The Journey
By Janet Lynne

Part 6

-11-

See Part 1 for disclaimers

The mid day sun sat high overhead as Ryan paid the fee for the tour of the pueblo. They had visited it only one year previously, but both felt strongly drawn to take the tour again, wanting to re-experience the home of their past-life selves.

As they walked through the narrow adobe passageways of the ancient dwelling, Ryan felt drawn to stop for a moment. She grabbed Janna's hand and gently pulled her to a stop, letting the tour continue without them.

"What is it, honey?" Janna asked quietly. "I think they want us to stay with the group."

"I don't know, Janna. I felt like I should stop here for a minute," Ryan muttered, feeling a distinct tingling in her skin.

"Okay," Janna said as she looked around them. Just to their right was a small room and Ryan turned to enter it. "Ryan...um...should you go in there, love?" Janna asked as she cautiously looked to see if they were being observed.

"Probably not, but I feel like it's drawing me in." Ryan whispered as she continued on into the room.

A shaft of yellow light illuminated the space and as she stood in the middle of the room, cradling her baby to her chest, Ryan experienced a very strong sense of being at home.

"Janna," she murmured reverently. "We lived here." She gazed seriously at her wife as she added, "In this room."

Janna was struck by Ryan's direct gaze and looked around her at the old yellow walls, taking a deep breath. "Yes," she said as she turned in a circle. "I'm feeling that too, now."

Ryan pulled Janna against her as they stood in the middle of the room, soaking in it's ambiance. Halley, as well, seemed to take notice and turned her tiny head slowly to try to gaze at the old walls.

"Look at the baby, Ryan...she's picking up on it too, I'll bet."

"Yes."

Ryan removed her arm from Janna's shoulders and walked to a corner. She placed a hand on each of the walls and closed her eyes. Breathing deeply, she calmed and grounded herself, letting the familiarity of the room surround her, fill her. Suddenly, she heard voices, not much more than whispers, but she could tell that the language was not English. Beyond the voices, even more faintly in the background she could hear drumming, and beyond that, as if outside, the laughter of children playing. Then she detected the distinct aroma of wood smoke...mesquite, pinon?...and what smelled like baking bread.

Janna joined her and closed her eyes as well. She began to feel, to experience, the same thing. She opened her eyes and turned, and saw that the room was no longer empty. Against the wall opposite her was a thick pile of bedding. In the center of the room sat a kind of clay or stone hearth, and along the edges of the walls were neatly stacked pottery jars of varying sizes, as well as leather and skin bags, piles of furs, and various tools and implements. On the wall above the bedding hung several drums and a flute-type instrument, and a woven blanket covered the doorway.

She turned to Ryan beside her and could tell by her wide-eyed stare that she was seeing the same thing. Gently, silently, she grasped Ryan's hand and her mate looked down at her and swallowed as she nodded. They both looked toward the doorway just then as a man and woman entered, laughing. They were Indian, both wearing their long hair in braids, and dressed in simple leather clothing. The tall, strong man kissed his wife's cheek before turning her and unlacing the carrier on her back, and removing a tiny sleeping baby. He held the infant tenderly in his arms as he and his mate gazed down upon it. Then slowly, gingerly, he laid the infant in a small woven cradle next to the sleeping blankets.

His wife stood beside him and gazed adoringly at him as he put their child to bed. Then he stood and faced her, pulling her into his arms with a wide grin. She smiled warmly at him as she threw her hands around his neck. He said something to her, very softly and she replied before leaning forward and kissing him. Their kiss deepened and then he led her to the bed, where he sat and pulled her gently down onto his lap. They kissed again, their love so strong and obvious that Ryan and Janna could feel it's energy fill the room, and then, they slowly faded from view.

As the couple, their former selves, disappeared, Ryan felt faint and leaned against the wall behind her, pulling Janna with her. They stood together, speechless, trying to process what they had just seen.

Ryan broke the silence first, several minutes later. "Oh my God, Janna. Was that what I think it was?" She turned shocked blue eyes on her mate.

Janna rubbed her hands along her arms, where the hair was still standing on end. "Yes, Ryan, I think it was. That was incredible."

"It was us, Janna." Not a question.

"Yes, I know." She blew out a breath. "Wow, I feel...drained."

"Janna, that was freakin' mind blowing."

"You're not kidding, Ryan. I think I need some fresh air."

"Right, baby. Let's go." She wrapped her arm protectively around Janna's shoulders and guided her out of the room. They reached the doorway, and she stopped and turned. They both gazed silently back into their long-ago home, taking in and storing away the incredible scene they had just witnessed.

They exited the dim, ancient building into the glaring sun. The mountain air was fresh and cool, however, and they both drank it in thirstily.

Ryan ran her hands through her hair and grinned at Janna, shaking her head. "Jesus, baby..."

Janna returned the grin and grabbed Ryan's arm. "Come on...I need a drink."

Ryan chuckled, wondering just what her mate considered "a drink," since they both had to abstain while breastfeeding. She found out a moment later, however, when Janna led them to their truck and retrieved an ice-cold bottle of spring water from the ice chest. Ryan grabbed the offered bottle with a wide grin and gulped the refreshment down. She wiped her mouth and handed the bottle to Janna, who drank just as thirstily.

"Whew...I guess time travel takes a lot out of you," she said with a grin.

"Definitely babe," Ryan replied, matching her grin. "I'll say it again, Janna. That was intense."

Janna shook her head incredulously and grabbed Ryan's hand, leading her to a pine-shaded bench. "My studies have taught me that stone...rocks...hold onto energy for a long time. I guess it's the same with adobe. Unless it's a particular energy that we were able to dial into because of our history there."

"I don't know, babe...but I would like to understand it." She pulled Janna against her side as she took another sip of water. Glancing at the pueblo again, she added, "I suppose we can ask the spirit dudes about it."

"Yeah, they'll be able to explain it to us." She grinned up at her mate. "Remind me to add it to the list when we get home."

"Done, babe." Ryan's gaze dropped from the pueblo down to her baby daughter. "She's asleep again, Janna. I wonder if that was too intense for her."

"If she even noticed it, love."

"I mean the energy, Janna. She had to have picked up on that."

"True. It was intense in there even before we saw the vision."

"That it was, love." Ryan sighed and leaned back, looking up at the brilliant blue sky above. "Janna, if I had happened on this place without ever having met you, I'll bet I wouldn't have picked up on any of that. The things you have introduced me too have opened up my perceptions so incredibly, it's almost like I'm a completely different person."

"Ryan, I don't know. I still think you would have gotten here at some point. The whole planet is changing, remember. The Age of Aquarius is definitely beginning and everyone's perceptions are expanding now." She looked at her mate and squeezed her hand. "Don't sell yourself short, Ryan...please?"

