Again, Emotion concludes the arc that began
Insight can be found at http://www.academyofbards.org/fanfic/i/ins1.html.
The second part can be found under "Realization"
VIOLENCE: Some. Surely that's not a surprise at this point? <g>
RATING: PG-13 mostly, some bad language, etc.
RELATIONSHIP: Yep, if you do not or cannot celebrate love in whatever form it presents itself to us then please find another story to read. Although this story never went beyond PG-13, please be aware that it does touch on these subjects.
NOTES: I'm not a detective, lawyer or journalist and don't profess to play one on TV. Anyone who feels like writing to me, I'd love to hear from you but this Arcı is my first attempt at Fan Fiction, and even if it wasn't, please don't be nasty. Helpful critique is fine, wonderful praise is fine <eg>, "Hey, it was okay" is fine etc but bad stuff will be tossed and put where it belongs. If ya don't like it, I don't need to know but I hope you do. Idryth@aol.com
SPECIAL NOTES #1: Once again, a huge thank you to Inga for her invaluable assistance and support. None of this would have been completed without her. Sheıs spent far too much time beta reading these stories but they certainly are much better for it.
SPECIAL NOTES #2: Thank you very much to those of you who have followed the story, especially those who have taken the time to write to me. I truly appreciate that and your support is another reason as to why this story has been finished. I hope to hear from everyone again. Thank you!
SPECIAL NOTES #3: Thank you to the cast and crew of Xena: Warrior Princess, who provided a whole heck of a lot of us with six years of amazing stuff. What they gave to me over the years can never be taken away and is, quite simply, priceless.
Song lyrics used without permission and are
the copyright of LeAnn Rimes.
With a shifting muscle here and a tiny stretch there, awareness came very unwillingly to the woman cocooned in a very warm, safe and comfortable place. She had been having an absolutely wonderful dream and hadn't wanted it to end. Eventually, however, the light shining directly in her eyes pushed her to wakefulness but she ducked her head into the welcome warmth and darkness close by.
Snuggling back down into sleepiness, she took a deep breath, which brought with it a smile to her face at the familiar scent she seemed to be surrounded in. The smile was immediately followed by a curious crack of a bleary green eye as her mind started to catch up with the oddness of that very fact. The pillow under her cheek was moving, that too was an odd fact. In addition, she appeared to be fully clothed and that wasn't normal for sleepwear either.
Blinking a few times, she opened her eyes slowly and squinted due to the fact that the subtle shifting she had been doing had put her in the light's path again. A sharp lancing pain in her head prodded her to wake up a little faster.
The first thing she realized was that the soft, slow rhythmic bass beat she had been hearing wasn't Robin's radio or a car outside; it was a heart beat from the pillow she had been using. She stiffened in surprise, which forced a groan as abused muscles made themselves painfully known. The cocoon around her immediately loosened and the pillow she had been resting on rumbled anxiously with a question.
Kris' green eyes closed shut and she tightened her own grip on the body surrounding her as she realized the wonderful dream she had been having wasn't a dream. The physical reality of it was almost too much, a tight ball of emotion settled in her chest, tears instantly formed and her breath hitched. The body she was resting on drew back in obvious alarm.
"Kris?" Sam instantly tried to extricate herself from the tangle they had created of their various appendages but the blonde held her tight. The mixed messages she was receiving were causing her to panic a little. Afraid that Kris might be having second thoughts about the new facet to their relationship, thoughts ran rampant in her still tired mind. Should she comfort, pull back or do nothing?
Realizing the alarm she was causing in her friend, Kris croaked out, around her tears, "Just hold me, please." Instantly the cocoon tightened again and she let a sigh of relief out, burrowing back down against Sam's chest as she struggled to control her spiraling emotions.
Sam carefully held Kris and lightly stroked her fingers over the blonde's back in non-sensical patterns thinking back over the recent past. She had only been awake a few minutes, after about six hours of sleep, when it became obvious that Kris was also beginning to wake. She had spent those quiet minutes enjoying the sheer pleasure of watching Kris sleep in her arms. It was a new and totally enthralling experience. Just before Kris had woken the dark haired woman had swallowed a gulp of pure emotion, which seemed to settle deep in her gut and brought suspect moisture to her eyes.
She had called herself a mushball at the time and she didn't have the heart to contradict herself, especially with the evidence so close at hand. So to speak. The problem was that the facts of the situation were just as clear. Going further with their new relationship was so potentially deadly that it scared her more than she could remember anything scaring her before. Kris was already so deeply ingrained in so many parts of her body and mind that no amount of surgery would be able to remove all the traces. To take this step was worse than jumping off a cliff. It had run through her mind that at least with a cliff you knew where you would end up.
She had brought the blonde home from the hospital the night before after discovering that Kris' apartment was still a mess from the investigation that had taken place whilst the small woman was in the hospital. It was in that same hospital, in the midst of the rush of tired minds and bodies, that they had finally admitted their feelings for each other. Sam still wasn't quite sure how that had happened. It certainly was not something she had placed on her 'To do' list but when Kris had looked at her with those expressive green eyes and simply asked "Please" there was no doubting what she was asking for. Sam certainly was not strong enough to deny her that. She snorted at herself. 'Deny her anything.'
Sam smiled a tiny smile at the bravery of the woman in her arms. The blonde had been the one to initiate the lengthy exploration they had participated in when they first arrived at Sam's home. The blonde had also been the one to make sure Sam was ready for the huge step they were taking and had made all the first moves. The smile quirked as she realized how much the other woman had taught her about courage and friendship, and love.
In one rapid blur, they had blasted open their relationship. Even though it was something that they both obviously wanted they were trying to take it one step at a time, instead of leap frogging ten at a time. In addition, the fact that Kris was still recovering from her injuries from the car blast that had almost taken her life was of utmost importance.
That said, they had still found it incredibly difficult to stop the touching, stroking and kissing in which they had lost themselves when they first got home. It had taken quite some time to slowly ease things to a more manageable level.
With pounding hearts and ragged breaths, they had eventually stopped. Sam with her chin resting gently against the uninjured side of Kris' head and Kris with her face tucked in the slope of the taller woman's neck. Their bodies appeared to be magnetically attracted to each other along their lengths, fitting together so snugly and easily that it was hard to imagine a time when they hadn't been together.
The pair had found the couch, reclining, or rather collapsing on weakened knees, to just enjoy each other's warmth and the feather light touches of people becoming used to each other's bodies. Still nuzzling each other, they had apparently fallen asleep on the couch. Sam had protectively maneuvered to the outside sometime during the night and their bodies had melded together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.
The waking up part had been astonishing for the detective. Kris had been snuggled deeply into her chest. Sam's arms and legs were wrapped around Kris and vice versa. She had just been able to see Kris' occasionally flickering eyelashes and the tip of her nose and it had taken quite a lot of control to not tip up the blonde's chin and wake her up very pleasantly. It had all felt so very natural and very wonderful that it had been just this side of scary.
Sam took a deep breath and let it loose in memory of that first picture of Kris in her arms, her heart still twinged at the thought. It had taken the reality of the blonde in her embrace to make her realize just how much she had needed it, just how much she had wanted it. 'God, listen to me. I feel like a pod person, a mushy pod person.' She glanced down in concern at the still burrowing woman in her arms in concern, not sure if she was in pain or what the problem was. 'I need to do something.' Sam thought, trying to put a finger on the nature of Kris' distress or at least find a way to ease it.
