1. Copyright: These are all my characters. Started this story 02/10/04 Copyright © 2005 All Rights Reserved. Send comments to JLNickymaster@aol.com

2. Violence: Nope, uh uh.

3. Sexual content: Tiny bit of romance happening in a memory!!!

4. Special thanks: ummm not yet…just started on this one…I'll find someone who stands out later.

5. Language: Pretty clean at this point.


"Oh my...holy shingle in a dry good store!" Sammy squealed as his voice climbed into a high squeak of excitement. He launched his 14-year-old body off the twin bed in his room.

"Sammy?" A yell came floating up the stairs. Sammy slowly hung up the phone and ran a hand over his shaved head.

"Coming, Sis. I'll be right down." He took a quick look in the mirror hanging from his closet door and noticed his freckled cheeks were red with a slight flush.

"Crap! Crap! Crap!" he whispered to himself as he ran into the bathroom next door and applied a cool rag to his flushed face. Grinning like a complete idiot, he replayed the phone call in his head.

"Hello. Who's this?" the DJ from WRTZ asked with a patented professional chuckle. Sammy grinned then deepened his voice to answer.

"This is Sam Walters, sir."

"Sir? Well I'm not a sir. You can call me Dave. Well, Sam, guess what caller you are?" asked the booming voice.

"I don't know, Dave." Sammy waited with baited breath.

" You're caller number 100, Sam. You and a guest have just won an all expense trip for one week to Nashville, Tennessee,to stay with the band of JT and the Stars!"

"Yes! Yes! Yes!" Sammy whispered crazily over and over,covering the phone receiver as he pumped his arm up and down. He jumped up off his bed cradling the phone tightly. He was going to meet JT and the Stars;he couldn't believe it. Deepening his voice, he tried to calm down. "That's fantastic!" he managed with a huge grin cracking his face. He ran a sweaty palm over his bare brow and listened intently as the DJ began to give him some instructions.

"Are you over eighteen, Sam?" The DJ asked. Sam frowned slightly. "No, sir." The DJ continued. "You'll have to have a parent or guardian accompany you and they have to sign permission for you to go. Can I talk to someone like that?" Sammy expelled a huge sigh. He thought hard for a second.

"My sister is my guardian and she is not here right now. Can I bring her in to your station?" The DJ agreed and took down Sam's phone number and address. The last thing the DJ had him respond to was the patented radio station call. "What's your favorite radio station, Sam?"

Sam grinned like a fool and announced the call letters, "WRTZ." Dave asked him to bring his sister by tomorrow. Then he heard the click of the receiver on the other end and he yelped out a quick 'yahoo!' as he hung up.

He checked his freckled face once more and thumped down the stairway to the insistent voice of his older sister. As he rounded the corner to the kitchen, he saw her stacking some of the breakfast dishes into the dishwasher. "Can I help, Sis?" he muttered, trying to think of a way to break the great news and not get the riot act. His sister turned and looked at Sammy with a cocked eyebrow. She paused what she was doing.

He stood looking back with a big grin on his face. She watched as his green eyes sparkled with an inner light. He ran his hand up over his forehead onto his buzz cut again. Her other eyebrow rose quickly as he came over and pushed her larger form back from the dishwasher. He started rinsing the dishes still in the sink and placing them correctly in the dishwasher.

She stood watching quietly for a full minute until her eyebrows drew downward, her slightly darker green eyes intent upon him. Sam glanced over at her and suggested she get ready to go to work. He knew was in trouble when she crossed her arms and began tapping her fingers on the crook of her elbow.

"What's wrong?" she asked bluntly. Sam stood up to his full 5 feet 8 inches and turned to look her almost in the eyes. Her slightly taller 5 foot 10 frame was tense with restrained impatience. Sam swallowed and felt his spirits fall a little. She was giving him 'that' look again. Man, did he hate that!

She walked over and without second thoughts felt his forehead briskly.

"Did you take your medicine? Are you feeling ok?" she questioned as she expertly examined his eyes and checked his breathing with a quick glance. She saw the flicker of sudden anger jump into his gaze as he jerked away violently from her ministrations and took a huge step backward.