"It's not so much that, Janna, as recognizing how much you've enriched my life. I appreciate it, baby. I appreciate you."

Janna was warmed by the statement and showed it in her smile. "Thanks, Ryan."

"Any time, my love. Hey, um, why don't we stop in and see our friend over in the shop across the way there?" She nodded toward the nearby row of small shops.

"Great. After you, love."

Lynn Littlefeather looked up from her stock book as the faint chime announced a customer. As she noted the entry of the two familiar women, she smiled. Ah, it's good to see them again. She was struck by the happy, glowing countenance both women sported. They look very well. She smiled as the tall woman looked her way, a charming grin lighting her face as she rested her arm lazily about her mate's shoulders, and nodded at Lynn. The woman's mate graced her with a smile too...a warm, sincere smile that spoke of long time friendship rather than mere acquaintanceship.

Ryan approached the friendly woman who had unselfishly offered her advice a year earlier. That advice had helped to steer her and Janna through the rocky course that fate had thrown their way. She offered her hand to the woman who was smiling graciously at them.

Lynn grasped the warm, strong grip and said, "Welcome back. It's good to see you again. And all healed."

The tall, attractive cop answered, "Thank you. It's good to see you too, and great to be back here." She smiled down at her smaller companion and looked sincerely back at Lynn. "You know, you feel like an old friend to us, but we don't even know your name."

The Native woman smiled and offered her hand. "Lynn Littlefeather. Pleased to meet you."

"Nice to meet you, Lynn. I'm Ryan Norden-Zamora and this is my wife, Janna."

Janna smiled warmly and extended her hand. "Lynn, hi." She softly caressed the baby's head as she said, "And this is our daughter, Halley."

Lynn's features melted into a warm grin as she saw the baby, who had apparently decided that there had been entirely too much going on and had fallen asleep in the pack on her tall Momma's chest.

Ryan continued, "Lynn, we couldn't possibly buy you lunch, could we?"

Lynn returned Ryan's direct gaze and smiled as she said, "That would be very nice, thank you. I can't be away long, though...I don't like to leave my daughter alone here."

Ryan nodded. "I noticed a little café up the block, would that do?"

"Yes, that would be fine...their food is very good. Let me find my daughter and let her know." She turned and exited into a back room, returning a short time later with a teenaged girl. "Ryan, Janna, this is my daughter, Amanda."

Ryan smiled and nodded at the girl, "Hi, Amanda." Janna echoed her greeting.

"Hi." The girl of perhaps sixteen greeted Ryan and Janna with a friendly smile.

"Honey, I won't be long. I'm only expecting one delivery today, but it will probably be later in the afternoon."

"Okay, Mom. Have a nice lunch."

"Can I bring you anything?"

"No, I have my sandwich...oh, another Coke would be nice."

"Okay. See you in a while."

"Bye Mom. Bye," she addressed Ryan and Janna with a wave. They responded with friendly smiles.

The Navajo woman reached behind the counter and picked up a small purse, then led Ryan and Janna from her shop. They walked along the pleasant pueblo-styled outdoor mall and entered a small, charming cafe.

Lynn led them to a quiet corner table next to the window. After ordering salads and sandwiches, and receiving their drinks, Ryan sat back in her chair and eyed Lynn. She had a hunch and vocalized a question.

"So, Lynn...you're not surprised to see us again, are you?"

The Indian woman chuckled and grinned. "No, I'm not. I had a feeling that I would be seeing you again soon."

"Do you mind my asking...are you a medicine woman?" Ryan asked as she sipped her orange soda.

"I don't mind...no, I'm not. I practice the traditional ways, but I am not a shaman. My father is, however, and he is training my daughter."

Ryan nodded. "Ah. The reason I ask is because you seem incredibly perceptive."

"Thank you. I do consider myself psychic, as well as knowledgeable in the old ways. I could ask the same of you two. You both have the feel of shamen about you."

Janna grinned. "Nope, just practitioners in our own small way. We share an Indian heritage and enjoy practicing the traditional arts together."

"Oh, may I ask what tribes you're related to?"

Ryan answered, "Sure. Janna is descended from the Cherokee and I from the Comanche and Navajo."

Lynn nodded sagely. "I am Navajo as well. Welcome, sister."

Janna added, "Our daughter is now affiliated with the Cheyenne tribe as well, through her father's wife."

"That is wonderful. I'm very glad to see people try to carry on the Old Ways. It seems that fewer and fewer of us walk the Red Path any more."

Ryan replied, "We intend to raise our daughter to know of the traditional ways. Actually, I have my wife to thank for bringing me back to my roots. Before I met her, I was not at all involved in my culture...or hadn't been since I was a kid."

"That's wonderful, Janna."

Ryan grasped her wife's hand as she gazed at her. "Yes. I'm eternally grateful." Her sparkling blue eyes were met by equally sparkling green, accompanied by a sweet smile.

Janna added, "Even though I'm just barely blooded, that part of my ancestry has always been very important to me. I'm, um, very proud of my tiny bit of Cherokee blood." She grinned again as her wife squeezed her hand. "Then later, when I became aware of my past lives, I gained an understanding of why I was so interested in those roots. I've had many, many Indian lives. So has my soulmate here, of course."

"Of course," Lynn grinned. She added, "I take it you are aware of the life you had together here?"

Ryan laughed. "Oh yes! Very well aware. We, um, saw ourselves the first time we were here and today we actually met ourselves." Her wide grin lit her beautiful face.

"Yes," Janna exclaimed. "And in a very intense and rather mind-blowing way." She shook her head as she sipped her water. "I think even the baby picked up on the energy."

"That's wonderful...did you have a vision?" Lynn asked, interested.

Ryan looked at Janna and grinned. "You could say that. We were in the pueblo and I felt very strongly drawn to go into one of the rooms. When I went in, I knew...I'm not sure how, but I just knew...that we had lived there...in that very room. Janna felt it too."

Janna nodded her agreement and Ryan continued. "Then, I touched the walls and all of a sudden we were back in that time. We saw our past selves come in with their baby."

Janna continued, excitedly, "Yes! And we could hear other people talking and drumming, and could even smell wood smoke and food baking. It was incredible!"

Lynn smiled warmly at them. "That is wonderful...a very special gift."

The waitress delivered their food then and Ryan waited before asking, her brow furrowed in question, "Lynn, can you tell us what actually was happening? I mean, I know we weren't suddenly whisked physically back in time...so what exactly was that about, do you know?"

"Yes, I think so. Are you aware of the nature of time?" She looked from Ryan to Janna and Janna nodded.

"Somewhat, yes. A spirit guide of mine is fond of saying, 'All time is now'."

