COPYRIGHT: Xena Warrior Princess, Gabrielle, Janice Covington and Melinda Pappas are the property of MCA/Universal and are used here without permission, but for entertainment purposes only, and for no monetary gain. No copyright infringement implied or intended. The ladies in this story, although, of my own creation, resemble our two X:WP heroines. Any character or name resemblance to people currently living or dead is completely coincidental. Reuse of this story is limited to my permission only. By all means, download it, print it out and pass it around if you'd like, but be sure to include these disclaimers.
SUBTEXT: Yes, this is a story about two women who are very committed to a caring and loving relationship. Although sex is part of that relationship, it is not the focus. There are some mildly graphic sex scenes within, but nothing explicit. If this type of love offends you, if you are less than 18 years old, or if love is illegal where you live, climb on board the anti-subtext train and get outta town.
VIOLENCE: Yep, Xena and her descendants always seem to find trouble!
TIME LINE: This is the fifth installment in a modern day Uber-Xena sequence, starting with "The 'Commitment'" and followed by "A Family in Blood", "Personal Preferences" and "Fighting City Hall". Since these stories are continuations of each other, there are events mentioned within that will not make much sense if you haven't read them all in order. I hope you enjoy it, and please keep the feedback coming! Feedback is fodder for my soul!
AUTHOR'S NOTES: I strongly believe that love is love, regardless of how it is packaged, so please don't flame me for believing in something so wonderful. All flames will be flushed down the toilet, however, I do encourage constructive criticism. Send all feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org. A very special thank you to Herbard for beta reading my copy... You've been a big help, Beck! Thanks! :-)
Visions in Paradise
By: kd bard
Cat dragged Billie quickly through the Miami airport terminal toward the baggage collection area. "Billie, come on, stop dragging your feet... we're going to miss the ship if we don't hurry!" Cat exclaimed.
"Cat, Honey, slow down... We've got plenty of time. The ship doesn't leave for... let see..." Billie said, looking at her watch. "Holy Shit!" she exclaimed. "You're right... The ship leaves in less than an hour, and we've still got to locate our luggage and catch a cab!... Come on Cat, we'd better hurry!" Billie said, pulling away from Cat on a near run to the baggage claim area.
Cat just stood there, looking totally amazed at Billie's change of attitude. "Isn't that what I've been saying, Billie?" she asked.
"No time to argue Cat... There's our bags, I'll grab them while you go hail a cab, okay?" Billie said.
Moments later, Cat and Billie were in the back seat of a cab, on their way to the pier to catch their cruise ship to Aruba. Cat stared in wide eyed wonder at the passing scenery as the cab made its way through the busy streets.
Billie looked over at Cat and smiled. Taking her hand and lifting it to her mouth, she kissed Cat's knuckles, then said, "You look happy, love."
Looking at her lover and new wife, she smiled back and replied, "Billie, I have never been happier in my life. All through my teen years, I was ridiculed for my preferences. My so called 'friends' had me convinced that I would never have a normal, happy life,... never have children or a stable family.... Then came you." she squeezed Billie hand. "You have totally changed my life Billie. I have never loved anyone the way I love you. I would die for you, you know." she said.
Billie frowned, not liking the thought of Cat dying at all, never mind for her. "And I for you, Cat. But let's hope life never comes to that for us, okay?" she asked.
Cat leaned over and kissed her wife passionately. "I love you." she said.
"Ditto!" Billie said, placing another kiss on Cat's nose. Sitting back in her seat, Billie looked up and caught the cab driver eyeing them in the rear view mirror, disgust clearly written across his features.
Billie leaned forward, placing her forearms on the back of the driver's seat. "You got a problem?" she asked sharply.
The driver just looked back to the road.
Cat reached out and pulled her back into her seat. "Let it go, Billie. Let's not start our honeymoon like this, okay? Chalk it up to ignorance, love... please." Cat argued.
Billie never could resist Cat's pleading. Glaring at the back of the driver's head once more, she reached over and pulled Cat into her embrace, where she remained for the rest of the ride to the pier.
Climbing out of the cab and retrieving their bags, Billie approached the cab driver, paid him, minus a tip, and said, "You are entitled to your life style, and we are entitled to ours. You'd better learn to keep your opinions off your face, Bud. You'll never know when you might have a psychopathic killer in your back seat that just might be disturbed by one."
Cat had been standing near Billie during the exchange. Locking her arm with the taller woman, she led her away toward the dock. "Thanks for not thrashing him, Billie... even through he sorely deserved it." she said.
"Anything for you love." she said, looking down at the smaller woman as they neared the ticket booth.
Cat pulled their tickets and passports out of her bag and showed them to the ticket clerk, who promptly stamped them and gave them directions for boarding the ship. "Here you go, Ms. Charland." she said to Cat, handing their boarding passes back to her.
"That's Mrs. Charland... Mrs. Billie Charland." Cat said, accepting the passes and thanking the clerk. Turning to look up at Billie, she asked, "Are you ready Billie?" receiving a nod in reply.
The clerk looked back and forth between Billie and Cat. "Ah, Mrs. Charland?" she said, stopping Cat in her tracks. Cat turned around to look at her, raising her eyebrows. "You Go Girl!" the clerk said, smiling.
Cat and Billie both smiled back and headed for the loading ramp. Stepping onto the main deck of the ship, they showed their boarding passes to the greeter and were directed to deck 3, room 302. Ten minutes later, they pushed the door open and entered their suite.
The neighborhood had originally purchased this cruise as a graduation gift for Billie completing law school, and it seems they spared no expense. Their suite consisted of two rooms and a bathroom. They entered into a spacious living room area, equipped with a couch, two overstuffed chairs, a small bar, a television, and a array of end tables. A large bouquet of fragrant spring flowers occupied a vase on the bar. While Cat was admiring the flowers, Billie made her way to the bedroom door with their bags and pushed it open with her hip.
"Ohhhh Yea!" she exclaimed.
Wanting to see what was so interesting, Cat followed Billie into the bedroom. There, they found a king size heart shaped bed, complete with vibrator controls.
Cat looked up at Billie, a smile completely covering her face. "We are gonna have some fuuuuun in here!" Cat exclaimed, causing Billie to laugh and drop the bags.
Billie scooped Cat up into her arms, "No time like the present!" she said as she headed toward the bed.
Cat protested in Billie's arms. "Billie, aren't we supposed to do the 'Bon Voyage' thing when the ship leaves the dock?"
Billie deposited Cat on the bed and laid fully on top of her. Looking into her face, she said, "There's no one here to see us off, so why bother? I can think of much better things to do with our time, love." Billie successfully stifled any further protest from Cat by savagely claiming her mouth in a searing, passionate kiss. Soon, all thoughts of a 'Bon Voyage' ceremony had vanished into thin air, while Cat accepted Billie's probing tongue into her mouth. It was several hours later before the two ladies were ready to tour the ship. By that time, they were out in open waters.
Late that afternoon, Cat and Billie were strolling along the Promenade deck, Cat's left hand entwined with Billie's, her right hand occupied by a tourist brochure on Aruba. After their lovemaking session earlier in the day, they had showered and dressed in cotton shorts and tank tops to better endure the tropical heat.
"Oh, Billie, we're going to have such a nice time in Aruba." Cat said wistfully. "According to this brochure, there's so much to see and do. There's the 'Antilia', which is a sunken German warship that they actually let people snorkel to, and caves to explore... oh look... there's even a cave they call the Tunnel of Love!" she exclaimed excitedly, holding the brochure up for Billie to read.
"Let me look at that." Billie said, taking the brochure from Cat. "Look, love, a pirate's castle, rock formations a natural bridge and several museums."
"Don't forget the beaches, Billie... Miles of white sand and blue-green waters. Oh, I can't wait to get there!" Cat said.
"Well, since we only have a week on the island, we'll need to choose the things you'd like to do or see the most. Let's take a good look at this brochure tonight and decide, okay?" Billie said.
"Good idea." Cat said.
Billie led Cat to the railing of the ship and stepped behind her, trapping Cat between the railing and the circle of her arms. Pointing to the brilliant red/gold sunset on the horizon, Billie said in Cat's ear, "There is only one other site more beautiful than that."
Cat turned in her arms and looked into her face. "And what would that be, love?"
"I'm looking at it right now." Billie said, holding Cat's eyes with her own.
Cat wrapped her arms around Billie's waist and laid her head on her chest, just above the 'V' of her breasts. She placed a delicate kiss on the exposed skin under her mouth, causing a shudder to run through the taller woman. She quickly found herself pressed up against the railing of the ship, with a very aroused Billie nibbling on her neck.
"Billie." Cat protested. "Billie, there are people all around us!" she said.
"Let them find their own bard." Billie replied, moving her nibbling to Cat's ear.
Soon, Cat was leaning her head to the side to give Billie better access to her throat.
Just then, they were approached by a woman who stopped behind them and grinned. "May I suggest that you two get a room before you give all the old farts heart attacks?" she joked.
Billie released Cat and turned around to face the woman, keeping Cat behind her. Ready for a fight, she found herself looking at a very pretty young woman who was taller than Cat, but not quite as tall as herself, slight, but with a toned build, dark brown eyes and very blonde hair. The woman was smiling from ear to ear. "Sorry for the interruption, but gramps over there keeps checking his pacemaker to see if its working." she said, referring to the elderly gentleman sitting a few feet away.
Billie looked over to the gentleman, and sure enough, he did look flushed. Looking back at the woman, she saw a hand extended toward her. Cat took this opportunity to peek out from behind Billie.
"Name's Callisandra, Callie for short." the woman said, holding her extended arm out patiently.
Billie looked down at the hand and then reached forward with her own. "Billie." she said, "And this is Cat." she indicated, pulling Cat out from behind her.
Cat, being the more outgoing of the two, smiled brightly and reached her own hand toward the woman. "Hi!" she said.
"Is this your first cruise?" Callie asked.
"First one together... In fact, this is our honeymoon." Cat said. Billie tensed, expecting a negative reaction to that revelation.
Callie raised her eyebrows, and smiled. "Well, Congratulations are in order then. Please, let me buy you a drink in the lounge in celebration."
Cat accepted the woman's offer for both of them, taking Billie's hand and following Callie to the lounge.
After drinks were ordered, Callie told them a little something about herself. Turned out, she was a native of Miami, and came from a large well to do family. Each summer, her parents sent one of their children to Aruba for a week of fun and sun. This year it was her turn.
"So you're traveling alone?" Cat asked.
"More or less." Callie replied. "You see, there's this guy I'm seeing, kind of against my parents wishes, and he's flying to Aruba ahead of me. I'm supposed to meet him at my parents summer home there. We got him a ticket on this cruise for the ride home next week."
Billie decided that she was pleased with the woman's attitude toward her and Cat's relationship, but still chose to err on the side of caution, deciding to keep an eye on the woman until they pulled into port the next evening.
Later that evening, Cat and Billie sat side by side on the couch in their suite, looking at the brochure. They decided that a day or two at the beach was an absolute must, along with snorkeling around the sunken German warship, a trip to a couple of museums, and deep sea fishing. And of course, Cat insisted they reserve a day for shopping.
"Look Cat..." Billie said, pointing again to the brochure. "There's an annual 'Hi-Winds Pro-Am Wind surfing Tournament' scheduled for what looks like day 3 of our stay. I'd really like to enter that."
Billie had taken up wind surfing last summer and had excelled at the sport. Cat knew how much Billie loved to surf, so she openly encouraged her to enter the tournament. Billie smiled and once more counted herself lucky that Cat had chosen her to spend the rest of her life with.
"Looks like we've got a pretty busy week ahead of us." Cat observed.
"As long as we save the nights for the real fun..." Billie let the sentence hang, raising her eyebrows up and down suggestively at her wife.
Cat backhanded Billie across the stomach. "Is that all you think about?" She asked.
"Abso-freakin-lutely!" replied Billie grinning.
"Yeah... Well do me a favor..." Cat said in a firm voice. Leaning into Billie's face, she finished her sentence, "... don't ever change! Okay? I love you just the way you are."
Cat soon found herself lifted into the air and carried to their heart shaped bed.
************************************************************************************************ CHAPTER II
As a rule, Billie rose much earlier than Cat. The next morning was no exception. Changing into a pair of running shorts and T-shirt, she grabbed a small bag, and threw in a towel, a change of clothes and a few toiletries, then went in search of the gym on board the ship. Finding it relatively easy, she spent the next hour lifting weights and practicing her martial arts routines. One more half hour on the treadmill, and she was ready for the showers. After disrobing in the communal locker room, she reached up and clasped her hands together above her head to stretch.
"Good morning, Billie." a voice said from behind her.
Billie turned quickly and saw Callie standing there, changing into spandex leggings and top for her own workout. Billie, never being modest about her appearance, said good morning to the woman, then continued her stretching.
"You're a very beautiful woman, Billie. I can understand why Cat is attracted to you." Callie continued.
Billie stopped stretching and looked at her. "Our relationship is not about physical appearance, Callie. I think we'd love each other regardless of how we looked." she said.
"Yeah, but a pretty package doesn't hurt either." Callie responded. "Well, gotta go sweat. See ya around." she said as she exited the locker room for the gym.
Billie watched her leave, still a little wary about the woman. Pushing the feeling aside, she climbed into the shower to wash the morning's workout off her skin.
Billie stopped at the dinning room to pick up some breakfast before returning to Cat. They had a breakfast bar laid out with an endless variety of foods. Grabbing a platter, she piled it high with all of Cat's favorites. Carrying the platter in one hand and a carafe of coffee and two mugs in the other, she made her way back to their room, where Cat was still sound to sleep. Placing the platter on the table next to the bed, she reached down and shook the comatose woman.
"Hey , love. Rise and shine!" she said brightly.
"Nooooo. Just 5 more minutes please." came the muffled reply from the face buried in the pillow.
"Well then, I guess I'll just have to eat all this food by myself". Billie said loudly.
Cat's head popped up. "Food?" she asked.
"Yep... All your favorites too! Too bad you won't be awake to enjoy it." Billie teased.
"Get over here with that tray!" Cat exclaimed, quickly sitting up in bed, propping her back against the headboard.
Billie just laughed as Cat dove into the platter.
"Hey, save some for me, piglet!" Billie laughed, handing Cat a cup of coffee. She sat down on the bed next to Cat, balancing her own coffee, while she helped herself to the plate of food. In no time, the two women had eaten their fill.
"Why don't you jump in the shower, then we can go exploring, okay?" Billie said, leaning over and kissing her wife tenderly. "In the meantime, I'll take care of this tray."
The previous day, Cat had innocently flirted her way into the heart of one Ensign Michael Faure, who promised them a thorough tour through the ship. Billie was a little jealous of his attentions, but had to admit that Cat had won him over through her natural flirtatious charm, and had in no way led him on. She'd just have to make sure that the ensign understood that Cat was already taken.
The tour took all morning. Ensign Faure escorted them to the far reaches of the ship, including the engine room, crew quarters, and cargo hold. He showed them diagrams of how the ship was laid out, explaining how the floors were numbered from top to bottom rather than bottom to top, and that the lowest level of passenger rooms, costing the least, was called steerage. The cargo hold was located just beyond steerage, actually sharing the same floor. Cat realized that some of the rooms were actually below the water level, causing her to visibly shudder.
"Are you all right, love?" Billie asked, seeing the shiver.
