The next morning was the most beautiful that Janna had ever seen. She di dn't notice the hazy overcast, or the already stifling heat (made all the more uncomfortable by the morning humidity), nor the oppressive, polluted air, which sat over the valley due to the abse nce of the Delta breeze. As far as she was concerned, this was the most beautiful and the ha ppiest day of her life. She was still floating on a billowy cloud of love from the night befo re. She felt that today was, in all practicality, truly the first day of the rest of her life. The commitment that she and Ryan had made to each other the night before would surpass any other they w ould ever make: no ceremony or legal document could mean more to them than last night had.
They had sealed their commitment with soul-searing kisses and blazing ho t touches. Janna's skin tingled in remembrance of Ryan's caressing hands and fingers. Of her stroki ng tongue and soft lips, and she shivered with pleasure.
Her partner felt the same way. She felt as if her feet hadn't touched th e ground all morning long. As she pedaled along on her route, she almost felt as if her bike were flyi ng. Her face was a peaceful mask of calm joy. The gentle, happy smile rarely leaving it, despi te the necessities of her job and the ugliness she was faced with as a matter of course throughou t her day.
During their morning break, she and John stopped at a downtown flower sh op and she had a dozen red roses sent to Janna. The card read simply, "To the love of my lif e. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. ...Ryan". Her patrol partner was speechless at her behavior and at this act. As far as he knew, his stony partner had never, not even when involved in a relationship, thought enough of a woman to send her flowers. Not even as a kiss off. This woman, whom he had jokingly referred to for years as the "Lone Wolf", had very obviously l ost her heart. As he watched her, for the umpteenth time that day, gaze into space with a farawa y look and a happy smile, he thought, boy, when she falls, she falls hard. Never thought I' d see it. Her happiness was so contagious that he couldn't even kid her about it. I mu st be getting soft in my old age.
Janna's flowers arrived while she was in her temporary darkroom, trying to concentrate on getting some work done but having little luck. The beauty of the roses and of Ryan's gesture took her breath away. When she returned to her work and her tears of joy ke pt dropping into the photographic solution that she was working over, she finally admitted t o herself that today was just not going to be a workday and had given up.
She went into the front room and picked up her acoustic guitar. Sitting on the couch where she and Ryan had made such beautiful love the night before, she played, over an d over, her favorite love song, thinking of her Ryan all the while. A few moments after she stru mmed the last chord, tears falling anew, the telephone rang. She knew before picking it up that it was Ryan, because their link started thrumming. "Hi love", she said with a warm smile.
"Hi. I'm glad it was me" came the warm, loving reply.
"I felt you. God, I miss you."
"I miss you too sweetheart."
"Thank you so much for the flowers. They're beautiful, Ryan."
"If only they could match your beauty, Janna." Ryan sighed softly and co ntinued, "Hey, listen; things have been pretty quiet today. Why don't you meet us for lunch if you 're not too busy? We're at the little café near City Square, next to the theatre."
"I'm there love. See you in a few. I love you."
"I love you too Janna, bye."
As Ryan hung up the phone and looked longingly at it, her partner stood watching her, not believing his eyes. He'd have bet anyone any amount of money that nothing like this could ever happen to his tough partner. He would have lost. Badly.
As Ryan turned away from the payphone she met her partner's direct gaze. He said, "Okay, who are you and what have you done with my partner?" a smile creeping onto his face.
Ryan blushed mildly and just shrugged her shoulders. "I love her John. I feel like she's been my best friend forever. I'm going to marry her." With that, she met John's gaz e again and grinned at his look of surprise.
"Jesus Ry! That's great! But, uh..."
She interrupted him, "Yes, I'm sure. And so is she. This is it, John. No question."
His partner's direct gaze was so compelling that he knew that she knew w hat she was doing,and trusted in that. A very levelheaded woman was Ryan Zamora.
He grinned and slapped his partner on the back, saying, "Well, all right then buddy. I'm happy for you. Let me take you out for a beer after work, okay? We need to celebr ate!"
"Actually, why don't you and Sara come over for a barbecue? You can bring the beer ... Janna likes Foster's."
"What, you're actually giving up your beloved Coronas? Shit, you must be in love!" he grinned wickedly as she blushed again.
"Yeah, all right, come on. She's meeting us at the café for lunch. Giv e Sara a call about tonight will, ya?"
As they sat at a small wrought iron table under a dark green umbrella aw aiting Janna's arrival, Ryan felt she was seeing her familiar world through new eyes. Everything se emed brighter today. Colors seemed more vivid, people seemed to be smiling more and were friendlier, and John was only being a slight pain in the ass.
John watched his partner, apparently lost somewhere in her own happy little world for the moment, and felt warmed. He was glad she had finally found a good woman. Glad she was so happy. He loved her like a sister and cared for her more than anyone he kne w, after his wife. As he watched her, she suddenly looked up from the table she had been quiet ly gazing at, and swiveled her head, as if sensing something were amiss behind her. Her face, however, broke into a happy grin as she spotted her new mate striding toward them. Huh, how on Earth did she know Janna was coming up behind her?