The detective paused for a moment, wondering which direction to take. The hold Kris had on her made her feel somewhat more secure about the problem not being something about 'them', but it didn't change the fact that there was something going on. She decided that she might as well take the shortest route to the target and lay it on the line. Bending her head down, she whispered softly into Kris' hair, "I love you."
Kris felt the warm breath tickling her hair and scalp before her mind processed the words. The feelings that the words sparked inside her heart and soul were almost beyond comprehension. She held onto Sam's body even tighter as tiny bubbles of joy sang in her blood and tingling shocks of emotion began giving her running goose bumps all over her body.
After a little while of simply reveling in that, Kris regained control of a few of her faculties and tilted her head up out of its warm nest to find anxious blue orbs looking at her. The orbs softened under her patently warm gaze and smile, and even more as she spoke with a voice still a little sleep slurred, "I love you too. Can we just stay like this forever?"
Sam smiled in relief, then brushed her lips against Kris' temple in an attempt to gain needed contact and relay what a wonderful idea she thought that was. "I wish. But, we don't have to move for a while anyway. Go back to sleep?" She spoke quietly and then more felt than saw the head pillowed on her chest move in a negative shake.
"Want to enjoy this," came the sleepy reply. A smile lit up the dark haired woman's face and Kris let her eyes roam over the angles she loved in wonder as her own face began to mirror the smile. With a slow stretch, she reached up and tenderly kissed the soft lips that met hers part way, then settled back down again with a deep sigh of satisfaction. Smiling softly at the tingle left in her lips from the kiss.
Even as the blonde head slipped back against her chest, Sam glanced down at the blonde once again burrowed into her chest and smiled tenderly. 'Yep! Card carrying mushy pod person.' She thought with a silent chuckle and then added, 'Ain't it great?'
The wonderful smell of bacon frying woke Kris up a few hours later. She tentatively stretched and inhaled a quick breath when she discovered her muscles weren't any happier with her now than they were earlier. Then it occurred to her that the warmth she had been snuggled up against during the night was gone and she missed it terribly. That was the real difference between the two different awakenings; Sam seemed to provide a buffer to the pain. The soft blanket tucked carefully around her, while sweet of Sam to do so and even though it held a lingering scent of the tall woman, wasn't even a ripple on the replacement scale. Not after having experienced the real thing. Oh no. Not even a fraction of a ripple.
The blonde smiled lazily with the memory of the comfortable spot she had been in and then frowned at her stomach when it rumbled loudly. Her attention was diverted and her gaze moved higher when the tall figure she had just been thinking about walked around the far end of the couch. A slow motion blink later, she swallowed as the denim shorts and three-quarter sleeve white shirt clad figure bent over the coffee table.
"Guess this is good timing for breakfast, hmm?" Sam asked as she positioned the tray on the coffee table, careful to not spill any of the food she had carefully prepared. 'Not gourmet but hopefully edible.'
Kris broke from her study of the form she wanted nothing more to be snuggled against again in a little bit of a daze. She was quite startled to realize how overwhelming this instant and rather debilitating heat that had apparently been set free with the truth of how they felt about each other was.
As Sam carefully moved various items from the tray to the table she thought back at what she had been doing since she had woken up the second time. Not wanting to be away too long in case Kris woke up; she had taken a fast shower, and then wandered back. A soft snort of amazement had escaped when she found herself simply watching the blonde sleep. With that realization, the mush factor had been so high that she just could not stand herself any more. She might recognize that she was a mushy pod person but there were limits. At least she hoped there were.
So, in a burst of good intentions, she had decided to cook Kris some breakfast, well more like brunch. Whereas cooking certainly was not a forte of hers she knew that Kris would have to be hungry soon and ... she sighed at herself. She was still very worried, no just straight out scared that Kris might have second, third and fourth thoughts about the huge step they had taken. 'Well having her eat your cooking is sure to send her packing. Didn't think about that did you?'
Sam's few seconds of musing had, thankfully, given Kris time to compose herself. The flush which had threatened to make her look like a boiled lobster had faded to a rosy glow that she could still feel in her cheeks. She lifted her hand to make some semblance of order of her hair and then stopped just in time to avoid giving herself a black eye with the cast. 'Good grief, be careful!'
In one of those moments of perfect timing, Sam glanced up just in time to see Kris almost knock herself out. Her words and quirky grin belied her concern, "Hey, if you want to sleep longer you don't have to knock yourself out."
Kris kept her head tilted down and looked up from her close encounter with her cast. The look she flashed at Sam told exactly what she felt about her friend's words. "Cute," she said drolly.
Sam's smile softened. From that angle Kris' green eyes stood out clearly against a pale face, as did the still purple bruising, and the stitches on her forehead appeared strained and painful. The smile faded and, quite without conscious thought, Sam's hand reached out until her fingers touched the side of Kris' face in a featherlike caress. Softly, she said, "No. You're beautiful."
Kris closed her eyes at the words and leaned into the caress until Sam's palm warmed her cheek with alternating tingles of fire and lightning. Taking a deep breath, she lifted her good hand to cover the one on her cheek and opened her eyes to look straight into Sam's. A tender smile imprinted itself on her lips just before she turned her head slightly and kissed the palm under her lips, keeping eye contact the entire time.
Sam found herself unable to move, almost unable to breathe as the lips seared into her palm. 'Oh lord, I am in so much trouble.'
Kris moved her head back in order to speak, keeping the contact with her cheek and Sam's palm. Then she smiled again before saying, "Do you know how good it feels to be able to do that?"
The taller woman lightly brushed her thumb over the lips that had just been in contact with her skin. Finally, she gave in to the magnetic craving that was drawing her closer to Kris and croaked, "Yes." Sam slowly leaned down and moved her hand away so that she could use it to steady herself against the couch, then captured Kris' lips with her own.
Kris reveled in the softness of the lips meeting hers, she had been kissed many times before but it had never felt the way that it did when Sam kissed her. The anticipation and explosion of senses she felt with the other woman were rapidly becoming an addiction. 'At least it's a good addiction,' she realized, just before sliding her hand across Sam's shoulder to the back of her neck and thought became impossible.
A few moments later, the loud rumbling of Kris' stomach interrupted them. Much as her heart had the night before, her stomach caught the scent of sustenance and it wasn't about to be denied. The two women broke off from each other, chuckling somewhat shyly. The depth of what was going on between them was still too new and raw, still too complicated for it to be easy just yet.
Flushed, Sam was thankful for the interruption. She had been well on her way to talking herself out of her 'Take it slow' policy. Usually, with the rare exception, relationships didn't last long for her. She knew that and had just stopped looking for them, on the rare occasion they came to her it was even less often that she took advantage. Unfortunately, her work and rather demanding personality took their toll quickly.
But Kris was... well, she had nothing to compare it to. It was so much and so deep that she wasn't sure she would ever get a good handle on it. She had to admit, it was a little terrifying and that wasn't something she enjoyed admitting. Pushing off the back of the couch, she stepped back with a deep breath, "How about that breakfast before it gets cold?"
