A Quest Ridden on Behalf of Love
JM Dragon and Erin O’Rielly
©J M Dragon 2000
e-mail: jmdragon@jmdragon.net
e-mail: eorielly@yahoo.com


This story features consensual relationship between adult women with graphic descriptions. If this bothers you, is illegal in the State, Province or Country you live or if you are under the age of 18, close this page immediately and find something more appropriate to read.

Expletives are used.

Yep, right from the get go.

There is definitely some hurt/emotional discomfort with some brief scenes of angst and heartache to be dealt with by the characters.

Author’s Note:
Back in the year 2000 I wrote a story that has lain on the shelf waiting for more work. I enlisted Erin to collaborate with me in finishing the story. This is the result of our work together. I hope you enjoy our tale. JM

Part Four

Business, Partnership Or More

Lena watched as Kate turned, gave her a winning smile and entered the attorney's office agreeing to meet a little later. Lena put the truck in gear and set off for her destination, the local jewelers. Ernie Miller's work was exquisite and she needed the custom piece to be perfect. She was sure it was going to be a token that would bring what her heart desired and more.

"Hi Ernie, how are things?" Lena said, her bright manner bringing a smile to the grizzled features of the old man. The jeweler sat with an eyeglass in his right eye pouring over some gems on the polished surface of his worktable.

"Hi Lena, glad you got my message," the old man liked this straightforward woman. She always knew exactly what she wanted and this time, she had surpassed herself.

"I'm looking forward to this, believe me." The smile on Lena's face was akin to a child on Christmas about to open presents.

"Got to tell you, Lena, this sure has taken longer than the watch casing you had me do for your dad but it's a beautiful piece, that's for sure." The old man held out a green felt box and watched as the young woman opened it.

Lena's eyes looked at the uniquely beautiful item. It was even more striking than she imagined when designing the piece.

"Guess I don't have to ask if it meets your approval." The old man chuckled as he saw the smile remain on her face.

Lena put the piece back into the green felt box, paid Ernie then shook his hand in happy thanks. In her mind, the man was a superb craftsman. Carefully storing away her possession, she left with another round of thanks.

Arriving in front of the lawyers and not seeing Kate, Lena opened the green case and gazed in fascination. Lena hoped that Kate would see the true meaning behind the gift when she presented it to her before they left for the Derby. Closing the box, she placed it in her jacket pocket not wanting Kate to find it before they were up close and personal. A smile crossed her face knowing that was a sure thing before their journey home was completed.

Pulling up her legs to rest on the seat, Lena reached down for a small, well-worn book in the door pocket. Opening the book, she looked at the preliminary design of the precious piece now safely concealed in her care. All she hoped for with that first tentative drawing now realized in an exquisite piece.

A gentle tap on the window brought her face-to-face with the object of her thoughts. She never looked more alluring to Lena as she did standing there. She felt her heart soaring with love and desire for the beautiful woman.

"Going to let me in?" Kate asked pointing to the legs draped over the passenger seat in a relaxed stance. Lena smiled apologetically and removed her legs so Kate could get inside. Kate held a large, fat manila envelope, which she tossed behind the seat. Then, Kate placed her hands around Lena's face and gave her a slow welcome kiss. This had Lena growling with frustration that they were in the middle of downtown with a half-hour drive back to the farm.

Lena smiled affectionately at the smaller woman, "You love to turn me on and leave me out to dry, don't you, Kate?"

"No, never that, Lena. I might love to turn you on but leave you out to dry, dearest, that would be the furthest thing from my mind. Now, if you said turn you into a puddle then, oh yes, every time my darling, every time. I adore seeing you wet and by my hand too!" Kate giggled at the shocked expression that passed over Lena's face before her lover pulled her close and bit down gently on a tempting ear.

"Wet, hmmm, now that's a thought I would really like to get my teeth into, Kate. I have hands and teeth and anything else that comes to mind or can move on my body to help you join me."

Kate this time groaned at the sexual intonations they traded, God give me strength, she thought as she pulled out of Lena's warm embrace.

"How does dinner at my house tonight sound?" Kate asked, her heart dancing to a tune that Lena created.

Lena smiled seductively and put the truck into gear, leaving before making a spectacle in the middle of town. "You and dinner sound perfect to me, do you want me to bring the wine?"

Kate turned her gaze out of the window to steady her rapid pulse. At times being this close to Lena was a distraction she could well do without but she never wanted to be without it! "Excellent, anytime after seven will be just fine."

Lena quickly glanced her way and a slow sexy smile crossed her lips when she saw the shallow breathing of the smaller woman. Looking down the road, she was glad to have something else to concentrate on other than the heat she felt rising inside her body. No one had ever turned her on like Kate and no one ever would.

* * * * *

Kate had surpassed herself with the dinner she had prepared. Actually, Carmen made most of the dishes with Kate assisting, applying her own special touch to everything.

Now, both content after the meal quietly engaged in friendly chatter as good friends often do. It was something they had cultivated, a deep friendship that bound them together and added immense strength to their growing love for each other.

Walking into the room, Lena reclined her tall frame into the plump love seat and sighed in satisfaction. The meal had been marvelous and the company was nothing short of bewitching. Love was a truly remarkable thing causing a smile on her face for the entire evening. If their previous interactions of the day were anything to go by, it would be a wide, satisfied grin by the end of the evening.

Kate approached her and placed a tray with coffee and what looked like a large envelope that Kate had from the lawyers.