As Janna arrived at their table, Ryan arose to greet her and the lovers grasped each other's arms and stood smiling at one another. Then Ryan abruptly said, "Come 'ere for a minute" and not waiting for a reply, pulled Janna behind her into the café. Entering a small, empty hallway that led to the kitchen, Ryan pulled Janna tightly against her and kissed h er soundly. Janna wrapped both arms around Ryan's neck, prolonging and deepening the kiss. As they parted, Ryan rested her cheek against the top of Janna's head and said, "I've misse d you this morning."
"Oh, Honey I've missed you too. I haven't been able to concentrate on a thing today!"
"I've had a little trouble staying focused too. Even John noticed, " she added wryly.
Janna winced. "Ooh, is he giving you a hard time?"
"No, surprisingly not. He's happy for me. He's really a good guy," she s aid warmly. Then she turned and, holding Janna's hand, led her back out to the café patio, add ing, "I'm gonna ask him to be my Best Man."
Janna nearly stumbled as the impact of Ryan's words hit her. Best Man ? She squeezed Ryan's hand warmly as tears sprang to her eyes, thankfully hidden behind he r sunglasses.
They arrived back at the table and John politely stood, prompting Ryan t o say with a smirk, "Who are you trying to kid?"
"Zamora, you wouldn't understand, but some of us have class."
She grinned widely at him as she held the chair for Janna, "Bite me, Ste wart."
"Nah, I'll leave that to Janna, thanks!"
He was immensely pleased at the blush the remark brought to his partner' s face and smiled as Janna reached for her mate's hand in comfort and pulled her into the chair next to her, a smile gracing her features as well.
Ryan recovered quickly and looking pointedly at her partner said, "Tell me again, John, how many martial arts degrees do you hold? Versus my 3rd degree black belt?" Sh ining blue eyes under raised black eyebrows awaited a response.
"Okay, I give. Shit, Ry, just trying to have a little fun. Let's eat," h e said as he busied himself with a menu.
Ryan smirked at Janna, who grinned and squeezed her hand again.
The three friends enjoyed a scrumptious lunch of sandwiches, salad and s odas. John's wife had accepted Ryan's dinner invitation so they discussed those plans. Ryan was a nxious for her closest friends to become close to her mate as well. They lingered as long as they could, none of them really wanting to part and return to work, but eventually duty called, literally, when a call came over Ryan's and John's radios simultaneously. Ryan bid her love goodby e, looking around quickly before placing a peck on her forehead. "See you later love. My place tonight, right?"
"Right, love. See you then." As Ryan started to leave, Janna's face took on a concerned look and she called "Be careful."
Ryan gave her a sober smile and replied, "Always love. Don't worry."
Janna smiled weakly and nodded, knowing there was no way in hell that sh e wouldn't worry. Not as long as her partner was in this line of work. Oh, God...Now I so understand what cops' wives go through.
John and his wife Sara arrived at 7:00, John with a twelve pack of Foste r's under one arm, and another twelve of Corona under the other, his wife carrying a bottle of fin e champagne. As their noses detected the delicious aroma of barbecued food, they heard the strain s of a Melissa Etheridge song coming from the rear yard, so they walked around that way, a long the perfectly sculptured flowerbeds that lined the driveway. As they rounded the corner i nto the backyard, they stopped short and gazed with wonder at the lovely sight before them.
Ryan and Janna were dancing together on the deck, swaying slowly to a quiet love song in a tight embrace. Ryan had one arm wrapped around her love's waist, while holding a barbecue utens il in the other hand. Janna's hands were wrapped around Ryan's waist, her head resting on R yan's chest. They both had expressions of pure bliss on their faces, and John and Sara w ere loath to interrupt them until the song had ended.
As the last of the song died out, they shared a quiet kiss, and as they parted and Ryan turned back to the grill, John announced their presence by clearing his throat. "V ery nice guys" he grinned as his wife stood next to him, her face mirroring his. Ryan grinned cutely and seeing that they were loaded down with drinks, hurriedly dropped her utensil and rushed to unburden them as she introduced Janna to Sara.
"Nice to meet you, Sara", Janna said as she clasped Sara's hand. "I've h eard some nice things about John's "better half!"
Sara grinned and replied, "And I've heard wonderful things about Ryan's. Nice to meet you Janna." She then offered her help in the kitchen and followed Janna inside, the two women immediately comfortable with each other and chattering away. After loading the beer bottles into a large cooler, Ryan returned to her grilling, Corona in one hand. John sau ntered over and said, "Uh, you did remember that Sara's not much of a beef eater, didn't you?"
Ryan directed a sharp gaze at him and replied, "Yes, John. Hence the chi cken here on the grill. See, it has Sara's name written all over it."
