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Copyright: Although the main characters in the following do bear a strong resemblance to a cute couple with whom we are all familiar, all the characters in this work of fiction are the product of my own imagination and are therefore copyright to me.
For the rest of the disclaimers, please see the first chapter
by Helen Smith, (firstname.lastname@example.org) September, 2000
Quinn waited on the step, facing the door. She knew Vanessa was checking to see who it was and if she was alone. Even though she had the door code, it was smarter to ring the bell and wait for the person on guard duty to respond, rather than appearing inside unannounced. The door swung open a few seconds later.The woman who greeted her was even taller than Quinn. That, combined with the drop dead body, classic facial structure, long red hair and sea green eyes always made Quinn think that Vanessa had missed her era and her calling. She should have been an actor in old-time Hollywood. In fact, Quinn mused, she would have made a perfect Bond girl--not the kind that got used up and thrown away, but the ones that gave Bond a run for his money.
"Everything ok?" she asked.
"No problems. Ariel's in her office."
"Yeah. She insisted I join her for lunch a little while ago."
"I better get going. Kris called and gave me an assignment for this afternoon."
"Ok. Sure. And thanks."
Vanessa shrugged on her jacket, grinned and said "Anytime. Just let me know."
Quinn nodded, checked the video monitor and let her out. Then went in search of Ariel.
Ariel stared at the sentence on her computer screen without seeing it. Her mind was on Quinn, who had been distant since the meeting in Edward's office the day before. Damn it! Why couldn't she understand. Ariel didn't want to go to the launch, she had to go. If she let them scare her into avoiding that, soon they might scare her out of doing other things until she was too terrified to carry on a normal life. The alternative was to stop writing. To stop thinking. To stop speaking out about things she believed in. The only difference between that and being dead was that she'd still be breathing.
"Can I bother you a minute?" Quinn stood in the doorway.
"Sure. I didn't hear you get home. What's up?"
Quinn walked in slowly, her hands stuffed into the pockets of her jeans. "Just wanted you to know I've got the security for the launch sorted out. I've already told Edward."
"Good, and thank you."
Quinn nodded and turned to leave.
The dark-haired woman stopped and looked back enquiringly.
"I'm sorry. I'm sorry I'm being difficult."
Blue eyes considered her thoughtfully, then Quinn gave a little nod. "S'ok," and continued out of the room and down the stairs.
Ariel turned back to her monitor and stared at it some more.
Water coursed over her. For several minutes she'd run it ice cold but eventually brought it back to barely warm. The freezing temperature had given her a certain perverse pleasure, but after she started to shiver, common sense dictated an organized retreat. At least the water was beginning to help her mood. She had stared at the monitor for another half-hour after Quinn's departure, then finally shut down the computer and gone to the basement gym for a two-hour workout. She'd pay for it tomorrow but it had helped stop her thinking today, and that was all that mattered.
The door of the shower stall opened and closed as a large, warm, naked body joined her.
"Holy shit, woman! You trying to turn into a popsicle?" A long arm reached over hers and adjusted the temperature control.
"Don't talk. Better put your hands on the wall for support. You're going to need it."
Ariel complied as Quinn's hungry mouth descended on her neck and the dark-haired woman's arms slipped around her body.
Quinn nudged Ariel's feet farther apart, then took her time, sliding her hands leisurely over the woman's wet skin while she kissed and nibbled the writer's neck and ears, all the while holding Ariel close. Then, as the smaller woman's temperature climbed, Quinn began to move down, tracing a path with her tongue over Ariel's shoulders and down her spine, moving her hands lightly in tandem down her lover's body, feeling the muscles jump as nerves reacted to her touch. Resting one hand on the writer's hip, while the other teased the slick skin on the insides of her thighs, Quinn grinned to herself as she lightly bit Ariel's buttock.
"You're pleased?" Quinn swirled her tongue around the two dimples above Ariel's buttocks and then gently probed the top of the crack between. Her hand was now grazing the sensitive outer layers at the apex of the writer's legs. Ariel shifted her weight to bring more pressure to bear from the elusive fingers but Quinn pulled back.
"Oh please, Quinn. I need it."
Normally the dark-haired woman would have prolonged the delicious torture but the tone of the writer's voice told her that today was not the day for that.
"Alright," she said as she stood to her full height. "Turn around."
Ariel complied and found herself straddling a thigh, with Quinn's hands clamped on her hips, pulling her in tightly. In response, the writer's hands locked around Quinn's lower back. The noise of the water beating down on them served as counterpoint to Ariel's panting and the sounds of their bodies softly slapping together.
Sensing that the writer could wait no longer, Quinn picked up the speed and shifted her hands to Ariel's ass to increase the pressure. The writer's head was bent in concentration and Quinn saw, with a quick sideways glance, that her eyes were tightly shut.
