If you'd like to tell me what a wonderful writer I am or that I royally suck, feel free at: XenaNut@hotmail.com

Kim Pritekel

Part 16

"Welcome back!" the blonde gushed, hurrying over to the singer. For a moment, Christine's heart soared, happiness almost overwhelming. But as Willow got closer, she began to freak, thinking back to the vow she'd made to herself in L.A.

"Hey, uh," she breezed past the blonde. "hands are full. Let me get rid of this stuff," smiling sheepishly, Christine hurried up the stairs. Willow watched her go, shock and hurt in her eyes.

"Wow. Okay. Bad flight, I guess," Willow mumbled, unsure what to do. Should she follow and ask? Leave her alone? The decision was made for her, as within minutes, Christine was on her way back down the stairs, Emma in tow. The singer was kissing the baby and making crazy faces and voices at her.

"I think she gained another five pounds since I've been gone," she said absently to the blonde as she hit the landing, "haven't you, you big goober?" Emma squealed and gurgled.

Though touched by the scene before her, it was hard for Willow to get into it, or even respond, the hurt still stinging. When she got no response, Christine looked at her friend, smiling.

"How has your week been?" she passed the blonde, heading into the kitchen.

"Uh," Willow said, shaking herself out of her shock. "fine. It was fine. Good, I guess."

"Good." Christine handed Emma off with a kiss to the baby's forehead, then began to dig through the fridge, famished from a long day.

"And how was your trip? Anything productive happen? Anything you can do?" Willow sat on a barstool, baby in hand, as she watched her friend getting ingredients out for a sandwich.

"No," Christine sighed, spinning the lid off the jar of Miracle Whip. She licked her thumb as some of the tangy spread smeared on it. "looks like I'm stuck. We'll just have to weather the storm." She finally looked at the blonde for the first time since she'd arrived, all whirlwind of baby banter and mindless questions. Willow was looking down and away, focused on some tile or other. As she watched, the blonde nodded numbly.

"Sorry to hear that."

"Yeah. Me, too." Turning back to her dinner, she angrily flopped a couple pieces of turkey onto the Miracle Whip, mustard slathered bread. She was angry, all right, but angry at herself. She could tell Willow was hurt. The blonde wasn't dumb, and Christine had been stupid to think this would work. She'd been home for less than twenty minutes, and already she felt like a schmuck. There was no way and hell she could keep her distance from Willow; it wasn't possible. The little blonde had a way of finding the tiniest cracks in the strongest of armor, and wheedling her way inside.

Damn it!

Slopping the two pieces of bread together, she shoved the plate aside, beginning to pick up her mess.

"Christine?" was spoken so softly, filled with such uncertainty. "Are you okay? Did something happen?"

Sighing, Christine leaned against the counter for a moment, head hanging. Finally she pushed off, turning to her confused friend. She shook her head.

"No." Walking over to where Willow sat with Emma, she carefully gathered the two in a warm, all encompassing hug, feeling a relieved sigh escape the blonde. "No," she repeated, inhaling the smells- Herbal Essence and Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo and powder.

Pulling away, she smiled down at Willow, who looked overwhelmingly happy. Christine couldn't help but smile in return. Yeah, how could she ever have thought she could push this one out?

Willow listened quietly as Christine explained what Roxanne had said, all the while the singer stuffed her face, getting up to make herself a second sandwich, with a second handful of Doritos.

"I've screwed myself, basically," she said, around a bite of sandwich. Swallowing quickly, she continued, "it's not going to stop, Willow. I'm so sorry, and I hope you understand that I never wanted this to happen."

"I know that," Willow said softly, though a wrinkle had formed between her eyes, deep in thought.

"What are you thinking about?"

"Nothing, really." The blonde sighed, glancing over at Emma, who had been laid on a blanket on the floor. "It is hard, Christine. I won't lie to you. Sometimes, when I open my front door, see the van, or see Troy or Howard out there talking, walking the perimeter of the place, I feel like I'm a prisoner in my own house."

Christine listened, nodding her understanding. "I know. I'm so sorry," she wanted to reach across the table and take the blonde's hand, but she resisted. No, she may not be able to push the little blonde out, but she wasn't going to torture herself, either. "The only other thing I can do is to leave," she studied green eyes, looking for any sort of silent answer.

"No." Willow was stern, one word.

"Or not," Christine grinned, secretly relieved.

"We'll face these bastards together," Willow continued, her jaw set, body tense.

"Okay. So be it."

"Well, in the meantime," Willow stood, walking over to a sleeping Emma, and gathering her into her arms. "Let me put her down, and I have something I want to show you."

Christine shivered at the mischievous grin the laced the blonde's words, then mentally slapped herself.

"Uh, Willow, you do realize we're outside, right?" Christine said, her words dripping with sarcasm.

"Very good." Willow replied, un-phased. She led them over to the garage, her heart pounding. Bringing the key out to the brand new, extremely sturdy, lock, she carefully slid it into the hole, turning until the tumblers hit home. Knob in hand, she turned to look at a very confused Christine. "I hope you won't be mad at me," she said quietly before pushing the door open with her hip.

Wondering what on earth the blonde could have done to make her mad, Christine followed. It smelled different. Gone were the smells of gasoline, cut grass and oil. Now there was the smell of polish and paint. The singer had an idea, and prayed she was wrong.

The lights flicked on, can light, sunken in the brand new ceiling, shining down on polished wood flooring, reflecting the white walls, covered in soundproofing material, and reflecting the greatest gift of it all- a grand piano.

Oh, she was wrong, alright. She was very wrong.

She sucked in a breath, taking it all in, stunned, touched deeply, and wanting to cry.

"You did all this?" she breathed, stepping further into the transformed garage. She ran her hand over a very familiar piano lid.