"All right smart ass, just making sure" he answered as he grabbed a Fost er's for himself and came to sit on the bench near the grill.
"Actually", Ryan added, "Janna's not much of a meat eater either, so she 's made a couple of salads and some sort of quiche-type thing."
At that John wrinkled his nose a little and Ryan laughed, saying, "I kno w, but do me a favor and at least try it. It really is good."
"Well if she got you to try it then it must be safe." He grinned as she swatted him with her dishtowel.
Eyeing her partner, Ryan commented, "You're sure in a good mood. What ha ppened, you get lucky?" She grinned around her bottle as she took a jaunty swig.
"Nope, but I'll bet you did."
Ryan nearly sprayed her beer across the deck. "Shit, John!" then bringin g her hand up to wipe her mouth added, "Jesus!"
"Well?" John awaited her reply with a grin.
Looking humbled, she replied, "Yes, but..."
"Hah! I am so good! I knew it. I can read you like a book, pardner!"
"Oh, you think you're good. That's not what I hear Sara says" smi rked Ryan, trying to even the score.
"Ryan, I am the bes..." John started but was interrupted by the reappear ance of their ladies, who were bearing dishes of food. Ryan and John both rushed to their aid and received pleased smiles from their mates.
"Good timing ladies, the meat's about done. Why don't we have a seat?" suggested the chef.
Seating herself next to her husband, Sara commented, "Oh, Ryan, Janna, e verything looks and smells wonderful!" Sara was a short, blue-eyed blonde, who complemented her husband's fair looks. Her bubbly disposition also matched his.
Janna replied warmly, "Thanks Sara". Nodding her agreement, Ryan announc ed, "Okay, dig in everyone!"
Ryan started to go for the plate of meat but John stood and held up his hands, saying, "Wait a minute! I have a little business to conduct first. Sara, honey, hand me the Champagne, will you?"
Ryan and Janna looked at each other, puzzled, as Sara complied, producin g four wine glasses as well, and John carefully popped the cork and poured the champagne.
"I want to offer a little toast." He raised his glass and waited for the others to follow. "To Ryan and Janna, may your obvious happiness be long-lived", then looking at Janna , he continued, "and to you, Janna, for coming into my partner's life and making her so hap py. She's a hell of a lot easier to work with now!"
Everyone laughed as Ryan groaned and they happily downed their drinks. T hey all went on to enjoy both the meal and the company enormously.
Later, over a dessert of strawberry shortcake and coffee, the four frien ds sat companionably around Ryan's comfortable family room, visiting and sharing stories. John a nd Sara were regaling Janna with stories of Ryan's exploits and achievements, to her emb arrassment. Janna loved it however, getting a further glimpse into her complex partner. She w as snuggled against Ryan's side on the loveseat, while John and Sara shared the couch.
During a lull in the conversation, John quietly said, "So, guys, if you don't mind my asking, are you planning on moving in together?"
Ryan and Janna both looked surprised, with Ryan answering, "Uh, yeah, we haven't talked about it in detail yet, but it's what we both want, eventually." She looked questioningly at Janna, who nodded her agreement. Then, warmed by her lover's smile, added, "I thin k it will be sooner rather than later though" and gave her love a squeeze.
Clearing his throat, John continued, "The reason I ask is... and I don't want to put any pressure on you Ry, but well, now that Sara has finished her degree, we want to star t a family, and well..." he stammered before his wife took over for him.
"Ryan, what he's trying to say is that we want to buy a house in this ne ighborhood, and is there any chance that yours might become available in the near future?" She patte d her husband's knee as she smiled at Ryan.
"You're starting a family? Oh, you guys that's great!" exclaimed Ryan. p>
"Congratulations" said Janna warmly.
"Well, we're not pregnant yet. I just went off the pill last month. It c ould take a little while."
"Still, Sara, John, I'm happy for you. You'll make great parents." Ryan said sincerely. Then added, "As far as the house, yeah, I guess I need to give that some thought . There's no one I'd rather see in it, that's for sure." Looking thoughtfully at Janna she added , "Janna and I need to discuss it, but I suppose we would use her place. It's bigger and she's bui lding a darkroom and studio so she can work at home." Then thoughtfully, "I guess that would be the most practical move."
Beside her, Janna rubbed her leg, and added, "Plus, honey, I don't have a mortgage ... just a construction loan, which is nearly paid off."
"That's a definite plus" she responded with a grin. "Not to mention the gazebo and spa arriving next week," she added with a wink. Then she directed her gaze to the Stewar ts and said, "Yeah, I guess you probably can count on the house."
Janna nodded, intertwining her fingers with Ryan's, which rested on her side.
"We appreciate that a lot, Ry, but you take a while to think about it an d then let us know, okay? We kind of just wanted to let you know we were interested," John said.
"Yes, please don't feel pressured. There are plenty of available houses around here," Sara added.
"Okay, we'll definitely talk about it and let you guys know soon," respo nded Ryan.