Lynn nodded her agreement. "Yes. That is right. Past, present, future...all are happening now...and some people are able to tap into the other timelines, so to speak. Time is not linear, or rather, only seems linear here on the Earth plane. It is fluid, and people gifted with the ability to see into the other realms can look into the past and the future with ease."

Janna nodded. "Yes, that makes sense. So we simply...or I should say, our awareness, simply shifted into the past?"

Lynn smiled. "Yes."

"Jesus," Ryan muttered.

"My God, that is so amazing!" Janna exclaimed with glee.

Lynn then offered, "When you were here the first time, as I was looking at you, my perception shifted and I saw your past selves standing there, looking at your home with your children."

Ryan gasped, "So that's how you knew! I remember, you said, 'Welcome home'. I gotta tell ya, Lynn, you blew me away with that!"

Lynn laughed. "I'm sorry, Ryan. I didn't intend to. I had a sense of what you were seeing, so I thought you would understand."

"That's okay...my wife here understood. She took it in stride."

Janna giggled. "If you say so, honey. That was a new experience for me too, you know." She looked at Lynn and added, "I've been regressed to former lives by a therapist and had done some self regressions...where I had visions...but having it happen right there, as a result of returning to a past life home, that was remarkable." She looked at Ryan as she added, "And I must say, it was remarkably easy...for both of us."

"You have both been shamen and medicine women before." Lynn stated matter-of-factly. "Such skills go with you from life to life...you need only be aware of the fact and then you can tap into that knowledge."

"Yes, I agree with that and I think that we have been shamen, Lynn. Well, we know for certain of a few instances where we were." Janna supplied as Ryan nodded.

"Yep." She took a bite of her sandwich and looked down at Halley as the baby woke up with a huge yawn. "Oh, Janna, looks like someone else is gonna want to eat soon, too."

"Okay, love, it's my turn, I think." Janna said as she leaned over and nuzzled her daughter's fuzzy head with her lips.

"I'll handle it, baby, if you want to eat." Ryan offered.

"Thanks, honey, but you know that's not necessary. I, um... I wonder if I can do it inconspicuously here?" She said as she looked around. It was early afternoon and the café was not terribly crowded.

"I don't see why not, hon. I'm sure there's a blankie in here that you can use," Ryan said as she rummaged though Halley's bag.

"Would you mind if I nursed her here, Lynn?"

Lynn smiled warmly. "Of course not."

"Thanks." Janna stood and reached for the now awake baby, whose features were beginning to show signs of displeasure. "Come here, sweetheart, let's go check your diaper before lunch." She lifted Halley from the snug carrier that Ryan wore and kissed her sweetly before making her way to the nearby restroom.

They returned a few minutes later and Janna said as she sat, "Well, she had reason to be grumpy."

Ryan reached for her daughter so her Mommy could get settled. "Did you have a mess, my precious? Huh, my little puma?" She nuzzled the baby's soft hair, unable to keep from kissing her child. "Give Momma a love, sweetheart." Halley did so, accompanied by a tiny, lopsided grin, and Janna's heart nearly melted at the site.

"My God, you two...that smile that you share." She shook her head with a grin.

"Hear that, little one? Mommy likes our smile. Yes, she does." A dark eyebrow rose rakishly as Ryan felt the pleasure of her mate's attraction to her.

Janna threw the blanket over her shoulder and said, "Okay, love, I'm ready...hand her over."

As Ryan did so, Janna tucked Halley gently under the light blanket, and she latched on. When the familiar light tugging ensued, Janna gave a pleased smile and reached for her chocolate milkshake.

"That's so sweet. It's been a long while since I did that," Lynn mused.

"Do you just have the one daughter, Lynn?" Ryan asked she took another bite of her sandwich.

"No, I have two older sons too. They are both away at school."

Janna frowned. "Oh, that must be hard for you. I don't even want to think about that as far as Halley here is concerned."

Lynn smiled. "It is hard...I miss them...but I had eighteen years to prepare for the occasion. They aren't far...one is in Phoenix and the other is at Albuquerque, so they make it home often. And we go to visit them occasionally, too. Plus, they both plan to return to this area when they're finished."

"That's nice, Lynn. I'm glad." Ryan offered with a smile.

The three women, former strangers who had much in common, enjoyed the rest of their quick meal together and returned shortly thereafter to Lynn's store.

Ryan bought Janna yet another turquoise necklace and Janna, yet again, picked out a many months' supply of sage and cedar smudge sticks and incense.

As she lay her purchases on the counter, Janna exclaimed, "Lynn, this copal is wonderful...very powerful. I'm not able to find it at home, so it's great that you sell it.

"Thank you, Janna. This is gathered and prepared by a good friend of mine. I'll tell her that you enjoy it."

Janna thought for a moment, and then asked, "Lynn, I may need more of this before we come back again next year...do you do any mailorder business?"

"I do, some, yes." She reached over to her left and grasped a business card from where they sat next to the cash register. "Here, Janna. Give me call and I'll be happy to send something out to you."

"Oh, great! Thanks, Lynn." Janna grinned up at her mate, who was standing patiently beside her, holding the baby. "This is great, love."

Ryan grinned. "Yep. Lynn, that stuff'll probably only last her a few months. She does like to burn it."

"They are very useful tools, Ryan." Lynn offered, gazing at Janna's mate.

"I know, and um, actually, I've gotten into the habit too. I think I handled the last two house smudgings, as a matter of fact."

"Yes, love, you did. To my great, but happy, surprise." Janna laughed. "Hold on just a minute, honey...I want to grab one of those blankets, too." She turned away and grabbed a soft Indian blanket from the nearby shelf, bringing it to the counter. "This will be great for Halley to play on...on the floor. Soft and warm."

"Great, babe. I think we're set, Lynn." She added pointedly, "And we will be paying for all of the items this time."

Lynn smiled and nodded graciously. "All right, Ryan. Thank you."

"No problem...you are in business, you know. As far as I'm concerned you've been more than generous in the past, and it's the least we can do."

They made their purchases and bid their friend goodbye. After stowing the bags in the cargo area, Ryan shut the window and turned to gaze at the nearby pueblo. She took a deep breath and sighed, knowing that what they had experienced that day would take some assimilating.