"Yeah, I'm fine. I was just thinking about how creepy it would be to have a room that was actually below the water line. Thank the gods, we're on the third level!" Cat replied.
Billie chuckled at Cat's claustrophobia and put an arm around her shoulder, pulling her close. Ensign Faure looked at them curiously.
The tour had started in the lowest levels of the ship and ended in the control room at the top. Ensign Faure introduced Cat and Billie to the Captain and high ranking officers, then explained to them the purpose and function of the navigational equipment in the helm. By the time the tour was over, Cat was on overload with information.
"Wow!" the smaller woman exclaimed. "I didn't realize how many people it took to run a ship of this size. It's like a small city all by itself!"
Ensign Faure just smiled as he led them back to their room.
Cat held out her hand to the officer. "Thank you Ensign, that tour was very exciting." she said.
Holding onto her hand a little longer than Billie liked, the Ensign said, "Please, Ms. Charland. Call me Mike."
"Okay, Mike, as long as you call me Cat. Again, thank you." she said, looking up to Billie and seeing the daggers starting to form in her eyes, "Oh, oh... the green eyed monster is rearing its head." she thought.
Still holding onto her hand, Mike said to Cat, "Cat, I'd like to invite you and your sister to join me for dinner tonight. We'll be docking shortly afterwards, and there is a special dinner gala to celebrate our safe arrival."
Cat could feel Billie stiffen behind her. "Time to nip this in the bud." Cat thought. "Ensign Faure.... I mean, Mike, my wife and I would be happy to join you for dinner, won't we, love?" Cat said innocently, looking up at the now smiling Billie.
"Wife?!" thought the ensign. Mentally hitting himself repeated in the head, the thought, "Stupid, stupid, stupid. You really need to learn how to read people better, Mike!" Outwardly, he quickly recovered his composure and smiled. He hoped that the flush he felt on this face wasn't too obvious. "So it's settled then. I'll come by to collect you two lovely ladies at 6 pm, all right?"
Billie extended her hand to the ensign, a smug smile covering her beautiful face. "Six it is. Thank you, Mike." she said as he turned and quickly walked away.
Cat opened the door to their room and dragged Billie roughly inside. Closing the door, she pushed Billie up against it and leaned into her.
"You," she said as menacingly as possible, "have got to learn to trust me!" she finished angrily.
Billie reached out to grab Cat, who scooted out of her reach. "No Billie... I felt you tense behind me. You were about ready to pounce on the poor guy." She walked to the center of the room then turned to face Billie who was still leaning against the door, a guilty look on her face. "It takes two to tango, Billie, and I wasn't in the mood to dance... at least not with him."
Billie pushed herself off the door and walked to Cat. Reaching up, she held Cat by the shoulders. "Cat, I'm sorry. I trust you, really, I do. It's just that I want so badly to keep you safe. I wasn't there for you when Brian raped you. I won't let that happen again. Forgive me?" she asked, giving Cat her own version of puppy dog eyes.
"Gods, Billie. How can I stay angry with you when you look at me like that ? C'mere." she said, pulling the taller woman in close.
Billie leaned her head down and kissed Cat passionately, her tongue dancing lightly around the smaller woman's lips until it was granted entrance into the moist cave. A guttural moan rose from Cat's throat, enflaming Billie's passions even more.
Moving the kiss from Cat's mouth to her neck, Billie groaned. "Cat, I need you." came the soft whisper.
Cat broke away from Billie's caresses and took a step back. Billie looked startled and a little worried. Stepping back in, Cat raised herself on tip toes and placed a light kiss on Billie's mouth, then took her hand and led her into the bedroom.
Leading Billie to the center of the bedroom, she stopped and turned to face the taller woman. Reaching up, she started unclothing Billie. Billie reached out to do the same to her, when Cat stopped her. "No, love.... This is my show, okay?"
Billie just smiled and dropped her arms, allowing Cat to undress her.
Cat peeled off Billie's tank top and threw it across the room. Her sports bra soon followed. Cat was captivated by the beautifully shaped, generous mounds that greeted her eyes. Reaching up, she took one in each hand and weighed their perfect balance. Marveling at how soft Billie's skin was, she let her thumbs roam around the soft buds, causing them to harden with excitement. Billie gasped and threw her head back, closing her eyes and running her tongue across her suddenly dry lips.
Watching Billie's reaction to her caresses, nearly pushed Cat over the edge. When her tongue snaked out to wet her lips, she had all she could do not to throw the taller woman down on the floor and ravish her right there. Instead, she took a deep breath to regain control over her own tenuous emotions, and leaned in to take the hardened buds into her mouth, one at a time, drawing them in between her teeth, biting and nipping until she had reduced Billie to a pile of weak-kneed mush.
"Oh gods, Cat. I need you, please..." Billie begged, leaning heaving on Cat for support.
Cat circled her arms around Billie waist and slid her hands down into the waistband of her lover's shorts. Grabbing two firm cheeks in her hands, she squeezed them hard causing Billie to exclaim... "By the gods, Cat... If you don't take me now, I will take you!"
"Patience, my love." Cat whispered into Billie's chest. Pushing her hands down further, she slipped Billie's short and panties down until they fell to the floor of their own volition. Lowering herself to one knee, she untied Billie's tennis's and slipped them off, along with the socks, shorts and panties. Now the taller woman stood before her, totally vulnerable in her nakedness, quivering for fulfillment.
Cat worked her way back up Billie's legs, kissing the inside of her knees, and feeling them weaken even more. She rose higher, placing butterfly kisses along the way... thigh... inner thigh... hip... navel... abdomen... breasts... shoulders... neck, and finally mouth. She had kissed every part of Billie's body except the place that Billie wanted her most. When she reached Billie mouth, the taller woman growled, "Cat... I'm warning you....!"
Cat smiled sweetly and plunged her tongue into her lover's mouth. Billie groaned and took the probing organ in, devouring it wholly. Now it was Cat's turn to moan.
Pulling away from the taller woman, Cat stood in front of her and very seductively started peeling her own clothes off, never breaking eye contact with the woman. Billie's eyes closed into slits, hungrily devouring the sight in front of her. Soon, Cat too was totally naked. She approached Billie and circled her, trailing a path around the taller woman with her fingertips.
Finally, coming around to the front of her once more, she took Billie's hand and led her to the bed. Pushing her down onto her back on the bed, Cat crawled up the length of her tall lover, very much in sync with her namesake, purring out sexual obscenities along the way. She knew how hot is made Billie to hear her talk dirty while making love. By the time she reached Billie's mouth, it was physically obvious how hard the dark haired woman was trying to restrain herself. Cat knew it wouldn't take much to push Billie over the edge, and in fact, she was very close to crashing herself.
"Cat.. I need you NOW!" Billie demanded.
Cat spread Billie's legs with her knee and placed her right thigh between them. "Raise your leg for me, love." she whispered into Billie's ear. Doing as the was asked, Cat straddled Billie's thigh and the two women began rocking against each other, while their mouths were locked in a searing, mind shattering kiss. Seconds later, both women soared to the heights of ecstasy, then fell into the warmth and comfort of each other's arms.
Cat rolled off Billie and took the taller woman into her arms. Billie rested her head on Cat's shoulder and wrapped her arm around Cat's waist as Cat trailed her fingertips up and down Billie's arm. Cat suddenly felt something wet on her shoulder. Looking down, she saw Billie crying.
"Billie, what is it?... What's wrong, love?" Cat asked .
"Nothing is wrong, Cat. In fact, everything is right." Billie said, pausing to wipe the tears away. Looking back up at her lover, she continued. "Cat, its been over two years since I met you, and I can't believe that you still have the power to surprise and affect me so profoundly. I have never felt so vulnerable, yet so safe than when I'm in your arms. I have exposed my heart and my inner being to you, and you have never once given me reason to doubt my trust in you. Cat, if I had to die right now, I would die happy. I love you."
Cat listened intently to Billie. Each declaration of love from the older woman caused tears to form in her own eyes. She didn't think it was possible to love this woman more than she did, but Billie once again was proving her wrong with each word she spoke.
When Billie was finished, blue eyes met green expectedly. Cat ran the back of her hand down the side of Billie's face and said, "In the words of a very eloquent speaker we both know, no names mentioned,.... Ditto!"
Billie roared with laughter, throwing her head back onto the pillow next to Cat. Looking over to her young lover, she grinned and said, "Touché, my love, touché!"
************************************************************************************************ CHAPTER III
Dinner was a very pleasant affair. Once Ensign Faure got over the fact that Billie and Cat were together, he relaxed and allowed himself to enjoy their company. He even took Billie aside and apologized to her for being too forward with Cat earlier. Billie very graciously brushed it off and shook hands with the officer. From that point on, they both relaxed and became fast friends. After dinner, he offered to escort the two ladies on a walk around the decks, which they readily accepted. Each taking one of his arms, they strolled along, enjoying the sunset and the pleasant tropical breeze.
Soon, the skyline on the shores of Aruba came into sight. Mike excused himself to tend to his duties while preparing to bring the ship into dock. Cat sided up to Billie, who quickly put her arm around Cat's shoulder, drawing her in to watch the landing. Cat's arm naturally found its way around Billie's waist. The ship would be 'parked' at the dock for the entire week. Part of the cruise package included using the ship as a type of hotel. Passengers would have access to the island on a 24 hour basis, but could freely return to the ship at will, most of them choosing to spend the days on shore, and sleep on the ship at night. Soon, several other passengers joined them on deck to watch the proceedings, many of them sending curious glances at the two women holding each other near the railing.
Soon, the docking procedures were complete, and the passengers were allowed to go ashore if so desired. Cat's immediate concern now that they had land communications, was to call her parents to check on the kids, so they went ashore to do just that, planning to return to the ship once they were assured that all was well with their family. Billie and Cat chose to stay on board for the evening and to officially start their vacation in the morning.
They were able to locate a phone almost immediate after leaving the ship. Cat dialed the operator and charged the call to her calling card. After several moments, the call went through as Ida picked up the phone.
"Hi Mom!" Cat said.
"Caitlain! Honey! Its so good to hear your voice. I take it the trip went well?" Ida asked.
"Yes, Mom, we just arrived. The ocean passage was wonderful. Mom, there are the most incredible sunsets here... they take your breath away!" Cat exclaimed.
"I'm so glad you're enjoying yourself, Dear. You and Billie really deserve a nice vacation, after all you've been through over the last few months. By the way dear, how is Billie?" Ida asked.
"She's great Mom. We're both pretty anxious to start our vacation on shore tomorrow. We have so much planned... We'll fill you in on all the details when we get home next week." Cat added. "Mom, we called to see how the kids are."
"Oh, they're fine, Caitlain. I told you when you left, not to worry about them. Its not our first day taking care of children, you know." Ida scolded.
Cat chuckled. "Yeah, I know Mom, my sisters and I were a handful and you survived.... Hey, are they still up? We'd like to talk to them if they are." Cat asked hopefully, looking at an anxious Billie, pacing back and forth in front of her.
"She's pacing, isn't she?" Ida asked.
"What?" Cat asked, not really sure what her mother was talking about.
"Billie.... She's pacing, isn't she? That woman worries more about the kids than you do! Hold on, they're watching a movie, I'll go fetch them." Ida said chuckling.
Cat looked at Billie and smiled. "She knows you're pacing, love... I guess she's got you pegged!"
Billie smiled and shook her head... "Am I that transparent?" she asked.
"Only when it comes to your family, love." Cat replied.
A moment later, Cat heard a small voice on the other end of the phone. "Mama?" it said.
"Sky? Sky, Honey, this is Mama. Are you being a good girl for Grandma?" she asked, sharing the ear piece with Billie.
"Sky, good girl." the small child said. "Watchin Barney!" she added.
Billie looked at Cat and groaned... "Another purple monster lover!" she thought to herself. Into the phone, she said, "Hi baby, this is Mom. We miss you Sweetling. Be a good girl for Grandma and Grandpa, Okay ? We'll be home soon, Honey. We love you Sky." she added.
"Bring Sky present?" Skylar asked.
"You bet, Sweetie." Cat answered. "Honey, let me talk to your brother and sister, okay?"
Seth and Tara came on the line at the same time. They were on separate extensions, one in the kitchen and the other in the living room. "Hi Mom, Hi Mama." they said together.
"Hi my loves." Cat said.
"Hey Rugrats!" said Billie.
"Mama, when are you coming home?" Tara asked.
"Geesh... They just left, Tara. Give'em a break!" Seth reprimanded his sister. "Girls!" he thought.
"Seth, ease up on your sister, okay Honey? She misses us, that's all." Billie scolded her son.
"Sorry, Mom. So, did you see any whales?" Seth asked.
"Not yet, love, but we're going deep sea fishing this week, so maybe we'll get lucky and see some then. I've got my camera with me, so I'll get some good pictures for you, okay?" Cat answered.
"Cool!" Seth exclaimed.
"Tara, Honey, are you helping grandma with Sky?" Billie asked her daughter.
"Yeah, Mom. Sky is a little 'fraid, but I let her sleep with me, so she feels safer." Tara answered.
"That's being a very nice big sister, Tara. I'm proud of you sweetheart." Cat replied.
"Okay, love-bugs. We'll be home next week. You be real good for Grandma and Grandpa, okay? We love you guys!" Billie said.
"Okay, bye, see you next week!" Seth said.
"Bye." Tara said.
Ida came back on the line. "Well, do you feel better now, Billie?" she asked.
"You know me too well, Mom!" Billie said. "Yeah... I feel a lot better, thanks. Look, we'll call again in a couple of days. If you need us before then, you can call the ship directly at the number we left with you. We'll be sure to leave an itinerary with the captain each day, okay?"
"You don't worry that pretty little head of yours, daughter. The kids will be fine, understand? Now go enjoy yourselves and don't give us a second thought. That's an order!" she scolded.
"Yes, Sarge!" Billie responded. Cat, who had been listening at the ear piece, smiled at her wife's submission to her mother's command.
"... And that goes for you too, Caitlain Maureen!" Ida added. "I know you're listening, daughter."
"Yes, Mom!" Cat replied, blushing at being caught. Billie smiled a toothy grin, earning herself a backhand across the abs from Cat.
"All right then. Say hi to Dad for us, we love you both. See you in a week." Billie said.
"Kiss the kids for us, Mom... Please tell them daily that we love them." Cat added.
"All right you two... off with you... enjoy yourselves!" Ida said.
"Bye Mom." they said together, then hung up the phone.
Cat and Billie returned to the ship hand in hand, both feeling a little homesick and missing their children. Collecting a couple of towels and a change of clothes, they took advantage of the sparsely populated ship and commandeered one of the saunas where they spent the next hour relaxing in the steam-filled room. Next, came a soak in the hot tubs, followed by a leisurely shower. Returning to their room, they fell into each other's embrace and made love well into the night. Finally, thoroughly sated and exhausted, they fell into the arms of Morpheus and walked hand in hand through the dreamscape.
Sometime during the night, Billie started to dream. Curiously enough, her dreams centered around Callie, or at least who she thought was Callie. She saw herself in warrior garb, leather battle dress and armor, sporting a heavy sword in a scabbard on her back, and a round metal disk attached to her hip. Callie was also dressed in a short leather dress, her midriff bare, arm guards covering her arms from triceps to wrists. She too, sported a sword, and an insane look in her eyes.
