The Homecoming
By Janet Lynne

Part 4

-9-

At 7:00 the next morning, the buzzing of her doorbell downstairs roused Janna. Who the hell she thought, confused. She padded sleepily to the door, clad only in an oversized Pansy Division t-shirt that hung halfway down her thighs, and peered through the peephole. A smile lit her face as a large blue eye through the glass greeted her. She pulled the door open and welcomed Ryan into her arms. "Honey, what are you doing here so early?"

Ryan returned the embrace and kissed Janna sweetly then said sheepishly, "I missed you."

Janna smiled tiredly and said, "I missed you too, honey, but don't you sleep?"

"Not all that well without you" came the honest reply. It was true. Ryan, normally a very light and fitful sleeper at best, had enjoyed her deepest sleep in ages while napping with Janna the last several days. Ryan peered closely at Janna's arm and exclaimed, "Hey, where's your sling?"

"I didn't need it last night. All that Reiki flowing through me seemed to speed the healing along. Come on", she said, grabbing Ryan's hand and pulling her toward the bedroom. "We're going back to bed. I need a lot more than five hours sleep."

Ryan grinned crookedly, eyes twinkling, "Ah, I see. Not a morning person, huh?"

"Absofrigginlutley not" came the gruff reply. They entered the bedroom and she pushed Ryan, who was clad in a blue t-shirt stamped, "POLICE" in bold yellow letters, and biking shorts, toward the bed.

As Janna climbed into bed, Ryan stood at the foot looking uncertain. "Are you sure about this Janna?"

"Yes, come on" came the certain reply.

With a grin similar to that of a kid in a candy store, Ryan deftly stripped her t-shirt off over her head, leaving her clad only in her sports bra and shorts, and kicked off her sandals. She would have been an incredibly alluring sight had Janna's eyes been open. Ryan climbed into the bed next to Janna, who immediately snuggled up against her. Janna lay on her uninjured left side, head resting in the crook of Ryan's shoulder, arm about her waist. Ryan circled her arm around Janna and pulled her close. The small blonde was asleep again before Ryan could say, "Sweet dreams."

Several hours later, as the sun streaked in through partially opened blinds, Ryan awakened, confused. As comprehension as to her whereabouts dawned, she realized also that Janna was sprawled mostly on top of her, her head now resting between Ryan's breasts. In her sleep, Janna's t-shirt had hiked up, revealing a luscious naked behind. As if that weren't enough to arouse Ryan's desire, she also realized, rather quickly, that she felt soft, damp curls against her thigh. She swallowed convulsively as an involuntary shudder ran through her. At this, Janna stirred, shifting slightly and pushing more firmly against the center between Ryan's legs. Ryan's breath caught and she couldn't stifle a low moan. Janna opened one eye sleepily and smiled up at Ryan, then realized in what position she lay, and it was her turn to shudder and try to catch her breath.

As she gazed up at Ryan, Janna had been absentmindedly stroking the skin above Ryan's taut abdomen with her thumb. Ryan calmly reached down and covered it with her hand, stopping the movement. Her blue eyes were dark with desire as she gazed at Janna. Janna brought her hand out from under Ryan's and covered a breast, gently caressing it through the material of the bra. Ryan closed her eyes and moaned softly. Before she could open her eyes again, Janna had bent her head to Ryan's other breast, kissing it softly through the thin material. Ryan gasped as her eyes flew open. In a voice thick with desire she said, "Are you sure about this Janna?"

Janna replied, voice equally thick and breaking slightly, "Yes. Very."

At that Ryan sat up, gently pulling Janna upright and onto her lap, embracing her tightly. Ryan softly kissed the earlobe next to her lips and then turned her head to find soft lips. They kissed passionately for long minutes, two pairs of hands roaming sensuously, before Ryan ducked her head and nibbled at Janna's soft neck, which arched, allowed greater access. Then Ryan parted slightly from her love and carefully pulled off Janna's t-shirt, revealing the blonde's beautiful, full breasts.