"I'm fine!" he practically shouted at her face! He instantly spotted the hurt in his sister's features before she quickly turned away to grab a towel and wipe the nearby kitchen table. He sighed and looked down in shame. She was only trying to help. He grimaced in anger and misery. It wasn't her fault he had Leukemia. He argued internally with himself as he berated his aggressive action. The cancer had been in remission, thankfully, for the last 2 years. The two of them had attempted to regard his struggles as possibly being in the past. Yet, every once in a while, she would look at him with a deep fear in her eyes. He was terrified inside knowing he could still relapse, but with counseling he had managed to take each day, one at a time. He totally relied on the deep connection they shared as siblings. However, since she had practically raised him, he still managed to feel rebellious at that parental love she often showed.

Their parents had been killed when he was only 7 and she was 19. She had managed to convince the court she was old enough to raise him with the help of their parents' best friends Sandy and Charles as paternal caretakers, if needed. At first things went well, only to have him diagnosed with Leukemia at the age of 11. The sacrifices she had made for him over the next few years made him love her so much, he felt ripped apart every time he slapped it back in her face. If only he could get her to relax about his health.It was like she was waiting for doom or something. He sighed again noticing her unusual rigid posture.

He hated that parent reflex of hers taking over and spoiling his great mood. He hashed over his immediate choices and shrugged his bony shoulders once, making the big decision. His sister brushed the towel into the garbage canister and let the crumbs fall.

"I need to talk to you about something important." He spoke to her stiff and upset back. She turned and looked over at him quickly. "It's not about my health." She regarded his face and body posture and nodded, sitting down in a chair at the table.

He came over and sat down across from her. She regarded him once again noticing the sparkle of light return as he began to speak.

"I just won an entire expense paid trip to Nashville, Tennessee, off the radio." Sydney's eyebrows rose into her short bangs. She remained silent letting him unload. "It's a one week trip to live and hang out with a band." He tapered off as he looked over at her calm features.

Sometimes he hated the fact she had such a good poker face. He checked her earlobes for any redness; that was a sure sign of anger. Nothing seemed red. He glanced back at her eyes and couldn't read a thing.

Scrambling slightly, he continued. "The only thing is...I have to have your approval and…" he tensed slightly with the next part, "…you have to go with me!" He looked everywhere but at her. He didn't want to see her say no. His hands were clenched under the table and he crossed his fingers beginning to pray.

Sydney watched the range of emotions sweep across his face. He fidgeted and glanced quickly over at her then away. She thought of the answers she could give and looked down at her own hands slightly clasped. Taking a quick look up again, she shrugged her shoulders releasing some of the tension she had gathered. The movement made him look her way again.

"What band?" she asked casually. His eyes grew wide an inner light shining with hope.

"JT and the Stars!" he exclaimed with all the excitement of an innocent 6-year-old. His youthful exuberance obvious as his movements grew hyper. His flush returned quickly. She looked around their kitchen and at the towel on the counter. Getting up, she replaced it into the little ring hanging down from the cabinet near the sink.

"You have school until next month. Do you know when this trip takes place? " she asked again calmly. She felt a rush of excitement about taking a trip outside the state. She'd never traveled anywhere but inside of California. Her stomach rumbled at the thought of such a big trip. She'd have to really discuss this with Sandy. Once again, for the thousandth time, she was feeling a small measure of unease at possibly making the wrong decision when it came to her brother. She didn't want to somehow deny him any moment in his life that he might come to treasure. She had already given him a childhood full of 'no way' and 'maybe later'. His illness had robbed them both of the illusion of safety.

Sammy raced over to the sink and gave her a lighthearted laugh with a quickly squeezed hug. "You're thinking about it! Fantastic! I can't believe it! You're actually thinking about it." He grinned and did a little dance.

His sister's green eyes sparkled with amusement. "Did you think I would just write this off? You asked and I'm thinking." She chuckled at his surprised look.