"Great, thanks guys" John said sincerely.
"Yes, thank you," added Sara. Then, checking her watch, she noted the ti me and suggested they get going.
After bidding their friends farewell and cleaning the kitchen, Ryan and Janna made their way arm-in-arm up the stairs to Ryan's bedroom. Janna had not yet seen the room and was very pleasantly surprised to see several Native American prints on the walls, in cluding two large R.C. Gorman paintings.
"Oh, my God, honey, this room is beautiful." Her eyes were drawn to the beautiful images of Native American women above the bed. "Are those R.C. Gormans?"
"Yep", Ryan replied proudly, "they cost me an arm and a leg, but I love them."
"Oh, they're gorgeous. I love his work!" Janna sighed.
Giving her lover a squeeze, Ryan replied warmly, "I'm so glad you like t hem. That makes me happy." She thought for a minute and then added, "You think you can find a place for them in your house?"
"Oh, honey, could I! How soon would you like to move yourself and your R .C. Gormans into my place?" She asked with a twinkle in her eye.
Eyes sparkling as well, Ryan replied, grinning "How about yesterday?"
"Have I told you today how much I love you?" the small blonde asked.
"Yep, and you showed me too. Wanna show me again?" Raised eyebrows and a wolfish grin accompanied the question.
Janna answered her by slowly removing her own clothes and then approachi ng Ryan and, oh so slowly, removing hers as well. The process was slowed considerably by the fact that as she removed each article of Ryan's clothing, she thoroughly kissed and tasted e ach newly bared area. By the time she was naked, Ryan could barely contain her desire and J anna was quickly scooped up bodily and carried to the bed, where both women commenced showin g each other how very loved they were.
After their lovemaking, and before falling asleep, they lay in each other's arms and discussed their ideas for settling down together. Though Ryan loved her home and had put much love and sweat equity into it, she was not displeased with the idea of John and Sara making their home there. And, of course, she wanted very much to live with Janna and was look ing forward to their spending all of their time together in their own home. The more she t hought about it, the more convinced she became that a move very soon would be appropriate.
Janna agreed. Her head was full of ideas for how to make Ryan comfortabl e there. Her first plan, after the spa was installed of course, was to add an exercise room. S he had two unused bedrooms upstairs and one downstairs that they could make use of for that p urpose. She also thought that Ryan might like an office of her own, perhaps in the room next to her office. She presented these ideas to Ryan and they discussed them late into the night. Or, rather, early into the morning.
The next morning, it became apparent to both Janna and Ryan that they we re already falling into a comfortable routine. This morning, as yesterday, they awoke at 6:00, spen t some quality intimate time together, then showered together (ostensibly to save time, bu t in reality for completely different reasons altogether that actually prolonged the event), and after a quick breakfast, they were out the door by 7:30.
This early morning experience was a very new one for Janna. For the bett er part of fifteen years she had kept a very late-night schedule and rarely woke before the crack of noon. Once she arrived at her place, however, Janna surprised herself by not returning to bed. She found that all the early-morning activity with Ryan actually energized her, and she was ea ger to get to work. Focusing on the work, however, was another matter. This day she found herse lf in the same dilemma as the previous, having a difficult time concentrating on anything other than her absent partner.
After some soul searching, she decided that the answer might be to try t o center herself better after Ryan's departure. She devised a routine consisting of Reiki, meditati on and yoga, and committed herself to practicing it daily.
Janna started by smudging the family room with sage and cedar to cleanse the space, and she lit some candles. Then she put on a quiet, new age cd, and placed a large pillo w on the floor in the center of the room, which she sat on. She then entered into a Reiki meditat ion that she had been taught by her teachers. The Reiki left her feeling incredibly relaxed and b alanced and she thanked God/the Creator/the Universe once again for bringing it into her li fe.
During the meditation, she connected strongly with Ryan. Besides the strong, constant feeling of love that she now identified with her partner, she felt, for a few minutes, a feeling of acute stress and anxiety. She noted the time: 10:15 and determined to ask Ryan about what ha d happened then. She sent calming energy to her partner and felt the anxiety melt away.
After the meditation she did yoga for half an hour, after which she felt very serene. She picked up her acoustic, sat on the couch, and slowly ran through some fingering ex ercises. Suddenly, Janna was filled with an inner peace and she realized that she had achieved the balance that she had been seeking by coming home. Her balance was Ryan. With great tears of joy, she realized that she had found the key to life, to happiness. "Thank you God!"
As she sat there contemplating her happiness, her link with Ryan began t o vibrate pleasantly, or thrum as she like to think of it. She smiled and reached for the telephone even before it began to ring.
"Zamora-Norden residence" she answered cheerily, and was rewarded by a r ich, hearty laugh from her soul mate.
"Sweetheart, one day you may be wrong about who's on the line, do you re alize that?" came the happy voice.