Lena smiled at the exuberant woman who retrieved the envelope and unceremoniously jumped onto Lena's lap. Smiling happily, Lena looked into the green eyes, "Not enough room on the sofa or have I taken your favorite spot?"

Kate smiled and gave her a kiss that started the heat flowing through her body, "You are my favorite spot. Wherever you are I want to be, makes sense to me." Kate captured the full lips surrendering to the frustrations of the day by indulging in a very thorough inspection of Lena's mouth with her active tongue.

Lena groaned as they came up for air and touched the side of Kate's cheek. She was in awe at how much the woman, on her lap, excited her to the point of being totally out of control at her touch. "Makes sense to me also, Kate, perfect sense!"

Kate moved away slightly from the total body contact, picked up the large envelope and placed it on top of Lena's hand. The dark haired woman looked at her in puzzlement as she took the packet. Lena opened the envelope with easy fluid movements but her eyes never left Kate's who looked at her with a happy, satisfied, look. Reluctantly releasing her blue gaze from the green one, she began to scan the contents. Quickly glancing down at the documents spilling out of the envelope, she saw the deeds to Merridoc Farms and ownership of the thoroughbreds with both their names on the documents, indicating joint ownership. Lena glanced up into the sparkling green eyes. There was no doubt in them that this was what Kate wanted. "I can't accept this, Kate." Lena was shocked at the contents and her eyes mirrored the tone of her voice.

Kate continued to look into the anguished blue eyes she loved, never more so than now. "Why not? We have worked together here as partners, it is the perfect solution," her comment logical in her eyes.

Lena placed her hands around Kate's face and tenderly caressed the cheekbones under her fingertips. "The perfect solution to you maybe but not to me, Kate. You own all of this. It belonged to your grandparents and it's yours, I only work here!"

Kate's eyes changed from a position of no doubts in her decision to slightly apprehensive about her approach. "You don't just work here, Lena. Without you Merridoc wouldn't be in the prestigious position it is today and you know that! Please, it's important to me that you share the property with me and everything that entails."

"I can't, Kate. It wouldn't be right for you to just give me a half share. I thought you were an astute business woman, my Love!" Lena smiled gently at Kate not wanting her to feel that the gesture wasn't welcomed but to her, it was impractical.

Kate smiled wryly at the comment. "Oh, I am. I got you to come here, didn't I?"

"That you did, my love, that you did. And, I thought you'd given up those type of negotiation practices?" Lena teased her to ease the tension that was building.

"Oh, I have, except on one particular employee…who can be so, so stubborn but who has the most remarkable blue eyes that I literally will try any ploy to get her to my...table for talks." Kate smiled suggestively at her and saw the flare of passion ignite in Lena's eyes.

Lena considered her options. She didn't want to argue about the partnership with Kate although her principles refused to allow her to accept such a generous gift when she had nothing to give in return or had she? Smiling at the sudden idea that came to her, Louis was good to me in the last six years, I've spent very little and Granny left me a tidy sum, yes, exactly what I need!

"Will you come to my table, Lena?" Kate suspected that Lena had made a decision for she could see the gleam in her eyes as they smiled at her.

"Yes but I have a proposition for you, Kate. What if I buy my share of the partnership?" Lena watched in fascination as Kate frowned slightly at the idea as her green expressive eyes became guarded and for a split second, Kate's spirit left the room. That was how Lena perceived the expressions crossing the beautiful face close to hers.

Kate gave Lena a serious look. "No! I want to give you this partnership as a gift for everything you've done for Merridoc and for what you have given...me!"

Lena saw the traces of disappointment in Kate's face. She wanted to close the gap between them and forget they ever mentioned the subject but it was too late for that! "Kate, it's a fantastic opportunity you are offering me but, darling, I would always feel that I hadn't earned the magnificent gift. At some stage it would come back to haunt us and I don't ever want anything we have together to be tinged with a possibility that something might return and hurt our relationship. Can you understand my position, Kate? Please?" Kate heard the impassioned plea and her heart surged at the words. No, she didn't want anything to come between them. This was so trivial a point, it was time to compromise and she was good at that. "I understand your position, Lena, not entirely sure I agree with you but...I can see your point of view. So, I will take a thousand dollars!"

Lena gave a belly laugh at the absurd amount Kate indicated. It was very amusing and so like her lover. Wonder which school of business practice she went too? Whichever it was, they needed to brush up on the negotiation technique in the real world. However, Kate's use of seduction in negotiation needed no improvement whatsoever. Lena gave her a look that spoke volumes to her friend and she placed her forehead to the smaller woman's. Several seconds later she lifted her head and responded. Placing her arms around Kate, she gently lifted her and deposited her softly on the other side of the sofa. Leaning over, she placed a tender kiss on her lips and whispered into her ear, "I'll be back in a minute, don't go anywhere."

Kate looked at her in surprise, even more so as she left the room swiftly leaving her with a bemused expression on her face. "What on earth is she up to?"

A couple minutes later, Lena waltzed back into the room and gave Kate a slow, smoldering look that astounded Kate. Advancing closer to Kate, she dropped down on her knees and then with an exaggerated flourish, presented Kate with a check.

Giggling at the display from her friend, she took the check batting her eyelashes at Lena with great effect. Looking at the check, her hand froze in space as the amount registered. "I can't accept this, Lena, it's way too much and I only asked for a thousand dollars not a million dollars. Do you have cotton wool in your ears?"

Lena continued to smile and chuckle at the words. "No, my hearing is perfect, thank you, and I heard but this is the only way I can accept the partnership, Kate, the only way! Of course, you will have to wait a few days to cash the check so I can get stocks and bonds sold to cover it."