Kris couldn't help the full smile that appeared on her face. She was thrilled and rather giddy that she had that much of an affect on the tall woman. She never dreamed of anything that felt like this and now that it was here, it was beyond comprehension. It felt so very, very right. When Sam raised her eyebrow in question, Kris responded quickly, "Sounds great."
"Want me to hand it to you?"
Kris shook her head, "I think I'd prefer to sit up more, can you help me up, though?"
Sam smiled and held out a hand to Kris. Then gently grasped the hand in hers, it was still rough in spots but obviously healing very well.
With Sam's help, Kris slowly sat up. 'Thank god it's only a couple ofribs.' She winced as those ribs reminded her that they were still around and then noticed the matching grimace on Sam's face. That took the sting away and she smiled. "It's fine. I'm starving and I want to see what delicacies you've cooked for me."
That garnered her a flash of a white teeth. "Don't expect too much."
"I'm sure it's wonderful." Kris kept the smile going. "It was sweet of you to make something."
More than a little abashed, the dark haired woman desperately tried to resist the urge to blush. She might as well have not bothered; it was definitely a lost cause as her cheeks reddened slightly. Missing Kris' grin, she ducked her head and picked up a napkin to hand to the blonde. "I don't have to be at work until one or so. I figured that maybe I could wrap your cast for you if you wanted to do a bath or shower before I go?"
"Ooh! Mom helped a lot in the hospital but I really would like to just take my time, so a shower would be great. I don't think I'm up to a bath yet."
"Take as long as you like. But eat up for now." Sam placed the tray table on Kris' legs and moved the various other containers closer, then motioned for Kris to begin eating as she grabbed her own plate.
Kris smiled. "Yes, ma'am." She took a few bites and stopped her fork mid-motion on its way to pick up more eggs in surprise. "Ooh, I can see we need to add to your list of things you can cook. You've been holding even more out on me, this is great!"
Sam cheeks flared again, she ducked her head and picked at the food on her plate. "Thanks, glad you like it."
Kris watched her friend for a few moments, realizing that something was different. This was a Sam she wasn't sure she had seen before and she had seen quite a few. However, this one was almost ... nostalgic. The blonde turned back to her plate and took another bite as thoughts ran through her mind on how to approach this different side of her friend. "So what's in the eggs?"
"Bit of this, bit of that." Sam was regretting making the breakfast or, at least, what she had made. She already felt completely off balance with the intensity of her feelings for Kris. To make something that Kris would almost certainly ask about was foolish at best.
"Mmm hmmm. Micki?"
A slight shake of the head and faint smile. "Ancient family secret." The smile quickly faded as the weight of old demons crowded in. She'd realized earlier that opening up her heart had apparently made her an easy target for more than Kris' love.
Kris looked over in wonder and swallowed her bite of food quickly; Sam's comments about her family were incredibly few and far between. The blonde bowed her head slightly to try and get a look at certain baby blues. She caught a tiny glance, which showed wariness and sadness but not fear or anger. That she could deal with, although she could easily sense the need to tread carefully. There was plenty of time to find out more about Sam's life. "Will you make them for me again?"
Sam could almost feel the golden warmth of the woman next to her as the demons from the past fell easily before her friend. 'My heart fell instantly, why shouldn't they?' She closed her eyes for a moment, indulging in the soul-cleansing caress of that warmth before opening them again. Turning her head, she replied in a low rumble, "Whenever you want."
Pleased that she had apparently chosen the right tack, Kris grinned impishly. "Better not offer if you don't mean it."
"Oh, I mean it." The dark head bobbed down shyly. "Maybe you can help me make them next time."
The blonde's eyes widened along with her smile. She was happy beyond measure that she seemed to not only have done something to ease the tall woman's discomfort but that Sam also had taken a step towards her and had not retreated into herself. "Anytime, these are great."
They finished their breakfast in companionable silence, their ease with each other a true gauge of the depth of the friendship they had built together. Where it could have been awkward, difficult, and perhaps uneasy or become a blaze in the heat of the moment it had another precious moment in their time together. Kris smiled a tiny smile at that, her intentions were to make sure there were a lot of these moments and it was a task she gladly accepted.
'It's odd.' Sam had to admit to herself as she wrapped Kris' arm in a plastic bag some time later. 'This doesn't bother me, I made her breakfast and that was okay. Having her here is ...important? Why? Why does it seem so natural? So easy?' She wrapped a shoestring repeatedly around Kris' wrist just after the cast ended and then looked around for the large rubber band she'd found specifically for this purpose.
Twirling the rubber band on a finger from her other hand, Kris grinned and asked, "Looking for this?"
Sam looked down into Kris' twinkling eyes and couldn't help the quirky grin that appeared on her face. 'Because of her, Sam. Because it's her. Thank God.' She reached out a finger and tapped the towel-covered blonde on the nose. "Brat."
In feigned shock, Kris asked, "Moi?"
Accompanied by rolled eyes, Sam replied, "Oui, vous." She neatly grabbed the still twirling rubber band from Kris' finger and tried very hard to not notice that the blonde only had on a towel. Of course, that was considerably easier said than done and had been a problem since she walked into the bathroom to help and thought, 'Oooh boy.'
Kris watched Sam as the detective carefully wrapped the rubber band around her upper arm and checked it to be sure it wasn't too tight. She was a little puzzled; the tall woman was obviously trying hard to not look at her and wouldn't even meet her eyes.
Sam finished preparing Kris's arm and turned away to put the extra garbage bag by the sink. "Okay, let me get out of here so you can do your stuff."
Kris frowned, unsure what was going on in that gorgeous dark haired head.
Unfortunately for Sam, she had forgotten that her turn would make her face the mirror and the lovely vision in white was still very much in her view. Befuddled, and more than definitely bewitched, the tall woman swallowed hard. She briefly met sea green eyes before looking away in embarrassment at her own inability to control herself. "I'll be uh... call me if you have any problems. I'll stay close by."
Kris watched in amazement as the normally supremely confident woman almost banged her head into the door in her haste to open it. An incredulous smile formed on her face. 'Did I do that?' Not quite sure, she thought quickly, "Sam?"
'Damn!' Sam stopped halfway out the door. "Yes?"
Unaccountably pleased that Sam hadn't turned around, Kris considered and then asked, "Could you bring me that little bag please? I forgot something."
"Uh sure. I'll leave it outside."
Now sure that she was having an effect and quite unable to resist, the blonde said, "If you could put it inside the door that'd be great."
Sam turned her head back to look at Kris, her cheeks were tinged with color and her lips pursed. She had been so caught up in her rush to escape it had taken her a minute to realize what Kris was up to. "Are you trying to kill me?"
A broad grin covered Kris' face before she could stop it. A few moments later, she too felt her cheeks warm as blue eyes roamed over her body, caressing every inch they touched. She swallowed as a shiver ran up her spine.
A rather sexy grin formed. "Just remember, two can play that game." With that, Sam turned her head in the right direction, walked through the doorway and firmly closed the door.
Kris watched the door close and let out a gust of air. 'Mental note, don't play with fire!'
