, Gage devoured the ample breast before her. The last focused thought Gage had was that she wished she would have had taken her vitamins. They would be exhausted by early morning light but well satiated.

Chapter Thirteen

Lacy and Gage packed up the kids and headed to St. Louis for the location shoot. Lacy's mom also offered to watch her grandkids while her daughter was working. The actress declined the offer as Lynn was already going to have them with her for the upcoming weekend while Lacy and Gage celebrated their wedding anniversary. Besides, neither Lacy nor Gage wanted to be away from the kids. So Lisa volunteered to come along and watch the kids since Stella was still in LA with her sick friend.

Ryan White was in an intense discussion with Lacy on how her character would react in the upcoming scene. Her character, Jordan, was dealing with seeing her father after years of absence. Lacy argued that since Jordan idolized her father, she would acquiesce quickly when he finally wanted to reunite and make amends for his sudden departure after his wife died.

From the riverbank, Lisa and the kids watched Michael's second unit shoot the motorcycle brigade cross the Missouri Bridge. Gage stayed for a while then moseyed up to where she saw Ryan and Lacy in the increasing heated yet professional exchange. When she heard what they were discussing, Gage stepped up, to insert her view as the writer of the story.

"Ryan's right, Lacy. I know Jordan loved her father but he left them, leaving her to take care of the family. He turned his back on them without any regard for what they wanted, what they needed. He was selfish, cared only about himself….." The writer's intended helpful comments morphed into a full out dissertation. "…he didn't deserve her love and if you have Jordan forgiving him so easily then…." Gage's word faltered on her lips as unsettled emotions welled up inside her. Memories of why her mother left her ran rampant, rubbing against the raw emotions brewing inside.

Sucking in a calming breath, Gage stared closely at Ryan then to Lacy who were visible shocked and stunned by her verbal rampage. Holding up a halting hand, she excused herself. "Okay, okay. You direct, you act. I'll be way over there doing what I do best…. watching the kids."

Lacy's heart sank seeing the love of her life relive in these few moments every hurtful memory Gage carried with her, but refused to share. She started after her partner but was stopped by Ryan when he placed a hand on her arm.

"We're almost finished here, Lacy. If we get this scene in, all that's left is a few more shots the second unit can handle. You and Gage can take off for that long weekend. Okay?" The last two days of shooting had gone well and Ryan was ready to pack it up and head back to LA - if only he could get this one last take in the can.

Lacy acquiesced to her director's request. Temporarily putting her own concerns regarding her lover away, a distant façade dropped across her face as she fell easily into her character's role.

As the afternoon drew to an end, Gage had one of the production drivers take Lisa and the kids back to their rooms at the hotel. She waited in the actor's trailer for Lacy to finish her scene.

When Lacy arrived, she found Gage sleeping on the couch in the trailer. She quietly changed her clothes then stooped down next to the blonde. Lacy placed a gentle kiss on her partner's lips. Gage smiled. Lacy ducked in again for a more intense eye-opening kiss. It did the trick.

"Mmmmm." Gage pulled her lover closer, exchanging small delicate kisses that grew in intensity. The blonde pulled her lover up, guiding Lacy to lie on top of her. "Now, I have you where I want you."

"I could say the same." Lacy laid her head on Gage's shoulder.

Brushing her lips against Lacy's dark hair, the blonde murmured. "You always have me where you want me."

Lacy's head popped up, arching her left eyebrow in question.

Smiling, Gage proclaimed. "Wrapped around your little finger."

Seductively, Lacy countered. "That's not all I want you wrapped around." Waggling her eyebrows, Gage was ready to play but Lacy had other things on her mind. "Will you talk to me?"

"Talk? I thought you wanted action." Gage teased her lover, running her hands up and down Lacy's sides.

Lacy offered her lover a reassuring kiss. "We'll have plenty of time for that this weekend. You, me and nothing else."