"You are so...so irritating, do you know that?" Kate wasn't immune to the infectious smile of her friend and once it made inroads into Kate's consciousness it was difficult, if not impossible, for her to deny Lena anything.

Lena chose that moment to remove the check from Kate's grasp and place it next to the papers on the coffee table that still held their now cold coffee. Placing her arms around the smaller body that complimented her in every way, she pulled her lover into a tight embrace and trailed tender light kisses from her brow to her eyes, which she also reverently kissed gently. She then moved across her cheeks and kissed the tip of her nose, eventually ending up with a breathless and totally appealing set of lips ready for her to plunder of their nectar. She did that for several minutes, only allowing them to come up for air once or twice and that was under duress.

"I think I like to be irritating, Kate, especially if it causes this reaction in you." Lena stroked the rapidly beating pulse at her neck with a fingertip.

"Okay, I agree to take your check if this is how you complete a business deal. But, make sure you only ever negotiate this way with me, Lena!" Kate informed her now completely dazed at Lena's onslaught but, oh, what a way to become dazed and confused.

"Only you will ever need this kind of negotiation technique, Kate. After all, the rest just get evicted from the property, right?" Lena laughed and rested her new partner's head on her chest in satisfaction that they had finally agreed on the terms of the deeds.

Kate smiled at the statement. "Yes and I hope that one day soon this partnership we have will become more than a business formality. So, how do you propose we seal the deal?"

Lena kissed the head comfortably positioned on her shoulder. She smiled into the blonde silky hair as she heard a sharp indrawn breath. "I think we had an earlier discussion about us both wanting to appreciate the other's techniques at getting wet. I'm in favor of that particular pursuit right now. What about you?"

Kate, without a further word, moved from Lena's gentle embrace and standing next to her lover's outstretched legs, held out her hand for Lena to take. A predatory smile came over Lena's face, her eyes carrying a sultry glaze that would melt a glacier, Kate was positive about that! Lena enclosed the hand and seemingly, within seconds, they were laughing breathlessly in the middle of Kate's bedroom.

Both women looked at each other as their desires ignited to such a pitch that only the release of passionate lovemaking was going to quench these needs this time, no going back! Kate kicked off her shoes and they whizzed around the room and came down heavily as they hit the wall. Kate never let the cobalt blue eyes leave her as she placed her arms around the still laughing Lena. Her partner gently kissed her neck and then began a tender exploration of the slender column to the base of her throat. Kate didn't let this distract her from her purpose. In fact, it brought her senses to a higher pitch that made her task that much more important.

Kate's hands began what she considered one of the best uses of her dexterity, the removal, as quickly as possible, of every piece of clothing that Lena was wearing. This was their special game and this time she was certainly winning. They hadn't even decided on an appropriate trophy for the winner but the thoughts that crossed her mind put trophies well into the background. Oh yes, definitely into the background. Anyway, who wanted a trophy when she had a living and breathing body that moved seductively to her touch and had her own body answering with a similar beat?

Piece by piece the clothing dropped to the floor as Lena's fingers teased Kate's breasts. Finally, Kate removed the last of the clothing and within record time, Lena was naked in her arms. Lena gathered Kate closer. "You do that so well, my love." The sultry soft tone of her lover whispered in her ear.

"I know but I have good reason. Who wouldn't want to see you as nature intended, darling?" Kate kissed the collarbone of her lover and saw the intense emotions that threatened to spill at any time from Lena.

"Nature be damned! All I want is to make you happy, that will do for me." Lena growled in a sexy timbre pulling Kate closer until her naked thighs were pushing against the thin fabric of Kate's dress. The friction causing her to breathe in deeply or she would overload with her own sexual fantasy the woman caused unconsciously in her. Soon Lena freed Kate's body from the bound of clothes.

The bed was enticingly close and Lena, using her extra strength, propelled them towards the soft and entirely satisfactory position of lying in a close embrace on top of the bed.

"You're making me more than happy, Lena," was all Kate could say as she endured, with complete agreement and abandonment, the sensual attentions of her lover.

"Pleased to hear it, Kate. Now, no more talking, screaming I'll allow but talking..." Lena captured Kate's lips in a kiss that sealed that part of the conversation with no doubts.

* * * * *

Promises For A Lifetime

Lena watched with pride as the horse trailer, emblazoned with the name Merridoc Farms, pulled out on its way to Kentucky. All the hopes and dreams of a successful race carried in the trailer. The dawn till dusk training over the last months making sure the horses were conditioned and ready for the big one was about to payoff.

The night before their scheduled departure for Churchill Downs, Lena had special plans and a particular question to ask Kate. A smile of satisfaction came to her face as she stirred her world famous chili. World famous because in reality, it was about the only thing she could successfully cook. Kate put her arms around Lena's waist as the older woman stirred the large pot of chili. "That smells wonderful…do you have other specialties."

Turning in Kate's arms Lena smiled wickedly. "Why yes, I do…care to try them out?" In that moment, looking deeply into Kate's eyes, Lena had a flash of insight telling her that Kate was her reason for living. It was a natural conclusion that they would spend the rest of their lives together. "I love you, thank you for being in my life." She said quietly, the tenor of her words changing from playful to serious.

Kate was astonished at the expression from Lena. Something was different tonight, very different. Smiling she replied, not as she first thought to but simply. "I love you too."

Supper finished and now warm and resplendent in their favorite sofa, holding each other closely, Lena made a move that Kate wasn't happy about. "Where are you going?" Kate asked her restless partner.