Ryan gasped, "Oh Janna, you are so beautiful!"

Janna smiled and reached for Ryan's bra, using both hands to pull it over her head. Janna gasped as Ryan's lovely breasts were freed, dark nipples erect with pleasure. They embraced, kissing hungrily and Ryan pulled Janna down on top of her, crushing them together.

Their bodies intertwined, beginning a dance of passion that reunited their souls and rekindled a timeless love that they had shared through many lifetimes before. They spent the rest of the day repeating their dance of love, and finally lay together mutually sated as the daylight began to fade.

~~~~~~~~~~

Later that evening, after a quick meal and a long, sensual shower together, Ryan and Janna lay in bed in what they now considered "their" position: Ryan on her back, Janna snuggled up against her side, head on Ryan's chest, enveloped in her arms. Between their many lovemaking sessions that day they had lain just like this, completely content, talking and sharing bits and pieces of their lives with each other. They talked of their families, their jobs, their desires, their hopes and fears. Janna related many stories of her life as a rock musician: many funny, some tragic. She had had a wonderful, successful career but it had been fraught with pitfalls and she had lost some very good friends. Ryan had laughed and cried with her, sharing both Janna's joy and her pain.

Ryan became pensive and, coming to a decision, said seriously, "Janna, I need for you to know some things."

Janna kissed the pulse point under her lips and murmured, "Okay. I'm listening."

Ryan bit her lip, wondering how to begin, and then started, "You'll probably hear some things about me from the people I hang around with. Things about my past and old relationships. Um, things I'm not proud of."

Janna interrupted, "Ryan honey, we all have a past. Even though it has helped to shape the person that you are, it has no bearing on how I feel about you. I adore the person that you are right now, today." She sealed her statement with a kiss to Ryan's chin and wrapped her arm more tightly around her waist.

"I agree with you, Janna, and I feel the same way about you and your past, but I need to be honest with you. I believe in complete honesty."

"So do I honey, go ahead then. You share, and then I will."

Ryan cleared her throat and began. "I'll tell you the whole sordid tale now so I'll never have to repeat it." She took a breath and began, "Ok, during my first few years on the force, I saw some really bad thingsÉsome truly horrifying things. I had a hard time, then, distancing myself from the job and not bringing that pain home. So, after a really bad day I would end up in a bar ø sometimes at the Rainbow, sometimes at one of the cop bars. I would drink heavily and almost never left alone.

Those women meant nothing to me. It was just sex, and I always left before morning. In my first five years or so on the force I had three committed relationships that each lasted less than six months and numerous one night stands. While in a relationship I was monogamous, but after breaking up, would fall into the same old pattern. It was unfulfilling and I disliked myself for using the women for sex with no intention of forming a relationship with them, but I did it anyway.
Eventually I learned to handle the tough stuff at work better, and didn't try to lose myself in meaningless sex, but I still did some sleeping around." She sheepishly shrugged her shoulders and added, "I was lonely, I guess...unfulfilled.

Then about three years ago I met a woman named Bethany. She worked in public relations for the department. She was beautiful, driven, ruthless and openly bisexual. She loved her reputation as a player and enjoyed the rumors and gossip her conquests created. She also happened to be a favorite niece of the then Police Commissioner, so she held a lot of power and enjoyed controlling people with it. She was a real bitch," Ryan added, shaking her head disgustedly. "I only wish I hadn't been so blind to the fact at the time." Then, with regret clouding her face she added, "Or that I had listened to my friends."

Ryan glanced down at Janna, who had become still in her arms, trying to gauge her reaction. Janna smiled and squeezed Ryan's hand where it lay on her waist, urging her to continue.

