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The snow was coming down in silent bombardment. A solid wall of white was all Rory could see from the large storefront windows of the department store, which took up the lion’s share of the strip mall.
The brunette’s attention was snagged by her friend and co-worker of four years, Sherry. “If Taylor calls, tell him I’m getting a ride home with Tabitha. Though he may not be able to get through. From what I understand, cell phones aren’t getting through this mess.”
“You and Tabby both are leaving?”
“Yep.” The dark woman grinned, then shivered when she looked out the window again. “Wow. You can’t even see the parking lot anymore.”
“I know. Why doesn’t the Boss Lady just let all of us go home? I think every other store around is closing or already closed.”
“Hell, half the town is closed. Tabitha heard on the TVs in electronics that we’ve already got more than a foot out there.”
Rory chewed on her bottom lip, blue eyes riveted to the storm raging outside. Shaking her head, she sighed. “Well, you two be careful. Is she sending anyone else home?”
Sherry shrugged. “Dunno. Talk to you later, Rory. We still on for this weekend?”
The brunette grinned. “If I can shovel my way out of my driveway.”
Sherry laughed, shrugging into her coat and heading for the door, where Tabitha met her. Rory was wistful as she watched her friends leave. Sighing again, she turned back to her register. It absolutely blew her mind that some folks still came into the store. She wondered what the hell was wrong with them.
Her attention was grabbed by the familiar smell of the Boss Lady’s perfume- light and delicate, yet not overly floral. Feminine. Sure enough, the blonde was walking toward her, green eyes hard and focused, as usual. Rory noted today the Boss Lady was wearing a navy pant suit. Yesterday was forest green.
“Rory,” she said, her voice void of any personalization whatsoever. She was business all the way. Seeing she had the tall brunette’s attention, she continued. “I need you to stay.”
Rory stared at her, blinking a few times. “But we’ve got a foot of snow out there,” she pointed to the windows over her shoulder.
“You’ve been here the longest. I’ll need your help closing everything down.” Boss Lady left no room for discussion, turning on her high heel and walking away.
“Fuck!” Rory ran a hand through her hair, trying not to think about what it would be like trying to burrow through the white stuff in her small Honda. Especially when she saw two more of her co-workers heading out the door. Feeling frustrated and very angry, the brunette turned back to her register once more, doing her damndest to not snap the next customer in line’s head off. After all, if they’d stop coming into the store, they could close it!
As for the Boss Lady, she could kiss Rory’s ass! She had been the store manager at Sayers’ Department Store for the better part of a year, and Rory did have to admit- grudgingly- that she had turned the place around. She weeded out those who refused to do their share, and had replaced them with those who wanted to work, and had actual ambition. The store sales were up more than one hundred percent, and had become the model store in its district. Boss Lady had done it all with a cool stare and carefully chosen words. Rory also had to admit- just as grudgingly- that the blonde had a certain charm and charisma about her that made you want to do her bidding despite any dislike.
“Shit,” she muttered, glancing yet again out the windows. Looking back to the registers, Rory made her way out from behind the one she’d been using. They were short cashiers, as many had either called off or been sent home. Rita, the lone cashier seemed to have things under control, so Rory headed back to her department. At least from sporting goods she couldn’t see what she was destined to attempt to drive in. Ignorance is, after all bliss. Yeah, right.
Soon enough the store was a ghost town. The flickering of lights as the heavy snow weighed heavily on power lines over the past fifteen minutes had taken care of that.
Rory was busy doing some extra cleaning in her department since she had no customers to deal with, when once again, she smelled Boss Lady’s perfume. Turning, she saw the blonde standing at the end of the counter, where the brunette was organizing compasses and hunting knives. Rory stood, waiting for the blonde to speak.
“We should get going,” she said, her voice its customary impersonal tone. “Don’t bother closing your department. Just shut everything down.”
Rory nodded. Yeah, no shit. She watched as the blonde walked away, and could hear the TVs and stereos in the near-by electronics department turned off. Moments later, lights began to flick off, almost as though following a trail to Rory.
By the dim emergency lighting, she gathered her coat, which was tucked behind the bullpen, shrugging into it as she dug her keys out from the pocket. The blonde was waiting for her at the front doors. Wordlessly they headed out into the storm, which nearly whipped the blonde off her high-heeled feet. Rory instinctively reach out, grabbing the petit woman around the waist and keeping her from being slammed back against the building. Together they got the door closed and locked, then turned to look out at the parking lot.
“Where the hell is the parking lot?” Rory yelled over the screaming wind. The blonde shook her head.
“I don’t know…”
“This is insane,” Rory said, leaning in so the blonde could hear her. Her eyes were stinging from where the snow was blown into her face, feeling more like grains of sand than fluffy snow.
“We should wait this out inside!” the blonde yelled. Rory couldn’t hear her, the storm getting impossibly worse.
“What?” she leaned in further.
“I said, we should wait this out inside!”
Rory nodded, thinking it the first smart decision the Boss Lady had made that entire day. Again, it took both of them to get the doors unlocked, both nearly falling inside in their haste to get out of the storm, the wind helping in their speed. The brunette blew out a breath, then ran her hands over her hair to get it out of her face.
Stomping her feet to get the snow off, she sighed, heading toward her department. If she was going to be stuck there, she may as well get some work done. Besides, she needed to be away from her boss, or she might get one of those hunting knives from the case and play knife throwing games.
Rory grabbed one of the small CD players from electronics, slipping in one of the sample CDs they had, and cranked the volume. She needed to try and let go of her anger, and needed nice, loud, obnoxious music to do it. It would also be a fine time to stock those new weight sets. Nice, heavy work, nice and mind-numbing.
Rory finally had to strip out of her sweater, wearing only her khakis and a tee. She pulled her hair back into a ponytail and headed into the backroom, determined to get everything out on the floor that she could. It would save her time later.
Rory sat on a weightlifting bench, munching on what was left of her lunch- a few crackers and three carrot sticks. It wasn’t much, but it was something. She wondered how long they’d be stuck there.
“Damn Boss Lady,” she muttered. “Could’ve been home hours ago. If she’d used her damn head…”
“I’m sorry for that.”
Rory nearly fell off the bench, barely catching herself with a hand to a treadmill next to it. She looked up, stomach flipping when she saw her boss standing not ten feet away, arms crossed over her chest. “I’m sorry, I…” the brunette’s voice trailed off, knowing there was no sense in talking her way out of what obviously overheard.
“I’m making some food in the café. Would you care for some?”
Sheepishly, Rory nodded. After the blonde turned and walked away, Rory sat on the workout bench, cursing herself as she buried her face in her hands. “Shit. Probably gonna get fired now.” Sighing deeply, the brunette pushed up off the bench and to her feet. She made her way through the maze that was the darkened store, stepping into the occasional puddle of emergency lighting. She walked slowly, trying to bide her time before she had to face the music in the café, almost literally dragging her feet to prolong the damage.
The Boss Lady was nowhere in sight when Rory entered the small confines that was the café. The booths sat empty, tables cleared and cleaned, waiting for another day. The brunette walked in, hands tucked into the pockets of her slacks. She could see the light from the kitchen shining on the chrome napkin holders lined up all along the counter. A group of glass and chrome sugar holders stood sentinel next to them.
Rory was startled when she heard a soft curse come from around the corner of the kitchen, followed by a loud crash. The brunette hurried around the breakfast counter, not expecting to see the Boss Lady fall to her knees in front of the grill top, a mess of vegetables littering the tiled floor at her feet.
Rory knelt down, stretching to gather the runaway carrots. She grabbed for a rolling tomato when her hand was covered for a moment before the blonde snatched hers away. She met shy green eyes, then was quickly presented with the back of a blonde head and a soft apology.
“You okay?” Rory finally asked, feeling somewhat obligated. The blonde nodded, but said nothing. Rory stood, hands full of vegetables. She caught a strong whiff of her boss’ perfume, quickly turning away and moving to the other side of the kitchen. That damn perfume was distracting.
Neither woman said anything as they set about creating their own dinner. Rory quickly chopped veggies, tossing them into a sizzling pan. They were quickly followed by chopped chicken. Soon the brunette realized she hadn’t heard anything from the blonde’s side of the kitchen. Glancing over, she was surprised to see green eyes fixed on the pan.
“That smells really good,” the Boss Lady said quietly. Rory looked back into her pan then at her boss. Yet again obligation and guilt grabbed at her stomach.
“Would you like some?” Both looked at the blonde’s sandwich, waiting to be cut in half by the knife in the Boss Lady’s hand. Rory smirked at the hunger she saw in green eyes. “Grab yourself a plate.”
Rory slid onto a stool, her steaming plate before her on the counter. The blonde was already sitting, fork in hand. They ate in silence for long moments, Rory lost in her thoughts and bitterness of being stuck in the store for who knew how long, all because the greedy woman sitting beside her wouldn’t allow the store to close before the weather got too bad. The voice of the woman in question broke the silence.
“You’re a good cook, Rory.”
Without looking at her, the brunette nodded in acknowledgement. “Thank you.” She had to remind herself that she was angry at the woman, as she wanted to tell her all about the recipes she had created, and just how much she loved to cook, yet how rarely she got to share it with anyone. She put an overly loaded forkful into her mouth instead. To her horror, she felt herself beginning to choke on it.
Dropping her fork, Rory grabbed the counter, trying desperately to swallow the super-sized bite, squeezing her watering eyes shut as it refused to go down.
“Hey, you okay?” the blonde asked, turning to the brunette. Rory shook her head, panic starting to set in as the food refused to budge. “Can you breathe at all?” Again she shook her head.
She felt the blonde hop off her stool and move behind her. Strong arms were wrapped around her middle, hands locked just below her sternum. Rory grunted as she was violently squeezed, her entire body wracked with the motion. Again she was squeezed, this time the food loosing from her throat, dropping on the other side of the counter with a sickening plop on the tile. Gasping, Rory brought her hands to her throat, blinking rapidly as she tried to clear her vision. A warm, soft hand rubbed circles on her upper back.
Rory nodded, glancing over at her boss. She cleared her throat several times, grimacing at the burn that caused. “Yeah. Thank you,” she rasped. Her back felt cold as the blonde moved away. They sat in silence, Rory contemplating what could have happened had Boss Lady not been there. Taking a long, deep swallow from her Coke, she turned to the blonde, who she found was continuing to eat her dinner. “I mean that. Thank you.” A bright green gaze met her own before it was hidden behind hooded lids then golden hair as the woman turned away.
“You’re welcome. I’m glad I could help.”
More silence ensued, Rory deciding she was finished with her dinner, but she had questions. She glanced over at the blonde a few times, garnering her courage. Finally, clearing her throat once more, she spoke. “So, how did you know how to do that?”
The blonde drank from her water, gently setting the glass down on the counter next to the empty plate she pushed aside. “I’ve been licensed in First Aid since my days as a life guard in high school. You never know when it’ll come in handy.” She sent a brief smile Rory’s way.
Life guard, huh? “Oh.” Rory glanced up, noting the glass case filled with what looked to be a lemon bundt cake.
“I’ve been staring at that, myself.”
Rory nodded, turning her eyes away from the covered dessert. She didn’t want the blonde paying such close attention to her. She felt as though she had to deal with that enough during a work day. She was, however, surprised by her boss’ next words.
“You’re angry at me. Aren’t you?”
The question took Rory off guard, and she glanced at the other woman. Finally she nodded. “Yeah. We wouldn’t be stuck here now if you’d let us go home earlier. Well, at least let me go home when you let everyone else go home.”
The blonde said nothing for a moment, sipping from her water. She wrapped her hands around the glass, fingers distorted through the clear liquid. Sighing, she turned to the brunette. “I’m sorry about that. I know none of you are all that fond of me, and I can understand why. The Boss Lady can be demanding.” Rory looked away, cheeks flushed with guilt. “Yes, I know what everyone calls me, and that’s okay. I’m not here to make friends, Rory. I earn what I earn, good and bad. But tonight I haven’t earned your ire.” She met Rory’s gaze. “I was on the phone all day with corporate, trying to convince them to let me close the store.” She sighed, turning back to her glass. “They wouldn’t go for it. So, I did the only thing I could, and that was to empty this place out slowly.”
Rory felt like an ass, knowing all the things she’d said to her co-workers throughout the day about the blonde. She nodded, facing her boss. “I’m sorry. But, why did you keep me here?”
“Because, as I said earlier- you know this store almost better than I do. I needed someone I could count on to get everything shut down. You’ve worked in every department, have closed them all down. I had intended on closing the store properly, but,” the blonde glanced over her shoulder, out toward the storefront windows. “It wasn’t to be. We had to get out of here.” She met a blue gaze. “Thanks for staying. I’m sorry I got you stuck here with me for the night.”
Rory shrugged, sighing heavily. “It could have been worse, I guess. I could be stuck out there in the storm.”
“True.” They were silent for a moment, then the blonde glanced at Rory. “Can I ask you for a favor? At least while we’re stuck here.”
“Okay,” Rory said, somewhat nervous.
“Don’t call me Boss Lady.”
The brunette smiled, busted. She looked down at the counter, which she swiped her fingers over. “What would you like me to call you?”
“Alright. Katherine it is.” Rory slid off the stool, gathering her dishes. “Look, uh, I’m going to get back to work.”