Billie approached her, cautiously looking around for signs of an ambush. Callie had captured Cat and had her hanging from a rope around her waist, 50 feet off the ground. A burning torch was placed under the rope. If the flame managed to burn through the rope, Cat would surely fall to her death. Callie visually dared her to try a rescue attempt. It was obvious that she would do anything in her power to stop Billie.
Callie sat perched on a balcony, about two stories up, very near to where Cat was hanging. Billie grabbed a ladder and started climbing, trying desperately to reach Cat before the fire burned through the rope. Callie jumped from her perch, right into the ladder Billie was climbing, snapping it in half. Billie fell with the ladder, landing with a hard thud as the ladder suspended itself between the opposite walls of Callie's stronghold.
Callie jumped down onto the ladder next to Billie and immediately began attacking her. Billie fought with all that she was worth, somehow managing to shake herself of the crazy woman. Once again, she grabbed a ladder and started climbing. Reaching the second story, she maneuvered a couple of ladders into a pyramid and suspended a third one on top of them like a seesaw. Doing a back flip, she landed on the ladder and attempted to tip the far end of it up toward Cat. If only she could raise it a little higher, Cat would be able to reach it.
Suddenly, Callie jumped onto the raised end of the ladder, bringing it back nearly level again. Time was rapidly running out for Cat. Drawing her sword, Callie started charging Billie. Billie grabbed the round disk at her hip and threw it at the rope holding Cat. It cut through the rope like a scalpel through skin. "Why did I do that?" she questioned herself. "CAT! Noooo!" she screamed as Cat plummeted toward the earth.
Billie was suddenly awake and sitting up in bed, sweat pouring from her face. Her scream had woken Cat, who was now holding her and whispering, "Its okay, Love... it was only a dream... it was only a dream!"
Billie looked at Cat, eyes wide as saucers. "Cat, it was so real! Callie! She was crazy! I dreamed I was Xena again. You were in danger... Oh gods, it was so real!" Trembling, Billie turned and took Cat into her arms, pulling her across her lap to hold her close.
Cat wrapped her arms around Billie's neck and brought her head down to rest on her chest. "It's okay, Billie. Calm down, then tell me about the dream... maybe I can help you make sense of it, okay?"
Moments later, Billie had relaxed and recounted every detail of her dream to Cat.
"I don't know what it all means, Cat." Billie said. "I feel like its some type of warning, some warning involving Callie."
"Billie, Callie is gone. She won't be back for a week." Cat observed.
"I don't know, Cat... I've had this feeling about her right from the start. She makes me nervous. This isn't the first time I have dreamed that I was Xena. I think she, is talking to me through this dream. She's trying to tell me something." she tried to explain. Looking at Cat, she saw confusion in her eyes. "Cat, I know you probably think I'm crazy, but I really do think Xena is trying to warn me about Callie!"
Cat smiled. "No, love, I don't think you're crazy. Don't forget, I've had the dreams too. And for some reason, when either of us dream about the warrior and the bard, certain aspects of the dreams seem to come true. I for one, put a lot of faith in the dreams we have about our famous ancestors. Question is, what do we do with this information? Cat asked.
"I don't know what we can do with it, love. Callie won't even be back for a full week. I guess we just sit tight for now and keep a close eye on her when she does return. In the meantime, we have a honeymoon to enjoy, and I don't intend to let this ruin it for us." Billie said, pulling Cat's mouth down to hers for a lingering kiss.
After long moments, Cat broke the kiss and informed her tall lover that they had a few hours of sleep left before daylight, and she for one, intended on taking advantage of it. Snuggling down deep under the covers, she pulled Billie down with her and claimed the dark haired woman's shoulder as a pillow. Wrapping her arm around Billie's waist, and entwining their legs together, she promptly fell back into a sound sleep. It took a little longer for sleep to claim Billie. She spent the next hour rehashing the dream, convinced that there was a message in there from Xena... some type of warning of things to come. She would most certainly have to keep an eye on Callie when she returned next week. Her main goal was to protect Cat... at all costs. With that thought in mind, she finally allowed sleep to claim her, joining her lover in slumber.
************************************************************************************************ CHAPTER IV
Despite waking up in the middle of the night after the nightmarish dream, Billie woke up refreshed and ready to start their honeymoon. They decided that they would start the day by registering Billie for the wind surfing tournament, then reserving a place on the next deep sea fishing charter. The rest of the day would be spent touring the various museums in the area.
Billie had two favorite ways of waking Cat up,... by kissing or by tickling. Either way, they usually ended up making love. More than once, Cat was late for work because the morning wake up routine occupied way too much of their time. This morning, time was not an issue. Touring the museums today meant they weren't on a schedule.
Billie thought deliciously about making love to her wife to start the new day as she leaned in and placed butterfly kisses along the smaller woman's jaw line. Cat moaned in pleasure, although remained asleep. The kisses moved toward Cat's ear and throat. More moans of pleasure came out of the red head's throat. Moving down to the pulse point at the base of Cat's neck, Billie nipped sharply, causing Cat's eyes to fly open and her chest to arch forward.
"Oh gods, Billie... that feels so good!" Cat moaned, grabbing two handfuls of dark hair and pulling her wife's head in closer for more.
Billie sucked on the pulse point for a few moments, doing enough damage to surely leave a mark there. Cat pulled Billie's head up and then pulled her face down for a kiss. Soon, their tongues were fighting for space inside each other's mouths, loud groans coming from deep within both women. It wasn't long before hands started to roam and all thoughts about getting an early start to the day were abandoned..
A full hour later, the two women were sharing a shower, cleansing their bodies of telltale evidence of love making. Soon, they were dressed and on their way to the dinning room for breakfast.
Filling their plates with all types of delectable goodies, Billie and Cat found a table out on the deck and enjoyed their meal. They were soon joined by Ensign Faure.
"Good morning, Mike." Cat greeted him brightly.
"Good morning ladies." he said, addressing both women.
"Join us... please." Billie invited, pushing a chair out for him with her foot.
"Don't mind if I do." he said. "I'll just grab a plate and be right back, okay?"
Minutes later, Mike made his way back to their table, carrying his plate of food and a fresh pot of coffee. Setting his plate down, he warmed up the ladies' drinks before pouring a cup for himself. Setting the coffee pot in the center of the table, he sat down and dug into his food.
"What have you two got planned for the day? he asked.
"Well, we thought about registering Billie for the wind surfing tournament, then booking ourselves on a deep sea fishing trip." Cat explained.
"You wind surf?" he asked Billie.
"Well, I'm not that good... I've only been doing it for a year, but Yeah, I really enjoy it." Billie said.
"You're much too modest, love." Cat said, placing a hand over Billie's. "Mike, she's a pro. She scares the shit out of me with the flips she does, but somehow, she manages to come out unscathed in the end.."
"Let me know what time the tournament is scheduled for and I'll see if I can get the time off to watch it, okay? It won't hurt to have a little fan support... besides Cat, that is." he said.
"We already know when it is, Mike. Let's see, today is Monday, so the tournament is this Wednesday. We'll let you know exactly what time its scheduled for when we register today." Cat offered.
"Good enough." Mike said. Continuing, he added, "You said you're going deep sea fishing this week?"
Receiving a nod from both women, he offered, "The waters are infested with game fish around here. There's wahoo, tuna, marlin bonito and sailfish. You can charter a boat at any of the hotels in the area. Most charter companies will even arrange to have your catch smoked, packaged and sent back to the States for you." Looking at his watch, he downed his last gulp of coffee and rose to leave. "Well, ladies, duty calls. Let me know when that tournament is, okay? I'm really looking forward to attending it. I'll see you both later!" he finished, walking away.
"He really is a nice man." Cat observed.
"Yeah, he's okay." Billie said.
Cat gave her an exasperated look.
"Oh all right... he's more than okay!" Billie replied.
Cat just smiled and finished her breakfast.
After registering Billie for the tournament on Wednesday, and reserving the proper wet suit and equipment, the two ladies went to the nearest hotel and booked the fishing trip. The trip was scheduled for Thursday, so that left them with either the beach, shopping, or snorkeling around the ship wreck as choices for Tuesday. The beach won out, hands down. Wanting to leave a set itinerary with the ship in the event of a family emergency, they decided on snorkeling on Friday, a visit to the caves on Saturday, and shopping on their final day, Sunday. With their week planned, they set out on a tour of the museums.
Their first stop was the Archaeological Museum, where they saw skeletons and tools from the past 2,000 years, as well as pre-Columbian artifacts. Billie and Cat had developed a keen interest in archaeology in general, and ancient Greece in particular, when they learned of their potential kinship to Xena and Gabrielle. Their bookshelf at home boasted several volumes of the memoirs of Janice Covington and Melinda Pappas, two well known professors of archaeology in the 1940, 50's and 60's, who devoted their lives to finding the 'Xena Scrolls', believed to have been authored by Gabrielle. There was some belief that Janice and Melinda we also descendants of the warrior and bard. One day, Billie and Cat planned to have a complete genealogy done to trace their family lines back far enough to prove kinship with the ancient Greek women, and potentially with Janice and Mel.
Next, came the Museo Arubana, the oldest building on Aruba. The entrance to this museum was quite unique, as it contained a pictorial representation of Aruba's history. The other unique feature is that the entry way is encased inside the King Willem III Tower, which served as a lighthouse for nearly a century.
It was nearly 1 pm when they finished touring the Museo Arubana, and Cat's growling stomach signaled the need to stop and order some lunch. As they were eating, Billie reached across the table and placed her hand over Cat's. "Are you enjoying your day, love?" she asked the smaller woman.
"Billie, I am thoroughly enjoying myself. You know how I feel about museums and history. I find them fascinating. So, yes... I am enjoying myself - immensely. Thanks for asking, love." she replied.
After a satisfying lunch, the ladies once more set off on their museum tours. The next stop was the DeMann Home Museum, which boasted a large collection of seashells from all over the world. This collection was actually housed inside the family home of the DeMann's. The final museum on their tour was the Numismatic Museum, which held samples of currency from over 400 countries.
It was only 4 pm when they finished their tours, so pulling the brochure out, they scanned it over and decided that they had time to visit the Pirate's Castle. As it turned out the Pirate's Castle was actually an old gold mine that stands on the cliffs at Bushiribanna. Legend has it, that it was also used as a hideout for pirates in ancient times. Billie and Cat were the only tourists there at that particular time of day, so they took their time walking through the ruins, slowly savoring feelings and vibes from past days. Billie suddenly stopped in the middle of the castle and grabbed her head. A searing, sharp pain shot through her temples, as she fell to her knees in the middle of the rubble. Cat ran over to her.
"Billie... Billie, What's wrong? Billie, talk to me." she said in a panicked voice.
Billie just held her hand up to Cat to calm her. "Its all right Cat... please calm down." Billie said, as she closed her eyes to the pain and sat back on her heels. Visions clouded her mind. Visions of Xena, dressed in a long, flowing, hooded, duster type coat, worn over blue harem pants and sleeveless top. Her chest was covered with chain-mail type armor, while she wore an intricate headdress covered with an array of beads. Sandals adorned her feet, a curved sword thrust into the sash at her waist. She walked back and forth along the upper deck of a sea vessel, obviously commanding the ship.
Suddenly, the vision was gone. Rubbing her temples, she rose to her feet and allowed Cat to fuss over her.
"Billie, what happened there?" Cat asked.
"Another vision, Cat. It seems that our Xena was a pirate at one point in her life." Billie explained.
"A pirate?" Cat asked in disbelief.
"Yeah... must be the surroundings here that conjured up the vision. I don't think she was actually here... Aruba is too far from ancient Greece. I don't think Greek pirate ships would venture that far away from their homeland." she said.
"Well, love." Cat said, circling her arm around Billie's waist to lend her support. "I guess we've got a lot to learn about the warrior and bard. These vision are coming more frequently. At least for you, they are. I wonder why?" Cat observed.
"I don't know, love. I still get the feeling that we're being warned about something. First the dream about Callie, then this vision of pirates... I just don't know." Billie said, more confused than ever.
Noticing that the sun was starting to set, Billie tore her thoughts away from her vision and urged Cat back toward the waiting taxi. "We'd better get going love, it'll be dark soon, and I have a night of dinner and dancing in mind for you." the tall woman said.
"Dinner and dancing? Now there's an offer I can't refuse." Cat exclaimed. "Let's go!"
Billie and Cat returned to the ship just after dark. Walking up the ramp to the main reception deck, Billie noticed a blonde head quickly disappear down into the staircase leading to steerage. Mentally shaking herself, she thought, "Nah... couldn't be..." then dismissed the thought.
An hour later, Billie and Cat were sitting across from each other in a very nice restaurant, toasting their love and to a long and happy life together. They made a very stunning couple. Cat had dressed in a green cocktail dress which dipped into a low 'V' halter style in the front, exposing generous cleavage and softly toned shoulders. The high waist accented her breasts even more. The hem of the dress came to just above Cat's knees, exposing shapely calves. Spike heals adorned her feet, while a delicate chain with a heart pendant hung around her neck. Her hair hung in waves around her shoulders. Slightly blush covered cheeks, and ruby red lipstick completed the look. Billie was breathless each time she looked at the beautiful woman.
Billie on the other hand, had chosen a more 'butch' look. Billie really hated the butch/femme persona that many female gay couples fell into, but sometimes, it could be used to their advantage, like tonight, for instance. Dressing more on the masculine side would limit the number of looks, leers and snide remarks that they were sure to receive had she chosen a more feminine approach, and Billie would do anything to save Cat from that kind of distasteful behavior, even if it meant pretending to be something she wasn't. Billie was tall and muscular, and dressed in a tailored business suit, with her hair tied back into a pony tail at the base of her neck, at first glance, she easily passed as a man. And so, tonight, she had done just that. From a distance, she looked very much like a man. Up close however, it was easy to see the curve of her hips and the swell of her breasts through the jacket. She wasn't really hiding the fact that she was a woman, she just wasn't advertising it. Cat secretly loved this look on Billie. She appeared tall, confident and commanding, a mixture that was definitely a turn-on for Cat.
All through dinner, Cat ran a bare foot up and down Billie's trousered leg. Billie's eyes narrowed into sensuous slits. "Bedroom eyes." Cat thought. "MY bedroom eyes... Gods how I want this woman."
Billie had a difficult time concentrating on dinner. The feel of Cat's foot rubbing up and down her leg was driving her to distraction. "Cat, my love, you will pay for this when we get back to the ship... that's a promise." she thought to herself.
They had only made it through two slow dances before, by mutual consent, they left the restaurant and headed back to the ship, hardly able to keep their hands off each other on the taxi ride back to the dock. Their lips locked the moment they stepped inside their cabin, never once breaking contact as they made their way to the bedroom, stripping off their clothes and dropping them to the floor along the way. Totally naked by the time they reached their bed, they fell together, groping, caressing and probing, bringing each other to the heights of Elisia and back several times before falling into an exhausted slumber.
************************************************************************************************ CHAPTER V
Billie woke up the next morning to find Cat sprawled out completely on top of her, where she had collapsed the night before after a particularly intense orgasm. The memories brought a smile to the tall woman's face, as she remembered how insatiable her wife had been.
Billie kissed the top of Cat's head, stroking her back at the same time. "Come on love, time to get up." she said gently. Surprisingly enough, Cat actually woke up on the first try.
Opening her eyes and realizing the position she was in, she bent her head backwards and looked into Billie's face. As always, she lost herself in the sea of blue staring back at her. "You are a very comfortable pillow, my love." was all Cat could manage.