"There was just no way for me to afford a new one, or even a used one, for that matter, so uh," Willow explained quickly, trying to get the words out before Christine could get mad. "Joey helped me to get yours shipped here."

"How did you? I was there, I played it until the night I left,..." Christine's words were cut off by the amazement of it all.

"I know," Willow rolled her eyes. "It was a nightmare. Joey's girlfriend was spying on you, letting us know when you came and went," she grinned, proud that they'd pulled it off. "Please tell me you're not mad,"

Turning her focus on the blonde, Christine slowly shook her head. "I can't believe you did all this," she murmured absently, then remembered there was an unspoken question on the table. "No, no, I'm not mad."

She grabbed Willow in a hug so tight, so profound, Willow almost couldn't breath from relief and happiness.

"I can't believe you did this," Christine whispered to the top of her head. She gently pulled back, brows drawn. "How did you do this? This isn't cheap. How did you pay for it? Please tell me you didn't hurt yourself-"

"Shh," Willow gently covered Christine's lips with her fingers. "In all honesty, you kind of paid for it all."

"Me?" She was totally baffled now.

"Well," Willow blushed, "let's just say I got super lucky at the bank, considering that check was more than a year old."

Throwing her head back, a deep, full-bodied laugh left Christine's throat as she pulled the blonde in for another hug. Willow chuckled along with her, finally her uncertainty, from the room and earlier, melting away.

"I can't believe you did this," Christine said again. Stepping out of the hug, she walked around the large room, trailing her fingers across everything, in awe that Willow had managed to pull all this together in a few days. "I almost feel like I'm in an episode of 'While You Were Out,'" she joked, tapping a few keys before moving on.

"It basically was that crazy and chaotic, too. The movers with your piano left literally thirteen minutes before you got here." Willow leaned against the wall, arms crossed over her chest, a constant soft smile on her lips, happy that Christine was happy, and also pretty damn proud of herself.

"That would explain why your hair was still sort of wet," the singer chuckled, making a full circuit around the room, coming to stand next to her friend.

"Play something for me. That is, if you're not too tired after a long day of traveling."

"Too tired to play?" Christine asked, brow raised. "Never." Smug grin in place, she sauntered over to the piano, easing herself down on the newly polished bench, her mind reeling through the huge list of titles she knew, and the ones she, herself, had written.

Willow walked over to her, leaning against the incredibly beautiful instrument. She'd never seen a grand piano in real life before. When the guys had first gotten it off the truck, she had been struck almost breathless from its beauty and grace. Much like its maestro.

The music began slow, a few keys at a time higher up the scale. Soon the momentum built, and Christine's voice joined, soft and sweet.

Willow slowly made her way toward the bench, lowering herself next to the singer, drawn, almost hypnotized, by the music and soft, soothing voice. In that moment she knew she'd done the right thing. To keep this beautiful, talented creature from her music was crime.

The song slowly came to an end, Willow sighing along with it. "It's been settled," she said, voice dreamy. "you can never leave this room."

"Oh yeah?" Christine chuckled, playing randomly, her heart filling with joy, knowing that this was hers, that any time she wanted, she could come out here, play, compose, be alone, create. For her, a day without creating was a day not worth living. Somehow Willow had known that. What an amazing gift.

Deciding to give back, her fingers began to find the right keys, the notes filling Willow's ears, followed again by Christine's voice. The blonde listened to the words, and suddenly she let out a small gasp.

Her eyes filled as she looked over at Christine, who was already looking at her, singing about a little girl, so filled with life and joy, a joy that made her feel whole.

"You wrote a song about Emma?" Willow whispered. Christine nodded, continuing the song. Tears freely running down her cheeks, the blonde continued to listen, hearing just exactly what the baby meant to the singer.

Christine was worried at first, unsure whether Willow would think she was nuts for writing the song, or would be angry for some reason. Seeing the expression on her beautiful face and the tears in her green eyes, she felt her heart swell. Again. What she didn't tell the blonde was that the song was for Emma and her.


"There she is! Oh, give me some sugar, honey," Mary Washington took Emma gently away from a grinning Willow, rushing the baby down the hall to show to every single staff member on the floor.

"You know you will never see Emma again, don't you?" Doctor Benjamin Keele laughed.

"Eh, I know where she works," Willow grinned at the diminutive doc.

"How are you feeling? Ready to come back Monday?" he asked, leaning against the nurse's station counter.

"Yes, actually. I am. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm going to miss my daughter like crazy, but I'll be glad to get back into the swing of things, you know?" She watched as a group of nurses and orderlies oohed and awwwed further down the hall, Mary in the middle of it all, holding on to the three month old for dear life. "I was glad to get the extended leave, though."

"My wife would have loved to have a sixteen week leave with Brian, our first. By the second and third, she was ready to go back to work by the next day." They both laughed, Willow only now understanding the truth behind those words. She absolutely loved staying home with Emma, and Christine for that matter, but she was starting to feel unproductive, like she wasn't bringing anything into the household, and that bothered her.

"How old are your kids now, Ben?"

"Oh, let's see," he stared up at the ceiling, mentally calculating. "Brian will be twenty-two this year, Kathryn fifteen, and Kelsey will be twelve."

"Twenty-two," she whispered absently, watching as her baby was passed into another set of arms, more staff gathering. "Wow. I can't imagine that."

"It goes fast. Trust me." Ben looked down at his pager, which was vibrating against his hip. "Got to run. It was great seeing the baby again, Willow. See you Monday."

"Bye, Ben."

"Did she like it?" Rachel asked, stuffing her mouth with salad drown in Italian dressing.

"She loved it," Willow grinned, eyes sparkling. "You should have seen her. A kid in a candy store. So adorable. And, oh! I haven't even told you the best part yet."