"I'm not going anywhere, I promise but I...well, Kate, I was thinking that maybe..." Her jumbled words stopped as lips captured hers as they fell into a sensual haze that only they produced together…it was amazing!

"Let's go to bed and you can show me all your other specialties." Kate placed her lips on the side of Lena's neck. She had no resolve left…it was just going to be!

"You and bed sound great to me, I can deal with that, especially if you take me. Lena smiled and her smile enraged the smoldering embers in Kate's body.

"You are the only person I want in my bed. I can't exist without you, Lena, don't you know that by now?" Kate said, her passion now fully engaged.

Without a word, Lena picked up her lover and quickly made her way to the bedroom where she deposited Kate on the bed. Looking down at the beautiful woman, Lena was in awe. Her heart, mind and body all overwhelmed by the nearness of the woman and the love she felt.

For Lena, the decisive moment was upon her. Now was the perfect time to ask the question that had kept her awake.

To Kate's surprise, instead of Lena joining her on the bed, she dropped to one knee at the side of the bed and locked a cobalt blue gaze with her emerald green eyes. Kate could see the fine lines that etched themselves at the sides of her eyes. It portrayed Lena's apparent nervousness and yet, it made her look so very attractive. Lena's hand went shakily to her pocket then held out a green felt box for Kate.

Kate was mesmerized by the action of Lena's shaking hands indicating the seriousness of the event about to take place. Kate gave Lena a puzzled look as she gently took the box from trembling hands. Opening the box, her breath caught at the sight of the ring. It was breathtaking.

Kate removed the ring that nestled within the confines of the box with infinite care and concentrated appraisal. She exhaled the breath she held when she'd first glanced inside. Rotating the ring in as many directions as possible, the entwined heart shaped horseshoes enchanted her. Within the center of each, a large diamond with each horseshoe encrusted with smaller diamonds. The ring was stunning and so unique. For Kate, it was a moment she would cherish for the rest of her life.

"I love you, Kate, would you honor me by being my life partner?" Lena asked huskily as she watched with quiet joy the expressions chasing across her lover's face. It was a memory to capture and savor in her heart forever.

Kate, rising up from the bed, collapsed on top of Lena on the floor as she pulled the taller woman into her arms and began kissing her from her eyes to her nose, lips, and collarbone. Gradually coming up for air then continued her onslaught across the fabric of Lena's shirt and nuzzled each breast until she could feel the nipples grow in excitement as they became noticeable through the fabric. As with the speed of her onslaught, she just as quickly jumped up from Lena and rushed over to the dresser drawer, which held her underwear and proceeded to rummage around until Lena could hear a soft exclamation. "Gotcha." as Kate removed a blue felt box and clutched is breathlessly to her chest.

Lena had been stunned and disappointed when Kate left her at such a tantalizing moment. Can't say I was expecting that reaction, jumping me yeah, jumping off nooo... her face had a bemused expression as she watched Kate. Watching from her prone position, Lena gave Kate a grin as she rushed back over and planted herself on her lover's shapely legs and held out the box.

"I love you, Selena Corkill, and yes, I will be your life partner if you will do me the honor of being mine?" Kate saw the smile that brought a glow to her lover as she opened the box and saw the look of wonderment on her face.

Lena pulled out the ring held in the box. It was an oblong sapphire the proportions of which she'd never seen outside the safe of a jeweler. Diamonds encrusted all around the huge sapphire…it was magnificent. "Kate, it's gorgeous. Where...when did you get this...?"

"Well, why not a gorgeous ring for a gorgeous woman. I saw it in New York months ago and knew I had to have it for you. It was made for you, Lena, and only you!" Kate, placing her arms around Lena's shoulders, hugged her close. Their bodies tingled at every angle they touched and a fierce yearning began in both of them that only the other could assuage.

"Yes, life partners, Kate. There will only ever be you in my life. Everyone and everything pales into insignificance with you here in my heart." Holding the ring out to Kate, she whispered. "Will you do the honors?"

Taking the ring, Kate placed hers in Lena's hand. "If you will do me the honors too."

As they slipped the rings onto fingers, whispered words of love filled the air.

"I have been afraid all my life of giving my heart completely to any one person, Lena. You changed all that with one smile the first day I saw you. I love the way your eyes hold me with love and desire, leaving no doubt that you love me. Please know that I love you, now and for always."

"Kate, you are all I ever want or need. I've always been so afraid of being hurt but you make me feel safe and loved. I never want to spend a day without you in my life. I love only you for eternity."

Lena placed light, tender kisses on Kate's bent head until her lover's face turned upwards to receive a kiss. "Does this mean that you will finally move into the main house?" Kate asked her with a cheeky grin that Lena loved.

She laughed at the teasing tone of her lover. "Well, I guess with fringe benefits like having you in my arms every night and each morning I wake up for the rest of my life, sounds like a perfect arrangement to me." Smiling seductively, she added, "Try and stop me." Lena pulled Kate down so that she was lying on top of her with every body part touching.

"Stop you. Like hell I will! You're mine and this is going to be the only place you lay your head at night. Mine are the only arms that will hold you when you sleep and my eyes will be the only ones that watch you as you wake up every morning. I adore you, my love, and all I want is to have you beside me for the rest of my life." Kate spoke the tender endearments softly and Lena watched spellbound as twin tears tracked down Kate's cheeks. Lena reached up and gently erased the moisture then brought her lips up to kiss away the trail left behind.

