Jaw dropped and eyes wide, Kris stood at the door and simply stared.
Lisa Scott came forward with a huge smile on her face and watched as her daughter's eyes tracked to her. "Happy birthday, honey!"
Brooke and Brian also stepped forward, along with several members of the softball team, people from the paper and law offices.
From a dark corner, blue eyes gentled and a soft smile grew on the angled face when she saw the delighted grin appear on Kris' face as people started to surround her. Sam had been anxious about the plans, worried that her lover wouldn't appreciate the surprise. 'I shouldn't have been worried, she loves this.'
After a couple of minutes spent greeting the various people at the door, Kris couldn't stop her eyes from wandering. It took just seconds for her to find the shadowed form in the corner.
When the sea green eyes captured her own, Sam felt the jolt of emotion that always seemed to accompany that first look, that first meeting of souls that had been separated for minutes, hours or days. And sometimes the second look...and third. She swallowed down the huge lump in her throat and immediately felt the loss when Jen stepped in between the two of them and mugged Kris in a bone-crunching hug. 'Mushball.'
"Kris, I have a bit of a different surprise for you," Lisa Scott spoke up.
Kris stepped back from Jen's hug and turned at her mother's odd tone. Standing next to her mother was another woman, someone who looked very much like her mother and yet, seemed oddly familiar in a different way too. Almost ... Kris' eyes widened and she found herself looking at her mother with shock on her face. "Aunt Kate?"
Lisa couldn't help the tears that rolled down her face at the pure joy in her daughter's face. After Kris' last close call, she'd found the nerve to contact Kate and had begun to rebuild the family bonds that they knew so well. It had taken a lot of hours, tears and memories, but they'd done it and Lisa had asked Kate to be her surprise for Kris' birthday party. It had obviously been a very good choice, she nodded at her daughter.
Kris threw her arms around her mother and hugged her tightly before stepping away and addressing her Aunt for the first time in her life. Tears tickled the back of her eyes and then pooled when she finally said, "I'm so glad to meet you."
"Likewise, Kris. I hope it's a very Happy Birthday and only the first of many that I can celebrate with you." Kate stepped forward and wrapped her arms around the niece she'd never met but who looked so much like her that she'd had to jab her elbow into Holly's side so she would stop staring.
Eagerly watching, but trying not to be obvious, Kris' reactions, Sam still noticed when the band began to play. It was comprised of many of the same people that had been with Sam a few months before at a stake out when Jen had gotten in trouble and she knew they were good at what they did.
Glad that the decision to give Kris time to meet her aunt for the first time and mingle for a bit before opening gifts had been made, she shook her head when the blonde was buried out of her sight again and laughed. Nobody could say that her lover wasn't popular, that's for sure.
Letting her eyes roam the room, she finally settled on watching, with considerable amusement, as members of the softball team drifted over from the greetings and teased each other into singing with the band.
The band took it all very well and had just as much fun playing with the team as the women did with them. Some of the women were quite good and Sam leaned up against a side wall to watch them enjoy themselves. Repeatedly refusing their requests that she sing with them.
Instead, she spent the time relishing the last couple of months with Kris, exploring their love and spending as much time together as they could. Basically cohabiting, if truth were told.
The specter of Captain Scott's transfer to another department and his refusal to accept his daughter's relationship hadn't even slowed down the two women.
The internal investigation into the Captain's actions on the bridge and afterwards had been a reasonably quick affair. IA had brought up the fact that the SWAT team had almost been there, thanks to Lee's call, and how Sam had seemed to be holding her own with Hamilton. They'd also brought up the fact that the Captain's actions had recklessly endangered both his officer and his daughter. That he'd had no reason to fire when Sam could have just as easily been hit.
But, they never found out about the hateful words he spoke as he watched Sam and Kris embrace on the riverside. Sam could still feel the warmth of Kris' skin when the blonde launched herself at the water logged and bruised, but not seriously injured, detective. Could still feel the abrasive sting of the rope loop tightly wound around Kris' cast as her fingers brushed over it and Lee's resigned shrug as she brandished the other half the loop.