"Nah, not when it's you, love" she replied, settling her legs comfortabl y over the arm of the couch and lying down. "Our link gives you away."
"Janna, that is so incredibly cool!" Ryan laughed. "What a gift it is. W hat a gift you are" she said, sincerity filling her voice.
"Thank you sweetheart. You are too, you know."
"Thanks love." Then changing the subject, "Hey, I had a minute so I want ed to ask you something. About an hour or so ago we had a sticky situation to deal with a nd I was feeling pretty tense, but then it just went away and I felt our link. Or, our love or whatever that is. What was up with that, do you know?"
"Yeah, hon. I was meditating with Reiki and just naturally reached out t o you. I felt your tension so I sent calming energy." Then alarmed, she added, "Was that okay Ryan? I didn't consider that I might be interfering, it just sort of happened without my thinking a bout it." Confusion knit her brows.
Ryan answered, "Oh, babe it was fine. Great actually. I think it may hav e helped me to get a clear enough head to defuse the situation. We were trying to get a knife aw ay from an unstable homeless guy who was threatening a cashier and he suddenly came at me. Ther e were several kids around complicating the issue, so we were walking on eggshells. But wh en I suddenly felt calm it was as if I could see all the angles at once and I knew what I had to do. I got the knife and John subdued him easily. It was a very cool experience. John's looking at me like I just walked on water, but I thought you might have had something to do with it, Janna," she added with a smile.
"God, Ryan, I'm so glad I could help. Honey, I really want to start tuto ring you on these techniques. I need for you to be as safe as possible out there. I couldn't bear..." She suddenly became choked up with emotion and couldn't continue.
"Shh, sweetheart. I'm okay. I feel like I now have a guardian angel watc hing over me. We make a great team Janna." Now Ryan was choked up.
"Yes we do. The best. We truly complete each other Ryan."
"Yes, love, we do." She cleared the emotion from her throat and went on, "Hey, we're at the station now making a report. Want to meet for lunch?"
"Oh, yeah, lets. Where?"
"Why don't we meet in City Square, near the fountain, in an hour? Would you mind picking up some sandwiches and drinks?"
"Sounds good, love. Lunch and I will see you in an hour."
"Super. Bye sweetheart. Love you."
"Bye Ryan. Love you too."
Janna clicked off the phone and rested it absentmindedly on her chest as she mused. Oh my God. What is going on with this link? This situation j ust gets more and more incredible by the minute. But it's really happening...cool!"
Ryan and Janna had a wonderful lunch together. They had met by the fount ains in the middle of City Square. The Square, a shady, tree-filled plaza bordered on two sides b y the Police Station and the County Courthouse and on the other two by recently redeveloped aven ues of small shops, cafes and restaurants, was the center point of the city's redevelopm ent efforts. It was a beautiful day, the Delta breeze having returned, both blowing away the polluted haze and cooling the region somewhat. It was a downright chilly (for July in the valley) 90 degrees in the shade. With the return of the breeze, the sky had regained that beautif ul, intense blue shade which matched Ryan's eyes.
Ryan waited for Janna on a shady bench facing the fountain, enjoying the play of the water against the brilliant sky and the cooling mist it created. Her right arm re sted along the back of the bench as she stretched her long, tan legs out in front of her. Her appe arance was that of a cop relaxing on her lunch hour, but in reality she never completely relaxed . She was always observant, always alert and prepared to react. Through her mirrored sunglas ses, nothing escaped her notice. She was aware of all of the activity on her periphery a t all times.
And so it was that she noticed Janna's approach long before the blonde s aw her. She watched her lover striding toward the square wearing a running tank, shorts and run ning shoes, and carrying a white paper bag. She admired Janna's pleasant veneer; blonde hai r blowing in the breeze, her happy smile indicating her enjoyment of the nice day, sunglasse s reflecting the sun and the tall buildings surrounding her and her lean, fit body. Ryan's heart warmed at her lover's beauty and at her growing proximity.
As Janna approached City Square she looked around briefly, trying to spy her partner. Then she saw her, an absolute vision before her, relaxing on a bench, oblivious to all but Janna at the moment, including the stares from admiring passersby. Ryan was looking dire ctly at her, a huge, crooked grin on her face. Janna's heart began to race, her pulse pounding, as she approached her beautiful partner. My God, she looks great in that uniform.
Ryan stood to greet her and reached for her hands, taking the bag from h er at the same time. "Hi sweetheart", she greeted Janna warmly before kissing her cheek and help ing her to her seat on the bench. Chivalry is so not dead Janna thought happily a s she held Ryan's outstretched hand and sat.
"Hi love. Are you at all aware of how gorgeous you look?" Janna grinned.
"I could say the same for you." Ryan smiled. "Did you walk here?"
"Yep. I need to start getting into shape and it's so gorgeous out that I couldn't resist."
Ryan leered at her gently and drawled, "Baby, you are already in perfect shape."