"Any time, Cat." she replied, kissing her on the nose. "However, right now, I really need to get up to use the bathroom." she said.
Cat rolled off her lover and allowed her to get up. "How about a shower after I take care of business?" Billie asked.
"Do I get to ravish you again?" Cat asked.
"You'd better!" replied Billie.
"Then count me in!" Cat responded, wiggling her eyebrows up and down.
After their shower, the two ladies dressed in their bathing suits and donned shorts and T-shirts over the top of them. They had read in the brochure that it was considered rude to walk around anywhere but at the beach in a bathing suit, and they certainly didn't want to rile the natives, so the shorts and T's did the trick. After locating Mike to tell him the wind surfing tournament was scheduled for 1 pm the next day, they were on their way to the beach.
Deciding to get breakfast out, they stopped at a vendor on the boardwalk at the beach and purchased a fruit based concoction that tasted heavenly. After eating their fill, they found a cozy spot on the beach and laid out their blankets and towels. They had brought an assortment of sun screens and reading material to occupy them when they were not in the water. Their goal was to veg-out for the entire day, soaking up the sun's rays and relaxing. After spreading the sun screen on each other, they did just that.
After lunch, Billie started to get restless. She spotted a volleyball game in progress just a few yards away and asked if she could play. Noting her tall stature and muscular shoulders and arms, the participants eagerly agreed. Cat declined the invitation, knowing that she was at a distinct height disadvantage, opting instead to sit back and watch the fun.
Watching Billie run around in the blue two piece suit she was wearing was very distracting. Thank the gods that it was designed in a sports bra/shorts style, or the whole beach would have been anticipating the escape of those glorious mounds on Billie's chest, from the confinement of the bra.
Like in all things she did, Billie played hard, using every bit of her height and strength to her advantage. She blocked several potentially scoring points from the other team simply because she was tall enough and agile enough to jump up over the net to deflect the ball. Several times, she made diving hits, using her full height to stretch out and reach the ball. When the game was over, a sand-covered Billie approached Cat, scooped her up and swung her around in a circle before placing her back on her feet and giving her a big, wet kiss. If her teammates noticed the affectionate move, they didn't mention it. In fact, after the smooch was over, they all circled around Billie, congratulating her on a job well done, and insisting on introductions to Cat.
"Wow, what a rush!" Billie exclaimed as she and Cat walked toward the water to wash the sand off Billie's body.
"Billie, you are a natural athlete. You excel in every sport you try. I was very proud of you today." Cat said. Then, turning to face Billie once more, she added, "Oh by the way, it was a real turn-on watching you run around in this little suit." she said, grabbing the waistband of Billie's suit and snapping it.
Billie reached up and took Cat by the shoulders. "Cat, my love, with you, everything is a turn-on."
"Are you complaining?" Cat asked as they walked into the water up to their waists.
"Oh No! No, no, no, no! Not me... never!" Billie said laughing.
Cat just looked at Billie and innocently splashed her. Billie raised her eyebrows at Cat and just as innocently, splashed her back. Soon, a full fledged water fight ensued, during which they had successfully rinsed the sand off Billie. Finally exhausted, the ladies returned to their blanket and settled in for an afternoon of sun bathing.
The ladies planned a quiet evening on the ship that night, wanting to give Billie a chance to rest before the wind surfing tournament the next day. Arriving back at their room, Billie jumped in the shower, complaining that she had sand in places she didn't even know existed. While she was showering, Cat ordered room service for dinner, then found a movie on the television that neither of them had seen before.
Dinner arrived just as Cat was finishing her own shower. Sprawling on the couch with their dinners in their laps, the two ladies enjoyed the movie and each other's company. After the movie, they called it an early night and retired to the bedroom. Too exhausted to do anything but sleep, the two women curled up in each other arms and drifted off into the dreamscape.
"Oh! I can't watch this!" Cat exclaimed as she covered her eyes and buried her face in Mike's shoulder.
"Relax, Cat, she's just doing flips.... Man.. is she good or what?" Mike said, watching Billie compete in the wind surfing competition.
"Mike, she scares me half to death when she does that." came the reply.
"Well, its all part of the competition. You see, not only are the judges looking at how long you can stay on the board, but how fast you can ride it, how athletic your moves are, and how artistic you are. By the way she's going, I'd say she'll have no problems winning the amateur's category... In fact, I think she could give the pros a run for their money!" he explained. "Now you'd better get that camera going before you lose out on the memories."
"Oh gods, yes... the kids will never forgive me if I don't come home with pictures!" Cat said.
"You have children?" Mike asked curiously.
"Three of them... Ages 8, 6 and 2... A boy, the eight year old, and two girls." Cat explained.
"Wow! I bet they keep you on your toes!" Mike guessed.
"Oh Yeah!" she said, clicking her camera at Billie. "That's an understatement. They are very active children, with huge imaginations!"
Mike asked his next question while watching Billie execute a perfect spin flip. "Cat, forgive me if you think I'm prying, but I assume you've been married before?"
Cat lowered the camera and looked at Mike. Normally, she would be annoyed with personal questions like that, but Mike had given her no reason to believe that he thought any less of them due to their relationship, so she chose to answer him. "No, I haven't, but Billie has. Our oldest, Seth, is actually her son. Her ex-husband was an abusive alcoholic. Our daughters, Tara and Skylar, she's the baby, are mine. They are both the products of encounters I'd rather not talk about. Let's just say that their fathers are behind bars where they belong." Cat looked back at the ocean in time to see Billie disappear behind a large swell. Her breath caught in her throat until she reappeared moments later. "Gods, that woman scares me sometimes!" she thought, letting out the breath she didn't realize she was holding.
Scenes of rape flashed through Mike's mind, bringing back memories of what his sister had gone through just a year earlier. He placed his hand on Cat's shoulder, drawing her attention back to him once more. "Cat, I'm sorry for prying, I didn't mean to upset you. I hope you'll forgive me." he apologized.
Cat flashed a brilliant smile at him. "Mike, there's nothing to forgive. You are one of the few people who have looked beyond our love to the women behind it, and have accepted us regardless. It's only natural to be curious about our relationship."
Mike smiled back. He really liked these women.
Soon, the competition was over. Billie glided into shore atop her board, grinning from ear to ear. She was truly a sight to behold. Six feet of sleek form fitting rubber, her hair a wild mess about her shoulders, bangs plastered to her face. And boy, was she pumped! Her smile broadened even more when she saw Cat.
Handing her board over to the tournament assistants on shore, she turned and ran toward Cat, who was waving frantically to get her attention. Reaching her, she picked her up and held her high above her head before letting her slide down the front of her.
"Billie... You're wet... and now so am I!" Cat observed. "Oh Well!" she added, jumping back into Billie's arms and kissing her soundly.
"Damn, woman... You are gooooood!" Mike exclaimed, approaching the lovers. He held out his hand to Billie, who took it in a warrior's handshake, locking forearms with the ensign.
"Thanks Mike... and thanks for keeping Cat company for me. She tends to worry and bite her nails a lot when she watches me do this." Billie replied.
"You're not kidding, Billie!" Cat exclaimed. "I think I aged 10 years in the few moments you disappeared behind that swell!"
"Well, my love," Billie said, looking down into the face of the woman she still held in her arms, "You age beautifully."
Cat's head darted up, placing a quick, loud smooch on Billie's mouth. "Pretty soon, I'll be catching up to you, huh?" she said.
Knowing that reply would get her in trouble, she broke free of Billie's embrace and started to run down the beach.
"Why you little imp!" Billie exclaimed, running after her, easily catching and tackling her to the sand. Several minutes of tickle torture were administered as punishment for that remark.
"Billie, stop... Okay, I give up, stop... You win!" Cat begged.
Mike caught up with his new friends just as Billie was helping Cat to her feet and brushing the sand off the smaller woman's backside. Chuckling at their antics, he said, "Okay ladies, unless you have other plans, dinner is on me."
"Great!" replied Cat.
Just then Billie's name was called over the PA system. "Would Billie Charland please report to the tournament booth?... Billie Charland, please report to the tournament booth."
Billie just looked at Cat with raised eyebrows. Cat grinned. Placing herself between Billie and Mike, she linked arms with both of them and led them to the booth, nudging Billie ahead of her as they approached.
It turns out that the judges were quite impressed with Billie's performance and awarded her first place in the amateur division of the tournament. Billie held up her trophy and check dutifully while Cat took several pictures.
"Well!" Mike said. "Looks like we have a real reason to celebrate over dinner tonight." Linking his arms with those of his two friends, he led the ladies back to the locker rooms, where Billie could shower and change into street clothes.
Soon, Mike was leading them away from the beach and to his car.
"Where are we going?" Cat asked.
"Ladies, we are going to a combination clam bake/pig roast." Mike announced.
"Sounds good... I'm famished!" Billie replied.
By the lime the trio reached their destination on Eagle Beach, the sun was just setting in the sky. The beach where the cook out was being held was well lit with tall torches jammed firmly into the sand. Sounds from musicians and steel drum bands filled the air as scantily clad natives danced and gyrated to the lively beat.
It wasn't long before Mike, Billie and Cat were all sitting around one of the bonfires, enjoying their meal and drinking the potent wine supplied by the villagers. After noticing that Cat was starting on her third glass of wine, Billie leaned in to her and said, "Take it easy on the wine, love... it's pretty strong stuff."
"Billie, I'm fine." Cat said. "Stop being such a mother hen, will ya?" she giggled.
Billie just rolled her eyes. "You're going to have one hell of a hangover for our fishing trip tomorrow." she thought.
Suddenly, the tempo of the drums changed to a deep, pounding rhythm. Before Billie knew what was happening, Cat was on her feet, stomping around the fire with the other dancers. Billie dropped her head into her hands, saying, "Good Lord... there she goes."
Mike thought the whole scene was pretty funny. Seeing Billie with her head in her hands, he leaned in to her and whispered, "Relax, Billie. She's having a good time. What harm can come of it? After all, we're her to protect her."
Billie looked up and him and realized that he was right. "What the hell," she thought. "After all, it is our honeymoon... why shouldn't she let loose?"
Visually relaxing, Billie sat back, stretched her long legs out in front of her, and leaned back on her elbows, allowing herself to enjoy the woman gyrating sensuously in front of her.
Mike sat mesmerized by the scene. "She is one beautiful woman, Billie. But then, I bet you already know that." he said.
"Oooooohhh Yeah!" was the only coherent reply Billie could muster. She was so preoccupied with the growing sensation between her legs that she didn't hear Mike's next question.
"Billie?" he said.
"Wwwhat? Oh sorry... just a little distracted here." Billie apologized.
"I hear you... I said, where's Cat's camera... We can't let this opportunity go by, now can we?" he said with a mischievous look in his eyes.
Billie grinned. "You are pure evil, Mike!" she said, handing the camera over to him. "Snap away... be sure to get some really good shots, okay?"
Billie and Mike spent the next half hour enjoying and photographing the scene before them. Finally, thoroughly exhausted and thirsty, Cat rejoined them, flopping down on the sand next to Billie. Cat looked at Billie and in one swift movement, climbed onto her lap, straddling her hips, and placed a very demanding and passionate kiss on Billie's mouth, forcing her onto her back in the sand.
Breaking the kiss, Cat sat straight up again, sitting on top of Billie. Looking to Mike, she said, "Hey Mike, Can I talk you into getting me a drink, please? I'm really really thirsty."
Mike looked down at the stunned Billie on the ground, looking for approval before doing Cat's bidding. Billie's eyes said, "What the heck.", so he rose from where he was sitting and told them he'd be right back.
While Mike was gone, Billie regained control of her senses and moved Cat to the sand beside her. Sitting up next to the smaller woman, she wrapped her arm around her shoulder and asked how she was feeling.
"I'm juz' fine, Bilwie." she said before passing out cold in Billie's lap.
When Mike returned, he found Cat sleeping it off contentedly in Billie's lap, while Billie brushed stray locks of golden hair away from her face. Billie looked up at his approach. "Looks like she won't be needing that drink after all, Mike." she said.
Mike smiled. "She gonna hate herself in the morning, you know." he said.
Billie just grinned as she rose to her feet and slung Cat over her shoulder.
************************************************************************************************ CHAPTER V
"Oh gods, Billie, KILL ME!... PLEASE!" Cat begged the next morning as she covered her face with her pillow, unable to get out of bed without intense bolts of pain shooting through her head.
Billie had spent a good portion of the night holding Cat's hair back as she emptied the contents of her stomach into the toilet... several times.
"Here love, drink this." Billie said, handing her a cup of vile smelling liquid.
"What is it?" Cat asked, peeking out from under the pillow.
"You don't wanna know." Billie replied. "But it's guaranteed to work. Drink it all down quickly, love."
Holding the cup in one hand and Cat's head with the other, Billie helped the smaller woman drink down the contents of the cup.
"Uggggh! That was gross." Cat complained.
Billie just chuckled and said, "Give it a few minutes to work... We'll need to leave within the next hour if we're going to make that fishing trip." she said.
"Fishing?" Cat asked. "Oh gods, I forgot about that. I only hope my stomach can take it."
"You'll be fine... Billie's magic potion has never failed before." Billie said confidently.
The fishing trip was a huge success. True to Billie's word, her magic potion worked wonders, and by the time they met the chartered vessel, Cat felt fine. Both women caught large tuna and arranged to have them smoked, packaged and sent home. With any luck, the smoked delicacy would arrive home just after them... in time for the neighborhood party the women were planning as a thank-you to their neighbors for this cruise.
After a full day on the water, both women were exhausted and a little overheated from the sun. Foregoing plans to go out for dinner, they opted instead to stay on board and to spend the evening relaxing by the ship's pool, enjoying a cold plate dinner and wine coolers. After spending nearly an hour in the pool, playfully attentive to each other, they retired to the lounge chairs to relax. Billie had brought a detective novel with her, while Cat had her journal. After a time, Billie looked over to her lover and noticed the smaller woman's chin slowing working its way down to her chest. "Poor baby." she thought. "Last nights' lack of sleep on top of today's fishing trip has worn her out in good shape. Better get her off to bed."
Billie rose to her feet and collected their towels. Taking the journal from beneath Cat's hands on her lap, she quickly glanced at it, not wanting to violate Cat's privacy, but yet, unable to resist when she saw Callie's name scripted in Cat's neat hand writing. Billie dropped the towels onto the chair and sat down, taking a closer look at the journal entry.
"Thursday, our fourth day on the island. We went deep sea fishing today. Waking up this morning with a hangover, wasn't pleasant, but the love of my life fixed that problem rather quickly, forcing me to drink some god awful concoction, that I have to admit, was very effective. Anyway, by the time we left for the charter boat, I felt pretty good. Fishing was great. Billie and I each caught a tuna! I think the best part of the trip was sitting back and watching Billie reel in her catch. She is so beautiful. Watching her muscles ripple under her skin as she repeatedly pulled back on the rod, sent shivers of anticipation up and down my spine. I sit here very conscious of the ache in my groin just by recounting this vision." Billie smiled at this part of the entry. "I have never felt so loved and safe in my life as I do when I'm with her. Anyway, I digress, (which is oh so easy to do when thoughts of Billie are involved). We arrived back at the ship, very tired and hot, wanting noting better than to soak in the cool water of the ship's pool. On the way to our room, I thought I saw Callie on the ship, which is really odd, since she wasn't supposed to rejoin us until Monday morning. She looked like she was headed to the steerage section of the ship. I haven't said anything to Billie, since mentioning the woman tends to crease her forehead with worry lines. If I see her again, I'll certainly mention it to her. **Yawn** Oh, I'm so tired. We've had a very tiring day. I didn't realize fishing could be such hard work....." The entry tailed off at that point, probably because Cat had fallen asleep.