Claiming the younger woman's lips, Gage mumbled. "You, me and we have time now. The kids are with Lisa at the hotel."

Lacy resisted her lover's advances. "Gage, sweetheart, please talk with me."

"Okay. I can talk and……." Gage attempted to shift her lover over in order to gain more access to all of Lacy. "…make love to you."

As Gage nuzzled her lover's neck, Lacy nearly fell into the seductive haze of her partner's assault. This isn't going the way I planned. Feeling she had missed a rare opportunity to confront her partner about Gage's past, Lacy allowed a heavy sigh.

The blonde knew something was bothering Lacy. "Okay. We'll talk." Brushing back a wisp of her lover's bangs, Gage winked. "What's on your mind?"

Lacy knew she had to tread lightly. "Earlier… when Ryan and I were discussing that scene."

Gage cut her off. "Lacy, I'm sorry. I write, you act, Ryan directs. It won't happen again. Besides, I don't think I'm cut out to be a producer so Mark produces."

This was an interesting turn of events for Lacy. "What are you saying?"

"Don't get me wrong. I love being on a movie set and having some input into things." Gage drew in a short breath. "It's just that…. the day in day out producing thing… schedules, getting people here…. there, planning every second of the day. Well, it's not me." Gage looked away. "At least, not the way it's typically done."

"And?"

Gage rolled her eyes. "And….. Mark loves every aspect of producing and now that Ryan is part of the team… I was thinking maybe that Mark would give me a new position."

"What position is that?"

A sexy smirk popped up on Gage's face. "I kinda like the position I'm in now." She winked at her lover who countered with a smirk of her own but not nearly as sexy as Gage had offered to Lacy. "I was thinking… consultant. Maybe special consultant to the star of the movie."

"Mmmmmm." Lacy kissed her best friend and lover. "Do I have anything to say about this?"

"Everything… whatever you say."

"Let's see." Lacy leaned against back of the couch. "I seem to remember you wanted me to do a screen test in order to get this part. I'm thinking the same thing for you."

"I remember we were in the shower. And, we needed a casting couch for the… audition." Gage bounced up and down on the couch. "We have the couch. What do you want me to do…. to prove this new position belongs to me and me alone?" Lifting up, Gage met Lacy in a fiery kiss as her hands blazed a trail over her lover's oversensitive body. The blonde's right hand found refuge on Lacy's breast.

Lacy moaned. "Oh, God, sweetheart, you're doing it."

And, Gage did for several more hours.

************************

Lynn and Daniel Lewis took care of their grandkids while Lacy and Gage retreated for a long weekend of celebrating their love at the cabin on the lake. As they settled in the cabin and the evening set, Gage offered her pregnant lover a glass of grape juice. "Did you enjoy the day?"

Lacy sipped her mock wine. "Yes, Dani wasn't too happy about not being able to come with us. This place is so beautiful this time of year."

Gage eased down next to her lover. "Derek wasn't either and heaven knows how your mom is going to handle Sammy. It nearly broke my heart when we left… he was crying all over the place. I never knew a kid to love his momma… so much."

Reflective, Lacy nodded. "I miss them already." It hadn't even been twenty-four hours since they left their children behind so they could share a few days together.

Pulling her lover closer, Gage offered. "We could go back early?" A simple smile from her lover assured her she was on the right track so Gage made a command decision. "Next time they come with us."

Kissing her lover, Lacy smiled. "I love you."

The candles set the room aglow as darkness fell. Lacy and Gage sat on the sofa looking out the large window to the calming lake. When they were out earlier on the boat, the water offered up a rough ride with all the boats zigzagging back and forth across the lake with vacationers.

Gage refilled their glasses. "I want to make a toast. To you, the love of my life, the woman I love…. to my soulmate." They clicked their glasses together and sipped. The blonde noticed a distant look cross her lover's face. "What? What are you thinking?"