"Thank you, sweetheart, but I'm not. If I'm going to try out for your te am, I have a lot of strengthening to do first."
"Well, that's true. If you don't prepare your body, you'll injure it for sure. We can start right away if you want, concentrate on your legs until your right arm is ready" R yan replied thoughtfully, then added," You want to meet me at the gym after my shift? W e can get started on a program. This is my regular workout day."
"Yes, that would be great. Are you sure it's okay for me to work out the re?"
"Yes, spouses are welcome. There are usually a few wives in there when I work out."
Janna sat numbly, staring at the fountain, tears filling her eyes behind her sunglasses. She considers me her spouse? That realization made her happier than she had ever felt in her life. I had no idea that it was possible to love someone this much.
Ryan, oblivious to Janna's bewildered joy, peered into the bag she held. "Whatcha bring for lunch?" she asked as she pulled out two large deli sandwiches and sodas.
Janna shook herself back to the present and replied, "Oh, um, I got vegg ie for me and a hoagie for you, okay?"
"It's perfect sweetheart!" Ryan smiled warmly and rejoiced in the connec tion she shared with this woman. She already knows me so well. And loves me anyway. Amazing.< /i> She dug into her sandwich, amazement written on her beautiful features as she chewed.
They ate in a companionable silence for a while, enjoying each other's c ompany and the beautiful day.
"So, how has your day gone ... besides that little incident I mean" Jann a asked between bites of her sandwich.
"It's been pretty quiet except for that. Mainly just the usual stuff" Ry an replied and then took another bite.
"So tell me, what does 'the usual stuff' entail," asked Janna curiously.
"Oh, things like moving loiterers along, domestic problems, mediating mi nor disputes, traffic problems, a variety of stuff, really. Mainly though we just maintain a pres ence. The department calls it 'Community Policing'. We get to know all the business owners and r esidents, become a friendly, constant presence in their lives. It comforts the law abiding fol ks and discourages the less than reputable types from doing their business here."
"Sounds like a good arrangement for the neighborhood."
"Yes, it is. And you know, with all the redevelopment down here, they wa nt people to, number one, feel this is a safe enough place to visit, and number two, to be safe once they're here. The crime rate here has dropped so I think we do a good job of it, personally."
"It appears that you do. Are you and John the only bike patrol cops? I h aven't noticed any others."
"No there's a squad of us, eight in total. We share this twenty-square b lock beat, plus the malls out north once in a while. We also rotate other duties, like policing speci al events and community outreach in schools and the malls. John and I are the main beat c ops here downtown though. I also usually volunteer to work most of the special event jobs. I really like the change of pace ... interacting with the public and with kids, especially." Ryan turne d her attention back to her sandwich.
Janna nodded thoughtfully as she sipped her Coke, then said sincerely, " It sounds like a wonderful career, Ryan, and you seem to be a fine police officer. This city is lucky to have you."
Ryan caressed the hand lying between them and said, "Thanks, honey. I ap preciate hearing that." She glanced around them and returned her steady gaze to Janna, sayin g, "I wish I could kiss you right now." She smiled wryly and shrugged.
"I do too, sweetheart. How about we plan a special evening?" Then she ad ded seductively, "Perhaps something involving melted chocolate, strawberries and the whirlpo ol?"
Ryan's breath caught and the look of pure longing on her face warmed Jan na from the inside out. She could also feel Ryan's desire through their link.
"I'll just take that as a yes, love!"
Ryan simply grinned and nodded dumbly.
Janna giggled. She can be so much like a guy sometimes - but only in the cute ways, thank God!
Ryan eyed her suspiciously, "What are you giggling at?"
"You. You're so cute! And I love you very much" she added sincerely.
That produced a big, warm smile and, "I love you too baby." Then she che cked her watch and groaned, "Well, I need to get back to the station. You wanna come with me a nd I'll show you where the gym is?"
"Sure!" She collected all of their trash into the bag and tossed it into a can near their bench as they got up to go across the street to the station. As they walked, Janna a sked Ryan, "Honey, are you okay with your coworkers knowing about us?"
Ryan placed her hand on Janna's back as they crossed the busy intersecti on and replied, "Yes. I've always been out, so it's no secret that I'm gay, and I have no problem with them knowing that I'm with someone now." She glanced shyly at Janna and smiled, adding, "I'm actually very proud of my beautiful girlfriend and won't mind showing her off a little."
Janna blushed at the compliment. "And I'm exceptionally proud of my beau tiful girlfriend, and I won't mind letting the other women know that she's off limits now", she replied smugly.
"Oh, I am huh?" Ryan grinned, then added, "I've gotta tell ya sweetheart , I've been off limits here for years."
Janna found herself inordinately pleased at that revelation, and Ryan fe lt that through their connection and smiled widely as they entered the Police Station.
The Police Station was housed in an attractive, modern two-story buildin g and the front doors opened into a wide reception area. Ryan walked straight ahead to a desk and checked in with the Sergeant.