The smaller woman's ragged breathing next to Quinn's ear was practically hypnotic. When Ariel caught and held her breath as she rested her head against Quinn's shoulder, the dark-haired woman was almost taken by surprise, but she was ready to enfold the writer as the woman's muscles tightened convulsively, then went slack.
They stood, not moving, the water still pouring over them until Quinn finally reached behind Ariel and flipped it off.
"Oh Goddess, Quinn. I'm so sorry!" Ariel looked up and Quinn realized she'd been crying.
"Hey. You have nothing to apologize for."
"Yes I do! I wouldn't listen to you. I insisted on my own way and now," she gulped. "Now, here, I've treated you like an object."
"An object?" Quinn was momentarily mystified, then understanding dawned. "Well," she chuckled, "I'll bet I'm the best damned six-foot vibrator you'll ever see."
Ariel giggled but then became serious again. She seemed to make a decision, then looked up into Quinn's eyes. "I-I haven't been very good company the last few days."
"Shh. It's ok."
"No it's not. I have to explain this. About the launch, I mean." Ariel paused and looked away for a moment. "The truth is, I'm scared witless, but if I give in to that, it'll just get worse until I'm a prisoner in my own house. I have to do it, Quinn. I know it's selfish of me. I know I'm making things very difficult for you and putting you and a lot of other people in danger." Ariel's voice cracked and Quinn tangled a hand in her hair and pulled her closer.
"Hey. It's alright.."
"Yes it is, 'cause I figured that out."
Ariel pulled her head back to see Quinn's face. "You did?"
"Uh-huh. Took me a while but it finally penetrated. You were so insistent about doing everything like usual, I wasn't sure you understood the danger. But this afternoon I suddenly realized that it was the only way you could cope with the situation without losing it entirely."
The writer gazed into Quinn's blue eyes for a brief moment then slipped her arms around the taller woman's neck and kissed her. "I love you," she said when they stopped to breathe.
"I love you too," Quinn responded, and dipped her head to find her lover's lips again. The kiss was longer this time, less an affirmation of shared love and more an erotic invitation. Ariel thought she was sated until Quinn went to work again with lips, teeth, tongue and hands. It didn't take her long to prove her assumption wrong.
"Oh Goddess, Quinn!" Ariel slumped against the wall of the shower stall, her hands twisted in Quinn's long, wet hair.
The taller woman tilted her head back and grinned up at her, from the level of Ariel's hips. She leaned in to swirl her tongue around Ariel's navel then rose to her feet.
Ariel smiled shyly. "Yeah. You're terrific, you know."
"As always. And it was my pleasure."
"Speaking of pleasure," Ariel leaned over and lightly bit Quinn's nipple, then looked up with a smile. "Good idea?" she asked.
"Um. Very. But on the bed." Quinn raised a questioning eyebrow. At Ariel's nod, the taller woman scooped her up and carried her out of the bathroom to the large bed they shared. Once there, Ariel took control and Quinn was soon blissfully exhausted, with Ariel half draped over her. They lay, Quinn contemplating the ceiling, Ariel, head pillowed on Quinn's left breast, idly experimenting with how many ways she could induce Quinn's right nipple to contract into erection. Quinn had just placed a restraining hand over Ariel's and told her sternly to stop it or face the consequences when they both heard what sounded like a giant mosquito. A second later, a small furry black beast struggled up onto the end of the bed, purring triumphantly.
"Hairy!" exclaimed Ariel.
"Damn. I guess I didn't shut the door tightly."
"Don't worry about it. I was planning to let him and his siblings out to roam soon anyway."
As if they heard their cue, the other two kittens pulled themselves up to join the party. Charlotte, the black and white, waded right in, but Grise, short for Éminence Grise, the dark grey kitten, sat back as if observing how well his plans had come to fruition. Ariel had watched them for a few days before the names came to her. Charlotte reminded her of a character in a nineteenth century novel--conventional, never questioning, hearty--but Grise was a different personality altogether. Whereas Charlotte and Hairy often stirred up trouble by getting into things they weren't supposed to, Grise was never seen doing anything untoward. But he was usually in the general vicinity when something was knocked over, or an object, such as a pen, disappeared from the desk in the kitchen only seconds after someone had set it down.
"Want me to put them outside the door?" asked Quinn.
"Yeah, but it's about time I started getting dinner."
"No need. All taken care of."
"It is? Ariel asked quizzically. "Um. Pizza?"
"I give up."
"A four-course meal from Parmesan's, with silverware, dishes, tablecloth and napkins provided, and a couple of bottles of their finest wine."
"Wow! What's the occasion?"
"Nothing. Other than the fact that I love you and I haven't been the best of company either."
Ariel leaned in with a smile and brushed her lips over Quinn's. "And that you're a closet romantic who I love dearly."
"Umm." Quinn returned the kiss. "And the best thing is," she paused to glide her tongue over Ariel's bottom lip. "they aren't due to deliver it for an hour."
"Well then, I think we have some time to kill. Don't
"Yup. Just as soon as I put the trio here outside the bedroom door."
And she did.
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