"What's that?" the redhead popped a crouton into her mouth, crunching it loudly.

"She wrote a song for Emma."


"Yes. It's so beautiful. It's called 'Beautiful Girl'. I started to cry. I don't know," she put a hand to her chest, trying to find the words. "nothing has ever touched me like that. She really loves my baby, and that makes me so happy, and so relieved, you know? Like if something ever happened to me, I know Christine would take care of Emma."

"Wow," Rachel whistled. "That's a whole ton of trust.

"I know, and from someone who doesn't trust easily." Willow sipped her water, smiling at a nurse who passed by their table in the hospital's cafeteria.

"What about the other stuff?"

"What other stuff?"

"You know, the night-before-she-left-for-New York-stuff."

"Oh," Willow put her bottle down, swallowing before she answered that loaded question. "We've talked about it. I flat told her that I was just being a friend for her, that there was no worries, or reason to be afraid. I didn't hate her, didn't judge her. I told her it was beautiful and let's leave it at that."

"What did she say?"

Willow shrugged. "Not much." Leaning her chin on her hand, she watched as Rachel mixed her salad around some more, then stabbed a forkful, putting it all into her mouth. "I sense something's off, still. I don't know. I can't really put my finger on it." Her face scrunched up as she thought about it.

"Like what?"

"Well, she's been back from California for a few weeks, and things are great. I mean, we get along as wonderfully as we always did, and she adores Emma, plays with her, offers to feed her, change her, you name it. She plays a lot, out in her little music room. She's so cute," her smile returned. Rachel watched her carefully. Something was missing from the blonde, and she couldn't quite figure out what it was.

"Trouble in paradise, huh?" she put her fork down, wiping her mouth with the cheap paper napkin she'd gotten out of the chrome dispenser.

"I don't know." Willow looked down, glancing over to see Mary and another nurse holding Emma, chatting quietly. It had taken a great deal of coercion for her to allow the two other women to keep hold of her daughter.

"Sure you do. Out with it."

"She's so distant," Willow said, almost a rushed whisper, falling out of her mouth before she even had time to think about it.

"What do you mean, 'distant'?" Rachel pushed the plastic bowl her salad was in away, pulling the wrapped cookie front and center.

"Well, physically. Christine is actually a very affectionate person, very physical. Hugs, playful nudges, a quick squeeze in passing. Things like that, you know?"

"But not so much lately?"

"Not so much, no. It seems that even if I look like I want a hug, or am getting too physically close to her, she either steps away, or magically has something already in her arms. Often times it's Emma," she nodded toward the table two doors down.

"Interesting. And this started when she got back from New York?"

"No, more when she got back from Los Angeles. I don't know. That first night was really bad. I mean, I wanted to cry, but it was almost like something clicked in her head, and she was basically normal. I figured maybe she'd had a bad visit with her publicist, I mean the news wasn't good,"


"She was so wonderful when I showed her the music room, full of hugs," she smiled at the memory. "God, that woman can hug."

"Among other things," Rachel snickered, earning herself a glare.

"But, after that night, again, like something flickered inside her, flickered off this time, she keeps her distance now. Hugs are far and few in between. She'll sit on the couch with me, but curled up against the opposite arm."

"When she does that, do you curl up against her?"

"I did once, and she let me, didn't move away, dangled her arm over my shoulder. But I don't do that anymore."

"Why not?" Rachel offered the blonde a piece of her gooey cookie, which was taken. Green eyes studied the treat, finger poking at a particularly large chocolate chip.

"Because I'm not about to force her. If she needs her space, wants her space, whatever, who am I to take it?"

"Hmm," Rachel sighed, staring at her own cookie for a moment, thinking. "Wills, I don't want to hurt you with this question, but I have to ask it."

"Okay," Willow felt her heart stop.

"Do you think maybe she doesn't want to be there? Maybe she wants to leave but doesn't know how to tell you?"

"No, I don't. I've thought about that, too. A lot. But I watch her, see how she is with the baby, with the ranch, Star. Heck, even with me. I honestly don't think that's it. I just don't know. It's like it deals with me specifically."

"Ah hah."

"Do you think it's me? Did I do something wrong?"

"Well," Rachel thought about it for a moment, turning everything around in her mind that she possibly could, going over any and all information she had about Christine, and any and all events that had happened between them.

Willow turned her attention back to her chunk of cookie, unable to look at Rachel, afraid of she might see there.

"I think she wants you."

"What?!" Willow choked on the bite she'd taken, spitting it out into the palm of her hand. Rachel grimaced.


"You're nuts."

"No. I really think that's it. I think she wants you, and it scares her to death."

"I just don't know, Rach,"

"What's to know? Think about it, Wills. I want you to watch her; catch her looking at you. Watch as she watches you walk away, stares at your breasts. Whatever."

"I don't think that's it," Willow insisted. The redhead shrugged.

"Then I'm at a loss for you. We'll just have to agree to disagree on this, cause I know I'm right." Rachel began to gather all of her trash, tossing it all on the orange, plastic tray. "You done?" she asked, tapping Willow's water bottle. At the nod she got, she tossed it on top of the heap. "I have to get back to work. Man, getting used to these days is kicking my butt."

Standing with her friend, Willow nodded absently, only partially hearing what Rachel said. Her mind was focused primarily on Rachel's words, and Christine's actions.

"Huh?" she said, realizing she'd missed something.

"I said, how do you feel? What do you want for this happy, albeit strange, little family you've got going?"

"I don't know," Willow said miserably, walking next to her friend, headed back to the ER. "To be perfectly honest, I'm very confused." She pulled them to the side, ducking inside a cavernous doorway. "It's like I think about that night sometimes, Rachel. I know it was under extremely painful and stressful circumstances for her, but I have never felt so loved during sex in all my life. It was like, yes, my body was loved, it felt good, all that stuff. But," she paused, again trying to find the words that so easily eluded her where Christine was concerned. "it was all of me, like she reached inside my chest, grabbed my heart and squeezed as hard as she could until it almost hurt. Somehow I don't think my heart has ever been the same."