"Anyway, to make a long story even longer, for some reason she set her sights on me. Maybe because I had a reputation but generally stayed away from women on the force, I don't know. In retrospect, I think she viewed me as some sort of prize. I had been attracted to her physically but had never asked her out, mainly because I had no problem finding female company when I needed it. Also, I didn't really feel the need to play with her brand of fire. Anyhow, she pursued me and eventually I turned the tables on her and seduced her. It was exciting at first and we both thought we were in love ø or so she led me to believe anyway. After dating for a few months, she invited me to move in with her."

Ryan gathered her thoughts for a moment, then continued, "At first I really liked the whole domestic thing. I loved being responsible for someone other than myself. For a while before meeting her I had been pretty tired of the one-night stands, so, when she came along, I felt ready to try another relationship.

A few months after I moved into her place though, I started seeing warning signs of how controlling she was. Little things started adding up, you know?" Janna nodded and Ryan went on. "She would try to control, subversively I now realize, who I saw and what I did, even aspects of my career. All the while, John and other friends tried to get me to see how she really was. But I basically told them they were just jealous and to fuck off." Ryan groaned and shook her head, "Jesus! What an asshole I was. It's a wonder any of them are still my friends."

Ryan cleared her throat and continued the narrative. "Well, when we'd been together for not quite a year, John came to me one day and told me that she was screwing around behind my back, and that he had proof. He said he knew I didn't want to hear it but he cared for me and was gonna tell me the truth, even if it destroyed our partnership.

He said that the Sunday before, he and his wife had been out boating on the Delta with some friends. They had motored way out, to a protected little cove they liked that was halfway to Antioch. He said that as they rounded the cove they came upon another boat already anchored there. Since they were so far into the cove already they had to float pretty close to the other boat before turning, and when they did, they saw two women making out on the deck. They both had their tops off and weren't even all that put out at having been seen, in fact they waved to John's friend at the wheel. John and Sara were in the cabin and couldn't be seen. John said he was sure it was Beth and so was his wife Sara. I called him a liar and he said, 'Fine, but tell me Ry, does she have a big tattoo in the small of her back? And was she home yesterday?' Well, she has a tattoo and she had been away all weekend, supposedly at a conference in the City, so I knew he was probably telling the truth.

When I confronted her about it, she didn't deny it. She was nasty. She laughed and said that in fact, she had had several affairs right under my nose and was ready to move onto better things. She said she was tired of being with a beat cop who didn't aspire to do anything greater."

Ryan's voice sounded bitter as she added, "God, that hurt. Even though I wasn't sure that we had ever really been in love, I had liked coming home to someone instead of to an empty apartment for a change. I moved out that day and she left the department for a better job in L.A. a few months later."

She received a reassuring hug from Janna before finishing, "After that I never wanted to trust anyone again. And I didn't until you came along. I haven't been with anyone except you since then."

Before she could say another word, Janna shifted so that her body was above Ryan's. Looking deeply into Ryan's eyes she said, "I'm so sorry you went through that sweetheart. I know how much it hurts to be betrayed." She continued, caressing Ryan's cheek, "Who you were doesn't bother me Ryan. I love you with all my heart, and I always will." The heartfelt sincerity written in her beautiful features nearly moved Ryan to tears, and Janna leaned down and sealed her promise with a passionate kiss.

When the kiss ended, Janna settled back down into Ryan's arms, and Ryan nuzzled her head with her chin.

"Now it's my turn, I guess" Janna began. "My story isn't nearly as sordid as some might imagine, given my line of work, but there are things I'm not proud of." After receiving a kiss on the head and a reassuring squeeze from her lover she continued.