Billie closed the journal and thought about Callie's presence on the ship. "That's twice now that we've seen her... once by me and now by Cat. I wonder what she's up to?" Billie thought.
Billie packed their towels and books into their bag and gently shook Cat awake. "Hey lover... Time to go to bed. Come on." she said, pulling Cat to her feet.
Cat stood unsteadily, swaying against Billie's chest. "Carry me." she said, raising her arms to circle Billie's neck.
"Now come on, Cat. Our room is quite a distance from here. Besides, we don't want to scandalize the other passengers do we?" Billie teased.
"They're just jealous that I have you and they don't." Cat stated.
"Maybe so, love, but you still have to walk. Come on." Billie said, placing a supporting arm around the smaller woman, and leading them back to their room.
Tucking Cat securely in bed, Billie waited until her wife had fallen back into a deep sleep before slipping out of their room. She quickly located the stairwell to steerage and climbed down into the bowels of the ship. Walking through the hallways, she didn't see anything suspicious. Deciding that it was probably a false alarm, she turned to return to the upper decks and ran smack into Callie.
"Billie!" Callie exclaimed nervously. "What are you doing down here?" she asked, looking around and avoiding the taller woman's eyes.
Thinking fast, Billie answered, "Cat said she saw you on board today, and since we didn't expect you again until Monday, she thought something might be wrong, so she sent me to check things out."
"How nice!" Callie replied, her voice syrupy sweet. "She's quite the mother hen, isn't she?"
"She can be." Billie said, smiling.
"Well, tell the dear girl for me, that everything is fine. I just came back early to check on things... you know, to make sure things are ready for when we return on Monday." she explained.
"I'll do that, Callie." Billie answered. "Until Monday, then?"
"Until Monday." Callie said, effectively dismissing Billie.
Billie turned and walked away, feeling very uncomfortable with the whole situation. "I wonder what kind of 'things' she was checking on?" she thought. "I have some work to do here. First thing in the morning, I need to see Mike." she resolved, then returned to their room and slipped into bed behind Cat. Pulling the smaller woman into her arms, she buried her face in Cat's hair and fell asleep.
As usual, Billie rose well before Cat. Taking advantage of her wife's sleeping habits, Billie quietly slipped out of their room and sought out Mike. She found him on the bridge passing out daily assignments to the crew . She waited discretely until he was done, then motioned him over to her.
"Hey Billie, what's up?" he asked.
"Mike, I think we may have a problem brewing here." She said.
"What kind of problem?" he asked, his attitude changing to all business.
Billie filled him in on what she knew about Callie and about the general feelings she had surrounding the woman. "I don't have anything concrete to go on, Mike. I just know that something isn't right here." she said.
"Well, we can start by checking out the passenger lists. Do you know her last name?" Mike asked.
"No, she never volunteered that information, and to be truthful, we never asked. Her first name however is Callisandra. There can't be too many of them on this cruise. You should be able to find her easily in your computer data base." Billie explained.
"Bingo!" Mike said after only a couple minutes of searching. "We have one Callisandra Cirra. Her room is located on level 5, room 519. Says here that she booked passage only for the trip over and the trip back, with no plans to stay on board between trips."
Billie was lost in thought for a few moments. Finally, she looked at Mike and asked, "What level is steerage on, Mike?"
"Level 8, why to you ask?" Mike said.
"Well, when I ran into her last night in steerage, she said she had come back to the ship to check things out... to make sure they were ready when she returned on Monday. I assumed she meant her room, but from what you've just said, her room is three floor above steerage. There was no reason for her to be that deep into the ship." she explained.
"That is curious, Billie. I'll keep a closer eye on things between now and Monday, but unless I have more to go on than gut feelings, there really isn't anything I can do. As far as her being on the ship, she does have a reserved room, even though she has opted not to use it for several days." Mike said.
Billie put a hand on his shoulder. "I understand, Mike. Hopefully, I'm overreacting. Thanks for listening, and if I see or hear anything else suspicious, I'll let you know."
"Okay, Billie. Oh, and by the way... Cat tells me that snorkeling is on the agenda for today... have a good time, and don't worry, I'll keep an eye on things here."
"Thanks, Mike. See you later." Billie said as she left the bridge and returned to her room.
Cat was up and showered when Billie returned. Hearing her come in, Cat met her in the living room and wrapped her arms around the taller woman's neck, pulling her down for a kiss. "Good morning, my love. Where've you been?" Cat asked.
"Getting some fresh air and talking to Mike." Billie replied, kissing her wife back. "Are you hungry?" she asked.
Cat just raised an eyebrow at Billie.
"Strike that!" Billie said laughing. "Come on, let's get some breakfast before heading out." she said, leading Cat toward the dining room.
"Wait, Billie. I want to call the kids first, okay?" she asked.
"Sure, let's go." Billie said, leading them to the phone on the dock.
After a very pleasant visit with the children and Cat's parents, the ladies enjoyed a breakfast of fresh fruit and cottage cheese, then headed out to tour the 'Antilia', a German battleship that was intentionally sunk by the Allies during World War II. On the taxi ride to Arasji Beach, where the wreck was located, Cat seemed agitated.
"Are you all right, Cat?" Billie asked, seeing Cat wring her hands nervously.
Cat looked up at Billie and forced a smile. "Yeah... just a little nervous, that's all. I've never seen a sunken ship before." she explained.
"Have you ever snorkeled before?" Billie asked.
"Dad used to take my sisters and I snorkeling all the time, but it was always at a shallow beach, and we snorkeled for sea shells and rocks. Diving down to a sunken ship is kind of scary sounding." she confessed.
"Cat, we don't have to go, you know. I understand, really I do." Billie commented.
Cat hated this weakness and she was bound to overcome it. "No, that' all right Billie. It's really a stupid fear and sooner or later, I have to confront it. No time like the present, I guess." she said.
Billie wasn't thoroughly convinced, but she thought that Cat knew her limitations and wouldn't push herself to do something she wasn't ready for.
After deciding to scuba dive instead of snorkeling, they rented the scuba gear, and rode out to the wreck site on a shuttle boat. Diving into the water, Billie made sure to stay close to Cat's side. A few yards down, they got their first look at the sunken vessel. It was enormous.
Cat was terrified. Her heart was beating visibly through her chest and she found it difficult to breathe. She held back, not wanting to get too close to the ghost ship until she had time to adjust to her surroundings. Billie noticed her retreat and swam back to her, asking with her hands if she was all right. Cat nodded yes, even though she felt like passing out. She felt like such a fool for reacting like this, but she also knew that Billie wouldn't continue with the dive by herself if she opted to return to the surface, so she pretended that everything was fine.
Taking a deep breath, Cat took Billie's hand and let the taller woman lead her toward the ship. She closed her eyes and begged the gods to let the tour end quickly. She was holding onto Billie's hand for dear life, gripping it so hard that she was sure she'd break it. Billie didn't seem to notice however. She led Cat round the sunken vessel, eyes wide with fascination and excitement.
Just when Cat thought she would make it through this ordeal, the tour guide led them inside the ship. "Oh gods, no!" Cat screamed to herself. "I can't go in there!"
Billie was already inside and was pulling Cat in behind her when she noticed the terrified look on her wife's face. "Good gods, Cat!" was all she could think.
Cat braced herself against the entrance to the ship with her hands. She was desperate to get away and pulled against Billie's grasp will all her might. Her eyes were wild and her heart was pounding right out of her chest. Despite the oxygen tank strapped to her back, she couldn't breathe. She started clawing at Billie's hand, trying to free herself so she could escape.
Billie grabbed Cat by the shoulders and pulled her away from the ship, trying desperately to calm the hysterical woman down before she caused permanent damage to herself. Nothing seemed to work. Finally, Billie just grabbed Cat by the straps holding her oxygen tank on and started swimming toward the surface.
Breaking the surface of the water, Billie ripped Cat's mask off and started lightly slapping her face. "Breathe, Cat! Come on baby, breathe, please...!" she said over and over until Cat finally gasped in sharply, filling her starved lungs with air. "Over here! Help! Hurry!" Billie yelled, frantically waving her hands until the crew on the shuttle boat saw them.
They hauled first Cat, and then Billie out of the water. Cat immediately crawled to the far end of the boat and curled herself up into a little ball, hugging her legs tightly and shivering uncontrollably. "Get me a blanket, hurry!" Billie shouted. "She's in shock!"
One of the crew members brought a warm blanket over and helped Billie envelope Cat in it after taking the rest of her scuba gear off. Billie removed her own gear then gathered the shaking woman up into her arms and whispered soothing words of comfort to her. Soon, Cat started to relax, but continued to hold on to Billie's arms in a fierce grasp. "It's okay, love. I'm here for you. I've gotcha, I've gotcha. Relax love, you're save now."
It seemed like an eternity before the rest of the diving party returned to the shuttle. By then, Cat had calmed down dramatically and had drifted off into a light slumber in Billie's arms.
Soon, they were back on shore and Billie hailed a cab to return them to the cruise ship. Once Billie had Cat back in their room, she stripped her of her clothes and brought her into the shower, standing there under the warm spray holding her, soothing her with words of reassurance. Toweling her dry, Billie dressed Cat in one of her own T-shirts and tucked her into bed, crawling in behind her and holding her close. Soon, Cat fell into a deep sleep, allowing Billie to give rein to her own emotions. Laying there, holding the one person she loved most in the world, she broke down and cried. "Damn you Cat!" she said out loud. "Don't you ever keep your fears hidden from me again. I almost lost you today because of it."
Several moment later, Billie had exhausted her emotions and allowed herself to join Cat in sleep.
************************************************************************************************ CHAPTER VI
Cat awoke the next morning feeling like she had 50 pounds laying on her chest. Every breath hurt. In fact, every muscle in her body hurt. She closed her eyes again, trying remember what had happened that could cause such discomfort. Suddenly the previous day's events came crashing back. Cat instinctively pulled her knees up to her chest in a fetal position. She closed her eyes tightly against the memories, tears threatening to spill over.
"Billie must hate me!" she thought. The last thing she remembered was Billie trying to lead her into the ship. The rest of the day and night were blank. All she knew is that she had panicked,... that things had gone very wrong. Now here it was, the next day, and she was in their bed, alone and still terrified.
Billie quietly approached the bedroom, not wanting to wake Cat if she was still asleep. Pushing the door open slowly, she peered in and saw Cat once again, rolled up in a ball on the far side of the bed. This time however, she was lucid and aware of her surroundings. Cat raised her head and looked at Billie, relief flooding her face.
The lost and forlorn look on Cat's face was more than Billie could stand. She flung the door open wide and rushed to the bed, grabbing Cat and pulling her in close. Tears poured nonstop from the dark haired woman's eyes as she clutched Cat to her, nearly squeezing the life out of her lover. She was too choked up to speak, so she just sat there, holding and rocking the smaller woman. Finally, she relaxed her grip and cradled Cat in one arm, brushing the hair away from her face with the other hand.
"By the gods, Cat, you scared me." she said in a shaky voice. "I thought I was going to lose you." she explained. "Please don't ever do that again, okay?"
"Do what?" Cat said, not really understanding what Billie was getting at.
"Don't ever keep your fears from me again, Cat. When I looked into your face and saw the absolute terror there, I could have kicked myself from here to kingdom come for urging you to go on that tour." Billie reached up to wipe the tears off her face. Catching her breath, she continued. "Cat, I have never seen such terror on a person's face in my entire life, and to see it on yours was more than I could take. My god, Cat, my heart is breaking even now as I remember it. Please don't do that again... Please... Promise me!" she begged.
"I promise, love." Cat said, shaking violently. Reaching up with a trembling hand, she wiped her tears away, then wiped Billie's away as well. "Billie, I need you. Make love to me... Make me feel whole again,... please?" Cat asked.
Billie was trembling as she laid Cat down on the bed. Stretching her long frame out over the smaller woman, she tried desperately to control her taunt emotions. They were at such a peak right then that she had an undeniable urge to take Cat forcefully. She needed to experience Cat fully, to convince herself that she was still alive and that they were okay.
Unbeknownst to Billie, Cat needed the same violent lovemaking that Billie was trying so hard to hold back. She had been scared out of her mind and needed to feel connected again to her lover. She needed the intensity of emotion that she knew Billie could give her. She needed to feel alive.
Billie reached up and ran her trembling fingers along Cat's lips. "Cat." she whispered, "I love you. I...I.. Oh gods, Cat, I want you so much, but I'm afraid of hurting you. I'm afraid of losing control. I want so badly to ravish you, to use your body and your soul to help me feel alive again... to help us feel alive again. Cat, I feel like I am bursting inside, my desire for you is so great, but I don't want to hurt you Cat." Billie said, doing a very poor job describing the raging tornado inside her gut.
Cat's desire multiplied tenfold with every word Billie spoke. Every nerve ending in her body was screaming to be touched. At her breaking point, Cat reached up and grabbed two handfuls of Billie's hair. Yanking her down hard and causing a gasp to be emitted by the taller woman, Cat said angrily into Billie's face, "Hurt me, Billie. I need to feel again. Please make me feel again. I need you now and I want you completely. No holding back. Got it?"
Billie responded by capturing Cat's mouth in a brutal kiss, burying her tongue deep into Cat's throat. Cat was effectively trapped her between the bed and Billie's body. Billie grabbed Cat's hair and forced her head back, exposing her neck to Billie's attack.
"Oh gods, Billie,... Yes, more.... please." Cat begged.
Billie was in no mood to be slow and gentle, and Cat was begging to be manhandled. Billie was more than happy to oblige as she tore Cat's clothes off and threw them across the room. Cat did her best to remove Billie's clothing at the same time, only to have Billie finish the job when she became impatient with Cat's efforts.
Lying there totally naked, skin against skin, Billie ravaged every inch of Cat's skin, leaving trails of bite marks along the way. Cat dug her nails into Billie's back, drawing blood. The sharp pain in her back caused Billie to go over the edge. She straddled Cat's leg, then reached down and plunged deeply into her lover, while rocking herself back and forth, screaming primal obscenities as she took both of them into the realms of ecstasy and back.
Billie fell heavily onto Cat, breathing so hard she felt as though her chest would explode. Cat wrapped her legs around Billie's waist and her arms around her neck, pulling her in so close that there was total lack of air space between their bodies.
Cat was crying and Billie felt like a total heel for hurting her... that is, until she heard Cat murmur a faint, "Thank you , love". Billie just buried her face in Cat's neck and let her own tears flow. They were whole again.
Cat and Billie decided to forego the caves that afternoon in favor of spending time alone, holding each other and recovering from the earth shattering scare they had been through the day before.
Billie went to get breakfast for them, which uncharacteristically, Cat just picked at.
Laying in bed with Cat wrapped in her arms, Billie tried to get her wife to talk about her fear. "Cat, Honey, Why? What is it about sunken ships that upsets you so much?" she asked, feeling Cat shudder at the mention of sunken ships.
"I don't know, Billie. I've always been afraid.... and its not just ships, its anything that doesn't belong down there... you know, airplanes, ships, cars... just the thought of it causes goose bumps and panic attacks. Do you remember me being dead set against seeing the movie 'Titanic'?" she asked. Seeing Billie nod in remembrance, she continued, "... well, now you know why."