Rachel studied Willow for a long time, looking deeply into her eyes, almost as if into her soul, Willow thought.

"Willow, I want you to think about this, and I want you to think about it long and hard. In my personal, professional, medical opinion, your heart hurts because you're in love with her, and afraid, unwilling or unable to tell her how you feel. I don't even know if you fully understand it. Also in my personal, professional and medical opinion, I think you two belong together." She paused, waiting for the blonde's reaction, mentally trying to remember how many bandages and bottle of aspirin she had at her station were she to need it. When the blonde said nothing, nor did any body parts start to fly, she continued. "I think if anything is to come of this, if anything is to happen, it's going to have to be because you start it. I don't know what that it is, that's for you to figure out and decide. But she's afraid, and I don't think she'll ever fully admit what you mean to her."

"You're serious, aren't you?"


Willow sighed, nodding. "I heard you, everything you said. I just don't know. It's nothing I can think about or decide right now."

"I know," Rachel grabbed her friend, giving her a quick hug in support. "I know whatever you do it'll be the right thing for you both. Now," she stepped back into the hallway. "I have to get going. Go find your baby." With a quick smile, she was gone.

Willow used the few minutes she had alone to think, walking down the halls, hands stuffed into her pockets.

Rachel's words rattled around her brain, and she tried to catch one now and then, like a Venus fly trap snapping for a morsel of truth. She thought about Christine's behavior, and trying to be as objective and unemotionally connected as possible, wondered if just maybe Rachel was right.

Christine seemed to walk on egg shells around her, though didn't treat her any differently in any other way. They still joked, talked endlessly. She still felt that bond and connection with the singer, but also felt Christine very obviously limiting physical contact between them. She honestly didn't think it was Christine's fear anymore of having hurt Willow, or overstepped her bounds that night. She felt they had discussed that as open and honestly as possible, and felt good about it.

And how did she feel about Christine? She loved her, of course. That was easy enough. Could she imagine herself and Christine living the way they were now? Basically as best friends who happened to be roommates? And who just happened to be raising a baby together? Somehow Willow couldn't see Christine moving out at any time soon, if at all. The singer was happy, that much she knew.

Okay, so they got the cohabitation thing down. They got along completely, rarely disagreed, and if they did, they always managed to find some way to get around or through it.

That left physicality.

Willow by nature was an extremely affectionate person. She couldn't live without it, and knew that much. Okay, so say Christine starts acting her old self the next day, and the blonde got her daily dose of hugs, squeezes and pats. Was that enough to sustain her?

This was a niggling question. No, it wasn't, but at the same time, she absolutely could not see herself going out and finding some random guy to full around with and get her rocks off. Did that have to do with Kevin? Perhaps she wasn't totally over him?

Willow grimaced with a small growl.

Okay, moving on. Making love with Christine. Willow smiled, arms crossing her chest, almost as if she were hugging herself. She didn't feel ashamed at the thought or memory, but curiously excited, curious, anticipatory. Willow's immediate instinct told her to shake that thought off in revolt or as just plain lunacy, desperation and loneliness.

Somehow that didn't seem right. In fact, it seemed dead wrong. She cleared her throat, which helped to clear her mind.

Okay. Can you imagine yourself having sex with Christine again?

Willow waited for the answer to come to her.

No. What I can see is my making love to her. Bringing her the peace that I did last time.

She was surprisingly calm at this revelation. She also now realized that it had slowly been coming for some time now. Everything that she had taken for one thing, had been something entirely different in actuality. What she'd taken for her nerves at this famous woman visiting was actually nerves for Christine visiting. When her heart rate increased and her mouth went dry, hands fidgeting, which happened so often, it wasn't the flu, or a cold, or heat flashes, or any other craziness she's managed to come up with. It was because Christine was near, was next to her, or was coming. It was all about Christine.

Okay, so the physical was taken care of. What about the rest of it? Was it something she could handle? What people thought of her? She was no dummy, and knew how cruel people were, could be. Yes, she was afraid of what people might think of her. She'd worked long and hard to be a liked, respected member of the community and hospital. Would that change?

Looking around as she walked, passing fellow staff, some she knew, most she didn't, she couldn't help but wonder. She had been very pleasantly surprised when after the article had broke about her in Texas with Christine, as well as seeing Willow's half-naked body on the cover of the newest smut, most who asked did so out of genuine curiosity. She had not been judged or whispered about. Well, not that she knew of, anyway.

Was it worth it?

Willow sighed, her head hurting from so much thought. She gathered up her daughter, and was on her way, escaping into the mid-May afternoon. It was beautiful out, and she wished Christine were with her, and they could take Emma to the park.

She contemplated calling the house, but didn't want to bring that much attention to them after the recent mess the press had caused. Instead, she went home.


Christine rested her hands on her thighs, head hanging in defeat. The music wasn't coming to her tonight. No, not just that; the music was tormenting her, coming to just within reach of her creative fingers and then laughing evilly as it fell back into the darkness.

She growled, the bench screeching as she shoved it back, getting to her feet.

"Damn it!" she yelled out to the empty room, throwing her pencil, watching it hit a wall and tink to the floor.

Christine ran her hands through her hair, pacing like a wild animal. Glancing out the window, she saw that night had fallen. She'd been at it all day, every day, for the past week. It wasn't coming to her, and it was really pissing her off.

She was also hiding. She didn't like to admit that part to herself. She was scared. How could one little blonde, all one hundred and twenty pounds of her, scare her so bad? But she did.