As she climbed behind the wheel, she grinned, realizing that she and Janna would have a great time assimilating the experience together. I can't wait. God, I love this journey that we're making together.

~~~~~~~~~~

The drive back to their inn in Santa Fe was mostly quiet as both women silently pondered what they had experienced. They both were feeling a quiet sense of wonder and a profound gratitude. They felt gratitude both for being given the vision, and for being allowed to experience it together, as they had their sweat lodge vision.

Janna gazed out the passenger window as the mountainous terrain passed by. Soon, the many red-roofed, adobe homes of Santa Fe appeared among the low hills.

Ryan drew her gaze from the highway to her mate's face. She felt a warm sense of contentment flowing from her through their bond, and she smiled. Through her smile, Ryan asked, "Sun's setting in a few hours, Janna. What would you like to do?"

Janna rolled her head lazily to meet her wife's gaze. She rested her hand on Ryan's, which sat, as usual, on the gearshift knob. "I'd like to find some water and laze in it until dinner. Is that okay? This whole thing has really wiped me out...I need to ground some."

"That sounds great, baby. Hotel pool or whirlpool tub?" She grinned jauntily, warming Janna from the inside out.

"Whirlpool, I think. And room service...a big dinner with an even bigger dessert."

"I'm there, love." She brought Janna's knuckles to her mouth and kissed them softly. "I think you need to eat some meat, honey...if you're feeling spacey."

Janna pinned her with a direct gaze and replied, "Ryan, I intend to eat something later...after Halley goes down...that will ground me better than anything I know of." She raised one blonde eyebrow rakishly and Ryan's blood pressure shot off the chart.

"God, Janna, I am so there. Jesus." She licked her lips, took a deep breath, and pressed her foot a little more firmly on the gas pedal, though they were already nearly at their destination.

~~~~~~~~~~

"Ohh, yes," Janna moaned. "That is so good, Ryan."

"I'm glad you like it, baby," drawled the deep, sexy voice as she dipped the spoon into the sundae and took the next spoonful of the delightful dessert for herself. "God, I think I could live on chocolate if I had to."

Janna rolled her head toward her mate and sighed before saying, "Oh, so could I." She glanced over at the baby and noted that she had fallen asleep in the nearby crib. "Um, especially if I had you to eat it off of. The baby's asleep now, Ryan."

"Is she?" Ryan sat up slightly in the tub and turned to see their daughter. "Mm, she is. I believe it's time for the best part of this dessert, then. Come 'ere, love." Her eyes gained a devilish gleam as she eyed her mate, causing said mate's blood to start pounding in earnest.

Janna smiled and remarked coyly, "I thought I was the one who needed grounding."

"Oh, baby...so do I. Now come 'ere, please."

Janna complied, floating easily into Ryan's arms as the water supported her. She wrapped her arms around her mate and said, "Here I am."

"Yes, you certainly are." Ryan leaned forward and stole a hungry kiss, not letting go until she had thoroughly explored Janna's mouth with her tongue. She pulled back and gazed sexily at her mate.

"Mm, Ryan," Janna panted.

"Sit up on the edge, Janna."

Janna complied without a word, using strong arms to lift herself out of the water. Ryan enjoyed the view lasciviously as Janna's body left the water, gleaming rivulets running down it, and surged forward to run a hot tongue around her navel even before Janna was fully settled.

"God, Ryan..."

"Mmm, Janna. I need my dessert now, baby." Ryan mumbled against Janna's firm stomach. She pulled back and gazed proudly at her wife. "You've lost all of the weight you had gained, Janna. Your stomach is as firm as it was before."

Janna reached forward and caressed Ryan's hair with her fingers, answering softly, "Breastfeeding does that, love. Burns the weight right off."

"Mmm," Ryan mumbled in answer, her lips against Janna's belly again. Her hot, talented tongue then snaked out and made it's way toward Janna's curls, accompanied by light kisses.

"Ryan..."

Ryan answered with a kiss and a stroke just above her wife's sensitive cleft and pulled back to reach for the huge hot fudge sundae they had been sharing. She spooned a dab of the fudge onto each of her breasts and then moved lower and let the thick confection dribble slowly down onto Janna's golden curls.

Janna threw her head back and moaned and Ryan grinned wickedly before going in for her feast. She slowly, seductively licked the chocolate from first one breast and then the other, taking time to suckle lovingly while she was there. As her mate's milk began to flow, Ryan looked up at her and smiled warmly before cupping warm water onto the engorged glands.

"Ryan, my God...go down, please."

"Absolutely, love." She tenderly kissed her way down Janna's body, interspersing the kisses with sultry strokes of her tongue. After reaching her wife's soft curls, her talented tongue made quick work of both the chocolate and of Janna's resilience. She went in seriously after her wife's sweet nectar then, and only a few short minutes later, Janna was moaning loudly as her body was wracked by the powerful climax.

Listlessly, she sank into the water, into Ryan's arms, where she was held and kissed tenderly until she regained herself.

"Thank you, my love," she mumbled quietly while she hung in Ryan's arms. "I really, really needed that."

"My pleasure, Janna."

"Is there any fudge left?"

"Mm, hmm."

"Good. Cherries?"

"Yep, one."

"Cool." She pulled back and gazed at her mate. "May I have my dessert now, please?"

"Oh, shit, Janna, please do, baby." Ryan shuddered with anticipation, pleasing Janna enormously, and she pulled her strong wife against her as they kissed. The kiss was long and slow, and Janna's fingers began dancing lightly over her mate's dark curls. Ryan's breath became ragged and she pulled away from Janna, lifting herself from the tub without being prompted. Janna rewarded her for her enthusiasm by diving in and burying her mouth in Ryan's soft mound before even adding the chocolate.

Ryan buried her fingers in Janna's hair, pulling her head firmly against her center as she moaned. Janna stroked her beloved mate delicately, then more firmly as she was encouraged by sensuous moans. She nearly lost herself in the pleasure of her mate's taste before she remembered that she could draw out the pleasure by supplementing with the chocolate. Janna pulled back, separating from her mate, and reached for the large, deep glass. She neatly plucked the lone remaining cherry from the bottom and gently, deftly, inserted it into a portion of Ryan's anatomy where it would stay until retrieved.

Ryan's eyes rolled back in her head as she gasped, "Oh, Janna, baby...fuck..."

"Mmm...the cherry's the best part, baby," Janna said seductively while she dribbled chocolate fudge atop silky dark curls.

Ryan took a deep breath and fairly panted, "Janna, Christ...hurry before I come all by myself."

"You'd better not, Ryan. Here I come, love." Janna said as she set aside the large container and moved slowly toward her wife. She reached her dessert and breathed deeply of Ryan's scent, letting her mate's essence fill her being. "God, I'm hungry for you, Ryan," she mumbled against her mate's soft, sweet anatomy, setting already inflamed nerve endings afire.

"Go for it, Janna...please," Ryan encouraged, breathlessly.

Janna closed her eyes and stroked her lover soundly, receiving a tongue-full of sweet sauce and her wife's essence. She moaned blissfully as she swallowed the sweet treat and dove in for more, saving the cherry for last. She almost waited too long...by the time she used her tongue and teeth in concert to neatly pluck the fruit from the entrance to Ryan's womb, her mate was already teetering on the edge of ecstasy. The loving stroke of Janna's tongue pushed her over the edge and she screamed as the powerful orgasm rocked her, body and soul.