"I've had four previous committed relationships. One was right after I arrived in the cityÉI was nineteen and it lasted about a year. Another was in Seattle a few years later, with a rock superstar who was up there doing a lot of producing of young dyke bands. We cared for each other deeply, but she was into pretty wild sexÉbondage-type stuffÉand I just never really got into that. It was more of a turn off than a turn on. She was great about it for a while but I knew our white-bread sex life wasn't fulfilling her, so I ended it. We stayed friends and I still talk to her once in a while...in fact I still love her like a sister. She's an awesome lady, wild and tough on the outside but so warm and sweet on the inside.

Before that there was only mild fooling around. Sex is a very private and intimate act for me and I never wanted to enter into it casually. In my early years in the City though, I would usually drink beer while performing and after a show the combination of the alcohol, the adrenaline rush and the second hand weed smoke would usually have me pretty high and very open to suggestion. There would often be girls waiting for me, wanting to umÉfor lack of a better term, fuck. I would always tell them that I wouldn't screw them but that they could do whatever they wanted to me. So, we'd make out a little and I'd let them do various things to pleasure me. I never wanted to let it go too far, because I didn't want to use them, but at the same I was usually so wasted that I wasn't in complete control. There were some occasions, I know, where I went all the way with them and had no memory of it later. That I am not proud of.

I gradually grew out of that, mainly through maturity I think, but also because I hated the self- destructiveness of it, and disliked hurting people. But there was this one show. I was in The Tribe and we were starting to hit bigÉwe'd just landed a big national tour. After a pristine show I was my usual sky-high self and this really cute baby butch grabbed me as I left the stage and kissed me hard. I let her drag me to a chair stage-side and she sat me down and straddled my lap. We started making out heavily and before I knew it, she had one of my breasts in her mouth. I was only vaguely aware of a crowd gathered around us, watching, but I was too high and too turned on to care. I quickly turned the tables on her, ripped off her shirt and went at her breasts hungrily. Then I suddenly needed much more so I got up and dragged her backstage. Some of my band mates were using the couch back there for the same sort of activity but I screamed at them to get the fuck off and threw the girl down. We screwed there until we both passed out."

Janna stopped and took a breath adding, "That was a real low point for me but it led to a relationship with the girl. Her name was Jordan and she was an art student ten years younger than I was. We were together for six weeks, until I left on tour. She had wanted to come with me but I wouldn't let her. She was a talented artist and I didn't want her to quit school for me. I ended up leaving a day early without telling her. I knew I was hurting her, but felt it was for her own goodÉI knew I wasn't ready to settle down. I didn't see her for almost a year. We became friends again later and she's now a successful graphic designer. She's committed to a great lady and they have a baby girl.

While on that tour, I got involved with the new singer, Diana Marshall. She was on her way to becoming huge, it turns out, and would eventually find me hindering her. But before that happened we were pretty happy. It was a very exciting time. Our album was selling well and we were playing incredible venues in great cities, opening for some big names and doing some headlining of our own. It was a very heady experience and we rode it for all it was worth. Diana and I were talking about getting a house together when we got back to the City, and I really thought that she might be "it".

But at the very end of the tour, she was offered a solo contract by a major label, and she dropped us, all of us, so fast, we didn't know what had happened. She left for New York with nothing much more than a, 'Thanks babe, it was fun'. Janna grimaced and swallowed hard, remembering the pain, and Ryan hugged her closer.

"That was the last relationship I was in. I was crushed for a while, emotionally, and just threw myself into my work, including activism work. By that time I was doing more producing and session work than playing with the band and I let them replace me. My heart just wasn't in it after Diana left us. They never did find a singer to fill her shoes and aren't doing much any more. Soon after that I threw myself into my photography. SoÉthat was over a year ago and I haven't been with anyone until you."
S