She could still hear Lee's amused recounting of how Kris wouldn't wait and could still see her partner's intensely relieved smile as she approached with a key to the handcuffs. Kris' softly muttered words of love and thankfulness still flowed straight to Sam's heart. Unfortunately, she could also easily see the Captain's enraged glare as he stood on the grassy slope leading down to the river.
She could also still feel Kris' shocked start and Lee's frozen face when Kris' father told his daughter exactly how he felt. Could hear his hateful words echo along the water. How he had called his daughter filth, that she was no longer welcome in his house, exactly how she had disappointed him and that he no longer had two daughters.
But, it wasn't until he lamented on how Sam had survived that Kris broke out of her 'how to hold onto Sam' statue imitation. Then Kris had turned very slowly and fury had fairly flown from every pore. Her words, telling him how he disgraced his uniform and certainly didn't deserve to be a father had sliced through the cool air.
Kris' biting derision at his words had caused Sam to cringe at the time and sent a shiver through her now. The blonde turning her back on her father had been the door closing, stepping straight back into Sam's arms and completely ignoring his presence had been the lock turning.
He had been so very furious and every single sense of Sam's had gone on alert as she watched him. It had been a shock to the senses when Lee had stepped between them, the instant change in tension had been almost palpable. It had taken several long moments before he'd moved off. Several moments where Sam thought her heart might pound out of her chest and her arms had wrapped tightly around a trembling Kris.
It was of Kris and the rest of her family that Sam thought of when she asked Lee to not mention what had happened on the riverside and when she'd gone into the meeting with IA. When she'd told them that even though the Captain had gone completely against standard operating procedure that he was trying to save his daughter. Keeping to herself that the statement was probably true in more than one way.
It was her suggestion that perhaps it might be best if either Sam or the Captain be moved to a new department. Nobody could have been more surprised when it turned out that the Captain had been moved. Only when Jackson had made an obscure comment about his nephew and AIDS had Sam begun to look outside the box. She hadn't seen him on the riverside but it had definitely been possible he'd heard what happened. He'd certainly been questioned.
Still, that was over. The Captain was well away from her and probably in a position he enjoyed more. It was now time to enjoy Kris' pleasure. With that in mind, she could easily call up the memory Kris' grin of delight from just that morning when she'd been treated to breakfast in bed along with presents.
Kris spied her target leaning against the wall, time slowed for a few moments as she took in the sleek, tall and extremely gorgeous body. Sam had dressed in black jeans that appeared tailored for her alone and a blue silk shirt that set off her eyes even more. 'God, that is mine.' She drew in a deep breath of wonder, which stilled when the dark head turned in her direction and blue eyes speared her.
Sam sensed Kris' approach and turned her head to watch with quite a measure of appreciation. She felt her heart speed up just at the sight of the beautiful blonde making her way closer. Her compact frame moved with ease and comfort across the dance floor, the view was definitely one to enjoy. 'Okay, so I'm a lustful mushball.' A smile touched her lips and was immediately echoed on the blonde's face.
Amazed that she didn't trip right into Sam's arms, and then spending a moment to consider why she hadn't, Kris took the last couple of steps across the floor and approached the taller woman. She laid a gentle hand on her lover's arm, "Hey."
Sam's smile grew. "Hey yourself, birthday girl. Having fun?"
"Oh yep, thank you for sticking around."
"You think I'm going to let you stay at a party alone dressed like that?"
The blonde flushed as Sam's gaze ran up and down her body, perhaps it was the lighting but the slight darkening in the brilliant blue made her flush. It was still new enough and would hopefully always be special enough that the hunger caused by that gaze made her knees weak. She swallowed and was about to say something about how great Sam looked and how Kris knew that everyone's eyes were really on Sam when she was stopped by the dark haired woman's next words.