"What about the store?" he asked remembering suddenly his sister owned her own business. "I mean, you just can't take off and leave it."

She rolled her eyes with a slight grin. The music store she owned was small but thriving. She thought about it for a second and shrugged. "Cindy can cover for a week. She might not sell a thing, but we've been doing well for the last 3 months. It all depends on the details." She watched Sammy do another little jig. The blue jeans and T-shirt he wore showed his thin frame to be healthy and relaxed.

"We have to go to the radio station tomorrow to get the details. Please, please, please let's go!" He begged unashamed to let her know how important this was. "One week with JT and the Stars. I wonder if it's in her house or what? I'll get to meet Chuck Temple and Craig 'Down Boy' Green. Oh wow, Sis! This will be so exciting." He managed to hug her again.

She relished the hug knowing he hadn't given her a hug in quite some time. Teenagers were notorious for this, Sandy had told her. She felt a little breathless at his exuberance all of the sudden. Glancing over at the clock on the kitchen wall, she muttered a quick 'crap' before shoving him toward the entry hall.

"Go get your things. We're gonna be soooo late," she urged him, effectively cutting off his litany. His eyes got large and round seeing the time on the clock. He ran up the stairs and grabbed his backpack and shoes. Bounding down the stairs, he caught a glimpse of his sister taking a look in the hallway mirror and kidded her outright with some lyrics from his favorite band.

"You're gorgeous, gorgeous! Let's go see the world!" She shoved her mid-length blonde silky hair behind her ear with a snort of sarcasm and shoved him out the door. He kept his own blonde hair shaved short. Only a slight stubble of blonde showed on his head as he quickly covered it with a ball cap. She noticed his shoes in his hands and decided she would get him a new pair fairly soon.

Getting into the car, they sped off to get Sam to school in record time. He gave her a quick kiss on her cheek right before getting out. She watched him grin at her surprised look as he shyly thanked her. She suddenly laughed out loud looking at his blush. Her rich throaty laughter caused him to hesitate with surprise.

"Gee, all I need to do is let you win week-long trips to exotic places and I get a kiss on the cheek. Wow! Gosh! Holy Cow! Don't think I'm not gonna be right there watching like Big Brother," she sarcastically stated as he punched her arm slightly to pay her back. His face was stretched to the limit with happiness. She reached over and gave him a quick hug before he escaped. His grin stretched impossibly wider.

As he got out he realized she hadn't laughed like that in a while. He was pondering just how long it had been when he saw his best friend Benny and jogged to catch up to tell him the news.


Sydney drove up and parked her car before the music store. She noticed the lights on and, grabbing her purse and some papers, she headed in. Cindy had already set the tone for the customers by the rich smell of coffee wafting through the store. The guitars, amps, and pianos displayed in the front room looked well polished and glistening.

"Sorry I'm late. Got a little sidetracked this morning," she yelled as she walked toward the back counter.

Cindy popped her head up from beneath the counter and straightened to watch her friend glide into the room. The tall, lithe, athletic frame beneath the blonde hair was gorgeous. Cindy mentally wished once again she looked that good. Her own 5 foot 5 body was slightly overweightand she had red hair. Red hair!She hated red hair.

Sydney dropped the papers on the counter and buried her purse in the small alcove reserved for it beneath the shelf.

"Got that sheet music corrected for Tom B. last night. Hope he comes in today. If he does, tell him I want to talk to him." Cindy nodded as she went to get Sydney a cup of 'mud'. Sydney liked her coffee strong and do-able as she had stated more than once. Pouring the rich chicory coffee Sydney bought online from a New Orleans store, she scooped one spoon of sugar and brought it out to her. Sydney was already flipping on keyboards and testing sound equipment.

The little store had grown immensely with Sydney's knowledge. They now stocked a huge inventory of instruments down to the little bell set for a drummer and a real Steel Pan from Trinidad to the grand piano set in the center of the store. Cindy handled the cleaning and cash register while Sandy handled the instruments. The eleven studio rooms in the back were rented out to instructors to give lessons. Tom was a part-time instructor, tutoring when his band was in town.