The store was almost creepy as the brunette headed back to her department, hands shoved into her pockets, lips pursed as she whistled softly. It was strange to see it so void of life, only merchandise and mannequins to share the space. She couldn’t help but think of that cheesy 80s movie with Andrew McCarthy, Mannequin. She looked at some of the hard plastic ‘women’ she passed, shivering at the thought. Kim Catrell they were not.
Rory bent down in the bullpen, unlocking all the glass cases and removing the hunting knives and compasses so she could begin cleaning the insides of the cases themselves. Paper towel and Windex in hand, she squirmed her way as far as she could into the cases to be able to reach the areas that weren’t open from the sliding case doors. She grunted as she banged her knee on the side of the case. She tried to contort herself as much as possible to reach the furthest corner of the inside of the glass.
Rory glanced up, noting a bug stuck in one of the florescent lights, but caught something else out of the corner of her eye. She growled as she smacked her head on the case as she tried to back her way out. Katherine covered her mouth, trying not to laugh at the sight. Finally she lost the battle.
“I’m sorry,” the blonde said, clearing her throat to cover for her amusement.
Rory glared at her, trying to be as nonchalant as possible as she stood to her full height, running a hand through long, dark hair. She watched as Katherine walked toward her, a Styrofoam container in her hand.
“Here’s some dessert for you. You looked interested,” the blonde shrugged, looking down nervously at her offering.
“Oh,” Rory was genuinely surprised. She tossed her used paper towel to the glass top of the case and stepped out of the bullpen. “Thank you. That was really nice of you.” She took the container, popping it open to find a generous piece of the bundt cake. She had to stop herself from licking her lips. She could smell the wonderful lemony sweetness of the icing. There was a small clang when Katherine placed a fork atop the glass case. Rory glanced up in time to see the blonde start to walk away. Chewing on her bottom lip. The brunette rocked on her heels.
“Um, Katherine,” the blonde turned to look at her, her own Styrofoam container tucked under her arm. “Uh, well,” Rory rubbed the back of her neck nervously. “I’ve got workout benches over there, if you wanna sit down and eat your cake.”
“Oh.” Katherine glanced over at the benches in question then turned back to the brunette. “Thank you. I’m going to head to my office. I’ve got some paperwork to do. Might as well get some things done now that I can’t while customers are here.” With a quick smile, Katherine was gone. Rory watched her go, then with a heavy sigh, turned back to her cleaning.
The shiny linoleum pathway around the store seemed like the endless yellow brick road as Rory made her way down it. Hands tucked into the pockets of her khakis, she did a bit of window shopping. She had her eye on a leather jacket, and was waiting for the sale to start the next week. That, plus her employee discount… She fingered the jacket she had in mind.
Soon even browsing grew boring. Rory blew out a breath, ending up back at her department, her tour over with. She had cleaned everything that needed to be cleaned. Stocked everything that needed to be stocked. Glancing at a display of basketballs, the brunette grabbed one, tossing it between her hands then up into the air only to catch it. She eyed the hoop that was attached to a pole.
“Any good at that?”
Rory nearly threw the ball in her surprise at the unexpected voice behind her. Katherine leaned against a support pole, arms crossed over her suited chest. “Not really. I had absolutely no coordination as a kid. Sports just weren’t my thing.”
“Hmm. I thought for sure you wouldn’t played.” The blonde walked over to her, slapping the ball out of unsuspecting hands and lightly dribbling it where she stood.
“You’re not the first. Just because I’m tall doesn’t mean I have the least bit of grace in movement.”
Katherine grinned. “I love basketball, but because I was about eight inches shorter than the players, I swam instead.”
Rory had to stop herself from looking over the petit woman’s body, clearly able to see she still had the figure. Instead, she nodded. “Were you good at it?” She was not only surprised by the topic of their conversation, but by how much talking they were doing. It was more words out of the blonde’s mouth than Rory had heard in the year she had been store manager.
“I did okay,” Katherine said, tossing the ball back to her employee. Rory easily caught it, turning it in her hands as she ran a lazy finger along one of the black lines. “So, now that you’ve cleaned and restocked your entire department, as well as electronics, what’s on your agenda?”
Rory turned away, embarrassed. “Not sure. Guess nothing, really. I keep looking at the clock, stunned that it’s only eight-thirty. Seems like it should be much later.”
“I know.” Katherine glanced towards the front of the store, though the space was too huge for her to see anything beyond shadowy displays. They stood in an awkward silence, which bordered on uncomfortable. Rory wanted to look at her unwanted companion for the night, but tried to keep her baby blues anywhere but. She could once again smell Katherine’s perfume and it set her on edge. “Let’s play a game,” the blonde suddenly said, the mischief in her voice startling Rory.
“Okay,” she drawled, eyeing her boss with cautious eyes.
“Hide and seek!” Katherine gushed, green eyes growing big.
“Hide and seek…” Rory said, a dark brow raised in question.
“Yeah. Why not? We’ve got this huge store, filled with a million and one places to hide.” Katherine could see the uncertainty on the brunette’s chiseled features. “Come on,” she urged.
“If I say no, will I be fired?”
Katherine broke out into an all-out guffaw at that, making Rory grin in reaction. The blonde shook her head. “No, but your next review is coming up in a few months…” her sentence hung in the air heavy between them. Rory eyed her, seeing the twinkle in gorgeous green eyes. Katherine sobered. “Come on, Rory. I’m bored out of my goddamn mind. I’ve done everything I can, am caught up for the next century. And to be completely honest,” she crossed her arms over her chest once more, looking around the store, “I’m tired of working. That’s all I’ve done for the past six years. I’m ready to have some fun.”
Rory could only stare, unsure what to think or do. Was she being set up? Was Katherine serious? Was her review really on the line if she told the blonde she thought she was insane and walked away? Deciding not to tempt fate, she slowly nodded. “Okay.” Her eyes widened at the unexpected giggle her response caused.
“Do you want to go first, or should I?” Katherine asked, barely able to contain her excitement.
“You go hide. What should I count to?” Rory asked, still not sure why she was agreeing to the madness.
“I don’t know. One hundred, I guess.” Katherine shrugged, then looked around, already plotting her escape route. Rory nodded, then turned away from the blonde, leaning her forearm against the support pole Katherine had leaned against earlier, then her forehead against the arm. She counted softly, not hearing her boss scurry away.
“… ninety-eight, ninety-nine, one hundred.” Rory opened her eyes, stifling a giggle at just how ridiculous this situation was. Wiping her hands on the thighs of her pants, she looked around the store, trying to decide the best place to begin. “I cannot believe I’m playing hide and seek,” she muttered. “with my boss.”
They had set no rules or regulations, so Rory had no idea where Katherine was hiding, and had about fifteen thousand square feet to try and figure it out.
“Come out, come out wherever you are,” she muttered, eyes wide and watching, looking for any type of movement within the deep shadows of the store. She stopped, movement far off in the lingerie department. “Fast little shit.”
Rory moved off in that direction, staying close to the shadows and keeping quiet. She hit behind a rack of super support bras, waiting, listening. Watching. She heard something- turning to her left, she caught more movement.
“I see you!” she called out, almost knocking the rack over in her haste to get to her target. She heard a squeal then total silence- no sound, no movement, nothing. Rory stopped, eyes wide as she looked around, trying to cut through the darkness, looking for any hint of blonde. Katherine’s navy suit blended in neatly with the shadows.
Listening to her own blood wash through her head, Rory tried to calm her heart. She headed in the direction she had last seen any movement, crawling along the racks of unmentionables, stopping every couple feet to listen. Across the department she heard someone curse softly just before something crashed. Rory took off running, arms pumping as fast as she could, determined to catch the little blonde imp in action. She cursed softly under her breath, Katherine long gone before she reached the point of the crash.
Setting the mannequin upright, Rory took a deep breath, trying to get her breathing under control, her eyes continuing to scan. This game was harder than she thought. At least her boss was giving her a few clues now and then as to where she was in the store.
About to head to another department, Rory cried out in surprise when suddenly her hips were taken in a light grip, a body pressed against her back.
“Wrong again,” Katherine whispered in the brunette’s ear, then she was gone, before Rory could even fully turn around.
“Oh, you little shit,” she growled, eyes scanning the shadows. She could feel her heart pounding at the memory of Katherine pressed against her, no matter how briefly. Her skin tingled, her stance a little taller, even as she scolded herself internally. Not only is she your boss, but she’s the fucking BOSS LADY!
Rory shook herself of the tingles raging down her spine and headed along the tile road, feeling like she was stuck in some weird horror film. She could almost imagine someone following her, butcher knife in hand. Running a hand through her hair in thought, the brunette decided to stop and listen, waiting for any mistake, no matter how tiny, Katherine might make. Head whipping around, she heard the tiniest squeak of a shelf, something heavy set upon it.
Rory grinned, chuckling in soft victory as she nearly crawled over toward the sporting goods department. She knew that area backwards and forwards, and could almost pinpoint perfectly where the blonde was.
Katherine cried out in surprise as Rory rounded the corner with a roar. The store manager hightailed it toward electronics, but didn’t make it far. She was grabbed from behind, unforgiving arms wrapped around her middle. Rory laughed at the shock on the small blonde’s face as she pulled Katherine against her.
“Not gettin’ away this time,” she grunted, her boss squirming against her. When Katherine stopped, Rory finally let her go. The blonde turned in the loose circle of her arms, grinning up at her.
“Yes. You got me fair and square.” Green eyes looked shyly up into blue before Katherine quickly looked away, stepping out of Rory’s personal space. She hugged herself then looked at the brunette again. “Your turn.”
Rory nodded, feeling shy, fighting the urge to shuffle her feet. She had no idea why the small blonde made her so damn nervous. She always had. Now, spending this unusual situation with her, Rory felt even more nervous. As she watched Katherine turn away and start counting, she hurried off into the darkness, thinking about that train of thought.
Rory remembered well the day Katherine began working at the store. They’d been told for weeks that their new store manager would be arriving that Friday. Their old boss, Wayne Hingle, had retired, the store in shambles from his reluctance to have a spine and put a stop to bad work performance and employees not giving a damn about their jobs. The store was constantly a mess, inventory a wreck and the registers short at least twice a week.
Then Friday had come, and Katherine Cooper had walked through the door, all business and ice. Everyone had looked at her, shocked at how young she was, and beautiful, no one sure what to say. Cool green eyes had scanned over the store and all the employees gathered at the meeting to welcome her. Her words had been few and less than personal, then Katherine had disappeared into her office.
Rory smiled as she creeped inside one of the display tents in her department, listening for any sign that her boss had heard where she’d gone. When there was nothing, she made her way inside the sleeping back there, burrowing deep inside. As she lay in the hot darkness, her thoughts returned to Katherine’s first week at the store.
At first everyone had thought that the Boss Lady, a title she quickly earned from her cool demeanor and short, clipped instructions, would be no better than the old man had been. Then the hacking had started. One by one people were being called into Katherine’s office, many leaving in a heap of tears. The Boss Lady was terminating left and right, streamlining the store and bringing in new people, willing to do good work and earn an honest wage.
Everyone had been worried, wondering who would be next. Needless to say, not only was Rory surprised she was keeping her job, but was downright stunned when she was given her unfortunately ex-department manager’s position. Grateful for the opportunity, Rory had worked her ass off, trying to stay off of Katherine’s radar.
Apparently it had worked.
Rory grinned to herself, then listened once again, trying to get a beat on where Katherine was. She could vaguely hear doors opening and closing, the blonde muttering to herself and then there was just silence. Figuring Katherine had moved further away in the store, Rory relaxed, allowing her mind to wander again.
She thought back to the first couple months with the cute blonde, who’s personality seemed to be non-existent. Rory had never seen anyone so robotic, so damn… proper. It was disconcerting, and kept everyone on their toes. There had even been one night, while they’d been closing the store, that Rory had tried to add a little humor into the mix. See if Katherine was actually human. For her attempt, all she got was a glare, and a “Let’s get back to work.”
Rory tried to reconcile that woman with the one who had suggested they play hide-and-seek, as she tugged the sleeping bag down just enough to get some cool air in her little cocoon. No sooner had she taken her first breath when the air was knocked out of her lungs, a heavy weight resting along her length. She peeled the sleeping bag down a bit, a pair of twinkling green eyes staring back at her.
“Gotcha,” Katherine murmured, her hair falling around them like a golden curtain. Rory swallowed before taking a deep breath. Her lungs were filled with the smell of the blonde’s shampoo. She swallowed again.
“Seems you do.” Rory fought a whimper of disappointment as Katherine lifted herself to her hands and knees, grinning down at the brunette before moving off of her. She moved to the other side of the tent, making herself comfortable on the other sleeping bag, laid out for customers to marvel at.
“I must say, you didn’t make that easy on me,” the blonde said, giving Rory a side glance. The brunette chuckled, pushing herself up to a sitting position.
Katherine chuckled, nodding in agreement. “Indeed.” She studied her employee for a moment, head cocking slightly to the side in contemplation. “I’m really sorry you got stuck here with me, Rory. Truly wasn’t my intention.”
Rory shrugged, nerves beginning to settle over her once more as the realization of just how tight their confines really were.
“You should relax, Rory. Far too uptight.” Rory saw the twinkle in green eyes. “Yeah, I know. Sounds crazy coming from me.”
“Well, uh, no. Not crazy-“
“Don’t lie. It’s not becoming.”
Rory grinned, sheepish and busted. “Can I ask you something?” she asked, looking over at her boss from under her bangs.
Katherine blew out a breath then nodded. “Sure.”