"Don't you dare say anything self-effacing. You're beautiful and everyone here knows it."
The blush ran deeper and Kris smiled shyly. "Thank you."
An eyebrow rose. "Getting wiser with age?"
"If that were the case, you should be very wise by now." A twinkle appeared in Kris' eyes.
Both eyebrows rose high, then in the blink of an eye, the relaxed Sam disappeared. In her place stood the determined knight in shining armor who had saved Kris' life, the one with ice chips in her eyes, a spine as stiff as a rod and a demeanor to match. "Really?" she purred.
Kris mused that it wasn't that long ago when she would've taken an immediate step back and been very worried by the figure before her. 'Now...' A smile touched her lips, 'Now I see behind the mask and armor. Now I see the heart that's been trying to hide from me.' Holding out a hand, she pushed against the tall woman's stomach, reveling in the play of muscles through the thin cloth.
The blonde could see the surprise as Sam looked down at the hand against her body and felt herself pushed backwards. Of course, the surprise helped the movement but Kris wasn't picky about what got the detective where she wanted her.
In a corner, mostly hidden in both darkness and the edge of a black curtain, Sam hit the wall and stopped. Still rather shocked by Kris' actions she waited for the blonde's next move.
The blonde in question, of course, didn't stop and ended up pressed right against her lover's warm body. 'Maybe this wasn't such a great idea.' She wondered as the curves underneath her moved slightly, 'Maybe a cold drink?' Still, not wanting to pass up the opportunity of having Sam right where she wanted her, she composed a very serious face. Looking up, she studied the angles for a few moments before finally responding to Sam's query, in a low voice, "Really." Then she stretched up and met Sam's waiting lips with perfect accuracy.
Even knowing they only had a few seconds before they were missed and/or noticed, Sam had no intention of hurrying when such a gift was being given. Placing an arm around Kris' waist, she brought her other hand to the back of the blonde's neck and proceeded to quickly but thoroughly devour the soft lips touching hers.
It was only a few seconds but they were both a bit dazed when they broke apart. Not wanting to let go, Kris snuggled in Sam's arms for just a few moments more before asking, "What were we talking about?"
Dragging her mind from wherever it had gone flying in the airwaves, Sam replied, "Uh... why you make me forget whatever it is I'm thinking about?"
Kris grinned into the tall woman's chest, gave her a tight hug and stepped back. A quick glance around showed that nobody had apparently missed them, it had been just a matter of seconds after all. Still, this was good news, not everyone was a hundred percent comfortable with their relationship and she didn't want to push them too quickly. 'I'll get them there soon enough.' Perhaps oddly, she had no doubt that this would be the outcome.
"I think we were talking about my birthday present."
"We were? Which one?"
"The one you haven't given me yet."
Puzzled, Sam teased, "Well, I can't give you that in public, dear. I don't want to be arrested."
Kris' eyes lit up with impish fire. "No, no. I'll definitely wait until later for that one, not much later, though!" Winking saucily at Sam, she continued, "You asked me if I wanted anything special for my birthday last week. I told you I didn't think so, I've decided there is something and I want to collect."
Even more puzzled now, Sam remembered Kris' real reply of, 'I have everything I want,' as the smaller woman had wrapped her arms around the detective. She broke free of the memory and replied, "All right, what is it?"
Kris glanced up at the people having fun on the stage. "That you sing with them and then that you sing one alone."
Groaning slightly, Sam asked, "You sure about this? Maybe I can just sing with those guys." She nodded her head in the direction of some of the softball team who were still hogging the microphone. It wasn't that Sam didn't like to sing, she loved it, but this was Kris' party and not only was the mush factor incredibly high, so was the potential tease factor from the others. She also didn't want to take away one tiny bit of spotlight from her friend.
"Yep and then I'd like to hear you. Just this once?"