As the joyous, powerful tremors wracked her mate's body, Janna rose with the cherry in her mouth and shared it with Ryan, prolonging the event and pulling more deep moans from her mate. Ryan savored the half of the cherry that Janna shared with her, tasting both her wife's and her own juices amidst the syrupy treat. Unable to tolerate any more pleasure, Ryan slipped into the tub and was embraced by her smaller mate. Janna held her tenderly, whispering sweet words of love in her ear as she fell back to Earth.

~~~~~~~~~~

Luna's light during her third quarter phase was weak, but her energy was strong, as she bathed her friends within her glow. They lay, entwined as one, in the king-sized bed in their room, both holding on to each other as if for dear life.

As Janna lay in Ryan's arms, she mumbled against her chest, "Ryan, that loving earlier was so amazing...so intense. And I needed it so much." She shifted slightly to reach the nearby breast and kissed its curve tenderly. "After those incredible visions the last few days, I was feeling pretty spacey. Ethereal, almost."

"I was too, Janna, so I can only imagine how the experiences hit you. And yes, that loving grounded us beautifully. God, Janna." She kissed the blonde head that rested beneath her chin and released a deep sigh.

"I feel more connected to you now than I ever have...and we were already like one soul at times, Ryan."

"Yes, baby. We received a sense of the true nature of our existence, I think. Of the interconnectedness of our souls. This bond goes so far back: through time; through space; through dimensions, even."

"Yes," Janna breathed.

Ryan swallowed hard as a thought struck her. She voiced her idea quietly. "Honey, we should go to Greece."

The realization of what such a trip would entail, what it would both symbolize and reveal, struck Janna deeply and she gasped, "My, God...yes."

At that point, both women were overcome by emotion and their shared tears spoke for them, as words were no longer suitable.


-12-

Thursday evening, at dusk, one week after their short, but very sweet vacation began, Ryan pulled the truck into their driveway. She and Janna both sat for a minute before getting out, not wanting the trip to be over. Ryan looked over at Janna, who rested her head against the seat back, and grinned wryly.

"Well, love, we're home."

"Mm. That was a great trip, Ryan. I'm sorry it had to end." She looked at her mate and smiled wistfully. "But it is good to be home."

"Mm, yeah. It always is good to get home. Come on, Janna...let's get unloaded." She glanced into the back seat and noting that the baby was asleep, remarked, "It um, looks like we may have a long night ahead of us...she slept that whole last stretch home. She's gonna be off her schedule."

Janna turned and gazed at their tiny sleeping angel. "I think you're right, honey, and hungry as a bear too, when she wakes up. We should probably play with her a lot after she eats and then take a long bath."

Ryan grinned widely. "Sounds good, love...I'm game."

Janna returned the grin. "Oh, I know you're game, love...on both counts. I know of little else you enjoy more than playing with your daughter."

"You're right, Janna." She sighed and grasped her wife's hand. "She is my daughter, Janna...at least as soon as I get the papers filed, and the decree is made. God, Janna..." She was so struck by emotion that she could not continue and Janna pulled her into a hug.

"She is most definitely your daughter Ryan, whether we have a legal document stating the fact or not." She kissed her wife's forehead before adding, "Grab our daughter, love, and I'll get the bags." Ryan nodded as she pulled away and removed her seat belt.

Fifteen minutes later, Ryan was trying to change an infuriated child who was screaming at the top of her exceedingly healthy little lungs. Halley's little body, from the tips of her toes to her forehead was as red as a beat as she screamed inconsolably. As she struggled against powerful little legs, which were kicking wildly, Ryan thought to herself, Jesus fucking Christ...we should have awakened her to eat two hours ago. It took seemingly all of her dexterity to still a chubby little leg long enough to secure the diaper with the safety pin. Well, Christ, now I see one obvious benefit to disposable diapers. Fuck this. She gave up and dropped the pin disgustedly into the small jar that held its mates and picked up her naked daughter.

She wrapped the baby snugly in her soft, warm blankie and cuddled her tightly to her chest as she softly cooed, "Sweetheart. My little one, okay, okay, Momma's here. Let's go eat."

She made her way out of the bedroom and down the hallway, down the stairs and past the kitchen. Over Halley's screams, she could hear Janna listening to phone messages and as they entered the kitchen, Janna looked up from the counter, concerned.

"My God, she's mad, Ryan."

"Tell me about it, Janna. We're going into the family room to eat."

"Okay, love. I'll join you in a minute...maybe I can help settle her."

"Janna, I think at this point the only thing that's gonna settle her is my tit." Janna scowled mildly, but nodded. "She couldn't possibly have heard that, Janna, over her screaming."

"Right. Okay, Ryan. I'll be there in a minute anyway. Good luck."

"Thanks." She left the kitchen, still cradling the angry baby, and made her way toward the comfortable family room. The tall cop settled herself on the long sofa, against the side, and deftly pulled her t-shirt off with one hand, then quickly uncovered a breast. "Okay, Halley, love...here you go," she said as she introduced her nipple into the little mouth. The baby hungrily latched on and began to feed voraciously, her complaints dying in her throat. A few muffled sobs rose from her small throat and her mother caressed her soft head, soothing her further. Her loud cries had quickly become contented gurgles. Just like her Mommy, Ryan thought with a grin.

"What are you grinning at?" Janna asked as she knelt beside her girls and caressed her daughter's head.

"Oh, nothing!"

Janna gazed at her disdainfully. "Yeah, right, Ryan. I'm glad she's happy now. She does get mad when she's hungry."

Ryan graced her mate with a warm grin and Janna suddenly understood what she had been grinning at. She slapped her mate's arm playfully. "Oh, you!"

"What?"

"You know what. Scoot up...I want to sit behind you." She stood up and pushed playfully at Ryan's back.

Ryan laughed as she shook her head. "God, it should be scary how well you know me. Should be, but isn't."

"It better not be. Where is her diaper?"

"Ooh, you're in a feisty mood, aren't you? She was so mad that I couldn't get it on her," Ryan said as she scooted forward slightly to let her wife squeeze behind her. As she moved, she jostled the baby, who pulled back and started to voice her complaint, her little face quickly scrunching into a scowl. Ryan swiftly guided her breast back into place and Halley was mollified, forgetting why she was upset.

Janna wrapped her arms around Ryan's waist and rested her cheek against a strong shoulder. "I'm a little pissed off. That real estate office isn't happy with one of the images I delivered before we left. The manager left some rather irate messages. It seems he feels that I'm ignoring him."

"Jesus Christ, what an ass. I think I'll give him a call when I'm done here and inform him that you were on vacation out of state all week."

"Oh, I made it clear that I would be away for a week. You're right, he is an ass, and just likes to hear himself complain."

Ryan turned slightly to glance at her mate. "Janna, what could he possibly not like about one of your photographs?"

"He doesn't like the black and white one...says that I was commissioned to do color shots. But his designer specifically asked me for a black and white shot of Half Dome. I have it in the contract...a copy of which I'll fax to him in the morning."

"You could fax it tonight. If I'm picturing the right guy, he strikes me as the weasely type who works night and day."

Janna laughed. "You're probably right, and I could fax it tonight, but why should I? Let him stew overnight." She added, whispering, "Asshole."

Ryan squeezed the thigh that was embracing her and laughed. "You're right." She looked down at their daughter as the little tyke stopped nursing momentarily, probably because she needed to take a breath. She smiled adoringly at her daughter as she began suckling again in earnest, closing her eyes happily. "Don't take this wrong, please, Janna, but she loves to eat as much as you do."

Janna chuckled. "No offense taken, love. I do enjoy eating...more than almost anything else."

"Mmm." Delivered with a rakish twist to her mouth that Janna couldn't see but correctly intuited nevertheless.

"Don't go there right now, Ryan. She's not gonna sleep anytime soon."

Ryan sighed wistfully. "True."

True to Janna's word, several hours later, Ryan was still lying on the bed, alternately playing with her daughter and watching her play alone. Halley was currently on her back, apparently fascinated with her bare feet, and kept gleefully grabbing for them. Having finished checking their email and taking care of other business down in her office, Janna entered the bedroom and flopped onto the bed beside her mate. "She's not tired yet, huh?"

"Nope. But I am." She turned her head to gaze into Janna's pretty eyes. "I don't think I'm up to loving tonight...it's been a long day. I'm sorry, baby."

Janna caressed Ryan's arm as she replied, "It's okay, love...I'm tired too. Anyway, we loved this morning, remember?"

"So? We've never let that fact stop us from loving again at night."

Janna grinned. "I know...what I mean is that neither of us should be too awfully needy tonight." She moved closer and snuggled against her mate as she added, "You loved me good, Ryan."

Ryan grinned, proud. "Thank you, baby." An image from earlier of Janna pressed up against her on her side as Ryan reached a long arm around in front of her crossed her mind and she shuddered at the memory. "That's not an easy position but we seem to have mastered it, Janna."

"Mm, hm. Among many others, Ryan." She nuzzled her wife's neck and planted a soft kiss there.

Ryan sighed. Christ, I'm getting hot for her. What this woman does to me. She shook her head and grinned. "Janna you are an absolute master at turning me on...do you know that?"

"Ditto, baby."

Shit. She cleared her throat. "Um, why don't we all get in the tub. Halley can have more playtime in there."

"Okay, love...should I make it a cold bath?" Janna asked coyly.

"Probably, yeah, but I don't think the baby would appreciate it. Don't worry, Janna, I can handle this."

"I know, love...I was just teasing. Um, why don't we plan on an extra long, extra sexy cuddle time in the morning...since you're still on vacation?"

"I'm there, love. Thank you." She rolled over and gazed down at Janna. "Um, we haven't played with the toy in while."

God. "You're right, and I kinda miss it. I'm there, too, Ryan."

"Good, baby. Then it's a date." She leaned down and very softly kissed her mate. "I love you, Janna."

"Love you too, Ryan."

They gazed into each other's eyes for a while before Janna remembered to get up and fill the large whirlpool tub.

Twenty minutes later, laughter, both adult and infant, filled the large bathroom as the family played happily together in the bathtub.

Ryan chuckled, "Jesus, Janna, water's another thing she likes as much as you do."

"Mm, hm," Janna agreed as the baby held firmly within her grasp splashed at the water with her tiny hands. She smiled delightfully as the results of her movements splashed water onto her face, and that of her mother.

Ryan moved from behind Janna and came around next to Halley. "Here, love, let me see her." She grinned widely as the wet, squirming baby was passed to her. "Come here, my little one. Show Momma how you like to splash. Show me. Come on!"

Halley eagerly complied, using her tiny fist to splash a good sized wave into her Momma's face. "That's my girl! You got Momma good...yes you did!"

"Hold her honey, while I soap her."

"Okay, love." Ryan turned the baby to face her Mommy as she said, "It's time to wash now, sweetheart. Let Mommy get you clean." As Janna began to gently scrub their daughter, Ryan yawned and glanced at her watch. 11:30, Jesus. I'm wiped out. I must be a parent.