“Which is the real you? The hard ass who earned the nickname ‘Boss Lady’, or this playful, fun woman sitting across from me. I have to be honest here, Katherine, but I’m pretty confused. Not entirely sure how to react.”
Katherine chewed on her lower lip as she crossed her arms over her chest. Nodding, she seemed to come to a decision. “Okay. Here it is.” She cleared her throat as she adjusted herself, turning so she lay on her side, head held in her palm. Rory was hard pressed to keep her eyes from roaming up and over the curve of Katherine’s body, her attention immediately drawn to the blonde’s hips. That had always been one of her favorite parts on a woman’s body. “Imagine you’re 25 years old when you’re given a promotion to Store Manager of one of the largest stores in the chain. Now, imagine you have to be taken seriously by people who work for you, most of which are five, ten, twenty years older than yourself. It’s not as easy as my stunning personality makes it look,” Katherine said, placing her hand on her own chest. Rory chuckled, nodding in understanding.
“I can imagine that.”
“Good. There you go.” Katherine eyed the department manager, gaze sweeping up over her folded legs, lingering where her arms were wrapped around them, before continuing up to Rory’s face, and finally her blue eyes. “Why did you not try for the Assistant Store Manager position, Rory?” Katherine raised her head, sweeping her hair back from her face before resting her cheek in her palm once more.
Rory felt her stomach churn, eyes unable to hold the intense, demanding gaze of her boss. She felt guilt grip her insides as she squirmed slightly. “Well,” she cleared her throat. “Um,” Rory laughed nervously. “I think it’s best if I don’t answer that question, Katherine. I want to keep my job.”
Katherine’s brows raised, intrigued. “Do tell.”
“Only if you promise I’ll still have a job tomorrow,” Rory said, grinning slightly.
“Alright. I promise.”
“Okay.” Rory looked down at her drawn knees, wondering just how wise it was to talk to the boss about such things. Finally she decided to continue. “I didn’t want to work under you.” She bravely met Katherine’s hurt gaze, only to feel like an ass for being so honest. “Katherine, I’m sor-“
“No,” the blonde said, shaking her head. “Please, no. I need to know these kinds of things. I’ll need them here, soon. The feedback, no matter how dismal, is good.”
Rory uncurled her legs, leaning forward. She placed a tentative hand on Katherine’s knee. “Listen, you have taken this store, which was literally falling apart at the seams, and turned it around. It’s now one of the most profitable in the company. You have done really good things here.”
Katherine nodded, smiling ruefully. “I’m just an ogre to work with.”
“Well,” Rory shrugged. “I just think you need to take yourself a little less seriously. I mean, hell, already tonight I’ve seen more humanity in you than over the entire past year and some change you’ve been my boss. It’s not a crime to be a good leader and liked, all at the same time.”
The blonde studied her, head slightly tilted to the side. “Would you have taken me seriously, as a boss, had I come in all smiles and friends-are-we?”
Rory gave the question serious thought, then nodded. “Honestly, yes. You prove yourself every day, your abilities and talents. You’ve got an incredibly eye for business and for what makes a store rock. You just need to juggle that with being personable. You know that whole flies with honey, thing.”
“I do,” Katherine said, placing her hand on the curve of her thigh. Rory’s gaze followed the movement before forced back to the blonde’s face, missing the twinkle in Katherine’s eyes. “Thanks, Rory. I appreciate it.” They sat in silence for long moments, both lost in their own thoughts before Katherine spoke. “So, is there anyone at home that you need to call, let them know you won’t be home?”
Rory studied the blonde, a half-smirk curling her lips. For some reason, what would seem to be a question of concern, sounded more like a fishing expedition. “No. My daughter is with her dad this weekend, luckily.”
“Daughter?” Katherine asked, obvious surprise in her voice. The brunette nodded.
“How old is she?”
“She’ll be 4 in late January.”
Katherine’s smile was slow but genuine. “How wonderful. I had no idea you had children.”
“You’ve never asked,” Rory grinned, a full-out smile bursting at the blonde’s sudden shyness. “What about you? Anyone at home, worrying about where you’re at?”
Katherine shook her head. “No. I don’t think my cat much cares. Do you have any pictures of your daughter?”
“I do,” Rory nodded. “What kind of mother would I be if I didn’t?” she asked as she began to crawl toward the flap of the tent. Rising to her full height, her brows drew. Within moments her boss stood next to her in the store, which seemed to be darker than before. “Is it just me, or is it colder and darker in here?”
“No, I was thinking the same thing,” Katherine said, hugging herself. “I’m going to check the heat. Do you know where the backup generator is?” At Rory’s nod, the two women split up. “Meet back at the tent,” the blonde called into the darkness, hearing her employee’s acknowledgement of the request from somewhere in electronics.
Rory grabbed her flashlight and hurried toward the stock room, snagging the maintenance keys from the office of the inventory manager. Finding the right one, she made her way toward the back of the huge warehouse-like stockroom and the mesh metal door at the back, where the emergency generator was kept.
The brunette looked around, the hair on the back of her neck standing on end from the creepiness of the immense space in total darkness. Soon enough the mesh cage came into view of the beam of her flashlight. After going through every key on the ring, Rory managed to find the right one, slipping it into the padlock.
Katherine studied the window of the thermostat in her office, noting that it read sixty-seven. The store was kept at a constant seventy-five.
“Shit,” she muttered, noting that the dial was still set to seventy-five. She knew moving it up would do nothing. “Damn.” Deciding to make her way back to sporting goods, Katherine looked out the front windows of the store, stopping, frozen. The snow had piled up outside, the drifts covering the bottom third of the large windows. Whistling through her teeth, the blonde headed back toward their tent.
Rory had already made it back, on hands and knees as she set up a battery-powered lantern she’d taken from the shelf of her department. Katherine stared at the bottom that was in full display. Arms crossing over her chest, she cocked her head to the side.
Rory’s head shot up, smacking the back of it on the water flasks she had hung from the hooks sewn into the heavy duty material of the tent wall. She heard the blonde’s chuckle from outside the tent, and hoped that her blush would be gone by the time she got herself turned around. She saw a less-than repentant Katherine looking down at her.
“Any luck with the generator?” the blonde asked unnecessarily as she bent down, ready to crawl inside the tent. Rory shook her head, getting settled back on her side of the tent.
“Nope. Hope you’re not afraid of the dark.”
“I’m sure you can protect me if I were,” Katherine chuckled.
“Yes. I’ll protect you with a bb gun from the case.”
“That’s the spirit!” Katherine laughed, getting herself settled. She noticed that Rory had brought in not only the lantern, but also a deck of cards, a battery-operated hot plate, and her own wallet. “What’s this for?” she asked, taking the brown leather wallet in her hands.
“Oh. Figured I’d show you Abby.”
“Yes. Please do.” Katherine handed the wallet back to its owner, crossing her legs and resting her elbows on her knees as she leaned forward.
Rory flipped open leather, the picture of a dark-haired girl prominently displayed within. Katherine leaned forward even more, reaching for the wallet. “May I?” at Rory’s nod, she took the wallet, holding the picture up to her eyes. She studied the child, a huge grin on her cherubic face. Her hair was long and dark, like her mother, but her eyes were brown. “Too bad she didn’t get your eyes,” the blonde murmured. Rory said nothing, only studied the woman sitting just in front of her, unobserved. She noted the way Katherine’s hair seemed to glow like spun gold under the light of the lantern, shiny and healthy. She wondered if it was as soft as it looked. Would it be cool to her skin? Silky?
“Hmm?” The brunette’s gaze shot down to meet bemused green eyes. “I’m sorry, what?”
“I asked if you and Abby’s father are still together.”
“Oh.” Rory took the wallet from the blonde, tucking it back into the corner of the tent, which she had a feeling would be her home for the rest of the night. “No. Patrick and I were only together the one night, and well,” she shrugged, “guess what happened.”
Katherine grimaced. “Oh, that must have been tough.”
”It was. But I wouldn’t change it for the world. Abby’s my life.”
“That’s wonderful, Rory. I love children.” She sat back until she was resting against the wall of the tent, stretching her legs out along the length of the sleeping bag, crossing them at the ankles.
“Do you want any?” Rory asked, mirroring the position.
“Yes. I do.”
“But you don’t have any?”
“Nope.” Katherine sighed, resting her head back against the tent wall. She smirked. “I’ve been too busy with my career. Hell, I just got out of college three years ago.”
“And nothing since? Come on, Katherine,” Rory challenged. “You’ve been here for over a year. You haven’t found Mr. Right in that amount of time?” Rory was fishing and they both knew it.
“And what should I be looking for, Rory,” the blonde asked, green eyes hooded as they focused on her employee. The brunette met her frank gaze, bending one of her legs, foot flat to the floor, and a her hand dangling over the knee.
“I don’t know. You tell me.”
Katherine grinned, but it quickly vanished. “Well, they’d certainly have to be intelligent. Nothing is a bigger turn on for me than brains. Drive.” She paused, continuing her frank study of the brunette. “Someone who can truly turn me on.”
“I see. No takers yet, huh?”
“None that I’ve wanted to give a great deal of time to, no.” Katherine raised her head from where it rested. “Do you and Abby’s father get along?”
“For the most part. We actually got to know each other after Abby was born. It was a one night stand the night I got pregnant. He’s a good dad, though.”
“Sounds like you got lucky.”
“Perhaps. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m glad Patrick wants to be in Abby’s life, and is a good father for her, but if he hadn’t, we’d be fine.’
Katherine cocked her head to the side, a soft smile on her face. “You’re a strong woman, aren’t you, Rory?” At the brunette’s look of confusion, the blonde continued. “I’ve watched you, you know. The way you are with people, the way you are with your co-workers and those under you in your department. You have a quite strength to you, almost at a core level, like, I don’t know… a peace. It’s contagious when near you.”
Rory could only stare, no clue where this was coming from. “I don’t know what to say…”
“You don’t need to say anything,” Katherine said softly. Again she turned, stretching out on her side, arm resting along the curve of her body. “I didn’t tell you that to get a response from you. I said it because it’s true. Let me ask you something.”
“If you wouldn’t be working under me, would you take an Assistant Manager position?”
Rory chewed on the inside of her cheek as she thought about the blonde’s question. “Yes. Though knowing now what I didn’t know then, I would’ve tried for the position when it came up over the summer.”
“Hmm. Pity. I know you could do well in this company, Rory. And,” the blonde said, the ghost of a smile on her lips, “you never know when positions will pop up.”
“Okay, Katherine, do you know something I don’t, here? Are you planning another Rambo firing spree?”
The blonde laughed, shaking her head. “No. Just saying. You know, conversation.”
“Hmm,” Rory muttered, eyeing the blonde suspiciously.
“So,” Katherine said, popping up to sit, snatching the deck of cards that rested near the lantern. She unwrapped the box then tapped the stiff cards from their box. “What do you know how to play?” she asked, casually separating the wild and instruction cards from the deck, placing them in the box before setting it aside. She glanced up briefly before turning her gaze back to the task at hand.
“I’m pretty cut-throat at Go Fish.”
Katherine chuckled. “Oh, goody.”
Rory watched the blonde cut the deck and begin shuffling again. “I know how to play Rummy, and I’m decent at poker.”
“Oh yeah?” Katherine glanced up, a honey colored brow raised. “You up for a friendly game of poker?”
“Sure.” Rory leaned back on her elbows, legs stretching out once ore. She tucked her cheek into her shoulder as she watched the blonde’s hands, sure and strong, as the continued to shuffle and re-shuffle the new deck.
“Great.” Katherine set the deck down so Rory could cut it. Once cut, she shuffled once more then set the deck on the tent floor between them. A slow, sexy grin spread across her features, setting Rory ill at ease. “Let’s raise the stakes a little.”
“Okay.” The brunette grinned. “I’ve got nothing to bet, Boss Lady. You don’t pay me enough.”
Katherine’s grin widened, her gaze traveling over Rory’s body. “Perhaps, but you’ve got plenty of clothes on.”
The department manager looked down at herself, then back at the blonde with wide, shocked eyes. “You want to play strip poker?”
“Why not?” Katherine leaned forward again, never losing the blue gaze across from her. “And, to raise the stakes even higher, not only does the winner get to chose which article of clothing the loser must remove, but she must also remove it.”
Rory blinked then blinked again. “This is an HR nightmare,” she murmured. The blonde chuckled, then sobered.
“If you’re not interested, tell me now. I’ll go to my office and leave you alone.”
“I’m interested,” the brunette said absently, then shook herself out of the lustful stupor she was sliding into. Her eyes swept over her boss’ body, images flashing through her brain like lightening.
“Alright. Let the games begin.”
The deck of cards were slid over to Rory who promptly dealt them out. She couldn’t help taking mental inventory as she did- which underwear had she put on that morning? Did they have holes in them? What was the condition of her socks? Did she shave??!!
Katherine looked at her cards, grouping them in useful order, noting that she was starting the game out with a pair of nines. Possibly good news. She glanced up at her companion, noting Rory was doing much the same thing, brows drawn in concentration.
Rory felt her heart rate pick up when she saw what she’d dealt herself- five of clubs, two of diamonds, king off spades, jack of spades and the seven of hearts. Crap. Should’ve played seven instead of five card draw. They were both silent, only speaking when Katherine asked for her replacement cards. Ten minutes later, Rory found herself with her booted foot in Katherine’s lap, the blonde gently unlacing the shoe.
