1. Copyright: These are all my characters. Copyright © 2005 All Rights Reserved. Send comments to JLNickymaster@aol.com

2. Violence: Some, reflected in memories, of a past rape.

3. Sexual content: Ummm, No. This is PART 1. I had a deadline and I did not get to complete the entire story. So the desired sexual content is not included yet. Although a lot of prepping is happening. You know...attraction, heavy breathing. And its between two women. Imaging that! Yes I can! :)

4. Special thanks: to my younger sister for kind of prodding me onward. I got writers block a few times cause I didn't have any Oreo's.

5. Language: Not yet. Lol!



Deepest Ocean Green Part 1

Maiden Voyage Itinerary for Queen Victoria Cruise Ship – From Orlando's nearby port of entry Cape Canaveral we will sail to Miami, Key West Island, and across the Atlantic to Cozumel. After a quick visit to the Bahamas, we will circle back to Fort Lauderdale then make our way to return home to Cape Canaveral.

As if on a dare, the boats attempted to maneuver out of the small launch way! The weather insisted on disobeying the rules of 'lazy sailing' as the few captains brave enough, one after another, fought against the rough currents of the ocean.

A solitary building holding court next to the pier and boat ramp flashed a gaudy neon sign, Restaurant Bar and Grill. Its roof was covered with hundreds of small nests made by thelocal Floridian waterfowl. The building's 10-foot tall plate glass window reflected the nearby water, boats, and sky. The window ran the entire length of the building. Its frame was still circled by Christmas lights dangling in half loops from the edge of the rafters.

More than one glance and mumbled curse carried into the wind as the periodic wafting of cooking bacon and other breakfast smells drifted over the few boating enthusiasts performing last minute checks on supplies and gear. A man's weakness was his stomach, so the experts stated.

Her generous lips unconsciously curved into a half smile as Dean Tanner leaned forward resting her elbows on the table where she sat. Looking out the window, she admired the nearby sails that shimmered with the wind. Her broad shoulders were rigid with tension. She watched the struggling sailboats motor out against the wind-swept water onto the gorgeous Lake Apopka. Behind sunglasses, her dark blue eyes swept the deserted sailboat shipyard from end to end. She sat back with a sigh, sipping the hot cup of coffee in her hands. An unknown restlessness urged her to glance upward at the overcast skies. Not finding the source of herunease, she stared again at the sailboats dotting the open waters. The weather was a bit too brisk for smooth sailing.

She mentally frowned, trying to remember the last time she had been able to sail her own vessel. Rough seas, or gentle, she new her heart longed for a few moments of open waters and an unknown destination. She wanted to feel that mental and physical challenge of straining to capture the wind, slicing through the water at top speeds, bending to the curve of the earth as she fought the sea.

She lowered the cup and let her long fingers rest lightly against the side of the ceramic mug. An old habit took over as she unconsciously tapped the commander's silver, Naval Academy ring on her finger in a rhythmic pattern on the surface of the cup in her hand. The metallic ding was nearly drowned out by the incessant muted surge of fresh water ebbing and flowing on the lakeshore. An occasional seagull's cry couldbe heard through the thick pane of tinted window in front of her eyes.

Judy glanced over at the intriguing woman sitting alone in one of her dining stations. She fought the urge to top off thewoman's coffee once more. She'd already been over there twice. The picturesque view outside the large bay windows, held nothing, whencompared to the dark-haired woman inside.

Aviator glasses hid the woman's eyes, but her visible features were stunning. She had thick, midnight-black hair, which hung down over her sun-darkened skin to her broad shoulders. Her exquisite dark eyebrows, full luscious lips, and high cheekbones that portrayed aristocratic nobility fit perfectly with a strong muscular build below. Her neckline was sensual and that body was gorgeous. The woman was like a portrait that drew attention just by being present.