~~~~~~~~~~

The red lights danced softly on the baby monitor receiver, indicating that the baby was still asleep upstairs, as Pearl Jam blared loudly from the speakers in the darkroom downstairs. Janna removed a print from the stop solution and held it up so that her mate could see it. As her wife held the dripping print up in the red glow of the room, Ryan tilted her head to look at it.

"Oh, God, Janna! That's awesome!" She rubbed her partner's back happily. "I love that...it's perfect."

Janna smiled widely. "Thanks, love. She makes a great subject, though."

Ryan continued to gaze at the image of her daughter after Janna hung it on the line to dry. "And you got her with her head up...she hasn't been doing that well for very long."

"I know...I took that at Zac's." In the photo, Halley was lying on her stomach on an Indian blanket, and holding her head up strongly as she gazed with interest at her mother behind the camera.

"Well, there's another picture for my desk. All those guys are gonna figure out that I'm nothing but a mushball if I keep this up."

"Oh, honey, they already know it." Janna giggled.

"Janna! They do not. And if any of them say anything, I'm gonna kick some ass."

"Okay, love. If you say so."

"Janna Norden-Zamora, you'd better watch yourself."

"Oh yeah? And what are you gonna do if I don't?" Janna asked, tilting her head coyly.

Ryan slipped her arms around her mate's waist and pulled her close. "Mmm, you know what," she said as she nuzzled a soft neck.

"Oh, and that's supposed to scare me? I have news for you, Ry..." she was interrupted by a pair of hot, sweet lips. As soon as her wife tore her mouth away, along with most of Janna's breath, she gasped, "You didn't get enough this morning, love?"

Predictably, Ryan answered, "Baby, I will never get enough of you."

Janna smiled widely, her pleasure obvious. "I'm so glad to hear that, Ryan. I need to finish this so the chemicals don't go to waste...later, okay?"

"Absolutely, baby," Ryan drawled, setting Janna's blood aflame.

Janna picked up a large sheet of photosensitive paper and fanned herself with it, pleasing her wife no end. She turned back to the enlarger, and Ryan reseated herself on the stool next to her. As Janna refocused her attention on her printing, Ryan's mind wandered, to their happy, extremely pleasurable interlude that morning.

After a shared erotic dream/memory from their warrior life, they had both awakened ready and very willing to make more memories for their future lives to gaze back on through their dreams. Ryan had been so turned on, and correctly read her mate's similar state, that she had wordlessly rolled over on top of Janna and captured her mouth hungrily. All four of her mate's limbs had immediately wrapped themselves around her as her tongue answered Ryan's passionately, and their bodies became tightly entwined.