“These are nice,” Katherine said, holding the Columbia hiking boot up for inspection. Rory shyly folded her socked foot under her, muttering a soft thanks. The blonde set the boot aside, then turned back to their game, Rory already beginning to shuffle the deck, then handing them over to Katherine to deal.
Rory studied her cards, trying to hide her grin when she saw she already had the makings of a straight. She organized her cards, then asked for the one card she needed, holding her breath and hoping it would be a queen. She doubted it, considering how lucky she had been with the deal as it was. Her boss handed her the card she asked for, keeping it face down until it was placed in her hand. She swallowed her excitement and shock when she realized it was the card she needed. Folding her cards into a single bundle, she watched the blonde across from her, curious what was going on behind those unreadable green eyes.
Finally, after some lip chewing, Katherine sat back, cards fanned out against her chest. “I call,” she said, nodding toward the cards clutched in Rory’s hands. The brunette laid her cards out. She heard Katherine sigh just before the blonde tossed her own hand to the tent floor. Rory smirked at the five cards of nothing she saw there. “So, what shall I remove? Or, rather, what are you going to remove?” she asked, leaning back on her hands.
Rory felt her heart begin to pound, palms sweat. She looked Katherine over, knowing the smartest place to start was as the blonde had- the shoes. She met green eyes, the gaze intense and challenging. I dare you to do this. Taking a deep breath, Rory grabbed hold of one of Katherine’s ankles, bringing the foot over until it rested on her own knee. The high heels Katherine wore were such a part of her daily uniform, it seemed strange to remove one, but she did, the stockinged foot sliding easily out. She chuckled softly at the soft moan that produced.
“It’s always such a pleasure to take those things off,” the blonde explained.
“I can imagine,” Rory agreed, setting the shoe aside as Katherine removed her leg. The brunette clasped her hands, trying to get them to stop trembling. Katherine handed the deck of cards over, and Rory took them, only to drop them as she grew more flustered. She cursed softly under her breath then went to grab a few of the cards that had been tossed over by the lantern. She was stopped when Katherine’s hand covered her own, squeezing until Rory looked at her face.
“Relax,” the blonde whispered, her thumb gently massaging the back of her hand. “This is only a game, Rory. If I’ve misjudged… Do you want to stop?”
“No,” Rory whispered, a nervous smile quickly gracing her features as her eyes fell once more. “That’s part of the problem.” Another squeeze brought her gaze back up. She looked into Katherine’s eyes, really looked into them, and saw her own confused desire reflected back at her. Her breath caught at the realization.
“Here,” Katherine said softly, placing the gathered cards into Rory’s hands. “Deal me a good hand, will ya?”
Rory smiled, nodding. “I’ll do my best.” Three hands later, Rory found herself barefoot and beginning to feel the heat. Glancing over their makeshift poker table, she saw that Katherine was still only missing a single shoe. “Okay, something isn’t right, here,” she said, folding her cards and closing them in her hand. An innocent-looking blonde glanced up at her.
“What do you mean?”
“Why am I losing so badly?”
“Because you’re playing so badly,” Katherine smirked, earning her a glare from the brunette. “Oh, come on! You know what this game is about, Rory. Luck of the draw.”
Rory grumbled to herself, knowing full well that the blonde was right. She accepted her cards, almost giddy by what she saw. Maybe this hand she’d have a chance.
Katherine studied her own cards, organizing them by possible winning combinations. She noted the way Rory’s toes peeked out from where they were tucked under her legs. Green eyes scanned further up, seeing the brunette’s khakis, and knowing that the two top articles of clothing that were left were the pants and her button up shirt. Katherine tried to decide which she’d go to next. She was confident she had the winning hand, yet again.
“I call,” Rory said, a dark brow raised in cockiness, anxious to show her own hand. Her hopes and shoulders fell when she saw Katherine’s full house, which whooped the ass of her three aces. “Son of a bitch,” she grumbled, placing her useless hand on the floor.
Katherine grinned, rising to her knees and indicating Rory should do the same. The brunette set her cards aside, then did as asked. She took a deep breath, wondering where Katherine would go. Yet again sweat was beginning to gather, her palms slick as she wiped them on the sides of her clad thighs. She thought her heart would jump right out of her chest when her boss crawled closer, now just six inches in front of her. Katherine met her gaze briefly before her eyes dropped to take in the button-down shirt in front of her.
Rory’s breath caught when the blonde’s fingers found their way to the top button, Katherine’s fingers trembling slightly as she worked her way down the button trail. She glanced up, smiling slightly before returning her attention back to the task at hand.
As each button was undone, more of Rory’s flesh was exposed, soft and smooth. Katherine felt her heart rate kick up a notch, noting the satiny white bra. She blew out a breath as her hands made their way up under the unbuttoned shirt, feeling the warmth and strength of Rory’s shoulders underneath.
Rory, for her part, was trying desperately to keep her breathing under control. She felt a shiver rush through her body, delicious fingers walking down her spine. She shivered again as the soft material of her shirt slid down her arms. She was only able to breathe again once Katherine had sat back on her sleeping bag, Rory’s shirt in hand. She carefully folded it, setting it aside and looking expectantly up at the brunette. Taking several deep breaths, Rory sat back down, trying to ignore the cold against her half-naked torso. She was mortified to find that her bra wasn’t hiding painfully erect nipples at all.
As casually as she could, she brought her legs up, hugging her knees to her chest. She just couldn’t believe that she was sitting there, half-naked, in front of the Boss Lady, playing a game of strip poker that she was losing her shirt- literally- on.
Katherine shuffled the cards, trying not to stare at the amazingly beautiful woman sitting across from her. It was even more difficult to not stare at Rory’s shoulders, strong and defined, the skin so soft to the brief touch. She also wanted to see more of the brunette’s breasts, now completely shielded from her view. She decided to not be a total pig, and concentrated once more on the game.
As cold as the store had gotten, Rory was surprised at just how much her body heat had risen. She could feel the coolness against her overheated skin, and was grateful for it. She studied her cards, she chewed on her lower lip, eyeing the blonde from time to time, trying to determine any bit of reaction to try and figure out if she’d be losing anything this hand or not. She took mental stock of the clothing she had left, and whimpered internally at the thought of having to lose any of it. She felt horribly exposed and vulnerable, and entirely too underdressed. She wanted to growl every time she noticed Katherine’s still completely dressed self. She wanted badly to see what the blonde was hiding under that suit of hers.
“I’ll take three,” Rory said, tossing the three worthless cards to the floor. Katherine said nothing, handing her three cards from the top of the deck. Rory did her best to not let her eyes bug out of her head. She had a pair of kings in her hand when she tossed out the useless ace, five and two. She managed to pick up two more kings and a three. Katherine would have to have a royal flush to beat her hand. About damn time!
Katherine clicked her tongue in annoyance at the hand she was looking at. She had only needed one more card, only a king, and she would have had a straight. Sighing, she folded her card fan. “I fold.” She watched the grin spread across Rory’s face, her cards laid out for all to see. “Oh, I see. The one damn card I need, and you hog them all,” the blonde accused. Rory chuckled.
“Yep. Pay up, sister.”
Katherine felt nerves begin to creep in. She liked it better when Rory had to pay up. Even so, she still had a little bit of leverage before things got ugly for her. She still had one of her shoes on, as well as her suit jacket, though she did only have a shell on under it.
Rory got to her knees, indicating her boss should do the same. Once Katherine mirrored her position, the brunette reached out with slightly shaking hands, trying to concentrate on the three large buttons on the jacket, and not look like an idiot. She was able to get them undone without incident or too much trouble. She really just hoped she wouldn’t end up ripping one of them off in her nervousness.
“Breathe, Rory,” Katherine said, her voice soft. It took a moment, but the brunette finally met her steady gaze. She smiled when Rory let her captive breath go. She gasped softly when Katherine took her hands in her own soft, warm ones, bringing them up and resting them on the blonde’s lapel. “Relax,” she whispered, even as she tried to keep her own breathing under control. “Remember, it’s only a game.”
Rory felt the stiff material of the suit jacket, unable to break the eye contact, she slid her fingers up along the lapel of the jacket, pushing the garment off of the blonde’s bare shoulders. Rory’s gaze traveled over Katherine’s breasts, hugged by the silky, cream colored shell she wore under the jacket. One of the spaghetti straps slid from her shoulder as the jacket was removed. Rory smiled, gently putting it back in place. “We’ll leave that on until you lose again.”
It was Katherine’s turn to be shy, her gaze falling at the remark as she nodded. “Okay.”
“Deal ‘em.” Rory felt a bit of confidence fill her as she watched the blonde shuffle the cards, her bare arms gorgeous and well-toned. Her heated gaze fell on the blonde’s breasts again, noting the small bit of cleavage the shell revealed. She thought Katherine was one of the most beautiful women she’d ever seen, but then she realized that she’d always thought that. She just had no idea that the petite woman actually had a personality to go along with it. Now that she did, it made Katherine twice as attractive to Rory. Still, wasn’t there something about this in the HR booklet?
Katherine was beginning to feel the heat when she realized that once again she’d been dealt a really bad hand. A totally worthless, unsalvageable hand. “Crap,” she muttered, losing her poker face. She was met with twinkling blue eyes.
“Problems?” Rory asked, a dark brow raised.
“Wouldn’t you like to know,” Katherine challenged. She saw the brunette’s smirk.
“Guess I will soon enough. I call.”
Katherine laid her hand down, showing her great big, lovely, wonderful, nothing. “There you go, my hand in all its glory.”
“It’s beautiful,” Rory smirked, tossing her pair of threes down. The blonde rolled her eyes.
“I can’t believe I just lost to a pair of threes.”
“Well, it’s not quite over, yet,” Rory said softly, eyeing her boss to decide what would be going next. She loved the fact that things were beginning to even out. At the same time, the thought of seeing more of Katherine’s body frightened her with the intensity of want that thought inspired. She finally decided on Katherine’s other shoe.
Katherine allowed her leg to be pulled into Rory’s lap, gentle fingers removing the high heeled pump, setting it aside next to its twin. She kept the blonde’s foot in her lap, the smoothness of the nylons she wore felt good against the skin of her fingertips. Before she realized what she was doing, she heard a soft sigh. Looking over at Katherine, she saw the blonde’s eyes close briefly, then open, pinning her with an intense stare. Confused, Rory looked down, seeing that she had begun to caress and massage Katherine’s foot. Clearing her throat to cover for how foolish she felt, Rory gently set the blonde’s foot aside and picked up the deck of cards, shuffling them.
Katherine could feel her heart pounding against her chest. It had been so long since she’d been touched. Her skin tingled, body buzzed, blood boiled, for Rory’s touch, and it had since the moment she’d seen the brunette. As she watched her deal their hand, she studied the arms and shoulders of the department manager, gaze traveling to the ample cleavage that spilled slightly over the bra cups as Rory leaned forward to set the deck between them. Katherine couldn’t make herself look away when her gaze was caught in intense blue, making Katherine’s breath catch.
Rory couldn’t look away. She felt a burst of wet heat flood her panties, her stomach flipping. She literally had to tuck her hands into her lap, fingers itching to reach out and touch Katherine. Never in her life had she felt such acute arousal, and had no idea what to do with it.
Turning back to the game at hand, she concentrated on her cards, immediately feeling dread at the lackluster set she’d received. She took another inventory of what she had on still, and what could be taken off before this game of poker went from PG-13 to R. Moments later she had an up close and personal inventory when she lost the hand.
Katherine scooted over to Rory, rising to her knees. “Stand,” she said softly. The brunette took a deep breath, then did as asked. Looking down at the blonde, she watched as trembling fingers worked at her belt, then went to work on the single button. Rory held her breath as the zipper was pulled, her blue satin panties revealed.
Katherine took in the long, muscular legs, the skin smooth and supple. She used her hands to slide Rory’s khakis down over her thighs, hands running along the length, letting the pants drop once they’d reached the brunette’s knees. Leaving them be, her hands made their way back up along the length of Rory’s legs, fighting against the urge to rub her cheek against the softness. She looked up, meeting the hooded, blue gaze of her employee. She could feel the heat emanating from Rory’s body.
“I must say,” she said, her voice trembling as Rory sat down on her sleeping bag again. “I feel overdressed.”
Rory looked at herself, fighting against her self-consciousness of being half-naked. “Well, I’m hoping that we can change that here real quick, or I think I’ll be in trouble.”
Katherine said nothing, her smirk speaking for her. The smile quickly faded when she realized she’d lost that hand, and would be removing something. She took a deep breath, awaiting Rory’s instructions. Sure enough, as expected, she was asked to stand, the brunette standing with her. Standing toe to toe, Katherine waiting to see what Rory would do.
Rory studied the blonde’s chest, then her eyes dropped to the wide-leg suit pants she was wearing. Torn, she mentally flipped a coin. “Does this thing button?” she asked, tugging gently at the hem of the shell. Katherine nodded.
“In the back.”
Rory stepped closer, accidentally brushing Katherine’s breasts with her own. She swallowed her reaction, reaching around the blonde, almost holding her in an embrace as she fumbled with the buttons along her spine. Katherine looked up at her, their faces mere inches apart. She studied the gorgeous blue of Rory’s eyes, noting the dark blue ring around the edge of the irises.
“You have amazing eyes,” she whispered. Rory smiled.
“Thank you. Ironically enough, that was the first thing I noticed about you your first day in the store.”
Katherine was shocked, shivering slightly as the satiny straps of the shell slid off her shoulders, the buttons released.
“Really?” she asked, feeling some of her shyness returning. Rory nodded.