Shaking her head in resignation at the long ago lost cause, Sam smiled wryly. "You have me so wrapped around your finger. You're impervious to my deadly stares, you get me to do things I have no intention of doing and get me so confused I can't think straight."
"Thank you," Kris replied, with what could have been a touch of pride.
Sam chuckled softly, took a deep breath, sparing a second to study the face she loved and run a thumb along the blonde's jaw line before turning to the stage.
Kris watched with a grin as the team members pulled Sam onto the stage and eagerly pulled and pushed the tall woman to the microphone. She could still feel Sam's touch along her jaw and sighed with satisfaction at her lot in life. Nothing could beat this, nothing.
The band immediately changed songs and began one that Sam knew well and she joined her teammates in singing.
Glancing around, Kris' grin became wider as she noticed that more eyes faced the stage now and discussions seemed to have become not quite as important as they were before. Sam's clear voice could easily be picked out amongst the others, even as well as they were doing in their efforts.
Kris moved through the people with a smile to everyone and closed upon her mother. Noticing her arrival, Lisa turned and smiled at her daughter, obviously enjoying the entertainment and very much enjoying having her sister with her again.
It went on that way for a short while before Jen insisted that the team members needed a break and somehow ended up giving the microphone to Sam with an encouraging grin.
Knowing she was outnumbered when she saw it, Sam sighed and took a hold of the microphone before stepping back and half turning to talk to the band. They conferred for a minute, but Sam found herself looking for Kris, who now stood close to the center of the room.
The blonde felt transfixed as compelling blue eyes met her green.
The detective kept the connection for a few seconds as thoughts ran through her mind, 'Which song?' She was about to ask the band for ideas when the warmth of those sea green eyes almost enveloped her and dragged her under. 'God, what else can I choose?' She debated with herself for a few moments, 'Am I sure?'
Taking a deep breath and hoping that she was doing the right thing, a recent memory came to Sam's mind. One where she was holding Kris tight and they were talking about so many things. She remembered apologizing for not always being able to voice her true feelings but prayed that Kris knew them anyway.
Perhaps this was far too public a location for any type of disclosure but perhaps that was the point. She sent a silent thought to Kris, 'Please understand.' Then stole another look at the woman she loved. 'I hope I can find a deep enough hole to bury my rep.'
A quick word with the band had them nodding in agreement. As they searched for the music, Sam spoke into the microphone as she surveyed the still interested crowd. "This is a song for the special people in everyone's lives. Make sure you tell them just how important they are to you and tell them often."
The music began and a few moved to the dance floor immediately, recognizing the intro or simply enjoying the music. Sam surveyed the rest, noted a few nodding heads already and then smiled as Kate took Holly's hand and pulled her to the dance floor.
Kris followed Sam's gaze and also smiled as her rather amazing aunt laughed at something Holly said and wrapped her arms around her partner. Not caring about anyone else or paying the slightest bit of attention to anyone else either they both locked arms around each other and started dancing.
It was whilst watching them that Kris realized that she knew the intro she was hearing. Her gaze swung sharply back to Sam, who was looking around the room, yet, somehow, studiously avoiding Kris' location.
Sam laughed as Jen pointed with some exaggeration at her embarrassed husband. She was obviously quite pleased that she'd managed to get him to dance with her again after complaining loudly earlier that he hadn't danced with her since their wedding.
Even with everything going on, every pocket of emotion and acceptance, it was with quite some trepidation that Sam began to sing, still purposefully avoiding a certain spot in the room.
I don't need a lot of things
I can get by with nothing
Of all the blessings life can bring
I've always needed something.
Kris felt her heart jump when Sam's gaze finally encompassed her. She took a deep breath of wonder as her lover sang the words.
But I've got all I want
When it comes to loving you
Sam closed her eyes for just a moment as she took a breath and prayed that Kris could feel what was in every cell of her body. Then she speared sea green again. 'Listen, love.'
You're my only reason
You're my only truth.