Cindy handed Sydney her coffee and received a huge smile with thanks. Cindy grinned back watching Sydney take the first sip and rolling her eyes in delight. The amazing charisma Sydney possessed, affected Cindy as much as it affected the customers they sold to. And Sydney was clueless to her charm. Cindy sent a quick prayer upward that Sydney would someday see herself as beautiful as everyone else did. Taking a quick sip of her own cup she decided this French Vanilla flavoring wasn't that bad.

"Got a surprise for you in the back," Cindy voiced casually. Sydney let her thoughts drift from the idea of going to Nashville back to her co-worker.

"What? You sold the Gibson to a Martin fan and he wants his money back?" She chuckled at the light blush rising on Cindy's pale cheeks.

"No, you idiot. He was a Fender fan anyway and now I'm not sure I'm gonna tell you about the new item that just came in. You probably don't deserve it." She began to walk away.

Sydney let her memory come into focus on what she was expecting. Suddenly, her eyes lit up with excitement.

"Is it in? Did my 'baby' make it ok?" Cindy rolled her eyes back at Sydney and nodded, biting her lip at the woman's shriek of excitement.

"Damn woman! Two great things happening in one day; I may just have a heart attack." She rushed back behind the counter and through a curtained-off area to head back to the cargo unloading room. She saw the container right away. Tucking her blonde hair behind her ear in nervousness, she gently opened the crate to stare down at the guitar. A D-45 Martin made in 1933. Its abalone inlay sparkled exotically. She reached down and brought out the treasure. It was perfect for her size. She strummed the guitar strings lightly and heard the rich tones vibrate outward. Her eyes met Cindy's as she heard her approach.

"Wow!" Sydney whispered. "This baby's going into display case A for a while." Cindy nodded and smiled appreciatively at the beautiful guitar in Sydney's hands. Display case A was for instruments 'not for sale'.

Sydney ran an intense eye over the body and checked the frets. No scratches or nicks. No damage at all. The Martin was out of tune, but not for long. She walked it out to the front and sat down in one of the practice chairs to start tuning.

The door's electronic bell announced a customer and Cindy headed over to help him.

Sydney spent the next half hour tuning the guitar without interruption. The door opened a few more times, but Cindy was able to help them quickly. When Sydney felt she had the perfect pitch, she took a deep breath and strummed the strings. A rich mellow note vibrated and rang out across the room. The acoustics in the piano section nearby were dismal, but the practice area allowed the note to vibrate clearly thanks to a few ceiling repairs and floor padding. It was like playing music in a well thought out shower stall. Sydney played a few riffs of blues and loved the sound. She sat playing through a collection of artists such as Eagles, Brooks, Allen and Hagar. Her blonde hair had fallen over her features as she played and her eyes had closed. The music strains were played to perfection. She groaned out loud when she heard the door open again. She was eventually going to have to help Cindy out or her customers would start getting angry. Cindy was great at exchanging cash, great at cleaning and she could play the piano enough to explain the differences between keyboards versus upright,but the guitars were her enemy. Sydney, on the other hand, had music in her blood. Any instrument she chose fell captive to her skill. The bachelor's degree she had received in music study had just tapped the surface of her ability.

She had only been 21 when she finished college and had been asked by more than one person to go places and learn more. A fully qualified teacher for music,she had shucked the whole idea and bought her own store with the savings from her parents' death insurance. The stock and merchandise collected over the last 6 years equaled that of many stores across the nation. But her skill with music arrangements and her knowledge of instruments had propelled her store to the top selling musical store in the state of California. Her life's work along with her parents' insurance had allowed her to care for and keep Sammy with her. The long hours and sacrifice had been slowly paying off. The little beauty cradled in her arms was one such pay off. The D-45 was worth over 100,000 dollars. She had purchased it after careful consideration and a loan from the bank. The calculated risk was worth it as she had already had 3 offers well over the price she paid.