he sighed heavily, a load off of her mind and heart and Ryan scooped her closer and wordlessly held her tightly. They then proceeded to spend the rest of the night showing each other just how special and loved they were.

-10-

The next morning, shortly after dawn, Ryan awakened and stretched long arms and legs. The movement didn't stir the small beauty sprawled across her body and she thought, Nothing short of an earthquake could possibly rouse Janna this early in the morning! Ryan sighed, filled with a warm sense of peace as she gazed down at her love, who was bathed in a pinkish gray light. She's so damned cute when she sleeps. She closed her eyes again and pulled Janna up closer to her, deciding uncharacteristically to catch a little more sleep herself.

A few hours later she herself was roused from sleep as Janna stirred. Peeking one eye open, she saw bright green eyes gazing at her. "Morning, " Janna said with a smile.

"Morning baby. What time is it" Ryan asked groggily, yawning.

Janna turned to glance at the bedside alarm clock. "8:30" she replied.

"Jesus, why do I do that when I'm with you?" Ryan asked, scowling.

"Is there something else you would rather be doing?"

"Oh no, absolutely not." She gathered Janna more tightly to herself and kissed her head, proving her point. "It's just that normally on Sundays I go to the gym at the station to work out at 7:00."
 
 

"In the morning?" came the disbelieving response.

"Yeah. I also stay late on Tuesdays and Thursdays to work out."

"After being on a bike for eight hours? Jesus, you're not quite human, are you?"

A rich laugh erupted from Ryan's chest and she squeezed Janna lovingly again. "Maybe not" she agreed.

Almost afraid to ask, Janna said, "So, are you going to go work out now?"

"Nope. In fact, I'm not budging from this spot for quite a while yet." Ryan grinned as Janna let out her held breath.

"Cool!" came the reply as she turned in Ryan's embrace and their lips met.

Some time later, they lay languorously together, enjoying a bath in the large whirlpool tub. Janna sat back against Ryan's chest in what had become another of their favorite positions. As she gently caressed Janna's arms, which rested on her long legs, Ryan asked, "Honey, I'm curious, why do you have such an interest in Native American art?"

Janna sighed, "Mmm, that's feels so nice. Because my Mom's Dad was part Cherokee. Even though we're just barely blooded, I was brought up with many Native American ideals and I've always been proud of that part of my heritage. He didn't teach me a lot of religion or ritual ø we were Christian ø but he instilled in me a love of and respect for the Earth and for animals."

Ryan nodded as she kissed Janna's neck, eliciting a moan from her partner. "So, that's where you get your green eyes from, huh?" She grinned and kissed the other side of Janna's neck.

"Oh, yeah, right" Janna said as she slapped playfully at her lover's leg. "Those I get from my Irish and Scandinavian Dad."

Ryan grinned again and responded teasingly, "Oh, okay. That makes sense. I'd sure love to know how I got my blue eyes though, seeing as how I'm one quarter Comanche."

"You are?" came the incredulous reply.

"Yep. What's wrong, don't I look it?

"Oh, you do actually. I guess with a name like 'Zamora' I figured you were part Hispanic."

"I am, some, but I have more Comanche blood than anything else. My mother was Irish and Greek, my Dad Comanche, with some Navajo and Mexican."

"So, honey, how do you explain your blue eyes? I thought that brown eyes were supposed to be a dominant genetic trait or something, and Native Americans generally have brown eyes."

"That's true. But my father and a long line of our Native ancestors before him were reported to have these eyes. Some weird genetic screw-up, I guess." She shrugged, her breasts softly caressing Janna's back.

"Oh, don't do that to me" Janna sighed. "Not unless you're prepared to do a whole lot more."

Ryan responded sensuously, "What? You mean something like this?" As she spoke, she moved one hand from Janna's waist up to a breast, caressing it softly.<?p>

"Oh, God, yes, that's exactly what I mean" gasped Janna, arching back into Ryan and covering the large hand with hers. This only served to encourage Ryan and she moved her other hand to points farther south, caressing Janna tenderly and eliciting more panting and moaning. Soon Janna's cries of pleasure mingled with the quiet hum of the whirlpool's jets, soon to be replaced by similar sounds from Ryan.

It was quite some time before their bath ended.