Christine was finding that she was getting short tempered, fidgety, and her mind was less than cooperative when it came to concentrating on her music. It was almost like her muse had gone on vacation, and she was frustrated, damn it!

"Okay," she breathed, sitting at the keyboard once more. "I can do this."

Willow looked down at her bundled daughter, tucked into the baby seat in the back of Rachel's car.

"You know, we can do this another time," the redhead reassured.

"No," taking a deep breath, the blonde took a step back, the cool night air caressing her face. "I can do this."

"She'll be fine,"

"Of course she'll be fine." Willow smiled, though she didn't believe it for a moment. "You have all the bottles? Prepared? Remember, test them on your wrist, don't make it too hot-"

"Willow!" Rachel took her friend by the shoulders, shaking her lightly. "She'll be fine, okay? I do have nieces and nephews, you know. I know what I'm doing."

"Okay." Willow nervously ran her hands through her hair. "I can do this, and Emma will be fine." Rachel smiled, taking her friend into a hug. Willow clung to her for a moment, shivering. Rachel wasn't sure if it was from the chill night air, or other.

"I support you," she said into the blonde's ear before giving her a soft kiss on the cheek.

"Thank you." Willow gave her a genuine smile for the first time. "Now go before I change my mind."

"You got it." Rachel closed the back passenger door, then walked around the car to the driver's side, Willow waving at her sleeping daughter through the window. Slipping behind the wheel, Rachel called quietly out to her friend. Willow looked at her. "I want a full report!" she hissed. Willow rolled her eyes and waved her friend off.

Left hand resting on the keys, Christine reached up and made a couple marks on the score, flipping the pencil around to erase a couple mistakes, then flipped it back around to make more marks.

Clenching the number two between her teeth, she brought her right hand down to join its twin, played everything she had written all in one shot. Stopping about mid-way, she brought eraser to paper once more.

As she rubbed out a really bad choice, she heard the baby monitor that rested next to her sheet music, crackle to life.

"Christine?" The singer pushed the button for hands free walkie mode.

"Yeah?" she asked, drawing a quarter note.

"Could you come upstairs for a minute? I'm having a wee bit of trouble in the main bathroom."

"Kay. Be there in a minute," she muttered, slightly irritated as the song was starting to come together. Finally with a sigh, she headed out. It was late, and she figured she was probably finished for the night, so she flicked the switch, shrouding the music room into darkness.

The night was surprisingly chilly for May, and Christine felt Goosebumps erupt across her arms. Mounting the stairs, her shoes made hollow thuds, echoing in the quiet night.

"Willow?" she called out, closing and locking the front door behind her.

"I'm up here," the blonde called down.

"Who was here earlier?"

"Rachel stopped by for a couple minutes."

Nodding in acknowledgement of the comment, Christine made her way up the creaky stairs. She wondered if there was some way to fix that without rebuilding half the house. But then again, it would come in handy as Emma got older.

"What's up?" she asked, pushing the bathroom door, which had been half closed, fully open. The question died on her lips when she saw the flicker of candle light. The room was filled with candles, all aflame, the only light in the room. She also realized she smelled roses, which brought her attention to the Roman tub. It was filled with steaming water, rose petals floating across its glossy surface.

The door softly clicked closed behind her. Turning, she saw Willow, who held very fluffy white towels in her arms, and a smile on her face.

"Alright, you," she said, laying the towels on the toilet lid, and walking over to the stunned singer. "I want you to get in that tub, close your eyes and relax." She took the pencil out of Christine's limp hand, gently laying it on the counter next to the sink. "Come on," she encouraged when Christine didn't move. She gently nudged the singer to the edge of the tub, pushing on her shoulders. Christine sat, looking up at the blonde like she was nuts.

Willow knelt down, untying both of her shoes, and tossing them to the floor, followed by her socks. Standing, she pulled Christine to her feet.

"I don't want to see you for at least an hour. You understand me?"

Christine nodded dumbly, watching as Willow made a silent exit from the room, closing the door behind her. Feeling like she'd just been hit over the head, Christine turned back toward the room, seeing all that Willow had done. She smiled when she saw the disc player in the corner, next to the tub, a stack of the singer's favorite CD's on top. Next to that was a small stack of magazines, and the novel she was reading.

A long, slow sigh escaped from between Christine's lips as her body slipped into the water, just this side of too hot. Her entire body in, water reaching to the tops of her breasts, she knotted her hair back, and rested her head against the inflatable pillow Willow had suctioned to the porcelain.

The music of Delirium filled the room. 'Lamentation' began it's more than eight minute run, sinking into her bones. The sensuous tones bringing chills to her flesh, making her ever grateful for the hot water.

The tension between Christine's shoulders began to slowly untie, her shoulders relaxing, hands floating limply atop the water, toes curling and uncurling as pleasure rippled through her. She smiled as a rose petal tickled her breast as it lazily floated by.

As the music began to build, it's incredibly sexy beat took Christine with it. She closed her eyes, sighing deeply as she imagined Willow before her closed lids, body moving sensuously in time with it, hands slowly running down her own body, and her eyes locked onto the singer, beckoning her, daring her, wanting her.

Christine's body was on fire, just the mere thought of the gorgeous blonde nearly wiping her out. The images were so real, so raw, that if she hadn't known any better, she would have thought Willow was in the room with her, sliding her hands down over Christine's wet skin, dragging her nails back up.

The singer shivered, whimpering quietly as the frustration she had begun to lose slowly began to build once more, right dead center between her legs. She had been fighting the attraction to Willow for, well, in all reality, for months now, but consciously, for weeks. She'd always felt a connection to Willow, a bond, but she'd always been more than fine with the physical aspects. Yes, Willow was a very beautiful woman, but other than that one indiscretion on the beach, Christine had been fine with it.