After several minutes of impassioned wrestling, Janna mumbled against Ryan's lips, "Get the strap-on, Ryan."

Without a word, and without breaking their lip lock, Ryan had reached over to the top drawer of her nightstand and pulled out the harness and its accompanying toy. She ended their kiss with a deep stroke of her tongue and lifted herself to her knees, skillfully donning the leather harness, and locking the firm, blue latex toy into place in the front. As it settled against her excited anatomy, she closed her eyes and sighed.

Ryan's eyes few open in surprise when she felt a tug on the appendage and looked down to see Janna trying to bring the vibrator closer to her body. The dark woman grinned ferally then, as she lowered herself onto her mate's body and entered her gently.

At the gentle, loving penetration, Janna gasped and sucked in her breath, moaning as she fully enjoyed the sensations that her skilled partner was awakening within her body. Several minutes of heated thrusting resulted in a thundering climax, and before her body had stopped shuddering, Ryan had pulled out and encouraged her to turn over onto her stomach. Janna did so willingly, as always, and Ryan entered her again, moaning deeply as the pressure against her own center set her own climax into motion. They came together, simultaneously, powerfully, as Ryan's strong body pushed rhythmically against her smaller mate's.

As she sat in the darkroom, eyes unfocused and slightly glazed in remembrance, Ryan smiled as she remembered Janna's ear-splitting scream of pleasure, which had been scant decibels less than hers had been at the same instant. I would love to know what I did so right in this sorry lifetime to deserve such an incredible woman who actually loves me as much as I love her. She shook her head, confused, but eternally grateful.

Just then, as her cute mate was thrusting her head forward energetically while Eddie Vedder sang, "I want you, in my, rearview mirror," Ryan noted that the columns of lights on the nursery monitor were spiking rhythmically.

She tapped Janna on the shoulder and her mate stopped singing along with her old friend as she turned to look at Ryan. Ryan pointed to the monitor and said, The baby's awake, hon. I'll go get her."

Janna smiled and said, "Okay, love, thanks. I'm just about done here." She grinned coyly as she added, "And I agree...that was some mighty awesome loving we had this morning."

Ryan's jaw dropped, but she grinned as she said, "Um, yeah. You picked up on that, huh?"

"Absolutely, love. I can't stop thinking about it either. And I'm hot for you again already."

"Jesus, Janna, I'm so glad I took today off. Later, baby."

"Again, absolutely, love." She turned back to the enlarger and picked up the paper. "I'm almost done here...then I'll come and fix us some lunch while you give Halley hers. Let me just get this in the solution before you open the door."

"Okay, baby." Ryan stood and wrapped her arms around her adorable mate's waist, kissing her neck as she dropped the exposed paper into the developing solution.

"Mm, God, love you, Ryan."

A verbal response from her wife was unnecessary, as at that moment, Ryan was communicating her love to Janna silently, through their link.

~~~~~~~~~~

Janna sat on the edge of the bed and enjoyed the view tremendously as she watched her mate dress. Ryan pulled the dark green, sleeveless, v-necked softball shirt down over her well-muscled torso and ample bosom and when her head popped out through the neck, was very pleased to see her wife leering at her.

Ryan grinned winningly. "Like what you see, baby?"

Janna raised an eyebrow at her. "You know I do, Ryan." She rose and approached her wife, smiling lecherously at her. When she reached Ryan, she wrapped her arms around her solid waist and pulled her close. As she buried her face against Ryan's strong shoulder, breathing deeply of her musk, she asked, "What is it that we do to each other?"

Ryan ran her hands down Janna's back and closed her eyes as she reveled in her mate's closeness. "I don't know, Janna. We've talked about this before, remember? It's a mystery."

"Mm, a timeless, age old mystery, I'll bet. God, I can't get enough of this sexy body." Janna pulled away a bit and ran her hands up along Ryan's chest.

"Ditto, babe," Ryan said with a grin as she looked down at her wife. "And if you keep doing that, my milk is gonna let down and mess up my shirt."

Janna grinned. "Oops, sorry, right. Did you put some nursing pads in your bra?"

"Nope, I forgot. I guess I'd better. Sometimes I only have to look at her and my milk flows. Or hear her." She pulled Janna close again as she added, "I also have a physical reaction every god damn time I look at you. Or think of you. Or hear you."

"Mm, do you? Cool, 'cause so do I with you. Kiss me, sexy."

"Mm, Janna." Ryan pulled her face up to meet hers and they shared a deep, meaningful kiss for a few moments.

Until Halley said, "Gip!"

As one, they turned to face their daughter, who sat in her bouncer on the bed, and approached her, then smothered her with wet kisses.

"There you go, little one...you get some love, too."

Halley replied to her Momma's statement with a happy double kick and a full-body smile. Ryan was enchanted and picked her daughter up out of the bouncy seat, eliciting more happy kicks and gurgles and held her close. She kissed her baby tenderly and passed her to her Mommy so that she could put her shoes on.

"What time will your Mom be there, hon?"

"6:30, so we'll both have plenty of time to warm up. Sara and the guys might come out too."

"Oh yeah? Cool. Maybe we can do something afterward." Ryan said as she stood and straightened her shirt.

Janna approached her and with her free hand, helped to straighten the top that had become considerably tighter since the end of the previous season. "God, honey, your shirt is tight. Maybe you should get a bigger one."

"I think I will...I hate to feel restricted when I play. And you should too, babe." She shook her head and chuckled. "The girls are gonna give us shit for this, you know."

"Yeah, I know, and watch the language, babe." Janna grinned up at her mate, who winced.

"God, sorry." She addressed her daughter, "Sorry, sweetheart. Momma forgets herself. Where's your choo choo, huh?" She reached over to Halley's changing table and snagged a pacifier, then neatly popped it into the baby's mouth. Halley went right to work on it, sucking happily as she gazed at her parents. "Are we ready, love?"

"Nursing pads."

"Right. Jesus, you two women distract me no end."

"And that fact pleases the both of us immensely, Ryan."

~~~~~~~~~~

Twenty minutes later, the three Norden-Zamoras were sitting in the softball bleachers, awaiting their friends and family, and then the start of their game. Ryan leaned forward and tickled the belly of the infant sitting in Janna's lap and Halley gave a cute baby almost giggle. Ryan followed the tickle with a slurpy kiss on her daughter's cheek.

"Well, ain't that just an amazing sight," a low voice drawled, and they both looked up into the grinning face of their tough coach.

Ryan grinned. "Hey, Sharon. It's good to see ya. Come over here and meet the kid." She inclined her head, inviting the stout woman to come closer. Sharon did so and sat next to Janna.