~~~~~~~~~~

As they sat eating a brunch of scrambled eggs, waffles and bacon, Janna said, "So, what do you have planned for today?"

Ryan took another sip of coffee and replied, "Well, I have a Peace Officers League game at 3:00. Until then I can hang around here if you want."

Janna smiled, "Oh, I want."

Ryan returned the smile and said, "Sounds like a plan then. Though, after the game I really need to go home and do some laundry. For some reason I didn't manage to get it done yesterday," she added as she caressed Janna's hand and smiled.

"Oh, imagine that!" Janna giggled. "I knowÉI have a big pile of it to do too." She added with a groan, "Not my favorite chore."

"Well, how about I help you with yours and then you help me with mine later?" Ryan suggested with a smile.

"Sounds great, love. It'll be nice to have some help for a change."

"Yep, it's one of the nice things about cohabitating."

Janna stopped chewing her waffle, swallowed and said, "Ryan, are you thinking about some kind of permanence here?"

"I do want to think about it, yeah, Janna. Lets face it, it's god damned hard being apart, isn't it?"

Janna nodded.

Ryan continued, "We probably shouldn't rush into it, but I would like to talk about it. I know one thing: I don't care to spend another night apart from you."

Janna grabbed her hand and gazed at her seriously, love written all over her face, "Then we won't, okay?"

"Okay" replied Ryan with a quiet smile.

!~~~~~~~~~~

It was early afternoon and Ryan stood looking out the French doors into the backyard as she folded a towel. "Janna, who's doing your landscape design?"

"Dave's, why?" came the reply from the nearby laundry room.

"I like the design. The curve of the deck leads your eye right along to that perennial flowerbed. Its very well done," she said, returning to grab another towel.

"Yes, I think so too. I think it's turning out beautifully. They've managed to capture my vision for the yard almost perfectly. I can't wait until they get the hot tub and gazebo in."

Apparently, judging by Ryan's reaction, the phrase "hot tub and gazebo" held some sort of magical power. She dropped what she was folding and sauntered over to her lover with a silly grin on her face, wrapping her arms around her from behind and nuzzling her neck. "Did you say 'hot tub and gazebo'?" she mumbled into Janna's neck.

Janna grinned as she wrapped her arms over Ryan's and replied, "Yes. Shall I take it that you approve of the plan?"

"Oh, yeah" she grinned, kissing Janna's neck. "You have great taste."

Janna turned into Ryan's embrace and met her gaze, "I know that. Just look at my girlfriend."

Ryan kissed her deeply and then nuzzled her hair, "I want to be a lot more than just your girlfriend Janna."

"You already are love."