“Oh, yes.” She gathered the shell in her hands, bringing it up to her nose, inhaling the familiar perfume. “Along with your perfume.” She smiled, sheepish. “I can always tell when you’re around.”
“Is that a good thing or a bad thing?”
Rory smirked, her fingers running along the soft silkiness of Katherine’s shell, which she still held in her hands. “Well, that all depends.”
“On?” Katherine asked, reveling in the body heat that mingled between their naked torsos. She could feel her body swaying slightly, fighting against her will to keep the slight distance from Rory that she held. As badly as she wanted to feel the brunette’s skin against her own, she knew it wasn’t prudent.
“On whether you’re yelling at me or not.”
Green eyes widened. “I hardly think I yell at you guys.”
“Oh, I don’t know,” Rory hedged, eyes roaming over Katherine’s body. She wasn’t surprised at how girly the blonde’s bra was, all satin and lace. She was a wonderfully feminine woman, always, it was no wonder it extended to her underwear, too. Her boss’ breasts were gorgeous, full and creamy white. She wanted so badly to bury her face between them and inhale the wonderful scents she knew she’d find there. “I think you get your point across pretty aggressively sometimes.”
Katherine grinned, suddenly shy and coy. “Maybe.” She could feel the heat of Rory’s eyes on her and it made her own body heat flare. She took in the gorgeous body of the woman standing mere inches from her. Looking up to Rory’s face, she lowered her voice, unintentionally deepening it. “Double or nothing, Rory?” she challenged. The brunette met her gaze.
“What are your terms?”
“Well, you’ve only got two articles of clothing remaining,” the blonde explained, the backs of her fingers lightly brushing along the soft, firm skin of Rory’s stomach. “If I win the next hand, you lose the rest of your clothing. If you win, you get them all back.”
Rory considered the offer, deciding which would be better- continue playing as they were and possibly end up sitting there naked, or topless or something, while Katherine kept her pants and bra on. Then she looked into the blonde’s eyes, seeing a fire burning hot and bright in the green depths. She felt her body re-ignite. Nodding, she silently agreed.
The women took their places on the sleeping bags once more, both knowing that the stakes had been raised. Rory felt her palms beginning to sweat as she waited for the cards to be shuffled and dealt. This next hand could mean everything.
Rory chewed on her bottom lip as she studied her cards, putting them in groups of usefulness. She had a strong straight going, three through six. She discarded the useless jack, hoping that she’d get either the two or the seven she needed. She kept a careful eye on her companion to see if Katherine would give any clue as to her own hand. She was a little concerned when she noticed how close to her chest Katherine kept her cards.
Katherine finally gathered her cards together, tucked safely in her hand and leaned back against the tent wall, waiting. She watched as the brunette rearranged her cards a couple times, taking the newest card that was dealt to her, then nodded to herself, as though coming to a decision. Blue eyes met hers.
“I call,” the blonde said softly, the corner of her mouth slightly upturned in a smirk. Rory tossed her cards out, one at a time- two, three, four, five and finally the six. “Nice,” Katherine complimented with a nod. “Good hand.”
“Thanks. Come on, let’s see it.”
Katherine leaned forward, her eyes boring into Rory’s. “Winner take all.” She tossed her cards to the tent floor, a full house busting the brunette’s straight. Rory felt her heart race, palms beginning to sweat once more as the full extent of Katherine’s winnings flashed through her mind. She swallowed and took a deep breath. “Lay back, Rory,” Katherine instructed, gathering the deck of cards and putting it aside. She crawled over to the brunette’s side of the tent, waiting while she complied.
Rory tried to remain calm, unsure of what was about to happen. She watched as Katherine placed a hand on Rory’s thighs, gently moving so she knelt between them. Her hands roamed up until they rested on her hips. Slipping her fingers underneath the waistband of the brunette’s panties, she urged Rory to raise her hips so she could slip the material down over them. Rory’s breathing quickened as the cool air hit her heated, saturated sex.
Katherine pulled the panties all the way down Rory’s legs, then tossed them off to the side. She turned back to the reclining brunette, hands once again sliding a path up long legs, nudging them apart ever so slightly before moving on, over slightly jutting hip bones then up along Rory’s sides. She rested her hands on either side of the brunette’s shoulders, resting her body mere inches above her.
“I need you to lift a bit for me,” she murmured, distributing her weight between her knees and hand, using the other to weasel underneath Rory’s arched back, fumbling with the snaps of her bra. She shivered visually as the garment was slid off her body. Like the panties, Katherine cast the bra aside. She rose to her knees, looking down at the goddess laid out before her. “You are so unbelievably beautiful, Rory,” Katherine whispered, her hands, running along the legs that she knelt between.
“Do I get a consolation prize?” Rory asked, her voice deep and husky. The blonde smirked, once again leaning over her.
“What do you want?”
Rory smiled shyly, fingers playing with the sleeping bag material beneath her naked body. “I’d like to at least see you sans bra.”
Katherine smiled, though it was brief as she took in the brunette’s gorgeous face, drawn to her. “You do, do you?” she whispered. Rory could feel hot breath brushing against her cheek, then her lips, then her neck. She could feel her own breathing pick up, her heart racing in her chest. She nodded.
“Okay.” She raised herself just enough to look into Rory’s eyes. “But you have to unhook it.”
Rory felt her heart stop, gaze sliding down to get lost in the shadows of Katherine’s cleavage. She met twinkling green eyes again, then took a deep breath. She could do this. She let go of the death-grip she had on the sleeping bag, reaching her arms up and around Katherine. She finger-walked her way to the clasp, swiftly unhooking it. They both gasped softly as the garment released.
One arm at a time, Katherine lifted, allowing the straps to fall. Finally the bra rested on Rory’s stomach. The brunette reached between their bodies, pulling the garment free. “Do you like your consolation prize?” Katherine whispered, slowly lowering herself until their breasts were pressed together. “Is it all that you thought it would be?” she asked, her lips a breath away from Rory’s.
“And more,” the brunette murmured, finally giving in. Her arms moved up around Katherine, pulling the blonde closer. “You’re so beautiful, Katherine.”
“I love hearing you say my name. So much better than ‘Boss Lady’.”
“I don’t know,” Rory said, raising her head just a bit, almost closing the distance between their lips. “’Boss Lady’ certainly has a ring to it.”
Katherine smiled, deciding to finally take what she wanted, what she had wanted for nearly a year. Rory sighed into the kiss, resting her head back against the sleeping bag. One hand made its way up to bury itself in thick, golden hair, bringing their mouths even closer. The kiss instantly deepened until Rory got a stroke of conscience. She gently pushed Katherine away.
“Wait,” she panted.
“What’s wrong?” the blonde looked down at her, brushing a few strands of long, dark hair out of Rory’s face.
“This is turning into an HR nightmare.”
Katherine chuckled, nodding. “Yes, it is.” She lowered her face once more, lips nearly touching. “We’ll worry about it tomorrow. Tonight I just want to enjoy you.”
That was all Rory needed. She closed the distance between them once more, pulling the blonde as close to her as she could. Immediately the kiss reached intense levels, both breathing hard. Rory wanted to feel all of the blonde against her, so reached down, tugging at her pants. Getting the idea, Katherine pulled away, getting to her feet. She looked down at her employee, a sexy smile quirking one side of her mouth. Getting the idea, Rory moved to her knees, reaching up to grasp the material of the expensive slacks in her hands. She met green eyes then unfastened and unzipped and gently tugged until Katherine’s muscular legs were revealed. The blonde used Rory’s shoulder to balance herself as she stepped out of the slacks, kicking them aside. As Rory looked up at her, she ran her hands through thick, dark hair, blue eyes sliding shut briefly at the pleasure of it all.
Rory moved in, kissing one of Katherine’s thighs, the skin smooth and firm. She closed her eyes, inhaling the fragrance that was her boss- one part lotion: one part soap: all parts heated arousal. She pulled back, just enough to take in the satin panties before her, which covered the treasure she most wanted. The panties were quickly tugged down and kicked over to where the pants lie crumbled in the corner. She ran her hands up the length of Katherine’s legs, gently massaging until she reached the blonde’s naked ass.
Katherine moaned softly as she was squeezed, her fingers no longer playing in dark hair, but instead giving steady pressure to the back of Rory’s head, silently pleading, guiding. She wanted Rory so bad she felt she could faint from so much blood heading south. She nearly did faint when she felt the first swipe of a tongue scorch the skin just above her neatly trimmed pubic hair.
“Mmm,” she moaned, head falling back.
Rory was beginning to lose herself in the tactile and olfactory bliss. Now she needed to add taste to her overwhelmed senses. She looked at the glistening folds of Katherine’s sex and moved in, moaning softly at her first taste.
“Oh god, Rory,” Katherine sighed, her hips just barely starting to move with the rhythm the department manager was setting with her mouth. She didn’t know how long she could stand so put a stopping hand to Rory’s shoulder. “Wait,” she whispered. Rory looked up at her, confused, but quickly got the idea when the blonde stepped around her and laid herself out on one of the sleeping bags. Rory took the hand that reached for her, allowing herself to be pulled atop the reclining woman. “Come here,” Katherine said, immediately taking Rory’s mouth in a passionate kiss.
Rory pressed her thigh hard against Katherine’s sex as they kissed, reveling in how wet the smaller woman was. She needed to taste her again, needed to hear her cry out as she came. Slowly she disengaged from the kiss, ignoring Katherine’s disappointed whimpers, which quickly turned to lazy groans as Rory made her way down the length of skin and muscle. She kissed and licked the blonde’s neck, nipping at her shoulders. She could feel Katherine’s hands everywhere- her back, her ass, in her hair, taking her all in as Rory feasted.
Katherine sucked in a breath when her right breast was laved with a hot tongue, her nipple painfully hard. She buried her fingers in thick, dark hair, urging Rory on. Her breasts were so sensitive, and it had been so long. “Yes,” she moaned, feeling her sex clenching and unclenching with the excitement and promised pleasure Rory’s mouth was giving.
Rory, for her part, couldn’t get enough. She felt as though every woman she’d ever been with had simply been practice to lead her to this moment. The connection she felt with Katherine as she batted at her nipple with tongue and teeth, was palpable. She had never experienced anything like it. As she moved further south with her mouth, her hand lead the way, gliding down Katherine’s body, feeling the smooth, flat plane of her stomach, the firmness of one of her thighs, as she gently urged it up, the blonde’s foot sliding on the slick material of the sleeping back until it lay flush.
Katherine could feel the tickle of soft hair brushing the inside of her thigh, her body shivering slightly from the sensation. Next came hot breath.
“I’m going to make you come so hard,” Rory whispered, sucking on the flesh of the inside of Katherine’s left thigh. In that moment, she had no doubt.
Rory felt Katherine’s other leg rest itself over her shoulder. The brunette brought one of her hands up, caressing the thigh and hip, the other hand opening the blonde up for her. She ran her tongue from Katherine’s opening to her clit, batting at the swollen bundle for a moment before moving back to her opening. Above her, Katherine took a deep breath, fingers finding Rory’s head as the brunette began to slowly fuck her with her tongue.
“God, Rory,” Katherine whimpered, her head falling to the side as she opened her legs wider for Rory. Her hips were moving in time with the thrusts, her breathing picking up. The excitement level that her body was reaching was unlike anything she’d ever known. She felt she could simply come just from a smoldering look from the brunette- much like the one she was receiving from between her legs.
Rory was shocked as she felt Katherine’s body beginning to convulse, her sex gushing fluids. She dived in, sucking hard on the blonde’s clit, entering her with two fingers. She could feel the muscles inside clenching her fingers as she fucked her with them.
Katherine cried out, a second, then a third orgasm hitting her hard, the final one almost painful. “Wait,” she begged, reaching down to stop Rory’s head and hand. “Please, wait…”
Rory stopped, slowly removing herself, then kissing her way back up the petit woman’s beautiful body. She was grabbed in a deep kiss, their bodies pressed together as Rory lowered herself. The fit was perfection. Katherine couldn’t get enough as they continued to kiss. She also couldn’t believe that after everything, her body was becoming aroused once again. She raised both of her legs, Rory tucked neatly between them. The move opened herself up even more to the brunette, giving Rory the idea.
“Yes, baby,” Katherine moaned as Rory moved her hips, adjusting herself so their sexes were perfectly aligned.
“You feel so good,” Rory whispered, leaning in for a long, passionate kiss. Her clit was engorged beyond measure, and she desperately needed release. She moved her hips, pressing into Katherine with every thrust. She kissed the blonde’s neck, teasing her ear with her teeth. Leaning in, she whispered hot words, “I wish I had a cock right now,” she heard the blonde whimper at her words, two hands pushing into her ass, pressing them together harder. Rory continued, “I’d fuck you so hard with it, Katherine.” She licked a trail down the side of the blonde’s neck. “I want to be buried inside you right now…”
Katherine cried out, her legs opening wider as she felt a hand slide between their bodies, three fingers sliding easily inside her. Rory trembled as she eased in, moving her hips in rhythm with her fingers.
“Oh baby, yes, fuck me,” Katherine begged, bucking with every thrust.
Rory’s movements began to quicken as her excitement grew. Finally, she was on the verge. She removed her fingers, replacing them with her own sex, grinding herself into Katherine, thrusting hard as they clung to each other. Katherine cried out again as she came, her mind exploding from the intensity of the experience. Rory was right behind her, reaching underneath the blonde, holding her by the ass as she pressed their clits together, slowly grinding to milk the last little bit of pleasure out of Katherine’s body.