Judy estimated that the woman must easily stand at, or close to six-feet tall. Biting her lip at the unaccustomed sensation of being attracted to her own sex, she mentally compared her husband to the stranger. Shaking her head at her husband's obvious shortcomings, she gently persuaded herself to 'take a chill pill'. That woman wasbeyond any doubt,way out of her league.

She was wearing a black leather jacket, covered by a dark brown cashmere turtleneck, and brown leather boot cut pants that rested over black 5-eye boots. On her wrist she wore a glittering gold watch that matched perfectly with the small gold dangling earrings of her accessories. The entire ensemble enhanced her higher level of sophistication. Her quick reflexes compounded by a decidedly sinful smile alluded to danger and made her appear mysterious. Pure sensuality. Judy shivered at the husky toned voice.

Judy flushed slightly as she remembered her body's reaction whenshe went to take the order.

"How may I help you?" she had asked politely.

"Just coffee please." The woman replied in a rich musical tenor. The deeply pleasant voice seemed to touch a forbidden element inside of the responsive waitress.

Judy looked up from her notepad to see a vision. She felt helpless as her pen rolled from her suddenly nervous hand. A quick movement from the woman before her snatched the pen out of the air causingJudy to gasp with internal admiration. The long fingers held the thin instrument delicately then began twirling it like a miniature baton. The tan goddess sitting there smiled showing even white teeth. The woman's eyebrow rose in question above the sunglasses as the stunned waitress let moments pass. At a slight clearing from that beautiful throat, the waitress blinked out of her staring trance. Blushing and saying nothing, Judy retrieved the dancing pen and backed up slowly running into a chair behind her. Her face became bright red as she turned to escapethe low chuckling rumble followingher as she moved further away from the table.

Dean, only half-amused, watched the cute redhead walk away, then turned back to the watery vista before her. Tension returned to her body causing an interruption of her thoughts. Something was definitely off kilter if a pretty face didn't gain her attention. She rechecked the skies and eyed the shore looking for the source of her unease.

Delivering the coffee restored Judy's faith in her working capabilities as she performed her task flawlessly. Twenty minutes later, while restocking the ketchup bottles lined up before her, she drew a shaky breath at her uncommon reaction. Contemplating, she understood the definition of charisma a whole lot better. She smiled slightly at the idea of topping off more than just the coffee, and then quickly, she began to plan her evening with her husband. There were only four more hours before she was off shift. She shivered with a surprised excitement she hadn't felt in a while.

Unaware of her waitress's more delicious thoughts, Dean finished her coffee and glanced at her Tag Heuer watch. She fished a money clip out and left a fiver. Standing with purpose, she grasped the edges of the leather coat and crisply pulled downward once, an old Navy habit from years of wearing a polyester Navy uniform straight from the military clothing exchange. Glancing around briefly, she noticed a few other customers quietly talking. Moving with military and economic precision, she headed straight toward the exit.

Her long confident stride took her to the side of a dark-blue SUV. She was out on Interstate 4 within minutes, heading through Orlando toward the Atlantic coast. Her uncle's ship was waiting for her to grace it with her presence.


Chris Parker stood facing the private verandah of her stateroom aboard the luxury cruise ship, Queen Victoria. In her dress whites and first officer's rank, she leaned her five foot, four inch frame against the railing and looked down. The blur of busy figures on the lower deck did not register as she clenched and unclenched her fingers sporadically, brewing with anger.

How could he do this to me? What a creep! How could I let myself get in this situation? Blatant ogling was one thing, but he went too far. Her green eyes filled with tears at the helpless feelings she had endured. His strong grip and the suffocating press of his body on hers had her trembling with renewed fear. Just as suddenly anger reappeared as she relived the stray comment she had overheard one member of the crew makewhile she made her way up a staircase.

"Looks like Ms. 'I'm-to-busy-climbing-the-cruise-ship-ladder-Parker' is all about sleeping her way to the top." His voice deepened with sarcasm. "Heard she did it with Temple, last night." The under class crew member crudely imitated a gesture with a finger and his fist.