The rest of the laundry sat unfolded until later.

~~~~~~~~~~

Ryan's Peace Officer game was at the huge, modern softball complex south of town. As she drove along the highway that cut between furrowed fields of corn, tomatoes and peppers, Ryan glanced at Janna and asked, "So, you played with the band at the Rainbow the other night?"

Janna turned to Ryan, her Ray Bans mirroring Ryan's similarly bespectacled face, grinned and said, "Yeah, Doug told them who I was and they asked me to join them. I had a great time...although, I really am glad that I'm 'retired'. Those few songs were plenty."

"Think you'll do it again sometime? I'd like to see you play."

"Sure, I guess I could. I plan to keep in touch with that band, help them out if I can. Um, I have videos of some concerts you can watch too."

"Yeah, I'd like that if you don't mind."

"Nope. It's what I did and I had a great time while I did it. I was pretty wild then, just so you know." Janna returned to watching the countryside pass by.

"Oh I think I can handle your wild side", delivered with her rakish grin. "You certainly do handle mine."

Janna smiled into her reflection in the window and marveled, yet again, at how warm, happy and loved this incredible woman made her feel. Her thoughts mirrored Ryan's exactly as the cop drove on down the highway.

Ryan pulled the truck into the complex and Janna exclaimed, "Wow! Look at this place. What does it have six diamonds? Eight?"

"Eight" came the reply. "This complex is only about a year old. It's a great place to play. Sunken dugouts, bullpens, crushed brick infields. Very nice."

"Yeah, sounds cool. Does the City League use it?"

"Yeah, for the higher divisions and for tournaments. It's actually a County facility" Ryan replied, parking the truck and then glancing at Janna.

"Great. I'd like to get a chance to play here." She looked happily at Ryan.

Ryan returned the happy grin and replied, "Well, let's get that arm healed and sign you up then! Speaking of which", she added, eyes twinkling as she lifted her athletic bag from the back seat, "I had a thought. Do you think you'd like to give 'A' division a try"?

Janna looked surprised. "Whoa, I don't know. I've never played at that level and I haven't played competitively in years. I don't know if I can cut it", she responded, a frown marking her pretty features.

"Well, how'd you like a personal coach and trainer to help you get back into shape?" Ryan's sparkling grin dazzled Janna as they walked towards the fields. Spotting her team up ahead warming up, she steered them in that direction.

"Hmm, would this trainer happen to be tall, dark and gorgeous?" grinned Janna.

"WellÉtall maybe" came the self-deprecating reply.

"And dark, and gorgeous. Believe me, love. Yeah, I'd love some personal attention like that from you. In addition, of course, to the personal attention that you're already showing me" she clarified.

"Oh, of course", laughed Ryan as they arrived at a bleacher area. "The reason I'm asking is that our second baseman, Linda, is leaving in two weeks on sabbatical and we'll need a replacement for her for the rest of the season."

"Second base huh?" pondered Janna. "Well, I did use to turn a mean double play" she added with a grin.

"I'll bet you did!" Ryan wrapped an arm around Janna's shoulder. "Think you can be ready in two weeks?""With your help, probably, yeah, but you still don't know how good I am."

"Oh, baby, I certainly do" Ryan leered. She sat down on a bleacher seat and took her shoes out of her bag.

"At softball!"

"Oh, that too!" laughed Ryan as she tied her cleats.

Slapping her lover playfully on the arm, Janna said, "You are so bad!"

"But you love it, don't you?" Ryan asked playfully.

Smiling and shaking her head, Janna replied, "I do. I really do." Then sitting down next to Ryan, added thoughtfully, "Seriously though, I would like to give it a try. But I'd hate to let the team down. I would want your manager to give me a tryout."

"Sure, that'd be fine. Honey, if you don't feel up to that level of play or don't think you're ready, then don't worry about it. I just thought that since you want to play, it would be fun if we could be on the same team."

"Oh, sweetheart, it would be more than fun." She leaned her head on Ryan's shoulder and felt their love passing between them through their link.

"Yep, that it would" Ryan said as she turned and gently brushed a kiss on her love's head. "I've got to go warm up. Enjoy the game."

"You betcha! Have a good one."

Ryan did have a good one, of course.

~~~~~~~~~~

That evening, they sat together on the couch in Janna's family room, watching some of her old concert videos, with beers and popcorn. Though she had never really been a fan of punk rock music, Ryan found herself intensely interested in understanding Janna's love for it. As they watched, Janna deciphered the mostly unintelligible lyrics for her and Ryan was impressed at the social relevance of the songs. With Janna's help she gained an understanding of the punk genre, and even an appreciation for it.

More than anything though, she gained a deeper appreciation of the woman with whom she now wanted to share her life. Janna had written the lyrics for many of the songs and was an incredibly exciting and agile performer on stage. Ryan was most surprised at the wild abandon with which Janna played her instrument. The woman she knew and loved was much more calm and reserved now, except in bed, Ryan thought with a smile. Perhaps it was maturity. Perhaps she was simply not as angry any more. But on stage, she had seemed completely carefree, jumping, cavorting, singing, stage diving, crowd surfing, all the while with a huge smile plastered on her face. She seemed to be truly in love with her craft and the crowds responded to her ecstatically. Most of the videos they were watching tonight were of the most successful band Janna had been a part of, 'The Tribe', an all-woman dyke punk group.