Until that night. After that night, everything changed. Everything. Now she couldn't get Willow out of her mind. She was terrified of the little blonde, and had no idea what to do about any of this. These feelings were new to her, and she was trying to run from them.

But god, the way Willow's body had felt against her.

Shaking herself out of her lustful daze, she reached down, grabbing her novel, doing her best to distract herself, and ignore her body's pleading for some release. She was in there to relax, not get more keyed up.

One hour and seventeen minutes later, Christine wrapped herself in one of the huge, soft towels Willow had left for her, wet hair slicked down her back. She blew out the candles, the small room filling with smoke, and opened the bathroom door. Feeling something soft and cool under her bare foot, she looked down, seeing more rose petals. After a moment, she realized they were put together in the shape of an arrow, and it was pointing toward the blonde's bedroom.

Brow raised, she followed it, seeing the door slightly ajar. More flickering inside.

"Come on in," Willow said, her voice soft on the other side of the door. Swallowing hard, and fighting the very strong urge to run, Christine pushed the door open the rest of the way.

At first Willow was nowhere to be seen, so the brunette concentrated on the scattered candles, the bed, turned down to the fitted sheet, and a tray resting near the pillows, various bottles atop it.

"Come on, don't be shy," the blonde said, suddenly appearing from around the door. Christine's eyes widened, taking in the silky gown she wore, reaching to not quite mid-thigh. The spaghetti straps showed off strong shoulders, candle light licking across their definition. She tried not to stare as blue eyes landed on full breasts, hugged by the satin.

"Uh, what's going on?" Christine finally asked, meeting Willow's eyes.

"Come on," the blonde said, taking Christine's hand, ignoring her question. She was pulled to the bed where she was instructed to lie down on her stomach. Doing as asked, she felt the soft sheets beneath her overheated skin. Glancing at the tray of bottles not far from her head, she saw that they were all various types of massage oil. "Relax," was cooed to her, a hand on the back of her head, gently pushing it toward the pillow.

Christine tried to do just that, but it was proving quiet difficult. She felt the mattress give under Willow's weight as she kneeled next to her.

"Lift just a bit,"

Christine did, panicking for a moment as she felt the towel that was wrapped around her very naked body being pulled out from under her. She was able to relax a wee bit when she remained covered, Willow just bringing the terry cloth down a bit to reveal her back.

Strong hands gently pulled her hair out from around the singer's neck, making her shiver again. Hair all tucked to the side, she closed her eyes, trying to 'see' with her ears. The silky material of Willow's gown whispering against her naked back as the blonde reached over her to grab one of the bottles. There was a squirting sound, and then the palms of Willow's hands being rubbed together to warm the oil.

Christine's mind wanted to scream for her to stop this, to run far, hide and not have to face this, but she couldn't move. She was paralyzed to do anything but lie there, feeling those warm hands lie on her back, then move over the expanse, smoothing the slick oil into the skin.

"You've been so tense lately," Willow said softly, belying the strength in her hands as they rubbed and pressed, even coaxing a small moan out of the singer.

"Hmm," Christine said in response, making the blonde smile. "You're good at this."

"Well, lucky for you one of my instructors in nursing school was a strong believer in us getting certified in massage therapy. It helps with the patients who are either bed-ridden, or are just too sick to get up and walk around. You see," she explained, rubbing more oil into Christine's skin, "by keeping the blood flowing, it helps them keep muscle tone, as well as the use of limbs. Things don't cramp up."

"Mmm," Christine purred as Willow hit a particularly tense spot. "Smart move," she groaned.

Willow looked down at the gorgeous skin beneath her hands, the muscles that littered Christine's upper back, her hands wandering over them, feeling them, caressing them. Her eyes and her hands wandered a bit lower, concentrating on the singer's lower back, nudging the towel to just above her wonderfully beautiful backside.

"God, that feels good," Christine whispered into the pillow, her fingers relaxing from the fists they'd been clenched in at her sides.

"I'm glad," Willow whispered, her hands moving back up Christine's sides, fingertips barely grazing the skin, finding the brunette's arms, and gently pushing them up and out, Christine's length almost claiming the width of the bed. Her eyes roamed unabashed down her spine, then they found her own hands, which had moved up to Christine's shoulders again. "Relax," she breathed, words blowing across Christine's skin, making her shiver.

Willow's hands, which had been kneading the skin of Christine's shoulders and upper arms, traveled down, over the upper back, nails dragging down the spine, then slowly working their way back up to the shoulders and across. She smiled when she heard another soft moan breathed out, the brunette's hips adjusting themselves a bit.

Taking this as a good sign, her nails turned to fingers, gliding over the slick skin, daring to dip down, brushing ever so lightly against the rounded curve of the outside of Christine's breasts, making the singer gasp quietly.

Willow moved down the bed, fingers massaging their way down, gliding over Christine's covered backside, down to the backs of her thighs, hands finally coming to contact with naked skin again at the backs of the singer's knees. Rubbing more oil into her hands, Willow brought them to the calves, muscles flexing under the skin as Christine's body tensed and released, tensed and released.

"Relax. I'm not going to hurt you," she whispered, smoothing the tension out of the calves with a stroke of her hands. Moving off the bed completely, Willow concentrated her effort to Christine's feet, lifting one off the bed, watching the singer's hamstring flex with the movement. She rubbed her thumbs into the balls of Christine's feet, making her groan louder, foot flinching slightly at the bit of tickle she felt.

Willow looked up the length of Christine's body, amazed once again at what a truly beautiful woman she really was. A perfect specimen.

"You are such a beautiful woman, Christine," she said softly, moving to the other foot, her movements slowly, turning into more caressing than massaging.

"Thank you," the singer whispered, her eyes never opening.