"Nothing really." Lacy leaned against her partner, contemplating an old belief. "There was a time when I didn't think… well… believe in the soulmate concept…. until I met you."

"Why?"

"I don't know really. I suppose it was that it somehow meant I wasn't complete… left unfinished." Lacy shrugged her shoulders.

Polishing off her drink, Gage sat the empty glass aside. "Lacy, it's not really that another person completes you. More like, you are this beautiful painting. Perfect in everyway… with feathery sensual strokes…." Gage gently ran a finger down her lover's jaw line. "on a smooth canvas. With a dazzling array of vibrant colors and soft, gentle curves and angles that capture the effervescent beauty that you are. And, your soulmate….that's me." Gage smiled. "Frames this picture of you…enhances the vivid colors, illuminates it bringing it into focus. I know you made my darker days brighter. It's more than completing each other. When I met you everything in my life snapped into focus… you brought out the brilliance of my soul. Thank you."

Lacy accepted the gracious kiss from her partner. "I think I understand now….and, that was very romantic."

"I aim to please." Gage squeezed her. "Are you ready to……" The blonde threw a sultry look toward the bedroom door.

Lacy toyed with her lover. "You think I'm that easy?"

"Easy to love? Yes."

"Well, a girl needs a little more romance before being carted off to bed." Lacy rubbed her body against the older woman.

Gage's green eyes shifted around the romantic setting she had carefully orchestrated. Candles? Check. Romantic dinner? Check. Wine? I mean, grape juice. Check. Music? Check. Woman in my arms? Double check on that…and she's very sexy, too. Now, let's see what else? More talk! Yes, that's it. She likes it when I talk to her. "Have I told you lately how much I love you? That you are the most beautiful…and sexiest….can't forget sexy, woman ever…. and, very, very intelligent." Gage snuggled closer. "Now, can we go to bed?"

Lacy jumped on the opportunity that presented itself. She knew Gage would be very receptive at this point as her lover seemed to only have one thing on her mind. "You know, I don't even know your middle name?"

Ignoring Lacy's mock resistance, the blonde planted her mouth at the nape of Lacy's neck. "Don't have one."

Falling into the delicious feelings her lover was rising inside her, Lacy moaned. "What's 'S' stand for?"

"Mmmm….. nothing. No name…..just 'S'." Sensing Lacy didn't believe her, Gage continued. "It's true. It's on my birth certificate. I pretended for years it stood for Saint." Gage revealed a secret nugget she had never shared with anyone else. "Don't know why?" After being called everything from a little devil to pure evil by her supposed caretakers, Gage fantasized Saint for a middle name to counter the ill effect of those hateful, vile words that chipped away at her sinking self-esteem.

That simple revelation brought tears to Lacy's eyes. "Perhaps it was because you…. it had to do with your mother leaving you."

This was not a place that Gage wanted to journey, down memory lane. "How the heck does pretending that my middle name is Saint have anything to do with… that?"

Lacy really didn't know what the connection was. Rather it was something she felt. Struggling to come up with a logical explanation, she gathered her thoughts. "Oh, I don't know. It seems I know so little about you. You were given up for adoption but instead went from foster home to foster home. Never really having a home. I know you shared a special connection with your social worker, Grace as it turns out. And, she gave you this." Lacy touched the gold necklace she wore. "You think it's from your mother… maybe. You don't talk about your past and only recently we found out that it was Stella who helped you with your stuttering. Besides you being a writer and…..a few other jobs you mentioned, I don't know much more."

Sighing heavily, Gage pursed her lips. "You know I love you."

"Gage!" Lacy fumed inside at her partner's continued reluctance to share this aspect of her life. "Should I know about anyone?"

Confused, Gage asked. "Anyone what?"

Lacy rolled her eyes. "Sometimes you can be so dense. Lover? Past relationships?"

"Oh…" Gage kissed her lover tempering the sparks of frustration from engulfing the rest of the evening. "You're the only one. The only one for me… that counts."