On the other side of the door, Sam leaned gratefully against the wall and blew a breath of air up through her bangs. She was having quite some difficulty getting the picture of Kris out of her mind. It was the damndest thing. As if the floodgates had been opened, emotions and feelings that Sam had been able to ignore or suppress before were on overdrive. She had never felt this out of control before and that needed to stop. 'Down girl.' She pushed off the wall and licked her lips. 'Oh yeah, she is going to kill me.'
Wiping her hands on the dishtowel, Sam surveyed her work and noted with satisfaction that the kitchen looked as fairly unused as it usually did. She smiled slightly and couldn't help but wonder if that was going to change in the future. 'I hope so.'
Green eyes roamed over the tall form leaning against the kitchen counter. Kris blinked and blew out a slow, even breath. 'Research. Yep, definitely need to do some research.'
Sensing Kris' presence, Sam turned, fervently hoping that the other woman had more than a towel on this time. Fortunately, Kris had managed to slip on some easy access clothes and had thrown the aforementioned towel over her head. Their eyes met and Sam felt a pang of hope deep into her chest at what she saw reflected in Kris' eyes. She smiled softly, "You look a bit happier?"
"It was wonderful, thank you. There's just something about being clean."
The dark haired woman nodded. "I know. It has recuperative properties all by itself." Then she frowned. "Do you need help with your hair?"
"Well, I can't dry it real well, it's a bit tough."
Sam frowned. "I'm sorry, I should've realized that." She stepped toward Kris.
"Don't be silly, I didn't think about it. But if you could help, that'd be great."
"Of course." Sam stepped behind Kris and carefully began to dry the smaller woman's hair. Her fingers carefully worked the towel through the strands, gently drying the hair that she noticed turned considerably redder when wet. "Tell me if I get too close to a sore spot, okay?"
"Mmm hmm." The smaller woman smiled and closed her eyes, quite enjoying the touch on her scalp.
After a few minutes, Sam finished gently and hung the towel over her shoulder. "Better?"
"Mmm." Kris kept her eyes closed for another long moment and then turned around with a smile. "That was great, thank you."
"My pleasure." Sam moved away and picked up a cup to put in the dishwasher. Her mind had been busy during the past few minutes as she tried to force her mind into various paths besides thinking about the body in front of her as she worked. There was something she wanted to bring up with Kris and wasn't very sure how to go about it.
The detective chewed on the inside of her cheek for a few moments before turning to look at Kris and quietly saying, "I can help clean up your apartment later tonight if Robin needs help?"
Kris tucked some hair behind her ear and thought about that for a moment, "I figured I'd ask Mom to go over with me later. Hopefully Rob's got some of it picked up by now."
"Okay, but I can still help if you need. And..."
Kris tried to catch the other woman's eyes but had quite a bit of difficulty doing so. "And?"
Sam sighed to herself at her nervousness. She straightened and looked directly at Kris. "Kris, I'd like you to consider this you're home for as long as you need...or want. I can hang a plate on the door that reads 'Kris' if you like."
Kris smiled quietly. "Thank you, but why don't I go over and see what I'm looking at in the light of day and figure out what to do. I don't want to crowd you."
Blue eyes flashed up at that. "I've found that you don't have to worry about crowding me. I meant what I said, it's your home for as long as you need."
"Sam, when's the last time someone stayed with you for more than a couple of days?"
Frowning, Sam thought about it. It had been quite some time. "Well, um it's been a while."
Kris reached out and touched Sam's arm briefly, as a type of gesture of thanks, then let it fall again. "Point made, I think? Let's go nice and slow."
Sam looked Kris over, trying to decide what to say. She was trying to be careful after what she'd overheard the night before. When she'd overheard Kris being adamant with her mother about going home to her own apartment instead back to her parents' house.
It was just that having Kris with her was definitely not a terrible idea, in any circumstances. 'Well, tell her that, dummy.' "Kris, I like you being here. I I want you to think of this as somewhere you're very welcome, whenever you want. Okay?"
Pleased, Kris nodded. "Okay. I really appreciate it. Why don't I have mom take me by this afternoon and let you know, will you be in the office?"
"You don't have to let me know, I'd..." Sam took a deep breath, put the towel on the counter and turned to Kris who looked over at her with a worried expression. The tall woman paused for a moment, considering whether or not to step into the breach and deal with the objections that Kris had used with her mother the night before.
Making a decision, she let the words pour out and addressed all Kris' previous concerns all at once, "Kris, I know you can take care of yourself and I know you're independent and all that, but here you have an alarm and you have me. Half the time Robin isn't even home, you told me that. So please consider staying here or, if you prefer, at your parents' until we can figure out if you're still in any danger?"
Kris sighed, instantly recognizing that Sam had overheard her conversation with her mother about this very subject when she came to pick her up the night before. The detective was obviously carefully choosing her words to cover the arguments that Kris had used against her mother.
Kris' mother had been adamant about her daughter coming home and Kris had been just as adamant that she was going to her own place. As much as she loved her mother and her family, she couldn't handle the coddling and attention that came with it. There were usually sprinkled comments about settling down and how that would make things better, babies and god knows what else.
It wasn't as if the blonde didn't realize she was being ridiculous
However, the front she had put up for her mother was pretty much just that. There had been no point in lying to herself, she was scared. Even though her father had been fairly certain she would be fine now that they had discovered what the people who tried to hurt her were attempting to hide. The problem was, how could she not be scared after someone had tried to kill her. It wasn't until she actually got to her apartment and Sam had offered her an alternative that things began to look up.
It wasn't as if staying with Sam was any hardship, quite the contrary. Truth be told, she found the opportunity of more time with the dark haired woman very appealing. It was more than strange, it seemed as if she should be very frightened and completely out of her depth.
As if everything that was going on should send her screaming in the opposite direction but all she wanted to do was snuggle right back where she had been a few hours ago. That thought kindled a glowing warmth inside. With a faint smile, Kris looked over at the dark haired woman next to her. "Tell you what. I promise I'll stay here tonight, okay? We'll talk later about what happens after."
Sam could hear the low tones of Kris' phone call; the blonde had decided it was time to make a few calls whilst Sam tidied up a little. That the detective was really trying to keep busy wasn't completely obvious, she hoped. There was nothing she wanted more than to just spend more time with Kris, to just be with her and bask in the glow of everything she was. Her warmth.
The tall woman blinked and her eyes rounded. 'Bask in her glow? Oh my god, I have so completely and utterly lost it. My pizza's short a slice, my elevator doesn't go all the way, my canoe's missing a paddle, I'm short a can in my six pack! Bask in her glow!' Sam snorted to herself, astonished that there were even deeper levels of mushdom than she'd already experienced. 'Can you drown in mush? Is it mush, mushy, mushier, mushiest? Surely I have to be mushiest by now?'
Shaking her head at herself, Sam picked up an armful of clothes and headed to the garage to throw them in a hamper for wash at a later date. Cat, of course, had made himself known the second she stepped out into the garage and Kris, again of course, had chosen that moment to come looking for her.
After much fawning over a certain annoying feline, Sam knew that Kris would come looking for her. The blonde stepped into the living room and Sam prepared herself to be teased for the cat door. And the blanket. And the matching cat face food and water bowls. And the cute cat mat. She sat on the arm of the couch in a heap and sighed forlornly, 'Are there levels of cat mushdom too?'