Too exhausted to move, they stayed as they were for a long moment, reveling in the warmth and softness of the other’s body. Finally, Rory raised her head from where it had been buried in Katherine’s neck. She brushed blonde strands that had glued themselves to the blonde’s sweaty neck and jaw. “You’re so beautiful,” she whispered, tenderness flooding her as she looked into the adoring gaze. “We should’ve done this sooner.”
Katherine chuckled, running her fingers through Rory’s hair, finally resting her palm against her cheek. “Better than never, right?”
With a sexy grin, Rory leaned in, “Definitely,” she said against her lips. The kiss quickly deepened, Katherine pushing them over so she was on top. She pulled away, looking down at the brunette beneath her. She studied her face, tracing features with her eyes and then her fingertips.
“Do you have any idea how long I’ve wanted you? I knew how completely inappropriate it was, so would disappear into my office. Kept temptation away.”
“I wondered where you’d go. One minute you were there, the next, poof! Gone.”
“Yeah, it was because I had to keep fighting myself to not stare at your breasts.” Katherine traced one of the body parts in question with a finger. “I remember one day, it was your day off, and you’d come in to get your check.” She grinned at the memory. “You were wearing a white tank top, the skinny little straps, and a pair of jeans that hugged your ass so nicely. God, I wanted to walk up behind you and just… I don’t know,” she leaned down, pressing a soft kiss to Rory’s throat, “Press myself up against you. And your breasts...,” another kiss to one collar bone. “They called to me. So beautiful. The way that tank top hugged them, held them,” Katherine cupped one of Rory’s breasts, “Like this.” A kiss between large breasts. “I wanted to touch them…”
Rory moaned, one of Katherine’s thumbs rubbing across the top of her left nipple.
“Mmm,” the brunette whimpered, the swipe of a hot tongue running a trail where the kiss had just been left.
“But, most of all,” Katherine said, repositioning herself, “I wanted to suck on them…”
The store manager moaned softly, her mouth filled with firm flesh. She gently tugged on a very hard nipple with her teeth, glancing playfully up at Rory, who was too far gone to notice. One of Katherine’s hands slid down the long body until she felt the soft, moist thatch of dark hair between Rory’s legs. One leg lifted, inviting the blonde’s touch.
Rory didn’t know where to concentrate first- the hot mouth on her breast, or the knowing fingers running through her sex. Her hips moved with Katherine’s slow fucking while her back arched, trying to give as much of herself to the blonde’s mouth as she could.
“You are so wet, baby,” Katherine murmured, bringing up completely slick fingers and painting Rory’s nipple. The brunette cried out softly as a teasing tongue licked her essence off her breast. “Tastes good…”
“Fuck, you’re gonna make me come!” Rory groaned through gritted teeth. Katherine grinned, leaning up and kissing the brunette hard.
“That’s the point, gorgeous.”
With a loud, guttural cry, Rory yelled out to the store, her body convulsing for long moments before it settled into smaller spasms. Katherine rained kisses and caresses all over her face and body, murmuring nonsense into her ear. She grabbed Rory’s hand, thrusting it between her own thighs, thrusting against it in quick movements. Katherine’s eyes squeezed tight, her body erupting in a small, but wonderful orgasm.
Rory came down from her high, pulling Katherine on top of her, the blonde resting her head on her upper chest. “Let me hold you,” she whispered, feeling sleep beckon. Katherine murmured unintelligibly, sleep immediately claiming her.
Rory opened her eyes, something pulling her from a very deep, satisfied sleep. Looking around, she realized she was sleeping in a tent, her body burritoed in a sleeping bag. Confused, she sat up, only to remember the incredible night she’d spend in her department. Zoning would never be the same again. Her grin from that thought disappeared when she remembered she hadn’t been alone.
Then she heard the voices. Katherine’s, and that of a man. Their voices were slightly muffled from distance, as well as from the canvas surrounding Rory. Then it dawned on her that underneath the sleeping bag, she was buck naked.
“Shit,” she muttered, looking around for her clothing. She stopped, the voices getting closer.
“Yeah, we’ve been here all night. It was a cold one, so we camped out with sleeping bags.”
“Man, I bet it was cold. I’m glad you guys didn’t get too far.”
Rory recognized the voice as Sherry’s husband, Taylor’s. “Rory?” Katherine called. “We’ve been rescued.”
“Okay!” Rory called out, desperately trying to get dressed with as little noise as possible. She had no idea what her hair looked like, and wasn’t sure if she had the was-fucked-all-night look or not, but she had to take a gamble. “Hey, Taylor. How’s it going?” she asked, crawling out from the tent, fully dressed, hair falling in her face as she got to her feet. She looked at Katherine and nearly fell over dead. The blonde had a huge hickey just barely sticking out of the collar of her blouse. She tried to catch her boss’ eye, but Katherine wouldn’t look her way. When had she gotten up?
“It’s goin’. Cold and a huge mess out there. Sherry was worried about you two, being the last ones here last night and all, so she asked me to take a look today. The only reason I even got here is because I have the plow on my truck. You guys were buried in here pretty good.”
“Figured I could just take you gals home.” He looked from one to the other. “You okay with that?”
“Uh, yeah. Fine.” Rory looked to her boss, looking for any sign that Katherine had any recollection of their amazing night together. The blonde was cold, remote and back in Boss Lady mode. Rory turned away, slowing herself down so she wouldn’t stomp over to the sporting goods counter to get her things. If she wanted to play that way, fine. Yes, Rory realized there was someone else there, now, but not even a fucking hello smile?
Taylor wasn’t kidding. Rory looked around in awe at the cars that littered the streets- what could be seen of them, anyway. Stranded motorists, tunnels in the snow… It was a crazy sight.
Katherine sat in the middle, her right thigh pressed against Rory’s the entire ride home, in the cab of Taylor’s huge truck. Rory tried to subtly press her thigh closer to the blonde’s, but her reward was her boss moving hers away the few precious centimeters she could. Clearing her throat to cover for her hurt embarrassment, Rory stretched her legs out, bringing her thighs together as she crossed her ankles, the truck’s heater warming her feet to an uncomfortable temperature. Didn’t matter; she wasn’t going to give Katherine the satisfaction of having to move her legs back.
Two hours later, they pulled up in front of Rory’s house, which was twenty-three minutes from the store. Taylor helped unbury her front door. As he trotted back to his truck, Katherine rolled down the window on the passenger-side door of the truck.
“Rory?” she called, her voice echoing eerily in the snow-packed morning. The brunette stopped, door half-open to turn back to her boss.
“Enjoy your days off. I’ll see you at the store day after tomorrow, barring anymore snow.”
Rory said nothing, simply briefly met Katherine’s gaze, then nodded, closing her front door after her.
The snow was gorgeous- for about a day and a half. As the sun came out and began to melt the layers, cars were able to pass through and stain the white stuff with exhaust and dirt. Sherry and Taylor were due by to pick Rory up for work in about ten minutes, as her car was stuck down at the store, still.
The brunette was ready to go, freshly showered and dressed. Now all she had to do was think. She’d been doing a lot of that over the past couple days, and it was driving her crazy. All she could think about was her boss, and the time they’d spent together. She could still feel and taste the blonde, their bodies pressed together. She could still hear the wonderful sounds Katherine made when she came or experienced a particularly pleasurable sensation.
Rory closed her eyes, arms automatically wrapping around herself in a protective hug. She remembered lying in that tent, after they’d exhausted themselves in a second round of lovemaking:
Side by side, they laid, facing each other. Katherine looked deeply into Rory’s eyes, a hand reaching up to trace her features, caress her jaw, then finally rested on the brunette’s hip. She leaned in close, placing the softest, most tender kiss on Rory’s lips.
“You make me feel things, Rory. You really make me feel things.”
Rory’s lips curled up into the same smile that the words had evoked from her the night they were whispered. She quickly wiped it away. She hadn’t heard from Katherine since they’d left the store, and the phones had been up and running since last night. She sighed, not wanting to waste anymore precious energy on it. It was a wonderful night, and that was it. She needed to get over it, and any other romantic notions she may have.
It was twenty-two minutes before the store opened for business. Everyone had been getting the store back in order, not that there was much to do after Rory’s boredom had gotten hold of her during the storm.
Rory wandered around her department, trying her best to not sit and stare at the tent, but not always so successful. Suddenly the public address system came to life:
Everyone needs to meet up at the front of the store ASAP.
“Just like the Boss Lady,” Rachel muttered, walking by Rory as she headed up front. “Short, sweet, and to the point.”
Rory grunted acknowledgement to the comment, her lips curling in a smirk.
The cashiers stood post in their cubicles, the floor staff making their way up to stand between the registers. Rory leaned back on one of the counters, arms crossed over her chest. She saw Katherine standing with an older man- the blonde was dressed in another of her tailored suits, however this time she wore a turtleneck under the jacket rather than a blouse. The brunette grinned, wondering how dark the hickey still was. Rory couldn’t keep her eyes off the blonde, the first time she’d seen her since Katherine’s yelled comment from Taylor’s truck. She looked gorgeous, Rory’s eyes able to see beneath the skirt, beneath the jacket and turtleneck. She knew that body like she knew her own. She knew what made it cry out, what made it tremble and convulse.
She was pulled from her thoughts when Katherine began to speak, her voice articulate and cold as ever.
“Welcome back, everyone. Break time is over, and now we get back to work. However, I do need to make an announcement before our day begins.” The older an standing next to her smiled at everyone. “This is Tony Ortiz, and he’ll be your new boss as of tomorrow. I’ve enjoyed being with you over the past year.” Katherine’s voice and tone softened, her eyes scanning those gathered. “When I first came here, this store was a motley mess, to be sure. But all of you, underneath the wrath of the ‘Boss Lady’,” a round of muffled gasps escaped at the acknowledgement of the secret name for the blonde, “everyone here stepped up to the plate, and turned this store into number one in the entire district. My applause and gratitude go out to all of you. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication. I’ve never worked with a better group of people.”
“Where are you going?” Sherry asked.
“I’ve accepted a position as District Manager with Coca Cola,” Katherine said, her eyes never meeting Rory’s. “Tony would like to say a few words to you all now.”
Rory only half-heard what the old guy was saying, instead her head trying to process what she’d just heard. Leaving? Coca Cola? She looked to Katherine, shocked to see green eyes on her already, but only for the briefest of moments before the blonde turned away, listening to her replacement speak.
Rory was doing her best to try and get a ping pong ball out from where a customer’s unwatched child had shoved it inside the hollow frame-tube of an exercise bike. She started when she felt a soft touch on her arm. She was even more startled to see Katherine at the end of that touch.
“Sorry to bother you, Rory, but I’d like you to follow me for a moment, please.”
Rory nodded, handing over her project to one of her employees, then following her boss through the store to where her office was. Tony Ortiz was already waiting for them. Rory could feel her stomach drop, looking from one to the other. Fuck.
“Rory, please sit down,” Tony said, standing in polite invitation for the lady to sit. Rory did, though she had to place a hand on her own leg to keep it from jiggling in nervousness. “I’ve been told great things about you from Katherine, as well as I’ve seen your file filled with letters of approval from your co-workers and even customers. For instance,” he grabbed a piece of paper from the desk, glancing at it before looking back at the department manager. “This woman here said you helped her find a fitness tape she hadn’t been able to find in years, even going so far as to call other stores in the area. She said you’re the best worker she’s ever seen.” He grinned, taking 20 years off his face. “She just so happened to be the CEO’s niece. Nicely done.”
Rory blushed slightly, remembering the woman well. The redhead had flirted with her the entire time, but she wasn’t about to tell them that.
“What I’m getting at here,” Tony continued, “is I’d like to bring you in as my Assistant Manager. Katherine has filled me in on your extensive knowledge of the store and its inner-workings. The way you handle people and yourself. I can definitely use a gal like you.” He paused, staring intently at her. “What do you say?”
Rory looked at her new boss, stunned, then over at Katherine, who stood in the corner of the office, arms crossed over her chest. He steady gaze was locked on the brunette. Rory had to look away, or she’d get lost in those eyes all over again. She turned back to her new boss’ expectant face. “I say okay.”
“Wonderful!” Tony reached across the desk, taking Rory’s hand in a firm handshake. “Now,” Tony said, rising from his seat, “Katherine, I know you said you’d like a few moments with Rory, so I’ll leave you to it.”
Rory felt her heart pounding as the older man left the office, the door clicking softy shut behind him. Katherine stayed put for a moment, silence filling the space. Rory was uncomfortable, her palms beginning to sweat.
Katherine cleared her throat softly before speaking. “Congratulations, Rory. No one deserves this more than you do.”
“Thank you, Katherine. I just hope that I got this promotion for my abilities in the store, and not just in the tent-department.”
Katherine looked at Rory, clearly hurt. “I don’t work that way, Rory. I told you before that I thought you deserved this position. I know you’ll do well, and I wish you luck.” Her words were met with silence, so Katherine turned, hand on the knob, ready to leave.
“Wait.” Rory stood, facing the petit woman’s back. “Why didn’t you say anything, that you were leaving?”
The blonde turned, leaning her back against the door. “I was going to the day the storm hit, but obviously I had other things I had to take care of.”
“And after? Later?”
Katherine looked down, her cheeks flushing at the thought of just what “later” meant. “Because at first we weren’t exactly chatting, and then… Well. And then I was busy doing something else.”