The big man behind the counter looked up at her from his paperwork. "Zam ora, I'm glad you stopped by. This just came over. You have an arraignment hearing at 4:00 onthat gay-bashing case."
"Good, thanks Gary. Does Stewart know?"
"Nope, I haven't seen him yet."
"I'll let him know, thanks."
The desk Sergeant buzzed the security gate open for her and Ryan led Jan na through and down a straight hallway. She sensed her partner's disquiet, and glanced at her.
"Janna, honey, it's okay. There's no way he'll be able to make bail. In fact, the charges against him are so serious that bail may not be an option."
Janna sighed and took Ryan's arm. "I know that, on an intellectual level , but on an emotional level, all I can think about is that baseball bat hitting me. Or how I felt thinking he was going to kill Jay Jay with it. My gut's tied up in knots."
They arrived at the doorway to the gym, and seeing no one inside at the moment, Ryan led Janna in. Once inside she wrapped Janna into an embrace and held her for a long moment. The knot at Janna's center eased somewhat at the loving contact.
"Sweetheart, I'm here for you, in whatever capacity you need me to be. W e'll work this out together." Then pulling back slightly and looking pointedly at Janna, she a dded, "I want you to know, without any doubt, that he will never hurt you again. He would have t o get past me, and that just is not gonna happen." She pulled Janna back tightly against herse lf and kissed her head, lumps forming in her own gut and in her throat, vowing silently to herself. There is no way in hell that anyone will ever touch her again. I'll kill any fucker that so mu ch as thinks about it.
Janna felt Ryan's resolution and was comforted by it. She nuzzled Ryan's chest and mumbled, "My protector, huh?"
Ryan embraced her more tightly and replied, "Forever."
"I have a strong feeling that you always have been."
Tears coming to her eyes, Ryan answered, "And I have a strong feeling th at you've always been by my side."
"And always will be love."
They stood holding each other there just inside the gym for long minutes . The comfort they provided each other was immeasurable. Ryan broke apart slightly and leaned in for a kiss, which Janna responded to sweetly.
"God, I love you Janna."
"I'm so glad for that Ryan, because you are everything to me."
Grinning, Ryan stepped back from her lover. "Well, I could stand here an d do this all day, but I think my other partner would object. Think you can find your way here againlater?"
"Sure can. Will the desk sergeant know to let me in?"
"Let's go talk to him now. I'll sign you up for gym privileges and get y ou an ID badge." They left the gym and started back down the hallway, hand in hand. More than one of Ryan's coworkers raised eyebrows or smiled as they passed them but the two lovers were oblivious to the attention.
"Cool, what will the badge say?" Janna grinned.
"How about, 'Janna Zamora'?" Ryan replied, only half joking.
Janna stopped and looked at Ryan seriously, "I can live with that." Ryan 's face broke into a wide grin and Janna added, smiling, "But how do you feel about 'Janna Norde n-Zamora'?"
"I love it!" Ryan beamed, then added more seriously, "We're gonna have t o do something about that real soon."
Looking up at her love with complete devotion, Janna answered, "Yeah, we are. Real soon."
They arrived at the front desk and Ryan completed the necessary forms th at would allow Janna guest privileges at the gym. The no-nonsense sergeant didn't so much as bat an eye when he looked over the form and noted that under "Privilege type", Ryan had checke d "Spousal".
The Sergeant asked Janna to step over to another counter where a camera was set up in front of a screen and he took her photo as Ryan looked on proudly. Sixty seconds later, a pho to ID badge was emitted from the printer and he handed it to Janna.
"Okay, Ms. Norden, you're all set. If you come before end of the day shi ft, you'll see me here and I'll just buzz you through. If its one of the other shifts, just show y our ID", he instructed. "You'll need to wear it at all times while you're in the station here."
"Great. Thanks Sergeant." He nodded industriously and returned to his pa perwork.
Ryan took Janna's arm and they stepped through the gate and into a small alcove, away from prying eyes.
"Ok, sweetheart, I'll meet you back here later. I should be here between 6:00 and 6:15, but if I'm delayed, I'll leave a message for you at the desk."
"Okay, love." Then, seriousness clouding her green eyes, "Good luck at t he hearing."
"Don't worry Janna. Those assholes are going down." Ryan rubbed her part ners arms and pulled her into a hug. "I love you sweetheart. See you later."
"Love you too. Bye."
As Janna walked home, she had much to contemplate. She was worried about the outcome of the hearing, and that of a trial if it came to that, but she actually felt surprisingly reassured that all would turn out well. And she knew, with every fiber of her being, that Ryan would do everything within her considerable power to not let anything happen to her. She trusted in Ryan completely. She fingered her new ID badge as she walked along the busy aven ue and recalled Ryan's look of pride as she was photographed. I need to marry that woman very soon, I think.