She fought the urge to descend the stairs and deck more than the flooring of the boat. Helpless to defend herself just yet, she had quickly retreated to her cabin.

Twenty-four hours later, she was still wiping away the tears, trying to catch them before they fell. She pushed a stray wisp of blonde hair behind her ear, frustrated with her dilemma. Crossing to the bathroom, she spritzed her hair back in place and checked her makeup. Her cheeks were pale and her eyes were unnaturally bright. Shadows of fatigue underlined her green eyes. She clenched her jaw with frustration.

Her spotless reputation of steadfast, on the ball, dedication was being obliterated by an 'under-handed weasel' of a man. Who knew what slander that man was saying to others?

She knew the devastating effects of the rumor, which ran amuck, and was constantly banishing the aftereffects as fast as they formed. Employee morale was one large headache of a mistress that Chris had to bow down to and keep happy. Her job demanded that she settle any issues, including rumors. How could she destroy a nasty rumor if she was the subject?

If she could only take back the huge mistake she had made of going to his stateroom alone. How is the first officer supposed to not respond, when the captain requests her presence?Even if he was only a captain in training for the cruise line, she couldn't just ignore his request. Her foot was still bruised from the kick she had given him when he tried to molest her. Going to his stateroom that night had not only turned the tides for her career, it had brought deeply buried memories up to the surface to be relived.

No!She silently told herself as she shivered and looked at herself in the mirror. She wouldn't return to that black spot. The childhood memory chilled her deeply. You are not that little girl anymore. She urged herself to focus.

Regardless, her mind shimmered briefly over the past and the face of the boy who had attacked her was dredged up. Portions of her battle during the rape, and dark memories of her cries for help were clearly heard in her mind as she jumped back into the traumatic episode of her long departed childhood. The reflection of her current image disappeared easily. The broken shell she had once become and fought her way back from reappeared.

He'd had his way, then left. His friends had found her in the dingy dorm room where she had lain for hours, locked deep inside herself, hiding from the event. Someone had taken her home and silently dumped her still form onto the dark porch. The enraged reaction from her father as he found her, curled up into a ball, on the front steps was not expected. He had lost it. He accused her of leading the animal on. Her modes of dress, the makeup, and the hairstyle were all culprits to help fit the crime. She found her courage for a moment in time and rebelled against the accusations.

The backbone of resistance she found inside strong enough to yell back at him had drained from her spirit when he slapped her in reply. Her already bruised body flewacross the room and she had fainted. Upon waking, fear became her constant companion.

The sudden panic attacks had begun soon after. The unfamiliar feelings of shame and fear rose to overwhelm her. She eventually had a nervous breakdown at the tender age of sixteen.

The event returned, fresh to her mind. As fresh as the reflection she stared at in the mirror before her. The fractured spirit left from the earlier experience slowly dissipated from her mind as she looked into the mirror with tear-filled eyes and saw the image of what she was today.

She still remembered the feeling of being a helpless child at the time, too young to have gone through an ordeal like that. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, pushing the ugliness away.

She was stronger now, she argued mentally. She clenched her fists. Blinking away the tears, she lifted her head to stare at her reflection once more. She was thirty-four years old and a veteran of the Tanner Industries Shipping Line. She had met David Tanner and his brother Dennis many times in her fourteen-year career. They recognized her name and face. Unfortunately, she knewthat they had also hired Temple. Chris wondered if he had made similar moves on other ship personnel?

She watched her hand suddenly tremble as she attempted to re-apply the mascara. Clenching her fingers in a fist, she moaned at the easy tears that reformed in her eyes. Quickly she brushed them away and blew her slightly stuffy nose.

Pinning back a few more locks of her golden hair, she touched up her make up, breathed deeply, and turned to make her way down to the officers' crew meeting.