Lena traced her tongue along Kate's cheek, lapping up the salty taste of her lover then moving with swift attention to tantalizing lips. Kate, gasping at the intensity of Lena's attention, reciprocated as their tongues vied for supremacy. Each mouth gladly allowed entrance to the exciting battle that ensued.

Kate lifted her head to look directly into the now fired cobalt blue of her lover's as she placed her hands on the first button that held Lena's shirt in place. Within seconds, all six buttons were undone then Kate, with a speed that amazed Lena, pulled the shirt around her back and effectively pinned Lena to the floor, her hands a prison in the shirt. "I can't move, Kate."

Kate looked at Lena, her eyes glazed with passion. "Now, why would you want to move? I'm sure you'll enjoy what I have planned for you or I could release you." Kate's voice husky with pent up passion waiting for release.

Lena gave an amused look and smiled wolfishly, "Go ahead but remember, Kate, were in partnership now, what you do I get to give back."

Kate supplied a dazzling smile and nodded her head while she moved closer to the heaving breasts that were impatiently waiting for attention. Lena was sure she was going to die from the, oh so, very welcomed assault. Lena pleaded with Kate to move south since her need was overcoming her patience. Kate glanced up momentarily and gave her a sexy smile. No words were necessary as Kate dextrously unbuttoned the jeans then slowly teased the shapely thighs as she gradually removed the offending garment. Within minutes, Lena was experiencing the infinite gentleness of the exquisite touch of hands and mouth as her partner brought her to a pinnacle of delight that had her screaming Kate's name at the top of her voice.

Kate rested her head on Lena's stomach while she waited for her partner to catch her breath and gain a little control. "I love you, Lena." Kate said her mouth muffled as she kissed the smooth skin close to her lips.

"You got that right, Kate." Lena finally responded, her voice hoarse. Did I really scream that loud? With ease, Lena released herself from the shirt that she had allowed to hold her prisoner. Her arms quickly went around Kate's back. She gently stroked her lover's back in a swirling action that had the shorter woman leaning into every touch.

Kate's body was at a pitch with the energy of passion that required Lena's particular brand of lovemaking for release. "I wouldn't mind your showing me your other specialties about now!" Her voice croaked out…hungry for Lena's touch.

Lena chuckled at the need she heard in Kate's voice, "Lover, you can have whatever you need or want!" Lena picked the smaller woman up and gently laid her on the bed. This time, Lena descended on top of her and kissed her with such passion that Kate was unable to take a breath. Her hands were busy with the zipper of Kate's dress and within seconds, thrown on the floor in a bundle. Lena's eyes feasted on the half cup black bra that Kate wore and smiled as she placed small feather light kisses on the exposed part of each breast and heard a low growl permeate from Kate. With her lips gently caressing Kate's breasts, Lena reached for the front fastener, clever girl, and unclipped the bra to have two perfectly proportioned breasts spring out of their captivity with the nipples peaked. They did not have to wait long for a further display of attention, each responding with enthusiasm.

"I want more, Lena, so much more, please..." Kate rasped out while grasping the flowing dark hair that belonged to her partner and pushed her, with what little strength she had left, down towards her open thighs. Lena's hands made short work of the black lace panties that Kate wore. Lena made love to Kate, her screams filling the room! This was nothing short of wonderful!

Some time later, Lena held Kate in her arms and kissed the blonde hair as a grin of satisfaction crossed her face. "I was thinking, Kate, how would you like to take a shower?"

Kate looked up at her from her comfortable position in the crook of Lena's shoulder, "Why now?" she asked as she snuggled back into her favorite position.

"Well...I was kind of thinking water, you, me and test out a theory of mine about how wet one can get." Lena purred into her ear and Kate realized that the shower might not be the only thing turned on, if Lena's rakish look was anything to go by.

"You are insatiable, Lena. Do you know that?" Kate chuckled pushing herself away from her lover allowing Lena to move sufficiently so she could pick the smaller woman up.

"Only for my life partner, only ever for you, darling. That I promise!" Lena laughed softly into Kate's slender neck and carried her with ease towards the bathroom.

"Oh yeah, I agree, life partner, definitely only for a life partner." Kate's lips captured Lena's in a kiss of possession that had them both short of air as Lena kicked the bathroom door behind them and all that could be heard were rather curious sounds that had no connection whatsoever to having a shower, none at all!

* * * * *

Kentucky Derby

Lena walked quickly across the paddock towards Brownsley's stall and the jockey, Tim Stokey. "Have you weighed in, Tim?"

"All done. Me and Brownsley were having a serious talk about the race and her relaxing." Tim replied with a grin. The rider had a very good rapport with all the horses he rode. His love for them and racing so apparent in his words and deeds. Lena was certain this philosophy contributed to his high winning average.

"Have you seen Danny around?" She asked as she scanned the crowd for the handler.

Tim cocked his head at the question…Lena had never asked that question before. "He left shortly after I got here, said he needed to check on something. Is there something I can do for you?"

"No." Came the preoccupied answer as Lena continued to monitor the crowd. "There he is!" She exclaimed as the young man approached her. "Any news, Danny?"

"No, Ms. Lena, haven't seen a hair of her head. Don't worry, I will be right by Brownsley's side."

"Glad to hear it." Lena smiled fondly at Danny. She had always liked him and knew he could always be trusted to take very good care of the horses. "I will leave you to get her ready. I'll be back shortly." Turning to go, she once again scanned the crowd.

Kate and Lena's families had already arrived and were sitting in their private box with Kate when Lena returned. "Hello, everyone." She said with a smile. If the truth be known, her stomach was doing flip-flops not because of the race but because she was meeting Kate's parents for the first time.