"Well hi there, little lady!" The tough, usually reserved crew-cutted woman said softly as she tenderly grasped Halley's tiny hand, and the little girl slowly turned her head to take in the new person. "Jesus, you two...she looks just like you. How'd you manage that, Ry?"

Ryan grinned widely as she said, "Like I told you once, Sharon, I have many skills."

At that her coach burst into laughter. "Zamora...excuse me...Norden-Zamora...if any woman could it'd be you." She shook her head comically. "Who's watching the munchkin while you play?"

"My mom," Janna said, looking around for her parents.

"Ryan, why don't you come do some warm up with me until Carrie gets here. I want you fully warmed up for this first game...no sense in injuring yourself after being off all winter." She looked sincerely at her star pitcher, evoking a warm grin from her player.

"Sure, Sharon. That's sounds like a good idea...thanks." She leaned over and kissed first Halley and then Janna, saying, "Honey, I'll see you in a bit."

"Um, that is if you can tear yourself away from your little family for twenty minutes."

Ryan grinned widely at her coach as she said, "Screw you, Sharon!" Then hopped up and grabbed her friend's arm, pulling her toward the dugout.

One by one, as their friends and teammates arrived, Janna proudly introduced them to her precious daughter, who seemed to absolutely revel in all the attention. Ryan had rejoined her family when John, Sara and their nearly one-year old son, John, Jr. arrived. The small boy had adorable blonde curls, making him resemble his mother.

"Hey guys...it's good to see you!" Ryan said as she rose to clasp hands with her best friend and former partner.

"You, too, bud. Jesus, the baby's gotten big. What're you guys feeding her?"

"Just momma's milk still, John." Janna said, grinning.

"Ryan, I see you're still nursing her too." He smirked.

"Damn right, buddy. Hey, we need to warm up. You guys want to do something after the game?"

"Yeah, sure, Ry...that sounds good." Sara replied.

"Cool...enjoy the game."

Janna handed the baby to her grandmother and pointed out the location of her necessities. "Okay, Sweetie, have a good game."

"Thanks, Mom...and hey, thanks for helping us out. We really appreciate it."

"Sweetheart, I'm more than happy to, and you know we enjoy watching you play. Now don't worry...go have fun."

"Give 'em hell, sweetheart," Janna's dad encouraged with a smile, to the disdain of his wife, who scowled mildly at him and reminded him to watch his language.

~~~~~~~~~~

Just before the game began, Carrie, Ryan's catcher, sat beside her on the bench. She leaned over and asked conspiratorially, "Did you, uh, see who's batting leadoff for them?"

Ryan looked surprised. "No. Who?"

Carrie inclined her head toward the opposing team's on deck circle, where a slim blonde was swinging the bat. "Camille-the-bitch-Jones. I didn't know she'd switched teams, did you?"

"Nope." Ryan said as she took a swallow of water.

Carrie added, "I don't want to piss you off or anything, Ry, but a few minutes ago, she and a teammate were overheard dissing the 'dyke freaks with the baby'." She raised her eyebrows as Ryan looked at her, shocked.

"No fuckin' way, Car."

"Oh, yeah. Sorry, Ry. What a fuckin' bitch, huh? If she waited a million years she couldn't find what you and Janna have, not to mention a wonderful baby like Halley."

Ryan smiled warmly at her friend. "Thanks, Car...I think I agree with that. I pity her, really."

"Pity her if you want, Ry, but I'd love to see you scorch her ass."

Ryan grinned devilishly. "I'll have to see what I can do about that."

Janna joined them then and sat next to Carrie as she said, "Honey, look who's on the Rockettes now."

"I saw her, babe."

Carrie added, "Yeah, we were just discussing our strategy."

Janna grinned, but said, "Okay, you two, be good!" Her teammates turned "who me?" looks on her and both grinned widely.

A few minutes later, Ryan stood on the mound as the batter, with whom she and Janna had a very unpleasant history, approached the plate. In Janna's first meeting against the woman nearly two years before, the dirty player had deliberately slid into Janna at second base, injuring her. Relations between the three women had been strained ever since, to put it mildly.

As the woman stood at the plate, taking a practice swing while Ryan set herself, she glared unabashedly at the beautiful pitcher.

Ryan smiled maliciously just before delivering a blistering pitch that was high and inside, forcing the woman to step back. The blonde scowled deeply at Ryan, who only lifted her eyebrows and sneered in challenge before setting herself again, delivering a scorching called strike. Janna and her teammates cheered the pitch along with their fans in the stands, but Ryan was in the zone, only noticing the opposing batter and the invisible plate-wide strike zone that began at her knees. Ryan set, wound up and put another beautiful pitch right down the middle of the strike zone, again at an unbelievably blistering speed, and the batter swung and missed.

"Shit," the blonde could be heard to mumble and she backed away from the plate. She pretended to adjust her batting glove as she tried to psyche herself up. She stepped up to the plate, holding up her left hand toward the pitcher to indicate that she wasn't ready, and swung the bat out towards Ryan before dropping her left hand onto the handle of the bat.

"All right, Ry...another beauty just like that one," Carrie called from her crouch behind the plate.

Ryan nodded arrogantly and eyed the batter, playing her own psyche out game. Unfortunately for Camille Jones and her team, the soul that was Ryan Norden-Zamora had had centuries, millennia, actually, to hone her psychological game play. Ryan wound up and delivered the pitch. It was a beautiful change-up, traveling so slowly that the batter swung at it and missed before it had come within a foot of the plate.

"Shit! Fuck you, Zamora!" The blonde screamed and began to charge the mound. Carrie jumped up and immediately put her solid, stocky self between the angry batter and Ryan, and the woman's base coaches also ran up and physically restrained her. Ryan stood on the mound, grinning victoriously, as her mate came up beside her.

"That was nasty, Ryan, but oh so beautiful." She grinned as she patted her wife's fanny.

"Yeah...I'll tell you about it later, Janna." She and Janna both eyed the woman as she made her way to the dugout, still screaming obscenities. The umpire then made his way over to have a word with her, after which she plopped sullenly on the bench. All of her teammates gave her a wide berth, none condoning her behavior.

The game continued on, with Ryan continuing to throw major heat, and her Bob's Shell women won handily. As expected.

After the game, the rest of their family and many of their teammates joined the small family as they gathered at the neighborhood pizza and pool place and had a warm, marvelous time. Ryan was toasted more than once on her pitching performance, as was Janna on her skillful defensive play and three base hits.

Later, the moon sat hidden as she readied to begin her new phase, and the Norden-Zamoras gazed up at seemingly thousands of brilliant stars on the dark, clear night as they sat spooned together in their hot tub. Their friend Luna felt their energy a little later, as they engaged in their very familiar loving activity, and figuratively smiled and nodded her agreement.


Part 7

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