Internally, she felt like punching someone, or something, but resisted the notion and glanced neither right, nor left as she walked the hallways. She noticed the flash of the first officer's ranking lapel pin at her neck reflecting in the elevator mirrors and straightened her shoulders with pride. The title she held had been achieved with skill and dedication, bringing her one step from the top position on the ship. She hoped that she could tune out the ugliness that had occurred. She needed to keep her head on her shoulders for this voyage.

A little voice worried loudly in her head about his vicious threats.

"I'll blacklist you for anything bigger than a row boat. You're just a little dyke wanna-be." He had groaned out after she scored heavily with her foot. He lay on the floor writhing in pain.

Falling quickly into shock at the assault, she felt an instant return of the fear that overwhelmed her from the sudden memories of the other attack. The look on her face gave the man at her feet the impression that she feared being 'outed'.

"Oh, that's what it is, huh?" his deep voice razor sharp, full of hatred, cut into her fear, making her aware of how precarious a position she was currently in. She turned and had run from the room in frightened horror, vaguely hearing what he said.

"You're into fucking women! Should have known, you frigid bitch. I'll make you pay."

Returning to her cabin, she locked the door for the night. She didn't recall sleeping very much that night. She relived the memory of the humiliating experience of her youth with her father throughout the midnight hours. His memory only strengthened her belief that the worse case scenario was yet to come. When will I be accused of sexual harassment? When will the tower of my career, that I have worked so hard to gain, come tumbling down around me?

The hypersensitive state she had been in for the last twenty-four hours was wearing her down. Fear had her on the verge of hysteria and she was beginning to show the strain. The strain was so apparent she couldn't keep from tearing up at the slightest issue.

She hadn't heard anything about it yet, but nothing was sacred at sea. Look at the rumor mill already slashing away at her reputation. She knew that he had told everyone she had slept with him. However, what else had he said? Was it my fault? She questioned herself with doubt. Will I be blamed?

She made her way to the Grand Atrium and paused to take in the effects of the holiday decorations finalized by the staff members wandering around. The thirty-foot Christmas tree, standing in the circular room was a triumph of resourcefulness, which stopped her dead in her tracks. The brightly lit lights twinkled throughout the branches evoking the holiday spirit to all who paused nearby. Chris stopped and stared for long minutes, absorbing the holiday atmosphere.

Looking around, she took mental notes carefully. Everyone seemed to be in the right place, doing the right thing. She felt so tired. The ship had only one day before the guest's arrival. And a new 'unknown' captain would be joining the crew this trip and should be signing in within the hour. There was so much to do.

Chris followed a path across and under the three story tall room, the focal point of the ships center. She ignored the dizzying effect the empty space gave her and focused on moving toward the main floor's indoor restaurant, aptly named 'The Aquarium'. The active ranking members of the crew were gathered to meet and greet the new leader.

Whether it was paranoia, or a sudden lull in everyone's conversation, the minute she stepped into the entrance, she felt a couple dozen eyes turn toward her. Ignoring the weight of the stares, she walked forward to join the group.

"Have a message for you, Top!" Hazel Wain walked over to meet her. The 'Top' reference made Chris relax from some of the tension that had been gripping her body since heading toward the gathering. Although it was common aboard ship to refer to the first officer as the top-ranking officer below the captain, only well liked 1st officers were referred to as 'TOP' on a regular basis. At least Hazel was backing her.

The shorter, slightly rounded, brunette handed Chris the folded ship to shore telegram and discreetly winked a hazel colored eye at Chris. Chris could feel more tension leaving following the friendly purser's sincere smile.

Hazel was one of many people aboard ship who had vocally shared an aversion to the Captain, Steve Temple. Chris had received numerous complaints from the crew a few hours after he stepped foot on board. His official status was to begin training under one of the cruise line captain's for eventual takeover. So far, during his tour with them, their ship that had never left docking and was soon to sail on its maiden voyage, had been greatly upset from top to bottom by a man who spent most of his time on shore. His daily lists of "demands" were given to Chris to mete out, as he would take off shore bound. Upon his return, hours later, he was without mercy if he found anything not completed.