Belinda Lawrence was the first to stand and give Lena a hug. "Hello, Lena, it is so good to finally meet you. Our little girl always speaks so well of you."

"Thank you." Lena said as she returned the hug while giving Kate the help me smile.

Kate took no time to arrive at Lena's side placing a scarf with the farm's colors around her neck. "There you go, bet you though I forgot."

Lena laughed. "How could I forget?" she said as she motioned at Kate's outfit. Her sundress had the colors also: navy blue, emerald green and gray. The tasteful straw hat had a broad band that also incorporated the colors.

Kate moved closer and gave Lena a hug then looked up into the blue eyes before speaking. "Lena Corkill, I would like you to meet my father, Carl Lawrence."

Lena held out her hand and shook the taller man's hand. "Pleased to meet you. Now, if you all will excuse me, I need to get back to the stables." Turning she smiled at Kate. "Meet you later."

The Lawrence and Corkill families gathered around the winner's circle as the garland of roses was placed on Brownsley's withers. It was an electrifying win for the horse and jockey, winning by five lengths. What a wonderful way to end a perfect day. Kate and Lena smiled proudly as photos were shot of them and their jockey, Tim Stokey. The Lawrence/Corkill co-operative program had exceeded their wildest dreams.

* * * * *

Lena's arm went around Kate's waist as she escorted her to their parent's table. After greeting everyone and taking their seats, the meal came to the table.

"Selena, your timing is impeccable as always." Seymour said laughingly. He then launched into a story about Lena never missing a meal.

Everyone at the table chatted amicably about the race, horses and future races. The two families seemed to meld together just as the two women had.

Carl spoke to Lena quietly. "While we wait for dessert, do you think we could step outside for a moment?"

Lena, taken aback, disguised it by giving Carl a disarming smile. "Certainly, shall we go?"

Kate watched as her father and the woman she loved excused themselves to go outside. She could see them through the doors. Her nerves wracked watching all the facial expressions on Lena's face. Kate was certain that she would know if something upset Lena but at no time did the beautiful woman have anything other than a smug and indulgent smile on her face. When Lena entered the room suddenly and caught Kate watching her, the smile changed to a sensual regard that had Kate lowering her eyes. The look had Kate squirming in her chair wanting to go over and take her lover to bed immediately, regardless of the company that they were entertaining.

When all the festivities grew low-keyed, Lena threw her arm around Kate's shoulders and led her silently out onto the balcony that gave a picturesque view of the area. The moon was out and the stars above gave a glow to the night that poets would have gladly given a year's rent to produce the same effects on paper as the reality did to the hearts of young lovers.

Settling into a familiar pose on the rail of the balcony, Lena gently placed a light kiss on Kate's head. "We did it, Kate, we've made a name for Merridoc Farms and all in the space of a year." Lena enthused as she soaked in the closeness of the woman in her arms.

"Yes, we did, but you know something, Lena." Kate looked up at the beautiful profile that she could not imagine living without.

"What's that, my love?" Lena asked her voice muffled in Kate's hair.

"If all we had was each other, Lena, that would be fine with me." Kate heard the catch in the breath taken above her.

Kate turned so that they were facing each other and could see each other's expression. "I cannot think of a more eloquent expression of what our love means to me, Kate, except that I know you're all I'll ever need in this life and beyond." Lena placed a delicate kiss on the tempting lips that smiled at the shared emotions.

As the wind gently swirled around them it could, to a poet with imagination, sound like the a line in a poem; Love's quest riding away with the gentle beat of two hearts now entwined as one.

Lena gently removed her arms from around Kate's shoulders and placed the warm palms around the small, beautiful features. Her cobalt blue eyes shone with undisguised passion and deep love of the woman she held close to her taller frame. "You know, Kate, I could hold you like this forever." Lena exclaimed as she gently kissed the small ear then bit down tenderly on the tempting lobe.

Kate's heart raced at both the sentiment and the accompanying action. With a trembling voice filled with unleashed passion, she answered her partner. "I would like that, darling, but I thought we might sit with our parents and talk about our future plans." Kate rested her head on Lena's shoulder as she let out a sigh of both satisfaction and frustration.

Lena raised her expressive eyebrows and arched them in question.

"Lena, we need to explain all our new plans and the changes we have negotiated." Kate smiled playfully into her lover's eyes and saw the enlightenment glimmer out of the cobalt blues.

"Kate, Negotiated? Are you calling our commitment to each other a negotiation?" Lena demanded back with a mock serious tone. Her voice dropping to the low octave her lover loved. She felt the slight tremor as the smaller body responded to the sound.

"Oh, yes, and I remember very well that it made a wonderful partnership in all the most important ways…especially the last one we negotiated, do you remember?" Kate's eyelashes were fluttering to exaggerate the comment and the meaning behind the words. "Ah, that negotiation…" Lena chuckled quietly as her eyes, which had previously held unleashed passion, now sparkled with merriment.

"Are you ready to face them?" Kate said seriously as her eyes mirrored the amusement of her lover's.

"With you, Kate, I will face the whole world if that's what you want. All you need do is ask and you shall receive." Lena drawled seductively.

"No, no, I think our parents are the world enough for tonight. Let's go make them very happy, shall we?" Kate tugged on the larger hand of her partner and together they left the beautiful scenery displayed from the balcony.

As they entered the room, they spied both sets of parents talking happily together. Seymour was no doubt regaling Kate's father with some anecdote or other which had both men echoing belly laughs. The two women chatted quietly, both rolling their eyes at their respective spouses. Kate and Lena looked at each other, smiled and headed in their direction.