"Gage!"

"There was this girl. Nikki." Gage spied her lover and caught a jealous glimpse spark in her blue eyes. "I really liked her. We had so much fun … spending all our time together. Inseparable really. Truthfully, I still miss her."

"You do?" Lacy's blue eyes slammed wide open.

"She was my first friend." Letting her jealous lover off the hook, Gage confessed. "We were five…or six." Lacy let out a relieved breath. "I was staying with her parents and we got along terrifically. Then one day, a social worker came and took me away…shipped off to another foster home. I never knew why. But, I heard one day from my new foster family that Nikki's parents thought I was a bad influence. Maybe I was." Gage sighed. "I was only five years old!"

"I'm sorry." Lacy twisted around in her lover's arms. "You don't have to tell me anymore."

"Lacy, I didn't have a family when I was young…but, I do now. You guys are more than enough for me. With you and the kids, I've got the best of the best. Okay?" In a reassuring kiss, Gage sent all the love she held for Lacy to her partner.

When Lacy pushed away, Gage's greens eyes perked up. "No. No, bedroom yet. Stay there." Lacy walked across the room and retrieved a set of papers from her purse. "Here. For you."

Gage stared at the papers for a moment as Lacy settled back down next to her. For only a brief moment, Gage remembered when David showed up at the cabin with divorce papers in hand for Lacy. "Will I like it?"

"Sweetheart, open it." Lacy commanded.

Unfolding the papers, Gage studied each unbelievable word on it. "I…I… " She closed her eyes savoring the delicious moment. "David went along with this?"

"Yes." Warm loving eyes surveyed her partner's reaction. "He didn't have a problem with it at all." Of course, he wants something in return. Seeing that look on her face is worth it though.

Gage re-read the words that legally would give her custody of Lacy's children in case something ever happened to her lover. "Thank you." Tears ran down her cheeks as she kissed her lover. "Thank you. I won't let you down. I love them so much, Lacy, and I promise to protect them with my life…be there for them always."

"I know."

Then it dawned on the blonde as to what the papers alluded to. "Promise me, Lacy. Promise me that when we leave this world, we do it together. Or, at least, I go first. I don't think.. I know I could never live without you."

Cupping her lover's cheek, Lacy reassured Gage. "That's not what this is about. Okay?"

Refusing to look back at her lover caused concern for Lacy. When Lacy gently turned the blonde's face around, she saw the unshed tears mist in Gage's sad green eyes. "What? What is it?"

"My gift to you…. pales in comparison to this." Gage held up the papers before sitting them aside.

Lacy took Gage's hand and gently placed it on her stomach. "Sweetheart, you have given me the greatest gift of all."

Her lover's heartfelt words sent shudders of joy, happiness and love through the blonde's body. "For all time, I will love you, embrace you and hold you dear. With every breath I take, I become better because of you." Gage capped her declaration of love with a deep soul-melding kiss.

Breaking away from the all-consuming passionate kiss, Lacy husked. "Now it's time for the bedroom."

************************

Lying on top of her lover, Gage ran a persistent and happy hand down the curve of her lover's breast. She kissed Lacy deeply. Within minutes, the flaming passion that rose wrapped them in warm and safe blanket of love. Gage's lips journeyed down Lacy's neck pausing only briefly to suck on her collarbone before drifting lower.

Lacy closed her eyes and let out a deep guttural moan as Gage locked on to her breast, feeding hungrily on it. The dark haired woman arched her back meeting her lover's sensual assault. "Sweetheart."

Briefly pausing from her task at hand, Gage asked. "Yessssss?"

"Nothing…just sweetheart." Lacy struggled to reply then quickly added. "Don't stop."

Gage chuckled. "Oh, baby, I'm never gonna stop." She captured the breast with her mouth and licked the swollen nipple.

Wanting to give as much pleasure as she was getting, Lacy ran both her hands from the top of Gage's thighs up and over her lover's backside. Fully knowing the desired effect she would receive.