Kris' teasing grin faded the second she walked into the room and saw the sudden tension in the dark haired woman's back. Her friend stood and immediately started straightening the some magazines on the coffee table. The blonde had noticed that Sam had left as soon as Kris had seen Cat, she'd wondered then why and now her suspicions were confirmed. The woman she loved, a tiny smile broke through her attempts at reserve with that thought, was as tough as nails but if you found her weaknesses, look out.
'She looks like I caught her with her hand in the cookie jar.' Kris thought. 'Well that's gotta stop.' With a soft smile and a firm stride, Kris aimed herself directly at the tall woman and simply fitted her body into the taller one.
Sam had tensed when Kris walked into the room but, as usual, the blonde had taught her something. The smaller woman had simply slid her arms around Sam's waist and leaned her entire body against the taller one. They relaxed against each other for several minutes until Kris finally spoke as Sam's fingers lightly stroked her back causing pleasant tingles wherever they touched.
"Thank you for taking such good care of the demon spawn."
Relieved, the dark haired woman allowed a quirky grin at that. "Just as long as you know that he's still your demon spawn." Sam felt the blonde shift slightly. "How about we sit on the couch for a few?"
"Mmm, good plan."
Sam could almost feel the feather light touches of the blonde hair on her neck. Could almost smell the scents, which easily identified Kris to her as they snuggled together on the couch. Could almost forget that she was at her desk in the station.
The blinking red light from the phone on her desk had mesmerized her into an almost dreamlike state as she held the receiver to her ear and it had slipped slightly. She had been on hold for the past twenty minutes, much to her initial annoyance, while the detective on the other end of the line tried to get her the answers she needed.
The detective had come across a reference to an old report made by one of the murder victims, Bob Curtis, in her research. He had called his local police to report his house being vandalized. Sam couldn't find anything further in the computers and so she had made a call to the police department in question. Waiting, however, had proven to be a chore she hadn't mastered very well and so her mind had begun to wander.
The dark haired woman started in surprise and turned an annoyed look at her partner. "What?"
Recognizing the glare for what it was, Lee responded quickly, "That was the third time I tried to get your attention."
'Oops.' Sam thought, slightly chagrined. "Sorry. What did you need?"
"Beyond knowing where your brain is, how about me telling you that Marty called and insists on speaking with you in person."
Successfully fighting the threatening flush down to an annoying prickle, an eyebrow still rose at the thought of sharing what she had been thinking, 'Oh no, not going there at all. No no.' "Do you know what he wants?"
"Nope, just got a message from the Sergeant at the front desk that he called and tried to get through to you but couldn't." Lee hid the smile that wanted to appear at the thought of Marty's first appearance in her life. He'd been tied up on a bed and not the least bit interested in being arrested. But, that's what he got for being a part of a string of robberies. However, they had tried to help him out, when possible, due to his assistance with the rest of the investigation.
"Yeah, I'm still on hold. Well, I'm sure he wants to make sure we're still planning on being kind to him."
"You want me to try to talk to him?"
"Naa, he can wait a while. His hearing's not until next week."
Lee nodded, "Okay, ready for the bad news?"
Sam groaned. "Shoot."
"Rifle or hand gun?"
Sam shot a questioning glance at her partner.
"Sorry, bad joke."
Sam looked back at her desk. "Uh huh. I see. So, what's the bad news?"
"The Captain wants to see us in an hour."
The blue gaze shot over to the other side of the desk, then Sam looked away and sighed. "Dammit. We don't have time, I need more information."
Lee shrugged her shoulders. "Let's see what we can do."
With a deep sigh, Sam replied, "Yeah. Do me a favor and ..." She brought the phone to a better position to speak after hearing a voice from where it was cradled against her shoulder, "Yes! Yes, I'm here."
The officer on the other end apologized, "I'm sorry it took so long, Detective."
"That's okay, I appreciate your time. What did you find?"
Sam let her head roll back on her shoulders and shook her head in resignation. "Let me guess, can't find it?"
"No, ma'am. We had a move a few months ago and it looks like some files were misplaced. I've put a request in for someone to keep checking but..."
"Yeah, I know. Why wasn't it put in the computer?"
"Miller's Park's a pretty small place, ma'am, with a really small Department. We got a nasty virus, on top of the move...well, we just got very behind."
Sam kept the sigh to herself this time. "Got it. Any chance at all we can find out who responded so I can see if they remember?"
"Not without the files, Detective Foster."
"Of course not." Sam tried to keep the sarcasm down, "Thank you for your help. If you happen to find out anything please let me know."
Sam winced as the Captain ended the latest part in his tirade. "Sir, may I say one thing please?"
"Offering information now, Foster? Could it be important to a case by any chance?"
"Sir, this was my choice, my call. Carson had nothing to do with it." The Captain had sent Lee out of his office about ten minutes before and this had been the first opportunity for Sam to say something.
"Except that she didn't report the fact that you had contact with another murder victim, just like you."
"You were out of the office, I wanted to try and get enough information to keep the case."
"Are you completely insane?"
As Sam opened her mouth to say something, the Captain spoke again, "That was rhetorical."
"I'm going to have to reassign this case, Foster."
"Captain, we've put so many hours into this already that it'll take weeks for somebody to get up to snuff."
"You've had altercations with two of the dead. You're off."
Taking a deep breath, Sam tried to persuade her superior, "Give me some time, please. If this killer's connected to me somehow, what better than to have me on the case?"
"It'll take me a few days to get everything together. Give me until tomorrow to find something, anything on it. Please, sir, I just feel like something's right..." She held out her hand and tightened it into a fist, "There."
The Captain settled on the edge of the desk, "What happens if that thing that's 'right there' is another body?"
Sam squirmed in her seat, very much wanting to stand up and pace. She had never been good about sitting and listening to someone give her hell. "If we can't come up with something by Monday morning, I'll have everything ready."
The Captain moved back behind the desk, he stopped and gazed out the window.
Sensing a break, Sam stood quickly and also moved to stand by the window. "Give me through the weekend and if nothing comes up, I'll give whoever you assign the case to as much of my own time as necessary to get them up to speed."
"This is very much against my better judgment, Foster. It may also weigh heavy against your record if this backfires."
Sam looked the Captain straight in the eyes. "Captain, if the person doing this does have some connection to me then I need to be a part of this. I need to end it."
Lee watched her partner walk towards her, unable to read the expression on her partner's obviously distracted face. When Sam got closer to their adjoining desks, she asked, "Well?"
Sam blinked and looked at Lee. "More good news, bad news. We're still on but only if we find something by the end of the weekend."
Lee's eyes widened. "How...?" That was a huge surprise, she was sure that the Captain wouldn't allow them to keep a hold of a murder case with several bodies so far and two of them people that Sam had contact with.
"I know but since I'm still not exactly sure how I got him to agree, I'll take what I can get."
Lee grinned. "Great powers of persuasion?"
"No, that's Kr... I'm not that good." Sam sat down at her desk and immediately starting tapping a finger on her blotter. 'Crap, Sam, can't you go more than thirty seconds without thinking or talking about Kris?'
Lee waited a minute and, upon seeing no end to the incessant tapping, asked, "What is it?"