"Room for two more?" Kate asked sweetly placing a gentle kiss on her father's cheek before settling into an empty chair on his left. Lena stood there, smiling sheepishly at her parents who were looking at her with speculation. She then pulled a spare chair forward so that she was next to Kate but close to her father's wheelchair.

"For you, darling, I'll always make room." Her father's deep voice said with affection. He grasped Kate's hand and held it as he'd done when she was a child. To him, she would always be a child…his child!

"Well, I'm glad that you are all together, we have something to share with you." Kate's voice held all the excitement of a child at her first birthday party.

All eyes turned first to the excited blonde then to the rather serious countenance of Lena who shrugged her shoulders at the words. To anyone who knew her well, it was easy to perceive the gleam of happiness in her eyes. Seymour was the first to ask the question.

"Well, I'm not getting any younger, little lady, so if you don't mind sharing, I'd appreciate it." His eyes twinkled as he turned his full attention to the animated blonde that had captured his daughter's heart.

Lena looked at her father in mock outrage then placed a hand on his shoulder. Then, with a look of adoration, she nodded her head at Kate.

"Lena and I would like you to know about the partnership we've formed at Merridoc. We are, effective as of a week ago, equal partners in the farm and its interests." Kate said quickly and held her breath as she waited for the reaction.

"Great news." Both sets of parents readily agreed and looked at them expecting more and they weren't disappointed.

Kate disengaged her hand from her father's and turned to Lena. Taking both her hands in both of hers then bringing them to her lips, she kissed the knuckles of her lover's hands. "Lena and I have agreed to be life partners and we wanted you all to share our happiness."

Lena looked around the table and saw the looks of pride and joyfulness emitting from them all. It was with quiet wonder that Lena rejoiced in the good vibes she was getting, not just form her partner but from both sets of parents.

Kate's mother was the first to speak after the congratulatory hugs and kisses were finished. "Kate, my dear, when will the happy day of the ceremony be?"

Kate smiled warmly at her mother but didn't answer immediately, her eyes tangled with her partner's as they conveyed messages that only they understood. As their heads slowly moved towards each other they suddenly, mutually, recalled where they were and exchanged a glance that conveyed both understanding and frustration.

"Come on, Lena, surely you and Kate have a date in mind?" Lena's mother prodded.

"We need to plan." Lena and Kate answered together causing their parents to laugh at their obvious matched thoughts.

Lena blew out a breath. "Right now we are in the middle of the training and preparations for the next two races." Smiling in the direction of Kate, she continued. "We think probably in a couple of months we will have the ceremony, isn't that so, my love?" Lena spoke decisively, but gently, and her cobalt blue eyes never left the green ones that had turned to watch her speak on their behalf.

"Exactly and I might add, what a celebration that will be…kind of makes me wish this was the last race instead of the first," Kate answered wistfully and giving Lena a smile that almost dazzled the other woman with its intensity.

* * * * *

Triumphs, Attempts and Failures

Before joining the others for the evening's festivities, Lena and Kate decided to visit the Horsemen's Club to get an idea of how their names would look there among all the other winners.

"Damn, I forgot to check on Danny!" Lena exclaimed as they entered the museum.

"Go ahead and see him. I will just look around until you get back." Kate said with a smile and a kiss.

"Are you sure? I won't be long." Bending to steal another kiss before she left, Lena shook her head. "We could forget all about this and just go back to our room."

Laughing, Kate gently hit Lena's arm. "Later, now go and hurry back."

"I'm going." She said as she started out the door.

Kate wandered about the museum taking in all the history of horse racing and the wonderful examples of what it meant to belong in the sport. So absorbed, she didn't notice the person approaching.

"Well, well, Kate, congratulations seem to be in order."

Kate's skin crawled as she recognized the voice. "I didn't think they let someone like you around horses anymore." She hissed at Cornelia.

"Now, Kate, you know that isn't true. I am the vet to several of the horses here." Cornelia said as she closed in on Kate.

Seeing the look in the vet's eyes, Kate knew she was in trouble and wished Lena was there. "Go away." She said as she looked around for an escape.

"You never said that before the bitch came on the scene. I know you wanted me, I could see it in your eyes, Kate." Cornelia, now only inches away from Kate, grabbed her arm.

Managing to pull loose, Kate began to run towards the trophy room only to have Cornelia grab her again. "No use running, Kate, I am going to have you, so don't fight me." Pulling Kate in close, she was about to have her revenge on Lena when she heard a familiar voice.

"Keep away from her you sorry bitch!"

* * * * *

Arriving back to join the others, Kate and Lena could feel their hearts pounding from the encounter with Cornelia. "Did I lose you, love?" Lena whispered into the sexy delicate ear a fraction from her lips. If she moved any closer, she would indulge in taking it between her teeth gently and tugging, knowing the effect that would have on her lover.

Kate turned tumultuous eyes in her direction, trapping hers in a wondrous place that only they shared. "Never, Lena, never will you lose me. I'm with you all the way, whichever way we decide to travel."

Bending, she kissed her love before they entered the main ballroom. Inside, many of their friends were celebrating not only the end of the year's Triple Crown but that they had competed so well and taken away two out of three races. "Glad to hear that because I think exactly the same way."

"You know, it's just as well you haven't been banned from the club." Kate sighed at the narrow escape they just had with 'Cruella' Cambridge. They could only hope that the woman was now out of their lives for good!