"I remember that first concert of yours I went to, the one that Rachel went with me," her hands slid up the right calf, fingers pressing here and there, thumb caressing in their wake. "Looking up at you on that stage, seeing how crazy all the women went, wow," she breathed. "amazing. I understood why they screamed hysterically." Willow smiled slightly, nails tracing the backs of Christine's knees. The singer whimpered softly, eyes opening just a it. "So beautiful. So sexy,"

Willow's hands found the backs of the singer's thighs, feeling their strength mixed with softness, running further up, brushing under the towel, the rise of a beautiful backside meeting her exploring fingers. Finally they were filled with the flesh, Willow watching the movement under the terry cloth, squeezing, kneading, cupping.

Christine let out a long breath, doing her best to not open her thighs. She suddenly realized that the towel was gone, the cool air in the room hitting the entirety of the naked backside of her body.

Willow climbed back onto the bed, slowly, deliberately, one thigh stretching across Christine's. She slowly lowered herself until she was sitting astride Christine's backside.

Christine groaned as she realized the blonde wasn't wearing panties, her naked wetness grazing her own skin.

"So lovely," Willow whispered, hands caressing the skin of the singer's hips, trailing back up her sides, fingernails blazing a trail across the sides of her breasts again. She leaned down, satin covered breasts grazing Christine's back, nipples hardening at the contact. "Turn over, baby," she whispered into the singer's ear before laying a gentle kiss on the back of her neck.

Willow lifted herself slightly as she felt the body beneath hers turn. Lying on her back now, Christine looked up at the goddess that was Willow, straddling her, breasts heaving with every excited breath she took.

Her gaze traveled down that satin-covered body, seeing bare thighs, which she rested warm hands upon.

"You're the beautiful one," she whispered, knowing now that she had lost the battle, the war, everything. There was nothing she could refuse Willow, and she was tired of trying.

The blonde smiled at that, her hands resting on Christine's stomach, feeling the muscles flinch under her touch. Those hands moved up, green eyes following their progress. Willow was once again awed by the beauty of Christine. Her skin soft, supple, beautiful. Breasts, full with rigid nipples, which her fingers found.

Christine hissed, eyes closing as Willow palmed her. Willow was fascinated by the other woman's reactions to her, responses. She watched as Christine arched up into her hands, then a small whimper escaped as Willow held the nipples between forefinger and thumb, squeezing, twisting, testing.

Strong hands began to slowly glide up Willow's thighs, under her negligee, up to her hips, which had started a very slow movement, matching that below her. She closed her eyes, feeling her sex come alive as it slowly rocked against Christine.

Those hands didn't stay on her hips long. Soon they were once again on the move, gliding up her stomach, then up over her own breasts. Willow's head fell back, her nipples so sensitive. Lips were suddenly on her exposed throat, and Willow wasn't going to miss a chance.

Bringing her head down, she caught Christine's mouth, wanting to devour it, but stopping herself. She wanted this to be special, something they'd both remember for as long as they lived, no matter what happened tomorrow.

She held her forehead against Christine's, their lips a hair's width apart.

"I love you, Christine," she said, her hands moving up into the singer's hair. "I'm in love with you,"

"Oh, Willow," Christine breathed, hands caressing the skin of the side of Willow's face. "I've tried to fight it, to push you away, but I can't anymore,"


"No. I love you, too."

Willow smiled against her lips, feeling the gesture returned, then gently brushed her lips across Christine's, feeling them respond, moving against her own, moving together. Slow open sweeps of their mouths, breasts touching, Christine pulling Willow's hips further into her own, making the blonde gasp, their hips beginning to rock slightly.

"I'm scared," Christine whispered, flicking her tongue against Willow's upper lip.

"Oh," the blonde sighed, "I am, too. But you're worth it." She deepened the kiss, sighing into Christine's mouth as she felt the brunette's tongue meet her own. She was lost, heart, body and soul.

The cool night air kissed her skin as her negligee was lifted up and over her arms, naked breasts pressed against Christine's. She still couldn't get over how soft the singer was- her breasts, her skin, her lips. Everything a man wasn't. It was intoxicating.

Christine fell back onto the bed, taking the blonde with her, the kiss never breaking. Rolling them over, she was lying between Willow's legs, which wrapped around her.

Bringing a hand up, Christine cupped one of the blonde's breasts, making Willow moan into her mouth. Moving her hips a bit, Willow moaned again. Christine reached down, gently nudging the blonde's legs far apart, then she reached between their bodies, gently stroking Willow's sex with her fingers, which were instantly covered. She opened herself up, moving until her own swollen clit moved against Willow's.

Willow gasped, clutching Christine to her. She had never felt anything like it, the pleasure ripping through her, intense and wet.

Christine brought her hand back up, and painted Willow's nipple with that that covered her fingers. Hips moving slowly, she bend down, snaking her tongue out, swiping across the pebbled flesh, making Willow cry out. She was careful not to suckle, as Willow was still nursing, but she licked away every drop of the blonde's desire.

Willow's back arched, her body on overload from sensation.

Hips moving faster, Christine returned to Willow's mouth, the kiss deep and passionate, both panting as their pleasure grew, so close to the breaking point.

Eyes opening and pulling back a bit, Christine looked down at Willow, seeing her face flushed, lips glistening, mouth open. Green eyes slowly slid open, and looked so deeply into Christine's that the singer felt it to her core.

Willow's breath came in short bursts as she felt her body becoming engulfed in pleasure, then explode. She cried out, clinging to the singer, unable to catch her breath. Christine buried her face in Willow's neck as she, too, was lost.

Her hips stopped, and Willow wrapped her arms and legs around Christine, raining tiny kisses along the side of her head and face, her body still pulsing.