During a break between videos Ryan had admitted to Janna that before watching the tapes, she had had difficulty reconciling the warm, loving woman she knows with the snarling, angry punk that she must have been. But now, she admitted, she understood that Janna's anger had been borne, not of apathy, but of her deep love for humanity. She had been angry at the injustice, the inequality, the selfishness, and the greed which infects humanity, not at humanity itself. She told Janna of her understanding and received a warm hug in return.

Janna then told more of her ex, the rock superstar. Society tends to view her as simply a leather biker chick, or a tattooed dyke, or a hardcore rocker with a bad reputation and a foul mouth who has no redeeming qualities. In reality this woman is one of the warmest, most caring people she had ever met. And one of the most talented. "Joanie loves to say that you can't judge a book by its cover, and she, and I, are perfect examples of that."

As they sat snuggled together, Ryan thoughtfully asked, "Baby, you seemed so happy on stage, though your songs were very angry. Tell me about that."

Janna laughed, "Strange dichotomy, huh?" Then she added, "Playing live did make me happy...ecstatic, actuallyÉjoyous. The only thing that even comes close to it is sex ø with you." She leaned back more deeply into Ryan's embrace and continued, "The songs were angry but putting them out there, having them heard, made us happy. We were trying to make the world a better place. Make people aware of the injustice. I like to think that we succeeded somewhat. I hope so anyway."

"Oh, I think you must have had a tremendous influence on many kids" Ryan said sincerely, feeling very proud of her partner.

"If we helped even one kid feel okay about her sexual identity, or one boy to realize that girls are not simply playthings, or one kid to rethink suicide, or to realize that being a musician is cool, then we were very successful. I feel so grateful that I had the opportunity to make a difference. Or to try to anyway." She shrugged.

Ryan became very still and quiet and when Janna turned to look back at her, she saw tears streaking her lover's cheeks. "Sweetheart whatÉ"

Wrapping her tightly in her arms, Ryan choked out, "Janna, I love you so much, words don't even exist for what I feel. I don't even know if I can show you adequately, ever." Burying her face into Janna's' she continued, "You are my Universe, Janna. Forever. Thank you so much for coming into my life."

Turning and straddling Ryan's lap, Janna kissed her tenderly. "I feel the same way about you my love. I tried to make a difference while doing something fun. You're out there every day making a difference by putting your own life on the line. You're quite literally saving people's lives. You're the hero here Ryan. You are my hero. My Universe. Forever. I love you with all that I am, Ryan." As she tenderly kissed Ryan again, Ryan wrapped her arms around her and gently laid her down on the couch.

As she leaned above the love of her life, Ryan looked deeply into her eyes and said, "Janna, I know that we've only been together for a very short time, but in that time you have completely changed my life. This all seems so incredible, but it's not: I know, with all that I am, and with no doubt whatsoever, that we have loved each other forever, and will continue to do so, in this life and beyond." She reached down and picked up Janna's hand, bringing it to her lips and imploring, "Janna, I want you to consider making a commitment to me...to us. Will you, please?"

Janna's immediate response was to reach up and pull Ryan's face to her own, kissing her with more passion than she ever had before. When they finally parted slightly she said, "Ryan, in my heart, I am already fully committed to youÉto us. There is no question in my mind that we were meant to be together. I only wish we had come together sooner, so that we could have had sixty years together instead of only forty. You are everything to me Ryan, and it doesn't matter how long we've known each other, we both know that what we have together is timeless. I'm yours forever, Ryan Zamora."

With that, Ryan, tears streaming down her face in a highly uncharacteristic manner, gently lay her body along the length of her lover's and kissed her, from the center of her soul. Their tears intermingled as their heart link surged, encompassing both of them in a loving vortex of energy, sweeping them away on a wave of ecstasy and love. They made love then, as they never had before: gently, slowly, tenderly. Each touch, each caress, conveying the depth of their love. Each kiss, each taste, each embrace, a promise. Their love was solidified, for that lifetime and every other to come.

Later they would both remember that night as the beginning of their lifelong commitment to each other.

Part 5

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