"Oh, really, no way would they have banned me because of her. Everyone around here knows what she did to our horse. Anyway, even if they had, it would have been worth it to knock even more sense into her dense skull." Kate saw the look of satisfaction on her partner's face as she recalled the previous altercation with the vet.

Stopping near their table, where several people with wicked smiles on their faces, waved at them. They obviously thought they'd gone out for air…well…they had in a way. It had certainly cleared the air in lots of ways.

"Lena, you're forgetting something."

Lena frowned wondering what she had forgotten. The smaller woman at her side never looked more beautiful in a gorgeous figure hugging creation that was simple yet elegant. Knowing Kate's penchant for only the best in her wardrobe, it probably cost a fortune. "I am? What's that, love?"

Giggling at the concentrated expression, yes that was her Selena. If it wasn't about horses, her mind needed a nudge now and again. It was probably the most important event in their calendar this year…to her certainly.

"We're having the ceremony here, remember, and somehow it doesn't quite have the same ring to it when you shout your vows from over the fence."

Lena shook her head and wondered how Kate put up with her…forgetting something she'd been longing for ever since they had vowed to be life partners months ago. "Oh, God, sorry, Kate, I didn't forget, really."

Kate smiled lovingly at her partner. Lena was one of a kind and she was going to ensure that this one of a kind was hers and hers alone. "Tell you what, you dance with me and I'll forgive you."

Lena didn't need to be asked twice to have the woman she loved in a close embrace dancing to a slow song…this was her ideal. Taking Kate's hand, they entered the dance floor and slowly gyrated to the music uncaring that the tempo and the other dancers were much more upbeat.

Lost in a world of their own, oblivious to the indulgent smirks from friends and acquaintances, they now had a new a quest of the heart and together that would be a marvelous journey.

As they stood swaying their hips slowly in time with their music instead of the melody filling the air, Danny came up to them. Clearing his throat, he waited for the two women to acknowledge him. Finally, Lena opened her eyes and saw him standing there.

"Danny, if you want the next dance you're going to have to wait, her dance card is full." She said in low sexy voice until she realized that he was out of place. "Danny, why are you here?"

"Sorry, Ms. Lena, it's Brownsley…something ain't right with her."

Suddenly, both women surrounded the young boy. "What do you mean? Speak up, tell me now!" Lena spoke with urgency.

"Well, me and Joey were sleepin' outside the stall and all of a sudden she started makin' a racket. We got up real fast to see to her but she is wild and won't let us near her." He said fearfully knowing how fond Lena was of the horse.

"Let's go." Kate said as the three made their way to the barns.

"Danny, did you call Dr. Price?" Lena asked.

"Yes, Ms. Lena, Joey went to fetch him."

Closing in on Brownsley's stall, they could hear the horse whinnying loudly as hooves crashed into the wooden side of the stall.

Kate and Lena pushed through the crowd of spectators shocked by the sight of their genial horse, wild and out of control.

"What the hell is going on here, Doc?" Lena said loudly over the shrill voice of the horse.

"Not sure, Lena, but it doesn't look good." Thomas Price, their new vet, said.

Lena walked closer to the stall and began talking in a low voice to the horse. "Hey, girl, it's me." Holding her hand out, she hoped the horse might settle down. "There you go, everything's going to be okay." Her soft voice continued as she edged nearer to the horse.

For the moment, the horse seemed to be placated although her eyes were wild and filled with fear. Lena gently placed her hand on the horse's withers only to have her rear up again. Quickly moving out of the way of the hooves, Lena fell backwards onto the barn floor. "Shit!" She screamed before cocking her head and looking intently at something in the hay.

"Danny, will you get me a rake?" Lena said as she got on her knees.

"What is it? Did you find something?" Kate asked as she knelt down on the floor resting her hand on Lena's shoulder.

For a moment, Lena was lost in a flood of emotions with Kate next to her. "You'll get your dress all messed up down here." Blue was lost in green until Danny came back with the rake.

"Here you go, Ms. Lena."

Lena sighed as the moment passed. "Thanks. Baby, do you see over there in the straw?" Lena asked as she pointed to a shiny object.

Kate searched the area until she too saw something in the straw. "Yes."

"I'm going to see if I can calm her down again. When the time is right, take the rake and pull whatever it is out of the stall. Okay?"

Kate smiled assuredly. "Be careful, will you?"

Lena winked and smiled. "Of course, we have the night ahead of us." She said so only Kate could hear. "You'll have to be quick. I'm not sure how long she'll stay still. Don't take any chances, Kate, those hooves can be deadly."

"No problem." Kate said as she touched her lover's hand.

Once again Lena stood talking softly to Brownsley, moving closer hoping for enough time for Kate to get the object.

"Got it!" Kate said as she moved the straw away to reveal the prize.

Lena, Kate and Dr. Price were all on their knees looking at the vile.

"Acepromazine! No wonder she is wild and belligerent." The doctor said. "Someone must have given her enough to give her hallucinations." He said shaking his head.

Lena shot up and scanned the crowd, her eyes searching for one person. "Danny, Joey, did either of you see Dr. Cambridge around here tonight?"

"We were sleeping, Ms. Lena." Joey said cautiously. "She wasn't around here before that."

Lena continued to survey the area as she put an arm around Kate. "Let's get out of here, Tom can take of her now. Not much to do until the drug wears off."

Kate couldn't help but notice the worried look on her partner's face. "Are you sure you don't want to stay?"

"Yes, let's go." Lena said as she once more looked around the barn.

As they left, cold eyes filled with hate watched their departure. This is only the start, bitch.

to be continued

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