Savoring the guitar's tone and feel, she stood slowly and headed over to the sales counter. Cindy was showing a young kid some guitar string. He looked to be about 18 and was dressed in a leather jacket. 10 to 1 he was looking at electric guitar strings; Sydney smiled at Cindy's glance. Cindy quirked an eyebrow and grabbed the strings the young man pointed at. Sydney's chuckle was drowned out by the front door bell sounding again. Cindy completed the transaction as Sydney turned to see who came in.

Tom B. was taking his jacket vest off and just tossing it onto one of the practice chairs. His lanky frame was dust covered and his motorcycle helmet was under one arm. He grinned at Sydney and winked at Cindy. Cindy blushed slightly and turned to hand the wrapped up strings to the young man she was helping.

"Well, Sydney Walters. How's it going?" Tom boomed as he carefully set the helmet next to his jacket. His eyes squinted at the guitar in her hands, then widened slightly. "What ya got there?" he asked suddenly walking over to Sydney. He reached the 26 year-old and surveyed her treasure. His eyes gleamed appreciatively at the inlay as he tilted his head. His bald top shone under one of her overhead lights while his full burly beard jiggled slightly.

"Nice!" he commented without touching it. Sydney resisted the urge to pull it tighter against her chest. His dark eyes sparkled with understanding. Sydney grinned and walked back over to the practice room. She pressed a combination of keys on the display panel nearby and the glass panel slid open to make Display Case A accessible. She gently set the guitar inside and closed the panel. Turning toward the man behind her, she clapped her hands together and rubbed them as if the dealings were about to begin.

Tom frowned with regret, and then perked up a little a second later.

"You'll have it out tonight. I'm coming by to watch." His statement seemed to reflect fact and Sydney grimaced, agreeing. She knew she would let him try it eventually, but she was still psyched by the arrival. She wanted just a little time before her customers began to take it away.

"I've got that sheet music you were waiting on. I've corrected a few things, but the end came out great." Sydney walked over and grabbed the music. Tom came up behind her and looked at the sheets. She handed them over and watched him walk toward the practice area. Nodding at Cindy to get her attention, she pointed to Tom. Cindy nodded and went to get him a cup of coffee.

The two of them had just started discussing the sheet music in earnest when Cindy set down the cup.

"Why this strain? Won't that sound a little too fast? Maybe we could use a violin or something instead of a piano," Tom asked pointing to a few bars. Sydney began to offer suggestions for a trumpet instead. They both ignored the low beep of the front doorbell and Cindy headed off to help another customer.

A few minutes later, she heard the music start. It was always this way. When Tom brought Sydney music she would take a shot and feel it out to round out the missing elements. Tom's lounge band practiced at the store occasionally and Sydney put in her two bits. He seemed to trust her judgment instinctively. The music she produced was amazing to Cindy; Tom agreed.

Sydney was presently playing the piano keyboard and had tuned in a trumpet instrument to play the melody. Tom's band hadn't hit the big time yet, but there was always an off chance something would happen and he seemed to realize the music he played was going to make the difference. Unfortunately, although Tom wrote the best lyrics around, he and his band members were crap for writing music. Sydney brought the music element into it and asked only that he teach while in town. He felt he got the better part of the bargain since he had met Cindy along the way. Cindy's cheeks blushed slightly as her eyes met his for a second and he winked. They had been dating for a year now in between his gigs. Cindy felt her heart skip a beat with the thought of his being back today. Maybe he would stay over tonight and they could spend some time together.

Gathering her thoughts together and pushing them down, she listened to the music being generated and smiled. Tom had started humming. He always did that when he was creating words in his head. Today was going to be a good day, Cindy decided. She mentally thought of what she could cook for him tonight as she walked over to the displays and started cleaning the windows.


Sammy saw his sister's Honda pull up at the school gate and waved. He scrambled over and jumped in as he yelled goodbye to Benny. The distracted look his sister wore told him already she was thinking. He sat quietly while they rode back to the shop. Her gaze rested on him for a few minutes before she spoke.

"I called the radio station and got some information," she said, locking her gaze with his.

He smiled and rolled his eyes, "Spit it out, Sis. I'm getting older by the second."