As she thought of Ryan, she felt warmed. Through their link, she knew th at Ryan was feeling the same warm, fuzzy feeling at that very moment. She marveled at the incredibl e good fortune that the Universe had bestowed upon her. Ryan is my destiny. I came home to f ind her...to find the other half of my soul. Now she wants to marry me! I have truly found he aven on Earth. She said a silent prayer of thanks and made her way home along t he busy streets of her partner's patrol beat.
Ryan entered the woman's locker room and sat on the bench in front of her locker. She took a long swig from her large water bottle and began removing her uniform. The c ool, conditioned air felt good on her overheated skin. She removed her vest and sat for a few mi nutes in her sports bra and shorts, enjoying a brief rest and reflecting on her day.
It had been a long day, despite the pleasant interlude with Janna. The hearing had gone quickly, and pretty much as she had expected: Joe Simpson, the batsman, had been ord ered held without bail. His cohort's bail was set at $250,000.
The three hours prior to the hearing, which had seen Ryan pedaling out in the heat and dealing with a seemingly inordin ate amount of human stupidity, left her in a sour mood by the time she and John entered the cou rtroom. As the accused were brought in, she had to fight the urge to vault the divider sep arating them and rip the guys' heads off. She sat, seething with a boiling anger. The perpetrato rs had smug grins on their faces, obviously unrepentant and without remorse, especially as they glanced at Ryan. When they did so however, she fixed an icy, hate-filled glare on them and t hey both visibly paled, looking quickly away. When the Judge administered her decree, Ryan i mmediately stood, fixed them with another menacing glare, followed by a cold, snarling smile and turned to leave, her partner following quickly behind her.
"That went as expected, at least, " her partner remarked as he caught up to her."
"Yeah" she answered coldly.
"Hey, Ry, those guys are going away-there's no question."
"They'll probably plead it down and be out in two years, after which you may be arresting me for murder." Ryan stopped and took a breath. "I want to kill those sons of bitches John. With my bare hands." The anger was visibly rolling off of her now, and John knew to watch his step.
"Maybe not. They seemed pretty arrogant in there, at first, anyway." He grinned and she relaxed a bit. "They may be stupid enough to try to beat it. They certainly look stupid enough to try it."
"Yeah, maybe", Ryan conceded. "Come on, we've only got another hour left , let's just finish up some paperwork."
Ryan was brought back to the present when two cops entered the locker ro om. She stood up to leave and heard, "Ryan! What's this we hear about a girlfriend?"
"So I've got a girlfriend, Mary, so the hell what?" she growled.
"Ooh, sorry, bad day?" her coworker asked, rather sincerely.
Ryan blew out a breath, responding, "Yeah Mary, sorry. I had the gay-bas hing arraignment this afternoon." As she passed the two women she added, "I'm gonna go work out. See you tomorrow."
"Sure Ry, see you then. Hey, take it out on the machines all right?" she added as she shrugged at her friend.
As Ryan entered the gym and spotted her soul mate, most of the pent up a nger left her body. She made a beeline for Janna and wrapped her in her arms, not caring that t here were several men and another woman in the room looking on.
Janna could sense her partner's frustration, indeed had been feeling it for the last hour, and held Ryan tightly. "Hi baby, rough day?"
"Oh, God, yeah." She pulled back and looked at Janna sheepishly. "I bare ly restrained myself from committing murder in the courtroom today."
"Why, what happened?"
"Oh, those two assholes were just so god damned smug. The one that hurt you looked at me and grinned and I could've ripped his fucking head off."
"Then you would be in jail. Ryan, promise me that you won't do anything to those guys, no matter what happens. Please?" she pleaded. "I need you here with me", she i mplored with serious green eyes.
Ryan's anger softened even more as she gazed at Janna's concerned featur es. "Okay, I promise." She caressed Janna's cheek and leaned down, kissing her soundly.
A chorus of hoots and whistles accompanied the action and Ryan grinned a nd flipped them the finger as Janna blushed. "Come on", Ryan said, pulling Janna along, "I'll s how you the locker room."
After returning from the gym's locker room and showers, where they had s hared another, more private, kiss, Ryan introduced Janna to the various Nautilus and weight lif ting machines, as well as the free weight area. They chose three leg machines for Janna to start o ut on and Ryan coached her through three sets of ten repetitions each. After that, Janna s potted for Ryan as she did bench presses and then they returned to the machines, where Ryan did an upper-body work out.
As Ryan sat at the chest press machine, using a very impressive amount o f weights, Janna sat on a nearby bench and watched her partner in awe. She was breathtaking. She wa s clad only in her sports bra and shorts and her body was covered by a thin sheen of sweat . As she lifted, her arm, shoulder and chest muscles rippled, and her tight, six-pack abdominals were highlighted. Oh my God. She's a Goddess. An absolute Goddess. As she continued to watch Ryan work out, admiring the sight, she devised a plan for their intimate pursuit s later that evening. By the time Ryan was finished, Janna was more flushed than she was.
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