Billie rolled Cat over onto her back so that she could look her in the face. "Then why did you agree to go in the 'Antilia' tour? she asked.
"I was afraid of disappointing you, Billie." seeing Billie start to respond, Cat held two fingers up to her lover's lips, silencing her. "No, let me continue... Billie, you are so good at everything you do. There is no way in hell I can compete. I wanted to do this one thing with you, to show you that I can keep up and not just tag along." Cat explained. "I guess I failed."
Now Billie was angry. She rolled completely on top of Cat, pinning her to the bed. Propping her self up on her elbows and placing her hands on both sides of Cat's face, she said in a very stern voice, "I didn't realize our relationship was a competition, Cat. I thought it was based on mutual love for each other and our kids." she said, rolling off the bed and stomping to the door. Cat was too stunned to say anything.
Stopping at the door, Billie said, without turning around, "I'm going out for a while. I need some fresh air." Then she was gone.
Cat was devastated. She just buried her face in her pillow and cried herself to sleep.
Billie stomped out onto the main deck. Damn it, she was angry. "Did Cat actually think everything was a competition?" she thought. Having no immediate answers to her questions, Billie decided to hit the gym to work off some of this anger. It wouldn't do either of them any good if she returned to Cat in this mood.
Billie worked herself into an frenzy, exhausting all her resources after two hours of weight lifting and martial arts routines. Still having no answers to her questions, she went to the hot tubs for a soak. While she was sitting there, surrounded by hot water and steam, she let her mind wander, asking herself questions she didn't really want to acknowledge the answers to.
After an hour of quiet contemplation, she came to the conclusion that she did indeed alienate her wife and lover, however unintentional it was. Billie could site several examples... her aerobics abilities, the daring rescue of Jennifer's family from that fire two years ago, a rescue that she profusely forbid Cat from participating in, the court case against the state's anti-gay marriage law... Cat mentioned more than once that the fight was both of theirs not just Billie's, but Billie insisted on fighting it alone. Then, just in the past few days, there were the volley ball game, wind surfing tournament and the scuba diving incidents.
"Damn it, Billie... You are such an insensitive idiot sometimes!" she said to herself out loud. Billie decided that, given a second chance, she probably wouldn't have changed her level of involvement in any of the examples she had cited, but what she would change was the fact that she had purposely left Cat out of them... a situation that she vowed to correct starting immediately. Rising out of the tub, she toweled herself dry, dressed, and headed back to her room.
Pushing the door open to the bedroom, Billie saw Cat lying face down on the bed totally naked and uncovered. Her face was turned toward the door, and Billie could see that it was red and swollen from crying. She entered the room, closed the door and leaned against it, dropping her chin to her chest and feeling like a total clod. Taking a deep breath, she stood up straight and removed her clothing. Walking over to the bed, she crawled in and laid down next to Cat, also on her stomach, but with her face within inches of Cat's. She reached up and pulled the sheet over their naked forms, and was soon sound asleep.
It was mid afternoon when the ladies finally woke up from their nap. While sleeping, their bodies had naturally sought each other out, so when they awoke, they were wrapped in each other's arms, with Cat's head on Billie's shoulder and their legs so entwined, it would have been difficult to tell whose were whose, had it not been for their lengths.
Having slept longer, Cat was the first one to awaken. She lifted her head to get her bearings and realized that Billie was there with her, cradling her lovingly in long muscular arms. Not wanting to escape her prison just yet, she burrowed her head back down, deeper into Billie's shoulder and tightened her arm around the tall woman's waist. Her emotions were raging around inside of her at warp speed. She was so sure when Billie stomped away earlier, that she had lost her for good. The past 24 hours had been so emotionally disturbing, that she didn't know how to think or react to her lover. All she did know, what that she loved this woman with an intensity that scared her sometimes, and she wasn't about to give up on that love. Somehow, she'd have to find a way to make things right with her.
"Hi there." a voice said.
Cat looked up and immediately drowned in the sea of blue looking back at her. "Hi!" she said back.
Billie loosened her hold on Cat and reached down to grasp her sides and pull her up on top of her. After Billie had Cat lying completely on top of her, nose to nose, she reached up to cup the smaller woman's face in both hands. Billie drew her down for a tender kiss.
Cat broke the kiss, then placed her forehead to Billie's. "I'm sorry, Billie." she said, tears starting to form in her eyes.
Billie rolled her over so that she was on top. Cat turned her head to the side so Billie couldn't see her tears.
"No, Cat." Billie said, forcing the smaller woman to look at her. "You have nothing to be sorry about, love. I'm the one who should be apologizing." Billie silenced the protest that was starting to come from Cat's lips. "No, wait, I need to say this." she continued after pulling herself up into a sitting position against the headboard. Cat also sat up, facing Billie.
Billie took Cat's hands in hers. "Cat, after stomping out of here like a goddamned fool, I went to the gym to work off my anger. Finally, after clearing my head, I let myself look at things from your perspective, and you know? You are right. I have been an insensitive idiot..." Billie again silenced a protest from Cat, who was sitting there adamantly shaking her head no. "Yes, Cat. I can see it now. I have hurt you, unintentionally, mind you, but it hurt nonetheless. At some point, I developed this overwhelming urge to protect you and to be some sort of a super being, trying keeping you out of danger, and by doing that, it appears that I have pushed you into the background, not allowing you to excel or to even feel equal to me."
Billie looked down at their clasped hands, tears falling onto the entwined fingers. She looked back up at Cat, who also had tears running down her cheeks. "I'm sorry, Cat. I don't know what else to say, except that I love you with every thing that I am. I will always be your protector, love. That is something I can't... and won't change, but I promise to treat you with all the respect and reverence of a goddess, because that is truly what you are in my eyes. I love you, Cat. Please forgive me."
Cat was sobbing openly as she flew into Billie's arms. The two women just held each other, allowing their tears to cleanse the pain and hurt. No words were necessary as their hearts joined on a spiritual level, reveling in their love for each other.
They probably would have spent the rest of the day locked in each others arms, had Cat's stomach not announced that it was hungry with a very loud growl. Hearing the protest, the two women's eyes met, and instantaneously, they broke down into hysterical laughter.
"Well, I guess we'd better feed the beast, huh?" Billie said.
After a late lunch Billie and Cat decided to spend the rest of the day at the beach, seeing as it was really too late in the day for any 'touristy' type activity.
Returning back to the ship late in the day, they spent long moments making love in the shower, after which, they dressed for a formal dinner in the dining room.
After dressing, Cat looked at Billie and said, "You know, you clean up real good!", drawing a chuckle from the tall woman. "You're not so bad yourself." came the reply accompanied by a long toe tingling kiss.
It was true. Billie's tall frame was accented by a long gown, the same color blue as her eyes. Spaghetti straps held the bodice of the gown in place, the 'V' neck revealing a generous cleavage. The gown was slit up the sides to just above the knee, showing an expanse of very shapely leg when she walked. Two inch black heels adorned her feet, while a delicate blue sapphire pendant circled her throat. She choose to wear her hair up in a 'Katharine Hepburn' like bun rather than straight down in her usual style. Cat, on the other hand, wore a cream colored gown that hugged her shapely hips and legs closely. The bodice accented her thin waist and full breasts, ending in a high collar at her throat. Shoulders and arms were bare, revealing well toned muscles. Elbow length cream colored gloves and ruby red spiked heels completed the ensemble. She too, had opted to pull her hair up in the same style as Billie.
They truly made a stunning sight together and drew heads from all directions as they walked through the dining hall to their table. Mike was immediately on hand to hold their chairs out for them, complimenting them on their beauty as he seated them.
"You will join us for dinner, won't you Mike?" Cat asked.
"Yes, please." Billie added.
"I'd be honored ladies. What self respecting man wouldn't want to be seen in the company of two such beautiful ladies?" he asked, causing the women to blush. Mike sat opposite them so that he could drink in their beauty and speak to them at the same time. Not for the first time, he sighed, thinking about how unlucky the men of the world were not to have access to these two goddesses.
"So, have you enjoyed your vacation so far?" Mike asked.
Both women excitedly agreed that it had been wonderful, filling him in on their adventures over the last several days as they enjoyed their dinner together.
"Just one day left." Mike observed. "Do you ladies have any plans for tomorrow?"
"Shopping!" Cat said excitedly, causing Billie to roll her eyes.
Mike laughed at Billie's expression while Cat backhanded her across the arm. "Billie, we promised the kids some souvenirs, remember?" she said.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. I'll be a good girl tomorrow, I promise. I'll only complain a few times, instead of the usual dozen, okay?" she teased.
"It's a deal!" Cat replied laughing.
Mike sat there captivated by their relationship. Here were two people that were obviously very much in love and very comfortable with each other. He was sure they would do everything in their power to protect each other and suddenly found himself hoping that he was never on the receiving end of their anger, especially Billie's.
Over dessert, the conversation turned to Callie.
"Have there been any more 'Callie sightings', Mike? Billie asked.
"No. In fact, things have been really quiet. It doesn't appear that she's been on board since you saw her a couple of days ago." Mike answered.
"Well, maybe my imagination is just working overtime then." Billie admitted, starting to believe that Callie's appearances on the ship had been innocent coincidences.
After dinner and another glass of wine, the ladies decided on a stroll around the decks before turning in for the evening. Mike bade them a pleasant evening and left to addend to his duties. Walking hand in hand, Billie led Cat to the ship's railing where they faced each other, standing very close, but not quite in each other's arms. Billie reached down and moved a tendril of red-gold hair away from Cat's eye.
"You are incredibly beautiful, my love." she said.
Looking up into Billie's face, Cat saw all the love and tenderness she knew the woman felt for her, causing her whole body to tingle with desire. The moonlight was reflecting off her face, causing an aura to appear around her head. The whole effect was breath taking. "I love you, Billie." was all she could trust herself to say.
Billie leaned down and placed a tender kiss on Cat's mouth, followed by several butterfly kisses on the corners. Standing back up to her full height, she said, "Are you ready to turn in?"
Pure lust filled Cat's eyes. She smiled and wiggled her eyebrows up and down. No verbal response was necessary.
Billie laughed out loud. "You are insatiable, imp!" she teased, then added, "Come on wench, let's get this party started." Offering her hand to Cat, the two women quickly made their way back to their room and spent the rest of the evening and most of the night making mad passionate love.
************************************************************************************************ CHAPTER VII
The next morning found the two ladies strolling along The Main Street Shopping Center in Oranjestad. They were delighted at the array and variety of goods offered there... Well, at least Cat was. Billie wasn't much of a shopper. She preferred to go in, purchase what she wanted, and then leave. Cat, on the other hand, was a browser. She could spend countless hours window shopping and haggling over prices.
Billie had promised to behave, so she tried her best to look interested and excited in each purchase Cat made. She did have to admit that Cat had a keen knack for haggling, sometimes able to purchase an item for as little as half the sticker price.
As the morning wore on, Billie found her arms more and more loaded with packages. Cat insisted on getting gifts, not only for their children, but also for Jennifer, Fred, Stevie, Karissa, and her parents. And of course, they couldn't forget Art and Marge. Unable to hold anymore, Billie called a temporary halt to the shopping spree so they could return to the ship and unload their packages, promising Cat that they could set out once more right after a quick lunch on board the ship.
After lunch, Billie and Cat approached the loading ramp to embark on an afternoon of shopping, when both women, this time, spotted Callie heading for the stairway to steerage. Billie was ready to take off after her, when Cat put a restraining arm on hers. "Billie, we don't know that she's doing anything wrong. Let's just find Mike and let him know she's here, okay?" she said.
Billie resigned herself to Cat's logic and said, "All right. Wait right here. I'll go find him." she said, placing a quick kiss on Cat's cheek before heading back into the ship. Moments later, she was back, informing Cat that she had found him and that he'd investigate right away. They'd check back with him when they returned.
Having gotten all the souvenir shopping done that morning, the ladies spent the afternoon checking out the exotic delicacies offered by the island. By the time they neared the end of their shopping trip it was late in the day, but they had sampled enough of their purchases, that neither of them was hungry for dinner. On their way back to the ship, Cat spotted a vendor that sold a variety of breads. "One more stop, please, Billie?" Cat begged, noting the look of impatience on Billie's face.
Billie never could resist that baby-girl look Cat would plaster on her face when she wanted something. "Oh all, right!", she said, giving in and following the happy woman to the stand.
"Oh, look, Billie... Nutbread! I haven't had any in ages!" she said, reaching out and picking up a loaf. Suddenly, a sharp pain shot through Cat's temples, causing her to stagger against Billie.
Seeing her distress, Billie quickly took the nutbread out of her hand, placed it back on the table, and led her to a nearby bench. Cat seemed to be disoriented. "Cat, Cat, are you all right, love?" Billie asked, rubbing her back.
Cat looked up at Billie and smiled a goofy grin. "Hi Xena!" she said. Then looking around, she said, "I've been trying to get them to sing, but they're not very good, you know!" she said leaning in confidentially and gesturing to the invisible group around them.
"Cat, what's wrong with you?" Billie asked, alarmed that she had called her Xena.
Cat got up and twirled around clumsily. "Xena, why do you keep calling me Cat, and where are your leathers?" she said giggling and falling back into Billie's arms.
Billie decided to play along. "Well if you're not Cat, then who are you?" she asked, concern etching into her forehead.
"You know who I am, you silly warrior... I'm Gabrielle, remember? Bard of Potedia? Your best friend? Xena, do you think you can get them to sing better?" she asked, again indicating the invisible crowd. She was practically laying across Billie's lap by now, unable to keep herself upright.
"Cat... I mean, Gabrielle, why are you acting like this." Billie questioned. Obviously, Cat was having a vision and she intended to find out all she could while she had time. She only hoped that Cat would come out of this unscathed.
"Henbane." Cat/Gabrielle said.
"Henbane?" Billie answered.
"Yeah... There's henbane in the nutbread. Cool, huh? Want some?" she asked, offering the invisible bread up to Billie.
"No thank you, Gabrielle." she said, trying to get Cat to her feet. She wanted to get her back to the ship where she could watch over her until she returned to herself.
She finally got her into a standing position in front of the bench, when Cat looked up at her. Her eyes opened wide as she fell back onto the bench. "By the gods!" she exclaimed.
"What?" Billie asked, alarmed at Cat's sudden change in attitude.
"You are beautiful!" Cat remarked, tones of incredible awe filling her voice.
"All right, come on!" Billie said, reaching down and pulling her back to her feet. After collecting their packages, she led Cat to a taxi to take them back to their room.
"This is a pretty weird wagon, Xena." Cat observed, referring to the taxi. "By the way, where's Argo?" she asked, burping, and giggling as she covered her mouth. "Sorry 'bout that." she said.
The taxi dropped them off at the loading ramp of the ship. Billie held on to Cat's waist tightly as she led her up the ramp.
"Oh, no, Xena... not a ship! You know I get sea sick... Pressure points, quick!" she exclaimed, tapping her left wrist over and over with two fingers from her right hand. "Just don't give me any squid, okay?" she asked.
"No squid, Gabrielle." Billie said, chuckling. She was enjoying this look at the bard's personality.
Soon, Billie had Cat/Gabrielle tucked securely into bed, watching over her as she slept. When it became obvious that Cat was out for the night, Billie got undressed and climbed in beside her, quickly falling asleep herself.