She grinned back."The trip is in June. That band you like so much is hosting us at their house and you're getting backstage passes to see one of their concerts. Is that enough? 'Cause there is more." She gauged his ecstatic wide eyes with amusement.

"Oh my go...goodness!" he exclaimed taking a moment to collect himself. He was in heaven. The trip wouldn't interfere with school and Sydney was acting like they were going already. Earlier Benny had tripped on Sammy's news. He asked him all sorts of questions. Sammy hadn't known half the answers so he started spitting them out to his sister the moment she merged into traffic.

"Are we flying? Do we get to go first class? What's the date? Did you say more? What else?" Sydney held up one hand to hold back the barrage of questions.

"Tomorrow we go to the station and I sign a bunch of papers to allow you to go and we get an itinerary." Sammy laughed one strong bellow, letting some of his tension release. He eyed Sydney out of the corner of his eye. He had neglected to mention a few things and he didn't want Sydney getting upset about anything. He sighed and shifted in his seat as far as the seatbelt would allow to face her..

"Uh…Sis?" he questioned tentatively. Sydney glanced over and stiffened slightly at his clearly troubled features.

"Yes?" she asked, waiting for him to let her know what he was thinking. She turned into the music store's parking lot, shut off the engine, and turned to face him slightly.

Sammy sighed and leaned against the velour upholsteryof the car. "Have you ever listened to JT and the Stars?" He hesitated looking over at her directly. "I mean they are great, but a couple of their songs are…" he searched for a good word, "…controversial! They play great music and all, but a few of their songs are pretty...expressive." Sydney smiled at his attempts to describe music using words he had heard coming from her. His 14-year-old vocabulary was highly enriched by her musical interests.

Sydney digested the news and made an immediate commitment to check out their music. She had not heard of this band, but as long as Sammy wasn't cussing out lyrics, she felt it was ok. So far he had shown an interest in mostly blues and country. Sydney was pretty sure the majority of the country music was fairly clean.

"Got a CD of them?" she asked. He nodded and pulled one from his backpack. She took it and smiled. "I'll check them out and see how it goes. Every artist puts a little piece of themselves in their music so maybe I'll learn something." He grumbled and smiled.

"Just don't condemn them right off. They're great and have helped a lot of people with money and stuff."

Sydney nodded and thought that was a plus.

They headed into the store and she carried the CD toward one of the back studios. Sammy dropped his stuff in the practice area and hurried over to an available floor model piano to start practicing. He had an hour of practice each day and was sounding out his scales as she disappeared around the corner.

Cindy came over and ruffled his hair. He smiled up at her and continued to practice.

Sydney placed the CD in the sound system and turned up the sound. The music began to play and she settled into a nearby chair. The entrance was a single guitarist. The blues tune was exotic. It slurred to join with a sexy primal beat of a bass drum. The beat and guitar suddenly modulated with the addition of a keyboard playing a few backup chords. Sydney had just closed her eyes to enjoy the song when a woman's husky voice started singing.

Don't make me love you.

You hold the power.

Don't make me want you..

You're holding my soul.

You're heart is mine

You're mind is soft with angels wings

Don't look at me with those eyes.

You're holding my life.

You're gorgeous, gorgeous. Let's go see the world.

You're gorgeous, gorgeous. Let's go make a world.

With you in my arms I can do anything.

Sydney listened to that delicious sounding voice and realized she was holding her breath. Her thoughts ran rampant with excitement. It couldn't be her? Could it? Sydney had heard that voice in her most erotic dreams for years. The singing was so sensual and rich, deep and husky. She shivered at its hypnotizing sound. She had rarely had someone's music affect her like this. The dramas of the perfect harmony of sound performed with those sensual alto tones made her clench her thigh muscles tight with rising arousal.

She instantly reached over to grab the cover of the CD and looked for the owner of that voice. Only in her wildest dreams could she imagine it was someone she could never forget.

The cover had a single white rose embedded into what looked like a thousand vines of thorns. Pulling the two pages out of the case she found only the lyrics. She scanned them. The second verse began and moved into the musical interlude.