“I need to make sure that that ‘something else’ isn’t why I’m in this office right now.”
“Rory, I told you it’s not. I’ve spent the past year busting my ass to make sure this store turned around. I hardly think I’d be granting favors now. Do you?” Katherine took a step toward Rory, the air between them thick. “You’re more than capable. I just hope you’ll get the confidence in yourself that I have in you. It’s kinda necessary for the position you’re taking on.”
Rory nodded, feeling childish. She wanted to cry, and couldn’t explain why. “When do you start the new job?”
“A week. It’ll give me time to get moved to Houston.”
Like a punch. Just like a damn punch to the stomach. “I see.” Rory stepped away from the blonde. “I should go. Make sure no one else’s kids are destroying my department.”
“Yeah?” the brunette said at the door, not looking at Katherine, who she could sense behind her. Two arms wormed their way around Rory’s waist, warmth of a body pressed against her back. She felt the blonde rest her cheek against her upper back.
“Please take care of yourself, and of this store. I think you care about it as much as I do.” She turned Rory around, leaning up to place the softest of kisses on the brunette’s lips. “Thank you,” she whispered against them, then moved around the newly appointed assistant manager, leaving Rory shaken.
“So, what do you think?” Tony asked, stepping back to look at his handy work. The sign was huge, making the its point loud and clear about the upcoming summer sale.
“I think it’s a work of art, Tony. You should be proud.” Rory grinned, slapping her boss and close friend on the back. She held the ladder steady as the older man climbed down, then folded it and heaved it over her shoulder.
“You know, Rory, you’ve been such a pleasure these past six months. Must say, I’m grateful you were brought to my attention. Someday this store will be yours, if you want it. Well, one in the chain, anyway.”
“Eh, I don’t know, Tony. Guess we’ll have to see.”
“You’ll come to your senses.”
They both chuckled as they headed into the store, Rory taking the ladder straight back to the back room and tethering it to the wall with a strap. She was about to go secure a bail that needed to made with the cardboard bailer when her name was called over the loud speaker. She was needed at the registers.
Bailer would wait, Rory headed up through the maze of aisles and departments, trying her best to not get stopped by customers or employees before she reached her destination. Waiting for her at customer service was a beautiful bouquet of flowers, no card attached.
“Who brought these?” she asked, searching in vain for any sort of sign of who was behind it.
“The flower guy. He wouldn’t tell me who they were from, just who they were for.”
“Lovely,” Rory muttered, taking the large arrangement in both hands and heading to her office. “I’m stuck in ‘Bed of Roses’.”
Later in the afternoon, Rory made her way back toward her office when she stopped, dead in her tracks. Tony’s office door was closed, but she’d know that voice anywhere.
To her horror, the door opened. Momentarily indecisive of what to do or where to go, she simply turned, pretending to be walking the other way.
“Rory! Good, I was just going to send someone out to find you,” Tony said, stepping into the narrow hallway that held their two offices and the financial office. Pasting a smile on her face, Rory turned around, ready to face the ghost of the woman she hadn’t allowed herself to think about in months. And there she was.
Katherine wore well-fitted blue jeans, faded in all the right places, and a white, summery tank top. Her hair was cut short in a fun, sporty style that belied the stern, cold figure she portrayed herself to be in business.
“Katherine came by to say hello.”
“I see,” Rory smiled, nodding acknowledgment at the blonde. “How are you, Katherine? How are things with Coca Cola?”
“I’m wonderful, and from what I hear from Tony, you’ve far passed even my expectations.” Katherine smiled warmly. “And Coca Cola is a wonderful company to work for.”
“That’s great.” Rory felt old hurts and pains of what could’ve been eating at her gut. “Well, I better get back to work.” She turned to her boss. “Tony, Ray called. He and the other district managers will be here Tuesday afternoon.”
“Okay. Thanks, Rory.” Tony watched the brunette walk past him, heavy brows drawn together. That was odd.
Rory rolled her shirtsleeves up as she got settled behind her desk, bumping her mouse to bring her computer screen to life. There was a small knock on the closed office door.
“Come in,” she called out, glancing expectantly toward the door. A blonde head peeked in.
“Hey,” Katherine said. “Mind if I come in?”
“No.” Rory sat back in her chair, her stomach doing the Moonwalk across her midsection.
The blonde stepped inside, closing the door softly behind her. She seemed to take a deep breath before taking a seat before Rory’s desk. Katherine smiled, her entire face and eyes lighting up. “How have you been?”
“I’ve been good. This place takes a lot of time, so I’m here most the time. But,” Rory shrugged, “I think Tony and I have managed to keep the place from burning down.”
“I’d say you’ve done more than that. He filled me in on your numbers. You’ve done outstanding, Rory.”
Rory couldn’t help but feel slightly inflated by the compliment. “Thank you.” If Katherine knew anything about anything, it was business. “You cut your hair.”
“Yeah,” the blonde ran nervous fingers through her short style. “It gets pretty hot down in Houston. Besides, I was ready for something new. Something different.”
“So, are you in town visiting family, or something?” Rory grabbed a pencil, easing the nervous energy racing through her body with some kind of physical movement, any kind of physical movement that wouldn’t make her look crazy, like running laps around the tiny office.
“No. Today I was out buying groceries. You know how it is- you get a new place, have to restock everything.” Katherine waved it off. “A real pain in the ass.”
“New place? Restock? What?”
Katherine smiled, though it was small, almost timid, certainly unsure. “Yeah, I just bought a place over on Rutger.”
“That’s quite the commute to Houston, Katherine,” Rory pointed out with the tip of her pencil.
“Indeed. I realized how much I missed the area after being gone for so long. There was an opening in this market, and I jumped at it.” She paused, waiting for Rory’s reaction. When she didn’t get one, she continued. “I also had some unfinished business here.” Katherine looked down at her fidgeting hands, messing with a thread that hung from one of her belt loops.
There was a frantic knock on Rory’s door, followed by Rachel’s head peeking in. “Rory, I’m really sorry to burst in on you, but we got a medical emergency out here. We got a woman about to give birth!”
“Okay.” Rory pushed up from her chair, looking at Katherine. “It was nice to see you, Katherine. I wish you luck with your new market.”
Rory had enough of the news media in her face. She’d posed for lots of pictures, had done interviews with just about every single news station in town, and was just ready to go home. She grabbed her keys and phone from her office, turning to shut the light off and close the door. Tony was waiting for her out in the hall.
“Long day?” he asked, a grin curling his lips. Rory didn’t bother answering, as they both knew he wasn’t really asking. They’d both had the day from hell, and because of the sudden delivery ward they’d become, their day had been even longer with the forest of paperwork they’d had to fill out. “So, where are you off to, now?”
“Home. I’m craving a long, hot bath like nothing I’ve ever wanted.”
Tony chuckled. “My wife promised me a big slice of chocolate cake. Want some?”
“Nah. Thanks, Tony. I really just want to be alone.” Rory waved her goodbyes to a few cashiers before pushing through the glass doors at the front of the store. They continued out into the parking lot in silence. Finally Tony broke the spell.
“You looked like you’d seen a ghost when Katherine stepped out into the hall today.” He eyed the brunette, looking for any sort of reaction that she may not verbalize. Her jaw muscles began to work, her expression hardening ever so slightly.
“I wasn’t expecting to see her, no. I was glad she came by to say hello.”
“Hmm.” They reached Tony’s car. He pulled out his keys, searching for the right one. “You two got long well when she was here, right?”
Rory paused, at her own car, just one over from her boss’. Nodding, she turned to him. “Yeah. We got along just fine. Especially at the end.” With that last cryptic statement, she climbed behind the wheel, and closed herself off from the rest of the world.
The drive home was a short one, Rory’s Jeep pulling into her driveway. She could see her cat sitting in the window, tail swishing through the air in mild curiosity. Rory slammed her door shut, engaging the remote lock, then hopping up onto the porch and unlocking the front door.
“Hey, Kibbles,” she cooed, rubbing her cat’s head as she passed by, shedding her clothing as she went. Finally in the bathroom, water running hot and strong into her large tub, Rory heard the doorbell chimes come to life. “Shit,” she muttered, grabbing a robe off the back of the bathroom door.
Kibbles meowed loudly as she scurried out of the way of bare, scampering feet. Rory looked out the beveled glass window in the front door. Standing on the other side was Katherine, and she was holding something in her hand.
Rory pulled herself and her robe together before unlocking and opening the door. “Hi.”
“Hi.” Katherine took in Rory’s attired, her gaze scanning quickly over Rory’s body, which was outlined nicely in the material. “I know you had a long day. You’re a hero.” She smiled, holding up a box from KFC, the fragrance nearly making Rory melt on the spot. “Congratulations. Bet when you took on the promotion you didn’t think it would mean delivering babies.”
Rory grinned, playing with the lock on the door. She shook her head. “Uh, no. It was cool, though.”
There was a moment of uncomfortable silence when Katherine spoke up again. “Well, I see you were in the middle of something, so I can come back. Or, just drop this off with you and leave you alone.” She eyed the brunette, her face poker-face straight. Rory stared into her eyes, the misty green color grabbing her all over again.
“No. Come on in. I’ll change.” She stepped back, half-hating herself for just blurting it out, not even giving it proper thought. Katherine walked past her, looking around at the house as she went.
“I wasn’t sure if you still lived here or not. Lucky for me you still do, or I would’ve felt like an ass, offering some stranger dinner.” She grinned, looking at her host.
“That would have been amusing, though. I’ll be right back. Uh, make yourself comfortable.” Rory nearly ran down the hallway back to the bathroom, gathering her clothing as she went and slamming the door and falling against it. “Shit, shit, shit…” She looked longingly over at her tub, the steam billowing up into the cooler air. She just wanted to lose herself in the heat and relaxation, forget everything, including Katherine. She honestly didn’t know if she were equipped anymore to do this. With a heavy sigh, she changed into the shorts and t-shirt she had planned to put on after her bath. She pulled the plug in the tub, and headed back out to her guest.
Katherine had found her way to the kitchen, and was sucking some wayward gravy off her thumb from taking the lid off the container of gravy for the mashed potatoes. She glanced up as Rory padded into the room. Somehow, Rory couldn’t help but feel it was a natural thing, having Katherine in her kitchen, her in comfortable wear. They both looked like they belonged there.
“Do you like gravy?” Katherine asked, tossing the lid into the paper bag the boxes of biscuits and containers of food had come in.
“Yeah. Love it.”
“Good. Got plenty.”
Within ten minutes, the table was set for two, and they’d sat down and begun eating. Katherine was quiet for a long moment, studying her dinner companion. She tossed the remnants of the chicken breast she’d been eating, onto her plate and wiped her hands on a napkin. “I told you today that I had come back because I had unfinished business, but unfortunately that woman decided it was prudent at that particular moment to give birth.” She smiled at the smirk that crossed Rory’s lips. “I doubt we’ll be running into anyone going into labor now, unless your cat isn’t just chunky, as I’d originally thought, and is in fact, pregnant.”
Rory outright laughed, grateful for the levity Katherine was throwing into a situation, which Rory suspected would be quite serious. “No. She’s just fat.”
“Okay. Then I’ll get back to what I wanted to say to you.” Katherine took a deep breath, as though getting herself ready for whatever she had to say. “Rory, things happened so quickly during the storm- we got to know each other and make love all in one night. Then, well, then I had to leave. I never got to talk to you about how that night affected me, or my thoughts on things. I don’t like to leave loose ends. In face, it’s been driving me crazy for six months. You have no idea how many times I picked up the phone then either slammed it back down, or actually got far enough as to dial the store’s number, but hung up before that crappy recording could even begin.”
Rory chuckled at the very adequate description of the automated service a customer was required to endure just to speak to anyone live at the store. “So, if you had gotten through, or if you had kept up your nerve, what would you have said?” she asked, her dinner very much losing it’s appeal as she found out the direction of this conversation.
“That I miss you. That I can’t get you out of my mind. That I want so badly to get to know you, all of you. That I took the job back here, a parallel move, just to get back into town…” Katherine trailed off, the look of pale shock on Rory’s face dripping fear into her gut. The blonde got up, moving over to where Rory sat, stock still. She knelt down, resting a hand on the brunette’s chair arm. “Tell me it’s not too late, Rory. Please tell me it’s not too late. Her eyes searched blue, not finding anything but distance. Silently, Katherine got to her feet, gathering her keys as she made her way toward the door. “I’m sorry.”
Rory wanted so badly to call her back, tell her to wait as the door was softly shut, but she was frozen, impotent to do anything but sit and stare straight ahead. The moment of dazed shock was over, broken by the sound of a ticking clock in the living room, the sound of a car horn in the neighbor’s driveway, the sound of Rory’s own heart pounding in her ears.
“Shit!” She shoved away from the table, nearly knocking her chair backward in her haste. She looked around frantically, as though she hadn’t heard the finality of the door closing behind Katherine. She ran over to the front door, about to dart out into the night when she stopped short, nearly knocking her and Katherine both off the porch. The blonde stood, hand to her heart.
“No, it’s just me,” Rory breathed, holding onto the doorframe to stop her momentum. “I’m sorry, I didn’t know you were there-“
“No, it’s okay. I shouldn’t have stayed, I just couldn’t make myself leave-“
“No, no, I shouldn’t’ve sat there like an idiot-“
“Wait,” Katherine said, holding up her hands. They both grinned at the ridiculousness of the situation. “Before we sit here apologizing for everything since the day we were born, why don’t you start?”