When Billie woke up the next morning, she was surprised to find Cat gone. Suddenly recalling the events of the previous evening, she panicked.
"Oh my god! What if she's still Gabrielle? Hades only knows what kind of trouble she could get herself into!" she thought, jumping up and quickly pulling on clean clothes.
Just as she pulled on her last shoe, the bedroom door swung open and Cat waltzed in, carrying a large tray of goodies from the dinning room. "Good morning, love." Cat said. "I hope you're hungry."
Billie rose and took the tray from Cat, placing on the table next to the bed. She then took Cat by the shoulders and said, "Cat?"
"Well, of course, Billie. Who did you expect?" Cat replied.
Billie let out a sign of relief then smiled into Cat's face. "Well, to tell you the truth, I expected Gabrielle!" Billie said.
Cat looked at her like she was out of her mind. Then, placing her hands on her hips and frowning, she said, "Sounds like you've got some explaining to do, sister!"
Billie just laughed and led Cat over to the bed. "Sit down." she said, placing the tray of food between them. "I've got a story for you that you won't believe!"
Several moments later, Cat sat there staring at Billie, her mouth open, drooping nearly into her lap.
"Close your mouth.. you're catch'in flies!" Billie said in her best Mae West voice as she pressed Cat's chin up.
"Gabrielle? Henbane?" was all Cat could say.
"Yeah, it was pretty creepy, but funny at the same time. By the way, you're the doctor here... what is henbane?" Billie asked.
"It's a type of drug, a hallucinogenic, it was used in ancient times to knock a patient out during surgery or to numb pain." Cat replied.
"How do you feel this morning, Cat?" Billie asked, wanting to be sure that there were no harmful side affects from the vision.
"Fine... In fact, I woke up feeling great. A little confused about how we got back to our room, but otherwise, fine." she said.
Their conversation was suddenly interrupted by a knock on the cabin door.
"I'll get it." Billie said as she rose and headed into the living room.
Mike was on the other side of the door, just stopping by to tell them that the boat was getting ready to leave the dock if they wanted to join the send off. He also let Billie know that nothing suspicious had happened with Callie, who had checked in that morning for the trip home, other than the fact that she was accompanied by a young man when she returned.
"Yeah, she told us that her boyfriend was making the trip back with her." Billie said. Thanking Mike, she closed the door and returned to collect Cat for the send off.
************************************************************************************************ CHAPTER VIII
Billie and Cat stood by the railing and watched as passengers threw streamers over the side of the ship to the docks below. Moments later, the ship was moving away from the pier toward open water.
Cat looked up at Billie and said, "So what would you like to do today?"
Billie took Cat's hand and replied, "Let's go back to our room. I want to talk to you about these visions... something doesn't make sense here... There's something we're missing."
"All right." Cat said. "Let's go then."
Back in their suite, Cat sat on the couch as she watched Billie pace back and forth across the room. Every now and then, Billie would reach up and run her hand through her hair. Finally, she stopped in front of Cat and sat herself on the floor, cross legged.
Leaning forward, she said, "Help me out here, Cat. Between us, we've had three dreams or visions. The first one was about Callie. She had captured Gabrielle and threatened her life. The second one was about Xena as a pirate, and the third, was about Gabrielle on henbane. I can't help but think that these three incidences are somehow connected... that somehow Xena and Gabrielle are trying to tell us something."
Cat was leaning forward, intently listening to Billie, her forearms resting on her knees. "Well, lets see..." Cat said. "...Callie has been acting suspiciously, so maybe the first vision is telling us to be wary of her. As far as the second and third visions are concerned... I'm not sure. Henbane is a drug, that much I know, but how does Xena as a pirate fit into it?" she wondered out loud.
Both women contemplated their hands for a few moments. Suddenly, Billie jumped to her feet and said, "Wait a minute!... What do pirates do Cat?" she asked.
"They rob, rape, pillage?" Cat said, throwing out random descriptions in the hopes that something would make sense.
"Yes, all of those things, but what else do they do... at least modern day pirates?" Billie prodded, trying to get Cat to realize something that was already obvious to her.
Cat thought hard for a few moments, until all at once, things fell into place. The answer was so clear now... "Of course!" she said, sitting up straight. "They smuggle!... and the henbane... Billie, they smuggle drugs!" she said excitedly.
"Yes!" Billie yelled. "They smuggle drugs."
"But how does the dream about Callie fit into this?" Cat questioned.
"Cat, in the dream, Callie was a very bad person, insane, really. Maybe the dream is pointing to Callie as being the ring leader.... she was most certainly the ring leader of the gang in the dream." Billie threw out.
"Maybe, Billie. But how would that explain her strange behavior over the past week?" Cat asked.
"I don't know, Cat, but I plan to find out... as soon as possible." Billie replied.
"Billie Jean Charland... You are not going to do anything that puts your life in danger, do you understand me?" Cat said forcefully.
Billie pulled Cat to her feet and hugged her tight. "I will do my damnedest not to get hurt, love. After all, we have three children to raise, and I don't plan on letting you do that job alone. Relax, Okay?" she said.
"On one condition, Billie." Cat said.
"And what's that?" Billie asked, already knowing the answer.
"That you let me come with you." answered Cat.
Billie took a deep breath. "Okay, Billie, you promised her respect and equality... you're trapped here... you don't have a choice... you'll just have to work extra hard to keep her safe." the told herself.
Holding Cat by the shoulders, Billie looked deep into the green pools and said, "Cat, in the dream, Gabrielle was held captive by Callie... her life was in severe danger. I am praying that the dream was not a warning about Callie putting you in danger... but, I will feel better if you are by my side. Promise me that you won't take any chances with your life, even if its to save mine, okay?"
"I can't promise that, Billie." Cat said firmly. "I will not stand by and let you die without trying to stop it."
"Cat..." Billie began.
"No Billie! I won't change my mind about this... don't ask me to again." Cat said with conviction.
Billie knew she was defeated. "All right! I guess I'll just have to work extra hard to prevent Callie from reaching you." she said with more confidence than she felt.
"You know, Billie, Mike is going to think we're nuts well we tell him about the visions." Cat said.
"Yeah, but you and I both know from past experience that these visions usually come true. Remember when you were in the hospital and I had the vision of Gabrielle dying in the temple? And when that bastard was raping you, there was the vision of Gabrielle being raped by that god? And what about the dreams you've had about the warrior and bard? You've always thought that we were connected to them somehow, that they helped us to come together. Cat, I put a lot of faith in these visions... I truly believe Xena and Gabrielle are trying to tell us something through them." Billie explained.
Cat could see that Billie was becoming agitated. Walking up to her and running her palm down the side of Billie's face, she looked into her eyes and said, "I know, love... I believe you. Don't forget, I've had the visions too. It's just going to be tough explaining it to someone else, that's all." she said soothingly.
Billie leaned into the caress and smiled. "I'm sorry, Cat. I didn't mean to snap at you. Forgive me?" she asked.
Cat pulled Billie down for a kiss. "Nothing to forgive, love... now let's go find Mike."
"Okay... Let me get this straight." Mike said as he paced in front of them, hands accenting his words. "You two have 'visions' from an ancient Greek warrior and bard?... And you think these visions are telling you that Callie Cirra is smuggling drugs on this ship?"
Both women nodded their heads.
Billie got up from the couch in Mike's chambers and approached him. "Look Mike, I know this is hard to understand, but somehow, Cat and I are connected to these women... actually, we're pretty sure that we're descendant from them. In any case, we have both had visions over the past two years or so, that have come true. In fact, there hasn't been a vision yet that hasn't come true." she explained.
"Are you sure these visions weren't coincidental with ordinary every day events, Billie?" he asked, still skeptical.
Billie looked over to Cat who nodded her head almost imperceptibly.
"Sure, if you want to call rape an ordinary every day event!" Billie said, allowing her anger to rise to the surface.
Mike's head snapped up. "Rape?" he questioned. "I knew it!" he thought, remembering Cat's comments about the conception of their daughters.
Cat had risen from the couch and approached Billie, wrapping her arm around the taller woman's waist and rubbing her back to curb her anger. "Mike." Cat said. "While Billie was at work one day, she had a vision of Gabrielle being raped. It happened at the same exact moment that I was being raped in my own home, with our children napping in the next room. That is only one example of how the visions have come true... there are others as well."
Mike hung his head in shame. Rubbing the back of his neck with both hands, he looked at the women and said, "I'm sorry. I know I'm being a jerk here, but I have to be sure before I start accusing passengers of drug smuggling."
"I understand, Mike." Billie said. "We're not asking you to accuse anyone of anything yet.... at least not until we have proof."
"Just what did you have in mind, Billie?" Mike asked.
"Well, I don't think Callie knows that we suspect her of anything yet." Billie explained. "Hades, we're not even completely sure that she is up to something." she said, pacing back and forth. "We need a way to distract her so that we can search her room, search steerage... I don't know... I'm open for ideas." she finished.
"Ill distract her, Billie." Cat volunteered.
"Cat, I don't like the idea of leaving you alone with her." Billie said.
"Billie, how much damage can she do in front of a whole ship full of people? Maybe I can invite her to lunch today at pool side and keep her there as long as possible while you search her room?" Cat proposed.
Billie looked very uncomfortable with the idea, but couldn't come up with anything better at the moment. Taking Cat's shoulders between her hands, she said, "Promise me that you'll stay in full view of the other passengers the whole time, okay?"
"I Promise!" Cat said, smiling.
"You know, Billie, I could lose my job over this... We have no legal basis for searching this room." Mike said.
"Mike, this shouldn't take long... If we don't find anything, we'll be out quickly. Just be careful not to disturb anything, okay? And by the way, we have reason to believe that there maybe illegal activity going on in there... As an officer of this ship, you have a right to search for violations of ship policy. I assume drug smuggling would be a direct violation?" Billie asked confidently.
Mike grinned... "You lawyer-types... You've got all the angles covered, don't you?" he asked.
Billie just smiled as she followed Mike into Callie's room. They did a pretty thorough job searching, not finding anything that could tie Callie to a smuggling operation. Moments later, they were back in the hallway.
"Well, that was a dead end, Billie." Mike said.
"Yeah, I know, Mike, but my gut still tells me that she's involved in something fishy here. If its drugs, there's no way of knowing where she would hide them. It guess would depend on how large the shipment was." Billie observed.
"Maybe we should search the cargo hold?" suggested Mike.
Billie's eyebrows rose into her hairline. "You might have something there, Mike." Billie said. "But before we start our search, I want to check on Cat, okay?"
"All right." Mike said. "I'll meet you in my quarters in a couple of hours then."
Little did they know, a pair of dark, foreboding eyes had watched them exit Callie's room.
"So Callie, what do you do for a living?" Cat asked the blonde woman reclining on the lounge next to her.
Callie found herself regretting Cat's invitation to join her for lunch. The meal was fine, but they had run out of interesting conversation only an hour into it. Afterwards, Cat had suggested that they retire to pool side to enjoy the sun for a while. Not wanting to be rude, Callie accepted, but within minutes, she was tired of Cat talking on and on about her kids, and medical technology and other such boring things.
"Wha...What's that?" Callie asked, hoping that Cat would see she was trying to nap, and would leave her alone.
"I said, what do you do for a living?" Cat repeated. She knew she was boring the woman half to death, but so far, she had effectively kept her in one place.
"Oh, nothing much." she answered. "Actually, I just finished my junior year at the state university, and I'm just enjoying my summer break."
"Really? What are you studying?" Cat asked.
"Oh groan!" Callie thought. "Does this woman ever shut up?"
Just then, Billie arrived at the pool, loudly announcing her presence with a "Hi Cat, Callie!" as she neared the two woman.
"Oh happy day!" Callie thought. "I'm saved!" Out loud, she said, "Hi Billie. Did you enjoy your tour of the ship?"
"Yeah, it was great... You missed a great time, Cat." Billie said, addressing her lover.
Falling into the planned routine, Cat said, "Well, you know all that stuff doesn't interest me much, but I'm glad you enjoyed yourself, love."
"Well, gotta go." Callie said. Taking Cat's hand, she said, "Thanks for the lunch Cat... it was great! Catcha both later!" she said, making a quick exit.
Cat started chuckling, causing Billie to look at her curiously.
"What's so funny?" the taller woman asked.
"I have just spent the last hour boring the poor woman to death!" Cat laughed. "By the way, did you and Mike find anything?"
"Not a thing." Billie said.
"You know, she could be innocent, Billie." Cat observed.
"Yeah, you're right... she could be, but I still feel uncomfortable with her." Billie said.
************************************************************************************************ CHAPTER IX
Cat and Billie headed back to their room so that Cat could change out of her bathing suit before meeting Mike in his chambers. On the way, Cat detoured to the dining room to pick up a snack for her and Billie, sending the taller woman ahead to draw a warm bath for the two of them. Cat had definite plans for filling the next two hours before their appointed meeting with Mike.
After collecting an array of sandwiches and fruit, Cat exited the dining room and started down the stairwell to the third floor. Suddenly, she was grabbed behind by a gloved hand. The platter of food tumbled down the stairs as a billy club landed squarely on the base of her skull, rendering her immediately unconscious.
Billie was reclining on the couch in their suite, sipping a class of wine and racking her brains, trying to think of what to do next regarding Callie, while she waited for Cat to return from the dining room. She had already filled the tub with steamy water and was anticipating the next hour or so with her lover.
Thinking that it was taking Cat an awful long time to return, Billie was suddenly struck by another vision. This time, she saw Callie, again dressed in warrior garb, her hair in wild disarray around her head, jumping onto a horse as though making a get away. As she rode recklessly through the town, Billie saw her bend over and roughly scoop someone up off the ground, pulling them up onto the saddle behind her, and then continue to ride like a bat out of hell, disappearing around the corner of a building. "The girl! She captured the girl!" she heard someone shout. Suddenly, Billie realized that the 'girl' was Cat... or rather Gabrielle.
Snapping back to awareness, Billie stood up and rushed out of the room. "Cat!" her mind screamed. "Oh my gods, she's got Cat!"
Billie ran as fast as she could to Mike's chambers. He wasn't there. Heading up the stairs, three at a time, she came across the platter of food spread all over the stairwell. "Oh gods, no!" she exclaimed out loud at the sight of something red smeared on one of the railings. A quick inspection verified that it was blood. Billie started to panic.
Climbing the rest of the stairs to the main deck, she quickly went to the bridge. Mike spotted her first and immediately ran to her side when he saw the look of terror on her face.
"Billie... What is it!" he shouted into her face, trying to focus her attention on him.
"Mike... Mike! Cat's gone! She's gone!... There's blood on the stairs. Oh Mike, Callie's got her, I just know it!" Billie said, her eyes crazed with panic.
Mike pulled her over to a bench just outside the control room. "Calm down, Billie. You won't be any use to her in this state.... Now tell me what you know." he instructed the distraught woman.
Billie told Mike about how late Cat was returning from the dining room. She told him about the new vision and about the food and blood in the stairway. There was certainly enough evidence in Billie's story to worry even a skeptic like Mike.
Billie was trembling all over with anger and fear. "I'll kill her, Mike. I swear, I'll kill her if she's harmed one hair on Cat's head!" Billie warned.
Just then, one of the senior officers stuck his head outside the control room and said, "Ensign Faure, the captain would like to have a word with you."
Mike told Billie that he'd be right back as he went to speak to his commanding officer. Moments later, he returned to Billie and said, "Billie, I think you need to come in here. There's something you need to hear."