Chris had been struggling desperately in the last seven days to hold the ship and the crew together, keeping their focus on completing all tasks prior to cast off. She had no idea what was occurring at the management level of Tanner Industries. She had only received two wires over the past week from David Tanner. One message was received the day after Temple had tried to fire three of the officer staff. A wire was sent to retain the three individuals and to continue as ordered until further notice until the captain arrived. The only other message was delivered yesterday. It was extremely short, announcing the expected arrival of the captain, who was scheduled to come aboard today.

She reread the telegram several times, trying to read more into the short one-sentence note. It read that the captain was on schedule and should arrive within the hour. The message was from D. Tanner. Chris hoped the crew was organized and in a state of mind to be able to bring the captain up to a functioning level in a short period. She prayed to God that the captain was pleasant and a fast learner. She hoped that the captain would be easy to transition into the job. This last week had been a nightmare filled with errors of ignorance from the instructions Scott had made the crew carry out. He seemed to manage to do everything wrong, every time. She realized as she reread the message her eyes were blurring from more than tears. She couldn't remember if she'd slept more than three hours a night for the last six days. Blinking to recover, she tilted her head studying the telegram a lot longer than necessary.

Her thoughts crawled in a slow spiral of fog. The lower status crew continued to gossip about her and the currently absent, Steve Temple. The upper echelon line officers on staff were currently supportive and understanding toward Chris. At least they seemed to be for the moment.

Chris folded up the telegram and glanced up into the sea of twenty, or so, faces looking at her with various expressions. Nodding briefly, with wavering confidence, she ignored any questioning eyes and stuck with the internal game plan she'd set for herself. She would play it cool and talk with the captain when she got a chance.

"The Captain should be here any time now. Have a seat. I'll go check the boarding ramp to see if anyone has seen him. Please have your participation dossier available to turn in after the meeting. We all know we need to triple check those. Officer Rice and Officer Welham, will be in charge of leading the groups for the ship safety tours. Make sure they have your list of issues by the end of day."

Chris made an abrupt about face and headed for the atrium to cut across to the lido deck. She tried not to think of the relief she felt moving out of range of all her supposed adversaries. Her short 5'4 stride, quickened in pace as she opened the lido deck doors. She ran straight into a tall body on the other side of the door.

The collision caused a loud "oompf" to come from within the dark form in front of her. A hard thud sounded as something fell to the deck. Chris had a moment to smell leather and jasmine before two hands firmly grasped her upper arms and straightened their entwined bodies apart.

"Excuse me!" Chris apologized immediately as her eyes took in the tall body standing before her. Her gaze continued to climb to an impossible angle as she squinted into the sun shining down. The dark figure shrugged and stepped back a pace. Chris looked at the leather-clad figure as she lifted her hand to block the sun's beam. She discovered it was a tall, good looking, woman. A very tall, very good-looking woman! Chris swallowed an uneasy lump in her throat and blinked at the sudden tears making her eyes shine. Damn tears! She began to shake slightly. Her head was dizzy.

"Did I hurt you?" a husky voice asked tentatively. Chris shook her head side to side and looked away for a moment. Settling back down, she took a deep breath and spoke for the first time since running directly into the woman.

"The sunlight hurt my eyes," she lied quickly to the stranger. Her gaze returned to the woman and began to examine her appearance. She was dressed in casual elegance.

"We were not expecting guests until tomorrow. I can escort you back to the gangway if you would like." She watched a dark eyebrow shoot up over the edge of the sunglasses. The reflective lenses staring in her direction hid the eyes from view. The slight smirk of the lips showed amusement from the woman.