Make me want you

You always could

Make me rape you

I never wanted to

Hold me close and feel my heart

Hold me tight to feel my love

You're not leaving me

I'm lost in the dark.

You're gorgeous, gorgeous. Let's go see the world

You're gorgeous, gorgeous. Let's go make a world

With you in my arms I can do anything.

Sydney let her mind absorb the tone, beat and voice. Another musical interlude was performed. She knew it was her, Justine T. Salinger. The name fit and the voice was exactly as Sydney remembered. She slid her eyes closed to feel its seduction. Every cell of her body was tense with the pulsating sounds. She felt her skin tingle. She listened to the swelling refrain.

How can I touch you and not feel you

How can you touch me and not be cut.

I have the vision of your love in my head.

Where is it in my heart?

You're gorgeous, gorgeous.

Let's go see the world.

You and me, dance to the music.

Stay gorgeous, gorgeous.

Let's see the world, just you and me.

She flexed her legs in arousal and pressed them together to capture the rising, pulsing heat. She breathed deeply realizing she was close to an orgasm. Groaning she reached over to the CD player and quickly shut it off before the next song could start.

"Damn," she whispered, shaken slightly. Oh yes, she remembered Justine. She remembered every moment with Justine. Even moments she wished she could erase from her memory forever. She thought back to her sophomore year of college with anger and passion.

She was working on campus after classes to earn a little money. Her parents were paying the bulk of her education, but she liked to earn her own spending money. Her best friend had taken the liberty of setting her up on a blind date and then challenging her to go. Sydney had really needed the night out and her interrogation over the qualifications of her blind date had not revealed any possible horrors. In fact, she sounded terrific. Long dark hair, charismatic, a woman really into her music, someone she wouldn't forget. She almost sounded to good to be true. Sydney even liked her name. Justine! It was pretty and feminine. Sydney had conceded and started the festivities of the evening by leaving her on-campus job. She drove home to her parents, ran to her bedroom and began the tedious process of dressing her seemingly gangly form in a nice pair of jeans and a green blouse to match her eyes. Being 19 and overly tall, she had rarely felt too comfortable with her capabilities. That night she had shrugged off her insecurities about how she looked and made a self-statement not to care what others thought. Maybe she wasn't going to find Ms. Right on a blind date, but maybe she would.

She eventually talked herself into driving her used Honda over to pick up her date. The plan was to pick her up, meet each other and catch up with the rest of the group at the dance club. Her best friend thought that would be less stressful. As she entered the neighborhood she chuckled to herself at the idiotic idea of less stress. Sydney wondered how she could possibly hope to be less stressed when she was meeting a complete stranger to go on a date. As she drove up near the residence, she checked her watch to make sure she was still on time. The address she'd arrived at had a lone figure standing outside its doors. Sydney exited the car and moved around to meet the other girl. Rounding the front hood she casually smiled up at the figure standing on the porch steps and practically fell on her face as the vision of Justine Salinger came into full view.

Electric blue eyes met Sydney's green and sparks flew between the two women. Sydney drew in a sharp breath of air and found her foot missing the small step up onto the curb. She broke the connection in clumsy surprise. Catching herself from falling down, she slowly straightened and raised her gaze to take in the beauty she had only glimpsed for a moment.

A young woman her age stood poised on the porch. The 5 foot 7 vision tossed her raven black hair and raised a thin arching eyebrow toward Sydney. Long thick lashes were held half-mast over those blue eyes. The full lips were soft and smiling in a half grin as she looked down. Sydney ignored her fluttering nervous symptoms and bravely smiled up. She quickly let her eyes roam up and down her date's form to take in the whole delicious sight.

A tight white tank top contrasted with the darker opened leather bomber jacket and tight black jeans. The tips of the pointed boot sticking out from the bottom of the painted on jeans only verified the rebel statement. Justine was sensuality. Sydney let her eyes flicker all around the shorter woman trying to train her peripheral vision to focus better and not be caught staring. She pushed her hands into her jeans pockets and stood at the bottom of the porch looking upward feeling extremely uncomfortable. Justine seemed to be looking downward with an appraising eye. Sydney felt suddenly naked and vulnerable. The bold gaze Justine gave Sydney made her knees weak.