Billie was terrified. She prayed to any god that would listen, "Please let her be okay... Please!", she chanted over and over in her mind as she followed Mike inside the control room.
Billie's anger increased tenfold when she heard what the captain had to say.
"Ms. Charland." he began. "We have received a communication from the cargo hold saying that this ship is being hijacked and that one Caitain Charland is being held hostage to secure our cooperation. I assume this woman is related to you?" he asked.
Billie looked him squarely in the eyes. "Yes, Sir... She is my wife." she said, never once breaking her gaze.
To his credit, the captain didn't even flinch at this news. Instead he said, "I see. Do you have idea who could be behind this?"
"Yes... there is a passenger on board named Callisandra Cirra, whom I believe would have motivation enough to take Cat hostage." Billie said.
"And why do you believe that, Ms. Charland?" the captain asked, not really sure if he should trust this woman. After all, she could be part of the operation for all he knew.
Mike came to Billie's rescue. "Sir, if I may... Ms. Charland here is a bit of a clairvoyant. She has visions. In fact, she has had several visions in the last day or two that would indicate Ms Cirra as being involved in drug smuggling on board this ship. Ms. Cirra has obviously discovered that Cat and Billie are on to her and is taking measures to protect herself and her cargo."
The captain looked skeptically at Mike. Approaching him, hands clasped behind his back, he slowly circled Mike and Billie and then said, "Ensign, you had better be right about this, or your rank and legal standing in this service may be in jeopardy. Do you understand?"
"Yes, sir. I have total faith in Ms. Charland, sir." Mike said, standing at attention as he came under close scrutiny by his commanding officer.
"Good." the captain said. "So now, the question is, what do we do about this?"
Just then, another call came into the bridge.
"Captain... it's from the cargo hold." the communications officer said, as he handed the phone to the captain.
"Put it on the speaker phone... all parties present in this room have a right to hear what they have to say." the captain instructed.
"This is Captain Brice." the captain said.
Callie's voice came across the line, loud and clear. "Well, Captain... I'll bet by now, you have been informed of what's going on. To answer your questions before you ask... Yes, I have drugs on board, and Yes, I plan to smuggle them into the US, and Yes, I have a pretty little red-headed hostage that won't make it through the rest of the trip if you don't cooperate with me... understand?"
"Damn you, Callie!" Billie shouted from across the room. "If she's hurt, I'll kill you!"
"Well, well, DEAR... I should have known you'd be there already. Too late about wifey-poo not getting hurt though... it seems that Carlos got a little rambunctious when her knocked her out in the stairwell. But then again, head wounds do look worse than they really are. Don't worry, love... If everyone cooperates, your little wife will be fine, a little shaken up maybe, but alive." she replied sarcastically.
"Don't believe her, Billie... She's lying!" Cat could be heard screaming in the background.
"Shut up you slut!" they heard Callie say, followed by the sound of someone being slapped - hard. "Carlos... shut her up... I don't want to hear another word out of her - understand?"
Everyone on the bridge sat stunned at the obvious abuse that was going on at the other end of the line. Suddenly, Callie's voice came back.
"All right... here are my demands. We continue on course as though nothing has changed. Just before we enter US waters, we will radio my contacts and arrange for a shuttle launch to meet us. When it arrives, I leave with my crew and my cargo... including our precious little hostage here. If I make it to the mainland without being detected, I will release her. Otherwise, she will be killed. Understood?"
"I said, UNDERSTOOD?!" Callie demanded.
"We hear your demands, Ms. Cirra." the captain said.
"Good. Until later then...." click.. went the line as Callie hung up on them.
Mike looked over to Billie and noticed that she was gone.
"Shit!" he said out loud, drawing the attention of the rest of the staff to him.
When they too realized that Billie was missing, the captain said, "Shit, indeed, Ensign."
*********************************************************************************************** CHAPTER X
"Billie!... Billie!" Mike shouted as he caught up with her in the main hallway leading through steerage on her way to the cargo hold. Grabbing her by the arm, he swung her around to face him. He was met by a look of sheer anger and determination disguised behind tear filled eyes.
She struggled to get away from him, as he pushed her roughly up against the wall and held her there by the shoulders. "Billie... Stop. They'll kill her if you go barging in there... do you understand? They'll kill her!" he shouted into her face.
Billie blinked and suddenly looked at him as though she was seeing him for the first time. She closed her eyes and started to cry. Mike pulled her into his arms as they slid down the wall to the floor. Sitting there, propped up against the wall, he held her for several long moments until she regained control of herself.
Pulling slightly back, she leaned her head against the wall and said, "Help me Mike, please... I can't lose her... she is my life."
Mike reached up and brushed the dark locks out of her face and tucked them behind her ear. "Don't worry, Billie, we'll get her out of there... You and I. Okay?"
She just shook her head yes as Mike wiped the tears off her face. Rising to his feet, he helped her up and they headed to his quarters to make plans.
Back in his quarters, Mike gave Billie a glass of water to help her calm down while he pulled out diagrams of the ships' lower levels. Spreading them out on the table, he pointed to several locations where the cargo hold could be entered.
"Okay... there are telephones here... and here... and here." Mike said, pointing to three possible locations from which they could have made the call to the bridge. "We'll want to slip in as far away from these locations as possible to remain undetected." he said.
"We'll need to set up a diversion, Mike, as far away from our point of entry as possible." Billie suggested.
"Good idea..." he said. Then, pointing to the phone at the furthest end of the hold, he said, "I'll go inform the captain of our plans, and have him make a call to this phone in exactly 30 minutes. That should draw their attention away from this entry point at the opposite end of the hold, where you and I will slip in. Okay?"
Billie just nodded her head.
Mike regarded Billie closely for a moment. "You plan to go in there alone, don't you?" he asked.
Billie didn't answer him... she just continued to stare at the diagrams.
"Billie... promise me that you'll wait until I get back from the bridge... it won't be safe otherwise... for you, or for Cat."
She still refused to look at him.
He grabbed her by the shoulders and shook her hard until their eyes met. "Billie... I said, promise me, or by god, I'll drag you to the bridge with me!" he demanded.
A lone tear rolled down her cheek. She knew she was defeated. "All right, I promise." she said.
Ten minutes later, Mike returned to his quarters to collect Billie. "Okay, we have exactly 20 minutes to get into position." he said.
Fifteen minutes later, Mike and Billie were waiting outside the far entrance to the cargo hold. Mike looked at his watch and motioned 'five minutes' to Billie with his hands.
Billie leaned against the wall and thought about the past two years with Cat. They were the most fulfilling and satisfying years of her life so far. Yes, they had faced sickness, with Seth's coma and both Cat and Billie in the hospital for ailments and injuries... Cat's rape... the initial prejudice from their neighbors and the discrimination suit against the state, but all in all, it had been two years filled with such intense love and devotion and sense of family, it brought tears to her eyes to think that it could all end here in the next five minutes. Taking a deep breath, she silently promised Cat that she would save her from this woman's madness... somehow.
Mike watched Billie's silent contemplation. "When did I fall in love with her?" he asked himself. "Damn... I will do anything for this woman... even save her true love from that madwoman in there, knowing that by doing so, I will never have her for myself. I promise you, Billie... We'll save her somehow."
Suddenly, a phone rang. Mike snapped out of his daydreams and motioned to Billie to get ready. Listening closely, they heard Callie start to scream into the phone. Mike had asked the captain to do his best to keep her on the phone as long as possible to give them time to enter undetected. Apparently, the captain was doing a fine job as Callie was ranting and raving into the phone as Mike pushed the door open and the two of them slipped in, closing the door softly behind them.
Pressing themselves up against the wall, they slowly made their way toward the other end of the hold.
"I don't care what international narcotics laws say, Captain.... You will provide me with safe passage to shore, or by god, I will kill the woman right where she stands... is that clear! You have exactly 10 minutes to call me back and tell me how you're going to manage it." Callie said, slamming the receiver down on the phone.
From her vantage point, Billie could see Callie pacing back and forth, waving the gun in the air. "Stupid son of a bitch." Callie ranted. Suddenly, Billie's attention was drawn to Cat, who was tied to a post. Even from this distance, she could tell that Cat had been severely beaten. Billie's intake of breath was almost audible as she bit her tongue and fought to restrain herself from revealing their location.
Mike felt physically sick at the sight of Cat's bruised face and body. He pictured Billie in that position and suddenly knew how Billie was feeling at that moment, witnessing the one she loved in such dire need. Looking over at the dark haired woman, he could see her biting her lip, trying very hard to restrain herself.
Getting her attention, Mike motioned for Billie to circle to the left while he went around to the right. If they could draw Callie's attention to opposite sides of the room at the same time, one of them would have a chance to reach Cat safely.
While Billie was still positioning herself, Mike made his move. Jumping out, he called to Callie. Callie swung the gun toward him and fired as Billie screamed, "Mike... No!"
Callie was confused. "How did they get in here!" she thought. "No... No... This is going all wrong... It's not supposed to happen this way.... I am in control here...!"
"Callie! You bitch!" Billie screamed as she placed a roundhouse kick to Callie's head, sending her flying across the floor, the gun flying in the opposite direction.
Carlos entered the fray, approaching Billie from behind. Billie's martial arts training kicked in as she swung around and caught Carlos in an arm hold, snapping it at the elbow. Carlos screamed in pain as he fell to the floor, holding the injured appendage. Billie landed a kick to the side of his head, knocking him out cold.
Callie was just struggling to her feet as Billie turned her attention back to her. Noticing the gun lying on the floor, Billie picked it up and aimed it as Callie, hatred burning in her eyes.
"Billie, No!" a voice said.
Billie turned at the sound of Cat's voice, still keeping the gun pointed at Callie. Her heart filled with such love at the sight of the emerald pools looking back at her, that there was no longer room in there for hatred. She looked back to Callie who was perched, halfway to her feet and lowered the gun. Walking over to her, she said, "You can thank Cat that you're not dead right now."
Grabbing Callie by the shirt, she dragged her over to the pole where Cat was, untied her lover, and used the same rope to tie Callie up. "Nightie-night." she said, landing a punch directly on Callie's chin. The blonde woman slumped into unconsciousness.
Billie turned to Cat and took her into her arms, both women crying at their reunion. Pulling away, Billie inspected Cat's face and saw that the damage was mostly superficial. Taking her into her arms once more, they held each other tightly.
"Hey, a little help here would be great!" they heard from across the room.
"Oh gods, Mike!" Billie said as the two woman ran over to him.
Cat quickly examined him. He had been shot in the side, and from what Cat could tell, the damage was serious, but not immediately life threatening.
While Cat was looking at Mike, Billie got on the phone and called the bridge. "Captain, this is Billie Charland." she said. "The cargo hold is secure, thanks to Ensign Faure. Please send down some medics and a stretcher. We have one hero here in need of medical attention. Oh, and send a couple of MP's as well."
Hanging up the phone, Billie turned back to Mike and Cat.
Mike looked up at Billie. "Hero?" he said.
Billie knelt beside him and took his hand. "Mike if it wasn't for your foolish move, diverting Callie's attention away from me, things might have worked out very badly. I know why you did it, and I thank you. To me... No - to us, you are a hero, Mike. Thank you." she said, leaning down and kissing him directly on the mouth.
Mike just smiled. "I've died and gone to heaven." he thought. To the women, he said, "I'm glad I could help, Billie. I have never seen a love to intense and so true as that between you and Cat. I couldn't let that die."
Now it was Cat's turn to thank the injured man. She reached down and kissed him on the cheek, whispering in his ear, "I know that you love her, Mike. I can't think of a more deserving rival. I am so happy that she had someone like you to call friend. Billie's right... you are a hero." Kissing him again, she sat back on her heels and smiled at Billie.
The sound of the cargo door opening drew their attention to the rear of the hold. Billie rose to her feet and motioned to the medics. Soon, Mike was strapped to the stretcher and was being carried to sick bay as the MP's carried the unconscious criminals to the detention cell to be turned over to US authorities the next day. Billie urged Cat to go to sick bay with the medics to have her own injuries treated while she filled the captain in on the details.
About an hour later, Captain Brice, along with Billie, entered sick bay to check on Mike's progress. Cat immediately flew into Billie's waiting arms when she entered. The captain left them in the waiting room discretely giving them the privacy they needed, as he went in to check on Mike.
"Are you all right, love?" Billie asked the smaller woman, holding her face in her hands, worry etched across her brow.
"Bumps, bruises, split lip... Nothing broken, thanks to you and Mike." Cat said.
Billie held her tightly and closed her eyes, letting the tears flow down her face. Cat felt the sobs vibrate through her lover's body and just held her closer, letting the tears of relief cleanse her partner. "It's all right love, let it out. I love you, Billie... I will always love you." she said over an over into Billie's ear.
Soon, Billie had cried herself out and allowed her tears to be dried by the smaller woman. Standing to her full height, she looked down at Cat and said, "I must be a really pretty sight... swollen eyes, runny nose!"
Cat looked up and said, "I've never seen you more beautiful, my love!"
"Oh gods, here we go again!" Billie replied as the tears started to flow once more. Cat led her to a chair where she sat the taller woman down then climbed into her lap to hold her head close to her breast. Finally, after a time, the tears stopped for good and Cat just laid there in Billie's arms, content in their love.
A few moments later, the captain came out of Mike room and motioned for Billie and Cat to join them. Entering the room, they found Mike already sitting up in bed.
In response to Billie's raised eyebrows, Mike said, "The bullet went clean through... Like Cat said... it was serious, but not really life threatening. Having her there to stop the blood flow so soon after it happened, helped a lot." he said, smiling and winking at Cat, who grinned back at him.
The captain cleared his throat. "Ahem... The reason I asked you two ladies to join me was to provide official witnesses to the assignment of Lieutenant Faure here to the position of bridge commander as soon as his convalescence is complete."
"Lieutenant?" Mike said incredulously?
"All right!" Billie exclaimed, giving Mike a high five, causing him to wince.
Cat went over and kissed him tenderly on the forehead. "Congratulations, Mike, you really deserve it."
"Okay, ladies." the captain said. "I hate to break up this little party, but Lt. Faure here needs his rest. May I escort you back to your cabin?" he asked.
"No, that's not necessary, captain, but thank you for the offer." Billie said, as she took Cat's hand and turned toward the door.
"Hey, you two!" Mike said. "I expect you to stop in and say good-bye before you leave tomorrow, okay?"
"You can count on it, Mike!" Billie said. "We'll see you tomorrow." she said as they left.
Saying good-bye to Mike was difficult for the ladies, and as they suspected, even more difficult for Mike. They exchanged teary hugs and tender kisses before exchanging addresses and promising to write to each other, as well as extending an open invitation to Mike to visit whenever he could.
Billie and Cat held hands for the entire flight back home, neither one wanting to break the emotional connection they had with the other. They talked of the children, of love, and of their life together. Having almost lost it all in the cargo hold of that ship, brought a new realization to them about the depth of their love and commitment to each other. They knew in their hearts that they were lucky to have found each other..., for only once in a lifetime can one truly find the other half of their soul.
As much fun as Billie and Cat had on their honeymoon, they were both glad that it was over as they stepped off the plane.
"Why does trouble always seem to follow us?" Cat asked her tall lover as they disembarked.
"Maybe there's more of the warrior and the bard in us than we know." Billie replied, chuckling as they walked hand in hand to their family waiting to greet them.