Sam tapped for another few seconds, looked around the room and said quietly, "It was too easy."
"Maybe he doesn't have anyone available."
"I'll get started on the check for bank records."
A little distracted, Sam replied, "Great, thanks."
"Good grief, hasn't she cleaned up anything?"
Kris sighed softly; it did indeed appear as if Robin still hadn't done a thing at the apartment. Dirty dishes were scattered around the various horizontal surfaces, clothes were draped over several pieces of furniture, a broken lamp lay on the floor and footprints suspiciously the same color as fingerprint powder dotted the floor. "She's probably still gone, she does it sometimes when things are going really well."
She stopped her perusal part way across the room and just stared at the answering machine for a few moments. The machine blinked with several messages and Kris pressed the button in resignation, half wishing she had stayed at Sam's and not had her mother bring her back to the apartment. As the answering machine rewound itself, she turned to her mother to speak but her mother spoke first.
"Well, why don't I get started."
"Hang on, Mom. Let me get these messages and I'll figure out the least path of resistance through this." Kris smiled at her mother, nodding to indicate the direction of her bedroom.
"It's okay, honey. It needs to be done anyway."
Hitting the delete button to erase a sales person's message, Kris winced as her head began to ache. This was the most she'd been up since before the accident. "Mom, if we can just clean up a little. I can get the rest later."
"And what if Robin doesn't come back for a few more days?" Mrs. Scott stood in the center of the room and held her hands out, "Kris, you can't clean all of this."
Absently deleting a couple more messages, Kris replied, "Sam said she'd help later."
Out of Kris' sight, Mrs. Scott stiffened perceptibly. "I'm sure I can clean it up."
Kris frowned, she heard a change in her mother's tone but before she could say something Robin's voice came out of the answering machine.
"Kris, are you there? Kris? Well, it's me. I'm really sorry I didn't get the place cleaned up, I didn't think I'd end up leaving that soon. I'll be staying until Sunday but I promise to get it all fixed up when I come back. Hope you're feeling better. Talk to you on Sunday. Bye."
This time her finger hit the delete key with a bit more force than normal and she let out a deep sigh, wincing this time because her ribs sent a twinge to protest the movement.
Mrs. Scott had looked over in annoyance when Robin's message began to play, therefore she caught her daughter's look of pain and hurried over. She grasped the elbow above Kris' cast. "Come on, sit."
"I'm fine, really, just aching a bit."
Putting on her stern mother's face, Mrs. Scott replied, "Sit. Now." Unable to miss the resistance still present in her daughter's stance, she added, "Just for a few minutes. This is not going away." One hand still on Kris' elbow, Mrs. Scott let the other go wide to once again indicate the messy apartment.
Kris' head was beginning to beat a staccato rhythm and, suddenly, sitting down was a very good idea. She walked a few steps to the couch and sat slowly, in deference to her ribs. Still, she had to stifle a groan. "I feel like I should be eighty."
Sitting down carefully beside her daughter, Mrs. Scott looked over and reached a hand over to pat Kris' knee a couple of times. "Honey, you're doing great. It's not been that long and..." She paused for a pained breath, "It could've been much, much worse."
"I know." Kris let her head fall slowly back against the back of the couch and closed her eyes for a few moments. She was getting tired again, the pain in her head seemed to cause that with annoying frequency. 'God, I wish Sam was here.' It seemed that something about the tall woman relaxed her enough that Kris' head seemed to behave itself a bit more. 'Maybe it's scared of her?' She opened her eyes with a faint smile on her lips at that thought.
"You sit for a few minutes, how about a glass of water?"
The younger blonde looked over at her mother, "Thanks, mom, but I'm fine. I'll just give everything a minute to calm down a bit." Kris closed her eyes again and relaxed fully into the cushion at her back.
Mrs. Scott watched her daughter for a few moments, then stood quietly and began to clean up some of the dirty dishes from the various locations they had been haphazardly placed.
Kris cracked open one eye at the sound of her mother moving about. "Mom, you really don't have to do that."
"I know, I'll just pick up a few things and then make us some tea. You just sit and relax."
Bowing to the weight of her mother's helpfulness, Kris closed her one open eye and tried to ease the taut muscles of her neck with a stretch. 'I'll just sit here for a few minutes.'
Blinking slowly, Kris studied her locale and recognized her apartment's living room decor. The light coming in from the window gave the indication that it was late in the day. The good news was that her headache was down to a minor irritation and she took a few moments of blessed peace to appreciate that very fact.
Soon after, a soft noise from behind her reminded her that wasn't alone in the apartment. The memory of Sam bringing her breakfast that morning played in her mind for a minute until reality interfered. She sighed softly as she remembered that she wouldn't see the detective until much later. Kris was pleased, however, that she had promised she would stay again that night.
Sensing movement, Mrs. Scott walked around the couch to peer at her daughter. She was relieved to see the obvious pain that had been on her face earlier were mostly gone. Her face was also not the ugly gray it had been before the nap. "Hi, honey. Feel better?"
Kris smiled as her mother came around the couch to stand closer, then her eyes focused beyond the other woman. She looked around the room and then back at her mother with an air of resignation. "You've been busy. Just how long was I out?"
Mrs. Scott looked at her watch and was somewhat shocked to find out that almost two hours had gone by since they had pulled up outside of the apartment. "About an hour and a half."
"Your body needs the rest, Kris. You need to listen to it."
The knowledge that her mother was quite correct and certainly did know what she was talking about didn't really help. Still, she stuffed down her rebellious streak at the non-stop care her mother had taken of her since they'd met earlier. "I know, Mom. And it sure doesn't give me a choice sometimes."
Nodding, Mrs. Scott asked, "How about some tea?" She had recognized her daughter's tone and was trying to ease away from the over-protective mode she had been in ever since Kris had been taken to the hospital. The combination of ex-nurse and mother had always been a difficult balance she had to keep as her children grew. 'Sometimes knowledge is not a good thing.' she thought to herself, remembering all the times she had wanted to put her kids in containment suits to avoid some of the diseases she had experienced during her time as a nurse.
After a couple of moments of deliberation, Kris responded, "Yes, why don't I make us some."
"I'll get it."
Already shuffling forward to the end of the seat cushion, the younger woman said, "You've already done more than enough. Look at all the stuff you've picked up." Pushing off with her good hand and strength of her legs, Kris kept the groan inside and stood slowly, "I can, at least, make tea."
Putting her hands together behind her back, Lisa resisted the urge to put out a hand to help her daughter rise. "Why don't I get out the vacuum and deal with the stuff on the floor."
"Mom, you've already done so much. Let me get the kettle going and check out my room." Kris said as she stepped into the kitchen and headed for the kettle.
The dark haired woman stared at the daily calendar on her desk. She had made a note of '4pm' on the next day but couldn't remember what on earth for. "Make it early afternoon, I have something at four." Lee nodded and began speaking into the phone again but the other woman wasn't paying attention. She had curled up her fist and was leaning her chin against it. Something was niggling at her mind and it wasn't the appointment for the next day with the department psychologist that she'd just remembered.