"Hi!" Justine's sexy voice had floated out across the distance between them. Sydney felt a goofy grin stretch her lips as she ducked her head shyly.

"Hello!" she said, looking upward through her blonde bangs. She held her breath for a moment as she watched Justine take a few steps down from the top porch step. As the darker haired woman moved closer, Sydney felt her breath leave her.

Sydney bit the inside of her lip with nervousness as Justine slowly walked down to the one step above where Sydney stood. Their eyes were level. Sydney listened to an internal dialogue start up in her head.

Maybe if you just slouch a little she won't notice. Yes, and maybe you should pluck those feathers off your chicken shit butt! Remember your plan. If it happens it happens. Oh but wouldn't you like it to happen with her?

Before Sydney could finish the 'oh so interesting' conversation in her head, Justine had wiped away the nervousness with her friendly remark.

"You're a tall thing, aren't ya?" Her husky voice shivered over Sydney's skin. "I like that. Tall is really good." Sydney felt herself straightening up from the almost automatic slouch she had begun to make. She attempted to tone down the irrepressible smile beaming from her face as she looked into those amused blue eyes.

A slender hand reached out to Sydney. She automatically reached out and grasped it in her own long slender hand.

"I'm Justine, nice to meet you."Justine clarified, letting her eyes roam over Sydney's face. Sydney cleared her throat and tried to reply.

"Sydney Walters," she managed to mumble. Justine chuckled at the blush that flew up onto the cheekbones of the tall girl before her. The blonde hair seemed so soft and silky. Justine curbed the urge to reach over and brush the bangs back off her forehead. Sydney's green eyes were exotic with their long blonde streaked eyelashes lining their beautiful full form. Justine loved the shy demeanor. She smiled brightly into those green eyes and watched as a spark of attraction showed in the emerald depths. Wow!

Sydney recovered her hand slowly and clenched the warm feeling she held inside her fist. She managed to step back and motion with her left hand toward the car.

"Your chariot awaits, Madame?" Sydney stated in a false aristocratic voice. She rolled her eyes at herself internally, keeping her smile on her face as she mentally slapped herself on the forehead.

Justine picked up the playful banter while stepping down and heading to the car. "Yeah, Baby!" She impersonated Austin Powers with her seductive tones. Sydney swallowed and immediately mentally patted herself on the back and rushed to open the car door without seeming to rush. She began to look forward to the night with growing excitement.

They both buckled their seatbelts and Sydney maneuvered out of the parking spot. She quickly made her way down the residential street and hopped onto the nearby highway. She drove the car tensely as they headed toward the gay clubs. Sydney wondered why she had never met Justine before. They obviously had some mutual friends. Before she could gather up the courage to inquire, Justine broke the silence.

"So you're friends with Casey?" Justine asked as they rode along. Sydney nodded, then swallowed her nervousness and managed to make some normal sounding conversation.

"We are best friends from high school," Sydney explained, glancing over and catching the blue eyes looking at her. She half grinned and just knew a blush was rising. She cursed her Scottish ancestry as she felt the heat rise in her pale cheeks.

Justine just smiled and turned to look forward again.

"How do you know Casey?" Sydney asked, hesitating slightly. Justine began shaking her head.

"I don't. She is friends with Becky and Becky is dating Amber who is in my band," Justine's voice related as her husky tones made the small hairs on Sydney's neck vibrate. Sydney reminded herself to breathe in and out, in and out. Goodness, this woman is sexy!

"Your band? What band?" Sydney asked surprised. All Casey had mentioned was Justine was into music. Sydney assumed she was another student studying for her music bachelors too. She glanced over at Justine, her eyes taking in the rebellious outfit once again.

Her inner voice spoke delicious thoughts. Oh, my God. She's hot. I hope she can dance and that voice. "Please tell me she sings!" Her inner voice failed to ask that silently. Sydney winced as she realized she spoken out loud.

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