The blonde caught a hitch in her breath. "God, do it again."

Lacy continued to massage her lover as she thrust her own hips upward.

Fighting to regain focus in her sexual haze, Gage desperately pushed herself downward away from her lover's pleasing hands. Her tongue slipped into Lacy's navel, licking, sucking as her hands roamed over the younger woman's breasts. As finger deftly circled the dark nipples of her lover, Gage dipped her tongue in and around Lacy's belly button.

Throwing her head back, Lacy etched out in a satisfied, strained voice. "God, sweetheart, that really sends me."

Pleasantly pleased with her lover's response, Gage ventured lower. Lacy opened wide to receive her lover's undying affection. Inhaling the delectable scent of her lover, Gage drowned her face between Lacy's legs. She spent the better part of the night there making love to the woman she would love for eternity.

Lacy screamed out Gage's name as she climaxed. Patiently waiting for her lover to return from her ecstatic journey, Gage remained in place. "I love you." She murmured against Lacy's curls, tasting the wetness on her lips. Gently, Gage soothed her lover's sensitive mound as she met the small thrusts of Lacy's hips. The blonde pulled back, pausing only a moment to gaze lovingly at her woman.

"Don't you dare stop, sweetheart." Lacy commanded, continuing to thrust her hips against her lover's face.

Are you kidding? This is exactly where I always wanted to be. The blonde re-ignited the smoldering ambers of her lover's passion. She kissed, sucked, licked and devoured all that Lacy was willing to give.

Chapter Fourteen

As Ryan prepared the scene in the movie where Jordan walked out on her boyfriend and boss, Lacy stopped Gage as they walked to the set. "Please?" Lacy pulled the blonde closer. Brushing luscious lips against willing ones, the dark haired woman purred. "For me."

Returning the kiss, Gage acquiesced. "Anything for you."

A hitch in Gage's breath caught a passing crewmember's attention as her lover covertly ran her hand down the writer's side then slipped it up her shirt meeting skin. "Lacy! Later." Gage winked. "Yes, I will re-write the scene as you desire. Can you tell me why though? And, you know, now we have to get an actor to play Devon."

"No, we don't." The blonde's eyebrow rose in question. "Hayston is playing Devon."

Before Gage could utter a single sound, her partner enveloped her lips sending the blonde once again on a lust laden journey, forgetting everything except the inviting lips that erupted swells of passion inside her.

"Lacy! We're ready for you." Ryan called.

Left stunned, Gage desperately reined in her overheated emotions. Slowly sucking in deep breaths in an attempt to calm her racing heart, Gage overheard Ryan tell Lacy that the actor signed to play Edie was now unavailable and they had hired Marva DuLaine to play the part.

"Marva?" Lacy smiled.

Ryan continued. "Shanti recommended her. She's…"

"Her niece. I know." Lacy finished for the director. "Great. We can relive some old times."

"Yeah." Ryan wasn't as thrilled as Lacy was about the new development. He had worked with Marva for several episodes of Lacy's old television show. Marva was a professional to the extreme as an actor. It was the off-screen antics of the irascible and capricious woman that the director objected to. He went along with the decision to cast her after Shanti James heard about the other actor dropping out on the role and called her aunt. Using Lacy's name to secure the part, Marva had immediately called Mark Calico. "You ready?"

Before Lacy could reply, David Levine suddenly appeared out of no where and chimed in. "She's always ready." He hugged Lacy, whispering in her ear. "I can still remember when you were ready and …… willing for me…..."

She gently pushed him back. "That was before I knew…"

David cocked his head to the side in question.

Lacy leaned closer to him so only he could hear her words. "What real love is. Complete devotion. Faithfulness. And, oh yes, mind boggling sex." Moving away from him, Lacy smiled.

Rumblings of heated fervor from her words vibrated through his body landing several inches below his beltline. He drew in a deep breath as Lacy took her place next to the bed on the set.