"Then who would captain the ship if I were to leave?" that husky voice asked, politely yet teasingly. Chris felt a blush rise as it dawned on her just who she had nearly mowed down.

"You're the captain?" She felt the sarcastic accusation fly from her mouth without being able to capture and hold it in. The eyebrow arched slightly higher. Noting a slight frown appear to replace the half smile at her blundered remark, Chris shook her head to order it in shape. Becoming slightly distressed by the sudden feeling of her stomach surging upward into her throat, she attempted to correct the mistake.

"I'm s...sorry. That was...rude of me. The telegram didn't mention...a woman." Chris stammered out her thoughts. Listening to herself, she attempted again. "In fact the telegram didn't mention either sex at all. Just....ummm." Chris paused to stop her mouth and her thoughts continued to run away from her. The little voice in her head was now screaming, 'Ok, shut up Chris, right now!'

A tilt of the dark head to one side and another arched eyebrow deepened the heated flush of her cheeks and increased her desire to run. She opened her mouth twice more attempting to speak but couldn't seem to formulate the proper words. Trying not to unravel in front of the new captain, she lamely apologized.

"Sorry! I didn't mean to make that sound so...ummm...weird...sorry." Suddenly standing at full attention, she thrust out her hand. "Welcome aboard."

The tall woman looked down at her hand and back at the younger face of the woman who was trying hard to remain calm. The turbulent, green eyes were shining brightly with unshed tears. Her fatigue was evident as the small hand began to shake slightly

Dean Tanner reached up and removed her sunglasses. Her electric blue eyes met verdant green eyes blinking at the collision. A sense of déjà vu struck them both. Dean felt her breath hitch and thought 'did the ship just move?'

A slow perusal of the petite woman began without thought. The Captain's roaming eyes seemed to caress the tension filled body, leaving Chris feeling exposed to their invisible touch. Sapphire eyes read her soul. They traveled from her head to her feet and back up again.

Taking the smaller hand still resting between them the new captain clasped it in the warmth of her own. A trace of a faint memory struck the taller women briefly. She remembered those emerald eyes. Blinking to clear her head, she knew she had never met this woman before. Returning to the moment, she leaned forward slightly.

"Glad to run into you, Officer...?" Chris felt the woman towering over her and felt a distinct déjà vu strike. The sensation of a fleeting memory had Chris looking carefully at the woman's attire once again. Shouldn't there be armor or something? That climbing eyebrow caught Chris' attention after a breathless moment.

"Parker. Chris Parker!" she managed to say waveringly. The intense perusal over her body had made her blood warm up. The magnetic force coming from this woman was playing havoc with her responses.

Suddenly, a slight smile emerged across Dean Tanner's face. She noted the flushed features of her new first officer and the wispy strands of blonde hair uncurling from the light breeze they stood in. The petite body, standing at rigid attention before her, conflicted with the intense questioning gaze of the green eyes. Dean wondered if Chris Parker would ever be able to feel relaxed, or was this a 'boss' thing? The blonde woman showed a visible fragility. Dean could not begin to imagine what it took for Chris or anyone to be able to perform the duties of the first officer. The position was normally a trying position with endless physical and mental demands. A whispered thought ran through Dean's head she seems so young. An overwhelming urge to protect this woman from harm made Dean's warm smile fade slowly. Where did that idea come from? Dean wondered internally, bewildered by the thought.

Dean mentally shook herself to bring her thoughts back around to the situation at hand. She had always been a direct woman of action. Now was not the time to reflect on the fact that a petite bombshell would be the one person she was to be working with twenty-four, seven. Dean straightened up and assumed a more formal appearance to her first officer. Before Chris could manage to extract her hand, it was tucked against the leather-clad arm of the senior officer and they were headed back into the bowels of the ship. Having been reared among nothing but men, being gallant was second nature to Dean.

Feeling slightly lightheaded Chris simply held on and felt the strength of the taller woman's arm muscles flex as she leaned down to pick up her duffel bag and move to open the lido deck doors.