Kris' eyes began to pool as she heard the words and felt even more of her heart and soul wing their way to her lover. She couldn't believe that Sam was doing this for her and it was certainly for her. Oh yes, every inch of that sensual body was doing this for her and that thought threatened to dissolve her into a pool of material clad goop. Right there. Right now.
Sam couldn't keep the connection; the emotion in those eyes was overwhelming. She looked heavenward briefly and then concentrated on the other people in the room again. Not really seeing faces, just bodies, clothes or color. It took every iota of her considerable talent at concentration to continue straight into the chorus.
I need you like water
Like breath, like rain
I need you like mercy
From heaven's gate
Kate looked past her partner's face and caught the look of wonder on Kris' face, turning Holly slightly, she looked at Sam. She could almost feel the current between the two younger women. With a gentle smile, she focused back on Holly and said softly, "I love you," before pulling her lover closer and letting their own current carry them through the song.
There's a freedom in your
That carries me through
I need you.
Taking advantage of the slight break in the lyrics, Sam got a hold of her misbehaving composure and stuffed it violently back in place. 'This is not the time to fall apart.' Of course, that was before she dared to once again capture Kris' attention, not that she'd ever lost it. They looked at each other and Sam felt the immediate jolt of electricity tingle through every cell. She took a quick and unexpected breath just in time.
You're the hope that moves
To courage again, oh yeah.
Lisa Scott smiled softly as she looked first to Kate and Holly and then Kris and Sam. With an ease she could never have imagined, the tall woman was quite obviously making a statement that almost brought tears to her own eyes, never mind her daughter's. It was obvious to anyone with eyes, 'and perhaps the blind too!' that the love the couples shared was precious.
That her husband had chosen to show his disgust at something so beautiful as loving another so blatantly was incredibly upsetting. That he couldn't comprehend her own acceptance of it had been painful. More so because Kris had been deeply hurt by everything that had gone on and the injuries were piling up. But tonight, that didn't matter. 'Hold on to that, ladies, what you have there is incredibly precious.' With that thought, she let out a tiny sigh, setting free some very ancient personal demons.
You're the love that rescues
When the cold winds rage
The knowledge of just how true the next words were was almost Sam's undoing. She barely kept her wits about her and mentally yelled at her mushball interior to knock it off. Unfortunately, the mushball had apparently brought the whole package when it moved in, kitchen sink and all. It hadn't listened so far and it certainly wasn't going to now.
And it's so amazing
'Cause that's just how you are
And I can't turn back now
'Cause you've brought me too far
Kris couldn't stop the smile that rivaled the noonday sun from appearing on her face, nor the tears that now spilled down her cheeks. Sam had held out a hand towards her and then brought it back as a clenched fist against her heart as she sang the last line. 'You've brought me so far too, love.' A vow to make sure Sam knew that imprinted itself in her mind.
I need you like water
Like breath, like rain
I need you like mercy
From heaven's gate
There's a freedom in your arms
That carries me through
I need you
Tears still shimmered down Kris' cheeks and sparkled in her eyes. She had somehow found herself closing in on the stage and was quietly singing the words of the chorus to Sam as Sam herself sang them into the microphone. It never occurred to her to stop or think, only that being close to her lover was what she needed right at that moment. Sam was what she needed right at that moment and, she had to admit, just about every other.
Sam smiled widely at the blonde.
The words had never meant what they did now and she only prayed that Kris
had felt them as much as the dark haired woman had wanted her to.
Astonishingly, when a tear tracked its way down her own face followed by
another, it didn't matter that anyone could see the evidence of what she
felt. Only that Kris could.
If you have gotten this far,
I salute and thank you. I truly hope that you've enjoyed the
Many have asked, "Will there be more?" The answer would be - yes. <g>
A peek into Kris and Sam's
lives - Focus
I have more stories in my brain,
along with an X & G that I'm working on yet again.
Let me know if you want more by writing to Idryth@aol.com
p.s. If you're curious
about the Vidocq reference, visit:
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