Finally finding her way back to the land of the living, Christine lifted herself, laying a gentle kiss on Willow's lips, then she began to kiss a trail down the blonde's neck, licking the hollow of her throat.

Willow's eyes closed, losing herself in sensation as she felt Christine's hands and mouth everywhere. She was amazed she could still go on. Typically one orgasm wiped her out, but she couldn't stop the singer if she wanted to. She just wanted to lose herself in Christine.

Green eyes popped open as she felt her legs being gently placed over strong shoulders. She looked down the length of her body, saw Christine's head, and felt soft kisses on the insides of her thighs.

She waited in nervous anticipation as she felt those lips nearing her sex, still overheated from a few moments ago. Gasping loudly, Willow's head fell back into the pillows as a tongue glided its way through her wetness, ending up at her clit, which was sucked into a hot mouth.

"Oh my god," she moaned, hands finding their way into the brunette's hair. She was lost, her body feeling things she'd never known were possible to feel. It was so intense, almost painfully so. She cried out as Christine's fingers entered her, tongue still working through her wetness.

Christine murmured happily as she lavished Willow with as much pleasure as possible. She was starting to have a tough time keeping the blonde under her control, her hips bucking, body moving. Willow was getting close, so Christine decided to let her have it.

Concentrating completely on the blonde's clit, she used both hands to hold her down, hold her to her mouth.

"Christine, oh god, baby," Willow felt as though she were becoming separated from her body, her mind drifting, useless, as her entire being began to pulse, building, building, until she cried out, thrusting her head back as she exploded once again.

Christine held on for dear life, milking Willow's body for all it was worth, making the blonde convulse a second time, then a third. Only when she was begged to stop did she, climbing up the blonde's body, and taking her into her arms.

Willow buried her face in the singer's chest, her breathing still erratic and gaspy. She calmed, hearing the soft words Christine spoke to her, telling her beautiful she was, how amazing and wonderful.

She pulled back slightly, looking into Christine's face, so beautiful and peaceful. Caressing the singer's cheek, she smiled.

"Thank you," she said, laying a soft kiss on the singer's lips, tasting herself there.

"For what?" Christine asked, laying a kiss of her own on Willow's forehead.

"For not running away again." Willow looked deeply into Christine's eyes, wanting her to know that there was no reason to run, no reason to hide. Christine smiled, shaking her head.

"No more. I'm terrified, and I hope you'll be patient with me, but I don't want to run anymore." She moved to her side, holding her head up on her hand, her other hand tracing lazy patterns on Willow's stomach.

"What do you want?" Willow asked, teasing a few tendrils of Christine's dark hair.

"I want to be with you and Emma," she said simply.

"What about the life you've known? The fans, adoration, big city? Won't you miss your normal life?"

"Sweetie, this, being here with you, has been the most normal life I've ever had, and you give me such peace. I'd be a fool to give that up," she whispered, kissing the blonde, who kissed her back, hand lazily running through Christine's hair.

Christine was slowly pushed onto her back, the blonde following suit, situating herself atop her. The kiss continued, slow and languorous. The singer sighed into it, pulling Willow closer.

As they kissed, Willow's hand began to explore. Her fingers ran down until they were once again cupping one of Christine's breasts.

"You have such beautiful breasts," she whispered into Christine's mouth. "So soft,"

Christine's eyes closed, a soft moan escaping as Willow left her mouth, lips and tongue tasting her throat, tongue leaving a fiery trail down between her breasts.

Willow looked at those breasts, marveling at their texture and feel. She weighed their heft in her hands, then slowly brought her head down, eyes slipping shut as she sampled the nipple with her tongue. She was encouraged by the soft sigh released above her, and tongued the nipple again. She loved Christine's response to her touch, and took the entire thing into her mouth.

"Oh, Willow," Christine sighed, hand gently running through the shaggy blonde strands. Pleasure coursed through her body, ending smack dab between her legs. Willow sucked the nipple into her mouth, running her tongue over it. She gasped in surprise as she felt a hand trail it's way between her legs, fingers brushing the hair they found there.

Willow was in tactile heaven as she felt Christine's body- the textures, nuances, differences and similarities to her own. She groaned in appreciation when she felt the hot wetness meet her fingers. Running them down the entire length of Christine's seam, she felt her opening, finger shyly tucking inside.

"Yes, baby. Go inside, please," the singer breathed, almost holding her breath as she waited to see what the blonde would do next.

Willow moaned again as her finger was almost sucked inside, surrounded by tight warmth, so hot.

Lifting her head from Christine's breast, she looked down at her hand, mouth open in wonder as she watched her finger slide out, then back in again, slicing through the wetness.

"Incredible," she whispered, slowly pushing back in, adding a second finger. Christine gasped again, hips bucking as she was filled more, her hand reaching down to caress any part of Willow she could find.

Spurred on, her own heart beginning to race, Willow returned to Christine's breast, experimenting, seeing how she could pleasure this woman she loved so deeply, wanting to end all her pain.

Christine felt like she was flying, her body no longer attached to her brain, her hips bucking, begging Willow to move faster, back arched offering herself up to the blonde, giving her everything she had to give.

When she couldn't take anymore, her world collided with that of Willow, and both were blown apart, Christine's cry heralding the blast. Her mind, body and spirit flew apart, coming back together as a stronger, more whole person.

She lay there, hand across her eyes as she tried to get herself back together. She felt Willow climb up beside her and hold her. Small kisses on her face, lips, neck, back to lips, Christine was in safe warmth.

Willow held her, rocking her slowly, for a moment afraid when she felt wetness against her own neck, where Christine's face was buried. She worried she'd hurt her somehow, but somewhere inside she knew that wasn't it. She held her in silent understanding, vowing to never let her go again. Ever.


For all of Kim Pritekel's works, go to www.coloradobardsplace.net

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