Hayston was immediately at this side. "David?" Shaking her boyfriend, she called to him again. "David!"

"Oh, yeah." David turned to Ryan. It was clear that old antagonistic feelings still existed between the two one-time partners. "Where should Hayston go to see about costumes and such?"

As Ryan stood there like a deer caught in a car's headlights, Gage experienced a very jealous twinge when Lacy had pulled her ex-husband closer, whispering in his ear.

Guess it's time to face the music. "Ryan, Gage is expanding Devon's character in the script." Lacy gently inserted, preparing for an expected explosion from her director.

"Expanding? Yeah, that would be one way of saying it since the original script only had the other actors talking about an unseen Devon." He glanced at Gage who shrugged and then he threw up his hands. "Fine. Whatever Lacy wants, Lacy gets."

"I knew you would see it my way." Lacy offered an apologetic kiss on the director's cheek.

Green eyes widened. She's offering sweet nothings in her ex-husband's ear and now she's kissing the director. My woman needs some loving…. and soon. Gage smiled. Me, too.

"Take her to costumes!" Ryan ordered Griff.

Chewing on some gum, Griff's eyes roamed over the young beautiful woman. "Sure thing, Ryan. Come with me." She said to Hayston as a sexy grin filled with confidence danced on the assistant's lips.

Ryan and Lacy were ready to shoot the scene. David was pre-occupied with watching Lacy get into character. Gage was happy to see Griff's attention diverted to someone else. And, Hayston had an idea pop into her head. Hmmmm…maybe I can make David jealous. Knowing that David hated the idea of losing Lacy to a woman, Hayston casually reached down and clasped onto Griff's hand. As Griff and Hayston walked away smiling at each other, the assistant director, Michael unhappily watched them leave.

Boyd Dietrich who was playing Jordan's boyfriend voiced his concern again. "Ryan, I think the scene would be more dramatic if my character kissed Jordan…. really hard and she slapped him before she walks out."

"What is it today? Everybody wants something different." Ryan's frustration was showing as he ran his hand through his full head of hair. "What do you think, Lacy?"

She shrugged. "It could work."

"NO!" Gage jumped past a cameraman. "That's not the way I wrote it"

"So?" Boyd dismissed her, flopping down on the bed. "You're just the writer. Nobody listens to them."

Fuming, Gage stalked closer to the overbearing little man. As everyone else stood frozen in time on the set, Gage leaned down next to Boyd. "And, the producer." She corrected him through gritted teeth. Squeezing a fist tightly, Gage figured it was her turn to whisper in a man's ear. "This is the only thing you are going to kiss…. get it!" Seething, she stared into his dark and beady eyes. A warning sent and received between the two cut through the awkward silence on the set. Boyd had made suggestion after suggestion to change things in the script much to Ryan and Gage's dismay. His recommendations were always an attempt to get closer to Lacy even at one point wanting to do a nude scene between the two in an earlier shot. He explained the film needed some eye candy for the audience. Eye candy your ass! Gage thought. They see your fuzzy butt and they'd all run.

Lacy stood near the two and felt the heat roll off her lover. Waiting for the expected eruption from Gage instead she watched as her partner offered her a quick glance then quietly walked off the set.

With pursed lips, Ryan said. "Guess the mood for this scene is set. Take your places." The actors did as directed then Ryan yelled. "Action."

As Lacy's character walked out on her boyfriend after a heated verbal altercation during the scene, David watched intently. When Ryan called 'cut', David walked up to Lacy. "Kinda ironic, like when you walked out on me."

"Twisting the truth again?" She ran a finger down his jaw line. "I didn't walk out… I ran." Turning on a dime, Lacy set out in pursuit of her lover.

"God, she's one hell of a actress." Lacy never heard the compliment that rolled off his trembling lips.