Dean led them back through the entry room and paused as they entered the gigantic atrium center. Her gaze swept upward, looking around the room to note all of the exits. She confidently turned toward the "Aquarium" and held the door open for Chris, promptly breaking the contact they had shared.

Chris managed to shake off her mild daze and preceded the new captain through the doors. She looked back over her shoulder at the tall woman and met eyes now full of amusement. Noticing the almost smug expression on the woman's face, she frowned at her.

"Don't worry, Officer Parker. I get that dazed response a lot! Especially when I run people down then politely escort them elsewhere!"

Chris arched her own blonde eyebrows at the playful tone as she pushed down the urge to blush. The twinkle from the blue eyes shone down at her, asking her to join into the humor. Chris felt an answering tug of laughter begin to well upward and managed to keep it to a grin.

"I'll try not to block your way next time," she murmured softly, hearing others nearby as they entered into the dining area.

"My pleasure completely, I'm sure," she heard Dean state just as quietly. They threaded their way around some tables to join in the now standing crew of officers.

"Crew this is your new Captain..." Chris turned in sudden exasperation realizing at that moment she had not gotten the name of her superior yet.

"Dean Tanner, everyone, very nice to meet you. I'm sure you all have things to do before we ship out tomorrow, so let's keep this short." The commanding voice suddenly had everyone's attention. "I'm new to the cruise line, but I'm a veteran used to running ships. You do your jobs right and we'll get along. First Officer Parker is my voice. If she says, do it. You do it."

Her hard gaze seemed to meet everyone in the room as her glance swept through the crowd. She noted a few strange expressions displayed by the crew, some bordering on disbelief, others in satisfaction. She took mental notes of each one but held her thoughts for another time. Narrowing her eyes toward a small group of men in the back, she seemed to grow more intimidating.

"Don't make me have to say this twice. I will not have my crew undermining my authority, nor will they undermine those whom I put in charge. If you have an issue with how I command, file it on a report to the head office. I'm sure my uncle will enjoy reading it. Dismissed!"

With that final remark, she effectively informed everyone she was related to the owner. Chris stood in awe from the moment she had heard the woman's name. Taking in the elegant attire and stunning good looks, she realized why she had felt so comfortable within moments of their meeting. Dean looked like a female version of her uncle. She had the same build and coloring. The only difference was the softened female characteristics making her absolutely gorgeous. Chris would never look at David Tanner the same way again. Slyly checking out the newest addition to thecrew, Chris's eyes were captured by the same twinkling blue that laughed with her a few moments ago.

The taller woman leaned closer and spoke softly, "Too harsh?"

The warm breath grazed Chris' ear. She shivered, automatically hiding it with a shrug and a shake of her head.

"You're the captain, Captain!" She groaned internally at her response, but ducked her head to look at her toes in embarrassment when she heard a sexy chuckle slowly roll out of Dean.

"So I've told you!" Dean casually waved off anyone who started toward her as she shrugged her duffel bag higher on her shoulder. She took in the petite woman at her side and grinned at the green eyes peeking upward.

"Care to show me where I'll be bunking? I'm thinking it's gonna be a long night, and I need to prepare." Dean remarked as she waited to follow Chris out of the Atrium.

Chris snapped to attention and pointed toward the Atrium exit. Dean nodded, smiled and motioned for Chris to lead the way, her larger form waiting patiently. Chris felt a moment of familiarity as she blinked wide-eyed at the tall woman. Swallowing the confusion brought about by her thoughts, Chris turned quickly and led the way to upper decks.

Dean followed the crisp white uniform in front of her and managed, somehow, not to trip on anything along the way. Her eyes were busy watching the retreating backside moving erotically in front of her. This may be a long cruise! Dean mentally slapped herself for focusing on the smaller woman's curved backside. However, the view may be worth it. She grinned slightly, enjoying her own humor.


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