She studied the desk in front of her and tried to understand if she was missing something. 'Appointments? We've checked for appointments. What is it?' Flipping open folders she laid them on top of each other, noting the full breakdown they had of the various meetings the murdered people had in the weeks prior to their deaths. They had spent some time compiling the list as carefully as they could from friends, significant others, family and business associates. She looked over the lists yet again but nothing stood out.
Lee watched her partner with some fascination as the dark haired woman obviously worked something through in her mind. It had been such a short time but she felt as if they had fallen into an immediate rapport. Something she had never had with her partners before and the last, well, that would never have worked. 'Never in a million. Finally, she spoke up, "They'll see us at two."
Sam's gaze darted over Lee and she nodded. "Okay. The Morris' have a box ready for us to pick up with all the mail Stacy got after her death and the Jensen's have some bills. I thought about asking them to fax copies but picking them up is the least we can do. I figured we can pick them up today on the way to Pelman's hangouts."
"Sounds good. Are we really going to all those bars his girlfriend told us about?"
A half grin, "Uh huh."
The other side of Sam's mouth quirked up, two halves made a full grin. "Uh huh."
"Do we get to take backup?"
"They'll be a call away."
Blowing out a deep breath of air, Lee asked, "Oookay. I'm gonna grab some lunch, or rather, dinner. Want anything?"
"No, thanks. I'll grab something quickly on the way out."
Lee pushed away from her desk, rose and grabbed her jacket from the back of the chair. "I'll be back in a while."
Nodding absently, Sam turned her attention back to the folders on the desk and began to once again go through the lists.
Surveying her now much tidier bedroom, Kris puffed out her cheeks with a breath and slowly let it out. Her mother had done much of the work but they had finally managed to get the place looking considerably better. Even the small amount she'd done, however, was making a few things ache. She held her wrist up against her body as it throbbed. Yet again, her mother's advice had been spot on, it did seem to help the throbbing to hold it that way. Too bad the same thing didn't seem to help the ache in her head.
"Looks good, honey," Mrs. Scott said as she peeked in the doorway and surveyed the room.
"Definitely much better. Thanks, mom, I really appreciate your help."
"Of course." Trying not to be terribly obvious, she continued, "You'll be staying here tonight then?"
Kris sat on her bed, pleased that at least the ribs weren't terribly painful this time, and responded absently, "No, I promised Sam one more night."
Hiding the jolt of fear that caused internally, Lisa Scott blurted out, "I don't understand why you can't come home. I can take care of you there. I'm sure Sam isn't home a lot."
Realizing she'd likely made a mistake in how she had gone about this, Kris tried for a conciliatory tone, "I know, mom. I really thought I was going to stay here last night but just one look and I couldn't. It was too late to call you and Sam offered, so I stayed with her. She was home all morning so it was fine." She paused, trying to gauge how this was going over. "She's still a little worried, so I promised I'd stay tonight too. Some of my stuff is already there, so it's not a big thing."
"We can go pick your stuff up from her place."
"Mom, I promised her I'd stay there tonight. We'll see about the weekend."
Biting her lip in an effort to not say something she really didn't want to say, Kris' mother reached for the first available safe Sam topic. "How's her arm?"
Kris looked up quizzically, "Whose arm?"
A touch surprised, Mrs. Scott responded, "Sam's?"
"Sam hurt her arm?" Kris frowned.
"She didn't tell you?" This knowledge somehow made Mrs. Scott feel a little better, perhaps things hadn't progressed as far as she feared.
Kris' mind tumbled through a series of conversations, there was no mention of an injury in any of them. "No, and I didn't notice anything. What happened?"
"It was in the explosion that hurt you. She got a large piece of glass in her arm, took some stitches. I just figured she'd tell you."
Kris thought back to Sam's apparel and realized that the detective's upper arms had been pretty much covered whenever she had seen her. Mentally sighing, she shook her head. "No, she didn't. She doesn't like a fuss. I'll have to talk to her about that." 'Dammit, Sam! I want to know when you're hurt too. We're going to talk about that.'
"I didn't mean to upset you, honey."
"Oh I know, mom. It's just that Sam has this stoic, 'Nothing hurts me' shield sometimes and it drives me a little crazy."
Taking a huge step for motherkind as she knew it, Mrs. Scott asked, "Don't you mean, she drives you crazy?"
A snort. "Oh definitely."
"She's a beautiful woman."
"Oh yeah." If Kris' mind had been in a little better shape and not distracted by just how beautiful she thought Sam was, she would definitely have realized what her mother was up to by now. Unfortunately, she was still a little slow.
"And she cares about you a great deal."
"Yes, she does."
"And you about her."
Now Kris' mind was beginning to react, albeit still not up to par. "Yes, I do. Very much." She wondered where her mother was going and looked over at her. 'Utoh.' Her mother wouldn't meet her eyes, so she added, "Why do you say that?"
"She's very dangerous, Kris, and in a very dangerous profession."
"I think we both know that from the personal display we saw in the mall." Struggling to her feet, Kris moved towards her mother. She was now quite curious and a bit apprehensive, there was definitely something behind this. "What's up, mom?"
Still unable to meet her daughter's eyes, Mrs. Scott looked down at her joined hands. "I uh... just wanted to be sure you knew that."
'She knows something.' Kris' heart began to speed up and she bit back a wince at the increased throb in her head. It was quite likely her mother knew or suspected something and Kris decided she better find out what. 'Well, here's your first test. Let's see how you do.' She reached out a hand to her mother and laid it gently on her wrist and asked quietly, "What are you trying to say, mom?"
Sparing a momentary glance at Kris' face before returning her gaze back to her hands, Mrs. Scott replied, "Nothing, honey. I was just babbling." Then, the older woman looked around nervously, as if searching for something to do.
Now sure that her mother knew something, Kris straightened her back and let her hand fall against her side, "Truth, mom. Go ahead."
Older, wiser green eyes met their almost twin and there was a long, very pregnant, pause. "I heard you both in the hospital. It was an accident."
Kris took a deep breath. "What did you hear?"
Lisa Scott's eyes flicked to the ground and back again. "I know ... I know you have feelings for each other."
She wasn't even the slightest bit prepared for this conversation. Didn't know whether to deny everything, be brutally honest or what. 'You pushed it, Kris. Now deal with it.' The problem was 'having feelings for each other' didn't even come remotely close to describing what she felt for Sam. Not even a tiny bit. Jumping in feet first, Kris took another deep breath. "No, mom."
Her mother's eyes flashed up in surprise.
"We don't just have feelings for each other, mom. We love each other, very much." Kris stood still, her insides quaking at the thoughts of the reactions her mother might have.
Lisa Scott bent her head for a few very long moments and then looked at her daughter square on. Tears were in her eyes. "I don't want this to happen, Kris. I want to tell you that this is just some crush you have going with your very own knight in shining armor." She noticed her daughter's blink of surprise.
"Honey, I'm not stupid. I know that's what Sam is to you and rightly so. But look at her closely. She's already had more experience in the world than you'll ever have, you know that and she must too. She's dangerous and..." She held up a hand to stop her daughter's obvious defense of the tall detective, "and this path is only full of heartache. Don't go down there."
"She is my very own hero, mom. But, it's so much more than that. So much has happened since I've known her and everything inside of me..." She sighed softly. "She's my heart and soul, mom. I've known it for a long time but just didn't face it." Kris looked straight at her mother, willing her to understand.