************************

Marva DuLaine walked onto the set as if she owned it. Her entrance was always staged and she didn't let her audience down on this day either. Just as Ryan yelled out 'action', the forty-seven year old actress waltzed past the camera right up to Lacy. "Darling!" She kissed Lacy on both cheeks. "How long has it been? Forever?"

Ryan cleared his throat.

Turning around to greet the gray haired director. "Oh, did I interrupt something?" She stepped closer to him. "Ryan White. You are as handsome as ever." She intently stared at the man before her. "If it doesn't work out with my fourth husband, what'd you say we give it a try?" She flashed her hazel eyes at him, clearly devouring him with the sultry look.

"Marva. We weren't expecting you until next week." Lacy interjected.

The back of her hand brushed against her forehead. "You know me, Lacy too much of a good thing… and I get bored. Nick, my fourth, is just a little bit too possessive. I needed some…. space. So, here I am." She floated back next to Lacy, offering her a look of disbelief. "Is it true?"

The younger woman cocked her head.

"You like women?" Marva smirked. "It can't be true… you are so straight." Bumping against Lacy's shoulder, she continued. "Get over it. I remember when we used to troll the bars…."

Lacy's blue eyes flared.

Slapping her hand across her mouth, Marva offered a veil attempt of apology. "Ooooppps!" Her hazel eyes scanned the movie set. "Is she here? Sorry."

The mock grin on Gage's face as Marva flung her thoughts across the stage grew harder. Gage crossed her arms in fury. This is great. Just great…. Boyd's trying to get in Lacy's pants… Griff in mine. Now, this! Can it get any better?

As the heavy tension in the air thickened with no relief in sight, Dani made her own entrance, slicing through the tension with ease. "Hey, everybody. Sorry, I'm late." Shifting her blue eyes to her mother, she explained. "Like it seems I'm Sammy's first choice when you're not around." Her head bobbed around the set, taking in the cast and crew's discomfited silence. "What are we doing….mime games or making a movie?"

Tension dissolved with the young girl's words and the director took advantage of it. "You're just in time Dani. Lacy's having a hard time with that dance routine you worked up for her."

Cocking her hands on her hips, Dani nodded. "Figures… she was distracted when I was teaching her." Dani shot Gage an evil look who pretended to be innocent of any wrongdoing. "Mom, shall we go over it again?" Her voice held only the slightest frustration with her mother.

"Dani. You remember Marva DuLaine."

Marva stooped down in front of Dani, grabbing her cheeks between her hands. "Sure, she does. Oh, you are delicious. Like mother like daughter."

Dani jerked back from the older woman. "Mom?"

"Remember when me and your mom dressed up like hookers? Now, that was a role I could really get into." She glanced up at Lacy. "That spiked red hair of yours…. I liked my long dark locks better." Marva stood up and elbowed Lacy. "That's when we hit the bars…." The dark haired older woman let out an evil laugh then reeled in her staged dramatics. "It was for research!" She offered in a vain attempt to convince the cast and crew standing idly by.

The young girl found safety next to her mother. "What's she doing here?" Dani never liked Marva much because when the over the top actress worked on her mother's show, it seemed that Marva competed for Lacy's attention. The older woman found reason after reason to demand her mother's interest.

"Dani!" Lacy re-directed her attention to her old friend. "Perhaps we can get together…later, Marva. Right now, we have work to do."

"Of course. Don't let me stop you."

Ryan rolled his eyes.

"I'll find something to keep me occupied. Now…." She tapped her lips. "…where is that girlfriend of yours?" Marva had trouble on her mind and she elected herself to start it.

Michael grabbed Gage by the shirt. "Come on."

Being jerked around took her by surprise. "What? Why?"

He led her away. "You're going to need some ammunition if you expect to fight that…. thing."

"She's trouble, huh?"

"Ha! Look in the dictionary… you'll find her picture under trouble, terror, tyrant…. and plenty more." Michael spouted.

************************

Continued in Part 4.


Back To Main Page