Rory nodded. Seemed fair enough. “Okay. I think I was just so overwhelmed. I mean, I don’t see you, hear anything from you, then suddenly, poof! Then on top of all that, you’re telling me how much you want to try and work this thing out. Well, not that there’s really anything to work out, really, but I guess.” She shut her mouth, realizing her nerves were getting the best of her, and she was babbling.
“I know I came at you with a lot. Guess it was just from it building in me for so long. I didn’t mean to overwhelm you. Honest.”
“I know.” Rory looked into the gorgeous green eyes, the color nearly washed out from the darkness. “Would you like to come back inside? You never got any mashed potatoes and gravy.”
Katherine smirked. “Not sure how hungry I am now, but sure.”
Together, they walked inside, Rory closing the door behind them. Not another word was spoken until they sat at the table once more, neither bothering to touch their food. “Maybe this was a stupid suggestion,” Rory grinned, watching as they both stared at their half-full plates. Katherine smiled.
“Maybe. So, now what?”
“I don’t really know.” Rory looked down at the lump of potatoes, which were getting colder by the minute. She tried to dig deep inside within those few seconds, determine how she truly felt with Katherine not only back in town, but back in her life, and in her home. Searching her heart came back with the same answer again and again- don’t push her away. You need her like she needs you. You felt that the first time you kissed her. Clearing her throat, Rory stood. “I’ll clean this up. Go ahead and make yourself comfortable. We can talk.”
Katherine watched the brunette clearing the table for a moment before getting up to help. She ignored the glare aimed her way. “Hey, I helped make the mess, at least give me a chance to help clean it up.”
Rory didn’t miss the meaningful look the blonde gave her. She nodded, heading into the kitchen. Within moments all the trash had been tossed, leftovers stowed in the fridge. Together they loaded the dishwasher.
“There’s something else I’ve wanted to say to you, Rory,” Katherine began softly, rinsing a plate before tucking it into the racks. Rory said nothing, just waited for Katherine to continue. “Ignoring you that next day, and the first day of work, having to pretend that what we shared wasn’t the most amazing experience of my life, was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.”
Rory wiped her hands on a dishtowel, then slung it on the oven door handle. She reached out, gently touching Katherine’s arm, stopping her from wiping down the counter. The blonde turned to look at her, a question in her eyes. “In all honesty,” Rory said, her voice soft, “being ignored, and having to see it in your eyes, like it never happened, was one of the most painful things for me. Even though I understood, it didn’t make it hurt any less.”
“I’m so sorry.” Katherine took the hand that rested on her arm still, wrapping both of her hands around it. “It didn’t mean nothing to me. It really meant everything. I felt such a palpable connection to you that night. You know, the sad part is, after we finally went to sleep for the final time, I laid there for a long time, my head resting on your shoulder. As I listened to your heartbeat, I made a big decision. The next morning I was going to tell you about my leaving the company, and ask you if you’d be interested in trying to work something out. I didn’t want it to be just one night. I didn’t want it to be just a fling before I left.”
“So what happened?”
“Taylor.” Katherine smiled. “I heard someone pounding on the windows and doors. I figured it was probably someone coming to make sure we were okay. Hell, for all I knew, it was someone come to look for you. I got dressed and let him in. I’m not an actress, but I gotta tell you, I think my performance was Oscar-worthy that morning.”
Rory was glad to hear the words, to know that everything she wanted could have happened, and that it was simply circumstances that had stood between them, and not the coldness she feared was Katherine. She looked at her hands, sandwiched between Katherine’s, bringing up her other hand and tracing the veins on the back of the blonde’s top hand. “I would’ve,” she said, her voice almost far away.
“Wanted to work something out. Long-distance, I don’t know. Something.”
“And now?” Katherine asked, hope in her voice. Twinkling blue eyes met her own. “And only as long-distance as Rutger Street.”
Rory grinned, nodding. “I think I can handle that.” Using the leverage of still holding her hand, Katherine pulled Rory to her until they stood a breath apart. “Did you really move back here to be closer to me?”
Katherine nodded. “Yeah.” She tugged once more on Rory’s hand, which brought their bodies flush.
Rory could feel her heart pounding, the blood racing. She looked down at the gorgeous face before her, searching Katherine’s eyes, looking for any sign of deceit. All she saw was the desire that she knew was reflected in her own blue eyes. She could feel her breathing hitch as her gaze settled on the blonde’s lips.
“Do you have any idea how long I’ve wanted to kiss you?” Katherine whispered.
Rory nodded dumbly. “Six months?”
Katherine grinned, nodding. “Yeah. Six months.” She brought a hand up, resting it on Rory’s cheek. “I’d really like to do that now, if you don’t mind.”
“I don’t mind.” Rory lowered her head, eyes slipping closed as her lips touched Katherine’s, both sighing into the contact. Rory pulled her hand free from the blonde’s, wrapping her arms around her, pulling their bodies even closer. Katherine’s hands wormed their way into long, dark hair, where they remained buried as the kiss deepened. After long moments the kiss broke. Rory pulled back just far enough to whisper against soft lips. “Do you have anywhere to be just now?” All it took was the shake of Katherine’s head.
Katherine moaned as she was picked up and set on the counter behind her. She could feel the butt of her shorts becoming wet from rinsing dishes, but she didn’t care. Rory pressed herself against her, their kiss continuing. She couldn’t believe the amount of want that Rory instilled within her, nor the level of release she could give her.
Rory was ravenous as she left Katherine’s lips, using lips and tongue to explore her neck, her hands reaching back to grab as much of the blonde’s ass as she could, pressing their bodies together. She desperately needed to feel Katherine. Panting, she pulled back. “Come upstairs with me?”
Rory flicked on the light as she entered the small bedroom. She saw Katherine glance around briefly, then intense green eyes settled on the brunette. Katherine placed a soft kiss on Rory’s warm neck, then began to slowly undress her. With each bit of skin that was exposed, Katherine marked the territory well with her mouth. Rory reached back to grab one of the posts on her bed when her nipple was sucked into pure heat.
In response, Katherine moaned, her hands busy on the mesh shorts Rory wore, the silky material pushed down over her hips and finally sliding down her legs. The brunette stepped out of them, kicking them away. Her panties quickly followed. Standing there naked in front of Katherine served to both make her nervous and enflame her need. Green eyes took her in, a fire lit that nearly singed Rory.
Katherine watched as the beautiful brunette sat back on the bed, crawling back until she lay in the center. It was invitation enough. She peeled her own clothing off, joining Rory. They both moaned as the blonde stretched her body out atop Rory’s. “I’d forgotten just how wonderful you feel,” Katherine whispered, nuzzling Rory’s neck with her face. “You smell wonderful, too.”
Lost in the tactile bliss, Rory reached down and grabbed Katherine’s ass, squeezing the perfect flesh as she felt Katherine slip a thigh between her own.
“Mm, you’re so wet,” the blonde whispered against Rory’s lips. “I can’t wait to taste it. It’s been far too long.”
Rory shuddered at the thought, her sex clinching in anticipation. Katherine began to lick and taste tanned skin, nipping at delicate areas that made Rory moan. She took one breast in her hand, the other she devoured with her mouth. Rory couldn’t keep her hips still, eyes closed as the pleasure raced through her. She buried her fingers in soft, short hair. She missed the long hair, but thought Katherine was sexy as hell with it cut.
Katherine hummed happily as she made her way further down, lifting one of Rory’s legs over her shoulders as she did. She could smell the wet heat of the brunette’s arousal, and it made her mouth water. “Here I go, baby,” she murmured, tongue swiping a long trail through the copious wetness. Rory’s head pushed back into the pillow, her hips bucking to meet the blonde’s touch.
“That feels so good,” she whimpered, hands reaching down to twine in golden hair.
Katherine’s head bobbed as she licked, then she made lazy circles with her tongue, slowly finding her way down to Rory’s opening. The brunette gasped, hips bucking once again as she was entered, the blonde’s tongue working in a slow, easy rhythm.
“God, you’re killing me,” Rory groaned, desperation in her voice.
“Oh, but what a way to go,” Katherine murmured, slowly licking her way up to Rory’s swollen clit. She pulled away for a moment, then full speed ahead, grabbed the bundle of nerves between her lips, sucking hard as she entered Rory with two fingers. Rory cried out, her inner walls convulsing around Katherine, lava flowing from her core. Katherine lapped at her until Rory fell over the edge a second time. She begged for mercy, tugging weakly at the blonde’s hand. With one final kiss to Rory’s sex, Katherine reluctantly left her prize and crawled her way up the brunette’s body. Their kiss was deep, flavored with Rory’s own essence.
Rory grinned, more than satisfied as the kiss came to an end. “That was amazing, baby.”
“Mm,” Katherine purred. “I agree.” She leaned in for a slow, exploratory kiss, then pulled away. “I seem to remember you once said you wished to fuck me with your cock. Did you happen to acquire one while I was gone?”
Rory chuckled, shaking Katherine’s body with the movement. She slid her hands down a smooth, strong back. “As a matter of fact, I do happen to have one, yes. Didn’t you see it when you were down there?”
“Hmm. Guess I must have missed it,” Katherine teased, placing a quick, playful kiss on Rory’s nose.
“Do you want me to fuck you?” Rory purred, Katherine crying out in surprise as she suddenly found herself lying on her back. The blonde spread her legs, allowing Rory to fit snugly between.
“Oh, yeah,” she groaned, pressing down on Rory’s ass, breath catching as their sexes pressed together.
“You got it.” Rory leaned down, capturing Katherine’s mouth in a slow, burning kiss that almost made Katherine come. Rory climbed off the bed and went to her closet, digging through a small plastic tub until she found what she was looking for. Within moments she had the harness strapped to her hips and the medium-sized dildo fitted at her crotch. Katherine watched from her place on the bed, eyes unable to leave Rory’s body.
“Come here, beautiful,” the blonde whispered, leaning up and reaching for the dildo. Rory stopped next to the bed, watching in fascination as Katherine got to her knees, hand gently stroking the cock. She gave a sexy little look up at Rory as she reached around the dildo to the brunette’s own sex, gathering slick moisture and spreading it on the surface of the toy.
Rory groaned deep in her throat, the picture very clear of what Katherine intended to do. She’d never had a blowjob before, and was curious, her blood pounding, clit ticking in time with every rapid heartbeat.
Katherine leaned down, kissing the head of the dildo before taking it into the warm recesses of her mouth, bringing in as much of its length as she could. Her hands reached around, holding Rory by the ass, moaning when she felt a palm running over her upper back, then under her arm and finally cupping a breast.
The brunette was stunned by the sensations that shot through her as Katherine worked the toy with an expert touch, giving enough pressure so that the toy pulled away from her clit, only to be pressed back into it. She moaned loudly, eyes closing as her head fell back. God, no wonder guys love this so much. Suddenly the pressure stopped, making blue eyes open. Rory looked down at Katherine, who was getting to her feet, gently moving the brunette to where she wanted her. In a breathless moment, Rory watched as Katherine bent at the waist, resting her hands on the bed, looking back over her shoulder at the taller woman.
“Fuck me, baby,” Katherine whispered, her need blatantly clear as Rory scanned her ass and the dripping folds that the blonde’s position revealed.
Rory was slightly nervous, but her excitement and arousal quickly took care of that. She moved in behind the blonde, grabbing hold of the dildo at the base and positioning herself so that she could maneuver the toy between Katherine’s thighs, moving her hips so she ran through slick folds. Katherine groaned long and deep, her body moving with the dildo, covering it in her need.
“Oh, please, baby. Please, Rory,” she whimpered, readjusting her stance so she was more solid.
Rory brought the tip of the dildo to Katherine’s opening, teasing her with it before sliding fully in. They both groaned at the sensation. Rory held for a moment, her hands resting on the blonde’s hips, which began to move of their own accord. She knew Katherine was ready for her. More than ready.
Katherine grabbed hold of handfuls of the comforter as her body was rocked forward from the motion of Rory’s thrusts. At first they started out slow, smooth, but as the brunette’s excitement grew, as well as her confidence, Rory began to pound into her.
Rory was losing herself in a haze of lust and pleasure, the psychology of what she was doing more than the actual physical pleasure, was taking her to places she’d never known. Her hips worked as her incessant thrusts continued, her pelvis slapping against Katherine’s beautiful ass. The blonde was panting constantly, whimpers escaping her throat as she held on for dear life. She could feel the burn in her belly, which was growing and spreading with every thrust.
“God, yes,” she cried out, head hanging as she closed her eyes, allowing the full impact to consume her. Finally her world exploded in light and color as her body convulsed, her clit twitching uncontrollably.
Rory’s own body spasmed, her hips faltering as her orgasm took over, forcing her to grind herself into Katherine, their juices gluing them together. She milked her orgasm with short, quick thrusts, making Katherine cry out each time. Finally her body stilled, the air heavy with sex.
Exhausted and covered in sweat, Rory slowly pulled out of Katherine, then grabbed the blonde, bringing her around to stand facing her. She took the blonde in a desperate embrace, Katherine clinging to her.
“Thank you,” Katherine whispered into Rory’s neck, her fingers almost claw-like in the brunette’s back. Rory could only nod as she let out a shuddering breath. After a long moment, they parted, sharing a gentle kiss. “I don’t know about you,” Katherine smiled, but I’m exhausted.”
“Me, too.” Rory quickly removed the apparatus, then climbed onto the bed with Katherine, pulling her against her as the brought the covers up over them.
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