"Sam is so deep inside me that ...I could never dig far enough down to even begin to get her out. It'd kill me first." It was a stark admission but the absolute truth. She closed her eyes, searching for strength as her head began to announce the stress she was feeling.
Shaking her head, Mrs. Scott said, "Honey, please don't do this."
"I'm sorry, mom. She is my path and it's one I can't step off even if I tried."
"Kris, you can't know that. You have your whole life before you."
"What is it that's wrong, mom? Because she's a woman, because she's had more experience in the world than me or because she's a cop? All three? Others? What?" Tears suddenly spilled down Kris' cheeks.
The stark pain evident in her daughter's eyes forced an admission from the older woman. "I know you care about her, I can see that in your eyes and in what you do, how you do it." Begrudgingly she admitted, "I can see that in her too. And I know she's always been there when you've needed her. But..."
"...if she was a man, you'd be so very happy for me right now."
Mrs. Scott took a deep breath, tears now beginning to track down her own cheeks. Her heart was clenching. She could see so much of her estranged sister in her daughter; she could hear Kate's proud words to their father. No hesitation, the only signs of her upset the tears rolling down her face and the crack in her voice. Telling their father how much she loved Holly and how it was her choice, her life. The pain evident in her very movements when their father disowned her and threw her out.
Kris wiped the sparkling drops from her cheeks and turned from her mother, trying to gain some semblance of order. Her head was pounding and her stomach felt as if it was on fire. 'I really wish you were here,Sam.' She hadn't been prepared for a confrontation with anyone, especially not her mother and all she wanted was to just fall into those safe, warm arms again. For it to all go away.
Mrs. Scott took a shocked breath as her daughter turned her back. She had a flashback of the flinch in Kate's back when their father had called her names and slammed the door behind her. Her own life had been that much less because of the lack of her sister's presence. What was she thinking? What had she promised just a few days ago as she watched her daughter in her hospital bed? She would not lose her daughter, period. "Honey." Kris didn't move. "Kris, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I just love you so much, I never want anything to hurt you."
Heart pounding, Kris found her breath coming quickly and she barely heard her mother. She brought a hand to her forehead and rubbed it as the pounding began to increase in strength. 'What did you think it'd be like? Everyone would just accept it? Stupid.'
"Kris." With still no reaction from her daughter, she crossed over to her. She stretched a hand out to Kris' back and then retrieved it before it touched, afraid of the reaction. "Baby, I will love you no matter what you do or your choice of ...partner. You are my daughter and that's all I've ever needed. I'm so sorry for upsetting you, I just don't want you to be hurt. Please understand."
'How far will you go for this, Kris?' She closed her eyes, the light from the too bright bulb seemed to be lancing straight into her brain. 'How much will you lose for your love? How far will Sam go?' She began to feel a swirling pit forming in her stomach.
Unable to bear Kris' distance and obvious pain, Lisa Scott reached out again and gently touched her daughter's shoulder. "Kris, if...if this is what you need, if Sam is what you need and you're sure, you're very, very sure, then that's the way it'll be."
Both of them jumped as musical tones rang out from the dresser where Kris had placed her cell phone.
Kris hadn't really heard much of her mother's last words, she opened her eyes, wincing slightly, and just looked at the phone for a few moments before reaching out and grabbing it up. Without even looking at the caller's number, she pressed the button and put the phone to her ear, not daring to hope that it was who she needed to hear. Just knowing that whoever it was would provide a break from the whirlpool threatening to drag her under.
The pain evident in Kris' voice as she answered sent a bolt of fear straight to Sam's heart, it continued to her already upset stomach. "Kris? Are you okay?"
Even as she said it, Sam's stomach lurched. She hadn't had anything to eat since breakfast and the station's coffee seemed to be eating a hole in her insides. The detective had been heading out to grab something when a call had come in for her, taking some time to complete.
Lee had returned soon after and then left again to get some files from the records department. Since her partner had stepped out again, Sam had decided to check on Kris. It felt a little silly, after all it had only been a few hours, but her mind had headed in Kris' direction every time she gave it any rein at all.
Grabbing onto the impossible life preserver thrown her way, Kris felt her entire body relax just a hair. "Oh god," whispered out. Then, with a thump and a wince as her ribs twinged, she sat down on her bed and breathed as deep a sigh of relief as her still sore ribs would allow.
Somewhat frantic at the exhaustion and emotion in Kris' short whisper, Sam stood and grabbed up her jacket. Her heart was pounding with fear. "Kris, where are you? Are you all right?"
Recognizing the upset she was causing helped, she struggled to bring herself under control and stammered out, "Yeah. Okay." She took a shaky breath, "Now."
Mrs. Scott could see the awful tension in her daughter's form relax ever so slightly as she listened to the person on the phone. There wasn't much doubt of who it was, nor that her daughter was still in pain. Circling around to the other side of the bed, she knelt in front of Kris and could see the pain sketched in the darkness under her once again closed eyes. She could hear a voice coming from the phone but Kris seemed unable to say much beyond very short sentences. She put a hand on Kris' knee. "Honey, it's okay. I love you. Let me talk to her and let her know you're okay."
Bloodshot eyes opened and regarded the kneeling woman. She didn't want to stop listening to Sam's voice but some part of her realized that her mother had a valid point. Upsetting Sam wasn't solving anything and since Kris herself seemed to be unable to say much, it seemed a good solution. But, she had enough of her faculties left to be quite concerned over what her mother would say. She focused carefully through pain slitted eyes and tried to read her mother's face.
Allowing a tremulous smile at Kris' regard, Mrs. Scott wiped her face and tried to project the love she felt for her daughter. "It's okay. Just let me tell her you're all right."
On the other end of the phone line, Sam was listening to what sounded like Mrs. Scott talking to Kris in a soft voice. She was considering having the call traced to a location when another voice came through the phone.
"Sam, it's Kris' mom. It's her head again. I'm going to give her some of the pills she has and have her lie down. She'll be fine, sometimes this happens."
Sam swallowed and took a few shaky breaths to try and calm down. "Does...uh does she need anything? Are you sure she's okay?"
"Lie down, honey." Mrs. Scott gently pushed her daughter back on the bed and tenderly pushed a lock of hair behind Kris' ear. "It's okay." She had moved the phone away from her mouth to do that and now swiveled it back in place, "Sam, she's fine. I'll..." Letting her eyes move back to her daughter's form, she saw pained green eyes looking back at her. It was time for a difficult decision. She looked away for a second and then returned to hold her daughter's pained eyes with her own. "She really is fine. But I think she'd like to see you, are you off soon?"
Sam responded without any thought, "Where are you?"
A tiny smile touched Lisa Scott's lips; there had been absolutely no hesitation from the detective, "At her apartment."
"I'll be there in about ten minutes." Sam started to say her farewells but hesitated for a moment, "You're sure she's okay?"
"She will be, just get here before the pills start working."
"On my way. Thank you."
"You're..." Mrs. Scott looked at the phone and smiled again, Sam was already gone. She looked again at her daughter and was very well rewarded for what she had just done by the look of relief on Kris' face.
Continued in Part 2